51 Father’s Day gifts under $50 for dads who love hiking, tech, movies, and more

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

44100_1_1200px 2

  • Father’s Day is June 20, and the holiday is fast approaching.
  • If you’re looking for thoughtful, affordable gifts, start with these 51 ideas, which cost under $50.
  • Need more gift ideas? Check out our overall best Father’s Day gifts and our specialized guides.

Ideally, you’d be able to empty the coffers for dad on Father’s Day. If money was of no object, you could rent out an amusement park or buy him a little quaint island for when retirement rolls around. But, if you’re working with a more realistic budget, you can still give him roughly the same feeling with any of these thoughtful gifts under $50.

To help with your shopping, we’ve put together 51 gifts that fit the bill. Even if you just grab a comfortable throw blanket for a night of movie and popcorn, Dad might just love the gesture most.

Below are 51 gifts under $50 for Father’s Day:

Headphones

Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones

Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, $29

Do you regularly catch your dad rocking out to his favorite tunes? He’ll appreciate these headphones that isolate sound well at an affordable price. That’s why we made them the best over-ear headphones in our guide to the best cheap headphones.

A baseball cap

baseball cap

Baseball Cap, from $14.99

If the dad in your life wears hats and likes sports, a baseball cap with the logo of his favorite team is a great cheap Father’s Day gift.

A tactical flashlight

Wowtac PC

Wowtac A7 Tactical Flashlight, $29.99

In our guide to the best flashlights, the Wowtac A7 was one of the most affordable, durable, and brightest flashlights we tested. This makes it a great option if he likes to explore the great outdoors, especially with summer camping season in full swing.

A Hydro Flask water bottle

hydro flask $40

Hydro Flask 32 oz. Wide Mouth, from $49.90

Perfect for everything from camping to everyday use, this Hydro Flask water bottle is our top pick for the best water bottle you can buy. During Outdoor Gear Lab’s testing, ice resisted melting for nearly 24 hours, and water was ice cold for more than a full day.

Delicious, guilt-free cereal

Magic Spoon 3

Magic Spoon Variety Case, $39

Magic Spoon Subscription, $35.10 per month

Magic Spoon is a new “childlike cereal for adults” that’s high in protein and low in sugar — and all four flavors are delicious. If you want to treat him to cereal that tastes like it should leave you with a mouthful of cavities without actually doing so, check it out. 

A waterproof speaker

X8X195b

JBL Clip 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker, from $49.95

Perfect for the summer months spent at the beach, barbecuing by the pool, or simply for the demands of the rugged lifestyle of dads everywhere, a waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker is always a good idea. 

A luxurious shaving kit

53f8ff37bd5af0bc04c7b12b47a2f27d8e8899d8 1

Harry’s Winston Shave Set, $25 (+15 to engrave)

If your dad could stand to take more time for himself, setting him up with nice tools for a quick — but nonetheless indulgent — routine is a great gift. The option to engrave Harry’s Winston Shave Set is a thoughtful and practical gift you can feel good giving, especially if dad is still using disposables.

White Walker scotch

Johnnie Walker White Walker, from $30

Johnnie Walker White Walker Blended Scotch Whisky, from $39.99

An ode to eight beautiful, bittersweet seasons of “Game of Thrones” fandom. 

A beard trimmer

Norelco OneBlade

Philips Norelco OneBlade Face & Body Hybrid, $49.65

If your father likes to sport facial hair, this is the perfect tool to maintain it when he doesn’t have time for an old-fashioned shave. It also comes with a foil shaver head and ear and nose trimmer. Plus, it’s easy to clean with water.

A throw blanket

LL BEAN WICKED THROW

L.L.Bean Wicked Plush Throw, $29.95

This plush throw is a great option for dad when he refuses to turn up the thermostat during the cold months. It features soft fleece on both sides making it a great accompaniment whether he’s watching the game or a movie.

A pair of shoes

Merrell Shoes

Merrell Men’s Jungle Moc Slip-On Shoe, from $44.99

For dads who love practical shoes, the Merrell Jungle Moc is an excellent choice. Whether he likes to go on weekend hikes or just needs something to throw on while running errands, these waterproof slip-on shoes can handle all sorts of weather and will last him for years to come.

The Echo Dot

Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot, $34.99

Alexa can tell dad jokes or the weather forecast, order him pizza, and play his music among lots of other helpful skills. 

His new favorite jerky

dac2b87917d535c77e14c34063172181a1dbbd45_ccrj_pdp_original_recipe_main

4-Pack of Chef’s Cut Original Jerky, $23.95

For jerky-loving dads, we’re fans of Chef’s Cut. The flavors in this Chef’s Sampler run the gamut so he can try a little bit of everything. 

A personal styling service

Stitch Fix men

Stitch Fix Gift Card, from $20

Shopping isn’t everyone’s favorite activity, or, if it is, not all of us have the time for a trip to the mall. That’s where the stylists at Stitch Fix come in. A great gift for busy dads, the service delivers the newest trends and styles to fit any occasion and price point.

A fancy shaving cream

00670535300038_2 2

The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Cream, 5 oz, $25

Grabbing a nice shaving cream that smells like sandalwood is an easy way to get dad into enjoying daily luxuries. 

A nice leather case for his phone

1514531826635_ 4743775566081610079.1300w

Nomad Rugged Case, from $49.95

An understated, rugged leather case will keep his phone safe and hopefully blend in seamlessly with the rest of his gear. Especially if he’s a man of few accessories, why not pay extra mind to the ones he does have?

A tablet he’ll love using

715qzsfihmL._SL1000_

Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 16 GB, $49.99

For casual internet perusing, Facebook updating, and game playing, Amazon’s Fire Tablet is a tough value to beat. It isn’t exactly high tech, but it’s $50 and works well. If dad isn’t a self-proclaimed tech fiend, it’ll do what he needs it to do. 

A make-your-own hot sauce kit

Screen Shot 2019 05 17 at 1.25.29 PM

Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit, $40

If your old man is big into the make-your-own movement, he’ll probably have a lot of fun mixing his own hot sauces — whether they turn out well or not.

A card that shows you appreciate his dad humor

il_570xN.933902871_atw9

Dad Jokes Card, from $4.85

No matter which gift you decide to give Dad, odds are good he’s going to be most thankful for a thoughtful card that makes him feel celebrated and appreciated. If you want to make his day (and give him something he can hold onto if he wants), a fun card is a great addition. 

A useful external battery

Elecjet PowerPie battery pack

Elecjet PowerPie P20 Portable Charger, $49.99

Perfect for dads accustomed to running around, a portable charger will keep his gadgets ready to go whenever he needs them. 

A stainless steel tumbler to maintain his drink’s temperature

yeti tumbler

YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler, $29.98

This stainless-steel vacuum-insulated tumbler was built to withstand the extreme conditions of the outdoors, and the over preparation for day-to-day life is pretty great. This will keep your dad’s cold drinks cold, and hot drinks hot, for hours on end. 

A Tommy John gift card for comfortable clothes he can pick himself

tommy john

Tommy John Gift Card, from $25

Tommy John makes some of our favorite comfortable loungewear (as well as basics like underwear, which is where most of their recognition comes from). You might not know exactly what to get your dad or in what size, but a gift card lets him look around for himself (with you still covering the tab). 

A family movie night

1

Fandango Gift Card, $15 and up

Whether there’s a new summer blockbuster out or not, nothing beats going to the movies with his kids.

A breakfast sandwich maker

7142fuzkVKL._SL1500_

Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker, $39.99

If he loves breakfast sandwiches, he’s probably going to be pretty enthusiastic when he opens this. It might seem gimmicky, but it has nearly 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and a 4.6 rating overall.

A must-read book

717KRq4xxxL

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, $14.63

If dad loves reading, medicine, or moving books, “When Breath Becomes Air” is a must-read — and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. To lend extra meaning, write your own inscription to him on the inside cover. 

A wireless charging pad

Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad, $30

Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad, $33.99

What’s a better gift than total convenience? If he has an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, or the iPhone 8 Plus, he’ll be able to set it down on this pad and see it instantly charging. This one is our top overall pick for the best wireless chargers you can buy

Smart light bulbs

TP Link Smart Bulb

Wyze Labs Smart Light Bulb, $36.92

These smart light bulbs connect to the internet and can be controlled through an app on his smartphone or a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Overnight, he’ll never have to get up to dim the lights for the perfect late-night reading or movie-viewing experience again. 

Tickets to the next big show or game

5cb628fba9c7cb084d0b05a5 750 563

Live concert and game tickets, from $15 per person

Is there a good concert, play, or game coming up in the next few months he’d love? Grab tickets and make a night of it — or, if you live far away, make sure he gets to go with a friend or two.

A cheesy mug

il_fullxfull.782443066_n3xp

Top Dad Coffee Mug, from $11.82

Every dad deserves to have at least one unapologetically cheesy mug for his morning coffee. This one is well-placed to become a regular. 

A Himalayan salt block to spice up cooking

Screen Shot 2018 05 11 at 9.39.12 AM

Himalayan Salt BBQ Plank, $30

If he loves to cook, salt blocks will bring his meals to the next level. Himalayan salt is supposed to give a more nuanced flavor than regular table salt, and the amount of saltiness will be auto-regulated by the type of food (moist food absorbs more, fatty foods repel it).

Bourbon-infused coffee

44100_1_1200px 2

Bourbon Infused Coffee, $20

Bourbon and coffee, what’s not to love? 

A gift set of fun socks

httpsasset.productmarketingcloud.comapiassetstorage233_12898264 c9b4 4857 8c59 34fb5dc637f0magentoimage

Father’s Day Gift Box, $38.00

Socks are every outfit’s opportunity for some flair. If Dad might appreciate a few unforgettable pairs from a new brand, check out Happy Socks’ Father’s Day Gift Box. As with any holiday set, it arrives looking gift-ready. 

A fun, local class

Airbnb Experiences, from $30

Gift Airbnb Experiences, from $7

Local pasta-making classes, wine tours, pottery workshops, secret concerts, nature outings — you can book thousands of local classes and activities on Airbnb Experiences to make wherever you live feel new, exciting, and full of possibilities. 

Read our review of Airbnb’s virtual experiences

A leather passport holder

Slim Passport Holder Brown 426 340 1_fullsize

Leatherology Slim Passport Holder, $25 (+$10 for monogram)

For big upcoming adventures, a leather passport holder (which you can engrave) is likely not something he’d pick up for himself but will love having. 

A trusted babysitter

urbansitters app

UrbanSitter Gift Card, from $25

If he has young kids, one of the most impactful gifts you can give is probably a worry-free night out. Nationwide service UrbanSitter is home to more than 150,000 trusted babysitters and gathers mutual connections and recommendations from their community of fellow parents. Give a gift card to dad for the service; a $34.95 one-month access pass (or $99.95 annual membership) allows parents to browse, interview, and book a sitter that meets their needs.

A craft beer-making kit

81VitzshqbL._SL1500_

Northern Brewer 1 Gallon Craft Beer Making Starter Kit, $64.99

Gift Dad the tools to make his own craft beer. This kit comes with easy instructions, customer service to contact for troubleshooting, and all the essentials. It also has one of the most positive ratings online and earns an “A” grade from FakeSpot

A media streaming stick

roku streaming stick
The Roku Streaming Stick is a small but powerful device.

Roku Streaming Stick+, $39

A straightforward interface and lots of streaming options make Roku’s streaming stick among the best streaming devices out there, especially in affordability. 

A lifetime REI membership

REI Classes and Events

REI Membership, $20

An REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. Find out more here.

“Game of Thrones” Monopoly

monopoly $41.13

Monopoly: Game of Thrones Collector’s Edition Board Game, $50

Use this to give a nod to his “Game of Thrones” fandom, and institute a family game night. 

Really nice face cream

_102228257

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, from $18.70-$68

If he isn’t married to a skin care routine yet, he might love Kiehl’s. It’s nicer than what he’d pick up at the drugstore but not so expensive he can’t bring himself to replace it when this pot runs out.

A handy dopp kit

_103188836

Dagne Dover Small Hunter Neoprene Toiletry Bag, $35

A nice dopp kit goes a long way in making Dad’s life easier and his essentials more organized. Dagne Dover’s neoprene makes this look much more luxe than its price suggests.

A personalized coupon book he can redeem

il_570xN.985846998_qw9m

Personalized Father’s Day Coupon Book, $9.98

This personalized Father’s Day coupon book is sweet and thoughtful, but more polished than if it was entirely homemade. You can gift him his choice of TV, free take-out-the-trash days, or anything else that might make his next few months better.

A gift card to Patagonia

patagonia

Patagonia Gift Card, from $10

If Dad loves the outdoors, you might put the purchasing power in his hands for a change. You don’t need to haunt his friends, siblings, and other family members for ideas. Instead, he can shop for the latest edition of something or replace the old. 

An engraved money clip

il_570xN.1268453536_8sxq

Personalized Money Clip, from $18

Understated, elegant, and personalized, this money clip looks nicer than its price suggests.

A body wash he can’t find at the drugstore

_100405071

MALIN+GOETZ Rum Body Wash, $24

Nicer than what he might pick up at the drugstore, this MALIN+GOETZ body wash smells great and uses natural glycerin and amino acid technology to cleanse the skin without stripping it.

A craft beer flight set

Craft Beer

Craft Beer Flight Set, $24.99

He most likely doesn’t have this yet, but a beer flight holder is great for entertaining — or just having more fun with the hobbies he already loves. 

A great beard oil

jack black $24

Jack Black Beard Oil, $26

If Dad is letting his stubble grow out, or he’s already sporting a beard, this is a grooming product he should have, but might not. 

A backpack cooler

eddie bauer $50

Eddie Bauer Bygone Backpack Cooler, $42

This cooler is perfect for when a picnic or tailgate party involves more gear than he can carry in two hands. Its 20-liter capacity will hold a 12-pack plus ice, and two side pockets with adjustable toggles can handle wine or water bottles.

A cookbook that is one long “ode to the Southern breakfast”

A1WdkTGEG4L

Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day, $30

This is basically the how-to book for every mouth-watering Southern breakfast dad might ever want, and he’ll probably have a lot of fun making his way through each.

An engraved docking station

Engraved Docking Station

Engraved Docking Station, $36.00

This custom engraved docking station is perfect for making things look organized and neat with a personal touch. It will make it easier to find all that he needs and ensures none of his charging cables become tangled.

A cool beer foamer

Beer Foamer

Beer Foamer, $19.99

This device gives any beer-loving dad that soft, rich creamy foam feel they love. Just attach it to the top of any beer bottle and push the button.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best hard-anodized cookware sets in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A carefully selected cookware set can be the finishing touch on a new kitchen or refresh an old one.
  • Hard-anodized cookware has the high heat conductivity of aluminum with a safe nonstick surface.
  • The best hard-anodized cookware set on for value and durability is the GreenPan Valencia Pro 11-Piece Set.

Buying a cookware set can be overwhelming because of the sheer volume of brands, materials, and types of included pieces. While stainless steel, copper, and traditional nonstick are the most popular options for cookware sets and each have their benefits, another lesser-known cookware material can offer some of the best value: hard-anodized aluminum. According to Fran Groesbeck, managing director at the Cookware Manufacturer’s Association, hard-anodized cookware is known for its strength, durability, and even heating.

Raw aluminum is inexpensive and offers excellent conductivity for cooking, but it’s prone to discoloration and scratching. Hard-anodized aluminum has undergone a chemical process to oxidize the cooking surface of the pan so it’s more durable, nonstick, and doesn’t discolor the food. While hard-anodized cookware is plenty nonstick in its own right, many hard-anodized pieces have additional nonstick coatings. For more information on the technical aspects of the material, see our FAQs.

While durability, cooking, and ease of use and cleaning were top of mind when making our selections, we also looked for sets with useful pieces and no superfluous items. The most important pieces in any cookware set are a stockpot or Dutch oven, a 12-inch skillet, and a 4-quart saucepan, all with lids (it’s worth noting that cookware manufacturer’s consider lids as separate “pieces” when listing the number of pieces in a set). We used this blueprint to narrow down the choices in this guide. If you’re looking for a specific piece, consider purchasing individual items, as a large cookware set is likely to have more than you need.

We think hard-anodized cookware sets are a great option for folks who want to outfit their kitchen on a budget, and are looking for a set that is easy to cook with, care for, and maintain. Below we’ve outlined our top picks for hard-anodized sets.

Here are the best hard-anodized cookware sets in 2021

The best hard-anodized cookware set overall

A set of eleven pans against a white background, the GreenPan Valencia Pro set

The GreenPan Valencia Pro set is our top pick because it features 11 basic cookware pieces that have safe ceramic nonstick coatings and are oven-safe to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, all for about $200.

Pros: Oven-safe to 600 degrees F, metal utensil safe, durable ceramic nonstick coating, lots of useful pieces, both PTFE- and PFOA-free

Cons: No 12-inch skillet (though sauté pan can be used in its place)

With seven pans and four lids, the Valencia Pro has everything you need to switch between stovetop and oven cooking. The hard-anodized bodies and stainless steel handles are durable, scratch resistant, and oven-safe up to 600 degrees F. The glass lids allow you to see what you’re cooking without releasing steam or heat (but keep in mind that the lids are only oven-safe to 425 degrees F). The casserole dish is just a Dutch oven by another name. 

GreenPan uses a ceramic nonstick coating derived from sand particles, which is as durable and effective as traditional coatings, but free from PTFE, PFOA, and lead. The Valencia Pro set is also dishwasher and metal utensil safe for easier clean up and better durability.

