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Wayfair’s major Way Day sale is finally here and is happening through April 29.
We’ve gathered the best items our editors and readers have purchased from Wayfair to check out during the sale.
You can read more about Way Day, including the best deals and discounts, here.
Wayfair’s Way Day sale is currently running today, April 28 through April 29, and includes great discounts across the site. Way Day is an annual sale that Wayfair hosts to inspire customers to furnish their homes with fun and exciting products. The sale also includes some deals that are better than those offered by the retailer during Black Friday. This year the sale is two days instead of just one, ensuring you’ll have enough time to search for the best products and deals.
With the retailer offering thousands of products across many categories, it will be difficult to sort through the options during the short sale. We compiled 13 of our favorite products that our editors and readers have purchased from Wayfair, from a statement rug to a set of hypoallergenic pillows. While not every item that we recommend is on sale, we hope our picks will bring you inspiration as you navigate the sale.
Here are 13 of our favorite products to shop from Wayfair:
A permanent fixture in the video meeting background of associate story producer Lily Oberstein, the Ankur 5 Drawer Chest is easy to install thanks to excellently labeled pieces and clear instructions. The chest also has a unique contrasting pattern that adds a subtle hint of contemporary design.
Having supportive pillows is just important as having a supportive mattress when trying to improve sleep quality. Another popular option with our readers, this pillow duo offers plush support and can also be cleaned in the washing machine. The pillows are available in both standard and king sizes.
If you have a smaller kitchen, and are in desperate need of more counter space, purchasing a kitchen island can offer a solution. Associate travel editor Hannah Freedman says the Lockard Kitchen Island creates separation in her open-concept apartment while also providing additional counter space and storage. At just over 40 inches wide, It’s also the perfect
Hybrid mattresses offer the best of both worlds when it comes to sleep support. The Wayfair Sleep 12″ Medium Pillow Top Hybrid Mattress provides low motion transfer, medium support, and is made with hypoallergenic materials. The bed arrives in a box and takes 48 hours to expand before being ready to sleep on. You can also purchase a 10-year warranty on the mattress directly from Wayfair when checking out. It was a popular choice with our readers last year.
While the exact rug story production fellow Allison Arnold purchased is currently out of stock, the Yountville Hand-Tufted Wool Rug similarly offers a bold design and is also made by popular Wayfair in-house brand AllModern. Arnold currently uses the rug as a bold decor accent in a muted, mid-century styled living room.
Surprisingly, the most purchased product from Wayfair by Insider readers in the last year was a bidet. Far from average, the Washlet C100 Elongated Toilet Bidet Seat offers a heated seat, temperature and pressure control, and an automatic deodorizer; all features that are difficult to find in the average toilet seat.
It’s officially been over a year since many of us started working from home, making it a great time for a home office refresh. The Three Posts Lamantia Desk is made of solid wood and is available in three wood finishes. It was a popular choice with our readers in the last year and also has a 5-year warranty just in case any damages occur.
When shopping for outdoor furniture, you’ll want to ensure your purchasing items made with high-quality, weather-resistant materials. The Launderhill Steel Patio Gazebo is constructed with rust-resistant steel and is designed to be used year-round. The gazebo is also equipped with mosquito netting and even a place to hang an outdoor chandelier.
Insider Reviews’ senior editor Lauren Savoie purchased this 4-piece set last Way Day for a price so good, she was skeptical of how great the quality would be. She was surprised to find it’s a beautifully crafted, solid wood set. The set offers those with outdoor spaces an opportunity to use them to their full potential as the weather continues to get warmer.
Task lighting is essential for properly lighting a room, but can also come in handy when reading, working, or doing any other activity that requires bright, focused lighting. The Kaibab Task Floor Lamp includes a spiral lightbulb and can be adjusted to various heights. The lamp also has a vintage metal design that will match the decor style of almost any room.
Whether you’re looking to serve your mom breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day, or work comfortably from your bed, this antique wooden breakfast tray can be used for a variety of purposes. It can also be folded up when not in use for easy storage.
Bring the park home with this giant weather-resistant sandbox that will keep children entertained for hours at a time. While the sandbox does not include sand, it does have built-in seating and a cover to close up the sandbox when it’s not in use.
It performed well in our cooling tests, used the least electricity, and features a helpful app.
A portable air conditioner is a good solution for rooms that don’t have the single- or double-hung windows required for window units or those that aren’t frequently used, like a guest room.
We typically recommend window units over portable air conditioners when your space allows for them. Window ACs perform better, are more energy efficient, and have cheaper upfront and operational costs. However, a portable air conditioner can be rolled wherever you need it, is easier to install than window units, is often allowed in rentals, and can be easily stored away when not needed.
We tested 12 models (details on our testing methods here) and consulted with three experts to determine the best portable air conditioners. All the units we recommend performed well in our tests, have useful features that justify their price, and are designed to maintain a cool temperature in appropriately-sized rooms.
Here are the best portable air conditioners of 2021
Pros: Can be controlled and scheduled using your phone, voice control, easy to move, performed well in cooling tests, fits a wide array of window sizes, lowest power consumption in our tests
Cons: Setup took longer than others, one-year warranty
The LG portable AC has a dual-inverter compressor, which relies on variable motor speed to regulate temperature — rather than just being on or off. This makes it more energy-efficient than non-inverter portable ACs. (Though it’s still less efficient than window units, and like all portable ACs, it’s not Energy Star-certified.) This checked out in our power consumption tests, where it used 20% less power than any other portable model we tested.
It’s supported by the LG ThinQ app (available for iOS and Android), which allows you to use your phone as a remote and set a schedule. Additionally, it’s Alexa-enabled.
It performed moderately in our cooling tests, and was within 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit of the Whynter ARC-14SH, our top performer. This is the air conditioner I use in my bedroom. Even during muggy Michigan heat waves, it does an excellent job of keeping me cool.
I’ve never had any problems with it waking me up. In our noise test, it registered 56 decibels on high (about as loud as a refrigerator).
Installation took a little longer than the other ACs we tested, but I liked that the window slider can accommodate windows up to 60-inches wide. Once set up, it only took a little more than a minute to move from room to room thanks to its handles, smooth casters, and a dedicated slot for the window slider when in transport. However, at 71 pounds, it can be a hassle to switch between floors.
Another negative is we noticed an uptick in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air during our tests, but the levels were still low enough not to be concerning.
Pros: Quiet operation, fast installation, fits a wide range of window sizes, low power consumption in our tests, good cooling
Cons: Hose came unattached when changing locations, minimal warranty
When heat waves make sleep difficult, you want a portable air conditioner that not only cools well but also runs quietly. The Frigidaire FHPC102AB1 Portable Air Conditioner offers the best balance of cooling and quiet operation (55 decibels on high), at about half the price of our top pick.
Within 10 minutes of cutting open the box, I had this Frigidaire AC up and running. I like that the window slider extends up to 52.5 inches, which was more than enough for my windows. And, with the foam seals that are included, the unit doesn’t have to do as much work to keep your room cool.
The Frigidaire FHPC102AB1 has wheels, handles, and cord storage to make it easier to move the appliance from room to room. However, I was slowed during transport when the hose disconnected from the unit. There does not appear to be a way to keep it on more securely when moving it. Yet, this will be little to no inconvenience for most users.
The Frigidaire portable AC was second only to our top pick in energy efficiency, using 1.71 kWh of electricity during a two-hour period.
In that time, it also brought the temperature in the room down 2.6 degrees, which is particularly impressive when you consider it has the lowest Btu rating of the units we tested and wasn’t designed to cool rooms as big as our testing area.
I purchased this three years ago, and it’s still going strong. I like that I don’t have to put it in storage during the winter. Instead, I use it to heat the living room, which tends to run colder than the rest of the house.
Installation was a breeze, taking about five minutes. I didn’t need any special tools to get the job done. I like that the window slider extends to 60 inches, which is more than enough for my needs. However, I wish it came with window security brackets to make it harder for someone to push the window open and gain access to my house. Fortunately, this hasn’t been an issue.
It’s one of the louder units we tested and when I neglect to regularly clean the filter, the Black+Decker produces jarring sounds as it changes fan speeds.
In our tests, it was in the middle of the pack in electricity use. Over the course of two hours, it consumed 1.83 kWh.
We should also note that our air quality monitor registered a 50% increase in VOCs during the testing period. However, the levels weren’t high enough to cause concern.
What else we tested
Over the last year, we’ve tested 12 portable air conditioners, and there are a few that barely missed the cut for our guide but are worth considering:
What else we recommend and why:
GE APWA14YZMW ($546.00): This was one of the top performers in our cooling tests, installation was quick, and I was able to easily connect to the SmartHQ (available for iOS and Android) to control and schedule the AC. However, it was louder and used more power than any of the other models we tested. Still, if our top picks are sold out, we think this would be a good backup option for medium-size rooms.
