The 5 best bed sheets in 2021 for every sleeper

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bed dressed in green sheets as part of testing for the best sheets 2021
  • Good sheets are essential to good sleep, which is why you need a set that’s comfortable and durable.
  • The L.L.Bean Percale Sheet Set is our top pick for most people because they’re crisp and breathable.
  • It’s made from soft, durable, extra-long-staple cotton and is affordably priced for the quality.
  • Read more about how Insider Reviews tests home products.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

I’ve spent four years trying out more than three dozen sets of sheets, and I can tell you – even if you have the perfect mattress and pillow, bedtime is incomplete without soft and comfortable sheets. For this guide, I put 19 sets of sheets through rigorous testing to determine the top five for a variety of preferences and budgets. L.L.Bean’s Percale Sheet Set is the best option for most people.

I spoke to hospitality experts and a textiles scientist to learn more about thread count, materials and fiber types, and fabric care. The FAQs section contains more info on why thread count is less important than you think, why you should look for 100% long-staple cotton as a sheeting material, and how to prevent wrinkles in your fresh sheets.

The majority of our picks are made from cotton, which offers the best balance of comfort, durability, and affordability. But we’ve also included options like flannel and linen, which hold heat differently and may be more appropriate for specific seasons or those who tend to sleep cold or hot.

Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021

Best sheets overall

blue l.l.bean pima cotton sheets and pillows the best sheets overall 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
Best flannel sheets for winter

person laying in red pinzon flannel sheets while holding a mug testing for the best flannel sheets for winter 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cotton Flannel Bed Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
Best hotel sheets

overhead shot of folded frette cotton sheets the best luxury hotel sheets 2021

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

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

Cons: Only available in white

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sateen Classic Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
Best sheets on a budget

threshold target sheets next to nightstand testing for the best budget affordable sheets 2021

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

Pros: Affordable, great fit 

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

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

Once on, the sateen sheets are smooth and silky. They’re made from 100% cotton and have a 400-thread count on the higher end of all the sets I tried.

After some use, however, I noticed that they seem to trap body oils more readily and feel greasier than other sets, making them less pleasant to sleep on. I wondered if this was because Target uses a short-staple cotton, or if they applied some kind of treatment over the sheets to give them their “performance” qualities (wrinkle-resistant, bleach friendly), but the brand didn’t respond to my requests for additional clarification. The problem does seem to go away if I wash the sheets more often.

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

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

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

Performance Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
Best cooling sheets for summer

pink linen sheets and pillows from sijo home the best linen sheets 2021

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

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

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

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

Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I’ve tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple of months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And they get softer and better after multiple washes.

If your preconception of linen is that it’s too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo’s sheets will change your mind. They’re also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March). 

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

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

Linen Sheet Set (Queen) (button)
What else we tested

green magiclinen sheets and pillows more sheets we tried in 2021

What else we recommend and why 

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

Brooklinen (linen): Brooklinen’s sateen sheets usually get all the love, but we were also interested in its other fabrics. Each set of its cozy made-in-Portugal linen sheets is individually garment-dyed, so you’ll feel like you have a unique piece of bedding. Our top pick is softer, but Brooklinen’s are still pretty comfortable and come at the best price. 

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

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

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

ParachuteParachute’s name often comes up along with fellow direct-to-consumer brands Brooklinen and Boll & Branch, all of which launched around the same time. We loved the smooth feel of its sateen sheets, which were softer than Brooklinen’s. The one downside is they come in limited colors, and many sizes are currently sold out. 

SnoweThe crisp percale sheets from Snowe have both the feel and sensibility of a light button-down shirt. They’re sophisticated and sleek, though not quite as soft as other percale options we’ve tried. I slept with them during the dead of summer, and they kept me cool and comfortable. 

CasperCasper’s newest bedding offering is the Hyperlite Sheet Set, made from Tencel lyocell, which comes from sustainably sourced wood. The material is indeed incredibly lightweight and soft, with a thin, gauzy construction — so thin that it’s a bit see-through. They’ve held up really well after many washes. 

Bed ThreadsThis is another brand we love for fairly priced linen sheets. Bed Threads offers extended sizing and an assortment of beautiful colors to spruce up your bedroom. (I sampled the lilac.)

What we do not recommend and why 

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

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

Italic: Long-staple cotton percale sheets made by the same manufacturer of Frette, Four Seasons, and St. Regis sheets for $85? The Slumber Cotton set is enticing for this reason, and it’s comfortable to sleep in. However, Italic has a $100/year membership model, so buying this set only makes sense if you plan on purchasing other goods from the site. We recommend first browsing the rest of the online shop to see if you’re interested in the other home products, clothing, and accessories. Otherwise, you’ll be paying $185, which isn’t any more competitive than our picks above. 

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

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

Our testing methodology

hand touching a printed bed sheet part of the testing methodology for best sheets 2021

Here’s how we tested the sheets over nine months. We’ll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.

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

What we’re testing next

west elm linen sheets what we look forward to testing for the best sheets 2021

Lilysilk: One category we’d like to add to our guide in the future is “best silk sheets.” The luxurious Lilysilk sheets are made of mulberry silk and are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. We like that Lilysilk lets you customize what pieces are included in your sheet set. 

THX Silk: The THX Silk 19 momme silk sheet could have the same description as the Lilysilk sheets. They’re made from OEKO-TEX certified mulberry silk, but they “only” cost $410. We’re curious to see if these luxury sheets live up to their price.

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

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

FAQs

an open dryer machine with sheets inside to answer FAQs about how to take care of your sheets 2021

Does thread count matter?

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

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

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

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

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

What are the different types of sheets?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of sheets do hotels use?

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

Top hotel brands like Four Seasons and Kimpton outfit their rooms in 100% long-staple cotton sheets because they’re soft, breathable, and durable, resulting in luxurious and memorable sleep experiences for their guests. Long-staple cotton has longer fibers, so it’s stronger and softer than shorter-staple cotton, which is why we also generally recommend 100% long-staple cotton in our best picks. 

What are the different sheet certifications?

You may notice that some of our best picks have a Standard 100 by Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final sheet product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it’s not the only certification out there, it’s widely used and known in the textiles industry.

Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.

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

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

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

What’s the best way to prevent wrinkles?

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

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

Are alternative fibers any good? 

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

What kind of duvet cover do you pair with your sheets? 

It’s best to choose a duvet cover with the same fabrication as your sheet set — if you like how your sheets feel below you, you’ll like how the same type of fabric feels on top of you. Most of the brands we recommend in our guide also sell matching duvet covers. If you want to mix and match bedding pieces, we’ll soon be overhauling our guide to the best duvet covers

Check out our other great bedding guides

best weighted blanket bearaby napper
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best weighted blanket we tested in 2021

best weighted comforter 2021 brooklinen thumb

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

If you toss and turn at night or find your mind racing when trying to fall asleep, you might benefit from adding a weighted blanket to your bedding. Usually weighing somewhere between 15 and 25 pounds, weighted blankets provide gentle, constant pressure as you sleep, and recent studies have shown promising results in their ability to ease anxiety and reduce insomnia, though research remains limited.

I spoke with Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She said the reason why weighted blankets tend to work is quite primal. “It really hearkens back to the way we entered the world,” said Robbins. “You were in a womb, compressed on all sides by water and fluid, and so there was a sense of pressure. We try to emulate that with infants by swaddling them. We might look at weighted blankets as the adult version of swaddling or emulating those circumstances where we feel at ease.”

I tested 12 of the most popular weighted blankets on the market to determine the best ones you can buy. I evaluated them for how well I slept while using them, the quality of materials and construction, how easy they were to wash and care for, and how comfy they were.

The best weighted blankets in 2021

Best weighted comforter

best weighted blanket 2021 brooklinen weighted comforter

Brooklinen’s Weighted Comforter has a premium plush design that blends seamlessly with the rest of your bedding.

Pros: Looks just like a normal comforter, lots of plush fill, made of 400-thread-count cotton sateen, has duvet cover loops, accepts returns in any condition within one year of purchase

Cons: Dry clean only, duvet cover sold separately, difficult to adjust while using it

If you don’t want to sleep under a stack of blankets or compromise your bedroom’s look, you’ll want a weighted comforter, and Brooklinen makes the best one I tried. It looks and feels like a traditional plush comforter but with an extra 20 pounds of weight integrated with small glass beads. The blanket itself is made of 400-thread-count cotton sateen, so it’s soft enough to throw on your bed without a duvet cover.

That being said, we recommend adding one — corner loops make it easy to tie on — because the blanket is dry-clean only, which could run you anywhere from $20 to $50.

I found that the 20-pound comforter I tested weighed closer to 24 pounds, but the extra weight didn’t make too much of a difference once I laid it out on the bed. Sleeping under it was pretty dreamy (excuse the pun). I felt enveloped by the cushy fill but not too overwhelmed or overheated. It was somewhat difficult to adjust while lying under it due to the weight and size, but I found this typical for just about every comforter-sized weighted blanket I tested.

Though pricey, this comfortable weighted blanket is worth the investment, especially because it will entirely replace your comforter. If you find it’s not right for you, Brooklinen has an incredibly lenient return policy, accepting returns for any reason in any condition within 365 days of your purchase.

Best extra-heavy weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 gravity blanket heavy

Gravity’s 35-pound weighted blanket evenly distributes weight across your king-size bed and is perfect for those who are looking for some extra heft.

Pros: Great for those who need a heavier blanket, weight is evenly distributed, no beanbag feel, the cover is machine washable, low profile blanket

Cons: Queen/king size only comes in 35 pounds, the cover should be washed before use, too heavy to adjust in the middle of the night, the inner blanket is hand-wash only, customers are responsible for return fees

When I first received the Gravity 35-pound blanket, I thought it would feel way too heavy, but I found it pretty manageable. It did tend to slide down the bed as I was sleeping, and I’d often wake up about a foot lower than usual because I was chasing the blanket around through the night. It was simply too heavy to pull up or adjust while laying under it, though someone stronger than me will likely not have this issue.

One issue with this blanket was that the included micro-plush duvet cover felt oddly greasy out of the package. It left a film on my hands as I tried to smooth it out over the bed. But the zip-on cover is removable and washable, and a run through the wash resolved the issue. I can’t imagine hauling such a heavy blanket into and out of a washing machine, so the removable cover is a huge plus. 

The Gravity blanket is low-profile without any excess fill, so it won’t add a lot of bulk to your bed. That said, it’s not as plush or cozy as the Brooklinen comforter, which does also come in a 35-pound version, though it’s much more expensive.

The brand also makes “single” size weighted blankets that measure 48-inches by 72-inches. I tested a 15-pound one with a cooling cover and found it performed well, but nothing made it stand out from the pack.

Best cooling weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 cooling blanket blanquil chill

The BlanQuil Chill‘s unique cover disperses heat and stays cool to the touch as you fall asleep, but its slick fabric can cause it to slide off the bed.

Pros: Stays cool to the touch, no beanbag feel, glass beads don’t shift, 60-night sleep trial

Cons: Slides off the bed easily; internal blanket is spot-clean only; only one size, one color, and two weights available

I sleep hot, and the BlanQuil Chill is the weighted blanket I have the longest relationship with. It’s been on my bed for about a year and a half, and I’ve had two iterations of the design.

I lined up all the cooling blankets I tested for this guide and ran my hand across each one, and the BlanQuil felt noticeably cooler than all the others. Plus, it did the best job of dissipating heat and getting back to its cool baseline.

Since it’s slightly bigger than a twin bed, it’s not a blanket that’s intended to be shared. Glass beads add weight, but there’s no beanbag feeling, and I’ve never felt them shift in a way that causes the blanket to feel lumpy or uneven.

The zipper on the removable, washable cover of the first version of the design was weak, couldn’t handle the weight of the blanket, and broke just a couple of months into its use. But BlanQuil has since reinforced the zipper, and I’ve yet to have a problem with it. I even stress tested it by holding the weight of the blanket against the zipper, and it held strong.

Though it’s one of the best I’ve used, the cooling cover’s material has a bit of a sheen to it, which makes it slick so it slides off the bed easily — especially if you toss and turn at night. As soon as it gets off-center, the blanket’s weight will cause it to slide.

Best weighted throw blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 bearaby knitted throw blanket

The cocoon-like, knit-woven Bearaby Cotton Napper keeps you cozy yet cool as you lounge on the couch, it’s entirely machine washable, and it’s one of the heftiest blankets we tested.

Pros: Aesthetic design, has significant heft, made from organic cotton, washable and dryable, 30-day return policy if blanket remains unwashed, most versatile weighted blanket I tested

Cons: Doesn’t fit in compact washing machines, takes multiple cycles to dry, open weave may catch toes and fingers, heavier than advertised (though this may be a pro, depending on your preference)

The weight of the Bearaby Napper comes entirely from the dense organic cotton strands hand-knit into one of the most aesthetically minded weighted blankets I’ve ever seen.

This is a really heavy blanket — the blanket I tested, which was advertised as the 15-pound version, actually tipped the scales at 24 pounds. I contacted the company to verify that they sent me the right item, and they assured me they did. 

It’s not necessarily bad that they’re heavier than advertised, but it’s something to keep in mind when you order.

A blanket this heavy — and bulky — can be tough to shift around, and if it’s going to live on your couch, it will take up quite a bit of space. I’ve shifted it to my bed. It drapes nicely over my partner and me, but the open weave makes it prone to stretching if you need to pull it up in the night. It hasn’t become misshapen in any significant way, thankfully.

It’s not quite a cooling blanket — Bearaby does offer one called the Tree Napper that I haven’t tested — but it doesn’t trap heat thanks to the open weave. The holes are quite large, though, so if you are bothered by some toes or fingers poking through, you might want to look elsewhere.

The Napper is fully machine washable and can go in the dryer on a delicate setting. I wanted to see how the blanket washed and dried as part of my test, but it didn’t fit in my space-saving apartment-sized washing machine.

Best budget weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 luna blanket budget affordable cheap

Weighted blankets are typically expensive, but the Luna Weighted Blanket is gentle on your wallet despite being constructed from Oeko-Tex-certified cotton and filled with natural glass beads.

Pros: Excellent quality at a low price; comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and weights; fully machine washable; Oeko-Tex Certified construction; true to weight

Cons: Thinner blanket than some others on our list

Weighted blankets tend to be very expensive, but Luna offers an excellent weighted blanket at an affordable price.

I tested the 15-pound queen-size blanket, and the glass beads inside were barely noticeable, producing no beanbag effect. Where many other cheap weighted blankets are loaded with chemicals, the Luna Weighted Blanket is Oeko-Tex Certified, meaning it contains no harmful materials.

The blanket is much thinner than some of the others I tested, but it stayed breathable and was light enough to easily adjust in the middle of the night. It wasn’t quite as cozy as some others, but it’s a great option to layer with your usual comforter or use during the warmer months.

As I’ve continued to test these blankets, the Luna has become a bit of a travel-sized weighted blanket for me. I wouldn’t recommend taking it on an airplane — it’s a bit bulky for that — but the Luna is thin enough to fold into a car trunk-friendly size. 

The blanket was a true 15 pounds according to my scale, but that weight was dispersed over a queen-size surface area, making it feel lighter. 

It’s also one of the easiest blankets to clean that I tested. The entire thing fits into my compact washer-dryer and was fully dry within one cycle — and it got softer after just one wash.

Best king-size weighted blanket

A dog lying on a bed covered by the HomeSmart weighted blanket

The HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket is large enough for couples, breathes well to keep you from overheating, and can go in the washer and dryer.

Pros: Breathable organic cotton shell, glass beads sewn into 5-by-5-inch pockets for even weight distribution, machine washable and dryable, the king size is large enough for couples, weight options up to 50 lbs.

Cons: The blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use, hard to track down customer support

As a big guy, one of the problems I run into with weighted blankets is that they aren’t large enough to cover my whole body. Even queen-size blankets tend to be too small to reach my giant feet. This was not a problem with the HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket.

At 88 inches by 104 inches and with weight options up to 50 pounds, it’s the ideal blanket for couples who want to enjoy the comfort of a weighted blanket without sacrificing intimacy.

The HomeSmart blanket features micro glass beads sewn into the 400-thread count organic cotton shell with 5-by-5-inch pockets to keep the weight evenly distributed. The blanket is machine washable and dryable, which is a must for me since I don’t use duvet covers. I’ve washed the blanket several times over the last two-and-a-half years and have found it’s an effortless endeavor. If you want to add a duvet cover, the blanket has 10 loops for tying one on.

I tested the 15-pound and 25-pound comforters and enjoyed both, though the 25-pounder was almost too restrictive for me. I prefer the 15-pounder, and it’s what I sleep under when I’m not testing other models. Thanks to its breathability, it’s a great year-round blanket. Even in the summer, overheating has never been an issue.

The HomeSmart Weighted Blanket isn’t without its flaws. The 25-pound blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use. This was likely due to one of our pets working a hole into it. I tried to reach customer service but couldn’t get a hold of anyone.

-James Brains, reporter

What else we tested

best weighted blanket 2021 what else we tested gravity helix brooklyn bedding
The Gravity Cooling, Helix, and Brooklyn Bedding weighted blankets were among the others we tested.

What we recommend and why 

Baloo Cool Cotton Weighted Blanket: The Baloo weighted blanket struck a great balance between comfort and cost. Its construction and quality felt similar enough to the Luna that we’d rather recommend the one that’s even more affordable.

Gravity Cooling Blanket: The blanket itself is well-built and high-quality, but the cooling cover did little to actually cool me off as I slept. It just felt like any other weighted blanket and didn’t do much to distinguish itself from the other blankets I tried.

Brooklyn Bedding Dual Therapy Weighted Blanket: This blanket is dual-sided — with a silky cooling side and a minky textured side. The silky side stayed cool to the touch, and the bumps on the minky side provided a nice sensory option. It didn’t feel beanbaggy, and the weight was evenly distributed. But it was only available in one size, two weights, and one dark gray color that severely limited how many home decor scenarios it would work within.

What we don’t recommend and why

Yaasa Weighted Blanket: This is a knit-style blanket similar to the Bearaby Napper, but Yaasa’s weave was much tighter and allowed for less airflow. The material also felt spongier and less cozy than the Napper’s. The Yaasa blanket was also dry clean only.

Helix Weighted Blanket: This blanket is dual-sided with a white sherpa fleece side and a gray minky fleece side. I found the sherpa side especially cozy, and so did my cat. But it had one of the worst beanbag effects of any of the blankets I tried, and there is only one size and color option available, though it did come in three weights. If this blanket suits your style, it’s a decent buy for an affordable price.

YnM Weighted Blanket: This is an Amazon bestseller in weighted blankets, so we wanted to put it to the test. It’s a perfectly serviceable budget blanket, but the glass beads created a sort of beanbag effect that the Luna did not. Plus, the Luna is even cheaper and made of Oeko-Tex certified cotton, which isn’t found with the YnM.

Our testing methodology

There are several factors I took into consideration while assessing weighted blankets. Aside from the general coziness and comfort provided by each blanket, I also assessed things like quality of material, value, weight options, and aesthetics. For example, a blanket that came in more color and weight options beat out a blanket of equal quality that came in fewer options. I also considered return policies, sleep trials, and how easy these blankets were to clean.

The following are three tests I ran each blanket through to assess general user experience:

Sleep test: I slept with each weighted blanket on my bed for at least three consecutive nights. I noted how well I slept overall and how the blanket regulated my sleep temperature. I also paid attention to how well the blanket stayed in place as I slept and how easy it was to adjust while lying under it. Part of this test also included making the bed every day (hauling a weighted blanket is harder than it looks).

Wash test: I washed every weighted blanket or cover that was machine washable at least once to ensure they held up well in the wash and didn’t shrink, shed, or otherwise show signs of wear. I noted if the added weight made them more difficult to haul into and out of the washing machine. I also discovered that one of the machine-washable blankets was so bulky it didn’t fit into my washing machine. For those blankets that weren’t machine-washable, I noted the care instructions and factored that into the cons of the blanket as I assessed them.

Weight test: I wanted to ensure each blanket was actually the advertised weight. To get an accurate reading, I weighed myself and then weighed myself again while holding each blanket, noting any discrepancies in the advertised weight versus the actual weight.

What we’re testing next

Bearaby Sleeper: This is the only weighted blanket I’ve discovered designed specifically for couples. While there’s little data available to determine the best weight for a couple to share, Bearaby has eliminated some of that guesswork by weighting the two halves of the blanket differently, allowing you to choose the right weight for each person. This is especially useful if you and your partner are drastically different sizes and would benefit from different blanket weights. The two halves can unzip from each other and become two distinct blankets. Right now, they are sold out, but Bearaby has assured us that they’ll be restocking soon, and we hope to test it once they do.

Luxome Luxury Weighted Blanket: The Luxome weighted blanket comes with a reversible cover with a plush minky fabric on one side and a cooling bamboo fabric on the other. This allows you to customize your blanket with the seasons. I’m curious to see if this versatility makes a difference in how the blanket affects my body temperature. It’s also a nice mid-range option in terms of price, and I’m hoping to add more affordable options to this guide.

Slumber Cloud Weighted Blanket: In my ongoing quest to find a cooling weighted blanket that stays put throughout the night, I’m looking forward to testing the Slumber Cloud. It’s made using thermoregulation technology developed by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their spacesuits. The Outlast technology uses small beads that absorb body heat when you get too hot and release it back to you when you get too cold. I’m fascinated by this concept, and I’m excited to see if it works.

Weighted blanket FAQs

What weight should a weighted blanket be?

It’s recommended that you select a blanket that’s roughly 10% of your body weight. But Robbins adds that there are no clinically established guideposts for choosing a blanket weight. “It’s hard for the one size fits all approach because we’re all just so unique and have different physiologies,” she says.

This is especially true when blankets come in different sizes. A 15-pound throw blanket is going to feel much heavier than a 15-pound comforter since a larger blanket distributes its weight over a larger surface area. Robbins suggests trying out weighted blankets before purchasing them. If you can’t test weighted blankets in a store, look for brands that offer sleep trials or have buyer-friendly return policies like many of our top picks.

What if I’m sharing the weighted blanket with a partner?

If you’re sharing a weighted blanket with a partner, you’ll likely want something a bit heavier, mostly because larger blankets feel lighter than smaller ones. A blog from Layla Sleep advises purchasing a blanket that’s roughly 7.5% of the couple’s combined weight.

I reached out to the brand to determine how they established this number, and a representative responded, “Most suggestions in terms of weight are based on anecdotal evidence. We also factor in the customer satisfaction data that we have when making suggestions, but ultimately the weight that’s right for any one person will depend heavily on personal preference.”

It’s important to note that this parameter hasn’t been established in any clinical trial or scientific study, so take it with a grain of salt. As long as you’re comfortable and can move freely under the blanket, you should choose the weight that works best for you.

What size weighted blanket should I get?

If you’re sharing a blanket with a partner with a similar body weight, you’ll want a weighted blanket that covers your entire bed. Many brands, including almost all of our top picks, offer blankets in multiple sizes to fit standard twin, full, queen, and king beds.

Some weighted blankets in these sizes are a bit smaller than typical comforters so the weighted blanket doesn’t hang off the side of your bed too much. Excess fabric hanging off the side can pull the weighted blanket off-center as you shift around in the night.

If you and your partner are very different weights, consider opting for two smaller separate blankets in a throw or twin size. This way, you can each get the weight that’s most comfortable for you. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of not having to worry about blanket theft in the middle of the night.

How do I choose a weighted blanket?

In addition to weight and size considerations (see above), you’ll also want to consider how easy the blanket is to clean and what type of fill it uses. A duvet cover will be easier to wash than a weighted blanket, but with a cover, you have to deal with the hassle of removing it and putting it back on. Even with ties to keep it in place, the blanket may still bunch up inside the cover.

Weighted blankets rely on glass beads, plastic pellets, or, less commonly, steel shot beads. What you prefer is a matter of personal preference. Comforters with plastic pellets tend to be cheaper, but it’s a less eco-friendly material.

How often should I wash my weighted blanket?

Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President at The American Cleaning Institute, recommends you treat your weighted blanket like any comforter, washing it once or twice a year, provided it’s covered by a duvet cover that you’re washing monthly. If it doesn’t have a removable cover, the entire blanket should be washed roughly once a month.

Are weighted blankets good for anxiety?

In theory, the answer is yes. However, there are no randomized clinical trials that can speak to the efficacy of weighted blankets in the treatment of anxiety. This is because it would be obvious once participants curl up under one of the blankets that they’re either in the control group or the weighted blanket group. 

The theory is that weighted blankets help reduce some anxiety symptoms, like quickened breathing or heart rate, by putting your autonomic nervous system at ease. 

Anecdotally, my wife and I have both been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. We’ve found lounging with a weighted blanket helps us unwind.

The bottom line is weighted blankets may help with anxiety, but there isn’t any hard science to back it up.

 

Check out our other sleep and bedding guides

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The 5 Best Thermometers in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Every household should have an accurate digital thermometer and know how and when to use it.
  • The CDC recommends checking your temperature before heading to work, school, or other public places.
  • Our top pick, iProven’s DMT-511, reads accurately in 1 second and can be used in-ear or on forehead.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Benjamin Hoffman, MD, professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health and Science University.

Having an accurate thermometer on hand can help tell you how severely the body is in distress – whether it’s confirming that you or your baby is ill enough to need a doctor or the hospital, or if your systems are safe after being exposed to dangerous weather.

A fever also one of the key symptoms of COVID-19, and many businesses, school, gyms, and other public places as you to confirm you don’t have one before entering. (It’s worth noting that influenza usually produces higher fevers than common colds, and not everyone with COVID19 even spikes a fever.)

Luckily, getting a quick temperature reading is remarkably easy and safe these days. But the biggest variable among thermometers you can buy is really just: Is it accurate? That’s why I tested 10 leading thermometers, in addition to speaking with many experts and parents on which type of home thermometer is best and other FAQs on therometers and fevers.

Here are the best thermometers to check for a fever:

How we tested thermometers

Thermometers on table

I reached out to a number of pediatricians for their expert opinion on thermometers and read journal articles, “Consumer Reports,” customer reviews, and even spoke with 20 parents about their temperature-taking experiences.

I narrowed it down to the top 10 thermometers and tested each myself nine times over the course of three days on myself and my two kids, as well as a handful of times on my sister and two of my nieces, one of whom is an infant. I also handed off two of the infrared thermometers to Cindy Mrotek, owner of A.C.E Behavior Solutions, an essential business screening adults and children with special health care needs upon entry, for testing over the course of one week.

I looked at each product’s speed, size of display, mute options, memory recall, batteries, warranty options, and storage containers. I also looked hard look at:

  • Accuracy, precision, and readability of thermometer instructions: You have to use a thermometer correctly for an accurate reading, so I evaluated the information on each product’s box and inside its user manual from a health literacy perspective, including how helpful and easy to read the instructions were. Models varied, with some having a quick guide with pictures (great), information in Spanish (big bonus), or a QR code for video instructions, while others had print so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read it.  
  • Cost and availability: Since thermometers are an essential part of an at-home health kit, they need to be affordable. Some on our list are the price of two cups of coffee, while others are upwards of $30, but we also layout how you can save money on a thermometer by using your health savings account or flex spending account

Best thermometer overall

iProven thermo

The iProven Forehead and Ear Thermometer DMT-511 is highly impressive with an accurate instant read in just one second, versatile use, and comprehensive instructions on quality packaging. 

Pros: User friendly, easy to read, nice storage pouch, precise, can be used either contactless or in-ear

Cons: Cap to change methods difficult to snap on, no probe covers 

The iProven DMT-511 infrared therometer is two-in-one, as it allows you to switch from reading via an in-ear probe or a forehead setting, the latter of which is safer for infants under 3 months old.

It was highly accurate in my tests, reading within 0.5-1.0 degrees again and again for forehead readings and within 0.5-0.8 degrees for ear mode. It also displays the temperature within one second.

There are separate buttons for “head” and “ear,” and to change from one to the other, you need to snap on or off the top cap of the thermometer, which I found a little difficult but still doable.

To get an accurate ear temperature,  you have to insert and place the probe top correctly, so be sure to read the instructions thoroughly. It took me a couple of tries to feel confident taking my own temperature this way.

I liked that it has a fever alarm and color temperature indication to take the guesswork out of interpreting the readings. The manual also includes a very comprehensive comparison table on how to interpret measurements based on age and method. The thermometer can also store up to 20 past readings for easy comparison. 

The devices comes with two AA batteries, a soft pouch for storage (great for travel and diaper bags), and cleaning instructions. It also comes with a two-year limited warranty and the option of an extended year warranty for free.

Best budget thermometer

Vicks thermometer

The Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer was the most affordable of the thermometers tested, easy to use, and has a large digital screen with color-coded readings to indicate fever.

Pros: Affordable, multiuse, precise, large digital display, comes with probe covers

Cons: Very loud beep, must turn off and on between readings, colored fever alerts misleading, coin cell battery is more annoying to replace 

The Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer is easy to use right out the box: There’s only one button and you have the option to use the device orally, rectally, or under the arm. Its runs on an included coin cell button battery.

I found the large digital display to be the easiest to read of all the thermometers I tested. It also beeps the loudest of the group, which is especially helpful for seniors with visual and hearing impairments, but also could be a nuisance for some considering the beeping lasts a full eight seconds.

The LCD screen uses a color temperature indication alongside displaying the actual number, which is generally helpful but fever isn’t the same for everyone so this could be alarmist if you run hot.

The precision and repeatability of the thermometer was quite good in my tests and only varied by about 0.5 degrees. Although the box says the Vicks Comfort Flex Thermometer takes 10-12 seconds to read your temperature, I found it was actually much quicker with a response time of 5 to 6 seconds orally and 6 to 7 seconds rectally. 

It is a little annoying that you have to turn it off and back on to take a second reading, and it is  only able to recall the last reading you took. But I did like that this model comes with 100 disposable probe covers and a protective holder, along with a one-year limited warranty and instructions in English and Spanish.

Best infrared non-contact thermometer

iHealth

The iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 reads in just one second and makes it easy to accurately take anyone’s temperature while being socially distant. 

Pros: Fast reading, precise, no beeping, helpful content in user manual  

Cons: Vibration may be missed, prone to user error, doesn’t work well for kids that won’t sit still

Prior to testing the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 myself, I’d already seen it in action for pre-screening at both my dentist’s office and my daughter’s daycare. It seemed like a good product that offered quick readings.

When I tested it myself, I found that first impression held up. Instead of a beeping alarm, the device vibrates once it has a reading, which also lights up the LED display. This is nice if you don’t want a loud noise, and upon testing, I found the precision and repeatability varied only by 0.5 degrees. 

I also had Cindy Mrotek, whose business A.C.E Behavior Solutions screens people upon entry, try it out and she said the iHealth was a faster read compared to other infrared thermometers. However, she added it was a bit difficult to use on kids that can’t sit still. I myself found the device woudn’t read if it was too far away from the skin.

The iHealth comes with a user manual in English and Spanish, a quick guide with pictures, two AAA batteries, and cleaning instructions. It also has a one-year limited warranty. 

Best thermometer for daily testing

Kinsa thermo

If you’re tech-savvy and looking for a great smart thermometer, the Kinsa Quick Care Smart Thermometer can be used three ways and even allows you to contribute to public health research. 

Pros: Diverse way to read temps, can support multiple family members and keep temperature records separate, has great app features, contributes to public health research  

Cons: Needs app to work, does not include probe covers,

Every morning, I have to self-certify that my kids are free of COVID-19 symptoms before sending them off to school. A smart thermometer like the Kinsa — which stores all the readings for each individual family member on my phone and helps me monitor their baseline temperature — makes that daily routine much easier to manage.

The Kinsa Quick Care Smart Thermometer connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and uses an app, which I found easy to set up. I then created profiles for each member of my family, which includes inputting their birthdays to help the app’s algorithm provide appropriate care instructions person to person. You can also add notes, symptoms, and track medication doses within the app.

After each reading, the thermometer displays not only the temperature but a happy, neutral, or sad-face emoji corresponding with fever status.

You can check the temperature orally, under the armpit, or rectally (they also make a separate model specific for in-ear use). Although the box says the response time is 8 seconds, I found it to read a temperature between 2 to 3 seconds when used orally. The precision varies between 0.8 and 0.5 degrees.

Kinsa sits in a really unique space for both thermometers and smart equipment contributing to public health: As Hilary Brueck, Insider’s Senior Health and Science reporter, has laid out, the smart thermometer has helped forecast outbreaks of both the coronavirus and the flu, including detecting fever spikes weeks before hospitals and clinics start to see an influx of patients. 

It’s an added bonus that using this stellar, versatile, and accurate thermometer can help contribute to predicting COVID hotspots.

Best thermometer for kids

Exergen

The Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer with Smart Glow was the most accurate and consistent out of all the thermometers I tested and has over 80 peer-reviewed clinical studies to back up its use on children. 

Pros: Most precise tested, suitable for all ages older than three months

Cons: Unintuitive, dim display, plastic cap to protect the sensor easy to lose 

Next to rectal thermometers, temporal artery thermometers are the most reliable way to get an accurate reading on children and babies over 3 months of age. (Use a rectal thermometer on infants under 3 months.) 

With the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer, a gentle stroke across a child’s forehead captures the naturally emitted heat waves coming from the skin over the temporal artery to give a reading in 2 to 3 seconds. It can store up to eight readings. 

When tested repeatedly, the Exergen thermometer delivered the most consistent and precise results of any model tested on myself and my kids — within 0.3 degrees.

However, unlike other models with backlight displays, the Exergen has a relatively small LCD display screen with a dim readout. It may be hard to see if you are in a dark room. 

However, unlike others, this thermometer wasn’t as intuitive to use, despite having instructions printed directly on the back of the device, I wasn’t sure if I was correctly stroking the top of the unit across the forehead. But the instruction manual had a QR code which led to videos demonstrating how to use it, which was helpful. 

The model comes with a 9V battery already installed, cleaning instructions, and a five-year limited product warranty.

Read our guide to the best thermometers for babies and children for additional options.

What else we considered

What else we considered thermometer

What we recommend

Braun Thermoscan 7 Ear Thermometer ($38): This is a fantastic in-ear thermometer with much peer-reviewed research to back it up, and not only do we recommend it but many parents I spoke with already own it. The downsides are it takes 10 seconds to read a temp, and it’s the most expensive option I tested — especially when you factor in the disposable lens filters that need replacing for accuracy and hygiene.

Dr. Talbot’s Infrared Forehead Thermometer, Non-Contact ($19.89): This device has comparable precision and speed to the iHealth and is designed for contactless reading of infants over 3 months, including adults. I liked this device and it was easy to operate, but it’s more expensive than the iHealth and was difficult to change the settings using only the trigger. 

Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer ($39.99): The Kinsa is super sleek and easy to use on yourself, which can be tricky for the ear. I also found the app to be tremendous in terms of content with very helpful instructions. Even though the readings only took a second, the precision tended to vary by 1.5 degrees.

What we don’t recommend

CVS Health Flexible Tip Digital Thermometer ($18.49): This unit was disqualified because did not function at all. 

Vicks SpeedRead Digital Thermometer with Fever InSight ($9.72): Despite being called “SpeedRead,” this device took 8 seconds to deliver a reading — slower than its cousin, the Vicks Comfort Flex, our best budget thermometer. Plus, I found the SpeedRead to have a metallic taste. 

What we’re looking forward to trying

Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer Original ($42.99): We were unable to test this due to an inventory shortage at the time we were evaluating thermometers for this guide.

Which type of at-home thermometer is best?

Your basic digital thermometer options to choose from are: 

  • Single-use stick thermometer (marketed for rectal only) 
  • Multiuse stick thermometer (rectum, mouth, or armpit)  
  • Tympanic thermometer (ear) 
  • Temporal artery thermometer (forehead)
  • Tympanic and temporal thermometer (ear and forehead) 
  • Infrared non-contact thermometer (forehead)  

Though there’s plenty of apprehension about no-contact thermometers, a column in Ask a Pediatrician by Dr. Elizabeth Murray, an official spokesperson for the AAP, addresses those concerns directly. Murray says that “the claims about their danger are false … It is the infrared energy coming from the person that is being gathered by the thermometer, not infrared light being projected to the person.”

All thermometers sold in the United States must meet federal standards and are already calibrated for home use at the time of purchase.

 

FAQs

Which type of thermometer is the most accurate?

Dr. John Vann, a pediatrician in Omaha, told Insider that only a rectal temperature offers a true outpatient reading. “Everything else is an estimate,” he said.

“Luckily, the exact number is not usually as important as how the patient looks,” he adds. Which is to say, there are other indicators of how severe someone’s illness or condition is other than an optimally-accurate temperature reading. There are also reliable methods for checking your temperature even if you don’t have access to a thermometer.

No matter if you opt for an infrared thermometer or a strictly ear-based model, it’s important to know fever isn’t the same for everyone and that it varies by age, gender, and time of day, among other variables. Using a thermometer at various times of the day when you’re feeling well gives you an idea of what’s normal for you, or your baseline temperature. 

Which is the best thermometer for home use?

Among at-home thermometers, medical research hasn’t determined an exact correlation between oral, rectal, ear, armpit, and forehead temperature measurements. But Kaiser Permanente notes that an ear (tympanic) temperature is 0.5 to 1 degree higher than an oral temperature and a forehead (temporal) scanner is usually 0.5 to 1 degree lower than an oral temperature. 

What is the best thermometer to use for COVID?

The best thermometer for COVID is really just one that is accurate and reliable. That means any of the thermometers on our list are great for checking for COVID symptoms. That being said, if you’re using the thermometer on more than one person, it’s best to use a contactless reader to not cross-contaminate. In that case, we highly recommend the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer PT3 or the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer with Smart Glow, both of which proved to be accurate and reliable in my tests.

Can I use my HSA/FSA funds to buy a thermometer?

If you have an HSA or an FSA account, know that over-the-counter digital thermometers are eligible for reimbursement without a prescription. 

Here’s how it works: 

  • If you pay with cash or credit card in a store or online, you can request a reimbursement from your HSA/FSA account. Different plans have different requirements on what’s needed for reimbursement but usually, a copy of your thermometer receipt will be enough.
  • There are HSA and FSA-specific retailers, like the HSA Store and the FSA Store that make shopping for items that qualify for reimbursement really simple. According to both websites, when shoppers use an HSA or FSA card to pay, they typically don’t have to submit receipts; purchases on these websites automatically substantiate. It is worth noting, however, that the thermometer options available on these websites are limited and cost more than other retailers. 

What counts as a fever?

Many Americans think anything over 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is a problem, but what constitutes a fever is actually different person to person.

Rik Heller, a biomedical engineer and thermographic expert, tells Insider, “Age, gender, and even time of day impact normal body temperatures.” 

Some children’s temperatures especially run higher than others, points out Dr. Jesse Hackell, a practicing pediatrician with New York-based Pomona Pediatrics. Any reading of 100.4 F or higher in a baby younger than 3 months is reason to call the pediatrician. “Another reason to call is if the fever persists for more than 24 hours in children younger than two and more than three days in a child 2 years of age or older,” he said.

Meanwhile, older adults tend to have lower baseline temperatures than younger adults; sometimes fevers in the elderly are completely absent.

To figure out what’s a fever for you, you want to find your baseline temperature (i.e., what’s normal for you) by checking your temperature at various times of the day when you are feeling well. 

At the end of the day, how you or your child is acting and feeling is the best indicator of a fever over the number on a thermometer, multiple of our doctors say.

Our expert sources

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best winter boots for men in 2021

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

Feet wearing Timberland Premium 6-inch Waterproof Boots on wet pavement
  • When winter hits, be prepared with the best boots for inclement weather.
  • Whether you’re interested in stylish or utilitarian boots, here are 15 great choices.
  • All these boots are insulated and waterproof or water-resistant.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Winter is on the way and when the temperature drops, you better have something on your feet that will keep your toes from freezing. Whether you’re looking for a boot that’s super stylish or a utilitarian boot for shoveling snow, we’ve put together a guide to 15 of the best choices available.

At the very least, a winter boot should be waterproof and have insulation, whether from materials like PrimaLoft or Thinsulate, which are both lightweight and made of synthetic fibers, or wool, which some people prefer since it isn’t man-made.

Besides waterproofing and insulation, a third major consideration is how a boot will handle icy conditions. Look for a boot with good traction. Many of the selections below use outsoles from Vibram, a storied Italian company famed for its rubber lug soles.

The last consideration is use. We’ve included winter boots that work for the office or social events but can still handle foul weather, all the way to boots built for winter hiking through snow and across ice. And many that fall in between these two extremes. You’re probably not going to want to wear a handmade pair of Italian boots to shovel snow or sport high rubber boots at the office, but we’re sure you’ll find exactly what you need in this roundup.

Here are the best winter boots for men in 2021:

L.L.Bean 10-inch Shearling-Lined Bean Boots

L.L.Bean 10-inch Shearling-Lined Bean Boots

L.L.Bean’s 10-inch Shearling-Lined Bean Boots feature waterproof leather on the outside to handle snow and sleet while soft shearling lining and PrimaLoft insulation keep your feet warm. 

L.L.Bean has been crafting winter boots for more than 100 years — it was the first product when the brand launched in 1912 — and today it still makes the Bean Boot in Maine. This 10-inch shearling-lined duck-style boot incorporates waterproof leather uppers that are triple-stitched, with a steel shank and a rubber chain-tread bottom to keep you stable. Inside, a natural shearling lining and PrimaLoft insulation keep your feet warm down to 25°F for light outdoor activity and -20°F for moderate activity.

10-inch Shearling-Lined Bean Boots (button)
Merrell Men’s Thermo Glacier Mid Waterproof Boot

Men's Thermo Glacier Mid Waterproof Boot

Merrell’s Thermo Glacier Mid Waterproof Boots are the perfect winter hikers, especially if your toes tend towards being cold. These boots are also lightweight, waterproof, and great in icy conditions. 

If you’re looking for some winter hikers, Merrell has been making exceptional hiking boots for 40 years, and the Thermo Glacier Mid Waterproof Boot is one of its bestsellers. According to shoppers, these boots are light, extra warm, comfortable, durable, completely waterproof, and have great traction in icy conditions. They feature Vibram outsoles, a bellows tongue to prevent moisture and debris from getting in, are lined in fleece, have PrimaLoft Aerogel insulation over the toes, and a heat-reflecting insole that traps body heat around the foot.

Men’s Thermo Snowdrift Zip Mid Shell (button)
Sorel 1964 Pac T Boot

Sorel 1964 Pat T Boot

Sorel’s 1964 Pac T boots have everything you’d want in a winter boot, plus eco-friendly materials like leather from a sustainable tannery and recycled felt. 

Sorel’s 1964 Pac T Boot has everything you want in a winter boot, plus it’s made using eco-friendly materials. The Pac T features waterproof leather from a sustainable tannery and vulcanized rubber upper that’s seam-sealed to keep moisture out. It’s insulated with a removable washable recycled felt inner boot, is lined in micro-fleece, and has a Sherpa pile snow cuff for extra warmth. Finally, it has a molded EVA footbed and a thick rubber outsole to keep your feet happy and steady when you’re tromping around in the snow. 

1964 Pac T boots (button)
Nisolo All-Weather Andres Boot

Nisolo All-Weather Andres Boot

Beauty and brawn meet in the Nisolo All-Weather Andres Boot that works as well in the office as it does outdoors.

Nisolo’s All-Weather Andres Boot combines elegance and toughness for a boot that works as well in the office as it does on a winter hike through the woods. These beauties are Nisolo’s version of a traditional trench boot and are handcrafted in Peru using sustainably produced water-resistant leather for the uppers in a factory that pays its workers a living wage. The gusseted tongue keeps out moisture and the shock-absorbing studded rubber outsoles will keep you surefooted when it’s slippery out. 

All-Weather Andres Boot (button)
Timberland Premium 6-inch Waterproof Boots

timberland men's boot

The Timberland Waterproof Boots are iconic for a reason: They have unmistakable style and what it takes to keep you comfortable when the temperature drops. 

The Timberland Waterproof Boots are iconic not just for their unmistakable style but because they can actually stand up to the elements. They have sustainably produced waterproof leather uppers that are seam-sealed to prevent moisture from seeping in, 400 grams of PrimaLoft ECO insulation inside to keep out the chill, and thick rubber lugged outsoles to keep you from slipping on the icy pavement. There’s a good amount of padding on the collar around the ankle and a leather-lined footbed for comfort. Then there are the unique colorways available, but the basic black is also a real standout. 

Men’s Premium 6-inch Waterproof Boots (button)
Danner Hood Winter Light Boot

Danner Hood WInter Light Boot

Danner’s Hood Winter Light Boot has a full-grain leather upper, a waterproof Gore-Tex liner, Thinsulate insulation, and Vibram outsole, all in one stunning package. 

The American heritage brand Danner began making boots for Oregon loggers back in 1932 and, as you’d expect, its footwear is built for the outdoors and harsh weather. It is also stunningly handsome. The Hood Winter Light Boot is a style Danner recently brought back just in time for colder weather. It’s got a full-grain leather upper, a breathable waterproof Gore-Tex liner to keep out the rain and snow, 200 grams of Thinsulate to keep out the cold, and a Vibram Kletterlift outsole with tons of traction. And, it’s made in the U.S. 

Hood Winter Light Boot (button)
Muck Boots Men’s Arctic Outpost Pull-On

Muck Boots Men's Arctic Outpost Pull-On

The Original Muck Boot Company is famous for its rain boots but its winter boots are also superb. The Arctic Outpost Pull-On has a full-grain leather and thick neoprene upper and is lined in fleece for those cold winter days. 

You may know the Original Muck Boot Company for its rain boots, but the brand also makes wonderful winter boots. The Arctic Outpost Pull-on has a full-grain leather and thick waterproof neoprene upper that protects you from the snow, a soft fleece lining to protect you from the cold, and a Vibram Arctic Grip Outsole to protect you from falling down. And the pull-on style means they’re easy to get in and out of. 

Men’s Arctic Outpost Pull-On (button)
Kamik Men’s Hunter Cold-Weather Boot

Kamik Men’s Hunter Cold-Weather Boot

The Kamik Hunter Cold-Weather Boot is made in Canada, rated for -40°F, and is a great value at under $60. 

Kamik is a family-owned Canadian company with a history going back to the turn of the 20th century. The Hunter Cold-Weather Boot is made of waterproof synthetic rubber and includes a removable thermal liner. It hits about mid-calf so it’s high enough to keep deep snow out, and has a nylon collar to further prevent snow from getting in. It’s rated to -40°F, manufactured in Canada, and will cost you less than $60. 

Men’s Hunter Cold-Weather Boot (button)
Irish Setter Canyons Pull-On Boot

Irish Setter Canyons Pull-On Boot

Irish Setter Canyons Pull-On Boots are your cold-weather friends that are insulated, waterproof, sturdy, and easy to get on and off. 

The Irish Setter Canyons Pull-On Boot is a Chelsea-style boot made for winter weather. It features full-grain waterproof leather uppers, 200 grams of PrimaLoft insulation, and even has an exclusive ScentBan process that kills odor-causing bacteria to keep your boots smelling fresh. The Vibram outsole will keep you surefooted no matter the terrain.

Canyons Pull-On Boot (button)
The North Face Chilkat IV

The North Face Chilkat IV

The North Face Chilkat IV boots are attractive enough for city wear but serious enough for a winter trek in the woods.

The North Face Chilkat IV is a serious winter boot that features waterproof leather and molded rubber uppers, ample insulation that’s also eco-friendly, and temperature-sensitive rubber lugs for increased traction in icy conditions. Then there’s the EVA midsole and molded footbed for a comfortable ride. And above and beyond all that, they’re attractive enough for tromping through city streets and are also snowshoe compatible for weekends in the country. 

Men’s Chilkat IV Boots (button)
Keen Slater II Waterproof Boots

Keen Slater II Waterproof Boots

The Keen Slater II Waterproof Boots are stylish, yes, but more than that. They’re also waterproof, insulated, have a wool collar, and use environmentally friendly leather. 

Keen is better known for shoes you wear in the summer, but its winter boots are also impressive. The Slater II Waterproof Boots are, as their name indicates, waterproof. They’re also insulated, supportive, use environmentally friendly leather for the uppers, have warm wool at the ankle, and look quite stylish when paired with your favorite jeans and a thick winter sweater. 

KEEN Slater II Waterproof Boot – Men’s (button)
Wolverine Yak Insulated Boot

Wolverine Yak Insulated boot

The Wolverine Yak Insulated Boot is like a duck boot on steroids.

Wolverine is known for its hard wearing work boots and its winter boots are no exception. The Yak Insulated Boot is like a duck boot on steroids — waterproof, breathable, nicely insulated and cushioned in all the right places. The uppers have full-grain waterproof leather, there are 200 grams of Thinsulate Ultra insulation on the inside, and they have thick rubber outsoles for gripping the winter ground. 

Men’s Yak Insulated Boot (button)
Fracap M120 Alto Brill Boots

Fracap M120 Alto Brill Boots

The Fracap M120 Alto Brill Boots are works of art you can wear on your feet in the winter. 

If you’re looking to splurge on winter boots, you couldn’t do any better than the Fracap M120 Alto Brill Boots. Sure, they’re alluring because of their full-grain Italian calf leather uppers, fur collars, and hand-milled outsoles. But they’re also handmade in Italy by a small family-run business that’s been around since 1908 and will ship your boots internationally for free. These are works of art that double as winter boots. 

M120 Alto Brill Boots (button)
Blundstone Thermal Boot

Irish Setter Canyons Pull-On Boot

The Blundstone Thermal Boots are just like your favorite Blunnies, except that they’re built for winter with added insulation and shearling footbeds. 

The Blundstone Thermal Boot is just like your favorite Blundstone Chelsea — premium waterproof leather uppers, patented comfort system for all-day wear, and durable TPU outsoles to keep you surefooted — plus these Blunnies are winterized. They have plush, removable shearling footbeds and Thinsulate insulation to keep your feet warm when the temperature drops. 

Blundstone Thermal Boot – Men’s (button)
Columbia Hyper-Boreal Omni-Heat Tall Boot

Columbia Hyper-Boreal Omni-Heat Tall Boot

The sleek design of the Columbia Hyper-Boreal Omni-Heat Tall Boot hides a ton of functional elements to keep your feet warm and comfortable. 

Street style meets winter functionality in the Columbia Hyper-Boreal Omni-Heat Tall Boot. The boot holds a surprising amount of functional elements in its sleek design that are all there to help keep your feet warm and comfortable. The Hyper-Boreal Omni-Heat Tall Boot includes 200 grams of insulation plus the company’s patented heat reflection system that helps retain heat while allowing moisture to dissipate. Then there’s the lightweight midsole with plenty of cushioning for all-day comfort. 

Hyper-Boreal Omni-Heat Tall (button)

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The 3 best food processors we tested in 2021

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

Group photo of all of the food processor models we tested on a table
  • A good food processor can slice, shred, ground, chop, emulsify, knead, and mix food effortlessly.
  • We put seven food processors through seven distinct prep tasks to find the best ones on the market.
  • The Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro is our top pick with its powerful motor and useful accessories.
  • Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews kitchen products.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Are you working on a soup that requires loads of chopped vegetables? Want to turn steak into ground beef but don’t have a meat grinder? Are you tired of shredding cheese by hand?

Home cooks can perform these tasks in a matter of seconds with a food processor. When you have one of these marvelous appliances, you can easily make mayonnaise and pesto that far surpasses what you’d get at the store, and it costs less too.

A food processor consists of a base housing the motor and controls, a bowl for ingredients, a spinning blade, and a lid with a feed tube for adding ingredients. These appliances come with accessories, usually at least a shredding and slicing disc. And, they have safety measures that keep your hand away from the spinning blade.

To test food processors, I sliced 7 pounds of potatoes, grated a pound of parmesan, made seven batches of basil pesto, ground 10 pounds of beef, shredded 4 pounds of mozzarella cheese, emulsified eight batches of mayonnaise, mixed and kneaded seven batches of pizza dough, and chopped 7 pounds of onion, a pound of celery, and 2 pounds of carrots in seven food processors.

I also consulted with Nicki Sizemore, author of The Food Processor Family Cookbook.

I have tested kitchen appliances for four years and have developed several objective tests to determine which models are best for specific needs.

In addition to our top picks, we list other models we recommend, what we look forward to testing, and common FAQs at the end of the guide.

Here are the best food processors:

The best food processor overall

The Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro Food Processor with accessories

In addition to coming with lots of useful extras, the Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro Food Processor has a powerful motor that makes quick work of most tasks and a large feed tube, so you don’t always have to precut ingredients.

Pros: Easy to use, quiet operation, dishwasher-safe, long warranty, great blade placement, quick-start pulse, large feed tube, many useful accessories that fit in storage case, outstanding job of emulsifying mayo and grinding beef, powerful motor

Cons: Didn’t do well mixing dough, pulse comes to a slow stop, shredding discs are hard to clean

The large-capacity Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro Food Processor (model BFP800XL) was the most expensive unit we tested, and it was clearly the best. What strikes you first is its size. It’s big, yet it’s short enough to fit on a counter under standard cabinets. The heavy base stays put while in use. 

The Breville Sous Chef comes with a separate storage case to organize the many attachments. My favorite attachment is the variable slicing disc that has 24 width settings. I also like the 2.5-cup mini bowl and blade that is perfect for smaller jobs.

The Breville BFP800XL is simple to use since there are just five buttons: power, start, pulse, and up and down time adjustments. The easy-to-read LCD screen counts the time up or down. There’s only one processing speed that starts immediately when you press the pulse button. 

The only food test the Breville Sous Chef didn’t do well in was mixing and kneading dough. Using the dough attachment, I kneaded pizza dough for a minute, scraping down the sides halfway through. After that time, there was still unmixed flour along the sides. Though, the dough was still usable.

The processor’s emulsifying attachment made the best mayonnaise. It was also one of the best at grinding beef. The Sous Chef did a good job of chopping mirepoix, but it left a few large chunks of carrot and celery. Though it worked quickly, uniformity was an issue when shredding mozzarella. 

Only the Cuisinart did a better job with pesto. And, thanks to the large feed tube, slicing potatoes was fast and easy. The only confusing part was that the large pusher needed to be inserted into the tube for the processor to run. Once I figured that out, it was effortless.

The Breville was one of the quietest processors at about 67 decibels, which is quieter than a shower. Its S-blade came the closest to the sides and bottom of the bowl, allowing it to reach contents easily

All of the elements of the Sous Chef aside from the base are top-rack dishwasher-safe. However, Breville recommends washing the components by hand to extend their life. For the most part, handwashing was easy. The only problem was cheese tended to wedge into crevices on the shredding discs.

Best budget food processor

Hamilton Beach food processor on a white background

For under $60, the Hamilton Beach Food Processor is simple to use and clean and features a helpful tool for scraping the sides of the bowl without stopping.

Pros: Easy to clean and use, grinds beef well, comes with a useful bowl scraper, easy to store, quick-starting pulse

Cons: Loud operation, failed at making mayonnaise, poor job of shredding cheese

The Hamilton Beach Food Processor (model 70730) was the cheapest model we tested, and while its performance was noticeably inferior to our other picks, it performed admirably for a sub-$60 processor. 

One feature that stuck out was a scraper that sits in the bowl and operates using a lever on the lid. It lets you scrape down the sides without stopping the unit. None of the other models we tested had this.

Operating the Hamilton Beach processor is simple. There’s a dial on the base with four settings: off, pulse, speed one, and speed two. The base has suction cups on its feet, but they weren’t enough to keep the lightweight unit in place during operation. 

The Hamilton Beach 70730 did a great job grinding beef, but it struggled shredding mozzarella, producing a mix of shreds and chunks. It also failed to emulsify the mayonnaise. The appliance did an okay job of processing pesto, potatoes, dough, and the carrot, onion, and celery mix. 

This processor was the loudest we tested at 98.5 decibels. That’s almost as loud as a chainsaw. On the plus side, the pulse starts at high speed the moment you turn the knob, though it comes to a slow stop. And, the chopping blade comes close to the sides of the bowl, though there’s a wide gap between the blade and the bottom of the bowl.

All of the components except for the base are dishwasher-safe. I found cleaning the unit was effortless whether I tossed it in the dishwasher or tackled the job by hand. And, all of the components can be stored in the bowl.

Best blender food processor combo

Vitamix food processor attachment installed and ready to run on an Ascent series base

If you own an Ascent or Venturist series Vitamix blender or are thinking of buying one, the Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor Attachment is your best bet with its exceptional performance and ease of use.

Pros: Easy to clean and use, large feed tube, comes with disc storage case, 3-year warranty, outstanding job slicing potatoes, passed other food processing tests, great blade placement

Cons: Loud operation, pulse starts and stops slowly, may not fit under above-counter cabinets, only compatible with five Vitamix blender bases

Okay, so the Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor Attachment isn’t technically a “blender food processor combo.” However, it works with Ascent and Venturist motor bases (sold separately) so you can upgrade an already-great Vitamix blender to be an outstanding food processor. I tested the attachment with the base for the A3500

Setting up the attachment was effortless. You just set the bowl on the base and use the controls like you would for blending. For safety, the base detects if the lid and large feed tube are in place before it will run. 

The two reversible shredding/slicing discs store easily in the included storage case. However, storage isn’t completely effortless. With the base I used, the attachment has a height of 20 inches, which is higher than the standard under-cabinet space of 18 inches. 

The Vitamix attachment was the only processor that didn’t do poorly in any of the processing tests. It was the best at slicing potatoes producing consistent slices in a split second. And, thanks to its large feed tube, the potatoes required minimal pre-cutting. 

The attachment’s weakest performance was shredding cheese. The results were not very uniform, and I had to stop and free up chunks that jammed the disc. Yet, with the pesto, ground beef, mirepoix, dough, and mayo, it produced consistent, quality results.

One factor that likely helped with performance was the excellent placement of the S-blade. The blades come within 1.5 millimeters of the sides and 3 millimeters of the bottom of the bowl. And, I didn’t find any unprocessed food debris in the bowl during the testing period.  

The Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor Attachment was loud at 86.9 decibels, which is similar to a noisy restaurant. Also, when pressing the pulse button, the processor took a beat to ramp up to high speed and slowly twirled to a stop when the button was released.

Clean-up was a snap since all of the components are dishwasher-safe. Even when I washed them by hand, the debris came off easily.

What else we tested

Group photo of all of the food processor models we tested against a white background

We tested seven food processors for this guide. These are the ones that missed the cut.

What else we recommend and why:

Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor, Model DFP-14BCNY ($249.95): If we had a category for the second-best overall food processor, the Cuisinart would be the easy pick. The Breville is the only unit that performed better. The Cuisinart was the best with dough and shredding mozzarella. It was quieter than a normal conversation at 58.8 decibels, and the pulse started and stopped faster than the other units. The Cuisinart just wasn’t as easy to use or as clean as the Breville. The lid has a counterintuitive fit with the feed tube at the back of the machine, the shredding discs trapped debris, and the accessories don’t store easily with the unit. If these negatives don’t bother you, consider saving $150 and going with the Cuisinart over the Breville.

What we don’t recommend and why:

Magiccos 7 in 1 Food Processor ($99.99): The Magiccos food processor was easy to clean by hand and in the dishwasher, and it was one of the best at shredding mozzarella. But, those are the only two positives. It comes with a bunch of attachments, including a juicer, but no way to store them easily. It was one of the worst at making dough, chopping mirepoix, and slicing potatoes. The pulse wasn’t responsive, and the blades didn’t come very close to the sides or bottom of the bowl.

Ninja Professional Plus Food Processor, Model BN601 ($89.99): Ninja blenders and processors have a unique four-blade system that’s supposed to make quick work of ingredients. It did a good job of grinding beef and chopping mirepoix vegetables. However, it’s hard to clean the sharp blades by hand without coming into contact with them. They’re dishwasher safe, but machine washing will dull the blades faster. The unit also had a tiny feed tube, poor blade reach, and didn’t do well pureeing pesto, shredding cheese, or slicing potatoes.

Ninja Foodi Power Blender & Processor System, Model SS351 ($179.99): This is just a blender masquerading as a food processor. There’s no slicing blade or shredding disc. It wasn’t good at chopping, leaving lots of large chunks untouched. And, as with other Ninjas, you’re going to have a hard time cleaning the blades by hand without cutting yourself. 

Our testing methodology

Two food processors being tested by chopping the same vegetables

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

Ease of use: When testing the food processors, I focused on what made setting up and using each unit complicated or straightforward. I looked for specific characteristics: a heavy base, whether the base stayed put or slid around, if it was easy to see the contents, and if the base, bowl, and attachments could be stored together effortlessly.

Food processing: I processed the following foods and noted how uniform the results were on a scale of 1 (virtually no uniformity) to 5 (perfectly uniform):

  • Pesto (including grating parmesan)
  • Ground beef from chuck steak
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (using the shredding disc)
  • Onions, carrots, and celery chopped together (as for a mirepoix)
  • Yukon gold potatoes (using a slicing disc)
  • Pizza dough (using a dough blade when supplied)
  • Mayonnaise (using an emulsifying disc when included)

Here are the test results for our top picks:

Food Item

Breville Sous Chef

Hamilton Beach

Vitamix Attachment

Pesto

4

3.5

4

Ground beef

5

5

4.5

Shredded cheese

3.5

2.5

3.5

Chopped vegetables

4

3.5

4

Sliced potatoes

4.5

4.5

5

Pizza dough

3.5

4.5

4.5

Mayonnaise

5

1

4.5

Noise: I held a sound meter 2 feet from the food processor as it ran at high speed. All but two of the units registered over 85 decibels. The Cuisinart and Breville units were the only two that didn’t drown out my speakers as I listened to an audiobook.

Pulse speed: Some tasks require a pulse function that starts and stops quickly to achieve uniform results. I pressed the pulse and observed whether the blade immediately hit top speeds or if it ramped up. I also looked at how quickly it slowed down. The Cuisinart did the best at starting and stopping, while the Vitamix attachment was the worst.

Blade position: The blades need to be able to reach as much of the bowl’s interior as possible, so you don’t end up with big, unprocessed pieces. Using pennies, I measured how close the blades got to the sides and bottom of the bowl. A penny is approximately 1.5 millimeters thick. Armed with this information and five cents, I measured the positioning of the blades.

Cleaning: One of the main reasons people shy away from food processors is that they don’t want to clean them afterward. I washed all of the food processors in the dishwasher (top rack only) and by hand and assessed how easy the process was. 

What we look forward to testing

Product image of the Magimix by Robot-Coupe 14-Cup Food Processor with accessories

We’re always testing new food processors and retesting our top picks to determine the best ones. Here’s what we’re looking forward to testing for potential inclusion in this guide:

KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper ($54.99): We didn’t test any mini food processors for this guide. This small, affordable unit would be a good candidate for a “best small food processor” category, especially since KitchenAid makes a few of our favorite kitchen appliances in other categories, including its stand mixer

Magimix by Robot-Coupe 14-Cup Food Processor ($399.95): Magimix was one of the first food processors. It comes with several attractive features, including medium and small bowls for smaller tasks, two grating discs, two slicing discs, and a 950W motor. We’re curious to see if this unit’s performance lives up to its hefty price.

Breville 12-Cup Sous Chef Plus Food Processor ($329.95): This is a smaller, more affordable version of our top pick. It’s missing the emulsifying disc, but it has the 2.5-cup mini bowl and variable slice disc that we like. Since a 16-cup bowl is more than most home chefs need, we want to see if this is a good alternative to our top pick.

FAQs

An ice cube tray filled with pesto

What’s the difference between a food processor and a blender?

Nicki Sizemore, the author of The Food Processor Family Cookbook, said the main difference between blenders and food processors is the circulation of the blade. “The nice thing about food processors is you’ve got a wider workspace, and things circulate around the blade easier,” she said. With a blender, you need to add liquid to get the food to circulate around the blade. When you don’t need liquid, you’re free to chop, dice, and otherwise pulverize solid ingredients.

Sizemore also noted that it’s easier to scrape out all of the food in a food processor’s bowl. “When you make something like hummus in a blender, the food gets stuck under the blade,” she said. “Whereas you can pull out the food processor blade and scrape it off and get into the corners of the bowl.”


 What should you look for when shopping for a food processor?

Sizemore recommends simpler food processors. Look for a sturdy work bowl and a nice large sharp blade. “The S-blade is really the only blade you need to be concerned with as well as the slicing disc and shredding disc attachments,” she said. She warns against being wooed by extra attachments since they’re unlikely to work better than the basic components, you’re unlikely to use them, and they can add to kitchen clutter.

Sizemore suggested choosing a unit with a heavy base so it stays put while it operates. But, since it’s so heavy, you’ll want to devote counter space to it. So, measure the cabinet and shelf clearance where you’re likely to keep your appliance and make sure the dimensions of the model you’re interested in will fit. You’ll also want to choose a finish that matches your decor. 

You might also consider a mini food processor. Sizemore has one for small tasks, such as making salad dressings and chopping nuts. Our top pick, the Breville Sous Chef, features a mini bowl that fits into the full-size bowl so you can do tiny jobs.

Check out our other small appliance guides

Several blenders prepared to make smoothies with leafy greens
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The best home security cameras of 2021

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The best home security cameras are easy to use and offer stable streaming.
  • The Arlo Pro 3 is the best home security camera. It has high quality video and useful features.
  • We’ll help you pick the best security camera for your home.

Arlo Pro 3 camera

Smart home security cameras let you check in to your home, kids, pets, or anything else from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet or data connection on your phone.

At the very least, the best security cameras offer reliable alerts and a minimum of false alarms. They should also give you plenty of time to review any events, in case you’re not looking at your phone when something triggers an alert. Many smart home security cameras store up to 24 hours of footage in the cloud, and offer longer cloud storage with a subscription.

Over the last few years, the “smarts” in smart home security cameras have also improved dramatically. They can differentiate between people, pets, and general motion and send you the relevant alerts, which you can customize so you don’t get alerts you don’t want.

Many cameras can fit in well with other smart-home devices, so you’ll want to think about whether you want your device to work with HomeKit or the Google Home ecosystem, for example.

Unfortunately, a lot of home security cameras have had privacy issues. Cameras with two-factor authentication can alleviate some concerns, but consider placement and the ability to schedule times when the cameras are off, as well.

Here are our top picks for the best home security cameras:

The best home security camera overall

Best home security camera Arlo Pro 3

The Arlo Pro 3 produced the highest quality video footage of any camera we tested, and the smart alert system is excellent. 

Pros: Easy installation, excellent quality video day or night, smart motion detection, great alert system

Cons: Requires subscription for cloud storage

While there are caveats with this top pick, the Arlo Pro 3 delivers the best video of any I tested. It’s easy to set up, comes with an accessible mobile app, and boasts a truly versatile set of features. These wireless cameras are IP65-rated and have batteries inside capable of going months between charges, so they’re suitable for indoors or outdoors use. The smart notifications offer alerts that are actually useful on your phone. 

If top-quality video footage is your priority, this camera’s 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution is sure to impress. The Arlo Pro 3 has a 160-degree field of view. HDR support smooths out sharp contrasts in lighting and prevents areas from showing up as overly bright. You can double tap to zoom in 2x or pinch to zoom in further. There’s a spotlight for when night falls, but I got better results with the infrared, which also provides color video. 

The Arlo Pro 3 has a configurable smart notification system that’s very good at categorizing videos, distinguishing between people, animals, vehicles, and other motion quite accurately. This allows you to set up alerts only for the events you’re interested in, and to quickly filter your video clips. A feature I particularly appreciated was the highlight thumbnail of each video, which pops up as a smartphone or smartwatch notification. Even on my wrist, I found this was clear enough that I could recognize the person in the video immediately. 

There’s a deep range of customization for motion detection, so you can finetune the sensitivity for different locations, reducing false positives. 

Each Arlo Pro 3 camera also has a microphone with noise cancellation and a speaker offering crystal clear two-way audio, so you can easily carry on a conversation. You can set audio alerts, if you want alarms or other noises to trigger recordings. There’s also a siren option that hits 100 decibels to scare away intruders. 

The Arlo Pro 3 was consistently swift in connecting to the video feed compared to other cameras I tested. It was also slightly quicker to send video alerts. Smart-home support is another selling point here. The Arlo Pro 3 works with Google Assistant Amazon Alexa, so you can pull up a live feed on your smart TV or smart display.

What gives me pause in recommending the Arlo Pro 3 for everyone is the price, and the fact that you need an Arlo Smart subscription for cloud storage and to unlock the best features, like smart detection and activity zones. 

The two-camera kit, which comes with the required Smart Hub base station, costs $499.99, though it does go on sale for as low as $366.91. Sadly, there’s no way to view video through the mobile app without a subscription, which starts at $2.99 per month per camera or $9.99 per month for up to five cameras, which gets you 30 days of rolling footage.

Read our full Arlo Pro 3 review.

The best subscription-free home security camera

Best Subscription-free home security camera EufyCam 2C

Boasting good quality video, the EufyCam 2C can be used without a subscription indoors or out.

Pros: No subscription needed, local storage, affordable, high-quality video, smart motion detection

Cons: No theft protection, no two-factor authentication in the US, occasional delays connecting

While Eufy’s early security cameras had issues, Anker’s smart-home brand has hit its stride with the EufyCam 2C system. Impressively, this home security camera matches many more expensive options on features but is far cheaper. It also boasts onboard local storage and full access to all features, which means there’s no need to pay more for a subscription. 

Like our top pick, the EufyCam 2C cameras are suitable for indoors or outdoors use, with an IP67 rating. They can go up to six months between charges, offer good quality footage, and come with an accessible mobile app that has enough features to satisfy most people.

Video footage from the EufyCam 2C is good quality and maxes out at a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. This camera has a 135-degree field of view. In daylight, footage is sharp and colorful, but there’s no HDR, so camera placement is important. Night vision employs infrared to offer black-and-white footage, but there is also a built-in spotlight for enclosed areas, such as porches.

You can tweak the sensitivity of the camera’s motion sensing via the mobile app, which is very easy to use. You can also define activity zones and choose to have daytime alerts triggered only when humans are detected, all of which helps to cut down on false positives. There’s also support for scheduling, some automation based on other sensors, and geofencing, though the latter is still in beta.

The EufyCam 2C has a microphone and speaker for easy two-way conversations. There’s a built-in siren you can trigger to scare people off. There’s no provision for audio triggers; only motion will start video recordings.

I found some lag when connecting to the live feed and alerts can sometimes take a few seconds to come through on your phone. The cameras connect to the HomeBase station, which plugs directly into your router with an ethernet cable. The HomeBase has 16GB of eMMC storage (which is a bit slower than SSD storage), so you can record somewhere around three months of video clips. This footage can be accessed via the mobile app from anywhere. 

You can also get 30 days of rolling cloud storage for $2.99 per camera per month, but the beauty of the EufyCam 2C system is that you don’t need a subscription. All the top features are accessible without it, and the local storage will be enough for most people. 

Smart-home integration is limited. The EufyCam 2C works with Apple’s HomeKit and Amazon Alexa, though it took some fiddling to get my live feed up on an Echo Show. I couldn’t get Google Assistant working with it at all, and there’s no IFTTT support. Unfortunately, Eufy only offers two-factor authentication in Canada and Germany at the time of writing, though it has promised to deliver it in the US and elsewhere soon.

Despite some of the weaknesses here, the EufyCam 2C is a compelling prospect, especially when you consider that it costs just $219.99 for a two-camera system with the required HomeBase included. With no need for a subscription, the EufyCam 2C is excellent value for the money. 

Read our full EufyCam 2C review.

The best budget indoor security camera

Best budget indoor security Wyze Cam V2

A cute design, 1080p video support, local storage, and all the basic features you could want at an unbeatably low price makes the Wyze Cam V2 our top budget pick.

Pros: Very affordable, local storage, lots of features

Cons: Narrow field of view, slow to connect

You don’t need to spend very much to get a good home security camera, but it’s still impressive how much the Wyze Cam V2 offers for $20. This is an indoor-only camera offering 1080p footage, two-way audio, motion and sound triggers, custom zone detection, and infrared night vision. It also supports MicroSD cards for local storage and comes with 14 days of cloud storage.

Setup is as easy as plugging into an outlet and connecting the camera via the Wyze app. It has a cute, boxy design with a flexible folding frame and a magnetic base that enables you to position it facing wherever you want. There’s no hub, so it connects directly to your Wi-Fi router and only works with 2.4GHz networks.

Video quality is quite good. You get full-color video at up to 1920 x 1080 pixels and 15 frames per second. The 110-degree field of view is relatively narrow, so you’ll want to be careful about placement. There’s also no HDR, so it will be hard to see detail in brightly lit areas.  The infrared night vision offers black-and-white footage.

You can configure the camera via the Wyze app, which is easy to use. The Wyze Cam V2 supports motion and sound detection to trigger recordings and you can tweak the sensitivity for both. You can also set a specific detection zone, which is useful for reducing false positives. The Wyze Cam can also detect smoke and CO alarms. There’s support for scheduling and you can choose to filter notifications, so only videos of people alert you, for example. 

I did get a few false positives with the Wyze Cam V2. Spookily, it recorded several videos in the middle of the night with the person-detected flag, but I couldn’t see any motion in the recordings. 

There is a microphone and speaker, so the Wyze Cam supports two-way conversation, though the sound quality is not great. There was a lot of random echo, and there doesn’t seem to be any noise cancellation. 

It takes a few seconds to connect to the Wyze Cam, and it was the slowest of the cameras on our list to alert me to new recordings — though only by a  couple of extra seconds. You get 14 days of cloud storage for video recordings for free with the camera, and you can insert a MicroSD card with up to 32GB of capacity for local storage. 

Wyze has added Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT support, which makes the Wyze Cam V2 easy to integrate with your smart-home system. 

There are inevitably some compromises here, but the quality of the footage and the features on offer are nothing short of incredible for the price. If you’re on a very tight budget, the Wyze Cam V2 is your best bet. It provides all the features you’re likely to want without the need for a subscription. Buy direct from Wyze, and it costs just $19.99. 

Read our full Wyze Cam V2 review.

The best security camera for smart homes

Best security camera for smart homes Nest Cam IQ

For advanced features like facial recognition, there’s no better camera than the Google Nest IQ, which comes in outdoor or indoor versions.

Pros: High-quality video day or night, motion tracking, facial recognition, Google Assistant built-in

Cons: Very expensive, no local storage, the best features require a subscription

The Google Nest Cam IQ boasts an attractive, minimal design that carries through to the accessible companion app. It offers all the basic features that you’d expect to find in a good home security camera, but also adds facial recognition, motion tracking, and onboard Google Assistant. This is the smartest security camera around, but it comes at a high price and many of the best features require a subscription. 

Setup is very easy through the companion app, and the cameras connect directly to your Wi-Fi router and support 2.4GHz or 5GHz networks. The camera must be plugged into an outlet, which can make installation of the outdoor version tricky. The outdoor camera has an IP66 rating, so rain is not an issue. 

The Nest Cam IQ supports video at up to 1920 x 1080 pixels and 30 frames per second. It offers a 130-degree field of view. There’s support for HDR, which helps balance out mixed lighting and boost overall clarity. Google equipped the Nest Cam IQ with a 4K image sensor, which enables it to digitally zoom in on people’s faces. There’s also infrared for night-time video in black and white.

You can use your Nest Cam IQ with the Nest app or through Google’s Home app. Both are straightforward and reliable. Motion or sound can trigger recordings, and you can configure what kind of notifications you want to receive. You can set multiple activity zones, so it ignores certain areas. You can also set up schedules or have the camera turn on or off automatically when you leave or return home. 

What sets the Nest Cam IQ apart is the face recognition. Over time the camera will learn to recognize faces you tag. This allows you to filter clips by person and see when a stranger triggers an alert. If you’re concerned about privacy, you don’t have to use this feature. 

The Nest Cam IQ also offers two-way audio with built-in noise cancellation for clear, real-time conversation. The audio is high quality, but there’s no siren option with this camera.

There’s no local storage option, and you only get three hours of video history for free. To get 30 days of video history, you’ll need a Nest Aware subscription at $5 per month. The Nest Aware Plus plan is $10 per month and gives you 10 days of 24/7 video recording and 60 days of event history. 

You also need a Nest Aware subscription to get intelligent alerts, familiar face detection, activity zones, and the ability to create and share video clips. It’s hard to recommend the Nest Cam IQ without all these features, so you should factor this cost in.

The Nest Cam IQ also has Google Assistant built-in, but there is limited support for Amazon Alexa. Unfortunately, IFTTT is no longer supported, but some of the same options for setting up routines are coming soon via Google Assistant.

If you want a Nest Cam IQ Indoor camera then you’ll need to pay $299; the outdoor camera costs $399. It may be expensive, but there’s no smarter home security camera out there right now. 

Read our full Nest Cam IQ review.

The best outdoor security camera

Best outdoor security camera Arlo Floodlight

Boasting all the same features as our top pick, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera adds powerful lighting, which illuminates everything and works as a deterrent for unwelcome visitors.

Pros: Easy installation, excellent quality video, large floodlight, smart motion detection

Cons: Requires subscription for cloud storage

Our top pick, the Arlo Pro 3, can also be used as an outdoor camera, but it lacks a powerful light. The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight offers all the same features, but you also get a floodlight capable of fully illuminating your property.

The large floodlight is capable of putting out 2,000 lumens without wiring and 3,000 lumens if you connect a charging cable. It also has a larger battery inside than the regular Arlo Pro 3. It’s UV and weather resistant, and, since it’s wireless, you can install it anywhere. Arlo suggests you’ll get up to six months of battery life from a full charge. 

This camera boasts a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, a 160-degree field of view, and HDR support for more balanced images. It has an excellent companion app, smart alerts, adjustable sensitivity, and activity zones. There’s also good-quality, two-way audio and a built-in siren that goes up to 100 decibels. 

As one of the few security cameras that offers full-color video footage in 2K day or night, the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight is an excellent choice for the outside of your home. You can set up motion detection, so the light and recordings are triggered automatically. It can also measure ambient light and determine how much light is required in each situation, which helps to preserve battery life. 

The video quality is top notch, with alerts that clearly highlight the subject, making it easy to recognize familiar faces. The floodlight is bright enough to illuminate a backyard and will work just like any motion light to scare off most intruders. However, you can expect the floodlight to drain the battery. Also, the floodlight may not be dark-sky friendly and might contribute to light pollution. 

While the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight can connect to the same Smart Hub base station as the regular Arlo Pro 3 cameras, it can also connect directly to your Wi-Fi router on a 2.4GHz network. Support for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT makes smart-home integration easy. 

You get a three-month trial of Arlo Smart with the Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight, but after that you’ll need to pay $2.99 per month. Arlo Smart gives you 30 days of rolling cloud storage for 2K video recordings and access to the smart features, like advanced object detection, package detection, activity zones, and intelligent alerts. 

The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight camera costs $249.99. You’ll need to factor in the Arlo Smart subscription and think about installation if you want to connect power for maximum brightness. You can also buy an optional solar panel accessory from Arlo for $79.99. 

What else we considered

We tested out a few other home security cameras that may be good options for you, particularly if you already use cameras from any of these manufacturers. If you’re looking for a smart doorbell, the Nest Hello is our top pick. Check out our guide to the best smart doorbells for more.

  • Swann Tracker Security Camera ($79.99): Boasting a wide 180-degree viewing angle, auto-tracking capability, two-way audio, and free video recording to the included 32GB microSD card, this is a smart indoor camera at a reasonable price. In our review, however, we found the app was unstable, it was frequently slow to connect, and the wide angle causes some distortion in the picture.
  • Amazon Blink Mini ($19.99): This affordable home security camera has plenty to recommend it. Easy setup, a straightforward app, and good-quality video make it compelling for the price, but the cloud storage subscription fee makes it far less of a bargain. You can read more about it in our Amazon Blink Mini review.
  • Ring Spotlight Camera ($199): While this is a good outdoor option if you want something with a spotlight, the quality is capped at 1080p, and it’s not the best-looking device to have stuck on your home. You can get this camera in wired or wireless models, but it requires a subscription if you want cloud video recordings.
  • Logitech Circle 2 ($179.99): This camera used to top our list, but with a new Circle View camera in the works, this older model is being phased out. It comes in wired or wireless options, is easy to set up, and offers up to 1080p video. It also boasts two-way audio, a wide 180-degree field of view, and an affordable price. Read our full Logitech Circle 2 review to learn more.
  • Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan and Tilt ($35.99): There’s a lot to like with this Eufy model. It offers sharp video, pan and tilt to follow subjects, local or cloud storage, and smart features. With excellent video quality, an 8x zoom, and the ability to rotate a full 360 degrees, the camera shouldn’t miss much of what’s happening in your home. Read our full Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan and Tilt review for more information.

Which home security cameras we’re testing next

We’re in the process of reviewing new and updated models of the current selection in this list, including the Arlo Pro 4, the new Google Nest Cam, and new models from Wyze

The Arlo Pro 4 has much of the same features and video resolution as the Arlo Pro 3, except it can connect directly to your WiFi network rather than connecting to a bulky base station that takes up space. At $200 for a single camera, or $380 for a two-camera kit, the Arlo Pro 4 also costs the same or a little less than the Arlo Pro 3.

The new Google Nest Cam is a massive upgrade over the aged original Nest Cam. The new model is a hybrid indoor-outdoor model that’s battery powered, and it mounts to surfaces with a magnetic base that’s more adjustable than the original’s base. 

The new Wyze Cam V3 comes with several upgrades over the V2 in this guide, like outdoor weather proofing, wider field-of-view, and smoother video. The Wyze Cam V3 is a little more expensive at $35, so it’ll be interesting to see if it’s worth the extra money.

How to choose a home security camera

What areas are you looking to cover? The best camera for you depends on where you want coverage. Are you looking to watch over a porch, backyard, hallway, kitchen, or several locations? Work out how many cameras you need and scope out potential locations to place your new cameras. There may be areas, like bedrooms, where you want to avoid cameras.

Do you want a wired or wireless camera? Wired cameras never run out of power, but they can be trickier to install, especially outside or in awkward indoor spots, because they require an outlet. Wireless cameras come with rechargeable batteries inside that can offer up to a year of battery life between charges, depending on how often they’re triggered and what settings you choose.

What video quality do you need? The main two things to consider are resolution and field of view. Most security cameras now offer at least full-HD quality video at 1080p, and we recommend this is the minimum you look at. While you can get higher resolution video, all the way up to 4K if you want it, you need to consider available internet bandwidth and storage space. The field of view describes the angle that the camera can cover, which ranges from around 110 degrees all the way up to 180 degrees. Some cameras also support HDR, which can boost overall quality significantly and be enormously helpful in reducing overexposed areas when lighting is mixed. 

What about connectivity? Every home security camera requires a Wi-Fi connection. Many systems come with their own hub that plugs directly into your Wi-Fi router via an ethernet cable. The hub will also need a power outlet. Some cameras support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, while others are limited to 2.4GHz. In general, 2.4GHz has better range but offers slower speeds than 5GHz. Bear in mind that the higher the quality of the video being recorded, the more bandwidth you will need to send that video to your local or cloud storage. While 4K quality might be tempting, you’ll need a fast internet connection to handle it. 

Do you need a subscription? There are some home security camera systems that allow you to record video locally and review videos through your mobile app from anywhere, but most require you to sign up for a monthly subscription if you want cloud storage. You’ll want to at least be able to access any recordings for several hours after they occur, in case you miss alerts as they happen. Many of the best features in the top home security cameras are also only available to subscribers.

What detection features do you need? Motion triggers video recordings, but you’ll likely want some sort of recognition or smart alert system. False positives can be a real pain with home security cameras, so you may want the ability to define activity zones. Many cameras can also distinguish between general motion, people, and animals. Some systems offer extras like package detection and facial recognition. You should also consider audio capability if you want loud sounds or alarms to trigger your cameras. 

What about the risk of someone accessing your camera? If you’re concerned about people hacking into your camera, then look out for two-factor authentication (2FA). Without 2FA, anyone with your username and password can log into your camera. It’s worth noting that you have to activate 2FA in your account with some cameras.

Are you concerned about privacy? It can be a little uncomfortable to live with security cameras in your home. You’ll want to be able to shut them off at certain times. Some cameras even come with physical shutters, so you know they’re not watching you. Facial recognition might be convenient, but you may not want companies analyzing and storing pictures of your children, for example. 

The best deals on home security cameras from this guide

You can’t watch your home 24/7, and that’s where a home security camera comes in. Buying a full set and subscription service can get pricey though, so it’s nice to buy with a discount. Deals on our picks aren’t uncommon; you can often find bundle discounts from retailers like Best Buy and Amazon. If you’re looking for all-time lows, though, the best time to shop is Black Friday or Cyber Monday, when we see drops like $200 off the Arlo Pro 3. 

To help protect your home (and your wallet), check out our top deals for security cameras below.

Here are the best deals we found on our home security camera picks.

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best cordless vacuum cleaners of 2021 – and Dyson didn’t make the cut

Five cordless vacuums that were tested to find the best cordless vacuum, standing on a wooden floor

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Cordless vacuums are convenient, but they shouldn’t sacrifice cleaning power or comfort.
  • The Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum picks up all kinds of particles on a variety of surfaces.
  • It reaches low and deep under furniture and has a cleaning path light. It’s also reasonably priced.

Compared to a clunky corded vacuum, a sleek cordless stick vacuum is a lot more convenient. Cordless vacuums tend to be lighter and more compact, and they don’t have a long cord to trail behind you or trip you up. While the downside is that they have a limited battery life, we still love cordless vacuums for making the dreaded task of cleaning a bit easier – maybe even enjoyable.

As with any other type of vacuum, the cleaning ability and suction power of a cordless vacuum are top considerations. The best cordless vac for most people should handle all kinds of small particles on a variety of surfaces, from smooth hardwood to thick carpet. Some cordless vacs are better suited to pick up pet hair or excel on hardwood floors, so it’s also important to think about where and when you’d use your vacuum the most, and shop accordingly.

Josh Mutlow, the Design Manager at Dyson, said, “The motor, cleaner head, cyclone, and filtration are the main key technologies that achieve the essential jobs of a vacuum cleaner.”

“Some [other] basic things to consider when you begin your search are the vacuum’s dimensions, weight, canister size, and how long the cordless vacuum can run between charges,” said Chris Doscher, a rep for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Learn more about the differences between corded and cordless vacuums, additional features to consider, and vacuum FAQs.

For our first major rewrite of this guide, we tested seven cordless vacuum models and landed on the top five. We’re planning to test many more down the line. Here’s how we tested the contenders on cleaning ability, ease of use, and battery life.

Here are the best cordless vacuum cleaners in 2021

The best cordless vacuum overall

image of a hand holding the shark vertex cordless vacuum, our pick for the best cordless vacuum overall in 2021

The Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum is a strong performer all around, picking up particles of most sizes on a variety of surfaces in a smooth and efficient fashion. We also love the light that illuminates your cleaning path and the flexible hose that lets you reach under low spaces better than any other cordless vac.

Pros: Versatile, strong suction, cleaning path light, great for under-furniture cleaning, comes with attachments 

Cons: Loud and high-pitched noise, thick grip that may be uncomfortable for small hands, weaker on high-pile carpet and rug  

This Shark vacuum isn’t perfect and we can’t guarantee it’ll pick up every size particle you throw its way, but it gets pretty close and has the best overall cleaning performance of all our contenders. 

On hardwood and tile, it picked up every last bit of flour, cat litter, ground coffee, and dog hair with no problem, and it was the best at sucking up whole Cheerios (most of the other vacuums just pushed these large crumbs around). On a high-pile rug, it had a little difficulty moving back and forth smoothly, so you should only get this vacuum if you have low-pile rugs and carpeting, or if you’re okay with buying a second vacuum for your carpet. 

It has a thick grip and somewhat heavy dust bin, making it a bit uncomfortable to use for long cleaning sessions. However, several other features make up for the slight discomfort. There are distinct settings for hardwood and carpet located near the grip and they’re easy to slide between. There’s also a power boost trigger that you can hold down whenever you need some extra suction power. 

Rolling the cleaning head around hardwood and tile feels very smooth and soft, instead of clunky and abrasive. The cleaning head also has two useful features: a light that shows you exactly what you’re cleaning and highlights small particles you might’ve otherwise missed, and a green alert button that turns red when a blockage occurs, so you can address the problem right away. 

My favorite part of using the vacuum is how low and flat it can get. In other cordless vacuums, the stick can’t be moved or repositioned, meaning you still have to bend down to reach under furniture. The Shark has a great design where you click a button in the middle of the stick and it bends into a flexible hose “elbow,” allowing the entire bottom half of the stick to lay flat and get under beds, couches, chairs, and other tricky spots. Instead of bending my knees or waist, I could just drop my arm and continue cleaning with little disruption.

The best cordless vacuum on a budget

image of the hoover onepwr cordless vacuum our pick for the best budget value cordless vacuum in 2021 in front of a pile of coffee grounds

This affordable Hoover vacuum impressed us with its quiet but strong cleaning power. It feels light and easy to maneuver since the dust bin is located at the base of the vacuum, though this design also prevents you from cleaning under low spaces.

Pros: Quiet, cleans well on all surfaces, less tiring to use because dust bin is located at base of vacuum, large dust bin 

Cons: Doesn’t come with attachments, dust bin location means you can’t get under low spots, a little heavy 

You won’t compromise cleaning ability and price in this budget-friendly vacuum. Though it may not come with bells and whistles like a storage dock and extra attachments and batteries, it picks up most small and fine particles effectively on carpet, hardwood, and tile. Faced with Cheerios, its performance is disappointing and it merely pushes the cereal around, so you’ll be better off sweeping up with a broom. But for all other materials, the vacuum does an easy and thorough job. 

The vacuum is on the heavier side compared to others, but it doesn’t feel like it because the dust bin is located near the cleaner head, rather than the handle. This makes vacuuming feel more comfortable and less tiring. It’s also really quiet and smooth as it cleans, and you can barely tell it’s picking small particles up (rest assured, it is). 

The dust bin placement does have its drawbacks. It obstructs access to low spaces under furniture, so you’ll need to figure out another way to clean under your bed and couches. In addition, the power and various mode buttons are located on top of the dust bin, so you need to bend down any time you want to turn your vacuum on and off or change modes. 

Still, I loved this vacuum for its consistent and reliable cleaning ability, reasonable battery life (that’s actually longer than the Shark’s), and quiet motor. If you don’t want to spend more than $200 or you only need a basic vacuum, this vacuum will meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Along with our other Hoover pick in this guide, it’s part of Hoover’s ONEPWR collection, which was a 2020 Product of the Year winner

The best cordless vacuum for pet owners

image of the tineco vacuum our pick for the best cordless vacuum for pet hair in 2021 in front of clumps of dog hair on a rug

Owners of constantly shedding pets will benefit from the lightweight yet powerful Tineco Pure One X, which picks up fine pet hairs from floors with its standard cleaning head, but also comes with attachments to get hair off of furniture, car seats, and delicate decor.

Pros: Really light, quiet, regular cleaning head and attachments all work well with fine pet hairs 

Cons: Small dust bin, feels a little cheap, weaker on high-pile carpet and rug  

For the pet hair portion of the test, I spread clumps as well as individual hairs of my friend’s Pekingese dog over various surfaces. All the vacuums I tested actually did a thorough job of picking up these long, fine hairs, but the Tineco stood out for its super lightweight and useful attachments. 

As any pet owner knows, you spend a lot of time picking up after your constantly shedding pets, which is why we recommend a vacuum that’s comfortable to carry around and comes with specialized tools for those especially stubborn bits of hair.

The Tineco has the smallest cleaning head and dustbin of our best picks, so you might need to empty it out a few times if you’re cleaning a large house. However, the light weight and easy maneuverability more than make up for it. While you must press down the trigger every time to start the vacuum, there’s a locking mechanism you can use if you don’t want to hold a trigger the whole time. 

I knew exactly when I picked up dirt, hair, and other particles because there’s a ring that lights up red when the vacuum is sucking up something and turns blue once the cleaning path is clear again. This vacuum also has a cleaning head light to illuminate your path. It’s generally pretty quiet, but I noticed the wheels squeaked a little from time to time. 

The attachments also make cleaning pet hair from every surface other than your floor more manageable. The mini power brush is strong and goes deep into fabric upholstery and mattresses to pick up particles and hair you didn’t even know were there, while the dusting tool lets you pick up errant hair sitting on shelves and blinds. The crevice tool fits into the cracks and crevices of your car, so you can take your pet on car trips without dreading the clean up afterward. It was when I was wriggling around my car seats that I really appreciated the light and compact design of the Tineco. The combo of convenience and suction power made the process so much faster, easier, and more comfortable. 

This vacuum is technically a “smart” one — it pairs with an app to provide cleaning performance information and maintenance reports, but I personally didn’t find it useful and the vacuum itself is enough reason to justify the purchase.

The best cordless vacuum for hardwood floors

image of a hand holding the lg cordzero mop vacuum our pick for the best cordless vacuum for hardwood floors in 2021

The LG Cordzero A9 is a vacuum that can turn into a mop, letting you clean your hardwood floors gently but thoroughly with just one appliance. It shines when cleaning super tiny particles like flour.

Pros: Fairly light, adjustable stick, easy-to-use mop feature, comes with extra battery 

Cons: Struggles with large particles like Cheerios, disposal method could be more sanitary  

This LG cordless vacuum is a sleek and beautiful model that gives you an all-in-one cleaning solution. In addition to the vacuum itself, you get tons of extra accessories like a wall mount, extra battery, and the unique Power Mop nozzle. 

It was one of the best performers in our flour test and picked up every last bit of flour on hardwood and tile, even in the cracks. It also did really well on high-pile rug, sucking flour out of the tall, loose loops. The only challenge might be with large particles like Cheerios; you’ll have better luck picking those up with a manual sweep. 

For a truly thorough clean of your hardwood floors, the Power Mop nozzle is very useful. The process involves wetting and attaching the soft mop pads (the pack comes with four total), filling the water tank in the nozzle, and choosing the setting for more or less water. Then, when you start the vacuum, it starts to slowly spin the mop pads instead of activating suction. They’re gentle and won’t damage your floors. The attachment also has a built-in light so you can see what you’re mopping. 

The vacuum is on the lighter side of all those we tested, and it has a comfortable grip. There’s no trigger, just an on/off button. The stick and cleaning head pivot smoothly, and you can extend or shorten the stick depending on your height and how far you need to reach the vacuum. 

While I liked all the cleaning capabilities of the vacuum, the dust bin disposal design could be more sanitary. After clicking open the bottom of the bin, there’s a lever that you push down to release the bin’s contents. The problem is that the contents sometimes don’t come out quickly, and you have to shake the bin quite a bit or reach inside. Other times, they spill out immediately. Either way, it’s not a pleasant experience and we recommend wearing gloves when dealing with the dust bin after your cleaning session.

The best cordless vacuum for carpet

image of the hoover bagged cordless vacuum our pick for the best cordless vacuum for carpet in 2021

The Hoover HEPA+ vacuum has all the advantages of a trusty bagged vacuum cleaner: large cleaning head, large dust bag capacity, and powerful suction that easily takes on high-pile carpet and rug.

Pros: Powerful, can cover a lot of area, bagged design is more sanitary

Cons: Heavy, can’t reach under low spaces

The Hoover HEPA+ bears the most resemblance to a traditional corded vacuum. The only difference is the cord-free convenience. It’s an all-around powerful performer and cleaned everything from finely ground coffee to grainy cat litter almost perfectly, every single time. And whereas I could tell some of the vacuums struggled on high-pile rug, the Hoover HEPA+ rolled over the rug smoothly and got deep between the rug fibers. 

The large cleaner head and bag make the vacuum heavy and unable to clean under low spaces. Plus, it’s loud. But since the bag is so big, it’ll take a long time before you have to replace it, and you can just throw it away directly without interacting with all the dust and other bits. Hoover also throws in an extra bag for you. 

The vacuum’s power switch and two mode buttons (carpet and hardwood) are located at the large and ergonomic handle. The vacuum will also stop running if you bring it back to the upright standing position. Like a few of our other top picks, the cleaning head has a built-in light to show your cleaning path. 

Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn’t come with attachments, so you’ll need to supplement it with a handheld vacuum for your other needs. As a main vacuum for a large house with lots of ground to cover, it’s a reliable choice.

What else we tested

image of hand holding the dyson v11 outsize torque a cordless vacuum we do not recommend in 2021

What else we recommend and why

Dyson V11 Torque Drive ($359.99, currently out of stock): This Dyson model is powerful, reasonably priced, and has a long battery life (around 60 minutes on Eco mode). As a newer Dyson vac, it has a special LCD screen that lets you know exactly how much battery you have left on each mode (Eco, Normal, Boost). Because you must hold down a trigger to start the vacuum, it can be tiring on your hands. 

Dyson V11 Animal ($599.99): Based on testing from my colleague James, the V11 Animal is another great choice for picking up pet hair. It costs a lot more than the Tineco, it’s less comfortable to hold, and the battery life is short, but it does do a thorough job at sucking up all kinds of pet hair on a variety of surfaces. 

What we don’t recommend and why 

Dyson V11 Outsize ($799.99): For most households, this large and heavy vacuum is probably overkill. Though it has a great battery life (around 72 minutes on Eco mode), it’s uncomfortable to hold and use for that long. In our testing, the cleaning ability and suction power did not outperform the other contenders. It was also difficult to move back and forth on a high-pile rug.

Our testing methodology

various materials like cat litter flour cheerios cereal and ground coffee scattered on the ground to test the best cordless vacuums 2021

1. Vacuuming ability: I tested each of the vacuums against five materials (flour, ground coffee, cat litter, whole Cheerios, and dog hair) on three different surfaces (carpet/rug, hardwood, and tile). I scattered half a cup of each material on each surface — resulting in 15 tests for each vacuum — and rated each vacuum on its ability to suck up the material powerfully, cleanly, and thoroughly. If the vacuum came with attachments, I also tested the attachments on appropriate surfaces (e.g. crevice tool on furniture cushions and car seats) and rated their effectiveness. 

An example of one of the test results:

Cat litter test Carpet Hardwood Tile
Shark Anti-Allergen Cordless Vacuum 3/5: Powerful and thorough, but could only push forward. Got stuck when I tried to move backwards 5/5; Sucked up all particles completely and quickly, cat litter did not fall back out of cleaning head 5/5; Sucked up all particles completely and quickly, cat litter did not fall back out of cleaning head

2. Battery life: I used each vacuum until its battery died and compared the actual battery life to the advertised battery life. 

3. Comfort and ease of use: I noted the ergonomics of each vacuum: how tiring it is to hold, how easy it is to maneuver, and the effort required to activate the power button. I also noted whether it could fit under low spaces and any additional helpful features like a headlight to illuminate your cleaning path. 

4. Disposal method: I evaluated the cleanliness and ease of emptying the dustbin after a cleaning session. How is the bin opened? Do I have to reach inside and touch dirt and dust that didn’t empty out completely? 

5. Storage: I noted how the vacuum breaks down into multiple parts and whether it comes with a wall mount or docking station. 

6. Warranty and customer service: I registered each vacuum, noted warranty terms, and spoke to customer service reps to evaluate the ease of registration and quality of service.

What we’re testing next

image of dog and hand holding the roborock h6 a cordless vacuum we'll be testing next in 2021

Eufy HomeVac S11 Go: We love Eufy’s robot vacuums and we’re interested in seeing how its cordless vacs compare. It has a lightweight body, powerful suction, and 40-minute run time, and it’s reasonably priced for everything you get (a wall mount and attachments are also included). 

Roborock H6: This vacuum is efficient, quiet, and easily maneuverable, though some reviewers say it doesn’t do well on tile so we’re looking to test that directly. It has a five-stage HEPA filter purification system and a 90-minute advertised battery life.

What to consider when buying a cordless vacuum

image of three cordless vacuum dust bins side by side while testing the best cordless vacuums in 2021
The dust bin is often located at the top of a cordless vacuum, a design that lets your vac reach under low spaces but can also become tiring to hold. To power your vacuum, you may need to hold down a trigger or simply press an on/off button.

Cordless vacuum vs corded vacuum: how do they compare?

  Cordless vacuum Corded vacuum
Power source Rechargeable battery Electrical outlet
Weight Lighter; 3-8 pounds on average Heavier; 8-15 pounds on average
Size More slim and compact; width of 10 inches on average Larger; width of 14 inches on average
Noise Usually more quiet Louder
Price Usually more expensive; $200-$300 on average More affordable; $75-$150 on average

Features to look for in a cordless vacuum 

Weight/distribution of weight: A cordless vacuum will feel heavier or lighter, and less comfortable or more comfortable, depending on where the bulk of the weight is. To allow for better flexibility and access, brands often place the dust bin near the top and handle of the vacuum. This can make it tiring to use a cordless vacuum over a long period of time. If the bin is placed at the bottom, near the cleaning head, the weight will be less of a burden, but that placement may get in the way of your cleaning. 

Size: Keep the size of your living space in mind as you shop for a cordless vac. If you live by yourself in a studio, for example, you can look for vacs with smaller cleaning heads and dust bins. Also pay attention to the length of the vacuum and whether it will be comfortable for your height. Some vacuums have adjustable sticks. 

Battery: Read product info carefully to see whether the advertised battery life refers to that of one battery or multiple batteries. Generally, we’ve found that advertised battery life is longer than actual battery life. Follow manufacturer directions on how to care for and dispose of batteries. 

Docking/storage: Cordless vacuums are typically composed of two to three parts that you put together yourself (not including separate attachments). This design also makes it easy to store your vacuum in a compact space. Some vacuums may come with a wall dock or mount, so you can hang your vacuum on the wall. 

Inclusion of other cleaning tools: Consider whether you might need additional attachments, such as a crevice tool or dusting brush. These may come with your vacuum, or can be available for separate purchase. 

Warranty: Look for a one year warranty (at minimum) on both parts and labor of your entire vacuum. Beyond that, the manufacturer may offer additional warranties on specific parts like the motor. Once you receive your vacuum, register it online to speed up the warranty process later. 

If you’re comfortable shopping for a vacuum in the store, “there’s no substitute for trying it out and seeing for yourself how it operates. Ask the retailer if you can turn on the vacuum and try it out before you make a choice,” said Doscher. 

The best time to buy a cordless vacuum

Cordless vacuums tend to be more expensive than corded ones. The good news is that most brands discount their cordless vacuums around Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday/Cyber Weekend. We typically see discounts of $50 to $200 off Dyson, Hoover, and Shark cordless vacuums. If you’re able to wait, your patience will pay off in big savings.

Cordless vacuum FAQs

image of hand holding a dirty filter from a cordless vacuum in 2021
Here’s your sign to check and clean your vacuum filter.

Are cordless vacuums worth it?

In a word, yes. Cordless vacuums offer flexibility and ease of use that you just can’t get from a corded vacuum. Modern cordless vacuums can be every bit as powerful as corded models, and allow you to effortlessly move from room to room without worrying about cords or outlets. They’re also usually slimmer and quieter than corded models.

How often should you clean and change your vacuum filter? 

The guidance varies model by model and there are different kinds of filters (cartridge, disk, foam, cloth), so you should check your product manual. Generally, you should wash and dry it when you notice a smell or if you observe a decline in vacuum performance. Some vacuums will also alert you when you need to change the filter. A clean filter is important for effective cleaning; a dirty filter restricts airflow and decreases suction power. 

Which cordless vacuums are allergy- or asthma-friendly? 

Look for cordless vacuums with HEPA filters, which are recommended for allergy and asthma sufferers. Without a HEPA filter, these small particles are likely to be released back into the air after being sucked up. All the vacuums we recommend are equipped with HEPA filters. 

What does a HEPA filter do? 

A true HEPA filter traps and removes at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, dirt, mold, bacteria, and other airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns. According to the EPA, 0.3 microns is the most penetrating particle size, so this specification refers to the worst case. If the particle is larger or smaller than 0.3 microns, it will be trapped with even higher efficiency. 

Why is my vacuum’s battery life decreasing?

If your vacuum’s rechargeable battery is made from nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) or nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH), then it can experience “memory effect.” Memory effect happens if you charge the battery when there’s still some power left. Your battery starts holding less charge over time because it “remembers” how full it was the last time you charged it and won’t charge past that point the next time. Even though the original power of the battery is the same, the maximum battery voltage has decreased. To prevent memory effect, you should drain your nickel-based battery completely before charging it. Lithium-ion batteries do not experience this effect. 

What’s the difference between amps, watts, and volts? Which one matters most for cordless vacuums? 

Amps, watts, and volts are related to each other. Amperage is the electrical current (or volume of electrons), wattage is the rate of power flow (or how much power the motor is using), and voltage is speed at which electrons pass a specific point within a closed circuit (or the amount of power needed to support an electrical current). Watts = volts x amps. 

A high wattage means the vacuum will use a lot of energy, and thus more battery. Since the type of motor can also affect vacuum power, high wattage doesn’t automatically equate to a powerful vacuum. Instead, you should focus on suction. “The motor is at the heart of driving the performance of a vacuum cleaner. The motor takes electrical power from the power source and converts it into mechanical power, or suction. So, the more powerful your motor is, the more air you’re able to pull through the machine,” said Mutlow.  

We’ve decided to leave quantitative specs like wattage and voltage out of our reviews because they’re not useful as standalone numbers. Instead, we focused on suction and evaluated that based on how well the vacuums sucked up different kinds of particles.

Glossary

image of cordless vacuum attachments and brushroll side by side in 2021

HEPA: Stands for high efficiency particulate air. A HEPA filter traps and removes at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, dirt, mold, bacteria, and other airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns and can be found in air purifiers and vacuums. 

Whole machine filtration: The entire machine is sealed to prevent unfiltered particles from escaping. All air passes through the filter before it is expelled. 

Dustbin: Where all the dust, dirt, and hair are stored as you vacuum. The dustbin should be emptied out into the trash after you’re done cleaning. 

Brush roll: A cylinder with bristles located in the cleaning head that rotates and helps release dirt from carpets and rugs. The bristles of a brush roll may leave scratches on hardwood and tile, so you should turn off the brush roll if possible. Replace your brush roll when the bristles wear out (like on your toothbrush). 

Crevice tool: A long, flat attachment with an angled tip. It’s good for getting into tight corners including baseboards and stairs and between couch cushions. 

Dust brush tool: A small attachment with soft bristles. It’s good for blinds, windowsills, and delicate objects. 

Upholstery tool: A wide, flat attachment that allows for strong suction. It’s good for furniture with fabric upholstery like mattresses, chairs, and couches. 

Lithium ion battery: A type of rechargeable battery that uses lithium ions and can store high amounts of energy and deliver higher voltage than nickel-based batteries. It doesn’t display memory effect, but it is less stable than nickel-based batteries and has a tendency to overheat. 

Nickel battery: A type of rechargeable battery that comes in either nickel-cadmium (Ni-Ca) or nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH) form. It can store high amounts of energy, is more difficult to damage than Li-ion batteries, and suffers from memory effect.

Check out our other guides to great vacuum cleaners

image of irobot roomba 690 robot vacuum on a hardwood floor

For cleaning the rest of your floors, check out these guides

Man cleaning house mopping mop chores housework
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Our top picks for the best juicer of 2021

four juicers used in a test of the best juicers in 2021 sit with kale juice insider

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Investing in a juicer saves you money on store-bought juice and helps add nutrients to your diet.
  • We recommend slow juicers over high-speed ones because they keep nutritious fibers intact.
  • Hurom’s HP slow juicer is our favorite because it’s compact, reliable, and easy to use and clean.

If you buy fresh juice regularly, you may want to invest in a juicer. The best ones can pulverize an entire farmer’s market haul into smooth, flavorful juice with little foam; easily fit on the counter; won’t wake up the whole house; are simple to clean; and come with a decent warranty (10 years is the industry standard).

To arrive at our top picks, we juiced everything from hardy root vegetables to leafy greens, and considered the resulting juices’ taste, texture, foam levels, and oxidation rates. We also measured the volume of liquid each machine produced and the amount of pulp left behind, as well as the juicers’ speeds and noise levels. Lastly, with the help of a mechanical engineer, we pulled apart several juicers to see if they were made with identical parts (despite differences in size and price). For this guide, we specifically focused on masticating (or “slow”) juicers. You can read more about why in our FAQ section.

Here are the best juicers you can buy in 2021

The best juicer overall

hurom hp slow juicer

Not only was the Hurom HP Slow Juicer one of the most powerful models we tested, it was also the most compact and user-friendly.

Pros: Small size, intuitive design, 100% BPA-free plastic, 10-year motor warranty, easy to clean, high juice yield

Cons: 2-year parts warranty, somewhat slow (even by slow juicer standards), juice is slightly less concentrated than its more expensive competitors’

While Hurom’s HP Slow Juicer is the smallest machine we tested, it uses the same powerful motor as models that take up nearly twice the space (like the Omega VSJ843, for example). We discovered this after disassembling and examining several highly-rated juicers with the help of a mechanical engineer — a process that we describe in greater detail under “Our Methodology,” below. 

The HP comes with a fine strainer, a larger strainer to allow some pulp to pass through — always a good idea, nutritionally — and two cleaning brushes. In other words, it has exactly all you need and nothing you don’t. That doesn’t mean the machine is without its conveniences, though; we’re fans of the inner spinning brush that helps clear the strainers while you’re juicing, allowing for a higher yield.

Indeed, the HP did produce a high yield. It pulled the most liquid out of every single fruit or veggie we juiced, and consistently had among the driest discarded pulp (in these respects, it even outperformed our other recommendation from Hurom, the H-AI Self-Feeding Juicer). The resulting juice was clean, bright, and refreshing, and contained little foam, although it wasn’t quite as rich and intense as its pricier competitors’ output. 

When it’s time to clean up, there are no awkward angles to scrub, and that cleaning brush does an excellent job of removing pulp from hard-to-reach spots thanks to a convenient pick built into its handle. Hurom cautions against running the machine’s parts through the dishwasher, although we managed to do so without a problem. (Is this cleaning method a good idea, long-term? Probably not, but we wanted to make sure the HP could handle it in a pinch.) 

A note to those who tend to juice while rushing out the door: if speed is of the essence, Hurom’s HP Slow Juicer may not be the machine for you. It runs at 43 RPM, which is a bit slow even by slow juicer standards. For comparison, the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer and the previously mentioned Hurom H-AI — two models included in this guide — run at 60 RPM, while the Omega Cold Press 365, which we’re currently testing, runs at 90 to 110 RPM. 

In the end, the HP’s ease of use, simple clean-up, and compact size make it a clear winner for us. After all, if your juicer is compact enough to live on your countertop instead of a cabinet, you’ll notice — and therefore use — it all the more often.

The best multi-use juicer

kuvings slow juicer

The Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer produces rich, velvety juice, and goes beyond the usual call of duty to act as a citrus juicer and ice cream maker with the help of attachments. 

Pros: Versatile, 10-year warranty on all parts, BPA-free plastic, extra-wide feeding spout

Cons: Heavy, some attachments sold separately, cleanup can be time-consuming

The Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer is a sound investment if you like the idea of an appliance that can do quadruple duty. Not only is it an excellent slow juicer in its own right, it’s designed to accommodate three attachments: smoothie and frozen dessert makers (both included) and a citrus juicer (sold separately).

To use the citrus juicer attachment, you palm halves of citrus over a reamer that’s turned by the machine’s motor. It’s simple and gets the job done, and while we think the price of the attachment is higher than it needs to be, it’s still far more affordable than purchasing a separate appliance. 

During our testing, we used the smoothie strainer to make a berry and banana smoothie that was texturally consistent, foam-free, and silkier than anything we’ve pulled from a blender. The blank strainer for frozen desserts was more difficult to master: we were successful with banana gelato, but not much else. It seems that a particular level of frozenness (and practice) is required to churn out sorbets, gelatos, and ice creams as effortlessly as this YouTuber.

As far as its main duty goes, the Whole Slow Juicer’s 3.2-inch-wide feeding spout can accommodate larger pieces of fruit than our top pick, and at 60 RPM it’s a bit faster, too. The extra speed may come at the expense of maximum juicing; compared to the Hurom HP, the Kuvings squeezed less liquid out of our fruits and vegetables, and its wetter pulp suggested that there was some good stuff left behind in the discard pile. 

That being said, the Whole Slow Juicer produced the richest, most velvety juice we tried during our taste tests, with and without the detachable external strainer that helps catch any residual pulp. 

There is one design quirk we should note, though: the chute makes an awkward turn towards the auger, which means harder fruits and vegetables like carrots and beets get hung up, while softer ones like grapes leave a significant amount of mush in the bend. We had to reverse the auger more times for the Kuvings than for any other juicer, and while we were able to send most of that aforementioned mush back through, it was an extra, messy step.

That turn in the chute also made for more complicated cleanup work, but that’s only nominal when it comes to juicers. Plus, any additional time spent was mostly offset by the Kuvings’ self-cleaning internal strainer, whose basket is lined with pulp-sweeping brushes. Like everything we tested, its parts withstood the dishwasher. 

Small flaws considered, if you want a juicer that does it all, this is the only one we know of that can make smoothies, frozen desserts (with some trial and error), and citrus juice.

The best self-feeding juicer

Image of the Hurom H200, the best self-feeding juicer of 2021

Hurom’s H200 handles whole fruits and forgoes stainless steel strainers for easier-to-clean plastic ones.

Pros: Large hopper capacity, juices whole fruits, vertically integrated for relatively small footprint

Cons: No fine strainer (if you’re not a fan of pulp, you’ll need an external strainer), large (but vertical, so still manageable)

Self-feeding juicers, like Hurom’s H200 Easy Clean Slow Juicer, make juicing a lot easier. It can handle whole fruits — about three medium-sized apples, and larger chunks of ones that don’t fit — which shortens prep time, and it’s vertically integrated so that it doesn’t take up too much counter or cabinet space.

There are two schools of thought on self-feeding juicers. Some people find that they get overloaded, overwhelmed, and clogged too easily. Others find them to be a great time-saver, and, again, because they tend to be designed vertically, they store better than other options. Over the course of the three years we’ve spent with them, we’ve only had problems when trying to juice mealy, overripe fruits, including pears, plums, and peaches, which turned into a mushy mess that couldn’t be fed into the auger. That can be a problem if you tend to juice a lot of overripe stone fruits, but if you’re making a blend of juices, or are willing to in order to rectify the situation, a good solution is to add some harder fruits to the mix to help push the mushy stuff through.

This machine offers the highest yield with the least amount of foam out of all the juicers we’ve tested, and at 50 RPM, is 10 RPM slower than the H-AI, our previous pick for a slow juicer, as well as the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer above.

While the H200 impressed us with its effortless production of perfect, rich, foam-free juice out of whole fruits, our favorite thing about it is how easy it is to clean. The machine comes with a classic juicer brush for getting pulp out of fine stainless steel mesh, although we’re not sure you’ll ever need it. As advertised, cleaning is as simple as running each part under water. Soap is always a good idea, of course, but you will not find yourself scraping pulp out of microscopic holes, or worse, finding bits of beets or carrots you juiced months ago because you just can’t manage to get it clean clean.

This juicer lacks a fine strainer for those who want pulp-free juice, though you can purchase a small strainer to place between the spout and the juice container to filter out pulp. The only other concession we’ve found is that unlike with the H-AI, you don’t have the option of a normal shoot without the self-feeding attachment, as sometimes you may prefer to load the hopper and feed the auger manually. By that same token, though, it’s one less clunky accessory.

All in all, the H200 is a powerful, easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, cabinet-friendly juicer that makes outstanding juice with little fuss. If you are looking to seriously invest in a home juicer, this is our favorite juicer to date, if money is no object.

What else we tested

What else we recommend and why:

Breville Juice Fountain Plus: If you do want a centrifugal juicer, this is one of the best in its category. We’ve used it many times in the past, we’ve seen it hold up at several small juice stands, and the price is right. Still, it produces a lot of foam, and it’s a good deal larger than the vertical slow juicers we recommend.

Omega VSJ843: This juicer, down to almost every single part, turned out to be identical to the Hurom HP. The big difference is that it comes with a 15-year warranty on “parts and performance” versus a 10-year warranty on the Hurom juicers’ motors and a two-year warranty on other parts. In the end, the motor warranty is a bigger consideration, because if you break a part (and it’s not due to a defect), it’s still on you to replace. We’re going to work on comparing customer service between the two companies for further consideration.

What we don’t recommend and why:

Breville Bluicer: This could be a handy machine if you happen to need a juicer and a blender at once, but it’s large, and comes with a lot of parts you might not want to use (let alone store). We found the juice yield so low and the amount of foam so high, though, that on top of other detrimental factors such as size and noise, we decided against recommending it in this guide.

Hamilton Beach Big Mouth: This centrifugal high-speed juicer is more affordable than the Breville Juice Fountain Plus, but while it worked, it produced a ton of foam.

Oster’s Self-Cleaning Professional Juice ExtractorThis high-speed (centrifugal) juicer is another case of an appliance that is just too large and complex for most people’s use. It works, though you’ll still have to do a good bit of cleaning up afterward. Still, if you do want a high-speed juicer, it’s a good choice for a budget option, and we like that it’s dishwasher-safe.

Smeg Slow Juicer: Smeg’s Slow Juicer had a lot of the same qualities as the Omega VSJ843 or the Hurom HP, but at about $500, you’re mostly paying for its ’50s-vintage appeal. If that’s worth it to you, go for it. It’s a perfectly capable machine, and our tester’s unit is still going strong more than two years into weekly-plus use.

Our testing methodology

2lb carrot juice test

To test the juicers’ ability to handle a variety of fruits and vegetables, we ran beets, carrots, kale, and black seedless grapes through each machine. We weighed the produce beforehand to make sure we were putting the exact same amount in each juicer, then measured the volume (fluid ounces) of the resulting juice.

We noted the amount of foam that settled at the top of each cup of juice, the rate of oxidation (some juices browned faster than others), and the amount of pulp left behind. 

And, of course, we measured taste, however subjectively, and found that some juices were more watery than others (we used a fine strainer throughout testing) while others were incredibly rich.

We also pulled apart four juicers after speaking with Duncan Freake, a mechanical engineer at Epam Continuum, who posited that certain parts, including the augers, strainers, and receptacles were the same between Omega and HP. Sure enough, while the parts inside each of the juicers we disassembled weren’t exactly identical, it was clear that they came from the same factory, or used the same components, from Korea. And while both brands advertise that their juicers are made in Korea, they don’t divulge that many of their parts come from the same set of factories as their competitors, Zhejiang Linix Motor Co., Ltd. Granted, this is a common case with many household appliances, and something we found to be true when researching for our guide to the best countertop ice makers, too.

FAQs

What is a slow juicer?

There are two basic juicer types on the market: centrifugal and masticating (or slow). The larger, noisier, and more affordable of the two, centrifugal juicers use a high-speed blade and tend to yield less juice and more foam than their slow-juicing counterparts.

Masticating juicers steadily turn an auger that pulverizes fruits and veggies, leaving more nutrients and enzymes intact and producing smoother, silkier, and better-tasting juice overall. For these reasons, our guide focuses solely on slow juicers.

Can drinking juice help you lose weight?

While some people claim green juice can help you lose weight and clear the body of “toxins,” these ideas are not medically supported.

“Even if you’re making it yourself, juice is still more processed than a whole fruit or veggie, and studies consistently show that it’s more beneficial to eat foods in their more natural state,” Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, author of “Sugar Shock” told us. “Our bodies don’t register the calories we drink in the same way they register calories from food, so you don’t get the same level of fullness from juice as you would from eating an apple or veggie.”

However, Cassetty said fresh juice is still an excellent way to add more nutrients to your diet, and based on our testing, the juicers above all perform at the top level.

Check out our other small appliance guides

KitchenAid 5 Quart Stand Mixer
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The 5 best electric scooters of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Electric scooters are a convenient and fun way to commute to work or run errands around town.
  • The best electric scooters should have a reliably long battery range and travel at speeds of up to 20-plus mph.
  • Our top pick, the Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4, has a dual-battery design that gets up to 28 miles of range.

Electric scooters have gone from curious novelties to a bonafide form of transportation thanks to advancements in tech and the rise of e-scooter rental services like Lime and Bird.

And I can’t overlook the fact they’re just plain fun to ride.

But more people have also discovered that owning their own is incredibly convenient – I know I have. Whether it’s a quick jaunt to the store, a ride to a friend’s house, or just commuting from a distant parking lot to the office, there are numerous times when having an e-scooter has proved incredibly handy for me.

If you’ve been considering buying an electric scooter of your own, I highly recommend it. But the most important question to ask yourself before buying is what you plan to use it for – after that, there are plenty of models that stand out from the crowd. To help, I’ve compiled the following guide of the best electric scooters I’ve tested, perfect for a variety of people and use cases.

I’ve also included some insight into how to shop for an electric scooter, as well as how I tested each of the scooters featured in this guide.

Here are the best electric scooters of 2021:

How I test electric scooters

Each of the electric scooters in this guide went through a series of tests to determine how well they compared against these four categories: Range, portability, versatility, and value. Here’s how I specifically considered each category while testing:

Range: Most electric scooters are defined by the range they’re capable of delivering, and this is the top factor to consider. To test this, we compared the on-paper range to how it fared in real-world tests. Where range begins to take a hit on almost every model is when you start riding uphill or traveling at its top speed for extended periods of time (and we’ve noted in the review of each model where this was the most significant).

Portability: Being able to easily transport a scooter is a vital consideration for anyone living in an apartment building or someone who plans on commuting part of the way on a scooter. Portability means not just how much it weighs but whether it folds up and is easy to carry. 

Versatility: Versatility also means that a scooter can handle a wide range of uses, from fun rides to commuting to running errands. Judging a scooter’s versatility meant seeing if it was capable of operating outside of its typical use case (within a set of safe parameters, of course).

Value: Value is a combination of the three categories above and how it relates to what it actually costs. This can often mean that it’s better to spend a little more on a quality scooter designed to last and function properly, as opposed to spending less on something you’ll need to replace more often. 

The best electric scooter overall

Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4

For excellent all-around performance, including good range and speed, the Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4 is a great option for riders looking for a versatile, easy-to-use model.

Pros: Up to 28 miles of range on a single charge, features a dual-battery design, large wheels allow for very minimal offroad travel, speeds up to 18 mph

Cons: Long battery recharge time

The Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4 has been on the market for several years and yet, it remains one of the top all-around models. Not only does it offer a solid and accurate range of 28 miles on a single charge, it can also hit top speeds in excess of 18 mph.

That level of performance is due in part to its dual-battery design. Equipped with both a built-in and removable power cell, the ES4 provides good versatility when it comes to staying charged, too. 

The ES4‘s solid 8-inch wheels allow it to roll over large obstacles and provide a smooth ride on a variety of surfaces. Front and rear shock absorbers increase the level of comfort and help smooth out your commute. That’s especially important when zipping along at top speed, which tends to amplify every bump in the road. Fortunately, the ES4 offers a relaxing and fun ride across a variety of terrain.

Other nice features include a front-facing LED light, as well as user-customizable lights on the side and undercarriage to aid in visibility in lowlight conditions. A small, but easy to read, LCD screen displays current speeds and the battery’s charge level, while electric and mechanical braking systems allow for a good sense of control. This model even folds down nicely for easy transport and comes with IPX54 water resistance for use in poor weather conditions. 

Because the ES4 uses two batteries to keep it running at such a high level, it takes a little longer than some other models in this guide to recharge. It can take more than six hours to power this scooter up to its full capacity, which can require a bit of planning depending on your needs. The ES4 can function as a traditional kick scooter in a pinch, though. 

Although there are other options that cost less, few of them offer the same level of performance and convenience in such a well-designed package as the ES4.

The best budget electric scooter

Gotrax XR Ultra

The budget-friendly Gotrax XR Ultra electric scooter provides good speed and range, along with more than few unexpected features, without putting a major dent in your wallet. 

Pros: Inexpensive, weighs 27 pounds, sturdy tires, has both disc and electric brakes

Cons: Limited features

While the top end of the electric scooter market continues to push the envelope in terms of speed, range, and portability, many of those models remain too expensive for the general consumer. As with most products, however, the technology eventually trickles down to price points that are more palatable to the general public, delivering a lot of bang for the buck in the process. Such is the case with the Gotrax XR, a budget e-scooter that offers a level of performance that will meet most people’s needs, without making them feel buyer’s remorse afterward. 

The XR Ultra‘s top speed of 15.5 mph and a max range of 17 miles seems unimpressive when compared to other–more expensive—competitors. But its sub-$400 price tag makes this model a much more approachable option for those looking to dip their toe in the e-scooter waters. Put in other terms, this is the Toyota Camry of electric scooters. It is affordable, reliable, and offers good performance–just don’t compare it to a Mercedes S Class. 

One of the best elements of the XR Ultra is its very smooth and comfortable ride. This scooter glides along at a steady pace, its 8.5-inch inflatable tires rolling over most obstacles with ease. The XR’s folding frame and 27-pound weight should make it a favorite amongst budget-conscious commuters as well. In an effort to keep costs down, Gotrax didn’t including any kind of suspension, however, which means this model performs best on smooth, paved surfaces. 

That isn’t to say that the XR Ultra doesn’t have a good feature set. The scooter comes with both a disc and electric braking systems with regenerative properties. It also includes a bright LED headlight and an LCD screen that displays speed, distance, battery life, and a number of other items. An integrated kickstand is a nice touch, as is the IP54 water resistance rating too. 

While I think the Gotrax XR Ultra is the best budget e-scooter on the market, it should be noted that there are plenty of other models that are available at a lower price. With those other options, you’ll more than likely find yourself having to make compromises in terms of speed, range, and weight in order to save a little cash. The XR Ultra doesn’t have any of those glaring compromises, bridging the gap between a truly budget scooter and the more expensive higher-end quite nicely.

The best electric scooter for commuters

Xiamoi Mi Electric Scooter

Lightweight and capable of folding down to a surprisingly small size, the Xiaomi Mi M365 is an electric scooter built specifically with commuters in mind. 

Pros: Folds down for easy portability, weighs 27 pounds, comes standard with front and rear taillights

Cons: Only rated to carry riders up to 220 pounds

When selecting an e-scooter for use as a daily commuter, I want something that’s lightweight and easy to carry around, without compromising on performance. That’s exactly what I found in the Xiaomi Mi M365, which manages to provide 18.6 miles of range and a top speed of 15.5 mph while tipping the scales at a shade over 27 pounds. Add in a small battery charger and the ability to fold down to a smaller size and the M365 is easy to recommend to anyone who places an emphasis on portability. 

And don’t let that lightweight fool you, it still has plenty of features packed into its design. For instance, it comes with front and rear lights, wide shock-absorbing tires, and an LED indicator for battery life. It also has a regenerative braking system that feeds power back into the battery, as well as a companion app for customizing settings and tracking distance, speed, and other metrics.

This scooter even has a power-saving mode that helps extend the range by limiting the rate of acceleration and its top speed. Turning that mode on also makes the M365 more accommodating to beginners. 

It’s clear Xiaomi put a lot of thought into making the M365 easy to use. This is especially evident in its folding mechanism, which allows it to shrink down to a more compact size in under three seconds. I appreciate that simplicity when entering and exiting trains, climbing stairs, riding elevators, or even taking the M365 in and out of a car trunk. While folding e-scooters are hardly a rarity, the speed and fluidity at which this one operates is a great feature.

In order to achieve the M365‘s relatively low weight, Xiaomi used a minimalist design and a lightweight aluminum frame. Because of this, the scooter is only rated to carry riders weighing up to 220 pounds. The frame itself is plenty durable and can certainly support someone who exceeds that weight limit, but a heavier passenger cuts into performance, reducing both its range and speed.

Weight limit aside, the Xiaomi Mi M365 is in a class by itself when used as a daily commuter. Lightweight and easy to carry, it offers a good blend of range and speed and delivers a smooth ride.

The best electric scooter for performance

Outstorm Maxx Ultra High Speed Scooter

If you’re in the market for a fast scooter with long-range, the Outstorm Maxx Ultra-High-Speed is exactly what you’re looking for. 

Pros: Up to 52 miles of range and speeds to 56 mph, maximum weight capacity of 485 pounds, can ride on gravel, dirt trails, and in sand

Cons: Extremely heavy at 100 pounds

When moving up to the performance level of the e-scooter market, prices can increase substantially. While the models found at the top end of the scale are indeed fast and powerful, they can also cost several thousands of dollars. The Outstorm Maxx Ultra-High-Speed flirts with a $2000 price tag but ultimately delivers a lot of bang for the buck, striking an intriguing middle ground when it comes to performance and cost. 

So, what exactly does a performance scooter at this price point have to offer? In the case of the Maxx, it provides a top speed of 56 mph and a range of up to 52 miles. This is achieved thanks to its dual motors, which can produce as much as 3200 watts of power at their highest level of output. It also allows the scooter to carry a maximum weight of 485 pounds and ride not only on paved surfaces but also on dirt trails, gravel, and sand. The Maxx does well on hills too, powering up steep inclines without missing a beat. 

This scooter features three different speed modes and two power modes, which made it easy to find a good balance between speed and range. A digital readout prominently displays how fast the scooter is currently moving and shows battery life and distance traveled. A regenerative braking system helps feed energy back into the battery throughout the ride, while a bright LED headlight makes riding at night much safer as well. The Maxx also features a hydraulic shock system, 11-inch tires, durable running boards, and electronic cruise control. 

Of course, all the high-performance components used in the Maxx‘s construction come at the expense of weight. This model weighs in at a whopping 100 pounds, which means it isn’t an especially good choice for commuting. Yes, it can fold down to a smaller size for ease of storage, but that doesn’t make it any easier to lift or move around when the battery is dead. Thankfully, with its large 60V power cells, it doesn’t run out of juice all that often. 

In terms of performance scooters, the Outstorm Maxx Ultra High Speed is a relative bargain, offering plenty of speed and range in an attractive package. But it also provides a smooth, comfortable ride as well, both on and off-road. Because it falls into the pricier end of the market, it definitely isn’t a model for most people. Riders who are willing to pay the extra money will find that it more than delivers on its promise of exhilarating two-wheeled thrills.

The best electric scooter for kids

Razor E100 scooter

Built with kids in mind, the Razor E100 is stable, comfortable to ride, and easy to control, while managing to remain nimble and fun. 

Pros: Offers a stable ride perfect for kids to learn on, easy to maneuver, favors safety over performance

Cons: Limited long-term durability, 26-pound weight could be a lot for kids to carry, not many features

Razor has been designing scooters—both electric and kick models—for a variety of age groups for years. Over that time, the company has learned that the features that you look for in an adult model are quite different than those for kids. While speed and range are of the utmost importance to the former, safety and stability are the chief concerns for the latter. That design philosophy is evident with the E100, an e-scooter that is sure to delight younger riders. 

The E100 provides a top speed of 10 mph and offers a ride time of about 40 minutes between charges. Yes, the range of this model is measured in minutes rather than miles, which is another departure from the adult scooter market. Forty minutes of continous use is a fairly long time by kid standards, however, providing a reasonable amount of range before the battery runs dry. 

With its 8-inch pneumatic front tire, the E100 provides a nice, smooth ride. Coupled with the scooter’s rear-wheel-drive system, this shifts much of the weight to the back, enhancing stability and balance as a result. Hand brakes and a thumb throttle make learning to ride quick and easy too, making this a scooter even younger kids will feel comfortable on quite quickly. 

As with any product designed for kids, long-term durability is always in question. To alleviate those concerns, Razor used a steel frame in the construction of the E100, giving it a very solid feel overall. Those materials do end up adding some weight to the scooter, which tips the scales at 26 pounds. By adult e-scooter standards, that is quite svelte but younger kids may find the E100 unwieldy to lug around.  

Compared to most electric scooters designed for adults, the Razor E100 doesn’t have a lot of features and amenities. Still, thanks to its ease of use and uncomplicated design, kids will find this model a lot of fun to ride around. After all, their goal isn’t to commute to and from the office but to ride with friends and enjoy some time outdoors. For that, this is a wonderful choice.

How to shop for an electric scooter

As the electric scooter market has grown and diversified, there are now a number of categories that help to define it. The most obvious of those categories is whether or not a specific model is designed with kids or adults in mind.

Those made for the younger crowd tend to be smaller, less expensive, and slower. They often have less battery life as well, which translates to a shorter range. Conversely, adult scooters are built for, well, adults, and as such, they are larger, faster, and heavier. They also tend to be more expensive. 

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to choosing an electric scooter, price is one of the major defining factors. At the lower end, you’ll find budget models that come with less expensive components, smaller batteries, and slower top speeds. Mid-tier e-scooters typically fall into the commuter segment and offer a nice blend of range and speed, with prices reflecting those upgrades.

At the high-end of the market, you’ll find performance models that can potentially cost more than $1,000 but are also quicker, more nimble, and have a longer range than their competitors. 

Range

When shopping for an e-scooter of your own, there are some important specifications that you’ll want to keep in mind. Probably the most important of those specs is the range a scooter offers. Each scooter manufacturer offers an estimated range for a given model, which is defined as the distance it travels on a single charge. That distance is directly impacted by the size of the battery, the weight of the rider, and the surface type of surface that it is ridden on.

The outside temperature can also have an impact on the range, with colder temps drastically reducing the life of the battery. In real-world conditions, you can expect to ride anywhere from 10-40 miles before having to recharge.

Speed

Another defining characteristic of an e-scooter is its top speed. Its actual number varies greatly depending on the model and manufacturers will often boast of speeds in excess of 25 or even 30 mph, although in practice those numbers aren’t always accurate.

The size of the motor and battery, along with the weight of the rider, each have an impact on the level of performance. This results in many scooters cruising along in the 5-10 mph range, particularly when not riding on a flat, even surface. 

Still, shoppers are encouraged to consider the top speed of a model very carefully. A faster model may seem more fun, but it can be much more challenging to control. Quicker acceleration and more power can come in handy, particularly for commuters, but safety should be a primary concern as well.

Inexperienced riders are encouraged to choose slower, more stable options while still learning to ride. Additionally, faster scooters also tend to burn through their battery life more quickly, reducing range as result. 

Portability and weight

If you’re the kind of owner who plans to just keep your scooter in the garage and only ride it around the neighborhood, then portability probably isn’t something you’re all that concerned with.

Those who plan to use a scooter for commuting should pay close attention to its weight. Lugging it on and off the subway, or up and down several flights of stairs, can be quite a challenge, especially if your particular model wasn’t built with that in mind.

As with buying a bicycle, the components used in manufacturing an e-scooter have a direct impact on how much it weighs. Budget models tend to have smaller batteries and motors, which of course weigh less than their larger, more powerful counterparts. However, the other components found on these types of scooters often weigh quite a bit more, which keeps the price down but pushes the weight up.

More expensive models tend to have a more powerful drivetrain but are made from high-quality, lighter components. The result tends to be a scooter that costs more, performs better, and is easier to carry around. 

Some electric scooters that have been specifically designed with commuters in mind may even offer the option to collapse down to a smaller size for ease of transport. Scooters that fold up and can be stored in a carrying case or bag have become so common that they now fall into a category entirely of their own.

Usually, these types of scooters sacrifice some performance for improved portability, making them very compelling options for those placing a high value on convenience rather than speed or range.

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The best cookware sets in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Cookware sets are an efficient way to equip your kitchen with all the basics.
  • We evaluated the pros and cons of each set so you can find one that suits your needs and budget.
  • The best cookware set overall is the Tramontina Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Set because its pieces are practical and durable.

Purchasing a cookware set can be overwhelming, no matter how confident you are in the kitchen. The variety of materials and different combinations of pots and pans can seem endless.

That’s why we turned to the experts, who all agreed that less is more when it comes to cookware. Based on our own experience and conversations with chefs, food editors, and leaders of the Cookware Manufacturers Association, we came up with the following as a basic outline for an ideal cookware set.

Type of pan Purpose
10-inch skillet Making eggs, pancakes, fried rice
12-inch sauté pan Larger recipes with more liquids, sautéing vegetables and meats
5-quart Dutch oven Braising, roasting, slow cooking, stews and soups
3-quart saucepan Small portions of pasta or rice, sauces

Not every set in this guide includes a Dutch oven, but a casserole dish or stockpot can serve the same purpose.

Here are the best cookware sets of 2021

The best cookware set overall

The Tramontina Stainless Steel Cookware Set is the best cookware set in 2021.

The Tramontina set stocks your kitchen without cluttering it, and features useful pieces in a durable material.

Pros: Includes essential pieces, tri-ply construction for durability 

Cons: Oven safe temperature on the low end

When we asked King Phojanakong, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, which pots and pans were kitchen must-haves, he listed a 5-quart Dutch oven, 12-inch saute pan, and 3-quart saucepan, all of which happen to be included in Tramontina’s cookware set. The versatility of these pieces is the selling point: Phojanakong uses the saute pan for chicken dishes or baby bok choy, and takes out the 3-quart saucepan when he needs to heat up leftover soups and sauces and cook rice or small portions of pasta. 

Not only is the Tramontina set’s practical range of sizes — with cookware scaled for both individual meals and large gatherings — one of its major assets, so is its durable construction. 

“Stainless steel is the most universal material. You don’t have to treat it gently,” said Lisa Chernick, author of Your Starter Kitchen. Each piece is made up of an aluminum core sandwiched between external 18/10 stainless steel layers. This tri-ply construction gives you the excellent heat conductivity of aluminum with the strength of stainless steel. While the set is dishwasher safe, hand washing your cookware will maintain its shine longer. 

You can purchase the individual components separately, though the set offers the best deal. There are also smaller and larger sets, but the 12-piece has all the essentials and no unnecessary extras.

Best budget cookware set

The T-Fal All-in-One Hard-Anodized Cookware Set is the best budget cookware set in 2021.

If you need to stock your kitchen quickly and on a budget, the T-fal Hard-Anodized Set is easy to maintain, scratch resistant, and comes with three serving utensils.

Pros: Dishwasher safe, large frying pans, stewpot can act as dutch oven

Cons: No pot larger than 4 quarts, saute pan does not have a lid

The exteriors of all the pots and pans in T-fal’s cookware set are hard-anodized aluminum, a material resistant to scratches from metal utensils, while the interiors are glazed with nonstick coating and then reinforced with titanium, which is commonly used as a strengthening layer. Insider reporter James Brains has used a similar T-fal set since 2018. He said that the pieces have held up well through daily use, though he recommends hand washing the fry pans to preserve the nonstick coating.

The largest pot in this 12-piece collection is only four quarts, but if you’re not hosting a party, that should be big enough for pasta night. Plus, the set includes a serving spoon, spatula, and a slotted spatula, so you’ll be ready to dole out dinner. And if you have leftovers, the 2-quart pot comes with a refrigerator lid so you can store them.

Ring-shaped thermo spot indicators turn red when the pans get hot, which can take some of the guesswork out of properly preheating — especially for less experienced cooks. Once you’re done, these stackable pieces nest easily into one another.

Best cookware set upgrade

The All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Cookware Set is one of the top kitchen sets in 2021.

If you splurge on an All-Clad Stainless Steel set, your kitchen will be stocked with essential pieces that stand the test of time.

Pros: High oven safe temperature, thick gauge aluminum core

Cons: Fry pans on the small side, not dishwasher safe

Our best overall pick, which is also stainless steel, is less expensive and offers much of the same benefits as this All-Clad set. However, the longevity and durability of the All-Clad D3 line may make it worth spending the extra money, depending on your cooking needs. 

The All-Clad D3 cookware set has the highest oven safe temperature in this guide: 600 degrees. The ability to withstand such high heat also improves the performance of the casserole dish or stock pot as a substitute Dutch oven. And as Chernick mentioned, more experienced cooks may want to brown something on the stovetop and then put it in the oven.

We should note that while these All-Clad pots and pans hold up in the oven, you’re better off hand-washing them than putting them in the dishwasher, which is something to consider if keeping cleanup time to a minimum is important.

Best ceramic cookware set

A set of Caraway Home nonstick pots and pans, the best ceramic cookware set in 2021

The Caraway Ceramic Coated Set is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional nonstick pots and pans — and it’s available in six attractive colors.

Pros: Includes storage system, aluminum core for rapid heating

Cons: No larger fry pan, ceramic coating isn’t as durable as stainless or other metals

Though this set is on the smaller side, Caraway’s set has everything you need to get cooking. The 6.5-quart Dutch oven can be your pasta pot or serving dish for large meals, and the 4.5-quart saute pan is perfect for large fry ups. Additionally, the set comes with a storage system: magnetic pan racks and a canvas lid holder. 

Caraway’s signature is its ceramic nonstick coating. Ceramic coatings offer the same nonstick properties as traditional ones, but contain no trace elements of PFOA, PFTE, lead, or cadmium. Caraway cookware has an aluminum core that ensures rapid and even heating, while the coating decreases your need for oil and makes the surface easier to clean.

The Caraway Home set is shipped in recycled cardboard with no plastic bags. Plus, the ceramic coating releases less CO2 when manufactured than traditional nonstick coatings.  (Though keep in mind that all nonstick coatings, including ceramic, are less durable than stainless steel and other metals.) Altogether, this set is designed to limit clutter and keep your kitchen functional as well as well-stocked.

Our research methodology

All six cast iron skillets from best cast iron skillet guide

While we haven’t yet tested the sets in this guide firsthand, our picks are based off of extensive research and expert interviews. Here are the factors we considered when putting together this guide:

Pieces: The first thing we did was establish a list of essential pieces all cookware sets should have. Our three experts agreed that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to cookware. Chernick, Battiliana, and Phojanakong each suggested a pared down list of essential pieces. With this input and our own experience in the kitchen, we created the guidelines found at the top of the page.

Materials: We identified the pros and cons of different cookware materials, which you can see here. Chernick recommended stainless steel for cookware sets because it can handle the wear and tear of a busy kitchen, and we agree. Stainless steel is durable, doesn’t require special maintenance, and cooks most things well. 

Construction: We considered the construction of each cookware set. Besides cast iron, most cookware is made by layering different metals. This can increase the heat conductivity of less conductive metals; for instance, stainless steel pans often have aluminum cores because aluminum heats up much quicker. Additionally, having multiple layers makes the cookware more durable. Battiliana said there is a connection between performance and quality, as thinner metal pans will wear out faster than better constructed pans.

What is the best cookware material?

Based on our own cookware experience and conversations with experts, these are the differences between the most common cookware materials.

Material Composition Pros and Cons Best for
Cast iron

Seasoned: Oil baked into cast iron over time prevents food from sticking and the pan from rusting

Enameled: Cast iron coated with thick, enamel glaze to prevent food sticking and eliminate the need to season the pan

Pros: Great heat retention, durable
Cons: Slow to heat up, requires special maintenance
Searing, slow cooking, if you want a piece to pass down
Aluminum Hard-anodized: Aluminum that is electrochemically altered to be more durable and nonstick. Pros: Great heat conductivity, inexpensive
Cons: Not durable when untreated, can warp and scratch
Casual cooks, inexpensive pieces like sheet pans
Copper

Core: Copper layer sandwiched between layers of other materials

Base: thin copper ring embedded in the bottom of the cookware

Clad: Copper foil exterior

Pros: Excellent heat conductivity

Cons: Reactive with acidic foods, needs to be lined and maintained, expensive

Rapid and even heating, experienced chefs
Stainless steel Tri-ply: Stainless steel interior and exterior with a core made from a material with better heat conductivity, often aluminum

Pros: Non-reactive, durable, scratch resistant

Cons: Slow to heat up, can be expensive

Everyday chefs, cookware to last through a lot of use

FAQs

When should I get rid of a pot or pan?

If the handles start to wiggle, you need to tighten them or throw out the piece. Chef Phojanakong said to look at the rivets and welding on the handles for signs of looseness.  It’s not safe if you can’t handle your pan with ease. 

Most nonstick coatings will scratch if you regularly use metal utensils on them. It’s up to you whether or not this means you have to throw the pan away. For Chernick, once a nonstick pan is scratched, it’s time to say goodbye: “It might not be toxic, but I don’t want to eat pieces of teflon.”


What makes a cookware set induction safe?

Cookware needs to have magnetic properties in order to work on an induction stovetop, according to the Cookware Manufacturer’s Association. If the cookware material is not magnetic, a magnetic plate is applied to the base in order to make it induction safe. The manufacturer will clearly label the induction capabilities of the cookware.

More great cookware guides

pots and pans
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