The 5 best Bluetooth speakers of 2021 for listening to music outside and around the house

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges.
  • The Sonos Move is our top pick thanks to great sound, reliable voice control, and solid battery life.
  • For more speaker recommendations, check out our roundup of the best speaker deals.

A great listening experience for all your favorite music services shouldn’t be limited by pesky wires. While the days of carrying around a boom box on your shoulder are by and large over, you can still get quality wireless music in the form of a Bluetooth speaker.

Thanks to Bluetooth support, these speakers are able to play music from other Bluetooth-enabled sources, like a smartphone or laptop, without any cables. Whether you’re getting a speaker for use around the house or a day at the park, there’s almost certainly a Bluetooth speaker for you. But there are a number of things to consider before you buy, including size, battery, durability and, of course, sound quality.

With all of those factors in mind, we’ve selected the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy for a variety of needs. Since most people purchase Bluetooth speakers for their portability, all of our picks feature built-in batteries for listening on the go.

Here are the best Bluetooth speakers:

The best Bluetooth speaker overall

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move looks good, sounds great, and offers multi-room audio as well as voice control with Alexa and the Google Assistant.

Pros: Attractive design, integrates with other Sonos speakers, excellent audio quality, Alexa and Google Assistant with Wi-Fi

Cons: A little expensive, a bit heavy

Sonos has long been a leader in the wireless speaker market, and the company now has a Bluetooth-enabled model called the Move. With an excellent design, awesome sound quality, and support for two digital assistants, the Move is one of the most fully featured Bluetooth speakers you can buy.

The speaker offers a ton of bass, coupled with crisp clarity and detail in the high end. That makes it excellent for listening to music. The Move can even be calibrated using Trueplay tuning technology to suit different environments and locations.

The speaker has a charging station where you can keep it most of the time, but it’s designed to be portable too, so you can take it outside or move it around the house. It’s a bit heavy compared to most portable speakers, but it’s nice to have the option. It’s rated for around 11 hours of battery life, so it should easily get you through a day of listening.

Like other Sonos speakers, the Sonos Move is also smart. You can choose to use either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, plus it integrates perfectly with Sonos’ other speakers, allowing for multi-room audio. 

But what about the downsides? The speaker is a little pricey, and you won’t get access to all of its smart features unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

The best Bluetooth speaker for portability

Bose

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II is easy-to-use, offers 17 hours of battery, features a convenient handle for travel, and it sounds good, too.

Pros: Good sound, versatile design for portable use outdoors and around the house, long battery life

Cons: A bit pricey, lacks Wi-Fi support

There are a number of things that make the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II such an ideal portable option, from its great sound to its nice design.

The design is reminiscent of smart speakers, so it’ll look right at home in any tech-savvy person’s house. On top of that, it offers extremely easy-to-use controls, with six buttons located on the top for things like volume and Bluetooth control. Bose also added a handle to make it easy to bring the speaker with you outside or around the house.

We tested the previous-generation model and were impressed by its great sound quality and how easy it is to move from room to room. It delivers ample volume and deep bass without distorting. 

This newer version is nearly identical to the one we tested, but features an upgrade from IPX4 water resistance to an IP55 rating. It also supports an extra hour of battery life for up to 17 hours of play time — the longest of any speaker on our guide. 

The speaker even has some smart features, including Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts, the ability to take calls, and access to Siri or Google Assistant from your phone. That said, the speaker doesn’t have Wi-Fi so it doesn’t support a built-in digital assistant.

The best waterproof Bluetooth speaker

Ultimate Ears Boom 3

The UE Boom 3 is well designed and sounds pretty good, but it’s also water resistant, making it great for use by the pool or at the beach.

Pros: Good sound quality, nice design, waterproof, can float

Cons: High frequencies aren’t as detailed as other speakers

Looking for something that you can take to the beach or use by the pool without fear of it breaking due to water damage? The UE Boom 3 is the way to go. 

The speaker may not sound as robust as the Sonos Move, but it still sounds good, especially considering how small it is. The UE Boom 3 offers decent bass response, along with a well-tuned mid-range, and a solid amount of clarity in the high frequencies. One of the best things about it is that it can also get super loud, which is great for use outside.

It’s relatively small and portable, and it’s available in a range of different colors. On the side, you get buttons for controlling volume, while on the top there are controls for things like Bluetooth pairing and power. 

The UE Boom 3 is built for use near water. The speaker is not only waterproof, but it’s also designed to float, so you won’t have to worry about losing it at the bottom of the pool. The Boom 3 is capable of being submerged in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, so it shouldn’t break due to water damage.

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker

Anker bluetooth speaker

The Anker Soundcore Flare Mini may be super-affordable, but it still looks and sounds solid for the price.

Pros: Inexpensive, water-resistant, solid battery life

Cons: Sound quality is only decent

Looking for an inexpensive speaker that still looks and sounds pretty good? The Anker Soundcore Flare Mini may well be the way to go. This speaker may carry a budget price, but it still sounds decent and won’t break the bank.

The speaker is designed to look a lot better than other speakers in its price range. It’s a cylindrical design with a fabric covering around the side and controls on the top. Those controls include power, volume, and Bluetooth pairing. There are even LED lights on the bottom, and you can control those lights through five different lighting modes.

The design of the speaker plays into how it sounds too. The speaker can deliver 360-degree audio, so no matter where you are around it, it should sound pretty good. It definitely won’t sound as powerful as some of the more expensive speakers on our list, but it can still get pretty loud and offers a decent amount of bass.

You’ll get 12 hours of battery life out of the speaker, which isn’t bad at all, and it’s water-resistant with an IPX7 rating. 

Considering the price range, perhaps the only real downside to the speaker is that it can’t really match more expensive offerings in the audio department.

The best small Bluetooth speaker

bo beplay p2

The B&O Beoplay P2 doesn’t just sound good and feature a slick design, it’s ultra-compact, too.

Pros: Great sound, very portable, intuitive touch-controls, compact size

Cons: A little pricey for its size, could use more high-end clarity

The B&O Beoplay P2 is the perfect fit for buyers who want an ultra-compact speaker that can easily fit in a backpack or purse.

Now, generally speaking, smaller Bluetooth speakers can be a little hit and miss, but the BeoPlay P2 is a hit. That’s largely thanks to its sleek and stylish design, coupled with hidden and intuitive controls.

For example, you can double tap the speaker grill to play and pause your music, or you can program the speaker through the accompanying app to activate your digital assistant of choice, whether it be Google Assistant or Siri. That happens through your phone because the speaker doesn’t have those assistants built-in.

So how does the speaker sound? You can’t expect studio-quality sound, but it’s not bad. The speaker features mono audio and an impressive bass response for a device its size. The high-end isn’t as responsive, but it’s still not bad. 

What else we considered

JBL Flip 4

Here are other speakers we considered for our guide, and why they didn’t make our top picks.

Other Bluetooth speakers we recommend:

JBL Flip 4: The JBL Flip 4 speaker was recently one of our picks, and it’s still a fantastic Bluetooth speaker for the money. With that said, the less expensive Soundcore Flare Mini includes similar features for a more affordable price, making that model a better overall budget pick. If you’re willing to spend a little more, however, the JBL Flip 4 features a bit more power and better sound quality.

What you should look for in a Bluetooth speaker

bose portable home speaker lifestyle

When shopping for a Bluetooth speaker, there are some key factors you should keep in mind. For instance, a compact model might not be a good fit for someone who wants the best audio quality, while a heavy speaker won’t be ideal for someone who wants to take their audio on the go.

Below, we’ve broken down some main features and design elements you should look into when selecting the best Bluetooth speaker for your needs.

  • Size matters: Generally speaking, larger speakers will be louder, so they tend to be a better fit for parties and gatherings. Larger speakers also tend to have more refined audio quality with better clarity and bass. Of course, size also affects portability. If you’re looking for something you can slip in your bag and carry around easily, then a smaller speaker will be a better choice.
  • Battery life: You’ll obviously want longer battery life if you’re looking for a speaker that can last all day, but sometimes a speaker with shorter battery life will do the job — especially if you plan on being able to charge it often or even while in use. Though all of our picks include batteries, some Bluetooth speakers don’t have charging at all. If you only plan to use your speaker in one room, this isn’t a problem, but if you want portability, a speaker with a battery is a must.
  • Durability and water resistance: Durability is another important factor if you plan on carrying the speaker around a lot. Not only will your speaker last longer if it’s more durable, but it might be a little more versatile, too. For example, you probably won’t want to take a non-waterproof speaker to the pool or the beach.
  • Sound quality: Some may not care too much about how a Bluetooth speaker sounds, but others will want to ensure that they’re getting the best audio performance they can for their money. A single Bluetooth speaker is never going to offer the same quality as a true stereo speaker pair, but high-end Bluetooth speakers from brands like Sonos and Bose offer impressive performance. Again, larger models tend to have better sound, so if audio quality is a priority, you’ll likely want to avoid ultra-compact speakers. 

Check out our other speaker buying guides

Sonos Beam

The best speakers


The best smart speakers


The best soundbars

 

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The 6 best bike locks in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A bike lock is a vital part of anyone’s cycling kit, whether you mountain bike, commute, or road cycle.
  • The best locks should be easily portable and feature thick steel shackles or cables that are hard to slice.
  • Our top pick, Kryptonite’s Fahgettaboudit U-Lock, has anti-theft protection, is easy to mount, and uses a double-bolting system.

Owning a bike lock is an important part of anyone’s cycling kit. Though it may not be as vital as something like a helmet, a reliable bike lock does provide immense peace of mind that your bike stays secure wherever you leave it.

And while there’s no end-all-be-all bike lock capable of deterring a well-equipped thief, there are a number of options designed to slow down or discourage them.

The most common way bikes are stolen is when someone cuts through a lock’s shackle, cable, or chain. Because of this, bike lock design has prioritized features like thick steel or double bolts to make them as close to impenetrable as possible. While many offer this kind of bulked-up protection, there are also plenty of others intended for when you just need to quickly lock your bike.

Having lived and biked in the bike-heavy cities of Portland, Oregon, and New York City, I’ve handled my fair share of locks – and know all too well just how vital they are. Be it mountain bike trips, e-bike outings, or just casual rides around the neighborhood, I’ve had the opportunity to try a variety of bike locks designed for each of these use cases.

Below, I’ve rounded up six of my favorite bike locks, each of which offer a unique and useful design and, perhaps most importantly, allow me to trust that they’ll keep my bike safe and secure. From robust U-lock’s to a quick-use zip tie-style option, the bike locks featured are fit for a variety of use cases.

At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some insight into the testing methodology I used in deciding which made the cut.

Here are the best bike locks:

The best overall

kryptonite mini bike lock

If you live in a high crime area, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Bicycle U-Lock does an excellent job of warding off criminals and protecting your bike.

Pros: Takes longer to cut through than any other lock

Cons: Small, heavy

Kryptonite is the top name in the bike lock industry. That’s why we’ve included three of its locks in our guide. One of the factors that set Kryptonite apart is its Anti-Theft Protection Offer. Basically, when you get your lock, you must register it with the company right away. Then, if your bike is stolen while it is covered by anti-theft protection, the company will pay to replace your bike. For the Fahgettaboudit Mini, the first year of registration is free. After that, it is $24.99 for five years of coverage.

The New York Fahgettaboudit Mini offers the highest level of security of any of Kryptonite’s locks according to the company. The shackle is made of 18-millimeter hardened “MAX-Performance” steel.

For extra security, the crossbar has an oversized hardened steel sleeve. The lock comes with three keys, which disengages the lock using a high-security disk-style cylinder. The cylinder is protected by a sliding dust cover. And, the center keyway is designed to make leverage attacks difficult.

The best on a budget

best budget bike lock titanker bike lock cable

For less than $15, the Titanker Bike Lock Cable is an affordable alternative that offers a variety of locking options.

Pros: 10,000 possible combinations, four-foot reach, flexible

Cons: Cable is relatively easy to cut

The Titanker Bike Lock Cable is made of flexible steel cables that measure a half-inch in diameter. The 4-foot cable is covered with PVC coating and recoils back into its original shape when not in use. The four-digit combination lock has 10,000 possible passcodes. This lock is the lightest option in this guide at 11.2 ounces, and it mounts to your bike with the provided bracket.

The cable design offers flexibility in what you can lock a bike to, and the combination key is also convenient. While a lock is a good deterrent in general, this option doesn’t offer the level of protection as the other locks on this list. Still, the thick cable should deter most thieves.  

Note: We previously recommended the UShake Bike Lock Cable, which is nearly similar to the Titanker option. Although many reviewers also recommended the UShake, that lock is not available at the time of posting.

The best D-lock

HiplokDX3

The Hiplok DX is a heavy-duty D-lock designed to keep your bike secure no matter where you lock it up, and its lightweight design makes it easy to throw into a backpack or even to wear on your person.

Pros: Heavy-duty yet lightweight design, 14mm steel shackle prevents theft

Cons: Locking area might be small for bikes with bigger tires

Hiplok is one of the who’s who in the bike lock industry (we’ve written about, and loved, its Z-Lok) thanks to its wide selection of dependable products. With the DX, Hiplok not only offers one of the most heavy-duty D-locks on the market, but it challenges the Kryptonite lock that nabbed our top spot. 

What makes the DX particularly stand out is its rugged and durable design, led by a double deadlock and 14mm hardened steel shackle that would take nothing short of a tank to break through it. This means you should feel comfortable locking up your bike anywhere and can rest assured it’ll be there waiting for you when you’re reading to ride again. 

It’s also one of the most lightweight locks we’ve tested and can just as easily slip into a backpack or affix to our belt loops without seeming like we’re dragging an anvil. The DX offers up a sizable locking area, as well, which can easily slide through your tire and around a pole. 

At $90, it’s not a budget pick, but with bike locks, you pay for premium quality (and the assurance you won’t have to spend hundreds on a new bike). Hiplok offers a lifetime warranty, so that $90 investment should last you a very long time. — Rick Stella

The best U-lock

kryptonite  bike lock 2

The Kryptonite Kryptolok Standard Bicycle U-Lock w/4-foot Flex Cable is one of the most affordable locks, and the 4-foot cable makes locking up easy.

Pros: Easy to use, lightweight, inexpensive

Cons: Only requires one cut to defeat

The design of the Kryptolok Standard Bicycle U-Lock is fairly similar to the Kryptonite locks we covered in previous slides. It has a center keyway, high-security disc-style cylinder, reinforced hardened crossbar, and a hardened MAX-Performance steel shackle. However, there are some key differences. The shackle is 13 millimeters thick, the U-lock is 4 x 9 inches, and there is not a double locking mechanism.

Kryptonite rates the security of the Kryptolok as 6 out of 10 (versus 9 for the New York Standard and 10 for the Fahgettaboudit Mini). The company states that it should be secure enough in rural areas, in the suburbs, and when traveling with your bike on a car rack.

Remember to register your bike lock with the brand immediately after you purchase it to take advantage of its theft protection program.

The best quick-use

HiplokZ

The Z-Lok from Hiplok may not be a good choice for everyday use but its zip tie style makes it perfect for quickly locking up your bike on short trips, or for securing it to a car rack.

Pros: Easy to use, allows you to set a custom combination, lightweight, highly portable, inexpensive

Cons: Not robust enough to use for long periods of time

Though Hiplok’s Z-Lok looks like some sort of beefed-up zip tie (it essentially is), it’s still a highly useful bike lock. Perfect for locking up your bike in a pinch, say, while running some quick errands or popping into a store, the Z-Lok is a great companion to a larger, more robust bike lock. 

What makes the Z-Lok particularly stand out is how easy it is to use. When first using it, it allows you to set a custom combination code, and then using it to lock up your bike is as easy as tightening a zip tie. Just slide the lock through wherever you want to secure your bike, feed the end of the lock through the locking mechanism, and tighten. Unlocking it is just as easy as you only need to put in your set combo and then slide the unlock button to fully loosen it. 

I also like how lightweight the lock is, too. I have a few of these in my kit and throw at least one or two into my backpack before every ride, even if I don’t plan on actually using them. They take up next to no space and can even just be attached to my bike, or even a belt loop on my pants if I’m ever not cycling with a backpack.

The Z-Lok’s downside is a clear one: It’s just not as robust as larger locks, so it can’t necessarily be used for everyday use or for any time you’ll be away from your bike for a long period of time. It works best as a complement to a larger lock system and as a quick use to lock up your bike in a pinch. — Rick Stella, fitness and health editor

The best on-bike

Screen Shot 2020 09 01 at 3.17.34 PM

The Lobster Lock permanently attaches to your bike frame so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to grab a lock on your way out the door.

Pros: Attaches to your bike permanently so you’ll never forget a lock, easy to lock/unlock, inexpensive $75 price tag

Cons: Can rattle on your bike a little bit while riding

We’ve all been there: You’re getting ready for a ride, you’ve packed a backpack, grab your helmet, and jet out the door. As you get to your destination, you realize it; you forgot your bike lock. Now, you’re left with a decision, do you leave the bike there and quickly run inside to get what you need, or do you ride back home? With the Lobster Lock, those forgetful moments cease to exist.

Thanks to a design that allows you to permanently attach it to your bike’s frame, the Lobster Lock goes wherever your bike goes, all day, every day. By attaching to where you’d put a water bottle cradle, the lock is able to stay out of the way enough to avoid hindering you as you ride, yet is perfect for attaching to a bike rack (including through your wheel, too).

Using the lock is easy, too. By simply unlocking it with a key, two arms swing out from the base and attach to each other to create the lock. When you’re reading to ride again, just unlock the two arms from each other, fold them back into the base, and lock it again with the key. Simple as that. 

Also, don’t think you have to sacrifice the water bottle cradle — it basically acts as an extension of that area as you’re able to affix a cradle to the lock itself. That’s a ton of convenience packed into one bike lock. — Rick Stella

How we test bike locks

Each of the following bike locks went through several rounds of field testing to make sure they not only provided a reliable method for locking up our bike but that they were easy to use, weren’t a pain to lug around, and offered enough value regardless of their price tag.

Specifically, we looked at these five categories: Ease of use, durability, security, and value. Here’s how each category factored into what locks made the cut:

Ease of use: Using a bike lock shouldn’t be a headache each time you lock and unlock your ride. This means that it should be easy to affix to a bike rack while still being able to secure valuable parts of your bike (i.e. the wheel) without it feeling like solving a Rubik’s cube. 

Durability: What good is a bike lock if it starts to fall apart mere months after you purchase it? Bike locks take a beating, whether it be while getting throwing into a backpack or vehicle, someone attempting to disassemble it, or being stored at home in a garage or closet. You want any lock you purchase (especially since you’re spending hard-earned cash) to last you several years, at the very least. 

Security: If a bike lock is easy to break into, then what’s the point? A reliable bike lock should be able to stand up to a variety of bike-stealing methods and not only continue to protect your bike but be able to continue to live up to its namesake. 

Value: Value isn’t just about how much a bike lock costs — it’s more about how much return you get on your investment. If you pay a premium price, you should expect premium features. This is sort of like the sum of all the categories before it (while still considering its sticker cost). 

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55+ of the best spring sales happening now, including Leesa, Anthropologie, and Under Armour

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leesa mattress room

From home goods to glasses, you can find tons of discounts and deals across the web in the name of the new season.

So whether you’re looking to refresh your wardrobe or are moving to a new place, we’ve rounded up the best sales to help you out, below. Highlights include discounts on Leesa, The Container Store, and Totes.

Best spring deals

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Home and kitchen sales

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  • 1-800-Flowers: Get 25% off tulips with promo code TULIP25 or 20% off sitewide with promo code SAVETWENTY
  • Anthrologie: Get 20% off bedding, throws, and pillows.
  • Artifact Uprising: Get 25% off two or more baby board books.
  • Barnes and Noble: Buy one get another book 50% off. 
  • Bear Mattress: Get 20% off sitewide and a free gift set with promo code GREEN20
  • The Container Store: Get up to 20% off kitchen and pantry items. 
  • Haven: Get 50% off foam mattresses and 30% off accessories.
  • Leesa Mattress: Get up to $400 off Leesa mattresses and two free pillows during the Spring Mattress sale.
  • Milk Bar: Get free shipping on orders over $100. 
  • Target: Save on baby gear or get up to 50% off toys and furniture.
  • Wayfair: Save on markdowns, close-outs, and open box items.

Fashion and apparel sales

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  • Anthropologie: Get an extra 25% off sale items.
  • Backcountry: Save up to 60% on sale items.
  • Banana Republic: Get 50% off sale items and 40% off regular priced items at checkout. 
  • Baublebar: Get 20% off two or more Pisa bracelets with promo code PISA20
  • East Dane: Get 15% off orders of $200+, 20% off orders of $500+, or 25% off orders of $800+ with promo code STYLE through April 16.
  • EyeBuyDirect: Get up to 50% off during the Spring Clearance sale. 
  • Fossil: Get up to 70% off select styles.
  • Gap: Get an extra 30% off markdowns for up to 70% off with promo code BEST
  • GlassesUSA.com: Get 60% off select frames for eyeglasses and sunglasses with promo code DEAL60, plus $10 off your order of $220+ with promo code EXCLUSIVE10
  • Happy Socks: Save on outlet items. 
  • Indochino: Get $75 off premium suits with promo code PREM75.
  • J.Crew: Get an extra 50% off sale styles through April 14. 
  • L.L.Bean: Save and get free shipping with orders of $50 or more. 
  • Lands’ End: Get up to 40% off your order with promo code BOAT
  • Mackage: Get up to 50% off past-season styles during the Winter sale.
  • Macy’s: Get up to 60% off through April 11.
  • M.Gemi: Get 20% off Felize shoes with promo code FELIZE20 through April 30 or $100 off boots.
  • M.M. La Fleur: Get styles and accessories for under $100 during the Warehouse sale.
  • Original Penguin: Get an extra 25% off polos and tees applied at cart.
  • Ralph Lauren: Get up to 40% off sale items.
  • REI: Save on sale, clearance, and outlet items.
  • Shopbop: Get 15% off orders of $200+, 20% off orders of $500+, or 25% off orders of $800+ with promo code STYLE.
  • Tommy John: Get up to 75% off sale items.
  • Totes: Get 25% off sitewide with promo code RAINY through April 19.