Best hard-anodized cookware set on a budget

Best Budget Hard Anodized Cookware_Rachel Ray_Amazon

The Rachael Ray Cucina set features dishwasher safe and durable cookware basics, making it an ideal set for starting fresh in the kitchen on a budget.

Pros: Dishwasher safe, comes in three different cookware colors, large variety of pot and pan types

Cons: Only oven-safe to 400 degrees F, no large frying pan, saucepans are a bit on the small side

The Rachael Ray Cucina Hard-Anodized Set offers valuable basics in materials known for durability. The hard-anodized aluminum exterior is scratch-resistant, and the tempered glass lids are bordered by a stainless steel rim. The nonstick interior is PFOA free, but not metal utensil safe. 

Instead of a third saucepan or skillet, the set includes a 3-quart sauté pan as a piece with more volume and versatility. The serving utensils (a slotted spoon and spatula) are a great addition for a starter cookware set. You can choose from three colors for the serving utensils and the silicone grips that wrap around stainless steel handles.

Best high-end hard-anodized cookware set

Best High End Hard Anodized Cookware_Williams Sonoma_Williams Sonoma

The Thermo-Clad cookware set features details that make cooking easier, from the heat-encapsulating stainless steel lids to the metal utensil safe nonstick coating.

Pros: Induction compatible, heat-sealing lids, includes a large stockpot 

Cons: Fewer pieces than less expensive sets, no large skillet

Instead of glass, this set features stainless steel lids with double wall insulation to keep food warm. While this means you can’t see the food while it’s cooking, it’s useful for making items ahead of time and keeping food warm for serving. The entire set is oven-safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Thermo-Clad line features a tri-ply stainless steel base, designed to limit hot spots by covering the bottom of the pan edge to edge. The nonstick coating is metal utensil safe, though the brand recommends avoiding abrasive cleaners like steel wool. The unique item in this set is the 6-quart “essential pan,” which is nearly identical in design to a traditional saucier. With a wide base and high, rounded sides, this pan is great for one pot meals.

Best space-saving hard-anodized cookware set

Best Space Saving Hard Anodized Cookware of 2021_Calphalon_Target

The Calphalon Stackable Set includes every necessary piece to start a cookware collection and it all stacks neatly for easy storage in small kitchens.

Pros: Stacks compactly for storage, lids fit on multiple pieces

Cons: No large skillet, only oven-safe to 400 degrees F, not safe for metal utensils

This set is organized by diameter, so that all 8-inch wide pieces fit in a stack that can nest within the 10-inch wide stack. Interlocking plates on the pans’ outside edges stabilize the stacks. Because of the common diameters, the lids are interchangeable among pieces. 

Silicone grips keep the handles cool to the touch, but limit the oven-safe temperature to 400 degrees F. The nonstick interior is also not safe for metal utensils. The highlight of this set is a stackable Dutch oven, giving you the versatility of the piece without taking up too much space.

Best hard-anodized cookware set for induction

Best Induction Hard Anodized Cookware_Ninja Foodi lifestyle_Best Buy

The Ninja Foodi NeverStick cookware set works on all range types, including induction, and is constructed for maximum durability and heat retention with heavy-gauge aluminum and a stainless steel base.

Pros: Proprietary nonstick coating, metal utensil safe, induction compatible

Cons: No large skillet (though sauté pan can perform similar functions)

Ninja’s NeverStick technology is based on heating the particles used in the nonstick coating to higher temperatures than other brands do for their coatings. This promises a more durable nonstick surface that isn’t prone to chipping or flaking and is metal utensil safe. 

The NeverStick line is available in a hard-anodized set that comes with 10 pieces and can be used on all range types, including induction. Though it lacks a large skillet, it comes with a generously-sized stockpot for making soups, stews, and one pot meals. The pieces are also safe to 500 degrees F for easy transition from stovetop to oven.

Our methodology

Best overall hard anodized cookware set 2021 methodology

We identified the best hard-anodized cookware sets through research, an interview with Fran Groesbeck, managing director at the Cookware Manufacturer’s Association, and our own extensive experience with cookware. We developed baseline criteria, such as necessary pieces and safety requirements, and evaluated sets based on these elements and other factors like value for price. We plan on testing these sets in the future and updating this guide accordingly. 

FAQs

Best Induction Hard Anodized Cookware_Ninja Foodi lifestyle_Best Buy_1

What is hard-anodized aluminum?

Aluminum is a common material used in bakeware and cookware because it’s lightweight and has great heat conductivity. The main issue with aluminum is that it will oxidize when exposed to acidic food, leaving dark marks on the surface that can transfer to light colored foods. To prevent this, most modern aluminum pans are coated in a ceramic layer or “anodized,” an electrochemical process that uses controlled oxidation to create a protective layer. 

The unique element of this process is that the anodized layer isn’t applied to the surface, but created out of the molecules within the metal. Therefore, the anodized protective layer cannot chip or peel off. It can wear down, but if cared for properly, it lasts longer than applied coatings. “Hard-anodized aluminum is naturally stick resistant, and it is resistant to scratches and food odors,” said Groesbeck.


What utensils are safe to use on hard-anodized cookware?

The hard-anodized layer isn’t a coating, so a hard-anodized pan can be used with any material utensil. However, nonstick coatings are often applied to hard-anodized cookware, so we recommend checking the information provided by the manufacturer before using metal utensils. Single or double layer nonstick coatings can be scratched by metal utensils.


Can hard-anodized cookware be used on induction stovetops? 

This depends on the set and will be listed in the manufacturer’s description of the product. Cookware must have magnetic properties to work on induction stovetops, and aluminum is a non-magnetic metal, Groesbeck said. Therefore, a magnetic plate must be applied to the base of aluminum cookware in order to be induction safe. This is why not every hard-anodized aluminum set is induction compatible.


Can hard-anodized cookware go in the oven?

While you should always consult the manufacturer’s instructions, most hard-anodized cookware is oven-safe to some degree. The exact oven-safe temperature will be listed by the manufacturer on the packaging. The lids may have a different oven-safe temperature depending on the material.


Is hard-anodized cookware dishwasher safe?

Consult the manufacturer’s instructions on using the dishwasher or hand-washing your cookware. If the cookware has a nonstick coating, it is always recommended to use non-abrasive cleaners and avoid steel wool or other harsh sponges.

PFOA and PTFE

The acronyms PFOA and PTFE are everywhere in cookware descriptions. Here’s what you need to know about each:

PTFE stands for polytetrafluoroethylene, and is more commonly known by its brand name: Teflon. There have been concerns over the health effects of PTFE and PFOA, and while studies have been mostly inconclusive, PFOA was isolated as the more dangerous chemical. 

PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, was used in the production of PTFE since Teflon was invented in the 1970s. In the manufacturing process, most of the PFOA burns off and only trace elements remain in the cookware. These elements are then only released if the cookware is overheated to temperatures of 570 degrees F. However, since 2010, the EPA has put programs and regulations in place to phase out the use of PFOAs in American manufacturing. The majority of cookware made in the United States since 2015 is PFOA-free, and so are all of our top picks. 

International standards are not the same as American ones, so PFOA may still be used in products from other countries. 

See more great cookware buying guides

skillet

The best cookware sets


The best cast iron skillets and pans


The best copper cookware


The best fully clad stainless steel cookware

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best kettlebells of 2021 for your home gym, including adjustable, soft-sided, and budget picks

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Kettlebells help optimize workouts as they combine strength work with cardio and flexibility training.
  • Beginners should pick their weight carefully and learn proper form to minimize the risk of injury.
  • Our top pick, the Everlast Vinyl Dipped Kettlebells, is affordable and has an injury-preventative outer material.

Editor’s note: Due to fluctuating stock, many of the picks may be out of stock, back-ordered, or low in stock. We will keep this updated as best we can.

If you’re looking to outfit your home gym on a budget or with minimal gear, we’d argue that the single most versatile piece of equipment you could consider is a kettlebell. The odd, bell-shaped weights may look intimidating to someone who has never swung one before – and learning how to use one should definitely be taken seriously.

But the piece of equipment is actually really easy to get the hang of, and the odd shape of a kettlebell allows for a more dynamic range of movement than you get with a traditional dumbbell. Thus, kettlebells are used not only for strength training but also for cardio work, flexibility and balance training, and to target multiple muscle groups at once. Kettlebells are incredibly diverse, but they also open the door for challenging moves you can’t otherwise do – like a kettlebell swing – and add another layer of challenge to tried-and-true exercises like goblet squats.

Kettlebells have a lot of advantages and they almost always level up the fun of a workout. But they shouldn’t be treated as toys which is why it’s important to learn proper form for every move. At the end of this guide, I’ve also included answers to a few FAQs to better help you understand the kind of kettlebells you should shop for and how much weight to look for.

Whether your fitness goal is to build muscle strength, improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, or continue to challenge your body in new and exciting ways, one single bell can help you achieve any of these.

Here are the best kettlebells:

The best kettlebell overall

everlast kettlebell

Everlast’s Vinyl Dipped Kettlebells are coated with a thick, colorful layer of vinyl which makes them safer to use and allows for quick identification of each weight.

Pros: Protective vinyl coating, easy-to-use color coding for different weights, decent price point

Cons: Maximum weight too low for some athletes

It only takes smashing a cast-iron kettlebell into the side of your knee one time to help you understand that features like a softer vinyl coating is really nice to have on your kettlebell.

“I’ve used Everlast kettlebells for years,” Cincotta told Insider. “When the bell itself is coated like this, as opposed to metal-based, you’re able to do much more with the bell without accidentally tearing up your body.”

If you’re buying more than one, it’s nice that the Everlast’s Vinyl Dipped Kettlebells have bright colorings to mark different weights, so you’re at less risk of grabbing the wrong weight for a given exercise. The kettlebells are also available in increments between five and 35 pounds. 

Whether used for suitcase squats, lunges, presses, or core training, these are reliable kettlebells from a company with more than 110 years of history in the fitness gear arena.

The best kettlebell for interval training

TRX kettlebell

TRX Training Kettlebells have lightly textured handles that allow for a secure grip and easy transitions, ideal for use during high-intensity exercise.

Pros: Textured handles for secure grip; multiple weights offered; broad, flat base adds stability

Cons: Expensive

If you’re a fan of HIIT exercise (high-intensity interval training), you’ll love these kettlebells that are perfectly suited to fast, highly specific motions. Their textured grips ensure you keep a steady grasp even when you’re sweaty, moving fast, and rapidly switching between various different exercises.

TRX offers kettlebells from four kilograms (8.8 pounds) all the way up to 40 kg (88 pounds) with moderate increases between each option. That means you can choose the exact amount of weight to suit your body for any given exercise. (Find out more in how to choose the right weight kettlebell.)

These bells also have a broader, more flat base compared to competitors. That extra flattened surface area makes these kettlebells more stable when you set them down fast, like during HIIT workouts.

One significant drawback is the price, however — these aren’t cheap.

The best adjustable kettlebell

bowflex kettle bell w

With the Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell, you get six kettlebells in one, which is ultimately one of the best values around.

Pros: Six weights in one, affordable compared to buying all six weights, easy to adjust

Cons: Expensive up front; handle is less ergonomic than others; bulky, especially for use at lighter weight

Yes, $149 is a lot to pay for a kettlebell. But with the Bowflex SelectTech 840, you’re actually getting six kettlebells in one, which turns this into quite the deal.

The 840 gets its name from its lowest and highest weights, which are eight pounds and 40 pounds, respectively. In between those low and high options, you get 12-, 20-, 25-, and 35-pound increments, a good spread for people of varying strength and for a single person’s use at varied exercises.

Switching between weights is quick and easy, too. You simply turn a dial and lift up on the handle, and the extra weight is left sitting there on the ground. Beyond the ease of use during active exercise, you’ll also appreciate what is effectively six kettlebells only occupying the space of one. 

The benefits of this design are clear, but there are a few drawbacks — the largest of which is that kettlebell is less ergonomic than a standard option. The handle is slimmer and doesn’t have the flared shape of most kettlebells, and the overall unit is larger than solid options, which might make some exercises harder to execute properly.

With a few reps, you should get used to the shape, though, and the value far outweighs the cons.

The best budget kettlebell

amazonbasics kettlebell

AmazonBasics Vinyl Kettlebell has many features of other brands like a gentler vinyl coating and range of weight choices, but you’ll pay a few bucks less.

Pros: Great price point, good spread of weight increments, colorful, vinyl coatings

Cons: Grips often have minor imperfections

There’s plenty of positive things to say about the kettlebells from AmazonBasics. They’re coated in a thick vinyl that protects your skin and helps minimize the chance of scuffing the floor or scratching a piece of furniture; they come in a wide range of weights, starting at 10 pounds and reaching all the way up to 60, with 11 increments along the way; and their colorful coatings make it easy to tell one weight from another.

That description fits just about any decent set of kettlebells. What sets these apart from the pack is that they cost on average 15% less than its competitors — and you can use your free Prime shipping for delivery.

For that reduced price, you can expect a slight reduction in quality. Many of the kettlebells sold under the AmazonBasics banner have minor imperfections in the handles such as irregular bumps or little holes. 

These flaws shouldn’t be deal-breakers unless you have sensitive hands, for which you can also work out with gloves on.

The best soft-sided kettlebell

Bionic Body kettlebell

The Bionic Body Soft Kettlebell is plenty heavy but soft-to-the-touch, so you won’t break a toe or crack a tile if you accidentally drop one.

Pros: Safer for flooring and injury, decent price point for a unique product

Cons: Leather exterior damages more easily than standard kettlebell

If you work out often enough, at some point you are going to have an accident. Dropping weights is a fact of life, and it’s why gyms have padded floors. If you’re working out on the hardwood or tile floors of your own home, that dropped weight might lead to an unexpected and unpleasant home repair project — or, potentially, an ER trip to fix a broken toe.

Working out with a soft-sided kettlebell solves this. Bionic Body’s Soft Kettlebells come in a decent range of weights, spanning 10 to 35 pounds, and they’re durable and solid-feeling in your hands.

There’s no sacrifice of function in the name of making them soft-sided, and you won’t even pay that much more for these kettlebells than you would for standard iron or vinyl-coated weights. 

The leather wraps around the weights won’t chafe or irritate your skin, so these kettlebells make for more comfort. But with them being leather, the exterior can get scuffed and torn in a way a solid kettlebell can’t, so you do need to treat these with a bit more care than with other options.

What else we considered

kettlegrip

Many brands offer their own version of the kettlebell incredibly similar to one another, so there’s little reason to look much beyond the list we put together. There are, however, a few specialty options and accessories worth your consideration:

Meister MMA Elite Portable Sand Kettlebell ($13): This option is made from rugged PVC that can be filled with sand to create a functional kettlebell. Empty, the sack packs down flat for easy storage or travel. Filled and with the neoprene handle wrapped into place, this portable kettlebell lets you knock out snatches, standing rows, and more anywhere you go — so long as you can find sand. And for under $15, you can’t beat it.

Kettle Gryp ($35): The Kettle Gryp is a one-pound plastic grip that affixes to any dumbbell with a grip wider than 4.5 inches and converts dumbbells into kettlebells. So that stack of free weights you have there in your garage? Every one of those could be used just like a kettlebell.

Yes4All Adjustable Kettlebell Handle $34: If you have weight plates in your home (the disc weights with holes for mounting them on bars, e.g.) then a Yes4All Adjustable Kettlebell Handle can create an ad hoc kettlebell of myriad weight combinations.

How to correct your form

Before you start swinging your new kettlebells around wildly, make sure you take some time to learn how to properly execute the exercises for which they are so helpful when used correctly.

“When you’re using kettlebells, safety is the first thing,” R.J. Cincotta, director of fitness with Orangetheory Fitness Long Island, told Insider. “Many people just start swinging them around and don’t focus on form. There’s such a dynamic difference using them [compared to other weights] that you really need to learn form, first. And you don’t want to go too heavy too quickly; that’s a very easy way to get injured.”

With that advice in mind, we tested a variety of kettlebells from brands like Everlast, TRX, and Bowflex to find the best currently available. So, no matter if you’re just looking for a set to round out your home gym or want to kick your weekly fitness routine up a few notches, there’s a set of kettlebells perfect for you. 

FAQs

What weight of kettlebell should I buy? 

The problem with buying a single piece of strength equipment like a set of dumbbells or a kettlebell is that different moves call for different resistance amounts. One of the main selling points of a kettlebell is that it’s such a diverse piece of equipment, but to really maximize its use, you want to choose the single weight that will deliver the most bang for your buck.

When thinking about what weight will be most useful, it’s better to go a little heavier, San Diego-based trainer Pete McCall, CSCS, host of the All About Fitness podcast, told Insider. “Kettlebells are often used for exercises like swings and goblet squats, and for these lower body movements, heavier is better,” he says.

What’s more a heavier kettlebell actually forces you to use better form and technique. “Going too light could lead to “cheating” during the lift which, in turn, could result in injury,” he said. (We know — it’s the rare instance the injury risk is in going too light instead of too heavy).

If you’re going light, McCall also advises looking for a competition-style kettlebell. “With traditional kettlebells, as the weight gets lighter, the handle gets smaller,” he explained.

But competition-style bells have more room between the bell and the handle, which can be a lot easier to grip, especially for those not used to the equipment.


What kind of workouts can you use a kettlebell for?

R.J. Cincotta provided some professional perspective on the importance of kettlebells, and although most Orangetheory gyms don’t use kettlebells, he was able to speak to Insider based on his own extensive fitness experience. 

“Kettlebells are best used for power movements,” Cincotta said. “You’re going to use them for squats and swings, and you’ll use them for a lot of single-sided exercises often referred to as asymmetrical movements. You can even use kettlebells for stability work as well.”

