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Throughout the year, CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — from coffee makers to computers to sheets to shower heads — to help our readers find the absolute best things.
Our testing process is rigorous. We spend countless hours of research, consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings to identify the products we want to bring in for testing, be they things that have stood the test of time or the most promising new contenders. Then we spend weeks or months testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings, putting everything through the sort of use and abuse its likely to encounter in your home. We’re confident that our process lets us identify the very best things so you can quickly and easily buy what you need.
Here, we round up all the products that took the top spot in our tests throughout the year.
Best nonstick pan
This pan’s depth gives it multipurpose functionality: It cooks standard frying-pan foods like eggs and meats, and its 2½-inch sides are tall enough to prepare recipes you’d usually reserve for pots, like rices and stews.
If you’re a minimalist and prefer to have just a single pan in your kitchen, then you’d be set with the T-fal E76597. This pan’s depth gives it multipurpose functionality: It cooks standard frying pan foods like eggs and meats, and its 2.5-inch sides are tall enough to prepare recipes you’d usually reserve for pots, like rices and stews. It’s a high-quality and affordable pan that outperformed some of the more expensive ones in our testing field.
Read more from our testing of nonstick pans here.
Best kitchen knife set
We were impressed by the sturdy construction, comfort of use and reliable execution that came with each piece in this all-inclusive set.
The Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set sets you up to easily take on almost any cutting job and is a heck of a steal. Not only did the core knives included (chef’s, paring, utility and serrated) perform admirably, but the set included a bevy of extras, including a full set of steak knives. We were blown away by their solid construction and reliable execution for such an incredible value. The knives stayed sharp through our multitude of tests, and we were big fans of the cushion-grip handles that kept them from slipping, as well as the classic look of the chestnut-stained wood block. If you’re looking for a complete knife set that you’ll be proud of at a price that won’t put a dent in your savings account, then this is the clear winner.
Read more from our testing of kitchen knife sets here.
Best hand mixer
The Cuisinart HM-90BCS Plus mixer caught our eye right out of the box, with a sleek design and sturdy build that felt stable in the hand. Testing confirmed our initial impression, with the appliance scoring top marks across the board for function — easily mixing, whisking, beating and kneading — as well as ease of use and storage.
This Cuisinart mixer caught our eye right out of the box, with a sleek design and sturdy build that felt stable in the hand. Testing confirmed our initial impression, with the appliance scoring top marks across the board for function — easily mixing, whisking, beating and kneading — as well as ease of use and storage.
Read more from our testing of hand mixers here.
The Breville Super Q features a slew of preset buttons, comes in multiple colors, includes key accessories and is quieter than other models. It does carry a steep price tag, but for those who can’t imagine a smoothie-less morning, what breaks down to about $1.30 a day over a year seems like a bargain.
With 1,800 watts of motor power, the Breville Super Q blender features a slew of preset buttons, comes in multiple colors, includes key accessories and is touted for being quieter than other models. It does carry a steep price tag, but for those who can’t imagine a smoothie-less morning, what breaks down to less than $2 per day over one year seems like a bargain.
Read more from our testing of blenders here.
Best waffle maker
The Cuisinart makes two great-tasting deep-pocketed Belgian waffles at a time, with a flip mechanism that not only gives you fluffy, evenly cooked waffles, but makes the machine easy to store.
If you need a machine that makes great waffles, doesn’t take up too much of your precious counter space and still lets you make multiple waffles per batch, then the Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker may be the perfect waffle maker for you. It’s a flip, or “Belgian” style, waffle maker, meaning you flip the deep grids 180 degrees just after you begin baking in order to distribute the batter more evenly and let the waffle bake more evenly. This model goes a step beyond most flip waffle makers, featuring two sets of waffle grills, one on each side of the flip mechanism, so you can make two rounds of waffles at once — a real bonus for a hungry breakfast crowd.
Read more from our testing of waffle makers here.
Best cutting board
Made from moisture-resistant teak, the Teakhaus Professional is beautiful, durable, stain-resistant, and is the easiest wooden board to care for.
The Teakhaus Professional is a cutting board made from teak, a wood that stands up to heavy use, is resistant to stains and knife cuts, cleans up easily, is heavy enough to stay in place while you work and is reasonably priced compared to other wooden cutting boards of similar quality. Plus, it’s beautiful enough to earn a permanent spot on your kitchen countertop.