GE APCA10YZMW ($314.10): This is a lower Btu (6,700), non-smart version of our pick for best portable AC for medium rooms. It didn’t cool nearly as well as the GE APWA14YZMW but used less electricity. Installation was quick and easy, and I was able to uninstall it and reinstall it in a different room in under a minute.
Whynter ARC-122DS ($446.99): With its handles and smooth-rolling casters, this portable AC was among the easiest to uninstall in one room and reinstall in another. But, at 76 pounds, it’s very heavy to move between floors. The cooling power was in the middle of the pack in our tests. It was one of the quietest at just 55 decibels while on high power, but only fits windows up to 46-inches long, which is limiting.
Honeywell HL12CESWK (Discontinued): We don’t usually recommend discontinued items. We put this Honeywell model here because it was our pick for the best quiet portable AC before this update. For transparency, we wanted to note why this model is no longer in our guide. We recommend our budget pick as a great alternative.
What we don’t recommend and why:
GE APCA12YZMW ($449): This is a higher Btu (8,200) version of the GE APCA10YZMW, but we it uses more power, is noisier, costs more, and doesn’t cool any better. On the plus side, it was easy and quick to install, and I was able to reinstall it in another room in a little more than a minute.
Frigidaire GHPC132AB1 ($599): This model uses comparatively little power (1.74 kWh in two hours), runs quietly (51 decibels on high), and has smart connectivity. However, it was one of the worst performers in our cooling tests. We think there are better options that cost much less.
Other than its appearance, the most notable feature of the Whynter ARC-14S is its cooling abilities. It performed the best in our cooling tests, decreasing the temperature in the room by 3.6 degrees over two hours. However, it was also one of the loudest models at 58 decibels.
Weighing 86 pounds, the unit is heavy and lacks handles, making it hard to move from room to room. The initial installation took me half an hour, which is longer than most models. It was slower because the fixtures needed to be screwed by hand into the window slider. The slider was just short of being long enough for my 47-inch window opening so I used some of the Styrofoam packaging to fill the gap. Additionally, it doesn’t come with foam seals, which are helpful for efficient cooling.
I’ve been reviewing heating, cooling, and air quality devices for the past three years. For this guide, I personally tested 12 portable air conditioners and consulted with Joanna Mauer, the technical advocacy manager for the Appliance Standards Awareness Project; Matt Brown, the merchant for home comfort, air quality, and floorcare at The Home Depot; and Enesta Jones, a spokesperson for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which oversees the Energy Star program.
Based on the interviews and my research, the most important features to consider when shopping for a portable AC are its cooling abilities, power usage, and how well it will fit the window where you want to use it. Here are the main ways we test each unit:
Cooling: I set the unit up in a 550-square-foot room and crank the AC on its highest setting with the goal of achieving the lowest temperature possible. I then use a digital thermometer placed at the opposite end of the room from the AC to compare the starting temp to the temp two hours later. To ensure an even playing field, I keep my home’s heating system at 75 degrees while testing ACs.
Setup: To assess setup, I timed how long it took me to unbox and install the air conditioners. I also noted whether you needed tools to complete the job. None of the models took more than 35 minutes to install, and I didn’t need anything more than a Phillips-head screwdriver to do it.
Portability: To test this, I used a stopwatch to time how long it took me to uninstall the unit, move it to the next room, and reinstall it. There is a three-quarter-inch lip in the flooring between the rooms, so handles were important. And, the weight of the unit was taken into consideration.
Extras: All of the models I tested came with remote controls, had dehumidifying and fan modes, and a warranty of at least one year. This was the baseline. To score well in the extras department, the AC had to have more than the basics. This includes app connectivity, a longer warranty, a heating mode, and foam seals to assist with efficient cooling.
Noise: Whether you’re sleeping, working, or watching a movie, you don’t want your room’s air conditioner to be loud and distracting. To test this, I cranked the AC to its highest setting and used a sound meter to measure the decibels from six feet away. I also paid close attention to what sounds the device made as the compressor turned on and off. If the change was jarring, the model lost points.
Air quality: This is a new category that we didn’t weigh heavily. Using an indoor air quality monitor, I compared the readings for carbon dioxide, VOCs, and particulate matter in the room before and after running the AC for two hours. I noted whether there were significant changes in the air quality.
Energy consumption: I used a smart plug to measure the amount of electricity used while running the unit on full power for two hours. All of the portable ACs I tested used much more power than even the least efficient window AC I’ve tested.
What we’re testing next
To make sure our guide is as comprehensive as possible, we are always on the lookout for new portable air conditioner models to test. We are looking forward to testing the following for our next update:
Whynter ARC-148MHP ($485.32): This 10,000 Btu unit is geared to rooms of about 500 square feet and features a heater. We also noticed that the window slider kit fits windows up to 48 inches, which will make it long enough for our test window (an improvement on previous Whynter models we’ve tested). Based on our previous experience with Whynter ACs, we’re excited to see how well this performs.
Honeywell MN14CHCSWW ($669.99): The two Honeywell models we tested have been discontinued so we’re curious about what the company is working on. This 8,000 Btu unit is designed for larger rooms and features heating.
Haier HPC12XCR ($409.00): We tested a Haier window air conditioner and were impressed with how quietly and efficiently it cooled our test room. We’re excited to see if the manufacturer does as good of a job with portable ACs.
What should you look for in a portable air conditioner?
We talked to Matt Brown from the home comfort, air quality, and floorcare division at The Home Depot, to learn more about what to look for in an air conditioner. (The Home Depot was not involved in our testing and selection process.) Brown said there are four primary factors to consider when shopping for an AC: room size, outlet type, window size, and extra features.
“ACs are rated by Btu and range from 5,000 to 24,000 Btu, which correlates to 150 to 1,500 square feet. The larger the Btu, the larger the room it covers,” Brown said. “It’s critical to not get a unit too big or small for a room for maximum cooling and efficiency.”
If you get a unit that is too big for a room, it will cool too quickly without removing the moisture, which will create a cold, clammy environment. An AC that is too small will be overworked, which boosts your energy costs.
Window size is also important. A portable AC still needs access to an opening for its exhaust hose in order to emit hot air. “Customers need to confirm the window opening is large enough to accommodate the unit,” Brown said. “Each unit specifies how large the window needs to be to accommodate [it].”
When it comes to new technology, Brown said to look at inverter technology. “These units use more efficient motor technology that can ramp power up/down as needed while continuously running,” he said Our top pick features a dual-inverter compressor.
How many Btu do you need to cool your room?
When you’re shopping for portable AC units, it’s best to prioritize the size of the area you wish to cool, rather than the size of the actual unit. To pick the most appropriate model, you’ll want to match the Btu requirements to the room size you plan to use it in.
Btu is the international measure of energy and measures the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at sea level. When it comes to air conditioners, manufacturers use Btu to indicate the quantity of heat a conditioning unit can remove from a room per hour.
As the Btu rating increases so does the weight, size, and cost of the air conditioner, but you have to make sure you get the right cooling capacity for your space. If you purchase a unit that has a higher Btu rating than the room requires, it will cycle off too quickly and won’t remove the humidity from the air properly. On the other hand, if you purchase a portable air conditioner that has a lower Btu rating than the room requires, it will never cool the room adequately.
With portable ACs, there are generally two Btu ratings listed, the manufacturer’s Btu (ASHRAE) and DOE. We consider the DOE rating to be more accurate. “For cooling capacity for portable ACs, the ASHRAE rating doesn’t take into account the impact of hot air infiltration from outside or heat losses through the ducts, which can be significant,” says Joanna Mauer, the technical advocacy manager for the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. “In addition, the ASHRAE rating refers to an industry test procedure, but it’s not clear that all manufacturers have been testing their units in a consistent way.”
“In contrast, the DOE ratings are based on a standardized test procedure established by the U.S. Department of Energy, which manufacturers are required to follow and which does account for hot air infiltration and heat losses through the ducts,” adds Mauer. In our guide, we primarily reference the DOE ratings.
Below are some rough guidelines for determining how many DOE Btu you want for your room size:
A 150 sq. ft. room requires 5,000 Btu
A 250 sq. ft. room requires 6,000 Btu
A 350 sq. ft. room requires 8,000 Btu
A 450 sq. ft. room requires 10,000 Btu
A 550 sq. ft. room requires 12,000 Btu
A 700 sq. ft room requires 14,000 Btu
What can you do if you are stuck with an AC that doesn’t have enough Btu to adequately cool a room?
“It’s always good to keep the filter clean,” says Mauer. “You can also try to reduce the heat gain in the room, for example, by closing the blinds and curtains during the day. Finally, if you have a ceiling fan, running the fan can make it feel a few degrees cooler.”
Which is better: a portable air conditioner or a window/room air conditioner?
“In general, a room air conditioner is a more efficient choice over a portable air conditioner,” says Jones. “Portable air conditioners are not part of the Energy Star program.”
