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The Best Binoculars for Birds, Nature, and the Outdoors

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So, what exactly makes good binoculars? Binoculars’ optics consist of three main components that affect their performance: the ocular lenses (in the eyepiece), the objective lenses (the lenses that are farthest away from your face), and the prism, which we’ll discuss further in a bit. The ocular lens is a magnifier. So when you see binoculars’ specifications, the first number signifies how much that lens enlarges what you’re looking at. In the case of all the models we tested, that number is an eight, so you’re getting an image size eight times larger than you see with the naked eye. The objective lens gathers light; its related number—in our case, 42—indicates the diameter of that lens in millimeters. The bigger the lens, ... Read More
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The Best Cat Litter Boxes

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After narrowing the field of dozens of open litter boxes down to 10, based on price, availability and popularity, we dismissed most based on their size or design, and were left with the two we brought in to test, ultimately recommending both of them above. Here are the other boxes we tested among the other designs. Sifting boxesSifting litter boxes have a built-in plastic mesh tray to catch clumps and waste, ideally meaning that you don’t need a separate litter scoop at all. We tried two different sifting boxes, the Luuup and the ... Read More
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The Best Home-Office Furniture and Supplies

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Standing desk Our pick The Fully Jarvis Bamboo is the best value we’ve seen in a full-size standing desk for anyone who wants to alternate between sitting and standing while working. It’s the sturdiest... Read More
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The Best Carving Knife and Fork

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Left to right: Wüsthof Gourmet, Wüsthof Classic, Wüsthof Ikon, Messermeister Avanta, Messermeister Oliva, Messermeister Park Plaza, Cuisinart 3-Piece Triple Rivet, Global. There are a lot of carving sets, ranging from ultracheap to ultra-lux. To help narrow the field, we ran the options through a series of filters.Price: We set $75 or so as the limit for a functional, attractive, basic set, and aimed to find something great for less. For “special” sets—the kind you might buy as a gift—we kept $200 as a ballpark, but looked above and below. Functionality: No matter how great a knife and fork set looked on paper, if a lot of owners complained about performance and/or durability in... Read More
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The Best Growler

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Getting our growlers filled at the brewery. Photo: Ria MisraIn addition to taking our growlers along with us (carrying a rotating assortment of kombucha, beer, and sparkling wine) as we headed out on picnics, road-trips, hikes, and more, we also subjected our growlers to a series of challenges to measure them against one another. The taste testWe took our growlers to Dangerous Man brewery’s growler room to have them filled with a light Kölsch beer. After the growlers sat out for 24 hours without refrigeration (in temperatures that peaked at 88 degrees), we brought them back ... Read More
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The Best Wireless Router (for Most People)

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We talked about Apple’s AirPort Extreme and Google’s OnHub above. We’ve recommended T-Mobile’s Personal CellSpot—a rebranded Asus RT-AC68U with different firmware—for a few years, because it’s a powerful $200 router that the carrier’s subscribers can get for a $25 refundable deposit (which the carrier sometimes waives) or a payment of $100 outright. But these days we no longer think the CellSpot is worth getting—even for free—because T-Mobile is too lax about keeping the router updated with security updates and patches. Specifically, at the time we published this update in April 2016, the ... Read More
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The Best Catnip

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While Meowijuana Leaf and Flake is greener than some of the competition, a price of $16 for a bottle of just over half an ounce of catnip is far more money than you need to spend on catnip, nearly six times the price of our top pick at this writing. The blend is mostly buds, which contain seeds that add to the weight but not to the essential oil content. You should also know that although Meowijuana sells three different strains of loose catnip in pill bottles—Meowi-Waui, Kalico Kush, and Purple Passion—you cannot actually treat your cat to three distinct highs. “Our branding and packaging is the creative side of the b... Read More
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The Best Smart Garage-Door Controller

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Chamberlain’s MyQ Garage (MYQ-G0201) attaches to your garage with a bracket that you drill into the ceiling. Then you plug it into power, and it connects wirelessly to your opener via a smartphone. Our pick The Chamberlain MyQ Garage (MYQ-G0301)... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 12
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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The Best Chromecast Speaker

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Chromecast Audio is one of several competing wireless audio technologies currently being built into speakers. A Chromecast Audio product connects to your home Wi-Fi network, and streams Internet-based audio content. You select the audio program you want to hear using Chromecast-compatible apps running on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Chromecast’s main advantage over the much more common Bluetooth standard is that it lets you play the same audio on multiple speakers throughout your home, which Bluetooth generally can’t do at present. Chromecast Audio is similar to Sonos, but doesn’t support nearly as many music services. You can also play music from a p... Read More
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What Laptop Should I Buy? The Best Laptops for Every Need

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The Dell XPS 13 (non-touch) is the best Windows ultrabook for most people. It packs a beautiful screen, incredible battery life, and a solid keyboard and trackpad into a laptop smaller and lighter than Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. ... Read More
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The Best Electric Cars

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2017 Kia Soul EV: Our previous top pick, the Kia Soul EV is a comfortable, practical vehicle that provides a roomy, efficiently designed interior for carrying people and cargo. It gives you easy access, a comfortable seat height, and an easy-to-use infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as functions that help you maximize range and find nearby public chargers. Along with is corporate cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Soul EV provides the longest warranty in the segment: five years/60,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper coverage and a 10-year/100,000-mile power train warran... Read More
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The Best Qi Wireless Charger for iPhone and Android Phones

