The best mattress sales happening in May 2021 – including deals on DreamCloud, Leesa, and Casper

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Purchasing a mattress is a tough process. Doing so while balancing a budget can make things even more difficult.

Mattress companies are no strangers to discounts – popular brands like Casper, Helix, Leesa, and Purple are offering price cuts that are hard to pass up, along with freebies to seal the deal. Memorial Day is one of the best times to shop for mattresses as brands offer some of the biggest discounts you’ll find during the year.

We’ve also arranged exclusive discounts for readers with several retailers, including Leesa, Casper, and Tempur-Pedic. We put together a list of some of the biggest bargains currently available and included links to relevant mattress reviews.

Exclusive mattress sales for Insider readers:

  • Casper: Use code INSIDER to save $100 on the Original mattress or $200 on the Nova or Wave mattresses
  • Cocoon by Sealy: Use code INSIDER36 for 36% off sitewide
  • DreamCloud: Get $200 off a mattress and $399 in free accessories with code INSIDER
  • Leesa: Save an additional 20% off Hybrid and Legend mattresses with code INSIDER
  • Nectar: Use code INSIDER to save (discount increases with mattress size)
  • Tempur-Pedic: Use code BI30 to get 30% off Tempur-Cloud mattress

The best mattress sales happening right now:

  • Avocado: $200 off latex mattresses with code EARTH, and $150 off Mid-Century Modern Bed Frame & Luxe Adjustable Base (no code needed)
  • Bear: 20% off all mattresses + a free sleep bundle with every purchase
  • Birch: $200 off mattresses + 2 free pillows with code MEMORIALDAY200
  • Brooklyn Bedding: 25% off sitewide with code REFRESH25
  • Casper: 30% off mattress bundles
  • Cocoon by Sealy: 35% off chill mattresses + free pillows and sheets with every purchase
  • DreamCloud: $200 off mattresses + $399 in free accessories
  • Eight Sleep: $150 off mattresses with code AFF150
  • Emma: 45% off all mattresses
  • Helix: Save $200 off on orders of $1,750 or more with code MEMORIALDAY200, $150 off orders of $1,250 or more with code MEMORIALDAY150, or $100 off any mattress with code MEMORIALDAY100, + 2 free pillows with every mattress purchase
  • Leesa: Up to $400 off + 2 free pillows
  • Nectar: $399 of accessories with every purchase
  • Purple: Free sheets + pillows on select mattress purchases
  • Saatva: $200 off any purchase of $1,000 or more
  • Sleep Number: Save up to $800 on select Sleep Number 360 smart beds
  • Tempur-Pedic: $300 in free accessories with a mattress set purchase
  • Tuft & Needle: Free pillow and sheets with select mattress purchases

The best sales on mattresses we recommend:

Save up to $200 of DreamCloud Premier Hybrid: Our pick for best mattress overall

Premier Hybrid Mattress (small)

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid is highly recommended for all sleepers in our guide to the best mattresses due to its strong support, average firmness, and its fair price point. DreamCloud also offers an impressive lifetime warranty on all mattresses and a 365-night sleep trial period. 

Save up to $300 on the Leesa Hybrid Mattress: Our pick for best mattress for back pain

Hybrid Mattress (Queen) (small)

If you suffer from back pain due to an uncomfortable mattress, the Leesa Hybrid Mattress will likely solve your problems. The mattress offers five layers of foam and coil support, motion isolation if you’re sharing the bed with a partner, and gentle pressure relief. In our review of the Leesa Hybrid mattress, we also noted its comfortability and other special features. It also takes home the title of “best for back pain” in our best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers guides.

Save up to $200 on the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress: Our pick for best mattress for side sleepers

Nova Hybrid Mattress (Queen) (small)

For those of us that prefer to sleep on our side, the Casper Nova Hybrid mattress is our top pick for side sleepers. It took home the aforementioned title in our guide to the best mattresses, and also was named “best overall” in our side-sleeper specific guide. The mattress stood out when compared to other Casper mattresses for its softness, heat dissipation, and edge support.

Save $200 on the Birch Mattress by Helix: Our pick for best mattress for heavy people

Natural Mattress (Queen) (small)

The Birch Mattress by Helix is our best pick for heavier individuals as it offers firm support and great motion isolation. If you typically sink into your mattress instead of sitting on top of it, The Birch Mattress will offer you supportive relief.

Save up to $700 on the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress: Our pick for best foam mattress

Cloud Mattress (Queen) (small)

Our well-seasoned home and kitchen reporter James Brains called the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress the most comfortable he’d ever slept on in his review of the mattress, and also named it the best foam mattress in our guides to the best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers. The Cloud Mattress contours to your body’s shape, making it a great option regardless of your preferred sleeping position. The mattress also has outstanding motion isolation, a layered foam design, and relaxing pressure relief.

Save up to $700 on the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed: Our pick for best adjustable mattress

360 i8 Smart Bed (Queen) (small)

If you’re looking for a mattress that allows you to customize and adjust your sleep every night, the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed should be your top choice. In our review of the mattress, we noted its standout features which include, multiple firmness levels, and an adjustable air feature that adjusts to your sleeping position while you sleep. We also named it the best adjustable option in our guides to the best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers.

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The 6 best diaper bags in 2021, including stylish totes, backpack styles, and travel options

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Parents use diaper bags to organize and carry every essential their child needs.
  • These diaper bags in a variety of styles have plenty of insulated pockets, changing mats, and more.
  • Our top pick is the Skip Hop Forma because it’s comfortable and easy to organize.

For new parents and parents with toddlers, a great diaper bag is a must-have item. Plus, the best diaper bags can last well beyond the diaper years and continue to be a handy overnight or travel bag to hold all those extra kid essentials.

The ideal diaper bag holds all the general staples: diapers, wipes, toys, bottles, snacks, a change of clothes, a changing pad – plus, parents’ keys, cellphone, and wallet – with room to spare. It also needs to be easy to organize so parents don’t have to dig around to find something and it should be comfortable to wear while on the go.

We’ve included a variety of styles, from backpack options to standard totes to bags made just for traveling.

Keep in mind that though many diaper bags come with clips or straps to attach to the handle of your stroller, this feature isn’t safe and should never be used, as it can make your stroller tip over.

Here are the best diaper bags

The best diaper bag overall

Skip Hop Forma
Features two packings cubes for maximum storage.

The Skip Hop Diaper Bag Backpack is surprisingly lightweight, comfortable to carry, and has plenty of room to easily organize all the essentials.

What we like: Packing cubes, cushioned changing pad, lightweight, easy-to-clean, double zippers

Even when this multi-functional backpack is packed to the gills, the Skip Hop Forma won’t weigh you down. It features two handy storage cubes for bottles and snacks, which leaves the main compartment completely free for diapers, wipes, and more. With nine pockets of varying sizes, you won’t have to worry about losing any items into a bottomless abyss.

This bag also features a changing pad and is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth. The padded straps add comfort and the thick material and double zippers ensure it’s durable. As an added bonus, this bag is chic enough to easily transition into a normal backpack for years of extra use.

The best diaper bag on a budget

 HaloVa Diaper Bag Multi Function Waterproof Travel Backpack
Holds up to 40 pounds.

You can’t beat the price of the HaloVa backpack diaper bag — plus it has insulated bottle pockets and two different ways to access the main compartment.

What we like: Water-resistant material, multiple pockets, durable, double zippers

Don’t let the low price tag fool you — this diaper bag is the real deal. The HaloVa has 14 total pockets including three insulated bottle pockets; a discreet back pocket for phones, credit cards, or other valuables; and a small pocket specifically designed for wet clothes. You can also get to the main compartment via a second back zipper for extra easy access.

Its water-resistant material makes it extra durable and that coupled with a special interior liner make this bag easy to wipe down, though you can also throw it in the washing machine for bigger messes.  

The best travel diaper bag

Skip Hop Weekender Travel Diaper Bag Tote
Features a drawbridge compartment for quick, easy access.

The Skip Hop Weekender Travel Diaper Bag Tote makes traveling with the family a breeze thanks to its sleeve that easily slips over suitcase handles.

What we like: Roomy main compartment, wide drawbridge opening, packing cubes, handy luggage sleeve, changing pad, double zippers

Sized just right for family getaways, the Skip Hop Weekender Bag easily holds all of baby’s essentials, with room to spare for parents’ travel accessories too. The extra-large tote bag features a spacious main compartment framed by a wide “drawbridge” pocket that unzips two ways for easy access.

Like the Skip Hop Forma, the Weekender adds on two packing containers to help optimize space. The handy back sleeve easily slides over luggage handles making it easy to maneuver through airports. Plus, it has an adjustable, removable shoulder strap that can be worn as a crossbody.

The best oversized diaper bag

Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack
Vented padding on the back and shoulder straps add comfort.

The Bag Nation Diaper Bag offers hands-free comfort, fits all the essentials and then some, and comes with a removable changing pad, Sundry bag, and more.

What we like: Vented padding, changing pad, water-resistant material, storage capacity

If you’re looking for a bag that fits everything you need without taking a toll on your back, the Bag Nation Backpack is a great option. It features padded, ergonomically curved straps and a breathable mesh-padded back panel for extra comfort even on hot, sticky days.

Organization is a breeze with this bag too thanks to its 14 pockets, including insulated pockets for bottles. The special wipe pouch makes wet wipes easily accessible and it also includes a changing pad and a Sundry bag. Water-resistant material, reinforced stitching, and sturdy zippers ensure this bag will last, and Bag Nation backs this up with a lifetime warranty.

The best diaper bag for easy organization

 Diaper Bag Backpack, RUVALINO Multifunction Travel
Features an easy access “parent” pocket for keys, phones, and wallets.