Our testing backs this up. Our top portable air conditioner, which uses an energy-efficient inverter compressor, still used 60% more electricity than our top window air conditioner. The window AC also did a much better job of cooling and costs much less both upfront and to run.
“Portable ACs often don’t provide good cooling performance,” explains Mauer. “With single-duct units in particular, because the air flow used to reject heat to the outside is drawn from the room being cooled, this process creates a negative pressure, which results in hot air being drawn in from outside.”
Window air conditioners on the other hand are mostly outside so the hot air has a harder time entering your room.
So, if you have a double-hung window with the right dimensions for it, we strongly recommend choosing a window air conditioner. Only opt for a portable AC in spaces where a window AC isn’t an option.
Can I use a portable air conditioner in a room without windows?
The short answer is yes, but you need to have some way for the hot air to leave the room. If you don’t, you won’t experience any of the cooling benefits of the AC. With portable air conditioners, you just need an opening to the outside that is as big as the ventilating hose.
How do I clean and maintain my portable air conditioner?
Here’s what you should do to clean and maintain your portable AC:
Wipe down the exterior: This one is easy and should be done frequently — just take a damp cloth to the outside of your portable AC to keep it free of dust. Avoid using harsh cleaners to keep the exterior nice and shiny.
Keep any hoses as short as possible: If you move your portable AC around and it has hoses for exhaust and condensation drainage, you’ll want to keep them as short and straight as possible between the unit and the window to reduce potential moisture or dust build up inside. This can lead to inefficiency and run up your bills.
Remove condensation: Condensation builds up during the cooling process, so it’s important to remove it regularly. Many portable ACs have a drain hose or a built-in dehumidifier that makes this easier, but you should still check often. It’s also important to remove condensation if you’re putting away your portable AC for the season — it’s never fun to discover mold has grown all over your unit the next time you take it out.
Clean or change the filters: Filters are an important part of keeping your indoor air free of dust and potential allergens. Some brands recommend monthly cleaning, while others like GE recommend weekly — whatever you choose, just make sure it’s consistent.
If you’re changing filters, make sure you’re buying the right one as the wrong size or brand might make your unit less efficient. If you’re cleaning reusable or washable filters, avoid harsh chemicals and cleaners. According to Bob Vila, usually, a vacuum with a crevice attachment or warm water with a mild detergent and a soft brush to loosen dust will suffice.
Check the insulation: Even though your portable AC won’t sit in your window frame, the exhaust hose and potentially drain hose will extend outside your home so it’s important to make sure your insulation is flush to keep your machine running efficiently. Some models might include strips of insulation, but if they don’t, you can get some inexpensive adhesive strips easily. Proper insulation keeps your portable AC from wasting energy and efficiency to cool your room, so you should do this any time you move your unit.
Twice per season:
Clean the condenser coils: This looks like a metal filter inside the back of your portable AC, so you’ll need a screwdriver to pop out the back panel. It attracts a lot of dust and can make your AC run less efficiently over time, so grab a vacuum cleaner with a crevice attachment and run it over the coils — don’t press too hard on the metal fins otherwise, you risk dents. Once the coils are clean, secure the back panel.
In the heating and cooling industry, there’s a lot of jargon to wade through. What do all of those acronyms and terms even mean? Here are the definitions for a few that you’ll commonly hear:
Btu: This is short for British thermal units. One Btu is equal to the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In cooling, Btu is used to measure how much heat is removed from a room. The more Btu per hour an air conditioner is rated for, the better job it does cooling.
Compressor: The compressor works to push the hot air outside so cold air can circulate in your room. The gas refrigerant within the cooling system takes on the heat from the air, and the compressor turns the hot gas refrigerant back into a liquid. It works with the condenser on the air conditioner’s hot side to dissipate the heat from the refrigerant. Along with the condenser and evaporator, the compressor is one of the three main components of any air conditioning unit.
kWh: This is short for kilowatt-hour. It’s a unit of energy that most electricity utilities use to measure your power use, and it’s what we use to measure the energy consumption of the air conditioners we test.
Window slider: This is the long, adjustable piece of plastic that comes with your portable AC and goes in your window’s opening. The hose from your portable AC connects to the slider to send the hot air emitted from the unit outside. Installing the window slider is the main step in installing a portable AC.
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You don’t need to be an online shopping veteran to know that it’s a tricky affair – the whole process occurs without you ever seeing or trying the product. To make buying a little easier, many retailers offer helpful policies, like free online returns. Especially with holidays like Mothers’ Day around the corner, it’s good to know which stores you can easily make returns to.
We’ve rounded up a list of retailers offering free online returns, below.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
Get free online returns on orders at these companies:
Style & clothing
ALDO: Aldo will refund unworn, unwashed, not final sale items returned within 60 days of your purchase.
Allbirds: The buzzy shoe brand allows returns for 30 days with no questions asked, even if you’ve already worn the shoes around. You can return or exchange any shoes for free that aren’t to your liking.
Bonobos: Men’s clothing and accessories store Bonobos includes a pre-paid return label with every order for hassle-free returns. If you make your return within 45 days of your purchase, you qualify for a refund using your original payment method. If you return within 90 days of your purchase date, you qualify for store credit instead.
Bloomingdale’s: Bloomingdale’s has one of the best return policies of any store. You can return an order for free for up to a full year. Just print a mailing label at home for your order.
Everlane: All purchases from the popular clothing brand Everlane can be returned for free for up to 30 days after your ship date. That even includes Choose What You Pay purchases. Plus, you can also return anything you bought at a brick-and-mortar store via mail.
Macy’s: Macy’s offers free and easy returns on most items by mail. Just print a pre-addressed shipping label and send your items back. They’ve also extended their return window from 30 to 90 days.
Neiman Marcus: Almost all merchandise can be returned to Neiman Marcus free of charge if received within 15 days of the delivery date. However, you may want to double-check their return policy as a few items aren’t eligible for free returns, including anything bought on clearance.
Nordstrom: The department store offers free returns in the US via a postage-paid return label. Your return is generally processed within 10-14 days.
Patagonia: Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia offers free returns on all items, though they’re currently delayed due to staffing and safety requirements. Even better, they also usually offer free repairs on all Patagonia items, though this program has temporarily been suspended due to the novel coronavirus. They do, however, have free DIY repair guides online.
REI: If you’re not satisfied with any purchase from REI, you can return it for up to a full year for free. Return shipping labels come with all invoices. The only exception is outdoor electronics, which can be returned for free within 90 days.
Shopbop: Shopbop is known for designer women’s fashion apparel, which means items often come with a high price tag. Items returned within 15 days after receipt are refunded with no extra cost – though they’ll accept returns up to 30 days after with a $10 fee tacked on.
Sunglass Hut: With summer on the horizon, you may be eyeing new frames from Sunglass Hut, the sunglass retailer that carries brands from Ray-Ban to Gucci. Shop with confidence knowing you can return items for free for up to 90 days with a printed shipping label.
Urban Outfitters: Returning items to Urban Outfitters is easy. Just start a return online and print a free pre-paid shipping label. Returns made within 30 days of your delivery date qualify for a refund using your payment method; if it takes place after, you may qualify for store credit instead.
Zappos: Zappos has long been heralded as a gold standard for customers when it comes to returns. Return shipping is always free and you have 365 days to do so for all purchases – no exceptions.
Bed Bath & Beyond: Bed Bath & Beyond offers free return shipping on most items. You have a 90-day window after purchase to exchange or return.
Chewy: Pet owners will be pleased to learn that returns to Chewy are easy. If you’re not completely satisfied with your items, you can return them free of charge within one year. Just send a message with your order number to receive a shipping label.
Home Depot: While there are a few exceptions for bigger items, many orders are eligible for free online returns. Once you start a return you’ll receive a free UPS shipping label via email to print and attach to your package.
Target: Shoppers at Target have 90 days to return or exchange items for free. RedCard holders get 120 days.
Walmart: Walmart makes it simple to return items for free. Just log into your account, initiate a return or replacement, and print a free return label. Refunds or replacement items are issued as soon as the store receives the item. You have 90 days after purchase to make a return in most cases.
Williams Sonoma: Foodies and home chefs will like that Williams Sonoma allows for free returns by mail within 30 days for any items under 70 pounds. You can use the form attached to your invoice or quickly print a label online.
Best Buy: Most items are eligible for refunds if you return them within 15 days of receipt. It’s important to note, however, that some items (like cell phones and DSLR cameras) will incur a restocking fee.
Dell: It can be nerve-wracking to buy pricey electronics sight unseen, but you can shop easy at Dell. Ship any items back for free within 30 days of your invoice date for a full refund.
Though a popular business strategy for new startups today is to sell direct-to-consumer through their own websites, the practice often serves as a springboard for other retail opportunities, not an outright boycott. Direct-to-consumer selling hasn’t replaced brick-and-mortar stores; rather, it has helped redefine how to create brand experiences and nurture loyal customer followings.
