You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

The Rolling Stone Essentials 2020

Rolling Stone logo Rolling Stone 10/20/2020 Tim Chan
The Rolling Stone Essentials 2020 © Photographs by Joseph Shin The Rolling Stone Essentials 2020

Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team, and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

Thousands of products come across our desk each year, but only a few can earn the Rolling Stone stamp of approval. Our team of product editors spent months testing some of the best new electronics, smart home devices, outdoor gear, and accessories on the market to put together our inaugural Rolling Stone Essentials list.

With a focus on performance, innovation, and design, this year’s list features more than 60 products that we found ourselves reaching for and using over and over again — whether at home, at the office, or on an outdoor getaway. Products were reviewed based on ease of use, utility, and uniqueness, while factoring in items with a strong aesthetic point of view and diverse features.

From our favorite headphones and retro-inspired speakers, to digital cameras, sneakers, and even a self-cleaning water bottle, here’s a look at what caught our eyes — and ears — this year.

1. Best Air Purifier: Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

a person sitting in a room: 1. Best Air Purifier: Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool © Dyson 1. Best Air Purifier: Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

Dyson’s Pure Humidify + Cool air purifier can reduce the amount of allergens, dust, and dirt you breathe in, while making the room it’s in more comfortable.

This is a HEPA air purifier, which means it traps particles in a fine mesh layer that can catch 99.7% of pollutants. Sensors in the base of the air purifier detect pollutants in your air, and run them through a multi-layered filtration system. The air is then cooled down and dispensed out of a fan at the top of the unit. The unique shape of the fan allows it to blow air in multiple directions.

At the bottom of the air purifier is a one-gallon water tank, which humidifies the air, so it’s not so dry. This is especially important during the winter, when dry air can cause cracked skin. Dyson’s air purifier cleans the water it uses to humidify your room with a UV light to avoid spreading bacteria in your air.

If you’re worried about the quality of the air in your home, and want to take a preventative measure against cracked skin in the winter, or colds year-round, Dyson’s Pure Humidify + Cool Air purifier can help.

Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool Air, $483.10, available at Amazon

2. Best All-Around Camera: FujiFilm X100V

a close up of a camera: 2. Best All-Around Camera: FujiFilm X100V © Fuji 2. Best All-Around Camera: FujiFilm X100V

If you’re interested in upgrading from smartphone photography to a standalone camera, FujiFilm’s X100V is our top choice.

The compact camera can take 26.1 megapixel photos and 4K videos at 30fps, which means you should expect excellent image quality each time you hit the shutter button.

One of the X100V’s strengths is its underlying technology. It has a quad-core processor and custom CMOS sensor that allow the camera to make adjustments within fractions of a second. The result is better color accuracy, and a lightning-fast autofocus system that’ll get you fewer blurry pics.

This camera also offers a ton of convenience features, like allowing you to use its LCD touchscreen as a viewfinder instead of the physical one on top.

If you’re OK with this limitation, the FujiFilm X100V is an excellent camera if you’re graduating from a smartphone or older point-and-shoot. This top-of-the-line camera delivers impeccable images and crisp, 4K video that rivals anything on the market today.

FujiFilm X100V, $1,399.99, available at Amazon

3. Best All-in-One Amplifier: Cyrus One Cast

3. Best All-in-One Amplifier: Cyrus One Cast © Cyrus Audio 3. Best All-in-One Amplifier: Cyrus One Cast

Cyrus’ One Cast is a compact amplifier that offers phenomenal audio quality and extreme versatility.

The stereo amplifier has an HDMI ARC port, so you can connect it to your TV; phono inputs (plug ground) for your turntable; a pair of A/V inputs for a high-resolution audio player; a preamp output, so you can connect it to a power amp; and a USB port for your computer.

The ability to use a single piece of stereo equipment in all of those applications makes the One Cast a quintuple threat, but it’s capable of even more. The amplifier supports Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 (Apple’s proprietary media-streaming standard), so you can play music through it wirelessly using your phone, tablet, or computer.

I’ve tested the One Cast out for myself and was impressed that it handled multiple functions without skipping a beat. Setting it up was simple, and its remote was very easy to understand. The One Cast may be an investment, but it’s one worth making if you care about sound.

Cyrus One Cast, $1,799.99, available at Amazon

4. Best All-in-One Music System: Andover Audio Model-One Music Player

a wooden table: 4. Best All-in-One Music System: Andover Audio Model-One Music Player © Andover 4. Best All-in-One Music System: Andover Audio Model-One Music Player

Andover’s Audio Model-One Music System is a compact audio system designed to deliver excellent sound.

The audio system can be broken up into multiple parts: a turntable, speaker system, bluetooth receiver, and an amplifier, so we’ll break each piece down.

The record player is a custom-made model based on the audiophile-grade Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Espirit SB. It comes preinstalled with an Ortofon OM2 Silver Cartridge, and has an acrylic platter to reduce vibrations from reaching the needle and causing distortion. You can upgrade the cartridge later on if you’d prefer.

The speakers have six drivers (the parts of a headphone or speaker that produce sound): four 3.5-inch woofers that handle midrange and bass frequencies, and a pair of tweeters to handle the highs. They’re connected to a 150W amplifier that will provide sufficient power for the speakers to get loud enough to fill an entire room.

Around the back you’ll find a pair of RCA (red and white) inputs for a turntable, a 3.5mm AUX input for a high-resolution audio player, an optical port to connect it to a TV, a pair of RCA and subwoofer outputs to expand the system with additional speakers, and a USB input and output to connect the Model-One to a computer. There’s a Bluetooth 4.2 chipset inside, so you can connect a phone, tablet, or computer to it wirelessly.

If you don’t have a lot of space but want an audiophile-grade audio system for your living room or bedroom, Andover Audio’s Model-One is our recommendation.

Andover Audio Model-One Turntable Music System, $1,999, available at Andover Audio

5. Best Audiophile Speakers: JBL L82 Classic Bookshelf Speakers

a close up of a speaker: 1. Best Air Purifier: Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool © JBL 1. Best Air Purifier: Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

Inspired by a pair of JBL speakers first released in 1970, these bookshelf speakers retain the same retro styling and recognizable foam grille, with upgraded acoustics that deliver pristine, room-filling sound.

The bookshelf speakers are wrapped in a satin wood veneer cabinet that houses two drivers. The first is an eight-inch pure pulp woofer, which handles the midrange and low frequencies. The second is a one-inch tweeter, which uses JBL’s waveguide technology, which projects audio directly toward you. Both drivers are derived from the same technology JBL uses in its higher-end L100 Classic speakers.

The front of the speakers are fitted with a textured, color grille that comes in black, blue, and orange. We’re partial to the orange color because it really pops compared to most audiophile gear, which only comes in black.

If you refuse to settle for anything but the best and need to upgrade your home audio system, check out the JBL L82 Classic Bookshelf Speakers.

JBL L82 Classic Bookshelf Speakers, $2,500, available at Audio Advice

6. Best Backpack: Filson Ripstop Nylon Pullman

a piece of luggage sitting on top of a suitcase: 6. Best Backpack: Filson Ripstop Nylon Pullman © Filson 6. Best Backpack: Filson Ripstop Nylon Pullman

Filson’s Ripstop Nylon Pullman is a three-in-one backpack that’s ideal for commuters, travelers, or as an everyday carry.

The outside Pullman is made out of water-resistant nylon, and its AquaGuard zipper opens on three sides for easy access, while sealing out the elements. On the inside, you’ll find multiple pockets and compartments, so you can organize your gear for quick and easy access. There’s enough room for everything from a laptop to your gym gear.

The main reason we like Filson’s backpack is its removable straps, which let you carry it like a briefcase, or wear it as a shoulder bag or backpack. The ability to switch between these modes on the fly depending on your situation, plus its excellent water resistance, puts it a cut above the rest. If you need a reliable bag for work or travel, you can’t go wrong with this feature-packed pick from Filson. Its smart design and versatility make it a go-to bag for the modern commuter.

Filson Ripstop Nylon Pullman, $250, available at Filson

7. Best Basketball Shoes: Under Armour Curry 7 TB

a pair of shoes: 7. Best Basketball Shoes: Under Armour Curry 7 TB © Underarmour 7. Best Basketball Shoes: Under Armour Curry 7 TB

Sure LeBron’s got his Nike deal and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a TV commercial with upstart brand, TCL (in addition to his own Nike deal). But it was Steph Curry’s continued collaboration with Under Armour that really surprised us this year, with the Golden State Warriors star churning out a pair of covet-worthy sneakers — and boosting UA’s rep in the process.

The sneakers feature foam padding and a flexible plate to keep your feet comfortable and secure, and a rubber sole that offers excellent traction. Under Armour’s custom UA HOVR technology will help you move faster, while its MicroG cushioning can help you maneuver more easily. You can get these sneakers in 17 sizes (from size 7/8.5 to 17/18.5) and three colorways. More importantly, they carry Curry’s stamp of approval — literally — with an embossed SC on the side. While other basketball sneakers may hold more hype, these are the pair of shoes we actually want to wear when we step foot on the court.

Adult UA Curry 7 TB Basketball Shoes, $140, available at Under Armour

8. Best Big-Screen TV: LG OLED55CXPUA

a man and a woman sitting on a couch: 8. Best Big-Screen TV: LG OLED55CXPUA © LG 8. Best Big-Screen TV: LG OLED55CXPUA

OLED TVs produce rich colors and pitch black shadows that an LED/LCD TV can’t match, and LG’s OLED55CXPUA is the cream of the crop.

We’re recommending the 55-inch version because it’s big enough for most people’s home-theater setups, but the TV is also available in 48-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch screen sizes. While its screen is big and beautiful, LG’s TV pulls ahead of the pack because of the technology inside.

It runs on the company’s third-generation A9 processor, which uses artificial intelligence to optimize its image and sound quality, so you always have the best experience. It supports NVIDIA’s G-SYNC and FreeSync technology to maintain a smooth frame rate during high-intensity games.

On the software side, the OLED55CXPUA runs on WebOS, an operating system with a clean interface and easy access to popular streaming services. It also has Amazon’s Alexa built inside, so you can control it totally hands-free if you’d prefer.

Finally, LG built the OLED55CXPUA with a wide variety of inputs (ports): It has four HDMI ports, three USB ports, a composite (yellow plug) input, Ethernet port, optical audio output, and a coaxial (cable) input. You should have no problem hooking up all of your home theater gear to this TV without a splitter.

If you care deeply about building the best possible home-theater setup, LG’s OLED55CXPUA makes a fine centerpiece.

LG OLED55CXPUA, $1,596.99, available at Amazon

9. Best Body Groomer: Manscaped Lawn Mower 3.0

a close up of a sink: 9. Best Body Groomer: Manscaped Lawn Mower 3.0 © Manscaped 9. Best Body Groomer: Manscaped Lawn Mower 3.0

Manscaped’s Lawn Mower 3.0 turns the chore of regular grooming into a pretty pain-free experience.

Its curved shape will feel good in your hand, and Manscaped’s SkinSafe technology will ensure you won’t get nicked accidentally. This third-generation version of the Lawn Mower features a longer ceramic blade that can be easily replaced after extended use. The blades come pre-lubricated to ensure it moves smoothly, but is still waterproof, so you can use it in the shower.

If you dread regular grooming, Manscaped’s Lawn Mower 3.0 can help you look forward to this important piece of self-care handling all your curves, grooves and other sensitive areas with ease.

Manscaped Lawn Mower 3.0, $79.99, avaialble at Manscaped

10. Best Body Wash: Disco Body Wash

10. Best Body Wash: Disco Body Wash © Letsgodisco 10. Best Body Wash: Disco Body Wash

Most body washes are overpowered by artificial fragrances and ingredient lists that run the length of the bottle. Disco’s body wash uses natural ingredients to soothe and hydrate, while leaving a light, clean and yes, shower-fresh scent. The body wash is powerful enough to blast through lingering sweat and dirt from your workout, but not so harsh that it’ll leave your skin dry as soon as you towel off. The soapy scent is subtle enough to not bother sensitive noses, but fresh enough for you to skip a day of cologne too.

The formula, meantime, features aloe, horsetail, and chamomile, to fully refresh your skin. Aloe can help repair damaged skin, horsetail may sooth irritated skin, and chamomile helps protect your skin from free radicals, which can accelerate aging.

If you’re interested in switching from a totally chemically-based body wash to one with some natural ingredients, clear some space on your shower caddy for Disco.

Disco Body Wash, $16, available at letsgodisco

11. Best Bookshelf Speakers: Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speakers

a large speaker in a room: 11. Best Bookshelf Speakers: Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speakers © Q Acoustics 11. Best Bookshelf Speakers: Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speakers

Q Acoustics’ 3030i speakers are hands down the best bookshelf speakers we’ve tested this year.

Its cabinet features a point-to-point bracing system that reduces the amount of audio that rumbles around inside, and instead pushes it out toward you. The result is hearing your music with far less distortion. This is especially useful when you’re listening to music at loud volumes, or with a lot of bass because they tend to rattle the speakers a little more.

In our tests, the 3030i delivered ample bass that didn’t overpower the midrange or highs, and produced a wide sound stage. Rock and R&B tracks sounded especially good through these speakers, but no music we listened to felt weak or off. If you’re having a limited amount of space, but want to set up a serious home audio system, these are the speakers we recommend.

Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speakers, $399, available at Amazon

12. Best Boots: Dr Martens x Sex Pistols

a close up of a footwear: 12. Best Boots: Dr Martens x Sex Pistols © Doc Martins 12. Best Boots: Dr Martens x Sex Pistols

Forty three years after Nevermind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols was originally released, Doc Martins collaborated with the band on a custom pair of its original 1640 boots.

Made out of black, straw-grain leather, the shoes are emblazoned with the band’s famous iconography along the sides, spine and laces. If you’re a fan of punk, and need a classic looking boot that’ll never go out of style, these are the ones to strap on.

1460 Sex Pistols Boot, $96, available at Dr Martens

13. Best Box Set: Sign O’ The Times (Super Deluxe Edition)

13. Best Box Set: Sign O’ The Times (Super Deluxe Edition) © Amazon 13. Best Box Set: Sign O’ The Times (Super Deluxe Edition)

Prince’s musical vault was legendary and this super-deluxe edition of his 1987 album Sign O’ The Times released by his estate proves why.

The nine-disc collection contains eight CDs: a remaster of the original album, a disc of remastered singles and edited mixes, three discs of unreleased studio recordings, and two discs that contain the entirety of a show from that tour.

This treasure trove of musical content is supplemented with a DVD of the same live show, a 120-page hardcover booklet containing newly penned liner notes, copies of Prince’s handwritten lyric sheets, and unreleased photos.

This is a definitive, comprehensive look at one of the most highly acclaimed albums from Prince’s impressive career.

Prince Sign O The Times (Super Deluxe Edition), $159.98, available at Amazon

14. Best Camping Cooler: Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 Qt Cooler

14. Best Camping Cooler: Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 Qt Cooler © IGLOO 14. Best Camping Cooler: Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 Qt Cooler

If you go camping often, or need a large cooler for the beach, you won’t be able to beat the performance or convenience of Igloo’s Trailmate Journey.

The 70 Qt cooler can hold more than a hundred 12-ounce cans, or a mix of cans, bottles, and ice. This cooler is made out of Ultratherm, a custom material that Igloo says can keep ice cold for up to four days.

This level of performance is impressive, but it’s the Trailmate Journey’s design that puts it ahead of any other cooler we’ve seen. It has a handle and thick, 10-inch wheels, so you can take it on the beach without carrying it. There are four can holders built into its lid, plus a “butler tray” you can use to hold a cutting board while preparing cocktail garnishes or snacks.

There are two bottle openers on the side, and a drain plug on the end, so you can empty the cooler without having to tip it over. All of these little conveniences make the Igloo Trailmate Journey an all-in-one solution, and an essential piece of gear for anyone who spends time outdoors.

Trailmate Journey 70 Qt Cooler, $319.99, available at Amazon

15. Best Cordless Vacuum: Roborock H6

a man and a woman standing in front of a window: 15. Best Cordless Vacuum: Roborock H6 © Amazon 15. Best Cordless Vacuum: Roborock H6

Roborock’s H6 is a cordless vacuum built to handle messes of all sizes without limiting where you can go.

The vacuum has a five-stage filtration and air purification system that can suck up particles as small as .3 microns. Dirt and debris is collected in its dustbin, which can be emptied without changing a bag, or getting your hands dirty.

The H6 can be used as a standard or handheld vacuum to help you clean hard to reach places without straining your arms. It weighs just over three pounds when fully assembled, so it won’t be hard to push around.

Roborock says the H6 can clean for up to 90 minutes (an hour and a half) per charge. Its current battery capacity is shown on an OLED display built into the vacuum’s handle. You should be able to clean an entire floor of your home without having to plug it in.

You should strongly consider Roborock’s H6 if you’d like to clean your floors without having to search for an outlet, or reach for an extension cord. Its long reach, light weight and powerful suction make the Roborock one of the most effective ways to clean up a mess — fast.

Roborock H6, $399.99, available at Amazon

16. Best Deodorant: Old Spice Swagger Deodorant

16. Best Deodorant: Old Spice Swagger Deodorant © Old Spice 16. Best Deodorant: Old Spice Swagger Deodorant

Old Spice’s Swagger Deodorant is an aluminum-free, lime and cedarwood-scented deodorant that delivers 24-hour odor protection. Most drugstore deodorants default to cheap and cloying scents, but this one smells at once rich and subtle, woodsy and sweet, like a casual beach vacation to Spain or a hike up a mountain peak to catch the sunrise. The formula is made with Old Spice’s fade-resistant scent technology, to keep you smelling fresh — even if you sweat a lot.

If you want to switch up your scent, or want a deodorant that offers all day protection, Old Spice’s Swagger lives up to its name as our top pick for feeling cool and confident.

Old Spice Swagger Deodorant, $22.74 (Three-Pack), available at Amazon

17. Best DJ Set: Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3

a person on the machine: 17. Best DJ Set: Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 © YouTube / PioneerDJ 17. Best DJ Set: Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3

Pioneer’s DJ DDJ-SB3 brings the best features from an analog deck into the digital era.

The controller allows you to adjust the tempo, EQ, and effects on two tracks, and lets you fade between them. You can add scratch effects to your track live with sounds that were co-created by DJ Jazzy Jeff. Pioneer DJ designed this controller to be powerful enough for experienced performers, but accessible if you’re just getting into DJing too.

The DDJ-SB3 has a USB port, so you can connect it directly to your computer without a DAC (digital analog converter), and a pair of RCA outputs, which can be used to plug the controller into a speaker system during live shows. Pioneer DJ also outfitted the DDJ-SB3 with a 1/4-inch microphone input, so you can speak or beat box live over your mix.

If you want an entry point into DJing but don’t know where to start, Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-SB3 is our pick.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3, $249, available at Amazon

18. Best Electric Toothbrush: Bruush Electric Toothbrush Kit

18. Best Electric Toothbrush: Bruush Electric Toothbrush Kit © Bruush 18. Best Electric Toothbrush: Bruush Electric Toothbrush Kit

Bruush’s Electric toothbrush kit is one of the few pieces of technology that can help improve your health.

It was designed with dentists, and the company says the electric toothbrush is 20% more effective at reducing plaque than a manual toothbrush. It has six cleaning modes, and a two-minute “quad” timer, which will pause momentarily to let you know when to move onto a different part of your mouth.

Bruush says the rechargeable battery inside its toothbrush lasts up to four weeks per charge, so you won’t have to plug it in very often. The kit we’re recommending contains the toothbrush, three brush heads, a USB power adapter, magnetic charging stand, and travel case, so you can use wherever you go. The cleaning power is packed into a chic and portable device that’s comfortable to hold in-hand and stylish enough to keep on the counter for your next bathroom “shelf-ie.”

Bruush Electric Toothbrush Kit, $79.99, available at Bruush

19. Best Fast Charger: AUKEY Omnia USB-C Charger

a screen shot of a computer: 19. Best Fast Charger: AUKEY Omnia USB-C Charger © Amazon 19. Best Fast Charger: AUKEY Omnia USB-C Charger

AUKEY’s Omnia USB-C Charger is the only power adapter you’ll need to charge all of your devices.

It has a single USB-C PD (power delivery) port that can output up to 100W (watts) of electricity. That’s enough juice to recharge 50% of an iPhone 11 Pro Max’s battery in 30 minutes, or charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro at full speed.

Despite this high power output the AUKEY’s Omnia USB-C Charger is half the size and weight of Apple’s official MacBook Pro power adapter. I’ve used this charger constantly over the past few months, and it’s become a go-to tech accessory whether I need a quick charge at home, or plan on traveling.

AUKEY Omnia USB-C Charger, $39.99, available at Amazon

20. Best Fitness Tracker: Whoop Strap

a close up of a man in a blue shirt: 20. Best Fitness Tracker: Whoop Strap © Facebook / Whoop 20. Best Fitness Tracker: Whoop Strap

The Whoop Strap stands above the competition because it offers a more comprehensive overview of your health, and is geared to helping you understand your body to achieve your fitness goals.

Rather than just tracking your sleep, the Whoop Strap will tell you how much you need, and whether or not you’ve gotten enough. It uses movement and heart rate data to help figure out how active you’ve been, and whether or not you need to rest to avoid injury of burnout. All of this is in service of providing you with data-driven health advice.

The Whoop Strap itself is free, but it requires a subscription to the company’s fitness service, which is required to track your health data. The service has two tiers: A 12-month membership which costs $288, and an 188-month membership that costs $324 per year. The company is also offering a $30 per month subscription with a six month commitment.

The Whoop Strap offers a ton of features you’ll actually use and info you’ll actually care about. When it comes to the best fitness trackers in the market, the Whoop Strap sets the pace — and the standard.

Subscribe to WHOOP for $39 Per Month

21. Best Gaming Chair: Logitech G x Herman Miller

21. Best Gaming Chair: Logitech G x Herman Miller © Logitech 21. Best Gaming Chair: Logitech G x Herman Miller

Logitech and Herman Miller’s gaming chair has a cool, futuristic look, and is designed with total comfort in mind.

The companies consulted with more than 30 physicians in a handful of medical fields while designing the chair. It cradles your back to support your spine, and uses a custom PostureFit device that puts your upper body in a position that’s closer to standing. The back and arms of the chair are totally adjustable, so you can find the settings that work best for your body.

The chair’s most impressive feature is its ability to distribute pressure accurately as you move around, so pressure doesn’t build up in your back. If you spend most of your day in an office chair, and have began to feel back pain or other discomfort, the Embody Gaming Chair may be able to help reduce those issues. Couple all the ergonomic features with Herman Miller’s iconic design and you have a thoroughly modern gaming chair that’s as comfortable as it is stylish.

Herman Miller x Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair, $1,495, available at Herman Miller

22. Best Gaming Headset: Razer Kraken Ultimate

22. Best Gaming Headset: Razer Kraken Ultimate © Razer 22. Best Gaming Headset: Razer Kraken Ultimate

Razer’s Kraken Ultimate is an essential piece of gear for anyone who regularly plays online games.

The wired headset can simulate 7.1 surround sound, so you’ll be able to hear opponents approaching from all sides, and avoid getting ambushed. You can adjust this setting and the headset’s volume by pressing buttons on its right earcup. Both ear cups are insulated with gel-infused cushions, which Razer says can keep your ears cool during long gaming sessions.

The Kraken Ultimate has a flexible, retractable microphone that uses active noise cancellation to block outside sounds from leaking in. You’ll be able to communicate with your teammates clearly, even with a consistent noise like an air conditioner in your room.

Razer partnered with Philips to integrate color-changing LEDs into the headset, which you can by using Razer’s Chroma app (PC only). You can choose from one of 16.8 million colors, so you’ll be able to find one that aligns with your team. For an immersive and colorful gaming experience (both figuratively and literally) these are the headsets to pick up.

Razer Kraken Ultimate Headset, $99.99, available at Amazon

23. Best Gaming Laptop: ASUS Zephyrus ROG 14

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: 23. Best Gaming Laptop: ASUS Zephyrus ROG 14 © Facebook / ASUS 23. Best Gaming Laptop: ASUS Zephyrus ROG 14

ASUS’ Zephyrus ROG 14 proves you can take a gaming PC with you wherever you go.

The computer has a 14-inch 1080P screen, 8-Core 4.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB of RAM (memory), and a 1TB SSD (storage). These high performance tech specs are paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card with 4GB of dedicated video memory.

This is a lot of power for a computer that’s 0.7 inches thick, and weighs just over three and a half pounds, and should be enough to play all but the most demanding games at fairly high settings.

The Zephyrus ROG 14 has an HDMI port if you’d like to connect to a TV and use the laptop as a game console in your living room. If you need a laptop that you can use for intense tasks like high-resolution photo or video editing, and don’t have enough space for a desktop gaming rig, ASUS’ ROG Zephyrus G14 is the laptop we recommend.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, $1,267.44, available at Amazon

24. Best Hiking Shoes: Adidas Terrex ProtoHype

a pair of feet wearing blue shoes: 24. Best Hiking Shoes: Adidas Terrex ProtoHype © Adidas 24. Best Hiking Shoes: Adidas Terrex ProtoHype

Hiking shoes aren’t always the most stylish when they look like, well, hiking shoes. Which is why we’re big fans of Adidas’ Terrex line, with shoes that work as well for the mountains as they do for the city. The waterproof shoes keep your feet warm and comfortable, even when you’re wearing them all day, while the sneaker-inspired designs won’t look out of place when you head to the bar for that well-deserved post-hike refreshment.

A waterproof GORE-TEX liner seals out moisture, while a grippy rubber outsole ensures even footing, no matter the terrain. An EVA midsole adds comfort and flexibility. The materials are all super durable but remarkably lightweight, proving that a hiking shoe doesn’t always have to be bulky, heavy and ill-fitting.

Adidas Terrex Shoes, $140+, available at Adidas

25. Best Home Workout: Tempo Home Gym

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: 25. Best Home Workout: Tempo Home Gym © Tempofit 25. Best Home Workout: Tempo Home Gym

Tempo’s Home Gym is the ultimate tool for anyone who wants to get in better shape without leaving their house.

There are three components to the system: a camera, which can create a continuous 3D scan of your body to check your form; a massive high-resolution display to show you where you’re going right or wrong; and workout classes to help guide you through various workouts.

The camera can keep track of 25 joints, from your head to your shoulders, and give you pointers if you’re exercising incorrectly. Tempo’s camera only sees your skeleton; it will not take a video of what you actually look like in case you’re concerned about privacy.

The Tempo’s TV-sized display will show you proper exercise techniques, and important metrics, including your current heart rate, and how many calories you’ve burned. These can help encourage you to hit your goals, or push yourself a little further. Speakers on the side of the screen allow instructors to guide you through workouts, and cabinets on the bottom open up to reveal storage for weights.

If you want the experience of having a personal trainer available 24-7, and want to get into better shape without joining a traditional gym, the Tempo is the best choice to bring the luxury fitness studio experience into your home.

Tempo Home Gym, $1995, available at Tempo

26. Best Indoor Security Camera: Blink Mini

a close up of a car: 26. Best Indoor Security Camera: Blink Mini © Amazon 26. Best Indoor Security Camera: Blink Mini

The Blink Mini is a compact security camera that’s well-suited for indoor use.

It’s only two inches tall and 1.9 inches wide, but it retains all the must-have features you’d want in a modern security camera: Full HD video recording, night vision, motion sensing, a microphone and speaker for two-way communication, and cloud storage for video clips. Cloud Storage costs $3 per month or $30 per year.

You can monitor a live feed from the camera via Blink’s app (iOS and Android), or review clips that were taken when the camera’s motion sensor was triggered. The Blink Mini is a fully featured smart security camera in an extremely subtle package. It’s an easy addition to your home setup for security, monitoring and peace of mind.

Blink Mini, $34.99, available at Amazon

27. Best Instant Camera: Leica SOFORT

a camera on a table: 27. Best Instant Camera: Leica SOFORT © Leica 27. Best Instant Camera: Leica SOFORT

Leica’s SOFORT is the company’s first Instant Camera, and carries over some great features from its high-end siblings.

It has a 60mm f/12.8 lens, which Leica says is equivalent to a traditional 35mm camera, plus a three-zone manual focus system so you won’t get blurry shots. You can frame your picture by looking through its viewfinder to make sure it’s perfect before you hit the shutter button.

This is an analog camera (there’s no way to record digital versions of your pictures), but you can cycle through different photography modes by pressing buttons on the back of the SOFORT. Your current mode, flash setting, brightness, and battery life are displayed on a tiny LCD screen, so it’s easy to keep track of them.

The SOFORT will print your picture on photo paper that’s 3.4 inches long and 2.1 wide —your image will be 2.44 inches long and 1.81 inches wide with a border around it. Leica’s SOFORT is the best instant camera because of its excellent hardware, and fine grain controls, which make taking retro-style, share-worthy pics a breeze.

Leica Sofort Instant Film Camera, $328.19, available at Amazon

28. Best Massage Device: Theragun Pro

a man sitting in a chair: 28. Best Massage Device: Theragun Pro © Theragun 28. Best Massage Device: Theragun Pro

The Theragun Pro is a highly advanced massage device designed to reduce or prevent muscle strain after you’ve worked out.

It has four positions, and a controller that lets you choose its speed and level of force. You can save three presets if you’ve found a set of speed and force combinations that work well with your body. Theragun says vibrations from this device get 60% deeper than other models, so it’ll reach parts of your muscles that aren’t typically reached.

Despite this power Theragun says this version of its message device is 55% quieter than the one it replaced. The Theragun Pro uses a custom motor that delivers excellent performance without getting too loud.

The Theragun Pro comes with six attachments, each of which is best suited to a particular part of your body. The company also includes a pair of lithium ion batteries, so you won’t run out of juice if you need a long massage session.

Cooling down is just as important as working out, and the Theragun Pro should be an essential part of your wind-down routine when you’re home from the gym.

Theragun Pro, $599, available at Theragun

29. Best Mesh System: NETGEAR Nighthawk MK62

a screen shot of a computer: 29. Best Mesh System: NETGEAR Nighthawk MK62 © Facebook / Netgear 29. Best Mesh System: NETGEAR Nighthawk MK62

If you want a mesh WiFi system to cover your entire home with fast, reliable internet, we recommend Netgear’s Nighthawk system.

The kit we’re recommending comes with two WiFi 6-enabled routers, that can cover a space up to 3,000 sq. ft. If you have a larger home, you can add satellite routers to expand the coverage area. Netgear says the routers can connect to up to 50 devices at the same time, so you shouldn’t have any issues with network congestion if you live with several people.

You can set up and manage this mesh WiFi system using Netgear’s Nighthawk app (iOS and Android), which makes it easy to find simple settings like parental controls. If you want a set of fast, flexible WiFi routers, Netgear’s Nighthawk MK62 is our recommendation.

NETGEAR Nighthawk MK62, $229.99, available at Amazon

30. Best Mirrorless Camera: Canon EOS R6

a close up of a camera: 30. Best Mirrorless Camera: Canon EOS R6 © Amazon 30. Best Mirrorless Camera: Canon EOS R6

Canon’s EOS R6 is a mirrorless camera for the serious photographer who doesn’t like the bulkiness of a DSLR.

It can take 20MP (megapixel) photos and record 4K videos, so the shots you get will look great whether you’re viewing them on your phone, a computer, or your TV. Its image processor has an ISO range between 100 and 102400, which means the EOS R6 can deliver clear pictures when you’re taking photos at night.

The camera offers extensive manual control options, and 1,053 auto-focus points if you’d prefer to let the camera do some of the work for you. If you’re uncomfortable with certain types of photography, the EOS R6 will allow you to get the shots you want, while you work on building up those skills. The EO6 R6 also supports subject tracking and image stabilization, which means it can shift its auto-focus point in real time, and compensate for camera movement while you’re shooting or recording.

Finally, the EOS R6 supports both Bluetooth and WiFi, so you can wirelessly transfer photos and to your phone, tablet, or computer if you don’t have time to plug in a cable. We’re recommending the Body Only version of the EOS R6, which means you’ll need to get lenses, or use the ones already in your collection. You’ll also need to get an SD Card, which is the storage medium the EOS R6 uses.

If you love photography, and want a serious piece of equipment for both classic and complex shots, we can’t recommend Canon’s EOS R6 highly enough.

Canon EOS R6 Camera, $2,499, available at Amazon

31. Best Modern Box Set: Metallica S&M 2 Box Set

31. Best Modern Box Set: Metallica S&M 2 Box Set © Amazon 31. Best Modern Box Set: Metallica S&M 2 Box Set

Metallica’s S&M 2 boxed set is a seven-disc collection of the band’s collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, recorded live in September 2019.

It contains the entire show on two CDs and four LPs, plus a Blu-ray concert film that has a stereo and surround sound mix. Beyond the music, this boxed set contains five guitar picks, sheet music (with notes), a poster, and a vinyl-sized booklet containing photos of the event.

With the S&M 2 box set, Metallica is offering a complete document of shows that pushed the band out of its comfort zone, while showcasing the group’s most adventurous sonic collaboration yet.

Metallica S&M 2, $19.27, available at Amazon

32. Best Moisturizer: Lumin Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Balm

32. Best Moisturizer: Lumin Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Balm © Luminskin 32. Best Moisturizer: Lumin Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Balm

With simple, natural ingredients, fuss-free application, and a matte (read: non-shiny) finish, Lumin’s Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizer Balm is the easiest way to take care of your skin in the morning.

Lumin was founded in 2018 as a men’s skincare subscription service. In the short time since then, Lumin has made quite a splash, with effective products designed with the help of experts from Japan and Seoul. Lumin brings years of research and innovation into an effective formula packed with everything you need to face the day.

Instead of adding an array of specific vitamins, this moisturizer uses just a few powerful ingredients for the heavy lifting — think meadowfoam seed oil to fortify the skin barrier, and apple extract to deliver a dose of age-defying vitamin C. Rub the balm between your fingers to warm it up, then apply evenly over your face and neck. Use this daily to improve skin texture and to keep your mug looking clean, refreshed and hydrated, from your first coffee in the morning to that last glass of wine before bed.

Lumin Ultra-Hydrating Moisturizing Balm, $23.20, available at Lumin

33. Best New Earbuds: Powerbeats

a woman talking on a cell phone: 33. Best New Earbuds: Powerbeats © Beats 33. Best New Earbuds: Powerbeats

The Powerbeats are the latest headphones from Beats, and they deliver excellent audio performance while packing custom Apple technology.

The earbuds support Bluetooth but feature Apple’s H1 chip, which offers lower latency (lag), better energy efficiency, and easier multidevice pairing when connected to Apple tech. Don’t worry, you’ll still get a great experience if you’re on an Android or Windows device.

Beats says the Powerbeats can get up to 15 hours per charge, and get one hour of music playback if they’re plugged in for five minutes. Like the iPhone, the Powerbeats charge using a Lightning cable.

These earbuds are both sweat and water resistant, so you won’t have to worry about damaging them while you’re working out. They don’t support active noise cancellation, but the Powerbeats come with multiple sizes of eartips to create a complete seal around your eardrum, which will offer passive noise cancelling.

If you need an all-around pair of earbuds that have the most up-to-date technology inside, we recommend the Powerbeats.

Powerbeats High-Performance Wireless Earphones, $149.95, available at Amazon

34. Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones

a person walking down the street talking on a cell phone: 34. Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones © Sony 34. Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones one-up their predecessor with intuitive features that make for a more seamless — and, yes, whisper quiet — listening experience. Sony’s renowned noise-cancelling technology is in place here, with four microphones (two on each earcup) running ambient noise through the HD Noise-Cancelling Processor QN1. New to these headphones is the processor’s ability to customize its noise cancellation based on the environment you’re in (i.e., a relatively quiet office versus a busy freeway with traffic). The headphones also have additional microphones that isolate outside sounds while you’re on the phone, resulting in clearer audio for both the speaker and receiver.

Music-wise, the WH-1000XM4s up the ante with Sony’s “Digital Sound Enhancement Engine” automatically upscaling digital files for more pristine listening, bringing out more clarity and depth. It’s all packed into a lightweight and comfortable set of cups that keep you immersed in your favorite song or task while helping to tune out the noise around you.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise-Cancelling Headphones, $348, available at Amazon

35. Best Outdoor Cooler: Yeti Hopper M30

35. Best Outdoor Cooler: Yeti Hopper M30 © YETI 35. Best Outdoor Cooler: Yeti Hopper M30

Yeti’s M30 Soft Cooler is an exceptional accessory for campers, hunters, hikers, or anyone who likes to spend time outdoors.

The seven-pound cooler can hold up to 20 cans of beer and 15 pounds of ice at the same time, so it’ll have no problem chilling your beverages quickly. What sets this cooler apart is YETI’s custom technologies, which insulate the bag to help keep your drinks chilled as long as possible.

It features the company’s Dryhide covering, which prevents UV rays from getting through, and is durable enough to resist punctures. YETI’s Coldcell Insulation is made out of a foam material, and the company says it’ll keep your drinks cooler for a long time.

YETI recently update the design of this cooler to give it a wider mouth, so you’ll have an easier time filling it, and pulling bottles or cans out. Two magnets keep the flap closed while comfortable handles and a shoulder strap make it easy to carry this bag from beach to campsite to (hopefully) a tailgate soon.

Yeti Hopper M30 Soft Cooler, $299.99, available at YETI

36. Best Outdoor Security Camera: Arlo Essential Camera

36. Best Outdoor Security Camera: Arlo Essential Camera © Arlo 36. Best Outdoor Security Camera: Arlo Essential Camera

Arlo’s Essential Spotlight Cam is designed to survive the elements and keep an eye on your home when you’re not around or awake.

It records video in 1080P (full HD), and has a color night vision mode, so you’ll get a very clear image when reviewing clips taken at all hours. The camera will send your phone an alert each time something triggers its motion sensor, so you can see what’s happening immediately. You can set the camera to automatically engage its alarm, or do it manually within the Arlo app (iOS and Android).

Arlo says its Essential Camera can last up to six months on a single charge, so you’ll only have to plug it in two or three times a year. The company also says the camera is designed to withstand “heat, cold, rain, or sun,” so you shouldn’t have any trouble with it if the weather gets bad.

If you’d like a little extra peace of mind when you leave the house or go to bed, Arlo’s Essential Spotlight Camera is the one to pick.

Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera, $123.42, available at Amazon

37. Best Outdoor Smart Light: Ring Solar Pathlight

a woman holding a sign: 37. Best Outdoor Smart Light: Ring Solar Pathlight © Ring 37. Best Outdoor Smart Light: Ring Solar Pathlight

Ring’s new Solar Pathlights make it incredibly easy to set up outdoor outdoor lighting on your front lawn or in your backyard.

The lights come in two pieces: a spiked stake, which you stick in the ground, and the light itself, which is attached on top. You need to charge the lights using the included MicroUSB cable when they first arrive, but their solar panel will recharge them after that.

I’ve tested these lights for myself, and found them extremely easy to set up and use. They each throw off an impressive amount of light, and you can set them on a schedule to automatically turn on at sunset, and off at sunrise. You’re also free to customize the schedule if you’d like.

The starter kit we’re recommending comes with two lights, plus a Ring Bridge, which needs to be connected to your WiFi router for you to control the lights. Ring’s Solar Pathlights are an effective way to solve virtually any outdoor lighting problem.

Ring Solar Pathlight Starter Kit, $89.99, available at Amazon

38. Best Point and Shoot Camera: Sony RX100 VII

a camera on a table: 38. Best Point and Shoot Camera: Sony RX100 VII © Sony 38. Best Point and Shoot Camera: Sony RX100 VII

Sony’s RX100 VII is an extremely powerful camera in an incredibly small body that deserves a place in your kit.

Although it looks like a standard point-and-shoot camera, the RX100-VII has a lot going on under the hood. It can take 20.1MP photos, and record videos in up to 4K. It has a fixed lens with 8.3x optical zoom, so you’ll be able to get a clear picture even if your subject is a few feet away.

The RX100-VII has 357 auto-focus points, and can make adjustments in .2 seconds, so you won’t get a blurry mess if you’re photographing a moving object. The camera’s AI will automatically adjust the focus as you’re taking pictures or recording video, so you can get a consistent series of shots.

This is a great camera for general photography, but Sony also designed it with a display that can flip up, allowing you to monitor video in real time. This makes the RX100-VII a great choice for vloggers who want to record high quality 4K videos from a pocket-friendly camera.

Sony’s RX100 VII proves that you don’t need a DSLR to take professional looking photos or videos.

Sony RX100 VII, $1,298, available at Amazon

39. Best Portable Sound Bar: Bose TV Speaker

a book sitting on top of a wooden table: 39. Best Portable Sound Bar: Bose TV Speaker © Amazon 39. Best Portable Sound Bar: Bose TV Speaker

Bose’s newly released TV Speaker packs an entire stereo home-theater system into a sound bar that’s under 24 inches long.

The sound bar has a pair of drivers pointed outward to dispense sound evenly throughout your entire room. It has two enhanced audio modes: One amplifies dialogue for movie and TV watching, while the other one adds more bass if you’re listening to music.

You can connect the TV Speaker to your television with an HDMI or optical audio cable, and wirelessly pair it to your phone, tablet, or computer over Bluetooth.

Bose’s TV Speaker is a great sound bar if you’d like a significant upgrade over your TV’s internal speakers, but don’t have a lot of space to spare. You can even wall mount it if you’d prefer to keep your home-theater gear off your furniture. The TV Speaker packs wide-scale, immersive sound into a handsome and portable package.

Bose TV Speaker, $249.99, available at Amazon

40. Best Portable Speaker: Marshall Emberton

a hand holding a remote control: 40. Best Portable Speaker: Marshall Emberton © Marshall 40. Best Portable Speaker: Marshall Emberton

The Emberton carries on Marshall’s legacy of supplying music fans with premium audio gear.

It’s the company’s smallest speaker, but it produced enough sound to fill a large room during our tests. That’s partly because the Emberton is a 360-degree speaker, which means its drives are pointed in different directions.

Although Marshall has a long history with rock music, the company uses a “signature sound” that’s well-rounded. Jazz, pop, country, and classical music all sounded really clear, even at high volumes. This isn’t a totally “flat” sounding speaker, but the EQ is tasteful and we have no audio complaints.

Marshall says the speaker lasts around 20 hours per charge, and that’s been consistent in our experience. The company says you can get five hours of play time by charging it for 20 minutes.

This is the first waterproof speaker in Marshall’s lineup, and it’s IPX7-certified, which means you can submerge it completely underwater for up to 30 minutes.

Marshall’s Emberton is a rugged, great sounding portable Bluetooth speaker that all music fans can appreciate.

Marshall Emberton Speaker, $149.99, available at Marshall.com

41. Best Portable Storage: Crucial X8 Portable SSD

a computer sitting on top of a wooden table: 41. Best Portable Storage: Crucial X8 Portable SSD © Crucial 41. Best Portable Storage: Crucial X8 Portable SSD

Keeping your data in the cloud is convenient, but we still recommend making local backups of your more important files on Crucial’s X8 Portable SSD.

The pocket-sized storage device can hold 1TB of data, and has a maximum data transfer speed of 1050MB/s (megabytes per second). This means you’ll be able to make complete backups of your entire computer in very little time.

In my tests, the X8 has maintained a consistent transfer speed, and performed well whether I was moving a few large files, or dozens of small ones. It’s compatible with both PCs and Macs, so it doesn’t matter what type of computer you use. If you need a safe, reliable and portable place to store your files, you can’t go wrong with this top-rated unit.

Crucial X8 1TB, $149.95, available at Amazon

42. Best Projector: BenQ TH685

a person sitting on a chair: 42. Best Projector: BenQ TH685 © BenQ 42. Best Projector: BenQ TH685

BenQ’s TH685 is an ideal projector for home-theater enthusiasts and gamers.

This 1080P projector can make a 100-inch screen on your wall from 8.2 feet away, with a maximum screen size of 150 inches. It has two HDMI ports, so you can plug in two devices (think game console and media streamer), and an audio output to connect it directly to a stereo receiver if you want a true home-theater experience.

In my tests, the TH685 produced an incredibly clean image with impressive color accuracy whether I was playing video games, or streaming videos from YouTube or Netflix. I was even satisfied with its built-in speaker, which actually sounds pretty good.

If you need a projector for your living room, basement, or home theater, we highly recommend giving BenQ’s TH685 a try. With a large screen, crisp images, and surprisingly great sound, this is a powerful projector worth picking up.

BenQ TH685, $699.99, available at Amazon

43. Best Reissue Box Set: Frank Zappa and the Mothers 1970

graphical user interface, website: 43. Best Reissue Box Set: Frank Zappa and the Mothers 1970 © Amazon 43. Best Reissue Box Set: Frank Zappa and the Mothers 1970

The Mothers 1970 is a four-disc box set that captures Frank Zappa and his band during and after the recording of Chunga’s Revenge.

The first disc is dedicated to studio outtakes, and the other three are culled from a handful of live shows the band performed during the summer and autumn of that year.

All 70 of the tracks in this box set were previously unreleased and offer the clearest view of Frank Zappa’s career at this point. The box contains four CDs, a booklet, and a promotional button, and it’s a must-have for any Zappa fan old and new.

Frank Zappa The Mothers 1970 Box Set, $46.49, available at Amazon

44. Best Robot Vacuum: Neato D7 Robot Vacuum

a group of items on a wooden table: 44. Best Robot Vacuum: Neato D7 Robot Vacuum © Amazon 44. Best Robot Vacuum: Neato D7 Robot Vacuum

If you’re finally ready to try a robot vacuum, Neato’s D7 is the most technically-advanced one we’ve tested.

Its sensors allow it to avoid walls, and map out multiple rooms in your home — even ones on different floors — to clean them more efficiently. You can even set up digital “no-go lines,” for spots you’d like the D7 to avoid using the company’s app (iOS and Android).

We tried this robot vacuum on hardwood and carpeting, and it did an excellent job sucking up dirt and debris we didn’t know was there. The vacuum’s flat side allows it to clean corners of rooms more easily than round-shaped ones.

The D7 lasted for between an hour and a half to two hours per cleaning session, and automatically returned to its charging dock when its battery ran low.

You can set the D7 to work on a set schedule inside its app, so it won’t disturb you while you’re at work, or trying to sleep. If you have a smart speaker from Google or Amazon, you can connect the D7 to them, and control the vacuum without pushing a button.

If you’d like cleaner floors, but don’t have the time to dedicate to a deep clean, Neato’s D7 can save you the hassle.

Neato Robotics D7 Vacuum, $549.99, available at Amazon

45. Best Running Shoes: Hoka Clifton Edge

a close up of a logo: 45. Best Running Shoes: Hoka Clifton Edge © HOKA 45. Best Running Shoes: Hoka Clifton Edge

With an airy knit, cushiony foam and a snappy and responsive heel, these lightweight running shoes might just be the most comfortable pair of sneakers you step foot in this year.

Your feet feel cradled rather than strapped in, with full support for your soles and heels. Designed for both serious athletes and casual runners alike, the shoes won’t take you straight to the top but they’ll certainly make your path there much easier.

Clifton Edge Running Shoes, $160, HokaOneOne.com

46. Best Shampoo: Baxter of California Deep Clean Shampoo

text, letter: 46. Best Shampoo: Baxter of California Deep Clean Shampoo © BaxterofCalifornia 46. Best Shampoo: Baxter of California Deep Clean Shampoo

Baxter of California’s Deep Clean Shampoo features a mix of apple cider vinegar, menthol, and ginseng to gently clean your hair instead of stripping it with chemicals. Its formula is designed to help remove dirt, oils, and product buildup (gel, mousse, etc.) from your hair and scalp, while rinsing out the sweat and grime from your day. It’ll clean your hair better than a typical daily shampoo, and you’ll only need to use it a couple times a week too. With a fresh, earthy scent and soothing lather, this is the shampoo to reach for to keep your hair in fighting shape.

Baxter Of California Deep Clean Shampoo, $34, available at Baxter of California

47. Best Shaving Gel: King C Gillette Transparent Shave Gel

a hand holding an object in his hand: 47. Best Shaving Gel: King C Gillette Transparent Shave Gel © Walgreens 47. Best Shaving Gel: King C Gillette Transparent Shave Gel

King C Gillette’s Transparent Shave Gel was developed to help you get a better, cleaner shave while being easy on your skin. The gel lubricates your skin, so your razor will glide more smoothly while its straightforward formula includes white tea and argan oil to help reduce discomfort during or after your shave. We found the shave gel to be gentle enough even for people with sensitive skin or people prone to redness after shaving.

The no-fuss shave gel applies evenly and rinses off clean, with a fresh, light scent that’s easy on the nose. For a closer and more comfortable shave without any irritation, this is the King of the crop.

King C Gillette Transparent Shave Gel, $7.99, available at Walgreens

48. Best Smart Home Hub: Google Nest Hub Max

a man and woman preparing food in a kitchen: 48. Best Smart Home Hub: Google Nest Hub Max © Google 48. Best Smart Home Hub: Google Nest Hub Max

The Nest Hub Max takes advantage of popular services like YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Photos to become the most helpful smart home hub in our opinion.

Its most impressive hardware features are its 10-inch HD touch screen and three-driver speaker system, which features a pair of front-facing drivers and a subwoofer to deliver clear, balanced sound.

The Nest Hub Max works with the Google Assistant, which is Google’s version of Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. You can ask the assistant to control smart-home accessories, or for answers to general questions like “Will it rain tomorrow?” or “What’s the population of the United States?”

Your answers will be displayed on the Nest Hub Max’s screen, and broadcast through its speakers, so you’ll get them whether you’re looking at it or not. This smart home hub’s secret weapon is access to Google’s services, which can give you personalized information like how long it’ll take for you to get to work, or upcoming events on your calendar.

You’ll have an excellent experience with the Nest Hub Max if you don’t use Google’s apps, but it’ll be even better if you do.

Google Nest Hub Max, $229.99, available at Walmart

49. Best Smart Sound Bar: Sonos Arc

a television that is sitting on a bench: 49. Best Smart Sound Bar: Sonos Arc © Amazon 49. Best Smart Sound Bar: Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc is a cutting-edge sound bar that delivers premium audio, and a surprisingly good surround-sound experience.

The Arc supports Dolby Atmos, a new version of surround sound where speakers are pointed at and above you, which makes movies and music sound a lot more immersive. This typically requires a full 5.1 or 7.1 home-theater setup, but the Arc’s drivers are pointed forward and upward, which allows it to mimic the effect of a multi-speaker setup.

It’s never going to quite match the experience of a more robust home-theater system, but it does an excellent job as a sound bar. Plus, you can add a pair of Sonos One speakers and a Sonos Sub to create a more traditional 5.1 system. This upgrade path makes the Arc a lot more attractive than traditional sound bars.

While Dolby Atmos support is the Arc’s most technically advanced feature, it’s also a great speaker for watching movies with a regular surround-sound mix. Dialogue sounds clear, and background noises never feel distant or muddled. You can also stream music through it using the Sonos app, or connecting over AirPlay 2 if you’ve got an Apple device.

The Sonos Arc is an attempt at creating an all-in-one home-theater system in a fairly compact package, and it succeeds.

Sonos Arc, $799, available at Sonos

50. Best Smart Speaker: Belkin SOUNDFORM Elite

a close up of a sign: 50. Best Smart Speaker: Belkin SOUNDFORM Elite © Belkin 50. Best Smart Speaker: Belkin SOUNDFORM Elite

Belkin’s SOUNDFORM Elite is a triple threat: wireless charging pad, Bluetooth speaker, and a handsome smart-home hub. Even better: It manages to balance all three jobs well.

The rounded speaker was developed with Devialet, an audiophile company whose high-end speakers can cost well over $3,000. In my testing, the SOUNDFORM Elite sounds on par with speakers in its size class and price range, delivering clear-sounding vocals and just enough bass.

A cut out on the top of the speaker has a wireless charging pad inside of it, so your device can charge while you listen to music. It can charge an iPhone or Android phone at up to 10W, which is the highest speed currently supported on most devices.

Finally, the speaker has a microphone and either Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant inside (you can’t switch between them), so you can ask it for answers to questions, or play (and pause) music using voice commands.

Belkin SOUNDFORM Elite, $299.99, available at Amazon

51. Best Smart Water Bottle: Larq Water Bottle

a man holding a sign: 51. Best Smart Water Bottle: Larq Water Bottle © LARQ 51. Best Smart Water Bottle: Larq Water Bottle

We all know we should be drinking more water, but the type of water you’re putting into your body matters too. That’s why LARQ’s smart water bottle is a solid investment. The double-walled housing keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours, while the sleek, stainless steel design is enough to make you give up plastic bottles for good.

The LARQ bottle uses a UV-C (ultraviolet) LED to purify your water, and the company says it eliminates up to 99.9999% of bacteria. The light does a cleaning every minute, and enters a self-cleaning mode once per hour.

The bottle itself is made out of BPA-free electropolished stainless steel, and is insulated well enough to keep beverages cold for 24 hours, or hot for up to 12 hours. The bottle is available in two sizes: 17 oz. (ounces) or 25 oz., with a variety of colors to suit every personality and style. The LARQ Water Bottle is a smart investment and a no-brainer to pick up when it comes to helping your hydration and health.

LARQ Bottle, $95, available at LARQ

52. Best Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2

screen of a cell phone: 52. Best Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 © Samsung 52. Best Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold2 5G is a cutting-edge smartphone, and it’s the right choice if you want a totally new experience.

Its screen is 7.6 inches across when unfolded, which means you can carry around a mini tablet at all times, and is 6.2 inches long and five inches wide when folded, so you can fit it in a pocket or purse.

The screen has a variable refresh rate, which means it can automatically change how often it updates per second. A higher refresh rate will make scrolling or other movements look extremely smooth, while a lower rate can be used to save charge when you’re looking at a static image.

The phone runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, has 12GB of RAM (memory), and 256GB of storage. These specs are plenty for running games, or multiple apps side by side, which you’ll do frequently in tablet mode.

The Galaxy Z Fold2 has three 12MP rear-facing cameras and a single 10MP front-facing camera. All of them can record 4K video at 60fps, so they should look clear when you view them on a big screen, or post them on social media.

If you want the latest and greatest technology in a phone that can turn into a tablet at any time, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold2 5G will give you a taste of the future, today.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G (256GB unlocked), $1,949.99, available at Best Buy

53. Best Smartwatch: Suunto 7

a hand holding a remote control: 53. Best Smartwatch: Suunto 7 © Suunto 53. Best Smartwatch: Suunto 7

Suunto’s 7 is a highly capable smartwatch in a traditional-looking frame.

It can count your steps, continuously check your heart rate, and monitor both the quality and quantity of your sleep each night. You can view this information — along with the time — on your wrist, or check it in Suunto’s app (iOS and Android).

There are three reasons to get the Suunto 7 over other popular options like the Apple Watch: It can track over 80 exercises to get an accurate reading on your calories burned, it works up to 300 feet under water, and it can last up to 120 hours (nearly two weeks) on a single charge.

A smartwatch will not automatically get you into better shape, but if you want to check your progress in hitting your goals, or track health trends over time, the Suunto 7 will provide the information you need. A smartwatch can’t make you stronger automatically, but with the Sunnto 7, there’s enough motivation to push you to the top.

Suunto 7 Watch, $430.52, available at Amazon

54. Best Surround-Sound System: Enclave Audio CineHome PRO

54. Best Surround-Sound System: Enclave Audio CineHome PRO © Amazon 54. Best Surround-Sound System: Enclave Audio CineHome PRO

Enclave Audio’s CineHome Pro takes the hassle out of setting up a surround-sound home-theater system by giving you everything you need in one easy-to-set-up package.

It comes with six speakers: two front channel, two rear channel, one center channel, and a subwoofer, plus the Enclave CineHub. All of the speakers connect wirelessly to the hub, which means you don’t have to string speaker cable around your entire room. Each speaker will need to be connected to an outlet, though, so definitely consider the layout of your room.

You can connect the CineHub to an HDMI ARC (audio return channel) port on your home-theater TV or projector, which will route sound from all of your devices (game consoles, media streamers, 4K Blu-Ray Players) through the CineHome Pro.

This surround-sound system supports Dolby DTS, one of the most popular surround-sound audio formats, and has a THX certification, which is only given to high-end audio gear. If you want a surround-sound home-theater system and care about audio quality, but don’t want to fuss with cable management, Enclave Audio’s CineHome PRO is your best choice.

Enclave Audio CineHome PRO, $1,498.98, available at Amazon

55. Best Tablet: iPad Pro

graphical user interface, website: 55. Best Tablet: iPad Pro © Apple 55. Best Tablet: iPad Pro

Apple’s iPad Pro is the most powerful tablet available, and the only one we can recommend in place of a traditional laptop.

It comes in two screen sizes: 11 inches and 12.9 inches, but we’re going to recommend the larger one. Both have the exact same set of features, but having the extra space is a nice perk. Its high-resolution “retina” display makes everything you view on it look crystal clear, and its color accuracy is impressive compared to your typical computer monitor.

The latest-generation iPad Pro runs on Apple’s A12Z processor, which the company says is “desktop class.” This enables it to run resource-intense apps like audio, image, or video editing software without breaking a sweat. We had no trouble streaming HD video while editing photos, or taking notes during a presentation. This is no small feat considering the iPad Pro weighs just under one and a half pounds.

Its performance, design, and flexibility make the 12.9-inch iPad Pro the best tablet available right now, and a device you should consider the next time you’re replacing your computer.

iPad Pro (12.9, 256GB), $1,099.99, available at Best Buy

56. Best Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evolution Turntable

a man sitting at a desk: 56. Best Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evolution Turntable © Amazon 56. Best Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evolution Turntable

Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon Evolution is designed for audiophiles from the bottom up, but available at a far more attainable price.

Every effort has been made to reduce distortion caused by unwanted vibrations, from the Evolution’s isolated motor and thick steel platter, to its feet, which insulate the entire table. The desk itself is made out of medium-density fiberboard coated with either eight coats of paint or a real walnut veneer.

This sounds luxe on paper, but it’s even better in person. We’ve tested the sharp-looking table out for ourselves, and the result of this engineering is evident from the first time its needle (a Sumiko cartridge) hits an album. We’ve tested this table with both new and vintage LPs, and it continually delivers excellent sound while avoiding pitfalls like poor tracking.

If you’re serious about getting into records and want a really good turntable to sit at the heart of it, we can’t recommend Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon Evolution highly enough.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evolution Turntable, $499, available at Amazon

57. Best Value Earbuds: 1More Dual Driver ANC Wireless Headphones

a person wearing a hat: 57. Best Value Earbuds: 1More Dual Driver ANC Wireless Headphones © 1MORE 57. Best Value Earbuds: 1More Dual Driver ANC Wireless Headphones

1More’s Dual Driver ANC Wireless Headphones are equipped with premium features you don’t typically find in a pair of buds under $200.

They support Bluetooth 5.0, a newer version of the wireless standard that’s a lot more energy efficient. Plus 1More says this pair of earbuds can last up to 20 hours per charge and offer three hours of music playback if you plug it in for 10 minutes.

The Dual Driver ANC Wireless Headphones are also IPX5 certified, which means they can be exposed to water jets (think heavy rain) without getting damaged. If you run outdoors, or exercise in a gym, you won’t have to worry about a sudden shower or sweat.

The main reason we’re recommending this pair of wireless earbuds is that they support active noise cancellation, which means it uses microphones built into the buds to reduce or eliminate the sound of outside noise before it hits your ears. This feature isn’t typically found in earbuds, which more often rely on passive noise cancellation, creating a physical seal around your eardrums to reduce unwanted sounds.

If you travel a lot or want to tune out the world while you work out, this feature makes 1MORE’s Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Earbuds an excellent choice.

1MORE Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Earbuds, $149.99, available at Amazon

58. Best Weekender: Patagonia Black Hole Duffel

a woman wearing a costume: 58. Best Weekender: Patagonia Black Hole Duffel © Patagonia 58. Best Weekender: Patagonia Black Hole Duffel

Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffel is the perfect pack to take with you on a short trip.

It’s made out of weather-resistant polyurethane with a durable water-repellent finish, so your gear won’t get soaked if you run into some rain. The fabric Patagonia used on the Black Hole Duffel is 100% recycled, which can’t be said for most bags.

You can carry the Black Hole Duffel around like a traditional duffel bag, or use its shoulder straps to turn it into a backpack on the fly. When it’s not in use, you can stuff the entire bag into its main pocket for convenience storage.

We’re recommending the 55L (Liter) Black Hole Duffel because we feel it’s the right size for a weekender bag, but it’s available in three other sizes: 40L, 70L, and 100L. Patagonia’s Black Hole is a well designed duffel bag whose key features you’ll appreciate and actually use.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel, $139, available at Patagonia

59. Best Wireless Headphones: Shure AONIC 50 Wireless Headphones

a person wearing sunglasses: 59. Best Wireless Headphones: Shure AONIC 50 Wireless Headphones © Facebook / Shure 59. Best Wireless Headphones: Shure AONIC 50 Wireless Headphones

Shure’s AONIC 50 headphones are the best wireless headphones we’ve tested this year by a long shot.

The company tested more than 100 drivers (the part of headphones or speakers that produce sound) before settling, and that dedication shows. Music sounds incredibly detailed, and I was able to pick out individual elements of busy rock or jazz songs that can blend together in a lesser pair.

While they shine when listening to lossless, high-resolution music from a service like TIDAL, music from my local music library and Apple Music also sounded great. This is a pair of headphones to get if you’re a serious music fan who wants the modern convenience of wireless connectivity.

The AONIC 50s support Bluetooth 5.0, a new version of the wireless standard that’s a lot more energy efficient than earlier versions. Shure says these headphones should last around 20 hours per charge, and that was my experience. You can also connect the headphones to a DAC using the included 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable included in the box.

Finally, the Shure AONIC 50s support active noise cancellation and do an excellent job of blocking outside noise without impacting audio quality.

All-over padding keeps things comfortable for Zoom calls, travel, or long listening sessions. When it comes to headphones, these are the gold standard.

Shure AONIC 50 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones, $399, available at Amazon

60. Best Workout Earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds

60. Best Workout Earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds © Jabra 60. Best Workout Earbuds: Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds

If you need a pair of totally wireless earbuds to supply tunes while you get in better shape, Jabra’s Elite Active 75t should be your go-to.

Jabra says the 75t buds are dust, sweat, and water resistant, so you shouldn’t run into problems if you exercise regularly, or get caught in the rain. They last up to 7.5 hours per charge, and you can get one hour of music playback when you leave them in their charging case for 15 minutes.

The 75ts don’t support active noise cancelling, but Jabra says their four-microphone array filters out specific noises, like heavy wind. This microphone system also improves the clarity of your voice while you’re on a call.

Finally, you can customize the sound of Jabra’s 75t totally wireless earbuds from within its app (iOS and Android), so they’ll sound good to your ears. These performance-ready earbuds deliver big sound and reliable battery life and hold up to even your toughest workouts.

Jabra Elite Active 75t Wireless Earbuds, $149.99, available at Amazon

61. Most Innovative Earbuds: Aftershokz Aeropex Bone Conduction Headphones

a man and a woman looking at the camera: 61. Most Innovative Earbuds: Aftershokz Aeropex Bone Conduction Headphones © Aftershockz 61. Most Innovative Earbuds: Aftershokz Aeropex Bone Conduction Headphones

If traditional earbuds don’t fit in your ears correctly, and over-ear headphones are too bulky, we recommend these AfterShokz Aeropex earbuds, which send audio into your eardrums via bone conduction.

While classic earbuds slide into your ears, these buds sit on top of your upper cheekbone, and vibrate when you listen to music. These vibrations are carried into your inner ear, so you can hear your tunes. The Aeropex do emit some sound, but not a lot. The benefit to this system is that your ear is completely exposed, so you can hear outside noises, like cars on the street while you run or someone asking you a question.

We’ve tested a pair of AfterShokz earbuds before, and was surprised that they work very well. The experience is different than listening to music through traditional earbuds, but once we got used to it, we liked what we heard — a lot.

Aftershokz says these earbuds get up to eight hours of battery life per charge, and are IP67 certified, which means they’re dust proof and can be fully submerged underwater without being damaged.

If you’re looking for a totally new pair of headphones to check out this year, AfterShokz’s Aeropex earbuds are our pick.

AfterShokz Aeropex, $159.95, available at Amazon

62. Most Powerful Router: Linksys Velop MX-5 WiFi Router

icon: 62. Most Powerful Router: Linksys Velop MX-5 WiFi Router © Linksys 62. Most Powerful Router: Linksys Velop MX-5 WiFi Router

Fast, consistent WiFi is an essential part of our personal and professional lives, and Linksys Velop MX-5 router delivers the goods.

It supports WiFi 6, a new version of the wireless standard that’s fast, farther-reaching, more secure, and enables the router to connect with up to 50 devices simultaneously. I’ve tested the MX-5 in a three-floor condo, and got an incredibly strong connection everywhere I went. In the past I needed three mesh WiFi routers to cover the same space, and the experience was actually better with a single MX-5.

Linksys’ app (iOS and Android) makes setting up and managing the router very easy, including its per-device parental controls. Keep in mind the limiting factor in your internet speed will be limited by the cable package you’ve chosen, so consider that if you want the best possible experience.

Linksys Velop MX-5 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router, $399.99, available at Amazon

AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon