Top Gifts for Grandparents
You put a lot of time and energy into finding that perfect gift for your loved ones, but shopping for grandparents isn't always easy. That's why we put together this list of recommended products that will bring a smile to their face.
Go to Consumer Reports' 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.
CR’s take: This Cuisinart drip coffee maker with a stainless steel finish and glass carafe earns an Excellent rating for brew performance. It’s programmable and features a water filter, a permanent coffee filter, a cleaning mode, a cleaning indicator, and auto-shutoff. The machine also allows you to adjust the strength of your brew. For the money, this model offers style and features that are hard to beat.
For more options: Best Drip Coffee Makers From Consumer Reports' Tests
CR’s take: This AmazonBasics kettle is made of stainless steel and is one of the least expensive in our tests. It’s small, though, holding just 4 cups of water, the least of the kettles we test. It's among the fastest to bring our testing standard of 4 cups of water to a boil, clocking in at just under 4 minutes and earning a Very Good rating in our time-to-boil test.
For more options: Best Electric Kettles From Consumer Reports' Tests
CR’s take: The Eufy 30C is an extremely quiet vacuum. Our testers noted that just by sound they couldn’t even tell whether it was running, which makes it a great choice for those who might need to run a robotic vac while they’re home. This is one of the cheaper vacuums that really does the job: It earns an Excellent rating for bare floors. It's also compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and you can program the robot through the manufacturer’s app.
For more options: Best Robotic Vacuums of 2019
CR’s take: Man, can this machine clear a room. It’s one of only two models (the other is the Blueair 211+) that scores Excellent for particle removal at both the high- and low-speed settings. It runs whisper-quiet at low speeds, but it’s noisy on high speed. It’ll clean the air quickly, but you may not want to be in the room while it does, especially if you’re having a conversation or watching TV. Of course, you pay for all that performance. It’s one of the most expensive air purifiers in our ratings, and that’s just the initial cost; filter replacements and energy use will set you back around $225 per year. The machine weighs a hefty 30 pounds but has casters that make it easy to cart from room to room. Its claimed capacity covers a room of 775 square feet.
For more options: Best and Worst Air Purifiers of 2019
CR’s take: The Google Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the best smart thermostats in our ratings. While this model is made by Google, it works well with Amazon Alexa. It rates Excellent for automating your heating/cooling and offers a wealth of smart features to enhance its functionality, including an occupancy sensor (so it can adjust the temperature based on whether people are present in the room) and geofencing (which allows it to use your smartphone’s location data to turn the temperature up or down when you leave and return home). One caveat: Our testers found that the manual controls aren’t the easiest to use.
For more options: Best Smart Thermostats Under $200
CR's take: This top-performing device has a molded stiff cuff that is shaped to fit most arms (9 to 17 inches). While we found that it may be easier to position on an arm than softer cuffs, it may be difficult for some users to initially open it up and place it on their arm. The bright backlit display digits are large and easy to read. You can also sync the monitor readings to your smart device via Bluetooth and the Omron Wellness app. Once the devices are paired, readings transfer easily and allow you to view them on a graph in daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly formats. The app also lets you filter results by date and share them via email.
For more options: Best Home Blood Pressure Monitors of 2019
CR's take: The Fitbit Versa Lite, aimed at new smartwatch users, combines a slim profile, fun colors, and a decent amount of functionality. It gets top marks for ease of use, and it’s great for counting steps, though not as good as other models when it comes to heart-rate accuracy. And the watch doesn’t have its own GPS. Instead, it piggybacks on the one in your phone. It also has a claimed battery life of four days, which lets the device track your sleep and other habits for longer than many other models without having to remove it for charging.
For more options: Best Fitness Trackers of 2019
CR's take: This over-ear wireless model from Monoprice is usually available for around $50, a steal given its superb noise-canceling performance and above-average sound quality. The BT-300ANC features integrated controls for calls, volume, and playback, and the ear cups fold in for easy storage and transport. According to Monoprice, the battery will run for 8 hours between charges with both Bluetooth and noise-canceling turned on. You can keep the music going even longer by switching off Bluetooth and using the detachable audio cable, which is included.
For more options: Noise-Canceling Headphones on a Budget
CR's take: Make it easy for grandma and grandpa to keep in touch. The newest version of the Amazon Echo Show illustrates how truly useful a touch screen can be on a smart speaker. The second-generation version of the Amazon Echo Show is a much more useful product than the first. A larger touch screen makes it great for reading a recipe or watching a quick how-to video, tasks that you might otherwise consign to a phone or tablet. But the Show sits on a counter at an easy viewing angle, and with its voice-command capability you can avoid touching it with messy or busy hands. The Show is also the best-sounding smart speaker that Amazon has brought to market.
For more options: Best Smart Speakers of 2019
CR’s take: The Fire HD 10 is the highest-scoring Amazon tablet in our ratings. The 10-inch screen is bright and crisp, and has a wide viewing angle, meaning it’ll stay sharp even if you’re not looking at it straight on (which makes it an ideal tablet for watching movies and TV shows with people). The screen is also ideal for reading. Comic book fans may especially be interested in the Fire HD 10 because it can display a single full page in almost the same size as the print original. Amazon owns Comixology, a digital retailer and subscription service with more than 100,000 comic books and graphic novels available for download. This tablet boasts an impressive battery life, too, delivering 11.1 hours for browsing the web or watching movies.
For more options: Best Tablets of 2019
CR's take: The Sonos Beam is a compact smart sound bar speaker that delivers very good sound quality and comes in black or white color schemes. It has a lot of features at a price several hundred dollars below the company's Playbar and Playbase models, which are both also highly recommended. The Beam has Amazon's Alexa and Google's Google Assistant digital assistants built in, so you can control it, other Sonos speakers, and other devices compatible Alexa or Google Assistant using voice commands. It also includes support for Apple AirPlay 2.
For more options: Great Sound Bar Speakers at Every Price
CR's take: This Canon is one of CR's top-rated and best values in the advanced point-and-shoot camera category. Testers were especially impressed by the image quality, which garnered an Excellent rating. A wider-than-average 24mm perspective comes in handy for group shots and landscape shooting, and it also zooms to 120mm. External manual controls make it a good choice for buyers who want to sharpen their photography skills.
Check our buying guide and ratings for cameras.
CR’s take: The BDP-S3700 Blu-ray player from Sony delivers excellent picture quality, as do all the models in our ratings. Compared with its pricier sibling, the Sony BDP-S6700, it lacks a few features, such as 4K upscaling and two-way Bluetooth. It does include screen mirroring, so you can display content from a compatible tablet, computer, or smartphone on your TV screen. It’s an internet-capable model with built-in WiFi for connecting to a home network, convenient if you don’t have an Ethernet jack nearby. The player has access to online content from several services.
For more options, check our buying guide and ratings for Blu-ray players.