Makeup and skincare sales

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  • Birchbox: Get 20% off orders of $35+ for current subscribers with promo code SHOP20.
  • Colourpop: Save with new deals added daily.
  • Kate Somerville: Get Kate’s REtinol Minis with any $140 purchase with promo code APRGWP
  • Sephora: Save on sale items and get free shipping with promo code FREESHIP.
  • SkinStore: Get up to 50% off select brands with an extra 10% off with promo code EXCLUSIVE10 through April 21. 
  • Ulta: Save with new offers and promotions added regularly.

Tech sales

Best Keyboard Logitech G413
  • Best Buy: Get up to 50% off clearance and open-box items during the Outlet Sale through April 18. 
  • Tile: Save on final sale Tile trackers from previous years.
  • Udacity: Get 75% off sitewide with promo code INSIDER75 through April 13.

Fitness and outdoor sales

UnderArmour new arrivals banner
  • TRX: Get 20% off the TRX Rip Trainer and 25% off TRX Strength Bands. 
  • Under Armour: Get an additional 25% off team sports products through April 19.

Sex toy sales

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  • Adam & Eve: Get up to 50% off rabbit vibrators. 
  • Babeland: Get $20 off orders of $100 or more. 
  • Early to Bed: Get a free toy bag with a Fun Factory toy purchase. 
  • Ellaparadis: Get up to 85% off with promo code SPRING. 
  • Fun Factory: Save with a Fun Kit of sex toys or get 10% off when you subscribe to the Fun Factory newsletter.
  • LoveHoney: Get up to 50% off select toys and lingerie. 
  • Verishop: Save on select vibrators in the Verishop sale section.
  • We-Vibe: Save on select vibrators and sets. 
  • Womanizer: Save on select Womanizer vibrators.
  • Zumio: Get 15% off any product for spring.

Frequently asked questions

When does spring start?

This year spring started on March 20 and will end on June 20. 

What should I buy during spring?

In the spirit of springing forward and spring cleaning, typically around this time of year, you can find the most sales for apparel, home goods, outdoor furniture, grills, outdoor gear, and cleaning supplies.

Additionally, shoppers should be on the hunt for discounted gifts to give for Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day during spring. 

Is this a better time to shop than Black Friday?

There isn’t much that can beat Black Friday pricing, and spring sales are no exception. Chances are you’ll find a better deal on things like mattresses, tech, and outdoor gear in November.

However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still months away, and there are still exceptional deals to be found.

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The 11 best hotels in San Diego for couples, families, business travelers, luxury, and more

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  • San Diego is home to beaches, a military base, a world-famous zoo, and many outdoor activities.
  • From urban towers with water views to beachfront resorts, we vetted the city’s best hotels.
  • Our picks are based on our own reviews and offer great amenities for a Southern California getaway.

With picturesque beach resorts, contemporary downtown hotels, and intimate Spanish-inspired bungalows, San Diego’s hotels are as varied and exciting as the city itself. Whether your visit is for business, golf, world-class spas, the beach, or, of course, Comic Con, there’s a hotel that will meet your needs.

To highlight the hotels in San Diego that truly shine, we made selections based on our own expert hotel reviews and experiences on-property, and also set discerning criteria to determine the very best hotels in the city. Though, if you prefer a vacation rental, we’ve got you covered too.

Whenever your travels next take you to San Diego, consult our list of the best hotels, from Coronado Bay to downtown, and Rancho Santa Fe.

Browse all the best hotels in San Diego below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

Here are the best hotels in San Diego, sorted by price from low to high.

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

Kimpton Palomar San Diego - Hotel Review

Book Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

This bang-on-trend property in the heart of San Diego’s buzzing Gaslamp district is popular with younger travelers who appreciate the look and feel that’s equal parts trendy and modern and comes with perks like complimentary wine at check-in. 

There are 211 rooms set over 20 stories, with the top four floors reserved for Skyline Collection rooms which have expansive views of San Diego and touches like surfboard headboards, upcycled light fixtures, and shibori curtains. Every room is design-forward with crisp white linens and Atelier Bloem bath products and is stocked with useful extras like yoga mats and umbrellas. There’s also a posh rooftop pool, an on-site Mexican eatery that specializes in elevated street fare, and a pet-friendly attitude that treats your dogs like VIPs.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

The Guild Hotel San Diego, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

The Guild San Diego: Hotel Review

Book The Guild Hotel San Diego, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel

In downtown San Diego, there are many corporate big-box hotels, and it can be hard to find a middle ground between modern and intimate and a reasonable price point. Enter the Guild San Diego, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel from Marriott Bonvoy. The hotel is a newer addition to the downtown scene, housed in a century-old Armed Services YMCA. Yet rather than erasing the building’s past, the owners lovingly embraced its former life in an effort to honor San Diego’s rich maritime heritage.

Ornate, Italian Renaissance Revival exteriors were preserved, while run-down dormitory-style interiors were transformed into a sleek lobby. Well-appointed rooms feel cozy but upscale with modern velvet furnishings. But the standout is a tranquil but glam pale pink courtyard and urban garden that feels like you’ve been transported to the south of France.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of The Guild San Diego

InterContinental San Diego

Intercontinental SD   Kai Oliver Kurtin_Business Insider

Book InterContinental San Diego

Located on the historic grounds of Lane Field (the former baseball stadium for the San Diego Padres) and part of IHG hotels, the InterContinental’s downtown waterfront location offers a prime vantage point of the San Diego Bay and is a close walk from the Embarcadero, where the USS Midway Museum, Broadway Pier, and cruise ship terminals are located.

Housing 400 guest rooms over 19 stories, InterContinental San Diego is a mass of oversized windows overlooking the water with rooms that are above average in size and generally very affordable in price. Since the real draw here is the bay, splurging on a room that overlooks industrial buildings wouldn’t sit right — spring for a water view. There are also spacious two-room suites, ideal for families.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of InterContinental San Diego

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel Review

Book Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

While there are cheaper downtown options in San Diego, the Manchester Grand Hyatt consistently delivers on a high level of sophistication alongside friendly staff, plenty of on-site dining, and a central waterfront location that makes it easy to explore the city and savor the sunset. 

With 1,628 guestrooms, including 76 suites, the hotel is huge but not impossible to manage. Rates are accessible in price too, if you’re not specific about which incredible view you receive. And there isn’t a bad one; all rooms overlook either the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, or downtown city area.

The hotel earns added appeal as the West Coast’s tallest waterfront hotel and is just steps from attractions like the Gaslamp Quarter, the USS Midway, and San Diego’s scenic Embarcadero. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Pacific Terrace Hotel

Pacific Terrace Hotel   Trip Advisor

Book Pacific Terrace Hotel

Directly facing the ocean at the end of the Pacific Beach boardwalk, this beachy hotel’s waterfront location is gorgeous. There are 73 rooms and suites outfitted with rich wood furnishings, plantation shutters, and bright pops of turquoise for a tropical island feel. Book a room with an ocean view and watch as San Diego strolls, runs, bikes, and rollerblades by, and surfers catch early morning waves. 

If you can’t choose between pool or ocean, know that the former directly faces the sand for a best-of-both-worlds lounging option. Beach buckets and shovels, toys, boogie boards, and bikes are all available for guests’ use, and the hotel is well-located close to attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Torrey Pines State Beach, Belmont Park, Crystal Pier, and is just eight miles north of San Diego’s International Airport.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort 10

Book Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Coronado might be synonymous with the famous Hotel Del Coronado, but for a cheaper beach resort getaway, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort is a solid option without compromising on comfort or style. 

Situated at the end of a private 15-acre peninsula, Loews Coronado offers a hip but relaxed vibe with a luxury lean, as well as excellent hotel grounds, amenities, and scenic 360-degree bay views.

Though beach access is located across a highway and requires a free hotel shuttle, there’s plenty to enjoy on-site including the large pool deck with reserved space for both adults and kids, a spa, and a terrace bar with ample views. It’s also a bit quieter than Hotel Del, surrounded by natural elements and removed from the city bustle. Rooms are chic and in line with the high-end Loews brand.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel

US Grant   Trip Advisor

Book The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Once a presidential palace dating back to 1910, The historic US Grant is a posh hotel that’s also earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The 11-story building was built by the son of Ulysses S. Grant, who named it after his father. 

But it’s far from old and stuffy. Now operating as a luxury hotel, the interiors are magnificent, with large chandeliers, impressive columns, and artifacts on display that speak to the city’s history.

There are 270 high-end rooms and suites for an upscale experience not commonly replicated in the city. The hotel is also well-located downtown near Balboa Park, the waterfront area, San Diego Zoo, and Petco Park. Luxury Collection hotels are also members of Marriott Bonvoy, offering a good opportunity to earn and redeem points.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Hotel Del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

Hotel Del Coronado - Hotel Review

Book Hotel Del Coronado

Located just five miles from downtown San Diego, the Hotel del Coronado is a historic hotel and landmark that has hosted US presidents, royalty, and movie stars for decades. If the Victorian-style resort looks especially familiar, that’s because it’s the direct inspiration for Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Affectionately dubbed The Del or Hotel Del, the sprawling beachfront resort counts 28-acres and 757 rooms and suites spread throughout the massive original Victorian building, as well as a contemporary oceanfront tower, poolside cabanas, and luxury beach cottages and villas.  

The main building showcases a variety of antique details such as a vintage iron elevator that requires an operator, while the oceanfront towers, cabanas, cottages, and villas each have their own vibe, and tends to be more modern and beachy. The beach is also a draw (and attracts crowds too as it is public) with on-site water sports rentals and wellness classes.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Hotel Del Coronado

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

Inn at Rancho Santa Fe   Marriott Bonvoy

Book The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

Set on 21 landscaped acres just a short drive outside of downtown San Diego, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, A Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa is an enticing option when you want to stay near San Diego, but not in the thick of it.

This calming boutique escape is a member of Marriott Bonvoy and feels like a Mediterranean-inspired bungalow with red-tiled roofs, mosaic details, Spanish-Californian architecture, and bubbling fountains. Swaying palms, leafy green trees, and tall cacti add color to the well-kept grounds.