Read more from our testing of cutting boards here.
Best cast-iron skillet
The Chef Collection pan — the company’s lightest skillet — outperformed most of its much higher-priced competitors at nearly every test we threw at it.
The Lodge Chef Collection 12-Inch Skillet rose to the top of our rankings for not only delivering great results across all of our testing criteria but also for its affordable price. Weighing just 6.5 pounds, the Chef Collection comes preseasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil and has two slightly larger pour spouts that allowed us to deftly remove oil from the pan without a dribble in sight. It outperformed most of its much higher-priced competitors at nearly every test we threw at it.
Read more from our testing of cast-iron skillets here.
Best Dutch oven overall
Lodge’s 6-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven looks great and performed beautifully in every test we put it through, offering better results than most of its more expensive competitors. Large handles and a spatula-friendly shape make it a breeze to move from oven to stovetop, and the finish cleans up easily.
The Lodge Enameled 6-Quart Cast-Iron Dutch Oven’s shiny, smooth finish had zero flaws out of the box, and the ombre blue hue was just plain pretty. Its 6-quart size was just right for all sorts of tasks. Its large handles and the lid’s amply sized metal knob are both features that make using a heavy pan easier. And its slightly sloped sides allowed a spatula to scrape up everything along the edges.
ead more from our testing of Dutch ovens here.
Best grill brush
The Kona BBQ Grill Brush features a durable, large stainless steel brush head that effectively and safely cleans your grill.
The Kona BBQ Grill Brush features a durable, stainless steel brush head that, according to the manufacturer, works best when dipped in water. This proved true in our testing, and the wet brush melts away any leftover food or gunk on the grill. The solid brush head ensures that no bristles, wire bits, food or residue from the tool is left behind on your grill.
Read more from our testing of grill brushes here.
Best ice cream maker
The Cuisinart ICE-21 had the best balance of price and performance of any ice cream maker we tested. It churned some of the best, creamiest ice cream of the entire group while also being one of the cheapest. You have to freeze the bowl overnight before making ice cream and it’s quite loud, but we still think there isn’t a better machine out there for the price.
The Cuisinart 1.5-Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE-21P1 is incredibly easy to use, and made one of the smoothest ice creams, with only a little iciness, of all the ice cream makers we tested. While it was one of the loudest machines we tested, it also churned ice cream faster than many of its competitors (it only took about 15 minutes for both of the recipes we tested), so you won’t have to suffer through the noise for too long.
ead more from our testing of ice cream makers here.
Best instant-read thermometer
The improved Thermapen One was the fastest and most accurate thermometer we tested, and had the easiest-to-read display. If you’re serious about your cooking, then it’s worth the price.
The price of the ThermoWorks Thermapen One may make you raise an eyebrow, but based on our testing, it’s worth every penny. The backlit display is easy to read, and the digits automatically adjust their orientation when holding the thermometer vertically — something that was exclusive to this model.
Read more from our testing of meat thermometers here.
Best tabletop spiralizer
The Spiralizer 7-Blade outperformed all other countertop models when it came to making consistent spirals that didn’t break apart, lose their shape or require so much cranking that you felt like you had just endured a serious arm weightlifting session.
The Spiralizer 7-Blade Spiral Slicer impressed us with the fact that every veggie we tested — on all seven provided blades — turned out perfect spirals, with almost all requiring barely any exertion on our part. There are blades for vermicelli, spaghetti, fettuccine, curly fry, chips/ribbons, fine groovy chips and coarse groovy chips, and they’re all clearly labeled by name. The spiralizer is dishwasher-safe and comes with a lifetime warranty.
ead more from our testing of spiralizers here.
Best lever corkscrew
The Rabbit is the most secure, easiest-to-use lever-style corkscrew we’ve tried, quickly and cleanly removing corks from any bottle with little effort.
Lever-style wine openers are meant to be stable and easy to use, and the Rabbit Wine Corkscrew With Foil Cutter satisfies this most important requirement. During our testing, we got the cork out of our bottle in three seconds, as advertised. There was no setup or assembly required prior to use, and the silicone-lined exterior of this opener felt immediately comfortable in-hand upon unboxing.
ead more from our testing of wine openers here.
