The 7 best whey protein powders, backed by strength coaches and dietitians

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Quality whey protein powder should have a tolerable taste, mix well, and offer maximum protein with minimal extras.
  • Our top pick, Naked’s Whey Protein, is a clean, additive-free powder that contains only whey protein.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice in NYC.

Protein, a macronutrient every cell in your body contains, is essential for your health. If you’re an athlete, casual gym-goer, or just want to lose a few pounds, protein also helps you build and retain muscle. Taking whey protein is an effective and inexpensive way to add more of the macronutrient to your diet.

In short, whey is the liquid leftovers that come from the cheese-making process. This liquid is dried into a powder, which is then sometimes (but not always) mixed with sweeteners while keeping calories, carbohydrates, and fats to a minimum.

But there’s more to picking out the right whey protein than just grabbing whatever you find at the store. While some are formulated with different additives, others pack more protein per serving or are designed to keep more of the protein’s natural nutrients.

At the bottom of this guide, we’ve included insight into what whey protein is and why it’s beneficial, as well as the safety precautions associated with taking whey protein and the best places to purchase it. We’ve also provided some background on the sources used, as well as our own expertise.

Here are the best whey protein powders:

The best overall whey protein powder

Naked Whey Protein

When Naked Nutrition calls its Naked Whey Protein additive-free, it means it as this protein powder has literally just one ingredient: Whey protein derived from grass-fed cows.

Pros: Contains just whey protein from grass-fed cows, low carbohydrate and fat count per serving, has 5.9 grams of BCAAs per serving

Cons: Not completely devoid of sugar (though there aren’t any artificial sweeteners or flavors), hard to mix, and can sometimes be chunkya

Many of Naked Nutrition’s products live up to the brand’s namesake of being literally naked, though perhaps none do it quite as well as its flagship protein powder, Naked Whey. Comprised of a single ingredient (whey protein from grass-fed cows), Naked Whey is a clean, additive-free product that has no artificial sweeteners, no artificial colors, and no artificial flavors. 

From a protein standpoint, one serving of Naked Whey (2 scoops of powder which is roughly 30 grams) delivers 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, 120 calories, and just 2 grams of sugar. Each serving also has 5.9 grams of a combination of the BCAAs isoleucine, leucine, and valine. BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) may help build protein in muscles and aid in recovery.

A few drawbacks (or, rather, nitpicks) would be the Naked Whey isn’t the easiest to mix, and requires quite the shake in a shaker bottle to create a smooth, drinkable combination, though you’re likely to still encounter a few clumps. The taste of this is also very plain and almost dairy-like (which makes sense, of course), but Naked does offer the protein in Chocolate, as well as Vanilla and Strawberry in its Less Naked Whey, which has a few more additives. 

Naked Whey comes in either a 5 lb. tub for $90 or a smaller 1 lb. option for $22 — and Naked Nutrition even allows customers to set up recurring monthly deliveries at a discounted rate. 

If an additive-free protein powder is what you seek, Naked Nutrition’s Naked Whey, with just the single ingredient of whey protein, is about as simple and straightforward as it gets. — Rick Stella, health and fitness editor

The best mixing whey protein powder

Cellucor Whey Protein

If you’re looking for a powder that mixes easily and tastes great, Cellucor Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate Blend Powder is one of the best and most affordable options.

Pros: Great taste, affordable, mixes smoothly, 24 grams of protein per serving, excellent for baking, third-party tested

Cons: 130 mg of sodium per serving, contains artificial sweeteners

The Cellucor Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate Blend Powder not only tastes good and has 24 grams of protein per serving, but it’s also the most affordable option in our guide at 71.4 cents per serving and 3 cents per gram of protein. Each serving also only has 1.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, and 120 calories.

There are seven flavors to choose from, including whipped vanilla, molten chocolate, and cinnamon swirl. Cellucor recommends mixing two scoops with five to six ounces of your preferred beverage, but you can adjust the amount of liquid to fit your tastes. The company also suggests mixing the powder with yogurt, oatmeal, and pancakes. — James Brains, reviewed by Andrew Gutman

The best sugar-free whey protein powder

 Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydrowhey

The Platinum Hydrowhey by Optimum Nutrition may be expensive, but it mixes well and boasts 30 grams of protein per serving with zero grams of sugar.

Pros: 30 grams of protein per serving, third-party tested, superb mixability, no sugar

Cons: Contains high-fructose corn syrup

A single serving of Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydrowhey yields 140 calories, 30 grams of protein, one gram of fat, 3 grams of carbs, and no sugar. It’s made of hydrolyzed whey protein, which breaks down the protein into smaller pieces for better absorption and easier digestion. 

You can choose from seven flavors: cookies and cream overdrive, chocolate mint, velocity vanilla, chocolate peanut butter, supercharged strawberry, turbo chocolate, and red velvet cake, which was the highest-rated flavor on Bodybuilding.com. I think that turbo chocolate tastes great, too.

Optimum Nutrition uses artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and high-fructose corn syrup (which gets counted as a sugar on food labels).

Optimum Nutrition claims you can easily mix this protein with just a spoon and I can confirm this is true. While this may not seem like a strong selling point, I’ve forgotten my shaker bottle at home many times and have had to mix my protein with a spoon or knife at work. When I tried this with other brands, I always got clumpy, gross-tasting shakes. — Andrew Gutman

The best customized whey protein powder

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Gainful offers a unique approach to protein powder by offering personalized blends that are formulated specifically to the person ordering it, based on their fitness goals, diet restrictions, and other vital factors.

Pros: The custom is able to serve a wider range of users, doesn’t just rely on whey protein but pea, brown rice, and organic oat, as well, has a team of registered dietitians formulating the blends

Cons: Not the most economical in terms of amount and cost

One of the more unique protein powder options is Gainful, a brand that formulates personalized blends based on your specific needs. This could include weight and fitness goals, the amount you’re active each week, or if you have any dietary restrictions. It even lets you choose options dedicated to getting better sleep or improving gut health. 

It’s an interesting approach that succeeds in making the protein you order seem one-of-one. That is, not only does Gainful say it’s formulating a specific blend of protein for you, but when you get it and see what exactly is in it (especially compared to other protein powders), it feels exclusive.

Gainful takes its customization even further by offering flavor packets that mix with the powder to create different taste profiles. My sample came with both rich cocoa and cafe mocha, but the brand offers a variety of others like chocolate peanut butter, strawberry cream, and matcha green tea. You could consume the standard protein on its own, but it’s a very bland flavor when you do (it doesn’t necessarily taste bad, it’s just not very exciting). 

The nitpick I’d have with Gainful is that it doesn’t feel like you’re getting much protein for how much you spend. I tend to consume protein most days of the week, and I was able to work through the $39 bag in a little under three weeks. You can opt to get more per shipment (and Gainful can set up a recurring monthly delivery), though the price could feasibly double.

Despite its expensive price compared to others in this guide, what you get with Gainful isn’t offered anywhere else. You’re essentially paying for a premium dietitian service to tailor a protein powder specifically to your needs — for people who keep close tabs on their nutrition and diet, that’s invaluable. — Rick Stella, health and fitness editor

The best GNC whey protein powder

GNC1

GNC’s AMP Wheybolic protein powder offers 40 grams of protein per two-scoop serving, as well as 6.2 grams of leucine, and works great as either a pre- or post-workout supplement.

Pros: Now comes in popular Girl Scout flavors, packs 40 grams of protein and 6.2 grams of leucine per two-scoop serving

Cons: Might be too sweet for some, contains sucralose and other artificial sweeteners

The GNC name is synonymous with workout supplements, and its own branded protein are among its most popular items, specifically its GNC AMP Wheybolic powder. The brand supplied a tub of the powder in the Thin Mints flavor, which is sure to catch the attention of anyone who’s a fan of Girl Scout Cookies (it also offers Girl Scout Coconut Carmel aka Samoas and Girl Scout S’mores). 

Each two-scoop serving of the powder offers 40 grams of protein, 6.2 grams of leucine, 210 calories, 7 grams of net carbohydrates, and 2 grams of total sugar. The powder mixes well in water (after about 20 seconds or so of shaking) and never felt chunky or like there were leftover bits that hadn’t fully mixed. 

I used this protein primarily as a post-workout drink, though did also test it post-workout and on non-workout days. The Thin Mints flavor is heavy on the chocolate and mint, so if you like sweeter protein powders, this is exactly what that is. I’m not a huge sweet protein powder drinker myself, so would often choose to use this in moderation. 

A single $65 tub of the powder comes with 25 two-scoop servings, which is just shy of enough for a month’s worth of use — especially if you prefer to drink it on both workout and non-workout days. 

Our nutrition reviewer, Samantha Cassetty, did point out a few things to be cautious of after we spoke to her during testing. First, is the inclusion of sucralose. As we’ve mentioned in other protein powders, sucralose is a sweetener that may upset some people’s stomachs during ingestion. Cassetty pointed out that the powder also includes the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium, has artificial flavoring, and contains carrageenan, a somewhat controversial additive that’s been studied limitedly. — Rick Stella, health and fitness editor

The best-tasting whey protein powder

Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Powder

The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder packs 24 grams of protein into each serving and is one of the better-tasting powders according to experts and buyers.

Pros: Tastes good, relatively affordable, third-party tested

Cons: Complaints about the formula changing, contains an artificial sweetener

The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder gets its sweetness from a little bit of sugar (1 gram per serving) and acesulfame potassium, which is an artificial sweetener also known as Ace-K.

Each serving has 120 calories, a gram of fat, three grams of carbs, and most importantly 24 grams of protein. Optimum Nutrition has also curated a number of recipes in which you can use the powder. — James Brains, reviewed by Andrew Gutman

The best fat-free whey protein powder

MyProtein whey powder

The Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate Protein is a great option if you want as much protein packed into each scoop as possible without extra fat, carbs, or calories.

Pros: Excellent product purity, a high concentration of bound protein, fat-free, low in sodium

Cons: Concerns about quality control, contains artificial sweetener, not third-party tested

Depending on the flavor you choose, the Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate Protein fits up to 22 grams of protein into each 25-gram serving.

It does this with little or no fat or sugar and only 90 calories per serving. The sodium content is also low at 25 mg per serving. 

Labdoor independently tests dozens of whey protein powders, and the site recommended the Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate because it scored high in Labdoor’s ingredient safety, nutritional value, and product purity tests. The testers found there were 21.9 grams of protein in every 25-gram serving.

There are a few complaints worth mentioning, too. Make sure you buy the whey isolate and not just the whey concentrate (If you follow our links, you should be fine). — James Brains, reviewed by Andrew Gutman

The best lactose-free whey protein powder

Dymatize

If you’ve found protein powders leave your stomach feeling queasy, consider the lactose-free Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder.

Pros: Lactose-free, 91% of calories are from protein, less than a gram of sugar and fat, third-party tested

Cons: Complaints of foreign objects found in the powder, contains an artificial sweetener, 160 mg sodium per serving

The Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder is the only lactose-free option on our list but it’s not the only one that uses hydrolyzed isolate protein—the Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrowhey does, too—which is supposed to help with digestion and absorption.

Each serving has 25 grams of protein, less than a gram of fat, 120 calories, and 2 grams of carbs, including less than 1 gram of sugar. There are 13 flavors to choose from, including cinnamon bun, fudge brownie, gourmet chocolate, and chocolate coconut

Labdoor recommends the Dymatize ISO 100 as one of the best whey protein powders. In its tests, the powder had high scores for nutritional value and product purity, including less than one part per million of six harmful substances. Around 91% of the calories in this powder come from its protein content. — James Brains, reviewed by Andrew Gutman

What else we tested

performix iowhey

Animal Whey

I like Animal because the company doesn’t make gimmicky claims or rely on pseudoscience to sell its products. What you see is what you get and what you get is 120 calories, one gram of fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of protein per serving. Animal uses whey protein isolate as its primary protein source, it’s moderately priced, and it’s third-party tested.

This wasn’t included, however, because it’s no better than any other pick. Compared to Optimum Nutrition or Dymatize or Cellucor, it’s slightly more expensive and isn’t as lauded by fans. It barely missed the cut. 

Pro Jym Protein Powder

A fan favorite, Pro Jym is comprised of four different proteins: whey protein isolate, micellar casein, egg albumin, and milk protein isolate. According to creator, Dr. Jim Stoppani, Ph.D., this extends the rate of digestion for better protein synthesis. It comes in three flavors: chocolate cookie crunch, cookies and cream, and s’mores, and contains 150 calories, 3 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, and 24 grams of protein per serving. 

Pro Jym missed the mark for two reasons:

  1. You pay more for three times the amount of fat and carbs as Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydrowhey, so it doesn’t fit into our minimum fillers criteria.
  2. It’s not a pure whey protein powder. 

Performix ioWhey

I personally like this protein powder because it tastes great, it’s easy on the stomach, and there are minimal extras. One serving of Performix ioWhey is 100 calories, zero grams of fat, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 22 grams of protein. 

My major issue is that Performix claims ioWhey is absorbed 36% more efficiently than other brands, which is why their protein per serving is low. That sounds great but since the product isn’t third-party tested, there’s no way to know if this is true or if the company’s selling you less protein per serving.

For the price per serving, you’re better off buying Optimum Nutrition or Dymatize ISO 100 if you’re willing to shell out for a premium protein. — Andrew Gutman

What is whey protein?

man making protein shake shutterstock

There are three main types of whey protein:

  • Whey protein concentrate (WPC): This is a concentrated protein that keeps more of the nutrients. Most non-isolate proteins are comprised of WPC.
  • Whey protein isolate (WPI): This is similar to WPC but most of the carbohydrates, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins have been removed, so the powder has a higher percentage of protein. Typically, isolate is digested more quickly and, therefore, more agreeable for some. For that reason, most trainers and registered dieticians recommend opting for WPI, though it’s often more expensive.
  • Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH): WPH is considered pre-digested since it breaks down the amino acids — the building blocks of proteins — to help with quicker absorption.

Is it safe to consume? 

Before you increase your protein intake significantly, check with your healthcare professional since people with certain maladies, such as calcium deficiencies or low blood pressure, could experience adverse effects from whey protein. 

It’s also important to note that protein powders aren’t regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and some companies dilute their protein with useless fillers, which is why certain brands subject themselves to third-party testing as a way to verify the quality of their product.

To know if a protein is tested, look for a seal from either NSF Certified for Sport or Informed Choice. This doesn’t mean that untested proteins are a subpar product but it’s good to be aware. You are, after all, putting this stuff into your body. Other than looking for brands that are third-party tested, here are different ways to spot a quality protein:

  • Ensure that protein is the first ingredient on the label. “When you look at a label, it’s in descending order so the ingredient in the highest amount will be found at the top of the list,” Maryann Walsh, a registered dietician and the owner of Walsh Nutrition, told Insider. “Look for labels that have protein at the beginning with fewer ingredients accompanying them.”
  • Typically, you want a whey powder that contains at least 20 grams of protein per serving. All of our picks do.
  • Try to steer clear of excess sugar. As for artificial sweeteners, research on how they affect our weight and health is mixed.

How much should you consume? 

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein consumption is about a gram for every 3 pounds of body weight. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, that equates to 60 grams of protein per day. Experts suggest that taking up to twice that still produces benefits.