What makes a kettlebell harder to use than a dumbbell lies in its shape, which puts the weight several inches away from your hand. This means you’ll need to activate more of your muscles as you stabilize the weight. With a kettlebell, every single-handed exercise like curls, shoulder presses, snatches, and so on is that much more productive.

And for two-handed exercises like goblet squats, the grip shape means added stability so you can focus on your form, as well as your core, glutes, quads, and other muscles.


Is there a significant injury risk with buying a kettlebell that’s too heavy?

The answer to this is both yes and no. Using a heavier kettlebell will lead to more results because you’ll have to work harder to move it and therefore use more muscle. Keep in mind however, that “heavier” is entirely relative. As Cincotta mentioned (and any trainer will tell you), a weight above your strength level is the fast track to injury.

Generally, the best way to choose a weight is to borrow a friend’s or pop into your local sporting goods store and see what feels comfortable for moves like lunges and squats. But if you can’t do that, McCall offers some guidelines for what weight is good for most people:

If you don’t have a solid foundation of muscle mass already or experience using a kettlebell, aim for a 20- to 25-pound (12kg) kettlebell for a female, and a 30- to 35-pound (16kg) bell for a male.

For those experienced with a kettlebell (i.e., have been using one 1-2 times a week already), females should opt for a 30- to 45-pound (16 or 20kg) bell, males for 40- to 50-pound (20 to 24kg) kettlebell.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 7 best wireless phone chargers of 2021

  • The best wireless chargers provide a convenient way to charge your phone without the hassle of plugging in.
  • I’ve tested more than 40 wireless chargers over the past few years to find the best ones.
  • Our guide highlights chargers in different categories and suits various budgets.

To put it simply: no one likes charging their phone. Whether you’re chatting on a video call, reading the news, or listening to music during a run, there’s nothing like the panic that comes with seeing your battery dip below 20%.

Wireless chargers are a great way to power up your phone easily without fumbling with a power cord. In the early days, wireless chargers only offered slow speeds, were hampered by competing compatibility standards, and required precise placement in order to work. But as support for wireless charging has spread, especially after it became standard across the iPhone lineup in 2017, the technology has improved rapidly.

As an early adopter and tech reporter with more than a decade of experience, I’ve tested more than 40 different wireless chargers over the years, so I’m well placed to recommend the best picks to serve different needs. Later on in this guide, we breakdown things you should consider when shopping for a wireless charger.

Here are the best wireless chargers

The best wireless charger overall

Moshi_Otto_Q_Wireless_Charger

The Moshi Otto Q has a gray fabric design that looks good anywhere, it charges most phones at top speed, and it is sturdy.

Pros: Stylish look, non-slip, charges through cases

Cons: No adapter included, LED too bright for nightstand

With a smart design that combines style and function perfectly, the Moshi Otto Q is an excellent wireless charging pad. It supports fast wireless charging at up to 10W, which means it can charge up an iPhone and most Android phones at top speed.

Clever use of a metallic-looking silver plastic with a gray fabric cover helps this wireless charger stand out from the crowd in a good way. It looks at home on a wooden table, a nightstand, or a kitchen counter. 

The silicone ring on top both cushions your phone and prevents it from sliding off the charger. There’s also a rubbery pad on the underside that prevents it from slipping, even if you bump the table or nightstand that it’s on. Moshi supplies a USB-C to USB-A cable that’s 3 feet long in the box, but the manufacturer does suggest that you will need an adapter rated at Quick Charge 2.0 (9V/2A) minimum to get the maximum speed from it. This one from RAVPower should work.

I’ve been using it with a Samsung Adaptive Fast Charger, and it has been happily charging up a variety of phones, including an iPhone X and a Pixel 4.

The Moshi Otto Q has foreign object detection, so if any metal gets in between it and the phone it’s charging, it just turns off. You’ll want to make sure any case you use is metal-free, but thickness isn’t an issue. Moshi says it can charge through cases up to 5mm thick, and I’ve tested it with a variety, including some fairly thick protective cases, without any issues. Simply plug the USB-C cable into the back and plug the USB-A end into an adapter and you’re set. 

There’s a white LED at the front of the Moshi Otto Q that pulses gently while it’s charging and stays on when your phone is fully charged. Unfortunately, this light can be annoying in the bedroom when you’re trying to sleep, so the nightstand is not the best location for this wireless charger. I’ve placed mine on a side table in the dining room and it fits in nicely. 

My whole family has been using the Moshi Otto Q for a couple of years now and it’s still going strong, so I can wholeheartedly recommend it. The lack of an adapter in the box is a bit disappointing, but the style and quality build justify the price tag. Moshi also offers a 10-year warranty. 

The best fast-charging wireless charger

Anker PowerWave Alloy Pad charging a phone on a table

If you have a phone capable of charging at 15W or you want to future-proof, then the Anker PowerWave Alloy Pad is best for you.

Pros: Durable design, non-slip, long cable

Cons: No adapter included, LED too bright for nightstand

This compact metal puck blends into any room easily and feels built to last. It can fast charge most Qi-supporting Android phones and iPhones at the top speed they support, with four distinct charging modes designed to charge different smartphone models as quickly as possible.  

Anker is more focused on function than style and this sturdy, solid, weighty wireless charging pad has a silicone pad on the top and a silicone ring on the bottom to prevent any slippage. Pop your phone on the center of this pad and it will stay in place, even if a call comes in and it begins to vibrate. The only slight annoyance of the silicone is that it attracts dust and hairs. 

It comes with a relatively lengthy 5-foot cable, but you’ll need to provide your own power adapter. Cases are nothing to worry about because the Anker PowerWave Allow Pad can charge through cases up to 5mm thick. It also has safety features like temperature control and foreign object detection, and the alloy body helps it to stay cool in use.

The downside of the Anker PowerWave Alloy Pad, beyond the slightly dull design, is the presence of a blue LED at the front that lights up when it’s charging your phone. This light is likely to irritate you if you plan on using this wireless charger on the nightstand.

The best wireless charging stand

Best iPhone docks - Belkin BOOST UP Wireless Charging Stand

You can prop your phone up in landscape or portrait orientation while charging with the speedy Belkin BOOST UP Wireless Charging Stand.

Pros: Supports portrait or landscape, 4-foot power cord and adapter included, non-slip

Cons: Doesn’t fast charge some phones, quite large

Sometimes wireless charging stands are better than pads because they allow you to prop your phone up, making it easy to see incoming notifications or to check the time. The downside with stands is that they can be a little unstable and easy to accidentally knock your phone off.

The Belkin Boost UP Wireless Charging Stand has a smart design with a circular charging pad and a wide frame that makes it extremely stable. It’s also capable of charging your phone while it’s propped in landscape or portrait orientation and it can deliver up to 10W.

The Belkin BOOST UP comes in black or white plastic and has a wide frame with non-slip rubber padding on the bottom edges and on the surfaces where you rest your phone. The design makes it easy to position your phone correctly so that it charges.

Many stands claim to offer charging in portrait or landscape, but in practice, it can be tricky to find the right spot in landscape. With the Belkin BOOST UP, the angled circular pad makes it easy, and I’ve found it works reliably with an iPhone X and Pixel 4.

Another advantage with the Belkin BOOST UP is that it comes with a cable and adapter. My version has a barrel connector and the cable is permanently attached to the adapter you plug into the wall. There is another version of this wireless charger that comes with a separate cable and adapter. Either way, it’s nice to have the correct adapter included. 

It can charge through cases up to 3mm thick. There are also two pinprick LEDs in different positions, so that one is always visible whichever way you place your phone to charge. They light up white when charging and turn orange if there’s a problem, like keys or another metal object being stuck on the pad. It also has overheating protection built in for peace of mind.

If you have an iPhone, the Belkin BOOST UP can charge at the top speed of 7.5W, and it can hit 9W for Samsung phones, but for every other device, including Google’s Pixel phones it is capped at 5W. This isn’t a problem if you use it for overnight charging, and I think the light is small enough here that the Belkin BOOST UP is a good choice for the nightstand. It usually costs $50.

The best luxurious wireless charger

Bezalel_Altair_Wireless_Charger

A classy aluminum body with suede padding makes the Bezalel Altair a great looking, sturdy wireless charging stand for your phone.

Pros: Looks great, very stable, charges through cases

Cons: No adapter included, expensive

If you want a wireless charger that’s solid and sturdy with good looks, whether there’s a phone on it or not, then the Bezalel Altair is worth considering. It can deliver up to 10W of power, so it will charge iPhones and many Android phones at their maximum wireless charging speed. Carved from a single piece of aluminum, it’s strong and it looks great. 

There are two rubber pegs that stick out to prop your phone on, and there’s a white LED just beneath them. A suede pad, with a relatively subtle logo, allows you to rest your phone safely on the stand while it charges. A solid rubber base prevents it from sliding around on the desktop. Bezalel also provides a 3-foot, flat, non-tangle, USB-C to USB-A cable in the box. You’ll have to buy your own adapter and you’ll want one that’s rated at QC 2.0 or higher, like this one from RAVPower.

One of the nice things about the design is that you can prop your phone in landscape or portrait orientation, and it will charge. It’s also the perfect angle to have on your desk for face unlock and for video calls. I have it on my desk and use it with my Pixel 4 every day. It’s not capable of charging the Pixel at top speed, but the style and utility make up for that. If you’re ever in a rush and want to charge up via cable, the peg design allows easy access to the charging port on your phone, so you can prop your phone in portrait and plug in a charging cable.

It can charge through cases up to 5mm thick, but one downside here is that it doesn’t automatically detect foreign objects between the phone and charger and shut itself off like many wireless chargers do. Because it’s angled, this is less likely to be an issue than with a pad, but it’s worth noting. 

Sadly, the white LED stays lit all the time when this charger is plugged in or charging, so it’s not suitable for the nightstand if light is going to bother you. I think this style is better suited to a desk anyway. If you like the look of it, you can expect to pay $65.

The best wireless charger for travel

Fuse_Chicken_Universal

The multi-talented Fuse Chicken Universal All-in-One World Travel Charger is a battery pack, travel adapter, and wireless charger all at once, so it’s perfect for jet-setters.

Pros: Clever multi-functional design, great for travel, compact

Cons: Expensive, bulky at outlet, power button required to turn on USB charging

The Fuse Chicken Universal All-in-One World Travel Charger makes it easy to charge your phone in a variety of ways while you travel. It’s a battery pack, a wireless charger, and a travel adapter all wrapped into one portable device that’s about the same size as a MacBook power adapter.

Set your phone down on the charger, and it acts like a quick-charging 10-watt wireless charger, but if you’re on the move, you can also plug in a cable to use it as a battery pack. The 6,700mAh battery inside the charger is enough to fully charge most phones, though you’ll find you can squeeze a little more from it if you plug in, rather than use the wireless charging function. 

I was able to fully charge a Pixel 4 with change using the USB-C port. It can deliver up to 18W, which is enough to charge an iPhone or Pixel at top speed. As a wireless charger, you can expect a fair bit less, because wireless charging is less efficient. Luckily, you can see how much battery life is left in the internal battery by pressing the power button. The percentage remaining will display on the tiny LED screen.

When it comes time to plug in the charger and re-juice the internal battery, you can plug it right into a regular wall outlet. If you’re not in the US, and you happen to be traveling to the EU, UK, or Australia, Fuse Chicken has you covered with travel adapters for all those countries. Simply slide on the adapter you need, again, much like a MacBook power adapter. A small bag comes with the charger, so you have a place to safely store those adapters.

The USB-C port can also charge the battery up if you can’t plug it in for some reason. It is a bit bulky, which can sometimes be a problem with some outlets or power strips. There’s also a USB-A port that’s capable of delivering 12W, so you can plug your phone’s charging cable and juice up your device that way if you prefer. You can use both ports at the same time to charge multiple devices at once, should you need to. 

Downsides include the fact that you can’t use the wireless charging function when it’s plugged in, because it plugs in vertically. You also must press the power button sometimes when plugging in a cable or it won’t start charging your device. Sadly, it can’t charge a USB-C laptop like the MacBook, but you can charge any phone, tablet, ereader, or accessories like headphones with it.

This travel friendly, all-in-one wireless charger is also very expensive. However, if you travel to those countries a lot, it’s worth it.

The best wireless charger for multiple phones

Unravel_Wireless_Charger

If you want to wirelessly charge up to three devices simultaneously, the clever Unravel Wireless Charger is the only one of its kind.

Pros: Clever fold-up design, wirelessly charges three devices at once, extra USB-C port

Cons: Expensive, looks a bit cheap

Whether Apple will ever revive its AirPower wireless charging mat, which was going to be capable of charging your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once, remains to be seen, but there are alternatives. The Unravel Wireless Charger offers three wireless charging pads linked together with hinges. 

There are two versions of the Unravel; there’s the Unravel AW+ and the Unravel 3+1. The Unravel AW+ has two wireless charging pads that can deliver up to 10W for phones, AirPods, or another Qi device, and a third pad that’s specially designed to charge an Apple Watch. The AW+ is obviously ideal for Apple fans. The Unravel 3+1 has three wireless charging pads offering up to 10W each, and it also has a second USB-C port that can be used to charge up a fourth device.

Both versions can fold up concertina style to stow neatly away for travel. You get a 30W charger in the box and a cable. Apart from the fact it folds up nicely, travel utility is expanded when you consider that you can potentially use the same USB-C Power Delivery (PD) charger as your MacBook to power this wireless charger. However, it’s important to note that you’ll need a 60W charger if you want to get the fastest possible charging rate from all three pads at once. 

The clever design features don’t end there. You can also configure the Unravel into a triangular shape, fold out a small perch to prop your phone in landscape orientation, and watch a movie while it charges. There are black and red versions, but I recommend the glow-in-the-dark model because it gives off just enough of a glow for you to position your phone on it in the dark, but not so much that it interrupts your shuteye. 

While I’m a big fan of the Unravel, it’s not perfect. Finished in soft-touch plastic, this isn’t the kind of charger that’s going to subtly blend in with your décor. There are pinprick lights that turn on when it’s charging, but most phones cover them, so they seem redundant. The fold-out perch for propping your phone in landscape orientation also feels quite flimsy. 

Still, this versatile wireless charger is ideal for busy families or people with multiple devices to pop on the charger at night. It’s also a useful companion for travel if a single pad isn’t going to meet your needs. Both versions of the Unravel are typically the same price, but read the descriptions to make sure you get the right one for you. The manufacturer, Ampere, also offers versions with world plug sets and different chargers on its website.

The best wireless charger for Apple devices

Belkin_BOOST_CHARGE_3 in 1

If you want to charge up your Apple Watch and AirPods alongside your iPhone, then this special edition of Belkin’s Boost Charge 3-in-1 charger is for you.

Pros: Can simultaneously charge three devices, 4.5-foot power cord and adapter included, attractive design, non-slip

Cons: Expensive, large

This elegant wireless charging station from Belkin can wirelessly charge your iPhone at the current top rate of 7.5W, but it also has a magnetic Apple Watch dock built in, and there’s a wireless charging pad for your AirPods or AirPods Pro. The ability to charge all three of your Apple devices simultaneously from a single outlet makes this accessory an ideal pick for placing on a nightstand or desk.

With a glossy plastic finish in black or white, this Belkin charger has a slightly futuristic feel. The base is solid and wide to aid stability, and there’s a soft rubbery covering on the bottom that ensures it stays put. The round charger for the iPhone is angled, extending up on a shiny stainless steel pole, and there’s a curved lip to guide your placement and keep the iPhone in place. 

The magnetic Apple Watch charger is built-in and sits at a 90-degree angle, which is perfect for Nightstand mode. The circular pad behind the Apple Watch charger provides a spot for your AirPods. The included AC adapter has a permanently attached cable and slots into the back neatly with a barrel connector. The cable has an ample 4.5-foot length, and the adapter provides enough power to charge your three devices at top speed.

Two, tiny, pin-sized LEDs light up white when an iPhone or AirPods are charging and turn amber if there’s a problem with alignment or something has snuck in underneath your device. Thankfully, they are low-key and shouldn’t disturb your slumber if you decide to use this charger on the nightstand. The iPhone pad can also handle cases up to 3mm thick, so you don’t have to worry about removing your case to charge. 

I’ve been testing this charger with an iPhone X and an Apple Watch Series 5, and it has won a permanent place on the nightstand. If you like to use Nightstand mode and set alarms on your Apple Watch, then this charger is especially good. I’d prefer it didn’t have the LEDs, but at least they are tiny.

The catch is that the Belkin Boost Charge 3-in-1 Special Edition for Apple Devices is expensive. It’s a hefty investment, but I appreciate the fact that everything is included, and the Apple Watch charger is built-in, so all you need to do to get going with this is plug it into the wall. There is a cheaper version with similar functionality for a bit less, but it lacks classy touches like the stainless steel.

What else we considered

Wireless_Chargers_Also_Considered

There are so many good wireless chargers available that it’s impossible to cover them all. These are the wireless chargers that came closest to making the list, and they are all decent alternatives if you don’t like what you’ve seen so far.

  • Nomad Base Station Pro: With cutting edge technology inside, this wireless charger doesn’t require careful placement of devices. Stick your phone down anywhere on the surface and it will charge. It has space and power enough for two phones and a set of AirPods to charge together. It’s also beautifully crafted from aluminum with leather padding on top and comes with a braided cable and wall charger. The only reason it fails to make the list is the high price. Read our Nomad Base Station Pro review to learn more.
  • AirUnleashed: This large wireless charging pad is designed to emulate Apple’s ill-fated AirPower charger and has space for an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods. It has a minimal design in black or white with a soft touch finish. Sadly, there’s no AC adapter included, it requires precise placement, and you must remove some Apple Watch bands to charge. I found it too easy to accidentally bump my iPhone off the sweet spot, and after testing for a few weeks this charger is starting to look shabby. 
  • OtterBox OtterSpot: Bringing some genuine innovation to the table, OtterBox’s wireless charging system starts with a simple round base charger that looks much like any other. What sets it apart is the fact you can put a battery pad with a 5,000mAh capacity on top; it can charge wirelessly, and it can serve as a wireless charger for your phone. You can even stack additional batteries to charge them all up at once, and then take them with you when you leave. The entry price gets you one base charger and one battery, but this system can get pricey fast.
  • RAVPower Wireless Charging Stand: After a year’s service, this unobtrusive black stand still works perfectly and can deliver up to 10W. It is Qi certified, has temperature controls to prevent overheating, and sports an LED that blinks green when everything is working and red when there’s a problem. It only just misses out on a place above. 
  • Google Pixel Stand: Capable of wirelessly charging your Pixel 4, 4 XL, 3, or 3 XL at top speed, the Pixel Stand also supports some interesting Google Assistant features. Use your Pixel as an alarm clock, get your daily schedule, or turn your Pixel into a digital photo frame. This will charge any Qi device, but it’s only worth paying this much if you have a Pixel phone that can take advantage of the special features. 
  • Mophie Charge Stream Pad+: With a dull, but practical design that includes a rubbery, non-slip finish, and a white LED light, this wireless charger can deliver up to 10W. It also comes with a 5-foot cable and a QC 2.0 adapter. It charges most phones at top speed, but can’t charge through bulky cases. No major complaints about the functionality, but there simply isn’t enough here to justify the high price. 
  • Satechi Wireless Charger: The chamfered aluminum frame is smart, and there’s a silicone cross in the middle of the shiny top surface to cushion your phone. Sadly, charging is slow at 5W, there’s no adapter in the box, and the LED is far too bright to use on the nightstand. 
  • Twelve South HiRise: With a clever design that includes a weighted leather base, with a pop-out puck that you can take with you for wireless charging on the go, the Twelve South HiRise is unusual. It can deliver up to 10W, but can’t deal with thicker cases and ships without an adapter, making the price tough to swallow. 
  • Courant Wireless Chargers: These fancy leather-clad 10W wireless chargers make nice gifts, but they are too expensive to recommend over our other picks — especially as the basic Catch:1 wireless chargers don’t come with outlet adapters. The Catch:2 and Catch:3 do come with adapters, but cost $120 and $140, respectively when they’re on sale.

How to choose a wireless charger

The wireless charger landscape has evolved in the last few years, with new features, faster charging speeds, and a range of different shapes and styles. To make sure your chosen charger is going to meet your expectations, it’s important to pose a few questions before you shop. 

What device or devices do you want to charge?

Make sure that your smartphone — or other device — supports Qi wireless charging. Every entry on our list is a Qi wireless charger. Many Android phone manufacturers, like Samsung, have included wireless charging support in their flagship phones for years now. Apple introduced wireless charging support with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X, and every iPhone since then has supported it.

Don’t assume your phone supports it, though, take the time to check. A few manufacturers still haven’t adopted wireless charging, and it’s less common in mid-range and budget devices.

What is the top speed your device can charge at?

At first, wireless chargers were capped at 5W, but you can get 10W or even 15W chargers now. However, the speed you can wirelessly charge your phone at is set by the manufacturer. At the time of writing, for example, the iPhone 12 Pro tops out at 7.5W (or 15W through Apple’s MagSafe charger), Google’s Pixel 5 can charge at 12W, and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 can charge at up to 15W.

Do you need a charging cable and adapter?

Many wireless chargers are sold without a wall adapter, though they generally include a cable. It’s important to make sure that you have the right cable and adapter to enable the top charging speed. If you use a 5W adapter with a 10W charging pad, for example, you’re only going to get 5W charging. Apple also no longer includes a power adapter in the box with its new iPhones, so you’ll want to make sure you have the proper adapter handy if you’re planning on buying a new phone. 

Where are you going to use it?

The nightstand will be the ideal location for some, but you may prefer to have a wireless charger on your desk at work, on the kitchen counter at home, or perhaps all three. Different kinds of chargers will work better in different locations. For example, if it’s for the nightstand, you probably don’t want a wireless charger with a bright flashing light. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best yoga pants in 2021, according to a yoga instructor who’s tested dozens

  • As a yoga teacher and decades-long practitioner, I live in yoga pants.
  • I went on a proper search for the best yoga pants and the top choices on the market.
  • I’ve rounded up my favorites, including my top maternity leggings, below.

There are few clothing items as versatile as the yoga pant. They’re not only great for yoga class but also ideal for running errands-and sprints. This is why they’re a staple in so many of our wardrobes. All yoga pants aren’t created equal, though. And the difference between poorly and expertly-made leggings can determine whether your yoga practice is distracted and fidgety or calm and blissful.

As a yoga teacher and decades-long practitioner, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of yoga pants with my fair share of ill fits and too-thin see-through fabric. These years of informal testing led me to know exactly what to look for when formally sampling the yoga-pant market. Specifically, the material’s comfort and cut are the two most important factors.

As a yogi watches their breath and tackles challenging physical postures, a nagging fold of fabric that needs to be adjusted (and readjusted) can take them right out of the peaceful moment that they were working so hard to achieve. That’s why the best yoga pants are the kind that you don’t notice you’re wearing.

The ideal material, on the other hand, can vary based on what you want your yoga pants for. For example, the ideal hot yoga pants won’t be made from the same fabric as those for a fall outdoor class. And maternity yoga pants’ material won’t compress as a performance pair might.

With these considerations in mind, we scrutinized some of the most popular and newest pants on the market. The details on our testing process are below.

How we tested

To assess how the cut and fabric felt and moved in different situations, I wore each for a diverse range of activities. I sported each pant for three yoga sessions and one non-yoga workout. Each pant was also my attire for one full day of varied activities, from running errands to watching Netflix. Each bottom was washed twice.

The best yoga pants in 2021:

The best yoga pant overall

Best yoga pants   Best Overall Yoga Pant   Everlane 4x3

Everlane’s Perform Legging is comfortable for all-day wear, yoga, and other workouts. Its high quality and relatively low price distinguishes it from comparable pants.

Pros: Comfortable, ethically made, affordable

Cons: Thin material, so these aren’t great for outdoor yoga (or wear) in cold weather.

When most people think of yoga pants, Everlane isn’t among the first brands that come to mind. But since discovering this legging, I have been recommending it widely.

As a nod to their focus on ethical production, the bag that housed the leggings announced that it “is made from recycled plastic,” and the tag on the pants invited me to visit their website to learn more about the “ethical manufacturing process.” I took them up on the offer and the site took me to a factory in Sri Lanka and told their story. Yoga is more than a physical practice. It’s also a philosophy and way of life, which has a strong focus on ahimsa, or non-harming. It felt good to know that the pants’ production was aligned.

But it wasn’t just the backstory that made me fall in love with these pants. They’re thin and sleek with few seams and made from recycled nylon and elastane. The light compression from the extra-high waist, reminded me to use my ab muscles, even in simple poses like tadasana (mountain pose). And, most importantly, when I put them on, they felt so good that they made me want to get on my mat and practice yoga. Not all pants can inspire a workout.

During my yoga practice, the leggings checked all the boxes. They were flexible, so easy to move in, and they were comfortable. They lived up to the hype of being made from a “premium performance fabric from a renowned Italian mill.” 

I also appreciated that these pants have no visible logo. My yoga practice is a time to step away from the material world, and the absence of a small symbol of consumer culture was a nice touch. They’re also well below the $100+ yoga pant price point at $58 per pair, leaving more cash to fit in the cute pocket in the waistband.

The best outdoor yoga pant

Best yoga pants   Best for Outdoor Yoga   Alo 4x3

The Alo High-Waist Lounge Legging is ideal for outdoor yoga classes in cooler climates, or for indoor low-intensity yoga classes and workouts. 

Pros: Warm, soft

Cons: Not great for indoor high-intensity yoga or exercise

As the pandemic has shuttered studios, many teachers have moved classes to parks and parking lots with socially distanced mats. This has been great for those of us who need to practice with others so can’t just Zoom a class. But what do we wear? Thin yoga pants are great for feeling free and agile during practice, but they’re not great for winter walks or outdoor classes in cooler weather. 

Of all of the pants that I tested, the Alo High-Waist Lounge Legging was the only one that had a level of thickness to provide strong protection from the wind chill of cold days. They’re still flexible, though, with Alo’s signature four-way stretch. 

When I wore these outside, they were perfect, and for lounging indoors or doing light movement, like restorative yoga or stretching, they were also great. But when I wore them indoors for more intense workouts, they were too hot for my comfort. 

Overall, these pants with Alo’s “velvety” Alosoft fabric are a dream. As the name would suggest, they feel incredibly soft against your skin, and the ribbing at the waist and ankles make them even cozier and more flattering. 

The best non-legging yoga pant

Best yoga pants   Best Non Legging Yoga Pant   Sweaty Betty 4x3

The Sweaty Betty Gary Yoga Pants are a great alternative to leggings on days when you don’t want to feel constricted.

Pros: Comfortable, great for modesty

Cons: The thin material is not great for outdoor classes or colder climates

While you may be questioning your decision to ever wear skin tight jeans after months of quarantine, the question about why we wear tight pants is especially relevant in yoga. When I went to India to study with my yoga school, they warned us Americans that our idea of “yoga pants” wouldn’t be acceptable attire there. Looser pants were the norm. 

But the problem with baggy yoga pants can sometimes be that the fabric flies all around and makes movements clunkier. And in inversions, loose trousers may even succumb to gravity and fall down from your ankles to your hips. 

I love Sweaty Betty’s Gary Yoga Pant because they’ve thought of all of that. These pants are loose, comfortable, and lightweight, but they also work well for practice. They’re tapered at the ankles, so they didn’t fall when I was upside down. Plus, the polyester/elastane blend fabric was roomy and stretchy enough that I could move into deep poses carefree. As Sweaty Betty advertises, they’re “100% squat proof.”

When in-person yoga becomes the norm again, I’ll probably mostly wear traditional leggings, but on days when I want to feel less constricted, these would be my go-to pants.

The best pant for hot yoga

Best yoga pants    Best for Hot Yoga   adidas x Karlie Kloss 4x3

The adidas x Karlie Kloss Primeblue High-Waist Long Tights‘ thin and airy design make them perfect for sweaty sessions. 

Pros: Light weight, affordable price, sustainably crafted

Cons: Prominent branding, too thin and airy for cold weather, can’t be tumble dried

Even with most hot yoga studios temporarily closed, many aficionados find ways to get in a heated practice at home by blasting space heaters and shoving blankets underneath doors. For these steamy classes, the right yoga pants can make a big difference. When drenched, certain fabrics’ compression and thickness leads to too much weight and cling to be comfortable. The adidas x Karlie Kloss Primeblue High-Waist Long Tights are a great thin option that avoids those pitfalls.

The pants are great for any workout, but especially good for sweaty activities like runs and heated classes. They’re made from primeblue, a material partially made of upcycled plastic, which would have otherwise ended up in oceans. They also have elastane.

These pants were comfortable for cardio workouts and unheated yoga as well. But they were less ideal for outside wear, at least in the fall and winter. Each leg has six small holes about half way down, and there’s a thinner, ribbed fabric interspersed with the main material. These touches made the leggings ideal when my heart was pumping but less so for running errands on a windy day.

Also, the branding made these pants feel less able to switch from a workout to a dressier engagement. The branding, a small “Aeroready” on the back waist, and 10 inches of “Karlie Kloss” and the Adidas logo down the hip make it clear that these are exercise leggings.

The best high-waisted yoga pant

Best yoga pants   Best High Waisted Legging 4x3

If you love high-waisted yoga pants, the Alo High-Waist Airlift Legging is a great pick for comfort and style. 

Pros: Versatile, comfortable

Cons: Have to be hand washed separately

When I first tried on the Alo High-Waist Airlift Legging, I felt like I was getting dressed up. The double-knit Airlift fabric’s silky sheen and high waist made them feel more sophisticated than the yoga pants I had been wearing every other day. 

High waists vary. Some land below my belly button while others nearly reach the bottom of my sports bra. I appreciated that these pants were of the higher variety. Having a higher waist supports my yoga practice because the touch of pressure on my stomach nudges me to engage my core. I’m not sure if it was that engagement, the micro-performance fabric, or both, but the pants did smooth my mid-section. And with the higher high waist, I didn’t have to worry about the pants rolling down during forward-folding poses like uttanasana or paschimottanasana. 

Another advantage of these pants is that they’re thin, but not too thin. The light fabric and its four-way stretch is great for postures that call for deep stretches, like split pose, but they’re not so light that they expose what’s under them — in other words, no visible underwear lines. The front smoothing panel is great for that protection or, as Alo says, “commando comfort.” 

The best maternity yoga pant

The Best Maternity Yoga Pant - Beyond Yoga

If you’re a yogi with a bump, these pants will give you a fit that rivals those of your pre-pregnancy pants. 

Pros: Soft, comfortable and great fit

Cons: Limited duration of usability; the extra high waist is great for a bump, but with this extra fabric, they may not be ideal far beyond pregnancy

Maintaining my yoga practice during pregnancy was crucial, not only because I’ve been practicing daily for years and wanted to keep up my strength and flexibility, but also because a prenatal practice has been shown to reduce labor pain and length. As my bump grew, however, my yoga classes—and pants—had to change. Traditional vinyasa flows became too intense, and the waists of my favorite leggings kept getting lower and tighter. It was time for prenatal classes and new yoga wear. 

Of the maternity pants that I tried, the Beyond Yoga Spacedye Love The Bump Midi Maternity Legging stood out as the best. Most yoga apparel companies don’t make maternity pants, but Beyond Yoga is one of the exceptions. Their expertise in the space showed. 

These leggings are buttery soft and fit exactly like my favorite pre-pregnancy pants. The one exception, however, is the super high waist. This top portion can be worn up, reaching just below your bra, or folded down for a more traditional yoga pant look. Personally, I preferred wearing the waist up, so that during practice, the pants would stay in place perfectly.

As I sat in squats and reached my limbs into bird-dogs, the leggings’ Spacedye fabric, which delivers on its promise of an “ultra soft feel,” stretched with me like a second skin. And as my belly has expanded over the past few weeks since I first wore them, the fit has remained just as good. I’m excited to have these pants see me through the rest of my third trimester and beyond.

What else we considered:

Best yoga pants 4x3
  • Lululemon Groove Pant Flare Super HR ($98, sizes 0-14): As expected from Lululemon, these pant’s Nulu™ fabric is light and soft. They’re great for all day wear, and the high waist adds to their comfort. They weren’t a top choice, though, because their flare cut makes them less ideal for a fast-paced yoga practice. In inversions and seated forward folds, the excess fabric was a bit distracting.
  • Outdoor Voices Springs 7/8 Legging ($78, sizes XXS to XXXL): These were the only yoga pants that I got compliments on. Outdoor Voices’ signature color block design helps these leggings to stand out from competitors and is a creative way to have their pants be immediately recognizable as Outdoor Voices without needing a logo. I was comfortable in these leggings working out, running errands, and practicing yoga, and I also loved how they looked. But they didn’t make the top list, because I found the textured polyester and spandex fabric less comfortable than that of the other pants.
  • Beyond Yoga Heather Rib Jogger ($110, sizes XS to XL): These are another great option for a non-legging yoga pant. They’re very comfortable, and when I put them on I didn’t want to take them off for days. That said, they didn’t make the top choices, because they’re more fitted than I would like when I’m looking for a non-legging pant. A large part of the appeal of the non-legging pant to me is to not have a form-fitting shape, and these felt a little too close to leggings for me.
  • Seraphine Maternity Activewear & Yoga Power Leggings ($59, sizes XS to XL): At nearly half the cost of the other maternity leggings we tested, these are a great option if you want to invest less in pants that you’ll only be wearing for a couple of trimesters. Though I didn’t find the fit as ideal as that of the top maternity pic, these were comfortable and held up across activities. The pant legs are made of a sweat-wicking material, which made it feel like there’s some distance between me and the fabric. (This was nice at a time when I’m already feeling constricted enough!) And, the belly band is made of soft jersey material, which was comfortable to wear over my bump all day long.
  • HATCH Before, During, and After Legging ($98, sizes XS to XL): I loved these leggings. Made of 92% modal and 8% spandex, the fabric is super soft. Though they feel as cozy as pajamas, they don’t look like them, and can be easily dressed up with a nice top and non-athletic shoes. These aren’t explicitly yoga pants, but they worked well in maternity-style yoga classes, which exclude sweaty, vigorous sequences. What these pants lacked in yoga-pant-perfection, they made up for in their versatility.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best tablets in 2021 for every size and budget, from the powerful iPad Pro to Amazon’s kid-friendly Fire tablet

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The 10.2-inch Apple iPad is still the best tablet, thanks to its balance of performance and price.
  • Remember to check out those featured in the ‘what we considered’ section for the full picture.
  • Also expect the new 2021 iPad Pro and Amazon Fire HD 10 to join this list once they’ve been tested.

Tablets have become a necessity for a lot of people, despite there being less of them out there than smartphones or laptops. Thanks to the advances in functionalities a lot of them have acquired over the years, they’ve become quite vital to most folks, playing a variety of roles – from being a secondary laptop or screen for work to the main device people rely on for their daily computing demands.

