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Written By Natasha Roy

Updated Jun 8, 2023 2:21 PM

Food storage containers—if chosen carefully—can extend the life of a restaurant meal, keep food from spoiling, and bring your lunch to the office. They’re also great for weekly meal prep if you’re trying to kick your delivery habit. Picking the best food storage containers can be tricky, thanks to a glut of options. They come in various shapes and sizes: rectangular boxes, circular bowls, and even bento boxes for entire meals. You can also choose from glass, plastic, or even metal containers. Some work better for hot versus cold meals, and others are not ideal travel companions. Choose the wrong one and you could end up with a backpack full of spaghetti and lunch from the vending machine. Here’s how to pick the best food containers for your pantry, refrigerator, or lunchbox.

How we chose the best food storage containers 

We considered dozens of models and evaluated each based on price, versatility, durability, and expert reviews. The best food containers shouldn’t leak, and their material should be best suited for the food you’re storing. For example, a glass container is great for liquids like soup because it won’t stain as easily as plastic and can be heated up directly in the microwave. Plastic containers, on the other hand, are easier to transport to work and weigh less, so they’re easier to tote. We also considered the variety within each set because even the best containers won’t get much use if they can’t handle your culinary creations—whether you’re a grillmaster or a vegetarian. 

The best food storage containers: Reviews & Recommendations

We could find the best options at every price point by considering the aforementioned factors—materials and durability—along with others, like whether the storage containers were microwave- or dishwasher-safe.

Best overall: Rubbermaid Brilliance Glass Storage Set

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Why it made the cut: This durable glass set can fulfill the needs of an entire household thanks to its smart variety, making it our pick for the best foot storage containers overall.

Specs

18 pieces

Glass containers

Freezer-, microwave-, oven, and top-rack dishwasher-safe.

Pros

Range of shapes and sizes

Can be used in both the freezer and oven

Lids are BPA-free

Cons

Glass is a little heavy

Food storage containers typically have one job: keeping leftovers fresh, but Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Glass Storage Set can be used for so much more. The solid-feeling glass containers can also be used to cook food or reheat food in both the oven and microwave. Rubbermaid offers its containers in a wide assortment of configurations, but we like the 18-piece set as it serves most needs—from reheating lasagna (worked better than we expected) to keeping small portions of herbs fresh for longer periods (another success).

Our favorite feature of these containers is their sturdy construction. Yes, the largest glass container is a little harder to move around when it’s full than a plastic one would be, but the improved durability is worth the tradeoff. The lids BPA-free plastic lids on these containers snap on at two points, while a rubber strip around each one ensures a perfect seal. This keeps oxygen from getting in (extending the life of your food) and odor from getting out. In our experience, smelly foods like fish were contained, while chopped-up vegetables lasted a few extra days before they could be used in a stir fry or eaten raw.

We’re big fans of efficiency in the kitchen, and the largest container in this collection saved us a lot of time because it doubles as a cooking vessel. While baking dishes like mac & cheese we were able to cook, serve, and stow our meal in a single container. Rubbermaid says you can safely use the glass part of these containers in temperatures up to 450 degrees fahrenheit—which covers most recipes. If you don’t mind modifying your recipes, you could even use the larger containers in this set for single-serving pies or banana bread.

Clean-up was similarly simple: soap and water in a sink did the trick. Dishwashing also worked if you have the luxury of that appliance in your place. Rubbermaid’s Brilliance Glass Storage Set is our new go-to recommendation if you want a container set ready to keep your food fresh and ready whenever you need it.

Best for meal prep: C Crest 5-Pack Glass Meal-Prep Containers

Why it made the cut: These sturdy glass containers have compartments for every part of your meal. 

Specs

5-container set

Glass

Microwave-, oven-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe

Pros

Meal prep-friendly

Leak-proof

Easy to clean

Cons

A bit heavy

Lids should be cleaned separately

These bento box-style containers are the best food storage containers for meal prepping made to keep your pre-prepared meals ready to eat all day. The larger compartment of each box can be used for an entree, while the two smaller sections can be used for sides. The design will help prevent your grapes from getting covered in salad dressing when the container gets knocked around in your bag. 

Best glass containers: FineDine 24-Piece Superior Glass Food Storage Containers Set

Why it made the cut: This is the most versatile pick on our list with a dozen containers in nine different sizes. 

Specs

24-piece set 

Glass containers

Containers are dishwasher-, freezer-, and oven-safe

Pros

Variety of sizes

Safe to transfer directly between freezer and oven

Hinged locks

Cons

Container may get hot in the microwave

Lids are not dishwasher-safe

Got a big family? This glass set has plenty of options. You get two 12-ounce, one 21.5-ounce, one 35-ounce, two 11-ounce, one 17.5-ounce, one 27-ounce, one 21.5-ounce, one 32-ounce, and two 13.5-ounce containers, and lids for all of them. The transparent borosilicate glass allows rapid temperature changes without damaging the containers. The glass material also prevents staining and lingering odors.

The varying sizes in this FineDine set mean you’ll have a container for every need. (Thanksgiving leftovers, anyone?) The leakproof lids use a hinged locking system and rubber gasket to stay sealed and avoid spills. They’re also stackable for easy cupboard storage. 

This is one of our favorite glass sets because of its ability to adapt to multiple needs, whether you need something small to bring for a post-workout meal or a large container for a dinner party. Its locking lids take away any stress of potential mess. Plus, it’s available in two colors: gray and blue.

Best plastic containers: OXO Good Grips Smart Seal Leakproof Plastic Food Storage Container Set

Why it made the cut: This set is convenient and compact. Containers can be stacked inside each other, and lids feature four locking tabs.

Specs

16-piece set 

Plastic

Microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe

Pros

Locking lids

Interchangeable lids

Compact storage

Cons

Not oven-safe

Plastic may stain

This set has one of the widest ranges of sizes on our list. From 5.7-ounce containers that can handle some grapes to a 49.6-ounce container that can hold an entire salad, OXO’s plastic storage containers have you covered. 

On a practical level, these are designed to avoid leaks. The four locking tabs on each lid secure it in place against the containers, and a silicone seal helps further lock in food and liquids. Plus, if you have OXO’s glass containers, you can use the plastic lids from this set on the same-sized containers in the glass collection. 

We like these containers because they are easy to clean, store, and transport. And, if you need more, you can pick up the 20-piece, 28-piece, or 30-piece set.

Best portable: Porzu Bento Lunch Box

Why it made the cut: This set comes with everything you need to take it out for the day—utensils, a three-compartment box, and a bag. It’s sturdy and lightweight (and, honestly, it’s really cute). 

Specs

Four-piece set (one 1400 milliliter bento box, one fork, one spoon, and one carrying bag)

Plastic

Microwave-, dishwasher-, and freezer-safe 

Pros

Includes everything you need for a meal

Durable and shockproof box

Three colors available

Cons

Multiple parts are not dishwasher- or microwave-safe

Only one box

If you need a single container to bring your lunch to and from work, this may be the only one you need. Porzu’s 5.5-inch by 8.3-inch bento box has three compartments: one sizable enough for a main dish and two for sides. The inner tray is removable, so you can have a box with just one big compartment if you want. And the spoon and fork fit neatly inside the lid.

While the outer tray, cutlery, and lid are not dishwasher- or microwave-friendly, the compartmentalized tray can be easily heated up and washed. An elastic ring and snap-on lid keep food secure and prevent mess. It’s also lightweight enough that you can put the entire box in your bag if you don’t want to carry the provided bag in addition to the rest of your belongings.

Best budget: Rubbermaid Easy Find Vented Lids Food Storage

Why it made the cut: These containers stack neatly for easy storage with minimal cabinet space. 