In a similar fashion, many online startups eventually find their way into popular retail stores that you’ve been shopping at for years, whether for a limited run or a long-term residency. It’s just another way for these startups to get their products in front of more eyes, plus it’s undeniably convenient to shop all your favorites at one site and enjoy free shipping and return perks.
Target is one such home to many direct-to-consumer startups you might recognize across personal care, bedding, food, pets, and more. It’s the perfect place to discover new and innovative brands, so it’s no wonder the following 22 online companies have decided to sell through the company.
Here are 22 popular online startups you can now find at Target:
The Mighty Patch has become a skincare staple for many, and that’s probably because these tiny dots draw out the gunk from your blemishes. All it takes is sticking them to your skin and leaving them on overnight or throughout the day to flatten your pimples. But besides the fan favorite patches, Hero Cosmetics has also created more conventional skincare products like a cleanser, toner, serum, and blemish balm — all of which you can find at Target. You can read our full Mighty Patch review here.
Thinx is known for its period-proof underwear, which now appears on the shelves of select Target stores and on Target’s site. Thinx for All is an extension of the brand’s existing offerings and uses the same design and technology, but with lower prices and a smaller selection. The cotton underwear is tagless and can soak up the equivalent of three to five regular tampon’s worth, depending on whether you get the moderate absorbency or super absorbency version. These period saviors also control odor and wick moisture to best support you during your cycle.
Initially recognized for its Billion Dollar Brow products, Billion Dollar Beauty has created a customizable makeup box that’s sold exclusively at Target. The Billion Dollar Box is a magnetic, mess-free palette that rethinks the typical makeup bag. You can fill your box with Billion Dollar Beauty products like eyeshadow, blush, lip balm, and more. Best of all, one side of the box includes a mirror that props up, making it perfect for on-the-go touch ups. The brand also puts sustainability first, and its makeup formulas meet Target’s clean beauty standards.
Popular custom haircare brand Function of Beauty sells four Target-exclusive collections that are each geared towards a specific hair type: straight, wavy, curly, and coily. Each collection features a shampoo, a conditioner, and three booster shots that match with the respective hair type. You can alternatively mix and match by buying individual products from different collections. Not to mention, these offerings align with Target’s clean beauty guidelines and are wrapped in recyclable materials. If you want to learn more about the brand’s custom haircare, you can read our review here.
Olive & June started as a nail salon in Los Angeles, and has since grown into a mainstream nail brand that’s known for its minimalistic packaging and chic colors. Building on its lacquer empire, Olive & June sells nail care products like its Cuticle Serum and The Poppy Manicure Tool, in addition to heart-shaped nail stickers. To hear from the founder and what it’s like to decorate with Olive & June’s stickers, read more here.
Perhaps one of the most widely recognized brands that you can now find in Target’s aisles is Honest Beauty. Founded by Jessica Alba, the brand covers makeup, skincare, kids, babies, and cleaning supplies, although only its beauty products appear at Target. Honest makes human health a top priority when it comes to ingredients, but also ensures the products get the job done. Some of its most popular offerings at Target include the Extreme Length 2-in-1 Mascara and Lash Primer, Makeup Remover Wipes, and Hydrogel Cream.
True & Co. makes lingerie that is seamless, wireless, and weightless. Though the brand provides bra, underwear, tank, and bodysuit options on its own site, only its bras and bodysuits have homes at Target. Not only are the items immaculately designed and constructed for maximum comfort, they are also size inclusive, with some bra styles fitting up to 3X. If you want to learn more about the brand, here’s our full review.
Harry’s success in men’s grooming led it to create Flamingo, a female shaving and bodycare brand. Like its sibling, Flamingo sports the same sleek packaging along with the same quality formulas and designs. You can find its five-blade razor, razor refills, body wax kit, and Body Moisture collection on Target’s shelves, and all at affordable prices. You can learn more about what it’s like to shave with Flamingo by reading our full review here.
Known for embedding its products with flowers and confetti, Winky Lux’s vibrant packaging and fruit-infused formulas have made their way to Target. Some of the brand’s bestselling products include the Flower Balm, Confetti Balm, Uni-brow, and Eye Cream Applicator. Winky Lux’s products are a nice treat if you’re looking to pamper yourself, or if you have a friend who loves all things beauty.
Target carries many skincare and beauty brands, but it’s a little harder to come by clean, vegan, and sustainable products. Versed, with its large variety ranging from cleansing balm to mineral sunscreen, is changing that trend. Its bestsellers are the moisturizing gel-cream, which is light and bouncy without making your face oily, and the clarifying serum, which keeps breakouts at bay with willow bark extract and zinc. The mineral sunscreen is also one we stock up on, here’s our full review.
Gravity makes our favorite weighted blanket, as well as other products designed to help you fall asleep, like a weighted sleep mask and a memory foam pillow. Though there are now many weighted blanket brands hoping to take up precious real estate on your bed, Gravity is arguably the first to kick off the sleep and relaxation movement and has the high-quality, comfortable blankets to prove it.
Partake’s cookies are not only tasty but also free of the top eight allergens, making them safe for kids (and adults) with food sensitivities. They were created by a mom who couldn’t find delicious snacks for her daughter who has serious food allergies. You’ll be able to choose from birthday cake, chocolate chip, and cookie butter flavors — or, get all three, just to be safe.
We’ve reviewed nearly all of Casper’s mattresses, and now you can easily add your favorite into your cart alongside your other Target purchases. The breathable percale Cool Sheets and soft, supportive pillow are also popular choices from the online sleep startup.
Bark, the company behind dog treat and toy subscription BarkBox, sells adorable individual pet products through Target. If you’re not sure whether you want to commit to the subscription, you can get a preview here. Check back often for seasonal themed toys and creative treat flavors like Hawaii Luau Roast Pork and Chicago Hot Dog. Profits from its Snacks That Give Back collection support local animal rescues. Read our review of BarkBox here for an idea of what to expect with Bark.
Native is aluminum- and paraben-free natural deodorant that’s safer for your body and comes in a variety of nice scents. Unlike other deodorants, it doesn’t leave a sticky residue and for some users, it lasts even longer than traditional deodorants. It’s our top pick for the best natural deodorants, check out our full review here.
Men’s grooming brand Harry’s is best known for its high-quality and affordable razors and shaving sets, though it’s also broken into haircare and bodycare. Restock on sharp razor blades, treat your skin to gentle body washes, or style your hair to perfection with putty and waxes. Its paraben-, phthalate-, and aluminum-free formulas are better for your body, while its prices are friendly on your wallet.
These sleek, stylish, and lightweight electric toothbrushes from Quip are American Dental Association-approved. I’ve been using one for more than two years and I’m still impressed. The soft-bristle brush isn’t too harsh on your gums, and it pulses every 30 seconds for two minutes to guide your toothbrushing routine.
Rocketbook makes innovative, eco-friendly notebooks for the digital age. Using its special pen, you write in the notebook, send its contents to your favorite cloud service, wipe the page clean, then start over. There are multiple styles and versions to suit your needs, whether you’re taking notes for school, business meetings, or personal use. Here’s our full review.
GIR nails the design of a common kitchen tool. Its super heat-resistant silicone spatulas are strong, flexible, and easy to clean — which is why you’ll find yourself using it for all your mixing needs and throwing out your old, inferior spatulas. Other noteworthy products from the brand are the silicone lids with strong suction and the Mini Tool Set.
Another oral care startup gracing the shelves at Target is Hello, whose claim to fame is natural, fluoride-free whitening toothpaste. They contain ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil, and taste great, too. If you’re interested in the cleaning and whitening power of activated charcoal, it also offers charcoal toothpaste and mouthwash.
Founded by a former elite endurance athlete, Primal Kitchen was born from the inability to find healthy and delicious salad dressing. Its offerings include mayonnaise and dressings made with avocado oil, and at Target, supplement powders that contain collagen to support your bones, skin, and hair.
If you can never remember to drink water throughout the day, you might need the Hidrate Spark, a smart water bottle that tracks your water intake and reminds you to meet your daily water intake goal. It connects to fitness and health apps like Apple Health, Fitbit, and MyFitness Pal.
If you’ve ever woken up to a traditional alarm clock, you know that a blaring alarm early in the morning can be quite jarring. Sunrise alarm clocks (sometimes called wake-up lamps) simulate a natural and gradual sunrise with a range of soft orange and yellow LED lights for a gentler wake up experience. The simulated natural light from these devices can purportedly help with your mental health, too. Many wake-up lamps combine light therapy with sound meditation and breathing techniques to create a more calming sleep environment and help regulate circadian rhythms – the natural ebb and flow of hormones that tell us when to go to sleep and when to wake up.
Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, told us that the gentle stimulus from sunrise alarm clocks starts getting the body out of deeper sleep stages, and closer to wakefulness. “Whether it’s a gradual sound or light alarm, wake-up lamps can help better prepare the body to wake up more gently, with less startle,” Dimitriu said.
