56 gifts you can get on Amazon for under $50

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gifts under $50
Wake up early and make mini heart-shaped waffles for a breakfast together.

  • Affordable gifts can be just as thoughtful and useful as expensive gifts.
  • We rounded up 56 gifts on Amazon for under $50 that anyone would love to receive.
  • From an ice cream maker to a foot massager, there’s a gift for everyone in this guide.
  • For more gift ideas, check out all Insider Reviews gift guides.

Your friends and family may not want an expensive gift, and it’s a myth that a higher price tag means a present is more meaningful. It doesn’t take more than $50 to bolster your mother’s watercolor hobby or improve your brother’s morning routine with a new coffee thermos.

Finding a perfect gift also doesn’t necessarily need to require an hour of your time in the trenches of Amazon search results. Below, we’ve rounded up 56 of the best finds on Amazon – with all the perks of easy, fast shipping and saved payment information.

Check out all 56 cool gifts under $50 on Amazon:

A pan that makes ice cream in minutes

Chef'n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker; best Amazon gifts under $50

Chef’n Sweet Spot Ice Cream Maker, $44.95

For a simple and quick way to make ice cream, you’ll want to surprise them with this ice cream maker. There’s no electricity, buttons, or tech involved, making it a great gift for anyone, even those with children. It’s basically a quick-freeze shallow metal bowl that freezes your ice cream batter in a matter of minutes. You can read more about why we love this product, in our guide to the best ice cream makers

A pocket projector for the movie enthusiast

ARTlii Pico Projector; mini projector; pocket projector; best Amazon gift under $50

ARTlii Pico Projector, $49.99

Projectors used to be clunky and old school, but this mini projector makes viewing easy and compact. They can slip it into their pocket and even travel with it, minus any hassle. They’ll be sure to enjoy many movie nights with this gift.

A small toiletry bag for the avid traveler

Herschel Chapter Toiletry Kit; toiletry bag for travel; best Amazon gift under $50

Herschel Chapter Toiletry Kit, from $25

If they’re getting back into traveling, you can’t go wrong with gifting them a toiletry bag. They can ditch the plastic bags or pouches that aren’t even waterproof. This toiletry kit has a waterproof main compartment, an internal mesh storage sleeve, and a leather accent on the zipper. Plus, it’s small enough to fit into their backpack, work bag, or carry-on. 

A cocktail shaker for the one who likes to get creative in the kitchen

Brumate cocktail shaker; best gift from Amazon under $50

BrüMate Shaker, $34.99

With summertime upon us, there’s no better gift than a cocktail shaker for the one who loves to create new drinks. This one in particular is even named the best cobbler option in our guide to the best cocktail shakers. We love this shaker because it doubles as a drinking vessel, is triple-insulated, has a built-in strainer, and comes in a bunch of colors. 

A foot massager to ease stress and pain

HoMedics Triple Action Shiatsu Foot Massager; best Amazon gift under $50

HoMedics Triple Action Shiatsu Foot Massager, $49.99

After long days on their feet, they’ll appreciate this foot massager gift. We name this one the best budget option in our guide to the best foot massagers for a reason. It can be used on all parts of the foot and parts of the body, is relatively compact, and is easy to store. Their feet will thank you for the endless massages that come with this gift. 

An all-in-one wallet for the jetsetter

wallet passport holder

Zoppen Travel Passport Wallet, $13.99

With more people getting vaccinated and travel restrictions lifting, this wallet will help them prep for their next trip. It holds passports, boarding passes, credit cards, and every other essential in one slim design.

A relaxing weighted blanket

Amazon weighted blanket

YnM Weighted Blanket, from $49.80

Gift a peaceful night’s sleep with this calming blanket that comes in 40 colors and 15 various sizes and weights. Its seven-layer system includes tiny beads that deliver a contoured but comfortable fit to your body.

Read our full review of the YnM Weighted Blanket here.

Fluffy slippers that feel and look like a cloud

amazon women's fuzzy slippers

Parlovable Faux Fur Slippers, from $18.99

The Parlovable Faux Fur Slippers are among our favorite slippers for lounging around the house. They make your feet feel — and look — like clouds thanks to the faux fur upper and memory foam sole.   

A watercolor set that’s great for beginners

 Norberg & Linden Watercolor Paint Set Under $25

Norberg & Linden Watercolor Paint Set, $15.99

Everything they need lives in this watercolor starter kit: a 36-color palette, a 12-page watercolor pad, and six brushes of various sizes. Not only does this set contain all of the essentials for a newcomer, but it’s also portable. The pad measures in at 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches, and the watercolors themselves come in a lightweight, covered pan. Family and friends of all ages can enjoy painting with this kit.

A journal for maximizing productivity and organization

amazon productivity planner

Productivity Planner, $29.99

For the high achiever in your life, this productivity journal can help further motivate them to be their best self. This journal’s undated, daily layout provides priority templates to get them headed in the right direction to accomplish their many goals. It also includes extra space for them to jot down their ideas, future tasks, and inspirations.

A jade roller for the beauty enthusiast

Roller Anti Aging Jade roller Therapy under $25

Ginger Chi Jade Roller, $23.99

They can pamper themselves on the regular with this jade roller from Ginger Chi. It’s made from 100% certified Xiuyan jade along with silver nickel. The double-sided roller helps to reduce puffiness and increase elasticity, with a larger end for all over your face and a smaller end for tighter areas. A travel pouch and a tester of the brand’s Regenerating Serum also come with the jade roller, making it perfect for novices and travelers alike. This product has even earned a spot as best for beginners in our guide to the best jade rollers.

A portable cooler bag for spring and summer excursions

Lifewit Collapsible Cooler Bag

Lifewit Collapsible Cooler Bag, $32.99

Look no further than this convenient, hefty, and compact cooler bag. They can travel in style to spring and summer picnics, camping trips, and beach days. The padded handle and removable shoulder strap make it comfortable to carry, while its ability to collapse makes it easy to store. It’s also large with a 24 liter capacity, meaning they can fit all of their essentials in one insulated bag.

A stylish bucket hat for any season

A stylish bucket hat for any season

The Hat Depot 300N Unisex Bucket Hat, from $10.99

They’ll appreciate this bucket hat that’s both trendy and protective. It comes in just about any pattern and color — neons, tie-dyes, camos, and neutrals are just a few of the options. This hat is made of 100% cotton and includes eyelets for a more breathable feel. Plus, the nearly 2.25-inch brim will keep their skin and eyes protected from the sun.

A coffee table that’s more than just decor

Humans

“Humans” by Brandon Stanton, $13.87

A coffee table book is a great housewarming gift. But this hardcover book does more than just look pretty. It’s an expansion of Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” photography project. Page after page follows Stanton’s travels across the world, documenting portraits and short, but impactful stories of the people he’s encountered. 

The gift of light

LED Ring Light

AIXPI LED Ring Light, $18.99

Give the gift of light with Insider Reviews’ best budget ring light. This simple, easy-to-use light has everything that phone videographers need to get started. It includes a tripod setup that’s easy to move and adjust to your angles. You can also toggle between its three different light settings — white, warm yellow, and warm white — to find your perfect glow. 

An ambient moon lamp

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DTOETKD Multi-Color Moon Lamp, $19.89

Earning the title as Insider Reviews’ best multi-color moon lamp, this light basks the room in 16 different soothing hues. Its wooden stand props up the 3D moon and, thanks to its sleep timer, you can fall asleep to its glow without needing to worry about leaving it on all night. 

A portable picnic blanket

picnic blanket

Oniva Outdoor Picnic Blanket Tote XL, $33.95

The Oniva Outdoor Picnic Blanket Tote is a huge blanket that fits six people easily. Our Insider Reviews team loved it so much they named it the best picnic blanket overall. Its soft fleece interior has water-resistant backing that folds up quite compact.

A Bluetooth microphone to sing karaoke

Rose Gold Wireless Karaoke Microphone

Wireless Karaoke Microphone, $16.99

It’s a gift for everyone to enjoy, whether or not you can carry a tune. You can connect your phone and play music through the microphone’s speakers, and turn the volume up and down depending on your comfort. It’s the perfect thing to shake up a night in or to break the ice at a holiday gathering.

A vintage puzzle that doubles as cute home decor

puzzle

Cavallini Papers & Co. Butterflies 1,000 Piece Puzzle, $28.37

All the puzzle lovers in your life will be beyond grateful for this gift. From house plants to constellations, Cavallini Papers & Co. puzzles are both challenging and aesthetically pleasing. Once they’re done, they can frame it and hang it up as wall decor. 

A smart home camera at a fraction of the cost

Wyze

Wyze Alexa-Enabled Smart Home Camera, $32.83

With 3,000+ five star reviews, the Wyze v3 Camera is a popular and inexpensive smart home option that rivals expensive models. It’s Alexa- and Google Assistant-enabled and lets you view anywhere on your mobile device.  

Read our full review of the Wyze v3 Camera here

A media streamer that can turn a basic TV into a smart one

amazon under $50 gifts

Roku Streaming Stick+, $39

Essentially, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is your standard media streaming stick and can convert a basic TV into a smart one that can stream Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and more. It’s Alexa-enabled, too, so you can control it by voice.

Read our full review of the Roku Streaming Stick+ here

Homemade breakfast made with a heart-shaped waffle maker

Amazon gifts under $50 Dash

Dash Mini Waffle Maker Machine, $17.99

Get up early, and make your friend, significant other, or family member heart-shaped mini waffles for breakfast. The Dash Mini Maker is compact enough to keep for special occasions without cramping your kitchen, too.  

A wooden caddy tray for the world’s most luxurious bath

Amazon gifts under $50 bathtub tray

Royal Craft Luxury Bathtub Caddy, $44.97

Few things are as luxurious as a long bath filled with plenty of activities and treats. This one is waterproof, slip-resistant, and designed to accommodate one or two bathers at once. 

A compilation of the love letters of great men

Amazon gifts under $50 LLOGM

“Love Letters of Great Men”, $13.86

If you find yourself at a loss for words, let the love letters of great men do the talking for you. This volume includes love letters written by Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, James Joyce, John Keats, Dylan Thomas, and more. 

A calendar for dog lovers

Amazon gifts under $50 We Rate Dogs

WeRateDogs 2021 Calendar, $14.06

If they’re a dog person (and even if they’re not), they’ll appreciate waking up each day to a new pup photo with an exciting backstory. The calendar follows the same format as WeRateDogs’ popular Twitter account, and don’t worry, every dog receives a rating of at least 11/10.

A vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle that people swear by

hydro flask

Hydro Flask 12 oz Travel Coffee Mug, $34

Hydro Flask is a cult favorite for its water bottles, and these vacuum insulated stainless steel mugs work just as well. They’ll keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to twenty-four hours.

Anker Nano 20W USB C Charger under $25

Anker Nano 20W USB-C Charger, $16.99

This year’s iPhones won’t come with a charging adaptor in the box, so if you’re getting someone a new phone during the holidays, they’ll definitely need one of these. The Anker Nano charges three times faster than the typical Apple charger and is physically the same size.

An unfussy cookbook meant for hosting one person or many

Amazon gifts under $50 SAFH

“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” by Samin Nosrat, $16.67

“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” is a New York Times bestseller and a James Beard Award winner for a reason. This book offers a great explanation of exactly why food tastes so good, breaking it down into four main elements.  

A powerful wireless charger for their desk

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Anker Wireless Charger, $48.89

Get them a wireless charger that lets them charge their phone without having to plug it in or take off their phone case first. 

A durable, inexpensive Fire tablet

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Fire 7 Tablet, $49.99

Amazon’s Fire tablets are a relatively great deal for a tablet if you’re not looking for anything super high-performance driven or luxe. For the average user, they’re a good fit. It’s Alexa-enabled, so you can ask for quick access to music and entertainment or messages and calling, and it has up to seven hours of battery life. 

You can shop the latest versions for a bit more money here.

A portable laptop desk

Amazon gifts under $50 lap desk

AmazonBasics Adjustable and Portable Laptop Table, from $37.94

As more and more people find themselves working from home, a laptop desk is essential for comfort, convenience, and efficiency. This model is height-adjustable, so it can easily double as a breakfast tray or writing station. 

A notebook that they can fill with their favorite travel memories

Amazon gifts under $50 travel journal

Maleden Spiral Bound Traveler Notebook, $12.99

If they’re always recounting memories from their favorite trip, a travel journal is an excellent place for them to put all of these stories to paper. This particular model comes with binder rings, so they can easily include tickets, photos, and other mementos.

A candle that pays homage to their favorite place on Earth

candle

Homesick Candles, $28.90

Gift them a candle customized to smell like their beloved hometown, college town, or favorite getaway. 

Read our full review of Homesick Candles here

A bestselling book

Amazon gifts under $50 Crawdads

“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, $11

A bestseller and one of the most talked-about books, “Where the Crawdads Sing” is an ode to the natural world and a heartbreaking coming-of-age story. It’s set in a coastal town in North Carolina and follows a possible murder and the local suspect, the misunderstood Kya Clark, who’s been known simply as “Marsh Girl” for years.

A tough, wind-resistant umbrella they can rely upon

Amazon gifts under $50 umbrella

Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella, $21.95

Hear me out. It may seem boring, but everybody needs an umbrella, and this is way better than whatever version they bought the last time they veered into a CVS while it was raining. We think it’s the best umbrella you can buy thanks to how well it resists wind and how long it lasts, and they’ll find themselves thankful for it often. 

A portable and waterproof speaker

Amazon gifts under $50 Anker

Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, from $39.99

This wireless Bluetooth speaker is waterproof, durable, and easily portable. It has 24 hours of playtime and maintains sound quality even at high volumes. 

Another noteworthy book

Amazon books OEWBG

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel” by Ocean Vuong, $9.67

Ocean Vuong is an American poet, and “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is his much-anticipated debut novel. Published in 2019, it’s a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read that delves into family history, addiction, violence, trauma, compassion, and tenderness. If they’re a bookworm looking for the next bittersweet American classic, you may want to start here. Looking for other options? Amazon has a list of 2020 bestsellers, and a list of 100 books to read in a lifetime

A cast-iron skillet with almost 10,000 five-star reviews

Amazon gifts under $50 Lodge

Lodge 10.25-Inch Cast-Iron Skillet, from $17.90

This 10.25-inch cast-iron skillet is one that became minorly famous online and garnered over 98,000 Amazon reviews. Lodge has been making cast iron cookware since 1896, so they’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a great kitchen tool. 

An electric bottle opener

Amazon gifts under $50 Oster

Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter, $19.99

This slim device cuts foil and uncorks wine bottles seamlessly, then stows easily out of sight. It has to be charged, but it’ll open 30 bottles per charge. 

Highly rated in-ear earbuds

Amazon gifts under $50 Panasonic

Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones, from $11.07

Whether for everyday use, the gym, as a backup, or just for travel when Bluetooth headphones won’t connect to the in-flight entertainment, there are ample uses for really solid in-ear buds with a stereo plug. This pair has an extended cord and three sets of ear pads for the perfect fit.

A famous hot sauce made from peppers grown in over 30 community gardens in the Bronx

Amazon gifts under $50 Small Axe

Small Axe Peppers Variety 3-Pack, $21.99

This all-natural, tangy hot sauce is best known for its part in the popular Youtube series “Hot Ones.” It’s made from peppers grown in community gardens across the US. 

Anthony Bourdain’s bestselling culinary and travel memoir

Amazon gifts under $50 Anthony Bourdain

“A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines” by Anthony Bourdain, from $13.19

This is Anthony Bourdain’s New York Times bestselling chronicle of traveling the world in search of the globe’s greatest culinary adventures. From California to Cambodia, Bourdain spent much of his adult life searching for the perfect meal.

A cold brew coffee maker

Amazon gifts under $50 cold brew

Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $19.99

This cold brew maker is as inexpensive as it is convenient, and it can even save hundreds of dollars per year. It easily fits into most refrigerator doors, is simple to use, and makes a good amount of cold brew at once. If they need more than one quart, there’s also a two-quart option under $40. 

Read our full review of the Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker here.

The cult-favorite clay mask that took over the internet

Amaozn gifts under $50 Aztec Secret

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Facial & Body Mask, $14.95

The Aztec Clay Mask is one of those cult-favorite products of the internet that’s driven from the obscure depths of Amazon to beauty vlogs, Youtube testimonials with over 4 million views, and even the Sephora beauty blog. It’s been called “the world’s most powerful facial,” and it’s also under $10. It can be mixed with water, but it works best with a little bit of apple cider vinegar.

Read our full review of the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Facial & Body Mask here.

