The 9 best places to buy blinds and shades in 2021

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Best places to buy blinds (jcpenney; lowes; pottery barn)4x3
  • Window blinds help add privacy, ensure restful sleep, and put the finishing touches on home decor.
  • We found top places to buy blinds, whether you need a custom option or a cheap fix you install yourself.
  • Some of our favorite places to shop for shades and blinds are The Home Depot, The Shade Store, and Blinds.com.

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Blinds and shades play an oft-overlooked but important factor in home decor. Swapping white roller shades for wooden blinds or Roman shades with a cute fabric print can give your space a whole new look. Not to mention the best window blinds play a key role in adding privacy to your home, help to reduce glare while you watch TV or work on your computer, and ensure a good night’s sleep with no light leakage.

Of course, style, material, and size are largely a matter of personal preference and will be determined by your individual home needs. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up top places to shop for blinds and shades so you have a range of choices, whether you want cheap and easy blinds you can install yourself, or a premium shade in a custom fabric installed by the pros.

Here are the best places to buy blinds and shades in 2021

The Home Depot

Best places to buy blinds_home depot

The Home Depot has a vast selection of shades and blinds and can custom cut them right in store.

From cordless and automatic to cellular and vertical, The Home Depot is a tried-and-true when it comes to blinds. And compared to many other options, it’s fairly affordable and a good value. If you’re a DIYer who wants to save even more, it has how-to guides online that can walk you through choosing the right blinds, measuring, and even installing them yourself.

However, if you’re not quite comfortable with doing it all yourself, you can also pay extra to have someone come to your home, measure, cut, and then come back and install your blinds of choice. I’ve even done a video consult with a representative in the past who was very helpful for looking at my space, walking me through The Home Depot’s catalog, and making suggestions on the best type of blinds for my home. 

While you can easily get your blinds cut for you in-person at The Home Depot, be aware that the quality of that job can vary wildly based on when you happen to be there and who is doing the job. Not all employees seem to be as trained or skilled as others on the cutting machine. While I know plenty of people who have had blinds cut in-store with no issue, Insider Reviews deputy editor Sally Kaplan had an issue and needed her blinds re-cut several times after they weren’t quite right.

Popular options:

White Cordless Room Darkening 2 in. Faux Wood Blind (small)Crown White Room Darkening Vertical Blind (small)2 in. Faux Wood Blinds (small)
Lowe’s

Best places to buy blinds_Lowes

Lowe’s has a huge selection of in-stock blinds that are easy to browse online, plus the option for a custom fit. 

Similar to The Home Depot, Lowe’s is another great value option with a wide range of blinds choices. You can choose from in-stock blinds in various sizes, or opt for a custom option if you have a window or door that’s not a traditional size. Lowe’s offers a wide variety of styles and materials, as well as numerous choices for how much light you want coming in, from blackout to light filtering.

Also like The Home Depot, you can go a more DIY route, or pay extra for someone to do an at-home installation. Of note, Lowe’s also price matches and shipping is free. Numerous filter features make the online shopping experience easy, and you can sort by style, width, length, finish, light control, material, price, and more. Lowe’s works with independent installers for those who want someone to do in-home measurements and installations.

Popular options:

Outback Pebble Light Filtering Cordless OutdoorRoller Shade (small)Trim+Go Greystone Light Filtering Cordless Roman Shade (small)Cordless White Aluminum Light Filtering Full-view Standard Mini Blinds (small)
The Shade Store

Best places to buy blinds_The Shade Store

With over 1,300 material choices and the ability to fit non-traditional spaces, The Shade Store is a pricey but worthy option for those who want something truly custom.

The Shade Store is undoubtedly pricier, but it also has more custom options and the customer service is unrivaled. My current apartment has oversized windows of non-standard sizes, ledges that make blinds hard to fit, and the windows open both from the top and the side, adding extra hurdles. Where several other places I spoke to were having a hard time finding us the right option for our unique situation, The Shade Store made it a breeze. 

You can get a consultation and as many samples as you want for free. With a vast library of over 1,300 materials to choose from, unlimited samples come in handy. Whether you want to choose a 2% light-filtering option or a unique flowy drape, The Shade Store has it all and then some. For example, if you like Roman shades, you can choose from flat, cascade, Aventura, relaxed, tulip, or pleated styles. Plus each of those then has numerous materials and color options.

If you have a store nearby, you can do an in-person consultation and get free measurements, or look at samples in the store. However, you can also do a video chat if in-person isn’t possible for you. Where other places couldn’t send anyone to measure or install blinds for weeks or months, The Shade Store sent someone to our home within a few days.

Not only were they incredibly quick and responsive throughout the entire process, but after, the rep we worked with also sent us a handwritten thank you note and even planted a tree in our honor. Plus, the blinds are high-quality and were installed perfectly, all of which made the higher price point sting a little less.

Popular options:

Custom Roller Shades (small)Relaxed Roman Shades (small)Custom Metal Blinds (small)
Blinds.com

Best places to buy blinds_Blinds.com

Though you can’t shop in-person at Blinds.com, you’ll have a huge array of blinds and shades to choose from, plus you can return or exchange any item for free within 30 days — even if it’s because you measured wrong.

As you may have guessed from the name, Blinds.com solely deals in all things blinds. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that you’ll be spoiled for choice, from wood or faux wood shutters to cellular or roller shades to vertical or mini blinds. Prices are incredibly reasonable and shipping is free, but keep in mind the retailer only offers samples for some of its products currently, so you can’t necessarily see all of the options you like before making a final decision. 

However, it does offer free virtual design consults and will replace or let you return any item within 30 days for free. As an added bonus, if you made a mistake when measuring, the company will fix it for you and recut and send new blinds at the correct size for free, as long as there isn’t a pricing difference between the old and new sizes. 

If you don’t feel comfortable measuring yourself, Blinds.com doesn’t have its own network of professionals, but it does work with The Home Depot, which can send an employee to measure and/or install for you. Strangely, the starting installation cost at The Home Depot is cheaper, so you may want to get a custom measuring and install quote from both The Home Depot and Blinds.com if you go this route to ensure you get the best price, since you’ll be working with the same professionals either way.

Popular options:

2-Inch Light-Filtering Fabric Blinds (small)Completely Cordless Mini Blinds (small)Light-Filtering Cellular Shade (small)
West Elm

Best places to buy blinds_West Elm

For an elegant and simple solution for standard-sized windows, West Elm has neutral options that will match just about any decor. 

You won’t get as many options and won’t be able to customize at West Elm in the same way you can at other places, but if you just need a simple and chic option that’s ready to go, West Elm does the trick. There’s no true custom option, though you can choose from numerous widths and lengths, and most options come in a few neutral color choices and one or two materials. 

West Elm also doesn’t have the same network or employees specifically designated to measure or install blinds, so this is also a better option for those who feel more comfortable doing it themselves. That said, West Elm does offer free design services, which can include helping you pick out the best shades or blinds for your home. Additionally, if you really want someone else to install them for you, West Elm can set it up via its partners at Porch, a separate moving, repair, and home improvement company.

Popular options:

Crossweave Cordless Roman Shades with Blackout Lining (small)Custom Size Solar Basketweave Cordless Roller Shades (small)Custom Size Light-Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades (small)
Pottery Barn

Best places to buy blinds_Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn has a solid collection of high-quality blinds and shades that can be lightly customized by length and width.

Similar to West Elm, Pottery Barn (which is owned by the same parent company) doesn’t have quite as many options as a place like Blinds.com or The Shade Store, but it still has a good array of high-quality and ready-to-go blinds that can be lightly customized by choosing from up to 30 width options and three lengths depending on the exact item. While you won’t find anything too out of the box, it does have a good selection of wooden, linen, and classic roller shades that come in an array of neutral colors to suit most decor styles. 

Much like those from West Elm, these shades are best for someone who feels more comfortable going the DIY route since Pottery Barn doesn’t have designated assistance to help you measure and install your blinds. However, you can also have Pottery Barn set up an install by way of the partnership with Porch for an additional fee. Of course, you could also always just set up your own separate installation with a local professional or via apps like Handy.

Popular options:

Riviera Striped Linen/Cotton Cordless Roman Blackout Shade (small)Custom Cordless Natural Shade (small)Custom Cordless Blackout Shade (small)
Ikea

Best places to buy blinds_IKEA

If you’re comfortable going the DIY route, Ikea has easy-to-install and low-cost options that will fit standard window sizes.

Ikea offers some of the simplest and most affordable blinds options out there. That said, there’s no real option to customize here. But you will have a few choices in pre-cut sizes that should fit traditional window sizes. Your only options are roller, Roman, cellular, or pleated, and you won’t be able to customize the material at all. Many also have only a couple of color options, mainly in classic whites, blacks, and greys. 

However, if you just need a quick solution for a standard window without much fuss, then Ikea may be your best bet. Liz Kneuven, Insider’s personal finance reporter, has an entire apartment of Ikea blinds and attests to their ease of use and overall quality. “They look so sleek and modern and were super simple to install,” she says. 

You can browse in-store or order online, but like all things Ikea, this is a DIY route, so you’ll need to be comfortable measuring and installing yourself.

Popular options:

SCHOTTIS Pleated Shade (small)SKOGSKLÖVER Roller Blind (small)TRIPPEVALS Blackout Cellular Blind (small)
Amazon

Best places to buy blinds_Amazon

This retail giant has no shortage of blind and shade options at a wide range of price points if you’re willing to sort through the huge number of sellers.

From laptops to workout pants, Amazon sells it all — and that includes blinds and shades. Of course, the downside to buying on Amazon is that you’ll need to be extra cautious when it comes to choosing a seller since you won’t be able to see or verify quality ahead of time. I recommend thoroughly reading up on recent reviews before making any commitments. Additionally, you won’t get any help from Amazon with measuring or installing.

However, if you’re comfortable with those factors, there are some good deals to be found on the retail giant. Different sellers also allow for different amounts of customization to ensure a good fit. Some are even Prime-eligible, coming with fast and free shipping to add to the value.

Popular options:

Cordless 1-Inch Vinyl Mini Blinds (small)Roman Shades (small)Cordless Tuscan Bamboo Roman Shades (small)
JCPenney

Best places to buy blinds_JCPenny

Though it may not be the first store that comes to mind for blinds, don’t overlook JCPenney and its wide array of colors, styles, prices, and materials for shades that are just right.

Though JCPenney may be better known for clothes and accessories than home goods, it also has a surprisingly vast selection of shades and blinds, including wood, cellular, vertical, Roman, and roller options. You can quickly sort online by color, style, price, material, light filtration, and even installation type to narrow down your search. 

While JCPenney used to offer in-home custom window treatments, that option was recently closed, so be aware you’ll need to do installing and measuring on your own. You can have the blinds shipped right to your door or opt for same-day, in-store pickup if available at a store in your area. Also be aware that if you opt for a custom size to your exact specifications, those orders can only be cancelled within 24 hours of the initial transaction to receive a refund — so make sure you’ve measured twice before ordering.