When it comes to fitness-specific goals, like gaining muscle or losing fat, Jeb Stuart Johnston from Stronger U recommends ingesting up to one gram per pound of bodyweight. His claim is backed by a study via the University of Stirling

“For someone who’s trying to gain muscle mass and work out, taking in more protein helps speed up protein synthesis [the process in which your muscle fibers utilize protein to repair and grow],” Johnston said. “For a person who’s strictly trying to lose weight, taking in more protein helps retain the muscle you already have.” 

Based on Johnston’s recommendations, a 200-pound man would have to consume 200 grams of protein per day. That’s equivalent to 2 pounds of chicken breast. Supplementing with whey protein, he explains, is a convenient way to get more protein without grilling up another piece of bland chicken.

Where to buy whey protein

man protein powder shutterstock

When it comes to buying protein, one convenient ordering option is Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” program, since it can save you up to 15%. You’re able to cancel your subscription at any time, too. What’s great about this program is that it automates ordering products that you replenish regularly.

For instance, if you take a serving of protein powder every day and there are 30 servings in a container, you can have a new tub delivered every month without lifting a finger.

Personally, I like to buy my protein from Bodybuilding.com. I usually try a different brand of protein each time I order more, so Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” program doesn’t make sense for me, although it’s a smart option for many people. Bodybuilding.com has reliable customer reviews and it routinely offers deals on popular brands. As a bonus, it offers free shipping on orders over $75.

To figure out the cost per serving on your own, take the product’s price and divide it by the number of servings in the container. Since the amount of protein per serving varies by brand, it’s also useful to look at the cost per gram of protein. This is easy to calculate by dividing the cost per serving (as calculated above) by the number of grams of protein per serving. — Andrew Gutman

Expert sources

  • Jeb Stuart Johnston, nutrition and strength coach at Stronger U
  • Maryann Walsh, a registered dietician and the owner of Walsh Nutrition

This piece was also medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, and a nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.

About our writers’ expertise

In developing this guide, we tested close to a dozen of the top protein powders available from brands like Cellucor, Optimum Nutrition, and Naked to find the best across a variety of categories. 

The co-author, Andrew Gutman, is a former associate editor at Muscle & Fitness magazine, has competed in a bodybuilding show and two Strongman competitions, and has been lifting weights regularly for more than 10 years. He’s tried dozens of different whey protein powders.

Our guide features powders that have a taste you can stomach, a high protein content, and minimal fat, carbs, and calories. Guides Editor, Les Shu, is a former research chief at Men’s Fitness who oversaw the fact-checking of the magazine’s nutrition and exercise articles.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best backpacking stoves that are lightweight, fuel-efficient, and powerful enough to cook food fast

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Backpacking stoves are vital for preparing hot meals and coffee, no matter how far in the backcountry you are.
  • The best are fuel-efficient, lightweight enough to fit in your backpack, and reliable in inclement weather.
  • Our top pick, MSR’s WindBurner, is fast, powerful, and efficient, and weighs less than 3 ounces.

There are few things as refreshing as enjoying a hot meal at your campsite following a long day of hiking. Energy bars and trail mix do well to curb hunger during the day but when it’s time to relax for the night, you’ll want something a bit more substantial. That’s where a reliable camp stove opens up the options for meals, snacks, and hot beverages, making your time in the backcountry much more enjoyable.

I spend much of the year, regardless of season, either out on a multi-day backpacking trip or planning my next one – and I’ve learned that prioritizing how and what I’ll eat is always a vital consideration. This means making sure I’m able to start each morning with a cup of instant coffee and a few bites of rehydrated scrambled eggs so that I’m replenished enough and able to take on however many grueling miles lay ahead.

Refueling at night is just as important, too. A satisfying evening meal goes a long way to making my legs feel less tired and my body less sore, despite having hauled a 30-pound pack for several hours prior. Satisfying those meal needs always comes down to the type of backpacking stove I bring along. Even on shorter trips, it always finds its way into my pack – it’s that important.

Over the years, I’ve tested an array of camp stoves, both good and bad. What I’ve found is that I keep coming back to the same two brands: MSR and JetBoil. As you’ll notice by which stoves ultimately made the following guide, those two brands have the backpacking camp stove market almost entirely covered – and recommending another model just for the sake of doing so isn’t worth it. These are the best for a reason.

At the bottom of this guide, you’ll find some tips on how to shop for a backpacking stove and what else to consider, as well as the testing methodology I used.

Here are the best backpacking stoves:

The best backpacking stove overall

msr pocketrocket deluxe

Ounce counters will love the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe, which delivers outstanding performance in a tiny package. If you want to travel fast and light, this is the stove you need. 

 

MSR’s original PocketRocket is an iconic piece of gear in the outdoor industry, setting new standards for lightweight performance from a backpacking stove. But the new Deluxe model takes things to a new level by adding a push-button starter and a regulator for improved control in cold environments. 

The PocketRocket Deluxe tips the scales at a mere 2.9 ounces, making it one of the more svelte stoves on the market. It also measures just 3.3 inches in length, which is considerably smaller than almost any other model. Despite the small size, it still manages to perform well, boiling water at a rapid clip and offering solid fuel efficiency, too. It even has an integrated simmer control and a solid level of wind resistance, which aren’t common in similar stoves.

With this new generation of PocketRocket, MSR included an onboard igniter, eliminating the need to carry matches or a lighter. The igniter can be a source of frustration at times, though, as it’s not always 100 percent reliable. 

It’s worth pointing out that this stove isn’t a full cooking system, meaning you’ll need to bring a pot to prepare your meal (and possibly to eat from). Those additional items take up space and add weight to your pack, potentially negating any shaved ounces from using the PocketRocket in the first place. Additionally, the stove’s pot supports aren’t very large and can create some instability when used on uneven ground. 

Still, this little stove punches well above its weight class, delivering outstanding all-around performance in a tiny form factor. That alone makes it easy to recommend as the best ultralight backpacking stove available today.

The best budget backpacking stove

BRS

The BRS 3000-T Ultralight stove is a budget-conscious backpacker’s dream. Not only does it weigh next to nothing but it offers solid performance at a rock-bottom price, making it a great choice for those who’d rather spend their hard-earned money on other gear instead. 

Pros: Very inexpensive and lightweight compared to other models

Cons: Not very durable and average performance in all but the best of outdoor conditions 

Budget-friendly backpacking stoves aren’t particularly common in the outdoor industry but occasionally a model comes along that manages to offer solid performance at a great price. Such is the case with the BRS 3000-T Ultralight, a stove that’s compact, lightweight, and easy on the wallet. 

You won’t find a lot in the way of frills on this stove, though. It doesn’t have a built-in starter, nor does it include simmer control or a regulator to help maintain performance in cold or windy conditions. The BRS 3000-T is the very definition of a basic backpacking stove, with just the bare minimum of features. 

With that said, it does weigh less than an ounce and boils a liter of water in roughly three minutes. It also comes with a set of built-in pot holders that do a reasonably good job of maintaining balance even on rough terrain. Best of all, the BRS 3000-T costs just $17, making it an absolute bargain. 

Of course, at that price, this stove does come with a few caveats. It’s recommended that backpackers handle it with care as it isn’t the most durable. The stove can also perform poorly in windy conditions and its small burner head delivers only average performance. 

The best fuel-efficient backpacking stove

msr windburner stove

You’ll always want to consider weight, size, efficiency, and ease of use when shopping for a backpacking stove and none deliver on those as well as the MSR WindBurner, the best stove currently available. 

Pros: Compact, fast, and efficient, the MSR WindBurner is an all-in-one system that backpackers will love

Cons: No built-in igniter and not as lightweight as some other models

MSR’s made excellent backpacking stoves for decades and one of the mainstays in its line-up is the WindBurner Personal Stove System. What makes this particular stove stand out is that it’s an all-in-one option that gives users everything they need in one package. That includes the stove itself, a 1-liter insulated cook pot, a stabilizer, straining lid, and a plastic bowl. The only added extra you’d need is a canister of fuel and you’re set.

Unlike other all-in-one systems, the WindBurner offers a few extras that make it easier to use. For instance, its simmer-control system allows users to dial in exactly how much heat they want to apply to the pot. This also provides a measure of control over fuel consumption. 

The WindBurner truly shines with its versatility and efficiency. Very few backpacking stoves are as good in cold and windy conditions, and most use more fuel when preparing a meal. In fact, the WindBurner often gets twice as many uses out of a single fuel canister as its competition. That performance remains surprisingly consistent, too, even when used in a variety of environments or altitudes. 

Weighing in at 15.2 ounces, the WindBurner isn’t the lightest stove on this list but it is compact enough to comfortably carry inside a backpack, along with each of the add-ons which store inside one another. The entire package is easy to clean and can be set up or taken apart quickly. It also has the ability to boil a liter of water in just four and a half minutes, which is quite fast for a model of this size. 

The best backpacking stove for beginners

jetboil flash

The JetBoil Flash offers excellent all-around performance and great features that make it especially beginner-friendly. Compact and convenient, this is a stove first-time backpackers can quickly learn to operate and continue to use for many years. 

Pros: Fast and relatively efficient, the JetBoil Flash is extremely easy to operate, making it a great choice for beginners

Cons: No simmer control means the stove lacks subtle options when cooking a meal and its loss of efficiency in windy conditions is noticeable

Inexperienced backpackers looking for a great first backpacking stove should look no further than the JetBoil Flash. Like the MSR WindBurner, this model is an all-in-one solution that not only provides a stove but also a cooking pot wrapped in a protective outer shell. That’s essentially all you need to prepare the dehydrated backpacking meals that have become increasingly popular in recent years. 

The Flash’s ease of use is one of its biggest strengths. Simply fill up the pot with water and you’re ready to go. The entire system connects seamlessly to a gas canister, allowing the Flash to bring liquids to a boil in about three and a half minutes. That means you won’t have to wait long to get a warm meal or a hot beverage.

With its built-in heat exchanger, the Flash remains efficient, even in shifting weather conditions and colder temperatures. While not as fuel-efficient as the WindBurner, it still does a decent job of getting as much performance out of a single canister as possible.

At 13.1 ounces, the JetBoil Flash falls into the middle ground concerning size and weight. Smaller stoves, such as the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe, are more compact and less bulky but don’t include pots to prepare a meal, making the weight difference much closer than it seems. The Flash’s modular design only enhances its reputation as an easy-to-use option, too. 

The best travel backpacking stove

msr whisperlite universal

The MSR WhisperLite Universal is easy to travel with and uses liquid fuel rather than traditional gas canisters, making it the best backpacking stove for those going abroad.

Pros: Fast and efficient, compatible with multiple types of fuel which adds versatility and makes it great for international travel

Cons: A bit on the heavy side and requires regular maintenance in order to achieve optimal performance

Another mainstay in the MSR line-up, the WhisperLite Universal is without a doubt the best option for backpackers traveling outside the U.S. This stove comes with its own canister which can be filled with a variety of fuels, including white gas, kerosene, or even unleaded gasoline. It even uses standard isobutane-propane canisters when available, allowing this stove to go anywhere you’re able to find a viable fuel source. 

Compact and easy to carry, the WhisperLite Universal heats up quickly and gets nearly two hours of burn time from a single canister of white gas. Its overall efficiency varies depending on the fuel but it typically boils a liter of water in under four minutes. The stove is also easy to use, supports large pots for feeding groups of campers, and is surprisingly quiet for a liquid gas model.

The downside of using this type of stove is that it requires routine maintenance to keep it performing optimally. This maintenance isn’t particularly difficult but can be daunting and intimidating to newcomers. Additionally, at 14.9 ounces in weight, it’s a little heavier compared to other options. 

MSR ships the WhisperLite with a fuel pump, heat reflector, and a windscreen to help improve performance in windy conditions. It also comes with a few small parts to aid in the maintenance process. Unfortunately, a fuel bottle is not included, which adds an extra expense for international travelers, as well as a few additional ounces. 

How to shop for a backpacking stove

Shopping for a backpacking stove is different than what you’d look for while car camping, where size and weight don’t matter as much. When you’re carrying your entire allotment of gear inside a backpack, it’s vital to go small and lightweight.

It’s also important to find a stove that’s highly fuel-efficient in order to reduce the number of gas canisters you’ll need. 

But those aren’t the only features to consider. You’ll also want to take into account the number of people the stove supports, the kind of fuel it uses, and how durable it is. As with all outdoor gear, your stove should be extremely reliable and easy to use — there’s nothing like arriving at your campsite after sunset, exhausted and hungry, only to find your stove won’t start. 

What else to consider

It’s also important to think about when and where you’ll be using your camp stove. If you go backpacking in cold and windy conditions, you’ll want a stove that quickly boils water without using excess fuel. The same holds true when hiking at higher altitudes, where thinner air has a dramatic impact on efficiency. 

If this sounds too complex or overwhelming, fret not. There are plenty of reliable backpacking stoves to choose from, many of which are lightweight, compact, and fast. In fact, we’ve field-tested a crop of stoves currently available and came away impressed. There are now options available for just about every type of backpacker with any kind of budget. 

How we test backpacking stoves

Each stove featured in this guide went through a series of on-trail tests to see how well it held up across these four categories: Portability, weight, dependability, and value. Here’s how each category specifically factored into which backpacking stoves ultimately made this guide:

Weight: For literally anything backpacking-related, weight is perhaps the most important consideration. Even if you’re not an ultralight backpacker, counting down to the ounce is common practice, and your camp stove is no different. During each test, we loaded a backpack with roughly 20 pounds of gear (sleeping bag, clothing, food, headlamps, etc.) and would spend one to two days with the stove in our backpack, and at least one day with it in someone else’s. This helped us judge just how much of a difference those ounces truly made.

Portability: Though weight may first come to mind when assessing how portable a camp stove is, we also judged how well the stove packed down, whether into itself or as pieces that were easily packable. A highly portable backpacking stove shouldn’t take up much valuable room in your pack, and also shouldn’t be so many separate pieces that you feel like you’re assembling a jigsaw puzzle each day. 

Dependability: Setting up camp after a grueling day on the trail can turn sour very quickly if the stove you’re about to rely on for sustenance doesn’t work (and this is doubly true when the weather starts to turn wet, cold, and windy). We’ve tested these stoves in hot weather often but also made sure to put them through their paces when the wind and rain picked up. For these, we had to resort to doing so in our backyard, though time spent on trail this winter will allow for further testing.

Value: The value of a backpacking camp stove isn’t just how much it costs but more so a combination of the three categories before it, as well as its final sticker price. You want something that’s dependable and often that means spending a little more for something you can rely on (as opposed to spending less, more often on an inferior stove). 

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The best garden hose nozzles in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

So you’ve finally found a garden hose that’s durable, easy to use, and doesn’t kink. Next, you’ll need a garden hose nozzle. It makes watering tasks more convenient and efficient, plus you’ll save water.

“It’s absolutely necessary to attach an adjustable nozzle to your garden hose,” said John Jo rs, a Florida Master Gardener and volunteer groundskeeper at the 35-acre Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. “Otherwise, you may find yourself running back and forth to turn your water spigot off and on as needed.”

There are a few different nozzle styles to consider, including pistol grip, fire-hose, and watering wand. If you plan on using your hose for a wide variety of tasks, Jors recommends a pistol grip nozzle with multiple spray options and adjustable water pressure.

But if you have trouble holding down a pistol grip for long periods of time, fire hose-style and watering wands are good alternatives. Learn which nozzle style and spray option you should use.

We tested garden hose nozzles of different styles on the same hose (our pick for the best hose overall, the Dramm ColorStorm Garden Hose). For each hose nozzle, we tracked ease of use, comfort, water pressure, spray distance, and durability. Read more about our methodology.

Here are the best garden hose nozzles in 2021

The best garden hose nozzle overall

Best garden hose nozzles 2021 - Gardenite 10 Pattern Garden Hose Nozzle

The Gardenite 10-Pattern Garden Hose Nozzle is the most versatile, reliable, and comfortable nozzle you can attach to your hose. All the spray patterns are consistent and using it won’t tire out your hand. 

Pros: Many spray patterns, easy to switch among patterns, strong metal and rubber construction

Cons: The multiple settings may be superfluous if you only use your hose for a few tasks, jet setting doesn’t offer strongest pressure

With this Gardenite hose nozzle, you won’t have to worry about whether you’ll have the appropriate spray pattern for the task in front of you. The 10 patterns include “cone,” “shower,” “mist,” and “jet,” plus less common ones like “flat” and “vertical.” Whether you’re washing your dog, watering delicate plants, or hosing down dirt, you’ll be properly equipped. 

It’s easy to twist the nozzle to the spray pattern you need, and the nozzle clicks clearly to let you know you’re ready to use your selected pattern. When you hold down the trigger, the water doesn’t shoot out aggressively — an issue I discovered with other nozzles. The nozzle also never leaked in all my tests. 

The flow control knob at the back of the nozzle lets you adjust the pressure of each of the 10 patterns, allowing for even more adjustability. 

Despite all these ways to diversify your watering experience, the jet option was a little disappointing and wasn’t as strong as our high-pressure nozzle pick below. Overall, the all-in-one design and quality construction of this nozzle still earn it our top position, but consider whether you’d rather have the versatility or a more specialized nozzle. 

This nozzle has a pistol grip, with a front trigger that is made from metal and has indents for your fingers. The handle is cushioned rubber. These features combined make the grip as comfortable as it can get. 

The best garden hose nozzle on a budget

Best garden hose nozzles 2021 - Melnor 5 Pattern Watering Nozzle budget cheap affordable

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle is a solid alternative that still offers five spray options. Just be warned it’s not as durable as our other picks.

Pros: Affordable, easy to use, versatile 

Cons: Can leak a little, not rugged, doesn’t offer long spray distance 

A good, solid garden hose is an investment, and after spending that money, you might not want to splurge on an additional accessory. Luckily, this Melnor hose nozzle is very affordable, while still offering features you need and decent comfort. 

This nozzle keeps it simple with five spray options that should suit most activities: shower, full, stream, flat, and mist. All the settings worked well and had strong, consistent pressure, though the spray distance fell short compared to the other nozzles. The mist option was especially effective.

The nozzle attached securely to my hose, but there were some small leaking issues. The droplets were tiny and didn’t significantly affect my watering experience but it’s worth noting since this was the only nozzle I tested that leaked at all. 

It’s decently comfortable to hold — the rubber grip features indents for your fingers, but the back trigger section is made from plastic which is less comfortable than an all-rubber grip. There is a trigger lock to help prevent grip fatigue, so you don’t need to squeeze down the whole time you’re watering. 

Made from a combination of metal, plastic, and rubber, the nozzle is lightweight, but you can’t bang it around the ground too much. In our durability tests, the metal pin that acts as a trigger lock fell out. While we know you won’t purposely drop your nozzle onto concrete repeatedly, it’s also good to keep in mind that this nozzle isn’t going to last for years. But if you need a temporary solution, or don’t use your garden hose often, it’s a quick and cheap buy with most of the features you need. 

The best watering wand

Best garden hose nozzles 2021 - Melnor RelaxGrip Watering Wand 2

Avid gardeners will want the Melnor RelaxGrip Watering Wand, which offers a gentle shower of water, is long enough to reach tall hanging plants, and uses a comfortable thumb control rather than a pistol grip. 

Pros: Long, less tiring to grip, ideal for delicate flowers and plants in hanging pots 

Cons: Singular purpose, may have leakage problems after long-term use 

If you have trouble holding down a pistol grip, you’ll love the easy thumb control of this nozzle. You simply slide the control up and down whenever you need to adjust the water flow. This smart design reduces the strain on your wrists and fingers, allowing you to water your garden for longer. The textured rubber grip is also comfortable with ergonomic indents for your fingers. 

The thumb control acts as a sliding scale in that there isn’t a distinct click for each different flow setting. Instead, you might have to play around with the control at first to learn where the flow intensity changes and how far you should slide the control. Over time, you’ll have a better natural sense of how to control the water.  

This watering wand has a long stick design (this version is 33 inches long from nozzle tip to end, while the short version is 15 inches long) that lets you reach tall branches with no struggle. The water travels smoothly all the way through, and the water flow is consistent. 

It attached securely and didn’t leak, but after seeing some customer reports of leakage issues, we’ll keep an eye out for that in our long-term testing. Given the wand is made up of many distinct parts, it’s possible it may leak if any of the parts break. In our durability tests, however, the wand emerged unscathed and nothing broke.

Since this nozzle only offers a concentrated shower pattern, it’s best for gardeners who intend to use it frequently for their plants and flowers. It will not help you in the way of washing a deck or covering a large amount of ground.

The best high-pressure garden hose nozzle

Best garden hose nozzles 2021 - Twinkle Star Adjustable Twist Hose Nozzle high pressure

This simple and compact brass nozzle from Twinkle Star shoots out strong jets of water over long distances, making it perfect for chores that require some water pressure. 

Pros: Made from sturdy solid brass, small, good jet and wide spray options 

Cons: No two-way shutoff, less control over water flow 

For grimy trash cans, a car in need of a good wash, or your deck that has so many layers of dirt it’s starting to change colors, it’s handy to have a high-pressure nozzle to do all the hard rinsing work for you. 

The Twinkle Star is a long and slim nozzle that has powerful and efficient jet and wide spray settings. To use, you twist the nozzle in one direction to find the pattern you need. Though there aren’t specific settings that you can “click” into, the nozzle twists smoothly and the spray patterns transition well into each other. The one-way shutoff means you have to twist it off the same way you twist it on, which isn’t a huge dealbreaker, but it’s a little convenient. The nozzle attached securely to my hose and never leaked. 

Its spray distance was long, on par with the Gardenite nozzle‘s. The high pressure and long spray distance are a great combo for attacking dirty surfaces from afar.

We also loved the solid brass construction. It’s resistant to rust and all-around durable, plus it looks sleek. 

This product actually comes with two nozzles, a long one and a much smaller one. We wouldn’t recommend the small tip nozzle, as it wasn’t adjustable and couldn’t shut off the flow of water. It offered medium pressure and a very narrow spray, so we’re not sure what the use of this extra nozzle is. Stick with the long nozzle, and you’ll be set. 

The best fireman-style garden hose nozzle

Best garden hose nozzles 2021 - Bon Aire Hose Nozzle fireman style

A fire-hose-style nozzle like the Bon-Aire Hose Nozzle is perfect if you want versatile spray options without straining your hand. 

Pros: Very comfortable to hold, strong rubber and metal construction, two-way shutoff 

Cons: Less control over water flow 

Rather than hold down a trigger, you only need to twist the barrel of the Bon-Air nozzle to start and stop the flow of water. Like a few of the nozzles above, it doesn’t have distinct spray settings, so you just gradually turn the nozzle to find the different options. Conveniently, the nozzle has two-way shutoff, meaning you don’t have to turn it back all the way to the beginning in order to stop the water flow. 

I enjoyed using this nozzle a lot because it was comfortable to hold and all the water flow options were consistent in pressure. The jet and wide spray settings were especially strong. 

Compared to the Twinkle Star nozzle, the Bon-Aire is bulkier but also likely more durable. Since most of it is encased in rubber, the metal middle section rarely touches the ground. If you drop it on the ground from a tall height, it simply bounces around. 

Our gardening expert John Jors reminds us, “Although [a fire hose-style nozzle] is very durable, the spray options are limited and you won’t have the flow control you have with the pistol grip.” 

This was certainly my experience with the Bon-Aire nozzle. It’s available for around the same price as our best overall pick, so choosing this nozzle is ultimately a matter of personal preference and comfort. It’s ergonomic and durable, but you will have the deal with the lack of distinct spray settings. 

What else we tested

best garden hose nozzles 2021 Gilmour Metal Pistol Nozzle what else we tested

What we don’t recommend and why

Gilmour Metal Pistol Nozzle: This simple nozzle is cheap but also really rugged. It’s metal all around and intuitive to use — just squeeze the trigger and the water flow will change depending on how hard you squeeze. My main critique is that it’s not comfortable to hold at all and has no cushioning for your fingers, so you’ll have to wear your own gloves. The nozzle is small, brittle, and stiff, and you’ll have to use the hold-open clip to spray continuously. 

What we’re testing next

What we look forward to testing - best garden hose nozzles 2021 Dramm 14866 One Touch Rain Wand with One Touch Valve

Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand: Another promising watering wand has a similar thumb control valve to our current best wandering wand and looks to be durable and consistent. 

Gilmour Swivel Connect 1-Pattern Nozzle: Gilmour’s innovative “swivel connect” design means that you can turn the nozzle in any direction without turning the hose itself, reducing annoying kinks and bends as you handle your hose. Though it doesn’t have multiple spray options, there is a comfortable thumb control valve. 

Methodology

Best garden hose nozzles 2021 - Methodology slide

We put all the hose nozzles through these same five tests: 

  1. Ease of use: We noted how easy or difficult it was to attach to the hose, how many spray options it had, and whether it leaked. 
  2. Comfort: We noted if the grip was ergonomic. If the nozzle had a pistol grip design, we timed how long we could press the grip down before it got too tiring to press. 
  3. Spray distance: On concrete, we measured how far the nozzle sprayed water when holding the hose at a regular position (a foot away from the body).
  4. Water pressure: We measured the pressure of water coming out of the nozzle with a water pressure gauge. If there was more than one spray setting, we measured the low, medium, and high settings. 
  5. Durability: We dropped each nozzle on concrete from 10 feet high 10 times and noted scuffing, scratches, abrasion, and any broken or bent parts. We also left the nozzles outside for two consecutive weeks through various weather conditions, including sun and rain, noting any rust and other signs of wear and tear.

Garden hose nozzles FAQs

best Garden hose nozzles 2021 FAQs

Why do you need a garden hose nozzle?  

  1. It saves water. Water will not come out of your hose unless you open the nozzle, meaning you don’t need to run back and forth to the spigot. This is especially helpful if you’re using a long hose. 
  2. A garden hose nozzle helps distribute water in a more controlled manner than a garden hose alone. The regular flow of a garden hose alone isn’t always the best for tasks like watering delicate flowers or washing a car. The different spray options of a nozzle let you customize the flow to your specific task. 

What are the different types of garden hose nozzles? How do you use them?

Pistol grip nozzle: Features a trigger that controls the amount or flow of water. Hold down the trigger (which may be in front of or behind the handle) to release water. The harder you press, the more water comes out. 

Dial nozzle: Features a rotating dial of distinct spray patterns. It’s often combined with a pistol grip so you only need to hold down the trigger to activate the flow of water, while the dial setting controls the specific flow.

Watering wand or rain wand: A long nozzle that helps extend water flow to hard-to-reach areas. It’s usually controlled with a comfortable sliding thumb control. 

Firehose (or fireman)-style nozzle: A large dial-style nozzle that does not have a pistol grip. The spray patterns are not distinct and must be gradually adjusted. 

What nozzle and spray type do you use for…

  • Watering flowers or a vegetable garden: Use a flat spray or shower delicate plants with a rain wand because it’s the most gentle spray type. Make sure to water at soil level at the base of the plants. It’s best to water them in the morning, before it gets too sunny and hot, so that less water will evaporate.  
  • Watering trees and shrubs: Drip lines are ideal, and if you’re using a hose, you actually shouldn’t use a nozzle. Simply place the hose on the ground near the tree and let water slowly and steadily dribble out. Rotate the hose around the tree (in a ring shape) periodically. 
  • Washing a car: Use a jet spray with any of the nozzles above except the rain wand. If you’re just doing a light rinse, a setting like a full shower could also work. 
  • Power-washing a deck: Use a jet spray with any of the nozzles above except the rain wand. 

Check out our other backyard and gardening guides

Purple garden hose on the sidewalk
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The best garlic presses we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A quality garlic press is easy to clean and produces a high yield of crushed garlic.
  • Our top pick is the Orblue Stainless Steel Garlic Press.
  • It offers a full range of motion, is dishwasher safe, and can press multiple cloves at a time.

Garlic is a versatile ingredient used every day in many kitchens. Preparing it can be a sticky and smelly task, which is where a garlic press comes in. A garlic press has two primary goals: prepare garlic to a grated-like consistency and keep your hands cleaner than chopping does.

Garlic’s smell and taste become stronger when it’s cut because of a compound called allicin that forms when the cells are crushed. The smaller the garlic pieces, the more allicin is formed and the heavier the garlic flavor. Garlic presses combine crushing and mincing motions to produce garlic paste that is fragrant and flavorful. A high quality garlic press can also save time, especially if you have several cloves to press.

The most difficult part of using a garlic press is cleaning the leftover pieces of garlic skin from the basket. This will be an issue in any garlic press you use, but factors like full rotation of the press or mobility of the basket can make it easier. We tested seven garlic presses to identify the ones that make prepping garlic easy and fast.

Here are the best garlic presses in 2021

The best garlic press overall

product image of orblue garlic press, the best garlic press overall in 2021

The full rotation and stainless steel construction of the Orblue Garlic Press makes it the easiest to load, press, and clean. 

Pros: Full rotation, handles have looped ends so the press can be hung for storage, dishwasher safe, can accommodate multiple cloves at once

Cons: Water spots appeared on stainless steel after washing

This heavy duty kitchen tool features an almost 360 degree range of rotation. While most garlic presses feature a hopper (where the cloves go) that is attached to the handle, a feature of this press is that the hopper swings out separately from the handles. This allows you better access for loading garlic and for cleaning.

The Orblue is on the heavier side, but not unwieldy, and the heft makes squeezing easier when crushing multiple cloves at once. The crushed garlic came out even and paste-like. The press comes with a silicone garlic roller for peeling cloves and a small cleaning brush.

The best garlic press for unpeeled cloves

product image of kuhn rikon garlic press, the best garlic press for unpeeled cloves in 2021

Whether used with unpeeled cloves or peeled cloves, the Kuhn Rikon Garlic Press consistently produced the same amount of crushed garlic and required minimal pressure.

Pros: Presses both peeled and unpeeled cloves with ease, can accommodate multiple cloves

Cons: Heavy, expensive

The Kuhn Rikon was the most consistent garlic press I tested. Regardless of how the garlic was positioned or whether it was peeled or unpeeled, the Kuhn Rikon felt the same to squeeze and produced the same amount of garlic paste from each clove. This is a big plus if you’re making something that requires a lot of garlic, like garlic bread or aglio e olio. 

