What does it take to be an Airbnb host, and better yet, a superhost who racks up 5-star reviews? Search Airbnb's superhost listings and you get a sense of the space that’s for rent, house rules, and important amenities, such as WiFi and free parking. Hosting is competitive, and Airbnb claims more than 2 million listings worldwide. And they aren't the only option—Vacation Rental By Owner and HomeAway, among others, also offer vacation rentals.

Airbnb, for one, gives off a casual, cool vibe, despite shaking up the hospitality industry. But hosting on Airbnb and other rental operations is a business, with the rules spelled out. It’s essential that the space you rent out is clean, and that any electronics and appliances work. If you have the space, it's nice to create a living area devoted to guests—it's less disruptive to your family routine.

Once you’ve figured out who your Airbnb guests are—families, business travelers, bohemians on a tight budget—you’ll then have a good idea what they expect and would like. Here are five essentials for hosting, plus three nice extras, with standouts from Consumer Reports’ tests.

Airbnb Basics

Keyless Lock
Why worry about key exchanges, lost keys, and where your house key might wind up? An electronic lock or even one that gives you remote-control access eliminates those worries. Consumer Reports' past tests found that the $200 Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm BE469NX CAM 619 was the best of the connected models, and allows you to program temporary codes for Airbnb guests. See this lock buying guide to get started. 

CO and Smoke Detectors
Airbnb urges hosts to install smoke and CO detectors in the rented space, and if you don’t, then mention that in your listing (some municipalities require them). The $30 First Alert 3120B was the best of the dual sensor smoke alarms, which detects both fires that flare, and fires that smolder. Among CO detectors, the $30 First Alert CO615 was tops. This smoke detector and CO alarm buying guide highlights your options, and our smoke and CO alarm ratings include smoke, CO, and interconnected models that communicate with each other.

Lumpy, uncomfortable, and funky mattresses won’t do. A bad night’s sleep will probably be mentioned in Airbnb guests' reviews. A solution is to buy an affordable mattress that earned good scores for support and durability in our tests. The Serta Luxury 12" Gel Memory Foam mattress was a winner, and at $500 for a queen size, the price is appealing. It gets excellent scores for durability, which makes it a good investment, and is comfortable for folks who sleep on their side or their back. Another plus is it minimizes movement when someone changes positions making it a good choice for couples. See “Best Mattresses for Guest Rooms” for other comfortable, affordable beds. 

Coffee Maker
Without caffeine in the morning, some of us are grumpy (and may write snarky reviews). The $100 Cuisinart Perfec Temp DCC-2800 was the best of the drip coffee makers tested. Our coffee maker ratings spill the beans on dozens of other models.

Nice Extras

These three items are essential for some Airbnb guests, while others might consider them nice-to-haves. It all goes back to who you think your guests are.

Electric Tea Kettle
They're popular abroad, so some travelers may expect an electric kettle here. It quickly brings water to a boil for tea, instant oatmeal, or late-night ramen noodles. The stylish Capresso H20Plus, $70, holds 6 cups of water, and reached a raucous boil in less than 4½ minutes. The $20 Hamilton Beach 40998 was about as fast, and holds 4 cups of water. Read "The Best Electric Tea Kettles" for all the details.

A countertop microwave can come in handy for a family that wants to eat a quick breakfast before leaving in the morning, or for heating those restaurant leftovers after a long day of sightseeing. Three affordable midsized microwaves top our microwave tests, including the LG LCS1112ST, $140, the Avanti MO1250TW, $130, and the Kenmore 72123, $150.  

“Family friendly” is highly searched on Airbnb, and for Airbnb guests, relaxing in front of the TV after a day of sightseeing is welcomed. The 50-inch Samsung UN55KU6300, $800, will impress and is recommended by our testers. Our television ratings include less expensive TVs, such as the $550 Sharp LC-50N7000U, a 50-inch model that's also recommended, as well as TVs with smaller screens and lower price tags.