It isn’t a surprise, therefore, that now there’s a tablet for pretty much everyone. The newly released iPad Pros, fitted with Apple’s highly praised M1 processor and that stunning XDR display, target creative professionals seeking the absolute best. Meanwhile, something like the Amazon Fire HD 10 is best for budget users who don’t really need to pay for all that power. There are tablets for kids as well, with the Fire HD 8 Kids being the ultimate choice if you want the best value.

As for the rest, the most highly recommended tablet for most people is almost always going to be Apple’s standard iPad 10.2, which is affordable enough while offering the best set of features and apps.

To help you decide which tablet is best for you, we gathered the best tablets for every type of user including those with premium tastes and those who prefer things small and portable.

Here are the best tablets

The best tablet for most people

ipad 2019 10.2 cyber monday deal

The 10.2-inch iPad is a great tablet for the vast majority of tablet users, and it supports the Apple Pencil.

Pros: Incredible price for an iPad, slick aluminum design, Touch ID for security and Apple Pay, great screen, supports the Apple Pencil 

Cons: Light on entry-level storage, no expandable storage

Apple’s standard 10.2-inch iPad is a breath of fresh air in a sea of premium tablets. While all the others seem to be getting more expensive, it offers an incredible balance of price, performance, and features – the best out of any other tablet we’ve tested, in fact. 

Starting at $330, the 10.2-inch iPad is a great inexpensive option as a general purpose tablet. It may run on the same A12 processor that spun the wheels in the 2018 iPhone XS series, but this chip is still a very capable processor that will see you through your needs. That is, if your needs mostly consist of running undemanding apps, streaming videos, sending emails, browsing, and playing games designed specifically for iOS.

The 10.2-inch iPad is also perfectly suitable as a lightweight productivity tablet especially when paired with a Bluetooth keyboard or keyboard case to type up documents, messages, and emails. If taking notes or drawing is a criteria, the 10.2-inch iPad also supports the first generation of the Apple Pencil, which is good for general use. 

For more intense productivity where you think a mouse would be beneficial or for more involved creative tasks where support for a more precise stylus is necessary, Apple’s iPad Air or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 would be a better choice. However, for general usage, the 10.2-inch iPad already offers a lot more for less.

And finally, Apple’s iPads are normally the best tablets to buy in general largely because of the wider availability of apps that are specifically designed for iPads. On top of that, as with any Apple product, Apple’s physical stores are good resources for repairs, and users have a clear idea of where to bring their iPad if something goes wrong.

The best budget tablet

Amazon Fire HD 10

The latest Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is super affordable, but it still delivers a good set of features that you’ll enjoy using for watching videos and running simple apps.

Pros: Low price point, performs basic functions of a tablet well, offers expandable storage with a memory card slot, good for kids, works especially well for those with Amazon Prime accounts

Cons: Not a high performer, slow at charging, restricted to Amazon’s app store, no access to Google Play Store

Amazon’s Fire Tablets have come a long way from being a glorified e-reader. While previous iterations of the Amazon Fire HD 10, for example, were sluggish, its more recent models have improved quite a bit in terms of performance.

Based on our own experience with previous generations of the Amazon Fire HD 10, as well as reviews of the 2019 model from PCMag and Tom’s Guide, it’s an ideal and inexpensive tablet for simple video streaming, browsing the web, and naturally, ticking another book off your reading list. 

Boasting a 10-inch screen with 1080p resolution and a 2.0 GHz octa-core processor that gets the job done for running basic apps, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is certainly an excellent budget proposition. If you have a bit of flexibility in your budget, a 64GB storage is also on hand for just a little more – something you should consider if you plan on utilizing those two 2MP cameras located in front and in the back.

Like all of Amazon’s tablets, the Fire HD 10 is also a terrific option for kids, thanks to its extensive parental controls, kid-friendly features, and availability of apps designed specifically for kids – though the smaller and cheaper Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 7 may better suit smaller children. 

Just bear in mind that Amazon’s tablets are restricted to Amazon’s own app store and don’t support Google’s Play Store so app selection will be more limited. Most popular streaming apps can be found in Amazon’s app store, except for YouTube’s dedicated app. There’s a workaround where you can watch YouTube videos from the web browser, however. You can check the app selection in Amazon’s own app store before buying to make sure it has the apps you’ll want to run here.

The best high-end Android tablet

Samsung Tab S7

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 is as stylish as it is powerful, you can use it as a laptop in a pinch, and it comes with the superb S Pen stylus.

Pros: Gorgeous screen, fast processor, S-Pen stylus is included, and powerful speakers

Cons: Expensive compared to most Android tablets

Samsung has been making excellent Android tablets for years, and its recently launched Galaxy Tab S7 continues that tradition. Scratch that, this new release improves on its predecessors in a lot of ways, making it perhaps the best Samsung tablet release yet. Make no mistake: this is a high-end Android tablet that can go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPad Pro on nearly every level.

The Galaxy Tab S7 is a stylish, well-made tablet with a metal frame and back. The keyboard case is sturdy and turns your tablet into a quasi-laptop – although, while it does moonlight as a laptop and does a heck of a job at it, it is a tablet first and foremost.

This tablet showcases Samsung’s knack for making astonishingly beautiful screens, boasting a stunner of a 11-inch LTPS LCD screen. I watched lots of Netflix and Prime Video on the tablet, and I was really impressed by the clarity, color reproduction, and intensity of the brilliant screen. 

When used with the included Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, you’re getting a terrific experience, whether you’re creating designs or simply scribbling your thoughts. The S-Pen itself feels like a real pen. I love to draw on tablets, and I was impressed by the lack of lag on the Tab S7. Palm rejection works perfectly as well. 

Other noteworthy features here are the 128GB of storage to give you ample space for downloads, a microSD card slot if you ever need to expand your memory, and that fast performance made possible by the Snapdragon 865 Plus, one of the best chips for Android devices, powering it.

The Galaxy Tab S7 comes with a steep price tag, starting at $649.99 for its base configuration. However, if you want the best iPad Pro alternative, this is it.

The best tablet for professionals

iPad Pro Keyboard 4

Apple’s iPad Pro comes in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes with specs that are so high-end they surpass some laptops.

Pros: Gorgeous screens, new design with smaller bezels, excellent specs, high-end performance, Pencil is superb for drawing, two screen sizes, now comes with mouse support

Cons: Very expensive, accessories are extra

The recently released iPad Pros for 2021 are set to be a game-changer, touting the same much-lauded M1 processor that runs Apple’s newest MacBook computers and brings big gains in power and battery life.

Additionally, these new iPad Pros come equipped with a Thunderbolt connector for more accessory compatibility, optional 5G connectivity, and up to 2TB of storage. The 12.9-inch model also features a Liquid Retina XDR display powered by mini-LED technology for enhanced brightness and clarity.

We are currently testing the 2021 iPad Pro lineup. In the meantime, the 2020 iPad Pro still has its merits, including those slim bezels, a stunning sharp screen in two sizes, and a powerful processor. It also comes in 11- and 12.9-inch screen sizes to suit your preferences, with the 12.9-inch screen ideal for digital artists who need room to roam and the 11-inch model better for portability. (You may also more easily get a deal on a previous-generation model.)

Regardless of the model, the 2020 iPad Pro is a powerhouse. The A12Z Bionic processor is so high-powered it can surpass some laptops. Apple’s entry-level model comes with 128GB of storage, but you can get up to 1TB if you want to spend a whole lot of money. Apple no longer sells the 2020 iPad Pro, but you can still find it through retailers like Amazon.

We recommend picking up the new Apple Pencil if you like to take notes or draw. It may cost $129, but the new version charges wirelessly and magnetically attaches to your iPad for easy storage.

Apple’s Keyboard will also cost you a pretty penny, so we recommend going for a third-party case and keyboard. — Malarie Gokey

The best tablet for kids

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Lifestyle 2

If you feel a little nervous handing your mobile devices to your kids, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet comes with a tough case to keep it safe.

Pros: Better performance, rugged build, parental controls built-in, longer battery life, two-year worry-free guarantee, a plethora of apps, more affordable than ever 

Cons: Doesn’t contain powerful components, tablet runs slower than most models

When it comes to kids, it’s not advisable to just hand them your pricey tablet. That’s why tablets for kids exist, because not only are they built to withstand all the abuse a toddler can muster, but they’re also cheap enough that you won’t feel bad when they are eventually destroyed.

Take the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, for example. It comes with a tough kid-proof case that’s designed to protect it from drops and bumps as well as keep crumbs and other messes away. 

Amazon is so confident that this case will do the job that it offers a two-year worry-free guarantee. That way, if you’re dealing with a mini Hulk, you can rest assured that Amazon will replace the device for free. We only wish it also offered some level of water-proofing.

It takes more than a rugged build to be a great kids tablet, and the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition knows that. It comes with a whole lot of kid-friendly content and apps so that your kids can play educational games, watch their favorite shows, and even read books to their heart’s content – or at least until you say so. 

Amazon bundles it with a year’s worth of free Amazon Kids+ access to save you money. After that, it’s $2.99 a month, which really isn’t bad considering that your kids will be entertained for hours and you’ll get a much deserved break when you need it.

While its predecessor is a little sluggish, the newest Fire HD 8 Kids Edition offers better performance without costing you a lot more. That’s without mentioning its longer battery life of up to 12 hours, more storage (that is also expandable up to 1TB, thanks to its microSD card slot), and USB-C port for faster charging.

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is a slightly bigger option with better performance than our previous choice, the Fire 7 Kids Edition, and it’s barely more expensive at $140.

The best small tablet

iPad Mini 2019

The iPad Mini is essentially a smaller replica of the standard 10.2-inch iPad. Just watch out for its higher price tag. 

Pros: Compact, good performance, sharp screen, works with the Apple Pencil

Cons: Dated design, expensive for what it is

The 2019 iPad Mini is Apple’s small tablet that’s powered by the capable A12 Bionic chip, and it supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, which makes the Mini a great tablet for note taking or drawing.

The Mini‘s 7.9-inch Retina display has a sharp 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution, too, so you can really enjoy watching videos, reading, and creating on the screen.

You can choose between 64GB or 256GB of storage and three color options: Silver, Space Gray, or Gold). If you want to keep the price down, you can get the Wi-Fi-only version, but there is also a Mini with both cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

Our main gripe with the iPad Mini is that it’s a smaller version of the $330 10.2-inch iPad with nearly the same specs, and yet it costs $70 more. That higher price casts a shadow over the iPad Mini, as it’s hard to justify paying extra for something smaller, especially if it’s a year old already. Still, it’s the best small tablet there is.

What else we considered

iPad Air Wide

There are a lot of amazing tablets out there, and just because they didn’t quite make our list above, that doesn’t mean they’re not equally worthy of consideration when you’re looking for your next tablet. 

In fact, there are a couple of tablets we’ve tested that we wish we could include, but have opted not to. That’s mostly because they couldn’t quite compete in terms of value – even though when it comes to performance and features, they are still top-notch.

It was hard not to include, for example, the iPad Air 4, which was released in October 2020. This stunning tablet from Apple is thin and lightweight, and it comes in three appealing colors on top of the usual space gray and silver. 

It also delivers impressive performance, thanks to Apple’s latest A14 Bionic chip, and that beautiful 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that’s simply terrific for media consumption. That’s without mentioning its compatibility with the second generation Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, both of which turn it into a highly capable creative and productivity tool.

Unfortunately, it’s also neither the best value of the iPads nor the most powerful. However, it’s the way to go if you have a bigger budget but don’t necessarily need the sheer power that the iPad Pro offers.

Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, which is as premium as you can get in the Android tablet scene. This “Plus” version of the Galaxy Tab S7, our current
“best high-end Android tablet” pick, comes with an even more beautiful Super AMOLED display with 2,800 x 1,752 resolution, as well as an in-screen fingerprint sensor and a longer battery life, making it a superior prospect.

Sadly, it’s also the pricier one, starting at $850. While that price is cheaper than the iPad Pro, the fact that the Tab S7 is cheaper still makes the S7 Plus less appealing for most people – even those looking for something premium. 

However, if you do want the best of the best and have deep pockets, it’s definitely worth the upgrade

How to pick the right tablet for you

iPAd

Operating systems for tablets

As with smartphones and laptops, you can choose among a few different types of operating systems with tablets. Picking the right OS will enhance your enjoyment of the tablet you select.

  • Apple’s iOS: For many people, the name iPad is synonymous with tablets. Although the iPad wasn’t the first tablet on the market, it’s credited with making tablets popular and invigorating the tablet market in 2010. The iPad runs Apple’s iOS operating system, which also powers the iPhone. iOS has a great interface and works equally well on a smartphone or tablet screen. There are tons of special apps made for the iPad, which makes it an excellent investment. However, because only Apple-branded iPads can run iOS, you’ll pay more for them versus tablets with other operating systems. 
  • Google’s Android: You also may be familiar with the Android operating system, managed by Google. Android powers many different kinds of smartphones. It’s also very user-friendly and offers tons of apps. There are numerous Android tablets to choose from, and they range in price from under $10 to around $600 and up. 
  • Amazon’s Fire OS: Fire OS is a special ecosystem, rather than an operating system, as it runs on top of Android. Basically, it brings Amazon’s services to the forefront of the OS and you download apps from Amazon’s app store. Amazon also has special software for kids on its kid-friendly tablets. These Fire tablets are much more affordable than any other kind of tablet.
  • Microsoft’s Windows: Microsoft has tweaked the Windows operating system to make it far more user-friendly than older versions of Windows, meaning it works equally well with a traditional desktop computer or a touchscreen tablet. When running Windows on a tablet, you’ll have access to a lot of traditional software, but you’ll find a significant lack of apps compared to Apple or Android. However, since these tablets run Windows, they can be used as full laptops.

What to look for in a tablet

Tablets have a lot of different strengths, depending on the one you choose. Think about what you want to do with the tablet, and you’ll be able to find one that’ll perfectly meet your needs.

  • Battery Life: Completing a really long car trip in successful silence may depend on whether your tablet has a long battery life. Battery life typically can range anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the tablet model and screen size. Seven hours is about average.
  • Connectivity: Different tablets allow you to make a connection to the Internet in a few different ways. Most will offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to connect to your home or work network. Others also include the ability to connect to a cellular network, much like a smartphone, and access the Internet through the cell network. However, you must have a cellular account with a monthly fee to use it.
  • Fast Processor: Look at the CPU and GPU chips included in your tablet. Newer, more powerful chips will give you faster performance levels. Some Windows tablets even have laptop-level processors inside, so you can use them as portable PCs. However, you will pay more for more power.
  • Keyboard: Most tablets are able to connect to a physical keyboard for typing, making it easier to input data into the tablet versus using the digital keyboard on the screen. Some tablets are 2-in-1 devices, meaning the keyboard/screen configuration looks more like a laptop because the two are connected. You then can fold up the keyboard to make it work like a tablet.
  • RAM: RAM is the amount of memory used to operate software and apps. This is different from the type of memory used for data storage. The more RAM you have available on the tablet, the better it will perform, but the more you’ll have to pay.
  • Screen Resolution: Tablets that can display more pixels will have a sharper image that looks great. If you want to watch movies on the tablets, having a resolution of at least full HD quality (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) will be very desirable.
  • Screen Size: The size of the tablet’s screen marks the most important feature for most people. Larger screens work better for things like watching movies, drawing, or playing games. Of course, screen size plays a direct role in the size of the tablet, too. So if you want a smaller tablet, you’ll want a smaller screen.
  • Storage: Tablets have an interior solid state drive (or SSD) for storing apps, movies, games, and more. You may be able to add more storage through a Micro SD memory card, although not all tablets have a memory card slot. Some tablets rely on cloud storage for extra storage. You may want extra storage for movies, books, and games.
  • Stylus: Some people love having a stylus for working with the tablet, especially if they’re drawing by freehand. Not every tablet can make use of a stylus, and some stylus pens don’t work as well as others. So if you need one, do your homework to find a tablet that can take full advantage of the features of the stylus.

Check out our guide to the best iPads you can buy

ipad air and ipad mini 2019

The best iPads you can buy

Apple is the uncontested king of tablets. The word iPad is synonymous with the word tablet. Chances are if you own a tablet at all, you have an iPad.

We’ve tested nearly every iPad that has been released over the past three years, and these are the absolute best iPads you can buy. You can also check out the best iPad cases for every type of person and read why we love the Apple Pencil.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best rowing machines of 2021 for your home gym

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • At-home rowing machines deliver high-cardio, low-impact workouts that strengthen muscles and burn calories.
  • Rowers come in four resistance varieties: Water, air, magnetic, and hydraulic, each with their own benefits.
  • Our top pick, Concept2’s Model D, is durably built, is comfortable to use, and has smooth-running air resistance.

There are few machines capable of delivering the same kind of calorie-burning, full-body workout as an at-home rower. In the span of just 30 minutes, you’re able to enjoy a low-impact, high-cardio exercise that’s fit for people of any age or fitness level. As long as you know how to properly row, this versatile workout not only serves as a quality complement to a pre-existing routine but it can also stand on its own as a prime source of weekly exercise.

It’s because of that effectiveness, and the fact many people prefer working out at home, that rowing machines are more popular now than ever – and are increasingly becoming staples in people’s home gyms. If you don’t like running on a treadmill or aren’t particularly fond of stationary bikes, a rower is the next best thing – and to some, it’s regarded as an even better form of exercise.