A universal USB wall charger that fits four devices

anker 4 port wall charger

Anker 4-Port USB Wall Charger with Foldable Plug, $29.99

Double the outlet space with this four-port USB wall charger. Its advanced charging capacity also means their tech will charge faster than average.

An Atlas Obscura calendar full of daily photos and tidbits about the world’s strangest and coolest places or festivals

Amazon gifts under $50 Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura Page-A-Day 2021 Calendar, $13.52

The Atlas Obscura calendar is a fun, novel way to infuse each day with an anchor of appreciation and wonder for the world. There are hundreds of photos that celebrate the world’s strangest and coolest places, festivals, and foods. Travelers and life-long learners are particularly good candidates for this one.

A milk frother so they can make their favorite coffee or hot chocolate drinks from home

Amazon under $50 Powerlix

PowerLix Milk Frother, $14.95

A milk frother is an unexpectedly convenient tool to have around the house, and it can make an otherwise normal cup of coffee or hot chocolate closer to what you’d buy at the cafe. With it, they can make lattes, cappuccinos, and frothy coffees every morning for less.

The best travel pillow we’ve found

Amazon gifts under $50 Trtl

Trtl Travel Pillow, from $29.99

We know it sounds gimmicky, but these travel pillows from Trtl really do make a difference, which is why we’ve voted them the best travel pillows you can buy. There’s a slightly more expensive version that’s even better, too. 

A delicious gift basket of caramel, chocolate, and crunchy gourmet treats

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Chocolate, Caramel and Crunch Grand Gift Basket, $37

For less than $40, you can gift gourmet chocolates and caramels pre-wrapped in a keepsake basket. The set includes seasonal favorites like caramel corn, chocolate pretzels, and peanut brittle. 

A hair turban that will cut drying time in half

Amazon gifts under $50 Aquis

Aquis Original Microfiber Hair Turban, from $20.99

Aquis’ cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of product reviewers.

The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that’s composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction the hair experiences while in its weakest state. It also prevents hygral fatigue — the stretching and swelling of wet hair that makes it vulnerable to frizz and damage — by cutting the hair’s drying time by 50%.

A charging case that protects and charges wireless devices on the go

Amazon under $50 Mophie

Mophie Wireless Power Capsule External Battery Charger, $20.29

This compact, portable case charges wearables like the Fitbit Flex, Beats by Dre, and JBL Wireless Earbuds on the go. The 1,4000 mAh rechargeable battery translates to about 60 hours of audio playback in wireless earbuds. 

Alexa-enabled smart plugs

Amazon gifts under $50 Wemo

Wemo Mini Smart WiFi-Enabled Plug, $24

These plugs turn your devices into smart tech. They help your giftee control their lights and appliances from a free app on their phone, or by voice using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. 

A hilarious card game

what do you meme, $29.97

What Do You Meme? Party Game, $29.99

This hilarious popular card game brings together the funniest memes of the Internet with over 350 caption cards for funny combinations. 

A highly rated pump with universal wine stoppers to keep open bottles fresh for longer

Amazon under $50 wine saver

The Original Vacu Vin Wine Saver with Two Vacuum Stoppers, $14.99

This hyper-popular pump and universal wine stopper set keeps open bottles of wine from prolonged exposure to the air, which is what causes the breakdown of its character and taste. This version makes a “click” sound when the user has managed to create an airtight seal and has almost 6,000 five-star reviews.

A photo book from one of the most renowned wildlife photographers

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“Polar Obsession” by Paul Nicklen, $36.99

Paul Nicklen is an acclaimed Canadian photographer, film-maker, and marine biologist known for his work in the Arctic. He’s a frequent contributor to National Geographic and has won the BBC Wildlife Photographer award of the year as well as the prestigious World Press Photo award for photojournalism, and this coffee table book is a beautiful homage to polar landscapes. 

A powerful external battery

Gifts for coworkers Eleject

Elecjet PowerPie, $49.99

It’s not groundbreaking to give your partner a portable charger, but they’ll find themselves grateful for it repeatedly. It’s perfect for traveling and commuting, when it’s safe to again, and acts as insurance for long days away from home. It reportedly charges iPhones twice as fast as the original iPhone charger.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We tested 8 garlic presses in 2021 – these 3 are worth your money

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A quality garlic press is easy to clean and produces a high yield of crushed garlic.
  • Our top pick is the Orblue Stainless Steel Garlic Press.
  • It offers a full range of motion, is dishwasher safe, and can press multiple cloves at a time.

Garlic is a versatile ingredient used every day in many kitchens. Preparing it can be a sticky and smelly task, which is where a garlic press comes in. A garlic press has two primary goals: prepare garlic to a grated-like consistency and keep your hands cleaner than chopping does.

Garlic’s smell and taste become stronger when it’s cut because of a compound called allicin that forms when the cells are crushed. The smaller the garlic pieces, the more allicin is formed and the heavier the garlic flavor. Garlic presses combine crushing and mincing motions to produce garlic paste that is fragrant and flavorful. A high quality garlic press can also save time, especially if you have several cloves to press.

The most difficult part of using a garlic press is cleaning the leftover pieces of garlic skin from the basket. This will be an issue in any garlic press you use, but factors like full rotation of the press or mobility of the basket can make it easier. We tested eight garlic presses to identify the ones that make prepping garlic easy and fast.

Here are the best garlic presses in 2021

Our testing methodology

garlic presses loaded with garlic cloves for testing of the best garlic press in 2021

As a kitchenware reporter, I have tested many tools to determine not only if they work as intended, but also if they make life in the kitchen easier. For this guide, we used a central question to inform our testing: does this product make preparing garlic easier and keep your hands cleaner than using a good knife or a microplane grater? I tested seven garlic presses and rated them on the following criteria:

Performance: We used each press to prepare both large and small cloves, peeled and unpeeled. We looked for the garlic produced to be uniform in shape and near a paste-like consistency. When using the press with unpeeled garlic, we noted if less pressed garlic was produced or if the press was more difficult to squeeze and clean. 

Ease of use: We noted how many cloves could fit comfortably in the basket at once. We attempted to squeeze each press with one hand and then two hands to see which was easier and more effective. 

Cleaning: We considered how easy the tools were to clean. We ran dishwasher-safe presses through the regular dishwasher cycle and hand washed any presses that weren’t dishwasher safe.

The best garlic press overall

product image of orblue garlic press, the best garlic press overall in 2021

The full rotation and stainless steel construction of the Orblue Garlic Press makes it the easiest to load, press, and clean. 

Pros: Full rotation, handles have looped ends so the press can be hung for storage, dishwasher safe, can accommodate multiple cloves at once

Cons: Water spots appeared on stainless steel after washing

This heavy duty kitchen tool features an almost 360 degree range of rotation. While most garlic presses feature a hopper (where the cloves go) that is attached to the handle, a feature of this press is that the hopper swings out separately from the handles. This allows you better access for loading garlic and for cleaning.

The Orblue is on the heavier side, but not unwieldy, and the heft makes squeezing easier when crushing multiple cloves at once. The crushed garlic came out even and paste-like. The press comes with a silicone garlic roller for peeling cloves and a small cleaning brush.

The best garlic press for unpeeled cloves

product image of kuhn rikon garlic press, the best garlic press for unpeeled cloves in 2021

Whether used with unpeeled cloves or peeled cloves, the Kuhn Rikon Garlic Press consistently produced the same amount of crushed garlic and required minimal pressure.

Pros: Presses both peeled and unpeeled cloves with ease, can accommodate multiple cloves

Cons: Heavy, expensive

The Kuhn Rikon was the most consistent garlic press I tested. Regardless of how the garlic was positioned or whether it was peeled or unpeeled, the Kuhn Rikon felt the same to squeeze and produced the same amount of garlic paste from each clove. This is a big plus if you’re making something that requires a lot of garlic, like garlic bread or aglio e olio. 

That said, the Kuhn Rikon is $26 more than our top pick and only performed better with unpeeled cloves. If you’re looking to avoid peeling garlic, the Rikon is easiest to use, but it may not be worth the increased price for everyone.

*This press is currently out of stock on Amazon, but is still available for purchase. New inventory is expected to ship in August 2021. 

The best garlic press for easy cleaning

product image of zyliss garlic press, the best garlic press for easy cleaning in 2021

The Zyliss Garlic Press comes with a cleaning tool that was the most effective of any that we tested and stores neatly inside the press so you don’t lose it.

Pros: Mobile lever, cleaning tool stored in the press, can accommodate multiple cloves at once

Cons: Stationary basket, requires a lot of force to press larger cloves

Cleaning a garlic press is the worst part of using it, but the Zyliss makes it almost painless. The cleaning tool is stored tucked into one of the handles, ensuring you don’t lose it. The tool has small spikes that match up with the holes in the basket, so you can push the garlic remains out from the holes, making it easier to remove the peels from the press. 

The Zyliss is made of aluminum and does not have the power of the heavier presses, so you have to apply more force. Though the basket is stationary, the press itself opens 180 degrees and the lever is mobile, so you still have space to fill and clean it.

What else we tested

hand holding a garlic press with crushed garlic coming through holes as part of testing for the best garlic

What else we recommend and why:

Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker: The main difference between this tool and a traditional press is the size of the garlic pieces produced. Garlic is pushed through larger holes in the Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker, so the texture is less like garlic paste and more like finely diced garlic. Despite that, I do recommend this tool because it is easy to clean, takes up less space than a typical garlic press, and it doesn’t require hand strength. As long as you can lean down and push on the edges of the curved steel, you will successfully crush the clove.

KitchenAid Classic Garlic Press: This press performed similarly to the Orblue, our top pick. It was a little lighter and had a removable basket, but the force required was the same. A removable basket made it easier to clean the press, but it was hard to keep track of this small part and the press would be useless without it. I still recommend this press for someone confident in their ability to keep all the pieces together.

Dreamfarm Garject Self-Cleaning Garlic Press: This press had the most bells and whistles, with a built-in scraper and peel ejector. I loved the addition of the scraper because it pushes all the garlic off the front of the press. While the peel ejector works, it doesn’t make a huge difference in cleaning because smaller pieces of garlic still stick in the basket. The basket is big enough for multiple cloves, but it was very difficult to press when full.

What we don’t recommend and why:

Faberware Garlic Peeler and Press Set: This press was made of plastic and substantially lighter than the stainless steel presses. However, this meant I had little leverage when I squeezed it. This resulted in more work for less output. 

Chef’N Garlic Zoom Chopper: Though not technically a press, we tested this product as an option for finely chopped garlic that didn’t require squeezing. While it did fit multiple cloves and chopped them easily, there were flaws in the design. The blade is removable, but it is not secured, so it tends to fall out when you open the top to get garlic out. Additionally, the garlic sticks to the sides.

What we’re testing next

Alpha Grillers Garlic Press: This press can be used with unpeeled cloves and has an extra large basket to press several cloves at once. We will test whether this basket holds more garlic than the standard baskets of our top picks.

OXO Good Grips Garlic Press: We have reviewed many OXO products and find them to be consistently high-performing. We are curious if this garlic press lives up to that standard, and if the padded handles make it easier or more comfortable to use. 

FAQs

What is the best way to clean a garlic press?

Consult the manufacturer’s instructions on whether or not your press is dishwasher safe. If it isn’t, the hardest part will be getting the pieces of garlic out from the basket. A press with a full range of rotation or removable basket is easier to clean because you have access to the nooks and crannies. If your sink has a spray nozzle, blasting the basket with a steam of water can push out stubborn pieces of garlic. 


Can you use unpeeled cloves in a garlic press?

You don’t necessarily need to peel garlic before pressing it through a garlic press, though some presses are better at processing unpeeled garlic than others. The manufacturer will list if a press is intended for use with unpeeled cloves. During testing, I had to squeeze harder when pressing unpeeled garlic with all the tools, except the Kuhn Rikon. 


What is the best garlic press for weak and arthritic hands?

In general, we do not recommend a garlic press for people with weak hands. None of the garlic presses we tested were easy to use with one hand. Most garlic presses operate by squeezing the handles together to crush the garlic. This is a difficult motion for folks with weaker hands, and we will be testing other methods of preparing garlic for our next update. We’ll also be looking for garlic presses with soft grips, which may be easier to squeeze for some.

Check out our other great kitchen guides

Our Methodology Knife Sets
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62 gifts under $25 that anyone will love – from a cold brew coffee maker to a silk pillowcase

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

West Elm Tea Towels

The elements of a good present – being thoughtful, useful, or novel – aren’t restricted to a big budget. But the best gifts under $25 are usually hidden in a minefield of totally expendable knickknacks.

As a team of product journalists and reviewers, we’ve put together a list of the best affordable gifts we know of, based on gifts we’ve received, gifts we’ve given, and others we’ve found along the way. They’re all things we have or would gladly buy and use in our daily lives.

Check out all 60+ gifts under $25:

A compact, waterproof blanket for outdoor activities

A feminine person sitting on a big, blue outdoor blanket on a sandy beach

Bearz Outdoor Pocket Blanket, available at Amazon, $20.99

They’ll appreciate this outdoor blanket for all of their get-togethers outside. It folds up easily and can even fit into their pocket. It’s also waterproof, puncture-resistant, and sand-proof, so they can use this gift to level up their beach days, camping adventures, hikes, and picnics in the park.

A trendy bucket hat for the summer sun

Feminine person wearing gray bucket hat from Hat Depot on Amazon

The Hat Depot 300N Unisex Bucket Hat, available at Amazon, from $10.99

Whether you’re shopping for someone who loves bucket hats or someone who has yet to try one, this accessory is a great gift for the summer. They’ll get much needed protection from the sun, plus they’ll look stylish wherever they go.

A tie-dye kit for a fun art project

Three feminine people wearing colorful tie-dye shirts

Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit, available at Amazon, from $12.85

Tie-dye clothing continues to stick around, but they don’t have to spend a fortune on a tie-dye sweatshirt to join in on the trend. This easy kit gives them the gift of a fun passion project or a hands-on activity with friends. It comes with five colors of dye, gloves, and rubber bands.

A trio of face mists for freshening up their skin

Three bottles of face mists from Mario Badescu; one is green, one is pink, and one is purple.

Mario Badescu Spritz. Mist. Glow. Set, available at Ulta, $21

Gifting beauty products like moisturizers and foundations can be challenging because everyone has specific skin types and shades. However, face mists are your best bet if they’re obsessed with skincare and need something refreshing for the summer. We can’t get enough of Mario Badescu, and its mists are no exception. You can learn more about Mario Badescu sprays in our guide to the best face mists.

A candle that smells like summertime at the beach

Waikiki Beach Coconut Candle

Bath & Body Works Waikiki Beach Coconut, available at Bath & Body Works, $3.62 

For a gift that lasts, get them a quality candle. They’ll love the summer scent of this one from Bath & Body Works. Bath & Body Works is a household name that we turn to for buying candles, which is why we include it in our guide to the best candle brands. You can choose from endless fragrance options and formats, as well as seasonal scents.

A personalized video message from their favorite celebrity

Cameo 2021

Personalized video message, starting at $1, available at Cameo

When trying to think of a unique gift, one that might not immediately come to mind is Cameo. The online service has tons of famous actors, musicians, athletes, and creators they might want a personalized video message from. Whether it’s for their birthday or the holidays, there’s something for everyone on Cameo, with prices starting at $1. You can get the likes of “Ugly Betty” actor Chris Gorham or internet dog sensation Puggy Smalls, each for $25 or less. 

Read more about Cameo and how to use Cameo.

A towel with a design of your city

Claudia Pearson City Tea Towels

Claudia Pearson City Tea Towels, available at West Elm, $18

Brooklyn artist Claudia Pearson has illustrated everything from children’s books to New Yorker pages to tea towels. Her quirky hand-drawn city maps add a sentimental touch to any kitchen.

A letterboard for lists, quotes, and milestone events

Target 12"x 12" Letterboard   Room Essentials™

12″x 12″ Room Essentials Letterboard, available at Target, $15

This square letter board brings a personalized touch to birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or dinner parties. The light grain finish offers a sleek, modern look that’ll match different living spaces.

A pure silk pillowcase that’ll help tame bedhead

ZIMASILK 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase for Hair and Skin Health,Both Sides 19 Momme Silk,1pc (Standard 20''x26'', Beige)

ZIMASILK 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, available at Amazon, from $20.39

Crafted from organic mulberry silk, this pillowcase is gentle and cool on hair and skin. Plus, you can choose from 36 colors to match your bedding. 

A water bottle that encourages hydration

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Ban.do Work It Out Water Bottle, available at Ban.do, $20

You’ll never forget to stay hydrated with this 24-ounce marked water bottle. It has an easy-to-carry plastic lid and removable silicone mouthpiece that makes it just as easy to clean as it is to drink from.  