Even starter Queen rooms are large with 325 square feet, sleek bathrooms, and peaceful terraces overlooking the hotel’s polished spaces. The design is rustic but contemporary, which creates a cozy, welcoming feel, especially if you upgrade to a room with a fireplace. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Fairmont Grand Del Mar  Trip Advisor

Book the Fairmont Grand Del Mar

You might feel like you slipped away to the Spanish countryside when you first enter this sprawling five-star luxury golf and spa hideaway.

Housed on a lush 400-acre setting with Mediterranean tile work, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar feels pristine with arched windows, curved staircases, and a rose-tinted facade that resembles a European palace. And the level of sophistication is sincere; the hotel is operated by the same team behind the ultra-high-end Plaza Hotel in New York City.

There are 249 large, well-appointed rooms and suites, though you’ll likely spend most of your time wandering the well-kept gardens or taking a dip in one (or all) of the four pools. For a bit more activity, the resort is just a few miles from the beach, and there is also an 18-hole private golf club designed by Tom Fazio, and activities such as art classes, tennis lessons, yoga, cooking classes, and more. Fairmont Grand Del Mar earned the distinction as a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond luxury resort and also boasts a spa, kids club, nightlife, and dining.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

Park Aviara   Maribeth Mellin_Business Insider

Book Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

For something more sedate than the crowded beach, or quieter than the noisy downtown area, head inland to the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort’s 200-acre estate in Carlsbad. The hotel overlooks golf greens, a wildlife sanctuary, and provides ample views of the distant ocean. The sense is overwhelmingly tranquil, with well-kept common places to kick back after a few laps in the lavish pools.

A recent renovation promises this hotel is only going to become more grandiose, with comfortable, well-appointed rooms, and newly revamped pool and common areas. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

Our methodology for selecting hotels

In addition to the numbered criteria previously outlined above, we considered these factors:

Price: We looked for starting room rates in low season under $600 per night.

First-hand reviews: We visited and stayed at many of the hotels on this list. Those we didn’t came highly recommended and only were included based on our criteria and research.

Guests: We chose the best hotels in San Diego for a wide audience, including first-time visitors, families, couples, business travelers, friends, and more.

Amenities: We looked for San Diego hotels that boast comfortable, well-appointed rooms, central locations, beach access, excellent pool facilities, well-regarded restaurants and bars, and other guest perks.

Reviews: We consulted reviews and ratings on sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com, and others to compare the experiences of other guests.

COVID-19 safety: We selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of guests with new strict new cleaning policies in light of COVID-19.

FAQ: San Diego hotels

sonder San Diego balcony

Is it safe to stay in a hotel?

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically.

Hotels are open during COVID-19 and while you’re more likely to encounter other people in common spaces such as lobbies, check-in desks, restaurants, and pools, experts say that with added caution, it is safe to stay in a hotel

We also recommend following CDC guidelines and wearing a mask in public, using hand sanitizer, and following social distancing.

Where should I stay in San Diego?

That depends on what you want to do! Stay downtown in neighborhoods like the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, or Embarcadero if you want to sightsee with a central, urban base.

If you plan to spend most of your time on the sand, look to coastal communities in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla, or Del Mar. Drive 25 miles up the 101 and you’ll find yourself in popular beach towns like Cardiff and Encinitas.

Or, for a beach base with easy access to downtown, consider Coronado Island. 

If you want to revolve your trip around theme parks and attractions, you should consider a hotel’s proximity to places like the San Diego Zoo or Legoland in Carlsbad.

What is there to do in San Diego?

San Diego has a little bit of everything with a robust city center, military base, rich history, and beautiful beaches.

Watch surfers, take a dip in the ocean, take advantage of the nightlife in Gaslamp, stroll around Coronado Island, or check out the seals in La Jolla. There is also a major sports stadium, the San Diego Zoo, and beautiful parks such as Torrey Pines. 

What is the best time to visit San Diego?

San Diego enjoys warm temperatures and sunny weather for most of the year. As such, there isn’t a major off season when prices change dramatically. For nice, mild weather, consider a winter visit. However, when temps soar in summer, you might just see cheaper hotel prices.

More of the best hotels in California

Figueroa Los Angeles Hotel Review
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Our honest review of FTD, the best flower service for same-day and international delivery

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

Best flower delivery 2021 FTD 4x3

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyFlower Delivery Service (small)

Sometimes you really just need to send some flowers fast – moments of sympathy or apology, last-minute gifts, or when an unexpected celebration is in order.

While many popular online flower delivery services like the Bouqs and UrbanStems offer next-day delivery options, they stop short of same-day delivery, or they only offer it in select urban areas.

For same-day flowers, your options are usually: pick something up from the store, find a florist, or use a floral wire service like 1-800-Flowers, Teleflora, or Florists’ Transworld Delivery Service (FTD). While I always prefer to support small businesses when I can, floral wire services are a great option when your recipient lives far away and you don’t know a local florist.

I’ve used both 1-800-Flowers and FTD in the past to send flowers in a pinch, but never seen the end result. Recently, I had the opportunity to try both as part of our guide to the best flower delivery service, and I was far more impressed with FTD’s selection, prices, quality, and delivery experience. Here’s why FTD is now my go-to for same-day flowers.

How it works

FTD has been in the flower delivery business for more than 100 years and offers delivery to all 50 states and more than 150 countries. In most cases, as long as you place your order before 2 p.m. at your recipient’s local time, you’ll have the option of getting it delivered the same day. In order to make this happen, FTD often partners with local florists to fulfill and deliver orders (though some products, like plants, may ship via UPS from FTD).

Once you put in your delivery address and choose a delivery time, you’ll be presented with a range of floral design options in different styles and at different price points. Shipping starts at $17.99, but you may have to pay more for weekend delivery or expedited delivery to Hawaii and Alaska. Expect to pay at least another $5 for a “same-day” fee on top of shipping.

Review of FTD

FTD’s product selection encompasses flowers, plants, gift baskets, edible arrangements, chocolate, and other gifts. While there are lots of options, the site is surprisingly easy to navigate. I put in my address and a few different delivery dates to see how that impacted what was available.

FTD flower delivery service review 2021 plant
The Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant we ordered from FTD.

According to the website, 114 bouquets are usually available in my area with enough lead time, but with same-day delivery, my options were limited to about 37 (though this still represented a wide range of styles and prices). The available arrangements primarily include flowers like roses, lilies, carnations, and sunflowers, in bright colors like yellow, red, and pink. While this makes sense since those are fairly hearty flowers that are popular and almost always in stock at florists, the overall vibe of the arrangements is more traditional than modern.

I placed one order to be delivered to myself and one to a coworker in Seattle. We ordered the Charm & Comfort Bouquet for same-day delivery and a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant for delivery later in the week to evaluate the experience of receiving an arrangement delivered by a partner florist and a plant from FTD via UPS.

FTD flower delivery service review 2021 bouquet
The “Charm & Comfort Bouquet” we ordered from FTD.

Your delivery experience will vary based on the florist that fills your order, but both our Seattle tester and I received fuller, fresher flowers and plants from FTD than from other similar same-day services like 1-800-Flowers. The colors in my bouquet were more muted and the vase I received was different than in the picture on FTD’s website, but I actually ended up liking the colors I received better and some variation is expected with all flowers based on what’s fresh and available. My bouquet was in excellent condition and lasted a little more than two weeks.

The delivery experience was a bit odd; I got a message saying my flowers had been delivered when they very clearly had not. A few hours later, my doorbell rang and my flowers actually appeared. While it was still within the estimated delivery times, the false delivery message threw me for a loop.

I also, of course, included an encouraging note to myself to be delivered with the flowers. The florist who delivered the arrangement hand-wrote the note, but did so on a “get well” card. I had a good laugh about it, but it may not have been so funny if I was delivering to a loved one. A big caveat on all this, however, is that all these delivery quirks were a product of the florist that delivered my arrangement and not FTD. So just keep in mind your mileage may vary.

FTD flower delivery service review 2021 note
The note that came with my bouquet. I wrote an encouraging message to myself. Oddly, it came hand-written on a “get well” card.

Cons to consider

To me, the fact that your experience can vary wildly based on who fills your order is the biggest con of using any floral wire service. While FTD vets all of its floral providers, there’s still no way of knowing just who might end up filling your order.

The arrangements also lean more toward traditional colors and flowers, which may not be everyone’s style. Traditional arrangements aren’t particularly my cup of tea, though I was able to find something I liked a lot after weeding through the options.

The service was also quite pricey. The bouquet itself was priced reasonably, but once you tacked on tax, delivery, and a “same-day fee,” my bouquet ended up costing around $140. This was a bit sneaky, because the upfront cost of the bouquet made it look cheaper than other options like UrbanStems or Farmgirl Flowers, but the added fees actually made FTD pricier overall.

What are your alternatives?

If you have more than a day to get flowers to your recipient, you have many more options that may suit their tastes or preferences better. We particularly like UrbanStems, which we named the best flower delivery service in our guide. It offers next-day delivery to most of the US, and same-day delivery in New York City and Washington, D.C.

If you’re pressed for time, need to send flowers internationally or to harder-to-reach parts of the US, a floral wire service like FTD is your best bet. There are other similar services like 1-800-Flowers and Teleflora, but we have been less impressed with bouquets we’ve received from them.

The bottom line

If you need flowers in a pinch, FTD is the best same-day service we’ve found. It’s also a great option if you need to send flowers internationally or to Alaska or Hawaii, where many other services don’t deliver.

Pros: Orders filled by local florists; a large selection of bouquets, plants, and gifts

Cons: Experience can vary based on which florist fills your order, designs are more traditional and less modern

Flower Delivery Service (button)

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The 5 best over-ear headphones in 2021 for audiophiles, wireless users, and budget shoppers

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Over-ear headphones tend to offer better sound performance than earbuds.
  • The perfect pair of over-ear headphones blend impressive audio quality with a comfortable design.
  • That’s why we think the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro are the best over-ear headphones you can buy.

Over-ear headphones are the ultimate in comfort and sound quality, but they aren’t always very portable like wireless earbuds.

If you decide that over-ear headphones are the right choice for you, then there are a few key things you should look for before you buy any old pair. For starters, you’ll want to think about whether you want a wired or wireless pair. Wired headphones generally sound better, though the difference might not be noticeable for most people, while wireless headphones are more convenient, because you cut the cord out of the equation.

You’ll also want to consider the type of driver inside the headphones. This won’t matter for most people, but audiophiles who want a ton of clarity and detail might want to consider a pair of planar magnetic or electrostatic headphones for the best performance.

Perhaps the most important thing to think about when looking for a new pair of headphones is budget. Audiophiles will be the first to tell you that it’s easy to spend thousands on a great pair of headphones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a quality model for much less. With all this in mind, we’ve rounded up the best over-ear headphones for a variety of price points.

Here are the best over-ear headphones you can buy:

The best over-ear headphones overall

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO headphones may not be cheap, but the sound quality of these cans makes them absolutely worth the price.

