The 4 best knife sharpeners we tested in 2021

All of the 4 knife sharpeners we selected on a countertop - best knife sharpener

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  • If you own a knife, you should probably own a knife sharpener, unless you want to pay a sharpening service.
  • Our favorite knife sharpener for most kitchens is the Chef’s Choice Trizor XV EdgeSelect.
  • We also have recommendations for manual pull-through, kit (jig system), and portable sharpeners.

There’s no way around it: at some point, your knives are going to need sharpening. And while sharp knives are dangerous, dull knives can be even more so. A dull edge requires more pressure to do its job, making it that much more likely to slip.

Since keeping a knife sharp can be a chore, the best sharpener is the one you’ll actually use. That’s why we spoke with third-generation butcher Pat LaFrieda, who spends just about every night of his life sharpening knives, for his expert input and recommendations.

If you don’t do much food prep or perform too many precise tasks (like, say, slicing sashimi), LaFrieda suggests pull-through sharpeners; they’re about as effective as sharpening steels, but much more user-friendly.

However, if you depend more heavily on your knives, an electric sharpener (if you have the space) is going to make your life easiest, followed by a jig system or a whetstone (just know these have a steeper learning curve).

We tested eleven sharpeners with a variety of knives, noting how easy the sharpeners were to use and how clean of an edge we were able to achieve on each blade. Below, we have recommendations for electric sharpeners, kits (jig systems), multi-stage pull-through sharpeners, and even one for taking on the go.

Here are the best knife sharpeners of 2021

The best knife sharpener overall

The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV EdgeSelect on a kitchen countertop with several chef’s knives in the foreground

The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV makes sharpening knives at home as quick and foolproof as can be.

Pros: Fast, even, precise, multiple bevel angles and ways to sharpen for different types of knives

Cons: Doesn’t work well with small (paring) knives or scissors

Electric sharpeners are the fastest, easiest, and most dependable tool for sharpening knives, and the Chef’s Choice Trizor XV offers three different bevels of 25, 20, and 15 degrees. Starting with the 25-degree bevel, you can work your way down to 15 degrees. For context, the sharpest kitchen knives on the market top out at 14 degrees, which is sharp enough to slice sashimi. 

The proof is in the testing, of course.  I took the edge off of a Victorinox Fibrox Extra Wide 8″ Chef’s Knife (our top recommendation for a budget chef’s knife) using concrete, and after less than five minutes running it through all three stages of the Trizor XV, it was shaving a path right through the hair on the back of my hand — something it couldn’t do very well even right out of the factory.

A three-stage sharpener includes a coarse stage, which takes off the most metal, a finer stage that evens out the burr (overhanging metal on the edge of the blade) from the coarse stage, and a third stage performs the stropping or honing function, usually using ceramic as opposed to the diamond-coated steel in the first two stages. Running your knives through the third stage every few weeks will keep the blades fresh and extend the time between sharpening.

What we like most about the Trizor XV (the XV refers to the 15-degree sharpener) is the spring-loaded sharpening blades that grip the knife’s edge at the correct angle, preventing you from damaging the blade as you pull it through. This is the main problem with pull-through sharpeners: too much pressure or a slight tilt as you draw the blade through and you’ll actually end up dulling your knife, or at least making a jagged edge that will be tough to fix.

The Trizor XV is also easy to store (there are no parts beyond the unit itself) and it requires almost no maintenance beyond occasional light cleaning, which involves opening a catchment system for filings.

While running through the three stations in order is the general way to sharpen a basic chef’s knife, you can also mix things up to better suit different types of blades. For example, Chef’s Choice recommends using stage one followed by stage three if your knife is intended for butchering, field dressing, or “highly fibrous material” in general. This helps retain “micro flutes” (flouted channels running near and perpendicular to the edge), which create a more abrupt edge to cut through fibers.

When it comes to filleting, you can use stages two and three, which will help retain even finer micro flutes, and prevent tender meat from tearing. 

Lastly, running your knife through the third station will strop and polish blades, which will remove any burrs (or wire edge) and give it a light sharpening. You can do this every couple or few weeks to keep your blades fresh and extend the time between sharpening.

The best budget knife sharpener

Müeller’s Heavy-Duty 4-Stage Diamond Sharpener - our pick for the best knife sharpener on a budget - on a kitchen countertop

Müeller’s Heavy-Duty 4-Stage Diamond Sharpener takes care of most knives and scissors for a surprisingly impressive result without breaking the bank.

Pros: Sharpens scissors as well as knives, three stages for knives

Cons: Doesn’t sharpen serrated knives, not the finest edge, but more than good enough for most

A pull-through sharpener strikes a happy balance between quality and convenience. You’re not going to get an edge that will appease a sushi chef, but you’ll be able to slice tomatoes (or trim raw fish for that matter) with the end result.

We tested seven pull-through sharpeners and found that Müeller’s Heavy-Duty 4-Stage Diamond Sharpener turned out the best edges with the least amount of difficulty and margin for error.

All of our research and expert interviews pointed us to three-stage sharpeners, and our testing confirmed that three stages seem to offer the best edge from a pull-through, but this model’s fourth stage, for scissors, certainly doesn’t hurt. Couple that with the fact that this sharpener is about the same price as less-intensive single-stage ones, and we had our pick.

We sharpened cheap drawer scissors and kitchen shears, as well as nearly-destroyed bait knives and fine German steel with this sharpener and while we didn’t get a perfect edge on the latter two (that would be tough with most sharpeners), we did get them serviceable again.

The most common issue we ran up against with pull-through sharpeners was getting a bite on edges without coarsely gouging away at them, which can be disastrous. With the exception of wider-angled pocket knife blades, everything ran through the Müeller smoothly, and most jobs were done in a matter of minutes.

No, you’re not going to completely restore knives with jagged edges or broken tips using this pull-through or any other, but for a quick but respectable edge freshening, nothing we tried within this price range offered the same treatment.

The best knife sharpening kit

A knife being sharpened using the Edge Pro Apex 2

Edge Pro’s Apex 2 offers the whetstone experience with foolproof control, allowing you to get your edges (almost) as sharp as the pros.

Pros: Sharpens all knives, adjustable bevel settings

Cons: Suction-cup grip doesn’t work on all surfaces, best for kitchen knives (you can augment your kit for other knives though)

A sharpening kit, and specifically a jig system like Edge Pro’s Apex 2, is essentially a whetstone kit with training wheels. You get absolute control while using the most traditional sharpening tools (a set of ceramic stones) without the hassle of having to intimately understand the edges of your blades.

Edge Pro offers several different kits, but the Apex 2 is a great place to start for those just looking to sharpen kitchen knives. You get three stones of 220, 400, and 600 grit ceramic, the kit itself, an 8″ ceramic hone, a microfiber towel, a water bottle for careful dousing, and a black carrying case. It’s everything you need and nothing you don’t.

We found the Apex 2 exceptionally easy to set up and put to work, thanks to the marked angles on the vertical rod on which the jig pivots. We also appreciated the instruction manual; it offers tips on how to find the edge of your blade by using a permanent marker, which will ensure you don’t ruin it.

If you’re new to sharpening, you’ll probably want to practice on a knife that you’re not terribly worried about, but you’ll get comfortable soon enough (and much sooner than if you were to use whetstones freehand). 

The only thing we don’t like about the Apex kits is that they’re held in place by suction cups. While they work extremely well on high-gloss surfaces, they wouldn’t stick to my workbench or my card table, where I like to handle messier tasks, and I had to buy a bench mount for $27. That said, since most people are sharpening in their kitchen and many might not have enough of an overhanging edge on their countertops for a vice or clamp, we understand how the suction cups may be useful.  

We’ve recommended the Apex 4 in the past because it’s a little better suited to polishing Japanese knives, but it’s not necessary for most people, and you’ll do just fine with everything from shears to serrated knives using the Apex 2.

This kit will last you an incredibly long time, and it will handle every kind of knife in your kitchen and then some (though if you really want to branch out you may want to invest in a few other items). We brought back everything from absolutely tortured bait knives from a fishing boat to chipped carbon blades on Japanese knives with little trouble at all. Plus, we have to admit that it’s sort of fun to use.