Specs

16-piece set (four 3-cup containers and four 5-cup containers, lids included)

Plastic

Freezer-, top-rack dishwasher, and microwave-safe

Pros

Splatter-free lid

Two size options

Durable material

Cons

Stains easily

Vent makes the lid more difficult to clean

This set of eight rectangular containers is both affordable and functional. The BPA-free plastic is safe for the microwave, freezer, and top rack of the dishwasher. The entire set weighs just over five ounces, making each container considerably lighter than a glass dish with the same capacity.

Each of the 3-cup and 5-cup containers comes with a vented lid to reduce pressure and prevent your food from exploding all over your microwave. They’re also easy to store, as the containers can be stacked together vertically, so they only occupy the size of one 5-cup container’s footprint.

Things to consider when buying food storage containers What are you eating?

The food you store will affect the material you need for your containers. For example, if you are storing liquids like soup or messier food like casseroles, a glass container will be the better option, as it doesn’t retain smells or stains. You’ll also likely be able to easily microwave the container, making it better for hot meals. On the other hand, plastic containers are great for cold or dry meals, like sandwiches and chips. They’re also lighter than glass containers, making them easier to transport on the go. 

Do you need a set?

Some people only need one or two containers for sporadic use, but if you know you’ll use a food container on a daily basis, it’s better to look for a set. When selecting one, we recommend looking for those that offer varying sizes and shapes so you can cater to as many of your household’s needs as possible. It’s also useful to find a set that can be stacked together when not in use so you can maximize your cabinet space. 

Key features to look for

Lids that lock will help prevent spills, and those with rubber seals help further prevent leakage. In addition, having a food container that can be washed in the dishwasher also helps ensure you can use it as often as possible—after all, hand washing them every day can add up to an annoying chore.

FAQs Q: What is the best container for food?

The best container for food will prevent spills and keep your meal safe. In short, it should fit into your life seamlessly. Whether you choose glass or plastic will depend on what you plan to store (when in doubt, go for glass). If you’re paranoid about leakage, look for containers with secure snap-on lids.

Q: Are plastic food containers safe?

At the least, your container should be BPA-free. From there, you can look for those that can be used with multiple kitchen appliances (for example, the freezer and/or microwave). If you’re just going to store dry food, you should be safe with a plastic container.

Q: What food container is suitable for transporting food?

Containers with secure lids can be safely transported, but if you’re looking to make a trek just a little easier, we suggest using plastic or paper containers, as they’re more lightweight than glass. Plastic containers are even better, as they often have locking lids that keep your food from spilling out.

Q: How much do food storage containers cost?

This depends on their material and the number of pieces included in the set. You can spend as little as $15 and as much as $45 based on our recommendations.

Final thoughts on the best food storage containers

There’s more to a food container than meets the eye. Our favorite set is the Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers because they can cater to many needs for either a single or multi-person household. It’s stain-resistant, comes in multiple sizes, and can be easily stored, making storing your mise en place, meals, and leftovers one less thing to worry about.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

You're reading The Best Food Storage Containers Of 2023

The Best Electrolyte Drinks Of 2023

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Written By Ashley Hubbard

Updated Apr 23, 2023 10:20 AM

Whether it’s recharging after an intense workout or hydrating the day after drinking, electrolytes can help your body recover faster and feel refreshed in no time. Consuming the best electrolyte drinks helps keep your body hydrated. Electrolytes aid your body in regulating muscle cramping and nerve signaling and even go as far as balancing your pH and keeping you hydrated—which is important for everyone from professional athletes to people who work from home.

How we chose the best electrolyte drinks

We aimed to support electrolyte drinks that are allergy-friendly and are free of most artificial ingredients such as colors, preservatives, and sweeteners. There are plenty of sports drinks out there on the market that are basically salty soda with no bubbles. That said, we also considered taste as an essential part of the equation. You’re not going to drink something that tastes bad and that’s counterproductive to staying hydrated.

The FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are placed on the market; therefore, this was not a determining factor in our selections. The PopSci staff and writers have years of experience in competitive sports and other dehydrating activities. To find the best electrolyte drinks, we surveyed and considered dozens of different options to find those that meet these standards. 

The best electrolyte drinks: Reviews & Recommendations 

While sweating from working out or playing sports may be the first thing you think about in terms of dehydration, there are, in reality, many ways to deplete these precious resources. These can include food poisoning, travel, heat, stomach flu, and even alcohol consumption. The best electrolyte drinks—which we’ve listed below—are sure to help you recover and rehydrate.

Best overall: Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel

Why it made the cut: This drink mix has a light, clean taste, and dissolves clear in water. It’s also easy on the stomach—no more gut-wrenching runs.

Specs

Diet type: Non-GMO, Free of soy, dairy, and gluten, vegan

Servings: 30 per container

Flavors: Comes in 8 flavors

Form: Powder

Pros

Easy on the stomach

Tasty

Caffeinated options available

Cons

Expensive compared to others on the list

You tend to get three options with sports drinks: taste, hydration, and easy on the stomach. However, you can only pick two. The one that hydrates the most and tastes the best may not be easy on your stomach, and so on. You get the complete triangle with Tailwind Nutrition’s Endurance Fuel. It’s, according to one of our staff writers here on the gear team, “freakin’ delicious,” and it includes electrolytes to replenish what you sweat out. Best of all, it won’t irritate your stomach while working out. It comes in eight flavors including caffeinated options, but our favorite is mandarin orange.

Best sports drink: Liquid I.V.

Why it made the cut: This electrolyte drink mix delivers an optimal ratio of nutrients that delivers hydration quickly via single-serving tubes. 

Specs

Diet type: Gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free

Servings: 16 single-serving packets

Flavors: Comes in four flavors

Form: Powder

Pros

Non-GMO and no artificial ingredients

Provides the same hydration as 2-3 bottles of water

With each purchase, they donate a serving to someone in need around the world. 

Cons

Expensive compared to others on this list

Liquid I.V. is one of the best sports drinks with electrolytes on the market, especially for athletes, which makes perfect sense since it was developed while the founder was working with a professional baseball team. After realizing there is a need for natural and effective electrolyte drinks, he partnered with nutrition scientists to create what it calls a Hydration Multiplier.

Through the science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) water and other key ingredients are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Liquid I.V. is available in four flavors: lemon-lime, passion fruit, tangerine, and acai berry. It also boasts five essential vitamins: B3, B5, B6, B12, and Vitamin C. 

With each purchase consumers make, Liquid I.V. provides hydration in disaster zones, hospitals, impoverished communities, and more in need around the world. 

Best for hangovers: Pedialyte

Why it made the cut: This electrolyte drink is medically formulated and highly recommended by medical professionals for both children and adults. 

Specs

Diet types: Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-, calorie-, sugar-free

Servings: One bottle= 3 servings

Flavors: Comes in 17 flavors

Form: Liquid

Pros

Inexpensive

Good for both kids and adults

Well-earned reputation

Lots of options including freeze pops.

Cons

“Unflavored” doesn’t mean no taste

You can get Pedialyte via liters (liquid), powder packs, and freezer pops that come in 17 flavors. However, the unflavored version is a great choice that is free of artificial colors and dyes. Some people have reported that the flavorless option still has a taste, but if you drink it cold, it tastes much better. 

Best for runners: Nuun Sport + Caffeine

Why it made the cut: Easily portable tablets quickly dissolve in a water bottle so there’s no need to lug around pre-mixed liquid. They also taste excellent.