Best water bottle
The Yeti Rambler came out on top during our testing thanks to its stellar thermoregulation, amazing durability and fantastic chug cap that gives you a comfortable and quick drinking experience, while maintaining easy access to the super-wide mouth.
While the Yeti Rambler is a bit on the pricier side, this 26-ounce water bottle is easily the best one we tested. Not only does it keep your drinks hot or cold for many hours, it’s solidly durable and has the best lid we’ve ever tested. The Yeti Rambler is also customizable, available in 14 colors and five sizes ranging from 12 ounces to 46 ounces, and it’s dishwasher-safe as well.
ead more from our testing of water bottles here.
Best office chair
The Steelcase Series 1 stood out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market, beating out chairs double the price — making it the best bang for the buck.
The Steelcase Series 1 scored among the highest overall, standing out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market. At $439, the Steelcase Series 1 beat out most of its pricier competitors across testing categories, scoring less than a single point lower than our highest-rated chair, the $921.42 Steelcase Leap, easily making it the best bang for the buck and a clear winner for our best office chair overall.
Read more from our testing of office chairs here.
Best standing desk
With a solid and wide desktop, the Branch Adjustable Standing Desk is a near-perfect desk that can handle multiple monitors, dual laptops and a plethora of knickknacks. It’s also incredibly sturdy, with one of the best builds we’ve encountered and a smooth ascent or descent.
Branch’s standing desk might only come in two sizes and a handful of colors, but it doesn’t corner the product into oblivion. Instead, it keeps a high level of craftsmanship in a standing desk that ultimately rises above the best with seamless motion, a sturdy build and a design that doesn’t distract. It starts with the desktop — in this case, a 48-inch-wide by 30-inch-deep particle board laminate. You can also opt for white or a dark walnut finish. Either route, though, you’re stuck with a set of legs in white. What’s especially lovely about the Branch option is that the depth is wider than the average desk. This makes it easy for it to hold multiple monitors, a laptop (maybe a tablet as well) and a notebook, with plenty of room to spare.
Read more from our testing of standing desks here.
Best ergonomic keyboard
We found the Logitech Ergo K860 to be a phenomenally comfortable keyboard. Its split-keyboard build coupled with a wave-like curvature across the body allows both your shoulders and hands to rest in a more natural position that eased the tension that can often accompany hours spent in front of a regular keyboard.
We found the Logitech Ergo K860 to be a phenomenally comfortable keyboard. Its build, featuring a split keyboard (meaning there’s a triangular gap down the middle) coupled with a wave-like curvature across the body, allows both your shoulders and hands to rest in a more natural position that eases the tension that can often accompany hours spent in front of a regular keyboard. Add the cozy palm rest along the bottom edge and you’ll find yourself sitting pretty comfortably.
Read more from our testing of ergonomic keyboards here.
Best ergonomic mouse
The Logitech MX Master 3 is an unequivocally comfortable mouse. It’s shaped to perfection, with special attention to the fingers that do the clicking. Using it felt like our fingers were lounging — with a sculpted ergonomic groove for nearly every finger.
The Logitech MX Master 3 is an unequivocally comfortable mouse. It’s shaped to perfection, with special attention to the fingers that do the clicking. Using it felt like our fingers were lounging — with a sculpted ergonomic groove for nearly every finger.
Read more from our testing of ergonomic mice here.
Best ring light
With tons of lighting and placement adjustments, the EMart ring light gives you the flexibility to get great, consistent lighting for video calls, streaming, selfies or any content creation need.
The Emart 10-Inch Standing Ring Light comes with a tripod that’s fully adjustable — from 19 inches to 50 inches — making it a great option whether you’re setting it atop your desk for video calls or need some overhead lighting so no weird shadows creep into your photos. Its three light modes (warm, cool and a nice mix of the two), along with 11 brightness levels (among the most settings on any of the lights we tested), ensure you’re always framed in the right light. And at a relatively cheap price, this light combines usability and affordability better than any of the other options we tested.
Read more from our testing of ring lights here.
Best computer monitor
This 23.8-inch QHD monitor has the chops to handle whatever you need it to, from Word docs to gaming. The Lenovo’s super slim bezels don’t distract the eye from its vibrant panel, and a blue light filter also helps decrease eye strain, making it ideal for longer workdays.
After many hours of testing with a multitude of content and workflows, the Lenovo L24q-30 monitor stood out as the best overall option. It doesn’t have the sexiest name, but the 23.8-inch QHD monitor has the chops to handle whatever you need it to, from Word docs to gaming. The Lenovo’s super-slim bezels don’t distract the eye from its vibrant panel, and its relatively small footprint will fit into any workspace. A blue-light filter also helps decrease eye strain, making it ideal for longer workdays. At $169, down from $199, you won’t score a better option.
Read more from our testing of computer monitors here.
Best external hard drive
The WD My Passport SSD is easily portable and fits in front or back jeans pockets or even a shirt pocket. You can also easily tuck it into a sleeve holding your laptop.
The WD My Passport solid-state drive is not the cheapest external drive on the market, but its somewhat lofty price brings big returns. Files transfer quickly: We were able to back up Word documents in just a few seconds, full photo albums in less than 20 seconds and even large video files in under a minute. Those are speeds rivaling many devices’ onboard drives. The WD My Passport has enough space to store all your files, packing close to 100,000 photo files or, in our case, two backups of our entire library. All that in a stylish yet rugged package.
Read more from our testing of external hard drives here.
The 9th Gen iPad stood out as the best overall option in our testing thanks to a faster processor that crushes everyday tasks with ease. It mixes performance and value in a way that no other tablet can, and tosses in support for core iPad accessories.
The new ninth-generation Apple iPad keeps the classic design and a quality display but upgrades the front-facing camera and tosses in a faster chip, the A13 Bionic, which should keep this tablet working for many years to come. Most importantly, the price still starts at $329 with 64GB of internal storage. Last year that only got you 32GB, which filled up way too fast. It’s plenty of iPad for most users.
Read more from our testing of tablets here.
Best budget gaming monitor
The Acer XF243Y is an inexpensive way to get in on HDR gaming. With a 1080p IPS display and 144Hz refresh rate, it performs outside its weight class while still being affordable for most budgets.
The Acer XF243Y is one of the least expensive monitors we tested, which was surprising given its high refresh rate, FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility, total lack of screen tearing and overall ease of use. It features a fairly standard 1920 x 1080 23.8-inch IPS panel, but its support for HDR10 makes it a standout option at this price.
ead more from our testing of budget gaming monitors here.
Apple’s iPhone 13 has a modern build with an immersive display, with the best performance and one of the best cameras of all the phones we’ve ever tested.
With its 2021 slate of smartphones, Apple built on our previous overall winner, the iPhone 12, in all the right ways. The iPhone 13 boasts upgrades to the features we deem most important when it comes to choosing a smartphone — the display, processing power and camera capabilities. The iPhone 13, equipped with Apple’s latest mobile processor, the A15 Bionic, also shone in performance, as FaceTime calls, browsing the web, posting on social media, playing games and even doing work all happened promptly and without hiccups.
ead more from our testing of smartphones here.
The Logitech MX Master 3 is the perfect blend of traditional ergonomic design, intelligent workflow features and portability. It’s ideal for anyone looking for a workhorse mouse that can get them through years of productivity across multiple devices.
The Logitech MX Master 3 mouse supports three devices over Bluetooth and lets you switch between them with a single button on the mouse’s underside. It’s also compatible with Logitech’s Flow software, which lets you control multiple computers and drag and drop files between them. It even works cross-platform; in our testing, we used a Windows desktop and a MacBook Air.
ead more from our testing of computer mice here.
Best drip coffee maker
The Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker produced consistently delicious, hot cups of coffee, brewed efficiently and cleanly, from sleek, relatively compact hardware that is turnkey to operate, and all for a reasonable price.
We brewed countless pots of coffee with the Braun KF6050WH BrewSense drip coffee maker, ranging from light to dark roast, and each one yielded a strong, delicious cup with no sediment, thanks to the gold tone filter, designed to remove the bitterness from coffee as well as reduce single-use paper-filter waste. The machine we tested was white, but it also comes in black, and it’s compact enough to fit under the cabinets in a smaller space compared to some of the more cumbersome machines we tested.
Read more from our testing of drip coffee makers here.
Best single-serve coffee maker
The Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus could simply not be beat for its convenience. It’s intuitive and a snap to use right out of the box, plus it looks sleek on the counter.