The best compact knife sharpener

The kitchen IQ pull-through sharpener resting on a kitchen counter

If you don’t have room in your kitchen for a full-sized sharpener or you want something you can take on the go, the KitchenIQ Edge Grip 2 Stage Sharpener will get the job done and neatly tuck away.

Pros: Small, stable, effective for basic sharpening and finishing, works on serrated blades

Cons: You won’t get as refined of an edge as with a three-stage sharpener, not good for scissors 

The Kitchen IQ 2-Stage Knife Sharpener is almost as basic as knife sharpening gets, and if it’s the difference between you owning a sharpener — any sharpener — and not, spend the $10 and your knife work will become infinitely better, and perhaps more importantly, safer.

There’s not much to this little number: the carbide blades make up the coarse treatment and the ceramic ones do the fine work to touch up the edge. What we like about it over the others in this size class is that it does have two stages as opposed to one, and it is incredibly stable with a low center of gravity and a comfortable grip. Out of almost all of the sharpeners we tested, this was by far the least likely to topple over.

Of course, it also fits in your drawer, or your pocket for that matter. Either way, it’s not going to occupy precious space, and you can take it on the go. It’s not going to perform any miracle work on far-gone cutlery, but keeping it in regular use will keep the working knives you do have in commission, which is all most of us need anyhow.

It’s a great backup tool to have in your kitchen, and easy enough to pull out of the drawer and draw a knife or two through it a few times before prepping for dinner. It won’t break the bank, and you may rely on it more than you expect.

What else we tested

All of the different knife sharpeners we tasted on a table

AccuSharp: This one doesn’t offer the cleanest sharpening, but it is extremely safe and does a decent touch-up for those less inclined to spend time sharpening knives. Still, we found it to be the quickest and easiest to use, which goes a long way.

Lansky D-Sharp: This is a great pick for those looking to take a sharpener on the go, and especially those looking to keep a variety of knives sharp. With 17-, 21-, and 25-degree angles as well as a ceramic edge for honing, you can use this palm-sized sharpener with anything from a fillet knife to a pocket knife. This doesn’t do the finest job, but it’s versatile, extremely thin (about half an inch) and only a few inches long, so it’ll fit in any kit.

Work Sharp E2: If you want a more affordable option for an electric sharpener, this is a great (and more compact) option, but you’ll have to operate it with a little more finesse or you’ll torture your blade like you would misusing most any sharpener. Unlike the Chef’s Choice Trizor XV, it also works well with scissors.

Our testing methodology

A line of knives sits next to a bowl of tomatoes as part of testing for the best kitchen knife set in 2021

We dulled a few different types of knives for this guide, ranging from lower-quality 440 stainless steel (including a cheap pocket knife) to mid-quality X50CrMoV15 steel to finer VG-10 (a relatively high-carbon steel with vanadium and chromium and molybdenum for a hybrid between German- and Japanese-style blades).

We then ran each knife through every sharpener we tested (11 in all), weeding out ones that clearly, off the bat, weren’t working as well as others.

After we were pleased with the sharpness of the knife, we ran it through a sheet of paper and along the outward sheet of a folded high-gloss magazine, which is Bob Kramer’s method for testing sharpness. We then took them back to the kitchen where we made sure they could slice tomatoes and skin-on onions under little to no more than their own weight.

We also spoke with metallurgist and MIT senior lecturer Michael J. Tarkanian, as well as Pat LaFrieda, the famed butcher behind LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, to learn what types of sharpeners work best, and which ones should be left to the professionals.

While whetstones and grinding wheels reign supreme, we found through experience and interviews with the experts above, as well as others, that they require a certain level of prowess most home cooks don’t have. Grinding wheels can also be very, very dangerous.

If you’re really after a whetstone, the ones we recommend based on past testing are Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HOME Sharpening System, but generally, we’ve found that electric, pull-through, kits (specifically, jig systems), and portable options are best for most people.

Our general criteria for consideration included:

Convenience: Above all, a sharpener has to be simple enough to use that it doesn’t prevent you from ever putting it to use at all. We made sure that each sharpener we tested worked with basic instructions. A whetstone, on the other hand, requires a level of expertise that most home cooks don’t have. Further to that point, a grinding wheel is incredibly dangerous and has no place in most homes. We also took note of efficiency: how long did it take to sharpen a knife sufficiently? Although, convenience and quality are generally non-correlative. Specifically, when pull-through sharpeners were quick to sharpen, they usually left edges fairly rough and jagged.

Safety: Sharpening knives can be dangerous, so a stable device is paramount to ensuring safety. Some options we tried didn’t necessarily inspire confidence in that department, so they were set aside. Each of the sharpeners we ended up recommending is on the sturdier and safer side.

Materials: We found that kits with whetstones offered the most precision, but a combination of diamond and ceramic pull-through options offered a lot for the relatively quick pass most home cooks are willing to give their knives.

Versatility: Some sharpeners — including most pull-through options — only offer a single setting. These work in a pinch, but we found that at least three options (one for coarse sharpening, one for fine sharpening, and one for polishing) serviced a knife best, while a fourth, for scissors and serrated blades, offered the most versatility.

Size: We considered sharpeners based on size depending on where one might keep them. Some fit in drawers, some required a devoted shelf within a cabinet, and others fit in your pocket. Larger sharpeners performed better almost across the board, but we also considered the needs of those looking for a portable sharpener.

What we look forward to testing

Several knives halfway into a cardboard postal envelope

We are still looking at more pull-through options, but we will also be recommending both honing steels (we haven’t found much difference from one brand to the next, but we’re happy with this one from Victorinox) and e-commerce-based sharpening services.

Chef’s Choice Pronto Pro 4643: This is a pull-through option we’ve recommended in the past, but after testing and researching so many more, we’re not sure you need to spend so much on a pull-through sharpener, as you can find quality electric sharpeners for about the same price. We’ll be putting it through more testing and reporting back soon.

KnifeAid: At nearly $13 a sharpening, this is probably going to cost you a little more than taking your knives to a local sharpener — provided you have one. For convenience’s sake, we’re going to consider KnifeAid and other sharpening services. The one thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that your knives will be out for a while, so you’ll need a backup or three in the meantime.

Glossary

Angle: Each blade edge has an angle set in the factory. Most kitchen knives will range from about 14° to 20° per side.

Bevel: The surface of a blade that has been ground to create the angle and edge

Edge: The sharp side(s) of a blade

Electric sharpeners: Electric sharpeners are similar to pull-through, but with exponential precision. These are the best for most people where convenience, efficiency, and precision are concerned. They do tend to be larger and harder to store, though.

Honing: Maintaining (by way of aligning) the edge of a blade

Jig systems, or kits: You can think of a jig system or kit as a whetstone with training wheels. You’re still using and wetting ceramic stones, you just have a stationary axis that allows you to position the jig (to which the stone attaches) and measure out precise angles. These are more involved than other options, but behind a whetstone, they offer most of us the optimal end result.

Pull-through sharpeners: The most basic option, but also the most cursory, a pull-through sharpener is made using opposing steel (often diamond-coated) and sometimes ceramic edges, which remove steel from the edge of your blade as you draw it through the wedge. These will do the job for quick touch-ups but don’t usually perform well when trying to bring back a seriously dull or damaged blade.

Stropping: The polishing of a blade, often with leather, after it has been sharpened

Whetstone: While whetstones indisputably offer the greatest sharpening potential, they really only do so in the hands of a pro. If you’re looking to make a hobby of knife sharpening, be our guest, but know that you’ll have a learning curve with which to contend.

Check out our other great knife buying guides

9 knife sets lined up on a granite countertop
Too many knives.

Read the original article on Business Insider

12 places to buy wine online – from FreshDirect to Macy’s

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  • Online wine stores are a convenient place to shop for vino without leaving your home.
  • The best places to buy wine online include NakedWines.com, ReserveBar, and Drizly.
  • You must be 21+ years to place and receive orders; some states have alcohol-delivery restrictions.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

This content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.