The RUVALINO diaper bag backpack features two big compartments and a whopping 16 pockets so every item can have its own specific space. 

What we like: Large storage capacity, tons of pockets, changing pad, dual zippers, water-resistant material

For the parents who like everything neat and tidy and in its place, the RUVALINO diaper bag is for you. Its two big zipper-closure compartments and 16 pockets ensure easy organizing without the bag ever feeling overly stuffed. Even so, its strong twill polyester and non-fray stitching ensure that no amount of bulk will break this sturdy bag.

Its thick, padded shoulder straps give comfortable all-day wear and the easy-access “parent” pocket keeps items like keys and phones safe and easily accessible. Insulated bottle pockets hold a variety of bottle sizes, while a separate mesh diaper organizer allows means you have more room in the main compartment. This bag also comes with a waterproof changing pad that’s easy to wipe down.

The best diaper bag with a changing station

Happy Luoka 3 in 1 Diaper Bag Backpack
Charge your phone anytime with the backpack’s convenient charging port.

Change diapers on the go is a breeze with the Happy Luoka 3-in-1 Diaper Bag‘s expandable changing station that fits babies and toddlers. 

What we like: Expandable diaper changing station, charging port, multiple pockets, mesh backpack straps, double zippers

Based on how lightweight this bag is, you’d never know the back expands into a huge, portable changing station. The privacy cover on top is held up by magnetic bars, which quickly fold up. When closed up, the back privacy pocket stores personal items from keys to credit cards.

The bag’s back ventilation design and the wide shoulder straps make it extra comfortable. As an extra perk, it also features a strategically placed USB charging port to keep your electronics fully charged even when out and about. 

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The 5 best tables for kids in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Tables give kids their own spot where they can comfortably create, eat, do homework, and just be.
  • We tested 11 kids tables to find the best ones for activities indoors and outside.
  • The Ikea Dundra is the best table for kids because it is sturdy, competitively priced, and has storage.

Kids deserve their own space where they can sit or stand comfortably to create art, do homework, eat, and play. Plus, when they have their own table for these activities, it reduces the mess on the dining room table or kitchen counters.

The market is saturated with kids tables, with many different sizes, styles, and types. We tested 11 different tables for kids, from picnic tables to basic-use tables, considering their durability, stability, ergonomic positioning, and ease of cleaning. We put these tables through the ringer, using them daily for at least a month each and purposely getting them messy just to see how well they clean up.

To inform our product selections and testing, we also spoke to two occupational therapists who specialize in pediatrics: Chaye Lamm Warburg and Ashley Stoffel. Jump to the end of this guide to read more about our full testing methodology and FAQs about kids tables.

Here are the best kids tables in 2021

The best kids table overall

Ikea dundra kids table

The Ikea Dundra activity table is big, sturdy, cleans well, and has a large storage drawer, all for under $100. 

Pros: Affordable, easy to clean, raised edges, added storage, very sturdy   

Cons: Doesn’t come with chairs, liquid spills drip into drawer 

 The Ikea Dundra activity table checks all of our testing boxes, and it does so as one of the more affordable tables we tested. The table has raised edges to stop crayons, markers, and other supplies from rolling off, and it has a large storage drawer with two compartments. The table surface is gray while every other surface is white. 

Although it doesn’t come with chairs, it’s the right height for younger kids to stand at the table and for older kids to kneel or sit. The table is 19.5 inches from the ground, which is about belly button height on my 3-year-old.

In our cleaning test, everything came off easily with a basic household cleaner with the exception of the colored pencil, which came off with a Magic Eraser. The storage drawers in the front have pros and cons when it comes to cleaning. The pro: If you’re in a rush, pull out the drawer and push everything in with one arm swipe. The con: If you don’t clean up a liquid spill on the table quickly, it will drip into the drawer. 

From the second I picked up the box, I could tell the table would be very sturdy. It does not budge unless you have one or two adults trying to move it. It has also proven to be durable, with no dents, chips, or other signs of wear. 

The best activity table for kids

Pottery Barn Kids Carolina Grow With You Activity Table

The Pottery Barn Kids Carolina Grow-With-You Activity Table has the look and feel of being high quality plus it’s durable and easy to clean — two musts for kids tables.

Pros: Two leg-length options, very sturdy, raised edges, three color options  

Cons: Pricey, crumbs get stuck in corners 

With a high-end design and three color options, the Pottery Barn Kids Carolina Grow-With-You Activity Table will not be an eyesore in your home. Ideal for crafts and activities, it has raised edges to keep everything on the surface. 

It has proved to be very durable and stable in our tests. The table doesn’t wobble or tip, and we haven’t seen any chips, cracks, dents, or other signs of wear. In addition to our clean test, this table also saw a lot of daily use throughout our testing as the main craft table for my toddler. 

In our cleaning test, everything came off very easily with a basic household cleaner. However, cleaning crumbs and other small scraps was a bit more difficult. Because it has raised edges, small detritus tends to get stuck in the corners.  

Like other activity tables, it does not come with chairs. However, there are two leg-length options, fulfilling the “grow-with-you” moniker. We tested the 15-inch legs; 24 inches is the other option. When kids are old enough for the 24-inch legs, the table becomes tall enough to add on chairs. This table is so beautifully crafted and low to the ground that my husband attempted to overtake our testing and convert it into a coffee table. 

The best basic kids table

Kidkraft farmhouse activity table for kids

The Kidkraft Farmhouse Table and Four Chairs was the easiest to clean out of everything we tested. 

Pros: Very easy to clean, comes with four chairs, durable and sturdy 

 Cons: Messes can get stuck in screw holes  

A basic kids table and chair set should be a staple in every child’s home. The Kidkraft Farmhouse Table and Four Chairs stood out as a high-quality kids’ furniture set that looks just like a miniature version of a dining set. It comes in four colors: espresso, white, natural, and pecan. 

Easy cleaning is a parent’s dream and this table passed our cleaning test with flying colors. Everything wiped clean using a regular household cleaner. The only downside when it comes to cleaning is that the chairs have quite a few uncovered screw holes. Cleaning can become a bit tricky when messes get into those indentations.  

Like our other top picks, this set is very durable and looks new after months of use. It doesn’t have any dents or chips. The table and chairs are also sturdy and have never wobbled or tipped over. 

As a basic set, this table doesn’t come with any bells and whistles. It’s simply a flat surface for kids to eat, play, and create without distractions. 

The best picnic table for kids

Little tikes easy store picnic table

The Little Tikes Easy Store Jr. Picnic Table is built to withstand outdoor conditions, and it even has a built-in multipurpose tray with cup holders. 

Pros: Very sturdy, multipurpose tray and cup holders, folds up for storage, can withstand harsh weather conditions 

Cons: Umbrella is flimsy, max seating capacity would be a tight squeeze  

The Little Tikes Easy Store Jr. Picnic Table was a clear winner between the two picnic tables we tested. It’s sturdy, cleans easily, and can seat up to six kids, though four is more comfortable. It’s available with or without an umbrella. We found the umbrella a bit flimsy, but it does the trick if you want some shade. 

During our testing period, we left the table in a backyard surrounded by other large toys. When high winds sent a small slide playset and a playhouse flying, this table stayed put. It also never wobbled or tipped, even when we sat one adult on one side, within the 200-pound weight limit.

In our cleaning test, most messes came out easily. This table has some texture, which trapped the crayon and colored pencil marks. With a bit of scrubbing using regular household cleaner for the crayons and a Magic Eraser for the colored pencils, everything cleaned off. 

After over one month of testing, the table does not have any dents, cracks, or other obvious signs of wear. As an outdoor table, it does get a bit dirty, but dirt, pollen, and other outside messes clean quickly with a hose. 

The table can seat up to six kids with a maximum weight of 200 pounds per bench. Based on experience, I’d say it seats four comfortably; six kids would really need to squeeze to fit. 

One of our favorite features is the indentation in the middle of the table. It’s described as a multipurpose condiment/crayon tray, and it does not disappoint. It also includes two cup holders. 

When you’re ready to store the table, it folds nicely into one flat piece. It’s so easy that you could feasibly fold it to store after each use if you don’t want to leave it sitting out. 

The best budget kids table

Ikea Mammut picnic table

The Ikea Mammut is about as inexpensive as you can get, but it still received top marks in all of our tests, and it’s appropriate for indoor and outdoor use.  

Pros: Sturdy, easy to clean, affordable, appropriate for indoor or outdoor use, lightweight

Cons: Doesn’t come with chairs, slides slightly on hard surfaces 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a safe and sturdy kids table for less than the Ikea Mammut. The table doesn’t come with chairs, but you can add two on for $15 each, and it will still be the most inexpensive option in our guide. In testing, we often used it with this active balance chair, which we received as an editorial review sample from its manufacturer.

The Mammut is available in white or red. The nonporous material of the table even makes it ideal to use outside. It’s very lightweight and easy to move around outdoors and indoors. 

In our cleaning test, crayon marks came out with a Magic Eraser, and everything else cleaned off easily with basic household cleaner. This is another one that my toddler got a lot of use out of during our testing, and it still looks like it did when we took it out of the box. No dents, cracks, stains, or other signs of wear. You can purchase it in white or red.

As expected, the lightweight table slid a bit on hard surfaces, but never so much that it flew out from under our tester, and I never felt the need to remove it from our home due to safety concerns. 

All in all, this table gets the job done for a fraction of the price of others we tested. 

Our testing methodology

Testing kids tables

We used four main parameters to test each table: durability, stability, ease of cleaning, and ergonomic positioning. We tested each table with regular use for at least one month and some for more than six months. With the exception of the Pottery Barn Kids Carolina Grow-With-You Activity Table and B. Spaces by Battat set, we received editorial review samples of each table for testing purposes. 