The bedside storage essential

storage

Bedside Essentials Pocket, available at Uncommon Goods, $15-$20

Whether it’s your remote controls, books, or reading glasses, your bedside or couch essentials will fit perfectly in this convenient felt pouch. It slides between your mattress or under your couch cushion without looking like an eyesore.

The self-confessional book you can burn after writing

Burn

Burn After Writing Book, available at Amazon, $6.99

This bestseller went viral across TikTok because of its unique approach to self-reflection. With inquisitive prompts, the notebook works as a giant confessional you can quite literally burn after writing. 

A reflective card game that encourages connection

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We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Target, $25

This card game is unlike any you’ve played before. Its three carefully crafted levels of questions spark connections and stimulate reflective conversations. You’ll leave the game making friends out of strangers or diving deeper into your friendships. 

An assorted cookie tin

cookies

6-Count Cookie Tin, available Milk Bar, $22

Satisfy their sweet tooth with this assortment of cookies. You can’t go wrong with Milk Bar’s best, from its fudgy Chocolate Confetti Cookie to its fruity Blueberry & Cream Cookie.

We break down how to shop for Milk Bar online, here.

An ambient moon lamp

saturn

Saturn Moon Lamp, available at Amazon, $23.99

This Saturn-shaped moon lamp gives off a soothing ambient glow to brighten up their room. Whether they use it as a subtle night light or as a room accessory, they’ll have fun matching the lamp to their mood with its 16 color options.

Hip wine glasses that elevate a nice dinner

wine

Hip Wine Glasses, available at Crate & Barrel, $6.95

There’s nothing that screams elegance more than a nice set of wine glasses. At only $7 each, Crate & Barrel’s stemware styles are the perfect guest to accompany your next charcuterie board. 

A milk frother that brings the taste of a cafe closer to home

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PowerLix Milk Frother, available at Amazon, $14.95

A milk frother is an unexpectedly convenient tool to have around the house, and it can make a frothy latte or cappuccino that tastes closer to what you’d find at the cafe.

We’re huge fans of this one in particular and even ranked it best overall in our guide to the best milk frothers.

Reusable straws that fold up on the go

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Food52 Reusable Straw Set, available at Food52, $25

Food52’s reusable straw sets come in a pretty color palette, and each pack includes carrying cases and cleaning squeegees. They can toss one set in their bag, leave one at work, and keep one in the car.

A cult-favorite clay mask that basically vacuums out pores

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Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask, available at Target, $7.99

The Aztec Clay Mask has been called “the world’s most powerful facial” and it’s also under $10. It can be mixed with water, but it works best with a little bit of apple cider vinegar.

Read our full review of the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask here.

Their new favorite pair of socks

bombas

Women’s Tri-Block Ankle Socks, available at Bombas, $12

Men’s Tri-Block Ankle Socks, available at Bombas, $12

Bombas is one gift we find ourselves giving friends and family every year. They’re the best socks we’ve ever tried, and they’re a little more expensive than someone is likely to spend on socks for themselves, making them a great gift.

Read our full review of Bombas socks here.

A Disney+ subscription

Originals Disney Plus 4x3

Subscribe for $7.99/month or $79.99/year

It gives you unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox, and costs just $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year after a free seven-day trial. Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here.

And if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream.

A large photo print of a meaningful memory

Large Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising

Large Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22

Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $22 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $22, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $25.

A roulette of spontaneous date night ideas

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Date Night Bucket List, available at Uncommon Goods, $20

Never run out of fun and new date night ideas — and take some of the pressure off deciding on an activity.

A cold brew coffee tool that makes a quart of liquid

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Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon, $21.65

This cold brew maker is as inexpensive as it is convenient, and it can save hundreds of dollars per year on iced coffee. It easily fits into most refrigerator doors, is simple to use, and makes a good amount of cold brew at once. If they need more than one quart, there’s also a two-quart option. We even named it best budget option in our guide to the best cold-brew coffee makers

Read our full review of the Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker here

A trio of bestselling lipstick shades

Beauty gifts under $25 Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath Labs Mini MatteTrance Lipstick Trio, available at Sephora, $25

This paraben-free, ultra-pigmented trio features tiny but mighty editions of Pat McGrath Labs’ MatteTrance lipsticks.

A hair towel that cuts down on drying time by as much as 50%

aquis hair turban

Aquis Original Microfiber Hair Turban, available at Amazon, $20.99

Aquis’ cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of product reviewers.

The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that’s composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction that hair experiences while in its weakest state. Plus, it speeds up drying time by as much as 50%.

Textured dip bowls for condiments

West Elm Textured Dip Bowl   White (Lines)

Textured Dip Bowl, available at West Elm, from $5.52

Ideal for snacks, condiments, and the basics they love to cook with frequently. 

An approachable cookbook that’s great for hosting

Where Cooking Begins

“Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook” by Carla Lalli Music, available at Amazon, $15.81

This is the cookbook to beeline it to if your recipient loves to host friends for dinner. You can find more great options here, too.

A holiday shave set from a popular startup

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Shave Set, available at Flamingo, $16

Flamingo is the women’s brand of Harry’s, and it’s got the same M.O.: to make better hair removal products for a reasonable amount of money, and to present them in a way that makes them feel special. Its Shave Set comes in a recyclable pouch with a razor and two blade cartridges, daily moisturizer, luxe foaming shave gel, and a shower hook.

Read our full review of the Flamingo Shave Set here.

Smart outlet plugs that let you turn devices on or off from anywhere

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Kasa Smart WiFi Plug Mini, available at Best Buy, $9.99

A small but convenient gift, smart wifi plugs let the owner turn their electronics on or off from anywhere with their smartphone thanks to the Kasa app. If they have a smart home gadget, they can use the voice assistant to turn things on and off as well. In the Kasa app, they can also set schedules and “scenes” for controlling many devices with one button. 

A custom family portrait – including pets

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Custom Family Portrait, available at Etsy, from $15

For an especially thoughtful, impactful gift, order ahead of time and get a custom portrait of your little family — pets included.

A mini griddle that makes individual servings of breakfast foods

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Dash Mini Maker: The Mini Waffle Maker Machine, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, $9.99

This tiny waffle maker is perfect for single-serving breakfasts, or for meal prep (just freeze your waffles ahead of time). It’s compact for confined spaces, heats up in a few minutes, and has a non-stick surface that’s easy to clean.

A lifetime REI membership

REI

REI Membership, available at REI, $20

Perfect for the outdoorsy types, an REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. Find out more here.

A set of three silk hair scrunchies

SlipSilk

Slipsilk Mini Scrunchies, available at Sephora, $22

Silk is often used in products like headbands and pillowcases to reduce friction and breakage of hair, and these hair ties serve the same purpose. Designed to keep hair from catching, crimping, and pulling, these hair scrunchies are gentle on strands and around the wrist.

Containers of Belgian chocolate for fondue

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Decadent Chocolate Fondue, available at Uncommon Goods, $20

Order a stoneware container of Belgian chocolate that you can heat up for a night of hassle-free fondue. 

A water bottle with a built-in filter system

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Brita Premium Filtering Water Bottle, available at Amazon, $16.99

The Brita water bottle has a built-in filter that can improve the taste of water by reducing its chlorine content and smell. It can replace an estimated 1,800 single-use plastic bottles each year.

A reusable shopping bag that comes in tons of fun colors

Baggu Reusable Bag

Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag, available at Amazon, $12

Baggu bags are popular for a reason — they come in over 40 fun prints and fold down to pretty much nothing even though they can hold 50 pounds of stuff. 

A spray that protects your shoes from stains

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Jason Markk Repel Spray, available at Amazon, $17

This Jason Markk spray repels water and oil to keep your shoes free of stains and water spots. It’s water-based, so it’s okay to use on a variety of materials — from suede to nubuck leather to canvas and others. It sprays a fine mist that covers large areas both quickly and evenly. 

Soft, cozy underwear that comes in fun patterns

MeUndies Boxer Brief

MeUndies Boxers, available at MeUndies, $24

MeUndies makes some of the most comfortable underwear and loungewear for men and women that we’ve found at Insider Reviews. And, beyond that, we love their festive patterns. Because they’re pricier than most people are willing to pay for their own underwear, these make a great and surprisingly luxurious gift. We share our love for MeUndies underwear in our guide to the best places to shop for men’s underwear

Read our full review of MeUndies here.

Coasters made from reclaimed vinyl records

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Upcycled Record Coasters, available at Uncommon Goods, $18

These upcycled coasters are made from reclaimed vinyl records and sealed against moisture. Each set includes a variety of music genres. 

Fast-absorbing, moisturizing hand sanitizer

Touchland Power Mist Mint

Touchland Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $12

Touchland makes hand sanitizers that aren’t sticky or drying. We like them because they’re fast-evaporating, moisturizing, and effective. 

Read our full review of Touchland Hand Sanitizer here.

A protective phone case

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Incase Phone Cases, available at Incase, from $24.95

Incase probably already makes your laptop case, and their phone cases are great for many of the same reasons. They’re lightweight, add another layer of protection, and allow for some fun personalization. 

A membership to unlimited reading

Scribd

Scribd Membership, available at Scribd, $9.99/month

Enjoy unlimited access to hundreds of thousands of books, audiobooks, and magazines for less than $10 a month with Scribd. (Or $13 per month for access to Scribd and the New York Times). If they aren’t a bibliophile already, Scribd will make them one. 

Read our full review of the Scribd membership here.  

Herbs de Provence in a cool ceramic crock

Herbes de Provence in Ceramic Crock

Herbes de Provence in Ceramic Crock, available at Williams Sonoma, from $14.95

Switch it up for the cook in your life with this tasty herb mix. The classic blend of thyme, basil, savory, fennel and lavender hails from the South of France, and Williams Sonoma recommends using it to accent poultry, meat, sauces, and soups. 

Chip-resistant, vegan nail polish that comes in over 50 colors

Smith & Cult Nail Polish

Smith and Cult Nail Polish, available at Smith and Cult, $18

Smith & Cult’s rich, chip-resistant nail polish comes in 52 colors and is the kind of beautiful bottle you leave out on the vanity because it’s just that nice to look at. The formulas are vegan, cruelty-free, and don’t have potentially harmful ingredients like formaldehyde or camphor, among others. It’s easy to see why we included Smith & Cult in our guide to the best nail polish brands.

Charitable lottery tickets that donate money to a deserving organization

Scratch off Donation Card

Scratch-off Donation Card, available at LottoLove, $23

When you scratch off a card from LottoLove, you won’t win any money. Instead, you “win” a charitable prize that’s donated to someone in need. There are four possible prizes, which help provide clean water, solar light, nutritious meals, or literacy tools. To date, LottoLove and its charitable partners have impacted lives in over 60 countries.

Lip gloss that’s moisturizing and not sticky

Tower28 ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss

Tower 28 Beauty ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss, available at Sephora, $14

Tower 28 makes soft lip glosses with subtle color and a non-sticky, moisturizing formula with ingredients like raspberry seed oil and rosehip oil. You can pick from 10 different colors. 

Read our full review of Tower 28 here.

Reusable beeswax sandwich wraps

Bee's Wrap Reusable Food Wraps

Beeswax Reusable Sandwich Wrap, available at Food52, from $18

Beeswax Sandwich Wrap is made from cotton infused with beeswax and natural oils. It acts as an eco-friendly substitute to plastic sandwich bags, and it can be reused over and over and over again.

Gourmet flavored syrups that are perfect for coffees and teas, and even cocktails

monin mini coffee syrup

Monin Mini Coffee Syrup, available at World Market, $9.99

Did anyone — anyone at all — say cocktails? Monin’s coffee collection has everything needed for café-inspired drinks, be they cocktails, lattes, coffees, or teas. It includes five syrups ranging in flavors from amaretto to Irish cream. Plus, Monin has a recycling initiative that works to improve the health of bee populations. 

A smart chip that helps you find items you’ve lost

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Tile Mate, available at Target, $24.99

How nice would it be if every time you lost something, you could find it within a few minutes? Use your smartphone to make the Tile Mate ring aloud, and you’ll be able to locate your keys or wallet using the sound. 

A travel-size duo of two cult-favorite NARS products

cheap gifts

NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil Duo, available at Sephora, $20

NARS’ velvet matte lipstick pencils are travel-sized so your giftee can bring them on trips or easily throw them into purses and pockets for on-the-go use. The formula is non-drying and long-lasting, and they can be used to line, define, and fill in lips with colors that range from subtle to rich. 

A popular lip mask that creates a protective seal to lock in moisture overnight

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Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, available at Sephora, $22

Laneige’s hyper-successful Lip Sleeping Mask uses a combination of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, minerals, antioxidants, and fruit extracts to form a protective layer over the lips to lock in moisture overnight. It has over 13,000 ratings on Sephora, and an average rating of 4.4-stars out of five. 

Read our full review of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask here.

A slip-resistant armband to keep their phone in place on a run

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Tribe Cell Phone Armband, available at Amazon, from $14.98

If you’re going to buy an armband for a runner, you’re probably going to wind up buying this version from Tribe. It has over 40,000 reviews on Amazon (with a 4.4-star rating overall) and, while it’s not the most perfect out there, it’s frequently recommended for its water-resistant and no-slip design. 

Knee-high socks from one of the best loungewear companies online

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Tommy John Knee High Casual Sock, available at Tommy John, from $16

Tommy John is another company responsible for some of the very best loungewear and underwear on the internet. Their knee-length socks have light compression to support blood flow, and the “comfort cuff” design means you should be able to peel them off without finding marks left over. 

Read our full review of Tommy John here.

An adjustable phone stand for their desk, dinner table, or kitchen counter

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Lamicall Adjustable Cell Phone Stand, available at Amazon, from $11.99

Whether they use it as a desk accessory or to prop up their YouTube search for “how to chop onions” while they cook at home, a lightweight, adjustable phone stand comes in handy more often than you’d expect. 

One of the best new books of the year

book

“The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah, available at Amazon, from $14.49

If you’re looking for a good book to gift, look no further than the reading lists already on Amazon — from the best books of the month, to the best books of the year, to the 100 you should read in a lifetime

A photo book with some of their best memories

Softcover Photo Book

Custom Softcover Photo Book, available at Artifact Uprising from $15

For a sentimental gift under $25, we recommend these beautifully designed photo books that look like a personal magazine, curated by you for them.

Bath salts that are the perfect excuse for relaxation

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Herbivore Botanicals Calm Bath Salts, available at Dermstore, $18

Herbivore Botanical’s bath salts include nutrient-rich Pacific sea salts combined with ylang-ylang and vanilla essential oil. They’ll moisturize the skin and provide a deeply relaxing, calming effect on the brain to decrease anxiety and restlessness.  

The best hair mask you can buy

its a 10 miracle hair mask

It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask, available at It’s a 10, from $12.49

Perfect for color-treated, heat-styled, and otherwise damaged hair, It’s a 10’s hair mask deep-conditions strands with a blend of moisturizing ingredients like oat kernel extract, apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, and linseed extract. We tout it as the best overall pick in our guide to the best hair masks.

A cute, bunny-shaped loose-tea infuser

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Fred & Friends Brew Bunny Tea Infuser, available at Amazon, $9.78

Gift them some relaxing time spent sipping their favorite tea (which you could pick up as an accompanying gift). 

The makeup remover tourists stock up on in French pharmacies

Bioderma

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Makeup Remover, available at Amazon, $14.99

Bioderma’s makeup remover is a cult favorite among makeup artists, celebrities, the average person, and the Insider Reviews team. We call it the best overall in our guide to the best makeup removers, and we also mention it in our roundup of French pharmacy skincare products.

Tickets to an event you know they’ll appreciate

StubHub gift card

Live concert and game tickets, available at Stubhub, from $15 per person

Once it’s safe to attend live events again, is there a good concert, play, or game you think they’d love? It doesn’t have to be expensive to be impactful. Grab tickets and make a night of it — or, if you live far away, make sure they get to go with a friend or two.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We tested 9 popular bread machines – these are the 3 best ones you can buy in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A bread machine is a valuable kitchen tool if you enjoy making bread at home.
  • Most bread makers require quick prep work and take about three to four hours to make the bread.
  • We tested nine machines, and the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is our top pick.

While I like the concept of making bread entirely from scratch, the lag time is significant between realizing that warm carbs are what’s missing in my life and actually holding a freshly-baked brioche. Many recipes involving yeast require kneading, refrigerating, or babysitting, making spur-of-the-moment bread out of the question. That is, unless, you have a bread machine.

Most bread machines require about 10 minutes of prep time, which is mostly spent measuring ingredients and putting them into a pan. After that’s done, you pick a setting, turn on the machine, and three or four hours later you (ideally) have a warm, golden-brown loaf. But with so many bread machines on the market, how do you choose the right one?

“At a minimum, I’d want a machine with a standard cycle, a whole grain or whole wheat cycle (if you enjoy whole-grain bread) and a dough cycle, which simply mixes and kneads the dough, then keeps it warm as it rises,” said P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook “The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.” “After that, you can make pizza crust, cinnamon buns, or any number of yummy treats.”

That’s why I put each bread machine in this guide through a series of tests to see how they handled basic white bread, wheat bread with mix-ins (in this case, sunflower seeds and flax seeds), and gluten-free bread. I also assessed the ease of use, setting options, baking times, noise levels, and special features like pre-programming. You can read a more in-depth explanation of my testing methods here, and a few tips for getting the most out of your bread machine here.

The 3 best bread machines of 2021

Our testing methodology

The inside of a bread machine, showing the basket for dough.

Before I began testing, I spoke to Marsha Perry, the writer behind the popular Bread Machine Diva blog, and P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook “The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.” Both have decades of experience testing and adapting bread machine recipes and providing their respective readers with bread machine tips. 

On their recommendation, I followed the recipes featured in each bread machine’s guidebook, since they’re calibrated to accommodate unique temperatures, mixing speeds, proofing techniques, and baking times. In future testing rounds, I plan to see how each machine fares using a universal bread machine recipe. I baked, at most, two loaves of bread per day in each machine, waiting several hours between baking sessions to allow the breadmakers to cool completely.

Here are the criteria I looked for during each test:

Bread quality: A bread machine has one job — to make good bread. I tested how each one handled basic white bread, wheat bread with mix-ins (in this case, a combination of sunflower seeds and flax seeds, to see how the machines dispersed mix-ins of different sizes), and, for the machines with a gluten-free setting, gluten-free bread. I used the same ingredients throughout testing, all of which are basic items you’d find at any grocery store.

I dialed the crust setting to “Medium” on each breadmaker. White bread was baked on the “White” setting (sometimes labeled as “Basic,” depending on the machine), wheat bread was baked on the “Whole Wheat” setting, and gluten-free bread was baked on the “Gluten-Free” setting.

Each loaf of bread was then examined for consistency of texture, a golden color throughout, and an even rise; points were docked if the domed top fell. I cut several slices of bread from each loaf to look for air pockets and under or over-baked spots. 

Size: Most bread machines take up a lot of counter space, so while it wasn’t a deciding factor, extra consideration was given to more compact options.

Capacity: While every bread machine I tested — aside from the Zojirushi Maestro — was built with a two-pound loaf in mind (aka the size you’d find in a grocery store), I made note of the models that had the ability to bake loaves in three or four different sizes; one pound was the smallest I saw, and 2.5 pounds was the largest. 

Noise: Extra noisy machines were dinged, as were ones that “hopped” across the counter during the kneading cycle. The top three picks above all operated at a low hum, and were, as far as I could tell, motionless.

Unique features: I noted setting options (some machines had special cycles for things like jam, yogurt, and pasta dough), especially fast baking times, and special features like pre-programming or auto-dispensers for mix-ins. 

The best bread machine overall

Zojirushi bread maker, with a black top and stainless steel body.

This bread machine kneads thoroughly, bakes evenly, and, unlike many of its competitors, turns out standard-sized loaves. 

Pros: Produces standard-sized loaves that rise evenly and are a consistent color, a wide variety of settings, ability to customize your own settings, pre-programmable, 1-year warranty

Cons: Expensive, takes up a lot of counter space

The Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is my top pick for home bakers, thanks to its stellar reliability and variety of settings. After putting nine different machines through three rounds of tests (or two, for machines without gluten-free settings), I found that this was the only one to turn out perfectly domed, uniformly browned, and consistently fluffy bread with evenly distributed mix-ins every time. To check for consistency, I made two more loaves of white bread after those initial tests, and both were slam dunks. 

It was also one of the few bread machines to pass the gluten-free test with flying colors, producing bread that was similar in color, size, and texture to your standard white loaf. For her own experiment, the Bread Machine Diva blog’s Marsha Perry — who name-checked the Virtuoso Plus when I asked her for a bread machine recommendation — made one gluten-free loaf using the “Gluten-Free” setting and another using its regular “White” setting, and said the first loaf was markedly better. 

The Virtuoso Plus’ custom bread cycles feature is especially helpful for those who have moved beyond the machine’s guidebook recipes. Interestingly, Hamel of King Arthur Flour uses her Zojirushi’s “Jam” cycle to make risotto — a technique that I’m curious to try.

The Virtuoso Plus can be pre-programmed (a feature that worked perfectly and allowed me to wake up to the smell of fresh bread during testing), and the machine’s 5-minute power backup means you won’t automatically lose your bread-in-progress if the power flickers, as Hamel noted.

The Virtuoso Plus also stops kneading when you open the lid, which is useful if you want to add mix-ins to your bread. And if you need to measure those mix-ins, the machine comes with four nested measuring cups, one liquid measuring cup, and a double-ended measuring spoon — add-ons that are unnecessary, but appreciated. 

This machine makes two-pound 9-by-5 loaves that are, as I mentioned, about the size and shape of sandwich bread you’d find at the grocery store. Timing-wise, the white and wheat loaves of bread took about 3.5 hours to bake, while the gluten-free loaf was done in 2.5 hours. The clock displays the time your bread will be done, rather than the hours left, which I found helpful when planning my day. 

I’ve been using this model at least twice a month in the four months since my initial testing, and find that it still runs smoothly, with no discernable changes in quality of bread, reliability of programming, or noise levels. 

All of this being said, the Zojirushi is on the expensive side, so if you’re just trying out bread-making before you fully commit to the hobby, I’d recommend our budget pick. It’s also probably not the best choice if you have limited counter space, as the other machines in this guide are more compact.

The best bread machine on a budget

Oster bread machine, an all white body with curved edges.

The Oster Expressbake is a solid starter machine that mixes, kneads, and bakes evenly, and with 13 settings, it’s notably more versatile than competitors within its price range. 

Pros: produces bread with an even rise, makes three loaf sizes, affordable, compact, fast baking time, variety of settings, window, pre-programmable, 1-year warranty

Cons: Somewhat noisy, loaf size isn’t quite standard, slightly thicker crusts than our top pick

The Oster Express Bake‘s name refers to the fact that it can turn out a two-pound loaf of bread in less than an hour on its Express Bake setting (our top pick‘s “Rapid” cycle takes about 2.5 hours). While the results are certainly better than your standard grocery store loaf, I found that bread baked on this machine’s namesake setting turned out denser and shorter than loaves made on its Basic cycle (a near-universal bread machine problem, according to experts we spoke to). 

But most people don’t choose a bread machine based on its ability to bake two loaves of bread in the time it takes to watch an episode of “The Bachelorette,” and Express Bake results aside, the Oster’s white, wheat, and gluten-free loaves of bread were the best — golden brown and evenly risen with a fine crumb, a smooth, domed top, and evenly distributed mix-ins — out of the five machines in its price bracket that we tested. The only flaws that placed its loaves under the Zojirushi’s in testing were their unconventional shape (shorter in length and taller in height, with bread slices whose tops stick out slightly from your average toaster) and thicker crusts.

The Oster was also a bit more finicky in terms of exact measurements; when I relied on measuring cups instead of a kitchen scale, my loaves turned out flatter on top — a problem I didn’t have with our top pick. And while this machine’s gluten-free bread was solid, it was a bit less soft than the Zojirushi’s. 

I also tested the Express Bake’s predecessor and found that loaves baked in the original turned out slightly darker on the sides and paler on top. The brand swapped the Express Bake’s Bagel Dough setting for Pasta, which isn’t necessarily an improvement but does seem more practical, given the complicated process of making bagels from scratch.

Like the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus, the Oster Express Bake comes with a liquid measuring cup and a double-sided measuring spoon (but no set of nested dry measuring cups). It’s less bulky than our top pick, although perhaps not ideal if kitchen space is tight (if compactness is a priority, check out the Zojirushi Maestro, below). It can be pre-programmed and will beep instantly after finishing its bread cycle before switching to the warm mode for 60 minutes, then beeping again and automatically shutting off.

The best compact bread machine

Zojirushi Maestro, a tall and narrow white body with a loaf next to it.

The Zojirushi Maestro is specifically calibrated to bake excellent one-pound loaves of bread, making it a solid choice for one or two-person households. 

Pros: Produces an even bake, perfect for small households, variety of settings, ability to customize cycles, pre-programmable, compact, 1-year warranty

Cons: Loaves are oddly-shaped, bread can be difficult to remove from pan

Since I’m typically baking for one or two people, most standard two-pound loaves of bread go stale before I can finish them. (In other words, I’ve made a lot of croutons lately.) Typically, bread machines offer 1.5-pound loaves as their smallest option, and those that do begin at one pound aren’t necessarily calibrated to excel at loaves that small. When I tried making a one-pound loaf in Cuisinart’s Compact Automatic Breadmaker, for example, the results were dense, with a thicker crust than I would have liked. 

Zojirushi’s Maestro, however, is designed with small households in mind, and during my tests, it consistently turned out solid one-pound loaves that ticked every box on my bread checklist: golden-brown color, domed top, fine crumb, evenly risen, and evenly-distributed mix-ins. That being said, the Maestro’s pan is aligned vertically, meaning its loaves are oddly-shaped — even cube-like – and the bread is a bit more difficult to pry from inside. 

I appreciate the fact that Zojirushi didn’t scale down its flagship breadmaker’s features just to make smaller loaves; the Maestro can be pre-programmed in advance and includes a 5-minute power backup (as mentioned in our Virtuoso review, this can really save your loaf in the event your power flickers). 

The Maestro’s narrow dimensions make it easy to store in my tiny Brooklyn kitchen. It’s also the only bread machine I tested that features a convenient top handle, making it easy to transport. Its interior top handle, however, isn’t as solidly constructed; I yanked it off the first time I pulled the pan from the machine (although it popped back in easily).

What else we tested

Three bread machines with stainless steel bodies that we tested next to each other on the counter.

What else we recommend and why

Breville Custom Loaf ($299.95): This was a close second to the Zojirushi, but my first attempt at white bread came out slightly darker at the sides than on top, and the gluten-free bread wasn’t quite as fluffy as our top pick’s. The Breville Custom Loaf has 13 automatic settings, nine customizable settings, and two features we didn’t find in any other machine: a paddle that collapses after kneading, so there’s no paddle-sized hole when you pull the baked bread from the pan; and a fruit and nut dispenser that will automatically add any mix-ins at the appropriate time in the bread cycle. I’d recommend this machine for confident bakers who are interested in programming their own bread cycles to match go-to recipes.

Cru X GG Bred ($169.95): A collaboration between Cru and Ghetto Gastro, a collective of chefs who use food to empower communities and advance social justice, the Bred was definitely the boldest, sleekest, and most compact out of all the machines we tested. And, with 15 settings, it was also one of the most versatile. Since the bread it produced was on par with the significantly cheaper Oster Express Bake, it didn’t make the cut, but perhaps you’re willing to pay a little extra for an appliance that’s attractive enough to leave out on the counter.

What we don’t recommend and why

Oster Express Bake (older model, $68): While the previous iteration of the Oster Express Bake is still available online, we found that the newer version performs better in terms of producing evenly-baked bread. And, importantly, the latest Express Bake includes a gluten-free setting – a feature commenters on retail sites had been asking for. 

Cuisinart Convection Breadmaker ($154.95): With 16 settings, this is one of the most versatile machines I tested. However, while my white and wheat loaves were top-notch, both of my attempts at gluten-free bread resulted in collapsed domes. 

Cuisinart Compact Automatic Breadmaker ($129.95): Again, my gluten-free bread didn’t rise as I had hoped, and the machine’s white and wheat loaves of bread weren’t quite as professional-looking as those from the latest version of the Oster Express Bake. 

Hamilton Beach Artisan Dough and Bread Maker ($75.32): The white and wheat loafs came out slightly underbaked in the middle, while the gluten-free bread was denser compared to the ones our top three picks made.

Getting the most out of your bread machine

best bread machine

Don’t throw out the manual

Most breadmakers come with a few recipes, and they’re often tucked away in the back of a guidebook. These are crucial since they’re calibrated to work well with that particular machine’s features and specifications. “Once you’ve made some of those and understand how the machine works — how much flour it can handle, how long each rise cycle and bake cycle are — you can start to adapt any of your own favorite yeast bread recipes to bake in the machine,” P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour, said. 

Have fun with the dough cycle

By taking care of the mixing and kneading, it allows you to start a little closer to the finish line if you’re making other yeast-based baked goods. The Bread Machine Diva’s Marsha Perry recommends it for pizzas and dinner rolls.

Experiment with settings

But master the basics first. “If your machine is programmable — that is, you can program in your own mixing kneading, rising, and baking times — you’re golden,” Hamel said. “Your machine is then simply a mini oven, ready to bake macaroni and cheese, apple crisp, bread pudding, cheesecake — even soup, stew, or lasagna! Once you get to know your machine, and if it has that ‘homemade menu’ capability — it becomes so much more than a machine that bakes bread.”

Use good ingredients

“Cheap ingredients yield a crummy (rather than crumb-y) final product. Flour and yeast quality are super-important,” said Hamel. “You don’t have to use bread flour in your bread machine, so long as you use flour with a protein content higher than 11.5% or so.” All of my bread were made with King Arthur bread flour and gluten-free flour (both of which I purchased before reaching out to PJ) and Whole Foods 365 whole wheat flour.

Invest in a kitchen scale

Bread machine baking is all about precision, and measuring your ingredients by weight will clear up any confusion as to whether or not that tightly-packed cup of flour is more like a cup and a half.

FAQs

Is bread from a bread machine different from oven-baked bread?

Yes. In terms of appearance, most loaves made in a bread machine will have a hole in the bottom where the mixing paddle was. Taste-wise, bread machine bread is pretty universally light and fluffy. 

“You won’t be making crusty artisan bread in your bread machine (though you can certainly make the dough for them on the machine’s dough cycle),” Hamel said. “Bread machine bread may taste a bit yeasty, but beyond that, it’s up to you to add flavor with spices, herbs, dried fruit, and nuts. Most bread machines won’t deliver loaves with the rich, nuanced flavor of an artisan loaf, since that flavor comes from a series of long rises, some of which may be in the refrigerator. Bread machines simply don’t have that capability.”

How long does homemade bread last? 

If kept at room temperature, homemade bread will be noticeably stale by day three. If you’re pretty sure you’re not going to finish an entire loaf in that amount of time, you can always wrap a portion tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. 

How do I store homemade bread? 

If you’re storing homemade bread for a day or two, plastic or foil will help lock in moisture. Since direct sunlight can cause bread to overheat, it’s best stored in a cool, dry place like a bread box or cupboard. 

Any tips for keeping homemade bread fresh?

There is one slicing technique that can help extend the life of your bread. As Hamel wrote on the King Arthur blog, “If you start slicing at one end, you’ll always be dealing with an open-end ‘leaking’ moisture. But if you slice the loaf in half down the middle, cut a slice from one of the halves, then press the two halves back together before wrapping, no open surface will be exposed — which means less chance of moisture evaporating.”

Check out our other great guides for home cooks

The Best KitchenAid Stand Mixers
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 4 best toaster ovens we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good toaster oven is easy to use, preheats quickly, and stays at the temperature you set it to.
  • We cooked whole chickens, frozen pizza, cookies, and toast in eight toaster ovens to find the best.
  • The Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven is our top pick with its fast and even cooking.

Toaster ovens are the unsung heroes of kitchen appliances. If your living situation doesn’t allow for a standard oven, a toaster oven allows you to bake, roast, and make anything else you might cook in a regular oven, only on a smaller scale.

During the holidays when a big turkey is hogging the oven, you can prepare your sides in the toaster oven. And, in the summer, you can cook meals efficiently without heating up your home.

Many convection toaster ovens are now marketed as air fryers. You should know that “convection cooking” and “air frying” are the same thing. Both methods brown your food by using heat and a fan. So, if you see that a toaster oven is an “air fryer,” know that it also does convection cooking and vice versa. We use both terms in our guide.

So, what’s the difference between the two? Convection toaster ovens give you the option of baking or broiling, while air fryers tend to only have one function: convection baking. Also, the typical toaster oven looks like a miniature standard oven with a window, while most air fryers have a small drawer that you put your food in.

For this guide, I roasted, toasted, air fried, and baked 32 pounds of chicken, eight dozen chocolate chip cookies, eight pizzas, and four loaves of bread in eight toaster ovens.

I also consulted with Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore, known as “The Electrified Cooks” and authors of the new toaster oven cookbook Toaster Oven Takeover.

I have reviewed kitchen appliances for four years and have developed many objective tests to determine which models are best for different needs and budgets. You can find details about how I test toaster ovens here.

Here are the best toaster ovens in 2021

Our testing methodology

A cooked whole chicken on a baking sheet

I tested all of the toaster ovens in this guide. I put each through many objective tests, and during the testing period, my traditional oven sat idle as I relied exclusively on the toaster ovens. When testing toaster ovens, the most important factors to consider are ease of use, temperature accuracy and consistency, and how quickly it preheats.

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

Ease of use: I evaluate ease of use several ways. First, I look at how intuitive the functions are. I was able to get all but the Anova up and running without the use of instructions. I see how easy it is to clean each, if there’s a removable crumb tray, if there are a few rack positions for different types of cooking, and if the timer allows you to run the unit for extended periods. I also looked for helpful functions, such as smart connectivity, convection/air fry cooking, and steam. 

Temperature variance: When you set a toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, you want it to reach that temperature and stay there. To assess this, I set each unit to 350 degrees and took digital readings of the temperature every 15 minutes for two hours. Then, I looked at the average and range of the temperatures. All of the models I tested averaged less than 350 degrees. The median was about 336 degrees, and the median range was 9.7 degrees.

Preheating: One of the main benefits of a toaster oven is that it preheats faster than a standard oven, and thus, you can enjoy your meal faster. I timed how quickly each oven reached 350 and 425 degrees, repeating each test several times, to see which models preheated fastest. Most models reached 350 in under six minutes, and half of the units had trouble even achieving a reading of 425 degrees.

Cooking performance: I put each toaster oven through four cooking tests:

  • Toasting bread: I evaluated how many slices of Hillbilly Old Fashion Bread each model held. Then, I set the controls to toast the bread to a medium shade. I looked at how long and how evenly each toasted.
  • Frozen Pizza: In addition to evaluating how large of a pizza each unit can fit, I timed how long it took to bake the pizza and how even it turned out. I used Kirkland Signature Pepperoni Pizza in all but two of the toaster ovens. The Hamilton Beach and Panasonic models couldn’t fit the 10.5-inch pizza so I used Totino’s Party Pizzas in those models instead.
  • Whole chicken: I cooked a whole chicken (between 3.5 and 4.5 pounds) according to the recipe in Toaster Oven Takeover. I used the Meater Block to monitor the internal temperature and removed the chicken once it hit 165 degrees. I timed how long it took to cook the chicken, how evenly it was cooked, and how different parts of the chicken tasted.
  • Cookies: I baked gluten-free chocolate chip cookies using a homemade dough and evaluated how quickly and evenly they cooked.

The best toaster oven overall

The front of the Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven with three pieces of bread in it

The Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven maintains consistent heat to cook quickly and evenly, and it doubles as an air fryer and dehydrator.

Pros: Has convection cooking/air frying, large enough to fit a 12-inch pizza, provides consistent heat, cooked pizza, chicken, and cookies quickly and evenly 

Cons: Temperature settings appear to be inaccurate, did not toast evenly

The Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven (Model TOA-65) had the best overall performance in our objective tests. It took less than five minutes to set up and features an easy-to-read backlit digital display. You navigate through the many different functions by turning a knob and pressing it to select the function and adjust the time and temp.

The Cuisinart toaster oven was one of the best models for making pizza, chicken, and cookies. It heated a frozen pizza in under six minutes, and the cheese, crust, and pepperoni were evenly cooked. Using the convection cooking function, the chicken reached a safe internal temperature in 52 minutes, and the skin was a beautiful golden brown and tasted outstanding. The meat was moist and flavorful. And, the cookies were evenly cooked in about 12 minutes, which was significantly faster than the average, 13 minutes and 45 seconds.

When we ran the Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven for two hours at 350 degrees, we noticed the temperature only varied by four degrees. However, the display said it was preheated when our thermometer read 270. It continued to heat up and reached 350 after eight minutes. The average temperature during the test was 314, well below 350.

The Cuisinart toaster oven fell short of perfection in two other categories. We used the presets to toast six slices of bread, but after a blazing fast toasting speed of less than three minutes, the top was lighter than the medium shading we set it to. And, the bottom was uneven with the center almost burnt and the edges barely toasted. If I were to use this toaster oven for regular toasting, I’d likely up the time a little bit and flip the bread halfway through.

Lastly, by our measurements, the Cuisinart was slower than average to preheat to 350. However, it was quick to get to 425, which made it ideal for frozen pizza.

The best budget toaster oven

The Black+Decker toaster on a kitchen counter with a chicken in it

If you want a cheap toaster oven but don’t want to sacrifice performance, we recommend the Black+Decker Crisp ‘N Bake Air Fry Toaster Oven with its fast preheating and accurate temperatures.

Pros: Fast preheating, accurate temperature settings, even cooking, features air frying/convection cooking, timer has stay-on function

Cons: Uneven toasting, was among slowest to roast a chicken

Despite costing less than a third of the price of the other models in our guide, the Black+Decker Crisp ‘N Bake Air Fry Toaster Oven (Model TO3217SS) held its own in our tests. We like that it has intuitive, no-nonsense analog knob controls, a roomy interior, and convection cooking/air frying. Another nice touch is the “stay on” option on the timer, which makes it so you don’t have to keep adding more time during longer cooks.

The Black+Decker toaster oven appeared to have the most accurate thermostat. At 347 degrees, it came closest to reaching a 350-degree average during our two-hour test. However, the temperature varied by 13 degrees, which put it in the middle of the pack.

It was consistently one of the fastest to preheat. The oven reached 350 degrees in under four minutes, and getting to 425 only took about a minute more. 

The Black+Decker Crisp ‘N Bake Air Fry Toaster Oven excelled at making cookies and frozen pizza. Each batch took about 14 minutes to bake, which was just fair, but the results were even and delicious. The story was the same with frozen pizza: the cooking time was about average, but the pizza was excellent. The chicken was also great: flavorful, juicy, and evenly cooked. However, it took nearly an hour and a half to finish, which made it one of the slowest models.

The Black+Decker oven’s toasting was subpar. It toasted six slices of bread in three-and-a-half minutes, which was about average, but the results weren’t very even. The top of the toast was close to consistent, but it was noticeably less done near the front, and the bottom was much less toasted than the top.

The best large-capacity toaster oven

The Breville Smart Oven on a kitchen counter with a pizza cooking

The Breville Smart Oven is large enough to fit nine slices of toast, a dozen cookies, or a 12-inch pizza making it ideal for larger families or if you just want to use it in place of your standard oven.

Pros: Can fit nine slices of toast and a 12-inch pizza, provides consistent and even heat, features convection cooking/air frying, attractive backlit digital display with several functions and sub-functions

Cons: Temperature settings were consistently higher than what we measured, slow to preheat

Along with our best combination pick below, the Breville Smart Oven (Model BOV800XL) was one of two models that could toast nine slices of bread at once, and it did a good job of it. Plus, it can hold a 12.5-inch pizza. This is impressive considering the exterior dimensions aren’t inordinately large.

Like our top pick, the Breville Smart Oven has a backlit digital display with separate knobs for quickly adjusting the function, temperature, and time. It also has sub-functions that adjust the cooking time and heat based on the size of the pizza you are baking or the slices of toast you’re toasting. Plus, the Smart Oven features convection cooking/air frying.

The oven excelled at chicken and cookies. It took a little more than an hour to roast a whole chicken, and it was the best tasting and most evenly cooked of all the birds in our tests. We baked a dozen cookies at once in the roomy Breville Smart Oven using the Cookie function, which utilized 350-degree convection cooking. The cookies came out evenly baked in 14 minutes, which was average.

The oven also cooked pizza evenly, but it took 17 minutes, which was longer than all but one of the models. It was also one of the slowest ovens to preheat. And, we weren’t able to get it to preheat to 425 degrees. It maxed out at 387. This was a consistent problem. In our temperature variance test, we measured an average temp of 292 despite setting the controls to 350. Because of this, we’d recommend utilizing an oven thermometer to find your target temperature setting. 

On the plus side, the Breville toaster oven held its temperature consistently, only wavering by four degrees over the course of two hours.

The best combination toaster oven

The Anova Precision Cooker on a kitchen counter cooking a steak

In addition to baking, toasting, and air frying, the Anova Precision Oven offers sous vide cooking, and you can control it and monitor the internal temperature of your food using your phone.

Pros: Features sous vide and air fryer/convection cooking, smart WiFi connectivity via app, comes with probe thermometer that connects to oven, does a good job of roasting

Cons: Slow to preheat, bake, and toast, temperature didn’t stay consistent during our test

The Anova Precision Oven is the first toaster oven that offers sous vide, in addition to air frying/convection cooking. And, while most sous vide devices require vacuum sealing, the Precision Oven cooks your food without the need for additional packaging. 

I cooked several steaks and pork ribs using the sous vide function and found it worked just as well, if not better, than an immersion circulator. I especially liked that the oven comes with a probe thermometer that plugs into the unit so I could monitor the internal temperature of the meat while it cooked, which you can’t do with vacuum-sealed meat in an immersion circulator

The touch buttons on the handle of the oven aren’t as responsive as I would like, and adjusting the temp one degree at a time using the up and down buttons is a hassle. So, I mainly used the Anova Oven app (available for iOS and Android), which allows you to key in your preferred temp and time. Or, you can automate the cooking process. The app features hundreds of recipes. One time, I used the app to preheat the oven as I waited in line at the store to pay for a frozen pizza so I could just pop it in when I got home.

This feature is particularly important since the Anova Culinary Precision Oven was one of the slowest to preheat. It takes about 10 minutes to heat to 350 degrees and 17 minutes to reach 425. 

Also, while it has a relatively accurate setpoint, the temperature varied by 16 degrees during our two-hour test, which was more than most models.

The Anova Precision Oven also took a long time to toast. We used the toast preset, which involved a little steam to keep the bread from drying out. However, the process took longer than any of the other models, and the toast was still underdone. 

It did much better on the other cooking tasks. The Anova oven fits a dozen cookies, and they baked quickly and evenly. We had the same experience with pizza: fast and even cooking. But, the oven really excelled at roasting a whole chicken. It completed the task in under an hour. The skin was crispy and flavorful, and the meat was moist and delicious. I particularly liked that the thermometer let me monitor the internal temperature of the chicken in the app.

What else we tested

We tested eight toaster ovens for this guide. These are the ones that missed the cut.

What else we recommend and why:

Hamilton Beach Countertop (Model 31401): There are two main reasons why you should consider the Hamilton Beach toaster oven. First, at $50, it’s the cheapest model we recommend. Second, it was one of the best at quickly preheating. Plus, it was in the middle of the pack in our toasting, cookie, and temperature variance tests. However, there are a few negatives. The oven is small, only fitting four slices of bread. It also took the longest to cook pizza and chicken.

Dash Chef Series 7-in-1 (Model DAFT2350GBGT01): There’s a lot to like about the Dash toaster oven, but it just wasn’t the best in any category. It has convection cooking/air frying and did an outstanding job baking cookies and pizza. The Dash oven was also one of the fastest to roast a chicken and one of the most even toasters. Yet, it took a long time to toast, parts of the chicken skin were burnt, the unit took longer than most to preheat, and it had the largest variance in temperature during our tests.

Emeril Lagasse Power AirFryer 360 (Model S∙AFO-001): Though we prefer to roast our chicken on a roasting pan, we like that this toaster oven from superstar chef Emeril Lagasse comes with a rotisserie spit. It also has an easy-to-use knob control system with backlit digital display. The Power AirFryer 360 preheated quickly and did a good job with chicken, pizza, and cookies, but it took a long time to toast and was uneven. It also did the worst in our temp variance test.

What we don’t recommend and why:

Panasonic FlashXpress Compact (Model NB-G110P): We really wanted to like this attractive toaster oven because it looks like something you might find in a child’s kitchen playset. It did the best job toasting and maintaining a consistent temperature. However, it was a pain to use. There are only eight temperature settings, and the timer only goes to 25 minutes. If you want to cook anything longer, you have to keep resetting the timer. Despite its small size, it took a long time to preheat. And, it didn’t do well making cookies, pizza, or chicken.

What we’re testing next

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

Chefman Toast-Air (Model RJ50-SS-T – $135.97): We’ve tested several Chefman kitchen appliances and have found the manufacturer makes quality products at an affordable price. We like that this features several preset functions and comes with two dehydrator racks, an air fry basket, baking/drip pan, and more.

Breville Smart Oven (Model BOV900BSSUSC – $399.99): This is the best upgrade pick in our air fryer guide and appears to be quite similar to our best large-capacity toaster oven pick. I’m curious to see how it stacks up and if it’s worth its hefty price tag.

Calphalon Quartz Heat Countertop ($199.99): I tested this years ago but wasn’t able to put it through our current testing methodology. I’m hoping to give it another try since it performed well, has an attractive appearance, and the digital display has an impressive array of functions and precise presets.

Oster (Model TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2 – $91.11): We think the Oster Toaster Oven has a chance to contend for the best budget model. It has convection cooking/air frying, an attractive display, easy to read and adjust buttons, and a large capacity.

FAQs

What are the benefits of using a toaster oven over a standard oven?

Roxanne Wyss, co-author of the toaster oven cookbook Toaster Oven Takeover, gives several reasons, including that it’s a green alternative. “When compared to a standard oven, the toaster oven preheats quickly,” said Wyss. “This means it is convenient to use for quick, everyday meals. It also means that it is a ‘green choice’ as there is no big oven to heat up and the toaster oven will not put a strain on the AC on a hot summer day.” 

“Newer toaster ovens on the market, with electronic controls and even heat, brown food beautifully and cook quickly,” added Wyss. “You can place a toaster oven where it is convenient to use, which means at countertop height so no bending or lifting. It also means you can place the toaster oven in the family room or on the bar so it is easy to use for appetizers and snacks when friends gather.”

Additionally, since I started testing toaster ovens more than a month ago, I have not touched my standard oven. Every meal I’ve wanted to make for my family of four, I’ve been able to make in a toaster oven.


Should you get a toaster or a toaster oven?

Wyss believes toaster ovens are superior to toasters in several ways. “The versatility of the toaster oven outshines the regular toaster,” said Wyss. “You can toast a wide variety of bread sizes and often toast the number of slices you need for a larger family. Once toasted, you can top the toast with sandwich fixings or appetizer spreads so hot sandwiches or crostini are ready to serve in minutes. The toaster oven easily toasts English muffins, bagels, rolls, and a wide range of specialty rolls, pastries and buns.”

As with the standard oven, I found my toaster gathered dust while I was testing toaster ovens. The single-purpose toaster just didn’t seem worth the counter space. And, when making BLTs, it was nice to be able to toast six or more slices of bread at once.

However, there are a few key ways in which a toaster is often superior. First, most of the toaster ovens I tested didn’t toast as evenly or as quickly as most toasters. Second, toasters tend to cost much less than toaster ovens. Lastly, they take up less countertop space.


What should you look for when shopping for a toaster oven?

Kathy Moore pointed to several tips covered in the Toaster Oven Takeover cookbook she co-authored. “Think about what you want to prepare,” said Moore. “Do you want to cook a pizza or do you know you want to broil steaks? Do you foresee casseroles or toasted sandwiches? What pans fit into the oven? If you want to cook pizza, does your 12-inch pizza pan fit? What about a 9 by 12-inch rectangle pan? Some toaster ovens accommodate larger pans while others do not. Select one that accommodates the pans you own and for the food you would like to prepare.”

She also suggests thinking about where you will put the toaster oven. “Does it fit under your upper cabinets with room to spare or is it too wide to sit securely on a cart?” added Moore. “Does the door open conveniently for you?” To help you with this, we list the interior and exterior dimensions of each unit in our guide.

Also, think about the settings that are most appealing to your cooking preferences. “If your toaster oven advertises that it has a dehydrating setting, but that is not something you will do, it is not a necessary function,” said Moore. “Many now slow cook, but if you typically use a slow cooker and enjoy taking a hot meal in a slow cooker to a gathering, you may never use your toaster oven’s slow cook setting. Many people enjoy the toasting settings for bagels while others will enjoy the air fry settings. Evaluate the array of settings offered and be willing to experiment, but do not feel obligated to purchase an oven with settings you may never use.”