That said, the Kuhn Rikon is $26 more than our top pick and only performed better with unpeeled cloves. If you’re looking to avoid peeling garlic, the Rikon is easiest to use, but it may not be worth the increased price for everyone.

The best garlic press for easy cleaning

product image of zyliss garlic press, the best garlic press for easy cleaning in 2021

The Zyliss Garlic Press comes with a cleaning tool that was the most effective of any that we tested and stores neatly inside the press so you don’t lose it.

Pros: Mobile lever, cleaning tool stored in the press, can accommodate multiple cloves at once

Cons: Stationary basket, requires a lot of force to press larger cloves

Cleaning a garlic press is the worst part of using it, but the Zyliss makes it almost painless. The cleaning tool is stored tucked into one of the handles, ensuring you don’t lose it. The tool has small spikes that match up with the holes in the basket, so you can push the garlic remains out from the holes, making it easier to remove the peels from the press. 

The Zyliss is made of aluminum and does not have the power of the heavier presses, so you have to apply more force. Though the basket is stationary, the press itself opens 180 degrees and the lever is mobile, so you still have space to fill and clean it.

What else we tested

hand holding a garlic press with crushed garlic coming through holes as part of testing for the best garlic

What else we recommend and why:

KitchenAid Classic Garlic Press: This press performed similarly to the Orblue, our top pick. It was a little lighter and had a removable basket, but the force required was the same. A removable basket made it easier to clean the press, but it was hard to keep track of this small part and the press would be useless without it. I still recommend this press for someone confident in their ability to keep all the pieces together.

Dreamfarm Garject Self-Cleaning Garlic Press: This press had the most bells and whistles, with a built-in scraper and peel ejector. I loved the addition of the scraper because it pushes all the garlic off the front of the press. While the peel ejector works, it doesn’t make a huge difference in cleaning because smaller pieces of garlic still stick in the basket. The basket is big enough for multiple cloves, but it was very difficult to press when full.

What we don’t recommend and why:

Faberware Garlic Peeler and Press Set: This press was made of plastic and substantially lighter than the stainless steel presses. However, this meant I had little leverage when I squeezed it. This resulted in more work for less output. 

Chef’N Garlic Zoom Chopper: Though not technically a press, we tested this product as an option for finely chopped garlic that didn’t require squeezing. While it did fit multiple cloves and chopped them easily, there were flaws in the design. The blade is removable, but it is not secured, so it tends to fall out when you open the top to get garlic out. Additionally, the garlic sticks to the sides.

Our testing methodology

garlic presses loaded with garlic cloves for testing of the best garlic press in 2021

As a kitchenware reporter, I have tested many tools to determine not only if they work as intended, but also if they make life in the kitchen easier. For this guide, we used a central question to inform our testing: does this product make preparing garlic easier and keep your hands cleaner than using a good knife or a microplane grater? I tested seven garlic presses and rated them on the following criteria:

Performance: We used each press to prepare both large and small cloves, peeled and unpeeled. We looked for the garlic produced to be uniform in shape and near a paste-like consistency. When using the press with unpeeled garlic, we noted if less pressed garlic was produced or if the press was more difficult to squeeze and clean. 

Ease of use: We noted how many cloves could fit comfortably in the basket at once. We attempted to squeeze each press with one hand and then two hands to see which was easier and more effective. 

Cleaning: We considered how easy the tools were to clean. We ran dishwasher-safe presses through the regular dishwasher cycle and hand washed any presses that weren’t dishwasher safe.

What we’re testing next

Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker: This was out of stock when we were testing, so we will include it for an update. This curved stainless steel piece is not a traditional garlic press, but claims to accomplish the same texture while being easier to clean. 

Alpha Grillers Garlic Press: This press can be used with unpeeled cloves and has an extra large basket to press several cloves at once. We will test whether this basket holds more garlic than the standard baskets of our top picks.

FAQs

What is the best way to clean a garlic press?

Consult the manufacturer’s instructions on whether or not your press is dishwasher safe. If it isn’t, the hardest part will be getting the pieces of garlic out from the basket. A press with a full range of rotation or removable basket is easier to clean because you have access to the nooks and crannies. If your sink has a spray nozzle, blasting the basket with a steam of water can push out stubborn pieces of garlic. 


Can you use unpeeled cloves in a garlic press?

You don’t necessarily need to peel garlic before pressing it through a garlic press, though some presses are better at processing unpeeled garlic than others. The manufacturer will list if a press is intended for use with unpeeled cloves. During testing, I had to squeeze harder when pressing unpeeled garlic with all the tools, except the Kuhn Rikon. 


What is the best garlic press for weak and arthritic hands?

In general, we do not recommend a garlic press for people with weak hands. None of the garlic presses we tested were easy to use with one hand. Most garlic presses operate by squeezing the handles together to crush the garlic. This is a difficult motion for folks with weaker hands, and we will be testing other methods of preparing garlic for our next update. We’ll also be looking for garlic presses with soft grips, which may be easier to squeeze for some.

Check out our other great kitchen guides

Our Methodology Knife Sets
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The 7 best facial shaving soaps, and why I prefer them over shaving cream every time

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

Best Shaving Soaps of 2021 4x3

If your skin is on the dryer side, you may want to swap in your shaving foam for a shaving soap. To start with, the right soap will help your razor move cleanly across your face with enough protective lubrication for the skin and the whiskers you’re getting rid of. You also don’t want to lose the moisture that’s already in your skin during shaving, as that will lead to irritation and increase the likelihood of pseudofolliculitis barbae, or razor bumps. For those with sensitive skin (like myself), shaving foams can also lead to irritation because of the ingredients that are used.

Shaving soaps are made primarily with added fat from plant or animal sources. Some also contain glycerin. These components are what help give the soap the smooth consistency needed to produce the protective layer of lubrication for your skin without sacrificing any hydration. This was something important for me as I have a bald head (which besides a killer smirk is the only thing I have in common with The Rock), and I need that extra protection.

If you’re going to make the switch, it’s best to find the right shaving soap that factor in skin protection and good hydration. We’ve got seven soaps lined up that will be the centerpiece for your wet shaving kit and a ticket to making your routine a time of luxury.

Here are the best shaving soaps in 2021:

Floris “The Gentleman”

Floris London Shaving Soap ("The Gentleman")

NO. 89 (small)

Pros: very gentle but consistent lather, great moisture, exquisite aroma

Cons: the price might deter some depending on their budget

Chances are, you might remember Floris from the 2012 James Bond movie “SkyFall”.
This shave soap certainly has that air of elegance, made by a fragrance company that has been in existence in Britain since 1730. The No.89 is a triple-milled soap that has a highly pleasing scent with notes of bergamot and sandalwood. It lathers up very well with a wet brush, and I found that lather held up for my entire shave. The No.89 gives you a smooth shave from start to finish, leaving the skin soft and well-hydrated afterwards. And
the scent is magnificent – I actually got complimented by a few people thinking it was a
cologne I was wearing.

Col. Ichabod Conk

Col.Ichabod Conk Shave Soap

Bay Rum Shave Soap (small)

Pros: Fabulous scent, provides excellent moisturizing throughout, pleasing soap texture

Cons: The packaging isn’t that attractive 

You might be tempted to whistle an old-fashioned show tune while using the Bay Rum Shave Soap from Col. Ichabod Conk. No judgement here – it is a soap that does give you that vintage barbershop feel beginning with that stunning bay rum scent. I found myself transported back to when my late father cut my hair with that fragrance. This is a reformulated version of their most popular shave soap. The first lather is a good indicator as to why, as it’s smooth and doesn’t overly lubricate. It handles the razor well and has the best finish with no residue left on the skin afterwards.

Badger Balm

Badger Natural Shave Soap (Badger Balm)

Shaving Soap (small)

Pros: Good initial lather, rich texture and feel, high quality moisture

Cons: Moisture residue but slight, lather does fade within a minute of application

Aiming for a shave experience steeped in sustainability? Then Badger Balm is one you might consider. Made with organic ingredients including aloe vera and coconut oil, this soap gives off a good initial lather and a really soothing texture. I found that this soap helped to soften the whiskers swiftly, allowing for a nice and crisp shave. There’s a good layer of moisture left afterwards, with a scant bit of soapy residue but not much to be bothered by. It also blends well with many of the aftershave products I have.

Olivina

Olivina Men Shave Soap

Classic Shave Soap – Bourbon Cedar (small)

Pros: Decent scent, soap texture is pleasant without too much lather

Cons: Lather disappears frequently, the scent doesn’t carry for too long after the shave

This company’s soap offers up a decent shave, with a gentle bourbon cedar fragrance to it. The lather starts out strong off the brush but does fade quickly. That doesn’t take away from its positive capability to work well with both traditional and multi-blade razors during a shave. As mentioned before, the scent’s nice but it doesn’t linger. It’s a good starter soap for your budget if you’re just building your wet shaving setup.

Gentleman Jon

Gentleman Jon Shave Soap

Glycerine Shave Soap (small)

Pros: Great hydration from lather, nice texture to the soap, works well with other aftershave products

Cons: You do have to lather consistently during your shave, slightly smaller than other soaps

Gentleman Jon is a company that’s committed to giving a truly classic shave experience with their glycerin-based soap. I found the lather was very smooth at the outset. One striking point is that while shaving, there wasn’t that much buildup on the razor but the skin felt very hydrated without much leftover moisture. The aroma is highly pleasant and blends in well with aftershave balms without any irritation. Using the soap also left the skin extremely smooth compared to the other soaps tested on both passes.

Molton Brown

Molton Brown Shaving Soap

Moisture-rich Shaving Soap (small)

Pros: Good lather, works well with straight razors, leaves skin feeling softer after shave

Cons: Leaves a considerable amount of moisture buildup after, a little thick when using Multi-blade razors

The London-based company has been among the premier grooming companies, and their moisture-rich shaving soap with its own bowl is a reason why. Made partially with coconut oil, it provides a decent lather when starting out, but it can leave a little bit extra moisture afterwards so it’s best to go lightly with it. Its scent is pleasant, but not overly aromatic if you’re looking to not have it conflict with other grooming products. The soap does leave your skin feeling supple without any irritation, and it has a distinctive hydrating factor in helping the razor get rid of hairs.

The Art of Shaving

The Art Of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Soap

Sandalwood Shaving Soap (small)

Pros: Good initial lather, helps you get a close shave right against the skin

Cons: Skin dryness and potential for irritation afterwards depending on your skin makeup

The sandalwood shaving soap by The Art of Shaving represents a lot of thought given to what one desires in a shave. It gives off a good lather, and on the first shave it helped a lot towards clean hair removal close to the skin. There’s a brief bit of moisture residue afterwards but nothing too obvious. On the second pass however, I did feel my skin feeling drier than expected afterwards and a tad irritated which suggests this might be better for special occasion shaving.

How we tested

The process of testing each soap was based on shaving every two days, with each having two passes. Each pass was done using a wet brush made with badger hair and a shaving bowl owned by myself. Soaps that came with their own bowls are noted below. Every soap was also gauged on how smooth they left the skin, and if there were any irritation or potential for tonal changes.

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The 8 best silk pillowcases to prevent frizz and help your skin and hair retain moisture overnight

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

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Cotton is an extremely absorbent material that can dry out your hair and face while you sleep.
  • Because silk is a much less absorbent material, it’s a great alternative to a satin pillowcase.
  • We break down what to look for in a silk pillowcase and some great options to shop now.
Shhh Silk pillow best silk pillowcase

If you’re like most people, you have a cotton pillowcase. But you might not know that cotton is a highly absorbent material, which means your pillowcase might be draining your hair and skin of the moisture they need to stay healthy. That’s right – your pillowcase may be to blame for your dry strands.

“When your hair is rubbing against that cotton fiber, not only is it soaking up the moisture that is in your hair on your head, even. But it’s also causing friction,” which can lead to frizz, certified trichologist and natural hair YouTuber Afope Atoyebi says.

A silk pillowcase is especially helpful for keeping the moisture in your hair. While everyone can benefit from using a silk pillowcase, Atoyebi explains that people with high porosity, chemically processed, and curly and coily hair types benefit the most. All of these involve “a lot more openings, gaps, lifts in your cuticle layer that essentially make it harder for your hair to retain the water that gets put in it,” Atoyebi said.

How to pick the right silk pillowcase for your hair

Silk is graded in mommes which describe the weight of the silk. The higher the momme, the heavier and typically higher quality and more durable the silk. As with all luxury items, be wary of silk that’s priced too good to be true or silk mixed with other fabrics. Check the seller has a clear and transparent source and production to avoid the fake thing or not pure silk.

Here are the best silk pillowcases in 2021:

The best overall: Celestial Silk 25 momme pillowcase

Celestial Silk 25 momme pillowcase

25 Momme Silk Pillowcase (small)

Celestial Silk’s thick, 25-momme silk pillowcase feels super luxurious to the touch. This brand also offers variety, including 20 color options, plus zippered or enveloped closures, at one of the most affordable prices for silk pillowcases on this list. The average pillowcase on this list is made with 22 momme silk, but Celestial Silk uses 25 — and the OEKO-TEX verification tag proves it’s the real deal.

Grace Eleyae 16 Momme Silk Pillowcase pillowcase

Grace Eleyae 16 Momme Silk Pillowcase pillowcase

Black Silk Pillowcase (small)

Made with an envelope closure and 16 momme silk, this pillowcase is smooth, lightweight, and has three color options. The pillowcase fits very snugly on Target’s standard/queen size pillowcase unlike other options on this list, which had a few inches of extra room length-wise.. Grace Eleyae pillowcases come with a convenient silk pouch, making this pillowcase best for a frequent traveller.

Slip queen zippered pillowcase

Slip queen zippered pillowcase

Queen Zippered Pillowcase (small)

Slip uses 22 momme silk for their luxurious pillowcases, which come in beautiful, reusable boxes with a magnetic closure. The brand offers pillowcases in 13 different colors, multiple sizes, and multiple closure options.

Brooklinen standard silk pillowcase

Brooklinen standard silk pillowcase

Mulberry Silk Pillowcase (small)

Brooklinen’s soft, 22 momme silk pillowcase is available in five different colors and a standard or king size. Each has an envelope closure. This pillowcase comes in a slick, reusable box with a magnetic closure.

Jimoo Zippered Silk Pillowcase

Jimoo Zippered Silk Pillowcase

Natural Silk Pillowcase (small)

This is an Amazon-favorite in the silk pillowcase category. Made with a zippered closure, this 22 momme pillowcase gets the job done at a great price with plenty of size and color options.

Shhh Silk Queen Zippered Pillowcase

Shhh Silk Queen Zippered Pillowcase

Black Silk Pillowcase (small)

Australian-based Shhh Silk offers 22 momme silk pillowcases with zippered closures in queen and king sizes. Shhh Silk offers free shipping with every order plus a 100 day guarantee. Bonus: if you aren’t satisfied within your first 100 days, you can get your money back. Shhh Silk pillowcases also come with an OEKO-TEX verification tag.