Pros: Amazing sound quality, extremely comfortable

Cons: Expensive, bulky, not wireless, open-back design lets in outside sound

If you’re simply looking for the best over-ear headphones out there and don’t care too much about anything else, then the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO headphones are the way to go. These headphones may be a little pricey, but they’re built with the recording studio in mind, and they’re made specifically to deliver a powerful yet natural sound.

There are a few reasons these headphones sound so good. For starters, unlike most headphones these days, the DT 1990 PRO feature an open-back design. That means outside noise can get in, and your music can be easily heard by those around you, but it also helps create a much more natural sound with a wide soundstage. Open-back headphones are perfect for those who plan on listening to music at home by themselves.

On top of the open-back design, the headphones feature plenty of padding, replaceable and removable cables, and more. The sound-quality on these headphones, however, is where they really shine. They’re slightly bass-forward with plenty of midrange support and a ton of detail in the high-end. With more detail, instruments sound defined and separate, which makes for an awesome listening experience.

So what’s the downside? Well, the main one is price. They’re also a little bulky, though considering they’re really built for home use, that may not be an issue.

The best wireless over-ear headphones

sennhesier momentum 3

The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 headphones are the complete package, offering excellent sound quality, a comfortable fit, and wireless support.

Pros: Excellent design, wireless, great sound quality, comfortable, noise cancellation

Cons: Expensive, noise cancellation isn’t on par with models from Sony and Bose

Sennheiser is known for building some of the best headphones on the market, and the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 headphones are no exception to that rule. The headphones are beautifully designed, super comfortable, sound great, and even offer noise cancellation.

There are a ton of reasons to love these headphones, but the biggest reason is how great they sound. The headphones may not be the most accurate sounding headphones in the world, but they offer a fun listening experience.

For example, while there’s a little extra bass, it’s not too over-the-top. The mids are well-tuned, and the highs offer plenty of detail and clarity. They may not be as detailed as a pair of high-end wired headphones, but when it comes to wireless headphones in this price range, these are the best for audio performance. 

The headphones offer some great smart features too. They have noise cancellation, and while it’s not quite as good as Bose’s or Sony’s, it’s still effective. They even have Tile tracking built into them, so you shouldn’t ever lose them.

The best noise-cancelling over-ear headphones

Sony wh-1000xm4

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 are our go-to pair of headphones when we look for a balance of sound quality and noise-cancelling performance. 

Pros: Impressive sound quality, customizable sound, excellent noise cancellation, comfortable, long battery life, wireless

Cons: Expensive at full price

We picked the Sony WH-1000XM4 over the Bose 700 in this category because, while both headphones have similar noise-cancelling performance, the XM4s have a few advantages when it comes to portability. Most notably, the XM4s can fold up to make them easier to transport and they have longer battery life.

Don’t expect studio-grade accuracy here — the XM4s are meant to be a high-quality pair of headphones for “most people” to enjoy their music rather than audiophiles. With that in mind, they have a great range for bass, mids, and highs, and they handily produce clear and detailed sound. They’re also highly adaptable to your tastes thanks to adjustable settings via the app. 

Noise-cancelling performance is among the best you can find. The XM4s easily cancel unwanted noises in home and office settings, and they’re perfect for travel and commuting. 

With great quality and noise cancellation, however, comes a pretty high price tag for Bluetooth headphones. That said, the XM4s often get price cuts that bring them down closer to the $300 mark, and sometimes even lower. If you’re looking for a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones that won’t disappoint with audio quality, go for the Sony WH-1000XM4.

The best mid-range over-ear headphones

beyerdynamic

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones may not be the prettiest around, but their sound quality is unrivaled in this price range.

Pros: Excellent sound quality, good value for money

Cons: Bulky, no removable cable, no wireless support

Beyerdynamic may claim the top spot on our list with the expensive Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO headphones, but it turns out the company makes some pretty great budget headphones, too. Case in point: The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones. This model features an affordable price and offers excellent value for the money.

While these headphones may not be wireless or have noise cancellation, they do offer fantastic sound quality. The DT 770 PRO boast plenty of bass without going too far over the top, a well-tuned midrange, and a good amount of clarity and detail in the high-end.

Of course, the headphones aren’t perfect. They’re largely suited for home listening rather than anything else, and they’re a bit bulky because of that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s still something to keep in mind. The headphones also don’t have a removable cable, which is a little frustrating for some.

Still, despite those issues, most reviewers love the headphones. PCMag gave them 4.5/5 stars, while CNET gave them 8/10.

The best affordable over-ear headphones

Audi Technica headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are an ideal choice for buyers who want a budget-friendly pair of over-ear headphones that still sound great.

Pros: Comfortable, 40mm drivers with excellent sound for the price

Cons: Bass response is lacking, no wireless support

Though they are a step down from our other picks, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x over-ear headphones perform remarkably well for their price.

The entry-level pair of studio headphones use an over-ear design with 40mm drivers. Bass isn’t particularly impactful, but the headphones offer impressive audio performance for their class, with pleasing high- and mid-range sound quality. Again, these aren’t audiophile level, but they get the job done very well for everyday listening.

Comfort and build are also strong thanks to the cushioned headband and padded ear cups. While the headphones don’t feature wireless connectivity or active noise cancellation, the cups actually provide solid noise isolation so outside sounds won’t bother you as much while listening.

As a brand, Audio-Technica is known for higher end headphone models, like the M50x and M70x, but for such a budget-friendly price, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x provide a very nice value.

Check out our other headphone buying guides

Apple AirPods Pro

The best noise-cancelling headphones


The best earbuds


The best true wireless earbuds


The best cheap headphones

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The 5 best golf shoes for golfers of any skill level

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Golf shoes give you traction to stay balanced during your swing and help avoid tiring out your legs.
  • The best should offer a combination of proper fit, traction in a variety of conditions, and lasting comfort.
  • Our top pick, the Skechers Go Golf Elite 2, is comfortable, waterproof, and has grippy spikes for added traction.

Golf shoes have come a long way in the past few decades. For most of the 20th century, golfers wore what were essentially dress shoes with hard metal spikes molded into the soles. Though you likely have an idea of how uncomfortable they were by reading that sentence alone, they managed to be even more painful than you’d imagine.

Thankfully, those days are long gone as today’s golf shoes underwent a significant transformation. Metal spikes gave way to plastic spikes that aren’t as sharp but have more contact points with the ground. The dress shoe style still exists but golf shoes resembling athletic shoes are preferred by PGA Tour golfers and amateurs alike.

But above all, they’re far more comfortable than their yesteryear counterparts – and they’ve taken design cues from shoes used by runners. When you consider golfers could be walking the equivalent of almost a 10K road race each time they play 18 holes, borrowing design elements from a running shoe (which are much more comfortable) isn’t all that surprising.

Just as the shoes themselves innovated, the number of available styles has multiplied as well. With great variety, however, comes the stress of making sure you’re buying the right pair suited to your game.

To help, I’ve rounded up five of our favorite pairs from brands like Adidas, Puma, and Skechers, each with their own benefit for golfers of any skill level. At the end of this guide, I’ve also included a few tips on how to shop for golf shoes and what to keep in mind.

Here are the best golf shoes:

The best overall

best golf shoes

The Skechers Go Golf Elite 2 golf shoes provide a high level of performance and support while you golf, and they’re also extremely comfortable.

Pros: High level of comfort for a full round of golf, provides strong waterproof capabilities, perfect shoes for those who will walk the course, will give you a nice level of support in the midsole

Cons: Spikeless design doesn’t have quite the traction of a spiked shoe, toe box is a little tight

Regardless of whether you’re walking the golf course or riding in a cart, you’ll be spending plenty of time on your feet. That makes comfort incredibly important in your golf shoes. The Skechers Go Golf Elite 2 spikeless golf shoes nabbed our top spot thanks to being comfortable enough for long days on the greens.

Aside from comfort, the shoes also feature a waterproof and breathable style that makes them great for any weather condition. Skechers designed the Go Golf Elite 2 to have a leather upper segment that’s fused to the sole which provides the waterproofing. This allows them to hold up in the rain but is meant more for those early morning rounds on dewy grass. 

The shoe’s midsole provides just the right mix of comfort and support, too, to keep your feet happy as you play all 18 holes. You can buy the Go Golf Elite 2 in multiple color combinations, sizes, and in men’s and women’s designs.

The best spikeless

best golf shoes 2

The Ecco Biom Hybrid 2 golf shoes are comfortable for walking but feature an innovative sole that gives you more traction than most spikeless shoes.

Pros: Impressive spikeless design of the sole creates hundreds of points of contact with the ground for a smooth swing and extra support for walking, highly comfortable shoe, waterproof leather construction

Cons: Price point is a little high for spikeless shoes, sizes tend to run a little small

Spikeless golf shoes certainly feel comfortable when you’re walking on the course but traction is a hit and miss proposition with them. Ecco decided to make traction a priority with its various spikeless golf shoes, culminating in the Biom Hybrid 2.

Ecco spent plenty of time designing the sole of its Biom Hybrid 2 golf shoes to help you with traction on the course. This research culminated in the creation of unique Traction Bars which give you the grip you need to have a sturdy swing.

With the recently released Biom Hybrid 2, Ecco extended the Traction Bars around the heel of the shoe to improve the balance of its spikeless shoes even more, slightly tweaking the design of its original Biom.

The redesigned pattern of the spikeless sole on these golf shoes helps you maintain a better level of traction during your swing while allowing you to walk naturally.

You’ll especially appreciate the shoe’s two-piece sole, which creates a mixture of extra firm support for your golf swing on one side and a softer part comfort while walking. The placement of the two parts matches the different movements you make when swinging the golf club versus walking. 

The Biom Hybrid 2 has 800 points of contact with the ground, which gives you a high level of traction. Yet, these shoes are comfortable enough to wear away from the course, too.

The upper portion of the shoe consists of durable yak leather, which is also breathable. Ecco uses Hydromax technology to keep the yak leather pliable and to give it waterproof capabilities. 

The best spiked

best golf shoes 3

The high-quality construction and inexpensive price tag of the Adipure Flex spiked golf shoes should put Adidas on your radar for golf gear.

Pros: Great price point for spiked golf shoes, extra grouping of spikes near the heel helps to deliver good traction for power, waterproof design works especially well in cold and rainy weather

Cons: Low handicap players may want more traction in the toe area, arch support could be better

If you feel more comfortable playing golf with a true spiked golf shoe, the Adidas Adipure Flex golf shoes are your best bet, offering an excellent mixture of performance, comfort, and affordability. 

These shoes are also waterproof, which is helpful when playing in wet conditions early in the morning or after a rainstorm. If you’re wearing a spiked golf shoe, you’re probably already concerned about keeping your traction in wet conditions, so the waterproof capabilities in these shoes are important.

With seven spikes on the sole of the Adipure Flex, you’ll receive good traction on the green, in the fairway, while driving, and all over the course. Three of the spikes are tightly bunched in the heel area, giving you extra traction for generating power. These shoes perform especially well in cold and wet conditions.

These shoes give you a nice level of comfort, too, as they each feature a sock liner that molds to your foot. Adidas sells the Adipure in several different colorways, making them suitable to match a variety of personal golf styles. 

The best for comfort

best golf shoes 4

When you walk 18 holes, you’re almost traveling as far as you would in a 10K road race, and the New Balance Minimus shoes deliver in keeping you comfortable the entire time.

Pros: Good price point for golf shoes, very comfortable style of golf shoes made for walking the golf course, excellent waterproof capabilities, flexible sole means you don’t need a break-in period

Cons: Spikeless design may not deliver the traction you need, the longevity of these shoes is questionable

If you’ve ever shopped for running gear, you know the name New Balance. This shoe company is popular among runners looking to stay comfortable over long distances. And when you consider the fact a golfer might walk 5 to 6 miles during an 18-hole round of golf, it’s easy to understand the importance of comfort in a golf shoe.

As such, it’s probably a no-brainer to see the New Balance Minimus golf shoes end up on this list as our pick for most comfortable. After all, the company already has proven its ability to create comfortable running shoes that are designed for going the distance in comfort.

The Minimus is a spikeless golf shoe, and New Balance’s designers took advantage of that by creating a flexible sole that further contributes to the comfort of the shoe. The flexible sole means that these shoes don’t require a break-in period.

You can purchase the Minimus golf shoes from New Balance in multiple colors and sizes, and you can select from men’s or women’s shoes.

The best for stability

best golf shoes 5

Spikes that flex independently inside the sole of the shoe help the Puma Ignite Pwradapt golf shoes conform to any lie you’ll find on the golf course.

Pros: Unique design of the spikes gives you an incredibly solid base, completely waterproof design, extra support and padding in areas where the foot is typically under stress, comfortable shoes

Cons: Can feel the spikes when walking on firm ground, the sole may be too flexible for some golfers

When you’re trying to drop that long 4-iron shot onto the 18th green for bragging rights, you know you’ll need a little extra power in your shot. The last thing you want to do is slip or fall slightly off-balance on your downswing because then you’ll end up in the sand trap.

To gain that extra power, you need solid footing and stability throughout your swing. The newly designed Puma Ignite Pwradapt golf shoes use a unique design in the spikes to give you an impressively stable swing.

Each of the seven spikes built into the sole of the Ignite Pwradapt is attached to a disc that can move independently inside its base, matching the angle of the ground each part of your foot is using. Think of these flexible spikes kind of like the rotating heads in an electric shaver that flex up and down to match the contours of your face.

Even though the sole is the highlight, the rest of the shoe features mesh for breathability, as well as some useful waterproofing throughout. Puma didn’t ignore comfort, either, and built this model with the same Ignite foam cushion found in previous models, giving it additional cushioning in the mid-sole.

Additionally, the Ignite Pwradapt shoes provide support in the areas of the shoe where feet typically are under the most stress, making it more comfortable to walk long distances.

How to shop for golf shoes

In the 1990s, metal spikes gave way to plastic spikes, and around 2010, spikeless shoes began to appear on the golf course. Choosing between spiked and spikeless golf shoes will be your most important choice when buying golf shoes.

Spikes in modern golf shoes often consist of plastic with five or six prongs per spike. You can replace these plastic spikes once they become worn or lost. A spike will help you maintain traction on the ground in wet weather, in tall grass, on hills, or when you have an odd lie.

Spikeless shoes are the more comfortable type of golf shoes, as they most resemble other types of athletic shoes. Rather than a waffle tread like you might find on a basketball or tennis shoe though, a spikeless shoe has nubs and bumps on the sole of the shoe, creating contact with the ground without being uncomfortable for walking. You can wear spikeless golf shoes anywhere, which many people like.

A spikeless golf shoe generally offers more comfort than a spiked golf shoe. However, if you want the most traction when swinging a golf club, especially on a power shot, spiked golf shoes outperform spikeless golf shoes.

When shopping for golf shoes, you’ll also want to think about comfort, style, and waterproofing (especially if you plan to golf in a region that sees a lot of annual rainfall and precipitation). 

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The 5 best floor cleaners of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Even if most of your home has wall-to-wall carpeting, some floors require more than just vacuuming.
  • We rounded up the best floor cleaners specially designed for different floor types below.

Taking care of hard surface floors is a never-ending job. Sweeping or vacuuming will capture much of the loose dirt and hair, but eventually, stuck-on messes will need to be cleaned with a mop and a good cleaner.

I don’t have carpeting in my home except for area rugs, so I’ve learned to care for hardwood, ceramic tile, and stone floors on a weekly basis to keep them looking clean and fresh. I’ve also tested floor cleaners, vacuums, brooms, and mops for many years as a home economist, so looking for products that are most effective, easy to use, and of great value is second nature to me.

While some cleaners are interchangeable, what’s needed to clean the grout in ceramic tile floors isn’t the same as what’s used to keep hardwoods gleaming. That said, we provided five options best for cleaning wood, laminate, vinyl, ceramic, and stone floors so you’ll have a pristine clean.

Here are the best floor cleaners of 2021

The best for wood

Bona Hardwood floor cleaner

With Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray, you can protect your expensive wood floors and keep them shining for years to come.

Pros:  Simple-to-use spray bottle, no rinsing, leaves no streaks, dries quickly, large bottles available for refills, low VOCs

Cons: Cannot be used on floors that have been oiled or waxed with paste wax

The majority of wood floors in homes are sealed with polyurethane or polyacrylic urethane finish. Harsh cleaning chemicals can permanently dull this finish and leave streaks. So, when it’s time to clean spills and muddy footprints, the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray is your best bet, as it’s specifically formulated for wood floors.

After sweeping away loose dirt, I do a quick spritz with this water-based formula and follow through with a clean mop, and my floors look fabulous. There’s no rinsing needed and it never leaves any streaks.

Bona is Greenguard Gold-Certified and produces low volatile organic compounds (VOC). The spray bottle can be refilled from the larger gallon size or you can use it to fill the built-in cleaner container of some mops.

The best for laminate

black diamond slide

To swiftly clean engineered wood, the Black Diamond Stoneworks Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner is an eco-friendly spray to sustain your floor.

Pros: Works for hardwood and laminate flooring, hypoallergenic, no rinsing required, safe to use around children and pets

Cons: None

Laminate floors don’t require as potent of cleaner and nearly as much maintenance compared to expensive hardwood. Sometimes, using a wood-only cleaner leaves laminate floors full of streaks and water spots. To combat this, the Black Diamond Stoneworks Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner is fit for your next deep clean.

Though it’s usable on wood, this hypoallergenic formula will tackle stains, dust, and oil on bamboo, cork, Pergo, Armstrong, and Mohawk floor types. No rinsing is required and it’s safe to use around children and pets — just spray and wipe.

The best for vinyl

Rejuvenate floor cleaner

Rejuvenate All Floors Cleaner will remove old wax buildup and stuck-on grime to restore the shine of your vinyl floor.

Pros: Cleans floors with no rinsing needed, restores shine, non-toxic and fragrance-free, the spray bottle is reusable, fresh lemon scent

Cons: Not readily available in all mass-market stores

Vinyl floors are built to take lots of abuse. That’s why they end up in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. Rejuvenate All Floors Cleaner is the best cleaner for removing messes and stains with a streak-free finish and no rinsing required.

It works well when sprayed on the floor and cleaned with a microfiber mop. Because the formula is pH-balanced to neutralize contaminants and contains ingredients that will remove old wax buildup and grime, it left the floor looking great. I didn’t have to rinse or repeat the mopping. The lemon-scented formula is also non-toxic, fragrance-free, and Greenguard Gold-Certified with low chemical emissions.

The Rejuvenate Restorer fills in scratches, helps prevent sun-fading, and improves traction. I used Rejuvenate on a friend’s dingy, scratched vinyl floors and it improved the look so drastically she changed her mind about wanting to replace them.

The best for ceramic tile

Hoover grout floor cleaner

Ceramic tile floors are easy to clean except for all those grout lines, but the Hoover Renewal Tile & Grout Cleaning Formula works wonders.

Pros: Concentrated so you use less, biodegradable, effectively cleans tile and grout, septic-safe, can be used with electric floor cleaner or with a mop, performs well, lightly scented

Cons: Not readily available in mass-market stores

Taking care of ceramic tile floors should be a breeze because the tile is stain-resistant, doesn’t scratch easily, and lasts for decades. Howevergrout, if left unsealed, will absorb stains, attract dirt, and can be damaged by strong cleaners. Luckily, the Hoover Renewal Tile & Grout Cleaning Formula makes maintaining ceramic a breeze.

It’s highly concentrated, so read the directions to learn how much to mix with water. Be careful not to use too much of the product, or you’ll have to do some extra rinsing. The cleaner can be used in both an electric floor cleaner or with a good mop. The key to successfully getting the grout back to its natural color is using hot water with the cleaner to help cut through the grime.

I was thrilled with how easily it cleaned the floor and only a couple of tough spots needed a bit of extra scrubbing with a brush. The scent is clean and not overpowering, and it will have your tile and grout looking fabulous when used regularly. 

The best for stone

stonetech slide

If you have expensive slate, granite, or marble floors, the StoneTech All-Purpose Daily Cleaner for Stone & Tile will help make your investment last and look great. 

Pros: Gentle on stone floors but tough on dirt and grime, nontoxic, two light scents available, refillable container

Cons: Not readily available in mass-market stores

I once attended a party at a home with gleaming marble floors in the vast entrance. Because it’s my job, I just had to ask the homeowners how they kept the floor looking so grand. The answer was StoneTech All-Purpose Daily Cleaner for Stone & Tile.

While stone floors may seem indestructible, they’re pretty sensitive to products, stains, and spills that contain acids. Any spills that contain wine, citrus juice, or vinegar should be cleaned up immediately because they can etch even sealed stone floors. Harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach or ammonia can be quite destructive to such an expanse of flooring.

StoneTech helps the sealant last longer and maintains the natural beauty of the stone with its citrus or cucumber scent. You can purchase it ready to use or in a concentrated formula to add to water. The ready-to-use formula is available in a spray bottle as well as a gallon jug for refills. To clean your floors, simply spray a small area and clean with a microfiber mop. No rinsing or drying is necessary. The cleaner is non-toxic and biodegradable, too.

Tips for cleaning your floors

Cleaning your floors doesn’t have to be difficult if you have a good floor cleaner, the right type of mop, and the time in your week to regularly tend to such surfaces. 

Start by sweeping or vacuuming to remove loose soil and hair. If you don’t, you’ll just be swishing it around and often leaving it behind. Use a clean mop head or disposable pad to prevent soil from re-depositing, and remember to allow plenty of time for the floor to dry before tracking in more dirt.

Take a minute to read the instructions on the back of the floor cleaner bottle. Some products go directly on the floor, while some need to be mixed with water; some require rinsing, but some don’t. Following the directions can help you be more successful.

Check out our other cleaning guides

Man cleaning house mopping mop chores housework
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The 7 best camping stoves for backpacking trips or car camping

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Camp stoves let backpackers and car campers alike brew fresh coffee and prepare their daily meals.
  • The best should be highly portable and easy to light with a lighter or match, or have their own ignitor.
  • Our top pick, MSR’s PocketRocket Deluxe, is compact enough for backpackers, easy to operate, and has a built-in igniter.

A warm sleeping bag and dependable headlamp are certainly vital for smart and comfortable camping, but when you’re sleeping on the ground and haven’t showered in days, there really is nothing like a hot cup of coffee on a brisk morning (with the exception, perhaps, of a hot meal at the end of a long day).

Neither of these is possible, however, without access to a reliable camp stove.

With the right camp stove, not only can you expect fresh-brewed java in the morning or a warm meal at night but you can rely on it for a range of uses; maybe you want to grill some fresh fish minutes after you’ve pulled it from the stream, or you want to whip up a mug of hot cocoa (or a hot toddy) to sip by the campfire. If you’re in the backcountry, a stove can save you as boiling stream water is one of the best ways to ensure it’s safe to drink.

Having spent over two decades car camping, backpacking, and everything in between, I’ve grown to rely heavily on my camp stove. No matter how far off-grid I might find myself, a camp stove helps keep me nourished and ready to take on whatever the day has in store – be it 20 miles of hiking to my next campsite, or a day spent relaxing around a campfire.

My reliance on making sure I have a proper camp kitchen setup means I’ve tested my fair share of camp stoves through the years – and some remain a fixture in my camp kit today. Below, I’ve rounded up seven of my favorites from brands like MSR, BioLite, and Coleman, all with their own advantages across a variety of camp styles and use cases.

At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some tips on how to shop for a camp stove, as well as the the testing methodology I used in deciding which made the cut.

Here are the best camp stoves:

The best overall

msr pocketrocket deluxe 1

The MSR PocketRocket Deluxe is a compact and lightweight stove that fits inside a coffee mug but has a convenient auto igniter and simmering capability.

Pros: Lightweight and compact, self-igniting, simmers well

Cons: Not the best in high-wind without a screen

You shouldn’t need to carry an extra piece of gear to make a spark, yet, many camping stoves still rely on matches or a lighter for a flame. One of the best features of the MSR PocketRocket Deluxe is that it has a built-in automatic piezo igniter that’s cased in steel for reliability.

Despite its small size and weight (two other key pros), the PocketRocket Deluxe is no slouch. It can boil a liter of water in less than four minutes. The burner is adjustable, so you can lower the heat for a simmer — something that’s hard to achieve with a one-setting burner. There’s also a built-in pressure regulator to ensure you get reliable and fast cooking until the gas canister is depleted.

As long as you place the stove (with gas canister attached) on a level surface, it supports anything from a frying pan to a small cup. Like all lightweight backpacking stoves, the PocketRocket Deluxe will only run on self-sealing isobutane fuel canisters.

If you’re flying to a destination, just pack the PocketRocket and stop by a local outdoors retailer after you’ve arrived to pick one up (you can also get advice on where to camp, hike, and climb, if you aren’t familiar with an area).

I’ve used this stove extensively, as well as other PocketRocket variants. I like the simplicity of the design, and with the deluxe version, I now have the convenience of a push-start igniter; the igniter adds an extra 10 grams when compared to the standard PocketRocket, but it’s totally worth it.

What I also like is MSR’s warranty: Even after years of abuse, MSR stands by its products and offers extremely economical repair or replacement options.

Whether I’m camping in my car or on a complicated thru-hiking trip, the PocketRocket Deluxe’s excellent durability and the convenience of the built-in igniter make it one item I now bring along.

The best on a budget

coleman

The Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove acts like a standard stovetop burner, and it’s powerful, rugged, and well-priced.

Pros: Low price point, long burn time, easy flame output adjustment

Cons: Very heavy and bulky

With camp stoves, it’s easy to look at the price and think that’s a steal — but you have to also factor in camp stove fuel, which some gas stations and outdoor retailers like to gouge you on. But the best field stove in the world is just a paperweight without fuel, so buy it you will, regardless of the price.

With the Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove, those canisters of propane fuel are surprisingly low-priced — you can often get a two-pack of the 16-ounce fuel cylinder for less than 10 bucks. One such tank will burn for two hours at full blast and as long as eight or nine hours on a low setting. So if you want to make campsite risotto, go for it. Oh, and the stove itself is affordable, too.

Flame control is remarkably easy with this stove, just twist that large plastic knob all the way open for a roaring 10,000-BTU output or dial it back for hours of simmering. And thanks to the deep bowl shape and generous wind baffles, this stove will maintain a consistent burn in all but the most powerful gusts of wind. The burner is large and stable enough to accommodate an 8-inch pan or pot, so you really can almost treat it like a standard stovetop.

I used one of these stoves for several years and still keep one on hand in case the stove in my house ever has a problem or for some sort of apocalyptic nightmare during which I still wanted to cook pasta. But you’ll probably never see me bringing this stove along for another hike or climb.

Why? Weight and size. This stove weighs more than two pounds, with the canister adding another three pounds or more when filled. That’s heavier than some tents and sleeping pads combined. So while I highly recommend this stove for car campers or emergency preparedness, it’s a poor choice for climbers or trekkers. — Steven John

The best charcoal-burning

HeroGrill1

The Hero Grill System is an easy-to-use charcoal-burning grill that heats up in under 10 minutes, comes with a non-stick ceramic cooking surface, and allows for up to an hour of grilling. 

Pros: Charcoal pods have instant light coating that makes them easy to ignite, comes with its own carrying case, bamboo cutting board, and bamboo spatula, coals stay hot for up to an hour

Cons: Requires more cleanup than a normal camp stove, single-use charcoal pods are $40 for a two-pack

Almost all camp stoves use some sort of gas like propane or butane for heat, but the Hero Grill System leans on one of the most traditional forms of fuel: charcoal. And if you’re a fan of using charcoal to grill at home, this is the stove you want for car camping.

The Hero Grill System relies on two main parts for operation, the grill itself which is a non-stick ceramic grill with foldable legs to prop it up, and a box of charcoal pods that slides underneath. The pods can be lit using a match or lighter and take just 10 or so minutes to completely heat up. I found that lighting just two of the corners worked well in igniting the entire box (instead of needing to light all four). 

It does need to be placed on any non-combustible surface, though I used one of the picnic tables that are often placed at a campsite and it worked just fine. However, this means you shouldn’t just place it on grass — I recommend packing along a small table or something similar that you can place on the ground to set the stove on top of. 

Being as used to normal camp stoves as I am, I was quite impressed with the Hero Grill. It’s not often you’re able to make charcoal barbecued food while camping (unless you bring actual charcoal, which can be a mess), so it was a nice change of pace. I liked how easy it was to light the grill and how well it cooked everything from burgers and hot dogs to grilled vegetables.

Although cleanup is a little more involved than a normal propane stove, it still was relatively easy to just douse the charcoal before throwing the box away. I will say that a downside would be to have to replace the charcoal pod box after every use, and replacements cost $40 for a two-pack. You do have to replace propane and charcoal for a normal grill, but spending $20 for one hour of grilling can get expensive.

The best wood-burning

biolite camp stove

The BioLite CampStove 2 cooks your meal and charges your phone at the same time thanks to a built-in, thermoelectric generator fueled by heat.

Pros: Charges small devices, built-in fans regulate heat, works with myriad accessories

Cons: Getting initial fire burning can be frustrating

When you’re out there in the wilderness, you shouldn’t be staring at your phone; you should be looking at the stars, the mountains, or the valleys and such. That said, keeping a charged phone is important for safety — and the occasional photo.

Keeping a rechargeable flashlight fully powered is always a good idea, and those GoPro camera batteries always seem to need recharging, don’t they?

Maintaining battery life in all your devices while camping means carrying battery packs, using a solar charger, or firing up something you’re already likely traveling with: Your stove.

The BioLite CampStove 2 is a wood-burning stove that has a built-in generator capable of producing 3 watts of electricity while the fire is hot. That’s enough power to charge small devices, illuminate a Biolite lamp, or to charge the unit’s internal battery for later use when the fire isn’t burning.

Besides providing power, it’s also a damn good stove. With a decent fire built up, the BioLite CampStove 2 brings a liter of water to boil in less than five minutes and produces plentiful heat for cooking. In fact, there are compact fans inside the burn chamber that you can set at four different speeds to increase or decrease the intensity of the heat.

The best fast boiling

jetboil flash camping stove

The Jetboil Flash gets a lot of water really hot, really fast. If you primarily rely on your stove to make hot drinks and rehydrate meals, this is the stove for you.

Pros: Boils water quickly, contains all the parts inside the pot, push-button ignition

Cons: Can be hard to clean, can’t be used with other pots or pans easily

When I get back from a long day on the trail, I want the most food in the shortest amount of time. This means pouring hot water onto couscous or a dehydrated meal. If it’s the mornings, then it’s coffee posthaste.

For these moments, I rely on the Jetboil Flash. Using a cleverly designed pot that’s attached to a large burner — it looks (and sounds) like a jet engine — the Flash can boil 16 ounces of water in less than two minutes. It is so fast that the first time I used it, it began boiling over while I was still prepping my meal.

This is a product designed with backpackers in mind. The whole thing packs down into the provided pot and even has space for a small fuel canister. Not only does this mean it takes up very little space but it also makes it hard to lose or forget a part of the stove.

If you want to sear, sauté, and simmer, the Jetboil Flash isn’t for you. Although there are accessories that will let you use a frying pan, this is really a stove for heating your water fast, which is all most backpackers need.

The best for travel

msr whisperlite international stove

The Whisperlite International from MSR can go anywhere and burn almost anything. If you’re traveling to remote locations, this is the reliable and rebuildable stove to take with you.

Pros: Compatible with various types of fuel, excellent longevity

Cons: Not the lightest stove

Isobutane is great for cooking fast with a steady flame and comes packaged in convenient canisters. Unfortunately, you can’t fly with it, which could be an issue if you’re going to some remote area where there isn’t a camping store nearby. In this type of situation, the MSR Whisperlite International is a better alternative. Not only can the stove burn white gas, kerosene, or unleaded gas, it’s also incredibly robust.

This reliability combines with MSR’s clever shaker jet design, which prevents the fuel jet from getting clogged by using a needle inside the jet — cleaning it out when the stove is shaken. All of this makes the Whisperlite International the go-to choice for big expeditions.

With some practice, you’ll be able to quickly light the Whisperlite International (you do need to bring a lighter). Advanced users can regulate the flame enough to simmer water if required. I’ll admit that most of my uses have been limited to heating water and making oatmeal and coffee, but more adventurous cooks will be happy with the Whisperlite, especially when the alternative is going stove-less or using a wood or alcohol stove with pitiful heat output. — James Stout

The best high-powered

mr steak cmap stove

The Mr. Steak 1-Burner Infrared Portable Grill cranks out 14,000 BTUs and can heat up to an astounding 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros: Amazing heat output, large cook surface, electric ignition system

Cons: Expensive, not suitable for hauling on foot

If you’re pushing for the mountain summit of Denali or the Eiger, then it’s probably best to leave the Mr. Steak 1-Burner Infrared Portable Grill back at base camp.

At around 30 pounds and measuring 25 by 16 by 16 inches, this is most definitely a car camping grill. But with that size comes 165 square inches of cooking space, below which an immensely powerful ceramic infrared burner can heat up to as much as 1,000 degrees. Not that you will need that much heat most of the time, but hey, it’s there for you.

The Mr. Steak 1-Burner Infrared Portable Grill works with a standard one-pound propane cylinder (the squat green ones, like the ones the Coleman stove uses) and has an electronic ignition system.

When you’re not using the grill, you can fold its legs up for easier storage or transport, and when you are using it, you’ll appreciate the cool-to-the-touch silicone cover on the handle and a latch that can hold the cover open while you’re flipping burgers. — Steven John

How to shop for a camp stove

Although all camp stoves largely have the same overall goal (i.e. heating food, boiling water, etc.), they’re not all necessarily created equal. Some function better for rapidly boiling water while others are light enough for backpacking trips or pack a more powerful cooking punch.

Any decent stove produces plenty of heat and resists the elements, but beyond that, there are all sorts of differences between various brands and models that make a given unit ideal for one user but a poor choice for others. In discussing the six camp stoves on this list, we’ll cover not only each option’s inherent qualities but will also talk through why each model is well suited to specific activities, as well as why a given stove may be a poor choice for other scenarios.

How we test camp stoves

Each of the camp stoves featured in this guide went through a series of tests to see how well it compared across these six categories: Boil time, ease of setup and use, wind resistance, heating power (total BTUs), fuel type, and value. Here are the main features to consider when shopping for camp stoves (and the criteria we judged when doing our own testing over many nights spent camping, backpacking, or just taking to our own backyard): 

Boil time: How quickly a stove can bring water to a boil is one of the most important features for anyone who wants to quickly prepare food that only requires hot water, campers who want the ability to reliably purify gathered water, or those who need their coffee brewed mere moments after they wake up in the morning.

Ease of setup and use: Being able to easily set up your stove when you need it is vital. Most stoves are intuitive once you get the hang of them but it’s still nice to have one without steep learning curve. 

Wind resistance: Depending on where you plan to do the bulk of your camping, a stove that’s able to not only light but stay lit while it’s windy is highly useful. While most stoves won’t have a specific wind-resistant rating, many should list how well they’ll work in blustery conditions.

Heating power (and total BTUs): Lighting the stove is one thing but how powerful it ends up being while lit is something else entirely. After all, you don’t want to be sitting around for upwards of an hour waiting for a simple can of soup to heat up. The higher the BTUs (British thermal units), the more powerful the stove will be. Look for a stove between 10,000 and 30,000 BTUs. 

Fuel type: There are generally two kinds of camp stove fuel: Gas fuel like propane and butane or liquid fuel. Propane and butane canisters tend to be easier to use in terms of lighting the stove and don’t require priming before being lit. Liquid fuel stoves require a bit more work (such as priming) but perform better in colder weather. They’re also liable to be more dangerous to use. If possible, we recommend using propane or butane canisters as they’re far easier to manage.

Value: The importance of a camp stove’s price point is completely up to you. If you have the budget to buy a more full-featured stove, by all means, go for it. If you’re looking for a budget option, there are plenty of those, too, and many have negligible differences to more expensive options. 

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The 6 best spring cleaning products for kitchen and laundry appliances in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Expecting fresh, clean clothes from a smelly washer, or sparkling plates from a dishwasher crusted with hard water minerals is a fool’s errand. All you’ll get is frustration and disappointment.

Luckily, there are easy-to-use products available that can restore appliances back to their prime. Many use natural ingredients and are not toxic to the environment or your lungs. Just a seasonal cleaning will usually remove build-up and flush away odors, allowing the appliances to do their jobs well. Of course, if your household has some big messes, you may need to clean the appliances more often.

Along with my own housekeeping, I’ve tested cleaning products for decades as a home economist for companies and publications. I’m always looking for the most effective, easiest to use, and the best value in products and these are the best ones for the job when it comes to cleaning appliances.

Here are the best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry appliances in 2021

The best overall

best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry 2021 lemishine

If you are looking for one product that can take care of odors and soil build-up in your dishwasher, garbage disposal, and washing machine, Lemi Shine Multi-Purpose Appliance Cleaner is your best bet.

Pros: Non-toxic, uses natural ingredients, fresh scent, pre-measured individual packets, simple to use, suitable for multiple appliances

Cons: Does not clean the outside of the appliances

Even with all of the water and detergents that pass through the dishwasher, garbage disposal, and washing machine, they can still accumulate a layer of residue that traps soil, odor-causing bacteria, and minerals from hard water. When all this gunk clings to the inside of the appliance, it cannot perform optimally and causes problems.

LemiShine has developed a formula, based on crystallized citric extracts, that works to cut through that residue. By adding an envelope of the powder to an appliance and running a cycle with hot water, you will quickly have cleaner dishes and laundry, and odor-free garbage disposal.

While LemiShine offers individual appliance cleaners, the Multi-Purpose is the best value because of the versatility and price. I keep some on hand for quick and thorough cleanings anytime I see or sniff a problem.

 

The best for dishwashers

best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry 2021 finish dishwasher

Easy to use and a top performer, Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner can be used while you wash a load of dishes. No extra cycle needed.

Pros: Can be used in a dishwasher loaded with dirty dishes, no wrapper to remove, effectively removes grease deposits, limescale, and odors

Cons: Excellent choice for regular cleaning, but may not remove years of heavy build-up

Stop and think of what lurks on your dishes when you stick them into the dishwasher — grease, bacteria, and crusty food. A good detergent and the volume of hot water swirling in the dishwasher cut through all of that gunk, leaving the dishes clean. But where does the messy stuff go?

Most gets flushed away, but some clings to the sides, seals, and components of the dishwasher. Eventually, the build-up becomes too much and redeposits on your dishes. No one needs that.

That’s where Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner comes in to cut through the limescale, grease, and fatty deposits that you can see, and also those in the hidden parts of the dishwasher. All that crud can clog pumps, drains, and pipes, which reduce the performance of your machine.

Every three months or so, I simply place one of the tablets in the bottom of the dishwasher tub when I’m ready to run a full wash cycle. There are no wrappers to remove or a need to empty the dishwasher of dirty dishes. Since Finish Quantum Max Powerball Tablets is rated as one of the best dishwasher detergents, using the Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner was the next natural step.

The best for garbage disposals

best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry 2021 clr garbage disposal

The fun-to-watch foaming action of CLR Garbage Disposal Foaming Cleaner and Freshener leaves the disposal free of greasy residue and odors.

Pros: Non-toxic ingredients, simple to use, effectively removes odors and residue from disposal

Cons: Does not remove clogs or jams in the disposal

Maybe it’s because I always loved the vinegar and baking soda volcanoes at the science fair, but watching the foaming action of CLR Garbage Disposal Foaming Cleaner and Freshener makes me happy. Happy because I know that the foam is helping to dislodge bits of food and grease that is causing my garbage disposal to smell funky.
 
The individual, premeasured packet contains citric acid and sodium bicarbonate, along with other ingredients that help cut through the gunk and leave a fresh clean scent. It is so easy to use but you should follow the directions to allow the ingredients time to be effective. The cleaning time is around seven minutes, and there’s no need to scrub — just watch the science experiment happen.
 
I use CLR Garbage Disposal Foaming Cleaner and Freshener when I get a whiff of something foul. It should be noted that these packets will not remove a severe clog or jam in the disposal.

The best for washing machines

best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry 2021 washing machine lemishine

If your laundry isn’t smelling as fresh as you’d like, Lemi Shine Washing Machine Cleaner will remove funky odors from the washer that are transferring to your towels and clothes.

Pros: Effectively removes body soil, bacteria, and detergent residue from the washing machine drum, includes wipes for hard-to-reach areas like door seals and the outside of the appliance, non-toxic, and pleasant citrus scent

Cons: Not widely available in all mass-market stores

Today’s high-efficiency washing machines use around 14 gallons of water and hold larger loads, and we use more cold and warm water to protect synthetic fabrics. That leaves lots of opportunity for body soil, product residue, and bacteria to cling to the inside of the washer drum and rubber seals that protect it from leaking.

All that gunk can redeposit on your clothes, making them less than clean and fresh. That’s why you need to clean your washer and the best cleaner is Lemi Shine Washing Machine Cleaner.

Using non-toxic citric acids, the powder strips away the build-up, and you even get a handy wipe to use after each cleaning cycle to capture any residue on the seals and to wipe down the outside of the washer where drips and soil can accumulate. I also love the fresh scent. 

 

The best for ovens

best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry 2021 easy off oven cleaner

Spills happen but Easy-Off Professional Max Fume Free Oven Cleaner will take care of the worst messes without burning your lungs or making you scrub forever.

Pros: Fume-free formula, removes heavy, baked-on stains, safe for electric and gas ovens

Cons: Does not work quickly, requires at least 40 minutes to work effectively

I’m a pie baker who can’t seem to remember not to overload the pie plate with filling. Sure enough, the pie bubbles over onto the oven floor. Fortunately, I know that clean-up can be simple with Easy-Off Professional Max Fume Free Oven Cleaner. Until I found this product, I dreaded cleaning the oven because of the fumes. No more.

The key to using it is having a cold oven. Just spray on the cleaner and wait at least 40 minutes (longer is even better). The grease and spills will wipe away easily. It’s safe to use in electric and gas ovens and oven racks — even ovens that proclaim to be self-cleaning.

 

The best for ceramic and glass stovetops

best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry 2021 weiman stovetop

Smooth glass and ceramic cooktops are prone to scratching. Weiman Cooktop Cleaner Max can safely get rid of cooked-on spills and tackle the stains and leave your cooktop scratch-free.

Pros: Removes the worst burned-on messes and grease effectively, does not scratch glass and ceramic surfaces, comes with a scrubbing pad

Cons: Does not remove scratches, not readily found in all mass-market stores

After years of the standard enamel and stainless cooktops that could stand up to scrubbing from a steel wool pad, I ended up with a smooth ceramic cooktop. It looks sleek and conducts heat well, but removing the overflow from a boiling pot was a challenge until I found Weiman Cooktop Cleaner Max.

The micro-bead technology gives just the right amount of abrasive power to remove burned-on food and grease but doesn’t scratch the surface. After cleaning and rinsing, there are no streaks or watermarks left behind. The lemon-scented paste formula is applied with a cleaning pad that is included, which stores conveniently on the top of the container.

 

Check out our other guides to household cleaning products

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