The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that around 85 to 90 decibels or dB – or about as loud as a leaf blower – should be the limit when it comes to adult noise exposure. So it’s safe to say that kids shouldn’t be exposed to sounds louder than that, either.
That’s why the majority of the kids’ headphones on our list have maximum volume control features that prevent the audio from reaching dangerous levels. Most of them also have plenty of other cool features, too, from wireless connectivity to active noise-canceling technology to audio sharing ports.
When choosing the best headphones for your kid, first make sure you are considering pairs that will fit. Many are designed for bigger kids and won’t fit a toddler properly, while some pairs are small enough for your two- or three-year-old but won’t fit onto an elementary-aged child. Next consider price, because there are kids headphones that cost 10 bucks and some that cost 10 times more. And as you consider price, think about the kid(s) who will be using them and gauge the likelihood that they’ll be damaged, lost, or destroyed and will need replacing.
Finally, look at the special features of each option and consider what makes them a good choice for your child specifically. Do they watch shows in bed and need a pair that will easily stay in place while they’re lying down? Are they a genuine audiophile who needs top quality sonic equipment? Do they share media with a sibling or friend all the time? Do they drop things or spill drinks on a daily basis?
On this list, you’ll find kids’ headphones perfect for all of those young user profiles and more. I’ve tested many of them second hand – my son is the actual gear guy on this one.
Lots of kids’ headphones have a noise-limiting feature, but the BuddyPhones Wave headphones have three. You can set the maximum volume at 75dB, a safe limit for toddlers, at 85 dB, a safe maximum for kids in general, or at 94dBfor temporary use in noisy environments like planes, trains, or out on the streets. That means one pair of headphones can serve kids of different ages or can serve the same kid as they grow from toddler to preschooler to plain old kid.
The Wave headphones are water-resistant and durable, so the occasional spill or drop isn’t going to end the music. Their battery lasts up to 18 hours with a full charge, and the soft, hypoallergenic ear cushions ensure comfort even with such extended use. They can be used for calls thanks to a built-in microphone, which can also help during study sessions thanks to a StudyMode setting that uses the mic to pick up and clearly transmit audio to the young wearer’s ears. An included cable also lets you plug in another pair of headphones to share the audio, so that two kids can listen to audio or a video.
My son also loves these headphones, which are a go-to in our house.
Remember back in the day when you and your sibling or buddy had to press your heads together to share a set of headphones? Or when you had to split up a pair of earbuds, holding the other ear shut in a vain attempt to hear the show you were watching or song that was playing? Well, those days are gone, thanks to the, “why didn’t they think of that before?” addition of an audio-out port on the Snug Play+ Audio Sharing Headphones.
These headphones allow a second pair to be connected, outputting the audio they are getting into this second pair. Using the port, two kids can share the same iPad, computer, radio, or DVD player without disturbing anyone else in the room or the car.
The 40mm drivers produce decent sound quality, which is limited to 93 decibels. That’s a bit louder than ideal, but still safe, and you can always tell the kids to turn it down, of course. The Snug Play+ headphones come in multiple color options, and they’re pleasantly inexpensive.
Pros: Multiple headphones can be linked together, low price, multiple colors available
One of the most common issues with kids’ headphones is simply keeping the things properly positioned on their ears. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen a pair of headphones slipping off my son’s head, I’d be ready to roll my change. With the CozyPhones Headband Headphones, that ubiquitous over-the-head band design is gone. Instead, these earphones are held in place by a soft, warm headband that wraps around your kid’s head.
The headband and the slender design of the speakers allow a child to wear their CozyPhones when lying down or walking around, both of which usually preclude other headphones from staying in place. As the fleece headband is nice and warm, they’re also a great choice for use during colder weather. While the audio quality doesn’t match that of other options on our list, the unique design and functionality of these headphones still makes them a great choice.
There are more than a dozen styles of headband to choose from, including a smiling lion, purple monster, ninja turtle, and many more. And when your kid isn’t listening to audio, the speakers can be removed and the headband enjoyed simply as a garment.
A writer from Daily Dot called them “a well-thought-out, well-designed, quality product” but said that “no one is going to buy CozyPhones because they’re looking for superior sound quality and booming battery power,” the actual audio quality being somewhat lacking.
Pros: Stay in place well, warm and soft headband, lots of styles to choose from
Cons: Audio quality only average
The best kids’ headphones on a budget
Noot headphones work great and are incredibly affordable, making them a solid choice if your kid is a bit clumsy or careless.
Kids aren’t the most graceful creatures on Earth. They drop things, they spill things, they step on things, and so on. They’re also not the best at remembering where they left their stuff. So don’t be surprised if at some point your kid’s headphones end up crushed, soaked, cracked, or lost. If said headphones were the Noot Products K11 Kids Headphones, then it’s really no big deal.
Now, you can’t expect budget headphones to be the best on the planet, and these aren’t. But their 40mm stereo drivers deliver decent audio quality — suitable enough for watching cartoons or listening to nursery rhymes. The cushioned ear cups do a good job of creating passive noise reduction. The long braided nylon cord resists tangles and is strong enough not to break even after a number of drops or snags.
One major downside to these headphones is the lack of volume limit. You’ll have to closely monitor the volume on your child’s devices so they don’t damage their hearing.
Pros: Very low price tag, rugged design, broad size adjustment range
My son has a pair of Puro Sounds Labs BT2200 headphones, and I swear if the things were just a bit bigger, I’d probably use them as often as my own fancy adult-sized headphones. They feature dynamic 40mm drivers that deliver deep bass, rich mids, and clear highs, with audio clarity that makes listening to music, playing a game, or watching a show a pure pleasure.
As they feature excellent passive background noise reduction thanks to the padded ear cups and noise limiting at 85dB, they work well even in noisy environments without putting a kid’s hearing at risk.
As they feature excellent passive background noise reduction thanks to the padded ear cups and noise limiting at 85 decibels, they work well even in noisy environments without putting a kid’s hearing at risk.
My son would likely use these headphones almost exclusively save for the fact that we experience intermittent issues pairing them to devices via Bluetooth connection. This is easily solved by use of a cord or by going through the whole forget and re-pair process, but it can be a bit of a frustration.
In terms of audio quality, however, the BT2200s are peerless in the kid headphone category. You’ll pay for that quality, however, so if your kid isn’t the most careful with their belongings, you might want to opt for a more budget-friendly pair.
With larger screens and fewer communication options than smartphones, tablets can be easier and safer for kids to use. Many tablets also come with comprehensive parental controls and child-safe content. Put all of that together, and it’s no surprise that tablets are often the first gadget children use on a regular basis. These are the best tablets for kids.
STEM toys help kids develop the skills they will need to excel in the jobs of the future, so we’re all for letting children play with programmable robots, DIY computers, electrical motors, and circuit sets, and any other hardware that fosters such abilities. There’s just one caveat: The toy also has to be genuinely fun. These are the best STEM toys for kids.
Photography is a fun and easy way to teach kids about creativity, and there’s no better way to start them on that path than putting a camera in their hands when they are young. These are the best cameras for your budding young photographer.
Indoor herb gardens make for delicious meals year-round.
The best options are easy to set up and have successful seed growth, even if you don’t have gardening experience.
Our top pick by Click and Grow allows for year-round growth and automatically feeds your plants.
Herbs enhance the flavor of any meal, but it’s too easy to run out of a particular herb once you’ve already started preparing dinner. Buying an entire bundle of parsley at the store doesn’t make much sense if you only need a bit of it for a recipe. Growing an own indoor herb garden solves these problems, and ensures that you’ll have herbs on hand, year-round.
When it comes to indoor herb garden kits, though, you’re sure to run into variations in quality. Some kits have poor seed growth success rates, while others are made with flimsy materials that you’ll soon need to replace. We did the research and have found the best indoor herb gardens you can buy.
The herb gardens in this list are ideal for indoor use, although some of them can be transferred outside. The kits are beginner friendly, so if you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. These herb gardens have been chosen for their quality, practicality, and design. Some of the planters use innovative ways to grow a garden within your home, and the kits offer just about everything you’ll need to get started, making gardening a hassle-free experience.
If you want to add a bit of freshness and flavor enhancement to your cooking and love the idea of always being able to harvest just the right amount of fresh herbs, then these indoor herb gardens are right for you.
Pros: Automatic watering and lighting makes for hassle-free gardening, year-round indoor plant growth, easy to set up and maintain
Cons: Smallest version has space to grow only three plants at a time, pricey
Growing herbs indoors couldn’t get any easier than with the Click and Grow Smart Garden Indoor Gardening Kit. You can set this kit up in just seconds — drop the plant cartridges into the container, fill the water reservoir, plug the unit in, and you’re done.
