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The Best Hybrid Bike

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The market for performance hybrids is huge: Nationwide surveys note that the number of people in cities large and small who take up riding to work is increasing by 7.5 percent per year, and, according to a US Department of Transportation report from 2009, 75 percent of bike commuters ride about five miles per trip. Still, we’ve found no publication, online or print, that does any kind of ... Read More
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Which Headphones Should I Get?

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Photo: Brent ButterworthOpen-back headphones are mounted in a perforated casing that allows air in, rather than closing out sounds by cupping your ear in a solid piece of material. Think of it this way: If most headphones are cans over your ears, open-back headphones are sieves. This design allows the sound coming from the headphones to mix in with the air a bit more, and some people believe that the resulting experience is more natural, open, and expansive. What are such headphones good for? Well, for one, they’re a great choice for recording engineers in situations where the... Read More
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The Best Rice Cooker

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We tested the Hamilton Beach 37508 2-to-8 cup Rice Cooker against our top pick as an option for smaller households. In our tests, the 37508 made good short-grain brown and long-grain white rice, but the rice was not as fluffy as our top pick’s. And this small cooker couldn’t yield good sushi rice. After three attempts using three different ratios, we got everything from undercooked to soggy and overblown. As for size, the smaller Hamilton Beach measures 10½″ tall and 8″ diameter, compared with our top pick at 10″ tall and 9″ diameter. The meager 6-square-inch size difference isn’t worth its sh... Read More
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The Best Insulated Vest

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Our 20 testers took 15 vests to nine states and two countries to put them to the test. From sightseeing waterfalls in Iceland to playing cornhole in Michigan, our testers evaluated these vests across different climates and different scenarios, including: Thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, a 1,200-mile-long backpacking trip from the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean in Olympic National Park through Montana, Idaho, and Washington Hiking and sightseeing in Iceland, including a visit to Gullfoss Falls Backpacking in ... Read More
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The Best Knee Brace

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Our picks, from left—Futuro, McDavid, Shock Doctor, and Bauerfeind—have similar tubular styles made from knit and neoprene. Photo: Michael HessionJust as there are dozens of knee injuries and issues, there at least that many types of knee braces and sleeves, from basic tubes to seriously tricked-out equipment with hinges, cutouts, and other joint-stabilizing mechanisms. Our experts all emphasized that if you need anything more than light knee support, your doctor or physical therapist should make a specific product recommendation or send you to a brace specialist or medical-supply retailer to choose the right one for you. Though knee bracing has been widely studied for tr... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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The Best Photo Book Service

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After more than 40 hours of research and testing, including time spent making eight photo books and consulting with a master printer on the results, we recommend Shutterfly as the best online photo book service for people who don’t use Macs. For Mac users, we recommend the cheaper, better Apple Photo Books. Last updated: December 8, 2017 In an effort to get our recommendations out in time for our... Read More
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The Best Everyday Dog Leash

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You can find an enormous number of leashes out there, many with extras such as retractable bungee sections, attached flashlights, and treat-storage bags. But in our interviews with multiple experts, we heard the same thing again and again: Ease of use and simplicity are key. “I see people come in with these leashes with all these bells and whistles, but many of those features actually cause problems,” said Shelley Smith of the San Francisco SPCA. A treat bag on your leash will bounce around and get in the way, whereas a fanny pack will hold more and be more stable, and a dangling flashlight can knock into both you and your pooch and won’t be as bright as one you carry yourself. Ellie Sadler of San Francisco Animal Care &... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
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The Best Cordless Stick Vacuum

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Dyson also sells a V7 Absolute, which has all the tools of the V8 Absolute, with the same battery life and suction as our main pick. A few variants of the V8 are available, too, including the V8 Animal (without the soft-fiber brush roll) and the brand-new, exceptionally expensive V8 Carbon Fiber with even more suction on Max mode. If any of those variants seem appealing to you, go ahead and grab the... Read More
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Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 Review: Who Needs a Smart Toothbrush?

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The only thing we truly dislike about the Genius is its price. For the added cost, you get several features we consider convenient but generally unnecessary, plus some we’ve deemed overkill. Nice but not necessary Although we, our sources, and experts all agree that different “cleaning modes” on electric toothbrushes don’t improve the cleaning process in the ways marketing claims suggest they do, some people, particularly those with sensitive gums and teeth, report finding different cleaning modes more comfortable in an electric toothbrush. The Genius offers six total cleaning modes. Like the Oral-B Pro 3000, the Genius offers automated habit tracking, even when you don’t bring your phone to the sink with... Read More
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The Best Nursing Bras

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Seamless The Cake Lingerie Rock Candy (S to XL accommodates 32B to 42F) offers double-knit yarn for strength and support, nonslip straps, and body-mapped strength panels combined with soft cup areas. But our seamless pick has features—like a higher neckline for larger busts and an extra-supportive racerback—that give it the edge over this bra. Testers liked the Ingrid & Isabel Seamless Drop Cup Back Clasp (S to XL, ac... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 7
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Are Bidets Better for You Than Toilet Paper?

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After spending weeks testing bidet seats, or washlets—devices that squirt water at your bottom after you poop—I came to one main conclusion. Using a bidet to rinse fecal matter off with water feels better and cleaner than using toilet paper. But is it actually healthier?Companies that sell bidets certainly capitalize on the idea that it is. According to the copy on bidet retailer Tushy’s website, the device “helps prevent gross butt syndrome,” which encompases “hemorrhoids, UTIs, general germy stank.” Bidet.org has a blog entry with a laundry list of furth... Read More
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The Best Full-Size Strollers

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Photo: Michelle McSwainParents and experts told us that the basic features they expect in a full-size stroller include accommodations for a newborn—especially car seat adaptability—easy pushing and maneuverability, a compact fold, and easy storage. Taking these priorities into account, we determined that a great full-size stroller should be: Usable from birth through toddlerhood: Our experts told us that the primary function of a full-size stroller is to support a child from birth until they reach 3 to 5 years of age. Dr. Heather Felton, the AAP spokesperson, said it’s important to keep infants in a ... Read More
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Our Favorite Laptop and MacBook Sleeves and Cases

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An attractive, faux-leather option at an affordable price. Photo: Michael Hession Our pick Who it’s forMost of the sleeves we tested probably wouldn’t impress a boardroom full of skeptical investors. ... Read More
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The Best Space Heaters

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The Vornado VH10 was last year’s small-room runner-up pick. It actually performed better than the Lasko, with a lower surface temperature, slightly quieter operation, faster heating, and a higher final temperature during testing. But it costs significantly more than either the Lasko or our new runner-up, the Honeywell UberHeat. It works well, and if you see it at as good a price as our picks, go for it (but historically we haven’t seen its price go that low). The Honeywell He... Read More
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The Best Hiking Boots

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Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX (in men’s and women’s): These hiking boots have all of the bells and whistles that boots can possibly have, including an excellent lacing system; securely locking lace hooks; protection that runs along the toe, sides and heel of the boot; a neoprene cap on the back of the boot to prevent dirt and water from running down; double insoles that you can wear together or apart for a more customized fit; a 3F ankle stabilizer; and highly technical ... Read More
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The Best Gear for Small Apartments

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Counter and cabinet space is usually at a premium in a small kitchen. We’ve found the best solutions involve smartly organizing shelves, utilizing wall space, and selecting smaller versions of appliances whenever possible. Shelf risers The Seville Classics Shelf expands to fill your cabinet, creating an extra row. Photo: Amadou Diallo Our pick ... Read More
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The Best Gear for Building Your Home Theater

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Our pick If a compact speaker system like the Paradigm Cinema 100 just isn’t compact enough for your space, or you don’t want to run wires across your room for each speaker, a soundbar is a good alternative for living rooms. For people who want the best audio out of a simple package, the Paradigm Soundscape is our pick for the best living room home theater soundbar. It offers the best combination of audio performance and connectivity features—including Bluetooth—of ... Read More
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The Best Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

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For the initial testing for this guide, I compiled a list of every noise-cancelling in-ear headphone model from brands I’d heard of and brands I hadn’t. As I mentioned earlier, most noise-cancelling headphones have pretty poor reviews on Amazon; I discarded those that had multiple reviews and an overall score well below 3.5 stars. The rest I called in for testing. Many of them have since been discontinued, and as such are no longer listed here. The models below are current and were either tested or not considered due to bad reviews. For this update, very few new models were released; those new models are mentioned here, as well. ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
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The Best Christmas Tree Stand

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The Krinner Tree Genie XXL. Photo: Doug Mahoney Our pick Heading into Christmas 2016, we feel the Krinner Tree Genie XXL is still the... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 4
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The Best Bluetooth Car Stereo Receiver

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Our pick The Pioneer MVH-X390BT digital media receiver, like its predecessors (and our previous top picks), the Pioneer MVH-X380BT and Pioneer MVH-X370BT, impressed us with its overall value and ease of use in comparison with competitors costing twice... Read More
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Cutting the Cord: Alternatives to Cable and Satellite TV

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For many people, the main reason to subscribe to cable or satellite is sports. (The huge licensing fees that sports leagues command, by the way, are a big reason you can’t watch sports without such a subscription—and why subscription fees are so high.) Watching live sports without cable used to be easier, but more and more sports programming has shifted from OTA broadcast to cable. For example, of 38 college-football bowl games in the 2015–2016 season, only four aired on OTA networks. Even the NCAA basketball tournament has moved its semifinal games onto cable networks. For the sports fan, watching all the important games without cable has become impossible. The good news is that the services ... Read More
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Sonos One Review: Is This the Best Smart Speaker?

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Sonos is well-known for its line of pioneering multiroom speakers, which can be placed throughout a home and connected wirelessly. Once set up they can be joined play the same music simultaneously, or split into smaller groups to play different songs throughout a home. In addition to streaming your personal digital music collection they integrate with virtually all of the most popular streaming services, including Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and others. (For a complete rundown of Sonos, see our guide to multiroom wireless speaker systems.) To control all of these moving pieces there is the So... Read More
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What Is Alexa? What Is the Amazon Echo, and Should You Get One?

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Photo: Michael Hession Our pick All Amazon Alexa devices offer essentially the same Alexa functions, but they differ in enough ways that you can’t simply substitute one for the other, or go with the cheapest. If you want music without hooking up any ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 14
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The Best Manual Razor for Most Faces

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The idea that men should remove their whiskers is one that has been around for a long time, but it also definitely goes in and out of fashion. In the United States, for example, we’ve gone through roughly three eras of facial hair. You can see this most clearly in portraits of US presidents. The first 14 American chief executives were clean-shaven. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to grow a beard, and the story is that he did so upon the urging of a little girl, who wrote: “You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin.” (That sounds like an apocryphal story, but the girl was named Grace Bedell, and her letter is on display in the Detroit Public Library.) Nine of the next ten presidents to follow Lincoln wore s... Read More
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The Best Dash Cam

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Dash cams range from tiny units without screens that hide behind the rearview mirror to models with relatively large displays and a multitude of features. Here are the key features and specs to consider when you’re shopping. Resolution and image sensor: The image quality of dash cams keeps improving. When we first published this guide in 2014, the best models had a maximum resolution of 1080p, with many models reaching only 720p. This time around, all of the models we tested could record at 1080p, with several able to capture a notably sharper 1296p and one capable of 1440p. In the higher-resolution models, we could see a clear difference in detail, and we were better able to read license plates and street signs... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 6
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The Best Waffle Maker

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The Proctor Silex Large Belgian Waffle Maker (26016A) was our former top pick, but the manufacturer has since discontinued it. If you manage to find this model, it does make great waffles in big batches for a decent price, but it doesn’t have removable plates or an audible ready signal like our new top pick, the Krups GQ502D. The Chef’sChoice Classic WafflePro 852 was our former runner-up when the Chef’sChoice 840B was unavailable. Although this model was an initial favorite in our testing, with taster... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 6
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The Best Slime-Making Kit

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The four kits we put to the test. Photo: Michael HessionSlime-making generally takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish. Kits are good for first-time slimers, as even the best kits produce only a limited amount of slime and mix-ins. A slime aficionado may be disappointed by the small size of the slime batches. We scoured major retailers such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart, as well as craft stores, toy stores, and specialty science-supply stores, for slime kits. We considered customer reviews from those retailers, and we watched many YouTube reviews of kits and recipes. The main objective of a slime kit is to make your own slime,... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 12
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The Best Baby Bouncers and Rockers

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Photo: Rozette Rago Our pick The sturdy, battery-free BabyBjörn Bouncer Balance Soft is more responsive to a baby’s movement than any other bouncer w... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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The Best Foam Rollers

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Here are just a few of the ways you can use a foam roller to work on sore hamstrings after a long hike or to release tension after a long day of sitting at the office. Here are just a few of the ways you can use a foam roller to work on sore hamstrings after a long hike or to release tension after a long day of sitting at the office. ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 12
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5charcoal color0.869

The Best Blu-ray Player

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From top: Sony BDP-S3500, Sony BDP-S5500, LG BP550 and Samsung BD-J5100. The Blu-ray player market is shrinking. Companies like Toshiba no longer manufacture players, and these days, most of any given company’s models are nearly identical. They almost all have the same progression in features as you go up in price. Base models are wired-only. The level above adds Wi-Fi, then 3D, and then you get 4K upconversion. Adding 4K usually means adding a faster processor, making the overall experience better—but not to a degree that you’d want to pay for it.Since most companies have stopped making players, it was easy to review the main models from the companies that still do: LG, Sony, and Samsung. Some other companies like Panasoni... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
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Our Favorite Paper Planners

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A weekly or daily layout can look very different from planner to planner. Photo: Michelle McSwainPaper planners encompass a broad range of options, from minimal, undated books with little formatting to neatly partitioned pages that give you space to flesh out your day, week, and year in detail. Some of the planners we looked at had no adornments or decorations inside, while others had pretty themes and swirly fonts with cheerful, motivational messages throughout. We looked at the whole spectrum and decided to make several picks in different categories. We researched dozens of brands to narrow down our testing picks, and we asked Wirecutter staffers what they would want to pay... Read More
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10gray color0.614

The Best Electric Skateboard

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Photo: Rozette Rago Upgrade pick Thanks to its intuitive controls and impressive results, the Boosted Dual+ is the bes... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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The Best Portable Headphone Amp With Built-In DAC

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With a few exceptions, all of these DAC/amp combos sound really similar, so if you are concerned about audio quality, most any of these models will work just fine. What differentiates them is the combination of features, ease of use, and price. But really, excluding a few duds, if you prefer any of these designs over our picks, and you need a DAC/amp, that’s fine—they sound pretty much the same. If you can find a good price and the device meets your needs, any of the following four models would be a safe buy: Apogee Groove: During our blind tests, the Groove sounded a bit softer in the mids and a tad more c... Read More
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The Best Air Mattress

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The SoundAsleep Dream Series mattress inflates quickly, is tall enough to easily climb onto, and it’s also pretty comfortable to sleep on (for an air mattress!). Our pick ... Read More
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The Holiday Gifts We’d Love to Give in 2017

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Photo: Michelle McSwainSori Yanagi Tea Kettle ($85) Who this is for: Give this to lovers of great design, tea, and coffee—and the pleasure of making them without a machine. Why we like it: I had been using a Le Creuset enameled tea kettle for a decade, but this summer it finally began to rust out. I can’t complain—that was 10 years of reliable service. But for my birthday, I asked my wife, Lindsay, for the ... Read More
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The Best Wireless Earbuds Under $50

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1More iBFree: Our entire panel agreed that the highs were too sizzly and the mids too recessed to make the iBFree pleasant to listen to. Additionally, the hard plastic stem on the bottom of each earbud can jab into your cheek. Anker SoundBuds Curve: While the shape of the earbuds themselves is rather comfortable, the cable that connects them is far too long and quickly becomes annoying. The sound quality doesn’t add to the appeal, with a blurry, muddy bass that sounds as if you’re sitting on a subwoof... Read More
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The Best iPhone 7/8 and 7/8 Plus Cases

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All-purpose cases The AmazonBasics Slim Case for iPhone and for Plus are cheap-feeling knockoffs of Apple’s own cases. Each one resembles Apple’s corresponding leather case, but the AmazonBasics material is nowhere near as nice to the touch, and button presses require a lot more force than with Apple’s cases. The lip on the SwitchEasy Numbers for iPhone and fo... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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Our Guide to the iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE

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Upgrade pick The iPhone X is a great phone. Heck, it’s the best phone Apple’s ever made. But we don’t think it’s the best iPhone for most people at this poin... Read More
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The Best Bathroom Rugs and Bath Mats

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We tested 17 rugs and mats in our office, and then took our favorites home to see how much we liked them after multiple showers. Photo: Michael HessionAside from door mats, bath rugs and mats rank among the highest-traffic floor coverings in the home. They get wet—and if you have kids, they may be regularly soaked through. But they also have the important job of keeping you safe from slipping and falling on wet floors. In addition to the advice we received from cleaning experts, we used our common sense in deciding the most important criteria for a good bath rug or mat: Absorbs water efficiently Dries relatively quickly Washes well (capable of withsta... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
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5reflector0.62
6beige color0.798
7sage green color0.671

Small Bathroom Ideas

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Over-the-toilet rack We like the Rebrilliant bamboo rack because it has sliding doors that hide clutter and take up less space than swinging doors. The bamboo should also hold up well in a moist bathroom. Photo: Wayfair Our pick ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 3
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The Best Surfboard, Wetsuit, and Accessories for Beginners

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When I learned to surf as a teenager in the mid-1980s, there was no such thing as a “surf instructor.” If you succumbed to the addiction of sliding down waves on a fiberglass spear, you had to endure plenty of pain, or to quote Hawaiians, “Take your lickins.” For me, those lickins’ included a fiberglass surfboard clear through the lip, a lacerated scalp, dislocated knee and shoulder, a stingray barb to the foot, and verbal sticks and stones courtesy of locals from Surfside, South Carolina, to Lake Worth, Florida—where territorial pier rats once hogtied visitors to parking meters with their ankle leashes or dropped the motors in their air-cooled VWs to the pavement. Fortunately, today’s beginner surfers face a path fr... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 7
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The Best Hand Warmer

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Zippo’s hand warmer is our consistent favorite among catalytic models. It continues to offer excellent performance, and may still be the best option for some people. But the best choice for most people, as we see it, can also turn on and off, charge a phone, work cleanly and odor-free, and still provide plenty of heat. Catalytic hand warmers generate heat by a reaction between a catalyst (in this case a platinum filament in the replaceable burner) and the fumes from lighter fluid. Catalytic hand warmers are built similarly to a common cigarette lighter. There’s a reservoir filled with batting, which you add lighter fluid to, topped by a replaceable burner, which contains a catalyst. Apply a flame to the burner to start the rea... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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The Best Precision Screwdriver

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Also great If the Maxcraft is unavailable, we also like the Husky 8-in-1 Precision Slotted and Phillips Screwdriver Set. Ergonomically, we liked it more than our main pick, but the design of the storage system increases the chances of losing a bit, which is why we gave the edge to the Maxcraft. The handle of the Husky is lightly padded, and the curved design makes it a nice tool to hold and turn. We also like that the nose of the driver is long and narrow, so in tight spots it... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
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The Best Kettlebell for Home Fitness

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If you want a kettlebell, the first question to answer is what weight you should get. If you’re getting only one, which you should as a beginner, I recommend a 16-kilogram bell for men and a 10-kilogram bell for women (get a 12 kg bell if 10 kg isn’t available). While many people recommend women starting with an 8-kilogram bell (about 16 pounds), I think that the two-handed lifts like squats and swings aren’t very well-served by that low weight. If you want to start modestly, my suggestion would be to get the 13-pound version of our budget pick and then order a larger, higher quality bell once you feel comfortable.... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 6
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4electronic device0.839
5purple color0.978

The Best 4K Monitors

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Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald Our pick The LG 27UD68P-B is the best 4K monitor for most people because of its great color and grayscale measurements, thin bezels, three-way adjustab... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 8
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1steak knife0.939tool, cutlery, knife, table knife, steak knife
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5tool0.98

The Best Steak Knife Set

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If you’ve spent more than a few minutes researching knives, you’ve likely run into a bewildering fog of jargon and technical specifications. Here’s a quick guide, which applies to steak knives, chef’s knives, and everything in between: The phrase high-carbon steel is basically marketing hype: every steel alloy used to make knives is high-carbon. You can ignore the phrase it if it’s used, and you needn’t worry if it’s not. Do note, however, that if a knife is listed only as “high-carbon” or “carbon steel,” it will easily rust. To be sure your knife is rust-resistant, make sure it is also listed as stainless. Stainless steel is steel alloyed with at lea... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 11
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5animal0.944
6light brown color0.955

The Best Dog Harness

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Most experts agree: Walking your dog with a harness is generally safer than using its collar. Photo: Rozette RagoEvery expert I spoke with agreed that walking your dog in a harness, rather than with a leash attached to a collar, is better for your pet’s health. Dr. Katherine Houpt, professor emeritus of behavioral medicine at Cornell University’s veterinary college, told us that pressure on the neck and throat during walks, especially when your dog pulls so much that it coughs, can be harmful over the long term due to pressure on the trachea, and nerves ... Read More
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Build a Bike Patch & Flat Kit

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There are a ton of details here that may or may not be useful to you, depending on how familiar you are with all this kit. If you want to know how we narrowed down the field, and how we tested each item, read on. Otherwise, feel free to skip to the next section. How we chose what to include in the kit Having the right tools for this job is the difference between a frustrating annoyance and a tolerable mini-adventure, so with the goal of making your roadside repair the latter, I began research. I first looked at Amazon’s top rated products and their user reviews. Then I consulted the usual editorial suspects, including ... Read More
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The Best Ebook Reader

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The previous version of Amazon’s Kindle Oasis was the most advanced, and the most expensive, e-reader available during our last round of testing. Its design is unique compared with that of other Kindles, as it features an asymmetrical body (0.13 inch on the thinner edge, 0.33 inch on the thicker edge) with physical page-turn buttons along one edge. It’s shorter than an iPhone 6s Plus and as wide as an iPhone SE lying on its side. In the hand, this e-reader feels shockingly tiny, and with a weight of just 131 grams—nearly 40 percent less than the weight of the Kindle Paperwhite—the Oasis is comfortable for extende... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1pot0.757
2steel blue color0.791

The Best Christmas Lights

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We concentrated our research and testing strictly on nonblinking miniature lights, the traditional, small, stranded Christmas lights with a clear or semiclear bulb and a candle shape. An article at DIY Network says that even though larger bulbs are growing in popularity, “mini lights have been by far the most popular during the past decade.” They’re the standard, and we wanted to focus on the lights that most people will be using, rather than those with a lesser following. Still, we do have some thoughts on the larger-bulb lights, and on other bulb siz... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 11
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1charcoal color0.829
2coal black color0.804

The Best Rain Pants

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We considered 39 pairs of rain pants before settling on 22 to test. Photo: Ashley CourterAfter reading many websites and reviews, we looked at the top-rated and best-selling rain pant models available on popular outdoor sites REI and Cabela’s. We also checked Amazon’s top-rated and best-selling pants, and I took a trip to REI to touch and feel some of the pants we were considering. Pull Quote If you’re hiking in rain for extended periods of time, you’ll want completely waterproof pants. We started this guide with a list of 39 top-rated models of both women’s and men’s rain pants, then narrowed that list based on the f... Read More
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The Best Folding Tables

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We put each folding table through its paces, checking for wobbling, flipping, and weight limits. Photo: Jennifer HunterAt a glance, every folding table seems the same. Look a little closer, and you’ll find a number of small details that make or break a table: Price: You can expect to pay between $40 and $70 for a 6-foot, center-folding table, and around $90 for a 6-foot, solid top table. Four-foot tables cost between $40-$50. When you pay less, you end up with cheap hardware or a weak tabletop. If you pay more, you’re entering commercial-grade territory where tables are made to withstand more abuse than most of us will put them through. Siz... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 4
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The Best LED Lantern

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When it comes to LED camping lanterns, the most important criteria is, of course, brightness, as approximated by the number of lumens put off. What are lumens? A measure of the amount of light produced. The details are complex, but the important thing to know is that a 400-lumen lantern casts roughly the same blaze as a bare 60-watt lightbulb. Pull Quote At the very least, you want it to burn bright in a forested campsite under a new moon, and then dim to a warm glow in the confines of your shared tent. “30 or 40 lumens is a nice ambient light. 80 lumens might be enough to read by in a tent. 250 lumens is definitely enough to read by or light up a picnic table,” says Stephen Regenol... Read More
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The Best Coffee Grinder

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From left to right: the Baratza Encore, Baratza Virtuoso, Porlex Mini Hand Grinder, and Capresso Infinity. Photo: Michael HessionA quality grinder will necessarily cost you at least $100, which is one reason so many coffee lovers linger in the purgatory of affordable, substandard blade-grinder-land. But a good grinder should justify the price: It should last for years with proper maintenance and be simple to operate, maintain, and clean. When these stars all line up, the return on investment (whether it’s more cups at home instead of bought out of the house, fewer crappy grinders needing to be replaced over the years, or simply higher quality of coffee) should be well worth it for... Read More
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Great Gear for Parties

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We pitted three instant spot stain removers against some DIY methods, and Shout Instant Stain Remover Wipes remain our favorite. We splotched a silk shirt with wine, coffee, lipstick, and mustard, treating the fresh stains immediately. In our tests, the Shout wipes easily outperformed the Tide to Go pen, and they were the only stain remover that eliminated almost all traces of lipstick on the collar. Since the towelettes are single-use, you won’t wind up redepositing an old stain on another piece ... Read More
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The Best Bike Pump (Handheld)

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The Crankbrothers Sterling SG has a fixed pump head at the end of its aluminum body. You can adjust the pump for low-pressure or high-pressure tires with the turn of a knob, but the two settings work only when you’re starting to pump a tire. Once a tire is about one-third full, it’s hard to tell a difference between the two modes. This pump has a built-in pressure gauge that was accurate, but it’s hard to read when you use it with wider tires. The Silca Tattico Mini-Pump is an updated version of the... Read More
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The Best Humidifier

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Functionally, the Sunpentown SU-2020 (2016 update) resembles our pick for larger spaces, the SU-4010. It differs chiefly in having a 2-gallon tank, twice the size of the SU-4010’s. Although the higher capacity is tempting, it means a full tank weighs over 16 pounds—a lot to lug around, especially if your sink is far from the humidifier. The big tank also gives it a larger footprint, 8.5 by 12.5 by 14 inches, versus 5 by 13 by 12 inches. That makes it harder to place on a bookshelf or side table—a potential problem, because elevating ultrasonic humidifiers is recommended to help the mist evaporate before ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 12
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6purple color0.658

The First Sony E-Mount Lenses You Should Buy

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The Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS is a “normal”-focal-length prime that will be sharper and better in low light than your kit lens. Our pick One of the best ways for any new photographer to hone their craft is to shoot with a prime lens whose field of view closely mimics that of human vision. Using a prime lens (one that doesn’t zoom),... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 11
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
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The First Fujifilm Lenses You Should Buy

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Our pick One of best ways for any new photographer to practice their craft is to shoot with a fast prime lens, one whose field of view closely mimics that of human vision (known as a “normal view”). Fuji’s best fast prime to start with is the $400 XF 35mm F2 R WR. A “fast” lens has a wide maximum aperture that lets in a lot of light—so rather than its actually functioning any faster, it gives you faster shutter speeds. This design allows you to get sharp photos indoors or ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1handbag0.791
2purple color0.922
3Tyrian purple color0.807

The Best Entry-Level Climbing Harnesses

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Pull Quote If the construction of the harness fails, your entire safety system can fail. The most important thing to remember about caring for a climbing harness is if the construction of the harness fails, your entire safety system can fail. So take care of it. What, exactly, does that entail? Your harness’ biggest enemies are wear-and-tear and chemicals. Regularly inspect your harnesses tie-in points and belay loop, and when you notice fraying on the outside of the webbing, it’s time to buy a new harness. At not much more than $50, investing in a new harness every couple years is more than worth the money when it comes to safety. As for chemicals, don’t toss your harn... Read More
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The Best Artificial Christmas Tree

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Photo: Michael HessionHere’s the basic fact: You can find plenty of great artifical trees these days. They come in dozens of “species” (assorted firs, spruces, redwoods, and pines); multiple heights and girths; multiple levels of realism (and many colors never seen in nature); versions that are bare-branched, or frosted or flocked with fake snow; and pre-lit and unlit variants with LED or incandescent options. For this guide, we defaulted to the most popular choices in our quest to come up with a tree that would please the most people. Our interview with the sales manager at National Tree Company yielded a few key facts about trends in the industry. The 7½-foot size is ... Read More
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The Best Women’s Base Layers and Thermal Underwear

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Photo: Rozette RagoThe term base layer often gets used interchangeably with the terms long underwear and thermal underwear, and you’ll find that people usually mean the same thing when referring to any of the three. For this guide, we looked at base layers that functioned as more than just underwear and worked as both a thermal layer and a wicking layer. That way you can stay warm whether you are working up a sweat, sitting around the campfire, or occupying that cold transition time in between. Fit and comfort are the most important factors. A good base layer should be formfitting, shouldn’t hold an odor, and should layer well under ski pants and boots ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 14
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1burlap bag0.74bag, burlap bag
2bag0.798
3beige color0.942
4olive green color0.634

The Best Men’s Base Layers and Thermal Underwear

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Photo: Rozette RagoThe term base layer often gets used interchangeably with the terms long underwear and thermal underwear, and you’ll find that people usually mean the same thing when referring to any of the three. For this guide, we looked at base layers that functioned as more than just underwear and worked as both a thermal layer and a wicking layer. That way you can stay warm whether you are working up a sweat, sitting around the campfire, or occupying that cold transition time in between. Fit and comfort are the most important factors. A good base layer should be formfitting, shouldn’t hold an odor, and should layer well under ski pants and boots ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 13
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1cutlery0.667
2tool0.671
3purplish blue color0.692
4ultramarine color0.63

The Best Pregnancy Test

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Getting pregnant is not as easy as your eighth-grade health teacher led you to believe. Besides having to have sex at the right time of the month, the egg has to get where the sperm can access it, the sperm has to randomly hit the egg within the 12- to 24-hour fertilization window, it has to get inside, then this fertilized egg has to travel back up to implant itself in the uterus. There’s a whole lot of fail that can happen at any of these steps. According to the UCSF Medical Center, about half of all fertilized eggs don’t make it to being a fetus. Either they don’t implant or don’t make it to the blastocyst stage (which is ... Read More
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5shoe0.781
6charcoal color0.606

The Best Slippers for Women and Men

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We tried a range of slippers, including those made from shearling, boiled wool, and synthetic fleece. Photo: Michael HessionThe point of a slipper is to keep your feet comfortable and warm. A good slipper needs to be breathable too, which is why the best slippers are made from natural materials. While synthetic selections made with faux fur, microsuede, or microfiber can be every bit as soft as their natural counterparts upon first touch, they breathe poorly in comparison and cause sweat and odor much more quickly. (Don’t worry: If you object to animal products of all types, we’ve got you covered—we tested vegan opt... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 4
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1electric range0.938appliance, electric range
2appliance0.941
3charcoal color0.924
4coal black color0.763

The Best Stoves and Ranges

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Photo: Whirlpool Our pick Among freestanding electric ranges, we think the Whirlpool WFE745H0F is the best option for most people. It has all the features you... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
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2timepiece0.767
3measuring instrument0.767
4ash grey color0.675

The Best Fitness Trackers

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The Garmin Vívosmart HR+, our previous top pick for this guide, is still an excellent choice unless you need or want some of the additional features delineated in our review of the Vívosport, above. However, it’s set to be discontinued by end of 2017, so if you want one, get one while you can. Also a previous pick, the Samsung Gear Fit2 is a great tracker that lists for $30 less than the Pro; just be aware that it is not waterproof for swimming and its peg-in-hole clasp isn’t as secure as the Pro’s... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1lamp0.883
2alabaster color0.992

The Best Light Therapy Lamp

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There are a few important factors to consider when shopping for a SAD lamp to ensure you receive the full therapeutic benefits of the light. Since we are not qualified or equipped to test SAD lamps for efficacy, we focused instead on how easy they are to use, how much space they take up on a tabletop, and whether they met their stated specs. We considered all the points below and selected our three top picks for hands-on comparison. Pull Quote We do not recommend using them without a physician’s guidance. First, know that the FDA does not test, approve... Read More
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4lymph cell0.604cell, white blood cell, lymph cell
5white blood cell0.605
6purple color0.939
7rose color0.608

The Best Spiralizer

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We spiralized several pounds of vegetables to test the cutting ability of the blade attachments. This one is a purple sweet potato. (Pictured above: The OXO Good Grips Spiralizer.) Video: Michael HessionAll spiralizers perform the same basic task: they cut vegetables into spiraled noodles or ribbons. Regardless of the model, they operate similarly to an oversized pencil sharpener. Though you can use a mandoline or a julienne vegetable peeler to create long strands of vegetables, only spiralizers can produce a true spiral shape. ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1gymnastic apparatus0.836
2charcoal color0.862
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The Best Hair Dryer

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Our previous top pick, the Xtava Peony, has been discontinued, so we have removed it from contention. At just under a pound, it was lighter than most dryers we tested. It also had the most comfortable handle we tried, as well as a glossy finish. The 7½-foot cord meant you didn’t have to worry about having an outlet close to your mirror. This dryer was also far more affordable than other models, and in our testing we found that it dried hair just as well as luxury dryers. The Revlon 1875 Watt Infrared Hair ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
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3measuring instrument0.98
4emerald color0.978
5blue color0.789

The Apple Watch Is the Best Smartwatch for iPhone Owners

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Photo: Nick Guy Our pick If you want a smartwatch for managing your phone notifications, tracking activity and recreational exercise, and doing the gee-whiz things you can accomplish with apps (like texting with your voice or finger, checking sports scores, creating reminders... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 12
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The Best Pet Insurance

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Our pick Trupanion has the best track record and longest history of the well-rated companies that offer comprehensive coverage at affordable rates. The policies are straightforward, offering unlimited benefits with as few catches as possible, and they cover all illnesses after just a 30-day waiting period. Trupanion doesn’t reduce coverage or benefits as your pet ages, nor does it increase premiums faster for older pets than younger ones. Deductibles are available fro... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 10
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1ash grey color0.912
2gray color0.735

The Best Air Purifier

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Particulate pollution John measured particle counts pre-, mid-, and and post-filtration, with professional-grade equipment used for atmospheric research (specifically a TSI Inc. 3080/3010 Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer and 3321 Aerodynamic Particle Sizer). The TSI Inc. 3080/3010 Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer is a specialized particle-test machine that counts individual particles as it scans across the size range from 0.01 to 0.50 micrometer. Photo: John Holecek Drawing on his 12 years of experience measuring airborne particles, John used two sources to produce a dirty, particle-filled room: Combustion from four Diamond safety matches, to create small smoke parti... Read More
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The Best Robot Vacuums

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The Roomba 960 has more cleaning power and much smarter navigation than the lower-cost bots we recommend. It also works with a smartphone app. It’s the best balance of price and performance among high-end bots. Upgrade pick If you want the best of what robot vacuums have to offer, check out the ... Read More
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The Best Bath Towel

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Macy’s Hotel Collection MicroCotton Luxe Bath Towel: It was notably soft, with a nice fluffy pile, but it wasn’t as absorbent as our main picks. It’s also been discontinued since we did our testing. Garnet Hill Signature Towel: This was a nice towel, and it comes in some great colors, but it didn’t compare to the softness and absorbency of our top pick. Snowe Bath Towel: We loo... Read More
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The Best Cat Trees for Apartments

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The Armarkat was wobblier than our budget pick. Photo: Linda LombardiWe liked the Armarkat Classic Cat Tree B2903 as a budget option for people who don’t like the aesthetics of the Go Pet Club tree, but its smaller platforms and worse stability mean it’s a worse option overall, even on a budget. Its scratching post is actually a little better than that of the Go Pet Club—the rope is more tightly attached and it’s taller, so the cat can stretch out for comfortable vertical scratching. ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 2
Item #Item NameScoreItem Classification
1Booth (Indoor)0.967
2blue color0.894

The Best Smart Hub

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Our winner, the Samsung SmartThings Hub. Our pick The Samsung SmartThings Hub is the most evolved among a number of well-rounded products already on the market. It’s competitively priced, is compatible with a ... Read More