Specs

Diet type: Dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free, kosher, vegan

Servings: 1 tube holds 10 tablets

Flavors: Four

Form: Tablet

Pros

No artificial flavoring or sweeteners

Only 1 gram of sugar

Good for travel

Cons

Contains caffeine (could be a pro or con)

Nuun has been the best electrolyte drink for runners and athletes for years. Nuun tablets contain only one gram of sugar which is derived from high-quality stevia. It also contains only 15 calories and zero artificial sweeteners or flavoring. There’s a wide variety of flavors to choose from and it’s easy to carry them practically anywhere since they’re in tablet form. All you have to do is dissolve one tablet in 16oz of water. 

While caffeine could be a con for some, studies have shown that caffeine may boost athletic performance which could help runners during training and competition. Additionally, the caffeine is derived from green tea extract. Nuun also has tablets focused on energy and immunity as well as electrolyte powder mix. 

Why it made the cut: If Gatorade is your go-to, consider this system that makes it easier to drink your favorite flavors.

Specs

Diet type: Fat- and gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan

Servings: 1 pod per serving

Flavors: Comes in 8 flavors

Form: Liquid

Pros

Less clutter than purchasing packs

Can customize flavor with water levels

Easy to use

Cons

Proprietary recycling program

Not Earth-friendly

Gatorade is one of the most well-known electrolyte drinks out there. Between hazy Saturday morning afters to middle school sports team practices, there are few people in this world who haven’t sipped on the colorful sports drink. If you’re sick of hauling packs upon packs into your home, consider Gatorade’s Gx system, which uses a special bottle and pods to quench your thirst and replenish your electrolytes. Simply fill the bottle up to the water line, pop the pod on top of the bottle, press down, and wham: Gatorade. If it’s good enough for a college football team in the 60s, it’s good enough for you. You can also purchase a 64-ounce jug if 30 ounces isn’t enough liquid to drink before, during, and after your workout.

Best for breastfeeding: Vita Coco

Why it made the cut: While many electrolyte drinks are healthier than sports drinks, coconut water is the only one on the list with one ingredient. 

Specs

Diet type: Fat- and gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan

Servings: 1 bottle = 11.1 fluid oz, 1 case = 12 bottles

Flavors: Three

Form: Liquid

Pros

Naturally occurring electrolyte source

Contains only 1 ingredient 

Delicious

Cons

Expensive

High sugar content 

There’s not an electrolyte drink that’s more natural than coconut water. As a new mother breastfeeding, you want to pay attention to what you put in your body just as you did while you were pregnant. For that reason, coconut water is the best electrolyte drink for breastfeeding mothers. 

Vita Coco is never made from concentrate. The coconuts are picked, cracked, and packed directly at the source.

Vita Coco also has coconut water options available in pineapple and peach & mango flavors if you don’t love the taste of plain coconut water. The bottles are handy and easy to keep around so you don’t have to worry about mixing up a drink to replenish when you’re already spent. 

Why it made the cut: Most electrolyte drinks have sugar, added or natural, but Hi-Lyte is one of the few with absolutely no sugar making it the best sugar-free electrolyte drink and great for diabetics or anyone watching their sugar intake. 

Specs

Diet types: Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-, calorie-, sugar-free

Servings: 48

Flavors: N/A

Form: Concentrate

Pros

Inexpensive

No sugar, carbs, or calories

No artificial ingredients

Cons

Natural salty taste

Contains zinc (important if you have zinc sensitivity)

Hi-Lyte is a liquid electrolyte drink that claims to have the highest potassium, zinc, and magnesium content amongst electrolyte concentrates on the market. This product is made with all-natural, ionic sea minerals and no maltodextrin. Ionic minerals are smaller than cell pathways which allows them to be absorbed more easily. 

Hi-Lyte notes that their product is not focused on taste and that it has a naturally salty, mineral taste. If you’re sensitive to the taste, add a squeeze of lemon or lime and a pinch of stevia. You can also add it to juice or a smoothie. 

Hi-Lyte also claims that the liquid form has four times the absorption rate versus powders and tablets. However, if you prefer powder form, Hi-Lyte does produce an electrolyte powder as well, which is ideal for traveling.

Why it made the cut: In addition to hydrating, Hydralyte + Energy Boost is formulated with vitamins and caffeine to give you a boost of energy. And with a vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free formula, this tasty addition could just replace your morning brew.

Specs

Diet type: Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-, dairy-free

Servings: 20

Flavors: Lemon-lime

Form: Powder

Pros

Includes caffeine

Only 10 calories per serving

Added benefit of vitamins

Cons

More expensive than some options

While many electrolyte drinks might be designed for rehydration post-workout, Hydralyte + Energy Boost has the added benefit of 100mg of caffeine sourced from green tea, making it the perfect pre-workout beverage. This pick is also formulated with vitamins that assist with energy metabolism (like B12 and B6), plus 225 mg of Vitamin C, 9mg of Zinc, magnesium, and potassium.

Whether you need to kickstart your morning after a night out or want a healthy burst of energy before you hit the gym, this powder formula from Hydralyte is uber-portable—just toss it in your gym bag or backpack to later mix with water for hydration on the go.

Why it made the cut: Get a quality dose of electrolytes at only $10 a box—that’s 56 cents per packet.

Specs

Diet type: non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan 

Servings: 18 single-serve packets

Flavors: Three

Form: Powder

Pros

Contains almost as many electrolytes as more expensive options on this list

Tasty

Made with natural flavors and sweeteners

Cons

On the sweeter side

If you’re broke, hungover, and need something to fill the empty vessel of your spirit, look no further than this electrolyte mix from Emergen-C. At .56 cents per serving, it’s truly the cheapest option you can get. Plus, it has just as many—if not more, in some cases—electrolytes as some of the more expensive options on this list. Even better, it comes in packets so you can take it on-the-go so you don’t throw up in public.

What to consider when buying the best electrolyte drinks

You could grab whatever you see at the store. Or, you could snag something tailored to your lifestyle. Here’s what you should know before placing that drink mix in your cart.

Ingredients

Possibly the most important is the ingredients. Check the label to see exactly what you’re getting in your electrolyte drink. There are a lot of different options and the one you choose could vary depending on what you’re looking for such as a way to help get over being sick or a way to fuel your exercise. 

Different electrolytes include sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and chloride.

The non-active ingredients are important to check, too. Some sports drinks have the electrolytes you need, but pair them with tons of added sugar, which isn’t ideal. 

Form

There are different forms in which electrolyte drinks come in. These include premixed liquid form, like Pedialyte, powder form, like Liquid I.V., and dissolvable tablets, like Nuun. Then there are also naturally occurring electrolyte drinks like coconut water. 

The type of electrolyte drinks you decide on may depend on if you need to travel with it, how much you need to carry with you easily, and also just downright preference.

Other additives

Some electrolyte drinks include extra ingredients like caffeine or Vitamin C. There are reasons why some of these extra additives may be beneficial and other reasons why some people may want to avoid them. It is generally best to keep clear of any drink high in sugar content. Consulting your doctor can’t hurt before starting any supplement, especially if it’s part of a new or particularly rigorous exercise program. 

FAQs

Electrolyte drinks can do your body good, but not everyone needs added electrolytes since your body naturally replenishes them. Generally, electrolyte drinks are great for those that are working out for a long time at high intensities, professional and competitive athletes, long-distance hikers, and so on. They are also great for when you have the stomach flu, are breastfeeding, or need to rehydrate after a long night of drinking. 

If you’re looking for the best electrolyte drinks, there are a few things to consider before making that final purchase. What ingredients do you want and which ones do you want to avoid? Do you want liquid, tablets, or powder? Do you need something easy to carry or travel with? Once you answer these questions, one of these best electrolyte drinks should work great for you.