Popular options:

Top-Down Bottom-Up Cordless Honeycomb Shade (small)Essentials Custom Vertical Blinds (small)Border Cordless Light-Filtering Roman Shade (small)
What to consider when buying shades and blinds

Use: A main consideration when choosing blinds or shades should be which room they’re for and what the primary function is. For example, you may want to spring for pricier blackout shades in the bedroom while a light-filtering option that still blocks glare may do the trick for your home office. 

Style and material: Material and overall style will largely be dictated by budget, personal preference, and use. A wood shutter versus a linen blind will give your room a completely different look. Additionally, consider how much privacy you want and whether you still want some light to filter through for a less closed-in feel, as this will help guide your choice on things like opacity percentage, whether you need them to be UV blocking, etc.

Size: The size of your windows will play a huge role in the style blinds you choose and where you’re able to shop. If you have standard-sized windows that are easy to fit, you’ll likely be able to go for a more wallet-friendly option by simply choosing from a few width and length options. However, if you have unusual windows, you may need to pay more for a truly custom fit. Similarly, you may want to think about splitting up huge windows into two shades if you don’t want to spring for pricey automatic options since having just one roller large shade can get heavy and hard to pull up and down. 

Budget: The range of prices on blinds varies wildly, even at the same store. Have a clear budget range in mind when going into the shopping process if possible so you can start with options that best fall within your limits. If you’re completely unsure where to start, it’s highly worth it to sign up for a virtual consultation with a store to get a basic idea of what your space will require and a general price point range. Custom sizing, materials, finishes, as well as automatic options will all cost significantly more. 

If you’re comfortable measuring and installing the blinds yourself, you can save big on installation costs.

See more great home buying guides

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The 8 best comforters for your bed in 2021

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When you’re shopping for a bed, salespeople will tell you not to skimp on quality. After all, you’re in bed eight hours per day – maybe more. That’s equal to one-third of your life.

And with so much of your time spent in bed, you might as well be warm while you’re there, which is why investing in a high-quality comforter is key. A wide variety of comforters are available at all different price points, depending on the type of fill, color options, insulation level, and size. Learn more about different comforter types and fills here.

Here are the best comforters you can buy in 2021

The best comforter overall

best comforter

The Topsleepy Luxurious All Size Goose Down Comforter provides just the right level of warmth at a great price point.

Pros: Low price point, good construction quality for the money, provides comfort in all types of weather, easy to clean, goose down fill, baffle design keeps down from shifting

Cons: Low thread count allows some fill to escape, only 50% goose down fill

The Topsleepy Luxurious All Size Goose Down Comforter will keep you warm and cozy all year round with its 50% goose down filling and baffle stitching. It’s not too heavy or too warm, so you can use it most of the year. 

Since it’s a plain white comforter and it doesn’t have the highest thread count at 300, you may want to put it inside a duvet cover. A duvet cover will protect the comforter from staining and losing feathers and it’ll also add some color or a fun pattern to your bed. You can check out the best duvet covers on Insider Reviews for some ideas.

Additionally, the Topsleepy Luxurious Goose Down Comforter is very easy to clean. Just use lukewarm water to spot clean the comforter and air dry it. A duvet cover will keep it even cleaner and ensure it lasts longer, though.

Should you have any problems with it, Topsleepy says it’s guaranteed for 15 years. You can check the instruction book it comes with for information on how to send the comforter back for a refund or exchange. The price is also much more reasonable than most other comforters, making it a good pick for most people.

The best comforter from a startup

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The Brooklinen Down Comforter is super luxurious and well made with a 700 fill power and 400 thread count.

Pros: Made in Canada, 700 fill power, real goose down, 400 thread count cover, lifetime warranty

Cons: More pricey

If you don’t like buying from big-name companies and you’d much prefer checking out a startup, Brooklinen is our favorite new bedding brand. Its down comforter is a great buy.

It’s hand-made in the Hutterite communities of Northwest Canada, and contains 700 fill power white down, making it extra cozy and warm. The fill is covered by a 400 thread count cotton sateen shell that’s soft to the touch, just like Brooklinen’s sheets, which are among our favorites.

Brooklinen has a lifetime warranty, too, so if you don’t like it for whatever reason, the company offers free exchanges or replacements. 

For those who experience allergies, don’t worry — Brooklinen offers a down alternative version, too. 

Meanwhile, if you know you like weighted blankets but don’t like how they may shift or slide on your existing comforter, Brooklinen also offers a weighted comforter, which we’ve tested and loved for its thick, fluffy feel and built-in heft. 

The best colorful comforter

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The LaCrosse Down Comforter from The Company Store works great in all seasons and it comes in fun color choices.

Pros: Large number of color options, works well in all kinds of weather, includes loops to keep comforter in place on the bed, high-quality sewn-through design

Cons: Pricey, lower thread count than some of our other picks

If you’re tired of boring white comforters, The Company Store LaCrosse Down Comforter is a smart choice. It carries a slightly above average price point, but you’ll be able to find just the right shade to go with your bedroom’s décor. 

You can get the comforter in colors like ivory, russet, bubblegum, walnut, navy, chino, coal, guava, and silver. It has a 250-thread-count combed cotton shell that’s Oeko-Tex certified, so you know it’s chemical-free. It’s made with a sewn-through 12-inch box construction that ensures the 100% duck down filling never spills out.

If you do want to pop it in a duvet cover, the comforter has corner loops to attach duvets with ties. You can check out the best duvet covers on Insider Reviews for some ideas. Additionally, the LaCrosse comforter is machine washable for easy cleaning.

Even though this comforter provides a good deal of warmth with its fill power of 500 to 550, it still works great in summer, too. 

The best budget comforter

best comforter 4

If you can’t afford the luxury of a down comforter, the LinenSpa All-Season Down Alternative is an excellent, affordable option.

Pros: Extremely low price point, multiple sizes and colors available, machine washable design, hypoallergenic materials in the fill, comfortable and soft

Cons: Fill may leak out, on the thinner side

Those of you who are seeking an inexpensive comforter that will keep you cozy will love the  LinenSpa All-Season Down Alternative comforter

Although it doesn’t have goose or duck down inside, the LinenSpa comforter features a down alternative, which is hypoallergenic and quite warm. It’s machine washable and sports box baffle stitching to keep the fill inside where it belongs. In addition to classic white, it comes in black, navy, sand, and charcoal, as well as blue and white striped. 

The comforter’s fill may poke through the threads, but it seems to be a rare occurrence. It’s also on the thinner side, meaning you might need to pair it with an extra blanket in the winter. 

Despite the quibbles, it’s still a solid down alternative option for those who are on a budget. 

 

The best luxury comforter

best_comforter_ _Highland_Feather_Carmel_Hutterite_ _from_Amazon

The Highland Feather Carmel Hutterite Goose Down Comforter offers well above average stitching, fill power, and comfort.

Pros: High-quality construction, high fill power number, all goose down fill, anti-microbial treatment to combat allergens, extremely soft, excellent for providing warmth in winter

Cons: High price point, too heavy for summer usage 

Those of you who are seeking a high-end comforter know that it’s going to cost you a pretty penny to get full goose down with a high fill power. However, the Highland Feather Carmel Hutterite Goose Down Comforter is slightly less expensive than some of its competitors in the luxury space.  

The comforter comes with a 15-year warranty, a 725 fill power, and 100% imported goose down fill. Highland Feather applies an anti-microbial treatment to the goose down fill to prevent problems with allergens. It’s pillowy soft, warm, thick, and luxurious.

It’s a plain white comforter, so you may want to add a duvet cover for protection and style. Duvet covers will add another layer of softness, a fun color or design, and durability to your pricey duvet.

This is not a lightweight comforter. The super king size of the Highland Feather Carmel Hutterite Goose Down comforter with a deluxe fill weighs 50 ounces, so it’s better suited for use in the winter when you want to be cozy than for use in the summer when you get hot at night.

Nonetheless, there’s no denying that this is a well-made, high-end goose down comforter that’ll keep you snuggly warm in bed for years to come. That alone makes it worth the high price tag.

The best hypoallergenic down alternative comforter

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The Superior Solid White Down Alternative Comforter has a soft poly-fill that will be more comfortable if you are allergic to feather or goose down.

Pros: Good price point, hypoallergenic poly-fiber fill, plenty of fill weight for warmth, extremely soft comforter, fill doesn’t create noise as you’re moving around during the night

Cons: Comforter is shorter than average, stitching and shape may show some wear after multiple trips through the washing machine

Finding a comforter with just the right mix of fill that’s also hypoallergenic can be a challenge, but we like the Superior Solid White Down Alternative Comforter with its warm design and affordable price tag.

The king size Superior Solid comforter includes 100 ounces of fill weight, which is sure to keep you warm during cooler months. 

The soft fill makes no noise as you move the comforter around, which will help you get a full night of sleep. Double stitching makes the comforter more durable, but it may not hold its shape and stitching after a couple of trips through the washing machine.

 

 

The best goose down comforter

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There’s something extra luxurious about a true goose down comforter, and the Puredown Goose Down Comforter fits that description perfectly.

Pros: Good price point for a goose down comforter, works equally well in summer and winter, good stitching design to hold fill in place, high build quality that means comforter should last a while

Cons: Thin filling that won’t provide enough warmth for some people, pricey compared to some of our other picks

For those who do not have any allergies to goose feathers, a down comforter is a great option for a luxurious bed covering that also looks great. Our favorite goose down comforter is the Puredown Goose Down Comforter because it’s incredibly soft and warm with its 600 fill power

The comforter uses a baffle box stitching design that’s subtle and attractive. The stitching also helps keep the goose down in place so there are no cold spots.

A word of warning: you might need to add an extra blanket if you’re not a warm sleeper because the goose down filling is thinner than expected. 

 

The best 1,200 thread count comforter

best_comforter_ _Egyptian_Bedding_Goose_Comforter_ _from_Amazon

If you want a soft fabric to go with a great fill weight in your comforter, the Egyptian Bedding 1200 Thread Count Goose Down Comforter is a great buy.

Pros: Excellent thread count equals high-quality fabric, looks like a luxury hotel comforter, 90% goose down fill, size of comforter has plenty of overhang for a king size bed, extra warm 

Cons: Price is a little high, weak baffle box stitching may not allow fill to remain properly spread throughout comforter

Perhaps you like the idea of a high thread count in your comforter because you like to pretend you’re spending the night in a five-star luxury hotel. (Trust us, your partner’s dirty underwear on the floor and the snoring dog in the corner kind of ruin the illusion.)

Once you’ve eliminated those distractions, we’d suggest the Egyptian Bedding 1200 Thread Count Goose Down Comforter to provide luxury style and comfort in your bedroom. Thread count measures the number of threads that can be woven into a square inch of fabric, with higher numbers yielding better comfort and quality.

The Egyptian Bedding comforter includes 90% down and 10% small feather fill, which results in a lightweight, yet warm and comfortable, product. Its 750 fill power is pretty high, too.

A word of warning: we came across some online reviews that say the baffle box stitching is not of a high quality, meaning the fill doesn’t stay in place well, leading to cold spots.

 

What we’re testing next

best comforter 7

Equinox White Quilted Comforter, $29: Senior reporter Connie Chen has tried and continues to use this Amazon favorite, which was a contender for the best budget comforter. It’s a down alternative comforter and hypoallergenic, not to mention soft and breathable. Plus, it has corner tabs to keep a duvet cover in place, if you choose to use one. The only issue with this comforter is that despite its overall breathability, it still runs a bit warm in the summer.  Read our full review of the Equinox comforter here.

Buffy Comforters, $129-$279: We’ve tried both of eco-friendly startup Buffy’s popular comforters, the original Cloud as well as the Breeze. They’re both on the flat side, and as The Wirecutter points out, maybe not as environmentally friendly as they seem. Overall, we like the silky and comfortable feel and the 7-day free trial. Read our full review of the Buffy Cloud comforter here and the Buffy Breeze comforter here.

Comforter FAQs

Understanding terms for comforters

Shopping for a comforter comes with its own set of terminology. Understanding each of these terms will help you find a comforter to meet your needs.

  • Baffle box vs. sewn-through: A baffle box comforter is sewn with flexible boxes that create pockets. The idea is that the fill inside the comforter cannot shift too far out of its box, ensuring the fill remains properly spread throughout the entire area of the comforter. Meanwhile, a sewn-through comforter has sewing through both the top and bottom layers of the comforter, creating patterns such as diamonds, channels, or curved rectangles. The fill does not shift at all with a sewn-through comforter, performing slightly better than a baffle box comforter in terms of evenly distributing warmth.
  • Duvet vs. comforter: For most comforters and duvets sold in North America, the terms are used interchangeably, as the bedding company Crane & Canopy explains. Technically, a duvet is very similar to a comforter but doesn’t have an outer shell, meaning it’s usually placed inside a duvet cover. 
  • Fill power: This measures the amount of volume that one ounce of down occupies. A larger fill power number equals a comforter that provides a greater level of insulation. In other words, the comforter with the higher fill power number offers greater warmth without being heavier. A fill power of around 600 provides average warmth and durability. Higher fill power numbers have greater durability and insulation; lower numbers won’t provide as much warmth, which may be desirable in warmer climates or in the summer.
  • Thread count: Similar to a bedsheet, the thread count in a comforter indicates the number of yarns within an inch of the fabric. Higher thread counts equal finer yarns, which are more comfortable and softer than larger yarns. Because a comforter probably won’t be touching your skin, thread count for softness isn’t quite as important as with a bedsheet. More importantly for a comforter though, a higher thread count ensures the fill will remain inside, rather than leaking out through gaps between yarns.

Types of fills for comforters

The fill used inside the comforter plays a key role in your enjoyment of it.

  • Down alternative: If the comforter doesn’t use goose down or duck down as a filler, you may see down alternative listed in the specifications. This can include cotton fibers, cotton-polyester blend fibers, and gel fibers. Gel fiber is the most expensive type of down alternative, as it provides the most softness.
  • Down cluster: The down cluster is the fluffiest portion of a duck feather or goose feather, existing under the main part of the feather. When used in a comforter, it provides greater warmth than the main part of the feather. A comforter manufacturer may list the percentage of down cluster used in the fill in the blanket’s specifications. A higher percentage of down cluster equals a higher quality comforter and a higher fill power number.
  • Duck down: In North America, duck down is a more common comforter fill material than goose down. As a general rule, duck down is not as fluffy as goose down, so it’s not often found in the highest-end comforters.
  • Goose down: Goose down is the most common fill material in European-made comforters. It provides a little more fluff versus duck down on average, although exceptions do occur. 

Check out our other great guides for bedding

brooklinen

 

 

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Overstock’s 4-day sale features new flash deals on home and kitchen products every day

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

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Overstock’s flash sale features up to 50% off spring decor and up to 40% off patio furniture through April 8.

This particular sale is also a great opportunity to update your home office space with deals on desks starting at just $116. Each day, there are extra savings on select categories, like an extra 20% off rugs, so check back to the site often to continue saving.

Shop the Overstock 4-day flash sale now or keep scrolling for our favorite deals

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The 5 best bed sheets we tested in 2021

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  • Good sheets help you sleep better. It’s important to buy a set that’s comfortable and long-lasting.
  • We tested 14 sheets and consulted three experts to find the best sheets for every need.
  • The L.L.Bean Percale Sheet Set is soft, breathable, and made from durable extra-long-staple cotton.

Even if you have the perfect mattress, it can be hard to fully enjoy your time in bed without a comfortable set of sheets.

Though bedding brands are often quick to show off high thread counts, they’re less important than you might think. The type of fiber and weave also help determine the sheet’s texture, breathability, and durability. Percale and sateen, for example, are both made of cotton but have different weave structures, resulting in different feels.

“When finding sheets that will last and provide comfort and a relaxing night’s sleep, take a look at the material first and thread count second,” said Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design and creative director at Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton uses 200-300 thread count cotton sheets from Frette in its rooms.

Dennis Chan, director of retail product at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said his team looks at the fabric drape (the way the fabric hangs), hand feel, and construction of weave when sourcing bedding for hotels worldwide. Four Seasons produces its own line of bedding in its Four Seasons at Home collection, featuring 350-thread count sateen weave cotton sheets.

Top hotel brands like Four Seasons and Kimpton outfit their rooms in 100% long-staple cotton sheets because they’re soft, breathable, and durable, resulting in luxurious and memorable sleep experiences for their guests. Long-staple cotton has longer fibers, so it’s stronger and softer than shorter-staple cotton, which is why we also generally recommend 100% long-staple cotton in our best picks. However, we’ve also included options like flannel and linen, which hold heat differently and may be more appropriate for specific seasons or those who tend to sleep cold or hot.

To test the best sheets, we washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times, looked at how each set fit on a 10-inch-thick mattress, and slept on each set to note texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness. Read more about how we tested in our methodology and consult our FAQs section for more on thread count, materials and fiber types, and fabric care, including input from a textiles scientist.

Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021

The best sheets overall

best sheets 2021 L.L. Bean pima cotton sheets

The L.L.Bean percale sheets feel amazing on your skin — simultaneously light, crisp, and soft — and prove that quality materials are more important than thread count.

Pros: High-quality construction, very soft and comfortable, fitted sheet is labeled, accessible price

Cons: Lack of prints and patterns, fitted sheet may be loose on thinner mattresses

Of all the percale cotton sheets I tested, L.L.Bean’s set stood out for its ultra softness and comfort. It’s our overall best pick because it boasts a bit of everything that most shoppers are looking for: lightweight, breathable, and cool fabric; crisp yet soft feel; and strong construction that can reliably stand up to multiple washes. 

The sheets are made from pima cotton, which is a high-quality, extra long-staple cotton. Karen Leonas, who holds a doctorate in textile chemistry and is a professor of textile sciences at the Wilson College of Textiles, NC State University told us extra long-staple cotton is even stronger and more resistant to abrasion than long-staple cotton. That’s likely why the L.L.Bean sheets are extra soft and durable, even though the 280-thread count is on the lower end of the spectrum. They also had a great feel even after many washes and experienced no loose threads or shrinkage in the last three months.

The fitted sheet fit generally well and never slipped off, but there was a little excess (it fits up to 15-inch mattresses) on my IKEA Haugesund mattress. I loved that the long and short sides were labeled, a thoughtful touch that always sped up the annoying task of putting on my sheets. (When you’re constantly trying and washing different sheets, you notice and appreciate these things.) 

The sheets are available in a handful of light colors and they have hemstitched detailing (decorative threading at the edges). If you prefer a simple look that fits into pretty much any room style, the L.L.Bean sheets won’t disappoint. If you like fun prints and patterns, try Brooklinen’s sheets. They came in a close second to L.L.Bean for comfort and durability and are also reasonably priced.  

There’s nothing gimmicky or “special” about these L.L.Bean sheets and that’s what makes them so great. They’re simply well-made, extremely comfortable, and dependable — the best you could want out of something you’re sleeping on every night. 

The best cooling sheets for summer

best sheets 2021 what else we recommend

The cool, airy, and beautiful linen sheets from Sijo will be your summer favorite, or if you regularly sleep hot, a durable yearlong standby.

Pros: Stays dry and cool, casually wrinkled style, flexible flat sheet option 

Cons: Doesn’t come in as many colors and sizes as competitors, may experience some shedding

Linen is a contentious textile. It wrinkles very easily, feels a bit rough, and is notoriously expensive. On the other hand, some prefer the casual, lived-in look, and it does get softer with time and use. Most importantly, because it’s made from hollow flax fibers, which absorb moisture and let air pass through, linen is breathable and stays dry even on the warmest, stuffiest nights. 

Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I’ve tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And, they get softer and better after multiple washes. If your preconception of linen is that it’s too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo’s sheets will change your mind. They’re also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March). 

I personally loved the wrinkled look, especially combined with the soothing Blush color. I’m also a fan of Sky, a dusky blue. The color and overall construction have held up well so far, and the fabric continues to feel both substantial and lightweight. You should expect some shedding in the first few washes — it’s a natural part of the process but a little annoying to pick off your bed.

Unlike with MagicLinen, I didn’t have any sizing issues with Sijo’s sheets. All the sets have a 15-inch depth. You can also opt in or out of a flat sheet, which provides great flexibility and can bring the price of your purchase down.

The best flannel sheets for winter

best sheets 2021 Pinzon flannel sheets

It’s hard to imagine snuggling in anything but Pinzon‘s thick flannel sheets on a cold winter night. They’ll keep you warm and cozy without causing you to overheat.

Pros: Plush and cozy feel, heavyweight, breathable, affordable 

Cons: Lots of dryer lint, only available in solid colors, may be too warm for hot sleepers

Imagine you’re nestled in a cabin in the woods, far, far away from the people and bustle of regular life. There’s a fire crackling nearby and you have a book in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. That’s what it feels like sleeping in these flannel sheets, even if the reality is that you’re laying your head to rest in a modern city high-rise. 

There’s no better fabric than flannel to bundle your body in during fall and winter (and even beyond, if you don’t sleep hot). Pinzon’s flannel is thick, soft, and cozy from the very first use and the comforting feeling only gets better over time. They’re velvety and a little fuzzy, but were never itchy and uncomfortable. Though the sheets are very warm, they never felt stifling or unbreathable, despite the fact that I sometimes sleep warm. However, if you regularly sleep hot, the flannel sheets may be too stifling.

These sheets make it dangerously tempting to take midday naps curled up like a cat or to sleep in every day as if it were a Sunday free of commitments and appointments. I consistently felt like I slept better and deeper because of how warm and comfortable these sheets are. Fortunately, there’s been no shrinkage or pilling to get in the way of that comfort.

Still, there are a few small inconveniences. Out of the package, they have a slight chemical odor, so you’ll need to wash them before the first use. Also, be prepared to empty out a thick layer of fuzz from your dryer lint trap every time you wash them. If you have thicker or high-loft pillows, the pillowcases may be a tight fit. I used them on my Casper and Leesa pillows (both moderately-sized pillows), and the pillowcases were a bit difficult to pull on.

The best hotel sheets

best sheets 2021 H by Frette hotel sheets

When you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a night to sleep at a luxury hotel, H by Frette‘s smooth and luxurious sateen sheets will take you there instead.

Pros: Luxury hotel-approved, quality materials, washes well, brand has long manufacturing history

Cons: Only available in white

Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Kimpton hotels worldwide turn to this iconic name for their bedding needs. We’re talking about none other than Italian luxury brand Frette, once the official maker of linens for the Italian royal family. 

Sleeping in Frette’s soft and smooth sateen sheets, you’ll certainly feel like royalty. H by Frette is Frette’s consumer line of linens and whisks you away into the sumptuous hotel bed of your dreams. But rather than paying for just a single night in a high-end hotel, you’re dropping $300 for years of hotel luxury in your own room. 

The sheets are, of course, only available in white, and you can get them in sateen or percale depending on your preference. The resulting bed looks simple, clean, and fresh, and while housekeeping staff isn’t included with your purchase, you’ll probably feel motivated anyway to maintain the signature hotel style yourself because of how sleek and composed the all-white look is.

Frette uses 100% extra long-staple cotton, so even though the set doesn’t have the extraordinarily high thread count (300) you might expect from hotel sheets, it feels very soft. Extra long-staple cotton is also very durable — important for hotels where housekeeping teams are washing each room’s sheets constantly, and important for you as a consumer if you want to be sure your investment goes a long way. 

Sateen sheets can be too warm for me sometimes, but Frette’s felt perfect and cooler than other sateen sets I’ve tried. The sheets have a subtle gloss and a silky feel and they remain comfortable after every wash. 

You’ll find less expensive and equally comfortable sheets in the rest of this guide, but if you specifically want the sheets used in and approved by hundreds of hotels, then you’ll be very happy with Frette’s. Whenever I rotate through my sheets, I look forward to this set because I know it’ll feel like a treat.

Pro tip: “When recreating this [hotel] experience at home, think about using high lofting pillows, quality sheets and a plush duvet with a duvet cover for the ultimate luxury experience,” says Chan. 

The best sheets on a budget

best sheets 2021 Threshold budget sheets

Threshold‘s sheets are popular among Target shoppers because they’re comfortable, thoughtfully designed, and best of all, affordable.

Pros: Affordable, great fit 

Cons: May trap body oils more, smell terrible out of the package

It’s the price tag that’ll catch your eye first, then the great fit and soft feel that’ll sell you completely on these budget-friendly sheets from Target brand Threshold. Of all the sets I tested, Threshold’s fitted sheet was the easiest to put on and fit my mattress the best, despite being designed for mattresses up to 18-inch deep. The extra stretch in the corners of the sheet made a big difference and helped the sheet cling to my mattress without showing excess material on top. It also has a top and bottom label to speed up the fitting process. 

Once on, the sateen sheets are smooth and silky. They’re made from 100% cotton and have a 400-thread count, which is on the higher end of all the sets I tried. I noticed after some use, however, that they seem to trap body oils more readily and feel greasier than other sets, making them less pleasant to sleep on. I wondered if this was because Target uses a short-staple cotton, or if they applied some kind of treatment over the sheets to give them their “performance” qualities (wrinkle-resistant, bleach friendly), but the brand didn’t respond to my requests for additional clarification. The problem does seem to go away if I wash the sheets more often.

Either way, I had a comfortable experience overall; they just weren’t the best of all the sheets I tried. And though they’re touted as “performance sheets,” most notably as being wrinkle-free, they certainly wrinkle. The best way you can get rid of the wrinkles, as with all cotton sheets, is to iron them. 

Be warned — the sheets have a strong sour and chemical smell when you first take them out of their packaging. The smell lingers even after the sheets are aired out for a couple of days, so you’ll definitely want to wash them first.

If you’re on a budget, a college student, or a frequent host looking to outfit a guest bed, these sheets are a smart decision. We’re continuing to test and wash them to look for any durability issues, but so far we haven’t run into any. 

What else we tested

magiclinen slide

What else we recommend and why 

Brooklinen: As I mentioned earlier, it was a tight race between Brooklinen and L.L.Bean. We still highly recommend Brooklinen because the brand offers incredible value for long-lasting, comfortable, and beautiful sheets. But the set we tested (Brooklinen’s most popular) may be too warm for some people because of the sateen weave, which is why we ultimately picked L.L.Bean’s cooler percale. Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.

Boll & Branch: Boll & Branch uses cotton that’s both GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified, so if you live an organic lifestyle, or are trying to incorporate more organic products into your cart, you’ll love these ethically and sustainably made sheets. The sheets are comfortable and durable but keep in mind that the manufacturing process and certifications do come at a cost. Read our full review of Boll & Branch sheets here.

MagicLinen: MagicLinen recently lost its spot as our top linen pick because it wasn’t as comfortable or affordable as Sijo. There are a few reasons you might still want to buy MagicLinen, though: it comes in a lot more colors and sizes, including twin and deep-depth. If you’re willing to pay a bit more to find a specific style and fit, MagicLinen’s a good place to shop durable and airy linen sheets. Read our full review of MagicLinen sheets here

Riley: Riley’s percale sheets are softer than other percale sheets, but not more so than L.L.Bean’s. They felt cool and held up to all our washes well. I also appreciated the fair price point, and the flexibility of opting for the add-on flat sheet, instead of being stuck with one you don’t want. 

What we do not recommend and why 

Crane & Canopy: We liked the comfortable feel and embroidery of these extra-long staple, 400-thread count cotton sheets. Like L.L.Bean and Brooklinen, they’re made from high-quality cotton and have a mid-tier thread count — but they’re a lot more expensive. Since there are no other distinct features to set Crane & Canopy apart, we prefer L.L.Bean and Brooklinen for their better value.

Serena & Lily: The home brand has many pretty and composed sheet options, like this Classic Ring Sheet Set, which has a percale weave and a 310-thread count. The feel is indeed crisp and cool, but it’s a bit pricey for what you get and our other sheet picks offer better value. We also noticed after the first wash that there were already some loose threads on the pillowcases. 

Italic: Long-staple cotton percale sheets made by the same manufacturer of Frette, Four Seasons, and St. Regis sheets for $75? The Slumber Cotton set is definitely enticing for this reason, and it’s comfortable to sleep in. However, Italic has a $100/year membership model, so buying this set only makes sense if you plan on purchasing other goods from the site. We recommend first browsing the rest of the online shop to see if you’re interested in the other home products, clothing, and accessories. Otherwise, you’ll be paying $175, which isn’t any more competitive than our picks above. 

Ettitude: Ettitude’s claim to fame is using bamboo lyocell for its sheets. They’re made from 100% organic bamboo with a water-efficient manufacturing process and the result is uniquely soft, silky, and cool. However, we noticed they’re more delicate than other fabrics and the sheets showed more pilling and abrasion after we washed them.

Bespoke PostA defining characteristic of percale is that it’s crisp and airy, like your favorite button-down shirt. The problem I experienced with Bespoke Post’s new percale sheets are that they’re too crisp and can rustle loudly if you move in your sleep (which is probably most of us). It also held onto and showed body oils easily, and you’d need to wash the set frequently. 

Our testing methodology

best sheets 2021 testing methodology

Here’s how we tested the sheets over a period of five months. Knowing that this is a fairly short amount of time, we’ll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.

  1. Washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times. Usually, we washed the sheets in a cold cycle with gentle detergent and dried them on a low tumble cycle. 
  2. Put the fitted sheet on a 10-inch-thick mattress and noted slipping, sliding, post-wash shrinkage, and stretchiness of elastic. 
  3. Slept on each set for at least one week and noted texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness.

What we’re testing next

best sheets 2021 what we look forward to testing

BrooklinenBrooklinen’s sateen sheets usually get all the love, but we’re also interested in its other fabrics. Each set of its cozy made-in-Portugal linen sheets is individually garment-dyed, so you’ll feel like you have a unique piece of bedding. 

West Elm: West Elm’s Fair Trade-certified linen sheets are popular among linen lovers. They come in around the same price as MagicLinen’s and are also available in many beautiful colors, so we’ll mainly be comparing their comfort and durability. 

Kassatex: These long-staple cotton, 300-thread count sateen sheets seem promising, especially considering a Queen set is only $100. We look forward to putting these inexpensive sheets through all our tests to see how they stand up over time and how they compare to our current picks. 

ParachuteParachute’s name often comes up along with fellow direct-to-consumer darlings Brooklinen and Boll & Branch, all of which launched around the same time. We’re testing its sateen sheets and loving their smooth, soft feel so far. We need to sleep in them and wash them more to determine long-term durability. 

FAQs

Sheets FAQ best sheets 2021

Does thread count matter?

Yes, to a certain extent. However, don’t use it as your sole determining factor because its definition can be manipulated, and after a certain number, the difference in feel and durability is negligible. 

Thread count is the number of yarns per inch, horizontally and vertically. Leonas tells us that a ply yarn (two single yarns twisted together) has traditionally been considered one yarn, but in recent years, some brands have been using total ply yarn count as the thread count, resulting in an artificially high number. 

Remember that thread count only applies to cotton sheets and single yarn weaves. All of our best cotton sheets fall in the 300-500 range, and you likely won’t need anything beyond that.

What are the different types of sheets?

The quality and type of material do matter. Below, we define, compare, and contrast different materials, fabrics, and terms you’ll often run into while shopping for sheets. 

Drape: The fluidity or rigidity of a fabric. A fabric with high or fluid drape, such as silk, is flowy and clings more to the object. A fabric with low drape is stiffer and holds its shape more. 

Long-staple cotton: Cotton with longer-staple fibers that result in smoother and stronger yarn. This is compared to short-staple cotton, which has fiber ends that stick out and cause the sheets to be rougher and less abrasion-resistant. Brands will generally call out when they use long-staple cotton; otherwise, you can probably assume it’s short-staple. Leonas says the industry definition of long-staple cotton is a fiber length of 1.15-1.22 inches.

Egyptian cotton: Cotton grown in Egypt. It’s often assumed that Egyptian cotton is long-staple, but it could also be lower-quality, short-staple cotton that just happens to be from Egypt, so be careful of this labeling, and look specifically for “long-staple cotton.” 

Pima cotton: Also known by its trademark name, Supima cotton. Extra long-staple cotton that is grown only in the US and has a fiber length of at least 1.5 inches. Extra long-staple cotton is even smoother, more flexible, and more resistant to pilling than long-staple cotton.

Percale: A type of cotton weave where one thread is woven another thread into a tight, grid pattern. It has a matte, crisp feel. It’s airy and more breathable. 

Sateen: A type of cotton weave where three or four threads are woven over one thread into a looser grid pattern. It has a smooth, silky feel and a slight sheen to it. Compared to percale, it’s less breathable and may not be suitable for sleepers who run hot. According to Leonas, sateen has a tendency to snag more easily and also show dirt more readily, due to its unique “float” weave. If you enjoy the feel and look of sateen, keep in mind that sheets made using this weave require a little more care and maintenance. 

Polyester: A type of synthetic fiber that may be blended with cotton or used to make microfiber. It’s less breathable and traps moisture more easily, and it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. 

Microfiber: A type of synthetic material made with very fine polyester fibers. It’s very soft and drapeable, but doesn’t breathe well. 

Lyocell: Also known as tencel. A type of fiber made from wood (often eucalyptus) pulp. It’s soft, silky, and breathable. 

Linen: A type of fiber made from flax plants. It’s slightly rigid, with a rougher texture, and it feels cool and breathable. It wrinkles easily. 

Flannel: A type of fabric made with thickly woven wool or cotton. It’s brushed to give it a slight soft and fuzzy texture, and it feels warm.

What are the different sheet certifications?

You may notice that some of our best picks have a Standard 100 by Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final sheet product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it’s not the only certification out there, it’s widely used and known in the textiles industry. Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another certification, used specifically for organic textiles. GOTS-certified sheets contain at least 95% certified organic fibers and meet environmental and social standards at every stage of processing and manufacturing.

What’s the best way to care for your sheets?

According to various bedding brands, you should wash your sheets every 1-2 weeks, and alternate sets to preserve their quality. We recommend following the specific care instructions that come with the sheet set you buy. Based on our experience, brands generally advise washing the sheets in a cold or warm cycle with gentle detergent, then drying in a low tumble cycle. Hot water can make colors bleed, cause shrinkage, and weaken fibers. Drying at a high heat can also weaken fibers and cause pilling.

What’s the best way to prevent wrinkles?

For all its great properties, cotton naturally wrinkles, and that’s thanks to its molecular structure. Leonas explained to us that wrinkles basically happen when hydrogen bonds form as your sheets bump around in the dryer. “The only way to get rid of those bonds is to flip some water on it, or apply high heat. That’s why we use a lot of steam when we press things,” she says. 

If you want to get rid of wrinkles, the best way is to iron them before fitting them onto your bed, or removing them from your dryer a little before the cycle ends and fitting them onto your bed while slightly damp.

Are alternative fibers any good? 

Alternative fibers like bamboo lyocell or microfiber are appealing because they’re often very comfortable and affordable. In our testing experience, however, their durability doesn’t match up to that of cotton or linen. They’re more prone to pilling, abrasion, and shrinkage. Plus, the production and care of these alternative fibers can be murky and bad for the environment. The shedding of microfiber, for example, is polluting the ocean

Check out our other great bedding guides

best weighted blanket bearaby napper
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I’ve used this $130 weighted King-sized blanket for the past two years – and I might miss it more than my family when I travel

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HomeSmart blanket review 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyProduct Card

With the current state of the world, you can’t blame anyone for having anxiety. It’s almost become the norm. There are countless ways to deal with your anxieties, but one healthy way – or at least non-destructive way – is to wrap yourself in a weighted blanket.

Though there aren’t any conclusive scientific studies one way or the other, limited research suggests weighted blankets can alleviate anxiety symptoms so you can get a good night’s sleep. Or, you might even drape it over your body while you work from home on a cold day as I am right now.

The best blanket I’ve tested so far is the HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket. It’s large enough to cover me and my giant feet as I stretch out my six-foot, 200-pound frame, it breathes well to keep me from overheating at night, and I can just toss it in the washing machine when it’s dirty. Here are my experiences using the blanket over the past two years.

Design

The HomeSmart Products Weighted Blanket gets its weight from tiny glass beads that are sewn into the 400-thread count organic cotton fabric. The blanket is made up of several compartments that keep the beads – and thus, weight – evenly distributed. The pockets are approximately 5 inches by 5 inches.

HomeSmart offers several blanket/duvet cover bundles. Or, you can buy your blanket and duvet separately. There are also countless varieties ranging from kids’ size (40 inches by 60 inches) to King (88 inches by 104 inches). The weights also range from 10 pounds to 30 pounds.

When choosing a weighted blanket, a good place to start is with one that’s about 10% of your body weight. However, since the size of the blanket and whether you are sharing it can affect how much weight is actually on you, it may take some trial and error to find the best weight for your preferences. For instance, I weigh more than my wife, but she prefers much more weight than I do. My best advice is to try before you buy when possible or look for a solid return policy. You want a blanket that “hugs” and not crushes you.

I tested HomeSmart’s dark grey King blanket in two weights – 15 pounds and 25 pounds – along with the duvet cover in navy/grey.

Setup process

If you decide to use the weighted blanket without a cover, then there’s essentially no setup process. You simply take the blanket out of the packaging and engulf yourself.

On the other hand, putting the duvet on the blanket took me about 10 minutes. In theory, the blanket stays in place with a series of ties. Unfortunately, the ties on the blanket didn’t precisely line up with those inside the duvet. Consequently, over time, the blanket starts to bunch up inside the cover. When this happens, you need to unzip the duvet and work the blanket back into place. This is easy enough to do, but it’s an annoying extra step when you just want to relax.

What makes it stand out

HomeGoods king sized blanket

My wife suffers from anxiety and generally has trouble sleeping. And, since weighted blankets have grown in popularity, she has become a connoisseur of sorts. I asked her if the HomeSmart blanket helped with her anxiety, and she didn’t hesitate: “Yes, definitely.”

We have been testing the HomeSmart weighted blankets for almost two years now. We use the blankets in place of our regular comforters. My wife prefers the 25-pounder, and I prefer the 15-pounder. We both appreciate how breathable each blanket is on its own. However, once you add the cover, it’s easy to overheat. The blanket feels like a good quilt, but with the minky fleece cover, it’s softer and plusher.

Generally, my wife and I use separate weighted blankets when sleeping or lounging, but occasionally, we like to cuddle under one of the blankets. With its impressive dimensions, similar to those of a regular king-size comforter, the HomeSmart weighted blanket is large enough to cover both of us, even if we are not snuggling close.

I weighed both of the blankets, and they are as heavy as advertised. The duvet cover adds an extra six pounds to the weight of each, so if you plan on buying a cover, you might want to choose a lighter blanket.

I also like that the blanket is machine washable. The manufacturer recommends machine washing cold and tumble drying on low, which is what I did. The blanket dries quickly in the dryer; on low, it only takes about an hour.

A good return policy is important with any sleep products since you don’t know if it’s right for you until you actually try it. This is especially true with weighted blankets since you may not know which weight is best for your body. If possible, I recommend trying a friend’s weighted blanket before committing to buying one. When you order from Amazon, you typically have 30 days from the delivery to return items for any reason. The fine print says that the item must be new and unopened, but in my experience, they accept opened items as well.

Cons to consider

After about 18 months of use, the 25-pound blanket started to lose some glass beads here and there. I wasn’t able to pinpoint the source of the leak, but it’s likely a small one based on how few beads escaped. My guess is one of my pets inadvertently made a small hole while engaged in daily hijinks. The 15-pound blanket still hasn’t shed any beads.

As mentioned above, the duvet cover stifles airflow and didn’t do a very good job of keeping the blanket in place, and my wife and I both prefer not to use it. However, the small hole in the 25-pound blanket forced our hand. I would not recommend buying the duvet unless you don’t have easy access to a washer or you tend to get cold at night since the cover helps trap heat.

HomeSmart Products doesn’t have much of an online presence. This makes it hard to hunt down customer service if you have an issue. I reached out to the company’s founder, Bill Nagy, about the blanket’s warranty and how to contact customer service, but as of this writing, I have not heard back.

HomeGoods blanket 2

Should you buy it?

If you are a bigger person or want to cuddle up with your partner and experience the anxiety-reducing benefits of a weighted blanket, I recommend the HomeSmart Products blanket. There are more affordable options out there, but few are big enough to fit multiple people.

What are your alternatives?

Before the HomeSmart Products weighted blanket, I’d only tested one other weighted blanket, the Quility weighted blanket. I didn’t like that it was too small to cover my body despite being a Queen size. It also didn’t breathe as well as the HomeSmart blanket. For more recommendations, check out our recently-updated guide to the best weighted blankets. You’re sure to find several excellent alternatives there.

The bottom line

Despite a few leaked beads after many months of use, I still enjoy sleeping and lounging with the HomeSmart Products Weighted Blanket. With its breathability and large size, it’s ideal for my body.

Pros: Several size and weight options, the King is an impressive 88 inches by 104 inches, glass beads are sewn into 5-by-5-inch pockets for even weight distribution, machine washable and dryable, features breathable 400-thread count organic cotton

Cons: The duvet cover sleeps hot and doesn’t hold the blanket in place well, I wasn’t able to track down customer support, the blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use

Product Card

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The 5 best places to shop for curtain rods in 2021

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Best curtain rods 4x3
  • While there are hundreds of curtain rod options out there, an attractive, high-quality rod can be hard to find.
  • We spoke with an interior designer about what makes a great curtain rod and the best places to purchase them.
  • We’ve selected five retailers that sell durable rods that complement a wide variety of curtains.

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If you’ve splurged on high-quality curtains for your home, the next step to ensuring a clean finish is purchasing a durable and attractive curtain rod. The best ones are made from sturdy materials like metal or wood and can support even the heaviest curtains easily.

We spoke with interior designer Whitney Jones, of Whitney J Decor to get the scoop on the best places to buy curtain rods and tips on what to look for while shopping. While expensive rods don’t necessarily ensure great quality, Jones recommends avoiding super cheap rods as they are often made of low-quality materials and can be easily bent or broken. “My recommendation would be a high quality metal rod, but wood rods are great too,” Jones said. Overall, Jones suggests that shoppers pick a sturdy rod and stick with the same design throughout their home.

With Jones’ advice in mind, we’ve selected five retailers that make great curtain rods. We’ve also included tips on the best installation practices for seamless curtain hanging.

Here are the best places to buy curtain rods in 2021

Bed Bath & Beyond

Best curtain rods_Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond offers shoppers an impressive range of rod lengths and finishes, at a low price.

Jones says Bed Bath & Beyond’s high-quality options, large color selection, and affordable prices are the reason she continues to pick the retailer’s curtain rods for her designs. “I’ve been using the same curtain rods from Bed Bath and Beyond since 2013,” said Jones. “I never buy any other curtain rod, I just change the colors.” 

As for its selection, those that are looking for longer curtain rods are likely to find several options they like while shopping, as the retailer offers rods as long as 170 inches. Its many finishes don’t disappoint either, with heavy-duty steel, bronze, brass, and other metal rods available. 

If you’re likely to shop with Bed Bath & Beyond multiple times throughout the year, you may want to purchase the retailer’s $29 Beyond+ yearly membership, which gives customers 50% off interior design services, 20% off all purchases, and free shipping on all orders. 

What to buy:

Cappa Adjustable Window Curtain Rod Set (medium)Metro (medium)Home Smart Rods Adjustable Window Curtain Rod (medium)
Lowe’s

Best curtain rods_Lowe's

If you prefer a traditional look, Lowe’s offers a wide selection of simple, affordable curtain rods in classic finishes.

Jones also lists Lowe’s as another favorite curtain rod retailer that makes quality rods at inexpensive prices.

The majority of Lowe’s curtain rods are made of durable steel which is great for those looking to hang heavy curtains. The retailer also offers curtain rods in multi-packs of two to four rods, which can come in handy if you’re looking to outfit multiple rooms. 

As for finishes, Lowe’s specializes in classic curtain rod colors with silver, black, brown, gold, and bronze options available as well as curtain rod lengths up to 240 inches.

With curbside and in-store pickup, Lowe’s allows customers to make online purchases and pick them up all in one day.

What to buy:

Matte Black Steel Single Curtain Rod (72-in to 144-in) (medium)Brushed Nickel Steel Single Curtain Rod (48-in to 84-in) (medium)Satin Nickel Steel Single Curtain Rod (28-in to 48-in) (medium)Black Steel Double Curtain Rod (48-in to 84-in) (medium)
Target

Best curtain rods_Target

If you’re looking for curtain rods with unique finials and finishes, Target offers a wide selection.

Target offers attractive perks for those making home upgrades, including a generous return policy if you’re someone who needs to see items in your space before you decide if they’re right for you.

For curtain rods, Target offers multiple colors, finishes, and length options. The selection also includes exclusives that are only available at Target, as well as affordable, unique rods. Many of the rods sold on the site offer bold finial designs that’ll add small elements of decor into your space. 

What to buy:

Faceted Pyramid Drapery Cafe Rod (medium)Cagio Curtain Rod (medium)Dauntless Curtain Rod (medium)
West Elm

Best curtain rods_WestElm Curtain Rods

West Elm offers high-quality curtain rods for those whose style skews minimalist or mid-century modern.

West Elm’s curtain rod selection includes rods made of unique and sturdy materials such as wood and carbon brass. With mid-century and antique design influences, each rod will bring different vintage elements into your space. 

West Elm is currently experiencing some pandemic related shipping delays, so we recommend checking each individual product’s estimated shipping date prior to making a purchase. 

If you prefer to visualize items in your space prior to purchasing them, West Elm’s free virtual design services and AR room planner allow you to seamlessly integrate future purchases into your space. 

What to buy:

Mid-Century Rod – Wood/Brass (medium)Simple Metal Rod – Antique Bronze (medium)Mid-Century Rod – Carbon/Brass (medium)
The Shade Store

Best curtain rods_TheShadeStore

With its mission to make custom-designed home products more attainable, The Shade Store allows plenty of design options for a curtain rod that feels unique to your aesthetics.

If your windows have hard-to-fit dimensions or you’re looking for a more customized feel, made-to-order curtain rods from The Shade Store can add polish to your space. 

The brand allows customers to pick from 15 rod styles, ranging from solid wood poles to steel tubing dotted with rust for a weathered, antique look. From there, you input your desired length and choose a single rod or a double set. There’s also an option to add finials, including crystal balls and Swarovski-studded cylinders. 

The Shade Store offers design assistance through free consultations and measurement and installation services. You can also find measuring instructions on its site if you’d rather go the DIY route. 

What to buy:

Custom Steel Hardware Curtain Rods (medium)Custom Tribeca Hardware Curtain Rods (medium)
Curtain rod FAQs

What are the best materials for curtain rods?

According to Jones, a quality rod will not bend, even when it’s holding up heavier curtains. Look for durable materials like steel and brass, as well as solid wood. Cheaper metals and plastic should be avoided if you want your curtain rods to last a long time.


Should I buy custom curtain rods? 

Custom curtain rods, while great for adding a unique decorative element to your space, are not typically necessary. Jones usually uses pre-measured rods in her designs, but recommends going the custom route if you have exceptionally large windows that don’t fit most curtain rods sold in stores.


How do I ensure the best curtain rod fit?

It’s important to note that ideal rod placement depends on the position of the window. If you’re dealing with a window that is not in the center of your wall, Jones recommends choosing a rod that is slightly longer than the window. Allowing more space at the left or right sides of the window applies an illusion-like effect that makes them appear more centered. If your window is centered, you should hang the rod with about 6 to 8 inches of space outside of your window trim for the best fit.

See more great home guides

bedroom bedding pillows wood bedframe framed picture blue curtains
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22 popular online startups you can now find at Target – including Function of Beauty, Harry’s, and Gravity

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Flamingo Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Though a popular business strategy for new startups today is to sell direct-to-consumer through their own websites, the practice often serves as a springboard for other retail opportunities, not an outright boycott. Direct-to-consumer selling hasn’t replaced brick-and-mortar stores; rather, it has helped redefine how to create brand experiences and nurture loyal customer followings.

In a similar fashion, many online startups eventually find their way into popular retail stores that you’ve been shopping at for years, whether for a limited run or a long-term residency. It’s just another way for these startups to get their products in front of more eyes, plus it’s undeniably convenient to shop all your favorites at one site and enjoy free shipping and return perks.

Target is one such home to many direct-to-consumer startups you might recognize across personal care, bedding, food, pets, and more. It’s the perfect place to discover new and innovative brands, so it’s no wonder the following 22 online companies have decided to sell through the company.

Here are 22 popular online startups you can now find at Target:

Hero Cosmetics

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch

 Shop Hero Cosmetics at Target here.

The Mighty Patch has become a skincare staple for many, and that’s probably because these tiny dots draw out the gunk from your blemishes. All it takes is sticking them to your skin and leaving them on overnight or throughout the day to flatten your pimples. But besides the fan favorite patches, Hero Cosmetics has also created more conventional skincare products like a cleanser, toner, serum, and blemish balm — all of which you can find at Target. You can read our full Mighty Patch review here.

Thinx for All

Thinx for All Women's Super Absorbency Brief Period Underwear

Shop Thinx for All at Target here.

Thinx is known for its period-proof underwear, which now appears on the shelves of select Target stores and on Target’s site. Thinx for All is an extension of the brand’s existing offerings and uses the same design and technology, but with lower prices and a smaller selection. The cotton underwear is tagless and can soak up the equivalent of three to five regular tampon’s worth, depending on whether you get the moderate absorbency or super absorbency version. These period saviors also control odor and wick moisture to best support you during your cycle. 

Billion Dollar Beauty

Billion Dollar Beauty Billion Dollar Box

Shop Billion Dollar Beauty at Target here.

Initially recognized for its Billion Dollar Brow products, Billion Dollar Beauty has created a customizable makeup box that’s sold exclusively at Target. The Billion Dollar Box is a magnetic, mess-free palette that rethinks the typical makeup bag. You can fill your box with Billion Dollar Beauty products like eyeshadow, blush, lip balm, and more. Best of all, one side of the box includes a mirror that props up, making it perfect for on-the-go touch ups. The brand also puts sustainability first, and its makeup formulas meet Target’s clean beauty standards.

Function of Beauty

Function of Beauty Target

Shop Function of Beauty at Target here.

Popular custom haircare brand Function of Beauty sells four Target-exclusive collections that are each geared towards a specific hair type: straight, wavy, curly, and coily. Each collection features a shampoo, a conditioner, and three booster shots that match with the respective hair type. You can alternatively mix and match by buying individual products from different collections. Not to mention, these offerings align with Target’s clean beauty guidelines and are wrapped in recyclable materials. If you want to learn more about the brand’s custom haircare, you can read our review here

Olive & June

Olive & June The Poppy Manicure Tool

Shop Olive & June at Target here.

Olive & June started as a nail salon in Los Angeles, and has since grown into a mainstream nail brand that’s known for its minimalistic packaging and chic colors. Building on its lacquer empire, Olive & June sells nail care products like its Cuticle Serum and The Poppy Manicure Tool, in addition to heart-shaped nail stickers. To hear from the founder and what it’s like to decorate with Olive & June’s stickers, read more here.

Honest Beauty

Honest Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes and Mascara and Lash Primer

Shop Honest Beauty at Target here.

Perhaps one of the most widely recognized brands that you can now find in Target’s aisles is Honest Beauty. Founded by Jessica Alba, the brand covers makeup, skincare, kids, babies, and cleaning supplies, although only its beauty products appear at Target. Honest makes human health a top priority when it comes to ingredients, but also ensures the products get the job done. Some of its most popular offerings at Target include the Extreme Length 2-in-1 Mascara and Lash Primer, Makeup Remover Wipes, and Hydrogel Cream.

True & Co.

True & Co. True Everybody Women's Adjustable Strap Triangle Bra

Shop True & Co. at Target here.

True & Co. makes lingerie that is seamless, wireless, and weightless. Though the brand provides bra, underwear, tank, and bodysuit options on its own site, only its bras and bodysuits have homes at Target. Not only are the items immaculately designed and constructed for maximum comfort, they are also size inclusive, with some bra styles fitting up to 3X. If you want to learn more about the brand, here’s our full review.

Flamingo

Flamingo Women's Foaming Shave Gel and Five Blade Razor

Shop Flamingo at Target here.

Harry’s success in men’s grooming led it to create Flamingo, a female shaving and bodycare brand. Like its sibling, Flamingo sports the same sleek packaging along with the same quality formulas and designs. You can find its five-blade razor, razor refills, body wax kit, and Body Moisture collection on Target’s shelves, and all at affordable prices. You can learn more about what it’s like to shave with Flamingo by reading our full review here

Winky Lux

Winky Lux Flower Balm Lip Stain

Shop Winky Lux at Target here.

Known for embedding its products with flowers and confetti, Winky Lux’s vibrant packaging and fruit-infused formulas have made their way to Target. Some of the brand’s bestselling products include the Flower Balm, Confetti Balm, Uni-brow, and Eye Cream Applicator. Winky Lux’s products are a nice treat if you’re looking to pamper yourself, or if you have a friend who loves all things beauty. 

Versed

versed at target skincare

Shop Versed skincare at Target here.

Target carries many skincare and beauty brands, but it’s a little harder to come by clean, vegan, and sustainable products. Versed, with its large variety ranging from cleansing balm to mineral sunscreen, is changing that trend. Its bestsellers are the moisturizing gel-cream, which is light and bouncy without making your face oily, and the clarifying serum, which keeps breakouts at bay with willow bark extract and zinc. The mineral sunscreen is also one we stock up on, here’s our full review.

Gravity

gravity at target blankets

Shop Gravity weighted blankets at Target here.

Gravity makes our favorite weighted blanket, as well as other products designed to help you fall asleep, like a weighted sleep mask and a memory foam pillow. Though there are now many weighted blanket brands hoping to take up precious real estate on your bed, Gravity is arguably the first to kick off the sleep and relaxation movement and has the high-quality, comfortable blankets to prove it.  

Partake

partake at target cookies

Shop Partake cookies at Target here.

Partake’s cookies are not only tasty but also free of the top eight allergens, making them safe for kids (and adults) with food sensitivities. They were created by a mom who couldn’t find delicious snacks for her daughter who has serious food allergies. You’ll be able to choose from birthday cake, chocolate chip, and cookie butter flavors — or, get all three, just to be safe.  

Casper

Casper Lead

Shop Casper mattresses and bedding products at Target here.

We’ve reviewed nearly all of Casper’s mattresses, and now you can easily add your favorite into your cart alongside your other Target purchases. The breathable percale Cool Sheets and soft, supportive pillow are also popular choices from the online sleep startup.

Bark

barkbox

Shop Bark dog treats and toys at Target here.

Bark, the company behind dog treat and toy subscription BarkBox, sells adorable individual pet products through Target. If you’re not sure whether you want to commit to the subscription, you can get a preview here. Check back often for seasonal themed toys and creative treat flavors like Hawaii Luau Roast Pork and Chicago Hot Dog. Profits from its Snacks That Give Back collection support local animal rescues. Read our review of BarkBox here for an idea of what to expect with Bark.

Native

Native Deodorant

Shop Native natural deodorant at Target here.

Native is aluminum- and paraben-free natural deodorant that’s safer for your body and comes in a variety of nice scents. Unlike other deodorants, it doesn’t leave a sticky residue and for some users, it lasts even longer than traditional deodorants. It’s our top pick for the best natural deodorants, check out our full review here

Harry’s

Harry's

Shop Harry’s shaving products at Target here.

Men’s grooming brand Harry’s is best known for its high-quality and affordable razors and shaving sets, though it’s also broken into haircare and bodycare. Restock on sharp razor blades, treat your skin to gentle body washes, or style your hair to perfection with putty and waxes. Its paraben-, phthalate-, and aluminum-free formulas are better for your body, while its prices are friendly on your wallet. 

Quip

Quip toothbrush

Shop Quip electric toothbrushes at Target here.

These sleek, stylish, and lightweight electric toothbrushes from Quip are American Dental Association-approved. I’ve been using one for more than two years and I’m still impressed. The soft-bristle brush isn’t too harsh on your gums, and it pulses every 30 seconds for two minutes to guide your toothbrushing routine.  

Rocketbook

Rocketbook journal

Shop Rocketbook notebooks at Target here.

Rocketbook makes innovative, eco-friendly notebooks for the digital age. Using its special pen, you write in the notebook, send its contents to your favorite cloud service, wipe the page clean, then start over. There are multiple styles and versions to suit your needs, whether you’re taking notes for school, business meetings, or personal use. Here’s our full review.

GIR

GIR Spatulas

Shop GIR spatulas and kitchen tools at Target here.

GIR nails the design of a common kitchen tool. Its super heat-resistant silicone spatulas are strong, flexible, and easy to clean — which is why you’ll find yourself using it for all your mixing needs and throwing out your old, inferior spatulas. Other noteworthy products from the brand are the silicone lids with strong suction and the Mini Tool Set. 

Hello

Hello Products

Shop Hello oral care products at Target here.

Another oral care startup gracing the shelves at Target is Hello, whose claim to fame is natural, fluoride-free whitening toothpaste. They contain ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil, and taste great, too. If you’re interested in the cleaning and whitening power of activated charcoal, it also offers charcoal toothpaste and mouthwash. 

Primal Kitchen

Primal Kitchen

Shop Primal Kitchen supplements and protein bars at Target here.

Founded by a former elite endurance athlete, Primal Kitchen was born from the inability to find healthy and delicious salad dressing. Its offerings include mayonnaise and dressings made with avocado oil, and at Target, supplement powders that contain collagen to support your bones, skin, and hair. 

Hidrate Spark

Hidrate Spark

Shop the Hidrate Spark water bottle at Target here.

If you can never remember to drink water throughout the day, you might need the Hidrate Spark, a smart water bottle that tracks your water intake and reminds you to meet your daily water intake goal. It connects to fitness and health apps like Apple Health, Fitbit, and MyFitness Pal. 

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The 4 best blackout curtains in 2021

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  • If outdoor light tends to wake you up before your alarm does, you may want to purchase blackout curtains.
  • Not only do they keep your bedroom dark, they also save energy by trapping hot or cold air inside.
  • Some of our top picks include blackout curtains with thermal insulation and noise reduction.

A mediocre curtain in your bedroom impacts your quality of sleep, and life, more than you might imagine. Without a blackout option, you’ll likely be awoken by the sunrise, street lights, or outside activity.

Blackout curtains block all sources of light from entering your sacred sleep chamber, ensuring your precious eight hours or more go as uninterrupted as possible. There are also many other benefits to blackout curtains in addition to darkening rooms, which makes them well-suited for all types of rooms. They offer superior privacy protection, with some panels even boasting noise-blocking, and others featuring energy-saving properties that help to keep rooms warm in winter and cool in summer.

With so many options on the market, we rounded up the top blackout curtains based on meticulous research and ratings.

Here are the best blackout curtains in 2021

Best thermally insulated blackout curtains

blackout curtains

With a ton of color and size options, the Deconovo Blackout Curtains work with just about all decor and are highly effective at blocking light.

Pros: Lots of color and size options, saves energy, affordable

Cons: Sold per panel and not in a full set

If limited options have been holding you back from trying a blackout curtain, consider the Deconovo Room Darkening Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains. Available in 20 colors and three lengths, it’s easy to match any room’s decor.

These curtains are remarkably effective as far as blocking both natural and artificial light because each panel has three layers of material that work together to block sunlight and deaden sound. The top and bottom layers are polyester while the middle layer is a woven black yarn meant to do the bulk of the light blocking. Choosing a darker colored curtain will also make them more effective.

The curtains also claim to help regulate the temperature of your rooms, which will help you save on energy costs. The grommet holes along the top make it easy to install on most curtain rods. However, you’ll have to purchase them as individual panels, rather than as a full set. The fact that they’re remarkably affordable helps take the sting out of needing to purchase each panel separately.

Best rod pocket blackout curtains

BedBathandBeyondcurtains

If you prefer the look of a rod pocket curtain, the Sun Zero Oslo Rod Pocket 100% Blackout Window Curtain Panel is a great light-blocking option that comes in a variety of attractive colors and sizes.

Pros: Light, noise, and temperature blocking capabilities, available in multiple colors and sizes, affordable 

Cons: Panels sold individually

If you don’t like the look of grommets, a rod pocket option neatly hides the rod for a clean, secure hold.

The Sun Zero Oslo Rod Pocket 100% Blackout Window Curtain Panel is a great option that not only uses light-blocking technology but also is available in eight neutral colors and three lengths. The curtain is made of 100% polyester and is rated on the brand’s light block meter as being ideal for blocking out all light. 

In addition to advanced blackout technology, the curtains also have noise reduction and temperature insulation features. While the curtains are only sold in individual panels, the affordable price makes it easier to purchase multiple. This can also be a bonus if you have an uneven number of windows you’re looking to add blackout curtains to.

Best noise-reduction blackout curtains

curtains

Nicetown Noise Reducing Blackout Curtains dull any sound and ensure you can sleep in peace no matter what’s going on outside your window.

Pros: Noise-cancelling, blocks 85-99% of light, stain-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, cost-effective

Cons: Some reviewers said the colors are different in person than in the photos online

If your next-door neighbors are having a backyard barbecue until 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, noise-reducing curtains won’t erase the problem, but they might help. For those that want to block out light and noise, try the Nicetown Noise Reducing Blackout Curtains to ensure you enjoy as much peace and quiet as possible.

In addition to claiming to reduce sound, Nicetown also says its curtains will block 85-99% of the light from outside, and that the curtains are thermal-insulated and resistant to stains and wrinkles. They come in several lengths and a bunch of solid colors to fit a variety of decor and window sizes.

These are also more cost-effective than similar options and come in packs of two. The price does vary depending on the size, but nearly all options are cheaper overall than others on the market.

Best blackout curtain liner

blackout curtain liner

You can transform existing window treatments into blackout curtains with the Eclipse Thermaliner Blackout Panel.

Pros: Can be used with curtains you already have, come with hooks, help reduce light, noise, and heat

Cons: Size probably won’t work for all curtains, won’t work as well as true blackout curtains

If you already have curtains you love and don’t want to give them up, turn them into blackout curtains with the addition edition of a blackout liner. Our top pick is the Eclipse Thermaliner Blackout Panel, which can boost your existing curtains’ light-blocking properties.

The attached drapery hooks allow you to pin the panel to the curtains already hanging in your house and turn them into light- and noise-reducing window treatments, with likely more privacy than was offered before.

From the outside, you’ll be able to see the white panel, so if that bothers you aesthetically, you may want to look into blackout curtains that have decorative fabric on both sides. 

Check out our other guides for getting a good night’s sleep

linens
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This smart alarm clock has a growing library of sound and light options, and lulls me to bed each night with a personalized sunset

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Hatch Restore sunrise alarm clock review 2021 lead
  • The Hatch Restore has everything you need to naturally fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed.
  • It has a large selection of guided meditations, over 25 sounds, and more than 20 light options.
  • I set up my own personalized bedtime routine and actually enjoyed going to bed at night.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyRestore (small)

Many of us are way too familiar with struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep when we’re worried and tense. Even as a sleep researcher who knows the importance of a good night’s rest, I sometimes find it difficult to fall asleep when life gets stressful. One solution can be as simple as creating a sleep routine. Incorporating smart devices like the Hatch Restore into your nighttime ritual can help create a better environment to encourage better sleep habits. Research shows that committing to a bedtime schedule can significantly improve sleep quality and mood. Your sleep routine doesn’t have to be boring: It can consist of enjoyable, peaceful activities that direct the mind and body to relax.

The Hatch Restore is among the best options that I recently tested out for our sunrise alarm clock guide and it contains the most sleep sounds, light options, and soothing content of any model we tried. It makes a great addition to the bedroom, since it can be fully customized and easily integrated into your bedtime routine. It includes many useful tools like guided meditations and light therapy options that can help you decompress. I like the Hatch Restore because it encourages users to practice good sleep habits. With use, the Hatch can help you regulate your natural sleep-wake cycles so you have less trouble falling asleep and waking up.

Design and specs

Hatch Restore sunrise alarm clock review 2021 back

The Hatch Restore is 7.5 inches long and it takes up just the right amount of space on a regular bedside table. Its sleek, half-moon shape design simulates a very natural sunrise and sunset without eye-straining blue hues that can disrupt circadian rhythms – the natural process that regulates sleep-wake cycles. The device itself includes a few soft-touch buttons to adjust volume and brightness. There is also a touch sensor at the top that you can tap to begin your bedtime routine. It is made with ABS plastic and LED lights wrapped with gray fabric creating a clean and standard look that matches any bedroom decor.

This smart light relies on a stable Wi-Fi connection and the Hatch Sleep app is required to access all of the available content (download on Apple App Store and on Google Play). It’s built with over 25 sounds and 20 light options and there is no limit to the number of alarms that can be created. You can also set a total of 10 steps in your nighttime routine that will ease your transition into a better night’s sleep.

Review of the Hatch Restore

Hatch Restore sunrise alarm clock review 2021 sunset

The Hatch Restore is packaged with a small card that directs users to the instructions on its website. Once it’s connected to a power outlet and you have the app downloaded on your phone, you can sync the device via Bluetooth and a small pairing button located at the bottom of the device. Setting it up took approximately three minutes.

I placed the Hatch Restore on my nightstand and began customizing every part of my sleep schedule to my liking. There’s a myriad of options on the Hatch Sleep app, and I especially like that the digital clock can be removed completely from the display for total darkness. (It can also be set to automatically shut off at your preferred time.) It includes many soothing sounds, white noise, and a large variety of meditations, breathing techniques, body scans, and sleep affirmations that you can implement into your ritual to fall asleep. It works great as a reading lamp and the light options are endless. It includes nighttime shades, warm oranges, soft relaxing pastels, and great hues for a refreshing natural waking process.

You can add up to ten steps to your routine and make each step as long as you want. Once you’ve chosen your settings, you simply tap on top of the machine to begin your sleep routine. My first step was getting into bed and reading a book for 30 minutes using the coral nighttime glow paired with the “sea wind” sound. My second step was winding down as I listened to the “meeting sleep with ease” meditation combined with a soft pink light that set a cozy tone in my bedroom. My last step was a few minutes of the “soft rain” sound and a warm orange dim light that lulled me into sleep. The device turns off automatically when it has completed the routine and there’s an option to skip steps by tapping on the device.

Hatch Restore sunrise alarm clock review 2021 side

In addition to lulling you to sleep, the Hatch Restore simulates a sunrise for a gentler wake-up experience, something that’s very important in maintaining healthy circadian rhythms. You can gradually wake up to a multitude of natural sounds and sunrise profiles. The Hatch Restore’s plethora of options is ideal because you can experiment with different options until you find what works for you.

Cons to consider

That said, the Restore has a few disadvantages that you should consider. Unlike some sunrise alarm clocks, the Hatch relies heavily on its free companion app and a stable Wi-Fi connection. You won’t be able to do much without one or the other. If you’re someone who prefers something a little closer to a more traditional alarm clock then I recommend the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light.

Another thing to note is that, though most of the functions are free in the app, you’ll have to pay to access the growing library of guided sleep meditations and sounds. It costs $49.99 a year or $4.99 a month (though the first six months are free for first-time users). If you choose not to pay, you’ll still have access to a ton of options, including 31 sounds including meditations, 22 light colors, and 10 sunrise variations.

Hatch Restore sunrise alarm clock review bright

There are also some connectivity issues with the Hatch Sleep app – it usually takes a few seconds to open as it connects to the device. I don’t mind waiting, but others might not be as patient.

Additionally, this smart sleep assistant does not play music or radio, so you won’t be able to listen to your playlist as you’re falling asleep or waking up. However, Hatch is constantly coming up with ways to improve their app and devices and any smart device has the ability to improve over time with app and firmware updates.

What are your alternatives?

This smart sunrise alarm clock is primarily for folks who want to be deeply invested in their sleep routine. I wouldn’t recommend this device to people who are just looking for a simple and traditional alarm clock, or to those who are looking to use their alarm clock as a speaker (check out the iHome Zenergy Dream Mini to wake up to your playlist).

If you’d rather not be reliant on an app, the Philips Smartsleep Connected offers a good balance of onboard controls and smart features.

The bottom line

In all, the Hatch Restore is a great purchase for individuals who have trouble falling asleep and want to create a bedtime routine that works. This smart light will improve your sleep quality and help you wake up feeling restored.

The sound and light options are endless, and you can experiment with its features to create your ideal bedtime routine. It’s specifically designed to help you fall asleep by promoting a healthy production of melatonin at night and maintaining healthy cortisol levels that you need to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. In case you don’t fall in love with it, Hatch lets you try the device for 60 nights before deciding. However, this sunrise alarm clock will change the way you think about sleep and will make your transition into bedtime effortless and more enjoyable.

Pros: More than 30 sound options and 20 light options to choose from, guided meditations, fully personalized sleep and wake-up routines through the app

Cons: Not a good option if you don’t like to rely on an app, doesn’t play music, guided meditations only available with subscription, must be connected to Wi-Fi to use

Restore (button)

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The 5 best alarm clocks in 2021

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  • Although waking up early for work or school might never be a joy, a good alarm clock makes it easier.
  • We checked out dozens of alarm clocks; the Magnasonic Projection Alarm Clock will wake you up firmly but gently.

Let’s face it: The ring, blare, buzz, or chirp of your alarm clock is probably never going to be your favorite sound. But then again, the angry rumble of your boss when you show up late after oversleeping, is even worse.

A good alarm clock can make mornings a little easier so you wake up feeling refreshed. That’s why we’ve researched and tested top alarm clocks ourselves to find the six best options for every type of person.

And if you’re outfitting your home or apartment, check out more of our buying guides like the best mattresses and best mattress toppers.

Here are the best alarm clocks in 2021

The best overall

magnasonic projection alarm clock

The Magnasonic Projection Alarm Clock goes way beyond just waking you up: it also projects the time onto the ceiling, gives you the temperature, automatically sets itself, and much more. 

Pros: Projected time, large display, ability to stream music, dual alarms, low price

Cons: Display is too bright for some

Waking up might be a little bit more pleasant when you can choose between a buzzer, the radio, or your favorite songs streaming from your smartphone or MP3 player to nudge you out of dreamland.

Add to that the fun of seeing the time of day (or night) projected in large, red numerals onto your ceiling  — you don’t even have to turn your head to figure out how much more sleep you’ll get if you could just fall back into slumber  — and the large LCD display on the clock’s face, and you have just some of the features that make the Magnasonic Projection Alarm Clock our top pick.

The versatile clock also shows you the indoor temperature, automatically adjusts itself to daylight savings time changes, resets itself after a power outage with a built-in lithium battery, and has dual alarms, so both you and your partner can use the same clock to set different wake-up times. The ability to set one alarm time for Monday through Friday and a separate time for the weekend is another popular feature.

The brightness of the blue LCD display can be adjusted; for some owners, the clock’s light is just a little too intense. 

The best for deep sleepers

Sonic_Bomb

Even if you sleep like the dead, you’ll spring back to life at the first blast of the crazy-loud alarm, vibrations, flashing lights, and bright red display of the Sonic Alert Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock.

Pros: Multiple features to wake up the heaviest sleeper, good for those with hearing impairments, available in several different colors

Cons: A bit cheesy looking, overkill if you’re not a deep sleeper

If you’re the type who sleeps through anything — thunderstorms, loud neighbors, earthquakes, the zombie apocalypse — you’ve finally met your match. Sonic Alert’s Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock doesn’t just rely on its 113-decibel alarm to pry eyelids open (for comparison, that’s about the same decibel level as a car horn or snow blower going off in your ear), it also has a shaker device that slips underneath your mattress or pillow to jiggle you awake, and red flashing lights that trigger with the alarm.

You don’t have to use all of those features, however. You can set them in a variety of combinations, or even turn all of them off except for the flashing red lights. You can also set the length of the alarm’s ring from one to 60 minutes, and choose a snooze option from one to 30 minutes. Plus, the clock has dual alarms, so both you and your partner can have different wake-up times.

The best smart alarm

lenovo smart clock

With the ability to pull content from the internet and control your home, Lenovo’s Smart Clock with Google Assistant changes the way an alarm clock wakes you up. 

Pros: A variety of wake-up options, display mimics a light therapy clock, supports most Google services and Google Assistant, play from Spotify, Pandora, podcasts, and other online services, control your smart home devices, compact size, elegant design, easy to set up, affordable, USB port for charging

Cons: Can’t make calls, play videos or photos, can’t stream music from phone, audio quality could be better, Google Home platform required, phone is needed for set-up

The Lenovo Smart Clock is more of a bedside assistant than simply an alarm clock. Yes, it will show you the time on the 4-inch touch-capable display, and you can set multiple alarms. But because it’s connected to the internet, you can use this gadget to check weather and traffic before you start the commute; catch up on info like news, sports, and stocks; play music from Spotify, podcasts, or NPR; check your Google Calendar; and, with support for Google Home and Google Assistant, you can control the smart home devices in your home, from Philips Hue lights to Nest Thermostat — all by using your voice.

As an alarm clock, the device doesn’t simply blare at you with a buzzer (although that’s available too). The screen slowly brightens — like a light therapy clock — and you can customize the sound for each alarm, or wake up to music or news. Even smarter (hence its name), you can automate a specific wake-up routine that turns on lights, sets the temperature, and regulates whatever else is connected to your smart home setup. At night, the screen goes dark to help you sleep, while the USB port lets you connect a phone for charging.

There are a few things that the Smart Clock can’t do. It can’t play videos, nor can it make calls. Even though the Smart Clock has Bluetooth, you can’t use it to play music from your phone, but you can use Google Chromecast to stream audio to another connected speaker or TV. If you desire some of these other “smarter” functions, you may want to look at larger smart displays, like the Google Nest Hub.

As an alarm clock, we like the design, lower price, and tight integration into Google’s services of the Smart Clock over Amazon’s Echo Spot. If the price was even lower, we wouldn’t hesitate to call this our best overall, because, for the first time, you can actually do more with an alarm clock than just wake you up. — Les Shu

The best analog clock

Marathon_analog

If you prefer the old-school simplicity of an analog alarm clock, you can’t go wrong with the travel-friendly Marathon Analog Desk Alarm Clock

Pros: Silent performance, several color choices, easy to use

Cons: Batteries will eventually require changing

Perfect for those who prefer a small and simple bedside clock, or need something easy to slip into a suitcase, the Marathon Analog Alarm Clock comes in several colors, is completely silent, has an auto-on soft nightlight that triggers in low light, and a big, spring-loaded button on top to simplify setting or turn off the alarm. It reminds us of the beautiful and iconic Braun Classic Analog Quartz Alarm Clock, but has a few more useful features.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and want to see the time, a simple push of the snooze button on top of the clock gives you just enough light to easily read the large numbers. The clock’s nonslip bottom is another handy feature. 

At roughly 4 inches by 4 inches, the clock is just large enough for easy visibility, won’t take up much room on your nightstand, and is small enough for travel. It runs on two AA batteries, which are included.

The best for kids

ok to wake

With OK to Wake! Alarm Clock on the nightstand, your toddler will know when it’s time to get up, and when it’s time to stay in bed. 

Pros: A great way to help young children learn to use a clock and determine when it’s okay to get out of bed

Cons: Wears out batteries quickly, does not include electrical plug, best for kids that are kindergarten-age and younger

This cute alarm clock shows the time like a regular clock, and can also function as a nightlight for up to two hours. It has a regular beeping alarm, which can be set for any time you would like, and a nap alarm, which functions as a timer to gently wake your child after your desired nap length.

But where OK to Wake! really shines (pun intended) is in its unique feature that parents love: the clock will glow green and show a cute face when it’s an acceptable time for your little one to get out of bed. That means even very young children can learn when it’s okay to go looking for mommy or daddy with no need to be able to actually read the time. As your child grows, you can stop using the glow feature and simply use the device as a regular, albeit cuter than average, alarm clock.

It’s not perfect, however. The clock runs through AA batteries very quickly if you don’t have it plugged in (USB adapter sold separately). Still, if you have a youngster who wakes up before dawn, this may be your solution.

OK to Wake! comes with two faces: a purple flower and a green bug. It’s easy for kids to use; they simply touch one foot to silence the alarm, the other foot to turn the nightlight on and off. The controls for changing the time and setting the alarm are concealed in the back so your toddler’s little fingers can’t reset them accidentally.

Why you should use an actual alarm clock, not your smartphone alarm

You might be wondering, “Why bother with an alarm clock when I have a phone?” It’s A fair question and many people do wake up to their cell phone’s prompting. The problem with this, however, is it makes it far more difficult to put some space between your technology and your sleep, and those are two areas of your life best kept separate.

If the last thing you do before closing your eyes for the night is pick up your cell phone to set the alarm, how likely is it that you’re just going to do that one thing, then set the phone down on the nightstand? Admit it, you’re probably going to check Instagram, send a text or two, play just one more round of your favorite game, or surf the web. 

By the time that phone hits the nightstand, you’ve lost precious sleep time and tricked your brain into thinking it’s wake-up time instead of dream time because the glow of the blue light emitted by your phone reduces your body’s release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.

Instead of relaxing, you’ve stimulated your mind. All of that adds up to poor quality sleep followed by a groggy, foggy, “I don’t know why I’m so tired,” kind of morning.

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