Hosting large gatherings may be out of the question right now, but sometimes having a quiet night in is enough of an occasion to break out a bottle of wine. It’s even better if you don’t have to leave the house to get it. Online options require minimal energy but deliver on all the perks. Just remember to read the fine print and plan on having someone 21 or older sign for the package.

If you’re looking for an ongoing delivery service, check out our guide to the best wine subscriptions. Otherwise, you’ll find a list below of the best places that will deliver wine straight to your door.

Here are 12 solid options for delivering wine to your door

NakedWines.com

A hand holds a bottle of white wine, a bar cart is visible in the background

All-American Buzzworthy Wines 11-Pack (small)

NakedWines.com is like a “Shark Tank” for independent wines, and it has an “Angel” membership program that crowd-funds independent wine labels across the globe. Angel members get up to 60% off listed prices, among other perks, for depositing $40 a month into a wine “bank account” they can use whenever they want. NakedWines.com also gives out $100 vouchers often. You can get one by taking a 30-second quiz on the site.

Currently, you can grab a $100 voucher for six bottles of wine. Choose from a case of reds, whites, or a mix of both.

Shipping: NakedWines.com charges $10 in shipping fees for orders under $100. For orders $100 and more, delivery is free — except for Hawaii (+$70) and Alaska (+$130). Wines will be delivered Monday-Friday or Tuesday-Saturday during regular working hours, but make sure that there is someone over 21 years old who can sign for the package. For a full list of where it delivers, head over here.

Note: Nakedwines.com was previously experiencing increased demand and delayed shipments due to the coronavirus. Operations are back to normal now, but you may still want to account for any unexpected delivery delays with your order. 

What to buy:

Read our full review of Nakedwines.com here.

ReserveBar

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Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs Champagne (small)

ReserveBar is an online premium wine and spirits store with prices to match. It carries everything from scotch, gin, and wine to moonshine, cocktail mixers, and Perrier-Jouët x Sugarfina gift sets.

The company has a luxury collection, limited edition bottles, and top trending gifts to skim through. It also offers high-end gift packaging and custom engraving, perfect for those looking to gift a really good bottle of liquor with a personalized message. High-brow options aside, ReserveBar also has plenty of wine for less than $50.

Currently, you can use the code “SHIP99” at checkout to get free shipping off orders $99+. 

Shipping: Shipping fees depend on your state and the weight of your order, but the base costs are $15.97 for ground shipping, $34.97 for two-day express, and $67.97 for overnight express.

All shipments must be signed for by a 21-year-old adult. Products have a “ship to” section that shows which states allow delivery of that particular liquor or wine. Select cities can use ReserveBar Express and get fine spirits and Champagne delivered to their door the same day.

Note: ReserveBar was previously experiencing increased demand and delayed shipments due to the coronavirus. Operations are back to normal now, but you may still want to account for any unexpected delivery delays with your order. 

What to buy:

Read our full review of ReserveBar here.  

Wine.com

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Brut Grand Cordon with Red Velvet Gift Bag (small)

Wine.com boasts the world’s largest online wine selection, plus the convenience of home delivery or pick-up from convenient local stores (like Walgreens) that may be open late or on weekends. It’s a good place to find old favorites, discover new wines, and shop collectible and boutique wines. As an additional perk, Wine.com sells gift baskets, glassware, and other wine accessories.

Currently, new customers save $20 off purchases of $100 with the code NEW2021.

Shipping: Shipping depends on the number of bottles and total size and weight of your order but can reach $30 per order. If you want to pick it up yourself, there are more than 10,000 participating locations, including Walgreens, Duane Reade, and Safeway. If you choose this option at checkout, you’ll get an email when your order is ready for pick-up, and you’ll have five days to grab it. However, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, we suggest calling the location beforehand to double-check that you can pick it up.

Wine.com also has an annual $49 membership called the StewardShip program that gets you free shipping on every order for a full year with no purchase minimum. Either way, an adult signature is needed to get your package.

What to buy:

Wine Insiders

where to buy wine online

Sommelier Picks Half-Case (small)

Wine Insiders is essentially an online wine store with both individual bottles and a lot of multi-pack options, including six-bottle cases based on themes like Thanksgiving, Halloween, and staff picks. You’ll also find curated selections from Geoffrey Zakarian, Chef Ludo, and more. There’s also a 100% satisfaction guarantee. 

Shipping: There’s $14.95 shipping on orders of three to five bottles and free shipping on orders of six bottles or more. Currently, Wine Insiders ships to all states except Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah.

All shipments must be signed for by an adult over 21 years old, and packages can’t be left on your doorstep or delivered to a PO box. Fees may apply if your wine returns to the company as undeliverable. If you work during the day, it’s smart to send your box to a convenient local pick-up location or your business address to ensure delivery. 

Note: Wine Insiders was previously experiencing increased demand and delayed shipments due to the coronavirus. Operations are back to normal now, but you may still want to account for any unexpected delivery delays with your order. 

What to buy: 

Vinebox

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The Rosé Collection (small)

Vinebox immediately stands out for its unique vials of wine, which give individual pours but still maintain the full flavor and mouthfeel of the wine. Every three months, Vinebox sends you a box of nine of these “glasses.” They contain seasonal varieties, wines you should be drinking right now, and other fun picks. With each box, you’ll also receive up to $30 in credits to buy the full-size versions. 

Shipping: Shipping is free. Currently, Vinebox ships everywhere in the US except Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. You can also ship to any UPS Store or FedEx Office location and pick up your box there. 

What to buy:

Read our full review of Vinebox here.

Dry Farm Wines

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Friends of the Farm Wine & Social Club (small)

Dry Farm Wines’ focus is on sustainably grown, natural wines. That means they’re free of additives and sugar, they have lower alcohol content, and they’re lab-tested for purity.

According to Dry Farm, the government approves of the use of 76 additives, and since wine bottles are not required to have contents labels, you don’t get the full picture of what you’re drinking. The company imports all of its natural wines from small family farmers around the world, but mostly from Europe. 

Shipping: All ground shipping is free, while expedited shipping has a small fee. Dry Farm Wines only ships to the US, but it offers helpful advice for finding natural wines if you’re located elsewhere. 

It takes three to six business days for orders to arrive on the West Coast and five to seven business days on the East Coast. Currently, delivery requires an ID check but no signature. 

What to buy: 

We’re currently testing Dry Farm Wines and will report back with our experiences soon.

Winc

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Monthly Wine Subscription (3 bottles) (small)

California-based winery Winc, which sommelier Brian Smith co-founded, uses an online Palate Profile, along with your own ratings, to recommend and ship wines tailored to your tastes as a subscription. Or, you can buy bottles a la carte.

The wines, which come from winemakers all over the world as well as Winc’s own vineyard, start at $13 a bottle. There’s no fee or commitment to join, and you can skip a month’s shipment any time you want. 

You can get $20 off if you buy four or more bottles right now. 

Shipping: Member shipping is $9 if you order three or fewer bottles and free if you order four or more bottles. Non-member shipping is $15 per order. Shipping typically takes 3-7 business days, but Winc is currently experiencing delays of 5+ business days.

Note: Winc was previously experiencing increased demand and delayed shipments due to the coronavirus. Operations are back to normal now, but you may still want to account for any unexpected delivery delays with your order. 

What to buy:

Read our full review of Winc here.

Firstleaf

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Monthly Wine Subscription Introductory Offer (6 bottles) (small)

When you first sign up for Firstleaf, you’ll get six bottles of wine for just $40. Afterward, you’ll be automatically subscribed to get another six bottles for $90. Firstleaf prides itself on its custom algorithm that predicts which one of its many award-winning wine options you’ll like, and if you don’t like a bottle, you’ll get a refund. Outside of the subscription, you can also buy individual bottles from its store. 

Shipping: Shipping is always $9.95 per order and takes about 2-5 days to arrive. Firstleaf ships to all states in the US except Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Note: Firstleaf was previously experiencing increased demand and delayed shipments due to the coronavirus. Operations are back to normal now, but you may still want to account for any unexpected delivery delays with your order. 

What to buy: 

Read our full review of Firstleaf here.

Bright Cellars

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Monthly Wine Subscription (small)

Two MIT grads are behind the monthly wine club Bright Cellars, which sends four new wines each month for $80. The company has a competitive curation process — it says it only picks one out of every 12 wines it tries for the monthly collections and promises to show you hidden gems from vineyards in Italy, Spain, Portugal, South America, and more. 

Shipping: Shipping is $8 per order. Bright Cellars ships to the US, and you should receive your order in about seven business days. 

Note: Bright Cellars was previously experiencing increased demand and delayed shipments due to the coronavirus. Operations are back to normal now, but you may still want to account for any unexpected delivery delays with your order. 

What to buy: 

  • Wine picks depend on your quiz results. There is no store where you can buy individual wines. 

FreshDirect

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FreshDirect is one of the best grocery delivery services in New York City. It has a limited delivery scope, but it carries pretty much everything (including beer, wine, and liquor) that you’d pick up at your local store. Like a regular store, it also runs weekly deals. 

Shipping: Check eligibility via zip code. FreshDirect delivers to counties on the East Coast. Depending on your location, delivery minimums start at $30, and delivery fees start at $5.99. 

For a morning or early afternoon delivery (two-hour time slots), you must place your order by 6 p.m. the day before. For a late afternoon or evening delivery (two-hour time slots), you must place your order by 11 p.m. the day before.

Note: FreshDirect was previously experiencing increased demand and limited delivery windows due to the coronavirus. Operations are back to normal now, but you may still want to account for any unexpected delays or limited delivery slots with your order. 

What to buy:

Read our full review of FreshDirect here.

Drizly

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Like ReserveBar, Drizly offers other kinds of alcohol in addition to wine. Best of all, it delivers the exact wine you need in under an hour, and it doesn’t mark up prices. Most of its 3,000+ wine offerings are affordable (less than $20) and nearly half of its stock is red wine. 

Shipping: For one-hour delivery, the fee is $5 per order. In New York City, most stores offer delivery for free, but some areas may have increased fee zones and higher minimums based on your address. 

For larger shipments, shipping fees can vary depending on the store you order from, but it will be a flat rate price. You’ll see the final shipping cost in your cart when you check out. 

What to buy:

Read our comparison of Drizly, Minibar, and Saucy. We’re currently testing Drizly and will report back with our experiences soon.

Macy’s Wine Shop

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Global Tasting Case (small)

Yes, Macy’s delivers expertly selected wine to your door. You can buy by the bottle or by selections of six or 12. You can also shop by style, price, and vintage.

You can get six bottles for under $9 per bottle (plus free shipping), but it’s worth noting that those deals are part of the Macy’s wine club. Unless you cancel, you’ll receive a new case every three months, and you’ll be charged for it. However, there’s no obligation to continue, and you’ll get an email reminder before you’re charged. 

Shipping: Unless otherwise stated, shipping is $14.95 for three to five bottles and free for six or more. 

What to buy:

Check out our other great wine guides

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I taste-tested 8 limited-edition Halloween cereals, and the ‘Monster Mash’ medley is the best of all worlds

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A picture of all of the cereals reviewed in this guide in the box
  • Halloween cereal season is here, and stores are stocking all the classics, including Count Chocula.
  • I’ve tried all of the spooky cereals I could get my hands on and ranked them.
  • The limited-edition Monster Mash is my favorite with elements of all of the classic monster cereals.

I have a problem. I can’t resist walking down the cereal aisle of every store as I search for the latest spooky cereals. If I find something I haven’t tried before, three or four boxes of it go in the cart.

Since we’re deep into October, my pantry has runneth over with limited edition Halloween cereals. My kids are begging me to let them have some, but this is my thing. Plus, it’s still socially acceptable for them to go door-to-door threatening people with tricks for free candy. Get out there and work for your sugar, kids!

If you want to make your kids jealous (or ok, even share with them), here are the best Halloween breakfast cereals in my professional opinion.

First place: Monster Mash

a young boy eats Monster Mash cereal out of the bo
I caught the thief in the act, and he seems to think it’s funny.

Monster Mash Cereal, available at Amazon, $16.33 (Pack of 2)

Monster Mash is basically the spooky cereal version of the 1980s country supergroup The Highwaymen. Only, Monster Mash has an extra member. New for 2021 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of monster cereals, Monster Mash combines the best aspects of classics Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry as well as short-lived Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute. Together, they form the best Halloween cereal I’ve ever had. The fruitiness takes center stages, specifically strawberry and blueberry. But, you can also taste the chocolatey Chocula influence. Overall, the ensemble plays well together for a balanced delectable treat.

Rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃/10

Some nutritional info: 27% sugar by weight, main ingredient is whole grain corn, 2g fiber and protein

Second place: Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Spooky Marshmallows

chocolate frosted flakes with spooky marshmallows box

Frosted Flakes Chocolate Cereal with Spooky Marshmallows, available at Amazon, $12.25

This is another cereal I hadn’t tried before. I’m a fan of classic Frosted Flakes. I might even go so far as to say they’re grrrreat. The Chocolate with Spooky Marshmallows version is the most sugar-packed cereal I tested. The marshmallow shapes are a ghost, bat, and Frankenstein’s monster. They didn’t scare me at all, but I’m a grown man. I mostly enjoyed the flavor: a strong chocolate flavoring with sugary marshmallow bursts. The Spooky Frosted Flakes appeared to have more marshmallows than the other cereals on this list, and with its excess chocolate, it did the best job of flavoring the leftover milk.  I also appreciated that the box keeps you entertained for the duration of your dining experience. For instance, did you know that ghosts eat breakfast in the “moaning”?

Rating: 👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻/10

Some nutritional info: 43% sugar, main ingredient is milled corn, <1g fiber, 2g protein

Third place: Reese’s Puffs Bats

closeup photo of the Reese’s Puffs Bats cereal

Reese’s Bats Cereal, available at Amazon, $8.68

Is there a better candy brand than Reese’s? Not in my book. I snatch up anything Reese’s. I still have some unopened boxes of the limited edition Travis Scott Reeses Puffs. When I found out Reese’s Puffs Bats were a thing, I scoured local stores. The bats taste exactly the same as normal Reese’s Puffs, which is fine by me. Reese’s Puffs Bats has an evenly balanced combination of peanut butter-flavored bats and chocolate-flavored bats. I like that the sweetness isn’t overbearing. Interesting fact: This is the only cereal on our list that doesn’t have marshmallows.

Rating: 🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇/10

Some nutritional info: 31% sugar, main ingredient is whole grain corn, has peanuts, 2g fiber, 3g protein

Honorable mention: Count Chocula

Count Chocula snack pack

Count Chocula Cereal, available at Amazon, $3.79

Based on an informal survey of my foodie group and Google search volume, Count Chocola is the most popular spooky cereal. It’s also the oldest (a title it shares with Franken Berry). It will always hold a special place in my heart. Consisting of chocolatey whole grain corn bits and marshmallow pieces, Count Chocula is my favorite of General Mills’ monster cereals. Specifically, I like that it turns the leftover milk into chocolate milk so you get an extra treat.

Rating: 🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧛‍♀️/10

Some nutritional info: 33% sugar, main ingredient is whole grain corn, 1g fiber and protein

Honorable mention: Froot Loops with Spooky Marshmallows

the Froot Loops with Spooky Marshmallows box front and back

Froot Loops Marshmallow Breakfast Cereal, available at Amazon, $10.09

My neighbor had a rough day last week, and he just offhandedly mentioned that he could go for some Froot Loops. I (begrudgingly) gave him a bowl of this, and his mood improved dramatically. I’m a fan of Froot Loops, and the spooky marshmallows just add to the flavorpalooza. However, I don’t like that it contains wheat since I have to go easy on gluten. Also, the games and jokes on the box are the exact same as the ones on Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks. 

Rating: 🧟‍♂️🧟‍♂️🧟‍♂️🧟‍♂️🧟‍♂️🧟‍♂️🧟‍♂️ /10

Some nutritional info: 38% sugar, main ingredient is sugar, contains wheat, 2g fiber and protein

Honorable mention: Apple Jacks with Spooky Marshmallows

the front of the Apple Jacks with Spooky Marshmallows box

Apple Jacks Marshmallow Breakfast Cereal, available at Amazon, $8.34

Apple Jacks with Spooky Marshmallows is remarkably similar to the Froot Loops. They have the same bat, ghost, and Frankenstein’s monster marshmallows and two colors of O-shaped corn/wheat bits. The difference is in the flavoring of the bits. The Apple Jacks taste more like apples. If you prefer Apple Jacks to Froot Loops in general, you may want to go with this instead of our #5 pick.

Rating: 🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷/10 

Some nutritional info: 41% sugar, main ingredient is sugar, contains wheat, 2g fiber and protein

Honorable mention: Boo Berry

Monster cereals snack pack box

Boo Berry Cereal, available at Amazon, $3.79

Boo Berry was introduced in 1973, two years after its Franken Berry and Count Chocula comrades. I will gladly chow down on Boo Berry if the above options aren’t available, but I think it suffers from low sugar content. After eating a bowl of the spooky Frosted Flakes, Boo Berry tastes bland in comparison. Still, if you love blueberry-flavored sweets and want a relatively low-sugar sugary cereal, Boo Berry is the way to go.

Rating: 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡/10

Some nutritional info: 26% sugar, main ingredient is whole grain corn, 1g fiber and protein

Last place: Franken Berry

Franken Berry snack pack

Franken Berry Cereal, available at Amazon, $17.22 (Pack of 4)

Please don’t email me to tell me that it should be called “Frankenstein’s Monster Berry.” We are dealing with a portmanteau here, and for all we know, “Franken” is short for “Frankenstein’s Monster.” That said, this is essentially the same cereal as Boo Berry, only it’s vaguely strawberry-flavored rather than blueberry. If the strawberry flavor was more pronounced, I’d rate this higher, but as it is, it’s too mild. Still, I hide the box from my kids.

Rating: ⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️/10

Some nutritional info: 26% sugar, main ingredient is whole grain corn, 1g fiber and protein

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These earplugs help me protect my hearing at loud concerts, and they cost less than $30

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the acoustic filters on mumba's concert ear plugs close up
The Mumba Concert Earplugs are comfortable and affordable.

  • Concerts are making a comeback, so I got these Mumba earplugs to help protect my hearing.
  • The Mumba Concert Earplugs are the cheapest and most comfortable earplugs I’ve tried.
  • They allow me to enjoy live music and loud events while minimizing potential hearing damage.

Concert Earplugs (small)

Before the coronavirus pandemic put a pause on in-person events, I went to a lot of concerts. But while I loved listening to live music, I never gave much thought to the damage it could cause to my hearing. Now that concerts are making a comeback, I’m turning over a new leaf – I’m going to wear earplugs.

According to the CDC, noises measuring above 70 dB over an extended period of time can start damaging your hearing. In my experience going to concerts, I’ve found that, on average, loud music ranges from 90 dB to 110 dB – as measured by my Apple Watch Series 6. EDM music festivals and raves are even louder.

To test your level of hearing loss, you can try the Mimi app on iOS and Android. It’s not going to be as accurate as a hearing test conducted by a professional, but it’s neat to get an idea.

I’ve been lucky enough to avoid any permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, but I have to be careful to keep it that way. That’s where earplugs come in. I’ve tried a couple of different brands, but the Mumba Concert Earplugs have proven to be a solid combination of comfort, affordability, and effectiveness.

For a sale price of $22 (usually they’re $29), you get the earplugs, keychain case, and two sizes of in-ear shells.

mumba earplugs set with earplugs, carrying case, plastic case, and box

After some trial and error, I’ve found the smaller size shells (left) to be far more comfortable for my ears. Both sizes are a bit finicky to clean, though.

mumba concert earplugs both sizes

The carrying case gets a second look every time I pass through security, but it’s super convenient to keep on my keys. I have yet to misplace them, too, which is easy with something so small.

mumba earplugs carrying case on my keys

They have a low profile and fit in nice and snug. I’ve found that they cut down on sound without muffling it, and I can still hear people nearby talking to me.

sarah's ear with the mumba earplug in it

These earplugs are designed to reduce noise by up to 24 dB, potentially bringing loud concerts below the harmful level. Exactly how many decibels hit your ears depends on how close you are to the speakers, though.

mumba concert earplugs with the carrying case

Should you buy the Mumba Concert Earplugs?

Mumba’s Concert Earplugs have been a good investment for me, and they’re worth considering if you attend a lot of loud events, too.

The Mumba Earplugs are high quality, effective, and comfortable. Compared to Loop brand earplugs that I’ve tried previously, the Mumba earplugs stay in my ears more securely, and muffle less sound. They also make it easier to hear people around me, which I couldn’t do with Loops.

It’s important to remember, however, that while earplugs like this can help prevent hearing damage, there will always be a risk associated with concerts and other loud events.

You can order the Mumba Concert Earplugs right now for $22.

Concert Earplugs (small)Prime 30-Day Free Trial (small)

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The 5 best bed sheets in 2021 for every sleeper

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

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

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

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

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

Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021

Best sheets overall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cons: Only available in white

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pros: Affordable, great fit 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

green magiclinen sheets and pillows more sheets we tried in 2021

What else we recommend and why 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What we do not recommend and why 

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

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

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

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

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

Our testing methodology

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

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

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

What we’re testing next

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

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

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

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

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

FAQs

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

Does thread count matter?

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

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

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

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

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

What are the different types of sheets?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of sheets do hotels use?

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

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

What are the different sheet certifications?

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the best way to prevent wrinkles?

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

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

Are alternative fibers any good? 

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

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

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

Check out our other great bedding guides

best weighted blanket bearaby napper
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‘Halloween Kills’ hits Peacock and theaters on October 15, but you need a premium plan to stream the slasher movie

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Michael Myers is back in "Halloween Kills."
Michael Myers is back in “Halloween Kills.”

  • You can watch “Halloween Kills” in theaters and on Peacock Premium starting October 15.
  • Michael Myers returns in the new slasher flick, and he’s on the hunt for more victims.
  • Ad-supported Peacock Premium costs $5 a month, and ad-free Peacock Premium Plus costs $10 a month.

Premium (Monthly Plan) (small)Premium Plus (small)

On October 15, “Halloween Kills” will premiere in theaters and on Peacock. In order to stream “Halloween Kills” at home, you need to be a paid subscriber to Peacock Premium ($5/month) or Peacock Premium Plus ($10/month).

In “Halloween Kills,” Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode from the original “Halloween” movie. Michael Myers, the franchise’s iconic slasher villain, is still alive and searching for new victims with his foreboding white mask and blood-soaked knife in hand. Working with survivors of Michael’s past attacks, Laurie takes on the killer in a thrilling attempt to stop the carnage.

The first “Halloween” movie was released in 1978, and “Halloween Kills” is the twelfth installment in the horror franchise known for violent deaths. Another installment, titled “Halloween Ends,” is already set for release in 2022.

Where to watch ‘Halloween Kills’

“Halloween Kills” premieres October 15 in theaters and on Peacock. Although Peacock offers a free plan, you need a paid subscription to Peacock Premium or Premium Plus to watch “Halloween Kills.”

The last movie that was released in theaters and on Peacock at the same time was “The Boss Baby: Family Business.” That title remained on Peacock for 60 days. We expect a similar limited-time streaming release for “Halloween Kills.”

An ad-supported subscription to Peacock Premium costs $5 a month, and an ad-free subscription to Peacock Premium Plus costs $10 a month. Both memberships give you full access to the service’s catalog of NBCUniversal movies and shows.

Premium (Monthly Plan) (small)Premium Plus (small)

If you’re willing to pay for 12 months up front, you can save up to $20 a year by choosing an annual subscription to Peacock Premium ($50) or Peacock Premium Plus ($100) versus a monthly plan.