The Best Cordless Vacuums Of 2023

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Written By Stacey L. Nash

Updated Apr 13, 2023 2:05 PM

Cordless vacuums have cleaned living rooms since the ’70s. Back then, there were well-founded concerns that these cordless wonders would never rival their corded counterparts. Today’s more powerful batteries and energy-efficient designs, however, get close and offer portability that full-size vacuums can’t beat. Innovative designs give the best cordless vacuums the power to suck it up for 20 minutes or more and offer versatile uses for cleaning cars, stairs, upholstery, and drapery. 

How we picked the best cordless vacuums

Cordless vacuums are the lightweight speed demons of the vacuum world. I evaluated them based on their combination of he following factors: 

Power: Power in watts and amps can be deceiving in vacuums because design heavily influences how much suction the motor creates. I looked for designs that enhance suction to remove tough debris like pet hair and fine dust. 

Design: The design covers everything from the motor and brush roll to the handle and emptying process. I considered how all of these worked together and looked for any design issues that consistently appeared in reviews. 

Battery life and run time: Battery life and run times vary by the settings and accessories used. Here’s where balance mattered. Batteries that kept the vacuum’s weight low—while still offering at least 20 minutes of juice—were more likely to make the list. 

The best cordless vacuums: Reviews & Recommendations

A cordless model frees you from the tether, the tyranny of an electrical cord and outlet. There’s no getting tangled, wrapped around furniture, or changing outlets while you work. Here are our top picks for cordless vacuums designed to deliver power and run time.

 Best overall: Tineco A11 Hero Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Why it made the cut: The Tineco’s combination of suction power, quiet operation, and impressive HEPA filtration made it an obvious choice for the best cordless vacuum overall.  

Specs 

Weight: approximately 5-6 pounds

Dust cup size: 0.6 liters

Conversions: 1 (to handheld)

Pros

Lightweight at approximately 5 pounds

Handy wall charger that holds additional tools

Quiet operation

Cons 

Clogging can be an issue

The Tineco A11 Hero Cordless Vacuum Cleaner brings suction power and versatility to your cleaning. The 450-watt cyclonic brushless (quiet) motor produces excellent suction. While it’s not as strong as a full-size vacuum, it makes quick work of light debris and pet hair. 

Pet owners will also find that the four-stage HEPA filtration helps contain pet dander. The filters are washable, saving you some cash on replacement filters. On the lowest setting, without the motorized brush, it can run up to 40 minutes. That run time goes down if it’s powering the brush, of course.

The Tineco vacuum also gets points for the wall storage/charger. It hangs out of the way without eating up any floor space. The charger also holds the additional tools, including the power brush, dusting brush, and crevice tool. However, the Tineco has been known to clog easily, depending on the kind of debris and the carpet length and thickness.

Best for pet hair: Shark Anti-Allergen Pet Power Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum

Why it made the cut: This Shark vacuum’s silicone powerfins and tangle-resistant brush are designed to attract pet hair without daily hair removal, making it one of the best cordless vacuums for homes with four-legged furry friends. 

Specs  

Weight: 7.17 pounds

Dust cup size: 0.32 liters

Conversions: 1 (to handheld)

Pros

Silicone powerfins attract hair and pull it from carpets

Easy-to-empty dust cup

Resists tangles and easy to remove hair

Cons

Weight distribution causes head to lift off of the ground when pulling backward 

The Shark Anti-Allergen Pet Power Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum doesn’t have the Shark Duo Clean technology, but it puts the hurt on pet hair with its silicone powerfins. The fins work in a couple of ways. First, they keep constant contact with the floor, so hair can’t escape. Second, the silicone creates a slight charge that attracts pet hair that can then get sucked into the vacuum. 

While silicone can be gentle on hardwoods, the head also has bristles. They’re soft and work well on most hardwoods, but many people are surprised that the silicone fins have bristled helpers. 

This brush design also self cleans, making it easier to manage pet hair. That doesn’t mean it’s completely tangle-proof, but you’ll deal with fewer tangles than with other models. The Shark also comes with useful accessories, like an eight-inch crevice tool, dusting brush, and pet multi-tool. 

The entire unit converts to a handheld vac that fits all of the accessories. If you’re looking for a con, the weight distribution on this vacuum doesn’t always work quite right. Some users find that when they pull it backward, the lightweight head lifts off the ground. 

Best for hardwood floors: Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Why it made the cut: Dyson enjoys a reputation for power, and the Dyson V8 doesn’t disappoint with its powerful suction, impressive maneuverability, and soft vacuum head option for hardwood floors. 

Specs

Weight: 5.75 pounds

Dust cup size: 0.53 liters

Conversions: 1 (to handheld)

Pros

Soft bristles on the hardwood attachment are gentle on delicate floors

Multiple vacuum head options provide versatile uses

Powerful suction that picks up fine dust and dirt

Cons 

Can start pulsating if it starts to get a clog

This model has good balance, adding to the maneuverability and ease of use. The Dyson can be used as a handheld vacuum for a car or stair-cleaning as well. While it has plenty of pros, the V8 has also been known to have a pulsating problem if a clog starts to form in the tube.  

Best combo: Shark WANDVAC System Stick and Handheld Vacuum Combo

Why it made the cut: A stick vac and handheld in one, the Shark WANDVAC System is both powerful and lightweight, allowing for the cleanup of floors, carpets, and furniture.

Specs

Weight: 5.9 pounds

Dust cup size: .13 quart

Conversions: 3 (to handheld, wand, full vacuum)

Pros

Operates in three modes

Effective on pet hair

Lightweight

Cons

Small suction cup

Limited battery life

Who wants to have several vacuums when you can combine them into one handy device? The Shark WANDVAC System is both a stick and handheld vacuum in one and also works in wand mode. At just shy of 6 pounds, it’s lightweight and versatile while still delivering highly efficient HyperVelocity suction. Pet owners will appreciate its brush roll, which doesn’t allow hair to wrap and is self-cleaning. The dust cup is easy to remove, and the HEPA H-10 filter is washable. The system also continuously charges on its compact corner-friendly dock (which includes an attachment storage pedestal), so it’s ready when needed. That said, the battery life is limited, so this 3-in-1 is best reserved for spot cleaning after you’ve run your robovac (such as the Shark AI Ultra Self-Empty XL shown above) and/or to get those hard-to-reach crevices.

Best handheld vacuum: BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum

Why it made the cut: The Bissell handheld vacuum is lightweight and includes a wide range of accessories that give versatile options for use, landing it a spot on our “best” list. 

Specs 

Weight: 3 pounds

Dust cup size: 0.7 liters

Conversions: 0

Pros

Large dust cup needs less emptying

Multiple head tools create versatile applications

Powerful suction for a vacuum this size

Cons

No accessory storage

The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum packs a lot into a little package. This lightweight, three-pound vacuum comes with a motorized brush tool (great for pet hair), upholstery tool, and crevice tool. They’re simple to change and turn the vacuum from an upholstery cleaner to a stair master. 

The Bissell cordless, handheld vacuum also features a larger 0.7-liter dust cup, larger than many stick vacuums. At that capacity, you won’t have to empty it nearly as often. However, the downside of this model is all those accessories. They work brilliantly, but there’s no storage for any of those extras. 

Best budget: Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum

Why it made the cut: The Shark keeps things simple but does the basics like a pro and doesn’t come with the big price tag of many of the convertible cordless models. 

Specs 

Weight: 7.5 pounds

Dust cup size: 0.64 quart

Conversions: 0

Pros

Two-speed options

Motorized brush lifts embedded pet hair

Swivel steering

Cons 

Brushroll throws debris on hard floors

The Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum skips bells and whistles like conversions and extra accessories. Instead, it’s got two speeds, one for bare floors and one for carpets and little else. The combination of suction and brush-roll power help lift pet hair from carpets. Swivel steering maneuvers around obstacles with speed and precision. However, you can’t turn the brush off, which gives it the potential to scratch delicate hardwoods. 