Sunrise alarm clocks can also help reduce the effects of sleep inertia, that drowsy, disorienting feeling that a lot of us experience after abruptly waking up. “Sudden awakenings can lead to sudden changes in cortisol and other neurotransmitters that could cause problems,” said Dr. William Winter of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine. “Waking up with a gradual increase in wake-promoting light makes a lot of sense,” Winter said, which is why sunrise alarm clocks might be a better option than regular alarm clocks.
In addition to consulting two experts, I leaned on my own experience in sleep science for this guide. I previously managed a sleep laboratory for two years and continue to contribute to sleep research. I’ve presented some of my research at Eastern Psychological Association and have tested products for SleepScore Labs. Given my research background, I think it’s important that any new product you bring into your sleep routine be backed by research. That’s why I tested seven sunrise alarm clocks, using each for three consecutive days and nights to evaluate how effective, easy use, and durable they are. You can read more about how we tested here.
The Philips Smartsleep Connected can help you fall asleep gently and wake up on time with stunning sunset and sunrise simulations. It monitors your sleep environment and makes recommendations to improve it.
Pros: Smartphone connected; allows you to customize duration, color, sound, and intensity of wake-up and wind-down programs; makes recommendations for improving sleep environment; can set up to 16 alarms
Cons: Occupies a lot of space on nightstand, does not play music via Bluetooth, not a good option for those who prefer manual controls
The Philips Smartsleep Connected is a relatively large sunrise lamp that sort of resembles a glowing donut. Its controlled almost entirely from your phone an app (available for iOS or Android).
The app allows you to customize “wind-down” and “wake-up” profiles with your preferred sound, light intensity, and duration, and I found it very easy and intuitive to use. The stunning sunset simulation was my favorite feature: the brightness gradually decreases from beautiful hues of bright yellows to soft reds, and is accompanied by natural relaxing sounds that fade away with the sunset. Your personal sunset can last anywhere from five minutes to an hour and you can choose from four color schemes with inviting names such as “Caribbean red” and “Nordic white,” and four nighttime ambient sounds like “soft rain,” “summer lake,” or even your preferred FM radio station.
I woke up to “summer birds” and an “island red” sunrise with warm red and orange lights that distributed nicely throughout the bedroom. The combination made me feel like I was on vacation. You can also set up to 16 alarms; a useful option for people who tend to hit the snooze button.
The device also tracks your sleep habits and and lets you know if your bedroom is too hot, humid, bright, or loud for optimal sleep. Other features guided meditations, a night light, back-up battery in case of power failures, USB charging dock for your devices, an AUX cord to play music from your phone, and a bright reading light. Unfortunately, you can’t wake up to music from your phone or anything else connected through the AUX cord, and it does not play music via Bluetooth.
The technology has been backed by research: in a 2010 study, participants reported easier rising; better mood, productivity, and quality of social interaction; and reduced sleep inertia after using Philips sunrise lamps.
I’ve now used the device for many months. I still love falling asleep and waking up with this sunrise alarm clock, and in the winter months I’ve noticed that it’s light therapy has helped lessen the effects of my seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In all, its customization and user friendly app make it the best choice if you’re investing in one of these wake-up devices.
The Hatch Restore has the most light options and sleep sounds of any model we tried and they’re all fully controlled through its multifunctional Hatch Sleep app.
Pros: More than 30 sound options and 20 light options to choose from, guided meditations, fully personalized sleep and wake-up routines through the app
Cons: Not a good option if you don’t like to rely on an app, doesn’t play music, guided meditations only available with subscription, must be connected to Wi-Fi to use
The Hatch Restore sunrise alarm clock connects via Bluetooth to your phone and, with the free smartphone app (available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play), you can set your personalized bedtime routine and more than 18 alarms. Setting up the Hatch is easy even though it doesn’t come with traditional instructions. Instead, the box contains a small card with a link to the instructions online. There are so many features to choose from, including a bedside reading light, guided meditations, sleep stories, wind-down profiles, and sleep routines; all of which are fully customizable. It has more than 30 soothing sleep sounds and many more light therapy options than any of the products we tried, including nighttime shades, warm oranges, and soft relaxing pastels, which I loved while listening to meditations. What’s great about the Hatch is that users can fully personalize every part of their sleep schedule according to their preferences; you can add up to 10 steps to create a routine to fall asleep.
My routine consisted of three simple steps. First, I got into bed and read my book using the coral nighttime light for 30 minutes while listening to the “sea wind” sound. Then I wound down with a soft pink light and the “meeting sleep with ease” meditation. Finally, I fell asleep to an orange light and the sound of rain. You can also set how long each step is. I was concerned about the digital clock display being too bright during the night, but you’re able to turn it off completely or set it so that it will turn off by itself at your preferred time — a great feature for total darkness that also contributes to a good sleep environment. I also really enjoyed the variety of the guided meditations, which include breathing techniques, body scans, and relaxing sleep affirmations. The Hatch is well-designed with a nice half-moon shape that simulates a natural sunrise and, at 7.5 inches long, it didn’t take up too much of my nightstand. It’s a good device with a lot of light and sound options to create your own sleep routines.
Unlike some sunrise alarm clocks, the Hatch does require users to download the app and to have a stable Wi-Fi connection in order to use the device; without either, it’s basically useless. All its features are controlled through the Hatch Sleep app, but the device itself includes a few soft-touch buttons for volume and brightness. Unfortunately, many of the guided sleep meditations can only be accessed by subscribing for $49.99 a year or $4.99 a month (though the first six months are free). Another thing to note is that the device doesn’t immediately connect to your smartphone every time you open its companion app; it usually takes a few seconds to connect. I personally did not have an issue waiting five seconds for the app to open but other users might find it annoying. It also does not play music or radio.
The best sunrise alarm clock on a budget
The iHome Zenergy Dream Mini produces a soft sunrise and will gradually wake you up with your favorite song. For the price, it’s packed with a lot of features that will help you wake up in a better mood.
Pros: Lots of customizable options, pairs with Bluetooth to play music from your phone, won’t take up too much space on your nightstand
Cons: The light intensity might be too low for some, most functions cannot be controlled through a smartphone, only two alarms
The iHome Zenergy Dream Mini is a tiny sleep therapy machine packed with tons of features and customizable options. The instructions include really useful tips on how to properly meditate with the device and a brief section on the importance of maintaining good circadian rhythms.
What I love about the Zenergy Dream Mini is the option to wake up to my own Spotify playlist; a feature that other wake-up lamps I tested lack. The mini device paired up quickly and smoothly with my iPhone every single time with no issues, and I was able to wake up to a gentle simulated sunrise and my favorite song. The sound quality is honestly pretty good for such a small device. However, even though you can choose and play your music through Bluetooth, this device does not have an accompanying app, so you can’t control any other features with your smartphone.
Instead, you control most of its functionality through 15 buttons on the top of the device. It has a lot of options that have to be set up manually but the instructions are helpful and the settings are fairly easy to navigate. The time also has to be set up manually but will purportedly adjust during daylight saving time automatically, and the built-in battery maintains the time and alarm settings in the event of a power outage. One of its key features is the “ZENERGY” button, which activates calming sounds accompanied by gentle, colorful lights. It is customizable with the “fall asleep” and “stay asleep” buttons, which let you choose from a nice selection of sound and light options including a guided breathing meditation, 13 relaxing sounds, and nine calming light therapy cycles. My favorite is the “heart” sound because it promotes steady breathing patterns and pairs well with the “breath” light color therapy.
The snooze button is large and strategically placed in front of all the buttons, so I didn’t have to struggle to hit snooze in the morning. However, you can only set two alarms and snooze only lasts up to nine minutes. The light from this mini device might also be too soft for some individuals who need brighter hues in order to wake up. Still, this sunrise alarm clock is priced much lower than other options and offers great functionality if you’re just starting to dabble in light therapy.
The best portable sunrise alarm clock
The Casper Glow Light is uniquely designed as a wireless, portable night light, and uses intuitive gestures and a streamlined design to create a beautiful and simple experience.
Pros: Beautiful warm lights, portable, pairs with multiple Glow Lights for a bedroom light show, intuitive and easy to operate with simple gestures
Cons: Lacks sound, requires smartphone app for expanded features like setting sleep and wake times
Casper Glow Light is a small portable cylinder that can be easily controlled with just a few gestures: flip to turn on, rotate to increase and decrease the amount of light, and wiggle to turn on the night light. The device is small, softly lit, and smartly designed with gentle, warm hues of light for better sleep.
The light charges wirelessly and pairs with an app that is also very simple to use. While you can operate the light without it, the app (available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play) is a must if you want to set wake-up and wind-down times, which cue a sunset or sunrise that can last from 15 to 90 minutes.
One of the unique features of the Glow Light is that it synchronizes with other Glow Lights to make pretty light shows. Once you have more than one, you can name each and “group” or “ungroup” them through the app. I used two lights together and found they set a very tranquil mood.
