The best iPad cases in 2021 for every situation

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Logitech combo touch keyboard case ipad
The Logitech combo touch keyboard case is one of the best iPad cases you can buy.

  • An iPad case should bring protection, style, and new functionality to your tablet.
  • Our favorite cases are made by ESR, Logitech, and Zugu among others.
  • Remember to look for cases that are compatible with the iPad model you own.

Purchasing an iPad is an investment, and one of the best ways to protect that investment is by pairing your iPad with a case.

But choosing the right case isn’t always simple. There are tons of options available to suit any style and need, whether you’re looking for something sleek and minimal or military-grade protection.

The best cases are both stylish and protective without adding too much bulk to your bag. We’ve collected and tested over a dozen cases to find the best iPad case for every budget and situation.

Here are the best iPad cases of 2021:

The best overall iPad cases

iPad Pro 11 2021 Ascend Trifold Hard Case in black

ESR’s lineup of iPad cases offer a variety of  styles, colors, and protection at affordable prices.

ESR offers something for everyone when it comes to iPad cases, whether it’s extra protection to go along with your Apple Smart Cover, full coverage, or a case with a built-in Apple Pencil holder. Few casemakers have this many options for price and protection. 

I’m a big fan of maximum protection, so the Sentry Magnetic Kickstand Case is one of my favorites. It features a 2-millimeter thick back cover, raised edges around the screen for maximum drop protection, and an adjustable magnetic kickstand with seven different viewing angles. 

The version for the 10.2-inch iPad costs $30.99, while the enhanced 11-inch iPad Pro models cost $68.99 – which makes this one of the most expensive cases in ESR’s lineup. The company also offers a Rugged Protection Bundle for the 11-inch iPad Pro for $70.34  which includes the Sentry case, along with a reinforced tempered-glass screen protector.

While the Sentry cases only come in two colors, many of the lower-priced cases come in multiple colorways including blue, black, pink, and gray.  The majority of ESR’s cases are made with TPU – a type of polyurethane plastic which provides a thin layer of rubber-like protection. This is normally enough to protect against bumps, scratches, and scrapes, but probably wouldn’t do so well in a bigger drop. 

The more rugged cases – like the Sentry– are made from polymer, which should do a better job at keeping your iPad safe from unfortunate mishaps.

ESR cases might not be the fanciest or the most protective on the market, but they are well-made and offer a great deal of value for those looking to find the perfect case for their new iPad. 

Worth a look:

Ascend Trifold Hard Case (small)Slim Rebound Case (small)Sentry Protective Case (small)
The best iPad cases from Apple

Apple Magic Keyboard case for iPad in black

Apple’s own cases emphasize style and function, but often fall short on protection. 

Apple products usually come at a premium, and that’s no different with its iPad cases. Apple’s cases are expensive, but also sleek and functional. 

The $49 Smart Cover is a thin piece of polyurethane that protects the device’s display and connects magnetically to the iPad. It comes in a variety of colors and can be folded into different positions to create a stand for reading, viewing, and drawing. The design is simple and effective, but leaves the back and sides of the iPad  unprotected.

Those looking for all-around protection may want to consider the Smart Folio, which is similar in appearance to the Smart cover, but is made from a single piece of polyurethane that protects both the front and back of the iPad. The Smart Folio starts at $79, and is light, sleek, and perfect for those looking for an attractive case to protect against scrapes and bumps. 

Apple’s most impressive case is the $299  Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro and iPad Air. This keyboard case and trackpad combination transform the iPad into a viable laptop replacement. The case utilizes a clever magnetic design to create a one-piece stand and keyboard that is both thin and highly functional. 

The only downside to the Magic Keyboard – aside from its high starting price – is that it lacks any protection on the sides of the iPad. There are other worthy keyboard cases on the market that address this problem, but few are as well-made as the Magic Keyboard.

Worth a look:

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air (small)Smart Folio for iPad Air (4th Gen) (small)Smart Cover for iPad (8th Gen) (small)
The best iPad keyboard case

Logitech combo touch keyboard case ipad

The Logitech Combo Touch offers full tablet protection, backlit keys, a great typing experience, and is more affordable than Apple’s Magic Keyboard. 

The $199.99 Logitech Combo Touch lacks the clever design of Apple’s Magic Keyboard, but offers a similar experience while fully protecting the iPad itself. 

The Combo Touch features two parts – a protective back case, and a removable keyboard and trackpad that connects via the smart connector and also functions as a front cover. The back case folds out into a kickstand with plenty of viewing and writing angles. A magnet holds the kickstand shut when it’s not in use to maintain its flat back. 

The addition of the kickstand means that the back of the case is thick and protective – if slightly bulky. The Combo Touch adds heft to the iPad, but it is a small price to pay for such a versatile case. 

Typing on the Combo Touch is effective and fun. The keys offer a good amount of travel and are perfect for those who don’t mind portable keyboards. I found the keyboard to be a perfect size for my small hands, but those with larger hands might find it a bit cramped. I wish the trackpad was slightly taller, but I found it perfectly usable at its current size.

The gestures on the trackpad worked well, and I had no problem zipping around my iPad without ever touching the display. The addition of backlighting on the keyboard made this case a great nighttime companion, as I could clearly see the keys as I typed in the dark. 

The type cover is easy to pull on and off, which helps to make the Logitech Combo Touch great for typing, reading, drawing, and viewing. It comes in either Oxford Gray or Sand. 

Worth a look:

Combo Touch (small)
The best iPad case for protection

otterbox ipad case

OtterBox cases offer a huge amount of protection without adding too much bulk.

OtterBox is known for its protective cases, and the company’s iPad offerings don’t disappoint. OtterBox makes traditional folio cases like the Symmetry Series and the Symmetry Series 360, but it’s the Defender Series Pro that really stands out from the pack. 

The $89.95 Defender Series Pro offers the most over-the-top protection that I’ve ever seen in an iPad case. It features three layers of protection– an inner thin plastic covering over the front and back of the iPad, followed by a rubber slipcover, topped off by a hard plastic back that acts as a stand and display protector. 

This is not the easiest case to install and remove – in fact, I needed a video tutorial to figure out the processes. But my iPad seemed invincible once it was inside. Of course, it’s hard to guarantee that the Defender Series Pro will protect your iPad in every situation. But my iPad did survive a 4-foot drop from my bed to the floor without a scratch. 

My biggest concern with the Defender Series Pro lies in its hard plastic outer shell. The shell grips securely to the front iPad for protection, but also features a collapsible hinge in the center that acts as a stand for viewing and writing. 

This design is interesting, but ultimately feels clunky. There is no mechanism to clip the case into the stand; instead, the iPad rests awkwardly between the raised corners of the outer case and raised middle hinge – leaving the tablet less secure than I would want. 

The Defender Series Pro only comes in black and certainly isn’t the most fashionable case. But what it lacks in style, it makes up for in protection. 

Worth a look: 

iPad Pro (11-inch) (3rd gen) Defender Series Pro Case (small)iPad Air (4th gen) Symmetry Series 360 Case (small)iPad (8th and 7th gen) Symmetry Series Folio Case (small)
The best iPad case for watching video

Zugu iPad Pro case in black

Zugu cases feature great all-around protection and come with a magnetic kickstand that offers eight different viewing angles. 

Zugu doesn’t make a lot of different types of cases, but the ones they do make have some of the best viewing angles on the market. 

The Zugu Muse Case, which starts at $49.99, is made out of a thick layer of TPU plastic surrounded by a polycarbonate shell for enhanced drop protection. It features raised edges, a grooved folio sleep and wake cover, and a microfiber lining. There’s a collapsible kickstand on the back of the case that magnetically connects to the grooves on the cover, creating eight viewing angles for reading, watching, and typing. 

Other case manufactures have emulated Zugu’s design, but the strength of the magnetic holds makes this case stand out. No matter what surface I put it on, the Zugu case stays locked into the correct viewing angle. It performs equally as well on a lumpy bean bag chair as it does on a hard table. I can even lightly shake the iPad without detaching the kickstand – though a slightly harder shake breaks the spell and releases the front of the case. 

The Zugu is also incredibly durable. I’ve used it every day for three years and have yet to see any wear and tear. It has been dropped, jostled, shoved into packed bags, and covered in pet hair, but it still works as well now as it did when I got it. I’ve also streamed thousands of hours of content while using this case and have always found just the right angle for every viewing position. 

The only downside to the Zugu is that it adds some bulk to my iPad. Despite the fact that it comes in up to five different colors, it’s not the best-looking case you’ll find. 

Worth a look: 

iPad Pro 12.9 (5th Gen) Case (small)
Our methodology

We tested iPad cases on a variety of criteria to find our best picks. The quality and durability of the cases were judged based on the following factors: 

  • The build quality of the materials used in the case
  • How easy it is to put on and remove the case
  • How easy it is to clean the case
  • How well the case withstands jostling in a packed bag

To test durability, we placed each case in a bag filled with books, notebooks, and accessories. We then walked approximately five blocks with the bag, before removing the iPad and checking for scratches, dents, or marks on the case or the device itself. 

We also dropped each case approximately 4-feet from a bed onto a carpeted floor and inspected the case and iPad for damage. 

Additionally, we evaluated keyboard cases by the accuracy of the trackpad and comfort of the typing experience. 

Life can get messy – which is why we wanted to test how easy it is to clean the cases. To do this, we enlisted the help of our enthusiastic long-haired dog, Toby.  We used the cases to gently pet his fur, then attempted to remove any accumulation from the case following manufacturing guidelines.

What to consider when buying an iPad case

Compatibility

The most important aspect of buying an iPad case is making sure that it fits the specific iPad model that you own. It might be tempting to hand on to the old case for your previous iPad  when buying a newer model. Although many iPads share a similar design, their dimensions are often different. That’s why it’s important to buy a case for the specific model you own.

Apple currently sells five different iPad models:

If you’re not sure which model you own, open your iPad’s settings menu and tap “General.” Choose “About” and look at the field that says “Model Name.”

Features

The next question you’ll want to ask yourself is how you intend to use your case. Do you want a sleeve that’s as slim as possible just for keeping your iPad safe from scratches? Or do you often find yourself propping up your iPad while watching movies and cooking? If so, you’ll probably want an iPad case with an integrated kickstand. And then, of course, there are keyboard cases designed for those who take notes on their iPad. Think carefully about the scenarios in which you use your iPad the most before buying a case. 

Budget

Aside from buying the right case for the iPad model you own, budget is the most critical factor to consider. Basic cases can cost as cheap as $15 or less, while more sophisticated cases like those with keyboards, kickstands, and extra durable designs can cost $70 or more. There are also plenty of in-between options in the $30-$50 range that offer standard protection. The best keyboard cases, however, will usually cost around $100 or more. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best gaming mice of 2021

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6 of the gaming mice we tested laid out on a mouse pad
  • Wireless gaming mice have become technogically sophisticated and accurate enough to live to their steep prices.
  • Wired gaming mice can be had for a reasonable price, however, and are largely unmatched in terms of response time.
  • Our pick for the best gaming mouse is the Razer Viper Ultimate.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

For decades, computers (PCs) have been powerful and fun tools, and for just as long we have wanted to play games on them. From games that are uniquely suited to PC to those best realized on robust hardware, PC gaming covers a broad range, and it attracts all kinds of players.

While game controllers are still prevalent at esport events, it’s the computer mouse that continues to let the best players excel as they vie for dominance in games like League of Legends, Overwatch, Starcraft, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

The domain of gaming mice isn’t limited to just PCs either, as console games like Fortnite and Call of Duty now allow players to use mouse and keyboard setups-let me say, the advantage is real. It’s completely worth becoming a keyboard and mouse user for multiplayer games that support them on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

As a former game designer, I can tell you that most games are born and developed on PCs. The whole idea of aiming a weapon in a game, of selecting units, building defenses, and clicking on a target are PC and mouse centric. Accuracy, response time, muscle memory, reflex, etc. – these tend to make the difference between playing well and losing, and it all gets funneled from the player and into the game via the mouse.

Below are the best gaming mice I’ve tested for 2021 so far, broken down by subcategory and led by a pick for the best gaming mouse overall.

Here are the best gaming mice of 2021

The best gaming mouse overall

The Razer Viper Ultimate mouse on a white background

The Razer Viper Ultimate is wireless and has the best mix of sensitivity, grip, weight, look, and feel.

Pros: The feel when moving, lightweight (74g), enduring battery life, subtle but cool look (with RGB), truly ambidextrous shape, surface texture, color options

Cons: Unnecessary charging dock, bloated Razer software suite, high price

My current favorite gaming mouse is the Razer Viper Ultimate, and aside from a few small qualms (like the pushy software), it offers a premium gaming mouse experience while still hitting a nice weight at 74g to provide an overall responsive and enjoyable feel. 

In order to meet the needs of different gamers’ grips, Razer offers a variety of models (including the Basilisk and DeathAdder), and the Viper Ultimate is the company’s ambidextrous, wireless, and premium gaming mouse. It’s not only a great feel, weight, and responsiveness, but also a welcome texture that varies between the palm and sides of the mouse.

As part of the ambidextrous design, the Razer Ultimate has a two-button cluster on both sides. It also has a compartment on the underside where the USB dongle can be stored for travel and such. The battery life is good and extended smartly with a rating of up to 70 hours. 

In addition to the standard black design, a few different color options are offered (Quartz/Pink, Mercury/White, and Cyberpunk 2077/ Yellow), and Razer includes a matching Razer Mouse Dock Chroma (RGB). I think the dock is superfluous as the mouse can be charged (and used while charging) with just the USB cable, though I suppose the dock helps give the mouse a premium feel. (A cheaper version without the dock is available, but only directly from Razer.)

The standard black is like a reinvention of the classic Razer style: sedate when off, but spiffy when the Razer logo lights up and breathes on the palm wrest.

Being the best overall gaming mouse, the Viper Ultimate is at home playing a first-person shooter (FPS) or a real-time strategy (RTS), running wired or wirelessly, and even outside of games. It feels complete without any corners cut and its weight is low enough to be an ultralight without that being the central feature.

Viper Ultimate (button)
The best wired gaming mouse

Logitech G203 mouse on a white background

With its gaming-quality responsiveness, grip, buttons, and lighting, the Logitech G203 Lightsync is the essential wired gaming mouse.

Pros: The distilled shape, clicky buttons, well set scroll wheel, four available colors, low price, lightweight (85g)

Cons: G203 Lightsync adds more RGB options, but G203 Prodigy has plenty for less; plain cable for a gaming mouse

Unlike the Razer Viper Mini, which is too compact for me, the Logitech G203 manages to have a wonderful shape at a good weight. The sensor is not as fancy as many gaming mice, but the feel, glide, and wired performance are nevertheless gaming grade.

It has six buttons and a scroll wheel, with the sixth button letting the user select the mouse’s DPI sensitivity. It’s a nearly ambidextrous shape with only buttons four and five on the left side limiting its utility for left-handed gamers. 

The Lightsync part of the name refers to its prominent RGB features, and the lit G logo and light band are the flashiest aspects. But really, the G203 Prodigy seems to be the same stalwart mouse as the G203 Lightsync. Both G203 models are relatively inexpensive ways to upgrade a gaming setup. Whether you want to play online with friends leisurely, or actively spend time training your accuracy and speed, the G203 can well meet your needs.

The cable is plain and far from the nylon/paracord cables common to gaming mice, but that might only be noticed when transporting the mouse. The G203 can usually be had at a low price, and it’s a great first gaming mouse.

G203 (button)
The best budget wireless gaming mouse

Logitech G305 on a white background

The G305 Lightspeed is an excellent, AA-battery-powered, wireless gaming mouse that should please nearly everybody not concerned with RGB or weight. 

Pros: Quality shape and materials, four available colors, simple to use, great battery life

Cons: Heftier weight (99g), no RGB lighting, no internal battery or play charge option

The Razer Viper Ultimate is the best overall gaming mouse, but for a wireless gaming mouse that’s a little more straightforward and utilitarian, the cheaper Logitech G305 Lightspeed just nails it. Among wireless mice, the G305 is simple to get going and easy to use. This is also a rare case where I don’t think the software is really necessary, because the G305 is very much ready to go out of the box. DPI levels and battery life are easy to adjust and monitor without software.

Pop the G305 open, insert the included AA battery, remove the small USB dongle, and pop the cover back on. The USB dongle goes into the PC, and it’s time to flick the power switch (on the mouse’s underside) to on. What’s left then is to hit the DPI button located on the top between the great scroll wheel and the lone LED light, and dial in to the desired comfort zone via the desired DPI sensitivity. (Of course, the software is there if you need to reassign buttons or update firmware.)

From there, the G305‘s excellent shape and strong, welcoming build takes center stage. Because this mouse is so easy to set up and use, and because it lacks RGB or anything visually that screams “gaming mouse,” the G305 might not immediately stand out in a sea of gaming mice. But in use, it’s excellent all-around. The G305’s one real concession towards style is to offer blue and lilac shell colors to go with the more standard black and white.

In addition to accuracy, responsiveness with satisfying clicks, the requisite six buttons, and stalwart battery life, the G305 even promises to hold up better than most against abuse (including abuse from traveling). This mouse is perfect both as a first wireless gaming mouse (before getting into the premium territory) and for outfitting a new esports team. If there is one thing that holds the G305 back, it’s the weight, which is listed at 99g (I measured 97g). Those with a light touch, and those that often pick up the mouse may find it a touch too heavy. Then again, it’s tougher and simpler than most gaming mice.

G305 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse (button)
The best ultralight gaming mouse

Glorious Model O mouse on a white background

Glorious nailed the wired ultralight category with the Model O, a purpose-built mouse with the right amount of gaming flare.

Pros: Pleasing Pixart sensor, welcoming shape, four skates that ensure a nice glide, flair, lightweight (67g), fair price

Cons: The software is functional but needs some real TLC, side buttons are just ok

These days, the weight of a gaming mouse is a specification that is just as important as size and sensitivity. It’s almost like we are deep in the midst of the rise of the ultralight mice. It’s a trend whose merits are fairly easy to test out, as comparing two similar gaming mice that are mainly separated by 20-40g in weight will show very noticeable differences, even to the point of affecting play. 

It’s in this weight-focused zone that the wired Glorious Model O fits so well. Sure, it looks like gamer hardware with its honeycomb shell, generous RGB lines (even in the scroll wheel) and bearded Glorious logo, but it has the internals to match its looks. The 67g weight and Pixart sensor pair well together in a light and pleasing design.

It’s a good shape, the RGB is not too distracting, and the cord is a nice change from what has been standard for gaming mice. No details have been overlooked, though the software isn’t my favorite (at least the software isn’t bloated). 

With style, lightness, and solid performance in hand, what’s left to be concerned about in this ultralight category is durability. Fortunately, unlike some newer mice, the Model O has been on the market and in the hands of a demanding community long enough to inspire confidence in its build, and since it is a wired mouse, there is a lot less to worry over. (Wired mice users don’t have to deal with wireless signal strength, battery life or even a lost or broken USB dongle.)

The Model O succeeds at everything it set out to do, which helps to make it a nice alternative to some of the mice from bigger brands. I would stick with the matte black or white and avoid the glossy variants as glossy shells don’t wear as well and tend to show damage and dirt.

Model O (button)
The best MMO/MOBA gaming mouse

The Razer Naga Pro with two of it's exchangeable skins

The Razer Naga Pro takes everything great about the Naga Trinity, improves it, and makes it wireless.

Pros: Modular design of the left button cluster and number of available buttons, sensor accuracy, battery life, suitable for larger hands and some different grips

Cons: Steep price, bulky weight (117g), three hot-swappable plates can become clutter

If you’ve been looking at the other picks in this guide, then you may have noticed a few trends such as lighter designs and ambidextrous shapes. The Razer Naga Pro has neither of these characteristics. Furthermore, unlike those other category winners, the Razer Naga Pro comes as part mouse, part mouse kit. 

The mouse part of the Razer Naga Pro has the latest in Razer’s optical sensor tech as well as their wireless tech. (The Naga Trinity is the cheaper wired version.) It also has an internal battery with a battery life of up to 150 hours. It has a distinct right-handed ergonomic shape, but it’s weighty at 117g, and it’s the only mouse pick in this guide that offers a tilt scroll wheel.

It’s also the only mouse in this guide that is modular as it offers a trio of panels for its left side. On the left side, it can host two buttons, six buttons, or even twelve buttons. The twelve-button panel gives the mouse a whopping 20 buttons (including two from the tilt wheel and one on the underside), which is way too many for me but often desired in massively multiplayer online games (MMOs). 

The panels are affixed magnetically and can be changed quite easily. I prefer the multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA-friendly, six button panel, which is reminiscent of a Logitech G604 configuration. Underneath the modular panel is where the wireless USB dongle can be stored.

The Naga Pro offers that trio of configurations, making it a truly premium, semi-modular wireless mouse. The Naga Pro supports a charging dock but it isn’t included, which is addition by subtraction in my mind as the user can still use the included cable to charge or play over a wired connection. In addition to the standard and important 2.4Ghz wireless connection available through the USB dongle, the Naga Pro also offers a Bluetooth connection for those times when mobility and battery life are more important than performance.

While the modular left side and plethora of button options set the Naga Pro apart from smaller mice, it’s also a promising option for those with larger hands, especially if they tend to rest their palm completely on the mouse.

Naga Pro Gaming Mouse (button)
What else we considered

In this guide I’ve talked a lot about wireless gaming mice, and at each turn, the weight of the gaming mice was always a concern. Thus, one category that might be missing here is the ultralight wireless gaming mouse category. Wireless ultralight mice are very much on the cutting edge, and several ultralight wireless mice have recently hit the market. Here are three that we considered and liked but ultimately did not make the cut.

SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless

The Aerox 3 Wireless is a snazzy wireless ultralight. It has the feel and the looks, but it’s less polished all-around than I would like. For example, it has a power-saving feature that I dislike greatly. The mouse will sleep after one to 20 minutes. This is adjustable in the software (5 minutes default, 20 minutes max) but cannot be disabled. The part that bothers me is that in order to wake the mouse, I have to click a button whereas other mice wake on being moved. 

Still, it has a fun take on RGB with a thin light ring on the bottom that comes through the holey shell, and it uses a well-designed USB-C cable. (Many mice require a proprietary micro-USB or USB-C connection while the Aerox 3 is meant to be used with other USB-C cables.) It also has an IP54 rating for dust and water protection. 

Pros: SteelSeries shape with an ultralight style and weight, impressive gaming performance, good for everyday use outside of games, supports play-charging and fast-charging, internal battery, Xbox One support, price

Cons: Various settings depend on the PC app, fresh but not necessarily distinct in look, right-handed, click to wake battery management

Logitech Pro X Superlight

The Pro X Superlight is cutting edge. It’s a wireless ultralight that pushes the extremes to get down to a rated 63g weight (closer to 61g really). It packs Logitech’s most efficient and most precise sensor without sacrificing battery life. It also manages to have a traditional mouse shell which ought to be good for anyone wanting a very light gaming mouse but also a sedate look. There is no RGB to be found on the Pro X Superlight unless you count the lone, usually dim LED on the top.

On the bottom of the mouse there is a great compartment which houses the USB dongle, and by removing the little magnetic door, the mouse can get even lighter. That said, this mouse might be too light. Parts of it feel excellent, like the scroll wheel, while other parts feel hollow, like the thin shell. I’ve also found that my main mousepad causes the Pro X Superlight to stutter. 

Pros: Great feel, traditional shell design, impressive sensor sensitivity, supports play-charging, internal battery, long battery life

Cons: DPI adjustments are initially PC app-dependent, basic looks, finicky back thumb button, could take some getting used to, plain looks, price

Glorious Model O Wireless

The Glorious Model O Wireless is very much the wireless ultralight that Glorious has promised. Rated at 69g (I’ve got it just under 70g), it brings with it so much that was great about the wired Model O. It has a great shape that only falls short of ambidextrous due to the placement of the thumb buttons. A great lookin matte black (or matte white) with satisfying primary buttons and scroll wheel along with good thumb buttons. Happily, it does have a DPI button (up top) and a DPI light (on the underside) as well as the same, nice RGB lighting and logo placement as its wired cousin.

The new Glorious-developed BAMF sensor is different from the wired Model O, but the feel is consistently accurate. The battery life is not incredible but it’s ok, especially since it can charge while being used. The Model O Wireless is not without its quirks. The included USB-C cable has a right way up both when connecting to the mouse and when connecting to the USB-C dongle connector. There’s new software as well, the Glorious Core. It’s a step up from previous Glorious software, but it still raises an eyebrow when first run, when updating, and even when checking battery level; it’s slight roughness that I suspect will be smoothed out through updates. Still, I think Glorious delivered with the Model O Wireless. It’s great while gaming and happy doing day to day stuff. And let’s not forget the pleasing price. It’s only shortfall is that after much time spent with both mice, I prefer the more expensive Viper Ultimate’s shape.

Pros: Very purpose-focused, ultra-lightweight (67g), attractive design, the RGB lighting, the low price

Cons: Thumb button placement could be better, the software experience, the USB-C cable trident design, no storage spot in the mouse for the USB dongle

How to pick the best gaming mouse

Grip & feel: There is a lot of tech that goes into the design and manufacture of a gaming mouse, but ultimately, if gripping and moving the mouse doesn’t feel right, then look elsewhere. A brief period (from a few hours to a week) of readjustment may be necessary, but gaming mice are meant to be responsive and to glide with accuracy. Gaming mice are also meant to serve different kinds of hand sizes and grip techniques. Many gaming mice have the same sort of sensor and features, but offer a different shape. There is a range starting with the ambidextrous and symmetrical shaped mice on one end, the classic right-hand shaped mice in the middle, and the extremely hand-fitting ergonomic shaped mice on the other end. Those with larger, heavier hands may find ergonomic mice like the Razer Basilisk Ultimate to be suitable to their grip. Others will likely find themselves gravitating between the truly ambidextrous mice and the classic right-handed shape.

Of course, even with the right grip, if the buttons aren’t responsive, if the wheel isn’t consistent, if the tracking is too floaty, then it isn’t the right mouse.

Weight: A big feature for gaming mice of yore was adjustable weights. Modern trends, however, see gaming mice vying for lighter weight all around. Ultralight mice, a category of gaming mice that are under 80g in weight (and tend to be closer to 60g), are gaming mice focused on being light and responsive even at the cost of fancy features like modular buttons. But even those gaming mice that stay away from being called “ultralight” have shed weight. Weight affects the feel, and feel does affect performance as well as enjoyment. 

Wired versus wireless: Gaming mouse technology is truly amazing, and wireless gaming mice can offer just about everything that a wired mouse can without much in the way of compromise. But why opt for a wireless gaming mouse over a wired one? To be precise, it is a comfort thing. Without a cable tethering the mouse, the mouse is more comfortable to use, and less likely to take you out of the game (or even your work zone) to fuss over the cable. Of course, wired gaming mice offer great features at a much lower price and without having to worry at all about power or even the rare signal concern. What’s nice for those of us who have a hard time choosing between the two is that many wireless mice offer the ability to use the mouse while charging with a cable or even with the mouse turned off. One could use the mouse with the cable until it became irksome and then switch to wireless mode. 

Wireless power: If opting for a wireless gaming mouse, then there needs to be some consideration for how the mouse will be powered. Good wireless gaming mice are both power efficient when in use and smart about saving power when not in use. Finding that the mouse has a low battery or, even worse, a dead battery should be a rare thing, even as rare as once a month. Cheaper wireless gaming mice tend to use AA batteries while more expensive mice have internal batteries. Mice can be charged through their included cable (either micro-USB or USB-C) or in some cases through a charging cradle or even, in the case of the Logitech Powerplay, a charging mouse pad. As mentioned above, I like mice with internal batteries and the cabled play-charge option. I can go wireless until I hit low battery, plug in, and keep going.

Bluetooth vs USB dongle: Wireless gaming mice tend to use a USB dongle in order to connect via a 2.4Ghz wireless connection for maximum performance and ease of use. Often, the dongle can be stored inside the mouse to help keep it from getting lost during travel or storage. Many mice do, however, offer the ability to connect via Bluetooth. The idea here is to allow for a dongle-less connection, say to a laptop with built-in Bluetooth. This is an option when mobile, or I suppose if the dongle has been misplaced. The fancy performance of the gaming mouse will be restrained by the Bluetooth connection, but in many cases, the battery life will be extended considerably, which could be helpful when on the move.

Bundled software: Gaming mice are generally quite good at just working when connected to Windows, however, accessing and adjusting various features will typically require special software from the manufacturer. Even the Glorious line of mice uses software and should, out of box, have their firmware checked. Gaming mouse software is useful for adjusting RGB lighting and button assignments as well as power options for wireless mice. Adjusting DPI sensitivity out of the box can usually be done without software (by cycling through presets using a certain button on the mouse), but there is at least one instance I know where even that was relegated to the software. As with all such software, some apps are more focused and stable while others are more bloated and need regular updates.

Build: The mouse brands mentioned in this guide, including Logitech and Razer, have a good reputation for build quality. Just be reasonably good to a gaming mouse (don’t throw it against a wall, take it into a bathroom or to the beach), and it should provide years of excellent performance without issue. Aside from the buttons and scroll wheel, gaming mice have almost no moving parts, and the thing most likely to wear down first are the PTFE feet on the bottom that provide the glide. A mouse that gets dirty from messy food items should be cleaned and put back in service. If a button fails/is failing, the manufacturer should be contacted regardless of what the warranty states. When transporting a gaming mouse, be careful of the cable and buttons (an internal pouch on a backpack usually works).

Price: Wired gaming mice like the Logitech G203 and Razer Viper Mini are priced at $39.99 while the ultralight wired Glorious Model O is $49.99. The wireless Logitech G305 Lightspeed is $59.99, but premium wireless gaming mice with internal batteries range up to $149.99. While some people consider computer mice to be a free-with-purchase kind of thing, the $40-$150 range really isn’t bad for something that might be used all-day everyday while still lasting for years on end.

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The 12 best places to shop for bridesmaid dresses for every style and season

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Lifestyle collage of bridal gowns from BHLDN, Fame and Partners, and Revolve Gown
  • 63% of Americans either postponed or canceled their weddings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • But now that these weddings are getting rescheduled, it’s time to think about bridesmaid dresses.
  • Brands like Anthropologie and Lulu’s have cute options that will appeal to all of your bridesmaids.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Though 2020 was the year of wedding and event cancellations, a post-COVID world where we can gather with loved ones is closer than it’s been in 18 months. Why not make a mark during your first wedding post-COVID by wearing a great dress for the occasion?

There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to bridesmaid styles – whether you want a gown, mini dress, short dress, or even a dress with a huge slit, there’s something out there for everyone. We scoured the internet to find the absolute best places according to fit, price, and color for your bridal party. We included brands that prioritize inclusive sizing, as we believe having a range of sizes for all body types is just as important as having a range of styles.

Here are the 12 best retailers to shop for a bridesmaid dress online

BHLDN

three feminine people wearing green silky dresses

Brought to you by the creators of Anthropologie, BHLDN offers dreamy and chic dresses in a variety of styles. 

BHLDN is known for its elegant bridesmaid dresses in pastel colors. However, if you’re looking for something different, the store also just released a new limited edition line with Free People, exclusively offering flowy long maxi dress type bridesmaid dresses. You can live your bohemian dreams with these unique dress options, all for under $400. 

What to buy:

Cali Satin Charmeuse Midi Dress (small)Siena Dress (small)Hudson Satin Charmeuse Dress (small)Robinne Dress (small)
Reformation

Reformation Bridesmaid Dress

Reformation offers some of the most romatic bridesmaid dresses in a variety of colors — bold colors in addition to the classics.

Reformation’s bridal shop specializes in sustainable dresses for every type of wedding —outdoor, casual and formal. In addition, once you choose your dream dress you don’t have to look far for accessories. You can mix and match your outfit with cute kitten heels or some sexy croc mules

Pro tip: Many styles are selling out very quickly, but also don’t take long to restock (especially the best-selling ones). Be sure to add yourself to the waitlist for your size and style to know when you can add to cart. 

What to buy:

Ingrid Dress (small)Emersyn Dress (small)Celestia Dress (small)Winslow Dress Es (small)
Revolve

Feminine person wearing a long red dress

If you plan on going the non-traditional route, Revolve has the sexiest and over-the-top options. 

With plunging v-necks, flirty slits, and silky textures, Revolve doesn’t disappoint. Its online wedding shop not only offers bridesmaid dresses, but also dresses and accessories for the bride and wedding guest as well. Not to mention, they are extremely affordable, with most under $250. 

What to buy: 

x REVOLVE V Neck Rectangle Gown (small)Reception Dress (small)X REVOLVE Pippa Dress (small)Wrap Dolman Ruched Dress (small)
Rent the Runway

Feminine woman wearing a lacy blue dress and heels

Instead of dropping hundreds on a dress, wear your favorite designer for more than half the price. 

If you’re only planning on wearing your dress once and never again, perhaps renting is the best option. Rent the Runway carries big designer names in a variety of dress styles, lengths and colors. For example, a $310 Monique Lhuillier dress is only $40-$55 to rent. In addition, Rent the Runway offers a concierge service specifically for brides and their maids. The service starts at $159, and includes a designer dress, accessory, and a virtual styling expert with a wedding expert.

What to buy:

Blush Riley Gown (small)Lace Puff Sleeve Dress (small)Royal Blue Ruffle Gown (small)
Birdy Grey

Feminine woman wearing a Birdy Grey gown

At Birdy Grey every bridesmaid dress is under $100. 

If you’re a bridesmaid on a budget, Birdy Grey is the way to go. Not only are the dresses affordable, there are so many options fit for any wedding palette. This brand is best known for its inclusive sizing (offering a special “Curvy Collection) and speedy deliveries. Plus, for the picky bride that wants to match colors to a tee, they’ll mail you swatches for free to mix and match. 

What to buy: 

Jane Convertible Dress (small)Shamin Crepe Dress (small)Jules Dress (small)Spence Convertible Dress Curve (small)
Show me Your Mumu

Feminine person wearing a silky white dress with heels

Show Me Your Mumu has an online showroom page, where you can make a virtual lineup of your bridal party.

The Show Me Your Mumu wedding section is a one-stop shop for brides and bridesmaids. The online showroom lets you add styles you like and see what your bridesmaids will look like in them. You can also assign specific dresses to your bridesmaids and track their purchases through the site. This year, the brand added three plus size options to its collection of bridesmaid dresses: 1x, 2x, 3x. Show Me Your Mumu’s gowns are also made with wrinkle-proof fabrics. 

What to buy:

Verona Cowl Dress (small)Faith Maxi Dress (small)Gala Gown (small)Samantha Ruffle Wrap Dress (small)
Fame and Partners

Feminine woman wearing a silky tan dress with heels

Every item from Fame and Partners is designed with a zero-waste sustainable manufacturing platform.

Fame and Partners is a contemporary collection of “made-to-order essentials for the modern woman.” There are no sizes — each dress is ordered through custom measurements, so you’ll always get the perfect fit. You can shop by starting with a base design, shop by color, and customize as you go. Fame and Partners aims to change the fashion and wedding industry by using advanced production techniques to eliminate overproduction and create a future that doesn’t harm the environment. 

What to buy: 

Plunging Back Gown (small)The Lou Dress (small)Open Back Column Dress (small)
ASOS

Two feminine women wearing long gowns and holding bouquets of flowers

ASOS has options for petite, tall and plus sizes.

ASOS isn’t just a trendy fast-fashion chain, it also has a huge selection of bridal fashion, including bridesmaid dresses. The elegant shades combined with the soft satins leave a touch of fun in the formal. You can shop by sleeve length, dress length, and neckline. The ASOS Design Collection even features long sleeve dresses for winter weddings.

What to buy:

Cami Pleated Tulle Maxi Dress in Rose (small)Floral Embellished Cape Back Maxi Dress in Blush (small)Satin Cami Maxi Dress with Drape Detail in Pink (small)Bridesmaid Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress with Satin Trim Detail and Wrap Skirt (small)
Grace Loves Lace

Two feminine people wearing silky Grace Loves Lace dresses

Grace Loves Lace is the most popular wedding dress brand on Pinterest.

It wouldn’t be surprising if most of your wedding inspiration pins came from Grace Loves Lace. In addition to their iconic wedding dresses, the Australian brand also has a line of stunning silky satin bridesmaid dresses. While all the dresses are satin, you can choose from different silhouettes and colors. 

What to buy:

Ida Eco Black (small)Dakota Eco Olive (small)Silky Satin Midi Dusk (small)High Neck Shift Dress (small)
Azazie

Feminine woman wearing a maroon gown with heels

Azazie has a try-at-home program that allows customers to pick up three dresses to try at home. 

In addition to offering hundreds of different styles, colors, and silhouettes of bridesmaid dresses. Azazie also believes in giving back and being sustainable — every dress that is returned is either added to its at-home try-on program, or donated to Princess Project, a non-profit that gives prom dresses to young women who can’t afford them. While you can purchase between sizes 0-30, the retailer also has the option of custom designing your wedding or bridesmaid dress according to your exact measurements. 

What to buy:

Kora (small)Everleigh (small)Gianetta (small)
Lulu’s

Feminine woman wearing a long bridesmaid dress

Lulu’s has one of the most extensive bridesmaid options available without breaking the bank.

Lulu’s is the best choice if you and your bridesmaids want to match in color, length and dress style. The retailer stocks elegant dresses in all ranges of pastel colors, perfect for the more classic bridal party. In addition, every option is extremely affordable, and many are available in extended sizing. 

What to buy:

Dance the Night Away Rusty Rose Backless Maxi Dress (small)Meteoric Rise Rusty Rose Maxi Dress (small)Tricks of the Trade Blush Pink Maxi Dress (small)Aveline Burgundy Off-the-Shoulder Maxi Dress (small)
Eloquii

Feminine person wearing a cream-colored dress with heels

Eloquii provides brides and wedding guests with unique and high quality dresses for sizes 14+.

Eloquii offers a huge inventory of plus size clothing including bridal party attire. Whether it’s a strap maxi dress, or a romantic chambray dress, these dresses are versatile enough to re-wear to any events you’ve got going on this summer. Elloquii recently partnered with designer bridal company Ella & Oak to provide bridal “pop-ins” to redefine the plus size wedding industry.

Whether it’s an engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette or summer party, Elloquii has the most affordable options at 70% off regular prices. 

What to buy:

Tie Strap Tiered Maxi Dress (small)Smocked Bodice Chambray Dress (small)The Nabela Dress (small)

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The 5 best portable power stations we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Power stations are ideal for camping trips, power outages, and whenever you need reliable power.
  • The best operate in any kind of weather, have multiple ports, and work with multiple devices and appliances.
  • Our top pick, Goal Zero’s Yeti 3000X, charges several devices at once and powers large appliances for hours.

As more electronic devices pervade every aspect of our lives, finding ways to keep them charged and functional wherever we go has become increasingly important. As a result, there are now a dizzying array of power stations and high-capacity battery packs on the market, making it easier than ever to never stray too far from a source of power.

Whether you need to keep your electronic devices functioning on a weekend camping trip or are looking for an emergency power supply for use at home, there are dozens of models to choose from. Some power stations are rugged, durable, and built for the outdoors, while others are more refined and sleeker in design. By providing hours of extra juice wherever and whenever you need it, portable power stations are a convenient tool to have at your disposal, particularly in times of unexpected power outages.

Their versatility can’t be understated, either. In testing the power stations featured in this guide, I’ve used them in just about every situation imaginable. Not only do I make sure to pack at least one while camping, but I stash a portable model in my backpack while in the backcountry and have a more robust station at the ready should the lights in my home start to flicker.

As with most tech products, sorting through the variety of portable power stations can be confusing and time-consuming. To help you figure out which one best meets your needs, I tested an array of what’s currently available and narrowed the field to the best worth owning – many of which have been my go-to power sources for years.

At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some helpful tips on how to shop for a power station and what to consider when shopping.

Here are the best portable power stations:

The best power station overall

Yeti 3000x

With its large lithium-ion battery, numerous ports, and incredible build quality, the Goal Zero Yeti 3000X is in a class of its own when it comes to portable power stations. 

Pros: Extremely high capacity, can power everything from smartphones on up to home appliances, compatible with solar panels to recharge

Cons: Very heavy and expensive

One of the true leaders in the design and construction of portable power stations, Goal Zero has been at the forefront of this market for years. That long heritage shows through in all its products, which stand head and shoulders above the competition in terms of build quality, technology, and features. The company’s newest model is the Yeti 3000X, which manages to extend that lead even further, particularly amongst power stations in the high-capacity segment. 

At its core, the Yeti 3000X is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that offers more than 3000 watt-hours of capacity. That’s enough juice to recharge a typical smartphone more than 250 times or a laptop more than 60 times. But this power station is versatile enough to go well beyond just recharging other devices. It also happens to be capable of powering appliances such as a microwave for up to three hours, a mini-refrigerator up to 87 hours, or a full-sized fridge for 55. 

One of the features that sets the Yeti 3000X apart is Goal Zero’s specially designed AC inverter. Capable of providing 2000 watts of power — with a surge up to 3500 watts — this component is what gives this power station the ability to run not charge my smartphone, laptop, or camera, but I could use it on appliances, lights, and even to power my TV. Other power stations include AC power outlets that allow these types of devices to be plugged into them, but very few have the battery capacity and power management to keep them running for extended periods of time. 

In addition to sporting two standard AC power outlets, the Yeti 3000X comes with plenty of other charging ports, too. Goal Zero ships this model with two standard USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a USB-C PD (Power Delivery) port, which is also capable of charging a laptop or large tablet. It comes with a 12-volt car port and two 12-volt power pole ports, giving it the ability to power just about any kind of device imaginable, including construction tools like drills or saws. 

The large lithium-ion batteries that give the Yeti 3000X such a high capacity also adds a considerable amount of weight. This power station weighs in at just over 69 pounds, which takes away from its portability to a degree. To counter this added bulk, it comes equipped with wheels, which does make it much easier to maneuver around the garage, backyard, or campsite if you don’t mind hauling it in your car.

Those same high-capacity batteries also require a substantial amount of time to recharge. When plugged into a wall outlet, the Yeti 3000X would often take up to 14 hours to replenish its onboard power supply. Using a solar panel to recharge the power station can help if you have one, though expect the recharge times to fluctuate wildly depending on the size of the panel and the amount of available sunlight. 

The Yeti 3000X is built for those who not only need a portable power station with plenty of capacity, but also one that can survive in challenging environments. Built like a tank, this is a model that professionals can turn to when they need power at a job site, although it is equally useful in emergency situations around the home. Best of all, because it isn’t powered by gas, it’s completely silent and doesn’t produce dangerous noxious fumes. 

The best mid-sized power station

EcoFlow slide

Compact and lightweight, the EcoFlow Delta 1300 is a feature-packed portable power station that offers plenty of charging ports, including six AC wall outlets.

Pros: Able to power up to 13 devices at once, still portable despite its 31-pound weight, recharges quickly
Cons: Power can drain rapidly when charging multiple devices

The EcoFlow Delta 1300 is my favorite power station when it comes to charging the most devices at once. All told, it comes equipped with no fewer than 13 individual ports, including two standard USB-A ports, two USB-A quick-charging ports, and a pair of 60-watt USB-C PD ports. Additionally, it features a 12-volt car port and six (yes, six) AC wall outlets, making it easy to keep a large number of gadgets and tools functioning at the same time. 

Powering the Delta 1300 is a 1260 watt-hour battery, which pumps out enough juice to recharge smartphones and tablets dozens of times and extend the life of a laptop by nearly 24 hours. The 1800-watt AC outlets can also power a small refrigerator, an LCD TV, a toaster, and even a hairdryer. That gives this particular battery pack a level of versatility that you won’t find in most other mid-range power stations — and made it a highly useful thing to pack on car camping trips. 

Considering the size of its battery and the number of ports that it offers, the Delta 1300 is surprisingly small. Compared to other power stations in this class, it’s relatively compact, making it easier to carry around. A pair of integrated heavy-duty handles aid in that process, although its 31-pound weight will still likely give you pause when having to carry it too far.

One thing to keep in mind when using this power station is that because it can charge up to 13 individual devices at once, the battery occasionally runs out of juice fairly quickly. Thankfully, I didn’t really have the need to recharge that many gadgets at once, although it was nice to know I could if needed. Thankfully, to help compensate for a potentially rapid power drain, EcoFlow gives the Delta 1300 the ability to recharge itself quite fast. When plugged into a power outlet, it would often regain around 80% of its power in about an hour and would fully recharge in a little more than 90 minutes. 

The Delta 1300 is a bit pricier than other models with a similar capacity, though this is due, at least in part, to a large number of charging ports. If you don’t need to power 13 devices at once, there are less expensive alternatives available. But if you’re looking for the best all-around product, this is the one you’ll want.

The best small power station

Anker PowerHouse

Sleek and small yet highly capable, the Anker PowerHouse offers a nice blend of features and functionality at a reasonable price point. 

Pros: Small and compact yet still offers a good-sized battery, lightweight for a power station

Cons: No USB-C ports

Well-known for its extensive line of battery packs for keeping smartphones charged, Anker also dipped its toe into the portable power station market. The result is the PowerHouse, a model that’s well-equipped for those who need on-the-go charging from time to time, as well as a handy back-up system for use at home during a power outage. 

The PowerHouse utilizes a 434-watt-hour battery, which is a good size when it comes to straddling the line between capacity and expense. This allows the power station to recharge a smartphone more than 40 times or a laptop as much as 15 times. It’s also capable of powering a CPAP machine for several nights in a row, as well as running small appliances such as a mini-refrigerator or outdoor lighting system, for short periods of time. 

Capable of charging multiple devices as once, the PowerHouse features four USB-A ports, a 12-volt car port, and a 120-watt AC outlet. That is certainly enough power plugs to accommodate most situations, but the lack of USB-C ports is somewhat limiting. With more and more devices switching to the USB-C format, it’s a shame this device doesn’t have at least one or two.

With an aesthetic that somewhat resembles a kitchen appliance, the PowerHouse has a clean, utilitarian design. This allows it to remain fairly inconspicuous when used around the house, although it remains durable enough to survive in the outdoors, too. Its built-in handle and 9.2-pound weight make it easy to carry, striking a good balance between durability and portability. 

If you’re looking for a solidly built power station that combines good battery life, plenty of ports, and an approachable price, Anker has you covered with the PowerHouse. Its size and capacity make it a good all-around choice for most people who don’t have the need to run power tools at a job site or be away from a source of power for days at a time. 

The best budget power station

Jackery power station

Small, lightweight, and affordable, the Jackery Explorer 160 is a great option for those looking for a power station on a budget, without having to make too many compromises. 

Pros: Highly portable, can charge up to four devices at once, recharges quickly

Cons: More of a companion power charger than something to be relied on solely

If you’re looking for a high-quality portable power station, without spending a lot of money, it’s tough to beat the Jackery Explorer 160. It offers a nice blend of features — including a built-in LCD screen for monitoring its use — in a package that’s easy to transport. While it may not have a high-capacity battery or an over-abundance of charging ports, its $150 price tag more than makes up for those discrepancies.

Equipped with 167 watt-hour battery, the Explorer 160 recharges an iPhone more than ten times or a large tablet as many as five. It even did well to extend the life of a laptop and power a digital camera and Bluetooth speaker. However, it isn’t capable of running anything with a power draw of more than 100 watts, ruling out television sets, mini-fridges, and CPAP machines. 

The Explorer 160 won’t overwhelm you with a large number of charging ports either, although it certainly has enough to get the job done. It features two USB-A ports, one USB-C port, and an AC wall outlet. This gives it the ability to charge up to four gadgets at once, which is decent considering its price point. That said, considering how widespread USB-C is becoming, I’d have liked to see another of those ports included. 

Thanks to its low-capacity battery, the Explorer 160 recharges very quickly, requiring just five hours to go from empty to completely filled. As an added plus, the power station can be charged via AC outlet,12-volt car port, or via solar panel. And while there may be times when you wish it had just a bit more capacity, its ease of charging mostly makes this a nonissue. 

Other than its affordable price, the Explorer 160‘s best feature is its size. It’s extremely small and easy to carry, tipping the scales at just 3.8 pounds. This makes it a great choice for use around the house, while camping, or anywhere else you might need a bit of portable power. Its built-in handle makes it a breeze to take it along with you wherever you go, ensuring you always have an ample supply of energy to keep your gadgets running. 

The best power station for travel

Goal Zero sherpa

With its surprisingly large battery pack, an array of charging options, and rugged construction, the Sherpa 100AC is a portable power station designed specifically with frequent travelers in mind. 

Pros: Perfect for travelers, multiple charge ports plus it supports wireless charging, highly portable

Cons: Expensive, capacity can be an issue if it’s the only battery/power source you rely on

When it comes to choosing the gear that they carry with them on the road frequent travelers, backpackers, and professional nomads are always looking to strike a balance between size, weight, and functionality. Fortunately for them, Goal Zero built a portable power solution that fits that criteria nicely, combining a sizable battery with a good number of ports in a rugged package built to survive just about anything. 

The Sherpa 100AC features a 94.7 watt-hour battery pack, which translates to 25,600 mAh. That’s the highest capacity battery you’re allowed to carry onto a flight, with enough juice to recharge a smartphone roughly 8 times or a laptop twice. Compared to other portable power stations that may not seem like a lot, but when you realize that this one can easily slip into a backpack, it’s easy to realize its value. 

Despite the fact it’s relatively small and easy to carry, the Sherpa 100AC does have enough charging options to keep you functioning for an extended period of time. The line-up includes dual USB-A ports, as well as two 60-watt USB-C Power Delivery ports, which are bi-directional so they can be used to recharge the Sherpa, too.

Additionally, Goal Zero managed to squeeze in a small AC inverter for plugging in larger devices and the top of the battery pack has an integrated Qi wireless charging pad. If your phone supports wireless charging, you can simply place it on top of the battery pack, freeing up one of the ports for another device. 

Additional features include a built-in OLED display for monitoring power usage and a special port for recharging the Sherpa via a solar panel. Keeping with the travel theme, Goal Zero also ships the power bank with four different charging cables, providing everything you need to say powered up on the road. 

The Sherpa AC100‘s main limiting factor is the size of its battery, which is on the small side if you plan to use it to recharge a laptop or other high-capacity devices on a regular basis. It also happens to be fairly expensive compared to battery packs with a similar capacity from other manufacturers. But where Goal Zero separates itself is with the exceptional build-quality and the components used the Sherpa’s construction.

This is a power bank that feels like it could be run over by a car and keep functioning. However, this level of durability does result in a weight of about two pounds. That’s quite svelte for a power station but on the hefty side for a power bank. If you don’t mind the extra bulk, you’ll get a power supply that’s above and beyond anything else in its class. 

How to shop for a power station

When shopping for a portable power station, there are a number of factors to consider. First and foremost is the amount of power it can store, which is typically measured in watt-hours. The higher the number of watt-hours, the more energy you’ll have at your disposal. For instance, a power station with a capacity of 150-watt hours can recharge a smartphone roughly 10 to 12 times. Meanwhile, a 1500 watt-hour battery pack will provide more than 120 recharges.  

That said, in order to achieve a higher number of watt-hours, more power cells are required. That translates to a larger and heavier power station which reduces its level of portability. It also means that it takes significantly longer to recharge the battery pack, whether from a wall outlet or a solar panel.  

The next thing you’ll want to look for in a power station is the number — and type — of charging ports the power station offers. Not only will you want enough ports to accommodate all your devices, but you’ll want a variety of ports, too. That includes USB-A, USB-C, and at least one AC wall outlet. Another common port is 12-volt power ports, like the so-called cigarette lighter outlets found in your car.

Many models come with built-in LCD screens that display the current power level, as well as how that power is being allocated to the various devices plugged into the charging ports. Some also offer a specialized port for connecting the power station to a solar panel, providing an alternative method of recharging while in the field. Others come equipped with built-in lights, which is an especially nice feature to have during an emergency situation. 

Check out our guide to the best battery packs

Anker PowerCore 15600

The best battery packs you can buy

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

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the best kettlebells:

The best kettlebell overall

everlast kettlebell

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

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

Cons: Maximum weight too low for some athletes

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

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

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

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

The best kettlebell for interval training

TRX kettlebell

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

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

Cons: Expensive

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

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

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

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

The best adjustable kettlebell

bowflex kettle bell w

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best budget kettlebell

amazonbasics kettlebell

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

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

Cons: Grips often have minor imperfections

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

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

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

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

The best soft-sided kettlebell

Bionic Body kettlebell

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

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

Cons: Leather exterior damages more easily than standard kettlebell

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

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

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

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

What else we considered

kettlegrip

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

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

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

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

How to correct your form

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

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

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

FAQs

What weight of kettlebell should I buy? 

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

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

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

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

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


What kind of workouts can you use a kettlebell for?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 7 best wireless phone chargers of 2021

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

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

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

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

Here are the best wireless chargers

The best wireless charger overall

Moshi_Otto_Q_Wireless_Charger

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

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

Cons: No adapter included, LED too bright for nightstand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best fast-charging wireless charger

Anker PowerWave Alloy Pad charging a phone on a table

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

Pros: Durable design, non-slip, long cable

Cons: No adapter included, LED too bright for nightstand

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

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

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

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

The best wireless charging stand

Best iPhone docks - Belkin BOOST UP Wireless Charging Stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best luxurious wireless charger

Bezalel_Altair_Wireless_Charger

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

Pros: Looks great, very stable, charges through cases

Cons: No adapter included, expensive

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

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

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

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

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

The best wireless charger for travel

Fuse_Chicken_Universal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best wireless charger for multiple phones

Unravel_Wireless_Charger

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

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

Cons: Expensive, looks a bit cheap

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best wireless charger for Apple devices

Belkin_BOOST_CHARGE_3 in 1

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

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

Cons: Expensive, large

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

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

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

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

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

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

What else we considered

Wireless_Chargers_Also_Considered

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

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

How to choose a wireless charger

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

What device or devices do you want to charge?

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

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

What is the top speed your device can charge at?

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

Do you need a charging cable and adapter?

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

Where are you going to use it?

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

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

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the best tablets

The best tablet for most people

ipad 2019 10.2 cyber monday deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best budget tablet

Amazon Fire HD 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best high-end Android tablet

Samsung Tab S7

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

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

Cons: Expensive compared to most Android tablets

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best tablet for professionals

iPad Pro Keyboard 4

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

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

Cons: Very expensive, accessories are extra

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best tablet for kids

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Lifestyle 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best small tablet

iPad Mini 2019

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

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

Cons: Dated design, expensive for what it is

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

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

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

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

What else we considered

iPad Air Wide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to pick the right tablet for you

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Operating systems for tablets

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

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

What to look for in a tablet

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

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

Check out our guide to the best iPads you can buy

ipad air and ipad mini 2019

The best iPads you can buy

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

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best mattress for every type of sleeper in 2021, according to our rigorous testing

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A great mattress should offer an excellent balance of comfort, support, and motion isolation.
  • The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid performed well in every category we test and is our best overall pick.
  • We also outlined picks for different sleep styles, body types, and preferences.

Your mattress is the most important part of your sleep setup, so it goes without saying that finding the right one is critical to your sleep quality and comfort.

That’s why I tested more than two dozen mattresses for this guide, relied on the reviews of colleagues, and consulted with Michael Breus, Ph.D., a board-certified psychologist in clinical sleep disorders and also known as “The Sleep Doctor,” and Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at the Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Institute of South Florida.

I’ve been testing mattresses for more than four years to determine the best, and while that decision is ultimately subjective, our testing results are objective: you can read how we test mattresses here. Unless noted otherwise, each mattress I tested was a Queen because it’s the most popular size. Every one of our picks below performed well in our tests, has a long risk-free home trial, is easy to unbox and set up, and can be returned – although some brands will deduct certain fees.

For context, I’m a side and stomach sleeper and my wife is a back sleeper – between the two of us, we’ve got all the major sleeping styles covered. You can find more models we tested that missed the cut and how to shop for a mattress at the end of the guide.

Here are the best mattresses of 2021

Best mattresses by sleep style and body type

Best mattresses by type

Best mattresses by comfort

Our testing methodology

Best mattress 2021 testing methodology

I personally tested all of the mattresses in our guide. In addition to sleeping on each mattress for at least two weeks, there are many objective tests I put each model through. The most important factors I consider are comfort, edge support, and motion isolation.

Here are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:

Comfort: This is a fairly subjective characteristic that is based on the firmness of a mattress, how hot it sleeps, and how supportive it feels. My measurement of firmness is based on testing dozens of mattresses and developing a feel for soft, average, and firm mattresses. I also consider heat dissipation, which I gauge using a laser thermometer to measure the temperature before I lay in the bed for at least one hour, immediately after I get up, and two minutes after I get up. 

Motion isolation: If you’ve ever spent the night with someone who moves around a lot in their sleep, you know how important motion isolation is. Without it, your sleeping partner’s movements will jostle you awake throughout the night. To test motion isolation, I place a 12-ounce can of soda pop in the middle of the mattress. Then I drop a 15-pound bowling ball from four feet above the mattress so it lands 12 inches from the can. If the can falls over time and time again, the motion isolation is not very good. If the can stays upright, the bed does an excellent job of dampening motion transfer.

Edge support: To test edge support, I lay on the very edge of the bed and slowly roll off — literally. If I feel like I can roll a fair amount before actually falling, then the bed has good edge support. If I fall easily, then the edge support is not very good. I also sit on the side to put on my socks and shoes to assess how much the edge sinks. I am currently developing an objective measurement that I’ll “roll” out in future guides as I collect more data.

Portability: Unless you’re constantly relocating or redecorating, it’s unlikely you’ll need to move your mattress often so this category doesn’t weigh heavily in our assessment. Still, it’s nice if you can easily rotate your mattress, a task that’s important for your bed’s longevity. And depending on how your bed is positioned, you may need to move the mattress to put on fitted sheets. I move each mattress several times to see how heavy it feels and if it flops around making it harder to move.

Trial and warranty: I look at the details of the warranty and home trial period, whether the mattress is available in showrooms, and whether there’s white-glove delivery. The only way to know if a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it for several nights, so we looked for loopholes in the fine print of the return policy and let you know about them.

Setup: I timed how long it took me to unbox and set up each mattress on my own. Also, I noted any peculiarities to the process. My nose tracks any new bed odor initially and when I go to bed, usually 10+ hours later. Lastly, I look at whether white-glove service is offered and how much it costs.

The best mattress overall

Best mattress overall 2021 dreamcloud premier hybrid

For being in the middle of the pack price-wise, the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress offers an impressive array of features, including excellent support, a firmness that will appeal to most sleepers, and a long trial period and warranty.

Pros: Impressive 365-night trial period, lifetime warranty, made with CertiPUR-US certified foams, good heat dissipation, great motion transfer, excellent edge support, easy to move with side handles

Cons: Could maybe be more supportive for stomach sleepers

We think the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress is the best mattress you can buy. It’s also our top pick for best hybrid/innerspring mattress and a great mid-priced pick, coming in at $1,599 for a Queen.

Along with the Birch Mattress by Helix, the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress was one of the only beds we tested to do well in every category we look at. The unboxing process was seamless. Though the mattress is on the heavier side, it’s easy to move since it has handles sewn into the left and right sides and doesn’t flop around.

The DreamCloud had the biggest raw temperature drop in our heat dissipation tests. The motion isolation and edge support are great for couples sharing a bed, even if they have different sleeping styles, since the mattress’ average firmness will appeal to most sleepers. And, the Premier Hybrid is made of high-quality materials, including CertiPUR-US certified foams.

Lastly but importantly, if you don’t like the mattress in your first year of ownership, you can return it for a full refund. If you keep it, the bed is covered for life.

The best budget mattress

best budget mattress 2021 Zinus Cooling gel memory foam mattress

Back and stomach sleepers who are looking for a budget-friendly bed should strongly consider the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress.

Pros: Affordable, 100-night trial, 10-year warranty, made of cooling gel memory foam, excellent motion isolation, four thickness options, great for back and stomach sleepers

Cons: Took a week to expand to full size, poor edge support

The Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress features one of my favorite materials to sleep on: gel memory foam. I’ve found this material does an outstanding job of keeping my hot-sleeping body cool through the night, and the Zinus mattress was no exception.

The memory foam sinks in to comfort the contours of your body while still providing a firmer-than-average support. Because of this, I felt better sleeping on my stomach during testing, rather than my side. Back sleepers may also like the firmness of this model.

The mattress passed my motion transfer tests with flying colors. When I was sleeping on it, my wife and dog were able to sneak into bed without jostling or waking me.

The mattress comes in four thickness options — 8, 10, 12, and 14 inches. I tested the 14-inch Queen. In general, I’ve found that mattresses that are 10 inches or thinner aren’t as supportive, so you should consider the thicker styles.

At under $500, you would expect compromises, and there are a few, but they are easy to look past if you want to save a few dollars. First, the edge support is awful. It’s hard to lie on the edges and not fall off. The mattress also took a week to expand to its full size. Out of the box, it was about half its full thickness. The directions suggest it will only take 72 hours to expand, but that was not my experience. It also had an initial odor, but that went away quickly.

At 70 pounds, the mattress is easy to move around, especially since it is firmer and doesn’t flop around.

The best luxury mattress

Best luxury mattress 2021 Tempur Pedic ProBreeze Hybrid

When price is no object, the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid is your best bet with its contouring, supportive, and cooling combination of foam and springs delivered and set up in your bedroom.

Pros: Medium firmness that suits an array of sleeping styles, excellent motion transfer dampening, sleeps cool, 10-year warranty, white-glove delivery

Cons: Heavy, subpar edge support, expensive, shipping deducted from refund if you choose to return the mattress during the trial period

If you want to spend top dollar on a mattress that you’ll spend a third of your life on for the next 10+ years, then the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid is your best bet. The patented Tempur material has similar body contouring to memory foam but with added support and pressure relief without the sinking feeling, which is why it’s also our top pick for back sleepers. 

The PRObreeze mattress is different from other Tempur-Pedic mattresses in that it is designed with a focus on cooling. Tempur-Pedic also offers a similar mattress in the series, called the LUXEbreeze, that offers an even cooler sleep at an even heftier price tag (currently $4,699) though I haven’t personally tested it yet.

The PRObreeze is my main mattress when I’m not testing other models. I appreciate the luxury feel and how it cradles my body while keeping me from overheating. And, I don’t notice when my dog jumps in the bed thanks to the impressive motion isolation. 

If you’re really looking to splurge, I recommend pairing the PRObreeze with the Tempur-Ergo Smart Base, which features a sleep tracker to monitor your sleep and makes recommendations for improved rest.

Read our full Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid with Ergo Smart Base review

The best mattress for back pain

best mattress for back pain 2021 leesa hybrid

The Leesa Hybrid Mattress has great edge support and motion isolation. The mix of memory foam and pocket springs leads to an average firmness that makes it an outstanding solution for back pain sufferers of any sleeping style.

Pros: Average firmness that will appeal to a broad range of sleepers, edge support and motion isolation are ideal for couples, 100-night risk-free home trial, made of foam and pocket springs for support and breathability, 10-year warranty

Cons: Heavy, hard to move around

For about a year, the Leesa Hybrid was the main mattress I slept on when I wasn’t testing others. 

The bed features five layers: a cooling premium foam top layer, a contouring memory foam layer, and 14.5-gauge pocket springs that help with breathability sandwiched by two core foam support layers.

My wife and I appreciated that its average firmness suited our backs, stomachs, and sides, and I was especially impressed with its motion isolation — I rarely noticed when my wife got up in the night. The edge support is also great thanks to the innerspring coils that go all the way to the very edge of the bed. 

During the time I tested the Leesa Hybrid, I never woke up with back pain, though I have a history of pain back issues. When I wrenched my back trying to put a standing desk together, the mattress provided the pressure relief and comfort I needed to get restful sleep and facilitate the healing process. 

However, this is based on my personal experience. If you suffer from back pain, you should always consult your doctor before purchasing a new mattress.

I also encourage you to have someone else set up this bed if you have back pain. I tempted fate and tackled the task on my own. I tested a King mattress for this guide and it weighed 142 pounds. I set up the bed on my own, but I relied on white glove mattress removal once I was done with it. 

Readers can score 20% off the Hybrid with our exclusive code “INSIDER” at checkout — you can read the full details here.

Read our full Leesa Hybrid Mattress review

The best mattress for side sleepers

Product image Casper Nova Hybrid best mattress for side sleepers overall of 2021

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is ideal for side sleepers who are looking for a plush-comfort bed with great heat dissipation.

Pros: Made with eco-friendly materials, 100-night risk-free trial, good edge support, excellent heat dissipation, the plush comfort is ideal for side sleepers

Cons: Held on to its new bed smell, not the best for stomach or back sleepers, failed motion transfer tests

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is also our pick for the best soft mattress, an attribute that makes it ideal for side sleepers, who usually find a mattress with some give to be the most comfortable. (Read more: the best mattresses for side sleepers.) Additionally, we think it’s a good solution for petite sleepers and older individuals who may not have as much natural cushioning as they once did and could benefit from the soothing comfort of a soft mattress.

Side sleepers will appreciate the zoned pressure relief built into the foam layers of the Nova Hybrid. The second foam layer has three ergonomic zones that are firmer around the waist, hips, and lower back and softer under the shoulders. The next foam layer features contoured cuts designed to reinforce the second layer. And, the hybrid’s springs ensure your body is properly supported while adding a level of durability. A firm border of foam helps the bed’s edge support. 

I tend to overheat in bed, but when sleeping on the Nova Hybrid, I never felt hot, which is impressive since I tested the mattress in the summer. When I used the bathroom in the night, the spot where I was sleeping was cooler when I returned, which helped me get back to sleep faster. 

If you’re interested in the Nova, you can use our exclusive code ‘INSIDER’ for $200 off any size.

The best mattress for back sleepers

Best mattress for back sleepers 2021 Tempur Pedic ProBreeze

The medium firmness and cradling comfort of the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Mattress make it ideal for back sleepers, especially if you tend to overheat at night.

Pros: Medium firmness that suits an array of sleeping styles, excellent motion transfer dampening, sleeps cool, 10-year warranty, white-glove delivery

Cons: Heavy, subpar edge support, expensive, shipping deducted from refund if you choose to return the mattress during the trial period

Back sleepers benefit from medium-firm mattresses, though this can vary based on body type and personal preferences. It also helps if there is zoned support with extra cushioning around the hips and shoulders. Based on these factors and our subjective testing, the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Mattress is the best option for back sleepers.

The Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid Mattress is designed for cool sleeping, but it also provides outstanding cradling comfort. There’s an outer cover that you can unzip and toss in the wash for easy cleaning, and three layers of foam that are geared toward absorbing excessive heat and improving breathability. At the base, the mattress has 1,000+ spring coils surrounded by a supportive foam border that provide support, durability, and breathability. 

The PRObreeze is the mattress that my wife and I sleep on when I’m not testing other alternatives. As a hot sleeper, I’ve found it does an excellent job of keeping me from overheating. 

Between my wife and I, we exhibit just about every sleeping style and we both find this slightly-firm mattress works well for our bodies. I also don’t feel when my wife or dog are moving around during the night — the motion dampening abilities are outstanding. However, the edge support could use some work. When sitting or lying on the edge, it sinks significantly.

The mattress is heavy and hard to move around. Fortunately, Tempur-Pedic includes white-glove delivery with the purchase of the PRObreeze. Professionals showed up at my house and set up the new mattress in under an hour. My lower back appreciated the break from heavy lifting.

Read our full Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid review

The best mattress for stomach sleepers

best mattress for stomach sleepers 2021 awara

With its plush Euro top and supportive feel, the Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress supplies the ideal balance of comfort and support for stomach sleepers to get a good night’s sleep.

Pros: 365-night risk-free trial, lifetime warranty, great for stomach sleepers, good heat dissipation, made of eco-friendly materials, all four sides have two handles

Cons: Not ideal for side sleepers, heavy, sinks significantly when sitting on the side

Stomach sleepers generally prefer the firmest mattresses, though this will vary based on personal preference and body type. A firmer mattress supports stomach sleepers by keeping your spine aligned, protecting you from back pain. 

The Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress gives you a slightly firm, comfortable support along with one of the longest trial periods and warranties in the industry.

The firm feel is balanced by a plush Euro top made of organic wool. Next is a layer of Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex, and the support core contains individually wrapped coils.

For easy movability, the cotton blend mattress cover has two handles sewn into all four sides. This feature is a must since the Awara is one of the heaviest mattresses in our guide. Despite the heft, I set it up without help in about five minutes. The mattress had a strong initial odor that dissipated within a few hours.

As a combination side and stomach sleeper, I much preferred stomach sleeping on the Awara. During the testing period, I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep, and each morning I awoke feeling refreshed. I also didn’t experience any soreness, which is a common issue for stomach sleepers.

Both the edge support and motion isolation were middle of the road. When sitting on the edge of the bed, I didn’t feel like I sunk much, but when I was laying on the edge, I felt uncomfortable, like I might fall off. The Awara also failed the objective motion transfer tests each time, but the mattress is quite bouncy, which some people may like.

The best mattress for heavy people

best mattress for heavy people 2021 birch

The Birch Mattress by Helix is made of sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials and is firm enough to provide the support most heavier people need.

Pros: Above-average firmness, soft topper available for an extra cost, very good motion isolation, made of natural materials, Greenguard Gold certified

Cons: Pillow top is slightly smaller than the mattress and doesn’t attach to it, not ideal for side sleepers without the pillow top, no white-glove delivery

Though firmness preferences can vary wildly regardless of your body type, heavier individuals tend to prefer mattresses that are a little bit firmer. This is because firmness provides support, makes it easier for you to adjust your position, and keeps you from sinking in too much. For this reason, we recommend the Birch Mattress by Helix for heavy people who have struggled to find a supportive, comfortable mattress.

The Birch Mattress is made up of a combination of organic wool, organic cotton, OEKO-Tex certified Talalay latex, and individually-wrapped coils. These materials help aid with pressure relief and tend to be more durable.

I weighed about 250 pounds when I tested the Birch by Helix. And, I much preferred sleeping on the mattress with the optional plush organic mattress topper, which made it more comfortable for my side sleeping. Without the topper, I was more comfortable on my stomach. If you’re a side sleeper, you may want to try the mattress with the topper. If you don’t like it, the topper is easy to remove and can be returned within 100 days of purchase for a full refund.

The biggest negative heavier individuals will want to watch out for with the Birch is its average heat dissipation. If you tend to overheat at night, you might want to consider something cooler, like the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid, or supplement the mattress with a good cooling product.

The best foam mattress

Best foam mattress 2021 Tempur Pedic Cloud

The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress features contouring foam that cradles sleepers of all body types and sleeping styles while offering outstanding pressure relief and heat dissipation.

Pros: Great heat dissipation, outstanding motion isolation, 90-night trial, 10 inches thick with 3 layers of supportive and comforting Tempur foam that caters to all sleeping types

Cons: A shipping charge is deducted from your refund if you choose to return your bed, unimpressive edge support, no white-glove delivery

The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress arrives in a box now like many other brands; you just open the box, remove the mattress, cut through the plastic, and unroll. Like many foam mattresses, it had an odor that dissipated after a few hours. 

There are three foam layers: a soft and responsive comfort top layer, a firmer support layer, and finally, a supportive and durable base. The polyester-blend stretch cover is moisture-wicking and breathes well. 

I was struck by how the patented foam contoured to my body and offered impressive pressure relief. I was comfortable on my stomach and side, and my wife, who is a back sleeper, also enjoyed the feel. During testing, I was able to fall asleep within minutes of laying down

Unlike most all-foam mattresses, the Cloud didn’t overheat. When I got up at night, the heat dissipated making it cool enough to fall right back asleep when I got back in bed. The Cloud also passed my objective motion isolation tests, and when my rambunctious dog jumped onto the bed in the morning, I barely noticed.

The Cloud also supported my back well. I suffer from lower back pain that flares up when I sleep on an unsupportive mattress. While testing the mattress, I didn’t experience any back aggravation.

The biggest negative with is the Cloud’s poor edge support. I noticed significant sinking when I sat or laid on the edge of the bed. This isn’t a deal breaker; however, couples may want a King for more space without feeling uncomfortable on the edges. 

Read our full Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress review

The best hybrid mattress

Best hybrid innerspring mattress 2021 DreamCloud Premier Hybrid

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress performed well in all of the tests we put it through, which makes it ideal for most sleeping types, couples, and people who tend to overheat at night.

Pros: Impressive 365-night trial period, lifetime warranty, made with CertiPUR-US certified foams, good heat dissipation, great motion transfer, excellent edge support, easy to move with side handles

Cons: Lacks support for stomach sleepers

We chose to combine hybrid and innerspring mattresses for this update because the line between the two categories has blurred so much in recent years.

As with most hybrids, the DreamCloud Premier consists of a combination of individually-wrapped coils and foam. The bed’s top layer is high-loft memory foam covered by quilted cashmere. From top to bottom, the other layers are high-density gel memory foam, supportive foam, coils, and a porous foam base.

Despite its heft, the DreamCloud is easy to maneuver thanks to handles on the long sides of the bed. Removing the mattress from the box and setting it up only took about five minutes. While there was a new bed smell initially, the odor dissipated by bedtime.

When it comes to performance, the DreamCloud Premier scored well in every test. It particularly excelled in heat dissipation: within two minutes of getting out of bed, the surface temperature of the bed dropped by 14 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The edge support and motion isolation were both excellent, making this a smart option for couples. When sharing the bed with my wife, I didn’t notice her shifting position in the night. When lying on the edge of the bed, I still felt supported.

Though it’s billed as a “luxury firm,” I found the mattress to be soft and preferred sleeping on my side rather than my stomach. Still, I was comfortable enough on my stomach, I just didn’t feel as supported. My wife appreciated the cushy feel while sleeping on her back.

What’s particularly unique about DreamCloud is its 365-night trial period and lifetime warranty, which is among the most generous of the mattresses I’ve tested. 

The best adjustable bed

Best adjustable air mattress 2021 Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed

If you and your partner just can’t agree on a mattress firmness, the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed allows you to customize each side to your perfect firmness and the bed automatically makes adjustments based on your body’s position.

Pros: 20 firmness options make it ideal for all sleeping styles, good edge support, white glove delivery included with purchase, built-in sleep tracker, automatic air adjustments based on sleeping position

Cons: Hard to move, terrible motion isolation, may not be ideal for hot sleepers

Your mattress should last you for at least 10 years. In that time, a lot can happen to change your firmness preferences. For example, when I lost significant weight, I developed a preference for softer mattresses. Also, if you share a bed with someone, the odds are pretty small that you’ll find the same firmness comfortable. These scenarios demonstrate why an airbed with adjustable firmness is a good investment.

The Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed is the best adjustable airbed I’ve tested. Two features set it apart. First, it has an automatic function that, when engaged, will adjust the firmness of the mattress as you shift positions in the night. Second, the mattress tracks your sleeping and offers custom recommendations in the app (available for iOS and Android).

While I found the adjustable air feature was a game-changer and significantly improved my sleep, the sleep tracking was nowhere near as accurate as my Garmin Forerunner 945 watch. However, even during the month I tested the mattress, Sleep Number made improvements to the app, and a representative for the company said a team is constantly making tweaks to make it more useful.

I appreciated that I didn’t have to lift a finger to unbox the mattress. Two Sleep Number delivery people set up the dual adjustable bed frames and King-size mattress in about 45 minutes and made sure the bed connected to my phone and worked correctly.

The separate firmness level settings for each side and good edge support make it a smart choice for couples. However, the mattress failed my motion transfer tests each time, and my wife remarked that the bed felt like a water bed with how noticeable the motion is. Another negative is how hard it is to move the mattress. It’s attached securely to the base so if you want to move it, you need to bring the base with you or figure out how to detach the mattress. Both methods require significantly more effort than your standard mattress.

The best latex mattress

Best latex mattress 2021 Birch mattress by Helix

The Birch Mattress by Helix is made of sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials and offers firm and soft comfort options to accommodate a number of preferences.

Pros: Above-average firmness, soft topper available for an extra cost, very good motion isolation, made of natural materials, Greenguard Gold certified

Cons: Pillow top is slightly smaller than the mattress and doesn’t attach to it, not ideal for side sleepers without the pillow top, no white-glove delivery

From the cover to the latex and the wool, the Birch Mattress by Helix is made of eco-friendly materials. The mattress is Greenguard Gold-certified to be free of harsh chemicals, and it’s handmade in the US. The top layer is made of a fire-retardant layer of natural wool fibers with rayon, followed by an organic wool layer for temperature regulation and comfort. The middle layers are made of natural Talalay latex certified by several environmental organizations, including OEKO-Tex, and individually-wrapped coils for support and limited motion transfer. The base is organic wool batting for durability and stability, and the cover is made of GOTS-certified organic cotton.

When I went to unbox the Birch, I found these materials proved hefty. Though it didn’t come with special tools or instructions, it was a standard unboxing — remove the bed from the box and cut through the layers of plastic. Within five minutes, the mattress was resting on the bed frame. There was a slight initial odor, though it dissipated within hours. 

The Birch Mattress by Helix on its own is firm, but for an extra cost, you can add a plush organic mattress topper to make the bed softer. I tested the mattress with the topper since I prefer a softer feel and I was much more comfortable than laying on the base mattress alone, especially when sleeping on my side. Though, if you like a firmer feel, you might want to skip the topper. 

The Birch Mattress is an excellent solution for couples thanks to its outstanding edge support and motion isolation. I performed my motion transfer test on the bed four times, and it only failed once. When I sat on the side of the bed, I felt supported, and when I laid on the very edge, I didn’t feel like I was going to fall.

After testing the mattress, I gave it to my 6-foot-5 teenager. He deals with joint pain from constantly growing, and he said the bed helped soothe his pains. We both sleep hot, and the Birch did an adequate job of dissipating heat. However, on hotter nights, he reports the mattress is uncomfortably hot.

The best mattress for hot sleepers

best mattress for hot sleepers 2021 purple premier hybrid

The Purple Premier Hybrid mattress not only has outstanding heat dissipation, but the patented Purple Grid offers pressure relief to all sleeping styles.

Pros: Excellent heat dissipation, great for all sleeping types, free white-glove delivery, outstanding pressure relief, bouncy

Cons: Poor motion isolation, heavy

To measure heat dissipation, I use a laser thermometer and consider how hot a mattress gets and how quickly it returns to its starting temperatures. 

The Purple Premier Hybrid is our top pick for a cooling mattress because, based on our temperature tests, it builds up the least amount of heat of any mattress we tried and quickly releases any remaining heat within two minutes of getting out of bed. In my tests, the Purple mattress returned to within three degrees of the ambient temperature in those two minutes. It was almost as if no one had been sleeping on it at all.

The Purple Hybrid Premier mattress is so heavy I needed help unboxing it. Once released from the packaging, we carried the mattress to the foundation. I strongly recommend taking advantage of Purple’s free white glove delivery of the Hybrid Premier.

What sets Purple beds apart from other brands is the “Purple Grid,” which is made up of hyper-elastic gel polymer “grid lines” with one-inch-square open spaces between. You can choose how thick you want your grid: two, three, or four inches. I chose the three-inch thickness option, sometimes called the Purple 3. 

Below the grid is a CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane foam layer, and below that is 7.5-inch pocketed springs. The cover is soft and breathable.

When you first lay down on the Purple, the feel of the grid is noticeable since it’s located right under the cover. It’s a unique feel that can take some getting used to. 

I preferred to sleep on my side when testing the Premier Hybrid, but I was also comfortable on my stomach. I like the responsiveness of the grid, which immediately relieves pressure where you need it to most. 

While the Premier Hybrid failed our objective motion isolation tests spectacularly, my subjective experience wasn’t so bad. On occasion, my dog was able to sneak onto the mattress without me noticing. Also, I noticed the so-so motion isolation was likely due to the exceptional bounce of the bed, which couples may appreciate.

The best ultra firm mattress

best ultra firm mattress 2021 airweave

The Airweave Mattress has a breathable and non-toxic polyethylene core that offers ultra-firm support to all parts of the bed, even the very edges.

Pros: Features a soft insert to transform the bed from incredibly firm to just firm, great heat dissipation, outstanding edge support, decent motion isolation, 100-night sleep trial, machine-washable cover

Cons: Some assembly required, hard to move around, not recommended for side sleepers

The Airweave Mattress is one of the most unique beds I’ve ever tested — it’s modular and it requires more assembly than most mattresses. The polyethylene core is broken into three blocks. You place these on the bottom half of the cover, seal up an inner cover, add the polyester soft layer, and zip on the top of the cover. With this level of assembly, white-glove delivery would be an attractive option. Unfortunately, Airweave does not currently offer this service.

I like that there’s a soft layer insert that you can easily remove if you’d prefer an ultra-firm mattress rather than just firm. Even with the soft layer, the mattress was firmer than I’d prefer and sleeping on my side was out of the question. I mainly slept on my stomach and a little on my back when testing this mattress, and I was surprisingly comfortable in these positions. I appreciated how cool the bed slept thanks to the breathable core.

In my experience, mattresses that are less than 10 inches thick are not supportive enough, but at 8 inches thick, the Airweave surprisingly offered plenty of support. With its short stature and light weight — the Queen only weighs 71.5 pounds — you might assume the mattress would be easy to move around, but it’s a beast. The blocks cause the mattress to flop, which adds to the difficulty.

The Airweave is a great solution for anyone who loves firm mattresses. The edge support is excellent on all sides and the bed performed well in my motion transfer tests. When I dropped the bowling ball, the soda can rarely fell over on the first impact, but the bed is incredibly bouncy and the can would sometimes fall over on the second bounce.

The best soft mattress

Best soft mattress 2021 Casper Nova Hybrid

The Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress is the brand’s softest mattress, and offers cushion-y support for folks who like a “sinking in” feeling to their mattress.

Pros: Made with eco-friendly materials, 100-night risk-free trial, good edge support, excellent heat dissipation, the plush comfort is ideal for side sleepers

Cons: Held on to its new bed smell, not the best for stomach or back sleepers, failed motion transfer tests

The Nova Hybrid is one of Casper’s newest and softest mattress, which is ideal for my side-sleeping body. When my muscles and joints were aching after exercising, the Nova Hybrid cradled my body and offered pressure relief in all the right areas. This is thanks to the supportive foam layers with ergonomic zones that are firmer around the lower back, waist, and hips, and softer under the shoulders to help align your spine.

The mattress is made of CertiPUR-US certified foam and the cover is partially composed of recycled bottles, making it an eco-friendly alternative. There are two layers of Casper’s proprietary “Airscape” foam which are meant to help with the airflow, and the topmost layer has small perforations for breathability.

With all of the layers of foam and springs, the Nova Hybrid is heavy and flops around as you move it. Fortunately, it comes with handles sewn into each corner to make it more manageable. 

The motion dampening properties, however, leave much to be desired. The Nova Hybrid failed my motion transfer tests, and when sharing the bed with my wife and dog, I could feel when either of them moved.

I found the Nova Hybrid cradled my body just right, especially when my muscles were screaming after hard workouts. I appreciated how my body would wake up refreshed and ready for more punishment.

If you’re interested in the Nova, Wave, or Original specifically (you can check out our reviews here), and use our exclusive code ‘INSIDER’ for $200 off any size Nova or Wave, or $100 off any size Original.

What else we tested

best mattress 2021 what else we tested

We’ve tested dozens of mattresses over the years, and there are none that we outright don’t recommend. Every mattress we’ve tested could potentially be a good fit for the right individual. However, here are a few that missed the cut for our guide but are worth considering.

What else we recommend and why

Nest Bedding Flip Double-Sided Hybrid ($639.20): This affordable bed is unique in that you can flip it. One side has a medium firmness and the other is firmer. I think the medium side is the best budget option for side sleepers since our budget pick is best for back and stomach sleepers. I was impressed with the excellent edge support, how easy it is to move around, and that it’s made of CertiPUR-US foam. The biggest negative was the poor motion isolation. 

Bear Original ($747): The Bear Original does a good job of cooling, is made in the U.S. of CertiPUR-US certified foams, has great edge support, and was easy to set up and move around. However, it’s kind of on the firmer side so it was uncomfortable for side sleeping. Also, the motion isolation was poor so it may not be the ideal option for couples. 

Saatva Classic ($1,299): The Saatva Classic was the “best spring mattress” in a previous version of our guide, but we decided to combine that category with “best hybrid.” The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid beat it out for that pick. I have not tested Saatva Classic, but my colleague Kylie Joyner did and had a positive experience. She liked the great edge support, free in-home delivery and mattress removal, 180-night trial period (though there’s a $99 return fee), and firmness options. Read our full review.

Nectar Memory Foam ($799): There’s a lot to like about Nectar’s flagship mattress. It just wasn’t the best in any specific category. I like that you can try it risk-free with a 365-night trial, and if you keep it, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty. I found it was softer than average, which was comfortable for my side sleeping. It also has great heat dissipation, excellent motion isolation, and average edge support. However, I would be hesitant to recommend it for back and stomach sleepers because it’s so soft.

Bear Pro ($972): Despite feeling a little softer than average, I was comfortable on my stomach and side while sleeping on the Bear Pro, and I think its all-foam construction will appeal to all sleeping types. The copper-infused foam, gel-infused foam, and breathable Celliant cover all give the bed impressive heat dissipation. The main negatives are it offers poor edge support and it’s a bit pricey for an all-foam mattress. Read our full review

Brooklyn Bedding Sedona Hybrid ($2,174.25): The Sedona Hybrid is a luxury mattress made of CertiPUR-US certified foams and up to 1,000 coils. You can test it out for 120 nights risk-free. I liked how hassle-free the unboxing was and how the mattress has handles for easy movability. The average firmness should appeal to a broad audience, but I just could not get comfortable no matter what position I was in. And, while the heat dissipation and edge support are average, the mattress failed my motion transfer tests every time.

Casper Original ($931): The Casper Original was our previous pick for the best all-foam mattress, and we still recommend it. We like the Casper Original because it works well for a wide array of sleeping styles, is made of eco-friendly materials, has excellent heat dissipation, and exhibits great motion dampening. However, it does not have good edge support. Read our full review.

Plank by Brooklyn Bedding ($955.50): The Plank was our previous pick for the best ultra-firm mattress. I didn’t test this personally, but based on our writer’s review, we think the Airweave Mattress is a better option because of its unique design and heat dissipation. We still think the Plank is a great bed with its two levels of firmness, exceptional edge support, and impressive motion isolation. Read our full review.

Saatva Latex Hybrid Mattress ($1,599): The mattress has medium-firm support that works for all types of sleepers, and the organic latex is breathable and sleeps cool. Our reporter said that the mattress has great motion isolation so she doesn’t feel much movement, but that the edge support is poor. Despite this, we’d still recommend the bed but suggest upgrading to a Queen for solo sleepers and a King for couples so no one falls off the side. 

Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress ($2,845): The Saatva Solaire has a built-in air pump controlled by a corded controller that allows you to pick from 50 firmness options for your ideal comfort level. I found it worked great, but the motion isolation left a lot to be desired. Plus, you can’t find the mattress in showrooms to test it out before buying. Fortunately, there’s a 120-night home trial period. Read our full review.

Amerisleep AS5 Hybrid ($1,539.30): Amerisleep offers five mattresses, AS1 through AS5, each with a specific benefit. I’ve tested the AS3, the company’s best selling bed, but I much prefer its softer, luxury mattress, the AS5. Due to its soft feel, it’s an outstanding solution for anyone who prefers softer beds. Since it sleeps hot, people who get too cold at night may also prefer this mattress. Also, it doesn’t have very good edge support and failed my motion isolation tests, so it’s better suited for people who sleep alone. Overall, though, I like how it cradled my body.

Allswell Supreme Hybrid ($985): This is one of the best mattresses you will find under $1,000. It features a combination of copper and graphite gel-infused memory foam and pocket coils, which give it a medium firmness that will appeal to many different types of sleepers. The edge support is great but it sleeps hot and is quite heavy. Also, it’s only available online and not in showrooms.

Intellibed Matrix Grand ($6,999): The Intellibed Matrix Grand is the height of luxury and features seven layers of high-quality materials, including two gel layers that flex to provide localized pressure relief and to help align the spine. However, at 196 pounds, it’s the heaviest mattress I’ve tested, and at 17 inches thick, it’s hard to find fitted sheets that are deep enough to stay on the mattress. I didn’t find it particularly comfortable no matter what position I was in, the motion isolation is poor, and the return policy has questionable stipulations.

What we’re testing next

Best mattress what we look forward to testing

We’re constantly testing new mattresses and re-testing our top picks to determine the best ones. Here’s what we’re currently testing:

Casper Nova Hybrid Snow ($2,206): Casper has taken its soft Nova Hybrid and added graphite bands and cooling cover materials to help draw heat away from your body so you can have a cool night’s sleep. We’re wondering how it compares to the original Nova Hybrid and if it will challenge the Purple Premier Hybrid as the best option for hot sleepers.

Bear Hybrid ($1,272): What I like about Bear mattresses is they sleep cool and are made in the U.S. of high-quality materials. This is Bear’s softest mattress so it may give the Nova Hybrid a run for its money as the best soft and best side sleeper mattress.

Olaf by Mellow ($446.80): This is another budget option as we bulk up our coverage in that category. It features four layers of CertiPUR-US certified foam, including gel-infused memory foam for heat dissipation.

The Botanical Bliss by PlushBeds ($2,249): Made of organic latex, wool, and cotton, this mattress is available in three thicknesses and two firmness options. 

Idle Latex Hybrid ($1,799): This mattress has individually-wrapped spring coils sandwiched between several foam layers so you can supposedly flip it over and sleep on both sides.  

Haven Boutique Mattress ($995): Thicker than most mattresses at 14 inches, we’re curious to test if that has any effect on comfort and support.

Purple Premier Hybrid 4 ($2,199): This is the only Purple mattress I haven’t tested, and I’m hoping to test it in the near future for a side-by-side comparison of the line. It is similar to the Premier Hybrid 3, only the Purple Grid is four inches thick instead of three.

How to shop for a mattress

Best mattress 2021 how to shop

Buying a mattress no longer requires heading to a showroom and having a salesperson lurk over you as you lay on a mattress for 10 minutes to decide if it will suit you for the next decade. In fact, we put together a handy guide of what to expect if you’re shopping for a mattress online at nine popular brands.

To help you shop for a mattress, we spoke with Dr. Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at PCSI.

Consider your medical conditions

Peña-Hernández first suggests considering your medical history. “The right mattress is the most comfortable one for each person. However, consumers should consider their medical history, like respiratory diseases, allergies, scoliosis, or sleep apnea when purchasing a mattress; so they can make an informed decision regarding what type of materials are in their mattress or what features might prove to be healthier for them,” Peña-Hernández said. “Patients with COPD may benefit from mattresses that are designed for adjustable beds because elevating the head of the bed can sometimes facilitate easier breathing.” 

Know your sleep position

After talking to your doctor, assess your sleeping style and preferred firmness level.

“The most common mattress problem that people report is the lack of comfortability which can result in fatigue or excessive sleepiness,” Peña-Hernández said. “It’s hard to keep up with the day-to-day when you’re not well-rested, and ultimately, it can affect your quality of life. Chronic fatigue can even have implications for your immunity and your health. A good mattress meets the criteria for the specific person’s needs and promotes a healthy, well-rested, rest.”

Though every person’s preferences are different, there are some patterns that certain body types and sleeping styles seem to prefer, according to Peña-Hernández.

Side sleepers: “Vast research exists to support side sleepers benefit from medium-firm mattresses to support pressure point relief,” said Peña-Hernández. “Side sleepers can experience shoulder and lower back pain if the mattress is too unsupportive.”

Back sleepers: Peña-Hernández recommends medium firmness for back sleepers. “Back sleepers should strive to maintain the natural S-curvature of the spine so the best mattress for back sleepers provides spinal support. A medium-firm mattress will help achieve this by redistributing weight and promoting healthy alignment but still contours to the body to provide cushioning where it is needed.”

Stomach sleepers: Firmer mattresses tend to benefit stomach sleepers as well as heavier folks.

Consider body size and preferences

In addition to the above, you should also consider bodyweight and heat dissipation.

“Individuals concerned about their weight and weight-related complications should speak to their medical provider when considering a mattress, said Peña-Hernández. “Overweight individuals should consider a thicker mattress of at least 12 inches thick or more. Thinner mattresses won’t provide you with the support you need. Coil mattresses also provide a more durable construction.”

Softer mattresses are generally better for petite individuals since lighter individuals (under 130 pounds) don’t sink into beds as far. Breus also notes that as people get older, they would benefit from a softer bed to address pain issues. “As we age, our skin gets thinner, which means less cushion.”

Firm mattresses aren’t necessarily more supportive. Instead, support is based on how well the bed cradles your body and allows your spine to relax. Since different parts of your body push down more on a mattress, such as the hips and shoulders, mattresses that offer zoned support in these areas tend to be more comfortable to a broader range of individuals. These beds also tend to cost more as the construction is more specialized.

If you overheat at night, you’ll want a mattress and even bedding that does an outstanding job of dissipating heat. “Hot sleepers should consider sheets and materials made of natural fibers for their breathability,” said Peña-Hernández. “Bamboo, cotton, linen, and hemp are good options as well as cooling sheets, especially sheets designed to wick moisture.”

FAQs

Best mattress 2021 FAQs

What kind of mattress should you buy?

There are a handful of popular mattress types to choose from.

  • Memory foam: When most people think of a bed-in-a-box, they think of memory foam mattresses. These are mattresses with multiple layers of foam that support and contour your body. However, due to the construction, all-foam mattresses also tend to trap heat.
  • Latex foam: This is usually preferred by people looking for an eco-friendly foam that’s cooler and more responsive than traditional memory foam.
  • Hybrid: These beds combine one of the above foams with spring coils. The coils tend to help with motion transfer and edge support making them a great option for couples. The coils also help with airflow for a cooler sleep.
  • Spring: Also called innerspring or coil mattresses, these are your more traditional beds. Due to the responsive coils, they offer good support, edge support, cooling, and durability. However, they are generally more expensive and mostly found in showrooms and not online.
  • Pillow-top: Pillow-tops are usually associated with innerspring mattresses but can be found on any of the above options. This is the smart solution for those who like a soft, cushy feel.
  • Adjustable or air beds: These beds use an air pump to adjust the firmness of your mattress to suit your needs. They are among the most expensive options but may be an ideal long-term solution since your firmness needs change with time. Couples with drastically different firmness needs would also benefit from an adjustable air bed.

What size bed should you buy?

There are six standard bed sizes. In order from smallest to largest (and usually the least to most expensive), they are:

  • Twin: If you are a smaller individual who sleeps alone, a Twin (38 inches wide by 75 inches long) will serve you well.
  • Twin XL: This is the same width (38 inches) as the Twin but 5 inches longer, which makes it better for tall people who sleep alone.
  • Full: With the same length (75 inches) as the Twin but 16 inches wider, the Full is designed for larger folks or anyone who just wants a bit more space
  • Queen: The Queen is 80 inches long by 60 inches wide, and is meant for couples who are smaller.
  • King: The King is 16 inches wider than the Queen and better for larger couples. I recommend it if you are choosing a mattress with subpar edge support and you’re concerned about feeling uncomfortable near the edges.
  • California King: The Cal King is four inches longer but four inches narrower than the King, so it’s a smart alternative for taller couples.

For context, my wife and I are both slightly taller and heavier than average, and we share a bed with a dog and a full-body pillow. Queen mattresses are simply too small and uncomfortable for us, though it’s the size we test as it’s the most popular. We’ve found a King is more ideal for our needs.


What’s the best way to clean a mattress?

Based on expert interviews, my colleague L. Daniela Alvarez put together an excellent guide on how to clean a mattress. The experts in her article recommend deep cleaning your mattress with baking soda and a vacuum every three to six months. However, stains should be treated as quickly as possible using a disinfectant wipe. Or, for harder stains, you may need to use a mixture of dishwashing liquid and hydrogen peroxide. 

Some mattresses have removable covers. Check with the manufacturer before removing the cover and attempting to clean it. Some brands may state that their covers are machine washable. If that is the case with your mattress, we recommend that option only as a last resort, and make sure you follow the cleaning instructions carefully.

Lastly, when purchasing a new mattress, you should protect your investment by also buying a mattress protector. We regularly update our guide to the best mattress protectors and encourage you to check out our latest recommendations.


When is the best time to buy a mattress?

Though mattress makers have sales throughout the year, you can usually find the best deals during holiday weekends, like Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  

Also, manufacturers tend to start marking down their mattress prices in March as they prepare to launch a new line in June. In March, you’ll usually find the widest selection with the smallest discounts. But, as you get into May, the discounts increase while the inventory becomes sparse. We keep a running list of all mattress deals and sales that is updated monthly, and features many Insider-exclusive discounts.


What’s the best mattress for back pain?

For years, the common wisdom was that a firm mattress is best for back pain. However, a 2008 study published in Applied Ergonomics found that firmness had no effect on back pain and stiffness. Instead, they found the newness and price of the mattress had more of a bearing. 

When shopping for a mattress, it’s important that you find a supportive mattress that’s right for your body types and sleeping style. You want your spine to stay aligned while sleeping. This generally means a firmer mattress for individuals who sleep on their back or stomach, or for heavier people. A mattress with average firmness or softer is better for back pain sufferers who sleep on their side, are petite, or are older.

Support is also important, and based on my experience testing dozens of mattresses, the cheaper, sub-$1,000 mattresses skimp in this area. I recommend looking for a mattress with zoned support. These offer more pressure relief around the hips, lower back, and shoulders.

Lastly, take full advantage of the home trials offered by all of the companies in our guide. After all, the only way to know if a mattress is right for your back is to sleep on it.


How much should you spend on a mattress?

We outlined picks at a variety of price points, but time and again experts have told us to think of a mattress as an investment in your health and well-being. You spend about a third of your life on your mattress, and should expect to spend at least $1,000 on a quality mattress. While the upfront cost may seem high, a good mattress should last you about 10 years. Below, you’ll find a chart outlining the average costs of a mattress. For more in-depth information, see our guide on mattress pricing

Type of mattress Budget Mid-priced Luxury
Foam mattress $450 or less From $1,000 From $1,300
Innerspring mattress $600 or less From $1,000 From $1,200
Hybrid mattress $1,100 or less From $1,500 From $2,200
Latex mattress $1,200 or less From $2,000 From $2,500

Glossary

Best mattress 2021 glossary

There are plenty of terms tossed around in the mattress industry. But, what do they even mean? Here are a few common terms defined:

Edge support: This refers to how well a mattress maintains its integrity to its sides without sagging or sinking. So, a mattress with good edge support will feel just as supportive on the edges as it does in the center of the mattress. On the other hand, if you feel like you’re going to fall off the bed when you lay near the edge, that’s a sure sign of poor edge support.

Euro top: This is a type of pillow top that is sewn into the mattress cover to provide a plush, yet supportive feel. It’s commonly found on hybrid and innerspring mattresses and made of fiberfill, wool, or foam.

Innersprings: Also referred to as coils or just springs, these are corkscrew-shaped pieces of metal, usually steel, that make up the core of many of today’s mattresses, including hybrid and innerspring styles. Many modern mattresses use “pocket coils,” which are wrapped coils that help limit noise and motion transfer.

Motion isolation/motion transfer: These terms are two sides of the same coin. Motion isolation describes how well a mattress dampens the feel of movement. For example, a mattress with good motion isolation keeps you from being jostled as your partner shifts positions in the night. When a mattress has good motion isolation, it will have minimal motion transfer. A bed with excessive motion transfer has bad motion isolation, meaning you can feel your partner’s every move.

Check out our other mattress guides

best mattress 2021 check out more guides

Read more about Insider Reviews’ top mattress reviews

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The 5 best magnetic stove shelves of 2021 for easy extra storage

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • For anyone with a small kitchen, a magnetic stove shelf is an easy way to add additional storage.
  • Good magnetic shelves require no installation and have strong magnets to keep them firmly in place.
  • We found magnetic stove shelf options for large stoves, heavy items, and more.

In the kitchen, every bit of extra storage counts. A magnetic stove shelf is an easy way to keep seasonings, sauces, and other cooking essentials on hand without having to do any major installations, which makes it an especially attractive option both for smaller spaces and for rentals. All you have to do is stick it against any metal surface and you’re all set.

When shopping for a magnetic stove shelf, you’ll want to ensure that the shelf matches your oven’s measurements and can hold the weight of the items you’re looking to store, especially because many stove shelves aren’t built to hold super bulky or heavy items and can start to slide. We found options ranging from multi-purpose shelves that have hooks and paper towel racks for easy organization to magnetic shelves to fit oversized ovens.

Here are the best magnetic stove shelves

The best magnetic stove shelf overall

best overall stove shelf
Choose from four color options to match your decor.

The Branway Store Magnetic Spice Rack two-pack comes in multiple colors and offers easy storage for your oven or any other magnetic appliances in your home.

What we like: Available in multiple colors, made of thick metal, comes with attachable hooks

This simple set includes two shelves that can be used throughout your kitchen. Choose from black, blue, red, or white color options to best compliment your decor. The shelves can hold up to five pounds, making them a great option for storing small items such as spices, sauces, or napkins. Complete with two hooks, you can also hang oven mitts and cooking utensils on each shelf.

If they won’t quite work on your stove, you can also easily attach them to any metal surface, including a fridge or microwave.

The best magnetic stove shelf for large stoves

magnetic stove shelf
Just place this magnetic shelf on top of your stove and you’re ready to go.

The magnets on the StoveShelf Magnetic Shelf for Kitchen Stove can be positioned for a custom fit and it comes in options up to 30″ long to fit bigger stoves.

What we like: Available in multiple finishes and three lengths, made with materials that are easy to clean, customizable magnet placement

Whether you have a stove with a curved or flat top, this shelf is equipped with magnets that can be repositioned for a better, more custom fit. Available in four finishes, no matter which one you opt for your shelf will be rust-, corrosion-, and stain-resistant. The shelf is also available in three long lengths ranging from 20 inches to 30 inches, making it a great option for those with longer stovetops.

The shelf is hand-wash only but can be easily cleaned with warm water and dish soap. Because it’s designed to sit directly on top of your stovetop, it can also hold heavier items.

The best magnetic stove shelf on a budget

best budget rectangle stove shelf
This shelf includes a non-slip rubber mat to prevent items from shifting.

If you only have a few extra items to store, the Kenvone Fridge Spice Rack Organizer is a low-cost and simple option.

What we like: Sleek simple design, made of sturdy steel

This steel shelf can hold up to six pounds and is a great option for storing various seasonings and spices, or even a couple of mugs. In addition to a non-slip rubber mat, the shelf also has a raised edge to stop items from falling and moving around. While it’s only available in matte black, it’s simple yet chic enough to match most kitchen decor. For those who just need a place for a few pesky items, this is a solid low-cost option.

The best multi-purpose stove shelf

FOLNG Magnetic Shelf horizontal
A rust-proof powder coating ensures this rack will hold up over time.

The FOLNG Magnetic-Shelf-Organizer can hold everything from oven mitts and spices to paper towels and can be used on magnetic and non-magnetic surfaces alike.

What we like: Foldable rod, waterproof, long-lasting, can be used on magnetic or non-magnetic surfaces

This waterproof rack can be used to help you organize various kitchen items thanks to its smart design that features a shelf, two removable hooks, and a wooden paper towel or drying cloth rod. When not in use, the rod can be folded up for a sleeker design. The rack has a heightened guardrail, which helps it hold up larger items such as jars or bottles without them slipping and sliding.

As an added bonus, you can also use this stove shelf on non-magnetic surfaces since, in addition to magnets, it also comes with screws and adhesives for those who prefer it to install it on a wall.

The best magnetic stove shelf for heavy items

X-Chef Mag Shelf
Each tier can store up to 12 small spice bottles.

The heavy-duty X-Chef Magnetic Spice Rack shelf can hold triple the weight of most shelves.

What we like: Has removable hooks and paper towel holders, foldable, holds up to 30 pounds

While many magnetic stove shelves hold just six to seven pounds, this shelf is equipped with three strong magnets that can support up to a whopping 30 pounds. The rack is available in black and white finishes and can be folded for easy storage when not in use. The two-tiered rack features five removable hooks, two paper towel holders, and two shelves that are far enough apart to allow plenty of space for taller items.

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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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