What’s the difference between a toaster oven and an air fryer?

Air fryers use a fan to blow hot air over your food to produce the Maillard reaction, which gives food its distinctive browning. Prior to the rise of air fryers, blowing hot air on food was known as “convection cooking,” and it’s something that all convection toaster ovens do. “Air frying” is essentially a wildly successful marketing campaign for technology that has been around for decades. 

That said, not all toaster ovens can air fry, or convection cook, but a lot of them can these days. If this is a feature that’s important to you, look for a model that advertises that it air fries or convection cooks. In my experience, this is a useful feature. It can cut down on cooking times, give your food a nice browned exterior, and I’ve found it does an excellent job of revitalizing leftovers, especially pizza and french fries.

Check out our other buying guides for small appliances

Best microwaves 4x3
Read the original article on Business Insider

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

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

  • Gifts for in-laws can be tricky, whether it’s your first meeting or you’ve known them for years.
  • We rounded up 35 of the best gift ideas for your in-laws, from small thank yous to grander gestures.
  • For more gift ideas, check out all of our gift guides here.

best gifts for in-laws

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

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

Here are 35 of the best gifts for in-laws:

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

A box of chocolates that features bold, global flavors

Vosges Haut-Chocolat Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection; gift for in-laws; chocolate gift

Vosges Haut-Chocolat Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection, $49, available at Goldbelly

If you’re unsure of where to start, you can always count on chocolate. But these truffles are special in that the unique flavors take inspiration from places all around the world. They’re in for a seriously sweet adventure with this exciting box of chocolates. 

Read our full review of Goldbelly here

A digital picture frame for all their favorite memories

Aura Carver Digital Picture Frame; gift for mom; gift for in-laws

Aura Carver Digital Picture Frame, $169, available at Aura

In-laws can be sentinmental people, so there’s no better personal gift than a digital photo frame. They can view loads of family memories from a single device. As long as the frame is hooked up to WiFi, your in-laws can enjoy the photos you’ve carefully curated, all day long. You can hear about our experience with another Aura frame, here.

A last-minute bouquet of flowers

FTD Hello Sunshine Bouquet; gift for in-laws; flower gift; last-minute gift

FTD Hello Sunshine Bouquet, from $58, available at FTD

Sometimes, you might only have a day to put together a gift. FTD can help make your life easier since it offers same-day delivery for most of its arrangements. Your in-laws will appreciate a fresh, beautiful bouquet of flowers to display in their home. For more on our experience using FTD, check out our guide to the best online flower delivery services

An e-reader for their love of books

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, $129.99, available at Amazon

E-readers make flipping pages easier than ever. If your in-laws inhabit the library and bookstore pretty much all the time, get them this Kindle. It’s water-resistant, can be read in the sunlight, and has a long battery life. 

Read our full review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite here

A coffee subscription box for trying new beans

Coffee Under $25 (6)

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

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

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

gifts for in laws serving tray

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

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

A chic succulent

best gifts for in laws succulent

The Winona, $55, available at Urban Stems

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

A bento box of floral candies for their sweet tooth

best gifts for in laws sugarfina floral bento box

Sugarfina Floral Bento Box, $28, available at Bloomingdale’s

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

A modern vase to brighten up any space

best gifts for in laws west elm vase

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

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

A cozy weighted blanket

Gravity Blanket

Gravity Blanket, from $195, available at Gravity Blankets

Weighted blankets have been widely praised for their calming effects, and after this year, we could all use some extra tranquility. This cozy blanket is great for curling up with at night in bed or by the fire. We’ve even mentioned this product in our guide to the best weighted blankets.

*Sponsored by Gravity Blankets

A photo book of fond memories with your in-laws

Timeless gifts Artifact Uprising

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

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

An indoor garden for urban dwellers and herb lovers

click and grow

Click & Grow Smart Garden, $98, available at Amazon

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

Playing cards with pups

Under $25 dog cards

Megan Carn Dog Playing Cards, $21, available at Megan Carn

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

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

baseball blueprint, $185

Baseball Stadium Blueprints, $185, available at Uncommon Goods

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

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

pet portrait, $180+

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

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

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

gifts for mother in law slippers

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

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

A cocktail bitters set mixologists will love

bitters, $34.99

Cocktail Bitters Set, $35, available at Uncommon Goods

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

A pizza maker for home cooks and pizza aficionados

breville, $149.95

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

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

A cozy and chic blanket

gifts for in-laws overland throw

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

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

A touch lamp for in-laws who live far away

friendship lamp, $170

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

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

Read our full review of the Long Distance Touch Lamp here

A decanter and matching glasses with a personal touch

etched windowpane decanter and dof set set of 4 o

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

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

A fun way to show off their cork collection

Gifts for in laws wine cork map

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

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

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

mouth, $54+

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

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

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

L.L. Bean, $109

Washable Wool Throw, from $209, available at L.L. Bean

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

An undeniably classy marble salt cellar

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

RSVP Marble Swivel Salt Cellar, from $33.25, available at Amazon

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

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

gifts for in laws calm bath salts

Calm Bath Salts, $18, available at Herbivore Botanicals

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

A salt block that’ll up their grilling game

Gifts for in laws Himalayan Salt Plate

Himalayan Salt Plate, $7.24, available at Wayfair

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

A trio of unique condiments to spice up their meals

Bushwick Kitchen

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

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

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

Nest Mini

Google Nest Mini, $34.99, available at Best Buy

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

Read our full review of the Google Nest Mini here.

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

elago

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

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

A new cookbook to add to their repertoire

ina garten, $20.99

“Cook Like a Pro” by Ina Garten, $17.20, available at Amazon

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

A nice candle with a reusable vessel

Lafco, $65

Lafco Library Candle, $65, available at Bluemercury

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

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

airbnb, $100+

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

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

A leather catchall for their keys

gifts for in laws catchall tray

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

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

A coffee table book for book lovers

Bibliophile Under $25

“Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany,” available at Amazon, $15.99

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

36 Amazon Prime-eligible gifts to shop when you’re short on time

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

Anker Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector; Amazon Prime-eligible gift

I almost always default to Amazon when I need last-minute, well, anything. Because I love procrastinating, I often use it to frantically buy gifts.

Once you’re on Amazon, you can breathe a little and remind yourself to calm down – it’s impossible not to find a good gift that will arrive in time. Armed with a Prime membership and lightning-fast typing and scrolling skills, you can browse the huge collection of Prime-eligible products and emerge triumphant, having crossed off gifts for everyone on your list.

Most of these items are available with two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime, so don’t stress too hard about last-minute shopping – just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

Here are 36 Prime-eligible gifts for last-minute shoppers:

An ice cream maker for their sweet tooth

Cuisinart ICE 30 Pure Indulgence ice cream maker; Amazon Prime-eligible gift

Cuisinart ICE-30 Pure Indulgence, $109.99

This ice cream maker will have them making tasty flavors all summer long. Unlike its peers, this one from Cuisinart can make up to two quarts of ice cream in one go. It’s easy to use and clean and can make ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet. It’s so good that we named it the best overall in our guide to the best ice cream makers.

A large picnic blanket for spending time outdoors

Oniva XL Outdoor Picnic Blanket Tote; Amazon Prime-eligible gift

Oniva XL Outdoor Picnic Blanket Tote, $34.99

With warmer weather and sunshine ahead, they’ll appreciate this quality picnic blanket. It’s big enough to fit six people, has a water-resistant back, and folds into a convenient tote bag. Whether they’re headed to a picnic in the park, an outdoor event, or their own backyard, they’ll love soaking up some vitamin D with this gift. We even ranked it as the best overall in our guide to the best picnic blankets

A rotating pizza oven for the foodie

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven; Amazon Prime-eligible gift

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven, $53.89

Not everyone has to be a serious chef or own an expensive oven to cook pizzas. They can easily make pizzas using this rotating pizza oven from Presto. It’s the perfect pizza oven gift for those on a budget or those who want something more compact. You can hear more about why we love it in our guide to the best pizza ovens.

A weighted blanket for better rest and relaxation

Luna Weighted Blanket (15 lb); Amazon Prime-eligible gift

Luna Weighted Blanket (15 lb), $64.99

It seems like everyone owns a nice weighted blanket, but it usually costs more than you’d expect. However, this one from Luna is of excellent quality considering its lower price, is fully machine washable, and comes in an array of sizes, weights, and colors. If they’re missing out on the weighted blanket craze, they’ll love this cozy gift. You can read about our experience testing it in our guide to the best weighted blankets.

A popcorn set for the movie lover

Urban Accents Movie Night Popcorn Kernels and Popcorn Seasoning Variety Pack; Amazon Prime-eligible gift

Urban Accents Movie Night Popcorn Kernels and Popcorn Seasoning Variety Pack, $22

Whether you need to send a thank you gift or know someone who’s obsessed with movies, popcorn, or both, they’ll enjoy receiving this unique gift. Popcorn is a movie night essential, so why not get them a gift that can step up their popcorn game. This set comes with three different kernels and five premium seasonings, including white cheddar, kettle corn, spicy sriracha, caramel corn, and chili lime.

Smart lights that are compatible with Amazon Alexa

Light bulbs

LE Smart Light Bulb, $16.99

Use your voice to control these smart light bulbs through your Alexa Echo, Echo Dot, or Google Home Assistant. You can give hands-free commands to set the brightness, turn lights on and off, change colors, create timers, and more.

A smart security video doorbell

ring

Ring Video Doorbell, $99.99

This HD video doorbell lets you see, hear, and speak to anyone from your phone, tablet, or computer. It offers motion detection, audio privacy, and night vision. Set it up on your phone to get mobile notifications whenever someone presses your doorbell or triggers its motion sensors. It also pairs with some Alexa-enabled devices for convenient in-home monitoring.

Read our full review of the Ring Doorbell Video here.

A bestselling book

Book

“Where The Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, $11

The bestseller “Where the Crawdads Sing” continues to be a much-talked-about book. It’s an ode to the natural world and a heartbreaking coming-of-age story. Set in a coastal town in North Carolina, it follows a possible murder and the local suspect, the misunderstood Kya Clark, who’s been known simply as “Marsh Girl” for years.

You can’t go wrong with this choice for any book lovers in your life. If you want more recommendations, check out the top picks of Amazon’s book editors.

A hydrating skincare set

Burt's Bees

Burt’s Bees Classics Gift Set, $21

Pamper them with this Burt’s Bees gift set that’s complete with classics like its lip balm, cuticle cream, hand salve, and more.

A tribute to the illustrator behind the iconic worlds and characters of ‘Star Wars’

last minute prime gifts

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie, $136.23

Dive into the fascinating artistic process of creating the “Star Wars” universe. The never-before-seen-or-published illustrations and interviews paint a picture of the hard work of the designer Ralph McQuarrie.

A cool home-decor piece for transit enthusiasts

last minute prime gifts 2

Umbra Subway Wall Hook, $35

Part art piece and part functional organizer, the subway-inspired wall hook reminds them of the joys (and terrors) of riding public transportation.

A LEGO toy that takes them to the moon

Last minute Prime gifts Lego

LEGO Creator Expert NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander 10266 Building Kit, $99.95

They’ll be over the moon to receive this over 1,000-piece kit of the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the notable mission. The kit includes detachable ascent and descent stages as well as figures sporting NASA branded spacesuits. 

Cozy flannel pajamas

last minute prime gifts 4

Alexander Del Rossa Men’s Plaid Flannel Pajamas, $25.99-$29.99

Plaid flannel PJs remain a classic gift, one they can immediately change into upon receiving. 

An electric kettle that’s as sleek as it is effective

last minute prime gifts 10

Fellow Stagg EKG Bluetooth Connected Electric Pour-Over Kettle, $149

This beautifully minimalist kettle heats up quickly, is comfortable to hold, and offers a slow, precise pour. The matte black color also looks great on their counter.

A funny party game

last minute prime gifts 6

Watch Ya’ Mouth Party Card Game, Adult Bundle, $24.07

The premise of the game, to make the others guess what you’re saying as you wear a mouth piece, is really simple — but yields hilarious results. The base game is family-friendly, but you can add the adult expansion pack to play with explicit phrases. 

A set of stylish and versatile nylon bags

last minute prime gifts 8

Baggu Women’s 3D Zip Bag Set, $34

These eccentric bags have a variety of uses, from packing for travel to organizing their bathroom. It’s up to them to decide how to fill each one.

A set of moisturizing lip balms

last minute prime gifts 25

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 Holiday Variety Pack, $25

This three-pack of moisturizing and nourishing lip balms is perfect for combatting the effects of cold, dry weather. 

A powerful portable projector

anker nebula, $349.99

Anker Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector, $299.95

It might only be the size of a soda can, but this projector features surprisingly crisp image quality and 360-degree sound. They can watch shows and movies on their wall or ceiling by connecting the projector to their device via HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and screen mirroring.

Read our full review of the Anker Nebula Capsule Smart Projector here.

An affordable robot vacuum

last minute prime gifts 20

Eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 11S, $219.99

iRobot’s Roomba robot vacuums usually get a lot of the attention, but Eufy’s also do an excellent and thorough job of cleaning the house when you’re not around. It’s an especially good buy for pet owners who find themselves constantly picking up hair from the floor.

Fleece-lined socks

nordstrom gifts 16

Ugg Fleece Lined Socks, $49.45

These cable-knit, fleece-lined socks will be a hit with anyone who’s always complaining about having cold feet. 

A fun and easy-to-use photo printer

hp sprocket select printer 5

HP Sprocket Select Instant Photo Printer, $92.69, available at Amazon 

Before they print their photos on this light and slim device, they can edit and decorate the photos on the HP Sprocket app. The printer comes with a 10-pack of glossy, sticky-backed photo paper. 

An affordable cold-brew maker

Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker

Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, $19.99, available at Amazon

It doesn’t matter that it’s winter. True cold-brew fans won’t be deterred by weather to enjoy their caffeine on ice, and this maker is the easiest way to help them do so at home. It’s wallet-friendly, available in one-quart and two-quart sizes, easy to use and clean, and does not leak, making it easy to see why we shout out this product in our guide to the best cold-brew coffee makers

A media streaming stick

Roku Express

Roku Express HD Streaming Player, $24.99

The Roku Express is the most affordable of all the Roku streaming devices, but it comes with no shortage of features. They can confidently cut the cord since it houses all the major streaming services and channels, including the new and wildly popular Disney Plus

Read our full review of Roku Express here.

A Nintendo Switch

last minute prime gifts 17

Nintendo Switch, $299

The game console topping wish-lists for the past couple years is the Nintendo Switch, which is innovative for its ability to be played in and out of the home, with a single player or multiple players. 

Read our full review of the Nintendo Switch here.

A guide to the country’s best road trips

last minute gifts 3

Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways, $23.88

There are countless travel adventures to be had right in our own country. This guide to 11 cross-country road trips will inspire them to pick up their bags and travel as safely as possible

A kitchen tool that makes dinner a snap

instant pot

Instant Pot DUO60 Pressure Cooker, $89

An Instant Pot is more than just a slow cooker, it’s also a pressure cooker, rice cooker, and warmer all in one. They can drop ingredients into the pot in the morning and slow cook it throughout the day for a dinner that’s ready to go after work, or they can use the pressure cooker function to have dinner ready in an instant. This multicooker is the real deal, which is why we made sure to include it in our guide to the best Instant Pots and electric pressure cookers

An accessory for someone who always loses their keys or phone

last minute prime gifts 19

Tile Pro (4-Pack), $89.99

This new and improved Tile device is louder, has a longer range, and is longer-lasting than ever. It’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.

A handsome stone diffuser

last minute prime gifts 21

Vitruvi Stone Diffuser, $119

This handcrafted diffuser, plus 10 to 20 drops of their favorite essential oil, is the secret to creating a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere in their home. We call this product the best overall in our guide to the best essential oil diffusers, thanks to its sophisticated design, multiple settings, and automatic shut-off feature. 

An insulated tumbler

last minute gifts

Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Travel Tumbler Cup, $34.95

The ergonomic comfort of a classic tall cup plus Hydro Flask’s signature double-wall vacuum insulation make this a coffee or tea vessel they’ll always keep on hand. It keeps their beverage hot for up to six hours and includes a press-in lid to prevent spills.

A gourmet spice blend

foodie gifts 2

Caravel Gourmet Italian Black Truffle Sea Salt, $15.99

Turn a favorite dish or snack — mac and cheese, fries, popcorn — into a gourmet treat with this rich, umami sea salt. They can and will want to use it on pretty much anything.

A super-slim wallet

bellroy

Bellroy Slim Sleeve Wallet, $79

This well-designed wallet can hold a surprising amount of cards and cash, considering its slim profile. There are two quick-access slots for the cards they use most, and then a hidden pull-tab section for the rest. This wallet is super efficient and compact, which is why we named it the best overall in our guide to the best men’s wallets

The newest Kindle e-reader

last minute prime gifts 11

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (32 GB), $249.99

This Kindle Paperwhite is the thinnest and lightest yet, plus it’s waterproof and has a longer-lasting battery. There’s no reason they can’t read a good book anywhere now.

Read our full review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite here.

A unique and convenient way to enjoy tea

teadrops

Tea Drops Instant Tea Sampler (30-pack), $48.50

Loose-leaf teas, sugar, and spices are pressed into little morsels — all you have to do is drop them in hot water. The cute and clever design make Tea Drops a fun and easy way to enjoy their favorite beverage.

Subtle coasters engraved with city maps

last minute gifts 5

Uncommon Green Map Coasters (Set of 4), $25.99

These square-shaped coasters are engraved with an elaborate city map. Plus, the back is labeled with the city name in case they need to be reminded of which city this is. You can choose from tons of major cities around the country.

Bestselling noise-canceling headphones

last minute prime gifts 7

Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, $299

These comfortable headphones cut out surrounding noises so they can enjoy the crisp and clear listening experience with no distractions. It also has Alexa built right in for hands-free music control and information access.

Read our full review of the Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones here.

A purifying mud mask

Last minute Prime gifts Glamglow

Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment, $20.42

This cult-favorite mud mask from Glamglow works to firm up and clear the skin. It draws impurities out with ingredients such as activated charcoal, resulting in brighter, tighter skin.

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The 4 best knife sharpeners in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Sharp knives make cooking easier and safer. To keep your knives in good shape, you need a great knife sharpener.
  • The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV is our top pick because of its versatility and three distinct sharpening stages.

While a sharp knife can be dangerous if you’re not careful, a dull knife can actually do more harm. Dull knives cut poorly, causing you to apply extra force in the process, which increases the chance of injury. Additionally, dull knives tear up your food, rather than creating beautiful slices. Sharp knives have a longer lifespan, too, which is especially important for an expensive knife set.

The best knife sharpeners are easy to use and give you that desirable sharp edge. Because knife sharpeners exist in a variety of configurations, finding just the right type to best suit your needs requires a bit of research. If you’re a beginner knife honer, jump to the end of this guide for an in-depth explainer on how knife sharpeners work and a look at the different styles you may want to consider. If you already know what you’re after, dive right into our top picks.

Here are the best knife sharpeners in 2021

The best electric knife sharpener

best knife sharpener - Chef's Choice Trizor XV

The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV knife sharpener is extremely easy to use and works with a variety of kitchen knife blades, making it a versatile option.

Pros: Triple beveled knives should need fewer sharpenings, three sharpening guide slots, easy to use, motor runs smoothly, excellent sharpening results

Cons: Doesn’t work well with smaller knives, don’t work with serrated knives

The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV is our top pick for the best electric knife sharpener for its exceptional ease of use.

Most electric knife sharpeners offer easy-to-use features, but the Trizor XV truly simplifies things with its three sharpening guides, starting with coarse before moving to fine and polishing. It also features a strong motor, which allows it to run smoothly during sharpening with no catches on the blade.

The Chef’s Choice sharpener creates a triple bevel on the blade, which allows it to work with both Asian and European/American knives. The bevels are at roughly 25 degrees, 20 degrees, and 15 degrees. This triple bevel design increases the length of time required between sharpenings.

Overall, we think it’s the best knife sharpener for most people with its multiple settings, clear instructions, and decent price.

The best pull-through knife sharpener

best knife sharpener - Chefs Choice ProntoPro 4643

If you’re looking to save some money on a knife sharpener, the Chef’s Choice ProntoPro 4643 provides outstanding results at a low price.

Pros: Reasonable price point, excellent results versus other manual knife sharpeners, three guide slots for different types of knives, fits in a drawer, suitable for serrated knives

Cons: Not quite as versatile as some more expensive electric options

The Chef’s Choice ProntoPro 4643 is one of our favorite knife sharpeners on the market, providing outstanding results at a low price point. This manual pull-through knife sharpener offers a lot of the same features as our top pick, the electric Chef’s Choice Trizor XV, but does so at a far lower price point.

The design of the ProntoPro 4643 is a little different from most manual knife sharpeners because it has a curved handle with a soft grip. You can hold this handle firmly to achieve the best results. Additionally, the ProntoPro 4643 is only about nine inches in length, meaning it’ll fit easily in a drawer.

You can control the angle of the knife blade at either 15 degrees or 20 degrees, making it work well for both American/European and Asian knives. In fact, the manual sharpener uses different guide slots for each type of knife, as well as a third guide slot for serrated knives, making it one of the few picks on our list suitable for serrated blades.

The best knife sharpening kit

best knife sharpener - Edge Pro Apex 4

The Edge Pro Apex 4 sharpens all knives at precise blade angles for some of the best and sharpest results you’ll see.

Pros: Excellent sharpening kit, allows for precise multiple knife blade angles, includes multiple grit stones for fine polishing, all parts fit in a carrying case for easy portability, works with multiple blade widths

Cons: Expensive, requires practice to use well, doesn’t work well with thin-bladed knives

The Edge Pro Apex 4 gives you the ability to fine-tune your knives. The kit uses a guide system along with different sharpening stones to help you draw the blade at the right angle. It does require some know-how and practice to achieve the desired results.

Additionally, this completely portable kit fits inside a carrying case, allowing for easy transportation for camping or hunting. The kit can handle blade sizes ranging from small knives to machetes, however, the system doesn’t work as well with very thin-bladed knives, such as a fillet knife.

The kit ships with five water stones, ranging from 120 to 1,000 grit, allowing for coarse to fine sharpening. It also contains 2,000 and 3,000 grit polish tapes for honing. The stones fit tightly into the kit’s design, ensuring no slippage as you use the kit’s angle guide to draw the knife blade across the stones.

Using the Edge Pro Apex 4 involves a learning curve, but the time invested pays off with incredibly sharp blades. The kit ships with a DVD, providing detailed instructions on how to use it. Once you have mastered this tool, its results are impressive.

This kit costs quite a bit more than most knife sharpeners, but it gives your knives more longevity by removing less metal from the blades during the sharpening process.

The best knife sharpening whetstone

best knife sharpener - Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening System

For those who want complete control over the sharpening process, the Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening System makes it easy to use a sharpening stone.

Pros: Offers full control over the sharpening process, three different grit stones included, stones mounted on triangular block are convenient to access, easy to use for beginners

Cons: Takes longer to sharpen knives than an electric sharpener, longevity of the plastic frame is questionable

If you’re frustrated with the performance of electric knife sharpeners – or if you’re just a bit of a control freak like me – the Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening System allows you to manually sharpen your knives. The system ships with three high-quality sharpening stones and the included bracket holds the stones in place so you can work efficiently and safely.

The rotating triangle block on which the manufacturer has mounted the three different sharpening stones makes it convenient to just twist a knob and find the exact stone grit you wish to use.

Some people may be a bit intimidated by using a sharpening stone, rather than an electric sharpener, and it does take some practice to ensure you’re holding your knife at the right angle and applying proper pressure. But with some time, you’ll find that using a whetstone is one of the best ways to have precise control over how your blade is sharpened.

How knife sharpeners work

Several different gadgets and kits exist that will help you sharpen a knife. Some use electrical power, while others use a manual stroke. We’ll break down the different types of knife sharpeners in the next segment. If you need more information, we have further discussed knife care in a video.

As far as sharpening a knife blade goes, all types of sharpeners follow the same type of process. You’ll rub the metal blade of the knife against some sort of an abrasive surface that removes some of the metal to create a thin edge.

Knife sharpeners need to be able to create an exact angle on the knife’s edge. American and European knife blades use a 20-degree angle out of the factory, while Asian knife blades use a 17-degree angle. Hence, many people prefer a knife sharpening machine to a simple manual stone because the machine helps guide you to maintain the proper angle on the blade.

If the blade is only slightly dull, using a steel rod, called knife honing steel, can give the edge a quick touch up by realigning the edge, as shown by Cook’s Illustrated. Technically, using this method means you’re actually honing the knife, rather than sharpening it. For a dull blade, though, a knife sharpener provides the best method of obtaining a sharp edge again.

Types of knife sharpeners

  • Electric machine: An electric knife sharpener offers the most convenient sharpening tool design. You’ll pull the knife blade through the guide slot on the machine, and a motor applies the sharpening agent (usually a sharpening stone) to the metal blade. Many electric sharpeners will offer multiple guide slots that run from coarse to fine sharpening or that handle different blade angles.
  • Pull-through machine: A pull-through sharpener, also called a manual sharpener, works best with kitchen knives. You’ll pull the knife blade through the sharpener, which includes guide slots with the sharpening agent inside. Some pull-through sharpeners allow you to adjust the angle of the blade, which helps with different types of knives. Some provide multiple guide slots, ranging from coarse to fine sharpening.
  • Sharpening kit: Sharpening kits appear at the top end of the market for knife sharpeners, as they have multiple parts to ensure a proper result. The kit allows you to set the sharpening angle you want to use while working from course to fine sharpening. Using a sharpening kit properly requires some time invested in learning to use the kit. However, for those who demand a perfect blade, the sharpening kit achieves the desired result with full manual control. They’re great for both sharpening and honing.
  • Stone: With a sharpening stone, or whetstone, you drag the blade of the knife across the rough surface of the stone. Sharpening stones consist of a number of types of material, such as diamond stones, oil stones (also called Arkansas stones), water stones (or aluminum oxide stones), and ceramic stones. Yes, the diamond stone actually contains tiny fragments of diamonds, but it’s a little heavy to wear as an earring. The trick with a sharpening stone becomes applying the right amount of pressure and sharpening at the proper angle because using a sharpening stone requires a completely manual process with no guide slots. However, stones can sharpen many tools, including scissors and chisels.

One final item to mention: Serrated knife blades won’t work with all types of knife sharpeners. If you’re using a pull-through or electric knife sharpener, it needs to have a serrated setting or the blade will lose the serration during sharpening.

Check out our other great knife buying guides

best knife sets 4x3
Read the original article on Business Insider

40 gifts for him on Amazon for under $100, from a massage gun to a waterproof phone case

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

Instant Pot DUO80, $99
  • Finding the right gifts for the men in your life is tough, so we rounded up a helpful list of gifts.
  • Each gift is available on Amazon for less than $100 and with two-day shipping for Prime members.
  • Need more gift ideas? Check out all Insider Reviews gift guides here.

Trying to find the right gift when none seem ideal tends to make procrastinators out of the best of us. That’s when most of us turn to the convenient, fast, reliable perks of shopping on Amazon and its mountain of options.

To make your last-minute shopping easier, we found 41 gifts for him that won’t cost you more than $100, but that he’s still sure to like.

Most of these items are available with free one-day or two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime, so you don’t have to stress over whether it’ll arrive on time.

The top 5 best Amazon gifts for him under $100:

  1. A minimalist leather wallet from Bellroy ($75)
  2. A Philips Norelco beard and body trimmer for a comfortable shave ($50)
  3. A versatile iPhone case from Scooch ($40)
  4. An Echo Show 5 from Amazon ($70)
  5. A newly released video ($50)

See more Amazon gifts for him:

A Himalayan salt plate that enriches flavors

Himalayan Salt Plate

Charcoal Companion CC6064 Himalayan Salt Plate & Holder Set, $34.99

Salt plates add naturally rich flavors to foods when cooked, chilled, or simply presented on the plate. If he’s partial to steaks, fish, shrimps, scallops, and more, this block is perfect for enhancing his BBQ experience.

A portable muscle massager

MaxKare massage gun

Maxkare Massage Gun, $99.99

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars from 5,000+ reviews, this portable massage gun is a reliable muscle tension reliever. It offers six attachable massager heads to target different areas. Plus, he can switch through three modes for warming up, relaxation, or deep tissue massaging post-workout. 

The latest video game

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Launch Edition - PlayStation 4

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Launch Edition – PlayStation 4, $49.88

You can’t go wrong with a new video release for the gamer in your life. This PS4-compatible video game dives into the “Spider-Verse” with Peter Parker’s mentee Miles Morales.

A fun pair of socks

Amazon gifts for him under $100 Hot Sox

Hot Sox Men’s Travel Series, from $9.71

Whether these socks remind him of his favorite travel destination or a special trip you shared, they’re sure to be a great addition to his wardrobe. Each pair features a unique design inspired by 15 scenic sites around the world. 

A warm fleece vest

The North Face Gordon Lyons Vest

The North Face Gordon Lyons Vest, from $48

The North Face’s Gordon Lyons Vest is a warm and comfortable layer that any guy can work into an outfit. It’s available in a bunch of colors, so you can pick out his favorite.

A fast USB-C charger

Anker Fast Charger

Anker Nano 20W USB-C Charger, $16.99

This year’s iPhones won’t come with a charging adaptor in the box, so if you’re gifting a new iPhone, you’ll want to include an Anker Nano as a stocking stuffer. It charges three times faster than the typical Apple charger and is physically the same size.

A warm beanie

Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat

Carhartt Men’s Acrylic Watch Hat, $16.99

Grab a warm, comfortable hat from a trusted outdoor brand for less than $20 and in 25+ colors.

A high-quality leather band for his Apple Watch

Bullstrap Apple Watch Band

Bullstrap Full-Grain Italian Leather Watch Band, $89.95

Bullstrap’s Italian Leather Watch Bands are the perfect way to add some elegance to his Apple Watch. They come in several colors of leather and are compatible with all generations of the Apple Watch.

A reliable and affordable cast-iron skillet

Amazon gifts under $50 Lodge

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Handle Holder, $22.97

A quality cast iron skillet is a gift that will get plenty of use and last a lifetime. Lodge’s Cast Iron Skill is affordable, durable, and comes with a silicone handle cover for heat protection.

A mug he’ll get plenty of use from

Gifts for him under $100 Amazon Yeti

Yeti Rambler, $39

This ever-reliable mug is well equipped for outdoor adventures and morning coffees alike. The vacuum insulation, dishwasher safety, and wide-grip handle all make this mug a standout.

A minimalist leather wallet

Bellroy wallet

Bellroy Low Slim Leather Wallet, $75

Replace his tired and tattered wallet with this slim leather billfold from Insider Reviews’ favorite wallet brand Bellroy. It’s made with ethically sourced leather that will age wonderfully and last many years.

A timesaving pizza cutter

Amazon gifts for him under $100 pizza cutte

Kitchy Pizza Cutter Wheel, $9.97

Whether he prefers homemade, takeout, or frozen, this pizza cutter will serve as a real timesaver in the kitchen.

A beard and body trimmer for a comfortable shave

OneBlade

Philips Norelco OneBlade Face + Body Trimmer, $49.95

What separates the Philips Norelco OneBlade from other trimmers and shavers is the unique blade. It uses a fast-moving OneBlade cutter with a dual-protection system on both ends. The base of the blade will contour to his face, allowing for a comfortable shave or trim without irritation — and it works for wet or dry shaving.

An affordable pair of headphones

Amazon gifts under $50 Panasonic

Panasonic Ergofit in Ear Earbuds, from $9.95

These headphones come with an under $10 price tag and a 4.3 rating on Amazon across nearly 115,000 ratings. They’re well-equipped for everyday use, the gym, or whenever Bluetooth isn’t applicable.

A versatile iPhone case

Scooch Wingman iPhone 11 Pro Max case

Scooch Wingman case, $39.99: iPhone 12/12 Pro and 12 Pro Max

A durable case is always an essential accessory. The Scooch Wingman is a military-grade case that has a built-in grip, kickstand, and car dash mount. To learn why it’s the only case I’ll use on my phone, read my full review on the iPhone 11 version.

A portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker

JBL Flip 4

JBL Flip 4, $79.95

Perfect for the adventure seeker, the JBL Flip 4 is rugged, portable, and waterproof. He can use it while camping in the backcountry, fishing at the lake, or even while he’s swimming. A newer version of the speaker — the Flip 5 — is also available, though it sells for over $100. 

A fun fidget toy

Speks Geode with under $25 tag

Speks Geode, $24.95

If he likes to fidget and play with things throughout the day, Speks magnets are an extremely satisfying option. We’re partial to the classic set, but this geode is intended to create a striking sphere in one of four bright colors. 

