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The best 50 products Which? has tested over the last 12 months

Wales Online logo Wales Online 19/12/2021 Zara Pereira

Looking for a last-minute Christmas present but haven't a clue where to start? Then let consumer magazine Which? give you a helping hand.

For its product testing team has been putting its skills to the test by sampling 4,500 items and whittling them down to come up with a list of the best 50 buys of 2021.

The items range from garden strimmers to folding e-bikes, but the product at the top spot is one that no one expected.

Read more: Most popular Christmas toys from the last 100 years

Now we're not suggesting for a second that you buy your other half a mattress or an iron for Christmas - definitely not the latter - but the top 50 could provide you with some gift-buying inspiration - from ear buds and a tablet to a smart phone and digital camera.

Here is the list of the best, most innovative and eco-friendly products this year - from 50 down to one.

50. Fitbit Luxe fitness tracker – £129

If you like your fitness tracker to look more like an attractive piece of jewellery than something Batman would wear, then the Luxe is for you. It’s not just a pretty face though. There’s some clever, accurate trackers under that gold-trimmed glass. The step tracking for walking and running is spot on, and it’s light and comfortable enough to keep wearing while you’re sleeping. With more than a week’s battery life, you won’t need, or want, to take it off much at all.

49. Bosch Indego M+ 700 (2021) robot lawn mower – £899

The Indego M+ 700 was already a stellar robot lawnmower, but Bosch saw room for improvement with this model. Messing with a close-to-perfect mower could have been disastrous, but it’s better on slopes, doesn’t struggle as much with long grass and, as its position on this list proves, with or without tweaks there aren’t many products better at making long grass short.

48. TomTom GO Discover 7 sat nav – £280

Few things help get you where you’re going better than a satnav and few brands make them better than TomTom. The Go Discover 7 has a crisp and enormous 7-inch display, clear instructions and straightforward setup. Controlling it with your voice works excellently, too, meaning you can keep your eyes on the road.

47. Epson Ecotank ET-8500 printer – £629

A printer always wants something from you. It’s either thirsty for ink or hungry for paper. Or it loses wi-fi or refuses to print for seemingly no reason – more like a needy child than a helpful home office tool. This one is different. It’s a simple, intuitive printer that lets you print straight from your smartphone. You can also plug in a micro-SD card if you want to print photos from a digital camera. It costs £348 more than the average ink tank model, but for that you get the best available and there are no cartridges. You fill the ink reservoirs from a bottle and can look in to see how full they are, so there’s no more taking it on faith that a cartridge is empty. Much of the high initial cost can be recouped over the printer’s life anyway. If you print 30 pages a month (20 black and white, and 10 colour) it would cost just £2.28 a year. Some cartridge models cost more than £100 in ink to do the same. And these are excellent prints, especially photos which are precise and richly coloured. Such high-quality prints take time, almost six minutes for a vivid photo. Printing documents is quicker: five pages in 28 seconds. Whatever you print the results make the wait worthwhile.

46. Eve Thermo smart radiator valve – £75

You get the impression some brands spend a lot of time thinking about what devices in the home can be connected to the internet next. The Thermo is one of their better ideas. It screws on to your radiator valve to give iOS (but not Android) control of the temperature. Setup is simple, and temperature accurate. You don’t need a hub or smart thermostat either, so it’s a cheaper way of starting out with smart heating.

45. Tefal GV9230GO Pro Express steam generator iron – £244

Few of us would really claim to love ironing, so anything that makes the job easier is welcome. The powerful Pro Express, with its 120g of steam per minute, flattens clothes like a steamroller.

44. Stihl RMA 443 VC lawnmower – £529

There are plenty of robot lawnmowers to automate the task, but sometimes you want the smell of fresh cut grass and the feel of a powerful mower in your hands. The RMA excels on dry and damp grass and cuts for 37 minutes on one charge.

43. Ego ST1401E-ST grass trimmer – £285

This trimmer is heavy but its blades slice through grass like a pair of giant scalpels. The 56V battery ensures it has more than enough power even for long grass. You get close to 20 minutes of cutting time, which isn’t ages, but it takes just 50 minutes to recharge.