I tend to agree. There’s just something wholly different about finishing up a grueling 45-minute rowing workout that feels far more taxing and exhausting than a run on a treadmill or a streamed Peloton class. Those two do deliver tiring workouts, no doubt, but I walk away from a row routine truly noticing its full-body results.

But while all rowers deliver similar cardio benefits, not all are designed the same. In addition to a range of resistance types and rower sizes, there are models that are easily stowable, as well as a new crop of smart rowers touchscreens and access to on-demand, streamable classes. In other words, there’s plenty of variety.

To find the best currently available, I tested a number of machines that span every use case, resistance type, and price point. My goal was to find rowers that delivered a serious cardio workout while proving to be a valuable addition to a home gym setup – and I came away with a strong list of favorites.

At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some tips on how to shop for a rower, answers to a series of FAQs, and a rundown of the testing methodology I used in deciding which rowers made the cut.

Here are the best rowing machines:

Our testing methodology

Ergatta rowing machine

Each rower featured in this guide went through a testing process to gauge how well it performed across these four categories: Ease of use, experience, reliability, and value. Here’s how each category specifically factored into which rowers ultimately made this guide.

Ease of use: Row machines have a naturally low learning curve — the general idea is to just sit down and row. But we know there’s more to it than that. Ease of use also refers to the process of setting up the machine set up in your home, how easy it is to get started, whether there’s a companion app, and if that learning curve (however steep) dramatically impacts the following category: your experience.

Experience: Working out for fun may seem like an oxymoron but it is important to at least somewhat enjoy the sweat your breaking. Since a row machine delivers a full-body workout, you want one that won’t feel like some sort of grueling game of tug of war. Ideally, a proper row machine offers smooth operation, an engaging platform (whether that means it offers digital feedback or is just fluid to use), and is comfortable to use. 

Reliability: If the rowing machine you invest in doesn’t last longer than a few months, you’ll likely be cursing whatever inclination you had to want to buy it. Put plainly, at-home workout machines aren’t cheap and the one you ultimately end up spending a large chunk of money on should work and work often. 

Value: Value is a mixture of the categories that came before it, as well as some attention to its actual sticker price — but this doesn’t mean that more expensive models should be ignored. It’s better to spend more money once on a machine that’s reliable, easy to use, and delivers a fun workout than to struggle with a different cumbersome budget model every few months. 

The best row machine overall

Concept2 Model Indoor Rowing Machine

The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine brings the gym to your home with its sturdy build, smooth gliding action, comfortable design, and superb quality.

Pros: Smooth gliding operation, ease of assembly, large size to accommodate tall people

Cons: Pricey and requires a bit of space (9 feet by 4 feet) but worth it

The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine features solid aluminum front legs, steel rear legs, a flywheel with air resistance, and a maximum user weight capacity of 500 pounds, making it our top pick. 

Essential for executing powerful and uninterrupted strokes, the Model D ‘s flywheel has a damper for adjusting its air resistance, granting you complete control of the resistance yourself. The harder and faster you row, the more wind the flywheel generates and the more drag you’ll feel.

With an air resistance rowing machine, you’d expect a bit of noise, however, the Model D runs fairly quiet. Although not completely silent, it’s quiet enough for rowers to listen to music or watch television at a normal volume during workouts.

The easy-to-read performance monitor (PM5) tracks stroke rate, calories expended, distance, pace, and watts. It has several built-in programmable workouts and games to motivate you during a workout. The rower’ also quick and easy to assemble and disassemble, and can be taken apart and rolled for storage.

Although the Model D isn’t inexpensive, it’s a worthwhile investment in your health and comes with limited five- and two-year warranties. — Helen Mao

The best budget rowing machine

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

At a very reasonable price, the Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine offers a versatile workout with its independently moving arms and smooth hydraulic resistance for continuous rowing action.

Pros: Low price, independent arms for a full range of movement, and ease of assembly and folding

Cons: Resistance declines as piston heats up during long rowing sessions; short warranty (90 days for parts/one year for frame) 

The Stamina BodyTrac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine is small but mighty — and an excellent value at $120. Although it’s compact and quiet, this hydraulic resistance rowing machine provides a big workout with a smooth-gliding padded seat and separate arms for a full-body workout.

What makes the BodyTrac Glider so special is its versatility in arm movements. Unlike many models where you pull a single handle attached to a chain or cord, this erg has two arms that allow for a full range of motion and mimic real boat-rowing movements.

This means you can row forward or backward, move your arms in circular directions, pull the handles close together for a conventional stroke, or hold the grips apart to exercise different arm, shoulder, and upper back muscles. Because the arms operate independently of each other, you’re able to focus a workout on each arm individually. 

Sturdy with a steel frame and aluminum center beam, the BodyTrac Glider supports up to 250 pounds. It assembles easily and folds up for storage, as well. The single hydraulic piston/cylinder is located under the unit for convenient adjustment with a manual control dial.

The machine is able to maintain a variety of consistent levels of resistance for roughly 30 minutes of hard rowing. As with most hydraulic rowers, fluid in the hydraulic piston heats up, which decreases resistance. When this happens, you’ll need to pause and increase the resistance setting. Always make sure you turn the control dial itself and not the heated piston/cylinder. Another downside to hydraulic resistance models is the chance of the piston leaking oil.

The BodyTrac Glider also has a simple and easy-to-use monitor, which features more functions than you’d expect on a machine this affordable. — Helen Mao

The best interactive rowing machine

Ergatta Digital Rower

The Ergatta Connected Rower combines the rush of video game racing with the fitness benefits of a full-body exercise to deliver one of the most interactive rowing machines available. 

Pros: Motivating video game-inspired workout platform, beautiful design, features a folding design for easy stowing

Cons: Expensive 

Like similar smart fitness equipment from brands such as Peloton or NordicTrack, the Ergatta Connected Rower utilizes a giant on-board screen to display its on-demand workouts and exercises. But unlike its aforementioned peers, the workouts aren’t led by an instructor belting out the next movement or exercise but are instead comprised of a series of video game-inspired routines that prove just as motivating as those high-energy classes.

What this means is that the Connected Rower pits you against the machine for its goal-based plans and interval workouts, while also allowing you to compete against other Ergatta users in simulated races. Regardless of the event, the software delivers an addictive experience that drives you to want to continuously do better. Fitness trackers found a way to gamify daily fitness and the Connected Rower follows the same path. 

The physical rower is an aesthetic wonder, too. Made of Cherry wood and featuring a traditional water rowing mechanism, Ergatta clearly intended for the rower to be more than just a means for getting fit — it wanted the rower to also pleasing both in terms of look and feel. The water rowers soothing swoosh of water adds to an already enjoyable experience, as well.

Perhaps its one downside is the fact the rower’s not cheap. But since few interactive workout machines like are, this isn’t entirely surprising. After an initial $2,199 price tag for the machine (and a $199 shipping cost), there’s a recurring $27 fee for access to the library of on-demand classes (which is also par for the smart workout machine course). 

In all, the Ergatta Connected Rower delivers a full-body workout disguised as an interactive gaming experience — and it’s one of the most enjoyable we’ve tested.

Check out our review of the Ergatta Connected Rower here

The best smart rowing machine

Hydrow

The Hydrow Rowing Machine aims to be the Peloton of at-home rowers with an immersive content experience that delivers a complete, full-body workout.

Pros: Extensive library of motivating classes and rowing events, delivers a full-body workout, features quiet, electromagnetic resistance

Cons: Expensive

Connected fitness equipment continues to grow in popularity — and for good reason. Not only does it provide an interactive method for keeping fit but the classes and streamed content itself serve as powerful motivation to push on. In the rowing space, one of the best to deliver the kind of connected content fans of NordicTrack and Peloton have come to love is Hydrow and its aptly named rower, the Hydrow Rowing Machine

Built with an aluminum and steel frame on a flat, anthracite polymer body, the Hydrow is a durable and sturdy rower. Attached to the front of the machine is an HD touchscreen where you’re able to access its library of interactive workouts. These workouts include everything from on-demand routines, open swim-style free rows, whole body-specific workouts, and live classes.

The machine also comes with the ability to read your heart rate via an included monitor and features a whisper-quiet electromagnetic resistance. Hydrow does well to not only provide classes that highly motivate you to finish a row but it also creates a competitive environment where you can see how you rank with other global users or anyone else using your machine. 

With a sticker price of $2,245 and a recurring monthly fee of $38 for access to the classes, it’s certainly not cheap — but few connected fitness machines of this caliber ever are. It’s worth the investment.

Read our full review of the Hydrow Rowing Machine

The best digital-resistance rowing machine

Screen Shot 2020 07 09 at 4.16.00 PM

NordicTrack’s RW900 combines the stimulation of instructor-led courses with the versatility of both air and digital resistance to offer one of the best at-home rowing experiences. 

Pros: Interactive workouts, easily folds up, utilizes a dual resistance design

Cons: Expensive, iFit membership costs $39 per month (after the first free year)

Though NordicTrack may be more well known for its stationary bikes and treadmills, the company’s offered high-quality row machines for quite some time — and its RW900 is the brand’s crown jewel. Featuring a 22-inch HD touchscreen display, a library of interactive workout classes led by real trainers, and a fold-up design, this rower is worth every bit of its $1,699 price tag.

What makes the rower particularly impressive is its dual resistance. So, while rowing away during a class, an instructor has the ability to digitally adjust the resistance based on how they want you to row. But if it’s either too much or you want to kick your workout up a few notches, there’s the ability to manually adjust the air resistance. An easy-to-use air control is located on the wheel which allows for quick adjustments, even between strokes. 

Like any workout machine with a massive touchscreen attached to it, the RW900 shines with what it offers in terms of workouts via its iFit interactive platform. Be it in studio routines from its roster of iFit trainers or more calming sessions in real locations around the world, the options are incredibly versatile. There are even yoga and cross-training courses to mix things up a bit.

The rower also offers stat tracking which tells you how long you row each week along with calories burned and row wattage and allows for up to four different users on the same iFit profile. All new purchases also come with a free year of iFit (which is typically $468 per year or $39 per month), so you won’t have to worry about a monthly recurring charge for access to the library of content for at least the first year.

The best water resistance rowing machine

Man rowing on a WaterRower at-home row machine

The elegant WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine uses water resistance to make you feel like you’re truly sculling on the open water.

Pros: Gorgeous appearance, meditative whooshing sounds, and simulation of open-water rowing sensations 

Cons: Expensive, included monitor is fine but limited

If the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine looks familiar, that’s because it’s the base unit used by Ergatta for its Connected Rower (our pick above for the best interactive row machine).

For an indoor rowing machine, the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine comes closest to recreating the sensation of actual outdoor rowing as it features a flywheel that pushes through water in a heavy-duty tank. It even delivers soft and soothing swooshing sounds of water while rowing, too. 

In addition to controlling resistance through your strokes — the harder and faster you row, the greater drag the flywheel encounters — you can increase resistance by adding water to the tank. In essence, the more water there is, the heavier the drag on the flywheel, and the harder your workout.

Maintenance of the machine is easy, too. Just fill the tank using the included siphon pump and drop in a chlorine tablet every six months. There’s no need to empty the tank, even before storing it. Although the machine doesn’t fold up, it’s easy to store upright and the weight of the water stabilizes the erg in an upright position.

You can assemble the frame without any tools, and the instructions come on an included DVD. Because wood expands and contracts due to environmental conditions, you may need to tighten the bolts every once in a while.

With a comfortable, stable seat that rolls smoothly along dual rails, you’ll experience an excellent workout where you can keep track of distance, time, and calories burned as displayed on the S4 monitor. The rower comes with a three-year warranty on its parts, as well as a five-year warranty on the frame.

The best rowing machine for beginners

Sunny Health Fitness SF RW5515

Quiet, smooth, and stable, the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine provides varying magnetic resistance levels for a wide range of workouts. 

Pros: Economical with eight levels of resistance, easy to fold and store

Cons: Only okay cord quality, rail might be too short for tall people

The reasonably priced Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine offers quite a few convenient features: a comfortable, cushioned seat; anti-grip handles; an LCD monitor that tracks stroke counts, time, and calories burned; and eight levels of knob-adjusted magnetic resistance for various intensities.

Level two is good for warming up before progressing to levels three and four for a more vigorous workout. Levels five and higher are more intense, perfect for long cardio-building rowing sessions. Level seven is for endurance and all-out sprints while level eight offers the greatest resistance (and hardest workout).

Able to support up to 250 pounds, the Sunny’s Magnetic Rowing Machine has a 48-inch-long rail in which the padded seat rolls smoothly and quietly. The rower is able to easily fold up for convenient storage and even has built-in wheels. It’s easy to assemble and relatively compact, taking up minimal space when folded up and very little square footage when open. — Helen Mao

FAQs

Is rowing better than running? 

According to a study done by Dr. Cameron Nichol, who is a former Olympic rower, rowing activates more muscle groups than just running. In addition to activating roughly 85% of your body’s muscles and upwards of nine different muscle groups, rowing also helps strengthen your back, tone your arms, and benefit both your upper and lower body.

Ramon Castillon, president of the boutique studio, Row House, told Insider that “rowing is the perfect answer to [finding the most effective workout] because it’s extremely accessible” to both beginners and advanced rowers. 


Can you row every day?

In short, yes. But like any workout routine, it’s important to not overdo it or consistently push yourself over your limit. Personal trainer, Irving “Zeus” Hyppolite, told Insider that people tend to try to do too much and that there’s an actual limit on how much your body can handle.

Hyppolite says three to five days a week of exercising from 45 minutes to an hour (including warm-up and cooldown) is a good standard. Once you start doing more than that, you’ll be expending the same amount of energy for more minimal benefits, he added. 

Personal trainer, Bryan Goldberg, previously shared with Insider that too much exercise can impede any progress you’re making, despite how beneficial it may seem in the short term. 

Though both Hyppolite and Goldberg referenced exercise in general, this can be used as a rule of thumb for rowing. As long as you’re not rowing to utter exhaustion every day of the week, it’s fine to jump on daily. However, it’s likely more useful to give yourself some days off to rest.


Can you lose weight by using a rowing machine?

Consistent exercise is just one component of being able to manage your weight, so it’s irresponsible to say that a rower can be singularly able to help you lose weight. Caley Crawford, NASM CPT, and Director of Education for Row House, told Insider that “it’s crucial that you partner a strong and healthy diet with your exercise routine.” 

Crawford added that full-body strengthening (like that which rowers can offer) does have its benefits in regards to fat loss. But keep in mind, that it’s not the only thing you should focus on. Weight training, proper rest, and a well-rounded diet are vital, as well. 

How to shop for a rowing machine

With so many different kinds of rowers, it’s important to examine each model to choose one that best fits your needs and keeps you motivated and injury-free. You’ll want to consider features like:

Resistance: Different types of resistance include magnetic (electromagnets slow the erg’s metal flywheel), air (wind from the spinning flywheel creates drag), hydraulic (resistance is created by hydraulic fluid in a piston or two connected to the erg’s handles), and water (the flywheel pushes against water in a tank).

Size: The machine should be large enough for you to straighten your legs and maintain proper rowing form, yet small enough to fit into your workout space.

Maximum user weight capacity: Models vary in how much they support but many accommodate 220 to 265 pounds or more.

Foldability: Some machines (usually magnetic and hydraulic resistance) fold up for easy storage, while others (often air and water resistance) don’t. 

Monitor: A monitor or computer tracks information like distance, duration, speed, and/or calories burned while rowing.

Seat: It should be contoured and large enough to keep your backside comfortable while allowing you to maintain proper form.

How to row with good form

To get the most out of your workouts and avoid injury, remember that proper rowing form consists of an initial drive phase followed by a recovery phase. Here’s how to execute it: 

  • For the drive, start first with your legs and once those are extended and your back is vertical, use your arms to pull the handle into your body. Your finished position should be your legs fully extended, the rower’s handle pulled into your body with your wrists in line with your forearms. From here, you’ll move onto recovery.
  • The first step of recovery is to straighten your arms and pivot your body from your hips, making sure to avoid hunching forward or bending backward. This fluid motion will then have your legs flexing in until your shins are completely vertical.

Finally, don’t think of this exercise as a race. Focus on perfecting your form, not on how fast you can row.

Check out more Insider Reviews fitness guides

The best home gym equipment


The best treadmills for your home gym


The best exercise bikes


The best air glider machines


The best budget gear for building a garage gym

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best Chromebooks in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Google’s Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook for its long battery life, comfy keyboard, and solid performance.
  • But there are plenty of other worthwhile Chromebooks at different prices that come in other sizes.
  • Check out our guide to the best laptops for more buying advice.

Chromebooks have evolved quite a bit in recent years, offering performance and build quality that’s almost on par with Windows and MacBook laptops.

We’ve used a number of different Chromebooks over the years and conducted plenty of research to find the best ones. Whether you’re in need of a cheap laptop for casual browsing or a daily work machine, there are several great options worth considering depending on your budget.

But it’s also important to understand the ways in which Chromebooks are different from other laptops. Check out our guide to deciding whether a Chromebook is right for you.

Here are the best Chromebooks in 2021

The best Chromebook overall

Google Pixelbook Go

The Google Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook pick overall for how it brings high-end, premium sensibilities to a much more affordable price point. With all-day battery life and an amazing keyboard, it’s the one to beat.

Pros: Excellent display, incredible keyboard, lightweight and slim, long battery life

Cons: Fanless CPU, pricey upgrades, no biometric login, small-capacity storage

Google’s latest Chromebook to date, the Pixelbook Go, is also the one we’d recommend to most people who want the quintessential Chromebook experience.

With its approachable starting price, the Pixelbook Go offers up a surprisingly premium mobile computing experience that comparable laptops don’t even bother to. For instance, the Pixelbook Go features a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel (1080p) touchscreen with an embedded 1080p webcam as well as 8GB of memory (RAM). Some of these features,  aren’t even seen on the new entry-level Dell XPS 13, which comes with a non-touch display and 720p webcam. 

Where the Pixelbook Go falls is storage, with just 64GB of space to start, relying heavily on the fact that Chromebooks utilize cloud storage via Google Drive (online connectivity required). Still, it’s more storage than most Chromebooks offer at this price point. Also, with a rated battery life of 12 hours, it’s one of the longest-lasting Chromebooks around.

We love the Pixelbook Go for its incredibly quiet and comfortable typing experience as well as how it brings high-end sensibilities to a more approachable price. At its starting price (our recommended configuration), this is the absolute best Chromebook for the price. However, if you’re considering the most expensive configuration — with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 4K Ultra HD display — we’d suggest looking for a flagship Windows or MacBook laptop instead.

The best value Chromebook

Samsung 4+

Samsung’s 15-inch Chromebook 4+ packs the most value into a budget laptop that we’ve ever seen, with many modern niceties for so much less than most laptops with similar features.

Pros: Decent display, long battery life, lots of ports

Cons: Small local storage, low amount of RAM

For those looking to squeeze the absolute most value possible from a Chromebook purchase, it’s difficult to beat the 15-inch Samsung Chromebook 4+. You’re getting an incredible amount of laptop for its asking price — no question.

What you get is a sleek, subtle platinum-colored frame housing a 15.6-inch, 1080p display, with power from an Intel Celeron CPU backed by 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. That’s supported by two USB-C ports, one USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card reader — along with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0 — for connectivity.

All of this comes within a device that can last for up to 10 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge, and can search the web for you and answer questions with just your voice using Google Assistant. Save for biometric login and more local storage, there’s nothing else that this budget laptop leaves off the table.

The best 2-in-1 Chromebook

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 has a spacious screen and a sleek convertible design, making it a great choice for those who want a flexible yet affordable laptop.

Pros: Smooth performance, good port selection, great display

Cons: Speakers aren’t the best

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is an affordable, lightweight 2-in-1 Chromebook with a tall 3:2 screen. That extra height makes Acer’s Chromebook a particularly strong choice for those who want a basic laptop with more screen space for work or entertainment.

Since it’s a convertible laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713‘s display folds backwards so that it can be used as a tablet. Like many similar convertibles, the Chromebook Spin 713 can take on a few different forms thanks to its flexible design. 

For example, you can prop it up like a tent,  or tuck the keyboard under the display. Both modes are ideal for times when you just want to look at the screen without the distraction of a keyboard — such as while giving a presentation or watching a movie.

The model I’ve been using runs on Intel’s 10th generation Core i5 processor and comes with 8GB of RAM, a 128GB solid state drive, a 2,256 x 1,504 resolution display, and an estimated 10 hours of battery life. Those are impressive specifications for a Chromebook, considering most Chromebooks don’t come with as much power or storage since they’re primarily meant to be used with an internet connection. 

But Acer also launched a new version of this Chromebook in June 2021 that comes with Intel’s newer 11th generation processors, Thunderbolt 4 support, the option for a fingerprint reader, and the same 10-hour battery life.

Otherwise, the Acer Chromebook 713 stands out for its vibrant and spacious screen and comfortable keyboard. The speakers sound a little shallow since they’re located on the bottom of the notebook, and the fans can sometimes get a little noisy. But the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a winner all-around.

The best compact Chromebook

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet offers a combination of portability and versatility that seems impossible to beat at this price.

Pros: Low price, portable and attractive design, included keyboard and cover

Cons: Only one USB-C port, performance can sometimes be sluggish

Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet, which costs $270, is the right choice for anyone who prioritizes portability and affordability in a Chromebook. It’s smaller and cheaper than Apple’s least expensive iPad and comes with a back cover and keyboard case at no extra cost. It’s not a powerful device, but it’s suitable for anyone who wants an inexpensive and portable device for basic tasks.

But don’t misinterpret that to mean that this Chromebook feels cheap. The tablet itself has a solid yet lightweight build that makes the Duet feel more expensive than it actually is. 

The tablet comes with an attractive textured back cover and detachable keyboard that provides a comfortable typing experience. They add a bit of heft to the tablet, but even with these accessories the Duet is small and light enough to tote around with ease. 

The top-firing speakers are surprisingly loud for this tablet’s size, and their location at the top of the tablet means you don’t have to worry about accidentally blocking them while holding the device. It also should last for 10 hours on a single charge according to Lenovo’s estimates.

But the performance you get for this price make the Lenovo Chromebook Duet best-suited for easy everyday tasks, like using Google’s productivity services (Gmail, Google Docs, etc.), reading the news, and watching movies. The tablet can get a little laggy when switching between apps frequently, and it stutters when running graphics-intensive games. 

The Chromebook Duet also only has one USB-C port, so there isn’t much flexibility when it comes to connectivity. There isn’t even a headphone jack, although Lenovo includes a dongle in the box. Still, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet offers a tremendous amount of value for the price.

The best 13-inch Chromebook

HP Chromebook 14 G5

The HP Chromebook 14 is an excellent buy for those looking for that traditional laptop experience without spending a ton of cash. With lots of basic features but also versatility, we think it’s a winner.

Pros: Excellent price, lots of ports, long battery life

Cons: 1080p costs extra, tiny local storage

For those seeking a little more screen size and power from their Chromebook than a mere 10 or 11-inch device can offer, we suggest considering the HP Chromebook 14. This has many of the same features as your average 11-inch Chromebook, but with more space and a 14-inch, 720p screen crammed into a 13-inch-sized laptop.

The HP Chromebook 14 is both drop and spill resistant to a minor extent, and comes packing an Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 32GB SSD for storage. Again, this device is assuming that you’ll be using cloud storage via Google Drive to supplement your local space. The included microSD card slot can help expand that local storage as well.

On top of that, the laptop has two USB-C 3.1 and two USB 3.1 ports, offering plenty of room for expansion in all sorts of ways, including displays. Finally, this Chromebook can last for up to 10 hours on a charge.

It’s currently $50 more expensive than the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, but comes with perks like a larger screen and many more ports. The Duet, however, has twice the amount of storage and features a 2-in-1 design unlike this laptop.

 If you’re after a more traditional laptop experience but aren’t looking to spend a fortune, then this is the best Chromebook for that job.

Other great Chromebooks for school

HP Chromebook 11

The same Chromebook that might be suitable for most people isn’t necessarily going to cut it for schoolwork. Some Chromebooks might be over-the-top for middle school assignments, while the most basic Chromebooks could have a hard time keeping up with the demands of high school and college coursework. 

There are also some features that are particularly useful for students. Chromebooks for school should be lightweight and durable, for example, since students will likely be carrying them around between classes. Features like stylus support may also be more important than display resolution for classwork since students may need to jot down scientific formulas or math equations.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and Lenovo Chromebook Duet are examples of Chromebooks that we think are particularly great for school, but we also think they’re broadly appealing enough to recommend for general use as well. Here are a couple of other Chromebooks to consider for school.

1. HP Chromebook X360 14 — affordable size

Portability is undeniably important, but sometimes you really need the bigger screen to see what you’re doing or to multi-task. The HP Chromebook x 360 14 offers this without making the rest of the chassis too big, and it does so at a decent price. It even still delivers a 360-degree hinge and stylus support for total flexibility.

Chromebook x360 14 (button)

2. Dell Chromebook 3100 — rugged and reliable

If having a durable laptop that you can toss in a backpack without concern is a top priority, Dell’s Chromebook 3100 is worth considering. Dell says it’s been tested to survive 5,000 micro-drops and 30-inch drops onto steel, and it also has a spill-resistant keyboard. Trusted Reviews put this to the test after accidentally spilling coffee on the keyboard, dropping it on a hardwood kitchen floor, and putting it in the hands of a four-year-old, finding that it held up. Dell’s Chromebook comes in either 2-in-1 or standard clamshell options, with the convertible starting at $369 and the regular notebook beginning at $249. Both starting options come with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and an 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 display. It’s not a computing powerhouse by any means, but it’s a reliable machine for getting basic work done that should be more than capable of taking a tumble or two. 

Chromebook 3100 (button)
Chromebooks we look forward to testing

Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2: Samsung’s original Galaxy Chromebook from last year’s CES had an attention-grabbing design that’s uncommon for a Chromebook, but its high price and short battery life limited its appeal. Now, Samsung has addressed those criticisms with the Galaxy Chromebook 2, a revamped version of its Google-powered laptop that comes at a cheaper starting price of $549.99 compared to the previous model’s $999.99 price tag. With a premium design, 13.3-inch QLED touch screen, and hopefully longer battery life, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 seems like it could be a promising option for those on a budget.

Acer Chromebook 314: Acer is also launching a new 14-inch Chromebook that it says should get up to 15 hours of battery life. The laptop has a 14-inch 1080p touchscreen and only costs $270, meaning it could give our current value pick from Samsung some fresh competition. 

Acer Chromebook 317: Those who want the biggest screen possible on a Chromebook may want to check out the Acer Chromebook 17. Launched in June 2021 for $380, the company claims it’s the first 17-inch Chromebook. It runs on the latest Intel Celeron processors, has an estimated 10-hour battery life, and comes with two USB-C ports plus a few additional connections. All told, it sounds like it could be a compelling option for those who want an affordable laptop with a big screen.

What to consider when buying a Chromebook

Chromebooks aren’t designed like Windows or Mac machines. Instead of using an operating system (OS) with software that resides on the computer, Chromebooks run on a cloud-based OS called Chrome OS. It’s very simple and easy to use. In place of a productivity suite like Microsoft Office, you get Google’s services like the Chrome web browser, Gmail (email), Docs (documents), Sheets (spreadsheets), Slides (presentation), and Drive (cloud storage); all these applications and others are accessed via cloud.

This means all of your files will save to the cloud in Google Drive, so you never have to worry about losing them or saving a physical copy to your Chromebook’s storage. As you can guess, much of Chrome OS’s core functions work through the Chrome web browser.

Although Chromebooks are cloud-based laptops, they can work offline. There are some Chrome OS apps and programs you can download; Google’s office suite has an offline mode; you can read or save files locally on a local solid state drive (SSD), external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card (if the Chromebook has a memory card reader); and even install Android apps from the Google Play store (Chromebooks released in 2017 or newer). But, most of your activity will be online through Google’s apps or the Chrome web browser. If you need specific programs, like Adobe Illustrator, Premiere or Logic Pro X, that are only available for Mac OS or Windows, then a Chromebook isn’t the best buy for you.

Some of the newest Chromebooks are quite high-end, with sharp, vibrant screens, comfortable keyboards, latest ports (USB-C and USB 3.0), and fast processors (CPUs). Couple that with the fact that just about any Chromebook available today supports the majority of Android apps through Google Play, and you have some awfully capable machines. However, not all Android apps perform well on a Chromebook, and we recommend using the web-based option instead, if there is one. For example, streaming Netflix through the web browser is preferable to using the Netflix Android app.

Here are some key hardware specifications to look out for when shopping for Chromebooks:

  • Displays: If you’re concerned about how the text, images and video will appear on the Chromebook screen that you’ll be looking at while using it, we recommend looking for a 720p (1,280 x 720) resolution at a minimum, with 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) being the gold standard. There are also 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) Chromebooks, but those are exorbitantly expensive whereas you can get a 1080p Chromebook for even $500. If you’re looking for a touchscreen, the majority of those come in 2-in-1 hybrid designs and generally start at around $700 for ones with decent hardware inside.
  • Processors: A benefit to Chrome OS is that it doesn’t require much power to run swiftly and efficiently, so most Chromebooks come with fanless processors either from Intel’s Pentium and Celeron lines or ARM-based chip designs. If you need more power for some reason, makers like Google and HP do sell Chromebooks with Intel Core processors at the highest end.
  • Memory: The memory (RAM) in your Chromebook dictates how many programs or browser tabs you can run simultaneously before the machine has to reload your content when accessed. Most Chromebooks come with just 4GB of RAM, though some higher-end models offer 8GB or as much as 16GB. We’d feel the most comfortable and free to work without limits using 8GB of RAM, but basic users will get away with 4GB easily.
  • Storage: Chromebooks rely heavily on the cloud storage services that Google provides via Drive, so most models come with between 16GB and 64GB of onboard space, which is usually expandable via a microSD card. More premium models in recent years have begun shipping Chromebooks with more storage via faster solid-state drives (SSDs) rather than cheaper flash memory. With Google Drive accessible in the Chrome OS interface as if it were local storage, we would strongly consider a subscription with your Chromebook purchase to save some upfront cost. If you’re that concerned with local storage, grab a microSD card or a thumb drive.
  • Ports: Most every single Chromebook is going to come with at least one standard USB port, likely the 2.0 edition in terms of data transfer speed. However, more modern and premium models have made the move to the sleeker, faster, and more versatile USB-C standard, so keep that in mind if you want the latest and greatest. Finally, don’t expect to see a lot of ports on Chromebooks, being inherently focused on simplicity and portability. Much of what Chromebooks lack in wired connectivity can be made up for with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The best shoe polishes in 2021

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

Otter Wax Cream

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Conditioner, shoe cream, and wax polish have different attributes and work hand-in-hand to keep your leather footwear looking its best.
  • Don’t skimp on your leather-care routine if you want your shoes and boots to last.
  • Think of these leather-care products as skincare for your shoes.

I still vividly remember the time when a TSA agent told me I needed to shine my shoes as he watched them pass through the scanner at the airport. I was mortified. I’m notoriously hard on footwear, so keeping them looking their best a constant battle. Thankfully, there are some great products out there to help in this Sisyphean effort.

The three product categories covered in this article are cream polish, wax polish, and conditioner. Tony Pecorella, the owner of Manhattan’s Modern Leather Goods, a storied leather care and repair business that’s been around since the 1940s, explained what each product is good for. Conditioner and shoe cream both moisturize the leather, but the cream polish leaves a thin layer of cream that helps blend scratches and scuffs. It gives the shoe a medium shine. Wax polish is the best at covering scuffs and scratches and leaves a higher shine, he said. For more on our conversation see the FAQ section below.

I did some testing at home with products that have gotten high marks from experts and customers. I used them on a single boot or shoe as a before-and-after snapshot to see what kind of coverage, shine, and conditioning power they had. Other considerations included price, ingredients, and range of colors. These products are for smooth leather, not suede or nubuck.

Here is the best shoe polish in 2021

The Best Leather Shoe Conditioner: Saphir Renovateur

Saphir Renovateur

Saphir Renovateur revitalized shoe leather. It comes with a premium price tag, but is well worth the money. 

Sizing options: 75 ml and 250 ml 

Modern Leather Goods almost exclusively uses Saphir products and they’re not alone. Of the many guides I’ve read on shoe care by various industry professionals, nearly all of them list Saphir as the top leather product company and its Renovateur as the best conditioner. I put it to the test on a pair of old cowboy boots I’ve had for 20 years that have seen a lot of wear and tear, and much less care. The leather greedily soaked in the Renovateur and I could see the results quickly. The leather had a more regular color, took on a richer brown, and a light shine to it. 

According to a company rep, Saphir, a French company founded in 1920, continues to manufacture its products in the same way it did when it was first founded. The ingredient list (and the smell, which is quite pleasant) is closer to what you might find in a skincare product than what you’d expect to rub on your shoes. The list includes lanolin, beeswax, and mink oil.  

While it’s expensive at more than $20 for a 75 ml jar, a little goes a long way and doesn’t need to be applied that often, perhaps once a month. If you’ve invested a chunk of change in your leather footwear, the Renovateur is worth the cost to help keep your shoes and boots looking their best. 

Pros: Conditions beautifully, works quickly, and imparts a light shine. 

Cons:  None to speak of

Renovateur (small)
Best Cream Polish: Leather Spa Cream Polish

Leather Spa Cream Polish

Leather Spa’s Cream Polish nourishes leather, ably hides the scrapes and scuffs of everyday wear, and provides a medium shine. 

Sizing options: 1.4 ounces 

Leather Spa, the famous New York City-based leather care and repair business, also makes shoe care products, including a shoe cream. Leather Spa has its origins in France and that’s where the company’s shoe cream is produced using all-natural ingredients. It doesn’t contain any silicone or petroleum products that can end up damaging leather over the long run. 

I used the cream polish on a pair of my wife’s boots. The cream very quickly soaked into the leather, giving it a nice sheen. It had very good coverage, evening out the color, and hiding the scuffs. It didn’t quite cover a small divot in the leather, but as Tony Pecorella stated, a wax polish is better at hiding those kinds of blemishes. I buffed the boots and was able to develop a medium shine. Leather Spa’s Shoe Cream is $8.95 for a 1.4-ounce jar. It comes in 34 different colors, which is a major plus for matching shades other than the typical black or brown.

Pros: Moisturizing, evens out the color, hides scuffs and small scratches, many color options. 

Cons: Can’t hide larger blemishes like divots in the leather.

Cream Polish (small)
Best Wax Polish: Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe

Saphir Medaille D'or 1925 Pate De Luxe

Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe instantly revives the color of your shoes and provides a high shine with little work. 

Sizing options: 50 ml and 100 ml

Saphir is a hard brand to beat and this is especially true with its wax polish, the Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe. I used it on a pair of dress shoes I haven’t worn in a long while that were desperately in need of some TLC. The color had faded so badly I thought I might need to use shoe dye. I applied the Pate de Luxe as directed and the polish immediately revitalized the faded color, and didn’t require a large amount of product to achieve coverage. Saphir uses a higher concentration of pigment in the Pate de Luxe than other brands, and it shows. 

According to the company, you can achieve a high gloss or mirror gloss with the Pate de Luxe and can be used with the Renovateur and a cream polish. Like the Renovateur, the ingredients list mostly reads like a high-end face cream—jojoba, almond, and macadamia oils—plus beeswax, and natural solvents like turpentine oil. I was able to buff the shoe to a high shine with little effort. 

I tried it against the Leather Spa Luxury Wax Polish and found it had better coverage and didn’t require as much product to achieve similar results and costs about the same price. You can buy a 50 ml tin of the Pate de Luxe for about $12 on Amazon, depending on the color. It comes in 12 colors. 

Pros: Beautiful coverage, revitalizes faded color, achieves a high shine, several color options

Cons: None to speak of.

Medaille d’Or Pate de Luxe (small)
Best Color Polish: Tarrago Cream Polish

Tarrago Cream Polish

Tarrago Cream Polish has a huge range of colors, provides excellent coverage, and gives a medium shine. 

Sizing options: 50 ml 

Tarrago is a Spanish brand that’s been around since 1940 and was the first company to offer water-based polishes back in the 1960s. (It’s now owned by the same parent company that owns Saphir, Alma FRC.) The brand offers a range of nearly 100 colors in the cream polish. The wax polish comes in seven color choices. 

I used the Tarrago cream polish on a pair of gray leather sneakers that were badly scuffed. The thick cream quickly soaked into the leather and easily covered the various scuff marks. After it dried, I buffed it to a medium shine. If you’re looking for a high shine for your colored shoes, your best bet is to use the Tarrago Cream Polish, followed by a neutral wax polish that can achieve a higher shine. 

The Tarrago Shoe Cream is available on Amazon for $7. Not all the colors are available on the site. For more color choices, Myshoesupplies.com also carries it for $3.05, but you’ll pay a $4.29 shipping fee for orders under $60. 

Pros: Huge range of color choices, good coverage. 

Cons: Doesn’t provide a high shine.

Cream Polish (small)
Best Budget-Friendly Polish: Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream

Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream

Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream provides a light shine, comes in a good range of colors, and is a great value. 

Sizing options: 1.55 ounces

Moneysworth & Best is a family-owned Canadian company that started out as a Toronto shoe repair shop in the 1980s. The Shoe Cream is made in Spain from all-natural ingredients, including lanolin, and various oils, waxes, and pigments. The product comes in more than 30 colors.  

I used this on two different pairs of beat up vintage boots. The shoe cream had decent coverage, but it wasn’t able to hide some staining. The product has a creamy consistency and soaked into the leather quickly. After buffing, I was able to get a light shine. While it didn’t completely cover the issues on the boots, it did give the leather a more even, smoother appearance and definitely made me feel comfortable wearing the boots in public again. That said, I’d recommend this product for shoes or boots that are still in good condition and don’t require a lot of pigment. 

It’s available $2.99 for a 1.55 ounce jar. For more colors, Amazon also carries Moneysworth & Best Shoe Cream, but be warned that the pricing on the site is a little weird, with some colors costing around $7 or more. 

Pros: Good coverage, better price. 

Cons: I could only achieve a light shine, won’t cover all blemishes and stains

Shoe Cream (small)
Best Self-Shining Polish: Tarrago Self-Shining Kit

Tarrago Self-Shining Kit

The Tarrago Self-Shining Kit is perfect for reviving your shoes in a hurry while also helping to nourish the leather. 

Sizing options: 50 ml 

Tarrago’s Self-Shining Kit provides a quick and easy way to revive your shoes with very little time or effort. It contains a sponge applicator on the top that you simply dip into the cream polish and apply to the leather. I used it on a pair of my wife’s boots that were moderately scuffed and hadn’t been shined in several months. One pass across the leather was all it took to bring them back to life. It easily covered the scuffs and scratches and produced a medium shine with no buffing. 

The product contains a high amount of carnauba wax, which provides the instant shine. The wax is derived from the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree. It’s sustainably harvested as the trees aren’t damaged during processing. 

While the Self-Shine kit doesn’t come in nearly as many colors as the company’s regular shoe cream(there are only about a dozen choices),—it’s a great choice for when you’re in a hurry and need to get your shoes in order. I wish I would have used this before I headed through the TSA line all those years ago. The kit is $7.99 for a 50 ml jar. 

Pros: Fast, easy, good coverage, and a medium shine. 

Cons: Not as many color choices as Tarrago’s Shoe Cream.

Self-Shining Kit (small)
What else we considered

best shoe polish

Lexol Leather Conditioner

Lexol’s leather conditioner is billed as a conditioning product but imparts a nice glossy shine to leather. In a head-to-head comparison between it and the much pricier Saphir Renovateur on a pair of my father’s 1960s ankle boots, Lexol did well, except that it required a much longer drying time. The Saphir product dried in a few minutes. Lexol took several hours. For the price, around $7, it’s a great product, but not the best choice if you’re in a hurry. 

FAQs

Otter Wax Cream

What other products do I need to polish my shoes?

Besides conditioner and polish, there are a few basics you’ll need to do the job right. A horsehair dauber brush, which typically has a round head that tapers down to the handle, is good for applying saddle soap to clean the shoes before polishing. Some people also use this type of brush to apply polish. Kiwi makes a good one. 

A horse hair brush is important for buffing your shoes once you’ve applied the polish and have let it dry. The brush helps bring out the shine. Kirby Allison makes an outstanding version. 

Some people like to use a microfiber cloth for applying conditioner and polish and for a final buff for a higher shine. I personally use old cotton T-shirts cut into strips to apply polish, a trick I’ve seen professional shoe shiners use.


Do I need to clean my shoes before polishing them?

Yes. You can take a damp cloth and wipe away any visible dirt. If they’re very dirty or have stains, you can use saddle soap, like Fiebing’s, that can be applied using a slightly damp dauber brush. Rub the brush in the soap until you get a light lather and then apply on the shoes. Wipe away with a dry cloth. Now you’re ready to condition the shoes followed by shining them.


How often should you polish your shoes? 

“That’s the age old question,” Pecorella said. “It differs by person and wear. If you wear the same shoes every day, once every two to six weeks. If you alternate shoes, maybe once a month to two months. It really is based on the eye test and nobody knows your shoes better than you do.”


When should I use a wax polish versus a cream polish? 

According to a Saphir rep I spoke with, cream polish is more for nourishing and recoloring, while wax polish is for creating a high shine. It’s mainly for dress footwear where you want a high gloss.


Can wax polish damage my shoes? 

Tony Pecorella warns that wax polish, unlike cream, doesn’t moisturize the leather and can build up over time and dry the leather out. Cream polish won’t harm the leather, even if used frequently. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best baby bibs in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Baby bibs often aren’t given much thought, but a quality one will make feeding your baby easier.
  • We surveyed parents and spoke to a pediatrician and a feeding expert to narrow down baby bibs to test.
  • These are the best baby bibs we tried with a 1-year-old, including silicone, cotton, and bandana bibs.

Let’s state the obvious – feeding babies can get real messy. If ensuring they eat a well-balanced meal isn’t enough, you also have to make sure fruit and yogurt don’t spill all over your kitchen floor. Luckily, a quality baby bib will make life much easier.

For this guide, I put 11 baby bibs to the test with my 1-year-old niece, Julianna Grace. Between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I tried a variety of bib styles with her, from bandana and cotton designs to silicone and apron-style bibs.

I also surveyed 20 parents and caregivers, all of whom said they look for a bib that’s easy to clean. More than 40% said the biggest issues they run into are bibs not staying in place, irritating the baby’s neck, and not catching foods and liquids well. I kept this in mind while testing and choosing the top picks for this guide.

While testing, I took notes on how comfortable each bib was, how effective the design was at picking up food, and how it held up in the wash. You’d be surprised at how many bibs didn’t make the cut – and how impressive the top five were during feeding time in the high chair.

I also also spoke with Judy Delaware – an occupational therapist, feeding specialist, and certified lactation counselor – for more information on bibs and best feeding practices. Dr. Sarah Fleet, attending physician at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, also provided her expertise in our FAQs section.

Here are the best baby bibs in 2021

The best baby bib overall

Toddler wearing pink babybjorn bib

The Babybjorn Baby Bib has a convenient bottom pouch to catch food and spills and only requires a wipe to clean.

Pros: Keeps food from falling to the floor, adjustable neckband, easy to clean, BPA-free, made of food-safe plastic, quick to dry

Cons: Hand-wash only

Before I tested these bibs on my niece, my sister mentioned she swears by bibs with a catch pocket at the bottom to prevent messes. Though convenient, I didn’t think it was a necessity — until I tried out the Babybjorn Baby Bib.

It really does catch everything and also makes it easy to assess how much the baby is eating per meal. It was also one of the most comfortable bibs, thanks to the lightweight, thin beaded neckline that’s adjustable and prevents irritation to the baby’s neck.

The Babybjorn bib is made of durable, nonflexible silicone that doesn’t stick to the baby’s clothes like less-structured bibs. Julianna ate a chicken meatball, grilled zucchini, and roasted sweet potatoes for dinner while wearing the Babybjorn, and after removing some leftover food in the pouch, all it took was a wipe to clean. 

The best cotton bib

Toddler wearing nuby teething bib

The Nuby Reversible 100% Natural Cotton Teething Bib is perfect for all stages, particularly for its comfort, ease of cleaning, and unique teething tip for the baby to chew on before or after feeding.

Pros: Textured tip is great for teething, super soft, BPA-free, reversible, made of natural fibers

Cons: Doesn’t capture all food and spills

Julianna is in the notoriously brutal teething stage, which means she chews on just about anything to soothe her gums as baby teeth are erupting. When I discovered that Nuby makes a teething bib, I was intrigued.

The textured tip at the bib’s end is what sets it apart from other bibs, but it’s not the only feature that makes Nuby a standout. The material is extremely comfortable and the bib is the ideal size for feeding time. The reversible designs are also a nice touch.

Julianna ate her favorite chicken meatball again, with sauteed mushrooms, and though the bib didn’t catch every bit of leftover food, there wasn’t an unbearable mess. The best part: After feeding, I could toss it in the washing machine and dryer for a quick tumble.

The best bandana bib

Toddler wearing Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib

The Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib is the most effective bandana style we tested, thanks to its wide, catch-all design.

Pros: Didn’t bunch up around the neck, comes in many unique patterns, wide design protects from spills, soft and comfortable, adjustable snaps at the neckline, easy to clean

Cons: None

After testing a few bandana bibs, the Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib proved the most practical because it laid flat on the baby to prevent spills, instead of bunching up around the neckline.

The designs are beyond cute (and though style is subjective, there’s a pattern for every taste). Copper Pearl is made of 100% absorbent cotton on the front and 100% polyester fleece on the back, so it’s plush and comfortable to wear. 

Julianna ate French toast, bananas, and strawberries for breakfast, and the bib was impressive at absorbing drool and preventing spills. After feeding, a quick tumble in the washing machine and dryer made it ready for the baby’s next meal.

The best apron-style bib

Toddler wearing panda ear short sleeve bib

The Panda Ear Short Sleeve Bib has an adjustable tie back, covers the baby’s shoulders to prevent spills, and the repel-tex material absorbs any small residue.

Pros: Short-sleeve design provides more coverage, great at absorbing drool, BPA-free, easy to clean, comfortable

Cons: May be too large for babies younger than 12 months, though the tie-back is adjustable; didn’t capture all food and spills

Apron-style bibs are great because they’re more like a smock rather than a chest covering. The Panda Ear Bib made the cut because of its short-sleeve design, which effectively covered the baby’s shoulders during mealtime.

Though the repel-tex material is super absorbent and easy to clean in the washing machine after meals, some of Julianna’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich slid off into the high chair seat. This wasn’t a dealbreaker, however, given the bib provides more coverage than others we tested. 

Panda Ear makes fun patterns, too, and the tie-back feature was comfortable, caused no irritation, and enabled Julianna to enjoy her meal with a more precise fit. The bib runs a bit large, so I wouldn’t recommend ordering if your baby is less than 12 months old.

The best value bib

Toddler wearing green sprouts bib

For less than $20, you can purchase 10 comfy Green Sprouts Stay-Dry Infant Bibs with an oval design, perfect for preventing food from sliding off. 

Pros: Food and spills remained on the bib, oval design covers some of the baby’s shoulders, easy to clean, 10-pack is great for multiple uses per day

Cons: Material isn’t as soft as others, but is still effective for feeding

The Green Sprouts Stay-Dry Infant Bibs are smaller than most, but have a unique oval design that acts as a shield on the baby’s shoulders to prevent spills. After Julianna ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, strawberries, and formula, most of the food bits remained on the bib’s surface, so the post-feeding cleanup was a breeze.

In our survey of parents and caregivers, nearly 40% of respondents said they use three bibs per day, with just over 10% using double that amount. That said, this 10-pack of quality bibs is an excellent value for those who just want something that will easily slip on.

Though I found the material not as soft as others, the bibs got the feeding job done without irritating my niece’s neck. When finished, the Green Sprouts bibs can be tossed in the washing machine and dryer.

Our methodology

Collection of baby bibs

In order to narrow down what types of bibs to test for this guide, we surveyed 20 parents and caregivers to better understand their baby bib preferences. Here’s an overview of the results:

  • 85% of respondents care for babies between 4 and 11 months of age.
  • 100% of respondents look for a baby bib that’s easy to clean, with durability being a close second.
  • Most parents and caregivers use three baby bibs per day and wash them daily.

What’s more, silicone baby bibs are the most popular type. Multipacks were overwhelmingly preferred, with 90% of respondents purchasing baby bibs in a two-pack or more, rather than a single bib.

When asked what issues parents and caregivers run into with baby bibs, the three most common problems include the bib not staying in place, irritation to the baby’s neck, and the bib not catching foods and liquids well.

With our survey results in mind, we tested each bib according to the following criteria:

  • How it held up while feeding: This includes how much of a mess was left over after feeding, how effective the bib was at absorbing drool and catching food, and the overall design of the bib.
  • How comfortable it was: This includes if the bib caused any irritation and the softness and durability of the material.
  • How simple it was to clean: While most bibs were washing-machine safe, we paid special attention to those that weren’t and how simple they were to clean when using a different method.

What else we considered

Toddler wearing loulou lollipop bib

Below are the bibs we tested that didn’t quite make the cut:

FAQs about baby bibs and best feeding practices

We spoke to Feeding Littles cofounder Judy Delaware, OTR/L, CLC — an occupational therapist, feeding specialist, and certified lactation counselor — and Dr. Sarah Fleet, attending physician at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Both provided their expertise to answer commonly asked questions about what to look for in a baby bib and what to know while feeding.

What should a caregiver look for in a baby bib?

“I would recommend something easy to clean, comfortable to wear, and long enough to protect the clothes underneath,” said Fleet.”Being dishwasher or machine washable would also be useful.”

It’s great for a baby bib to tie around the baby’s body and not the neck for both safety and comfort, added Delaware. She also appreciates quick-dry fabrics and waterproof designs. Keep in mind that choosing a baby bib remains entirely up to preference, however.


What should I know about cotton and bandana bibs?

“The bandana-style bib is typically made from cotton and, in my experience, these bibs are used for both feeding and drooling but don’t hold up to the wetness that can occur during these activities,” Delaware said. “This bib can feel soft to the touch, but many caregivers quickly find the bib and clothing may have to be changed.”


What should I know about silicone bibs?

 “The silicone bib is a caregiver favorite, but the front pocket may act as a place to pour or store things,” said Delaware. “The adjustable snaps may be irritating to tiny necks and many kids find silicone irritating to their skin.”


What should I know about repel-tex bibs?

“Repeltex is water-repellent and prevents the baby’s skin from feeling clammy or irritated,” said Delaware. “Look for a bib that secures around the body and not the neck.”


How often should I wash a baby bib?

Delaware recommends rinsing a bib after each use and running it through the washing machine one to three times a week. Fleet agrees, adding that food and saliva can become embedded on the bib’s surface and attract bacteria and pests.


What are safe feeding practices for babies?

“Each baby is unique in their skill development, and needs to be introduced to foods when they are developmentally ready,” said Fleet. “Solid foods should be introduced to an infant when they can sit unsupported in a high chair, with good head control, and are showing interest in solid foods.”


 How can I encourage mealtime if a baby is fussy?

 “Mealtime should ideally be free of distraction or screens and children should sit in a high chair or at the table,” said Fleet. “They should be allowed to feed themselves, and should not be fed against their will, as babies and toddlers generally eat when they are hungry and stop when they’re full.” Force-feeding may make them resistant to eat in the future, she added.

Fleet also recommends adding spices and flavors to infant and toddler foods. Toward the end of infancy, they may start refusing bland purees and prefer blended family meals, as they are more flavorful.


What should a baby’s diet contain for each life stage?

Below, Fleet provided a sample diet, unique to each month grouping. Be sure to speak to your pediatrician about any specific concerns.

  • 0 to 4 months: Only breastmilk or formula should be given.
  • 4 to 6 months: Single food purees can be given once daily along with breastmilk or formula.
  • 9 to 12 months: Beyond 6 months of age, breastmilk and formula don’t contain enough iron, so solid foods are recommended more than once daily. The baby can try dissolvable solids, like puffs and veggie straws.
  • 12 months and up: Three meals of solid foods and two snacks are encouraged, including puree, soft foods, or dissolvable solids. Bottles can be offered as snacks between meals.
Read the original article on Business Insider