Using Click and Grow’s Smart system, the special plant pods gradually release nutrients to your plants, so there’s no worry about forgetting to add a nutrient solution into the soil. The watering system works through capillary action; it’s completely silent and keeps the soil appropriately moistened. Energy efficient LED lighting means you don’t have to rely on window light to grow your plants.
This kit includes pre-seeded basil capsules, but you can grow countless herbs with Click and Grow’s variety of plant pods. Choose from parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, and cilantro. Salad greens and fruiting plants are also available. None of the Click and Grow plant pods use any GMO seeds or herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides.
This particular kit is the smaller version, which has room for growing only three plants at a time. A larger option, with space for nine plants, is available.
Pros: Cords allow you to adjust the distance between the pots, aesthetically appealing design, pluggable drain holes
Cons: Ceramic pots are heavy, careful mounting is required
With the Mkono Ceramic Hanging Planter, your herb garden won’t just be functional, but it also makes an attractive statement in your home. This sleek and chic planter is crafted from quality white ceramic and cotton rope. It fits right in with modern aesthetics but is also a wonderful way to add stylish contrast to a country design. Hang it in a sunny spot in your kitchen, dining room, or sun room for a living art piece.
This planter is ideal for an herb garden, though you can also use it for succulents, ferns, and other small plants. Each ceramic pot includes a small drainage hole and plug, so you can open up the hole only when it’s needed. The pots measure 6.5 inches long by 3.75 inches wide and 2.5 inches high, making them large enough to accommodate your herb garden without overwhelming a room. If you don’t have a windowsill or countertop space to spare, this planter is a convenient alternative since it’s hung from above.
Pros: Accommodates up to 15 different plants, easy to assemble, sturdy construction
Cons: Limited colors
Want to grow an assortment of herbs in your home, but don’t have the window or counter space for a large garden? The Amazing Creation Stackable Planter lets you utilize vertical space, so you can plant an herb garden without restriction. This five-tier planter consists of five different stackable pots that can accommodate up to 15 different plants. Each pot has 5 inches of space, so your creativity is the only limit to your herb garden.
This stackable planter includes built-in drainage grids, so water will drain down through the whole planter — all the way to the bottom tier. The planter is easy to set up and maintain, which is great for beginners. If you choose, you can take the planter outdoors during the summer and bring it indoors during the winter. The high-quality polypropylene is resistant to harsh weather.
There are thousands of pages of prank gifts on Amazon, but perhaps you’re looking for something other than fart jokes and lewd sayings. After all, gag gifts don’t have to be too gross or absurdly frightening. They’re really meant for prompting laughter and fun memories, whether it be with your family, friends, or colleagues.
Perhaps a “shock potato” can spice up a game night. Or, maybe your friend can’t stop yammering about her affinity for puzzles. You might finally catch her flummoxed by giving her an impossible-to-solve blank white jigsaw. And that’s only the beginning. Amazon has countless ways to go about making practical jokes and general tomfoolery. From screaming goats to tiny violins, we’ve found some of the best gag gifts you could possibly give.
Bring the soothing sayings of Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting into their home or office with this mini Bob Ross Talking Bobblehead. They can display a mini easel with 30 of the late art master’s landscape works.
Give an authentic gym experience to your friend who keeps saying they need to work out. They can exercise their fingers with barbells, resistance bands, and more – and all from the comfort of their desk.
Smart lights that are compatible with Amazon Alexa
They can use their voice to control these smart light bulbs through an Alexa Echo, Echo Dot, or Google Home Assistant. They can also give hands-free commands to set the brightness, turn lights on and off, change colors, create timers, and more to customize their space.
A cute, heart-shaped waffle maker
Sometimes all anyone wants is anything delicious and aesthetically appealing — like heart-shaped waffles. This waffle maker is small, too, so it shouldn’t crowd their kitchen too much.
A fun outdoor game they can play with friends
On a beautiful, sunny day in the city, you’ll probably see at least one group playing this fun and active game in the park. With rules similar to volleyball, it’s incredibly easy to learn — so friend groups or families can get involved.
The Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is one of the gifts that, with good reason, tend to elicit lots of excitement. This model has a battery life of up to nine hours and can be played with friends or solo, and at home or on the go.
A multi-color alarm clock that doubles as a speaker
Beyond helping ensure they’re up on time, this alarm clock doubles as a Bluetooth speaker and as a dimmable, multi-color bedside lamp.
Soundbot makes soft beanies that have built-in headphones for on-the-go listening. They have a rechargeable battery, built-in microphone, and wireless range of up to 33 feet.
A gift box of bath bombs
If their favorite pastime is some version of decadent self-care, then a gift set of bath bombs will go over well. This set has an array of great scents: sandalwood, eucalyptus, lavender, vanilla, rose, ginger, cedar, lemon, and orange.
For travel and even in-depth school projects, a GoPro is one tech gift that’s hard to oversell. There’s a newer version, but it costs about $200 more.
An Echo Dot with clock
The Amazon Echo Dot is the most popular Amazon device for a reason — it’s compact and has all the capabilities of Alexa (weather updates, recipes, music, and news).
An instant camera
Instax’s cute instant camera is great for anyone who loves taking photos. All they need is some film to get started. It features a small selfie mirror to ensure proper framing, a macro lens attachment, and a variety of modes to account for different indoor and outdoor environments.
A necklace with their zodiac sign
Zodiac signs, and the unique personality traits tied to each one, have become extremely popular in recent years. Pick up their sign in a dainty, gold-dipped necklace they can wear every day.
PopSockets for the back of their phone
PopSockets have become their own cultural phenomenon. Besides being useful, they offer a bit of personalization to tech and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
New video games: The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening
Ultimately, no gift may compare to a great new video game they can test out solo or with friends.
New video games: Borderlands 3
New video games: Luigi’s Mansion 3
New video games: FIFA 20 Standard Edition
A hair towel that cuts drying time in half
Aquis’ cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes your hair to dry in half — a claim we’re happy to report holds up. They also help keep hair protected from harmful friction in its most vulnerable state. If the teens in your life have ever complained about frizzy hair, this and a silk pillowcase are thoughtful gifts they’ll actually use.
The new Fire HD 10 tablet for music, games, and media
Amazon’s Fire 10 tablet now has its largest display screen and is 30% faster than older iterations. On it, they can stream movies and videos, play games, read the news, and access their social media accounts. It has up to 12 hours of battery life.
We recommend Brooklinen often, and for good reason. Most of the Insider Reviews team sleeps with Brooklinen on their own beds; we think they’re perfect for sleeping in on lazy Saturday mornings.
A surprisingly good projector that’s the size of a soda can
Anker’s Nebula Capsule is tiny but mighty. It’s the size of a soda can, weighs only one pound, and has a quiet and continuous playtime of four hours. It’ll take family or friend movie nights up a notch, and they can easily pack it on trips. Find a full review here.
Mario Badescu’s cult-favorite facial mists with aloe
Mario Badescu’s cult-favorite facial mists refresh and hydrate the skin for a dewy glow. They’re available on Amazon individually or in a two-pack of the rose water and cucumber sprays.
A leather toiletry bag for grooming and beauty essentials
Leatherology’s shave bag is a great purchase if you want to gift your teen a leather beauty bag that will age gracefully.
Comfortable headphones with long battery life and good sound
The Solo3 headphones are perfect for commuting, studying, or zoning out during family road trips. They offer good sound quality and up to 40 hours of battery life, but the best part? Five minutes of charging equals three hours of playback.
A waterproof speaker to liven up their showers
Teens can use this waterproof wireless speaker in the pool or the shower to listen to their favorite music anytime.
A slime-making kit
One of the ongoing internet trends is a fascination with slime, and teens have run successful businesses by sharing videos of it. And what’s better than vicariously living through TikTok slime-makers? Making your own.
A gentle facial cleansing device
FOREO’s cult-favorite Luna 2 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touchpoints, and claims to remove 99.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it’s waterproof, and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge. The Luna 2 is available in five varieties: men, normal, combination, sensitive, and oily skin. Find a full review from a female reporter and a male reporter here.
Fitbits track the wearer’s health and fitness as well as offer insights into their sleep and physical activity trends. Teens can set personal goals and get real-time updates during workouts. It’s water-resistant up to 50 meters, and its battery life can last up to seven days.
The Sonos One delivers great sound and convenience. The audio is rich and easily fills the room, and the device can be controlled by voice, the Sonos app, or Apple Airplay 2. It’s also a great replacement for a traditional alarm clock.
A waterproof e-reader with a no-glare screen
Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof, has double the storage of its previous model, and is Kindle’s lightest and thinnest version yet. The glare-free display adjusts to accommodate the light you’re in — even bright sunlight — and has a battery charge that lasts weeks.
String lights with photo clips
Perfect for creating the archetypal teen room that’s most often seen in Netflix movies and old Taylor Swift music videos, photo clip string lights add warm light to your teen’s favorite Polaroids or memorabilia.