  • Durability: After at least one month of regular and appropriate use, we checked for chips in paint or finishes, dents, splinters, cracks, or other obvious signs of wear.  
  • Stability: Stoffel emphasized the importance of finding a sturdy table and chair set. The table shouldn’t wobble when kids put their elbows on it, for example. To test stability, we observed daily and regular use and noted any instances of tipping or wobbling in both the chairs and the tables.
  • Ease of cleaning: It’s a fact of life: Kids make messes. On each table, we purposely made messes with: crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint, glue, and food.

    We first cleaned each mess with a regular household cleaner like Mrs. Meyers Multi-Surface Cleaner or Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner. For messes that persisted, we followed up with a Magic Eraser. Almost all messes were gone at that point. We noted any messes that persisted beyond the Magic Eraser. 

  • Ergonomic positioning: Both experts we spoke to emphasized the importance of ergonomic positioning. This is difficult to assess because children grow at rapid rates. We followed this sizing guide recommended by Stoffel. Although ideal chair and tabletop heights vary by a child’s age, ideal differences between chair seat height and table top height are consistent. All of the tables we recommend come within 1 inch of these guidelines. 

What else we considered

Kidkraft picnic table for kids

We tested 11 kids tables in total. Here are the ones that didn’t make our top picks:

Kidkraft Outdoor Table with Benches and Umbrella: This is a beautiful table, but it’s not the most practical option for kids. Crayons, colored pencils, and markers didn’t clean off in our tests, and the wood started to chip and splinter after less than a year of use. 

Lalo The Play Kit: This set is very solid, has rubber bottoms to prevent sliding, and the chairs come in four colors. Unfortunately, the table wobbled in our tests. For a $250 set — the most expensive we tested — a structural issue like wobbling is a deal breaker.

B. Spaces by Battat – Kids’ Furniture Set: This is a nice set that has a few minor flaws. Because the chairs curve up on the edges, we found that they tip and can fall over if kids sit on the very edge. Additionally, we couldn’t get both chairs to fully fit under the table, and this one needed some extra scrubbing in our cleaning test.

Delta Children Chelsea Chair Set With Table: I really, really wanted to love this set. It has storage under the table and it includes a reversible chalkboard/whiteboard. Unfortunately, it had a strong off-gassing smell that lasted over a month, and within a couple months of use, the chair legs became loose and almost fell off. 

Melissa and Doug Wooden Table and Chairs: We really liked this set and didn’t find any major flaws. There simply wasn’t anything that made it stand out, and it’s more expensive than some of the similar tables we tested. 

Humble Crew Tot Tutors Forever 2-in-1 LEGO Compatible Activity Table: We were unable to spend much time testing this table. It quickly became apparent that it was unsafe. The table and chairs repeatedly slid and flipped out from under my toddler during testing. This happened with appropriate use on both hard floors and carpeting. 

What we look forward to testing

Ikea Flisat kids table

We’re always looking for the best products to test and recommend to our readers. We’ll continue to test kids tables for a future update to this guide. 

Ikea Flisat Children’s Table: This table has a flat top, but it can also become a sensory table with two storage bins that fit inside. It was out of stock at the time of our testing, so we’re looking forward to trying it out for a future update. 

FAQs about tables for kids

What are the benefits of tables for kids? 

Both of our experts emphasized the importance of ergonomic positioning so kids can be comfortable and have support for their bodies. “We all benefit from having our feet supported either on the floor or a sturdy footrest so a child-size chair might support a child in being able to more comfortably place their feet on the floor,” Stoffel told Insider Reviews. 

Stoffel also explained that this position helps support the upper body and allows kids to have more coordination and control in their hands. Warburg emphasized this as well. “Dangling feet cause children to round their backs and lead to back pain and sloppy handwriting,” she said.

Warburg noted that having a good table and chair fit is critical when kids are expected to sit for long periods of time. Having proper positioning is helpful for eating, completing school work, completing artwork, and playing and kids might even sit for longer periods of time for meals or homework if they’re seated comfortably. 

“Another benefit of a chil- size table and chair is that it gives the child a specific and special place for daily activities,” Stoffel said. “Knowing the table and chair are their own, the child might be more motivated or invested in the activity.”

How can I tell if a table is the right size for my child? 

According to Warburg, a good table allows a child to sit with their feet flat on the floor. Tabletop height  should be 2 inches above the height of the elbow when the child is sitting. Hips, knees, and ankles should also be at 90-degree angles when the child is seated.

Stoffel added that kids should be able to gently rest their elbows on the table without reaching up or leaning down. She also gave us an example of what a child might look like if the chair and table are not a supportive size. “You might observe the child squirming, shifting around in the seat, getting up from the table frequently or demonstrating decreased success with fine motor tasks,” she said.

Our sources

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This customized drawer unit from the Container Store is one of the most practical purchases I’ve made for my small apartment

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

  • When looking for a nightstand for my small city bedroom, I found the Elfa Mesh Closet Drawer System at The Container Store.
  • While it’s not technically a nightstand, I customized the unit so it wound up being the perfect size.
  • It’s a multipurpose unit I know I can make good use of for years to come.


White Mesh Closet Drawers (small)Related Article Module: The best hanging shelves for closets

Being in my twenties in New York City, I know that the apartment I’m in now won’t be mine forever. That’s why, when I first moved in, I decided to prioritize buying pieces that are functional rather than ones that just look good. That fact – plus a small room and closet situation – prompted me to search for a nightstand that could serve double duty and provide some extra storage.

My search led me to the epicenter of all things storage: The Container Store. There, I designed my own Elfa Mesh Closet Drawer System and it’s probably one of the smartest purchases I’ve made for my apartment.

The Elfa Mesh Closet Drawer System comes pre-made or you can customize it based on your needs

Elfa is exclusive to The Container Store, known for its best-selling closet solutions that maximize space and make organizing easy. The Mesh Closet Drawer System is a free-standing storage unit with a durable, epoxy-bonded steel frame and finely-woven mesh drawers that can hold all sorts of products.

You can choose to purchase a pre-made unit or customize your own with specific dimensions for what you’re looking for; both options come in with all-white or silver mesh.

I chose to make my own unit to be sure it would fit in my room. Elfa has a custom drawer planner online, which guides you through the customization process and helps you see what the unit will look like in real time.

Here’s how you can customize the Elfa unit

1. Pick a color: The options are easy – white or platinum. The platinum definitely has a more industrial look, so I went for white.

2. Pick a height: Options range from 17.5 to 81 inches tall. The taller you go, the more storage you can get. I chose a 29-inch unit, which works perfectly as a bedside table next to my 1- inch bed frame and 10-inch mattress.

3. Pick a width: Sizes start at 10 inches (extra narrow) and go up to 22 inches (extra wide). I went for medium at 18 inches.

4. Top it off: You can cover the unit with a surface of either white melamine, driftwood melamine, a butcher block, or leave the top open. I went with the white for a monochromatic look.

5. Pick feet, labels, and stops: Choose frame feet for a unit you want to stay in place, or casters (which are like wheels) if you want more mobility. Add stops if you want to ensure your drawers never fall out. I didn’t buy stops, but my unit is pushed against a wall, and I haven’t had any issues with drawers coming out of the frame. I didn’t add label holders, but if you’re trying to get really organized, these could be a good addition.

6. Choose your drawers: Instead of S, M, L, drawers are sized as 1, 2, or 3 – indicating how many runners each drawer needs to fit in the unit. One is the shallowest drawer and 3 is the deepest. How tall you make your unit will determine how many drawers you can fit.

My 29-inch unit has seven runners, so I filled it with one 3-runner, one 2-runner, and two 1-runners. The 3-runner is on the bottom, holding bulky items like backup toiletries and cleaning supplies. The 2-runner is in the middle, holding similar products, though it fits a tad less. The top two drawers are 1-runners, which hold paper goods and other small supplies. Ultimately, my unit cost just over $150.

The bottom line

These drawers are not cheap, but their value lies in their functionality. With ability to customize height, width, and drawer sizes, you can easily build a system that’s perfect for your storage needs. If you have the space and aren’t too particular, you can make it even easier and just buy one of the pre-made systems.

The drawers make everything I put inside easily accessible, and the finely-woven mesh construction provides the perfect balance of visibility and privacy, so I can find my objects easily without putting everything on display. The neutral colors and minimal style make this unit a timeless piece that can fit in just about any room or apartment I’ll move into in the future and be used for storing just about anything, making it well worth the up-front expense.

White Mesh Closet Drawers (button)

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The 6 best body pillows we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Body pillows are designed to create extra support so you can sleep better throughout the night.
  • A body pillow can improve your sleep by providing more comfort and proper spinal alignment.
  • The Coop Home Goods Body Pillow is our top pick because its adjustable to suit a variety of needs.

For many of us, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be difficult. Sometimes it takes tossing and turning, wrestling with pillows, and conforming to uncomfortable postures. These constant sleep disturbances can be detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing. Body pillows can provide extra support and comfort to enhance your sleep. They’re typically popular among pregnant women and those recovering after surgery or injuries. But anyone can benefit from snuggling with a body pillow.

As a certified sleep science consultant, I know the importance of getting a good night’s rest. I managed a sleep laboratory for over two years and have conducted a vast amount of research on sleep. I’ve tested products for SleepScore labs and presented my work at the Eastern Psychological Association. And one of my all-time favorite sleep products is my body pillow.

I interviewed two experts – sleep consultant Zeke Medina, PharmD and physical therapist Karen Litzy, DPT – and tested nine body pillows for this guide. I slept with each for seven nights and evaluated them on comfort, breathability, and support. You can read more about our methodology and things to consider when purchasing a body pillow here.

Here are the best body pillows in 2021

The best body pillow overall

Best body pillow 2021 Coop

The Coop Home Goods Body Pillow is soft, supportive, and perfect for any body type.

