The experts at Consumer Reports have put together a series of gift guides. We combed through all those guides and found the best 17 top-rated products with awesome prices!
Okay, let’s start shopping by getting rid of your old burned out, crusty pans!
The eye-catching 12-piece Kenmore Arlington Metallic set stands out for its performance in the kitchen. Cooking evenness and speed of heating are top-notch, and the nonstick coating is so slick that you’ll never be stuck with egg residue in the pan. Our sauces simmered without scorching and the nonstick coating is durable, earning a Very Good rating in that test. The handles stay cool to the touch when cooking but could be more sturdy, typical of pans in this price range.
Cheapest smart speaker.
The latest Dot also features all-new styling, channeling the spherical look of its larger sibling. More important, it features better sound, and with a frequently discounted $50 price, it remains the cheapest way into the Amazon ecosystem.
The sound quality of the newest Dot still isn’t great, but our testers find it to be significantly improved over earlier versions, some of which sounded a lot like a bad telephone connection. The fourth-generation model is fine for listening to podcasts or low-level background music in a small room, but if you’re going to spend a lot of time listening to music, you might consider the more expensive but better-sounding Echo. The Dot can also serve as an inexpensive way to place smart speakers throughout your home or add smart speaker functionality to a Bluetooth speaker you already own.
Music to jam outside!
This cylindrical Bluetooth speaker from JBL earns a Best Buy designation from CR for its attractive combination of good performance and low price. It’s available in six colors and a number of patterns, including camouflage. Our testers found the sound quality to be good. Two units can be used in stereo—buy a pair and you can fill a room with better sound while still paying less than you would for mono speakers. The test team also liked the Flip’s ease of use, including its fuss-free pairing.
A comfy tablet for your couch.
At $50, the Amazon Fire 7 tablet is a great gift option, especially for kids. The 7-inch tablet lets you create profiles for individual users, tailoring home screens and app selection to each member of the family. (By contrast, Apple’s iPad supports only one user profile.) And the built-in microSD card reader is a handy, low-cost way to expand the device’s storage capacity using memory cards. Just keep in mind that the display quality is not as crisp as what you’ll find on an iPad. The processing power is more limited, too. The same goes for Amazon’s app store offerings.
Check out the easiest & healthiest way to cook!
The NuWave 37001 air fryer boasts a measured capacity of 5.8 quarts. Our experts found its electronic controls with preprogrammed settings to be among the easiest to see and use. The inside and outside of the appliance are a cinch to clean, but cleaning food out of the holes in the basket takes a little extra effort. This air fryer is on the noisy side, earning only a Good rating in our noise tests. The fan is as loud as a countertop microwave, so you’ll hear it running. The warranty is good for one year.
Coolest looking laptop.
This 12.3-inch, 2-in-1 detachable laptop is suitable for complex school or office work; however, you might notice a lag when performing media editing or playing video games. The display is bright, has wide viewing angles, and shows lifelike colors. Battery life is reasonably long at 10.5 hours in web-browsing tests, and at just 2.4 pounds, it’s lighter than typical laptops in this size category. And of course, there’s something to be said about the versatility of being able to remove the keyboard to use it like a tablet.
Bidet Attachment, isn’t it time to try a European custom at a great price?
Luxe Bidet Neo 12
According to a recent user study that CR conducted, having a bidet has been a huge relief for some people these days. For those looking for an inexpensive bidet solution, the Luxe Neo 120 bidet attachment is your best bet. It’s a bare-bones sprayer with two dials—one to turn on the water, the other to adjust water pressure.
11 inch laptop
This is a classic Chromebook: lower-end specs in exchange for a relatively inexpensive price. The model has a MediaTek processor, 4GB of memory, and 32GB of flash storage, which is similar to but slower than solid state. If you put aside the pokey performance, you may still appreciate the lengthy battery life (12 hours) and decent display quality. The Chromebook has a 2-in-1 convertible hinge, too, that lets you fold the device into “tent mode” to prop up the screen for easy slide presentation or video viewing.
CR’s test results: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3
The previous generation Echo Show 8 has an 8-inch touch screen (ideal for displaying online recipes) and responds to voice commands (useful when you’ve got messy hands). The device’s footprint is also significantly smaller than that of the Show 10, which needs a beach-ball-sized space on a countertop to provide clearance for a rotating screen. As with many smart speakers, though, the Show 8’s sound quality is somewhat lacking according to our testers, who note the model’s strident high frequencies. The most significant feature found on the newer second-gen Show 8 is the camera’s ability to “follow” you around the room on a video call, a benefit that’s likely not worth the price difference.
Now you can afford an Apple airpod.
Unlike the AirPods Pro, these second-generation AirPods don’t get high marks for sound in Consumer Reports’ testing. But there’s no denying the appeal of true wireless earphones for many Apple fans. If you buy the earbuds with the standard charging case directly from Apple, you’ll pay $160, but a number of retailers are selling them for much less.
CR’s test results: Apple AirPods (second-generation) true wireless earbuds
This 4K version of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is now priced at the same 50 percent discount we saw last Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. It offers a nice array of content and features, including voice control and support for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+. Bonuses include the ability to control it from Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo and Dot, and the included remote, which can be used to control power and volume on many TVs and sound bar speakers.
CR’s test results: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device
Complete surround sound for your TV.
This model, which appears to be a Best Buy exclusive, is a full-featured 5.1-channel sound bar that comes with two wireless rear surround speakers, plus a wireless subwoofer. It’s well priced for its features and among the better-sounding sound bars in our ratings. Samsung advertises this model as a 7.1-channel system, but it’s not. It will, however, use a feature called Q-Symphony to sync the sound bar’s speakers to a compatible Samsung TV’s speakers. It also supports DTS Virtual:X, which uses signal processing to simulate a 3D audio experience.
CR’s test results: Samsung HW-Q65T/ZA
Extend your home wifi to many rooms.
TP-Link WiFi Range Extender
Sold by$23.48In stock
A WiFi range extender can help you send the signal from your router into a dead zone in the far reaches of your home. This one delivers dual-band WiFi up to a manufacturer-claimed maximum of 750 megabits per second. Features include a mobile app for help with setup and network management; a signal-strength light that helps you find the best place for installation; and an Ethernet port, which lets you create a wireless access point or connect a game console, Blu-ray player, smart TV, or streaming player to your WiFi network.
The Victoria is one of the lowest-priced pans we’ve tested, but it browns and sears just as well as some higher-priced ones, earning top scores on both tests. But it was only so-so in our cornbread test, and scored a Fair on our heating evenness test, the lowest rating of the pans here. At 6.9 pounds, it’s lighter than many other pans in our tests.
A CR Best Buy for combining performance and an appealing price, this 10-inch nonstick pan is made of aluminum, and the nonstick coating is copper-colored. The pan turns out evenly cooked food that easily slides out. The nonstick coating proved fairly durable in our tests. The handle isn’t very sturdy, but it does stay cool to the touch.
Best deal for wireless ear buds.
Sold by$29.99Prime EligibleAmazon
Here’s a great option if you’re looking for an inexpensive true wireless model. (They don’t have a physical connection between the earpieces.) The 1More PistonBuds deliver great sound quality for the price, beating out competitors that cost far more. They have an advertised 3.5-hour battery life—fairly standard for a true wireless model—and come with a charging/carrying case that will recharge the earphones almost five times before it needs to be plugged in again. The PistonBuds feature touch controls and support for digital assistants, and they boast an owner satisfaction rating of Excellent based on our CR member survey.
Eufy 11S [it’s a robotic vacuum!].
You don’t need to shell out a grand for a good robotic vacuum. Typically selling for around $220, the Eufy 11S earns high scores in our carpet cleaning test and does even better on bare floors. Though it’s not the most efficient cleaner (testers noted that it sometimes scatters debris), it does the job, operates quietly (like many robotic vacuums), and has a cliff sensor to keep it from tumbling down stairs. This robotic vacuum isn’t WiFi-enabled, so you can’t control it remotely from a smartphone app, but that also means it can’t be hacked. Eufy robotic vacuums as a whole receive top marks for reliability, meaning this model is unlikely to break down within the next three years. Overall, CR members have been very satisfied with their Eufy models in our recent surveys. Make sure to click the on-page coupon before adding this model to your cart to get the full savings. CR’s test results: Eufy 11S robotic vacuum