If you’re in the market for a coffee machine that can brew a consistently great cup that’s piping hot, makes espresso, is extremely easy to use and looks great on your counter, then you need the Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus. This single-cup coffee maker stood out from the pack in nearly every category. It produced the hottest coffee of the bunch, delivered the same great taste with every cup, allowed for a variety of brewing options and truly could not be easier to use.
Read more from our testing of single-serve coffee makers here.
Best burr coffee grinder
The Baratza Virtuoso+ has a sleek look and simple, intuitive controls, including a digital timer, allowing for a consistent grind every time.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ has a sleek, intuitive design. It also has 40 settings from which to choose. Having more options lets you micro-customize the grind size to your liking, so you get the exact taste you want from the beans. It was easy to quickly customize our grinds, from espresso and Turkish coffee to French press or cold brew.
Read more from our testing of coffee grinders here.
Best coffee subscription
Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription won us over with its balance of variety, customizability and, most importantly, taste. The flavors are complex and bold, but unmistakably delicious. Beyond its coffee, Blue Bottle’s subscription is simple and easy to use, with tons of options to tailor to your caffeine needs.
Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription hit all of our marks during the testing process. It has multiple kinds of subscriptions perfect for all kinds of coffee drinkers. With its solid customizability, variety and — above all — outstanding taste, Blue Bottle beat out every other coffee subscription we tested. No matter what you want from a coffee subscription, Blue Bottle tailors an experience that will always provide you with freshly roasted, delicious coffee right at your doorstep.
Read more from our testing of coffee subscriptions here.
Best cold brew coffee maker
The beauty of cold brew coffee shines with the Hario Mizudashi, which falls at the intersection of function, style and affordability. And the system couldn’t be easier to operate, even if one had come to it never having made a batch of cold brew.
The Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew coffee pot is a sleek, sophisticated and streamlined carafe that produces 1 liter (about 4.25 cups) of rich, robust brew in just eight hours. It was among the simplest to assemble, it executed an exemplary brew in about the shortest time span and it looked snazzy doing it. Plus, it rang up as the second-most affordable of our inventory.
Read more from our testing of cold brew coffee makers here.
Best pour-over coffee maker overall
We found the flat-bottom, three-hole design of the Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper allowed for the most even and consistent brewing of all models tested. The Kalita produced the most robust coffee, maintained spot-on temperature and the most even saturation of the grounds.
The Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper features a flat bottom with three drip holes, which enables more easily and evenly saturated coffee grounds. The flat-bottom shape and its larger surface resulted in a rich and robust single cup of coffee, and it was also the most user-friendly of the drippers that required a swirled pour, producing between 16 and 26 ounces at a time.
ead more from our testing of pour-over coffee makers here.
Best wireless earbuds
Apple’s AirPods Pro deliver a wide soundstage, deliver solid noise-canceling ability and play especially nice with iPhones, iPads and Macs, with instantaneous pairing and the ability to switch between Apple devices without missing a beat.
Apple’s AirPods Pro hit all the marks. They deliver a wide soundstage, thanks to on-the-fly equalizing tech that produces playback that seemingly brings you inside the studio with the artist. They have the best noise-canceling ability of all the earbuds we tested, which, aside from stiff-arming distractions, creates a truly immersive experience. To sum it up, you’re getting a comfortable design, a wide soundstage, easy connectivity and long battery life.
Read more from our testing of true wireless earbuds here.
The best noise-canceling headphones
The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones stand out with stellar audio quality, a comfortable fit, up to 30 hours of battery life and some of the best active noise cancellation available.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones boast class-leading sound and phenomenal noise-canceling ability, so much so that they ousted our former top overall pick, the Beats Solo Pro, in terms of ANC quality, as the over-ear WH-1000XM4 better seals the ear from outside noise. Whether it was a noise from a dryer, loud neighbors down the hall or high-pitched sirens, these headphones proved impenetrable. This is a feat that other headphones, notably the Solo Pro, could not compete with — which is to be expected considering their $300-plus price tag.
Read more from our testing of over-ear headphones here.
Read more from our testing of noise-canceling headphones here.
The best on-ear headphones
The Beats Solo 3 are the best on-ear headphones we’ve tested thanks to their great overall sound, handy controls and stellar 40-hour battery life. They also come in nine attractive color options.