Pros: Comfortable, snuggly, and supportive; adjustable; removable cover is machine washable; 100-day trial period

Cons: Strong “new memory foam” odor can be overpowering and take days to completely fade, bulky

I’m obsessed with the Coop Home Goods Body Pillow; it checks all the boxes for better sleep. Like our pick for best bed pillow (also from Coop), this body pillow is fully adjustable; you can add or remove the shredded memory foam to suit your sleep style and personal preferences. It’s also features a removable pillowcase for easy washing.

The Coop is bulky, but just the right height for me; not too low and not too elevated. It conformed so well to my body right out of the box, so I didn’t have to remove any foam. It’s extremely flexible, moldable, and supportive — great for any body type. 

It’s also the softest, most snuggly pillow I’ve tested. I love cuddling with it and have continued to use it for months after testing because it’s really helped with my shoulder pain. It hasn’t flattened out at all, and I sleep so much better with the support it provides. It stays cool throughout the night because it’s made with super-breathable polyester and bamboo-derived viscose rayon.

Although a mild chemical odor is normal with memory foam pillows, the Coop had a very strong smell out of the box. The company recommends running it through the dryer with a dryer sheet for an hour to reduce the smell, which I did. While this helped, the odor didn’t completely disappear until a week later, though I do think it’s worth the wait. You can rest assured that this pillow is safe, hypoallergenic, and CertiPUR-US certified.

Read our full review of the Coop Home Goods Body Pillow here.

The best body pillow for side sleepers

Best body pillow 2021 Snuggle Pedic

The Snuggle-Pedic is the most comfortable body pillow for side sleepers. It’s flexible and doesn’t go flat after months of use.

Pros: Free pillow customizations within 120-night trial period, contours exceptionally well to the body, provides great support between the knees for side sleepers, very comfortable and soft  

Cons: Might be too large and heavy for smaller individuals

My parents sent me the Snuggle-Pedic last Christmas and I’ve been sleeping better with it since. It shipped in a small and compact vacuum-sealed package and expands when you remove it from the packaging and toss it in the dryer for 20 minutes, which is what the company recommends. It had a mild new foam odor that dissipated within a couple of days.

I like this pillow for side sleepers because it’s firm and bulky, and side sleepers typically need more support in their pillows than back and stomach sleepers. However, out of the box it was a bit too lofty for my petite frame (I’m 5’2″ and 126 pounds). I contacted the company to customize my pillow and it came back perfect. While many side sleepers will find the loft just right, it’s nice to know you have the option of getting a more custom fit to your body.

After a few nights of sleeping with the Snuggle-Pedic, I noticed reduced hip and neck strain. I also like the bamboo, breathable cover that kept me cool throughout the night. My Snuggle-Pedic body pillow has not gone flat after months of use; it’s still fluffy, soft, and supportive. 

The Snuggle-Pedic body pillow truly impressed me. As a side sleeper, it can be difficult to find a restful position because the hips, shoulder, and knees are often under a lot of pressure. This pillow provided me with perfect support in all the right places.

The best cooling body pillow

Best body pillow 2021 Zoma

If you tend to sleep hot, the Zoma Sleep Body Pillow can keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night.

Pros: Regulates temperature exceptionally well, comfortable 

Cons: Washing and drying is time-consuming, shorter length might not be good for taller people, no trial period

The Zoma Sleep Body Pillow is made with high-quality materials that kept me cool and comfortable throughout the night. The cover is made from a blend of stretchy, lightweight polyester and spandex. It’s filled with shredded gel memory foam intended to keep hot sleepers at a comfortable temperature. It’s a very well-made, high-quality body pillow that provides great support and breathability. 

It’s somewhat firmer than the Coop pillow but still provides great support and comfort. The 6-inch loft is helpful for side sleepers like me who need support between the knees. After a couple of nights sleeping with the Zoma, I noticed a positive impact on my posture and spinal alignment.

The Zoma Sleep is two inches shorter than our top pick, so it’s not possible to rest my head on it and have full leg support at the same time. I’m relatively short, so I could definitely see this being a more noticeable issue for taller folks who want a pillow that supports the whole body. That said, the smaller size could be a boon for those who sleep with a partner and don’t want to hog the whole bed. The cover is also not removable, which makes washing and drying the pillow a lengthy process. 

Despite the two missing inches and complicated washing process, the Zoma does provide excellent body support and absorbs heat well. For pregnant women, this pillow is firm enough to rest a growing belly on to relieve pressure on the shoulders and hips.

The best body pillow for back pain

Best body pillow 2021 Tempur Pedic

The Tempur-Pedic Body Pillow might just be the solution to reduce tossing and turning throughout the night.

Pros: Exceptionally supportive and versatile, removable and machine washable cover, firmness is great for heavier individuals

Cons: Firmer and heavier than the usual body pillow, might not be a good choice for smaller bodies, no trial period

This body pillow, made from Tempur-Pedic material developed by NASA, is engineered with shapeable micro-cushions that respond and adapt exceptionally well to the body. It’s designed for pregnant women and side-sleepers, but people with injuries, muscle tension, and back pain can also benefit from the sturdy support it provides. 

The tension relief that I experienced after sleeping with the Tempur-Pedic was incredible. I love this pillow’s versatility; I have used it to prop up my legs, relieve pressure on my lower hips, and stabilize my back when I’m sitting up. No matter how I use it, the pillow always returns to its original shape.

The Tempur-Pedic is much firmer than the other pillows I tested. While this is a great feature for larger individuals and people looking for extra support, it might not be as comfortable for smaller folks or people who prefer a softer pillow. The foam is dense and heavy, so moving it around in the middle of the night could be tiring for people recovering from injuries, though the added heft means it doesn’t fall off or move around the bed as easily.

The best body pillow for pregnancy

Best body pillow for pregnancy 2021 Moonlight

The Moonlight Comfort-U Full Body Pillow provides exceptional support and comfort from all sides, which makes it great for pregnancy.

Pros: Great support through all stages of pregnancy, flexible for daytime and nighttime lounging

Cons: Larger than most, will occupy a significant amount of space in your bed, no trial period

The Moonlight Comfort-U Full Body Pillow is the best pillow for pregnancy because it provides 360 degree support and great comfort. It’s filled with hypoallergenic synthetic down and made with non-toxic materials that go through extensive testing to ensure the safety of the baby and mother. This pillow is specifically engineered to help women sleep better throughout pregnancy. 

During her pregnancy, Medina’s wife used a U-shaped body pillow like this one that wrapped around her body. “For early pregnancy, she would put one side of the pillow between her legs to avoid her knees from being sore,” he said. “In her later trimester when her belly was larger, she would use the body pillow to support her back.” 

This pillow can help expectant mothers find the best position to sleep comfortably — it supports the back and baby bump simultaneously and helps you avoid laying on your belly. This support can alleviate body aches that pregnant women often experience. Many also find it useful after pregnancy for nursing. 

I love that it can be used in a variety of ways throughout the night and even during the day. However, it occupies half of my Queen-sized bed, so consider the size of your bed before purchasing. Additionally, washing this pillow was no easy task because of its size and it can take a long time to dry.  

That said, I love to wrap myself around the Moonlight Comfort-U, even if I’m not pregnant or sleeping. Since working from home, it’s helped me with my posture as back support and it can be a game-changer for expectant mothers.

The best versatile body pillow

Best body pillow 2021 Leachco

The Leachco Snoogle‘s C-shape design makes it versatile to use throughout the day and night, and may be especially comfortable for expecting mothers.

Pros: Multiple ways to align and use this pillow

Cons: Larger and firm, cover is not very soft, no trial period, short warranty

The Leachco Snoogle is the most versatile body pillow I tested. This “C-shaped” body pillow was designed by a registered nurse to create extra support for expectant mothers and provide proper spinal alignment. It features a sham-style removable cover that is machine washable and dryer safe. 

I love how versatile the pillow is; it wraps around my body nicely, supporting my entire back and stabilizing my sleeping position throughout the night. The shape can be swirled into a lounge pillow, and I’ve used it to prop up my legs, cocoon me as I read comfortably in bed, and even as a replacement for my bed pillow. For expectant mothers, this pillow will support you all around. 

That said, there are a few things to consider about this body pillow because, as versatile as it is, it might not be for everyone. First, the texture of the cover is rough and resting my face on it was uncomfortable. I also found it very difficult to remove and replace the cover for washing. Second, it’s quite firm and might not be a good option for those looking for a softer pillow. Finally, it’s large size takes up quite a lot of room in my bed. 

Although I didn’t love the Leachco Snoogle‘s texture and firmness, I love to wrap myself around it while I read, work on my laptop, or watch TV. It’s very supportive, and there are many ways to configure it. If you want to upgrade, Leachco also makes a variety of softer covers for this pillow.

What else we tested

Best body pillow 2021 what else

What else we recommend and why:

  • Oubonun Body Pillow: The Oubonun features a hidden zipper to adjust its hypoallergenic polyester fiber fill. It’s softer than most but provides sufficient support and won’t take up much space in your bed. One side is quilted, which is a nice detail. It even includes a pillow case as a bonus. I recommend this body pillow if you’re on a budget; it’s good value for the money.

What we don’t recommend and why:

  • PharMeDoc Full Body Pillow: I was excited to test this one out since it’s received many great reviews. However, the quality, shape, and comfort was not what I expected. It’s flat, flimsy and there was virtually no support. It’s uneven and lumpy in some parts. I can’t recommend this pillow because it didn’t improve my sleep.
  • Ikea Axfryle Body Pillow: This was an impulse buy from Ikea, but it just sits in a closet now after I used it for only a couple of days. It’s flat and poor quality with very little stuffing. 

Our testing methodology

Best body pillow 2021 methodology

To find the best body pillows, I did hands-on testing with nine different models, relied on my background in sleep research, and interviewed sleep expert Zeke Medina, PharmD and physical therapist Karen Litzy, DPT. As a sleep researcher and certified sleep science consultant, it’s important for me to review items that truly improve quality sleep. I paid close attention to how well I slept with each pillow, including how comfortable, breathable, and supportive they were. Here’s how I evaluated each pillow:

Setup: First, I wanted to know whether the body pillows emitted any chemical odors as soon as I opened the package. If there was an odor, I evaluated how long it took for any smells to dissipate. I also noted if the pillows were adjustable and if they included a removable and washable cover. 

Specs and components: I recorded each body pillow’s length, weight, firmness, and quality of materials. I also noted if they were hypoallergenic and researched if the pillows’ fills were CertiPUR-US certified or made without toxic materials. 

Sleeping: I slept with each body pillow for seven consecutive nights, taking note of how well I was able to fall asleep, how well I stayed asleep, and how I felt in the morning. I evaluated how comfortable and soft the materials were, whether I slept cool or hot, and how much support and tension relief I felt throughout the night and in the morning. 

Return policy: I looked at the return policy and warranty of each pillow. This is important, in case individuals are unsure it’s the right fit. “No single pillow is the answer for everybody,” says Medina, so it’s best to try out body pillows to figure out what works for you.  

Long-term use: Since original testing, I’ve continued to regularly use our top picks and will report back about their durability over time.


What are the benefits of sleeping with a body pillow?

The benefits you get from a body pillow will depend on your individual needs and preferences, but here are some common reasons to consider a body pillow:

They relieve muscle tension: A body pillow can help sleepers ease muscle tension and stress throughout the night. “You can throw your leg over it to take the stress off your shoulder, hip, and knees,” says Medina. “You can also place the pillow between your legs to alleviate the pressure between the knees.” 

Litzy also said that many people end up using their body pillow throughout the day to find comfort and tension relief. “They can help position people while they’re sleeping and even while awake,” she said. “Body pillows can sometimes be more comfortable because you can manipulate them a little bit easier as opposed to having two to three regular pillows.” 

They can ease recovery from surgery or injury: Similar to the benefits listed above, body pillows can be useful for correctly positioning and offloading joints after surgery, and for people struggling with pain and discomfort.

“If you’re getting over an injury or surgery, a body pillow can be a way to make you more comfortable,” said Litzy. That extra support helps avoid body aches in the morning by relieving muscle tension in the hip joints, neck, and back. “One thing that we know that helps with recovery is sleep,” she said. A body pillow can help you get that much-needed rest.

They can increase oxytocin levels: A body pillow can also encourage relaxation after a long day. We know that hugging releases oxytocin, a neuropeptide known as the “cuddle hormone.” This hormone reduces stress and induces a sense of safety. Cuddling with a teddy bear can make a child feel safe and relaxed. Similarly, a body pillow can help adults wind down at bedtime to sleep soundly throughout the night. 

They can make sleeping more comfortable when you’re pregnant: If you’re pregnant, a body pillow can help support the baby bump. “Having 20 to 40 extra pounds in your midsection can cause all types of issues,” said Medina. “A body pillow can be positioned in a way that can support the back to relieve pressure.” Litzy said pregnant people typically find body pillows helpful for supporting their legs and elevating their bodies. 

They can reduce snoring: Individuals who snore or have sleep apnea can benefit from sleeping with a body pillow. It can be used to elevate the head and neck to reduce snoring. Body pillows can also be a way to reduce moving too much during the night to find a comfortable breathing position.

How to choose a body pillow

There are dozens of options on the market when it comes to body pillows. Choosing the right one depends entirely on your individual needs and preferences. Consider the following factors as you search for the perfect one:  

Bed size: Think about how much space you have on your bed. Some body pillows, like our top pick by Coop, can be quite large and end up taking up a lot of space. If you share a bed with someone, you might want to go for a smaller, lightweight body pillow like the Zoma. 

Body size: The same applies to weight, if you’re smaller you might prefer a body pillow that you can adjust, like the Coop Home. If you’re a heavier individual, a firmer body pillow like the Tempur-Pedic will provide you with the support you need. 

Materials: Be mindful of the materials and filling that manufacturers use, since you’ll be spending a lot of nights with the pillow. You’ll want to make sure your body pillow is hypoallergenic and made without the use of harmful chemicals. You can confirm the latter by checking if the memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified. Most of the pillows on this guide have received this certification. 

Care instructions: Some body pillows like the Coop and Tempur-Pedic come with a removable cover that can be washed. Others like the Snuggle-Pedic and Zoma don’t, and washing them can be time consuming. Like any regular pillow, it’s recommended to use a case with your body pillow that you can wash often.

Customization: You want to make sure that you’re getting the proper support and correct spinal alignment. What works for one person might not work for another. Consider your own needs, as well as factors such as your weight, height, and sleeping position. Our top-rated pillow is fully adjustable to fit a variety of different body types and sleep styles. 

Cooling: Breathability is a big factor to consider. “You don’t want to become overheated on the body pillow,” Medina said. “When the body raises its temperature, it provokes a wake response.” More awakenings throughout the night will result in low-quality sleep. A good body pillow will give you the support, comfort, and breathability that can improve how you sleep. Body pillows like the Zoma and Snuggle-Pedic are made with breathable materials that can keep you cool throughout the night. 

Return policy and warranty: It’s also important to have the option to exchange or return a body pillow if it doesn’t fit your needs. So, it’s always good to check the trial period and return policy in case you’re not satisfied with your purchase.

Check out our other bedding guides

best pillows 4x3
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Today is the final day of Wayfair’s massive ‘Way Day’ sale – here are the best deals you can still get

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

wayfair yellow bedroom spread
  • Wayfair’s biggest sale event of the year, Way Day‘ ends today.
  • During this limited time event, you can save big on pieces for every room in your house.
  • We’ve highlighted the best deals you can shop below.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Wayfair’s massive Way Day sale is ending today. Luckily, there’s still time to take advantage of the huge discounts offered on furniture and decor for every room of the house.

This year, ‘Way Day’ kicked off April 28 and will end tonight at midnight. During the event, you can save up to 65% off mattresses, lighting, and outdoor furniture, along with up to 80% off wall art and area rugs.

Sales from Wayfair aren’t uncommon. In fact, the products it offers see changes in price nearly every week, and everything it sells is marked down at least once during the year. This can make shopping from the site tricky for even the most experienced online shoppers.

From our research, Wayfair does, in fact, offer its best prices during its shopping holiday with a few exceptions. Below, we’ve compiled the best deals you can shop right now, plus answers to frequently asked questions.

Best Wayfair ‘Way Day’ 2021 deals

Hiroko Upholstered Flip Top Storage Bench (medium)Medium Memory Foam Cooling Pillow (King) (medium)Grimes Pouf (medium)Black Babin Height Adjustable Standing Desk (medium)Plush 12-Inch Memory Foam Mattress (Queen) (medium)Anouk Litter Box Enclosure (medium)Down Alternative Pillow (Set of 4) (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)5-Inch Square Sandbox (medium)Erikson Glider and Ottoman (medium)12-Inch Medium Pillow Top Hybrid Mattress (California King) (medium)Milo Solid Wood Tufted Upholstered Standard Bed (medium)Lamantia Computer Desk (medium)Hoboken 38-Inch Wide Tufted Polyester Armchair (medium)Zainab Beveled Accent Mirror (medium)Standard Shredded Memory Foam Cooling Pillow (medium)Landreneau Round Cat Bed (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Washlet C100 Bidet Seat (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Low Profile Platform Bed (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Coffee Table (medium)Abou Wood Glam Beveled Accent Mirror (medium)Adamine Coffee Table (medium)Rupelmonde Tufted Armchair (medium)Reposa Reversible Sofa and Chaise with Ottoman (medium)Product Card (medium)

What is ‘Way Day’?

A few years ago, Wayfair started its own namesake retail holiday, Way Day. While Wayfair has pretty great deals all year, Way Day promises to be the retailer’s biggest sale event of the year.

When is ‘Way Day’?

Way Day kicked off on April 28. Thousands of products are currently marked down, and Wayfair is offering flash deals throughout the duration of the sale.

Last year, Way Day was pushed to September due to the Coronavirus outbreak but has since been returned to its original yearly position in April.

How long is ‘Way Day’?

Way Day will last 48 hours, from April 28 to 29. Today is the final day of the sale.

What is on sale?

Historically, Way Day is the best time of the year to buy from Wayfair and this year is no different.

This wide-ranging sale offers big discounts on everything from mattresses, rugs, kitchenware, furniture, and more. Expect deals from companies like Samsung, AllModern, Joss & Main, and so much more. Plus, everything ships free.

You can check out all the Way Day deals on Wayfair’s home page.

How do you get the best ‘Way Day’ deals?

Though we’ll be highlighting some of the best deals on popular Wayfair items, there will be plenty of other great discounts from the retailer during Way Day. Here’s our advice to help you shop.

As with all good deals, you’ll need to be prepared to act fast in order to secure your order before stock runs out. Way Day Flash Deals are also excellent deals, but they often won’t span the entirety of the event. To ready yourself ahead of time, you can opt in to be notified as soon as the deals go live – you’ll just need to sign into your Wayfair account.

Also, if you find a piece of furniture you like, be sure to check how much the other colors cost. Oftentimes, select colorways will see deeper discounts. The same goes for products that come with different patterns or in varied shapes.

Are the Way Day deals worth it?

In short, yes.

During the lead-up to Way Day, we tracked the prices on some of Wayfair’s most popular products. We found that for the most part, Wayfair’s prices do see slight increases in the weeks prior – though usually only within a 10% price change. There are exceptions to this observation, of course: some products saw huge price hikes while others saw no change altogether.