The night light feature is very useful for when you wake up and want to avoid turning on bright lights that could disrupt your ability to fall back to sleep. The light was easy and fun to carry around during the night when I went on a mission downstairs to get a glass of water. It’s made with polycarbonate to resist bumps and endure falls, so is great for kids to use as well.
Falling asleep with my pair of Glow Lights was such a treat. The soft, warm lights create a tranquil sleep environment, gradually dim to slowly relax you, and then turn completely off for total darkness. The Casper Glow Lights are made with high-quality warm LEDs that were effective in waking me up gently. However, the device focuses solely on effective light therapy and, unlike other models we tested, it completely excludes sound. It might not be the best option for heavy sleepers who require some noise to wake up; you’ll still need to set a phone alarm if you really need a rise out of bed. That said, it’s a beautiful device that makes for a very tranquil bedroom environment.
The best sunrise alarm clock with all manual controls
The Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light has a unique spherical design that creates a beautiful sunrise simulation, and features many of the same premium settings as the more expensive Philips Smartsleep Connected.
Pros: Creates the best sunrise simulation, very user-friendly and simple, fully manual
Cons: Very limited sound options, doesn’t have an app if you’re someone who prefers a connected device
A less expensive option from Philips, the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light has fewer customizable options and features than the Philips Smartsleep Connected and is completely manual; no app needed. I recommend this one if you’re looking for something simple, but still high-quality and efficient. It’s one of Philips’ best selling sunrise alarm clocks because of its impressive colored sunrise simulations and relaxing sunsets.
I had no problem setting the time and alarms with the easy-to-follow instructions. Falling asleep to this lamp was very relaxing; the sunset simulation therapy works just as well as the Philips Smartsleep Connected and the display automatically dims as the room gets darker, great for cocooning yourself in total darkness. Waking up with this lamp was such a pleasant experience; the gradual and natural sunrise simulation increased in the span of 30 minutes until it completely flooded my bedroom with beautiful, rich, orange and yellow lights and the gentle sounds of “Nepal bowls.” You can choose from five different natural wake-up sounds including beautiful “birds” and “ocean waves,” or your preferred FM radio station. The snooze feature is unique: a single slight tap anywhere on the device snoozes the lamp for nine minutes.
It’s also one of Philips’ sunrise alarm clocks that is clinically proven to help you feel more ready for the day, and I have to admit that it did a great job at waking me up feeling refreshed in the morning. I personally prefer this Philips model’s smooth, spherical shape and smaller size over the Philips Smartsleep Connected, although I wish it connected to the app for more customization. I missed the extra features in the Philips Sleepmapper app when I used this model, like the sleep environment monitoring and extended customization. I hope Philips comes out with a new sunrise alarm clock that features all of the Philips Smartsleep Connected options but is shaped like this model to simulate that beautiful, natural sunrise.
What else we tested
I tested seven sunrise alarm clocks as part of this guide and unfortunately, some didn’t make the cut.
What we don’t recommend and why
Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 ($159.00): The Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 doesn’t connect to an app and setting it up manually took me multiple tries and many minutes, as it comes with a set of lengthy, non-intuitive instructions that involve a lot of clicking around on the device. The daily alarm has to be turned on manually every single night before going to bed; if you fall asleep before you do, you’re out of luck for your morning alarm. The sound options are interesting, to say the least. I chose to wake up to “kittens purring” because the other options were not exactly what I would prefer waking up to; for example, there was “ping-pong,” “steam train,” “goats,” and “café,” among the 15 odd sounds. Made by a British company, the device only provides a 24-hour clock, which is somewhat inconvenient if you’re used to a 12-hour clock. That being said, the device and its lights do simulate a nice sunset and sunrise. The light progression is smooth and it has gentle levels of brightness. Although it has a lot of customizable options, they can be quite frustrating to set up.
AMTOK Smart Wake Up Light ($45.99): I was excited to try this smart sunrise alarm clock because of its voice control function. However, setting it up was so complicated and time-consuming that I quickly got discouraged. First, it comes with two sets of instructions with different information on how to connect the device to your phone, but neither appeared to be up-to-date to the model I was testing. Second, it only supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks, which transmit data at lower speeds and are prone to interference; likely why it failed to wake me up in the morning on multiple occasions. While the device has features that you can control through the app, they’re very limited; just a few sound and light options. The color loop option is nice but I found its light intensity somewhat dull and not very relaxing. It’s a device that you have to learn to get used to — if you have the patience.
In addition to interviewing sleep experts Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, and Dr. William Winter of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, I did hands-on testing with seven different sunrise alarm clocks. As a sleep researcher who managed a sleep lab for two years, part of my research involved investigating strategies to reduce sleep inertia (like using sunrise alarm clocks), so I also relied on my own background in sleep research and product testing to evaluate each product over several nights. I tested each sunrise alarm clock according to the following criteria:
Setup: For each of the lamps, I paid close attention to how difficult or easy it was to set up on my nightstand. I noted how accurate and helpful their instructions were and what it was like to set the time and alarms. I also evaluated how heavy they were and how much space they occupied on my bedside table.
Performance: I used each wake-up lamp for a minimum of three consecutive days and nights to get used to the routine and noted whether or not they woke me up on time and with the features (such as sound and light color) I chose. I took notes on what it was like to fall asleep with their wind-down features, and paid particular attention to the wake up experience. I woke up at the same time every morning with each alarm clock to keep my experiences consistent, and noted how I felt and how much sleep inertia I experienced. I also evaluated the sound and light quality of each, and how easy or difficult it was to snooze the back-up alarm (if it had one).
Special features: I tested out any additional and unique features of each sunrise alarm clock, such as speakers, Bluetooth integration, guided meditations, and accompanying mobile apps. I noted whether or not these extra features were actually helpful and easy to use.
Durability: In order to test how durable and resistant each alarm clock was, I knocked every one off my nightstand and checked to see if any parts came loose or broke. Fortunately, all of them passed this test. I also took note of each product’s materials and their warranty.
Long-term use: Since original testing, I’ve continued to regularly use our top picks and will report back about their durability over time.
What we’re testing next
We’re continuing to research and test the best wake up lamp alarm clocks; here are some models on our horizon.
Hatch Rest+ ($89.99): Hatch recently came out with a new Hatch Rest+ smart lamp. Its features include a sound machine, night light, and a “time-to-rise” feature that cues your child when it’s time to sleep and when it’s okay to get up. It also has an audio monitor, backup battery, and you can control it with Amazon Alexa (but not Google Home). You can even “dress it up” with cute coverlets to make it fun for babies and children. It’s received a ton of great reviews from parents and I’m excited to test its integration with Alexa.
TITIROBA Wake Up Simulation ($35.99): This wake-up lamp, which is the least expensive I’ve seen, has received a lot of really great reviews. Some of its features include five natural sounds, a backup battery, “eye-care” adjustable lights, digital LED clock, and touch control. It’s simple and equipped with only a few features but it might be worth a try if you’re on a budget.
LittleHippo Children’s Trainer Sounds Machine ($49.99): This one might be a great option for kids. It’s a cute design that uses colors and digital “facial expressions” to teach children when it’s okay to get out of bed and when it’s time to go to sleep. Its “wake” feature works just like a sunrise alarm clock, glowing to indicate the start of the day. It also has child-friendly alarms, nap timers, and a night light. It has great reviews and I’d love to compare this one to the Hatch Rest+.
Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB(£199.00): I really want to give Lumie another shot. To be fair, the Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 that I tested was designed years ago, but is one of the few models currently available in the United States. There is a newer version with more sound options, Bluetooth for streaming music from smartphones, higher-quality sound, and a glass lamp cover — a feature that I imagine produces a beautiful sunrise simulation. Currently, this Lumie model is only available in the UK.
What are the benefits of sunrise alarm clocks?
The light therapy implemented in these wake-up lamps helps regulate cortisol and melatonin production, two important hormones that are essential in controlling sleep/wake cycles. It can be difficult for some of us to adapt to season changes, especially in the winter when days get shorter and nights get longer. The shift from bright summer days to long, dark winter months can have an impact on circadian rhythms, sometimes resulting in seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Regular daily alternation of light and darkness is essential in order to maintain good quality sleep. Sunrise alarm clocks have “wind-down” features that encourage a healthy production of melatonin at night by mimicking a gradual sunset, while the “wake-up” cycles encourage the production of cortisol in the morning by simulating a natural and gradual sunrise that prepares you for wakefulness. The wake-up and wind-down features can be equally important in helping maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
How does a sunrise alarm-clock compare to a traditional alarm?
Many sunrise alarm clocks are equipped with all the features we all like in traditional alarm clocks — a radio or music player, custom or multiple alarms, and yes, even a sound alarm if you need it. The key difference is that sunrise alarm clocks use gentle light and sound to help you wake up before resorting to the louder noises that are typical of a standard alarm clock.