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A wireless charging pad is for anyone who owns a smartphone that supports the Qi wireless-charging standard—including the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, and the past few generations of Samsung Galaxy phones—and who would like to charge without plugging a cord into the phone itself. With a Qi charger, you just rest your phone or tablet on the charging pad to power it up. “Wireless” is a bit of a misnomer, though, because you have to plug the charging pad into a USB port or wall outlet. (“Magnetic charging” may be a better term because Qi uses magnetic coils to transfer energy and power your device, but we’ll stick with ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 15
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The Best LED Desk Lamp

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A desk lamp, or task lamp, helps to provide directional lighting and reduce eye strain when you’re working on detail-oriented tasks, such as reading, cooking, sewing, drawing, writing, and more. “Besides just creating atmosphere or ambience, a general lighting scheme doesn’t address itself to the tasks that you perform in your space, whether it’s reading or chopping … a task light allows you to focus your perception on what you’re doing,” said lighting designer Linnaea Tillett, founder of Tillett Lighting Design Associates. Having multiple, adjustable lights in offices or workspaces reduces the contrast... Read More
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The Best Sleeping Bag for Car Camping

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Top row (left to right): Marmot Yurt, Rei Siesta 30, Slumberjack Country Squire 20. Middle row (starting from the large amber model): Cabela’s Mountain Trapper, Big Agnes Hog Park 20, Wenzel Cardinal, Coleman Oak Point, L.L.Bean Camp Sleeping Bag. Bottom row: Kelty Discovery 30, Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed, Redcamp Cotton Flannel, REI Kingdom Sleep System, The North Face Dolomite 40/4. We spent six hours reading and evaluating every online review of rectangular “classic” sleeping bags that we could find. The most informative reviews were from Switchback Travel, ... Read More
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The Best Three-Row Midsize SUV

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2017 Nissan Pathfinder SV: A large, roomy interior, high towing capacity, and good gas mileage are the key draws of the Nissan Pathfinder. Its third-row seat is also one of the best in the class and is particularly easy to get in and out of. And the SV version is reasonably priced at a little under $37,000 as we configured it, which is similar to the price of our top pick, the Honda Pilot EX. However, the Pathfinder SV isn’t as comfortable to drive as the best in the class (reviewers have criticized its relatively rough ride and clumsy handling), it doesn’t offer a full suite of advanced s... Read More
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The Best Weed Grinder

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Most of the grinders we tested are made of aluminum, some are part (or all) plastic. Photo: Kyle FitzgeraldWe considered the top brands recommended by expert and amateur reviewers alike. We focused on the most popular grinder size—around two inches in diameter—and looked for three- and four-piece models that let ground material fall through into a collection chamber. Letting gravity do the collection work is easier and less time-consuming than picking weed from between sharp teeth (as you would need to with a two-piece grinder). On Amazon, bestselling and top-rated grinders that fit our initial criteria start at just $10, and it can be difficult to see the difference betw... Read More
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The Best iPad Pro Keyboard Cases

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For the 12.9-inch iPad Pro We really wanted to like Logitech’s Slim Combo for 12.9-inch iPad Pro because it ticks so many boxes for what we want to see in a great keyboard case. It has some of the best keys you’ll find, all in the right locations, along with a dedicated row of convenient iOS-function keys. The Smart Connector-powered keyboard is separate from the back case, so you can easily use the iPad on its own. A flip-out kickstand gives you a wide range of viewing angles and—one of our favorite features—if you separate the iPad from the keyboard, you can even prop up the iPad in... Read More
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The Best External Optical Drives for DVDs and Blu-rays

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We eliminated any DVD drives that cost more than $40 and any Blu-ray drives that cost more than $120, as well as any models that didn’t both read and write discs, and any that had poor or few reviews on Amazon. We also eliminated older versions of currently available drives, and we didn’t retest anything we’ve ruled out since we first published this guide in June 2013. The LG GP70NS50 burned and ripped DVDs at about the same speeds as other drives we tested in 2017, but it currently costs more than our picks, and its silver paint scratched a few times in our travels. It’s a fine drive otherwise,... Read More
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The Best Cheap Sunglasses

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Since every pair of sunglasses we tested provided the full amount of UV protection, we dismissed sunglasses based on other criteria, such as comfort, build quality, and design. All of the sunglasses we tested were 100 percent UV protective, and polarized.Despite having metal hinges, the arms on the Retro Rewind Classic Polarized Sunglasses were difficult to fold and unfold—they produced a strange, vibrating sensation and a creaking noise when we moved them—and these sunglasses typically cost more than the Gamma Ray Polarized Classic Style. Usually priced around double the cost of our top pick, the ... Read More
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The Best Jump Rope

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Our picks, from left, from Survival and Cross, Rogue, XYLsports, and EliteSRS. There are five main types of jump ropes:Licorice/freestyle ropes are typically made of PVC, nylon, or vinyl plastic cord, usually with 180-degree–attached hollow handles that are often foam-covered. A freestyle rope will have longer handles (8 inches or so as compared with about 5 inches) that can be more easily manipulated when attempting crossovers and other tricks. Licorice offers a good mix of weight plus aerodynamics, and it can be the most durable for use outdoors, all of which makes it a good choice for beginners. Speed cable ropes are made of steel wire that’s often coated with PVC and handles usuall... Read More
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The Best Lip Balm

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We looked at dozens of reviews and articles on lip balms, visited the websites of many major drugstores, and made a couple of trips to stores in person. A simple, plain lip balm will get the job done. The dermatologist we spoke to recommended a bland lip balm, since added fragrances and tingly additives have the potential to irritate. That said, some people like those qualities in a lip balm, so we looked to recommend a few different options. Lip balm should offer some sun protection (SPF 15 if you won’t be outside a lot; SPF 30 if you’re headed to the beach). “The key is to reapply often when you’re outside,” Lisa Quale, healt... Read More
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The Best Tricycles