Premium (Annual Plan) (small)Premium Plus (Annual Plan) (small)

You can watch “Halloween Kills” on Peacock with a web browser or through the dedicated Peacock app. The Peacock app is available on most streaming devices, tablets, smartphones, Xbox consoles, PlayStation consoles, and smart TVs like LG, Samsung, and Vizio. For a full list of compatible streaming options, visit the Peacock website.

Where can I watch other movies from the ‘Halloween’ franchise?

AMC Plus is one of the best streaming services for watching other movies from the “Halloween” franchise. Pricing ranges from $7 to $9 a month depending on how you subscribe. You can learn more about the service in our AMC Plus guide.

You can stream these “Halloween” movies on AMC Plus:

  • “Halloween” (1978)
  • “Halloween II” (1981)
  • “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (1982)
  • “Halloween H20” (1998)
  • “Halloween: Resurrection” (2002)
  • “Halloween II” (2009)

(Amazon Prime Video Channels) (small)

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My mentor recommended this self-help book about dealing with different personalities. Here’s why everyone should read ‘Surrounded By Idiots.’

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"Surrounded By Idiots" by Thomas Erikson
Thomas Erikson’s “Surrounded By Idiots” is a 2014 self-help book that helped me better understand other people and become less self-critical.

  • Surrounded by Idiots” is a 2014 book by Thomas Erikson, an expert on communication.
  • The book shares tips on how to recognize different personality types – and how to work with them.
  • I read the book and it’s helped me to be more understanding of others and less self-critical.

I’ve never had the thought that “I’m surrounded by idiots.” Still, when my mentor recommended Thomas Erikson’s “Surrounded by Idiots” as a good resource for understanding how different personalities communicate and deal with feedback, it piqued my interest.

by Thomas Erikson (small)

I have a master’s degree in psychology, with a focus on social psychology and group behavior. Yet, I never spent much time learning the DISC system, which forms the basis for “Surrounded by Idiots.”

DISC stands for dominance, inspiration/influence, stability/steadiness, and compliance, which are the four personality traits posited by psychologist William Moulton Marston in his 1928 book “Emotions of Normal People.” “Surrounded by Idiots” uses the colors Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue, respectively, to refer to these four personality styles.

the cover of Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson
“Surrounded by Idiots” explains how to spot the different personalities in the people you interact with and how to best communicate with those individuals in a way that gets through to them.

One shortcoming of the book is that it doesn’t provide a DISC assessment tool, but a Google search brought up a free, quick DISC test, which seemed accurate based on my reading “Surrounded by Idiots.” I recommend taking a DISC assessment before reading the book to get a more personal experience.

Fair warning: You will start mentally assessing everyone you come in contact with as you read this book.

Here are 5 things I loved learning from “Surrounded by Idiots”:

By observing specific behaviors, I can learn what makes people tick.

Okay, so this isn’t a brilliant discovery, but Erikson gives specific examples of what you can do to quickly get a better understanding of the personalities of those around you. His simplest advice is to just “shut your mouth and start listening.”

a graph of the different tendencies of the four personality types

A Yellow person will be easy to spot because they never stop talking. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a Blue person will remain quiet. Reds use their words economically. They will be quick to the point and stay on topic. They may even boss you around. And, Greens, the most common personality, will be friendly and laid-back.

Erikson covers how to spot personalities based on other behaviors as well. For example, the folks who take the time to read all of the instructions and supporting documentation are Blues. The person who takes charge of a group is usually a Red. Yellows are optimists, concerned about “good vibes,” and like the new and shiny things, while Greens tend to cautiously avoid rocking the boat.

Someone’s behavior that feels like a flaw in one situation can become an asset in others.

This is the basis for the book’s title. Erikson observed a Red who ran a company that was “full of idiots.” The reason this Red person considered them idiots is that they didn’t work hard and quickly as he did. Yet, without them, the company wouldn’t succeed.

lists of the positives and negatives of each of the four personality types

Each of the different personality types has its pros and cons. For example, while you wouldn’t want a Red’s abrasiveness anywhere near a sensitive situation, they are indispensable when you need help with a seemingly insurmountable problem since they love a good challenge and are relentlessly hard workers.

To get through to people, you need to meet them where they’re at.

It’s natural to assume that others will receive and interpret information the same way you do. If a certain method is effective for you, you’d think it would be effective for everyone else. But, that, of course, is not true. A Blue will read through the entire user manual before playing with their new gadget. A Red will plug it in right away and learn as they fiddle around with it.

“Surrounded by Idiots” helps you figure out how best to deliver feedback and other information once you understand an individual’s personality. For example, Reds will want specific examples. Blues will want all of the details, facts, and figures. Yellows need concrete examples (and you may need to repeat yourself since they have a short memory). And, with Greens, you need to be gentle.

Most people are a mix of different colors.

After glancing at the characteristics of the different colors on the inside cover of “Surrounded by Idiots,” I assumed I was a strong Blue. But, as I read on, it became clear I had elements of all of the colors, which is supported by my free DISC test results.

This is pretty common. According to Erikson, only 5% of people are solidly just one color. 80% of us are two colors. And, 15% are three – with virtually no one exhibiting an even split among all of the colors.

Lists of common characteristics of each of the four personality types

My obsession with keeping meticulous spreadsheets to record every aspect of my life is normal Blue behavior. My impatience with slow decision-making and the need for at least some control in every group I’m a part of are part of my typical Red behavior. And, my passivity, when it’s clear that another Red is in control or I’m just low on energy, is part of my Green behavior.

Erikson says it’s rare for challenging combinations (such as Blue/Yellow and Red/Green) to get along, especially when those traits are within one person. But simply learning about these personality types has helped me gain a better understanding of myself and quieted the self-critical voices. In other words, I’m less likely to see myself as one of the idiots I’m surrounded by.

The best groups have an even collection of all the personality types.

We tend to get along better with people who are the same color as us. So, when Erikson was splitting people up into groups to work on a task at a workshop, he figured he’d put the same colors together. The results were disastrous: The Reds did the wrong task, the Yellows just talked, the Greens were indecisive, and the Blues were still analyzing the instructions when the time was up.

Erikson found that a healthy balance of the colors moves workgroups forward. I think this is a good microcosm of the world at large. It takes all of our personalities to make it what it is. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and it’s only through that understanding that we can work with and bring out the best in each other.

by Thomas Erikson (small)

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How to watch the NFL without cable – week 6 features big matchups between the top 4 teams in the AFC

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NFL How to stream games online 4x3
The 2021 NFL season began on September 9.

  • Week six of the 2021 NFL season features matchups between all four AFC division leaders.
  • NFL games are spread across several channels, including NFL Network, ESPN, NBC, Fox, and CBS.
  • HD antennas and streaming services offer select NFL games without the need for a cable subscription.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Week six of the 2021 NFL season features a number of high profile games, including the Los Angeles Chargers against the Baltimore Ravens, and the Buffalo Bills against the Tennessee Titans. Each team is currently ranked first in their AFC division.

The Dolphins and Jaguars will also play a game in London, with a CBS broadcast starting at 9:30 a.m. ET on October 17.

Throughout the season, NFL games are spread across five primary channels: ESPN, NBC, Fox, CBS, and the NFL Network. Meanwhile, the next Super Bowl will be broadcast on NBC.

To help ensure you get access to every game you want to watch, we broke down the ins and outs of streaming the NFL season without a cable subscription.

NFL Week 6 schedule

Week six of the NFL regular season includes a Sunday Night Football matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC and Peacock. This week’s Monday Night Football game will feature the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans on ESPN.

Primetime games are shown nationally, but local broadcasts for afternoon games are determined by your area. NFL teams with byes in week six include the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers.