My Mane 22 momme silk pillowcase

My Mane 22 momme silk pillowcase

MANE Silk Pillowcase (small)

This London-based, curly care company offers a luxurious, 22 momme pillowcase made with a zippered closure and available in blush and slate colors. This is an especially good option if you’re interested in the brand’s curly products or are based in the UK. Plus, their pillowcases are OEKO-TEX-verified.

Swurly Curly Queen Pillowcase

Swurly Curly Queen Pillowcase

Solid Queen Silk Pillowcase (small)

This Midwest-based, family business specializes in products for curly hair and offers 19 and 22 momme pillowcases. Made with envelope closures, these products are available in queen and king sizes.

An affordable alternative to silk pillowcases:

If you don’t have silk pillowcase money, there are some great, much more affordable alternatives in satin pillowcases. Satin is a method of weaving synthetic fibers that creates a fabric just like silk–but without the worms or high price. Usually, satin is vegan and cruelty-free. However, since satin is synthetic, it doesn’t have the same hypoallergenic benefits as silk.

Surprisingly, in terms of feel, satin can often feel a lot softer than silk. Here are some great, super soft satin alternatives.

  • Kitsch Satin Pillowcase: This satin pillowcase has incredible slip and has a quality thickness to it. Kitsch pillowcases come in about seven different colors and multiple sizes.
  • CurlMix Satin Pillowcase: CurlMix is all about clean beauty for curly hair. Their satin pillowcase is in line with their mission of providing vegan products that preserve and protect textured hair.
  • Bedsure Satin Pillowcase: One of Amazon’s best performing options, this highly-rated and affordable satin pillowcase is made with an envelope closure. There are 24 color options and multiple sizes available.
  • JSatin Solid Pillowcase: Target offers a great satin pillowcase option with six different colors and different sizes. This can be a convenient and effective option next time you’re at your local Target or shopping online.
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The 5 best jump ropes for a great cardio workout

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Jumping rope is one of the best cardio exercises you can do at home, practically for free.
  • The best jump ropes are durable and adjustable in length and ideally, come with extra ropes or handles.
  • Our top pick, Crossrope Get Lean, has multiple weights, exchangeable handles, and its own workout app.

Most of us associate jumping rope with days on the playground but for the everyday athlete, it’s actually one of the best cardiovascular activities you can do as an adult, Andrew Laux, NASM-CPT, and personal trainer with fitness platform, Fyt, told Insider.

Though jumping rope is good to get your heart pumping, it can also help improve bone density and build strength and stability through your entire kinetic chain (your feet to your shoulders). Plus, it’s a fun workout you can do almost anywhere, Laux said.

In addition to learning how to use a jump rope, the one thing you need to gain the benefits of the workout is the rope itself. And if you think all jump ropes are the same, think again: Many manufacturers have made improvements and tech updates to jump ropes over the years, offering more ease of use, adjustability, and weight options.

To find the best jump rope for cardio, I tested brands like Crossrope, Rx Smart Gear, SKLZ, and more, relying on my own experience as a certified personal trainer and fitness writer as well as important features in a rope. At the end of this guide

At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some insight from Laux on the proper technique for jumping rope, as well as some tips on how to shop for a jump rope and the testing methodology that was used in determining which ropes ultimately made this guide.

Here are the best jump ropes:

The best jump rope overall

Get_Lean_Set

Crossrope reimagines the tried-and-true jump rope by offering multiple weighted rope options, an easy-to-use handle clipping system, and a companion app with workouts and insight. 

Pros: Ropes come in multiple weight options, easy-to-swap soft handles, companion app has great workout guidance

Cons: Expensive

At $99, Crossrope’s Get Lean Set isn’t exactly inexpensive — but it’s not just any ole jump rope, either. 

This specialized jump rope set features ergonomic handles that are lightweight and easy to hold. The handles feature a quick clasp system making it easy to swap them in and out of the different weighted ropes. Each handle has a soft grip that won’t slip out of your hand, even when you start sweating — we’ve tested this in the humidity of NYC and the comfortable, tacky grips are a very welcome sight.

The other feature that makes Crossrope an attractive choice is its variety of rope weights. The Get Lean Set, specifically, comes with both a 1/2-pound rope good for advanced cardio exercises and a 1/4-pound rope that works well for HIIT routines and endurance training. As mentioned above, the handles just click in and out of the end of each rope for easy swapping. 

Crossrope also offers a companion smartphone application that comes standard with workout inspiration and routine guidance. The Lite version is completely free whereas premium access runs $10 per month. — Rick Stella, health and fitness editor

The best jump rope for speed work

wod jumprope

When speed and lasting performance are your main concerns, the WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope is your best option.

Pros: Comes with an extra cable, features a smooth bearing system for speed work

Cons: Susceptible to wear when used on hard surfaces

If you’re looking to perform quick tempo jumps, like high knees, crossover, or double unders, you want a speed rope, which moves faster, Louis Chandler Joseph, NASM-CPT, trainer at Dogpound in LA told Insider. “Speed ropes are also great for working hand-eye coordination,” he added.

WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope uses a patented four-metal ball bearing system in the handles. There is a bearing on the tip of each handle to hold the cable and another bearing in each handle for smooth rotations, and the handles are made of tapered nylon resin for a better grip.

This speed rope comes in nine colors and with an extra cable, replacement hardware, and a carrying bag. The cable is 2.5mm thick and 11 feet long, which you can easily adjust. 

WOD Nation’s jump rope comes with a “100% satisfaction guarantee,” so you can try it for 60 days and if you’re not completely satisfied, return it for a complete refund. (However, its return policy says it will only accept returns on unused items within 14 days of purchase, so that’s a bit confusing.) If you order through Amazon, you get 30 days to return. — James Brains, home and kitchen reporter

The best jump rope for beginners

SKLZ jump rope

The SKLZ jump rope is easy to use, lightweight, comfortable, and affordable, making it a smart choice for those just starting to jump rope. 

Pros: Easy to adjust, comfortable grip, smooth rotations

Cons: Comes with just one rope — no fancy additions

If you’re new to jumping rope, you need a straightforward jump rope that’s easy to set to your height and easy to swing. The SKLZ jump rope is all of this and more: The soft, padded handles allow for a solid, comfy grip, while the swivel on the inside of the handle makes for easy rotations and lots of control (which is super helpful for those jumping in small spaces).

It’s also lightweight, making it easy to move at a pace that works for you, especially as you tackle technique and eventually add in speed. 

Adjusting the rope is easy — just unscrew the handle, pull the rope through to the length for you,  push the plastic tab back, and cut the extra. Then, close the handle back up. Cutting the rope does means it’s a one-and-done adjustment so you can’t share your rope with someone of another height. But at under $15, your partner or roommate can buy their own cheap, too.

I tested this rope both indoors on carpet and outside on cement, and it lasted through lots of jump intervals. It’s definitely a no-frills cable but offers everything you need to get your jump rope routine started.

The best jump rope for multiple users

RX smart gear Rapid Fit Jump Rope

The Rx Smart Gear Rapid Fit Jump Rope allows you to easily switch between lengths, so the whole family can use it. Plus, it’s so smooth and comfortable. 

Pros: Easy adjustment and multi-user, smooth rotations, comfortable (and narrower) handle

Cons: More expensive than other ropes

If you’re 5-feet tall and sharing this rope with your 6-foot-tall partner, you can both use this Rx Smart Gear jump rope without anyone compromising proper length. The Rx Smart Gear Rapid Fit Jump Rope allows you to swap between sizes, just by pressing the end of the handle, removing the cover and pulling the rope to the top (to make it shorter) or bottom (to make it longer).

The standard size of the Rapid Fit Jump Rope works for people 5- to 6-feet tall. There’s also a short cable option that’s a better fit for anyone under 5 feet, as well as a longer cable for those over 6 feet. 

To be adjustable, this rope has long, thin handles. This shape has the added benefit of being easy to grip while you flick your wrists on the spin, and it offers good control over the rope so you can dial up or down the speed. 

This adjustable jump rope also comes with a carrying case. The price point is higher than other models, but it’s cheaper than buying two high-quality jump ropes of different lengths.

The best budget jump rope

Tone It Up Jump Rope

The lightweight Tone It Up jump rope comes in at under $10, while still offering an easy-to-use rope that’ll last through countless cardio sessions. 

Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight, soft and comfortable handles, easy to use and adjust

Cons: Not as durable as others; if you don’t cut the rope, it twists as you jump

For a super affordable jump rope, the Tone It Up offering costs less than $10 and is available at Target, while still delivering all the basic necessities of a cardio jump rope. At less than 13 ounces, the lightweight design makes for easy rotations and quick rounds. The padded foam handles also make for a soft feel as you hold onto the rope through each jump. 

To adjust the cable, simply unscrew the end of the handle, and move the plastic stopper tab to the spot that works with your height — the cable is short enough for those 4-foot-9 and long enough for those 6-foot-6. While you can shove the excess rope back into the handle, I suggest cutting off any extra (particularly if you have a lot of excess). The wound-up rope inside the handle occasionally made the rope twist up as I hit my rotations. 

To top off the benefits of this purchase, you’ll also support a women-owned brand.

What else we tested

RXSG EVO GO Speed Rope

Rx Smart Gear EVO GO Speed Rope ($125): If you’re looking for a truly lightweight rope for picking up speed on your feet, this rope has a well-designed handle that makes it comfortable and easy to whip the rope around. This rope comes at a fixed height. It didn’t make our main list because of its expensive price tag, but we do love this rope for speed work. 

SKLZ Speed Rope ($25): Another rope that handles well, works fast, and makes for smooth transitions, this SKLZ Speed Rope is also super affordable. The sturdy handles felt heavier than other speed ropes, and the adjustable rope itself stands up against kinks. The biggest downside is you need a wire cutter to remove the extra material, which isn’t always easy to get your hands on.

How to master the proper technique

Jumping rope is dauntingly easy — but the right technique is very helpful to master the cardio skill. Andrew Laux, NASM-CPT, and personal trainer with fitness platform, Fyt, offers three tips:

1. First, think of it like a pogo stick. “Keep your body in a straight line but relax your muscles and joints so you can easily absorb the jump and get ready for the next,” he said. Bend your knees slightly and jump on the balls of the feet to help with that impact.

2. It’s important to keep your shoulders back and chest tall (think of this as like having good posture).

3. And finally, look out on the horizon. “Once your eyes drop to your feet, your form will crumble,” Laux warns. 

When it comes to your actual jump rope workout, Laux loves jumping to his favorite song, resting for one minute, then repeating for another few pump-up jams. If you’re just starting out, though, he suggests going for just 10 seconds of effort, then resting for 20 seconds.

As you get better and can do five to 10 rounds, build the work interval, and decrease the rest break.

“Once you build up your strength and fitness levels and slowly build up your jump duration, you will find yourself jumping for longer time periods like 5 minutes or even 10 minutes nonstop,” he said. “It takes time, but you will get there.”

Learn more in How to jump rope in 4 easy steps, and a few fun workouts you can do at home.

How to shop for a jump rope

If you’re considering which jump rope to buy, think about how you want to use it. “The heavier the handles, the harder the shoulder and forearm workout,” Laux explains. “The lighter and thinner the rope, the faster you can spin the jump rope around and around.”

Anything labeled as a speed rope will likely feel lightweight and fast, while a more straightforward rope (usually plastic with foam handles) may be slightly heavier and likely, more affordable. 

The most important thing to consider once you know the kind of rope you want is its length. If a rope is too long, it might be harder to find your rhythm. Conversely, one that’s too short may increase your chances of tripping.

Make sure to check out the brand’s sizing guide before you buy. Then, to measure a jump rope to your height, step in the middle of the rope with both feet, ensure the rope is symmetric and taught, and adjust it so the bottom of the handle reaches your armpits, said Louis Chandler Joseph, NASM-CPT, trainer at Dogpound in LA.

You can always test out the rope and decide if you want it to be shorter or longer, too. Once you have a length you’re comfortable with, use scissors or wire cutters to clip the ends of the cable so you don’t have annoying and unnecessary lengths of the rope hanging off the handles. 

Also, Chandler Joseph suggests hanging your rope for storage — though, some ropes (like the Rx Smart Gear rope) do come with their own carrying case, making it far easier to stash away. Just try to avoid any kinks or bends, no matter how you chose to store them.

How we test jump ropes

Each jump rope featured in this guide went through a series of tests to see how well they stacked up across these four categories: Ease of use, versatility, durability, and value. Specifically, here’s how each category factored into which jump ropes ultimately made this guide:

Ease of use: Jump ropes should be easy to use right out of the box (so long as you have your timing and rhythm down), but through the course of testing for this guide, we realized there’s plenty to a jump rope that can make it easy to use. First, is how comfortable the handles feel in-hand. We also considered the flexibility of the rope, if it rotated cleanly on the handle, and if it avoided getting tangled too easily.

Versatility: There are a variety of workouts you can do using a jump rope, and they’re not all just the standard motion you first think of. Whether we were doing double under, crossing the rope, or any other variation, we looked at how well the rope moved along with us at every turn. Even if our own jump roping technique wasn’t flawless, we still were able to see how versatile the rope was able to be.

Durability: Much of our jump rope tests occurred outdoors where the rope would constantly hit the cement beneath our feet. Because of this, the part of the rope hitting the ground would naturally start to file down. After spending several hours jumping rope with each pick, none of those we featured ended up snapping or even filing down dangerously close enough to breaking. 

Value: Jump ropes shouldn’t cost much to begin with but it is important not to just buy whatever the cheapest on the market is. Keeping in mind the three categories above, as well as a jump rope’s actual sticker price, is a great way to judge the overall value. Our top pick is even $99, which seems like a lot for a jump rope, but considering everything it comes with, and the fact it scored the highest in terms of ease of use, versatility, and durability, it’s worth every bit of that investment.

Expert sources

  • Andrew Laux, NASM-CPT, and personal trainer with fitness platform, Fyt

  • Louis Chandler Joseph, NASM-CPT, trainer at Dogpound in Los Angeles

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The 5 best coffee grinders we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Regardless of whether you brew your coffee with a French press, pour-over setup, drip machine, or espresso maker, the key to getting the perfect cup lies in the quality and consistency of the grounds. In other words, you need a top-notch coffee grinder.

As Dan Kehn, founder of espresso enthusiast forum Home-Barista.com said of the device’s importance, “This is not a weed whacker, it is a precision instrument,” – meaning, above all, a good coffee grinder consistently produces uniformly sized grounds. That’s because the less even your grounds are, the less even the extraction will be, and the more likely your cup of coffee will be over or under-brewed, bitter, or weak.

There are two basic types of coffee grinders on the market: burr and blade. Burr grinders are pricier, but they offer more uniform results, carefully crushing coffee beans between two revolving sharp-edged surfaces, or “burrs.” You can adjust the space between those burrs to determine the size of the grounds.

Blade grinders, on the other hand, work similarly to blenders, pulverizing coffee beans with a propeller-like blade attached to a motor. While they don’t offer the same consistency or control as burr grinders, they’re significantly more affordable and can be used to make a decent pot of drip coffee.