The Beats Solo 3 headphones were released back in 2016, which in headphones years means they’re basically living their golden years. But despite their age, they consistently held their own during our testing. They were often neck-and-neck with headphones twice their price, if not flat-out surpassing them. The Beat Solo 3 produced sound you’d expect from a much more expensive pair of headphones. Instrumental and vocal clarity were among the best we’ve heard.
Read more from our testing of on-ear headphones here.
Best smart speaker
With more room for the sound to bounce around internally, the 4th-gen Echo Dot pushes out a soundstage that’s unmatched at its price point.
Amazon’s fourtth-gen Echo is the biggest redesign to the original smart speaker. While keeping the same $99.99 price tag, Amazon swapped the tall cylinder design for a spherical one. Not only does this give it a more appealing aesthetic than most competing speakers, but the form factor also aids in delivering richer and clearer sound with ample access to Alexa smarts. With more room for the sound to bounce around internally, the fourth-gen Echo pushes out a soundstage that’s unmatched at its price point.
Read more from our testing of smart speakers here.
Best budget earbuds
We’ll make this really simple for you: If you want to spend less than $100 on wireless earbuds, you won’t find a better pair than the EarFun Air.
The EarFun Air earbuds have almost everything you can ask for: high-quality sound, a four-way microphone, passive soundproofing and an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means they can be submerged into about 1 meter of water for about 30 minutes. We don’t often see waterproofing on devices this cheap, so of course, this came as a huge plus and one we gladly accepted.
Read more from our testing of budget earbuds here.
Best wireless gaming headset
The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 is the best wireless headset we tested, thanks to cooling gel-infused ear cups that kept us comfortable for hours on end, tons of handy features and the unique ability to pair to both your console and phone at the same time.
We tested a lot of great wireless headsets, but the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2’s robust feature set, best-in-class comfort and Bluetooth functionality put it over the top for folks looking to go cord-free. The Stealth 700 Gen 2 are more comfortable than just about every headset we tried, with thick and incredibly soft foam ear cushions that engulfed our head like a set of pillows.
ead more from our testing of gaming headsets here.
Best dry shampoo overall
Dry shampoo can keep hair feeling fresh and clean between washes, and the DryBar Detox Dry Shampoo scored top marks across the board, universally winning over our panelists with its ability to absorb oil, natural clean scent, and long-lasting performance.
ryBar Detox Dry Shampoo was the best at absorbing oil, aptly removed sweat and dirt and had the most pleasing scent, leaving our panelists’ hair feeling cleaner and smelling better than any other dry shampoo we tried. Think of it as a sort of oil-absorbing sheet for your hair — a sponge that, even when applied in a fine, veil-like mist, sops up oil, sweat and dirt for even the greasier-haired among us.
Read more from our testing of dry shampoos here.
Best matte lipstick
The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick held up to messy meals and snacks, having barely budged many hours after it was applied. If you’re looking for a mask-friendly matte lipstick that won’t transfer onto its fabric, then there is no better choice than Stila.
The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick has thousands of 5-star ratings across the internet, and it’s easy to see why. True to its name, this product clings to your lips for hours upon hours, burritos and messy breakfast sandwiches be damned. It’s also surprisingly moisturizing for such a superior stay-put formula, a combo that’s rare to come by.
Read more from our testing of matte lipsticks here.
Best liquid eyeliner
We found the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner requires little to no effort to create a precise wing, the liner has superior staying power and it didn’t irritate those of us with sensitive skin after full days of wear. As an added bonus, it’s available in a whopping 12 shades.
The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner excels at many things: It applies smoothly and precisely, and its firm felt marker-like tip allows you to create a perfectly sharp wing with minimal effort. While firm enough to apply with accuracy, though, it does not snag or pull on the eyelid, and its staying power is top-notch — one of the most long wearing of the liners we tested.
Read more from our testing of liquid eyeliners here.
Best women’s razor
Billie The Razor Starter Kit came out on top for its user-friendly design, close shave and overall durability. With built-in charcoal soap for easy lubrication and a rubbery grip for easy handling, it made for a quick, comfortable shaving experience.
We loved the Billie razor, from the way it looks, with a cool, colorblocked design and curved cartridge, to its super-sharp blades that removed hairs in a single swipe. The razor is also comfortable to use — the handle has a rubber backing to provide a firm but comfortable grip so there’s no slipping.
Read more from our testing of women’s razors here.
Best beard trimmer
The Remington Smart Beard Trimmer delivers a consistent, quick trim, can take a beating, and is packed with tons of useful technology that prioritizes convenience, making every trim as easy as possible.
Remington’s Smart Beard Trimmer scored exceptionally well in all of our tests. What sets this trimmer apart from the rest we tested is all of its “smart” abilities. But this isn’t just the dream trimmer for tech nerds; there’s also real substance to it. It was our most durable trimmer, coming out unscathed from our drop test, where we dropped each trimmer from a shaving position three times.
Read more from our testing of beard trimmers here.
Best linen sheets
Luxurious to the touch and with the most versatile shopping options (six sizes, nine colors and the ability to order individual sheets), the linen sheets from Parachute were, by a narrow margin, our favorite set.
Well made, luxurious to the touch and with the most versatile shopping options (six sizes, nine colors and the ability to order individual sheets), these linen sheets from Parachute were, by a narrow margin, our favorite set. From the satisfying unboxing to a sumptuous sleep, with a la carte availability, Parachute set the gold standard in linen luxury.
Read more from our testing of linen sheets here.
Best flannel sheets
Luxurious without feeling overly thick or too weighty, Garnet Hill offers a delectably comfortable flannel sheet at a mid-to-high end price point. These flannels come in lots of varieties of color and size, too.
From straight out of the packaging through to waking up on a chilly morning, Garnet Hill’s Hemstitched Supima Flannel Sheets were our best overall. Garnet Hill’s sheets offered a warm, restful night of sleep without feeling overheated, which was a factor with some of the other sets. The design of the Garnet Hill sheets is simple and pretty, with a stitched hem on the top of the top sheet and on the pillowcases, and they’re available in 11 tasteful colors, more than any other brand we tested.
Read more from our testing of flannel sheets here.
Best shower head
The Kohler Forte Shower Head’s three spray settings are each incredibly different and equally successful. There’s the drenching, full-coverage rain shower, the pulsating massage and the “silk spray” setting that is basically a super-dense mist.
The Kohler Forte Shower Head topped our list because of the immersive shower experience it provides. Delivering a powerful rainfall spray comprised of big, full droplets of water, the shower head’s main “full coverage” setting is all-encompassing and perfect for daily use. The intense pressure makes washing shampoo and conditioner out of your hair a quick process, and it’s super helpful when rinsing off soaped-up little ones who are much shorter and farther away from the head.
Read more from our testing of shower heads here.
The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier ramped up the humidity in a room in about an hour, which was quicker than most of the options we tested. More importantly, though, it sustained those humidity levels over 24 hours, the longest period of time in our testing.
The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier was a breeze to use from the start. It was packaged so that the unit was easy to remove and assemble, and it was filled and misting quickly. The bulk of this humidifier is the tank, so it takes up minimal space, which is just one reason this humidifier ranked as our top choice. It was also a standout when it came to cleaning, which is huge if you’ve ever dealt with a gross, moldy humidifier filter or tank.
Read more from our testing of humidifiers here.
Best cooling fan
The Honeywell tower fan has a small footprint and sleek design, a sturdy base and 8 speed settings, plus it’s quiet and affordable.
The Honeywell Quietset Whole Room tower fan is well built, quiet and affordable, with a solid, stable build and a beautiful, colorfully laid out control panel that was simpler to figure out and use than the competition. It was easier to assemble than the other tower fans we tested, with tool-free construction and a simple connection to the base that was a lot easier to deal with than the other tower models we looked at.
Read more from our testing of cooling fans here.
The Frigidaire FFAP5033W1 tied for first place in pulling moisture from the air, had the best user interface and was simple to use in any household situation.
The Frigidaire dehumidifier was among the best performers in our testing, tying for first place in removing moisture from the air in our test space, but it also stood out because of its superior interface and usability. Its control panel is better thought out than the other dehumidifiers we looked at, with comfortable buttons clearly labeled with both easy-to-understand graphical icons as well as text, something missing in some of the other contenders.
Read more from our testing of dehumidifiers here.
Best bath towel
Traditional, super-thick and super-fluffy, Frontgate’s Resort Cotton Towels encase their user in a high-weight terry luxury that feels like you’re lounging in a bathrobe waiting for room service.