Game

Date and time Channel
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles October 14, 8:20 p.m. ET FOX, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars October 17, 9:30 a.m. ET CBS
Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Football Team October 17, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants October 17, 1 p.m. ET FOX
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts October 17, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions October 17, 1 p.m. ET FOX
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears October 17, 1 p.m. ET FOX
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens October 17, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers October 17, 1 p.m. ET FOX
Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns October 17, 4:05 p.m. ET FOX
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos October 17, 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots October 17, 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers October 17, 8:20 p.m. ET NBC, Peacock Premium
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans October 18, 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN

How to watch NFL games without cable

You can access select NFL games without a cable subscription via streaming services like Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, FuboTV, YouTube TV, Paramount Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock Premium, and NFL Sunday Ticket. You can also watch local NFL games with an HDTV antenna.

The 2021 NFL regular season began on September 9. During the regular season, Sunday afternoon games with an NFC home team will typically air on Fox, and Sunday afternoon games with an AFC home team will typically air on CBS.

Meanwhile, Sunday Night Football airs on NBC, and Thursday Night Football will broadcast on NFL Network all season long. Select Thursday Night Football games will also be shown on Fox and streamed via Amazon Prime and Twitch. Finally, Monday Night Football is on ESPN.

Additionally, you can stream all your local in-market games on your mobile device for free using the Yahoo Sports app or the NFL app.

Here’s a full roundup of all the services you can use to stream NFL games without cable.

HDTV Antenna

one by one antenna

You can purchase an antenna, like this 1 By One model, to add to your TV for about $24, giving you access to local channels within a certain distance. 

What you get:

Hooking up an HD antenna to your TV gives you access to local over-the-air (OTA) signals in your location. This means that you will be able to access the local affiliates of major broadcast networks, like Fox, CBS, and NBC.

This lets you watch all the regional games broadcast from wherever you’re located. You also get the Sunday Night Football matchup that airs on NBC. Because it’s only a one-time payment, this is a great option if you’re solely interested in watching the team in your area. However, you will not get access to any out-of-market games or games that air on ESPN or the NFL Network.


Sling TV

How Much is Sling TV 4x3

If you’re looking for a live TV streaming service to watch football, Sling TV is a great budget option that gives you most of the channels you need at a cheaper price than Hulu or FuboTV.

There are three different plans, depending on what channels you prioritize. Sling Orange and Sling Blue each cost $35 a month, while the combined Sling Orange + Blue plan costs $50 per month. Additionally, you can purchase the Sports Extra package to add NFL RedZone to your plan for $11 per month.

What you get:

Sling Orange has ESPN, while Sling Blue has Fox and NBC in select markets as well as the NFL network. CBS is not currently offered by Sling. While there is a Sports Extra package, it does not include any channels that air live NFL games. 

Your best bet to get access to the most NFL games via Sling is to sign up for the Sling Orange + Blue plan and cash in on Sling’s current promotional offer of a free antenna for local channels. The free antenna requires that you prepay for two months of the Sling service. Plus, if you want RedZone you can add the Sports Extra package to the Orange + Blue Plan for a total of $61 a month.

If you don’t want it all, you can just sign up for Sling Blue to gain access to Sunday afternoon games on Fox and Sunday Night Football games on NBC, or just Sling Orange to gain access to Monday Night games on ESPN, in addition to the local offerings included with the antenna. As with all streaming services, game availability is subject to blackouts.

With Sling’s channel listings, add-ons, and the fact that they provide a free antenna, you can gain access to all local channels, the NFL Network, ESPN, and NFL RedZone, making it one of the most cost-effective ways to watch the NFL without cable. 

TV (small)
Hulu with Live TV

Hulu Basic vs Hulu Premium 4x3

In addition to all of its other offerings, Hulu + Live TV has nearly everything you need to stream NFL games for $65 per month. However, like Sling TV, there’s no option to add the NFL Network or NFL RedZone as a channel, which could be a deal-breaker if you’re hoping to watch and monitor action across the league.

What you get: 

Like an HD antenna, Hulu + Live TV gets you access to all the local affiliates of the major broadcasts, meaning Fox, CBS, and NBC. These will show the games that are within your regional broadcast map with the exception of any blackouts. In addition, you also get ESPN, which gives you access to all Monday Night Football games, and some of the best NFL coverage and analysis on TV. 

While you don’t get access to watch out-of-network games from across the country like you do with NFL RedZone or NFL Sunday Ticket, this is a comprehensive way to tune into most locally and nationally televised games. Hulu does not offer a way to watch the first three regular Thursday Night Football games, however, since those will be aired on NFL Network. 


FuboTV

FuboTV

At $65 a month for the Starter Plan, FuboTV is one of the most comprehensive yet expensive live streaming options for NFL football. You can also spend an extra $11 per month to add the Sports Plus with NFL RedZone package.

What you get:

In terms of NFL games, the Starter Plan includes access to local CBS, NBC, and Fox stations (regional availability and blackout restrictions apply). FuboTV’s Starter Plan also grants you access to ESPN to watch Monday Night Football, and NFL Network to stream Thursday Night Football all season long. 


YouTube TV

YouTubeTV NFL Network

With a base price of $65 a month, YouTube TV is another service that offers access to most NFL games. Additionally, the service announced an agreement with the NFL to offer NFL Redzone as an add-on included in their Sports Plus package for an additional $11 a month. 

What you get:

Like other services at this price range, YouTube TV offers access to all the local channels you need to watch NFL games, including CBS, Fox, and NBC. YouTube TV also offers ESPN and NFL Network in their base package, so you’ll be able to watch all Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football games. And with the news of the new Sports Plus package, you can also watch NFL Redzone for an additional $11 per month.


NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL logo

NFL Sunday Ticket used to only be available with a cable subscription, but NFL fans in non-DirecTV markets anywhere in the country can now gain access to every Sunday afternoon game.

There are two separate plans available: The NFL Sunday Ticket To Go plan costs $73.49 per month for four months, which is $293.96 total. There is also the NFL Sunday Ticket Max plan for $99 per month for four months, adding up to $396 total.

What you get:

Both plans give you access to all out-of-market Sunday afternoon games. This means that you do not get access to Thursday, Sunday, or Monday night games. You also won’t be able to stream locally televised games with only an NFL Sunday Ticket subscription. However, this is the only way for people hoping to watch full live games of their favorite teams out of market. A fun feature included in both plans is that you can watch four games at once on your screen.

In addition to the normal features, NFL Sunday Ticket Max adds in NFL RedZone and the DirecTV Fantasy Zone, which is a new channel solely dedicated watching games through the lens of fantasy football. 


Paramount Plus

CBS All Access NFL

If you’re just interested in watching locally televised AFC home games, then a Paramount Plus subscription could be all you need. The service lets you stream live CBS television, as well as a growing library of on-demand shows and exclusive titles. Paramount Plus is available for $5 a month with commercials or $10 a month with ad-free streaming. With that said, all live broadcasts, including NFL games, still feature commercials with the ad-free plan.

What you get:

Paramount Plus offers live streaming for every NFL game that airs on the regular CBS channel in your local market. However, since Paramount Plus only offers CBS content you won’t be able to watch any games that air on other networks or any out of market matches. You can see a full schedule of NFL games set to air on CBS here.

Essential Monthly Plan (ad-supported) (small)Premium Monthly Plan (ad-free) (small)
Peacock Premium

Peacock Sports

Peacock won’t be streaming any exclusive games during the 2021 season, but Premium subscribers can stream all the NFL games being broadcast on NBC.

What you get:

For $5 a month, Peacock Premium will give you streaming access to NBC’s Sunday Night Football games, as well as Super Bowl LVI, the Thanksgiving game between the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints, and the 2021 kick-off game between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The NFL’s flex scheduling gives NBC the option to change the Sunday Night Football game of the week, which typically guarantees that the primetime game will be one of the week’s best matchups.

Premium (Monthly Plan) (small)
Amazon Prime Video

Amazon NFL football

Though yon won’t get local channels, NFL Network, or in-depth analysis, Amazon Prime Video members can watch select Thursday Night Football games with their subscription for no additional cost. A standalone Amazon Prime Video membership costs $9 a month, and the service is included as part of an Amazon Prime subscription for $119 per year or $13 a month.

