I Test Products for a Living, and These Are My Favorites From This Past Year

Find out which vacuum, blender, spin mop, and comforter set are worth purchasing in 2022.

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shark vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

I test home products for a living, and I'll be the first to admit: it's a fantastic job. I get to sort through top-rated products, interview experts for their recommendations, research newcomers to the home scene, and then put all those items through a series of hands-on tests in the studio and at home. I am always rooting for products to fulfill their promises (Can this blender really crush ice? Does this vacuum suck up hair without tangling?), and if it ends up being worth the hype, that's amazing. If a product falls short, I'll report on that, too.

I spent the second half of last year testing various products designed to make your life easier, and these are my favorites.

Favorite Tested Products

  • Favorite cordless vacuum: Shark Wandvac
    While this vacuum didn't win the "best" in our guide, it was my personal favorite due to its small size, powerful suction, and trending color options.
  • Smartest Vacuum: Tineco PureOne S11
    I won't recommend a robot vacuum here because there are better innovative options like this Tineco vacuum with a color-changing dirt-detecting smart screen.
  • Best Vacuum for Pet Hair: Shark Rocket Pet Pro
    ​This cordless stick vacuum reigns supreme when it comes to cleaning up pet hair.
  • Best Vacuum for Hard Floors: Dyson Omni-Glide
    At the end of testing, this is the one I chose to keep since I have hardwood and tile flooring. It glides across the floor as you vacuum, making the chore a little bit fun.
  • Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker: OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker
    This cold brew maker is easy to use and produces coffee with a strong, bold, and consistent flavor.
  • Best Blender: The Beast B10 Blender
    This blender will not only look beautiful sitting on your counter, but its smooth and consistent blend will also rival store-bought smoothies any day.
  • Best Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper: Chasing Paper
    While all of the peel-and-stick wallpaper we tested worked very well, Chasing Paper offers new designs on an ongoing basis, and their customer service is top-notch.

If you're looking to start the new year with some tried-and-true home products, read on for all the details on the items I swear by.

Favorite Cordless Vacuum: Shark Wandvac

Amazon Shark WANDVAC Ultra-Lightweight Powerful Cordless Stick Vacuum in Rose Gold
amazon.com

To buy: From $200; amazon.com, bedbathandbeyond.com, or sharkclean.com

I could sing the praises of the Shark Wandvac for days. If you live in a small apartment or are looking for a great cordless vacuum that easily converts into a handheld, then this is the one for you. Our testing team was shocked at the powerful suction this tiny vacuum demonstrated during testing, and at home, I found that it was so easy to use, I reached for it daily. It also comes in several trending colors, so if you have to keep your vacuum out on display, it's not an eyesore.

Smartest Vacuum: Tineco PureOne S11

Amazon Tineco Pure ONE S11 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, Smart Stick Handheld Vacuum
amazon.com

To buy: From $350; amazon.com, target.com, or walmart.com

If you're looking for a high-tech yet low-maintenance vacuum, I recommend the Tineco PureOne S11 over a robot vacuum. (Robot vacuums are expensive, and while great for a daily clean, if you have an actual mess on your hands, my at-home testing found that they don't do a great job.) This model has a smart screen that turns red when it detects dirt, and as you vacuum, the screen changes to blue to confirm that your floors are clean.

Best Vacuum for Pet Hair: Shark Rocket Pet Pro

Amazon Shark IZ163H Pet Plus Cordless Stick Vacuum in Raspberry
amazon.com

To buy: From $300; amazon.com or walmart.com

If pet hair has taken over your home, this is the best vacuum for you. It excelled in our pet (and synthetic human hair) tests by sucking up all kinds of pet fur without tangling or getting caught in the brush roll. This stick vacuum cleaner is available in several versions, but the MultiFlex model folds in half for easy storage, earning even more points for those short on space.

Best Vacuum for Hard Floors: Dyson Omni-Glide

Best Buy Dyson Omni-glide Cordless Vacuum Cleaner in Purple/Nickel
bestbuy.com

To buy: From $350; bestbuy.com, bedbathandbeyond.com, or dyson.com

Before testing over 30 vacuums, I thought all cordless vacuum cleaners were created equal. But I was wrong. The Dyson Omni-glide is the best one for hardwood flooring. This is because it has a soft roller that gently rolls debris into its vacuum head, while other vacuums designed for carpet end up just pushing dirt around on hard flooring surfaces. This vacuum is easy to handle, thanks to its multi-directional design.

Best Spin Mop: O'Cedar Easywring Spin Mop & Bucket

Target O-Cedar EasyWring Rinse Clean Spin Mop & Bucket
target.com

To buy: From $45; target.com, lowes.com, or amazon.com

The O'Cedar changed the way we think about mopping. It has an easy-fill water tank—so you don't have to wedge the entire bucket into your sink—a triangular mop head that makes cleaning corners and crevices a breeze, and is the only spin mop we tested that kept dirty water separate from the clean water.

Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker: OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Amazon OXO Good Grips 32 Ounce Cold Brew Coffee Maker
amazon.com

To buy: From $50; amazon.com or oxo.com

This cold brew coffee maker from Oxo was a favorite for several reasons. It delivered a robust cold brew concentrate, and it's packed with clever features that make it easy to use for brewing beginners. The perforated holes in the top of the brewing container ensure that you don't oversaturate the coffee grounds while pouring in water. The small paper filter prevents coffee grounds from seeping into your drink, and the serving carafe's top doubles as a measuring scoop.

Best Blender: The Beast B10 Blender

Beast Blender in Silver
thebeast.com

To buy: $155; thebeast.com

How much difference does a quality blender make? When we tested 17 blenders side-by-side, we found the answer. The Beast B10 blender will not only look stunning sitting on your countertop, but the large cup makes it easy to blend a ton of ingredients, and the velvety consistency of the smoothies we made was impressive compared to other popular blenders.

Best Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper: Chasing Paper

Chasing Paper Warri Palms Peel and Stick Wallpaper
chasingpaper.com

To buy: chasingpaper.com; prices vary according to size and pattern

We tested several popular peel-and-stick wallpaper brands, and all of them performed reasonably well regardless of price. Still, Chasing Paper continues to go above and beyond to ensure the consumer experience is pleasant. The brand is constantly rolling out new collections, so there are always fresh prints and patterns to choose from, and they've recently expanded their offerings to include flooring and wall decor.

Best Comforter Set: Brooklinen Luxe Sateen Move-In Bundle

Brooklinen Luxe Move-In Bundle Sheet Set in White
brooklinen.com

To buy: $470; brooklinen.com

Brooklinen has modernized the bed-in-a-bag concept. The bedding brand's comforter set has everything you need— two pillows, a comforter, one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and four pillowcases—so you won't lose sleep trying to find the perfect pillows, duvet insert, or sheets. While many comforter sets we tested skimp on quality or number of items included, this one has everything you need to build a cozy nest.

Other Favorite Products

In addition to finding best-in-class products through hands-on testing, I'm always on the hunt for new items to try. Below are some of the products I've been gifted by brands or purchased independently. While I haven't compared these items to similar offerings from other popular brands, they've all become must-haves in my home.

Yamazaki Rolling Cart Organizer

Amazon Yamazaki Home Rolling Kitchen Storage Cart
amazon.com

To buy: $58; amazon.com

This slim cart was one of my first purchases when I moved into my apartment last year, and since then, several of my friends have bought one for themselves. I even raved about it here. Even though it is technically a kitchen cart, I use it to organize hair products, make-up, and lotions in my bathroom. It offers so much storage space and is portable, so you can easily roll it in and out of small nooks and crannies.

Black and Decker Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum

Amazon BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum, Cordless
amazon.com

To buy: $60; amazon.com

Long before we began official vacuum testing, I purchased this vacuum to quickly clean up messes while I DIY-ed my way to my dream apartment. And while I haven't compared it to all the handheld vacuum cleaners available, for $60, this handheld model is definitely worth the money. It holds a charge well, is easy to empty, and boasts pretty powerful suction for a small device.

Branch Basics Glass Starter Kit

Branch Basics Glass Starter Home Cleaner Kit
branchbasics.com

To buy: $89; branchbasics.com

I was initially drawn to Branch Basics because I wanted to streamline my cleaning process, and if I have to leave a spray bottle out in the open, I'd like it to look nice. When the brand sent me their Glass Starter Kit, I was excited to try it, but I didn't expect it to make cleaning easier. I was wrong. Just a few drops of their concentrate mixed with water wiped off a month of grime from my bathtub with minimal effort.

Buffy Puffer Blanket

Buffy Puffer Blanket in Earth
buffy.co

To buy: $99; buffy.co

I had been searching for a good picnic blanket for over a year, so when Buffy offered to send me this one after I had already purchased one from another brand, I accepted. Needless to say, the other blanket is no longer in use. Made from recycled plastic bottles, Buffy's puffer is comfortable and easy to clean. Just throw it in the washing machine and all traces of dirt, crumbs and spills vanish. My dog also approves of the plush quilted pattern.

Gravity Weighted Blanket

Gravity Blankets Weighted Plush Blanket
gravityblankets.com

To buy: $215; gravityblankets.com

I bought this blanket almost three years ago, and now I cannot spend a night without it. Though I usually toss and turn throughout the night, the 15-pound blanket helps keep me comfortable without having to move around. I use it between my top sheet and comforter so that I can feel the softness of my sheets, admire the aesthetics of my comforter, and enjoy a restful night's sleep.

Levoit Humidifier

Amazon LEVOIT Humidifiers for Bedroom, Filterless, Controlled by Alexa
amazon.com

To buy: $50 (was $55); amazon.com

Our product reviews team has just started testing humidifiers, but this Levoit model is already one of my early favorites. It emits a thick, steady mist, and you can rotate the head to target different areas of a room. The 3-liter tank holds enough water for a full day of humidifying and fills from the top, so spills are less likely to occur.

Nolah Squishy Pillow

Nolah Squishy Bamboo Foam Pillow
nolahmattress.com

To buy: Set of two, $178 (was $198); nolahmattress.com

With just the right amount of firmness, this pillow will appeal to most types of sleepers. The bamboo blend cover keeps it cool, and the inside is full of shredded foam, so it's soft while offering the right amount of support whether I choose to sleep on my back, stomach, or side. While some squishy pillows tend to harden in cold temperatures, this one has kept its cushion so far and continues to make getting out of bed that much harder.

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