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Our pick The Joovy TriCyCoo 4.1 The Joovy TriCyCoo works for a baby, converts quickly to a big-kid bike, and is easier and more fun for bigger kids to ride than most traditional tricycles. The Joovy TriCyCoo 4.1 is far more versatile than the shiny-red metal trike or the ground-hugging ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 7
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The Best Compression Socks for Most People

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Unlike many others we tested, Sockwell Elevation Firm Socks (women’s sizes; men’s sizes) shouldn’t bunch at the knee. In addition to offering neutral black and tan, Sockwell has versions in a few subtle patterns (for women, these are listed as Shadow Dot and Twist... Read More
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The Best Heating Pad

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A quality electric heating pad is safety-certified, quickly reaches and maintains desired temperatures, and is equipped with an auto shut-off function as well as a machine-washable cover. The Pure Relief ticks every box plus offers added comfort and conveniences such as a plush—but not excessively sweat-inducing—cover, six heat settings, a grip-friendly controller with a backlit display, and a storage bag. It’s also covered by a five-year warranty. If the Pure Relief is unavailable or jumps significantly in price, Sunbeam’s King Size XpressHeat is esse... Read More
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The Best Neti Pot

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If you want a traditional neti pot that’s easy to clean and reasonably priced, we suggest the Aromatic Salt Premium Ceramic Neti Pot. This little green vessel has a solid handle, unlike most other ceramic neti pots, so it doesn’t have secret places for microbes to hide. It’s easy to get a brush up its wide spout, and the pot is safe to go into the microwave for sterilization. Runner-up NeilMed NasaFlo Net... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 15
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1reddish brown color0.863
2beige color0.621

The Best Tabletop Radio

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Our pick Sangean WR-11 Our top pick combines an eye-catching retro design with reliable performance, solid build quality, and superb value. The Sangean WR-11 is simple by design, possessing only a volume knob, Off/FM/AM rotary selector, and a hefty, smooth-operating tuning knob beneath a large (and precise) horizontal tuning dial, which has a delightful little green light above it that lets you know when you... Read More
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Dear Wirecutter: What Adventure Duffel Bag Should My Son Bring on His Travels?

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Q: We have a son who has planned a trip to surf in the Maldives. I’d like to send him new luggage … a birthday present … before his trip. He’ll fly from LA to Dubai and then to somewhere in the Indian Ocean, change planes to a small (probably) prop plane, and then will reside on a boat for ten days. I read with interest your review this morning about luggage, but I think a duffel is better for this trip. He’ll need the length for his fins. The spear gun won’t be allowed, so puncture issues aren’t so important. The water may not require a wetsuit, but if he takes one, they’re heavy and bulky. One of our other boys uses a Patagonia bag for his mountain climbing ventures; his cramp-ons and ice picks don... Read More
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The Best Amazon Kindle Cases

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The Kindle Paperwhite is our favorite e-reader, but it has a screen that attracts scratches. Protecting the Paperwhite with the right case will save its skin from the abuses of everyday use—and might save the device entirely during a catastrophic accident. The key, though, is to incorporate that protection without adding bulk to the device’s thin and light body, and the Omoton case does just that. It also works with all three models of the Paperwhite released since 2012, as they all have identical dimensions. Runner-up ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 7
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7ash grey color0.992

The Best Wireless Mouse

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Our pick Logitech Marathon Mouse M705 The inexpensive Marathon is comfortable for a variety of hand sizes and grips, and it tracks accurately on most surfaces. At around $20, the Marathon is an excellent value, and it’s been our pick for more than three years. Its sensor tracks well on all surfaces except glass and mirrors, it connects quickl... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1recycling bin0.794
2blue color0.892

The Best First Aid Kit for Hiking and the Outdoors

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With a unique layout, clearly labeled pockets, and high-quality supplies, the Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Backpacker Kit is the best first aid kit for weekend campers and hikers. Thanks to the kit’s innovative design, you can find what you want quickly and easily. The kit is stocked with items to address common first aid needs, and it even includes a handbook to wilderness first aid for reference purposes. The Backpacker Kit has enough supplies to cover the estimated requirements of two to four people who are planning to be out for up to four days, and it easily fits into a backpack, which is why we think it’s the best option for people planning short adventures... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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3toiletry0.93
4lotion0.746
5purple color0.954
6Tyrian purple color0.878

The Best Tumbler

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Our pick Our favorite tumbler is Hydroflask’s 22-ounce. Unlike a water bottle or a thermos, a tumbler is not for tossing in a bag. It retains both heat and cold only for as long as you need to get from one place to another and lets you sip easily while on the move: it’s the ultimate commuter vessel. ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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The Best Bottle Warmers

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Our pick Kiinde Kozii The Kiinde Kozii heats bottles faster than most other warmers, and it’s one of the few that doesn’t need fresh water every time. But like most bottle warmers, it can overheat milk and has mediocre reviews. The thing that sets the Kozii apart from its competitors is that its circulating water bath heats bottles ... Read More
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Dear Wirecutter: Which Camera Is Best for Surf Photography?

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Q: Which camera would you recommend purely for filming a sport like surfing? I’m not worried about photo quality but zoom is a major factor for me, along with exceptional low-light video. I’ve been looking at the Nikon B700 and the Canon Powershot SX60 but would love to hear your thoughts. ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 11
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The Best Banana Plugs

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Our pick Monoprice 21916 Affinity Series The easy-to-install Affinity Series plugs create a dependable connection and give speaker wires a professionally finished appearance. The Monoprice 21916 Affinity Series is the one banana plug we tested that got everything right. Its dual termination screws bite firmly into large- and small-gauge wires and ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 12
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The Best Water Fountain for Cats and Dogs

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The Catit Flower Fountain was the easiest to operate because it’s simple to clean, a cinch to maintain, and very quiet. Its smooth surfaces, lack of crevices, and small number of parts made cleaning and reassembling a breeze. While not explicitly dishwasher-safe, our test unit survived a trip on the top rack, and many people who’ve reviewed it indicate that it holds up over time as well. It holds enough water that you’ll need to fill it only once or twice a week and replace the filter about every month. We also like that it runs silently, so long as it’s not running low on water. Like with almost every model we tested, the p... Read More
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The Things That Matter From Apple’s September 2017 iPhone Event

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Apple’s first keynote in the Steve Jobs theater at the company’s new headquarters didn’t hold many surprises—due in part to someone leaking most of the news in advance—but we were able to get some insight into what’s likely to matter to most people. We’ll test to confirm our thoughts as soon as we can, but read on for our take on the latest. iPhone 8 Apple introduced three new phones at its annual fall event: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. The first two phones are iterative updates to 2016’s ... Read More
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The Best TENS Unit

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Our pick TechCare Massager Plus With 20 intensity settings, a large backlit screen, and a place to store the pads and wires, this TENS unit was more comfortable and easier to use than any other we tried. The TechCare Massager Plus is easy to use and makes it hard to crank up the intensity too quickly or by accident. With 20 intensity settings and 24 modes of current pulse—more than most units we tested on b... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 7
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The Best Ways to Upgrade an iPhone

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Over the past few years, the default method of buying an iPhone has switched from carrier-subsidized two-year contracts to long-term leases, typically with the option to upgrade after about one year. This means most people are eligible to swap their old iPhone for the latest version every year. The caveats are that your current phone must be in good working order and—with most plans—at least 50 percent paid off. This guide is aimed primarily at people who are already leasing their phone from Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program or their carrier’s individual leasing program, but we also have advice on upgrading for people who own their phones outright. If you’re happy with... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 6
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5footwear0.685

The Best Trail Running Shoes

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Our pick Saucony Peregrine 7 (Women’s) The women’s Peregrine has all the same great qualities as the men’s shoe, offering cushion and excellen... Read More
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The Best Webcams

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The C920 has been around since 2012, and it doesn’t include fancy, high-end features like 4K video, 60 fps recording, or Windows Hello face authentication. But there’s still no better webcam for the basics, and price drops have only improved the C920’s value—you can usually find it for $60 or less today, a significant drop from the $100 it cost when it was released. Budget pick If you need a less-expensive option, or something you can take with you, we recommend the Logitech HD Webcam C615. Its video quality doesn’t match the C920’s—the picture isn’t as s... Read More
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The Best Soldering Irons

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The X-Tronic 3020-XTS is also the only model we tested with a digital temperature display—a feature that makes tracking and changing the temperature especially easy. While putting together our electronics-project kit, we occasionally had to wait for the X-Tronic soldering station to rebound to its set temperature, though the same was true for all of the irons we tested. At around $50, the X-Tronic is more expensive than the other options we tested, but it’s worth the investment for its steady performance and useful included accessories: a sturdy stand to hold the hot iron during use, a spool for the solder, and both a sponge and ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 12
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Dear Wirecutter: What Is the Best Water Gun for Long-Distance Water Fights?

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Q: I’m looking for a pump-to-pressurize water gun that shoots the most amount of water over the longest distance. I’m an adult, and weight and size have no impact on me—I really just want to be able to throw as much water as far as possible. If I’m wrong about pump-to-pressurize being the best, please let me know. Please advise. A: The Super Soaker CPS 2000 is widely considered the most powerful mass-produced water gun in history. Released in 1996, the CPS 2000 offered a 50-foot range and a 30-ounce-per-second output, easily outclassing any other gun available then, and t... Read More
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The Best Crib Mattresses

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Our pick Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer The firm, comfortable, easy-to-clean Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer offers the best balance of performance and price of all the crib mattresses we tested. The Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer crib mattress gets top marks across all the categories that matter most to parents. Its dual-sided design offers an extra-firm mattress for infants, which you can flip over at ... Read More
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The Best Backup Camera and Displays

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Our pick Accele RVCLPMBS The Accele camera easily mounts over your license plate and produces a nice image in every type of lighting, with good color reproduction and contrast. No matter which display we hooked the Accele RVCLPMBS up to, it provided the best image across the most lighting conditions, with good color reproduction and enough contrast and dynamic range for us to see the detail of objects behind us. It installs quickly to the top o... Read More
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The Best Voice Recorder

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Our pick Sony UX560 The Sony UX560 is an easy-to-use recorder that provides crisp, clear audio in the most-common recording situations. It recharges via USB and lets you easily transfer files to a computer. The UX560 is similar to our previous, now-discontinued pick, also from Sony. In a new round of testing in mid-2017, the UX560 received the highest overall ratings from our panel of test listeners. It produ... Read More
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The Best Exercise Ball

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Our pick TheraBand Pro Series SCP Exercise Ball This pro-recommended ball tied for the sturdiest seat and retained air the best of everything we tested, and comes in sizes suitable for people 4′8″ to 6′5″ and even taller. The TheraBand Pro Series SCP Exercise Ball required the most time and energy to inflate of all the balls we tested, but the effort paid off with an extra-supportive seat. It’s made... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 11
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1wheel0.756mechanical device, machine, wheel
2machine0.756
3mechanical device0.756
4steel blue color1

The Best Car-Camping Gear for Wheelchair Users

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It is somewhat surprising that with approximately 8.7 million Americans using a mobility device such as a wheelchair, walker, or cane in their daily lives, no single online store or brick-and-mortar outlet serves as a hub for adaptive outdoor recreation equipment. Sportaid comes close, but is by no means comprehensive. That said, you can find a number of products at traditional outdoor shops and medical-supply companies that enhance a wheelchair user’s camping experience and facilitate independence. For the sake of clarity, “wheelchair user” is used in this guide to encompass a diverse population, including: people with paraplegia or quadriplegia; people with neuromuscul... Read More
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The Best Free Menstrual Tracking App

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Our pick Clue This is one of the simplest period tracking apps, with just a couple of taps to get you up and running. It doesn’t need an email or account to use and is one of the easiest to customize. Table of contents Who this is for Periods suck. Some people have a much worse time than others, but there’s no denying that the week or so that your uterus is shedding its lining is the pits. What can make this slightly (very slightly) less horrific is technology that warns... Read More
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Dear Wirecutter: Would You Recommend Cheap True Wireless Headphones?

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Q: I want a pair of true wireless headphones, but the ones you guys recommend would be a serious splurge for me, so I’ve been checking Amazon for deals and price drops. I’ve noticed while checking Amazon that there are tons of brands out there that you guys don’t cover but are way cheaper. I know they’re sketchy, but I’m super tempted to just snag a pair because they’re so cheap. How bad of an idea is this? A: How bad an idea it is depends on your willingness to risk your money. While the low prices are appealing, it’s pretty likely that you’ll get what you pay ... Read More
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The Best Dog Beds

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The Majestic Pet Products Suede Bagel Dog Bed is a “cuddler”-style bed, a large padded mattress with raised bolsters around the perimeter that give your dog a place to lay its head—the bed looks like a big, fluffy dumpling. Its microsuede exterior feels as durable as the materials we encountered on beds costing several times as much. It’s also easy to machine-wash on the gentle cycle. You can put the versions for smaller dogs in the wash in one piece, and though you have to remove the stuffing to wash the larger sizes, we found that task (as well as to put the stuffing back in place afterward) easier to do than on most models ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 6
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1dental floss0.704
2emerald color0.707

The Best DNA Ancestry Testing Kit

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Our pick Ancestry.com Ancestry.com makes it easy to explore your ethnic origins but can’t differentiate between maternal and paternal lineages. Ancestry.com is our pick for those who want to learn about their relatively recent ethnic roots or are seeking to connect with unknown relatives. Though all of the DNA services we tested provided broadly similar results for the ethnic origins of our panel of testers, Ancestry.com did a better job than... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 9
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1appliance (gadget)0.655
2ash grey color0.676

The Best Baby Monitor

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Our pick Infant Optics DXR-8 This monitor delivered the most intuitive controls and strongest battery life, along with acceptable image quality, range, and value. Compared with competitors, the Infant Optics DXR-8 has a more intuitive, easier to use interface, and the battery life on its parent unit (aka the monitor) lasted longer than on any other video option we found. On other requirements, it delivered as well as the best monitors we tried:... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 4
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1bagpack0.888
2backpack0.676bag, backpack
3bag0.68
4gray color0.997

Deals We Love From REI’s Labor Day Sale 2017

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REI’s Labor Day clearance is one of our outdoor team’s favorite sales of the year, because of the quantity and quality of the discounts. This year’s sale runs from today through September 4 and features some great prices on many of our picks. Typically, we would just highlight a few on our Deals page, but this year we’re trying something new: This article features all the deals we found on our picks, as well as some nice prices on time-tested staff picks for gear we haven’t yet had a chance to review officially. Below you’ll find substantial discounts on everything from travel bac... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 14
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1kayak0.777vehicle, craft, watercraft, boat, small boat, kayak
2small boat0.783
3boat0.787
4watercraft0.788
5craft0.791
6vehicle0.791
7Kayaking0.687sport, Kayaking
8sport0.687
9reddish orange color0.949
10dark red color0.649

The Best Kayak for Beginners (on Flat Water)

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Our pick West Marine Pompano 120 This kayak comes equipped with just about everything a novice could want in a boat, whether they’re just paddling around a pond or venturing a few miles out to a fishing hole. The West Marine Pompano 120 is built with heavy-duty, rotomolded plastic; it offers ample dry storage; and at 12 feet in length, it paddles and tracks well enough for longer excursions, and includes just enough accessories to accommodate... Read More
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The Best Running Headphones

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Our pick Plantronics BackBeat Fit It’s tough, comfortable, and designed to let you hear your surroundings for safer jogs—that’s why the BackBeat Fit has been our pick for two years. *At the time of publishing, the price was $122. The Plantronics BackBeat Fit has been our favorite set of r... Read More
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The Best Wireless Workout Headphones

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Our pick JLab Epic2 Comfortable on every panelist, and easy to use, the Epic2 will let you focus on your reps, not on your headphones. The JLab Epic2 remains in the top spot because no other pair of wireless workout headphones performs as well where it matters. First, the Epic2 earbuds comfortably fit a wide variety of ear sizes and shapes. Second, they stay in place and remain unobtrusive even during intense, high-impact workouts. You can easily us... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 6
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1crampon0.788tool, crampon
2tool0.808
3ash grey color0.602

The Best Kids Bike Seats

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Our pick Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi No other kids seat mounts as easily or is as lightweight as this. Bonus points for a newly designed kidproof safety buckle. Of the seven rear bike seats we tested, the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi fell right in line with its beloved predecessor, the Thule Yepp Maxi—and then took it a step further. At 5.8 pounds, it’s lighter than the next lightest seat in our test pool (the Yepp Ma... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1ultramarine color0.897
2Indian red color0.695

The Best Camping Food

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Even if you manage to eat your way through our picks, we have tips on expanding your backcountry menu. We talked with a nutritionist as well as professional backpackers about what types of meals are best for what kind of trips, what to watch out for when purchasing freeze-dried meals, and how to make more economical camping-meal choices. With this guide, you’ll be well on your way to finding a meal worthy of your campsite’s views. Our pick ... Read More
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Dear Wirecutter: What Should I Pack for a Summer Music Festival?

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Q: A good friend of mine is going through a midlife crisis and has become addicted to multiday music festivals. In a few weeks I will be joining him for one that promises to be hot and crowded. Any recommendation for clothing to keep cool as well as to tote around all of the stuff a modern person needs, such as mobile devices, etc.? A: Going to a summer festival is a lot like hiking on a hot day, and the gear and clothing requirements are similar. The best piece of advice we can give is to dress for the weather and plan for the entire day. Don’t wear some cool outfit you’ve been planning if it’s going to leave you uncomfortable, sweaty, and regretting that you ever decided... Read More
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The Best Dog Nail Clippers

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The Millers Forge Professional Nail Clip is a no-nonsense tool that cuts cleanly, consistently, comfortably, and effortlessly out of the box. During our testing, it cut through dozens of bamboo skewers without losing their edge or hurting our hands, which couldn’t be said of other popular options we tested that were difficult to cut with out of the box and will only get worse as you use them. When testing our finalists on our two dogs (weighing 50 pounds and 15 pounds), we found that the Millers Forge clipper produced the quickes... Read More
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The Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

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Our pick Citi Double Cash With 2 percent cash back on every purchase, the Double Cash card is so easy to take advantage of and such a good deal that it should be the first card most people reach for. With the Citi Double Cash you have no categories to track, just 2 percent back on all your spending—half accrues when you swipe your card, and the other half comes in when you pay your bill. While promotional deals and higher bonuses in specific ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1seat0.865furniture, seat
2furniture0.826
3ash grey color0.811

The Best Infant Car Seat

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Our pick Chicco KeyFit 30 The Chicco KeyFit 30 has better overall safety scores and is easier to install, adjust, carry, and click in and out than seats that cost much more. The Chicco KeyFit 30 performs as well as or better than pricier seats and is measurably safer and easier to use than less expensive ones. Installation is generally a bigger problem for people than seat safety, and the KeyFit 30 is easier ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1radio0.641system, communication system, radio
2communication system0.644
3system0.719
4high fidelity sound system0.617audio system, high fidelity sound system
5audio system0.687
6coal black color1

The Best Drawing Tablets for Beginners

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Our pick Wacom Intuos Draw The most compatible, customizable, and precise graphics tablet beginners can get for less than $100. The Draw is Wacom’s most popular and least expensive entry-level tablet, perfect for beginner digital artists looking for a reliable graphics tablet that will last for years. And with the included Art Rage software, the Intuos Draw is an exceptional value. With a 6-by-3.7-inch active area (the area you can draw on), the Intuos Draw is a small graphics tablet that you can use on your d... Read More
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Dear Wirecutter: Do Memory Cards Affect Audio and Video Quality?

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Q: I’ve always wanted to know if different memory cards affect the audio quality in a music player (or even video quality). I had read somewhere on Head-Fi that the Samsung Evo Plus makes audio sound cleaner and more revealing than a Sandisk Class 10. So is this just an audio myth, or is there some truth to the claim? Our pick ... Read More
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The Best Bookshelf Speakers for Most Stereos

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Our pick Q Acoustics 3020 Offering great detail and soundstage in a well-designed, compact chassis, this pair sounds and looks fantastic. Multiple finishes and a matching center channel let these speakers fit into any environment or system. The Q Acoustics 3020 pair reproduces music of all genres with great detail and clarity on a wide soundstage. Despite each speaker’s compact size, the set delivers both s... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1harness0.748stable gear, harness
2stable gear0.748
3bag0.66
4dark red color0.983

The Best Basic Snorkel Set

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Our pick Cressi Palau Short Fin Set The design of this classic Palau “Onda” mask (included in the set) hasn’t changed much in 20 years—and that’s a good thing. Our top pick for most novice snorkelers is the Cressi Palau Short Fin Set. With a simple but solid mask that’s proven itself over the last two decades, a highly functional snorkel, and a short but robust set of travel-friendly fins, Cressi... Read More
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The Best Life Jacket for Most Watersports

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Our pick NRS Ion PFD This is the best all-around life jacket for paddlesport enthusiasts in search of a basic but comfortable PFD. The NRS Ion PFD is the most ergonomically designed life vest we came across. It will help keep you safe without getting in the way of your water fun. Offering everything from a zipperless entry and soft neoprene-padded shoulder straps to a fleece-lined hand-warming pouch and mini... Read More
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The Best Instant Coffee

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Mount Hagen instant coffee received a “best of the instants” rating from more of our testers than did any of the other coffees for a reason: It has a mild, smooth flavor without bitterness or too much acidity. This German-roasted instant is among the most affordable coffees we considered. It is also the only instant coffee in the lineup that’s certified to be fair trade and organic (more about what this might mean below). None of our testers found the flavor of the Mount Hagen offensive—a miracle in the instant coffee world. While Mount Hagen is not going to compete with what your local roastery can accomplish, it’s a great ... Read More
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The Best Alarm Clock

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Our pick RCA RCD30 The least expensive alarm clock we reviewed is also the easiest to operate, with minimal controls, a big, bright display, and reliable alarm features. The RCA RCD30 was the easiest to set of all the clocks we tested. Its large, dimmable display is easy to read from anywhere in a room. And its 9-volt backup battery means you can rest assured that your alarm will sound in the morning even if ... Read More
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Dear Wirecutter: What Happens to Credit Card Rewards When You Die?

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Q: My dad recently died, and his American Express account has hundreds of thousands of points on it. Is there any way to transfer these points before the account is closed? A: First off, so sorry your father passed away. I can’t imagine trying to handle the bureaucracy of credit card companies after such a loss. I wish we had a clear-cut answer to give you, but unfortunately the answer isn’t so straightforward. You probably already know there aren’t definitive answers available by doing a cursory search, so we reached out to a PR representative at American Express to get some details and clarity. For a comparison, we also contacted a representative that handles Chas... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 13
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1beige color0.996

The Best Pregnancy Pillows

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Our pick Bluestone Full Body Contour U Pillow This pillow supported the belly, back, and neck better than any other pillow, and can work in more sleeping positions (with less rearranging) than most. It costs less than others, too—but it’s just as huge. Though neither the fluffiest nor the fanciest pillow, the Bluestone did a better job at providing all-in-one neck, belly, and back support than any other pillow we tested. The relatively flat, sloped sides wedge more comfortably under a pregnant belly than thi... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1bagpack0.889
2purplish blue color0.641
3steel blue color0.638

The Best Backpacks for College and High School Students

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Our pick L.L.Bean Quad Pack Great breathability and a convenient array of pockets make the Quad great for schlepping books and electronics. It’s also big enough to work as a weekender. The Quad Pack is designed to make student life easier: Its separated laptop storage sleeve provides easy access to a computer or tablet during class or through a TSA checkpoint, and its front stash pocket is more spacious and secure than those on any of the ot... Read More
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The Best Bluetooth and Wireless Keyboards

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The Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard allows you to pair it with up to three devices and switch between them with the press of a button, a useful feature that few Bluetooth keyboards have. The keyboard is comfortable and responsive; it’s also solid enough for desktop or lap use, yet it’s small and light enough for you to slip it in a bag and use it on the go. Logitech says the K380 has up to two years of battery life with heavy use (defined as eight hours a day, five days a week), though the keyboard hasn’t existed long enough for us to test that claim. The K380’s unusual round keys can take some getting used to, and the keyboard lacks backlighting and ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 9
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1safety belt0.6restraint (chains), safety belt
2restraint (chains)0.67
3maroon color0.699

The Best Car-Camping Tent for Two People

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Our pick REI Co-op Camp Dome 4 The REI Co-op Camp Dome 4 is easy to set up and easy to take down, and the partial rain fly is strong enough to stand up to inclement weather. The REI Co-op Camp Dome 4 is a three-season, four-person tent. It’s designed to accommodate a quartet of people in the spring, summer, or fall, but we found that it was most comfortable with two or three humans plus a dog or lots of gear. Some of the other tents we tested... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 6
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1adapter0.755
2converter0.609
3coal black color0.712

The Best Thunderbolt 3 and 2 Docks

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Our pick CalDigit TS3 Smaller than the rest, but still has a full array of high-performance ports and can charge the largest USB-C–power laptops at full speed. In addition to three legacy USB ports, the TS3 includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a full-size DisplayPort port, Gigabit Ethernet, and audio in and out ports. This assortment of ports was standard across the models we tested, but the TS3 also has two eSATA connectors, which aren’t as important for most people but may be necessary for some. It comes with... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 14
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1recycling bin0.747
2charcoal color0.943
3bottle green color0.804

The Best Baby Carriers

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Our pick Beco Gemini The Gemini’s simple, versatile design can comfortably carry newborns to toddlers in more positions—on more adult body types—than most other baby carriers. The Beco Gemini is a favorite among babywearing experts for good reason: Its crossable straps fit better on both narrow and wide shoulders and small and large frames, and they make it easier to put on and adjust than many carriers with more conventional backpack-sty... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 11
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1computer0.783
2machine0.783
3window0.691electronic device, video display, window
4video display0.699
5electronic device0.7
6blue color0.707

The Best Travel Insurance

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Before buying trip protection, know that many of the common perils covered by travel insurance might already be covered by your existing health insurance or homeowners policy. And trip cancellation or delay protection is included free of charge when you pay for travel with many common credit cards. With that in mind, Travelex’s Travel Select policy came out on top in our ratings because it goes well beyond what existing policies are likely to cover and maintains an excellent user-review average from InsureMyTrip—where close to 100 percent say they would recommend it to a friend—and is an editor’s pick at ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 11
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1scanner0.712electrical device, antenna, scanner
2antenna0.715
3electrical device0.715
4ivory color0.923
5ash grey color0.686

Dear Wirecutter: Do Posture-Correcting Smart Devices Actually Work?

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Q: I, like everyone within eyeshot in my office, am currently slouched over my computer and know my neck and shoulders pitch forward when I stand. I’ve recently seen a number of posture-correction devices online, from simple mesh straps you put on under your clothes to full-on digital wearables with companion apps. Do any of these actually work? Or is there no substitute for proper stretching and conditioning? ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1portable computer0.668machine, computer, digital computer, personal computer, portable computer
2personal computer0.745
3digital computer0.755
4computer0.787
5machine0.787

The Best 15-Inch Laptops for Photo and Video Editing

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Our pick Dell XPS 15 The Dell XPS 15 has a powerful processor, one of the best 4K screens out of the box, a comfortable keyboard and trackpad, and a variety of ports. The XPS 15 configuration we recommend costs around $2,225 and has a seventh-generation 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, a 512 GB solid-state drive, and 16 GB of RAM. (You can upgrade the memory to 32 GB by simply unscrewing the bottom of the laptop.) It als... Read More
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Our Favorite Laptop Sleeves and Cases

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For accessories, style matters, but when you’re looking for a protective laptop sleeve or case, style shouldn’t come at the cost of protecting your laptop from grit and light scuffs. That’s why we considered (with one exception) only those sleeves that protected all four sides and corners of a computer when closed. We couldn’t try every size of every sleeve, or every sleeve with every computer model, but we did test each with a 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro, a 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a 2013 Chromebook Pixel, which represent fairly common laptop sizes—though many of our picks are also available in other sizes. ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 9
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1kitbag0.784bag, kitbag
2bag0.891
3charcoal color0.944
4ash grey color0.764

The Best Diaper Bag

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Our pick Skip Hop Duo Signature This popular, affordable bag makes it easier to store, organize, and access baby gear than any other bag we tested. The Skip Hop Duo Signature, at 1¾ pounds, was one of the more lightweight bags we tested, yet it felt sturdy and durable despite being shoved, tossed, and dragged around at the beach, on a 5-hour plane ride, and to the pediatrician’s office. Like the better bags we considered, it can be carried m... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 7
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1portable computer0.91machine, computer, digital computer, personal computer, portable computer
2personal computer0.925
3digital computer0.925
4computer0.972
5machine0.972
6coal black color0.941

The Best Laptops for College Students

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Our pick Asus ZenBook UX330UA The ZenBook UX330UA is thin and light, has the longest battery life of any Windows ultrabook, and is an excellent value. The ZenBook is also amazingly well-made for the price, with a powerful processor, a 1920×1080 display, and a decent webcam—we recommend the UX330UA-AH54 configuration with an Intel Core i5-7200U processor, 8 GB of memory, and a 256 GB solid-state drive. But i... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 12
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1bagpack0.627
2bag0.885
3pouch0.666
4luggage0.61
5purplish blue color0.906
6ultramarine color0.838

The Best Packing Cubes

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The three-piece Eagle Creek Pack-It Original Cube Set keeps a week’s worth of clothes organized efficiently to move easily from suitcase to hotel dresser: The full-size cube is great for shirts or insulating layers, the half cube is perfect for socks and underwear, and the quarter cube is the perfect size for travel extras like chargers, batteries, and cables. They’re made of 300-denier polyester lined with nylon so they feel nice to the touch and stay upright when empty, for easy packing. The Pack-It’s windows are made of the finest woven mesh we tested—better for resisting snags—and its smooth zippers close easily around al... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 14
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1tool0.705
2charcoal color0.773
3coal black color0.717

The Best Bike Racks and Carriers for Cars and Trucks

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Our pick Saris Bones The Saris Bones trunk rack is the best value of the models we tested, thanks to its light weight, versatile design, sturdy construction, easy storage, and affordable price. *At the time of publishing, the price was $150. The Saris Bones stood out in our testing because it’s solidly built, ultralight, easy to... Read More
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The Best Dog Collar

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We also appreciate how easy it is to adjust the Orvis collar. It’s available in a full run of sizes from small to XL to fit dogs with necks as small as 9 inches around (like a chihuahua) and as large as 26 inches around (like a great dane). Get the collar closest to your dog’s neck size, adjust such that you can comfortably fit two fingers under, and then tuck away the excess fabric under the extra buckle to ensure that there’s no loose ends to snag—no cutting required. If you want something slightly more reflective and affordable, the GoTags Embroidered Reflective Dog Collar is a good ... Read More
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The Best Treadmill

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Our pick ProForm 505 CST Our favorite treadmill has a deck long enough for most walkers and runners, goes up to 10 miles per hour, inclines to 10 percent, features a simple display, and comes with 18 interval programs. The ProForm 505 CST has all the features most people need while also being one of the least expensive treadmills that we considered. The machine goes up to 10 miles per hour, inclines up to 10 percent, and has a speedy motor that... Read More
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Dear Wirecutter: Which Rack Is Best for a Four-Bike Family?

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Q: What bike rack can you suggest for a four-bike family? A: We don’t have a specific recommendation for a four-bike rack, but you should consider a hitch- or roof-mounted rack, or a combination of different types of racks, and we have a few ideas for you. To help you get familiar with the different types, our guide to the best bike racks and carriers has a rundown of the pros and cons of each. First, if you’re considering a hitch rack but your vehicle doesn’t have a receiver hitch installed, you’ll need to get one. When we checked pricing for several cars and SUVs on the ... Read More
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The Best Smart Scales

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Our pick Nokia Body+ The most accurate scale we’ve tested, period. This model wirelessly syncs your weight and body-fat composition to an online interface, revealing weight trends that could help you meet your goals. If you want advanced features such as weight tracking on your phone and body-fat measurements—both of which our weight-loss physician source highly recommends—get the Nokia Body+. (This mode... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1reddish brown color0.702

The Best USB-C Battery Packs and Power Banks

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The Tronsmart Presto 10400mAh Type-C Battery Pack offers enough capacity to charge most smartphones three times, but it’s small enough and light enough to sit in a computer bag, backpack, or purse. You can use the USB-C port to charge your device or to recharge the pack itself, leaving the USB-A port open to charge devices that don’t use USB-C. The Presto 10400mAh is the only currently available USB-C battery that is light enough to carry every day, equipped with a fast USB-C port in and out, and sold at a reasonable price. Few USB-C Power Delivery... Read More
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1cardcase0.699
2ring-binder0.665protective covering, ring-binder
3protective covering0.665
4coal black color0.948
5charcoal color0.897

The Best USB Battery Packs and Power Banks

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TravelCard Charger This is still the most reliable credit-card-sized battery, and a staff favorite years after we first recommended it. The TravelCard can give a smartphone like an iPhone 7 or Galaxy S8 about half a full charge, it’s only 5 mm thick, and it has an integrated Lightning or Micro-USB cable. ... Read More