We tested every grinder in this guide for grind-size consistency on multiple settings, measured their noise levels, timed how quickly they turned beans into grounds, evaluated their ease of use, and noted any special features. During testing, we found that the brands’ recommended settings were often off-target, so we included our own additional suggestions for each machine. You can read more about our testing methods here, along with a rundown of which grind size to use for which brewing method.

Here are the best coffee grinders

Our testing methodology

Best coffee grinders   together 4x3

In testing coffee grinders, I applied several years of tireless personal and professional research on my quest to achieve the perfect espresso pour and all the necessary and auxiliary accouterments that accompany and assist the art of espresso making. We also consulted the more distinguished expertise of Sum Ngai (co-founder of the SCAA-accredited Coffee Project New York), Brooklyn Roasting Company founder Jim Munson), and Home-Barista.com founder and editor Dan Kehn.

Consistency: The most important factor when determining the quality of each coffee grinder was consistency. We used the brand-recommended settings for French press coffee and espresso on each grinder, as well as our own settings, based on expert input, personal experience, and guidelines set forth by The Craft and Science of Coffee. We then measured the grounds with a set of Kruve sifters — a series of stacked screens that separate coffee grounds at your determined grind size from any outliers — to see how many fine particles and boulders were left behind after each grind. 

Once we achieved the best yield of a target size (measured in micrometers), we repeated the process to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. In the case of espresso, the aim was 250-500 micrometers. For French press grounds, we shot for between 600 and 1100 micrometers. Keep in mind, though, that these are just general suggestions, and we were testing for uniformity of particles above all; taste-wise, you may have your own grind size preference. 

Settings: We recorded the number of settings on every machine, and tested to see how each grinder performed on several of those settings, noting accuracy, consistency, and speed. Espresso is the most demanding grind size, and you’ll need a machine with stainless steel burrs and at least 40 settings. 

Programming: We noted whether or not you could program your own settings, and tested this function on each machine that offered it, docking points for grinders that made the process overly complicated. 

Espresso compatibility: While the ability to produce consistent, uniform grounds in the 250-500 micrometer range is the most essential coffee grinder requirement for making espresso, it’s not the only factor we considered. Having a portafilter holder and a programmable interface also streamline the espresso brewing process, and we made sure to note machines with these features. 

Noise: We measured noise levels with a decibel meter, but ultimately this didn’t factor too much into our final rankings. Some of the best burr grinders also happened to be the noisiest, but it’s an inconvenience we can live with for quality coffee.

The best coffee grinder overall

Best coffee grinders   Baratza's Encore 4x3

The Baratza Encore is a solid entry-level burr grinder that will suit most coffee drinkers’ needs, thanks to its wide range of settings, quiet motor, and consistent results.

Pros: Sturdy, nicely weighted, 40 grind settings

Cons: Not ideal for espresso

What Baratza set out to do with the Encore was make burr grinders accessible to all. This is by no stretch a commercial-grade machine, but it will elevate your coffee into the (relative) stratosphere if you’re upgrading from a blade grinder, and it’s significantly more affordable than most burr grinders on the market, which tend to start at around $200. 

The Encore won’t get you immaculate grounds, but it will reduce the number of boulders and fines (how coffee pros refer to too-large and too-small particles) in each grind. Using Kruve sieves — a set of stacked sifters that separate coffee grounds at your determined grind size from any outliers — we found that the Encore managed between 70 and 80 percent of our target French press grind (600-1100 micrometers), outperforming the burr grinders we tested within and slightly above its price range. 

However, when we tried a finer grind for espresso (250-500 micrometers), the results were only 50 to 70 percent on-target, with the irregular particles mostly being fines. A too-small grind can lead to over-extraction, which results in a bitter brew. So, while this machine will serve most home coffee brewers very well, we recommend upgrading to the Baratza Sette 270 if you plan on making espresso regularly. 

Although many of its competitors feature ceramic burrs, the Encore‘s is made from stainless steel, making it significantly more durable. That being said, all burrs will eventually require replacement, regardless of material. This machine is also among the quieter burr grinders we tested, registering at 74 decibels, or a little louder than a vacuum at a yard away. 

The best coffee grinder on a budget

Best coffee grinders   OXO's Conical Burr 4x3

The OXO Conical Burr Grinder is equipped with a stainless steel conical burr, 15 grind settings, and an attractive finish.

Pros: Stainless steel burr, attractive stainless steel finish

Cons: Only 15 settings, not ideal for espresso, some plastic parts

The quietest of the machines we tested at 70 decibels (a noise level we compare to a vacuum cleaner one yard away), OXO’s Conical Burr Grinder is the gadget to buy if you’re a French press, drip, or pour-over enthusiast who is ready to trade in their blade grinder for an entry-level burr grinder. 

As with our top pick, we’ll steer you away from using this grinder to make espresso, although that’s not to say it can’t be done. The Baratza Sette 270, however, is much better suited to that purpose. 

While we applaud OXO for outfitting this grinder with a stainless steel burr without sacrificing affordability, we found the Baratza Encore’s burr to be more robust (it’s a leap up in price for a reason). To that point, the OXO Conical Burr Grinder has 15 settings to the Encore’s 40, and the former’s burr is held in place by a plastic cap while the latter’s is secured with a stainless steel wingnut. This isn’t to say the OXO grinder isn’t worth buying — it’s a solid starter burr grinder — but it is a bit flimsier than the other models on our list. 

We ended up with a little more than half of our target French press grind, with lots of fines mixed in, but fared slightly better when we switched to a coarser setting. Our coffee was certainly a step up from the batches made with blade grinders, and if you mainly drink pour-over or drip coffee — in other words, anything that uses a paper filter — the difference in taste between the OXO and more expensive burr grinders is close to negligible.

Espresso, as we mentioned earlier, is where this machine falls short. Again, too many fine particles will lead to bitter coffee, and they can choke your grinder, preventing it from pushing water through the grounds. 

The best coffee grinder upgrade

Best coffee grinders   Baratza's Virtuoso 4x3

From ultra-fine espresso grounds to the coarsest settings required for French Press coffee, you can get a quick and consistent grind out of the Virtuoso+ with minimal effort.

Pros: Works for all grind sizes, stainless steel burr, stainless steel finish

Cons: Only one programmable setting, some ground retention within machine, some plastic parts

If you want the best possible grinder for as little investment as possible, the Virtuoso+ from Baratza is the strongest contender we’ve encountered. It isn’t as immaculate in its performance as its sibling, the Sette 270, but it covers just about every grind size and it’s equally as dependable. 

This machine’s capabilities are right at the threshold of what is required to get truly good espresso (the most finicky grind size) at home. The Virtuoso+ is also what barista trainer Sum Ngai of Coffee Project NY chooses to use at home, citing that it’s easy to use, easy to clean, churns out consistent grounds, and offers just enough settings (40 in all) to be viable for any brewing method.

Again you’re not going to get perfect grounds out of this machine, but any deviation from your target size is going to be minimal. We were able to achieve about 80-90 percent of our target ranges for both espresso (250-500 micrometers) and French press (600-1100 micrometers) during our testing, and any effect the small amounts of fines and boulders had upon tasting was negligible. 

This machine has the same basic plastic basin you get with most budget grinders, so dosing becomes a little more of a chore when you’re working with espresso because you can’t grind directly into a portafilter like you can with the Sette 270. So if highly convenient espresso-making is a top concern of yours, we recommend considering that option. 

In the end, this is a do-it-all package at a reasonable price, and if you take your home coffee seriously, it’s a great step toward improving your setup without making a major investment (top quality burr grinders can easily go for four figures). 

At 78 decibels, the Virtuoso+ is about as loud as a washing machine a yard away, so it’s a bit noisier than the Encore, but that’s to be expected of a more powerful grinder.

The best coffee grinder for espresso

Best coffee grinders   Baratza's Sette 270 4x3

Perfect for home espresso brewers, the Baratza Sette 270 handles grinding and dosing as meticulously as a commercial grinder, but on a consumer scale.

Pros: Perfect for espresso, macro and micro grind settings, high speed, user-friendly interface and programming

Cons: Not ideal for coarser grounds, loud

Achieving the perfect espresso grind requires a finely-tuned auger designed for working with precise, minuscule particles. If you’re exclusively making espresso, the Baratza Sette 270 is one of the best machines you can buy. We should say up front that it also happens to be one of the loudest; at 88 decibels, it’s akin to a propeller plane flying 1,000 feet overhead. 

One of the common issues with coffee grinders is that most will pulverize your beans to dust much smaller than the generally recommended 250-500 micrometers for espresso. This is where the Sette 270 shows what it’s made of. While every machine up to this price point left us with 10 to 20 percent fine particles, the Sette 270 produced such a negligible amount of fines that not only could we not weigh them, we couldn’t scrape enough together to transfer them from the basin to the scale. 

This machine is easily programmable, with three timed settings you can adjust down to the one-hundredth of a second. 

Going back and forth between a portafilter (for espresso) and a grind catcher is also simple. There are two arms that will hold a portafilter, but by pushing the left one inward and outward, it clears the way for the catcher. Other machines require removing fittings, and we found this to be the easiest to switch back and forth by far. 

Overall, the Sette 270 is an excellent choice if you’re serious about espresso, or use a moka pot (which also requires particularly fine grounds), but it might be overkill for less-precise brewing methods. Our top pick, the Baratza Encore, will suit most other coffee-making needs.

The best blade grinder

Krups FT203 blade grinder best coffee grinders 4x3

Krups’ F203 blade grinder is powerful, durable, affordable, and features a clear lid so you can monitor the grinding process. 

Pros: Simple, small footprint, long-lasting

Cons: Inconsistent and uncontrollable grind

While burr grinders produce far more consistent coffee grounds than blade grinders, there’s no getting around the fact that they’re significantly more expensive. And while particle size uniformity is crucial when it comes to making complicated drinks like espresso, that level of precision isn’t necessary if you use a drip machine; any difference in taste will be negligible. 

The best blade grinder we’ve tried is the Krups F203, which is sadly going to be discontinued soon (so we recommend buying it now). It has a simple on and off button, which you hold down to keep the blade spinning. The longer you hold it, the finer the grind will be. 

It took about 30 seconds to produce a somewhat coarse French press grind that landed us on the safer side of not being left with too many fines. That’s a good blade grinder rule in general: go for coarser grounds and let them steep a little longer, since it takes more time for water to penetrate particles with larger surface areas. Fines will make your coffee bitter, while boulders will only make it weaker (and you can compensate by brewing or steeping longer). After brewing our French press coffee, we were left with some sludge at the bottom of the carafe, but we didn’t notice any difference in taste. 

If your go-to brewing method involves a paper filter, it’s even easier to get away with using a blade grinder. You’re still going to get uneven extraction (finer particles emit oils faster; coarser ones emit oils slower), but at least the paper will catch the fine particulate so that it doesn’t end up as sludge.

We still ran this machine through some espresso tests, but they proved what the pros had warned us about, and we were unable to get anything close to a consistent pour. 

Blade grinders can last an incredibly long time — some friends and family members have had this exact model for over 20 years — while burr grinders require more consistent upkeep and replacement. And, if you ever decide to upgrade to a burr grinder, you can still use your blade grinder to grind spices (burr grinders, on the other hand, are single-purpose machines).

The bottom line is, blade grinders will break your beans down into grounds and you will be able to make decent coffee — provided your go-to brewing method isn’t fussy — but you’re probably not going to get top-tier results by using one. If all of that sounds fine, the Krups will more than suit your needs. 

What else we tested

Bodum Bistro Electric Grinder: This machine works well enough, and the borosilicate grounds catcher is far more durable than many of its competitors’ plastic versions, but there weren’t enough settings for this one to make the cut. 

Breville Smart Grinder Pro: This is a good grinder by any measure. It puts out fairly even grounds, it has multiple fittings to accommodate espresso portafilters of different sizes, and its interface is user-friendly. However, we found that the Baratza Virtuoso+ produced more consistent grounds, especially when it came to espresso.

Chefman Electric Burr Mill: For the price, this is an impressive machine. There are some problems with static and consistency, and the ceramic (as opposed to stainless steel) burr isn’t ideal, but compare it a blade grinder, and it’s worth the extra $15 to $20.

Rancilio Rocky: This is a highly capable, professional-grade grinder, and while we wholly recommend it, we think the smaller, similarly equipped Baratza Sette 270 is a better, more kitchen counter-friendly option for most folks.

What we’re looking forward to testing

Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder: This is another burr grinder with an approachable price tag that could be a contender for a budget option.

ComandanteA favorite of Lance Hedrick of Onyx Coffee Labs, several Brewer’s Cup champions have used this very grinder in competition. With a cult following online, the Comandante manual burr grinder comes with a language unto itself, as each click on the dial is 30 microns, which helps immensely when learning to grind and brew. Case in point: this overview from Prima Coffee.

Hario Skerton: We’re in the process of re-testing this manual coffee grinder for our next update, but you can read our review here in the meantime. Both our original tester and other experts consulted at Coffee Project NY praise it for its portability, consistency, and ease of use.

FAQs

bodum pour over coffeemaker 3

Which grind size should you use for which coffee brewing method? 

First off, preferred grind size is going to be highly subjective, especially if you tend to prefer your coffee on either the stronger or weaker side.

In order to decide grind size ranges for particular brewing methods, we consulted experts including Dan Kehn of Home-Barista.com, Sum Ngai of Coffee Project NY, Kruve’s grind size guide, and The Craft and Science of Coffee. The recommendations below are meant to be loose guidelines we developed by condensing the above information and exercising trial and error, but again, in the end, it all comes down to your preferences. These are some basic parameters to help you get started.

Aeropress: 500-900 micrometers

Cold-brew: 600-1100 micrometers

Drip: 400-900 micrometers

Espresso: 250-500 micrometers

French press: 600-1000 micrometers

Moka pot/Turkish Coffee: 350-700 micrometers

Pour-over: 400-800 micrometers

Syphon: 400-800 micrometers


How do you clean and maintain a burr grinder? 

As with any precision instrument, upkeep becomes increasingly important over time. “If you bought a good set of kitchen knives and you didn’t sharpen them for five years,” Dan Kehn, of Home-Barista.com, said, “it would be unrealistic for you to expect them to perform as well as they did the first week.”

A quick cleaning of stainless steel burrs involves using a small brush that is almost always included with your purchase of a grinder. Remove the hopper, pop out the burr, and brush it off.

In some cases, especially if it’s been a while between quick cleanings, you’ll need to do more work to remove the grounds and oils that have been wedged between the burrs. Remove them both and feel free to wash them with soap and water, but they must be perfectly dried — no exceptions — before going back into the machine or you’re going to face corrosion. Don’t let the “stainless” descriptor fool you: stainless steel is not actually stainless (such is the case with stainless steel knives, too).

Each grinder will need to be disassembled and reassembled a different way. Follow the brand’s instructions, and if you’ve long-since tossed them, they can most likely be found online (here are Baratza’s, and here are OXO’s).

Glossary

Blade (grinder): A grinder that works like a blender or a propeller, employing a set of blades attached to a motor.

Boulders: Large grounds that are undesirable because they will under-extract and leave coffee watery.

Burr (grinder): A mill, usually made of ceramic or steel. It consists of a rough-edged pair of abrasive surfaces, one a disc-like shape, the other forming a ring around the first. 

Basin: The container into which the grounds fall.

Fines: Small grounds almost dust-like in size, these are too small to brew as they’ll be over-extracted and leave coffee tasting bitter.

Hopper: The basin that stores the beans in the top of a burr grinder, ahead of grinding. You’ll usually have to remove this to access, clean, and replace burrs.

Micrometers: The standard unit of measurement for coffee grounds (.001 millimeters).

(Grounds) Retention: The amount of grounds left trapped in the machine and/or burrs after grinding.

Check out our other great coffee-related buying guides

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The best coffee and espresso pod machines


The best stovetop espresso makers and moka pots

Read the original article on Business Insider

I tested 10 pairs of men’s rain boots by wading into the Hudson River and walking in the rain – here’s how they stacked up

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

Best rain boots - someone wearing rainboots in

  • When getting from point A to point B means sloshing through mud, there’s a rain boot for the job.
  • We’ve gathered together fashionable, utilitarian boots to keep your feet dry in wet weather.
  • Look good and stay dry with these waterproof boots.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Wet weather may be inevitable, but suffering through it with wet feet in squishy footwear doesn’t have to be. A superior rain boot or a waterproof boot (along with a good raincoat) can turn a dismal day trudging through the rain into, if not a fun experience, at least one that won’t ruin your mood and leave you with damp socks. Beyond that, you don’t have to look like Paddington Bear when you go out in the rain, since there are many fashionable options to suit your personal style while still staying dry.

How I tested rain boots for this guide:

Besides wearing the boots while walking in the rain (the things I do for my job!) I also tested them by wading into the nearby Hudson River until the boots were submerged to the boot’s collar or until water seeped inside (again, the things I do for this job!). For more details on testing, see our explainer slide below.

Here are the best rain boots for men in 2021:

XTRATUF Rubber Deck Boot

Best Rain boots - XTRATUF Rubber Deck Boot

XTRATUF Ankle Deck Boots are completely waterproof, slip resistant, and have a moisture-wicking liner. Trusted by folks in the Alaskan fishing industry, these boots will keep your feet dry in the heaviest rains. 

XTRATUF has been around for more than 60 years and made its reputation among Alaska’s fisheries and docks, earning their Legacy ankle boots the nickname “Alaskan sneakers.” 

The XTRATUF Ankle Deck Boot is made from hand-layered neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber, for a completely waterproof boot (note: these aren’t meant for commercial applications). The only way you’re going to get your feet wet is if the water is deeper than the top of the boot. While testing them during a rainstorm, the water beaded off the surface and my feet stayed completely dry. The outsoles, made from slip-resistant chevron rubber, worked well on muddy surfaces and when scrambling over wet boulders. Because they’re made of neoprene, the boots aren’t as breathable as leather, but they’re lined with a moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial lining called Xpresscool that helps keep your feet cooler on warm days.

The biggest surprise was how comfortable they were. I walked more than five miles in these straight out of the box with no issues. They’re light, around one pound, and feature a front and back pull-on tabs to help get your feet in and out of them. They don’t come in half sizes. I normally wear a 9.5 so sized up to a 10 as recommended by the brand, and they fit well. 

Ankle Deck Boots (small)
REEF Voyage Boot LE

The best rain boots - REEF Voyage LE

The REEF Voyage LE is a waterproof and extremely lightweight boot that has you covered if you’re caught in a rainstorm in the city or traversing a stream on a day hike. 

REEF, the beach brand started by two Argentinian brothers in the 1980s, is best known for its sandals, but the company also makes great boots. 

The REEF Voyage Boot is a chukka style ankle boot that is both stylish and great for wet weather, or the beach when it’s not raining. Made from waterproof full-grain leather, it also has a rubber cupsole—a type of outsole made from a single piece of rubber that’s very flexible—and has good gripping ability in wet conditions. Unlike many of the boots I tested, water doesn’t noticeably bead on the leather’s surface, but it doesn’t penetrate the material deeply, nor does it affect the leather’s color or texture once dried. I found these boots to be fully waterproof both while testing them in a rainstorm and at the river’s edge. Water seeped into the boots where the tongue meets the shaft once I went deeper into the water. If that happens, no worries, these boots dry really fast—about an hour with the cork insoles removed. 

The Voyage boots are very comfortable straight out of the box—I’ve worn them on several 5+ mile excursions with no foot trouble. They’re incredibly lightweight at just 15.4 ounces, but still provide decent ankle and arch support thanks to what the brand calls ‘Swellular Technology,” comprised of three layers: a soft foam deck, a slightly firmer midsole, and the aforementioned rubber outsole. They also have a soft corduroy lining.  

These boots fit true to size. No additional or special care is required to help maintain the boot’s waterproofing, according to a company rep I spoke with, and the brand offers a one-year guarantee against manufacturer’s defects. 

Voyage LE (small)
Sperry Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot

Best Rain boots - Men's Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot

Sperry has been making footwear for wet conditions for 90 years and the brand’s Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot marries classic looks with functionality so you can look good and also keep your feet dry.

These are sophisticated enough for running around the city on a rainy day, but are hardcore enough for fishing or other outdoor activities. 

The shaft is made from a waterproof quilted nylon with a tongue that’s attached for its entire length to prevent water from seeping in (known as a bellows tongue or gusseted tongue in footwear terminology). Below, a waterproof rubber shell keeps your feet dry. No water made it into the boots when I walked into the river with them. When I tested them on a very rainy walk, water beaded off the surface and kept my feet completely dry. The lugged rubber outsoles kept me from slipping in muddy conditions. 

I found the Sperry Nylon Duck Boot to be comfortable for long walks, five or more miles. The lining is soft and they fit true to size. Because the boots are partially quilted and the shell is rubber, these may not be suitable for hot summer wear, but are definitely good for spring, fall, and mild winters.

Men’s Saltwater Nylon Duck Boot (small)
Danner Vertigo 917

Vertigo 917 Java

The Danner Vertigo 917 are super lightweight, feature a Gore Tex liner, and are handsome enough for a night out but rugged enough for a day hike. 

Danner, the Oregon-based heritage boot brand, has been keeping feet warm and dry since 1932. The company’s Vertigo 917 Boot goes beyond utilitarian needs (though it provides that too) with an aesthetically handsome style that still keeps your feet dry in the rain. 

The Vertigo 917 has a waterproofed leather upper and features a 100% waterproof Gore-Tex liner that’s breathable, so your feet stay dry whether from water or your own sweat. The lower portion of the tongue has a mesh liner layered over a waterproof membrane attached to the shank to help regulate your temperature and to keep water from seeping in. I found them to have very good traction on wet surfaces. They have a Vibram XS Trek outsole—Vibram is an Italian company that sets the standard for rubber soles with gripping ability—that provides stability and traction. It should be noted that these boots cannot be resoled. 

I’ve taken these on five-mile in-town walks and on longer day hikes. There was a short break-in period—they rubbed at the ankle bone on my first five-mile walk in them—but by the third wear they had become very comfortable. These are flexible and extremely light—35 ounces for the pair—making them great for longer treks. They have a removable OrthoLite Footbed with three layers for maximum cushioning and support. They fit true to size and are nicely designed for easily getting them on and off. 

 A brand rep advised me that the leather’s protective coating will eventually wear off so apply Danner’s Waterproofing Gel when you notice the leather beginning to darken.

Vertigo 917 (small)
Muck Boots Originals Pull On Mid

The best rain boots - Muck Boots Originals Pull On Mid

 The Muck Boots Originals Pull On Mid has you covered in the wettest, muddiest conditions while remaining comfortable. 

The Original Muck Boot Company is the go-to work boots for both farmers and gardeners of all stripes working in muddy, damp, slippery conditions. The company’s Originals Pull On Mid is a workhorse of a boot that will keep your feet dry and comfortable for all-day wear. 

The Originals Pull On Mid is made from hand-layered rubber over a neoprene bootie. I wore these mid-calf-length boots while working in the garden over several days and on a 2.5 mile walk in a heavy rain. When testing them out, water beaded off the surface well and when I waded out into the Hudson, the boots were completely waterproof. The only way water is getting in is if it goes over the top. They provided good traction in muddy conditions. 

The first time I wore them they rubbed against my calf, a problem solved by tucking my pants into the boots. Longer socks would also solve this problem. They were very comfortable—the boots have molded footbeds with a layer of memory foam. The boots were easy to get on and off thanks to the tab at the back. These don’t come in half-sizes, so I opted for the next size up as recommended by the brand. They felt a bit big, so I wore them with thicker socks to fix the problem and they were fine. Because they’re made from rubber, they don’t breathe as well as leather, but I didn’t find them unduly hot while working outside in 70 degree weather. My feet didn’t noticeably sweat in them. The footbeds are both antimicrobial so they don’t stink and moisture wicking to help keep your feet feeling dry. You can get away with four season wear depending on your climate.

Pull On Mid (small)
Dr. Martens Waterproof 1460

Dr. Martens Waterproof 1460s

Look cool and keep your feet dry in the Dr. Martens Waterproof 1460s, which are fully waterproof and incredibly comfortable. 

Bring a little rock-and-roll to your rainy day excursions with the Dr. Martens Waterproof 1460 boots. These boots surprised me twice. The first time was when I took them on a five-mile walk straight out of the box. These are solidly made boots that weigh in at 1.14 ounces each but are remarkably comfortable. They’re amply cushioned at the collar and on the tongue. The soles are also very cushiony. They don’t call them “Air Wair” for nothing (the company’s brand since the 1960s) since the soles are air-cushioned. 

The Waterproof 1460 has the same look as the originals (the logo tab on back, iconic yellow stitching, grooved sidewalls, DMS tread) but also feature “Drywair,” a proprietary waterproof membrane that keeps moisture out but is breathable enough to keep your feet from perspiring. They also have a twin heat-sealed welt and a gusseted tongue that keeps water from seeping in. My second big surprise with these Dr. Martens came when I waded out into the Hudson in them. No water got in. None. The outsoles provided great gripping ability in muddy, slippery conditions. 

Dr. Martens don’t come in half-sizes, so I sized down to a 9 per the company’s advice and they fit perfectly. They only come in black in a waxy, oil-finish called Republic WP. They’re easy to clean too. Just wipe them down with a damp cloth. My only quibble with these boots (a tiny one) was the length of the laces. I’m a double knotter and the shortness of these laces didn’t really allow for this.

Waterproof 1460s (small)
Le Chameau Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot

Le Chameau Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot

The Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot by Le Chameau is a classic Wellington-style rain boot that has thoughtful details for an elevated experience. 

Le Chameau, a French heritage brand, has been keeping the feet of farmers, hunters, and anglers dry and comfortable for nearly 100 years. The Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot is a classic calf-length wellington-style rubber rain boot with a ton of nice details that elevates it above the competition. These boots are handcrafted from the company’s Chamolux rubber that starts with Grade A rubber from Vietnam that’s mixed with some secret ingredients to produce the famously soft, supple and fully waterproof boot material. 

The thoughtful details include a soft polycotton, tartan patterned jersey lining, an adjustable waterproof gusset with snap-fastening buckle for a perfect fit, and shock-absorbing dual-density outsoles with a shank reinforcement board for better stability and arch support. The outsole is abrasion resistant and provides traction on uneven, slippery surfaces. 

The Vierzon is a four-season boot, depending on your climate (they are rated for temperatures down to 0°C and are comfortable for use during warmer months thanks to the quick-drying lining that helps wick away sweat. These boots, like all the company’s products, come with a two-year warranty and free shipping in the U.S.

Vierzon Jersey Lined Boot (small)
Rockport Mid Moc Waterproof Boot

ROCKPORT Men’s Waterproof Mid Moc Boot

The Rockport Mid Moc is good-looking, super comfortable, and fully waterproof, to boot. 

Rockport is known for casual, comfortable footwear that’s made for walking. The Mid Moc Waterproof Boot is true to the brand. Made from a full-grain waterproof leather, they are really comfortable, good-looking, and will keep your feet dry on a rainy-day hike. 

I’ve worn these on in-town walks and day hikes of at least five miles, and from day one I had no foot issues. They have a nicely cushioned collar and tongue, and an EVA footbed that provides good support and helps prevent foot fatigue. They also provide excellent ankle support. 

These are seam sealed, have a gusseted tongue, and a waterproof insole. They kept my feet dry, both while hiking in the rain and during river testing. It should be noted the gusseted tongue only goes up about two-thirds of the way, so water can seep in if the water is deeper than that. The boots also have anti-microbial and moisture-wicking footbeds. The thick rubber outsoles provide good gripping power in slippery conditions. These boots fit true to size.

Mid Moc Waterproof Boot (small)
Huckberry All-Weather Chore Boot

Huckberry All-Weather Chore Boot

The Huckberry All-Weather Chore Boot wears like a sneaker, looks like a cross between a Chelsea boot and a duck boot, and is made from premium materials to keep your feet dry no matter the conditions. 

Huckberry has made its reputation with products that are equal parts cool, innovative, and well-made, so it’s no surprise their All-Weather Chore Boot ticks off all these boxes and more. This is a hybrid between a Chelsea boot and a duck boot with a waterproof full-grain leather upper, rubberized leather rand at the heel, and Vibram outsole that provides traction in slippery conditions. 

The interior has a waterproof lycra membrane that’s breathable so water won’t get in, but sweat will evaporate to help keep feet dry and comfortable. The uppers have sealed seams and are joined using waterproof cement and glue. The rand at the back and toe cap help protect against tears and abrasions.

These fit like a sneaker, with a cushioned insole and EVA midsole that provide great shock absorption. Pull tabs at the back and elastic at the sides (like traditional Chelsea boots) make for easy on and off. These fit true to size.

All-Weather Chore Boot (small)
Brunt Perkins Waterproof Work Boot

Brunt Perkins Waterproof Work Boot

The Brunt Perkins Waterproof Work Boot has a reinforced composite nano toe, will keep you comfortable during long shifts, and dry if caught in the rain. 

Brunt is a new direct-to-consumer brand that’s quickly becoming a goto workwear staple. The Perkins is a tough full-grain leather work boot. Designed for the worksite, it’s got a reinforced composite nano toe and shank (the long thin piece of material in a boot that sits between the insole and outsole and provides support). These are fairly light for reinforced-toe work boots, weighing in at around two pounds each. Traditional steel-toe work boots can be as heavy as 4.5 pounds. The boots have double stitching at key areas that tend to wear faster and durable toe caps and heel guards. The Perkins meet the ASTM International standards for safety toe work boots. This international standards organization provides technical standards for a variety of products and materials. 

The Perkins is also very comfortable. I wore these working in the yard and around the house and walked 2.5 miles in them with no foot issues. There was no break-in time required. The Perkins features a rubber foam midsole, a three-layer removable insole, and extra padding at the collar. 

These boots performed well in normal rain conditions thanks to triple-layer waterproofing. Water beaded off the surface and my feet stayed dry. In the river, no water seeped in via the seams. The boots don’t have a gusseted tongue so water can seep in through there, but these aren’t meant to be used to slog through the Hudson and will definitely keep your feet dry in most situations. They took about 10 hours to dry out inside. The Perkins also have heavy-duty outsoles that prevented me from slipping in muddy (even oily) conditions. They fit true to size and have a cool feature that lets you adjust the boot width from regular (D) to a wider fit (EE).