42. Jura E8 Chrome (EB) 15363 coffee machine – £1,245

The shining Jura would look at home in a café and creates coffees of comparable quality. It’s quiet enough not to wake anyone when you sneak downstairs at 6am for your first cup, but it can make two at once if you need to appease a grumpy family member.

41. LG GBB92MCBAP fridge freezer – £1,500

This monolithic fridge freezer is as sleek as it is efficient. It’s one of our first Eco Buys, which means it uses less energy than most of its peers. Less really is more with this unit as it takes food to subzero temperatures in no time and can keep those temperatures stable even during a cold snap or heatwave. What’s more LG has as much confidence in this device as we do, it has a 20-year warranty.

40. Samsung Infinite NV75T8579RK oven – £1,299

The Infinite is an exceptional oven that costs more to buy than most but costs less to run than similar-sized ovens. Its energy efficiency is what makes it an Eco Buy, and the outstanding heat dispersion, temperature accuracy and self-cleaning is what make it excellent. It’s stuffed with extra cooking modes, while the sizeable interior means you can stuff it with plenty of food. You can even split the space in half to create two ovens with independent temperatures. It can all be controlled with an app, which may not seem useful until you’re halfway to the pub and can’t remember if you turned it off.

39. Amazon Fire HD10 tablet – £150

The Fire HD 10 is staggering for the price. It’s not a Best Buy, but to get a tablet with a 10-inch screen you’d need to spend almost £200 more – that’s why this one is in our top 50. Don’t expect the sharpest screen, but it’s supremely simple to use and capable.

38. Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) router – £400

None of us would be happy if a room in our home had no electricity or heating, but patchy internet is something many of us do put up with. Mesh changes that. By dotting nodes around your home, the internet goes as far as you want it to. Enter the Asus XT8. Judges were impressed by both speed and coverage, including when multiple devices are connected.

37. Zanussi ZDH87B4PW tumble dryer – £529

You wouldn’t expect a machine that makes clothes so hot the water evaporates from them to be among the most efficient, but this one is. As an Eco Buy, it uses less energy than the majority of tumble dryers, without compromising on drying.

36. TP-Link Tapo P100 smart plug – £8

A smart plug is as simple as smart devices get. Simple, but so useful. The P100 is one of the cheapest smart plugs, but you can still set timers and routines so devices come on and off automatically. Making anything in your home a bit smarter for £8 is invaluable.

35. Huawei Freebuds 4i headphones – £60

Huawei isn’t known for its audio devices, but a sure way of getting your headphones onto shortlists is to undercut the popular competition. These truly wireless, in-ear headphones are less than a third of the price of the Apple AirPods Pro, which were number one in our 50 best products last year. Even if the FreeBuds don’t sound quite as good as those AirPods, the price is remarkable in a typically expensive category and you’re sacrificing little.

34. Swan Stealth Personal Blender SP39040BLKN – £60

We thought Ninjas were the sneaky blenders, but here comes Swan with a sleek, black stealth option of its own. To be honest, while it is at the quieter end of the spectrum, there are quieter blenders. But when it comes to blitzing fruit and veg, it’s one of our favourites. It’s cheap, too.

33. Shark NV602UKT vacuum cleaner – £170

Cylinder vacs tend to do better in our tests, but Shark holds steadfast with a slew of upright models standing tall, proud and resolute. Staggering suction is the order of the day. If the opening was big enough it could probably inhale a whole tennis ball. Dust and debris buried deep in carpet fibres are sucked away like Dorothy being taken to Oz. It doesn’t just shine on carpets – anything trapped between floorboards won’t be that way for long and whatever the Shark inhales stays there. This means people with allergies can relax knowing that if they’re sneezing it’s not because their vac jettisoned any dust around the room. It’s not perfect – some models have longer cords and are better on laminate, but the strengths far outweigh the negatives.

32. John Lewis Aria II DAB radio – £99

Whatever you like to listen to, whether it’s a soaring symphony on Classic FM, distorted guitars and pounding snares on Planet Rock or the sedate gibberish of the shipping forecast on Radio 4, the Aria II will do them all justice. The diminutive wood-effect box doesn’t look like much, but the gubbins behind that circular panel of mesh know how to balance bass, mid-range and treble to beautiful effect. The Bluetooth connection means that you can play from apps or the storage on your phone, and there’s an alarm clock, so it really is at home whichever room you pop it in.


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31. Philips 55OLED705/12 – £899

If you told us last year that Philips – maker of lovely electric toothbrushes and irons – would release an OLED TV for less than £1,000 and it would be one of the best products of the year, we’d have smiled politely and walked to the other side of the room. But the 55OLED705/12 is real. The HD picture is sharp enough to cut glass, putting to shame TVs that cost double the price. HDR enhances the already superb contrast (something OLED displays are known for). Dark parts of the picture suck in light, but brighter parts have the strength to pierce gloom like a lighthouse on a foggy night. It’s not the simplest to use, but any quirks weren’t nearly enough to sully the wonderful TV.

30. Russell Hobbs RH34WC1 wine cooler - £250

If you buy wine faster than you can drink it (what’s your secret?) and you’re running out of room for food, a wine cooler could be the next fixture for your kitchen. This one has room for 34 bottles and will chill them to the perfect temperature in no time.

29. Ninja OP100UK pressure cooker – £159

Given the type of product this is, it’s appropriate that Ninja’s OP100UK handled the pressure no matter what we cooked in it. Risotto was no problem, beef stew was child’s play and fresh veg was effortless. All absolutely delectable.

28. Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G smartphone – £379

The Find X3 Lite is the kind of phone with the kind of features you’d expect to pay more for. It’s a cutting edge device that can make the most of lightning-fast 5G network speeds. The Oppo lasts ages on a single charge and the 32 hours of juice is even better considering the dazzling screen. 5G phones this good, at this price, don’t come around often.

27. GP ReCyko Pro 800mAh AAA batteries – £8

Triple A describes the battery size, but could just as easily mean the quality of these power-packed lithium wonders. They will keep even a demanding device such as a baby monitor going for three and a half hours before they need charging again. Plus, they’re good for 1,500 charges. That’s a lot of disposable batteries you don’t need to buy.

26. Karcher SC2 Upright EasyFix steam cleaner – £95

Steam powered the industrial revolution. Its use here is more humble, but in the SC2, it can make your floors sparkle. Fresh spills are no match for this accomplished cleaner and it’s easy to fill the removable tank.

25. Emma Smart Hybrid mattress – £799

Nothing ruins a day like a bad night’s sleep. The right mattress is key to transforming a night of tossing and turning into deep, restful slumber. The Emma Smart Hybrid is durable and has superb back support whether you curl up in a ball or sleep like a starfish.

24. Fujifilm X-E4 (Fujinon XF 27mm F/2.8 R WR Lens) digital camera – £1,050

Fujifilm has capitalised on mirrorless technology to create a small camera that focuses fast and easily handles dim conditions. It’s so light, you can take it anywhere and it can capture enchanting images wherever you end up. Read our Fujifilm X-E4 review.

23. Instant Vortex 4-in-1 air fryer – £100

The Instant Vortex might sound like something that would give a ship captain nightmares, but in fact this inconspicuous black box is a champion air fryer that will make some of the best chips you’d ever had. It does little wrong.

22. Eovolt City One folding e-bike – £1,399

The Eovolt City One is one of the lightest e-bikes we’ve tested. If the idea of lugging around a bulky folding e-bike has put you off until now, then the Eovolt City One is definitely one to consider. Turning the cat’s cradle of bars, wires and spokes into something you can leap on to and ride into the sunset takes just 18 seconds with no engineering degree required. The power can be uneven, however the wide wheels mean it can handle bumpy terrain (we’re talking potholes rather than mountain paths and BMX trails) that bit more easily. It’s on our list because it fills a niche you’d expect all folding e-bikes to fill: it’s truly compact. At 15.7kg and measuring 52cm x 38cm x 69cm when folded, it’s one of the few e-bikes that you can realistically carry around with you – most others are simply too heavy.

21. Dyson V15 Detect Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner – £599

Ever the innovator, Dyson has added a laser to its cordless vacuum cleaners. This illuminates hidden dust, so you can make sure that your floors are truly spotless. It can even analyse the amount and size of dust particles it’s collecting and give you a report. More importantly, it lasts up to 85 minutes on a single charge.

20. Toyota Yaris small car – £19,164

The Yaris deservedly inches its way into our top 20. Its hybrid engine means it costs more than some rival models, but it’s a bargain to run thanks to great fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions. There’s plenty of safety features as standard and lots of room upfront.

19. Bosch KSV36NWEPG fridge – £599

The KSV36NWEPG may be a hard name to memorise, but it’s not hard to remember that it’s a phenomenal fridge. It chills quickly, keeps a steady temperature regardless of fluctuations in the room – and whatever degree you set it to, you can be confident it’s accurate. It does all this while using less energy than almost any other fridge we’ve tested and with a 286 litre capacity you can squeeze in 15 bags worth of shopping.

18. Samsung HW-A550 sound bar – £249

If your goal is purely to make your TV sound incredible, Samsung’s soundbar with sub woofer is stunning value. It’s a no-fuss model that isn’t stuffed with extra features. The most notable omission is Dolby Atmos that sends sound overhead, but it’s far from essential. A simple interface and setup with impressive audio is all you really need, and it’s here that the HW-A550 excels.

17. Sonos Roam wireless speaker – £179

Since Sonos revolutionised wireless speakers more than a decade ago with the Play:5, people have been clamouring for a battery-powered option. Sonos changed the game with speakers capable of linking up and playing the same song around your home or different tunes in every room. The Sonos Roam links in with that multiroom ethos seamlessly, but, when you go out, it can come with you. Sound is best when you’re at home on wi-fi, but with Bluetooth you’re still treated to warm, natural music. You need to charge it more than most, but it’s ideal for those knee deep in Sonos speakers or as a starting point for those who aren’t.

16. Joie Finiti pushchair – £399

With the full five stars in each of our six maneuverability tests, the Finiti is like guiding an F1 car around lampposts, kerbs, vehicles that think they own the pavement and piles of mud. It’s nimble, light, easy to fold, comfortable and safe for your little one.

15. Fairy Platinum All in One Lemon dishwasher tablets – £10

What does the beep of a finished dishwasher cycle mean to you? A rush of hot steam, the sweet smell of cleanliness and sparkling dishes, or the steam dissipating to reveal mucky, dull dishes half of which need dregs of yesterday’s tea rinsing off. These tablets give your dishwasher the best chance of succeeding.

14. Airpop Pocket Mask face mask – £25 for 4

Phone, keys, purse, face mask. In 2020, we all added a new item to the checklist of items we needed to have before leaving the house and a thin piece of cloth became one of the most important things we own. Hundreds of brands sprung up to meet demand for face coverings, but our tests found many were about as good at filtering microscopic particles as a string vest. The Airpop Pocket Mask really stood out above all others. Its three layers of spunbound polyester and nylon filter 99.9% of particles, an incredible figure that even after a few washes only drops to 94%. The extra layers don’t affect comfort and we found it easy to breathe in them. They’re recyclable, too.

13. Canon Pixma G1520 printer – £139

Way back at number 47, we showed off a £629 printer. Well, here’s the other side of the coin. The G1520 is £140 cheaper than the average printer, but can still print crisp text and a decent photo. There’s no wi-fi, but it’s one of the cheapest inkjets to run.

12. ERA Protect Alarm Kit smart alarm kit – £150

The Protect Alert Kit puts smart devices all over your home to warn you if there’s an intruder. An alarm that screws to the wall outside your home, motion detectors for corridors and contact sensors that alert you when doors or windows are opened. These all link to an app on your phone so you know instantly if something’s wrong. Everything is battery powered, which means it’s easy to install yourself giving you peace of mind in no time.

11. Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max smartphone – £1,049

Few devices are consistently as excellent as the iPhone. The latest big-screen model is impressed, unless your hands are too small for the mammoth screen. You get more than 50 hours battery on one charge.

10. Apple iPad Mini (2021) tablet – £480

Small tablets aren’t supposed to be like this. It’s 10-inch models and above that are supposed to get diamond-sharp displays and processors with more muscle than Eddie Hall. Apple thought differently. The iPad mini has an A15 chip, the same one you’ll find in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It’s like putting a jet engine in a go-kart (a beautifully-designed go-kart). It’s rare you’ll wait more than a second for anything to load. Demanding apps are no problem and you can switch between several you have on the go quick as a flash. The iOS iPad operating system has been honed to near perfection and the mini is incredibly intuitive. And that screen – 8.3 inches of searing colour and sumptuous detail. It’s a delight to look at and even takes decent pictures, a rarity on tablets.

9. Garmin Forerunner 55 smartwatch – £160

This marries the best bits of a fitness tracker and smartwatch to create an effective hybrid wearable, and for over £100 less than average smartwatch. It’s comfy, light, has a three-week battery and is laden with useful features. Read our Garmin Forerunner 55 review.

8. Bosch SMV6ZCX01G dishwasher – £799

This dishwasher cleans brilliantly with hardly a watermark when you come to unload. This would be good enough alone for a spot in our list, but the fact it uses less water and electricity than the majority of models cements its top 10 spot.

7. Ikea Tillreda microwave – £50

Do not adjust your sets, Ikea’s minimalist Tillreda really does cost just £49, far less than the average £80 price of a microwave. Low prices and high quality rarely go hand-in-hand, but the Tillreda gets the job done with the professionalism and thoroughness of a Michelin starred chef – even if it is short on flair. Food heats evenly and it does a great job steaming vegetables and fish.

6. Russell Hobbs Classic Glass Kettle – £30

With millions of us boiling water for tea, coffee or for cooking, you want something that will do it quickly and efficiently. The Russell Hobbs Classic Glass Kettle might make a racket, but it boils enough water for four drinks in just three minutes. Few rivals are as quick, and if the body wasn’t see-through we might think there was some kind of volcanic activity going on to get the water bubbling so swiftly. You can also choose to boil only enough water for one cup if you want to, which saves on energy and means this kettle is our joint top-scoring Eco Buy.

5. LG OLED55G16LA TV – £1,599

It’s difficult to know where to start with a product as accomplished as the LG OLED55G16LA. From its vantage point in your room, the G1 will shower you with picture quality that leaves you slack-jawed and sound that cradles you in sumptuous, well-balanced acoustic heaven.

4. Method laundry detergent wild lavender – £6.50

An eco-friendly laundry detergent is a noble goal but there hasn’t been one good enough to recommend – until now. The Method plant-based detergent is the result of tireless efforts and formula tweaking. It shifts grass, food and mud, and doesn’t dull the colours on favourite garments. With the environment at the forefront of our minds more than ever there’s finally a Best Buy detergent that does its best to protect it.

3. Apple MacBook Pro M1 laptop – £1,199

The M1 chip powering this laptop is more a smartphone processor than a laptop one, which had people concerned. But Apple has learnt a thing or two in the decades it’s spent at the top of the tech pyramid. Complex, demanding tasks are handled effortlessly, and even with all that power and a vibrant screen, the battery can last more than 16 hours. It feels like magic.

2. Zanussi ZWF843A2DG – washing machine – £399

We’ve tested washing machines for more than 60 years and we’re always delighted to find one as good as the ZWF843A2DG. It scores higher than the average washer, but costs almost £200 less. Clothes come out spotless and the whirlwind spin means they’re fairly dry, too. It’s not bare bones, either, with 14 programmes and sensors that adjust the wash based on load size. Accomplished, impressive and affordable.

1. Morphy Richards Clarity Soup Maker 501050 – 95%

Sometimes the Which? testers unearth unexpected treasure. That is definitely the case here. Chop the vegetables, pour them in and watch through the clear plastic body as the Clarity turns raw ingredients into something delicious. That window into your soup isn’t just a gimmick to let you gawp at the chemical wonders turning rabbit food into sumptuous soup, it’s an easy way to check the consistency. If you think the mixture is looking a little chunky, you can press a button to blend the vegetables down further for a smoother experience. Silky, lump-free soup is ready in just 21 minutes and if you prefer something to chew on then a thicker one only takes seven minutes longer.

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