Things to consider before buying a cordless handheld vacuum Battery life and run time

Battery life and run time only factor in if you’ll be vacuuming a big area on one charge, like a five- or six-bedroom house. Battery life and run time won’t affect your use if the vacuum is used only for spot cleaning or spiffing up a studio apartment. 

Vacuum weight

Handheld cordless vacuums can weigh as little as one or two pounds. Stick and upright vacuums usually weigh between five and 10 pounds. If you use the vacuum on the stairs or in the car, a lower-weight model will be easier to maneuver. Suppose the vacuum stays on the same floor at all times. In that case, a little extra weight (and a more powerful battery) probably won’t affect maneuverability unless you have arthritis or weak wrists. 

Pet, car, or stairs

For car cleaning, a handheld vacuum or a cordless model that converts into a cordless vacuum offers the best portability. Models that include extra tools like a crevice tool and upholstery tool let you reach into a car’s crevices and clean seats.

A cordless vacuum’s light weight and lack of cord are definitely stair-friendly. Some convert into a stair vacuum with a short handle, so you don’t have to stoop. Handheld models are also a good option for stairs, though you’ll have to bend over more than with a stair vacuum.  

FAQs Q: What is the best cordless vacuum for the car?

The best cordless vacuum for the car has to be either the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum or the Shark Anti-Allergen Pet Power Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum when in the handheld configuration with the crevice tool. Both of these vacuums have good power and several tools to clean the varied surfaces and crevices of a car.

Q: Is Shark cordless better than Dyson?

A Shark cordless can be better than a Dyson. It depends on which models you’re comparing and what you’re using them for. Dyson typically offers more high-quality accessory options with impressive power and battery life. However, Shark’s models have large dust cups and excellent suction, especially for removing pet hair.

Q: Which cordless vacuum lasts the longest?

Cordless vacuums typically last two to three years, depending on how often and what you use the vacuum for. At that point, their batteries begin to lose power. However, models with removable and replaceable batteries may provide longer life.

Final thoughts on the best cordless vacuums

The Tineco Cordless Vacuum Cleaner gets the top spot for its high-power suction, quiet operation, and effective HEPA filtration. However, when it comes to stairs and cars, the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum’s impressive mobility and accessories let you zip through cleaning.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

The Best Weighted Blankets Of 2023

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Written By Stacey Ritzen

Updated Feb 3, 2023 8:01 AM

If you’ve tried all the usual suspects to help fall asleep at night, such as a sleep schedule, getting plenty of exercise, avoiding caffeine, and so on but are still having trouble, it may be time to invest in a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets can help reduce stress while promoting a feeling of calmness by evenly applying firm yet gentle pressure throughout the body, similar to getting a hug or swaddling a baby. And the science behind weighted blankets checks out.

The approach is called deep pressure stimulation, which uses this controlled pressure to stimulate the natural production of mood-boosting serotonin and increase melatonin levels while reducing the stress hormone cortisol. As such, many experts believe weighted blankets can improve sleep for people experiencing conditions including insomnia, anxiety, and autism.

Occupational therapists often use weighted blankets for sensory integration therapy, particularly among children and young adults who have trouble processing their senses. Simulating these senses of touch can help the patient’s brain to adapt. So if you’re also sold on the idea that these products could help you achieve optimal rest, we’ve rounded up some of the best weighted blankets on the market today to get you started.

How we selected the best weighted blankets

Weighted blankets have only been seeing mainstream popularity for the past few years since a Kickstarter campaign for a product called the Gravity Blanket raised nearly $5 million. Unfortunately, the success of the Kickstarter quickly inspired countless knockoffs, which is why it’s even more important to vet these products for exceptional quality and value. With so many inferior products on the market, we took a look at roughly 25 to 30 of the highest-rated weighted blankets before arriving at the five we chose for this guide.

One of the characteristics, in particular, that we honed in on was high-quality glass bead filling that is sewn into interior pockets so it won’t shift or even spill out of the blanket, which is common in inferior models. We also ensured that all of the products featured here use 100% cotton or bamboo fabric, except for one blanket with a reversible Sherpa and fleece cover. Most of the products listed also had removable, machine-washable covers to keep your weighted blanket clean and feeling like new for years to come.

Specs:

Fabric type: 100% cotton blanket, 100% polyester duvet cover

Weight: 20 pounds

Pros:

Even weight distribution across sections

Removable duvet cover

Seven-layer system shapes to your body

Cons:

Could be too warm for sleepers who run hot

Get better sleep with the Quility 20-Pound Weighted Blanket that wraps you in warmth and comfort, just like a hug. The gentle pressure of the micro glass bead filling should help reduce tossing and turning for even the most restless sleepers to make it through the night. The blanket’s seven-layer system shapes to your body for added comfort, with even weight distribution to balance the pressure across the quilted sections.

The 100% cotton material is designed to keep you cool. Although, some sleepers who run hot or live in warm climates may still think it’s too warm. So that’s something to consider if you fall into either of those categories. There’s also a removable duvet cover for easy cleaning, with a durable zipper and eight duvet tie-loops to keep the blanket in place. 

Best for adults: WONAP Weighted Blanket for Couples

Specs:

Fabric type: 100% bamboo

Weight: 25 pounds

Pros:

Breathable natural bamboo fabric

Four by four-inch diamond design

Cons:

Couples may find the blanket too restrictive

Best for kids: Sivio Kids Weighted Blanket

Why it made the cut: This blanket effectively simulates the hug of a mother so your child can fall asleep faster and sleep deeper and longer through the night. It’s easily one of the best weighted blankets for kids.

Specs:

Fabric type: 100% cotton

Weight: 3 pounds

Pros:

Seven-layer design prevents leakage

Fun, kid-friendly designs

Smaller pockets evenly distribute weight

Cons:

Suggested weight may be too light

Some children could use a larger size

Parents of young children with special needs or separation anxiety may find the Sivio Kids Weighted Blanket to be an absolute game-changer. This thermostabilized weighted blanket aligns naturally with your child’s body to simulate the gentle hug of a mother. Many customers who have tried nearly everything else have reported that this blanket dramatically reduces or eliminates the number of times their children get up through the night.

However, some user reviews have noted that the size and weight recommendations are too small and light. So if your child is on the higher end of the height and growth charts for their age or could benefit from the extra weight, you may want to size up out of precaution. In any case, that also ensures that you won’t have to replace the blanket in six months to a year.

Best cooling: YnM Bamboo Weighted Blanket

Specs:

Fabric type: 100% bamboo

Weight: 15 pounds

Pros:

All-natural cooling bamboo materials

Smaller inner pockets for even distribution

Cons:

Not cool enough for warm climates

Best fleece: Uttermara Sherpa Fleece Weighted Blanket

Why it made the cut: This super-soft, super comfy heavy blanket keeps you warm by forming a gentle hug along your body without bunching up or causing excess heat.

Specs:

Fabric type: Sherpa and fleece

Weight: 15 pounds

Pros:

Smooth fleece top and Sherpa reverse

Unique bead-filling technology

Eye-catching unicolor pattern

Cons:

Commercial washing only

Some users find it too heavy

The Uttermara Sherpa Fleece Weighted Blanket pairs a smooth, 220 GSM fleece top and wool-like Sherpa reverse for the softest, coziest weighted blanket money can buy. Sherpa is more resistant to fading and stain than traditional fabrics used in weighted blankets and won’t pill or shed after prolonged use. Though, on the downside, the blanket isn’t machine washable and requires commercial washing.

When choosing a size, however, one thing to note is that the fleece and Sherpa exterior may add extra weight, as some users actually find their blankets to almost be too heavy. So if you’re on the fence about which weight blanket to choose, it may be wiser to size down. Sherpa is also on the warmer side for standard weighted blankets, so it may not be ideal for those who run hot.

Things to consider before buying the best weighted blankets Size

Aside from quality, there are two primary features that you should take into consideration when deciding to purchase a weighted blanket: size and weight. As to the former point, ask yourself if you’ll be using the blanket by yourself or if you’ll be sharing with a partner. Weighted blankets do come in up to king and queen sizes to accommodate larger beds. However, weighted blankets are also not for everyone, and if your partner isn’t into the idea, you may be stuck with too large of an unwieldy blanket for just one person. 

Intended Use

Another thing to ask yourself is whether you’ll be using the blanket primarily for sleeping or lounging, and even if you’ll need a new pillow to go along with your weighted blanket. However, if your objective for a isn’t for sleeping, but as a throw while you’re watching TV or reading a book, then you could absolutely meet your needs with a smaller size.

Weight

Of course, weight is perhaps the most critical factor to consider before buying a weighted blanket. Generally, most experts suggest getting one that weighs approximately eight to 12% of your overall body weight—or an even 10% is also a good rule of thumb. Depending on what you think your needs will be, you can easily size up or down, as some people say they prefer a heavier blanket while others don’t like to be weighed down too much.

We also can’t stress enough the importance of thoroughly reading user reviews. All too often, these types of products come with shoddy construction. So it’s especially crucial to choose a weighted blanket of exceptional craftsmanship and quality, that won’t tear open at the seams and leave glass sand and dust all over your bed.

FAQs Q: Should you sleep with a weighted blanket every night?

Whether you should sleep with a weighted blanket every night boils down mostly to personal preference. Some sleep consultants suggest using these products for just 20 to 30 minutes at a time, while others recommend sleeping with them overnight. As you begin to use your blanket and test it out, you should feel what is personally the most comfortable.

Q: Do weighted blankets make you hot?

Despite often being thicker and heavier than most comforters, there is a common misconception that weighted blankets make you too hot. On the contrary, most people prone to hot flashes, overheating, or living in warm temperatures can still comfortably use weighted blankets. As a good rule of thumb, however, weighted blankets made from 100% cotton or bamboo tend to be cooler than blankets made from fleece, Sherpa, or synthetic materials.

Q: Can you wash a weighted blanket?

Washing a weighted blanket can be tricky since they are generally made with a heavier construction than most blankets or comforters, but many come with removable covers that can be washed separately. However, if your weighted blanket does not come with a removable cover, you may need to spot clean with gentle soaps, detergents, or stain removers.

Final thoughts on the best weighted blankets

The Best Beverage Coolers Of 2023

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Dan Bergstein

Written By Brandon Russell

Updated Apr 26, 2023 11:10 PM

A well-stocked beverage cooler can turn any room, garage, or basement into an upscale lounge. Not only does a dedicated fridge for drinks free up some space in the kitchen, but many dedicated bar fridges or “beverage coolers” offer features that allow you to maintain more consistent temperatures to ensure you and your guests always have a supply of icy cold beer and chilled wine. Whether you’re an IPA-lover, a burgeoning sommelier, or simply like soda, these are the best beverage coolers for your home bar.

How we chose the best beverage coolers

Brandon Russell has been writing and recommending gear for over 10 years for publications like CNN Underscored, Gear Patrol, and Popular Science. During that time, he’s recommended a number of devices for home tech, from the best energy-efficient air conditioners to the best carbon monoxide detectors.

To find the best beverage coolers, Brandon and fellow refreshment aficionado Dan Bergstein researched the best-selling models at major retailers like Amazon, Home Depot, and Best Buy. They also read editorial reviews and user impressions, using the expertise of specialty publications like chúng tôi and our sister publication, Saveur.

Why do you need a beverage cooler?

The kitchen fridge is fine for storing groceries and stashing leftovers but, unlike most beverage coolers, they don’t allow users to set the temperature precisely. Having greater control over temperature is ideal for a drinks fridge because certain beverages, whether you’re drinking beer or wine, are better if stored at specific temperatures (more on that later). For wine, specifically, a dedicated wine fridge allows you to store your bottles horizontally so that the liquid can hydrate the cork. You don’t want crumbly bits of cork in your special bottles, do you?

Space is also a serious consideration. Real estate inside the kitchen fridge is at a premium, and giving all cans and bottles a new home frees up space for that Thanksgiving turkey, a big casserole dish, or that industrial jar of mayonnaise.

The best beverage coolers: Reviews & Recommendations

Pick your beverage of choice and find the cooler that fits your home and budget. Wine drinkers will want to pay close attention to temperature controls and vibrations. Beer and non-alcoholic beverage fans can be a little less picky.

Best overall: NewAir Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: With a modern stainless steel design and the ability to store up to 126 cans, the NewAir AB-1200 is the perfect beverage fridge for hosting neighborhood gatherings.

Specs

Dimensions: 18.9 x 18.4 x 32.4 inches (WDH)

Weight: 65.9 lbs

Storage: 126 cans (12 oz)

Reversible door: Yes

Defrost type: Manual

Cooler type: Freestanding

Temperature range (Fahrenheit): 37 – 64 degrees

Pros

Ample storage for cans

Reversible door

Stainless steel design

Cons

Door can be difficult to reverse

With excellent interior capacity, seven custom temperature settings, and adjustable shelves, NewAir’s freestanding AB-1200 can chill many drinks. It features a classic glass door design, so you can see what drinks you have stored, and can chill up to 126 12-ounce cans of beer, soda, or whatever combination works best for you. The door is also reversible, giving you more flexibility when choosing where to put it.

Best undercounter: Aaobosi Beverage and Wine Cooler Dual Zone

Why it made the cut: With dual climate zones and a front-facing vent, Aaobosi’s beverage fridge fits in nicely under any bar or counter.

Specs

Dimensions: 24.4 x 22.6 x 34.2 inches (WDH)

Weight: 134.5 pounds

Storage: 18 wine bottles, 57 cans (12 oz)

Reversible door: No

Defrost type: Automatic

Cooler type: Built-in

Temperature range (Fahrenheit): 35.6 – 50 degrees (left zone), 41 – 64.4 degrees (right zone)

Pros

Dual-zone design with separate storage for cans and bottles

Separate temperature controls for each section

Stores 18 wine bottles and 57 cans

Cons

Expensive

This dual-temperature cooler is more expensive than your average bar fridge, but it’s tough to beat a two-chamber design if you love beer and wine. Keep your 18 bottles of wine a little warmer and the 57 cans of beer and beverages a little colder thanks to intuitive, programmable temp controls. It features a front-facing vent, so it’s ready for in-counter installation. For basement bars and garage lounges, this is the perfect chilly bartender-in-a-box.

Best for beer: Antarctic Star Beverage Refrigerator

Why it made the cut: With removable shelves, LED lighting, and a temperature display, the Antarctic Star Beverage Refrigerator makes it easy to chill your favorite beer at the right temperature.

Specs

Dimensions: 17.7 x 16.9 x 29.1 inches (WDH)

Weight: 44.1 pounds

Storage: 100 cans (12 oz)

Reversible door: No

Defrost type: Manual

Cooler type: Built-in

Temperature range (Fahrenheit): 40 – 61 degrees

Pros

Adjustable feet

Temperature display

Removable shelves

Cons

Door isn’t reversible

A step up from the teeny-tiny micro-fridges you see in college dorms, the Antarctic Star beverage cooler looks cool and keeps your beer cold. Storing about 100 cans or 24 wine bottles, it features adjustable temperature controls with an easy-to-read display. The shelves are removable, making it easy to convert it from a beer fridge to a wine fridge if you want (or make room for 2-liter bottles of soda). It’s also surprisingly quiet and doesn’t rattle. Throw in a lock and blue LED lighting for ambiance, and you’ve got a swanky little bar fridge.

Best for wine: Ivation Compressor Wine Cooler

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Ivation Wine Cooler features a UV-resistant glass door and a lock to protect your collection.

Specs

Dimensions: 13.5 x 17.7 x 30.3 inches (WDH)

Weight: 43 pounds

Storage: 18 bottles

Reversible door: No

Defrost type: Automatic

Cooler type: Freestanding

Temperature range (Fahrenheit): 41 – 64 degrees

Pros

UV-resistant glass door

Door lock

Sleek design

Cons

Door isn’t reversible

For storing wine, the Ivation wine cooler is the next best thing to having your own wine cellar. The 31-inch chest stores up to 12 bottles of wine in an easy-to-control cooler that you can set to the perfect temperature. Its tinted glass door protects aging bottles against UV light, and its quiet, vibration-free operation won’t disturb them. The lock keeps your prized bottles safe and secure. When it’s time to drink, the soft interior light won’t blind you when you open the door like a kitchen fridge. It’s the best wine cooler for both sophisticated drinkers and those who toss back glasses of grocery-store wine.

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The NewAir Mini-Fridge can store up to 60 cans and features adjustable shelves for the ultimate dorm-room accessory.

Specs

Dimensions: 18.9 x 16.7 x 19.7 inches (WDH)

Weight: 45 pounds

Storage: 60 cans (12 oz)

Reversible door: No

Defrost type: Manual

Cooler type: Freestanding

Temperature range (Fahrenheit): 37 – 64 degrees

Pros

Compact size

Sleek design

Great storage capacity for its size

Cons

No light in the fridge

NewAir’s mini-fridge is the perfect beverage cooler for dorm rooms and offices. It features a glass door (so you can easily admire your collection), enough space for 60 (12-ounce) cans, and an adjustable temperature from 37 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit. The fridge’s shelves are also adjustable to chill any combination of tallboys (16-ounce cans) and regular 12-ounce cans. If you want the “true” college experience, you must have a mini-fridge in your dorm, and the NewAir is tough to beat.

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Frigidaire EFMIS129-RED Mini Portable Fridge is small, affordable, and the perfect option for an office or dorm room.

Specs

Dimensions: 7 x 10 x 10 inches (WDH)

Weight: 3 pounds

Storage: 6 cans (12 oz)

Reversible door: No

Defrost type: Automatic

Cooler type: Freestanding

Temperature range (Fahrenheit): Up to 32 degrees below ambient temperature

Pros

Affordable

Vintage design

Small but can still chill six cans

Cons

Won’t make your drinks super cold

The personal Frigidaire is more a mini-fridge than a “beverage cooler.” It doesn’t offer precise temperature controls and, in fact, only chills its six-can compartment by 20 degrees. For less than $40, it’s a compact, stylish little fridge to ensure you always have a soda handy at work or in a dorm room. If you don’t need to blast-chill your beverage, this is a handy and eye-catching little cooler that will do an adequate job.

Things to look for in the best beverage coolers

A dedicated beverage fridge should be easy to control, easy to access, and small enough to fit in most spaces. Before adding one to your space, you should also know what you plan to drink, as there are fridges optimized for beer or wine. Knowing what you want to store will also help you navigate the logistical differences between beverage coolers, including their sizes, shapes, and cooling systems. Here’s what you need to know to pick the best beverage cooler for any home.

What are we drinking?

You have a few options for a beverage fridge, including models designed for wine, beer, or both. Wine coolers–the appliances, not the cocktails, are better at holding bottles and often include specific features for keeping your collection at an optimal 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you’re looking to all-in on beer, you’ll need something more flexible. The ideal temperature for your fridge will change depending on the type of beer you bring home. Beer connoisseurs will often argue about the right beer temperature but, generally speaking, a can or bottle of beer should be warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below 55 degrees. Some manufacturers will make a recommendation right on the bottle or can.

If you’re thirsty for beer and wine—and maybe some other stuff, like a soda, or a bottle of water—you’ll want a beverage cooler that accommodates all kinds of beverages. These dual-unit fridges tend to be larger, especially those that feature a storage compartment for wine bottles and one for beer (and other things). On the plus side, a high-end dual-unit beverage cooler may have separate temperature control for each section.

Size and venting

Most beverage coolers are designed for convenience and can fit into tight spaces. A smaller 18- by 19- by 18-inch cooler (WDH) with 1.5 cubic feet of interior space can comfortably hold 60 cans or 17 bottles of wine. A mid-sized 24-inch beverage cooler can hold 120 cans and more than 30 bottles of wine. Remember, though, that your appliance gets dramatically heavier and harder to move as it gets bigger.

Freestanding bar fridges can live anywhere you put them, but there’s a certain appeal to installing a fridge to live under a counter or bar. If you choose to install a beverage cooler, make sure to buy one that’s meant for that purpose. Built-in beverage coolers can slide under bars or into tight cabinetry because they have front-facing vent channels that release heat out of the front. By contrast, most freestanding coolers direct their heat to blow out the back. If there’s no room in the back for air circulation, your fridge will overheat and break, so make sure you have an installation plan before bringing a fridge home.

Noise and vibration

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a whisper produces about 30 decibels (dB) of sound. The compressor of a beverage fridge can generate about 40 dB. While that may not sound like a lot, the humming may be distracting if you put a beverage cooler in a quiet office, bedroom, or home theater. By 70 dB, ambient noise starts actively annoying us.

Wine drinkers may also want to pay attention to vibrations caused by a louder than normal fridge. It may alter the taste if the fridge kicks up enough wiggle and wobble to disturb the sediment in a bottle of wine. While this won’t be a deal breaker for most beverage cooler customers, those looking for a dedicated wine fridge will want a quiet unit that sits still.

Extras

While we primarily value storage capacity, noise, and defrost type, we also appreciate beverage coolers that offer additional features like reversible doors and safety locks. You can install a reversible door to open to the left or right, giving you more flexibility when finding a place to put it. A safety lock, or child lock, allows you to lock your beverage fridge so nobody raids the beer and wine fridge when you aren’t around.

Finally, beverage coolers feature different defrosting options. A self-defrosting unit requires less maintenance, as heat coils within the fridge occasionally melt away the icy buildup. A manual model needs to be defrosted when the buildup becomes about 1/4-inch thick. You must either chip away at the ice with a tool or let it sit until it melts. We don’t consider automatic defrosting a must-have feature, but it’s definitely convenient. Be aware, however, that models that offer it are more expensive.

FAQs

There are multiple ways to keep your drinks cold. Wine coolers ensure your reds and whites never get too cold or too warm. A beer cooler provides quick access to well-chilled cans and bottles. And dual-temperature coolers give you the best of both worlds. Be aware of the noise level and keep an eye on your budget. And if you plan to place the cooler under a cabinet or against a wall, make sure the compressor has room to breathe. With that in mind, you’re ready to transform your kitchen, den, or garage into the neighborhood’s hot (and cold) spot.

Why trust Popular Science

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now. 

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio, to video games, to cameras, and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to. 

The Best Beach Umbrellas Of 2023

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Written By PopSci Commerce Team

Updated Apr 28, 2023 5:44 PM

Picture this: you’re relaxing on the beach with your feet in the warm sand and a cold drink in your hand, nary a care in the world. Is it because you have your own private beach? No, it’s something far more affordable: a beach umbrella. With one purchase you can establish your own personal oasis, sheltered from oppressive heat and potential harm. The best beach umbrella provides you an epic sunshade that’s easy to unfurl and that won’t blow away on windy beach days. Whether you’re riding solo or bringing family or friends to enjoy a day at the shore, we’ve selected the best beach umbrellas that will soon become part of your fun-in-the-sun essentials.

The best beach umbrellas: Reviews & Recommendations Best heavy-duty: OutdoorMaster Beach Umbrella

The OutdoorMaster Beach heavy-duty umbrella is easy to carry, set up, break down, and adjust with the two-way rotation tilt mechanism. The pole base includes a twist anchor and a small metal crossbar to hold as you dig it into the sand. If needed, you can attach the sandbag with metal hooks to create an extra sturdy base. The umbrella is made with 160g polyester that contains a layer of PU silver coating, which offers better UV protection, while the fiberglass pole is corrosion-resistant, so you can relax under this umbrella summer after summer. 

Offered in two sizes, this chair umbrella’s UPF 50+ UV protection blocks 99.5 percent of the sun’s harsh UVA and UVB rays. Available in eight fun prints and colors, this umbrella uses a universal clamp that can attach to both square and tubular surfaces so you can carry and attach it to your seat no matter where you go! With two push-button hinges, you can easily adjust the umbrella to any angle to block out the sun. There is a carrying case included for easy transport and storage. 

Best for wind: Abba Patio Beach Umbrella with Sand Anchor

This beach umbrella with sand anchor was thoughtfully designed with beach-goers in mind. Eight ribs made with flexible fiberglass move with the wind, making this umbrella durable enough to withstand windy days. To ensure an easy and comfortable set-up, the telescoping steel pole, powder-coated for rust resistance, and integrated sand anchor allows you to twist the pole into the sand at any height you please. You can even adjust the umbrella as the sun moves with the push-button tilt. With the 7-foot canopy, made from outdoor-rated oxford polyester UPF 50+ fabric, you can be sure your beach crew will stay cool and protected during the hottest hours of the day thanks to the best beach umbrella for wind. 

Best tent: Leedor Beach Tent

The Leedor Beach Tent’s patented automatic open-hub structure allows for easy setup and comes with four stakes and four sandbags for extra stability against wind. The UPF 50+ UV-resistant fabric of this beach umbrella tent protects you and your loved ones from harsh rays while the three adjustable gauze windows allow the breeze to flow through. And should the bottom of the tent get wet or dirty, don’t worry—it’s waterproof and easy to clean. This beach tent comes with a carrying case and a one-year limited warranty should it not be up to your standards.

Best budget: AMMSUN Outdoor Patio Beach Umbrella

With six bright prints to choose from, you’ll never lose your umbrella on the beach again. Not only is this a cute umbrella, but it’s also super high-quality. Designed for the beach or backyard, this umbrella is stable and durable with its fiberglass ribs and steel pole. The umbrella position can be easily adjusted with the push button so you can enjoy shade and sun protection throughout the day. With vents in the 6.5-foot canopy to prevent it from being blown over in the wind, this affordable umbrella is a win all around.

The best beach umbrellas offer shade, stability, and fun designs 

Let’s face it—the summer sun is strong and can be pretty unforgiving. Whether you’re beaching in South Beach, Tulum, or Coney Island, you need to protect yourself from those harsh rays. Nothing replaces the importance of applying sunscreen and wearing a sunhat, but the best beach umbrella gives you added protection from sunburn and heat exhaustion, offering you a place to cool down after, say, a competitive game of Kadima. And if you’re shopping for a heavy-duty umbrella to last you many summers, you might as well make it the best beach umbrella while you’re at it. When you do invest in a great beach umbrella, you’ll be able to enjoy it summer after summer. 

When looking to add an umbrella to your beach essentials, one thing to consider is the size of your beach crew. How many people you will have sitting under the umbrella will determine the dimensions you should look for; in general, however, a diameter that’s typically anywhere between 70 inches and 95 inches (and a height that’s similarly 6 feet to 7 feet) should be perfect. And if you’ve got kids and critters to wrangle, you might want to consider the best beach umbrella tent.

Another thing to consider is how portable your beach umbrella is. You’ll want it to be light enough to carry, yet have enough weight to be durable and stable during windier days. Typically, the best beach umbrellas will come with a carrying case to make the trip to and from the beach, as well as seasonal storage, simple and easy. 

Related: You’ve conquered the sun, now take on the sand with the best beach towels. 

What to consider when selecting beach gear

So, what features make up the best beach umbrella? Well, firstly, in order to protect against the sun, you’ll want a UV umbrella. Typically, a UV umbrella will have a UPF rating of 50+, meaning it will protect against 98 percent of harsh UV rays. Secondly, to ensure you have the best beach umbrella for wind and it won’t blow away while you’re lounging under it, you’ll want a durable, stable, anchorable umbrella because no one wants to be that person running after a rogue umbrella careening down the beach. Thirdly, you’ll want a heavy-duty umbrella but one that’s an easy set up. Lastly, a fun and unique printed umbrella is like a festival pole, keeping you from getting lost on those packed beach days because truth be told, it’s easier than you think.

A chair umbrella will have you sitting pretty 

Whether you’re taking a solo trip to the beach, use a wheelchair, or want to cover your toddler in their stroller, a lightweight chair umbrella will keep you shady without needing to lug a larger umbrella to the dunes.

Resist the wind, not this excellent umbrella option

If you’re going to be out on a blustery day, a beach umbrella with vents will facilitate airflow, lowering the chance of a strong gust collecting enough force underneath the canopy and carrying it off.   

A pop-up sun shelter offers a cool space for the whole family 

A beach tent is perfect for family outings to the beach, lake, park, or backyard, as it fits up to four adults, as well as children and pets. It’s a great way to be communal—and keep those little ones in a semi-enclosed space—while relaxing in heavily populated areas.

Can I get full coverage for a fractional price?

You don’t have to spend a ton to get beach essentials that have all the bases—and faces—covered. Find the best beach umbrella even when you’re on a budget!

FAQs Q: What is a good size beach umbrella?

A good-sized beach umbrella will depend on how many people you have in your beach crew. Typically, anywhere from 6 feet to 7 feet of canopy will provide shade for two to four people, and possibly more if your group includes little ones or four-legged friends. If you need protection for one, you might consider a smaller chair umbrella or if you have a larger group, a beach umbrella tent will do the trick. No matter the size, you want to be sure it is lightweight and compact enough to transport to and from the beach. 

Q: What is the difference between a beach umbrella and a patio umbrella?

While beach umbrellas and patio umbrellas may look and act similarly, they are two very different umbrellas. Patio umbrellas tend to be way heavier as you aren’t moving them around as much and their poles fit into a table hole and floor base. Beach umbrellas don’t need a base and often feature a pointed bottom to dig into the sand while patio umbrellas have a flat bottom, which would make digging difficult. It may be tempting to use one umbrella for your backyard and beach outings but, unfortunately, they don’t work the same. 

Q: What type of umbrella is best for sun protection?

The best type of umbrella for sun protection is one that specifically says it has a UV protection rating of UPF 50+, as it will block 98 to 99 percent of the sun’s harshest UVA and UVB rays. UV umbrellas that don’t have aluminum undercoating will only have an SPF rating, so be sure to read all of the small details!

Related: Here are the best sunglasses for all occasions.

The final word on the best beach umbrellas

Once you find the best beach umbrella for your summer needs, your days will be cooler, shadier (in a good way), and more health conscious. You already have enough to deal with packing lunch, towels, sunscreen, and toys for your beach trip, so your beach umbrella should be easy to transport, set up, and store, yet sturdy and durable enough to withstand strong winds. Once you find your beach essentials, your summer will get a whole lot brighter and your stress a whole lot lighter. 

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