A few big bricks of soap

Amazon gifts for him under $100 Duke Cannon

Duke Cannon Big Brick of Soap WWII Era Collection, from $10.69

Duke Cannon is a military-inspired men’s grooming brand that helps support veterans and active service members by donating a portion of all proceeds. Even if the man you’re shopping for isn’t a serviceman, he’ll appreciate the smell and massive size of these soap bars.

A charging dock for his iPhone and Apple Watch

Belkin

Belkin Powerhouse Charge Dock for Apple Watch and iPhone, $94.99

Sure, you could give him a regular charging cord to juice up his phone, but a charging dock is often more convenient and definitely cooler. This one in particular also comes with a convenient place to charge his Apple Watch. 

An 8-inch tablet for surfing the internet and streaming

Fire HD 8 Tablet

Fire HD 8 32GB Tablet with Alexa, $79.99

With an 8-inch 1080p full HD screen, the Fire HD Tablet is the perfect size for surfing the web, checking emails, and streaming videos. He’ll get lots of use out of it whether he’s at home or on the go.

An Alexa-enabled smart display

echo show 5

Echo Show 5, $69.99

Help him stay connected to the world by gifting him the new Echo Show 5. This smart display is good for video chatting with friends and family, checking the news, and controlling smart home devices like robot vacuums, security systems, and more. 

A cold-brew maker

Amazon gifts under $50 cold brew

Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $19.99

Save him hundreds of dollars per year with this cold brew maker that lives up to coffee shop quality. It easily fits into most refrigerator doors, is simple to use, and makes a good amount of cold brew at once.

A smart speaker

echo dot with clock

Echo Dot 4th Gen with Clock, $59.99

The newest Echo Dot is more convenient than ever. The all-new design features a larger speaker for better audio, a digital clock to display the time and timer countdowns, and all of Alexa’s other skills.

A lavender-scented shaving kit

Gifts for him on Amazon under $100 Art of Shaving

Art of Shaving Men’s Lavender Mini Kit, $30

This four-piece shaving set is great for any guy trying to manage his five o’clock shadow; he just needs to supply his favorite razor. If he’s on the fence about scented shaving products, know that the lavender scent isn’t too strong.

A set of whiskey rocks

Amerigo Stainless Steel Whisky Cubes

Stainless Steel Whiskey Ice Cubes, $24.99

Gone are the days of thinned-out drinks with these whiskey stones made of stainless steel. Plus, it comes in a box set for easy gifting. 

A Tile Mate that will help him never lose his phone or wallet again

Amazon gifts for him under $100 Tile

Tile Mate, $19.99

He can place this tracker in his wallet, bag, or phone case to make sure he never loses his things, because if he does, the Tile app makes it easy to retrace.

A popular multitool

1

Leatherman Wingman Multitool, $59.95

Leatherman is a well-respected company, and they’re especially well-known for making multi-tools like this one. It has 14 tools including a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, a ruler, and both bottle and can openers hidden inside it.

A voice-enabled TV streaming stick

Amazon Fire Stick

Fire TV Stick, $39.99

The all-new Fire TV Stick has a new Wi-Fi antenna design optimized for HD streaming and more storage for apps and games. Essentially, though, it’s still your standard media streaming stick, and can convert a dumb TV into a smart one that can stream Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and more. It’s Alexa-enabled, too, so you can control it by voice.

A specialty beer-making kit

Mr. Beer Craft Kit

Mr. Beer Premium Craft Making Kit, $49.99

If he’s one of those guys that either is or will one day be holed up in the garage making specialty beers, he’s going to love this DIY kit. It includes everything he’ll need to get started, including bottles.

A handy money clip

Amazon gifts for him under $100 money clip

Travelambo Carbon Fiber Money Clip, $9.99

This sleek money clip is durable, affordable, and lightweight. Whether he’s constantly on the go or simply prone to losing his wallet, this money clip will likely eliminate some pain points.

A durable 6-foot iPhone cable

Amazon gifts for him under $100 Anker

Anker 6-foot Charging Cable, $19.99

It’s something every one of us will feel grateful for a couple of times per day, but always put off buying for ourselves: a durable, 6-foot-long charging cable.

A turntable for his growing record collection

victrola

Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player, from $47.48

Help him rediscover his favorite classic records with this affordable, portable turntable. If you’re feeling extra generous, pick up a record he doesn’t have or sign him up for a subscription to Vnyl.

A beard grooming kit to keep him looking neat

Rapid Beard kit

Rapid Beard Grooming & Trimming Kit, $16.99

This bestselling beard grooming kit isn’t messing around, and it’s reliant upon 100% natural and organic ingredients like argan oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. It makes grooming, trimming, shaping, and taming easier.

Some of the best headphones you can find for $100

Status Audio BT One Wireless On-Ear Headphones

Status Audio BT One Wireless On-Ear Headphones, $99

The perfect pair of over-ear headphones is one that’s both highly comfortable and sounds great. This pair from Status Audio is among the best you’ll find at this price point. 

The most comfortable travel pillow

trtl travel pillow

Trtl Pillow, $39.99

It looks gimmicky, but it’s not. This is the best travel pillow on the internet in our opinion, and while it won’t convince you that you’re sleeping on a feather bed, it will make sleeping in an upright position far more enjoyable. If he travels, this is a thoughtful gift idea.

A hilarious coffee table book

Amazon gifts for him under $100 F In Exams

“F in Exams,” $7.39

This is a great gift for the person who can laugh at the little things in life, or for anyone who works as a teacher. It’s a collection of hilarious wrong test answers that is sure to keep them laughing.

A smart outlet for upgrading his smart home

Amazon gifts for him under $100 Wemo

Wemo Mini WiFi-Enabled Smart Plug, $24.99

Isn’t controlling everything in your house by voice so you never have to get up kind of the dream? These Wi-Fi- and Alexa-enabled outlets make that a reality. Plug them in, download the app, and you can control your lights and appliances from your phone and your voice.

A dry box for waterproof protection outdoors

Pelican Go Case G40

Pelican Go Case G40, $39.95

This tiny storage box is basically like a rugged phone case, protecting not only their phone but also other small essentials. It’s even waterproof up to 30 minutes, making it perfect for outdoor adventures.

The internet’s most popular cooker

Instant Pot DUO80, $99

Instant Pot DUO80, $99

The Instant Pot is one of the most versatile appliances you can add to your kitchen for under $100. Help him make delicious home-cooked meals a cinch, even when he has to work late.

A soap bar that can bring dingy clothes back to life

Amazon gifts for him under $100 Laundress

The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar, $6.50

Add this stain remover bar as an additional gift. It’s a longtime Insider Reviews favorite — it’s relatively cheap and works exceptionally well. The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar is one of the only things that can bring white clothes back from the brink of donation piles, as we’ve attested in our roundup of the best things we bought on Amazon under $25.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best pepper grinders and pepper mills we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Pepper is one of the most popular spices around the world.
  • Grinding fresh pepper guarantees the best flavor and spice for your dish.
  • The best pepper grinder is the Peugeot Pepper Mill, an efficient and attractive classic.

Pepper is found in kitchens around the world, whether it’s dashed in tomato sauce, rubbed onto a steak, or mixed with other spices to give a cookie a kick. However, what pre-ground pepper offers in convenience, it sacrifices in quality. “When you buy pre-ground pepper, you have no idea how long it has been ground, and time will diminish its potency,” said Robyn McArthur, executive chef at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas.

True aficionados know that there is no substitute for freshly ground pepper, but not everyone wants to break out the mortar and pestle just for a little flavor. Pepper mills make it easier to enjoy the benefits of freshly ground pepper without too much extra work. Not only does using a grinder give you the best flavor, but allows you to experiment with single source peppercorns, which can give your dish a bright and spicy pepper taste, said Ethan Frisch, co-founder of Burlap and Barrel.

We are not including salt grinders in this guide. Alex Wilkens, spice expert at The Spice House, confirmed our opinion that grinding your own salt at home allows you to control the texture, but the flavor will be the same as the pre-ground salt from the grocery store.

We tested eight pepper mills for speed, accuracy, and durability, as well as consulted three experts on the differences between pepper grinds and why grinding your own pepper is worth it.

Here are the best pepper mills and salt grinders of 2021

The best pepper mill overall

product image of Peugeot pepper mill, the best pepper mill overall in 2021

An industry classic, the Peugeot Pepper Mill comes in a variety of sizes, looks beautiful on any table, and accurately grinds pepper in six settings.

Pros: Easy to adjust, even fine grind, attractive finish

Cons: Coarse grind in on the finer side

The Peugeot Paris u’Select Pepper Mill is a classic; intuitive to use and beautiful to display. You adjust the setting by rotating a labeled band of wood at the mill’s base. Of the mills with specific grind settings, it was the easiest to turn, and because the band is located at the base, you don’t have to worry about the mill coming apart as you adjust it. 

The hour-glass shape of the mill is easy to grip, and the texture of the wood feels more natural than others that were highly polished, which I preferred. No matter what setting you’re on, the pepper comes out in a neat circle and doesn’t spray wide. 

The coarsest grind was finer than others we tested and the Peugeot was average in terms of speed. We tested the 7-inch mill, but multiple sizes are available if you’re looking for something with more capacity.

The best electric pepper mill

product image of Epare pepper mill, the best electric pepper mill in 2021

The Epare is a quiet electric mill with a cap to prevent pepper dust from settling and a streamlined, stainless steel body.

Pros: Motor isn’t loud, can be operated with one hand

Cons: Doesn’t come with batteries, bulky

This battery-operated electric pepper mill stood out for its modern design and simple operation. It was the only truly one handed pepper mill I tested. The mill is top heavy with four AA batteries stored in the upper portion, but the stainless steel construction is sturdy enough to keep it from tipping over. 

When you grind the pepper, a small LED light shines from the mouth of the mill. It is not obtrusive, but illuminates a small area of the plate so you can see where your pepper in landing. The coarseness adjuster is underneath the mill, and provides an accurate range of fine to coarse. 

Especially with the finer grinds, efficiency was the main downside with the Epare: it was among the slowest mills I tested. However, if you’re looking for a mill easy to operate with limited hand strength, this was the best.

The best budget pepper mill

product image of Kuhn Rikon pepper mill, the best budget pepper mill in 2021

The Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Grinder was intuitive to use, easy to fill, and costs less than most of the mills we tested.

Pros: Side opening for easy filling, ratchet is easy to use and pull

Cons: Construction doesn’t feel very sturdy, leaves pepper dust if set down after grinding

The only ratchet grinder we tested, the Kuhn Rikon had a small but accurate range of grinds. The adjustment dial is under the mill’s opening, with the directions for fine and coarse clearly labeled. You pour peppercorns through an opening on the side of the mill, so you don’t have to unscrew anything or worry about losing small pieces.

The exterior of the mill does not feel particularly durable, but the internal grinding mechanism is ceramic. Wilkens says that ceramic grinders are likely to stay sharp and not wear down. The main issue is that if you leave the ratchet handle in any position other than straight up, you will inadvertently grind pepper when you try to adjust it.

Our testing methodology

image of pepper ground on various settings during testing for the best pepper mill in 2021

We consulted three experts to learn about common practices in the spice industry and misconceptions about pepper preparation and usage. We spoke with Ethan Frisch, co-founder of Burlap and Barrel; Robyn McArthur, executive chef at the Austin, Texas Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts; and Alex Wilkens, spice expert at The Spice House

We used Ea Sar Black Pepper from Burlap and Barrel for our testing. 

Grind size: We compared all mills by grinding pepper on the finest and coarsest possible settings. The finest setting should produce a powder-like consistency and the coarsest setting should be noticeably larger, but still a consistent grind size. For mills with precise settings, we ground pepper on each setting and compared the grounds.

Speed: We estimated the speed of the mill by grinding on the finest setting for 10 seconds and then measuring the amount of ground pepper produced. 

Capacity: We measured the capacity of each mill by filling the mill reservoir with peppercorns and then pouring those peppercorns into measuring cups. 

Ease of use: We looked at how easy and intuitive it was to adjust the grinders and whether they could be operated with one hand. We also evaluated how comfortable they were to turn. After using the grinders, we set them down on a white tablecloth to see if pepper dust settled onto the table.

Durability: Experts told us that ceramic mechanisms last the longest, so we ranked mills with ceramic grinders higher. We will continue to evaluate our top picks for durability, looking for changes in grind accuracy and loosening of the mobile pieces.

What else we tested

image of five pepper mills lined up as part of testing for the best pepper mills in 2021

What else we recommend and why

Le Creuset Pepper Mill: The Le Creuset Pepper Mill is easy to clean and use in a busy kitchen, and it comes in a variety of striking colors. The sturdy, acrylic-coated plastic won’t be damaged by moisture and can be wiped down with a damp cloth. There are some reviews that suggest long-term durability issues, and we will update this guide if we discover any throughout longer use. 

Cole and Mason Derwent Pepper Mill: This mill was the most efficient of any we tested, producing almost half a teaspoon of pepper in 10 seconds. This mill had the best range from fine to coarse, producing both powder consistency and coarser grind easily. However, it has a clear body that leaves the peppercorns exposed to light and heat, which experts said can degrade flavor. Additionally, the adjusting mechanism was very hard to rotate.

Fletcher’s Mill 8-inch Border Grill Mill: This is a popular mill and there weren’t many flaws with its performance. Rather, it didn’t stand out among the other mills, which is why it didn’t earn a top place. 

Zwilling Matte Black Pepper Grinder: This mill was efficient and one of the fastest tested. It did a great job at making an even coarse grind, but the fine grind was indistinguishable from the coarse. Additionally, the silicone exterior showed my hand prints after I used it.

What we don’t recommend and why

Kamenstein Dual Salt and Pepper Mill: This mill was the only dual-sided grinder we tested; one end meant for pepper and the other for salt. However, it was the hardest to fill and produced inaccurate grinds on all three of its three settings.

What we’re testing next

Trudeau Graviti Matte Black Pepper Mill: This electric mill starts grinding when flipped upside down. You adjust the coarseness and fill the mill rightside up, but we’re curious what happens if you accidentally knock the mill over. It requires six AAA batteries, which could make it unwieldy, but possibly last longer.

OXO Good Grips Pepper Grinder: The mouth of this mill is on the top to prevent pepper dust from settling on the table. You rotate the mill by turning a soft, non-slip grip, which may make this mill a good option for those with less grip strength.

FAQs

image of a pepper mill taken apart as part of testing for the best pepper mill in 2021

Why should I grind peppercorns instead of buying pre-ground pepper?

The main reason to grind your own pepper is taste and quality. Once peppercorns are ground and the oils are released, the flavor weakens. The flavor dulls even further over time as the powder is exposed to heat, air, and light, according to McArthur. It is also easier to falsify the quality and origins of pre-ground pepper, said Frisch. “Most pepper in the supermarket has been through so many steps that it’s impossible to trace.” 

Not only will your food taste better with pepper you grind yourself, but you’ll use less of the spice because freshly ground pepper has a stronger flavor. You can also adjust the coarseness of the grind based on your preference or what you’re cooking. Grinding pepper yourself, especially with one of the mills we recommend above, is an easy way to get involved with your food.


How are pepper mills different from spice grinders?

Depending on the pepper mill’s material and grinding mechanism, you can grind small and uniformly shaped spices in a pepper mill. For example, cardamom seeds are great in a pepper grinder, but you’ll need a spice grinder for cinnamon sticks. However, most pepper mills cannot be cleaned with water, only brushed out with a dry cloth, so once you grind another spice in your mill, the flavor may linger. 


How do pepper mills work?

Pepper mills use burr grinders. When you rotate the mill, peppercorns are forced between two grooved discs that crush the spice, according to McArthur. The mill is essentially a smaller and less powerful coffee burr grinder.


Can I put salt in my pepper mill?

Salt can only be ground by a ceramic grinding mechanism because salt corrodes metal over time. If your pepper mill has a ceramic mechanism, then you can put salt in it.


Are there different uses for fine and coarse pepper grinds?

The finer the grind, the more the pepper will dissolve into whatever you’re cooking. With a coarser grind, you’re more likely to get a prominent bit of peppercorn while eating. McArthur recommends using a coarser grind when cooking with high heat because a finer grind will lose its flavor faster.


Why should I buy single source peppercorns?

Commodity, or commercial, peppercorns are picked underripe so that they can last through long shipping and packaging processes. Peppercorns continue to ripen off the vine, and while they don’t go bad or rot, they lose flavor about two years after harvest, according to Frisch. That might seem like a long time, but Frisch says that in the commodity spice chain, it takes three to four years to get from the farm to the supermarket shelves. 

Single source peppercorns are harvested and shipped in a shorter period of time, so you have a longer window between purchasing them and when they start losing flavor.

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