Fresh out of the box, Frontgate’s Resort Cotton Bath Towel was among the most luxurious-feeling in our testing pool. Thick, soft and snuggly, this product truly feels like a fine hotel bathing experience. At a generous 58 inches by 30 inches, it looks the part too, with a lush surface punctuated by a nice 2-inch-long trim near each towel end.
Read more from our testing of bath towels here.
Best alarm clock
The Jall Wooden Digital Alarm Clock looks great and has everything you need in an alarm clock. It’s simple to set, read, and use, and can wake you dependably with multiple alarms.
The Jall Wooden Digital Alarm Clock has everything you need and more in an alarm clock. It’s simple to set, easy to read in the dark and has an alarm that is loud but won’t scare you awake. It’s got a polished feel to it, and its wooden design gives it a look unlike any other clocks we tested.
ead more from our testing of alarm clocks here.
Best charcoal grill
The Weber Original Premium Kettle Grill measures 22-inches wide and comes in three colors. It’s the easiest grill to control temperature on, making it our top pick.
The 22-inch Weber Original Premium Kettle Grill was the easiest grill to control temperature on during our testing, with the flames inside the kettle responding expertly to any tap of the vents. Our hamburgers cooked to a medium rare temperature, and our chicken ended up juicy, with a solid sear on the outside. The grill includes Weber’s One-Touch cleaning system, meaning that it comes with a large enclosed ash pan for easy cleanup, and it also boasts a built-in thermometer and lid hook.
Read more from our testing of charcoal grills here.
Best carry-on luggage
The Away Carry-On scored high marks across all our tests, is durable, has an excellent internal compression system and smart charging capabilities, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
The Away Carry-On has everything you want in a suitcase: durability, thoughtful organization, smart features and chic design, all at a fair price point to boot. It stood up very well to our abuse, handling being kicked, jumped on and dropped down stairs with only minor scuffing and zero lasting dents. It also utilizes smooth YKK zippers, an aluminum telescopic handle and four double Hinomoto spinner wheels, which in our testing glided seamlessly on pavement, hardwood and grass alike.
Read more from our testing of carry-on luggage here.
Best portable charger
Where the Anker PowerCore 13000 shone most was in charging capacity. It boasts 13,000mAh, which is enough to fully charge an iPhone 11 two and a half times. Plus, it has two fast-charging USB Type-A ports so you can juice a pair of devices simultaneously.
The Anker PowerCore 13000 packs a ton of value. You can quickly charge a lot with the PowerCore 13000; it can bring an iPhone 11 to full charge two and a half times, or two Samsung Galaxy S20s from empty to more than 90%. And you won’t be sitting by idly for too long, either, as the PowerCore 13000 takes just 41 minutes to charge an iPhone 11 to 50%, tying for fastest charging in our testing.
Read more from our testing of portable chargers here.
Best checked suitcase
With fantastic internal organization and compression, a durable exterior and comfortable handles, the Away Medium suitcase was the most well-rounded bag we tested, with a great combination of maneuverability, capacity, durability and style.
The Away Medium suitcase was the most well-rounded piece of luggage we tested, outdoing the other bags in many of our most important tests. It’s solidly durable, with only a few scuffs from its trip down the stairs. It also has an incredible interior compression system, is easily maneuverable and is even comfortable to carry for those times you need to lift it in and out of the car.
ead more from our testing of checked luggage here.
The 55-inch TCL 6-Series gives you great picture quality and an immersive viewing experience with QLED and Mini LED backlighting. The built-in Roku interface is easy to use and offers instant access to thousands of streaming services.
No matter what content you’re watching, the 55-inch TCL 6-Series TV makes it look good. It zooms past the 5-Series with better color accuracy and holds up better at various viewing angles. The 6-Series features Mini LEDs, meaning it packs more LEDs behind the panel to allow the TV to illuminate more specific details when creating an image. The result is a strong image with vibrant colors and strong contrast points.
Read more from our testing of TVs here.
Best streaming device
The Roku Ultra is fast, responsive, delivers the widest variety of streaming services through up-to-date apps and lets you find everything easily with universal search, for a reasonable price.
We previously named the 2019 version of the Roku Ultra CNN Underscored’s best overall streaming device. With the 2020 version of the Ultra, Roku took another winning approach and made it even more attractive. From the moment you switch it on, the Roku Ultra presents one of the most seamless experiences of any streaming device we tested.
Read more from our testing of streaming devices here.