Colorful reusable straws
Trying to adopt more eco-friendly habits is one of the great characteristics of younger generations, especially teens who grew up among videos of sea turtles being harmed by discarded plastic straws. These are colorful, bendable, and fun to use.
Gift card for everything: Visa
For teens who often rely on part-time jobs to fund their hobbies and cravings, gift cards are one gift that’s always appreciated. Here are some of Insider Reviews’ top choices:
Gift cards for everything: Amazon
A gift card to Amazon is a gift card to pretty much anything they’ve got on their wish lists — tech, clothing, books, and more.
Gift card for coffee: Starbucks
Whether they’re ordering multi-hyphenate drinks at Starbucks or regular hot chocolates, they add up.
Gift card for food: Chipotle
One of the mainstays of teenage life is meeting up with friends at fast-casual restaurants — and Chipotle is a perennial favorite.
Gift card for gaming: Xbox
If you know they have an Xbox but don’t know which games they already have or need, this is a great way to ensure they get exactly what they want.
Gift card for clothes: Nordstrom
No matter how spot-on your gifts are, your giftee is the best person for the job of dressing themselves. And even if you nail the latest trend they’re excited about, there will be more in the future — this lets them pick things out for themselves, without having to dip into their allowance or savings.
Gift card for tech: Best Buy
Unsure of which tech they already have or which tech they’d want? A Best Buy gift card will save you the probing questions and help you give them a gift they’re really excited about.
A music subscription that includes 50 million songs
If they don’t already have a music subscription, give them access to 50 million songs with Amazon Music Unlimited.
Scrunchies are having a moment. If you want to get something particularly on-trend, you may want to look into a few. This set comes with a whopping 46 colors.
An audiobook subscription
If they love to read, or you’re trying to get them to love to read, a gift subscription to Audible is a great idea. They’ll get three free titles for each month they’re a member (one audiobook and two Audible Originals), and 30% off any additional audiobooks they buy. They can listen and read anywhere and anytime using the free app.
A fidget toy
Speks makes one of our favorite fidget toys, perfect for relieving nervousness and boosting productivity and focus.
A popcorn machine for movie nights
Perfect for movie nights with family or friends, this popcorn maker can make as much as six quarts of popcorn for a night in.
An eyeshadow palette
If they’re getting into makeup, an eyeshadow palette is one of the coolest gifts you can probably give them. This option has 16 shades, almost 15,000 reviews, and a 4.4-star rating overall.
A karaoke machine that allows duets
This system has more features than a really nice car. It has two mics, a sing-along and record function, and 300 songs ready for action.
A cool, holographic fanny pack
What’s old is new and cool again — and that includes fanny packs!
A mini griddle for individual servings of food
This tiny griddle is perfect for making individual servings of breakfasts and pretty much any food — from eggs to cookies to grilled cheese.
Cool backpacks from a popular startup
State bags are a popular accessory thanks to both a laid-back, on-trend design and their give-back program. State’s #GiveBackPack(s) mean that every State bag purchased translates into the company donating one backpack filled with supplies to a local child in need. The Lorimer and Bedford are two of the company’s bestsellers.
A pack of smart plugs so they can control devices from a distance
Perfect for staying in that comfy position on the couch or that moment when they wonder if they turned their hot iron off, smart plugs let them control devices from a distance. All they need is the outlet, the Kasa app, and an iOS or Android device.
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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 20 this year, which leaves plenty of time to find a great gift for dad.
Amazon has a huge catalog of gift ideas, and those that are Prime-eligible come with fast shipping.
We’ve rounded up the best Amazon Prime Father’s Day gifts – all under $50.
Father’s Day is a great time to show your love and appreciation for the father figure in your life. After all, whether it’s jump starting your car in the middle of the night or assembling all of the IKEA furniture for your new apartment, chances are your dad has done a lot for you.
If you’re not sure where to start with finding Father’s Day gift ideas, Amazon has a massive catalog that ranges from kitchen gadgets to stylish finds. Plus, gifts that are Prime-eligible come with the perks of having fast and free shipping.
And don’t worry, picking out a thoughtful gift for dad doesn’t have to mean emptying your wallet. We’ve rounded up a list of 21 Father’s Day gifts all under $50 that are all Prime-eligible. Can someone say “favorite kid?”
Here are 21 Father’s Day gifts under $50 available on Amazon Prime
If dad loves to cook up fries, wings, and other fried treats, he’ll love using this easy fryer. Not only is it straightforward to use, and it takes up very little precious counter space. We love this handy kitchen gadget so much we even named it the best air fryer on a budget.
Forget needing a frying pan, a toaster, and a fryer. This all-in-one machine makes whipping up a tasty breakfast sandwich a snap. You can even customize your sandwich with your choice of bread, cheese, eggs, meats. Plus, this cooker can do more than just breakfast sandwiches and can also be used for mini pizzas and more.
Dad can make his morning coffee at the touch of a button with this simple Mixpresso. The single-serve coffee maker is compatible with standard K-Cups to brew his favorite brand of ground coffee. Plus, it’s a breeze to clean.
Whether he’s going fishing or hanging out at the beach, this breathable, waterproof hat will protect his eyes, face, and neck from the sun. It comes with an adjustable drawstring chinstrap so every fit is the perfect fit.
It’s a well-known joke that the bathroom can be a man cave sometimes, so allow your dad to unwind in his safe place with this tablet h0lder. All jokes aside, this adjustable stand can be used in the office, kitchen, or pretty much wherever your dad might need an extra hand.
This slim wallet made from genuine buffalo leather has six cards slots, an ID card slot with viewing window, and three hidden compartments for extra cards or receipts. Also, the wallet is protected with RFID technology to help prevent identity theft.
For special occasions, your dad can wear cufflinks that look like the inner workings of a 20th century wind-up clock. Its metal, hollow design can add just the right amount of class to any suit worn for weddings, work, or parties.
If your dad likes to grill, now he can sit down and relax while the food gets to the perfect temperature using this Bluetooth thermometer. He can get notifications sent to his phone and monitor the food’s internal temperature virtually (from up to 200 feet away) instead of hovering over the grill.
If your dad is a regular handyman or likes to always have a DIY project to work on, he needs a way to keep his tools organized and while he works. This durable tool bag features 10 zippered interior pockets, plus a whopping 17 exterior pockets.
Gift style and swagger with this silk tie set, available in six, nine, or 12 ties. Each tie measures 57.5 inches long and 3.1 inches wide, and comes in various solid colors and patterns sure to match any suit and dress shirt combo.
This water bottle can help keep drinks hot for up to 6 hours or cold for up to 24 on long car trips and adventures alike due its double-walled insulated design. The mouth of the bottle is big enough to fit ice cubes, but small enough that he won’t splash water all over his face when he goes for a drink.
Father’s Day just so happens to fall within lawn game season, so get your dad this ring toss game that you can play together. Made from solid wood with lightweight, easy-to-see plastic rings, this game will ensure that barbecues, camping trips, and days in the sun will always be fun.
An oyster shucking tool he can add to his tackle box
For the active dad or the dad that misplaces everything, these silicone wedding bands are a great solution to expensive wedding bands. Made from premium silicone, they’re comfortable, breathable, and won’t stretch out over time.
This tiny portable speaker can play up to 10 hours’ worth of music anywhere and everywhere via the attached carabiner clip. It’s compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled device and has a built-in speakerphone so you can play music and take phone calls hands-free.
Let your dad turn the house into a smart home with these smart LED light bulbs. Simply screw the light bulb into the socket and control via the Hue mobile app, or activate voice-control with the Philips Hue Hub and Alexa-enabled device.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Karie Johnson, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.
No matter how you slice it, air travel with a cat is stressful. Whether they’re flying at your feet in the cabin of a plane or are being transported in the cargo hold, a well-built, cozy airline-compatible cat carrier is essential for their comfort and your peace of mind.
Over the last year, we’ve extensively tested 20 different airline-friendly cat carriers, including soft-sided carriers, backpack carriers, and hard-sided kennels. That, combined with advice from a veterinarian and pet travel experts, helped us to identify the best carriers for use in flight. Read more about our testing methodology and how to prepare your cat for air travel at the end of this guide.
Pros: Three ways to load, unzips into a bed, machine-washable interior mat, secure luggage strap, padded detachable shoulder strap converts into a leash, folds flat for storage, comes in three colors, limited one-year warranty
Cons: No padded carry handle
The innovatively designed Wild One Travel Carrier converts from an easy-to-transport bag to a comfortable, open pet bed in just a few zips. With a detachable padded shoulder strap that doubles as a leash for a cat harness and a cushioned, machine washable interior mat, this carrier is an ideal home-away-from home both at the airport and your destination.
The Wild One Travel Carrier has two important safety features: an interior tether and snaps on the zippers that prevent them from opening while in transit. On the outside, there are two wide zipper pockets on one side and two small pockets on the other side. The front and back doors both have zip-out privacy screens. A pet can also be loaded through the zippered top.
Wild One’s carrier shined in testing, earning the highest scores in our scrape, zip, and goop tests and its wide luggage strap kept the bag completely balanced on a rolling suitcase. It also has the most ventilation of any bag we tested.
It was comfortable enough to carry this bag by hand, but it does lack a padded carry strap. While it’s among the pricier carriers we tested, for the wide range of features included in its modular design, it’s well worth the extra cost.
Pros: Front and top-loading carrier, expandable compartment increases carrier’s size by more than 50%, secure luggage strap, padded detachable shoulder strap, washable interior plush bolster bed, comes in five colors, folds flat for storage
Cons: Limited pocket space, expandable section can’t be used in flight, no warranty
On long travel days with endless time spent in airports, Mr. Peanut’s Gold Series Expandable Carrier offers a jet-setting cat extra space to stretch out. When unzipped, a panel on its right side folds out into a mesh atrium that more than doubles the interior space.
The spacious Mr. Peanut’s Gold Series Expandable Carrier is front- and top-loading with a roll-up privacy flap over the top door. It passed our in-cabin fit tests and offers plenty of ventilation to keep a cat from overheating. Inside, there is a soft plush bolster bed and safety tether. Outside, there is an adjustable padded shoulder strap and a faux leather carry handle. There is just one 10-by-4-inch mesh zip pocket at the back. When not in use, this bag folds flat for storage.
Mr. Peanut’s carrier excelled in testing. The mesh remained intact in the scrape test, the zipper moved smoothly in the zip test, and both the interior and exterior of the bag came completely clean in the goop test. Although the bed is labeled hand-wash only, it looked nearly new after machine washing and air drying.
On one side, this carrier has a luggage strap for slipping over the handle of a carry-on suitcase. In our luggage test, it remained mostly balanced as we walked, slipping only about an inch to one side. Carrying on the shoulder was comfortable and the strap was easy to adjust to the correct length.
While the expandable section of Mr. Peanut’s carrier can’t be used in flight, the inclusion of this feature in a durable, well-designed bag makes it an ideal option for cross-country air travel.
The Elite Field Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Carrier has a soft fleece mat and safety tether inside and five different pockets outside, one of which unzips to convert into a luggage strap. When slid over a suitcase handle, the luggage strap kept the carrier well balanced on curbs and sidewalks. There is also an adjustable padded shoulder strap and a padded carry handle, both of which are comfortable to use. When carried on the shoulder, the bag does flex inward some.
A whopping 27.5% of the Elite Field is covered in mesh ventilation and it earned the highest scores in our scrape and zip tests. While both the bag’s exterior and its mat washed completely clean in our goop test, a seam along the length of the mat split open in the washing machine. It still fits over its interior panel and, because that panel is covered in polyester, the rip doesn’t compromise the mat’s utility. It collapses inward to store flat.
The only major features the Elite Field is missing is a top-loading door and a warranty. The carrier comes in two sizes, 17-inches long and 19-inches long, and is flexible enough that even the longer version we tested will fit beneath the seat on United Airlines and Southwest Airlines flights.
While it’s not perfect, the affordable Elite Field Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Carrier is easy to carry, rides smoothly on a carry-on suitcase, and has comfort and safety features that are almost as good as its more-expensive competitors.
Pros: Comfortable padded back and straps, plush wrap around interior mat for comfort when upright or laid flat, fits under the seat in most airlines, has several exterior pockets, has locking zippers, folds flat for storage, sold in four colors
Cons: Backpack straps are not removable, no warranty
If you won’t be traveling with a rolling carry-on suitcase, a backpack carrier may be a more comfortable way for both you and your cat to navigate the airport. Mr. Peanut’s Backpack Carrier has adjustable padded straps, padded back panels, and an adjustable chest strap for you. For your cat, it has a luxurious plush mat that wraps around the interior for a soft ride on the back and when laid flat beneath an airline seat.
This backpack has two important safety features: an interior tether and buckling safety zippers. A rollup privacy flap over the panel at the top of the backpack serves as the front-loading door when laid flat. There is a 7-by-7-inch zipper pocket on one side and a mesh water bottle holder and two smaller pockets on the other. At the end of the journey, the carrier folds flat for storage.
Mr. Peanut’s Backpack Carrier did well in testing, earning the highest scores in our scrape, zip, and goop tests. It also has more ventilation than any of the other backpacks we tested, with 17.5% of its surface area covered in mesh. While the carrier has very little flexibility in its frame, it was compact enough to pass our in-cabin fit test. The interior mat is labeled hand wash-only, but it held up well to machine washing and air drying.
Convenient, durable, and comfortable for both you and your cat, Mr. Peanut’s backpack is an ideal carrier for use before, during, and after a flight.
Cons: Expensive, heavy, does not fold for storage, limited ventilation
With double walls, a reinforced aluminum door frame, and a welded nylon-and-aluminum door, Gunner’s G1 Kennel is the strongest, toughest crate we’ve ever seen. In crash tests conducted by the Center for Pet Safety in 2018, the Gunner G1 Medium Dog Kennel earned a five-star safety rating for pets up to 45 pounds and it was the only kennel to withstand our drop testing.
The Gunner G1 Kennel’s door is escape-proof with a built-in lock that comes with a key and a door that can be hung to open from the left or the right. At the bottom of the crate are elevated nonslip feet and there are two extra-sturdy handles and built-in stainless steel tie-down pins on the top. The interior floor is recessed so that if your cat goes to the bathroom or spills their water in flight, the liquid will be funneled away from their bedding.
At 38 pounds, the Gunner G1 Medium Kennel is the heaviest of those we tested, but that weight lends itself to the kennel’s durability. It did not suffer any damage after being dropped 10 feet with a 10-pound weight inside, and when a bag of 30-pound weights was dropped on it from 10 feet above, it left behind only a small exterior divot.
The Gunner G1 Kennel does not have much ventilation or fold down for easy storage. At $599, it’s also the most expensive carrier we tested by far. Despite these downsides, there’s no stronger, safer crate on the market. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty. If you want to be sure that your cat will reach their destination safely when flying in cargo, Gunner’s G1 Kennel is your best bet.
With the exception of the Good2Go Expandable Pet Carrier, which I had previously purchased, the carriers in this guide were provided to Insider Reviews as editorial review samples by their manufacturers. The 20 carriers reviewed for this guide went through an extensive series of tests, which include:
Feature comparison: After conducting interviews with our experts, I created a point rubric for scoring each of the 17 soft-sided carriers based on the following features:
Shape and design
Carrying straps and handles
Interior safety tether
No-escape petting hole
Dimensions and in-cabin airline capability
In-cabin airline fit test: I made two boxes out of cardboard with the same dimensions as the underseat space in two major airline carriers, United Airlines (18-inches long, 11-inches wide, 11-inches high) and Southwest Airlines (18.5-inches long, 8.5-inches wide, 13.5-inches high). I then slid each soft-sided carrier and backpack into the boxes to see if they fit.
Scrape test: I scraped a mesh section of each soft-sided carrier 50 times with a fork to test its durability. When complete, I noted any damage or discoloration.
Zip test: To test the durability of each carrier’s zipper, I completely zipped and unzipped one of its loading entrances 50 times. In the process, I noted any changes in the zipper’s ability to smoothly run its course.
Luggage test: Each soft-sided carrier with a luggage strap was attached to a suitcase handle, then rolled over a curb, up a ramp, and along the sidewalk and street of a city block. Inside the carriers, I placed a 10-pound weight and watched to see how well they remained balanced as we traveled.
Ventilation test: According to Wolko, ventilation is important to prevent a cat from overheating during travel. I measured the dimensions of each carrier’s mesh panels and calculated the percentage of the total surface area they comprised. I favored those bags with more ventilation.
Walk test: I took each soft-sided carrier containing a 10-pound weight on a 15-minute walk around my neighborhood. Each was carried using the shoulder strap and held at the front of my body the way I would if I had a real cat inside. For the last block, I switched to using the carrier’s hand-carry straps. The backpack carriers were taken on the same walk but were not carried by hand. With each, I paid attention to how comfortable it was to carry, how much it bounced, and whether it collapsed inwards as I walked.
Goop test: I devised the goop test to determine how easy the carriers would be to clean if a cat vomited or defecated in transit. I mashed together cat kibble, canned food, and water with a mortar and pestle to make the goop, then spread a tablespoon on the exterior wall and interior mat of the contenders. After 48 hours, I wiped the goop from their exteriors using dish soap and water and washed the mats in the washing machine.
Drop test: This test was designed for the hard-shelled cargo kennels. I brought the candidates to a local park and, with the help of my partner, loaded each kennel with a 10-pound weight and threw it off of a 10-foot play structure, looking for any damage that occurred upon landing. In the second test, we dropped a bag of 30-pound weights on top of the kennel from the 10-feet play structure to test for structural integrity.