Despite these price fluctuations, almost all products we tracked dropped to their lowest prices during the sale. Some of the savings are very modest – just a few dollars under the average price we saw over the weeks we tracked – while other prices dropped dramatically by several hundred dollars. We’ve outlined the best deals we’ve found in this guide.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 9 best places to shop for sofas and couches in 2021

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Best sofas and couches 4x3
  • A sofa or couch will likely be one of the biggest investments you make in your home.
  • We spoke with two experts to learn more about finding a sofa or couch that you’ll love.
  • These nine brands offer stylish designs, sturdy materials, and great customer service.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

A new sofa or couch can be a big investment. Whether you’re planning to relax, work, or even sleep on your couch, you’ll need a sofa that’s built for comfort. You’ll also want to purchase a couch that is durable enough to survive spills, accidents, and everyday wear and tear.

We spoke with Stephen Kuhl, co-founder, and CEO of popular furniture brand Burrow, and Beth Wangman, an interior designer of over 25 years who currently works as a senior designer for non-profit Digs with Dignity in addition to running her own design business. We compiled their advice to curate a selection of brands that combine striking designs, durable materials, and a great customer experience. Our selection also features brands that cater to various price points, making it easy to find a solid sofa or couch no matter your budget.

Kuhl and Wangman also shared advice on shopping for sofas and couches on a budget, the best materials to look for when shopping, and how to navigate shopping for a couch online versus in-store.

Here are the best places to buy sofas and couches in 2021


Best sofas and couches_Burrow

If you’re looking to avoid the typical challenges associated with purchasing furniture online, Burrow offers a seamless shopping experience, speedy delivery, and durable sofas and couches.

When creating Burrow, its founders sought to address the pain points of shopping for large furniture, including poor delivery experiences, unfair warranties, subpar quality, and high prices. Burrow offers “very simple elegant solutions to designing furniture so that it can be shopped more easily, delivered more conveniently, and be more functional and durable in people’s homes,” said Kuhl.

The brand uses a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model to offer high-quality, customized sofas at a fraction of the cost of traditional retailers and is also very open about its production process, which includes rigorous sofa testing. As “Burrow is meant to be the evolution of furniture” said Kuhl, it offers many modular sofas designed to grow with you as your seating needs change over time.

This feature persuaded Insider Reviews’ senior editor Lauren Savoie to purchase a Burrow sofa after a lengthy search. “One concern was how we were even going to get a sofa up our staircase (the previous tenants had to take a chainsaw to their couch to get it out!). When I saw Burrow’s Nomad sofa comes apart in chair-sized sections, I was sold,” she says. “I love that it’s not going to be a nightmare to move, and that we can add or remove sections to suit whatever apartment we end up in next.”

All Burrow sofas are equipped with built-in USB ports, and offer easy, tool-free assembly. Each sofa is designed to prioritize comfort, with a layered foam design. Customers can customize their couch in several ways, such as choosing fabrics and colors, leg finishes, and arm shape. Add-ons are also available, including matching chaises, ottomans, and pillows depending on the design of the sofa. 

Read our full review of the Burrow Nomad Sofa here.

What to buy:

Nomad Leather Sofa (medium)Nomad Sofa (medium)Range 2-Piece Sofa (medium)
Benchmade Modern

Best sofas and couches_Benchmade Modern

While custom-made sofas can take several months to arrive, Benchmade Modern offers custom options constructed in about five weeks.

Benchmade Modern specializes in custom furniture for those looking to purchase a custom sofa on a tight timeline. Compared to the industry standard of waiting 14 weeks to receive your handcrafted sofa, Benchmade Modern takes a shorter amount of time, while maintaining high quality.

The brand also prioritizes creating sofas that are made to be lived on and enjoyed, so it uses durable family-friendly, and pet-friendly performance fabrics. It also offers a wide color and fabric selection, allowing you to choose from bold pops of color or more neutral tones. You can also customize the sofa legs and cushion type depending on whether you’d prefer to fluff your cushions frequently or not. 

As for assembly, most of Benchmade Modern’s furniture is shipped fully assembled and only requires a quick leg assembly. Although the brand specializes in fast construction, it is currently experiencing some pandemic-related delays, so we strongly recommend paying close attention to estimated delivery timelines if you’re in a crunch.

What to buy:

OG Couch Potato Sofa (medium)Catwalk Sofa (medium)

Best sofas and couches_Article

Article provides customers with long-lasting furniture at a fair price point.

Article uses a DTC model to offer its stylish furniture at prices up to 30% cheaper than traditional retailers. The brand has a mix of pre-made ready-to-ship sofas as well as customizable sofas. 

Article’s designs are both modern and vintage influenced, making it easy for customers to find unique sofas that will complement their living spaces. Many of the brand’s sofas are modular and can be arranged to be left- or right-facing depending on your preferences. 

With few exceptions, Article’s sofas either don’t require assembly, or have a simple assembly that should take under 15 minutes. 

Article is also Wangman’s top retailer for purchasing a quality sofa online; she said she loves the brand’s great pricing, high quality, and fair return policy.

What to buy:

Solae Hush Gray/Walnut Right Arm Corner Sectional (medium)Oneira Deep Sea Blue Left Sofa Bed (medium)Ceni Fresh White Sofa (medium)

Best sofas and couches_Zinus

Popular mattress brand Zinus also offers affordable sofas, all priced under $500.

While splurging on a sofa is an option for some, many of us are working on a tighter budget, making Zinus‘ affordable sofa selection the best place to start shopping. While most of the brand’s best-selling items are priced under $500, you’ll still be getting something solidly built. The sofas are pre-made, but the brand offers unique designs that you likely won’t find elsewhere at a similar price. 

All of Zinus’ couches have a no-tool assembly and take less than 30 minutes to fully assemble. Each sofa’s product page includes assembly instructions just in case you misplace them, as well as care and cleaning instructions. The brand also offers a generous 100-day trial period on all of its products.

What to buy:

Jocelyn Contemporary Sofa (medium)Jackie Classic Sofa (medium)
Crate & Barrel

Best sofas and couches_Crate and Barrel

Crate & Barrel offers structurally unique sofas that can be customized to your liking.

If you’re looking to add a high-quality piece to your living area, Crate & Barrel offers several sofa options. The brand has more than ten sofa collections, each available in different fabric colors. Many of its sofas are made of sustainably-sourced materials such as chenille, velvet, and polyester. It also offers full fabric breakdowns, which can be found by simply hovering over each fabric option on the website, and includes information on the fabrics origin and durability. Although on the pricier side, the quality is unmatched, making Crate & Barrel’s sofas worth the splurge.

While assembly varies by sofa, Crate & Barrel offers white-glove assembly for an additional fee. The brand is currently experiencing delays across its wide selection, but offers stock color options that are ready to ship if you don’t want to wait for a custom couch.

What to buy:

Axis 2-Piece Sectional Sofa (medium)Amalie Small Space Sofa (medium)

Best sofas and couches_Wayfair sofa

Popular home brand Wayfair offers customers multiple sofa designs and styles, all available at a variety of price points.

If you’re unsure exactly what style couch you’re looking for or are working with a tight budget and still want tons of options, you’ll want to shop with Wayfair as it offers various styles and unique brands. Some of the brands available at Wayfair include pieces from its sister brand AllModern, as well as sofas from family-owned brand, Novogratz. 

You can also avoid extreme delays some other retailers are experiencing by shopping with Wayfair. However, if you’re looking for a custom-designed sofa, Wayfair may not be the best choice as most of its sofas are pre-made. 

Wayfair offers some of the most extensive customer service hours in the industry; its team is available daily until midnight EST, ensuring you’ll be able to get in contact with someone if you experience any issues. 

Assembly varies widely by sofa, but each product page includes assembly instructions, which we recommend looking through before deciding on a sofa. 

Wangman likes Wayfair for its budget-friendly prices but strongly suggests closely reading reviews prior to making a purchase.

What to buy:

Acevedo 90″ Genuine Leather Square Arm Sofa (medium)Brittany 81.5″ Round Arm Sleeper (medium)
West Elm

Best sofas and couches_West Elm

Well known for its modern, stylish designs, you’re sure to find a stunning sofa or couch while shopping at West Elm.

West Elm is another must-shop brand if you’re looking for a modern, conversation-starting sofa or couch. The brand specializes in quality furniture and its customization options include sofa size, fabric, color, and more. 

Sofa assembly varies by item, and assembly instructions, as well as care instructions, are listed on the site, with some couches even having care instruction videos. 

While the retailer is currently experiencing delays on certain sofa models, it has many options that are in stock and ready to ship. We recommend reading estimated ship times carefully before purchasing. 

As some customers have experienced issues with certain West Elm sofas, we also strongly recommend reading the reviews of any sofas you’re interested in to ensure you’ll receive the best quality.

What to buy:

Leon Wood Frame Leather Sofa (medium)Haven Loft Sofa (medium)
Raymour & Flanigan

Best sofas and couches_Raymour & Flanigan

Raymour & Flanigan has been providing quality furniture at various price points for several decades, and is well trusted by many consumers.

Raymour & Flanigan is a well-known option for furniture shopping due to its wide variety of durable, high-quality furniture. Search the site by your preferred back style, color, fabric, reclining features, and more to find the sofa of your dreams. The retailer is great for those looking for classically designed sofas that will remain in style as home design trends shift. 

The brand is one of the few in this guide that offers in-person shopping, with some sofas available for pickup directly from its showrooms, which quickly eliminates long waiting times. 

Each couch requires different levels of assembly, with instructions available on each product page.

What to buy:

Skye Microfiber Power Reclining Sofa (medium)Glendora Microfiber Sofa (medium)
Interior Define

Best sofas and couches_Interior Define

Interior Define allows customers to create a totally unique custom sofa completely from scratch.

If you’re looking for a full custom sofa creation experience, Interior Define specializes in offering its customers total control when designing their sofas. Customers can choose fabric type and color, legs, couch size, couch depth, seat cushions, and cushion fill for thousands of possible combinations. The brand also offers short clips of people of varying height sitting on each sofa, so that you can get a feel for its true fit. 

The brand has several different types of performance fabrics available including performance velvet, performance basketweave, performance tweed, and more. These fabrics are key to a durable and stain-resistant sofa. 

Interior Define also offers options for those who don’t want to wait for a custom sofa to be constructed, with its Quick Ship page featuring items that usually ship within 2 to 3 weeks.

What to buy:

Caitlin by The Everygirl Fabric Sofa (medium)Sloan Fabric 2-Seat Sofa (medium)

Best sofas and couches FAQ

What are the differences between sofas and couches?

While many designers prefer to use the word “sofa” to indicate luxury or higher quality, the terms “sofa” and “couch” can be used interchangeably and refer to the same item, so search both while shopping.

What are the best sofa and couch materials for durability and comfort? Are there specific materials parents and pet owners should look for?

 If you’re spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new sofa you’ll want to make sure your new investment will last through everyday wear and tear, spills, and other accidents that are bound to happen. You’ll also want a couch that continues to feel comfortable over time. Kuhl recommends looking for couches made with olefin yarn as “it’s sustainable, it’s super durable and soft.” 

If you have children or pets, you should look for fabrics labeled as “performance.” Performance fabric has been treated to be more durable against spills and heavy usage. You can find performance versions of your favorite fabrics including velvet, linen, microsuede, chenille, tweed, and more. Parents and pet parents might want to look for sofas with removable covers that can be washed or replaced as needed. Our experts also recommend parents choose a couch with fewer cushions, as cushions will eventually show signs of heavier use.

Where do I start when looking for a sofa online?

Shopping for a new sofa can be a difficult task, especially when shopping online and being unable to judge the materials, and comfort of the sofa. 

You should start your process by establishing a realistic budget that will ensure quality while also allowing you to avoid overpaying. “Sofas are definitely a category where you get what you pay for, for the most part,” said Kuhl. You’ll also want to think about the main functions you desire from your sofa. Whether you’re looking for a couch based on aesthetic, design, comfort, or durability, you’ll want to establish these factors prior to shopping. 

After you’ve determined the key functions you’re looking for, you’ll want to seek out brands that offer those features and go from there. Do some research and become familiar with the brand’s return and warranty policies and make sure you have a clear way to contact customer service in the case that any issues arise. Pay close attention to reviews, as they will quickly help you determine a sofa’s quality, comfort, and even any major design flaws. 

Lastly, as many brands are currently experiencing pandemic-related shipping delays, you should also be looking for estimated shipping dates while shopping.

How do I choose the best sofa size and proportions for my space?

In addition to taking accurate measurements, it’s important to consider size, scale, and proportion when purchasing a new sofa. Wangman recommends that customers sketch out a floor plan of their space that includes the length and width of the room as well as the ceiling height. If you’re not comfortable drawing a floor plan out by hand, she also recommends using free floor plan software programs such as SketchUp, SmartDraw, or Draft It.

What does a good sofa or couch cost?

Type of couch Budget Mid-priced High-priced Custom
2-seater $500+ $1,000+ $2,000+ $1,5000+
3-seater $800+ $1,500+ $2,500+ $3,000+
4-seater $1,000+ $2,000+ $3,000+ $3,500+
Sectional $2,000 $3,000+ $4,000+ $4,000+

How can I afford a sofa or couch on a budget? How do I budget for a sofa/couch?

Many brands currently offer financing through third-party partners such as Affirm, or through opening a store credit card. Many of these options include a 0% APR time period that can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months depending on the price of the items purchased. 

However, if you don’t pay off the entire balance by the end of the 0% APR time period you’ll be stuck paying off high amounts of interest. 

If you don’t have a huge budget but are in need of a new sofa or couch you have a few options. First, consider shopping with more budget-friendly retailers such as Wayfair and Zinus. You can also wait for sales, which typically occur during the summertime and during major sale events like Black Friday. 

Our experts recommend, if you can, spending more money initially to ensure you’ll purchase a piece that will last you a long time versus having to constantly replace cheaper-made furniture every few years. Another tip is to buy modular furniture (Burrow is a popular option) that can be added on to and adjusted over time, allowing you to slowly expand your seating as your budget increases. You can also purchase a smaller sofa or couch with a chaise, which will allow for additional seating space at a lower price.

Should I purchase a pre-made or custom couch?

When deciding whether to purchase a pre-made or custom couch, you should consider two main factors: budget and timeframe. While custom couches allow you to choose the fabric, style, and even the legs of a sofa, you’ll also have to wait several weeks to months for the couch to arrive due to the custom nature of the sofa. Custom sofas also typically come at a higher price. While pre-made couches don’t allow customers as much design flexibility, they are available in many designs and fabrics, typically have a lower price point, and offer faster shipping times. Overall if you have time to wait and a higher budget, a custom couch can be a unique fixture in your home and better match the rest of your decor.

Check out more furniture guides

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Wayfair’s Annual ‘Way Day’ sale is finally live – here are the best deals from Wayfair’s biggest sale of the year

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

wayfair yellow bedroom spread
  • Way Day‘ – Wayfair’s biggest sale event of the year is finally here.
  • It spans 48 hours, from April 28 to 29, and features deals on pieces for every room in your house.
  • We’ve highlighted the best deals you can shop below.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Wayfair’s much-anticipated Way Day sale is finally here, bringing with it huge discounts on furniture and decor for every room of the house.

This year, it’ll last for 48 hours from April 28 to 29. During Way Day, you can save up to 65% off mattresses, lighting, and outdoor furniture, along with up to 80% off wall art and area rugs. Suffice to say, it’s a pretty big deal.

Sales from Wayfair aren’t uncommon. In fact, the products it offers see changes in price nearly every week, and everything it sells is marked down at least once during the year. This can make shopping from the site tricky for even the most experienced online shoppers.

From our research, Wayfair does, in fact, offer its best prices during its shopping holiday with a few exceptions. Below, we’ve compiled the best deals you can shop right now, plus answers to frequently asked questions.

Best Wayfair ‘Way Day’ 2021 deals

Anouk Litter Box Enclosure (medium)Down Alternative Pillow (Set of 4) (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)5-Inch Square Sandbox (medium)Erikson Glider and Ottoman (medium)12-Inch Medium Pillow Top Hybrid Mattress (California King) (medium)Milo Solid Wood Tufted Upholstered Standard Bed (medium)Lamantia Computer Desk (medium)Hoboken 38-Inch Wide Tufted Polyester Armchair (medium)Zainab Beveled Accent Mirror (medium)Standard Shredded Memory Foam Cooling Pillow (medium)Landreneau Round Cat Bed (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Washlet C100 Bidet Seat (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Low Profile Platform Bed (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Coffee Table (medium)Abou Wood Glam Beveled Accent Mirror (medium)Adamine Coffee Table (medium)Rupelmonde Tufted Armchair (medium)Reposa Reversible Sofa and Chaise with Ottoman (medium)Product Card (medium)

What is ‘Way Day’?

A few years ago, Wayfair started its own namesake retail holiday, Way Day. While Wayfair has pretty great deals all year, Way Day promises to be the retailer’s biggest sale event of the year.

When is ‘Way Day’?

Way Day kicked off on April 28. Thousands of products are currently marked down, and Wayfair is offering flash deals throughout the duration of the sale.

Last year, Way Day was pushed to September due to the Coronavirus outbreak but has since been returned to its original yearly position in April.

How long is ‘Way Day’?

Way Day will last 48 hours, from April 28 to 29.

What is on sale?

Historically, Way Day is the best time of the year to buy from Wayfair and this year is no different.

This wide-ranging sale offers big discounts on everything from mattresses, rugs, kitchenware, furniture, and more. Expect deals from companies like Samsung, AllModern, Joss & Main, and so much more. Plus, everything ships free.

You can check out all the Way Day deals on Wayfair’s home page.

How do you get the best ‘Way Day’ deals?

Though we’ll be highlighting some of the best deals on popular Wayfair items, there will be plenty of other great discounts from the retailer during Way Day. Here’s our advice to help you shop.

As with all good deals, you’ll need to be prepared to act fast in order to secure your order before stock runs out. Way Day Flash Deals are also excellent deals, but they often won’t span the entirety of the event. To ready yourself ahead of time, you can opt in to be notified as soon as the deals go live – you’ll just need to sign into your Wayfair account.

Also, if you find a piece of furniture you like, be sure to check how much the other colors cost. Oftentimes, select colorways will see deeper discounts. The same goes for products that come with different patterns or in varied shapes.

Are the Way Day deals worth it?

In short, yes.

During the lead-up to Way Day, we tracked the prices on some of Wayfair’s most popular products. We found that for the most part, Wayfair’s prices do see slight increases in the weeks prior – though usually only within a 10% price change. There are exceptions to this observation, of course: some products saw huge price hikes while others saw no change altogether.

Despite these price fluctuations, almost all products we tracked dropped to their lowest prices during the sale. Some of the savings are very modest – just a few dollars under the average price we saw over the weeks we tracked – while other prices dropped dramatically by several hundred dollars. We’ve outlined the best deals we’ve found in this guide.

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Wayfair’s biggest savings event ‘Way Day’ is here and features up to 80% off furniture

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

wayfair countertop setup
  • Wayfair’s huge annual sale started today and will last until April 29.
  • The event features up to 80% off furniture for every room in the house, plus all orders ship free.
  • We’ve highlighted some great deals below.