Perkins Waterproof Work Boot (small)
How I tested rain boots for this guide

I tested these rain boots for comfort, breathability, ease of getting in and out of them, how well they grip in slippery conditions, and, of course, how they stood up against water. I walked and/or hiked in each of them at least twice, sometimes more, for at least 2.5 miles (in most cases twice that distance) at a time during rainstorms. I submerged them in puddles as well as wading out into the Hudson River in them. In the case of the Muck Boots and Brunt Work Boots, I used them while working in my yard and doing chores around the house. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 4 best dog dewormers and parasite prevention medicines in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Intestinal parasites pose serious risks to your dog’s health.
  • The best dog dewormers treat many common intestinal parasites and are easy to administer.
  • We did the research to determine the best topical and oral parasite prevention medicine for dogs.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, DVM, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Intestinal parasites, often called worms, are microscopic organisms that live inside your dog, where they silently cause harm. Common intestinal parasites in dogs include roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. Some worms, like roundworms and hookworms, can take up residence in humans, too.

If your dog has worms, you need to eradicate them quickly and prevent them from returning. Deworming medications kill the parasites your dog already has, and intestinal parasite preventives, most of which are given monthly, prevent future worm infections. Some products also kill fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

Choosing among the many safe and effective parasite preventives for dogs can be difficult. After speaking to veterinarians, we chose products based on safety, efficacy, number of parasites targeted, and products’ ease of use. Read more about how we selected products at the end of this guide.

Different drugs kill different worms, so you must always visit your veterinarian for a fecal test before giving your dog a dewormer. Your veterinarian can advise you on what product might be best depending on your dog’s temperament and lifestyle and the parasites that are most prevalent in your area. Many of these treatments also require a prescription from your veterinarian.

Here are the best dog dewormers and parasite preventives in 2021

The best broad-spectrum dewormer for dogs

drontal plus dewormer for dogs

No other dog dewormer kills as many different types of worms as Drontal Plus.

Pros: Veterinarian recommended, kills four types of worms, safe and reliable, kills all parasites within seven days, low risk for side effects

Cons: Not for puppies younger than 3 weeks old or those weighing less than 2 pounds

Drontal Plus is a safe and effective broad-spectrum dewormer that eliminates multiple types of parasites with one dose. It kills tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms within seven days. Just offer the Drontal Plus Taste Tab flavored chewable tablet to your dog alone or with a small amount of food.

Drontal Plus features three powerful active ingredients: pyrantel pamoate, praziquantel, and febantel, which together cover four species of tapeworms, two species of hookworms, two species of roundworms, and whipworms.

The dewormer has a very low risk for side effects and is safe for puppies as young as 3 weeks old and weighing at least 2 pounds. It requires a prescription from your veterinarian, and a vet visit is also important because your dog may have other parasites that even a broad-spectrum dewormer can’t eliminate.

When using a broad-spectrum dewormer like Drontal Plus, your dog may require one or more follow-up treatments to make sure all the worms are eliminated. If your dog has fleas, they should also be treated with a flea control product to prevent future tapeworm infections.

The best tapeworm dewormer for dogs

droncit tapeworm medicine for dogs

A single dose of Droncit safely and quickly kills tapeworms within 24 hours.

Pros: Kills four species of tapeworms, works within 24 hours, easy-to-administer tablet, long-trusted brand, affordably priced per pill

Cons: Some dogs may experience salivation, vomiting, or diarrhea after taking; not for puppies less than 4 weeks old

One Droncit tablet works to paralyze and eliminate the four most common species of tapeworms within 24 hours. Its active ingredient, praziquantel, is effective and safe for adult dogs and puppies 4 weeks of age and older. The tablet can be fed whole or crumbled and mixed with food.

The treatment is conveniently and affordably sold per pill, unlike the other tapeworm dewormer we considered, Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer, which contains the same active ingredient praziquantel but is only sold in a five-pack.

Dogs commonly become infected with tapeworms by ingesting fleas. For this reason, it’s important to treat your dog for fleas to prevent future infections.

The best oral parasite preventive for dogs

trifexis oral dewormer

Trifexis treats and controls three common intestinal parasites, kills adult fleas, and prevents heartworm infection with just one monthly chewable pill. 

Pros: Protects against three intestinal parasites, heartworms, and adult fleas; once-monthly treatment; safe for dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age and older weighing at least 5 pounds; tablet is easy to administer

Cons: Does not kill or treat tapeworms, not labeled for use in puppies younger than 8 weeks or weighing less than 5 pounds

Our pick for best oral parasite preventive for dogs is Trifexis, a chewable tablet that treats and controls hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. It also kills adult fleas and prevents heartworm.

Given once every 30 days, Trifexis uses spinosad and milbemycin oxime to prevent, treat, and control parasites. While it does not kill or treat tapeworms, it kills adult fleas, which are responsible for transmitting the parasite. The beef-flavored flavored chewable tablet should be given with food for maximum effectiveness.

Trifexis is safe for puppies as young as 8 weeks old and weighing at least 5 pounds. However, puppies less than 14 weeks of age might experience a higher rate of vomiting than older dogs. This parasite preventive requires a prescription from your veterinarian as well as a current negative heartworm test. It should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or breeding females.

The best topical parasite preventive for dogs

advantage multi for dogs

With just one simple monthly application, Advantage Multi for Dogs treats, controls, and prevents more parasites than any other topical product.

Pros: Kills and prevents six types of parasites, once-monthly treatment, easy to administer, safe for use in puppies older than 7 weeks and weighing at least 3 pounds

Cons: Does not kill ticks; not labeled for use in puppies younger than 7 weeks or breeding, pregnant, or nursing dogs

No single preventive covers every parasite that could harm your dog, but Advantage Multi comes close. Containing the active ingredients imidacloprid and moxidectin, the topical treatment prevents three common intestinal parasites: roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. It also prevents flea infestations by killing adult fleas before they can lay eggs and prevents heartworm and mange mites.

Choosing between an oral or topical parasite product can be a tough decision. Sometimes dogs do better with one versus the other. “Some animals can’t tolerate or have a food allergy to an oral product so they must use a topical,” said veterinarian Melissa Smits, a partner at Fort Morgan Veterinary Clinic in Colorado. “Or their skin may be sensitive to a topical so an oral is better.” If there are no tolerance issues, it usually comes down to owner preference.

Advantage Multi is easy to use: Just apply it every 30 days to your dog’s skin at the base of the neck between the shoulder blades. The liquid medication is absorbed and dries within hours. Unlike with some of the other topical preventives, you do not need to wear gloves to apply Advantage Multi. If you get the product on your hands, simply wash them with soap and water. For the first 30 minutes after application, keep dogs from licking the application site, either on themselves or other treated dogs in the house. Children should not touch the application site for two hours after application.

You must obtain a prescription from your veterinarian to purchase Advantage Multi. As with all medications that prevent heartworm, your dog needs a heartworm test prior starting Advantage Multi and annually thereafter.

How we selected products

While researching and writing this guide, I drew from my eight years of experience as an assistant in veterinary hospitals and two decades of experience as a writer and editor in the pet and veterinary fields. I conducted research using the quick product reference guide published by the independent, nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council. This helpful reference, which includes all FDA- and EPA-approved parasite control products for small animals, lists each product’s active ingredients, how the product is used, and which parasites it controls. 

Here are the main attributes I looked for:

  • Safety and efficacy: Only FDA-approved products were considered for this guide.
  • Number of parasites treated: In general, products that covered more parasites received higher ratings. This did not apply to tapeworm dewormers, which are only intended to treat one parasite.
  • Ease of use: Products received lower ratings if they were more complicated to use than a similar product. An example: Lower ratings were given if gloves must be worn to apply the product or if children and pets need to be kept away from the treated animal for a period of time after application.
  • Minimum age/weight: When comparing similar products, higher ratings went to preventives that can be used in younger animals.

What else we considered

  • Bayer Tapeworm Dog Dewormer: This product contains the same active ingredient (praziquantel) as our top choice for tapeworms, Droncit, but it’s only sold in a five-pack unlike Droncit which is affordably priced per pill.
  • Heartgard Plus: Given monthly, Heartgard Plus (ivermectin and pyrantel) treats and controls heartworms, hookworms, and roundworms. Our top pick for best oral preventive, Trifexis, is effective against an additional parasite: adult fleas, which are also responsible for transmitting tapeworm. Heartgard requires a prescription from your veterinarian and a current negative heartworm test.
  • Interceptor Plus: Given monthly, Interceptor Plus (milbemycin oxime and praziquantel) treats and controls roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms and also prevents heartworms. Trifexis beat out Interceptor Plus because it kills adult fleas in addition to preventing three common intestinal parasites and heartworm. Although Trifexis doesn’t prevent tapeworms, it kills fleas, which transmit tapeworms. Interceptor Plus requires a prescription from your veterinarian and a current negative heartworm test.
  • Iverhart Max Soft Chews: Given monthly, Iverhart Max treats and prevents heartworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms. It does not prevent whipworms or kill fleas like Trifexis. Iverhart Max requires a prescription from your veterinarian and a current negative heartworm test.
  • Sentinel Spectrum: Given monthly, Sentinel Spectrum treats and controls tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, heartworm, flea larvae, and flea eggs — almost as many parasites as our category winner Trifexis. Trifexis doesn’t prevent tapeworms, but we gave it a slight edge because it kills adult fleas, which transmit tapeworms. Sentinel Spectrum requires a prescription from your veterinarian and a current negative heartworm test.
  • Simparica Trio: Simparica Trio treats, controls, and prevents more parasites than any other oral product, including adult fleas, flea larvae, ticks, heartworm, hookworms, roundworms, mange mite, and chewing lice. However, because intestinal parasites are the primary consideration in this guide, Trifexis gets the nod for preventing three intestinal parasites compared to Simparica Trio’s two. Simparica Trio requires a prescription from your veterinarian and a current negative heartworm test.

Types of worms and their signs and symptoms

dog with parasites

Most dogs will contract intestinal parasites at some point in their lives. Some of the most common worms seen in dogs are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms. In adult dogs, parasite infestations may cause mild to moderate digestive symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and gas. However, heavy infestations, especially in young puppies, can lead to severe issues.

“They can cause intestinal problems, malnutrition, anemia, growth problems in puppies, and even potential autoimmune issues,” Smits said. “Also important is the zoonotic risk — potential spread to human family members.”

  • Roundworms: These parasites are common in dogs, especially puppies, and are 3- to 6-inches long, smooth, and round-bodied. You might not know your dog has roundworms, particularly if they have only a few. In puppies, large numbers of worms may cause a pot-bellied appearance, vomiting, diarrhea, low appetite, dull coat, and restricted growth. You might also see roundworms in your dog’s stool or vomit. Roundworms are zoonotic, which means they can be spread to human family members.
  • Tapeworms: Dogs pick up tapeworms when they ingest an infected adult flea. As the tapeworm grows, segments break off and pass in your dog’s stool. If you see something in your dog’s feces that resembles grains of white rice, or you notice them licking or biting the area under their tail, they could have a tapeworm infestation.
  • Hookworms: Hookworms are blood-sucking parasites that attach to the wall of the intestines. These tiny worms are nearly invisible without the assistance of a microscope. Signs of hookworm infection in dogs include anemia, weight loss, bloody diarrhea, dull coat, and growth restriction. Hookworms are zoonotic so they can be spread to human family members.
  • Whipworms: Whipworms are relatively large intestinal parasites (about a ¼-inch long) that reside in the cecum and large intestine, where they wreak serious havoc. Dogs with heavy whipworms are likely to experience concerning symptoms, such as watery, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.

What you should know about parasite prevention for dogs

Best dog dewormers in 2021

Dogs should be on parasite prevention year-round.

Veterinarians recommend a broad-spectrum parasite preventive that treats, prevents, or controls intestinal parasites like roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms; heartworms; fleas; and ticks.

“Many adult dogs may be asymptomatic carriers,” according to Kelley Lay, a relief veterinarian who practices in Nashville, Tennessee. “Parasites are not always able to be seen in feces and so you may not even know the problem is there. This can lead to infections that linger undetected for a long time.”

Veterinarians recommend keeping dogs on a broad-spectrum parasite preventive all year, not only in the spring and summer months. Different parasites are active during different months, and parasite activity varies. Parasites can also become active earlier than expected, including during the winter.

“You cannot fully predict or control the environment your dog is in,” Smits said. “I live in Colorado, which overall has a low incidence of heartworms and [has] freezes with no mosquitos in the winter. Except, I have killed mosquitos in my house in February. My dogs find rodents in the backyard with tapeworms and potentially fleas. We just found tapeworms in February.”

Your veterinarian can help you choose the best product or combination for your dog.

Although different parasite preventives cover many different parasites, no one product covers every single internal and external parasite that could affect your dog. For instance, one product may cover fleas, heartworm, and intestinal parasites, but not ticks. Another may cover fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites, but not heartworm. Talk to your veterinarian to help you decide which product will be best for your dog.

“This is the most important part of having a relationship with a veterinarian in your area,” Smits said. “We are trained to know what parasite problems we have in our area are, what lifestyle risks are important to consider, and overall, what is best for an individual pet and lifestyle.”

You should always take your dog to the vet before giving them a dewormer.

If you suspect your dog has worms, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for a physical exam and a fecal test to determine what type of worms they have.

“Not all intestinal parasites are created equal and there is not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to deworming medications,” Lay said. “Your veterinarian will perform the appropriate tests to diagnose which type of intestinal parasites are present, and therefore which medication will appropriately target the problem.”

Even though some dewormers do not require a prescription, do not skip the vet visit since different drugs treat different worms. Although a broad-spectrum dewormer kills several different types of worms, certain single-celled microscopic parasites (protozoa), including coccidia and Giardia, cause symptoms similar to those caused by intestinal parasites, but they are not true worms. They require different prescription medications to treat them.

In addition to conducting a fecal test, your vet can also determine if your dog may have other health issues that need to be addressed. Depending on the type of worms found, your dog might need follow-up deworming and a follow-up fecal exam to ensure no parasites remain.

Natural dewormers aren’t necessarily a better option.

Check with your veterinarian before using natural dewormers with your dog. “While ‘natural’ deworming products may have some effect on intestinal parasites, I’ve consulted with numerous clients over the years who have tried them with repeated failure,” Lay said. “Also, there’s unfortunately still many unknowns and variables when it comes to many of the natural products.”

Lay noted that conventional, veterinarian-recommended dewormers are both effective and safe to use. “Like any medication, we can’t assume there will be zero side effects 100% of the time, but the veterinary-approved products have been around a long time, have gone through stringent drug trials and studies, and are proven to carry minimal to no risk,” she said.

Expert sources

We consulted with two licensed veterinarians for advice regarding the treatment and prevention of intestinal parasites like tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms as well as heartworms and ectoparasites like fleas, ticks, and mites. Although this information guided us in our product selection, our experts did not specifically endorse or recommend any of the products in this guide.

  • Melissa Smits, DVM, partner at Fort Morgan Vet Clinic
  • Kelley Lay, DVM, a relief veterinarian and student program director and operational coach at Blue Heron Consulting
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