What else we considered
Soft-sided airline-friendly cat carriers
Sleepypod Atom: This Sleepypod carrier, which earned a five-star crash-test rating from the Center for Pet Safety, has a unique design with a zipper that runs around the perimeter of the top of the bag. Unfortunately, the only way to load a cat is through that elevated opening. That, combined with a shoulder strap buckle that dug into my skin, kept this carrier from the top spot.
Away Carrier: I love this carrier by Away, which also earned a five-star crash-test rating from the Center for Pet Safety. It comes with a hefty price tag, though, and does not fold down for storage. While it beats out the Wild One Travel Carrier for car travel, the lower cost Wild One is a better value for flying.
Mr. Peanut’s Gold Series Carrier: This is yet another good carrier by Mr. Peanut’s that has two points of entry, a padded shoulder strap, a luggage strap, and a safety tether. It lacks an expandable section and has fewer bells and whistles than the Wild One Travel Carrier.
Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier: The Original Deluxe is a solid carrier, but it was less comfortable to transport than many of the other bags. The buckle on the strap dug into my shoulder and it was difficult to balance the bag on a rolling suitcase.
Sherpa Element Carrier: At 14.75-inches long, 12-inches wide, and 10.5-inches tall, Sherpa’s Element is tiny compared to other carriers. It also lacks padding in the shoulder strap and a safety tether, has only one tiny pocket, and provides less ventilation than most of the other carriers we tested.
Bergan Comfort Carrier: This cozy carrier has a comfy bolster bed inside and zippers with safety buckles. But in our luggage test, it shifted dramatically while rolling on top of a suitcase, which could put a cat in danger of falling. This carrier also does not fold flat for storage.
Frisco Travel Carrier: I really like this carrier and it scored well in our testing. But with no padding on the shoulder strap, it’s less comfortable to carry than the Elite Field. It also comes in only black, a color which Wolko recommends avoiding in pet carriers to prevent a cat from overheating.
Good2Go Expandable Pet Carrier: I like this expandable carrier, but it was the priciest of the expandable carriers we tested and is only sold in black, the color most likely to lead to overheating.
Petmate See and Extend Carrier: For the price, this top- and front-loading carrier was somewhat disappointing. Its expandable section was spacious, but it has no luggage strap for easy airport rolling, no safety tether, and limited pocket space.
Airline-friendly backpack cat carriers
Sherpa 2-in-1 Backpack Carrier: Sherpa’s carrier is innovatively designed with removable backpack straps, one of which converts into a shoulder strap to turn the bag into a traditional carrier. It was missing some of the features of Mr. Peanut’s, though, including safety buckles on the zippers, a privacy flap, a chest strap for balancing the pack’s weight, and a safety tether. It also has a less substantial interior mat.
Kurgo K9 Carrier Backpack: I love the look of this backpack, but that’s about it. This carrier has very little ventilation and a molded base that digs into the back while carrying. Additionally, it only fit under the seat of one of the airlines we tested (Southwest) and our goop test left both the exterior and interior worse for wear.
Crates for flying a cat in cargo
Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier: If Gunner’s G1 Kennel is out of your price range, the Sky Kennel is your next best option. This sturdy crate held up to our drop tests better than the Ultra Vari, remaining structurally sound through both trials. The Sky Kennel is also one of those recommended by Elaine Matthis, pet travel specialist and project manager at Happy Tails Travel in Tucson, Arizona.
Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel: Although this kennel withstood being dropped from 10 feet above the ground, dropping 30 pounds of weights on it completely destroyed the cover. Had a cat been inside, they would not have survived the impact.
FAQs on flying with a cat
Most cats are just small enough to comfortably fly in the cabin of an airplane at your feet. This is always the preferred way to travel with a cat for Wolko. “We have had videos shared with us in which operators drop kennels, sometimes the kennels roll off the moving band, sometimes they flip, sometimes they roll off, sometimes they fall,” she explained. “Those risks are far less likely if your cat remains in your possession at all times.”
How much does it cost to fly with a cat?
Fees for flying with a pet in the cabin of a plane vary between carriers. At United Airlines, a one-way flight for your cat adds $125 to the price of your ticket. At Southwest Airlines, a pet fare is $95 each way. Flying a cat in the cargo hold on a domestic flight is typically around $300 pet flight. Sending a cat on an international flight can cost up to triple that amount.
What are the age restrictions for flying with a cat?
Age restrictions for flying with a pet differ from airline to airline. At United Airlines, cats must be at least 16 weeks of age to fly in the cabin while on Southwest, kittens as young as 8 weeks can accompany their guardians on a flight. Eight weeks is also the minimum age for most kittens flying in cargo. Always check the pet policy of the airline you’ll be flying to make sure your cat meets their requirements.
How do you properly size a cat carrier for a flight?
To fly with a cat in the cabin of a plane, a soft-sided carrier must fit within the dimensions allowed by the airline, which vary a little from company to company. United Airlines, for example, requires carriers to fit in a space 18-inches long, 11-inches wide, and 9-inches high while Southwest Airlines allows carriers 18.5-inches long, 8.5-inches wide, and 13.5-inches high. Within these parameters, make sure your cat has enough room to stand up, turn around, and comfortably lie down inside, said Wolko. Additionally, there should be at least 2 to 3 inches clearance from the top of their ears to the interior roof of the crate.
How much ventilation should a carrier have?
For soft-sided carriers, Wolko said mesh ventilation should be on at least three sides of the bag. In cargo, airlines require that a kennel is ventilated on all four sides.
Do cats need to go to the bathroom on a flight?
Unless a cat suffers from a medical condition, they will be fine without access to a litter box for the duration of a flight. “Just based on the physiology of cats, they could probably go from Boston to Hawaii and without needing to void,” said Bob Murtaugh, veterinarian and chief professional relations officer at Pathway Vet Alliance in Austin, Texas.
In the cargo hold, kennels cannot be outfitted with a litter box or anything other than an absorbent liner and a soft bed or blanket. “If the travel day will be more than eight hours, during a layover pet owners can arrange a comfort stop for cats to be let out of their carrier,” said Matthis.
Do cats need food and water on a flight?
On shorter in-cabin flights, your cat is unlikely to require food or water. However, if you’re flying your cat in cargo, Matthis explained that a food bowl and water bowl should be in the carrier regardless of the length of the flight. She recommends using dishes that fasten to the door of the crate and can be refilled easily from the outside such as Lixit’s Quick Lock Crock 10-ounce bowls.
What else does my cat need to fly?
Most airlines require a health certificate provided by a veterinarian to prove that a cat is safe to fly in the cabin or cargo hold.
What are the signs that my cat may be in distress in flight?
According to Murtaugh, there are a few obvious signs that may indicate your cat is in distress during a flight, either due to fear or excessive heat. A cat that is panting, restless, and vocalizing could be experiencing significant anxiety or overheating. If the membranes in their gums turn bright red, the latter is most likely and it’s important to cool them off quickly. Placing the carrier on your lap so they can feel the air blowing from the vent above your seat or wiping them down with a wet cloth may help lower their body temperature.
How to set up a cat for flying success
The best way to combat a cat’s flight anxiety is to tackle it before getting on the plane. In the weeks before their trip, introduce your cat to their carrier or kennel in a positive way. “Make the carrier feel like a cave or a home or something that’s comfortable, something that they’re not just jammed into the first time they’re on their way to the airport,” said Murtaugh.
Place the carrier in an area of the home where your cat spends a lot of time and encourage them to explore it by placing catnip and treats inside, or by playing with them in and around the space.
Taking your cat on a car ride or on other forms of transportation while in their carrier may also be helpful in the weeks before the flight, said Murtaugh. He recommends placing a bed or blanket that smells like home inside the carrier and using a pheromone spray or collar to help take the edge off.
If your cat has a record of experiencing debilitating stress during travel and will be flying in the cabin, you can speak to your vet about prescribing an anxiety-relieving medication. It’s important, however, to test medication out before your flight. “Make sure there won’t be any untoward side effects. Your vet can help you tailor that to your cat’s needs,” said Murtaugh.
Sedating a cat prior to flying in the cargo hold is not recommended by the International Air Transport Association and can be potentially fatal for old, chronically sick, or highly stressed animals.
Rules for flying with a cat in cargo
While working with an animal shipping professional can help make preparing your cat for travel less stressful, it is not a requirement in the United States. International destinations may have other regulations for air-shipping pets. Always confirm your airline’s requirements well in advance of your pet’s flight.