Wayfair is known for its low prices and great deals year-round. But shoppers can find even better deals during ‘Way Day,’ the retailer’s biggest sales event of the year, going on now.

Through April 29, you can find up to 80% off furniture for every room, including mattresses, office furniture, lighting, appliances, and decor. Better still, Wayfair is offering free shipping on everything.

Suffice it to say, Way Day is one of the best times to shop for deals on stuff for every room of your home, from large furniture pieces to decorative accents.

Keep an eye on the Way Day page to snatch any short-lived flash deals you may want. In addition to the best deals we highlighted below, check out our round-up of the 13 best products to shop from Wayfair, as recommended by our editors and readers..

Best Wayfair deals available now

Washlet C100 Bidet Seat (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Low Profile Platform Bed (medium, Preferred: Wayfair)Coffee Table (medium)Freestanding Soaking Bathtub (medium)Abou Wood Glam Beveled Accent Mirror (medium)Adamine Coffee Table (medium)Rupelmonde Tufted Armchair (medium)Gabouray Tufted Upholstered Platform Bed (medium)Reposa Reversible Sofa and Chaise with Ottoman (medium)Product Card (medium)

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The 4 best rice cookers in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

If rice is a staple in your diet, a rice cooker is a convenient appliance to own. As someone who frequently makes sushi, I know firsthand that cooking rice perfectly is an art form. You need to carefully choose your rice, rinse it multiple times, and ensure an airtight seal as it simmers. While world-class sushi restaurants use a pot on a stove to cook their rice, your typical home chef just needs an easy way to cook well-textured rice. This is where rice cookers reign supreme.

With most rice cookers, you just measure out the rice, pour in water to the appropriate line, press a couple of buttons, and wait for the machine to let you know your rice is ready. Basically, you can set it and forget it. Even if you are a seasoned pro when it comes to cooking rice on the stove, a rice cooker is indispensable when you want to free up burners or if you simply don’t have access to a stovetop.

The rice cookers included in our guide are durable, have intuitive functions, and can be used for several varieties of rice. If you’re not sure where to begin your search, jump to the bottom of this guide for helpful info on what to look for when buying a rice cooker.

Here are the best rice cookers

The best rice cooker overall

best rice cooker

If you are looking for a cooker that produces delicious results no matter what type of rice you put in, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker is the best.

Pros: Adjusts to the type of rice, uses “fuzzy logic,” produces tender rice, small footprint

Cons: Somewhat slower than other options

What sets the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker apart is its use of “fuzzy logic.” Basically, a microcomputer adjusts the cooking time and temperature to adapt to the rice, whether it’s brown, sweet, white, or porridge. At the bottom of the inner body of the cooker, there is a thermal sensor that keeps tabs on the rice and reports back to the microcomputer, which makes the appropriate adjustments.

The nonstick internal cooking pan features handy lines indicating how much water to add for each type of rice. Both the cooking pan and inner lid can be removed for easy cleaning, though they are not dishwasher-safe.

Other features include a large LCD screen, programmable delay timer for having your rice ready when you get home from work, handle and retractable cord for easy transport, reheating cycle, and an extended keep warm mode. There are two sizes: 5.5-cup and 10-cup. Both come with a one-year warranty.

Our editors also love this rice cooker. Senior guides editor Les Shu grew up in a household where rice was served nearly every night. His family has relied on Zojirushi cookers because they consistently make perfect rice and rice porridge. The 5.5-cup model is the model his parents now use after downsizing from a larger cooker. 

Senior reporter Connie Chen has also used Zojirushi cookers in her family home for many years and loves their reliability, compact size, and ease of use.

The best rice cooker on a budget

oster rice cooker

The Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker is affordable, doesn’t take up much space, and has a detached glass lid that is easy to clean.

Pros: Inexpensive, glass lid, great for white, sushi, and sticky rice

Cons: No timer, actually only produces about four standard cups of cooked rice

The Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker is the only option with a tempered glass lid. The compact size of the appliance allows for faster cooking, and the lid lets you monitor the progress of your rice. The “6-cup” size mentioned in the name of this appliance does not refer to a standard US cup but rather the slightly smaller cup that comes with most rice cookers.

There is only one button so the Oster rice cooker couldn’t be easier to use. Yet, there is no timer or alarm that lets you know when the rice is ready. Instead, you might be able to hear the audible click that occurs when the device switches from Cook to Keep Warm mode. You’ll also see an indicator light switch modes as well. Both the inner pot and lid are removable for hand washing. Oster backs this product with a one-year limited warranty.

Expert testers have found the Oster to clean up effortlessly and the rice quality to be terrific, particularly white rice and sushi rice. Brown rice, however, can be somewhat dry.

This cooker doesn’t take up much space and is ideal for one- or two-person households.

The best multipurpose rice cooker

best rice cooker aroma housewares

The Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker is an affordable appliance for cooking 20 cups of rice as well as steaming vegetables and slow cooking.

Pros: Large capacity, several uses, including steaming vegetables

Cons: The attached lid can be difficult to clean

The Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker is unique in that it can steam vegetables and meat while rice cooks. There are easy-to-program controls for slow cooking, flash rice (speeds up the cooking time for grains that usually take longer), steaming, brown rice, and white rice.

It also has a keep warm function and a 15-hour delay timer, which is useful for when you want your rice and vegetables to be ready when you get home from work.

The Aroma rice cooker yields 20 cups of cooked rice and comes with a serving spatula, rice measuring cup, and steam tray. The inner cooking pot features measurement lines that make it easy to determine how much water to add. And, the pot is removable for cleaning.

Thanks to its Saute-Then-Simmer function, the cooker is great for any recipe that first requires sauteing your ingredients. You can save time and space by switching directly to the simmer step to make dishes like risotto or chili. 

The best for GABA rice

best rice cooker 3

If you are looking for an affordable fuzzy logic cooker that can help you enjoy the health benefits of GABA rice, the Cuckoo Electric Heating Rice Cooker is an excellent solution.

Pros: Uses fuzzy logic, keeps rice warm without drying out for 24-plus hours, has GABA rice cooking function

Cons: Only available in pink

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) rice is becoming increasingly popular as we learn more about its many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and improving brain function. Enter the Cuckoo Electric Heating Rice Cooker, which has six cooking settings, including a GABA function, turbo cook, keep warm, and timer.

The Cuckoo rice cooker produces up to 12 cups of cooked rice. The inner pot has a non-stick surface and is removable for easy cleaning, though it’s not dishwasher safe. The company offers a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Impressively, it can keep your rice warm for an entire day, so you’ll have fresh rice whenever you want it. 

What to consider when buying a rice cooker

Based on our research and survey of home cooks, here’s what to look for when shopping for a rice cooker.

Basic or advanced: We find that rice cookers typically come in two forms: basic models with a heating element at the bottom and simple, one-touch operation, and more advanced variants that utilize a computer to better regulate the cooking process. Regardless, both automate the rice-cooking process.

If you’re looking to cook rice quickly with no-fuss, a basic rice cooker should suffice. However, it won’t cook rice evenly (in our experience you’ll need to adjust the rice-water ratio to find the sweet spot), the rice tends to crisp at the bottom of the bowl, and it loses heat during the post-cooking/warming stage. When shopping, you may also find basic rice cookers that incorporate a sealed lid and heating elements all-around the unit to ensure more even cooking, such as this option from Zojirushi.

For those who must have perfectly cooked rice or like to prepare different varieties of rice, you may want to look at advanced cookers that utilize a microcomputer, typically labeled as “fuzzy logic.” The most popular brands include Panasonic, Zojirushi, Tiger, and Cuckoo. With smart technology, these rice cookers ensure even cooking by better regulating water, pressure, and steam. They have dedicated settings for rice type, as well as oatmeal and porridge. Some even chime when the rice is ready to eat and are better at keeping rice warm. However, they aren’t fast as the computer requires time to make adjustments, and some people may find the operation cumbersome. Still, we find that these advanced rice cookers consistently churn out the best-cooked rice.

Capacity: Household rice cookers come in various sizes — as small as 3 cups, and up to 10 cups. (There are commercial-grade rice cookers that hold up to 45 cups if you’re feeding an army.) Note that a cup is a lot of rice after it has been cooked, so a 3-cup cooker could suffice for a small family. Ultimately, choosing the right capacity will depend on your household size and eating habits, as well as budget and kitchen counter space. 

Multicookers: Nearly all multicookers (or electric pressure cookers), such as those from Instant Pot, offer a rice function. In some ways, a multicooker is really just a souped-up rice cooker: there’s a heating element at the bottom, and it uses steam to cook the rice. However, multicookers are sealed and also utilize pressure cooking, which speeds up the process. But like a basic rice cooker, you’ll need to be mindful of the water-rice ratio, as well as the pressure setting. Check out our guide for the best multicookers.

Accessories: The most basic rice cooker should include a lid, metal bowl (preferably nonstick), measuring cup, and either a spoon or spatula, which are all you really need. As you move up in price, you may get accessories like vegetable steaming trays, a holder for the spoon or spatula, and nonstick bowls made from high-quality materials.

Budget: A basic, 3-cup rice cooker can be had for around $15. Of course, the price climbs when you up the capacity and features. We find that you shouldn’t have to spend more than $30 for a basic rice cooker. If you want a “fuzzy logic” rice cooker, expect to pay at least $120 and as much as $300 or more.

Measuring cup size: It’s also worth noting that the measuring cups that come with rice cookers typically are smaller than a standard eight-ounce cup. Instead, they are about six ounces in volume. This is important to keep in mind when measuring out rice as you put it in your cooker. If you use a standard cup, you are likely to end up with tough, undercooked rice.

More great kitchen appliance guides

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