Waking up to the loud, obnoxious sound of a traditional alarm clock is not only unpleasant and irritating, but it’s also quite unhealthy. “If we train ourselves to wake up suddenly, with a jolt, this can become a problem for any other time we wake up in the night, making it hard to fall back asleep,” said Dimitriu.
That abrupt wake-up experience can also cause stress levels to suddenly increase, often aggravating long-term issues like chronic anxiety. Winter also advises waking up gently because sudden awakenings can cause sudden blood pressure surges, possibly leading to heart issues.
Your chances of waking up with sleep inertia — that debilitating groggy, drowsy feeling that occurs as a result of a sudden, often startling transition between sleep and wakefulness — also increase if you wake up to a traditional alarm clock. Sleep inertia makes it very difficult for some people to get out of bed, and often puts people in a bad mood for the rest of their day. “Gradual alarms (sound or light) are excellent solutions to wake people gradually,” said Dimitriu, since these softer alarms offer a gentler, more gradual and natural wake-up experience.
What features should I look for when choosing a sunrise alarm clock?
There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a sunrise alarm clock. One very important aspect to consider is the brightness level of the lamp. If you’re a heavy sleeper you might need a sunrise alarm clock that has bright lights to effectively wake you up in the morning.
Another important factor is alarm sounds: most sunrise alarm clocks have several sound options and some (like the Casper Glow light) lack this feature completely. If you’re a heavy sleeper you may want to opt for a device with many sounds. Or, if you are a “snoozer,” you might want to consider a sunrise alarm clock that allows you to set multiple alarms like the Philips Smartsleep Connected, which offers up to 16 alarms just in case you like to hit snooze more than once.
Finally, consider your personal needs; if you’re uncomfortable operating smartphone-enabled technology, you may prefer a sunrise alarm clock with manual functions right on the machine. On the flip side, if you want a very custom experience, you may like a lamp that offers many different colors and sounds that are controlled through a phone app.
We also detail soil meters for gardeners on a budget, smart options that connect to apps, and more.
A soil meter is a little gadget that usually has one or two probes. A very basic soil meter reads only soil moisture levels. Some meters can also provide information about soil pH. While these readings are usually not very accurate, an extremely high or low reading lets you know that something is up with your soil’s health. Devices are also sometimes equipped with light meters. Taking sunlight exposure readings in different parts of your garden or home can help you determine if a spot is a fit for a particular plant.
Smart soil meters take it one step further and can provide you with actionable insights about plant and soil health. A good soil meter should be accurate and easy to use. We picked a few options to suit different green-thumbed needs, including budget devices, smart sensors, and more.
What we like: Waterproof, easy-to-read LCD display, cute flower pot icon
The weather-resistant sensor on this soil meter takes accurate moisture readings in about 72 seconds and displays them on a convenient LCD display. Soil moisture level is depicted in two formats: numerically and visually, with a clever flower pot icon. The display receives information wirelessly, as long as the sensor is within 300 feet. You can also calibrate the unit to accommodate different soil types and ambient humidity levels. At 2.3 inches tall (5.3 inches from bottom to tip) when stuck in the soil, the sensor won’t stick out like a sore thumb.
What we like: Analog display is clear and easy to read, good value
Sometimes the topsoil appears wet, but deeper down plant roots may be struggling to access water. Use this soil moisture meter to check whether your garden needs watering. The sensor has a basic single probe design and a color-coded dial display. It works without batteries, so you never have to worry about it shutting off while you’re out digging in the dirt and its affordable price tag makes it a great choice for gardeners on a budget. Some adjusting may be necessary to ensure the probe is at the correct depth to detect moisture.
The best simple moisture meter
This simple set of IPPINKA Aquameters helps forgetful gardeners know when to water thanks to color-changing sensors.
What we like: Ultra-simple design, easy-to-read indicator
Pop these little sticks at the base of your houseplants to know when plants are thirsty. The sensors have indicators that turn blue when the soil is wet and white when the soil is dry. Root rot is a common cause of death for houseplants and these mini sensors are excellent for gardeners who frequently overwater and kill their plants. The set of four sensors lasts about six to nine months; each stick features a replaceable core.
The award-winning moisture meters are ideal for houseplants and can measure moisture levels in various types of soil. They’re also available in small, medium, and large sizes to accommodate different sized pots.
What we like: Ability to view plant fertility over time
This smart soil meter is best for gardeners looking for more than just the basics. The Northfifteen monitor has several sensors that track soil moisture, light exposure, temperature, and nutrient needs. It’s ideal for keeping tabs on that tricky-to-care-for houseplant that never seems to be thriving. In the app, charts allow you to view your plant’s progress over time. You can also use the app to monitor light levels as they change throughout the day and find the best spot for sun-loving houseplants. It’s important to note that you need to be within range to grab readings from the sensor; you can’t view real-time changes remotely.
The best for outdoors
The durable Netro Whisperer is tough enough for outdoor use and reads for moisture levels, ambient temperature, and sunlight exposure.
What we like: Durable, capable of creating a customized watering schedule
The curved design of this solar-powered sensor allows it to capture maximum sunlight throughout the day. It detects soil moisture levels, ambient temperature, and sunlight exposure, all key for ensuring proper plant growth. The wireless sensor is Wi-Fi-enabled (2.4GhZ), so you can access data stored in the iOS or Android app anywhere you go. It has a weather-resistant design, so you can leave it in the garden 24/7.
This soil meter is also compatible with intelligent watering systems like the Netro Sprite. Once it manages to grab a few readings and analyze weather patterns, the app delivers a recommended watering schedule. The app also sends plant care notifications and reminders to perform important gardening tasks.
The best dual-probe meter
With its multiple sensors, the Sonkir Soil Meter provides a snapshot of soil and light conditions.
What we like: Convenient, takes quick soil and light readings
Three sensors are better than one. You likely won’t use the pH probe as often as the light and moisture sensors, but it’s convenient to have the option at your fingertips. The small soil meter has two probes — to read moisture and pH levels — and a sensor at the top to measure light intensity. The display doesn’t provide ultra-accurate readings, but it’s enough to give you a ballpark measurement that you can work with. The sensor doesn’t require batteries and it’s lightweight enough to travel with, making it ideal for use in community garden plots. The probe is also quite long at 7.9 inches, allowing users to take deeper readings than other meters.
So you’ve done your research and found the mattress best for you – all that’s left is to buy it. They aren’t an easy purchase to make; some options can soar well into the thousands of dollars. However, you’re in luck; Presidents’ Day is one of the best times of year to buy a mattress.
Retailers big and small celebrate Presidents’ Day with terrific sales; with larger markdowns than we usually see the rest of the year. Even if you’re just shopping for bedding and pillows, you won’t want to miss out on these discounts.
A mattress is arguably the most important part of your bed, but the bed frame comes in at a close second. It often gets overlooked but it plays a big role in how your mattress’s support is distributed and how your space looks and feels.
There are about a million bed frames out there, but once you get past the construction, it comes down to the overall look. A velvet bed frame looks understated yet luxurious, while a canopy frame looks like something out of a fairy tale.
That’s why we researched popular brands and polled our colleagues to see what bed frames they use and love to curate our guide to the best bed frames.
While some bed frames don’t include a headboard, this one does. All the parts, including the meta frame, legs, and wooden slats conveniently fit into a large pocket behind it and are shipped that way as well for convenience. Senior editor Jada Wong, who’s had this bed frame for three years, found the pocket to be especially helpful when moving — there was no way any of the parts could get lost.
The bed frame is available in Twin, Full, Queen, and King sizes. The King frame sits 14 inches off the ground for extra storage space. The frame is eight inches off the ground for the other sizes.
Overall, the Zinus can blend quietly into the background of a loud bedroom or hold its own as the centerpiece of an otherwise neutral room. The sturdiness and easy setup are two major pluses, and the strong mattress support and soft upholstery complement each other, creating an overall high-quality bed frame.
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The best bed frame on a budget
While inexpensive prices for big-ticket items can sometimes raise eyebrows, we’ve had enough positive experiences with Zinus to know that price is nothing but a number.
In fact, senior reporter Connie Chen used the Zinus SmartBase Mattress Foundation for almost two years and loved the sturdy support, easy assembly, and ample storage underneath for her tiny NYC bedroom.
The bed frame is made with strong steel, and anything larger than a Full comes as two pieces that you just snap together for easy assembly. It also gives you 13 inches of clearance, so you can easily store things underneath your bed.
The steel frame eliminates the need for an extra box spring and can support spring, memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses.
There are no bells and whistles so you can get a super minimalist style or add a headboard of your choice to jazz it up a bit.
You can set the legs at three different heights (8.25, 5.25, or 3 inches) to get in and out of bed easier, and the remote control can elevate your head, feet, or both to an optimal position for sleeping, watching TV, reading, or eliminating snoring. The remote control comes with presets for Flat, Anti-Snore, and Zero Gravity. The frame also features lumbar support, which can be adjusted to best suit your needs.
When it comes to appearances, the foundation is sleek and the gray upholstery complements the slighter darker gray wood on the lower half of the frame and legs. There’s also an LED nightlight under the bed.
The Reverie has a massaging feature with four functions and 10 intensities. Most other beds that offer built-in massage only offer two or three massage functions and around five intensities. While it’s not quite like having an in-house masseuse, it’s a fun feature.
As for the additional tech elements, the Reverie has can charge compatible smartphones wirelessly while also charging the remote via the built-in USB port. You can also program your bed via a companion smartphone app.
And should anything go wrong with your bed, it comes with a 20-year limited warranty. — Lulu Chang
The DHP Rosedale Metal Canopy Bed Frame, available in three colors, will give your space an old-fashioned glamour. You can drape the frame with your favorite curtains, upholstery, lights, and much more, change up the design with the seasons, or just use it as-is for a more minimalist look.
This four-poster canopied bed frame has sleek X-shaped accents in the headboard and footboard and is crafted out of sturdy metal so don’t think that this frame is just for looks. There are also multiple support bars underneath it to hold your mattress in place.
The frame doesn’t come with a foundation or box spring, so you might want to consider adding one on.
The best modular bed frame
Thanks to its customizable, modular design, you can take The Floyd Platform Bed to future homes and through mattress upgrades with little fuss.
The bed frame from buzzy direct-to-consumer home brand Floyd looks stylish and modern, but also allows for a lot of customizability. You can choose from four different wood and color combinations, and add a headboard or under-bed storage. It’s made in the US from FSC-certified wood and powder-coated steel. But we don’t only love it for its style.
Thanks to the modular design, if you upgrade your mattress size down the line, all you have to do is add panels and supports instead of buying a whole new frame.
The frame is lightweight yet supportive and sturdy, plus the optional under-bed storage is perfect for keeping extra bedding, linens, and clothing.
Editor Caitlin Petreycik is testing the Floyd Platform Bed and loved the straightforward, tool-free assembly process. However, she notes that the boxes and panels are heavy, and it would help to have a second person for assembly. Make sure you assemble the frame in the general area where you’d ultimately like to place it — otherwise, you’ll have to grab it where the wooden planks are joined in order to move it.
In case the frame isn’t for you, there’s a 30-day free return policy, as well as a 10-year warranty. —Connie Chen
Other bed frames we’re testing
Thuma Bed Frame ($695+): This direct-to-consumer brand’s bed frame is sturdy, simple to build, and beautifully made — though it’s one of the more expensive frames we’ve tested. The style is on the modern and minimalist side, and it has a low profile platform that still has a nine-inch clearance for storage. Its headboard, while comfortable and supportive, is a bit short for our tastes.
Saatva Santorini Bed Frame ($1,295+): Low-key yet luxurious, the velvet Santorini bed frame can complement any room decor and bedding. Senior editor Jada Wong has been testing this bed frame for the past few months and hasn’t had issues with stability or durability, though the frame’s thin legs are prone to shifting and squeaking if they’re not on top of a carpet or rug. Assembly is non-existent as it comes with free white-glove delivery, but that also means that disassembly for a move can be confusing.
Casper frame and foundation ($250+): While best known for being the original bed-in-a-box brand, Casper also has bed frames. You’ll need both the frame and the foundation here for optimal support. The frame is made of 100% recycled steel and has solid wood slats so it’s very simple. Best of all, the frame can be assembled and disassembled in just minutes without tools. When a former freelance reporter tested the set, she was able to sleep on my newly assembled bed within 15 minutes.
How do I pick the right bed frame?
Here are some handy tips to help you find the right bed frame:
Find the right height: Bed frame heights are usually around 13 or 14 inches, though they can certainly differ. Be sure to check if the frame also comes with or needs a foundation or box spring because that’ll add a few inches once you put your mattress on time, and make sure you consider your mattress height as well.
Figure out what style you want: Because your bed setup is the highlight of any space, the design of your frame plays a big role in your choice. Once you get past the construction of a bed frame, it’s mostly about aesthetics so you have plenty of options whether you want something minimal or elaborate.
Check the assembly: Most bed frames require some sort of assembly but if you’re not handy or aren’t able to assemble items yourself, check what your new bed frame will need. Some brands offer free white glove and assembly so that’s something to consider if you feel comfortable.
This season, the holidays will likely be a little different for many people due to the ongoing pandemic. Because of safety concerns, some families and friends may be spending the holidays apart. That means more gifts will probably be shipped to recipients instead of being given in person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make the season and the gifts you exchange extra special.
One way to do so is to consider the packaging when gift-giving. Thanks to stores that will gift wrap orders for you, you don’t have to spend hours cutting yards of sparkly paper or trying to get the ribbon to curl just so. Getting an order professionally gift wrapped with a beautiful box or a shiny bow is an easy way to up your gifting game.
Get gift-wrapping services for free or a small fee at these stores:
Amazon: While not available for every single item, gift wrapping is an option for most products found on Amazon. Gift wrapping includes a box, decorative ribbon, and a printed card with a gift message. Prices vary depending on the nature of the item.
Apple:Gift wrapping is available for select orders placed online either for delivery or pickup. When an eligible product is added to your bag, a checkbox comes up automatically with the option to select “This is a gift.” Apple Gift Package includes a signature gift box with a red ribbon and a greeting card with your personal message. Costs for full gift wrapping vary, but adding a gift message is free.
Barnes & Noble: Nearly all in-store and online purchases from Barnes & Noble can be gift wrapped. A gift message is free to add, while full wrapping with a box and ribbon costs $4.99.
Bed Bath & Beyond: Many Bed Bath & Beyond stores have a station where you can gift wrap a package for free, complete with wrapping paper, tape, and ribbon. Online orders can be gift wrapped starting at $5.99 per order.
Best Buy: Best Buy doesn’t offer any true gift wrapping options. However, they will email the gift recipient a personalized message once the gift has been delivered for free. Additionally, Best Buy branded gift boxes can be purchased for $4.99.
Buy Buy Baby: Most Buy Buy Baby stores have a free gift wrapping station in stores with all the essentials like tape, wrapping paper, and ribbon. However, they do not have a gift wrap option for online orders.
Crate & Barrel:Gifts can be placed in simple black and white boxes with branded ribbons for $5.50 per box. Certain items do not qualify for gift boxing, including Outlet, oversized and heavy items. A gift message can be included for all items for free.
Lands’ End: Most online Lands’ End purchases can come in cute branded boxes with ribbons by simply selecting the “Gift Box” option at checkout. Personalized gift messages can also be added.
L’Occitane: While L’Occitane won’t do all the work for you, you can choose to add a Signature Gift Box Kit with your purchase at checkout so you can easily wrap the gift yourself at your convenience. The kit includes a gift box, tissue paper, and a ribbon for $4.99.
MAC Cosmetics: MAC provides branded gift boxes starting at $4.95. They also have what they call “digitally wrapped gifts” that makes gifting makeup and skincare products especially easy. The recipient will receive a notification about the gift via text or email. They can then easily accept the gift, swap the shade, or even choose a different product of the same price and decide when it will be delivered to their doorstep.
Macy’s: A free gift message can be included with any purchase for free. Most purchases can also be sent in a gift box for $6.00 per order, though oversized items may not be eligible.
Neiman Marcus: You can select a gift wrap option during online checkout for $7.50. Gifts come in a pretty silver box with a bow, a personalized gift message, and a gift-tag ornament.
Nordstrom: In addition to free standard shipping and free returns, Nordstrom also offers free gift wrapping on orders, making holiday gifting extra easy.
Pottery Barn: Both in-person and online orders can be gift wrapped by Pottery Barn. However, the fee for the service is higher than at many other stores, costing $8.50 per item. As an added personal touch, you can also get many of their products personalized with a monogram for $12.00 per item.
Sephora: At checkout, Sephora shoppers can opt for gift wrapping services. A simple black bag with a red drawstring costs $3.00, while a Sephora-branded gift box runs $5.00. You can also add a gift message for free.
Sur la Table:Gift wrapping is available for most items at Sur la Table. During the online checkout process, you can designate the items that you want gift wrapped or choose to add a free gift message. Gift wrapping costs $5.99 per item.
Target:Gift wrap is available for most Target items for a flat rate of $5.99. If you buy multiple quantities of the same item, the items will be wrapped together for the same flat rate. Gift wrap styles and colors change often, but the styles generally include gift boxes or bags of various sizes in the classic red and white Target colors with the bullseye design.
Ulta: The beauty giant offers special holiday gift boxes for orders during December. Choose a gift option during checkout for $3.95.
Williams-Sonoma: For online orders, gift wrap is available that includes the brand’s signature white paper and a black ribbon. The service is rather pricey at $8.50 per item, and each line item in your shopping cart is wrapped separately, with the exception of multiples of products. A gift message can be included for free.
Get inspiration from these great holiday gift guides: