The 5 best dusters in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The average home accumulates about 40 pounds of dust each year, making a duster a must have.
  • A great duster removes dust quickly and easily, and can get to those hard-to-reach places.
  • Our top pick by OXO will help remove dust from your home and help you breathe easier.

While I would like to say that the dust and cobwebs in my home are early Halloween decorations, that line doesn’t work most of the year. Dust just seems to accumulate at an extraordinary rate. That’s not surprising when you consider how dust originates.

Those 40 pounds of dust that settle in your home each year are a combination of pollen, human and pet dander, dead skin cells, dust mites and insect droppings, soil, food crumbs, and particulates in the air. The more people and pets in your home and the more often the doors and windows open, the more dust you’re going to have.

Even if you claim to love the patina of dust-covered surfaces, there are plenty of good reasons to remove the dust. When we breathe in dust particles, depending on the type of particulate, our respiratory tracts respond. Some particles are fairly benign and cause mild allergic reactions like sneezing and a runny nose. Other particles can trigger asthma which severely affects breathing.

Even with diligent cleaning, there will still be dust, so it’s a good idea to buy a duster. We’ve done the research and testing to find the best dusters.

Here are the best dusters in 2021

The best duster overall

oxo duster

The OXO Good Grips Microfiber Extendable Duster traps dust easily, extends and adjusts to reach high surfaces, and can be washed for years of reuse.

Pros: Microfiber duster head traps and holds dust, machine-washable head, aluminum extender handle reaches from 27 to 54 inches, replacement heads available

Cons: Duster head will shed fibers unless washed first

As a woman who is both short in stature and always watching expenditures, the OXO Good Grips Microfiber Extendable Duster is my duster of choice. My favorite thing is that after dusting, I can remove the head and toss it in the washer so I can start each dusting session with a clean duster. The washable head means no additional expense and no excuses to put off cleaning because I’m out of disposable duster heads.

With a sturdy, but lightweight, handle with a comfortable grip, the duster can stretch from 27 to 54 inches. The duster head rotates 270 degrees and can be locked into place at multiple angles. Since the duster head has microfibers on each side to capture dust, you can simply switch the angle and continue dusting when one side is heavily soiled.

Microfiber is made from polyamide (nylon) and polyester and creates an electrostatic fabric that attracts dust. The dust is then trapped in the many, tiny fibers until you use laundry detergent and water to flush them away. Because of the way microfiber is manufactured, you may see lint or loose fibers at first on the duster. Just rinse the head under cold water and give it a good shake before drying. The lint will be gone.

To keep your duster in top-shape, avoid bleach that can damage fibers and fabric softeners and dryer sheets that coat the fibers and lower their ability to trap dust. I find that air-drying the head works best.

The best disposable duster

swiffer

With its 360-degree duster surface that has more fibers and an extendable handle, the Swiffer Heavy Duty Dusters with Extender Handle is a hard-working disposable duster.

Pros: Disposable, lightweight, fits into tight spots to trap dust, extendable handle reaches three feet, dusting head locks into place

Cons: Replacement dusters can become expensive

When I want to use a disposable duster, I turn to Swiffer. I’ve tried every brand on the market and the Swiffer Heavy Duty Dusters with Extender Handle is the very best one I’ve found.

Because there are more electrostatic fibers on the duster head, I find the Swiffer Heavy Duty Duster picks up twice as much dust as other brands. The sturdy plastic extender handle expands from about 15 to 36 inches plus the 8-inch duster head. The head can be locked into four different angles to clean hard-to-reach surfaces.

This starter kit comes with one handle and 12 dusters. The disposable dusters are easy to find online and in many stores; however, a heavy-duty duster refill costs around $1.00 each.

I like Swiffer for dusting “knick-knacks” on mantels and shelves. The duster is flexible enough that I don’t have to move each small item every time I want to capture the dust. I also use it in my car to reach those tight spaces in the corners between the windshield and dashboard and all the little nooks and crannies of air-vents.

The best lambswool duster

Norpro duster

The Norpro Pure Lambswool Duster acts as a natural magnet for dust, comes from a renewable source, and will last for years.

Pros: Natural fibers, a renewable material source, picks up dust easily, reusable, lasts for many years

Cons: Handle is not extendable

If you prefer a natural fiber duster, then lambswool is an excellent choice. Many man-made fibers were developed to mimic the characteristics of wool fibers. The qualities of wool fibers and the lanolin they contain make them a natural magnet for dust and amazingly strong.

Wool has an inner cortex that is elastic and resilient to damage meaning the fiber can be bent more than 20,000 times without breaking. The cortex is covered with the cuticle layer that is composed of hundreds of microscopic overlapping scales. The scales create tiny pockets that trap and hold dust particles. Finally, the scales are covered by a thin protective film called the epicuticle that makes the fibers resistant to abrasion on even the most delicate surfaces.

If you decide on a wool duster, look no further than the Norpro Pure Lambswool Duster. I was introduced to the Norpro line while in college and still have the duster I purchased then these many years later. The dusters are available in 12-, 24-, and 48-inch lengths. The head is around 12 inches long and seven inches wide when fluffed. The handle is wooden with a leather loop for hanging.

When you have finished a dusting session, simply step outside and spin the handle between your hands to release the dust. (Consider wearing a dust mask while you do to avoid breathing in the dust particles.) If the head becomes excessively soiled, it can be hand washed with cool water and a gentle detergent. Give the head a good spin to fluff the fibers and then allow the duster to air dry.

If you are ready to lessen your dependence on plastics and choose a natural fiber, Norpro Lambswool is an excellent choice.

The best duster for tight spaces

OXO under appliance duster

One glance under your kitchen and laundry room appliances and you’ll know why you need the OXO Good Grips Under Appliance Microfiber Duster.

Pros: Slim profile and flexible handle fit under appliances and in tight spaces, the duster head is removable for washing, reusable

Cons: Duster head can shed if not washed before the first use

After an embarrassing moment when the refrigerator had to be moved to retrieve some dropped jewelry, I discovered the OXO Good Grips Under Appliance Microfiber Duster. It is the perfect dusting tool. I simply can’t move some appliances and furniture during weekly cleaning, but a few swipes with the OXO Under Appliance Duster and I can feel satisfied that my house is cleaner.

You may say, “who cares” about the hidden dust. Unfortunately, it can be a breeding ground for insects and can even hinder the proper operation of an appliance. Dust and lint under a refrigerator can clog the circulating fan and cause it to overheat and fail. With a clothes dryer, excessive lint can cause a fire, especially with gas dryers. It’s not all a vanity thing.

The OXO Under Appliance Duster has a microfiber head that is removable for easy cleaning in the washer. The duster head flexes so it can conform to tight spaces and the 33.5-inch length will reach the back of most deep appliances, cabinets, and furniture. The duster head can be removed and washed for reuse.

The best duster for window blinds

window blind duster

If you want to remove dust from window blinds and shutters more quickly, the Hiware Window Blind Cleaner Duster is for you.

Pros: Cleans window blinds, indoor shutters, and air vents thoroughly, comes with five duster heads, washable, reusable, can be used with cleaning solution if needed

Cons: Microfiber can shed if not rinsed before first use

I have white wooden blinds on every window in my home. They are great for privacy and to shut out the heat of the sun but they do love dust. They must love it because it is always there. I’ve tried other types of dusters to get rid of the dust that clings to both sides of each slat but just when I thought I had all the dust removed, I’d see it clinging to a slat I missed. Then I found Hiware Window Blind Cleaner Duster.

This ingenious little contraption has a study 3-pronged plastic handle and microfiber “gloves” that slip over the prongs. I can dust the top and bottoms of blinds at the same time! To get the best results, give the flexible handle a little squeeze to get good contact with the slat surfaces.

Since there are five microfiber cloths included, when one gets soiled I can just slip on a fresh one and keep dusting. At the end of the job, all the cloths go in the washer and I can start again tomorrow.

FAQs

How do you reduce dust in your home?

In addition to looking for the most effective, easiest to use, and the best value in dusters, there are also other steps you can take to lower the amount of dust in your home.

  • Declutter: The less “stuff” you have in your home to accumulate dust, the less dust there will be.
  • Clean from the top down: When you’re ready to clean, start at the top of the room and do the floors last so you can capture all of the dust that settles there. No need to dust twice.
  • Wash bedding weekly: We spend hours and hours in a bed and within a week bedding accumulates a great deal of human and pet dander, dust mites, and dead skin. Washing is a simple way to get rid of the problem.
  • Remove your shoes at the door: Around 60% of dust particles come from outside and removing shoes dramatically reduces the amount of dust in a home.
  • Lower the humidity: Keeping interior humidity levels around 40% will reduce the number of moisture-loving dust mites.
  • Change your air filters: Fresh filters in your HVAC system will trap more dust and keep your system running more efficiently.
  • Bathe and groom pets: A clean animal sheds less dander and hair.
  • Vacuum regularly: Keep floors clean with a good vacuum that has a HEPA filter to trap the smallest dust particles.

Are reusable dusters or disposable dusters better for removing dust?

The choice of whether to use a reusable duster such as the OXO Good Grips Microfiber Extendable Duster or a disposable duster such as the Swiffer Heavy Duty Duster, mostly breaks down to cost and personal preference. Reusable dusters offer a significantly cheaper alternative to dusting while disposable dusters must be replaced after each use. Both options work very similarly, when it comes to removing dust as they both are made of special fibers that grip dust easily and efficiently.

Check out our other great cleaning guides

window cleaner
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The 6 best hose hangers of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A hose hanger can help you extend the life of your hose and keep it free of knots and tangles.
  • Our top pick is the JBscoop Stainless Steel Hose Holder because of its simple, sturdy design.
  • Below, we also include hose hangers for gardeners on a budget, decorative options, and more.

A hose hanger has one job: To keep a hose organized, whatever its length. Storing a hose off the ground keeps the hose from kinking or cracking and protects the ground vegetation. Hose hangers are sometimes called hose reels. Reels have a hand crank mechanism with a rotating body that allows users to tidy up a hose quickly after watering. Hose hangers come in freestanding or wall-mounted options.

While some hoses come with cheap, flimsy plastic hangers, a solid hose hanger made of metal or durable plastic is preferable for wrangling a heavy-duty garden hose. A quality hose hanger should be able to handle the total weight of your garden hose without warping, be weather-resistant and, ideally, fit with your outdoor decor. We found hose hangers to suit different needs, including budget hangers, freestanding models, and more. 

Here are the best hose hangers

The best overall

jbscoop hose hanger
All you need are two stainless steel screws to mount this sturdy hanger.

The JBscoop Stainless Steel Hose Holder is a simple hose hanger with a heavy-duty design. 

What we like: Durable, easy-to-mount, not an eyesore

This rust-proof hose hanger is a no-frills storage solution for various hoses, including water and air hoses. The stainless steel design is built to withstand life outdoors and it can hold a half-inch diameter hose that’s up to 120 feet in length. The company also offers a money-back guarantee for those not satisfied with the wall-mounted hanger. The sleek design fits in with any modern garage or garden backdrop. 

The best on a budget

AMES Wall Mounted Poly Hanger BIG CORRECT ONE
Works for hoses ranging from 50 to 150 feet.

The ultra-inexpensive AMES Wall Mounted Poly Hanger is a basic, budget hose hanger that gets the job done.

What we like: Affordable, sturdy 

You’ve already spent a chunk of money on a quality hose for your garden, you don’t necessarily need to drop more cash on an expensive hanger. This hose hanger is a budget model with a thick plastic construction that can hold a hose that’s up to 150 feet and ⅝-inch in diameter. Thanks to its easy-to-mount design, it’s an excellent choice for gardeners seeking a low-cost hose storage solution that won’t eat into their landscaping budget. 

The best hose reel

Liberty Basics Wall Mount Hose Reel
The keyhole design makes it easy to remove a hose for the winter season.

This convenient Liberty Basics Wall Mount Hose Reel is ideal for wrangling long, heavy hoses. 

What we like: Side winding mechanism, easy to reel in a wayward hose, can easily remove hose for winter storage 

Install this hose hanger right onto your outdoor water tap and connect the included black leader hose to get started. The winding, hand crank mechanism rolls up a hose without creating kinks or knots. It can hold hoses up to 100 feet and ⅝-inch in diameter. When winter comes along, the keyhole build allows you to easily access the hose to remove it for storing indoors to protect it from freezing weather. The reel also includes wood mounting screws and anchors. Additionally, it features a durable, heavy-duty plastic construction that can handle four-season exposure. 

The best decorative hanger

 GOFORWILD Garden Hose Holder
A powder-coated finish protects the hanger from harsh weather.

A solid construction and ornate design make the GOFORWILD Garden Hose Holder an attractive addition to any outdoor space.

What we like: Attractive ornamental look, durable and practical

This decorative hose hanger is for the gardener looking to add a functional yet aesthetically-pleasing accessory to their space. The holder is made of cast aluminum and features a powder-coated finish for maximum durability. It can handle a hose of up to 125 feet and ⅝-inches in diameter. Gold accents give it an antique flair, and the arc shape of the holder prevents hose kinks and damage. Mount it anywhere there’s a solid surface, like a fence or wall. Like our previous pick, it has a keyhole mounting system that makes accessing the hose for winter storage a breeze. 

The best with added storage

DF OMER Plastic Garden Water Hose Holder
The hidden compartment reveals added storage with built-in shelves.

The hide-away design of the DF OMER Plastic Garden Water Hose Holder makes it a dual-purpose gardening accessory.

What we like: Made of thick, durable plastic, compartment perfect for garden tool storage 

This hose holder is made of weatherproof plastic and holds a hose of up to 150 feet and ⅝-inches in diameter. It comes with a generous 2-year warranty and features a built-in compartment. It’s a clever design for gardeners who have limited storage space for tools and other gardening accessories. The storage space measures 10 x 7 x 5 inches and has two shelves to keep things organized. Because it’s made of plastic, it’ll never rust. It also installs quickly, requiring only two screws and a screwdriver. 

The best freestanding

Artigarden Freestanding Garden Hose Holder
The no-bend hanger design helps hoses maintain their shape.

No wall? No problem. The Artigarden Freestanding Garden Hose Holder is a solid metal hanger that you can place right onto your lawn.

What we like: Works in situations where wall-mounting isn’t possible, incredibly durable 

The heavy-gauge metal hose hanger holds hoses up to 150 feet in length. Its three-prong base provides support and keeps it stable no matter where on your lawn you decide to put it. The triangular hanger portion also features a nozzle holder to keep your hose organized from tail to tip. It requires some assembly, but putting it together is relatively easy, and there’s no need to find a wall for mounting. Because it’s not permanently mounted to a wall, it’s an ideal choice for renters or gardeners searching for an impermanent hose hanger option. 

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17 top-rated products to clean every room in your house

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Household cleaning products 4_3
  • Here are 17 top-rated cleaners and tools people swear by to clean their bathrooms, kitchens, and more.
  • These include a high-tech robot vacuum, a classic hand duster, and multi-use tools designed to save time, and energy. 
  • Due to the pandemic, some cleaning products are out of stock or low in inventory and stock can differ by zip code.

Even the thought of cleaning tires me out, and I usually have to spend a few hours (okay, more like days) mentally preparing for the chore. 

However, I’ve found that once I start cleaning one of the rooms in my apartment, I get into a productive groove that whisks me from the bathroom and kitchen to the living room and bedroom with montage-like ease. Having both the mental strength to clean and a proper toolkit of products on hand helps me reach this cleaning groove and get the chore over as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

If you’re equipped with thorough, durable, and easy-to-use cleaners and appliances, you can clean your entire home and barely break a sweat in the process. 

So what products should you fill your cleaning basket with? We looked to the top-rated ones first to see what everyone else swears by to catch dust bunnies, clear out clogged drains, and make their countertops sparkle as much as when they first moved in. 

Here are 17 cleaning products to clean your entire house, from the bathroom to the living room:

Anywhere: Dyson V10 Absolute Cordless Vacuum

dyson v10

Dyson V11 Outsize Cordless Stick Vacuum, $699.99, available at Bed Bath & Beyond

Though the price is a lot to pay for a vacuum, the V11’s powerful and thorough cleaning capabilities make every dollar worth it if you have a large space. The battery only runs when you push on the trigger and comes with a backup for up to 120 minutes of usage, letting you go weeks without needing to charge. Choose between three cleaning modes for more efficient cleaning on hardwoods, carpet, and more. It also comes with additional tools so you can reach every inch of any surface.

Read our review of the Dyson V11 Outsize.

Anywhere: Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum

Roborock

Roborock S65 Robot Vacuum, $599.99, available on Amazon

If you absolutely hate cleaning, let a robot vacuum do the work for you. The Roborock cleans in a systematic way to learn where walls or furniture, and you can set no-go zones around specific rooms or just fragile items like side tables with tall vases on top. There’s even a mopping feature, which further cuts down on how much time you spend cleaning your space, and when the robot vac is low on battery, it’ll go back to its charging dock.

Check out our guide to the best robot vacuums for more options.

Anywhere: Clorox Wipes

clorox wipes

Clorox Bleach-Free Disinfecting Wipes, $3.59, available at Target

You’ll see these bleach-free wipes in nearly everyone’s cleaning cabinet because they’re thick and durable, kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, and come in three fresh scents. They dispense easily out of the canister and dry quickly, plus they’re safe on hard and nonporous surfaces like finished hardwood, sealed granite, and stainless steel. 

Due to the pandemic, Clorox Wipes are currently sold out at major online retailers, including Walmart and Lowe’s. Items fulfilled by Amazon have also sold out, and prices for Clorox Wipes fulfilled by third-party sellers have gone up significantly. We have found some availability at Target and Quill. We are monitoring restocks and will update this post accordingly. 

Anywhere: OXO Microfiber Hand Duster

oxo duster

OXO Good Grips Microfiber Hand Duster, $9.99, available at Bed Bath & Beyond

This soft, fluffy duster captures all the dust settling on your shelves and countertops in one fell swoop. Flexible and lightweight, it’s comfortable and easy to maneuver around tight, tricky spaces. Its reusable head is machine washable, though it’s best if you simply handwash it in cold water.

If you need something to reach tall surfaces, OXO’s 3-in-1 Extendable Duster is also highly rated. It extends to 8 feet, collapses to 3 feet, and comes with three interchangeable brush heads.

Anywhere: Evriholder Pet Hair Removal Broom with Squeegee

evriholder

Evriholder Pet Hair Removal Broom with Squeegee & Telescoping Handle, $12.98, available at Amazon

Whether you’re dealing with thick pet hair or a slippery spill, this dual-use broom can handle it. The 100% natural rubber attracts hair and debris “like a magnet” from hardwood, linoleum, and traditionally difficult surfaces like carpet and rugs. Then use the built-in squeegee edge if you need to wipe off liquids from windows, showers, tile, and hardwood. It can extend out to 5 feet. 

Kitchen: O-Cedar Spin Mop and Bucket Floor Cleaning System

o cedar mop

O-Cedar Easy Wring Spin Mop and Bucket Floor Cleaning System, $34.99, available at BJ’s

This well-designed system allows for hands-free wringing. The bucket has a special spinner, activated by a foot pedal, that spins your mop and keeps water splashes contained.

The mop head itself rotates 360 degrees and is shaped like a triangle to better clean the corners of your home. Microfiber is equally effective on hardwood floors and tiles, like the ones in your kitchen, when used wet or dry.

Anywhere: Mrs. Meyer’s Everyday Cleaner

Mrs. Meyers spray

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner, $4.99, available at Target

Natural cleaning brand Mrs. Meyer’s makes this plant-based multi-surface cleaner that cleans as well as traditional chemical-laden ones but doesn’t leave any harsh odors behind. Instead, after it’s removed dirt from your countertops and surfaces, it has a sweet, pleasant, and flowery honeysuckle scent. Other nice scents from the brand include Basil, Lavender, and Lemon Verbena. 

Kitchen: Topist Angry Mama Microwave Oven Cleaner

topist microwave cleaner

Angry Mama Microwave Oven Cleaner, $7.99, available at Amazon

Rather than stick your head in your microwave and hack away for half an hour at the food crud that has been in there since 200 heating sessions ago, use this accessory to loosen it up first.

Add vinegar, water, and lemon juice to the fill lines on the body and microwave the Angry Mama for 5 to 7 minutes, after which any stains will be loose enough to wipe down quickly. It should cut down your cleaning time in half and make your microwave usable again in time for dinner. 

Kitchen: Easy-Off Oven Cleaner

easy off oven cleaner

Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner, $4.24, available at Walmart

People rarely ever wipe up their oven messes immediately, but they come to regret it weeks later when the baked-on spills and grease don’t budge. Make your oven look brand new again with this affordable, fume-free cleaner, which works on ovens, oven doors, broilers, broiler pans, and stainless-steel surfaces to clean up those tough messes. Spray it and leave it on for at least 5 minutes and up to 40 minutes, then wipe down with a cloth or paper towel. 

Kitchen and bathroom: Green Gobbler Liquid Clog Remover

green gobbler clog remover

Green Gobbler Liquid Clog Remover, $14.63, available at Target

Living in a house involves the constant battle of unclogging pipes and drains. If you’re not fishing out bits of food from the sink, you’re probably unraveling a never-ending string of hair from the shower drain.

Green Gobbler’s clog remover clears your drains by liquifying everything in its path — grease, hair, scum, food, and more. It comes in a dual-chambered bottle and you use one chamber for sinks and tubs and both chambers for toilets. 

Kitchen: Krud Kutter Concentrated Cleaner and Degreaser

krud kutter

Krud Kutter Concentrated Cleaner and Degreaser, $6.58, available at Home Depot

This multi-use cleaner can be used all over your house, including exterior parts like driveways and patio furniture. As a powerfully concentrated degreaser, it’s especially useful for your kitchen because it can take out food and drink stains, grease, oil, gum, and soap scums. Dilute one part concentrate with 10 parts water and you can cover up to 75 square feet of surfaces. 

Living room and bathroom: Stoner Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner

invisible glass

Stoner Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner (2-pack), $14.85, available at Amazon

People who have tried this glass cleaner, available in both aerosol and spray form, never go back to any other products. Your mirrors and glass surfaces will emerge sparkly clear and streak-free since it doesn’t contain any soaps, scents, or dyes. It’s also ammonia-free.

Once all your bathroom and living room glass surfaces are clean, feel free to use on your car to remove the stains, droppings, and other dirty casualties of driving outside. 

Living room: AmazonBasics Cleaning Cloth

amazonbasics cleaning cloth

AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (24-pack), $15.98, available at Amazon

While far from being super plush or thick, these basic cleaning cloths are absorbent and durable enough to get the job done. The pack includes cloths in three different colors, so you can separated them by cleaning tasks. If you’re on a budget, it’s hard to find a better deal than this value pack.

Living room: Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner

powerdash cleaner

Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner, $99, available at Amazon

If you have the double whammy of a pet (or pets) and carpeted floors, you’ll want this specialized Hoover cleaner. The under-$100 appliance both cleans and offers antimicrobial protection, and it comes with a removable nozzle so you can rinse off dirt and grime.

It also has a dual-tank system that keeps your clean water separated from the dirty water, and its signature HeatForce technology means your carpets will dry faster. 

Bathroom: Method Daily Shower Spray Cleaner

method shower

Method Daily Shower Spray (pack of 2), $22.99, available at Amazon

The fresh Eucalyptus Mint scent of this cleaner might motivate you to actually use this cleaner every single day to prevent scum and grime build-up. It’s made from non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients that you can feel better about going down your drain. Other than in the tub itself, you can use it for chrome faucets and shower doors.

Bathroom: Clorox ToiletWand

clorox toilet wand

Clorox ToiletWand, $11.19, available at Target | Also available at: Walmart for $8.88 

The ToiletWand comes with disposable sponges that are preloaded with Clorox cleaner, eliminating the need to buy a separate toilet bowl cleaner. The sponge pad clicks securely onto the wand and gets into areas of your toilet that a brush can’t, and once you’re done cleaning, it comes off with one click so you never need to touch anything beyond the stick itself. This system also means you won’t have a dirty toilet brush sitting in your bathroom at all times.

Bathroom: The Crown Choice Grout Cleaner Brush

crown choice grout brush

The Crown Choice Grout Cleaner Brush, $10.99, available at The Crown Choice

Getting into the tiny lines of your bathroom is difficult without a specialized, narrow brush like this. It has sturdy, angled brushes to reach the soap scum, grime, and mold stuck in your grout, but it’s equally easy to wash afterward in hot, soapy water. The thick 1-inch handle is fairly comfortable to hold, which certainly helps as you dig into the floors and walls of your bathroom. 

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The best online sales happening now, including Baublebar, Hydro Flask, and Best Buy

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Best Online Sales Deals

We rounded up the best sales and deals happening online today, including savings at Baublebar, Hydro Flask, and Best Buy.

Deals in this story are subject to change throughout the day. The prices listed reflect the deal at the time of publication. For even more deals and savings across the web, check out Business Insider Coupons.

The best deals available right now

25022 Lawn Mower (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular, 40mm) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)The 100% Human Face Mask (3-Pack) (medium)Yeti USB Microphone (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Solo Pro More Matte Collection (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The best sales and discounts happening right now

Get 20% off at Baublebar

baublebar colors

Shop the Baublebar semi-annual event now. 

For trendy and affordable jewelry, Baublebar is one of our favorite places to go. We love how cute and affordable Baublebar designs are and even found that they really do hold up over time. Now through March 8, you can get 20% off sitewide with promo code SEMI20. Sales from the retailer are somewhat rare, especially ones this good. 

Get 30% off at Hydro Flask

hydroflask watermelon color

Shop the Hydro Flask seasonal color sale now.

Hydro Flask is holding a rare sale featuring 30% off select past-season colors right now. A handful of colors are included in the sale, so make sure to drop by and check if your favorite is discounted. Hydro Flask bottles are more than just hype; they’re lightweight, nearly indestructible, and just downright fun. Good deals on these bottles are hard to come by, so if you see one you like, don’t hesitate to add to cart.

Get up to $300 off select laptops from Best Buy

lenovo yoga

Shop the Best Buy Computing Shopping Event now.

Now through March 14, you can save big on laptops from Best Buy. Laptops powered by Intel processors, Microsoft Surface, Chromebooks, and Lenovo laptops are just some of the included items. There are tons of discounts, so if you need help getting started, try reading our guide to the best Chromebooks here.

Get up to 50% off at UnderArmour

UnderArmour new arrivals banner

Shop the UnderArmour Outlet Sale now.

Now through March 1, UnderArmour is offering up to 50% off with the code 25OFF75 plus an additional 25% on outlet orders of $75 or more. Shipping is also free with orders of $60 or more. Tons of items are included in the sale, including jackets, shorts, sports bras, and even the UA Sportsmask.

Get up to 60% off at Columbia

columbia kids winter gear

Shop the Columbia Web Specials sale now.

If you’re on the lookout for some gear to keep you warm, Columbia’s Web Specials section is a good place to check. Tons of stuff is on sale there throughout the year and right now you can snag up to 60% off original price with promo code FEB60PLUS applied at checkout. We’ve tested and now recommend several of Columbia’s designs, including winter coats and winter boots for men

Get up to 50% off at Rhone

rhone button down tie details

Shop the Rhone Winter Sale now.

We love Rhone’s apparel. If you’re looking for great athleisure wear for men, Rhone looks, feels, and performs exceptionally well. Right now, the brand is holding a sale with up to 50% off everything in the surplus section — including button-downs, athletic wear, and jackets. Just use code WINTERSALE to get an extra 20% off or, if you’re adding more than one item to cart, WINTERSALE30 to get 30% off. The sale ends February 28.

Get 40% off at Sunski

guys summer sunski

Shop the Full Send Special at Sunski now.

A rare sale on some already-affordable glasses, right now you can snag 40% off select Sunski styles. The sale includes 5 styles: the Andiamo, Portola, Original, Mattina, and Olema. We like Sunski for being stylish yet affordable, and right now is a great chance to snag a pair for even less. Sales from Sunski are rare, and we don’t expect this one to last too long.

Get up to 30% off from Stio

stio winter gear

Shop the Stio annual Winter Sale now.

If you’re planning to brave the cold or need a gift for someone who will, Stio is having a great sale right now with some great discounted gear. Styles for men and women including snow and ski jackets, pants, and more are all up to 30% off right now. Though Stio didn’t make it into our top picks, it was in the running (and performed well) in our guide to the best men’s overshirts.

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50+ retailers that offer military discounts all year long – including Adidas, HelloFresh, and Sunglass Hut

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

liberty mutual military discount

  • US Armed Forces veterans and active-duty members are eligible for discounts at many retailers.
  • A military ID or an online verification saves service members on everything from apparel to tech.
  • For more deals that everyone can take advantage of, check out our master list of sales.

To show gratitude toward veterans and active-duty members of the armed forces, many retailers offer special discounts to active and former military personnel, veterans, families of the Armed Forces, and first-responders.

By presenting a military ID or filling out an application online, eligible shoppers can save up to 50% on everything from new tech to insurance.

To make it easier to navigate, we’ve rounded up a list of stores offering military discounts year-round and on Memorial Day, below. And though there are a good amount listed, it’s always a good practice to ask at any store you’re shopping at since many don’t advertise, or in case they require in-person verification.

Check out all the stores that offer military discounts year-round:

Clothes, shoes, and accessories

eb military discounts

Adidas: 20% off at factory outlets and 30% off online with online verification.

Allen Edmonds: 15% off regularly priced merchandise after ID validation. 

Alpha Industries: 15% off all items with online verification.

Backcountry: 20% discount on select full-price purchases online for military members, veterans, first responders, and more.

Bonobos: 20% military discount for five orders over a course of a year for active-duty service members and veterans.

Carhartt: 25% military discount on apparel and accessories for verified military, first responder, and nursing community.

Champs Sports: 15% discount on most in-store or online purchases. If shopping online, simply select “Use Military Discount” at checkout to verify your eligibility. 

Cole Haan: 20% off for veterans and active-duty members.

Columbia Sportswear: 10% discount for military members through online verification.

Converse: 15% off to all active, reservist, veteran, and retired US Military personnel, as well as the spouses and dependents of active personnel. Verify online.

Dagne Dover: Discounts vary but just fill out this form with your official military email address and the company will send you the discount information.

Eddie Bauer: extra 10% off in-store purchases to all active and former military personnel, veterans, and families of the Armed Forces.

Foot Locker: 15% off most purchases in-store and online. During checkout, click on the “Use Military Discount” link and follow the instructions. 

GlassesUSA: 55% off and free shipping on select styles.

Hanes Outlet Store: 10% off with military ID. 

Kohl’s: 15% off in-store only every Monday for active and former military personnel, veterans, and their families.

L.L.Bean: 10% discount to anyone with a valid military ID and online verification.

Moosejaw: 20% off full-price purchases for military members.

Nike: 20% discount for active, retired, reservist US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel online and in stores in the US. Verify your eligibility using the form. 

Ray-Ban: 15% off. Click the “Military” dropdown in the shopping cart to verify your status and apply your discount.

Roxy: 15% discount on apparel and surfing supplies.

Sunglass Hut: 15% discount for active-duty military, retirees, veterans, and family members by registering through ID.me.

Timberland: 20% discount off select styles online and in-store orders for active-duty military, veterans, and families with valid credentials.

Tommy John: 20% off for military and first responders. Verify eligibility here

TOMS Shoes: 10% discount. Verify your eligibility here.

Under Armour: 10% off online and in-store for Active Duty, Retirees, Military Spouses, Military Family Members, as well as a 10% discount for First Responders, active Police, Fire, and EMT customers. Verify yourself here to get the discount online.

Vera Bradley: 15% online discount. Verify your eligibility with ID.me.

Yeti: Special pricing for select gear for military members, veterans, and first responders.

Zappos: 10% off all purchases made on the site.

Phone and internet

verizon military discount

AT&T: 25% discount on monthly plan charge.

Sprint: 50% off military family lines.

T-Mobile: 50% off family lines for military personnel. 20% off the standard $70-a-month plan ($55) with AutoPay.

Verizon Wireless: Get Unlimited for $30/line and select from different bundles. All government employees including active duty, reserves, and national guard are eligible. This discount is also extended to retired military, veterans, and their families through Veterans Advantage.

Tech

bb military discount

Apple Store: 10% off Apple products and accessories for veterans and active military. 

Best Buy: discounts are available at some locations; typically 10% off in store. Best Buy offers half off Geek Squad services for military families.

Dell: 10% off PCs and electronics with an email sent to a US sales agent.

Microsoft: up to 10% off on select products for active, former, and retired military personnel and their families.

Home and hardware

hd military discount

Brooklyn Bedding: 25% off your entire order plus free shipping, verify through ID.me.

Casper: 20% discount off any order with a mattress for active duty, retirees, veterans, military spouses, and military family members. 

Eight Sleep: Get 10% off any product, including custom smart mattresses if you’re a firefighter, EMT, or part of the military or police. 

HelloFresh: 50% off first HelloFresh box plus 15% off every HelloFresh Box for a year.

Home Depot: Tax exemption, year-round at all stores to active duty military personnel, reservists, retired or disabled veterans, and their immediate families.

Leesa Mattresses: 15% off for military, first responders, students, and teachers.

Lowes: 10% off eligible purchases. Register here to enroll.

Overstock: Get a free Club O membership and receive 5% reward dollars for every purchase, free shipping, and extra reward dollars.

Sherwin Williams: Get 15% off on paints, stains, and painting supplies to those currently serving, are reservists, or have served in the military.

Home, insurance, and hardware

geico military discount

American Express: Get annual fees waived on any charge or credit card, including the Platinum Card, which offers a number of perks, benefits, and freebies.

AutoZone: Discount varies, so just ask and have a valid military ID on hand. 

Avis: Up to 25% off base rates for U.S military veterans, active-duty military, National Guard & Reservists, and family.

Geico: up to 15% discount your total insurance premium. Check your availability here

Liberty Mutual Insurance: Insurance discounts vary for those who are active, retired, or reserved in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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The 12 best places to buy patio umbrellas in 2021

Blissun 9 ft Solar Umbrella 32 LED Lighted Patio Lifestyle Image

  • The best patio umbrellas provide thorough sun coverage and can stand up to all kinds of weather. 
  • We spoke to landscape architects to find traditional and cantilever umbrellas for your budget.
  • See also: Where to buy outdoor furniture online

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

A patio umbrella is an important addition to your backyard if you eat and lounge outside regularly. 

Though it’s tempting to buy one off looks alone, remember that “as a functional piece, the most important feature in a patio umbrella is the coverage,” as Melissa Lee, the founder and creative director of design firm Bespoke Only said.   

Kevin Lenhart, a landscape architect and design director of online landscape design service Yardzen advised, “Think about the sun pattern in your yard. Even if you have a large space, you might not need a huge umbrella if you’re able to angle it to block the sun and shade the area you are enjoying.” 

In addition to umbrella canopy size, consider the fabric, which needs to stand up to rain, sun, and wind. Sunbrella, a durable performance fabric that’s resistant to fading, stains, and mildew, is a favorite among landscape designers. 

There are two main types of umbrellas: a traditional “market” umbrella, which is usually placed in the middle of a table, and a cantilever umbrella, which is freestanding and brings in the canopy from an angle. You can learn more about the pros and cons of each, as well as other things to keep in mind when shopping for a patio umbrella, here.  

Currently, all of our picks are based on research and expert input. In the future, we plan to test these patio umbrellas and evaluate their ease of assembly, effectiveness, and durability. 

Here are the best patio umbrellas in 2021

The best patio umbrella overall

best patio umbrella 2021 bridgehampton

A traditional “market” umbrella is the classic style that works best for most people. It’s affordable, easy to use, and widely available in many sizes, fabrics, and colors. Because it’s placed right in the middle of a table, it requires less backyard space and is less likely to get in the way of foot traffic. 

Bronze Aluminum Umbrella (11-ft.)  (medium)Outdoor Metal Umbrella (10-ft.)  (medium)Ocean Master Roman Valance Umbrella (8.5-ft.)  (medium)
The best cantilever patio umbrella

best patio umbrella 2021 cantilever umbrella sunvilla

If you have a larger backyard and don’t like how traditional umbrellas disrupt table space, you should get a cantilever umbrella. Keep in mind cantilever umbrellas tend to be heavier and more expensive, but there’s great payoff in the large amount of shade provided.

Bronze Aluminum Umbrella (11-ft.)  (medium)Offset Umbrella (10-ft.)  (medium)Round Cantilever Umbrella (10-ft.)  (medium)
The best patio umbrella on a budget

best patio umbrella 2021 budget abba patio

A budget umbrella may lack the sturdiness and longevity of the umbrellas above. Still, we found some solid options with well-designed mechanisms and strong canopies. 

Patio Umbrella (9-ft.) (medium)Market Umbrella (9-ft.) (medium, Preferred: The Home Depot)Cantilever Umbrella (10-ft.)  (medium)
The best patio umbrella with lights

best patio umbrella 2021 hampton bay solar led lights

Lighted patio umbrellas offer extra pizzazz and visibility when you’re sitting outside on a warm summer night. The best part is they’re solar-powered, so you don’t have to deal with tangled cords.

Solar Patio Umbrella (9-ft.)  (medium)Cantilever Solar LED Patio Umbrella (11-ft.)  (medium)
The best patio umbrella stand

best patio umbrella 2021 abba patio stand

A weighted umbrella stand or base ensures your patio umbrella won’t shake or blow away with the slightest gust of wind. “A good rule of thumb is to take the width of your umbrella and multiply it by 10,” said Lenhart. For an 8-foot-wide umbrella, for example, you’ll need a base that’s at least 80 pounds. Pre-filled stands are more expensive than empty stands, which require you to add sand or gravel. 

Umbrella Base (50-lb.) (medium)Hayward Patio Umbrella Base (88-lb.) (medium)Umbrella Stand with Rolling Base (125-lb.)  (medium)
Our methodology

We determined the best patio umbrellas through a combination of research and expert input. Using insights and brand recommendations from our experts, we chose two to three options per category, keeping a variety of sizes and prices in mind. We plan on putting these umbrellas through a variety of tests in the future. 

Patio umbrella FAQs

Traditional vs. cantilever umbrella — which should you buy? What are the pros and cons of each?

  Traditional umbrella Cantilever umbrella 
Pros
  • More affordable
  • More variety of options 
  • Covers a lot of space
  • Pivots and tilts more easily
Cons
  • Smaller canopies
  • More difficult to angle
  • Pole can get in the way
  • More expensive 
  • Requires more space

“The biggest pro of traditional umbrellas is that they get the job done at a relatively low price. They stand up to harsh and windy conditions and require little maintenance. They also tend to be less expensive,” said Lenhart. 

Danu Kennedy, design director of creative design firm Parts and Labor Design, likes cantilever umbrellas because “you don’t have to interrupt the seating connectivity to place the umbrella, but they tend to be a little more clunky whereas a traditional model is perhaps more easily worked into the aesthetic.”


What size umbrella is best for your space? 

In addition to sun pattern, consider the size of the space where you’d like to place the umbrella, as well as the surrounding foot traffic. “Do you have room for a standalone umbrella or should you look for a table that allows for an integrated umbrella? A good rule is to allow for three feet around the umbrella to circulate.” said Blythe Yost, a landscape architect and cofounder of online landscape design service Tilly


What are the best materials for the umbrella stand and canopy? 

For the stand and pole, look for durable, rust-resistant materials like aluminum, coated steel, and concrete (which is harder to find). Some designers also like teak wood because it weathers beautifully. 

As for the canopy, Olefin and Sunbrella come highly recommended by our experts. “Olefin is a durable, sustainable fabric that requires no water during production and maintains its quality for years. Sunbrella is a leader in outdoor performance fabric — it’s easy to clean and has beautiful colors and designs,” said Lenhart. 


Once you’ve figured out size and coverage, how do you find a patio umbrella that fits the rest of your patio style? 

Look at your surroundings, and ask yourself whether you want your umbrella to blend in or pop out. “If you want your umbrella to meld in the natural setting, think neutral colors like white, gray, and beige or even subtle greens and blues. If you want your umbrella to make a statement check out umbrellas in vibrant colors or patterns,” said Yost. “If you’re in a city we prefer a bold, fun pattern, to add a pop of color to the gray cityscape, but if you’re near a lake or beach, the piece shouldn’t compete with nature,” said Lee. 


How do you maintain a patio umbrella?

If your umbrella is crafted from high-quality materials, it’ll stand up to water, sun, and wind, making your job easier. Still, a few small steps can help make your umbrella last much longer. Wipe down the canopy once a month and stand with a soft cloth and a gentle cleanser like mild laundry detergent. “Finding an umbrella with fabric with the color as part of the material, and not dyed, will help retain the color in outdoor conditions,” Yost said. ‘When it comes to extending the life of your umbrella, it’s a great idea to store it when it’s not in use. Either bring it in a garage or you can find an umbrella cover for the material and the stand.” Just make sure everything is fully dry before you pack it away. 


Glossary of terms 

Traditional umbrella: Also known as a market umbrella, this is the style of umbrella you typically see at outdoor dining setups. The pole goes through the middle of the table and the canopy, which is either circular or rectangular, covers the table fully. Traditional umbrellas are usually lighter than cantilever umbrellas. 

Cantilever umbrella: The base and pole of a cantilever umbrella are offset, bringing the canopy in from an angle. Cantilever umbrellas are heavier, bigger, and more expensive than traditional umbrellas. 

Crank lift: A mechanism that helps you open your umbrella and adjust the canopy tilt by turning a crank handle. This mechanism is easier and smoother, but slower to use, than a push lift and could also break more easily. 

Push lift: A mechanism that helps you open your umbrella and adjust the canopy tilt by pushing a button. The button is typically located at the top of the pole and may be difficult for some people to reach without the help of a chair. 

Sunbrella: An outdoor performance fabric made of solution-dyed acrylic (the UV-stabilized pigment is spun directly into the yarn). It’s frequently used in outdoor furniture products because it’s resistant to fading, abrasion, mold, mildew, stains, and water. It’s strong, easy to clean, and comfortable to the touch. 

Olefin: Also known as polypropylene. A strong and thick synthetic fiber used in many household products like carpeting. It’s good for outdoor use because it’s resistant to fading, water, mold, and mildew, but it may stain more easily than Sunbrella. 

Check out our other outdoor home guides

Breeo x series 24
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The 5 best blenders in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • When selecting a blender, you’re going to want one that’s powerful enough to do any job you need.
  • The Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender is our best pick as it has a  powerful motor, is affordable, and is easy-to-use.
  • We also recommend other blenders that have powerful motors, rival professional models, and more.

A blender seems like a simple kitchen tool, and for the most part, it is. Blenders give you a variety of settings to help you achieve the consistency you need for a particular recipe. And even if you don’t use it specifically for cooking, a blender is essential when you want to whip up, say, kale smoothies or homemade vanilla milkshakes.

Although blenders all seem to perform the same tasks, a good blender has a powerful motor, and can handle blending everything from frozen drinks and smoothies to fruits and vegetables. A blender is a great investment if you enjoy having smoothies frequently, make a lot of dips and sauces, or if you simply would like some help prepping and chopping ingredients while cooking. We tested several blenders and recommend the following options due to their power, affordability, and versatility in blending several kinds of foods.

Here are the best blenders in 2021

The best blender overall

calphalon blender

True to its name, the Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender automatically senses the correct speed for the ingredients you’re blending and can be used for smoothies, dips, and milkshakes.

Pros: 1100-watt motor that automatically senses ingredients and adjusts for best results, four preset functions, 10 adjustable speeds, easy to clean, features durable stainless steel blades, comes with a Blend-N-Go jar for added convenience

Cons: Lid that goes with smoothie cup is slightly awkward to use

The Calphalon Auto-Speed Blender has four preset functions, 10 adjustable speeds, and a 1100-watt motor that automatically senses the thickness of your ingredients. 

I put the Calphalon Auto-Speed through its paces, and it’s held up well to daily use, resulting in thick, silky smoothies. It do much more than make smoothies, however, which makes it a great multi-purpose tool to have on your kitchen counter. The pulse feature allows for food prep and chopping — and makes great salsa. There are also four preset functions for dips, milkshakes, frozen drinks, and smoothies as well as adjustable speeds for more hands-on control.

I especially like the addition of the reverse pulse button which helps pull the ingredients further down into the blade if necessary to prevent any jams, resulting in a smooth blend. The 6-point stainless steel blades are durable and easy to clean thanks to the way they’re angled.

Presets and speeds are controlled by a dial on the front that’s clearly labeled, and you can start, pause, pulse and reverse pulse at the push of a button. The easy to read digital interface shows you how long you’ve been blending, or counts down to the finish if you choose to use one of the presets.

Each part of the blender that attaches to the base is also dishwasher safe for further convenience. I’ve cleaned each of these parts in our own dishwasher multiple times with no issue.

When blending, you can either use the 2-Liter pitcher for larger quantities, or the convenient 25-ounce Blend-N-Go Jar for single-serving-sized smoothies and drinks. While I liked using the Blend-N-Go Jar, I did find the drinking lid that comes with it slightly awkward to use. It prevented any spills, but the attached cap was sometimes more of a nuisance than anything else. — Kylie Joyner

The best blender on a budget

blender

The KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender is a solid, affordable blender that can make soups and smoothies easily.

Pros: Sturdy, affordable, makes good smoothies, decent motor, five speeds

Cons: Not as powerful as others

Although you certainly can spend hundreds of dollars on a blender, you don’t have to if you only want an occasional smoothie, soup, or blended dessert. I’ve owned the KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender for several years, and it’s still going strong.

The Die Cast Metal Base is sturdy, so it doesn’t shake as it blends, which is something that a lot of cheap blenders tend to do. Although it’s not as powerful as many of the blenders in our guide, the KitchenAid has a perfectly capable motor that helps the stainless steel blades blend just about anything with little effort.

KitchenAid’s Intelli-Speed Motor Control tech ensures that ingredients are blended equally. The 56-ounce BPA-Free pitcher is easy to clean, as is the two-piece lid. Years of use haven’t harmed the sturdy plastic pitcher or the lid, which still fits snugly. — Malarie Gokey

The best high-powered blender

blender

The Ninja Professional Blender delivers plenty of power to crush ice and blend a variety of ingredients to create perfect smoothies every time.

Pros: Perfect option for creating smoothies at home, good price point, offers many different kinds of blending options, works to crush ice, blends many kinds of foods successfully

Cons: Unit’s lid can be difficult to clean, blades are sharp when you take blender apart for cleaning

If you’re looking to create great-tasting smoothies at home, you’ll want a blender with plenty of power to ensure the ingredients are well mixed and delivered at the desired texture. The Ninja Professional Blender has the features needed to pulverize ice and create the highest quality smoothies possible.

It boasts 1,100 watts of power with three speeds, a pulse setting, and a single-serve function. Ninja also includes two 16-ounce to-go cups so you can take your breakfast smoothie with you. The blender’s 72-ounce pitcher is a good size and it has a form-fitting lid and a nice big handle.

Guides Editor Les Shu has seen the Ninja in action. The multiple sharp blades that run up the core of the blender cup, while befitting of the Ninja name, look both frightening and ridiculous. When it’s running, the blender is jet-engine loud. But it did a terrific job cutting through ice and fresh pineapple for piña coladas.

Indeed, the Ninja blender does a great job with all kinds of blending needs, including crushing and pureeing for smoothies. It’s the perfect choice for people who don’t want to invest in our top pick but still need a powerful blender.

As for downsides, the Ninja blender is difficult to take apart and clean, in large part because of the sharpness of the blades. The lid also has some crevasses that are tough to clean properly. But otherwise, this is a great pick. — Kyle Schurman

The best professional-style

Screen Shot 2018 07 23 at 2.53.02 PM

The Vitamix Professional series 750 offers everything you need in a blender, and its proven longevity makes it worth the price.

Pros: Consistent, powerful motor, strong blades stay sharp, 7-year warranty

Cons: Price tag

We know this is a lot to spend on a blender, or anything, really. But if you want the most consistent consistency, and you use your blender on a daily basis, it’s easily justified. When you go to a smoothie shop, you’re probably paying well over $5 per drink, and if you do so even two or three times a week, that adds up (I’m a writer, so I’ll let you do your own math).

The Vitamix 750 is a professional-grade, 1440-watt blender built to last the better part of a decade, and Vitamix’s 7-year warranty is enough to attest to that. Sure, you may have some 20-year-old anvil of a thing living on your counter that still works, more or less, but I’ll bet your smoothies turn out to be laden with large, blade-neglected chunks of your chosen fruits. I’ll also bet it’s not the prettiest thing in your kitchen, either.

The Vitamix 750 has 10 speeds as well as four automatic settings for smoothies, hot soups, frozen desserts, and purées. These settings allow you to walk away from the blender while the automatic drive on the blender assesses the power and speed needed to acquire the proper consistency of your desired dish.

For those who use their blender only every so often but still demand perfection, the Vitamix 5200 is of comparable quality, just with a less technical interface and no automatic drive for setting your blender to smoothie mode and walking away. — Owen Burke

The best vacuum blender

breville the super q z

The Breville Super Q Blender isn’t inherently a vacuum blender, but together with Breville’s Vac Q attachment, it becomes one of the best.

Pros: Extremely powerful, versatile, automatic shut off/hands-free

Cons: Expensive, not as easy to manually operate as a Vitamix if you’re getting technical

Breville’s Super Q Blender is a great blender on its own, but when you add the VacQ attachment to it, it becomes a vacuum blender and removes all air from your concoctions.

An 1800-watt motor that drives steel blade tips at 186 miles per hour; it’s a remarkable feat of technology for blending (and nearly juicing) just about anything you can get your hands on. The Super Q also has five programmed presets for easy use.

Insider Reviews editorial director Ellen Hoffman and I set up shop at Insider Reviews Headquarters (otherwise known as our office kitchen) where we stuffed the Breville Super Q with every fruit and vegetable we could get our hands on. We ended up with a host of perfectly consistent, sometimes strange-tasting concoctions (through no fault of Breville).

Two things impressed me about this blender in comparison with the Vitamix. First, the Super Q is unbelievably quiet. We were able to carry on with a conversation at normal volume while the motor was whirring away somewhere between a whisper and a barely vocal growl. This is, far and away, the quietest, albeit most powerful blender I’ve ever put to use. 

What really makes the Super Q a solid buy, however, is the Vac Q, which, unfortunately, comes separately. That’s my only gripe with this machine so far. A small-handled vacuum about the size of a coffee mug that you place over the top of the pitcher or smoothie cup, the Vac Q pulls as much air out of the container as would seem possible. This process creates such a tight seal on the lid that it’s almost impossible to open without using the depressurizing cap, which reduces oxidation and bubbles.

In short: It makes your juice taste better and last longer. The more foam and froth in juice, or anything you’re blending, the more nutrients you lose. Sure, there are many reasons we drink juice, but most of us are taking nutrition into account, too. — Owen Burke

Breville Vac Q Attachment

Breville Super Q Blender

The best personal blender

breville boss to go sport

For the smoothest smoothies, shakes, and juices, the powerful Breville Boss To Go Sport is your go-to personal blender.

Pros: Powerful, blends ice and harder foods, two travel cups and lids

Cons: Only one speed

The Breville Boss To Go Sport is a perfectly sized blender for on-the-go smoothies in the morning or smaller blending jobs. But don’t let its compact form-factor fool you: This is a powerful 1000-watt blender that can pulverize ice and hard fruits.

Besides the powerful motor, the Boss To Go Sport uses what Breville calls a Kinetix blade. The unique curved design of the four blades helps to create smoother foods — great for silky smoothies and shakes, not so much if you like chunky guacamole. And it does things fast, which is great if you’re short on time in the morning.

The blender comes with two travel cups and lids, one 23-ounce and one 15-ounce. There’s only one speed, however. But like all Breville products, the Boss to Go Sport looks industrial-sleek. 

The Boss To Go Sport is pricey, but like many Breville products, we believe it’s a good investment and it’s backed by great customer service. You can purchase personal blenders at half the price (or more) of the Boss to Go Sport, like those from NutriBullet. However, in our experience, NutriBullets are notorious for leaking and their motors tend to blow out too easily. — Les Shu

What to look for in a blender

Here’s what we look for in a great blender:

  • Power: The motor is the most important part of any blender, and the higher the wattage, the better the performance. Always get a blender with a motor that’s more than 500 watts. If you want to make frozen drinks, you may need one with 1,000 watts of power.
  • Blades: Some blenders have blades made for solid objects like ice, while others are better equipped for blending softer foods. Stainless steel blades are best.
  • Size and materials: We look for durable, wide blender jars with tight-fitting lids. 

Types of blenders

There are a few different types of blenders, each with its own unique features: conventional, multi-function, personal, and immersion. 

  • Conventional: A conventional blender is the most common type for use in your home kitchen; it can perform a variety of functions from making soup to blending smoothies.
  • Multi-function: Multi-function, professional-style blenders have powerful motors and are often used in restaurants. F
  • Personal: These small appliances make single servings and may run from a battery for portability.
  • Immersion: These stick-like handheld blenders can be placed directly into a pot or other container to puree soups, sauces, and smoothies. We left immersion blenders (also called hand blenders) off of this list because they have their own comprehensive buying guide, which you can check out here.

Check out our other small appliance buying guides

Breville 98xl juicer

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

33 tactful gifts for your in-laws, whether you’re meeting them for the first time or have known them for years

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

best gifts for in-laws

  • Finding a gift for your in-laws can be tricky, whether it’s your first meeting or you’ve known them for years.
  • We rounded up some of the best gift ideas for your in-laws, from small thank yous to grander gestures. 
  • For more gift ideas, check out all of our gift guides here

Depending on your relationship, their tastes, and a host of other factors, getting a thoughtful gift for in-laws can be pretty high pressure. Whether you’re meeting them for the first time or have known them for years and just want to show some appreciation, the right gift can go a long way. 

You don’t have to go overboard, and there are plenty of unique gift ideas for in-laws that show you care about them. To ease your mind, we curated some great gifts sure to please any mother-in-law and father-in-law that cover a wide range of prices and tastes. Whether they’re small gifts like a bath salts or bigger ones like kitchen appliances, what these all have in common is that your in-laws will love them.

Here are 33 of the best gifts for in-laws:

This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Gravity Blankets. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*

A coffee subscription box for trying new beans

Coffee Under $25 (6)

Whole Bean Subscription, from $22/month, available at Blue Bottle Coffee

If they love coffee, they’ll love getting the chance to try a bunch of new brews every month. Blue Bottle’s beans are high quality, packaged at peak flavor, and come in a range of unique blends.

An elevated serving board for your in-laws next dinner party

gifts for in laws serving tray

Bamboo Lotus Serving Board, $48, available at Uncommon Goods

If your in-laws like to do a lot of hosting, this lotus-shaped serving tray will elevate their next dinner party. It has built-in spots for dips, crackers, cheese, veggies, and more.

A chic succulent

best gifts for in laws succulent

The Winona, $55, available at Urban Stems

Add some greenery to your in-laws’ home with this elegant succulent that’s easy to care for and comes in a chic, gold-beaded vase. If you plan to see your in-laws in person you can send it to yourself and bring it along with you, or you can have it sent directly to your in-laws’ address for a sweet gift from afar. 

A bento box of floral candies for their sweet tooth

best gifts for in laws sugarfina floral bento box

Sugarfina Floral Bento Box, $26, available at Bloomingdale’s

A box of chocolates is well and good, but this candy bento box is much more unique. Anyone with a sweet tooth will love these fun flavors, which include gummies infused with rosé, dark chocolate sea salt caramels, and peach bellini gummies. The presentation will win you points too thanks to the beautiful blooms on the box.

A modern vase to brighten up any space

best gifts for in laws west elm vase

Barro Vases, $35-$45, available at West Elm

These cute vases look great in any space and come in subtle but fun yellows and blues to add a pop of color.  If you want to go that extra mile, you could put some florals or dried plants in it too.

A cozy weighted blanket

Gravity Blanket

Gravity Blanket, $189, available at Gravity Blankets

Weighted blankets have been widely praised for their calming effects, and after this year, we could all use some extra tranquility. This cozy blanket is great for curling up with at night in bed or by the fire. 

*Sponsored by Gravity Blankets

A photo book of fond memories with your in-laws

Timeless gifts Artifact Uprising

Large Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $15

If you’ve spent holidays or vacations in the past with your in-laws, a sweet photo book to bring back good memories can be a great gift and way to show you appreciate family time with them. Artifact Uprising makes it easy with custom options at affordable prices. Or you can customize thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per card. You can also create a set of prints for $9.

An indoor garden for urban dwellers and herb lovers

click and grow

Click & Grow Smart Garden, $99.95, available at Amazon

Anyone who spends time in the kitchen or garden knows how much fresh herbs can upgrade a dish. While not all climates or spaces can sustain a full herb garden, this little indoor gardening kit can, so they can top every last dish with their favorite fresh herbs.

A tin of delicious treats

gifts for in laws cheryls cookie tin

Devils Food Chocolate Frosted Cookie Sampler, $29.99, available at Cheryl’s Cookies 

Who doesn’t love receiving a delicious cookie tin? This one from Cheryl’s Cookies features indulgent chocolate cookies topped with fudge buttercream frosting and chocolate chips.

Playing cards with pups

Under $25 dog cards

Megan Carn Dog Playing Cards, $21.00, available at Megan Carn

Everything is better arguably with a dog, and such is the case with these playing cards. They’re not only a fun conversation starter, but they encourage getting to know each other through a game night. 

A gift for the father-in-law who’s a major baseball fan

baseball blueprint, $185

Baseball Stadium Blueprints, $185, available at Uncommon Goods

A little bit of history, a little bit of architecture, and a whole lot of team spirit — whether you support their favorite team or not, they’ll appreciate this thoughtful print that’ll quickly find a home on one of their walls.

A painting of the only thing your in-laws love as much as their children

pet portrait, $180+

Custom Painterly Pet Portraits, from $250, available at Uncommon Goods

The only thing they might love as much as your partner is their pet. Show them you, too, appreciate their furry friend with a custom portrait of it. 

A cozy gift for your mother-in-law to keep her feet warm

gifts for mother in law slippers

Ballerina Herbal Warming Slippers, $48, available at Uncommon Goods

Pamper your mother-in-law with these fuzzy slippers featuring removable insoles filled with aromatic lavender buds and thermally conductive flax seeds. In the winter she can heat them up in the microwave for extra warmth, and in the summer she can throw them in the fridge for a refreshing cool down.

A cocktail bitters set mixologists will love

bitters, $34.99

Cocktail Bitters Set, $35, available at Uncommon Goods

Turn their living room into a cocktail bar with this set of bitters. With flavors like smoked chili and ginger lemon, they can get creative with some new drinks or spice up the classics.

A pizza maker for home cooks and pizza aficionados

breville, $149.95

Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker, $149.95, available at Williams Sonoma

Some might call this one life-changing. If they love cooking together, gift them a countertop pizza maker so they can enjoy homemade pies with the toppings of their choice in less than 10 minutes. 

A cozy and chic blanket

gifts for in-laws overland throw

Striped Alpaca Wool-Blend Throw Blanket, $159, available at Overland

Not only does is this blanket a lovely piece of home decor since it looks elegant draped over a couch or at the foot of the bed, but it’s also soft and warm. Your in-laws will surely appreciate you when they snuggle up in this wide throw during their next at-home movie night.

A touch lamp for in-laws who live far away

friendship lamp, $170

Long Distance Touch Lamp, from $85, available at Uncommon Goods

If your in-laws live far away, they’ll really appreciate this touch lamp. Keep one in your home and one in theirs, and whenever you tap it, their lamp will light up too. It’s a cute way to communicate and let them know you’re thinking of them every now and then.

A decanter and matching glasses with a personal touch

etched windowpane decanter and dof set set of 4 o

Etched Windowpane Decanter and Glasses, $139, available at Mark and Graham

Show them you mean business with this sophisticated decanter and set of four double old fashioned glasses. You can even add a monogram if you’re looking for a more personal touch.

A fun way to show off their cork collection

Gifts for in laws wine cork map

State Map Wine Cork Trap, $35, available at Uncommon Goods

For the bunch with a bunch of state pride, give them a fun way to use their leftover wine corks and show off their favorite place. This birch-wood display makes a nice piece of wall art that’s sure to start a conversation. 

A monthly sampling of some of the tastiest products from around the country

mouth, $54+

Best of Mouth Subscription, starting at $54/month, available at Mouth

Foodies will love the chance to test small-batch, locally made products from around the country. Mouth sources and curates subscription boxes of their favorites, which they’ll receive each month.

A set of passport holders for globetrotters

passports, $34.99

Personalized Passport Cover, $29.74 (for two), available at Etsy

Frequent travelers should have a durable passport cover. This one also has extra pockets for money, ID cards, and credit cards. The matching styles, names, and cute quote are an added bonus. If you don’t like the style of this one, there are plenty more to choose from.

A wool throw they’ll want to wrap up in on chilly days

L.L. Bean, $109

Washable Wool Throw, $169, available at L.L. Bean

Winter days spent with family call for cozy blankets made for snuggling. This one is just right and easily washable — just in case there are any unexpected eggnog spills.

An undeniably classy marble salt cellar

RSVP Marble Swivel Salt Cellar, $29.95, available at Amazon

RSVP Marble Swivel Salt Cellar, from $30.93, available at Amazon

If you want to make a statement with something small, go for this elegant salt cellar. It makes seasoning dishes easier, and the dual compartments provide a place for both fine and coarsely ground salt. Our editor swears by this one for her own kitchen.

A set of products to help them get some much-needed rest

gifts for in laws calm bath salts

CALM Bath Salts, $18, available at Herbivore

Parents always deserve some R&R. Bring them one step closer with this set of bath salts infused with ylang-ylang and vanilla.

A salt block that’ll up their grilling game

Gifts for in laws Himalayan Salt Plate

Himalayan Salt Plate, $9.83, available at Wayfair

This is more than just a pretty pink plate, it’s actually a block of Himalayan salt. Not only can it be used to serve food, but it can actually be used to cook food too. Cooking and serving with a salt slab will up the ante on plenty of their family-favorite meals.

A trio of unique condiments to spice up their meals

Bushwick Kitchen

Bushwick Kitchen Threes Knees Trio, $34.99, available at Bushwick Kitchen

Adventurous eaters and hot sauce lovers will definitely enjoy using this trio of spicy condiments. A spicy honey, spicy maple, and gochujang sriracha give them all sorts of new ways to spice up their favorite foods. 

A smart speaker to help them get started on a smart home

Nest Mini

Google Nest Mini, $49.99, available at Best Buy

If your in-laws are not really the techie types, start them out with this small smart speaker. Nest Mini is a subtle introduction to smart technology — plus they’ll get a kick out of communicating with Google Assistant. 

A charging hub so they don’t have to fight for the open outlet

elago

elago 3-in-1 Charging Hub, from $25.99, available at Amazon

If they’re always fighting for the last free outlet to charge their Apple products, or if they’re both big Apple fans, this hub will charge all their devices at once.

A new cookbook to add to their repertoire

ina garten, $20.99

“Cook Like a Pro” by Ina Garten, $17.46, available at Amazon

Ina Garten’s latest release is a great addition to any home chef’s cookbook collection. They’ll learn plenty of new recipes and cooking techniques — and you might even get to taste the fruits of their labor one day. 

A nice candle with a reusable vessel

Lafco, $65

Lafco Library Candle, $65, available at Bluemercury

A nice candle is always a welcomed gift. These ones are made to embody the scents of common places, including rooms in the house. The best part of these candles, though, is that they’ll be able to reuse the hand-blown glass vessel once the candle has burned down. All they have to do is put it in the freezer when the wax runs down, pop it out with a knife, and run it through the dishwasher. Our editor uses hers for everything from cotton swabs to serving snacks.

An Airbnb gift card for in-laws who love to travel

airbnb, $100+

Airbnb Gift Card, $100 – $500, available at Zola

A tangible gift is great, but so is the gift of an unforgettable experience. For the jet-setting duo, bring them one step closer to their next vacation (as soon as vacations are safe again) with an Airbnb gift card so they can explore someplace new together. You can find more hotel and Airbnb gift card options here.

A leather catchall for their keys

gifts for in laws catchall tray

Rustic Leather Catchall Tray, from $34.99, available at Mark & Graham

Your in-laws will love this chic catchall tray for staying organized. Place on a desk, nightstand, or entryway table to hold keys, wallets, headphones, and more. You can even get it monogrammed for an extra personal touch. Choose from small, medium, large, or opt for a set of all three.

A coffee table book for book lovers

Bibliophile Under $25

“Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany,” available at Amazon, $18.97

If your in-laws love to read, they’ll enjoy this book from illustrator Jane Mount, who is known for the colorful book spines of notable works. Inside, they’ll find tours of the world’s best bookstores, quizzes to test book knowledge, and samplings of famous fictional meals — all illustrated in Mount’s fun and whimsical style. You can find more coffee table books for gifting here.

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The 5 best air purifiers in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • An air purifier can help clean your indoor air of pollutants, dust, and smoke.
  • We tested and researched more than 10 air purifiers to determine the best for your needs and budget.
  • The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ can clean a 650-square-foot room in 15 minutes and indicates when to replace filters.

An air purifier can help improve the quality of your indoor air, which can be more polluted than outside air. Things like candles, cooking grease, and cleaning products can contribute to irritants, and if you’re not opening your windows 24/7, they can pollute your indoor air.

Our guide recommends air purifiers that are easy to maintain, remove a broad array of irritants, and performed well in our tests. When we examined each model, we considered its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), noise level, long-term costs, maintenance, and filtration systems. We also noted how easy they are to use, as well as other useful features.

We explain our testing methodology here, along with other models we looked at that didn’t make the cut and air-purifying techniques.

Here are the best air purifiers of 2021

The best air purifier overall

Best air purifier 2021 blueair air purifier

The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier filters the air in medium-to-large rooms up to five times per hour, and it’s so quiet that you won’t notice it’s operating.

Pros: Does an excellent job of removing dust, pollen, and smoke; indicator lets you know when to clean/replace filter; attractive appearance; easy to use

Cons: Filter replacement is expensive

The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier is designed to remove bacteria, mold, pet dander, dust, pollen, viruses, and other airborne pollutants. And, with a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of 350 cubic feet per minute, it can clean the air in a 650-square foot room approximately four times in an hour. Plus, it’s small and lightweight enough for you to effortlessly move it from one room to the next.

The Blue Pure 211+ has three-stage filtration: a fabric pre-filter, particle filter, and carbon filter. And, the unit tells you when it’s time to clean or replace the filter. Replacing the filter can be quite pricey though it should be done every six months to ensure you continue to breathe properly filtered air. The Blue Pure 211+ is Energy Star-certified and has relatively low energy costs (using 30 to 60 watts).

Another nice feature is that it runs quietly, ranging from 31 decibels on its lowest setting and 56 on its highest — quiet enough to use in a bedroom.

Last year, the Blueair 211+ was sold out at many online retailers or were selling at marked-up prices due to the California wildfires and the pandemic. The purifiers are more available now, and we never suggest buying items that are marked up if you can help it.

The best budget air purifier

Best air purifier 2021 Honeywell

If you’re looking for an air purifier that offers an impressive balance of price and performance, the Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier is your best bet.

Pros: Affordable; intuitive controls; easy to transport; does a very good job of removing smoke, dust, and pollen

Cons: Complaints of odors; might be too loud on high speed for some; expensive replacement filters

Honeywell is a trusted brand when it comes to air purifiers, and the HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier is the company’s most acclaimed model. In a crowded field of expensive models, this Honeywell unit does the best job of balancing performance with price.

It has an activated carbon pre-filter, which needs to be replaced every three months, and three HEPA filters, which need to be replaced every year. A year’s supply of replacement filters will cost around $70, so the operating cost is quite high. An indicator light lets you know when it’s time to change the filter.

The biggest drawbacks are the high costs for filter replacement and operation.

This was also previously available on Walmart via third-party sellers, which we don’t recommend as shipping dates and prices are unreliable, and return policies are dubious at best. Thankfully, the item is available via Honeywell directly now.

The best wall-mounted air purifier for large rooms

Best air purifier 2021 RabbitAir

The RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier can be mounted to a wall for an attractive and unobtrusive appearance.

Pros: Low filter and operating costs; silent operation; wall-mounted; outstanding at removing particulate matter; attractive appearance; five-year warranty

Cons: Expensive upfront cost

When installing an air purifier, you not only have to account for the space the unit takes up, but you also have to provide clearance around it to allow for airflow. When real estate is at a premium and appearances are important, the wall-mounted RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier addresses this.

The MinusA2 has a six-stage filter: pre-filter, medium filter, patented BioGS HEPA filter, charcoal-based activated carbon filter, optional negative ion generator, and a customized filter. The custom filter is unique in that you can choose to target toxins, odors, pet dander, or germs depending on your needs. The filter replacement kit is expensive, but you only need to budget for it every two years or so.

This is one of the larger air purifiers we’ve come across and can clean rooms up to 815 square feet. It’s also a good option if your space is open concept — since there are fewer walls and doors, you can clean multiple rooms at once. 

This was previously only available on Amazon via a third-party seller, which we don’t recommend, but it’s now available on Amazon via the RabbitAir store directly. 

The best smart air purifier

Best air purifier 2021 Coway Airmega

The Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier barely makes any sound and adjusts the fan speed based on the air’s pollution level.

Pros: Quiet; attractive design; energy-efficient; cleans the air in a 760-square-foot room in 15 minutes

Cons: Expensive filter contributes to the overall price 

The Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier is Coway’s top-of-the-line model. It features two sets of filters on each side of the unit: the easy-to-clean pre-filter and the Max2 filter, which is a combined True HEPA filter and activated charcoal. When it’s time to change the filters, the indicator light turns on. The Airmega 400 can monitor the air quality and adjust the fan speed to quickly filter the air.

I tested this air purifier on the main floor of my home in a centrally-located spot. Although it’s designed for rooms up to 760 square feet, it still did a great job in my open, 1,400-square-foot area, filtering the air in about 15 minutes.

On Smart mode, the fan speed ramps up when I get overzealous with my meat searing in the kitchen. After a year of use, I’m just now nearing the end of the original filter’s lifespan. Replacing the filters is incredibly pricey, however. 

While some recommend the Wi-Fi-enabled version, the Airmega 400S, the only real difference between the 400S and 400 is the app-connectivity and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Other than that, performance is essentially the same.

This was previously out of stock at many online retailers but it’s more readily available now.

Read our full review of the Coway Airmega 400

The best ionizing air purifier

Best air purifier 2021 Coway Mighty

In addition to three filters, the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier includes ionization, and the fan speed adjusts based on the air quality.

Pros: Automatically adjusts fan speed based on pollutants in the air; timer; four-stage filtration; eco mode

Cons: High power consumption, gets loud on high

Coway is one of the top names in air purifiers and the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier is its most popular model. It has an array of high-end features, including an air quality indicator, an auto mode that adjusts the fan speed to the air quality, and a shut-off timer.

The Mighty has a CADR of 246 cubic feet per minute for dust, 240 for pollen, and 233 for smoke, which makes it a good option for rooms of up to 460 square feet. The air goes through four filter stages: pre-filter, odor filter, true HEPA filter, and an ionizer. An ionizer electrically charges air molecules for purification; it can lower bacterial infections by removing particles in the air. But note that the effectiveness has been questioned and may emit ozone. Fortunately, any ozone exposure is minimal, and you can turn the ionizing feature off if you’re concerned.

The Coway Mighty is one of three air purifiers I’m currently running in my home. My son has it in his bedroom so we can minimize our home’s “teen odor index.” We’ve had it for a year, and it does an outstanding job. And, I like how easy it is to clean the pre-filter: When the indicator light tells me it’s time for cleaning, I just run a cordless handheld vacuum over it. So far, I haven’t had to replace the filter, but it’s pretty affordable and it lasts for a year.

If you’re looking for a similar model, Coway has a newer version called the Airmega 200M. Based on our testing, the 200M is more powerful but is otherwise similar in performance to the Mighty. Depending on the color, you can sometimes find the newer Airmega 200M to be significantly cheaper than the Mighty. If you come across this, we suggest going with the cheaper of the two because the performance is so similar. We think you’ll be satisfied with either.

The Mighty didn’t experience discernable shipping delays or inventory issues previously and is readily available on Amazon.

What else we recommend

While researching this guide, we looked at numerous models and brands of air purifiers. Many of them just missed the cut, but are otherwise strong products in their own right. Here are five that almost made it:

Our testing methodology

Best air purifier 2021

When I test an air purifier, there are several things I look for such as the rate at which it cleans, noise level, and more. 

In addition to hands-on testing, I turn to other established reviewers, such as Wirecutter and Consumer Reports, for their assessments. Based on my and other experts’ research and testing, and looking through the manufacturers’ specs, I’m able to compare the key performance indicators of the top models.

Here are the main attributes when testing air purifiers:

CADR: Clean Air Delivery Rate is a rating developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers that is used to determine how many cubic feet of air an appliance can clean in a minute. If you multiply the CADR by 1.875, you can determine what room size the air purifier can clean four times in one hour, which is the recommended minimum number of air changes per hour (ACH). This calculation assumes an average ceiling height of 8 feet. Don’t worry if this sounds confusing: We put it in easy-to-understand terms in our guide.

Noise level: A good air purifier will operate in the background without most people noticing it. Loud air purifiers are a deal-breaker. I use a sound meter positioned four feet from the air purifier and measure the decibels when the fan is at its lowest speed and highest speed. The average unit should register less than 40 decibels (like light rain) most of the time and about 60 decibels (normal conversation) on high.

Long-term costs: Air purifier filters don’t last forever. They need to be replaced every 3 to 24 months, depending on the type of filter. When buying an air purifier, you need to factor in filter costs and operating expenses. Look for Energy Star-certified units if you want to save money on electricity.

Maintenance: If your filters are dirty, then they won’t perform well. You need to clean your filters regularly. I prefer an air purifier that tells me when it’s time for a cleaning. A cordless hand vacuum is all you need to clean most filters. You can clean some with water, but read the user’s manual to make sure it’s okay before doing this, and be sure to thoroughly dry the filter before using it again.

Filtration: You want a true HEPA or HEPA-type filter that can remove at least 99.97% of 0.3-micron airborne particles. The purifiers in our guide all meet this requirement. Additionally, some models have ionizers. Ionizers are controversial, but they reportedly produce negative ions that cling to air pollutants, which makes them easier to filter or vacuum up.  

What we’re looking forward to testing

We’ll continue to test our top picks to see how they hold up long-term. In the meantime, here are other air purifiers we’re looking to test for future updates to this guide:

FrescheAir ($99.99): This is a portable air purifier and deodorizer, so it’d be interesting to see how the smaller size might affect the performance.

Rx Air 400 ($899.99): This is one of the most expensive air purifiers we’ve seen so it’d be great to see how the quality stacks up to others we’ve tested. It’s also labeled as a Class II Medical Device, which other air purifiers are not.

Dyson Pure Cool TP04 Purifying Fan ($549.99): My colleagues have tested older generations of this air purifier but I have yet to test it personally. 

IQAir Atem Desk Personal HEPA Air Purifier ($399): While most air purifiers are meant for a whole room, this is meant for personal use at a desk or table. 

PURO²XYGEN P500 Air Purifier ($189.97): This is among the least expensive air purifiers we’ve seen so it’ll be a good contender for our best budget pick. Like the RabbitAir, this has a six-stage filtration system, and it’s effective in smaller spaces up to 500 square feet. It’ll be interesting to see how its low price 

FAQs

Why do I need an air purifier?

Air purifiers can help clean indoor air of incense, cooking grease and smoke, and more — basically, it does what its name implies. For those with allergies, it can also help clear the air of pollen, pet dander, and more. 

According to the EPA, air purifiers outfitted with a HEPA filter are an effective way to remove particles from smoke and ash and can be particularly helpful in improving symptoms for individuals with asthma or COPD that are triggered by wildfire smoke.

What does HEPA mean?

HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air.” As defined by the EPA, HEPA filters are able to capture at least 99.97% of all airborne particles, including dust, mold, bacteria, and pollen, that are 0.3 microns in diameter.

Are all your picks true HEPA filters?

No. That said, we generally give true HEPA filter models preference in our picks. However, there are some “HEPA type” models that perform just as well or better than true HEPA filter models and have features that make them a better pick. We make a point of specifically saying if a model has a true HEPA filter. 

Can an air purifier prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus?

If you’re considering an air purifier to help protect against the novel coronavirus, according to the EPA, a portable air cleaner by itself is not enough. However, when used along with other best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention such as hand washing and social distancing, operating an air cleaner can be part of a plan to protect you and your household. 

Can HEPA or H13 purifiers capture viruses, including the coronavirus?

HEPA air purifiers help with the coronavirus but won’t completely eliminate it, says Dr. Ravi Pandey, an internal medicine specialist in South Florida. He adds that the virus is smaller than what air purifiers generally capture. Most viruses, including the coronavirus, are 0.06 to 0.12 microns. HEPA filters are designed to filter out at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in size.

However, while an air purifier alone isn’t enough, it can be another tool for protection when used in conjunction with social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing.

Where do you put an air purifier? 

You’ll likely want an air purifier in your bedroom, living room, or kitchen — these are common areas that get a lot of traffic, and in the case of your kitchen, might help remove smoke from cooking.

How do you use an air purifier?

Most air purifiers just need to be plugged in to start working — there’s usually no installation or setup involved (unless you’re trying to connect to an app). 

Place an air purifier about a foot away from the wall and plug it into a nearby outlet. If your model has an indicator light, it might say that the air is very polluted so make necessary adjustments such as opening a window or vent.  

Once the air has cleared as indicated by the air purifier, keep it running to ensure continuous cleaning. Some of the models in our guide have timers so you can set it and go about your day. 

How often do you change the filter?

This depends on the manufacturer’s guidelines — some suggest every three months while others say every two years.

Can plants help clean indoor air?

Think again before filling your house with plants. A 2019 article in The Atlantic cites research showing that indoor vegetation will not remove significant pollutants from the air.

How can you keep your air clean if you don’t have an air purifier?

Intense wildfires that raged in California and Oregon in 2020 burned more than 3 million acres, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and blanketed cities hundreds of miles away from the epicenters in ash and eerie orange skies. Between wildfires and the novel coronavirus, air quality is at the forefront of many minds. 

With so many people struggling with poor indoor air quality, we spoke with Dr. Junfeng Zhang, Ph.D., Professor of Global and Environmental Health at Duke University, for advice on what you can do if you don’t have an air purifier.

Dr. Zhang is particularly concerned about how individuals with asthma, COPD, heart disease, and other pre-existing diseases will cope with the poor air quality on the west coast, which is currently the worst in the world. “In the absence of a HEPA-based air purifier,” Dr. Zhang said, “I’d suggest that people, especially those who are more susceptible/vulnerable, wear N95 face masks, even when staying indoors.”

Unfortunately, true N95 masks are still hard to come by and should be reserved for medical workers but there are some more widely-available alternatives, such as KN95 masks, which can provide a decent level of filtration. The CDC has released respirator assessment results for some of these. There is a lot of misinformation and counterfeit products floating around, so be extra cautious in ensuring that you’re buying from a trusted seller. 

If you are one of the lucky ones with an air purifier, remember to clean your filter thoroughly and often so it can do its job. But for an effective multi-pronged attack on pollutants, you’ll want to test and improve your air. Here’s how to test and improve indoor quality and a few steps you can take to clean your air more effectively:

  • Clean regularly: Irritants can collect on surfaces and cause sneezing fits when disturbed. When you clean regularly — including dusting and vacuuming — you remove allergens and more. Check out our guides for the best vacuum cleaners, best robot vacuums, best budget vacuums, and best cordless vacuums.
  • Ventilate: This could include installing ventilation fans in your bathroom or kitchen, or running (well-cleaned) ceiling fans. Freestanding fans can also help clean air circulating, here are the best ones. Be sure not to open windows or doors to prevent polluted air from coming inside.
  • Store chemicals outside of your house: Abrasive cleaners and other harsh chemicals are often a source of irritation. Store them in your shed or garage and not where you will be exposed to them regularly.

Check out out other in-depth guides

best robot vacuums
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Shop the Columbia Web Specials sale now.

If you’re on the lookout for some gear to keep you warm, Columbia’s Web Specials section is a good place to check. Tons of stuff is on sale there throughout the year and right now you can snag up to 60% off original price with promo code FEB60PLUS applied at checkout. We’ve tested and now recommend several of Columbia’s designs, including winter coats and winter boots for men

Get up to 50% off at Rhone

rhone button down tie details

Shop the Rhone Winter Sale now.

We love Rhone’s apparel. If you’re looking for great athleisure wear for men, Rhone looks, feels, and performs exceptionally well. Right now, the brand is holding a sale with up to 50% off everything in the surplus section — including button-downs, athletic wear, and jackets. Just use code WINTERSALE to get an extra 20% off or, if you’re adding more than one item to cart, WINTERSALE30 to get 30% off. The sale ends February 28.

Get up to 50% off sitewide from J.Crew Factory

j.crew factory facebook

Shop the J.Crew Factory sale now.

The same great styles but at a lower price, J.Crew Factory is the place to go for fashion without breaking the bank. Right now, the retailer is holding a sale offering up to 50% off sitewide, plus an extra 50% off clearance with promo code HELLODEALS. Shopping the sale is going to be far from the J.Crew private shopping session we tried out last year, but it’s still an excellent chance to fill your wardrobe with high-quality threads for less. The sale ends February 27.

 

Get 15% off sitewide at Melissa & Doug

melissa & doug blog kids puzzle

Shop the Melissa & Doug Sitewide Savings sale now.

Now through the end of February, Melissa & Doug shoppers can get 15% off sitewide with promo code EXPLORE15. The brand makes great toys and storage for the little ones in your life — we know after testing and reviewing them over the years. Some of our favorites include the Melissa & Doug wooden toy box and dollhouse

Get 25% off sitewide at Speck

speck phone case new years

Shop the Speck sitewide sale now.

For the remainder of February, you can get 25% off sitewide from Speck with promo code SPECK02. We recommend Speck phone cases if you like a grippier case; they’re also available for a ton of different phone models in a variety of colors. Since the whole site is discounted with the code, you can even find gear for your Macbook or iPad, 25% off. The sale ends February 28.

Get $500 off a Carol bike

CAROL ai stationary bike

Shop the Carol bike sale now.

It’s pricey for sure, but the AI-powered Carol bike will customize each session you have to be as effective as possible. Right now you can get $500 off your own Carol bike plus a free chest belt and a one-year subscription with promo code CAROL2021. It’s a huge discount and includes some great freebies to get you started on your fitness goals. The code will work through February 28.

Get 40% off at Sunski

guys summer sunski

Shop the Full Send Special at Sunski now.

A rare sale on some already-affordable glasses, right now you can snag 40% off select Sunski styles. The sale includes 5 styles: the Andiamo, Portola, Original, Mattina, and Olema. We like Sunski for being stylish yet affordable, and right now is a great chance to snag a pair for even less. Sales from Sunski are rare, and we don’t expect this one to last too long.

Get up to 30% off from Stio

stio winter gear

Shop the Stio annual Winter Sale now.

If you’re planning to brave the cold or need a gift for someone who will, Stio is having a great sale right now with some great discounted gear. Styles for men and women including snow and ski jackets, pants, and more are all up to 30% off right now. Though Stio didn’t make it into our top picks, it was in the running (and performed well) in our guide to the best men’s overshirts.

 

 

Get 20% off sitewide from AeroGarden

AeroGarden Harvest Elite 360, Stainless Steel

Shop the AeroGarden Valentine’s Day sale now.

The maker of our top indoor herb garden pick, AeroGarden, is holding a sale right now. With promo code GROWLOVE, you can get up to 40% off your very own indoor herb garden, including our pick, the Harvest. It’s a low-mess unit that requires no potting soil, making it a great addition for any countertop. The sale ends February 28.

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