What you get:

Amazon Prime Video will stream 11 Thursday Night Football games starting week five of the season. These game will also be broadcast on NFL Network and Fox. Since Amazon won’t be streaming any additional games, Prime Video on its own is really only suitable for casual football fans who just want to stream a few games this season. 

Prime Video Monthly Subscription (small)Prime Monthly Subscription (small)
Yahoo Sports app and NFL app

Yahoo Sports app NFL

If you’re only interested in watching in-market games without cable or an antenna, then you can stream live local and primetime games on a mobile device using the Yahoo Sports or NFL app. Both options are free and each app is available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. 

What you get:

These apps provide live streaming for regular season local and primetime games, playoffs, and the Super Bowl. With that said, you can only watch the games on a mobile device. You’ll also need to ensure that your location services are activated on your phone or tablet.

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Where to buy a PlayStation 5 – sign up for a chance to buy one directly from Sony during the holidays

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PlayStation 5 PS5 Product Line
Sony’s PlayStation 5 remains hard to find months after its release.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyPlayStation 5 (small)Playstation 5 (All-Digital) (small)

The PlayStation 5 is Sony’s fastest-selling video game console ever, with more than 10 million systems sold since its launch in November 2020. However, the record demand and an international chip shortage have made the PS5 one of the hardest items to buy in stores or online.

In October, Sony launched a registration program to give shoppers a chance to purchase the PS5 directly from the company during the holiday shopping season. Sony says console supply will remain limited through the end of the year, but a select number of people who register will receive an email to make a direct purchase. You can find more details and register on Sony’s site.

We’ve seen weekly restocks of the PS5 ($500) and PS5 Digital Edition ($400) online at retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, and Sony’s own PlayStation Direct store. Nearly all PlayStation 5 sales are handled online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and overall demand, but some GameStop locations have made consoles available for in-store purchase on occasion.

Walmart usually announces PS5 restocks a few hours before consoles are available online. GameStop sends emails to subscribers ahead of PS5 restocks but typically only makes the PS5 available in bundles. Amazon and Newegg have also made PS5 consoles available, though on a less consistent basis. Newegg uses a raffle system to give shoppers a chance to buy rare items like the PS5.

We’ll keep this post updated as we get more information about PS5 restocks, but ultimately you’ll need to keep checking multiple stores and get a bit lucky with timing to secure the console.

Where to buy a PS5: stores and price

PlayStation 5 price
The digital edition of the PlayStation 5 doesn’t have a disc drive.

Several stores, including Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target, and Newegg, have regularly restocked PlayStation 5 consoles since launch, but they typically sell out as soon as they’re available online.

Sony’s PlayStation Direct store has a registration program that functions like a waitlist for a limited supply of PS5 consoles. If selected, shoppers who sign up will receive an email to purchase a PS5 directly from Sony. Registering does not guarantee you’ll get an invite, however, and it’s not clear how many people will be selected. Invitations to purchase a PS5 will begin to go out to selected shoppers in November 2021.

The PlayStation 5 comes in two different models — one that has a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive and a “digital edition” with no disc drive at all. The standard model is priced at $500, and the digital edition is priced at $400.

At popular sites for resellers, like eBay and StockX, you can expect to pay between $700 or $800 for the PlayStation 5.

You can check the links below to see if the PS5 is currently available at each retailer; we’ll update this post if a specific store announces a restock.

PlayStation 5 (Standard Edition) 

PlayStation 5 (Digital Edition)


Tips for buying the PS5

Setting up PS5 console
A gamer sets up the new Sony Playstation PS5 at his home in Seoul after Sony launched the new console.

Buying the PlayStation 5 has been a struggle since release, but retailers have been making a steady stream of consoles available. If you have a preferred store, you should look into setting stock alerts with their online tools.

Third-party stock-tracking websites like HotStock.io can tell you when a store last had the PlayStation 5 in stock and let you set alerts for multiple retailers. A reseller who made more than $40,000 reselling PS5 consoles last year shared more specific tips on how to find the console online.

If you encounter issues while trying to check out with an online retailer, keep trying to refresh the product page to add the console and make sure the PS5 is available and in your cart. If possible, create an account with your preferred retailer and enter your payment and shipping information in advance to help the checkout process move quickly.

PlayStation 5 specifications

PlayStation 5 Digital Edition PS5 DE Render

The PlayStation 5 boasts much more powerful hardware than the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro. Upgrades include a solid state hard drive and a graphics card capable of ray-tracing technology.

For detailed impressions, check out our full PlayStation 5 review.

PlayStation 5 accessories

PlayStation 5

The new PlayStation 5 family of peripherals haven’t been nearly as hard to find as the console itself, though they’re not of much use without the main course. That said, they do complement the features of the PlayStation 5, so we’ve taken to the time to explain what they all do.

Sony’s $70 DualSense controller is a worthy successor to the PS4’s popular DualShock, implementing a built-in microphone, haptic feedback for adjustable trigger tension, and advanced rumble features while also improving the battery life and adopting a USB-C charging cable.

Wireless Controller for PS5 (small)

The $100 Pulse 3D headset is a direct successor to the gold and platinum wireless headsets Sony released for the PlayStation 4. The headset has an adjustable band, built-in microphone, and hardware buttons for mute, voice monitoring, and volume. While the Pulse 3D headset is worth the investment, PS5’s 3D audio features will also work with any third-party headset that’s been licensed for use on PS4.

Pulse 3D Wireless Headset (small)

The $30 PlayStation media remote might look appealing, but for $30 you can find a better or cheaper universal remote to control the console. Several smart TV brands also let you control the PS5 with your standard TV remote too, so it’s worth giving that a try before making this investment.

PlayStation 5 Media Remote (small)

The $30 DualSense charging stand can charge two controllers and makes for a nice stand alongside the PS5, but it doesn’t actually charge your controllers any faster than using a regular cable.

PlayStation 5 DualSense Charging Station (small)

The $60 HD camera can be used for streaming in full 1080p and even has a background removal tool, but it cannot be used as a microphone like the PlayStation 4 camera. Luckily, you can just use the DualSense’s built-in mic to communicate while playing.

PlayStation 5 HD Camera (small)
PlayStation 5 exclusive games

Ratchet Clank Rift Apart
“Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart” is Sony’s latest PlayStation 5 exclusive.

Sony is committed to creating a full lineup of exclusive games for the PlayStation 5, repeating the same strategy that helped make the PS4 a massive success. Because there are still so many gamers waiting to upgrade to PS5, many of the games released on the new console will also work on PlayStation 4, like “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” and “Sackboy: A Big Adventure.”

Keep in mind that new games like “Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War” have been designed to run better on PS5, even if they’re available on the PS4. Below, we’ve listed all the games that require a PlayStation 5 to play, including upcoming titles that don’t have release dates yet. 

Exclusive PS5 games available now

Upcoming PS5 exclusive games

  • “Horizon: Forbidden West”
  • “God of War: Ragnarok”
  • “Gran Turismo 7”

For more PlayStation game recommendations, check out our complete roundup of exclusives that make the PS5 worth buying.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best weighted blanket we tested in 2021

best weighted comforter 2021 brooklinen thumb

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

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

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

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

The best weighted blankets in 2021

Best weighted comforter

best weighted blanket 2021 brooklinen weighted comforter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best extra-heavy weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 gravity blanket heavy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best cooling weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 cooling blanket blanquil chill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best weighted throw blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 bearaby knitted throw blanket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best budget weighted blanket

best weighted blanket 2021 luna blanket budget affordable cheap

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

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

Cons: Thinner blanket than some others on our list

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best king-size weighted blanket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-James Brains, reporter

What else we tested

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

What we recommend and why 

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

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

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

What we don’t recommend and why

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

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

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

Our testing methodology

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

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

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

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

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

What we’re testing next

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

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

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

Weighted blanket FAQs

What weight should a weighted blanket be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What size weighted blanket should I get?

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

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

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

How do I choose a weighted blanket?

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

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

How often should I wash my weighted blanket?

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

Are weighted blankets good for anxiety?

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

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

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

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

 

Check out our other sleep and bedding guides

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