To air ship a cat, the kennel must meet the following standards established by the International Air Transport Association:
Crate size: The interior width of a crate or kennel must be at least two times the width of a cat. The kennel’s length must be at least the length of a cat plus half their height. The height of a carrier must be at least as tall as the animal’s natural height in a standing position from the tip of the ears to the floor. Matthis recommends using a medium-size crate for cats that is at least 2 to 3 inches taller than this minimum. If you have a cat with a snub nose or smooshed face, the kennel must be 10% larger than for non-brachycephalic pets.
Crate material: A crate must be made from rigid plastic, wood, or metal with a solid roof containing no doors or ventilation. There should be only one metal door that closes securely. “If the crate looks cheap and flimsy, it’s not suitable for air travel,” said Matthis.
Crate extras: Crates in cargo cannot have wheels, plastic doors, or plastic latches. They also cannot be collapsible or have a door in the roof.
Crate interior: The only items allowed inside an animal crate during a flight are an absorbent liner or potty pad, a soft pad or blanket, and clip-in water and food bowls that attach to the crate door
We consulted the following experts and internet sources for this guide to the best airline-friendly cat carriers:
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You can buy almost anything on Amazon and get it delivered in just two days with Amazon Prime.
We asked our colleagues to share the weirdest yet most useful products they bought on Amazon.
The responses range from practical to comical and everything in between.
Thanks to Amazon Prime, whatever we order, we rarely have to wait longer than two days for it to arrive at our door. Sometimes our items even show up the same day.
But with great purchasing power comes some unusual choices.
I asked my Insider Inc. colleagues to share some of the weirdest things that they’ve bought on Amazon over the last few months. From the practical (balsamic vinegar ) to the nostalgic (an updated version of Silly Putty ), to the strangely unique (a “Return to Sender” message stamp), Amazon is home to a variety of random products.
Here are the five best weird purchases you can make on Amazon:
In our now-persistent quest to improve every bit of our home while we’re stuck in it for inordinate amounts of time, my wife picked up this little bugger from Conair. She says that it’s “incredibly effective,” or more accurately, “That thing f@#ing works.” That’s about as emphatic an endorsement you can get as to how well this handheld fabric shaver removes lint and pilling from fabrics and clothing. Our pillows have honestly never looked so fresh.
My life changed in 2020 when I adopted my adorable little kitten Sullivan. But in exchange for cuteness, sometimes all a cat wants is some entertainment. After exhausting myself with a number of options (including cat entertainment videos on YouTube and a virtual mouse app on iPhone), these battery-powered fish toys made Sullivan feel like he was in feline heaven. After you put the batteries in the fish and place them in a bowl, they wiggle around in the water to any cat’s delight.
A cover to prevent pets from chewing through cables
No matter how many toys I buy for my cat, he just can’t stop chewing on nearby cables and wires. This wasn’t a huge problem until he completely chewed through a laptop charger last year and nearly hurt himself. That’s why I’ve ordered several of these PetCable covers on Amazon. They’re easy to install and are made of a durable nylon material and can be used on all sorts of electrical cables. I’ve been using them for months — they cover almost every exposed wire in my home — and Buddy has yet to chew through any of them.
If you’re anything like me, hot sauce is a mandatory addition to almost every meal. I discovered Jersey Bonfire a couple of years ago at the New York City Hot Sauce Expo and was ecstatic when I realized its sauces are available on Amazon. This particular sauce has the right combination of rich texture, punchy garlic flavor, and just enough heat, making it ideal for just about anything: chicken, steak, pizza, eggs, and more. Plus, Jersey Barnfire sources all of its ingredients from local farms in New Jersey.
Popcorn is actually a pretty healthy snack when it isn’t popped in oil or covered in butter. This air popper is really fun to use and makes a nice big bowl of popcorn in about five minutes. A 1lb bag of popcorn kernels lasts a surprisingly long time (I keep it in the fridge because I read somewhere that you should). For under $30, you’ve got plenty of snacks in your house at any time.
As an apartment-dweller who receives a lot of mail from people he has never met, this nifty $5 accessory gave me an official-looking way of sending the unwanted magazines and letters back from whence they came. Is it a necessary purchase? It’s debatable. But there’s something to be said about the satisfaction (and weird sense of authority) that comes with wielding this stamp like a gavel and sending away letters from credit card companies. Au revoir, ‘exciting offer’ from Capital One, you’re not needed here.
I’m a fidgety person who always needs to do something with my hands, so Aaron’s Thinking Putty (think Silly Putty from your childhood, but better) is a godsend. This putty isn’t sticky or messy: it only sticks to itself and never leaks or falls apart. Maybe I’ve just been good about keeping it clean, but it also stays the same color and doesn’t get grimier over time. I keep a few different tins on my desk for when I need to listen in on long meetings, but my favorite is this Infinite Nebula color.
I buy a lot of random condiments and recipe ingredients on Amazon, the latest of which is this absolutely delicious balsamic vinegar. It dresses up any meat and cheese board, and it’s a great addition in salads too.
I generally eat pretty healthy, but I think I’m in love with this tub of powdered cheese. It’s so good on popcorn, in mac and cheese, and sprinkled on any other sort of cracker, chip, etc. It’s supremely cheesy and salty and delicious! This is honestly one of the best Amazon purchases I’ve made in years.
Have a cat? Do yourself a favor and buy them a couple of these stackable boxes and tunnels. We’ve dubbed our setup “Box City” and it’s our cat Lady’s favorite place to nap and play! For cardboard, they’ve held up impressively well since we bought them six months ago.
From a treadmill to fake plants to books, I buy everything on Amazon. But the best thing I’ve ever bought would have to be these adorable Microfiber Mop Slippers. They clean my hardwood floors while I run around the apartment. Also my feet get really hot in shoes so I like that they’re a flip flop style so my toes can breathe. And, they’re and washable!
Whenever I wake up with puffy eyes or just need to cool down on the couch over the summer, I pop this inside the freezer and then directly onto my face. I don’t recommend leaving it in there for more than 15 minutes — your skin will scream at you — but it’s good at de-puffing and cooling you down overall.
I bought an entire bed frame off Amazon Prime Now.
For anyone who hasn’t used it, Amazon Prime Now is Amazon’s courier service. Basically, anything that’s in the local warehouses can be shipped out to you within one or two hours.
It’s a pretty mundane product, but you have to hand it to the company for nailing logistics down to the point where you can get a heavy, unwieldy package from Manhattan to Brooklyn for rock-bottom prices. (I tipped, generously.)
Apologies to the poor soul who had to load it onto the van for being that guy.
I recently bought this toothbrush, and it has changed the way I look at brushing my teeth. It used to feel like a chore, but this takes the work out of it. It also seems really efficient, it’s decently priced, has great battery life, and best of all, it runs for two minutes so I can’t rush or underbrush.
My husband and I are really active and travel a lot, and we’re always worried about destroying/losing our wedding rings when we’re playing sports/hiking/swimming/staying in places we don’t know much about, so for an anniversary present I bought us both these Qalo rings.
They’re made of medical-grade silicone and they’re super comfortable. Lots of users have switched to silicone rings permanently; I haven’t gone that far yet, but I can see myself doing it in the future. Also, a couple started the company, and they do lots of philanthropic work. Cute.
I was looking for some headphones to wear while exercising, but didn’t want to shell out for a premium pair — I know I’d either destroy them or lose them. This pair was one of the cheapest I’ve ever purchased, but they are by far the best.
They clip to my shirt to stay put, a wire cinch keeps them from getting tangled on weight-lifting equipment, and they even come with a carrying pouch. When I’m exercising, they stay firmly in my ear, sound halfway decent, and simply will not die.
I’ve run in the rain with them, left them outside, and even stepped on them. And they come in some cool colors! Best $18 I’ve ever spent (editor’s note: The price has since changed).
Who said coloring books are just for kids? I’m pretty fidgety, so I like keeping my hands occupied. A coloring book is a fun way to exercise creativity, mindfulness, and put my restlessness at bay. Plus, in the end, you’re left with a pretty picture.
I first read about this weird but very helpful candle lighter in my colleague Connie Chen’s review, and I bought one immediately after. It’s a small thing, but I love that I’m no longer wasting non-refillable plastic lighters thanks to a rechargeable version, and the flexible neck means I no longer have to contort my hand or even lift a candle to light one where it stands. Again, a small thing, but surprisingly very convenient.
I typically loathe incense, and find that they often leave behind a smell as equally offensive as stale cigarette smoke. But potpourri is expensive, and air fresheners just smell like … air fresheners. In fact, they remind me of being in taxi cabs, and I tend not to want to feel like I’m sitting in the backseat of a taxi when I’m in my living room.
Alas, I’ve struck a compromise and found some incense I can not only stand but enjoy. Incensio de Santa Fe offers seven different scents, but they’re all clean, compressed sawdust from the respective hardwood on the label. My favorite is piñon (pine), which I find to offer the kind of fresh, bright, and uplifting aroma I like to keep flowing throughout my household.
I recently bought this because I wanted to get rid of the peach fuzz that’s on the side of my face, upper lip, and chin line. So far, I love it. The head pivots, which means it works with the contours of your face so it doesn’t end up snagging at your skin. It also comes with eyebrow trimmers. While I don’t use these attachments, for someone who is averse to plucking, waxing, or threading, this could be a great alternative.
I wasn’t sure what to get my dad for Father’s Day. He can be pretty particular with gifts but he loves to play with new gadgets like they are toys. I was scrolling through Amazon and came across this stud finder. In reality, my dad knows where all the studs are in my family’s house, but I figured he’d have fun going around the house scanning the walls … I was right.
I eat a lot of canned fish, and I’m not embarrassed to say it, even as someone who routinely catches their own fish and makes sure it hits the table within 24 hours. Canned fish is high in iron, and as easy as popping a can and toasting a bit of bread for a quick and affordable (I get a 12-pack for about $26), healthy snack.
I also end up spending a good deal less than I would were I to head to the local grocery in Brooklyn. This is an easy backup to have on hand for a snack, or part of a balanced meal, at a moment’s notice. It also makes for good survival food, should disaster strike.
Hamilton Beach is our top pick because it uses three carbon filters to eliminate odors.
Whether you’re cooking up a new concoction in your kitchen, pet-sitting your neighbor’s dog, or stumbled upon stinky gym shoes left behind, household odors are inevitable. To combat these unpleasant aromas from circulating, an odor eliminator will work wonders to remove wonky smells.
Malodors come from a variety of sources including bacteria (spoiled food and body odor), fungus (mold and mildew), and volatile organic compounds or VOCs (paint fumes).
While scented cleaning sprays may mask smells, Brian Sansoni, SVP of communication at the American Cleaning Institute, said that if you really want to remove an odor from your home, you have to eliminate the bacteria or germs at the source.
“Fragrances that cover an odor might be used alongside an odor absorber or a product that kills odor-causing bacteria,” he said.
Sansoni said that odor-eliminating sprays use chemical compounds like cyclodextrins to trap odor molecules, but you can also use baking soda to absorb odors. Odor eliminators are safe to use on upholstery, curtains, and carpets to neutralize any smells, while surface cleaners with antimicrobial ingredients will help to kill odor-causing bacteria. Be sure to check your product label to ensure it’s recommended on certain surfaces.
Pros: Continuous odor elimination, can be used with or without fragrance filter, low wattage, quiet, covers 100 square feet, replaceable filters
Cons: Replacement filters not readily available in all mass-market stores
The Hamilton Beach TrueAir Room Odor Eliminator is only a small 8-inch cube, but it’s a mighty tool for removing odors. Simply plug it in and the TrueAir fan pulls in air, pushes it through three carbon filters, and traps dust and malodors to leave your room smelling fresh. There are two settings and I keep it on low, which makes very little noise. You can increase the speed to tackle tougher smells — like tobacco smoke or pet odors — too.
The product claims to cover a 10-by-10-square-foot room for three months. After that, the filters should be replaced. Changing the filters is very simple and if you don’t use them all the time, the filters are effective for more than three months. It also comes with a fragrance cartridge, Green Meadow, that you can use or skip.
I’ve been using the device for several months and my home is less dusty and smells fresh. It’s powerful, effective, and you can store it in a closet when it’s not in use for easy storage.
Pros: Eliminates tough pet odors, environmentally safe to use around humans and pets, 100% money-back guarantee
Cons: Doesn’t remove visible stains, not readily available in most mass-market stores.
Pets have accidents but even if you thoroughly clean after them, the odor often lingers in the carpet, upholstery, tile grout, and hardwood floors. And once the animal catches a whiff of that spot, it will return to the scene of the crime. Enter Mister Max Anti-Icky-Poo — the cleaning agent that will have your home smelling fresh and void of lingering pet smells.
I have a precious rescue pup that tends to urinate when startled or when she feels threatened. When accidents happen, I simply grab Mister Max and give the area a good spray. Live bacteria and enzymes in the formula destroy the odor molecules, so there is no residual stench remaining.
Pros: Eliminates odor from carpet and upholstery, contains baking soda to fight tough stains
Cons: Scent can be overpowering if too much is used
Soft surfaces like carpets, area rugs, and upholstery are magnets for odor molecules. The fibers grab hold of the molecules and simply won’t let them go. This is particularly true for natural fibers like wool that are barbed, and synthetic fibers made from petroleum products that like to hold onto greasy molecules.
To get the most benefit from this product, I sprinkle a very light dusting of Arm & Hammer’s Extra Strength Carpet Odor Eliminator and then use a slightly damp sponge mop to work it into the carpet fibers (use a damp sponge when cleaning upholstery) and then step away for an hour or so. When I come back and give the area a good vacuuming, it’s amazing to see how much soil is trapped in the powder.
Pros: Nontoxic, natural product containing no petroleum-based chemicals, available in a variety of colors and sizes, reusable for two years
Cons: Doesn’t remove odors immediately, takes several hours for effects to kick in
Small spaces packed with lots of clothes, shoes, or linens can begin to smell stale, and the last thing you need is another strong scent layered on top. Luckily, the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag contains 200 grams of bamboo charcoal to absorb odors, hassle-free.
Moso bags come in several sizes to fit any space and will last up to two years. They can be “recharged” by placing them in the sun for one hour per month. This helps remove the moisture that has accumulated in the charcoal. Since this is a natural product, after two years the charcoal can be composted for the garden, making it a sustainable product to have on hand.
I love that the bags come in several colors and I use them to freshen clothes and linens in every closet, in the laundry room near the dog’s crate, and in my car to keep it fresh.
Pros: Biodegradable gel, no batteries needed, scent level is adjustable
There are dozens of air fresheners in the market, and they’re available in various forms — from sprays and oil diffusers to plug-ins and gels. The problem with almost all of them is that they only add fragrance to the air and don’t eliminate odor. For an air freshener that actually gets rid of odors, I use the Renuzit Snuggle Super Fresh Air Freshener.
The science is similar to that in fabric refresher sprays, where offensive odor molecules are trapped by ring-shaped cyclodextrin molecules (imperceptible to the human nose). The 98% biodegradable gel in the formula traps malodor molecules and eliminates odors.
Housed in a contemporary-looking container, the air freshener can be opened as much or as little as you’d like to release the Snuggle fragrance. There’s no need for batteries or an outlet, either. I’ve been using this gel for many months and the bathroom still smells fresh and clean even when it has had plenty of traffic.
Our testing methodology
I have more than 40 years of experience testing cleaning products. Our picks are based on hands-on testing and use. We also interviewed Brian Sansoni, SVP of communication at the American Cleaning Institute, on what to look for in an odor eliminator.
In making our picks, we looked at the following criteria:
Efficacy: We looked at how well each odor eliminator removed odors from household areas. This involves how quickly the scent was removed, how long it took to make the living area smell great, and if it was consistent over time.
Ease of use: We looked at how easy each machine, spray, or stationary product was to use.
Good value: We looked at how closely efficacy and ease of use corresponded to price. While price wasn’t the primary consideration, we found that you don’t have to spend a lot to get good performance.
Even if most of your home has wall-to-wall carpeting, some floors require more than just vacuuming.
We rounded up the best floor cleaners specially designed for different floor types below.
Taking care of hard surface floors is a never-ending job. Sweeping or vacuuming will capture much of the loose dirt and hair, but eventually, stuck-on messes will need to be cleaned with a mop and a good cleaner.
I don’t have carpeting in my home except for area rugs, so I’ve learned to care for hardwood, ceramic tile, and stone floors on a weekly basis to keep them looking clean and fresh. I’ve also tested floor cleaners, vacuums, brooms, and mops for many years as a home economist, so looking for products that are most effective, easy to use, and of great value is second nature to me.
While some cleaners are interchangeable, what’s needed to clean the grout in ceramic tile floors isn’t the same as what’s used to keep hardwoods gleaming. That said, we provided five options best for cleaning wood, laminate, vinyl, ceramic, and stone floors so you’ll have a pristine clean.
Pros: Simple-to-use spray bottle, no rinsing, leaves no streaks, dries quickly, large bottles available for refills, low VOCs
Cons: Cannot be used on floors that have been oiled or waxed with paste wax
The majority of wood floors in homes are sealed with polyurethane or polyacrylic urethane finish. Harsh cleaning chemicals can permanently dull this finish and leave streaks. So, when it’s time to clean spills and muddy footprints, the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray is your best bet, as it’s specifically formulated for wood floors.
After sweeping away loose dirt, I do a quick spritz with this water-based formula and follow through with a clean mop, and my floors look fabulous. There’s no rinsing needed and it never leaves any streaks.
Pros: Works for hardwood and laminate flooring, hypoallergenic, no rinsing required, safe to use around children and pets
Laminate floors don’t require as potent of cleaner and nearly as much maintenance compared to expensive hardwood. Sometimes, using a wood-only cleaner leaves laminate floors full of streaks and water spots. To combat this, the Black Diamond Stoneworks Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner is fit for your next deep clean.
Though it’s usable on wood, this hypoallergenic formula will tackle stains, dust, and oil on bamboo, cork, Pergo, Armstrong, and Mohawk floor types. No rinsing is required and it’s safe to use around children and pets — just spray and wipe.
Pros: Cleans floors with no rinsing needed, restores shine, non-toxic and fragrance-free, the spray bottle is reusable, fresh lemon scent
Cons: Not readily available in all mass-market stores
Vinyl floors are built to take lots of abuse. That’s why they end up in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. Rejuvenate All Floors Cleaner is the best cleaner for removing messes and stains with a streak-free finish and no rinsing required.
It works well when sprayed on the floor and cleaned with a microfiber mop. Because the formula is pH-balanced to neutralize contaminants and contains ingredients that will remove old wax buildup and grime, it left the floor looking great. I didn’t have to rinse or repeat the mopping. The lemon-scented formula is also non-toxic, fragrance-free, and Greenguard Gold-Certified with low chemical emissions.
The Rejuvenate Restorer fills in scratches, helps prevent sun-fading, and improves traction. I used Rejuvenate on a friend’s dingy, scratched vinyl floors and it improved the look so drastically she changed her mind about wanting to replace them.
Pros: Concentrated so you use less, biodegradable, effectively cleans tile and grout, septic-safe, can be used with electric floor cleaner or with a mop, performs well, lightly scented
Cons: Not readily available in mass-market stores
Taking care of ceramic tile floors should be a breeze because the tile is stain-resistant, doesn’t scratch easily, and lasts for decades. Howevergrout, if left unsealed, will absorb stains, attract dirt, and can be damaged by strong cleaners. Luckily, the Hoover Renewal Tile & Grout Cleaning Formula makes maintaining ceramic a breeze.
It’s highly concentrated, so read the directions to learn how much to mix with water. Be careful not to use too much of the product, or you’ll have to do some extra rinsing. The cleaner can be used in both an electric floor cleaner or with a good mop. The key to successfully getting the grout back to its natural color is using hot water with the cleaner to help cut through the grime.
I was thrilled with how easily it cleaned the floor and only a couple of tough spots needed a bit of extra scrubbing with a brush. The scent is clean and not overpowering, and it will have your tile and grout looking fabulous when used regularly.
While stone floors may seem indestructible, they’re pretty sensitive to products, stains, and spills that contain acids. Any spills that contain wine, citrus juice, or vinegar should be cleaned up immediately because they can etch even sealed stone floors. Harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach or ammonia can be quite destructive to such an expanse of flooring.
StoneTech helps the sealant last longer and maintains the natural beauty of the stone with its citrus or cucumber scent. You can purchase it ready to use or in a concentrated formula to add to water. The ready-to-use formula is available in a spray bottle as well as a gallon jug for refills. To clean your floors, simply spray a small area and clean with a microfiber mop. No rinsing or drying is necessary. The cleaner is non-toxic and biodegradable, too.
Tips for cleaning your floors
Cleaning your floors doesn’t have to be difficult if you have a good floor cleaner, the right type of mop, and the time in your week to regularly tend to such surfaces.
Start by sweeping or vacuuming to remove loose soil and hair. If you don’t, you’ll just be swishing it around and often leaving it behind. Use a clean mop head or disposable pad to prevent soil from re-depositing, and remember to allow plenty of time for the floor to dry before tracking in more dirt.
Take a minute to read the instructions on the back of the floor cleaner bottle. Some products go directly on the floor, while some need to be mixed with water; some require rinsing, but some don’t. Following the directions can help you be more successful.
If you are traveling by plane, then you’ll need to purchase a pet carrier that meets a particular airline’s regulations, both in terms of size and design. We evaluated cat carriers that are suitable for in-cabin travel based on a number of factors, including durability, size, ventilation, security, and comfort, as well as feedback from experts and our testing results.
While these cat carriers are generally acceptable for use in airplane cabins, check your airline’s requirements before purchasing. Different airlines have different rules and regulations. For instance, United Airlines requires that a soft-sided carrier be no larger than 18-inches long by 11-inches wide by 11-inches high. However, Southwest Airlines allows a slightly larger maximum size of 18.5-inches long, 8.5-inches high, and 13.5-inches wide, while Delta Airlines has varying requirements according to the specific flight that you’re on.
You should also research an airline’s general rules for pets before you book, and be sure to have documentation that the airline might require. Your pet may need a veterinary examination and particular vaccines to fly, and if necessary, schedule an appointment with your vet to ensure your travel plans go smoothly.
Here are the 5 best airline-friendly cat carriers in 2021
The Sleepypod Air offers the durability and comfort your cat needs for frequent travel.
Pros: Compresses to fit under plane seats, durable construction, straps can anchor to a car seat belt, crash-tested
Cons: Heavier than other soft-sided carriers
The Sleepypod Air in-cabin pet carrier offers an ideal blend of a highly durable exterior and a soft, comfortable interior to keep your cat both comfortable and safe during travel. The exterior is made of luggage-grade ballistic nylon for strength, and tear-resistant mesh makes this carrier a long-lasting choice.
The Sleepypod Air’s unique design allows you to expand or compress the carrier’s size. When you’re in the car or the airport, your pet can enjoy increased space. Then, compress the carrier when you board so it meets your airline’s requirements and fits underneath a seat.
A large opening provides easy entry, and there are zipper pockets on both sides for ample storage. Straps on both sides of the carrier can secure to a car seat belt for increased travel safety. This carrier also passed crash-testing conducted by the Center for Pet Safety.
Pros: Expandable panel for extra room, two entry doors, folds flat for storage, washable interior bed, lightweight
Cons: Hand-wash only, no warranty
To comply with airline regulations, most pet carriers are small and offer limited space. The Mr. Peanut’s Gold Series Expandable Carrier solves the issue with a side flap that folds out — just unzip and, voila, your pet has extra space to stretch out while staying securely inside the carrier.
Top and front entrances make it easy to load and unload your cat and a privacy flap can help keep cats calm. The luggage sleeve and comfortable shoulder strap are particularly beneficial when you have to carry your pet long distances through the airport.
The carrier is made from durable nylon and includes a sturdy but lightweight plywood base. An interior fleece bed is removable and hand-washable. When not in use, the carrier folds completely flat for easy storage.
Pros: Sturdy hard shell, ventilation on all sides, easy assembly
Cons: Only two color options, low weight limit, may be too large for some airlines
The Frisco Two-Door Top-Load Kennel offers your cat the extra protection and spaciousness of a hard-shell carrier in a size that meets most airlines’ regulations. Thanks to the plastic kennel’s durable construction, you don’t have to worry about the occasional bump or nudge to your cat.
There are secure wire mesh doors on both the front and top of the carrier and ventilation openings on all sides. The doors latch securely and the top-mounted handle is strong.
It arrives in two pieces and requires assembly with the included bolts. The carrier is available in a larger 24-inch size, but it’s likely it won’t meet airlines’ regulations.
Pros: Removable wheels, mesh top can be compressed to fit under a seat, carrying handle and shoulder strap for convenience
Cons: Can tip over if wheels aren’t properly centered, may be too large for some airlines
With the Katziela Luxury Rider Pet Carrier, you can pull the carrier with a telescopic handle, or opt for the handle or shoulder strap. Whichever way you choose to transport your cat, this carrier makes traveling with pets easier.
Six wheels give the carrier extra support, but they’re also easily removable to keep the carrier within the size limit of most airlines. You can also squish down the top of the carrier to make it fit under a plane seat.
A mesh top and windows give your cat plenty of ventilation. Pockets can hold small supplies, a name tag attached to the handle allows for easy identification, and zippers can be locked to prevent your cat from opening the side flap and escaping. Just make sure you can unlock it, in case of an emergency.
The best budget airline-friendly carrier
Affordable and appropriately sized, the Frisco Travel Carrier is a practical option for the occasional trip.
Pros: Front- and top-loading, secure luggage strap, washable interior bed, folds flat for storage, one-year warranty
Cons: Less ventilation, shoulder strap is uncomfortable for shorter individuals
For an affordable option, the Frisco Travel Carrier offers a combination of comfort, durability, and features to make traveling with a pet easier for cats up to 16 pounds.
The durable nylon bag includes doors at top and front and includes privacy flaps. Along with a shoulder strap, there is a luggage sleeve and convenient carrying handles. The removable interior mat provides your cat a soft place to rest.
The downsides: This bag’s ventilation is more limited than that of our top picks. We also found that the shoulder stap lacks padding and can be uncomfortable to carry.
What we’re looking forward to
We’re testing additional airline-friendly carriers for an update to this guide, including the following: