Holiday Gifts for When You Have the Urge to Splurge
Great ideas for those who have it all—and the hard-to-please
Whether you’re seeking a gift for that one person who has it all or the hard-to-shop-for, the ideas ahead are sure to inspire. From a sleek and efficient robovac to a TV with stunning picture quality, we have some quality indulgences—top-rated products from our tests—for anyone who’s ready to be a big spender.
Go to Consumer Reports’ Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.
The 5.5-quart Le Creuset Signature tops our Dutch oven ratings. It earns an Excellent rating in our browning tests, the only model in our tests to do so, and is a cinch to clean. It weighs 12 pounds, less than most, and has an 8-inch cooking diameter. The loop handles are nice and wide.
For more options: Best Dutch Ovens
The 12-piece Cuisinart Green Gourmet nonstick set aces all our key cooking tests. Pancakes brown evenly in the frying pan, and eggs slide out one after another without sticking. We were able to easily maintain sauce at a low simmer, and the 6-quart Dutch oven quickly brings water to a near-boil. This top-scoring set is made of anodized aluminum, which hardens the surface. One of the pieces is a steamer insert.
For more options: Best Cookware Sets
Is the chef in your life short on storage space? Calphalon designed this set so that it stacks and nests, which frees up precious cabinet space. The Calphalon Premier Space Saving stainless set earns a Very Good rating in our evenness tests, like our other top performers in this category. The stainless handles are long and sturdy, and you can use these dishwasher-safe pots and pans on any type of range, including induction. You can also pop them in the oven up to 500° F. We tested the eight-piece set. This set comes with an extra sauté pan and a lid.
For more options: Best Cookware Sets
The NuWave 37001 air fryer boasts a measured capacity of 5.8 quarts. Our experts find its electronic controls with preprogrammed settings to be among the easiest to see and use. The inside and outside of the appliance are a cinch to clean, but cleaning food out of the holes in the basket takes a little extra effort. This air fryer is on the noisy side, earning only a Good rating in our noise tests. The fan is as loud as a countertop microwave, so you’ll hear it running. The warranty is good for one year.
For more options: Best Air Fryers
The 6-quart Zavor Lux LCD gets perfect scores in our tests for pressure-cooking succulent, fall-off-the-bone ribs; steaming broccoli and carrots; and slow-cooking thick, tender chili (a test most pressure-cook models don’t excel at). The 1,000-watt cooker has a stainless steel insert, which proves to be more durable than nonstick coated inserts in our tests.
For more options: Best Multi-Cookers
The Breville Sous Chef BFP800XL is one of the few models that earns a rating of Very Good for puréeing. Loaded with accessories, this food processor is 18 inches high and weighs 19 pounds—factors to consider if you plan to lift it out of a cupboard or cabinet with each use. The touch buttons are easy to wipe clean, and for all its power and performance, it’s also surprisingly quiet. The warranty is for one year, but the motor is covered for 25 years, the longest in our ratings. This model is available in brushed aluminum, red, and black.
For more options: Best Food Processors and Choppers
In our evaluation of cold brew machines, the Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker DCB-10 performs better than automatic models that cost almost twice as much. It does well across all our tests, and it’s the only model to receive a Very Good rating for ease of cleaning. Most parts are dishwasher-safe, unlike the other models in its class. This Cuisinart comes with a glass carafe (not plastic, like some competing models) and brews a full 35-ounce carafe in 25 to 45 minutes—a snap compared with the 12 to 14 hours it can take without an automatic brewing machine.
For more options: Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
A traditional drip coffee maker with a modern twist, the Cuisinart DCC-T20 Touchscreen 14-Cup Programmable offers slick touch-screen controls and makes plenty of java for a full house, thanks to its 14-cup glass carafe. It features programming, auto-shutoff, a cleaning indicator, a permanent filter, a water filter, brew-strength control, and a small-batch setting. This model receives an Excellent rating for brew performance and does well in our other tests, too. It’s a bit pricey, but for the investment you can count on an all-around great machine.
For those who prefer Nespresso capsules over Keurig K-Cups, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker in Aluminum EN125S is worth a look. It comes in a sleek metallic finish and can make both espresso and coffee. It features a removable reservoir, a height-adjustable drip tray, auto-shutoff, and adjustable brew temperature. It can brew three types of coffee—lungo (an Italian coffee), espresso, and ristretto (a more concentrated espresso)—depending on the capsules you buy. Our testers give it solid ratings across the board, including a Very Good rating for temperature consistency.
For more options: Best Coffee Makers
The Oxo Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a fantastic grinder and one of the more affordable models that does well in our tests. It receives strong scores in our grind performance tests, making it a good choice for any brew method you want to use. It also earns a Very Good rating for convenience, thanks to its clearly marked and easy-to-use controls. Our testers find it extremely easy to clean, too, because it has a removable hopper. This Oxo is a bit noisy, however. It features 15 grind settings, a 12-ounce bean hopper, an auto-stop feature, and a timer.
For more options: Best and Worst Burr Coffee Grinders
The Breville BOV650XL toaster oven earns a Very Good rating in our baking tests, turning out sugar cookies and corn muffins that are done in the center and golden on top and bottom. Functions include bake, broil, and roast, and settings for pizza and toasting bagels. This toaster oven has three rack positions and offers a temperature range of 120° F to 450° F. Models in our ratings range from 800 to 1,875 watts, so this 1,800-watt model is near the top in terms of power. (The higher the wattage, the more energy is delivered.) Breville earned an Excellent rating for predicted reliability, making it one of two brands that stand out as most reliable in our survey. (The other is Panasonic.)
For more options: Best Toaster Ovens
You’ll see eight Vitamix full-sized models in CR’s ratings; this is the best one that goes for less than $500. The Vitamix 5200 has an 8-cup capacity and a seven-year warranty. And it’s skilled at making more than smoothies; it can make hot soup, too. At 20 inches, this model is on the tall side, so if you’re buying it for someone else, you may want to ask them to measure their undercabinet space first.
For more options: Best Blenders for Making Smoothies
The KitchenAid Classic K45SS excels at mixing, kneading, and whipping. It gets a middling score for noise, however. The 10-speed mixer comes with a 4.5-quart stainless steel bowl, flat beater, dough hook, and wire whisk. It’s compatible with all KitchenAid attachments, so you can branch out from baking into making more savory foods like sausage or pasta—perfect for the home chef on your list.
For more options: Best Stand Mixers
The S9+ is pricey, but it delivers. This vacuum earns top scores down the line in our performance tests, and it’s the best of the best at cleaning along the edges of walls and on bare floors. It’s also a self-emptying model that empties its dustbin into a dirt bag, no hands required. Like the e5 and the 960, the S9+ earns a Good rating for data privacy and a Very Good rating for data security.
For more options: Best Robotic Vacuums
For those who have a pet that sheds as well as hardwood or tile floors, the Kenmore Pet Friendly 31140 will serve them well. It earns Excellent ratings on both of those tests. It also does a fine job cleaning carpet. Suction through the hose is impressive, so if you use your attachments to clean curtains or upholstery, you won’t be disappointed. Emissions are clean, meaning this bagged vacuum retains what it sucks up. It comes with a HEPA filter, which is designed to capture more dirt particles, and a light that indicates when the bag is full so that you know when it’s time to change it, two pluses if you’re sensitive to dust. Based on data from our exclusive member survey, Kenmore uprights earn a middling rating of Good for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.
For more options: Best Upright Vacuums
Bed and Bath
Sweet dreams are made of cozy sheets. This Brooklinen set will fit a mattress up to 14 inches deep. These sheets don’t shrink as much as some other cotton sheets we’ve tested. The Brooklinen set scores well for fit and shrinkage, which means that even though they tend to get smaller during washes, they don’t change all that much over time. Luxe Core sheets are on the softer side, based on our sensory test.
For more options: Best and Worst Sheets
Brondell Swash 1000
Give your loved one the gift of less reliance on toilet paper. As part of a recent user study CR conducted of bidet seats and attachments, owners of the Brondell Swash 1000 model were loud and clear about TP use. “It definitely reduced usage of toilet paper by a lot,” one said. Like most powered bidet seats, the Swash 1000 gives you control over the temperature of the water, seat, and après-spray air dryer, all from a control panel on the side of the seat. It uses a ceramic heating system to warm water on demand instead of using a reservoir tank, which means you’ll have warm water constantly.
For more options: Bidet Review
This rechargeable electric toothbrush scored top marks for ease of use, and more than half of the testing volunteers on a CR panel had no criticism at all about the product. The Oral-B Genius X 10000 has six brushing modes, and features include Bluetooth connectivity, a pressure sensor, and a timer.
For more options: Best Electric Toothbrushes
Remington Smart Beard Trimmer (MB4700)
In a recent CR study of beard trimmers, the Remington Smart Beard Trimmer ranked the highest among users. They appreciated the trimmer’s smart features, such as the digital setting to auto-adjust the trimmer length and the travel lock. Most users expressed no discomfort to their skin or hair while using this model. Make sure your gift recipient is right-handed, however. One volunteer noted that this model is not user-friendly for left-handed people, given that the travel lock button is on the right side.
For more options: The Best Beard Trimmer for You
This 65-inch 4K OLED smart TV from LG is one of the best TVs we’ve tested. It has top-notch picture quality and effective HDR performance; high dynamic range can produce enhanced contrast and brighter specular highlights when done well. (LG 4K TVs support different HDR formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG.) The TV, which can also deliver very satisfying sound, supports Dolby Atmos audio. This set comes with LG’s updated smart-TV platform, plus its voice-enabled ThinQ artificial intelligence platform, which allows it to interact with and control other compatible smart home products. The TV also has built-in support for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa digital voice assistants, and works with Apple AirPlay 2.
For more options: Best TVs of the Year
Sporting a sharp-looking, angular design, the Nvidia Shield TV Pro is at the upper end of streaming player price range, but it’s a top-notch 4K player that combines access to lots of streaming services with fairly extensive audio/video features, plus consolelike game-playing ability.
One unique feature of both Nvidia models is AI upscaling that will upconvert lower-resolution content to the player’s 4K capability. The Pro supports Dolby Vision HDR, as well as Dolby Atmos and DTS-X immersive sound, which can add the element of height to surround-sound tracks. It comes with a wand-style backlit Bluetooth remote control, and you can buy a game controller as an option.
For more options: Best 4K Streaming Media Devices
This sound bar from Sonos delivers great sound. Given the Arc Soundbar’s sound quality, it’s a decent choice for the more critical listener for both music and movie soundtrack playback. This full-featured model has 5.0.2 nonsurround expandable to 5.1.2 surround channels. It offers WiFi audio streaming via Sonos and Apple AirPlay 2. It can access various Internet services such as TuneIn, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, SiriusXM, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, Apple Music, and more. It can also be used as part of a multiroom WiFi audio system. It also has the built-in Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant digital voice assistant.
For more options: Great Sound Bar Speakers at Every Price
The Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell is one of the best you can buy. It receives an Excellent rating for response time and offers terrific video quality and data security. The Hello’s features include high dynamic range (HDR) video for vivid picture quality, geofencing, person alerts, unusual sound detection, voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, recorded messages for when you can’t answer the door, and a rolling 3 hours of motion-triggered snapshots (not video clips).
If you sign up for a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll get either 30 or 60 days of cloud storage for motion-triggered video clips (depending on the plan), 10 days of 24/7 continuous video recordings (only with the $12-per-month plan), facial recognition, package detection, monitoring zones, and e911 to call your home’s 911 dispatcher regardless of your physical location. The Nest Hello is offered only in a hardwired version and can’t run on battery power. If you have an existing doorbell that’s hardwired, it will work just fine.
For more options: Best Video Doorbells
The Apple Watch SE packs in a vast majority of features most people desire in a smartwatch and leaves out the higher-end tech and add-ons that sometimes go unused. And in exchange, the price is lower than for other Apple Watches. The SE comes in two sizes (40 and 44 millimeters) and two hardware configurations (GPS-only or GPS plus cellular). The bands are interchangeable, too.
For more options, check our buying guide and ratings for smartwatches.
The Inspire 2 gets ratings of Very Good from our testers for step-count and heart-rate accuracy. But what lifts it to an overall Excellent rating is the top scores for ease of use, pairing, and readability in low light. The Inspire 2 also boasts a very generous claimed battery life of 10 days (we don’t test that) and built-in GPS, a feature not found on many other trackers.
For more options: Which Fitbit Fitness Tracker or Smartwatch Is the Right Fit for You?
The Edifier S1000MKII provides top-notch sound. The high frequencies are clear and smooth, and the extended bass remains musical, so you can tell the difference between, say, an upright bass and an electric Fender Jazz Bass. And for a very reasonable price of about $350, you get a stereo pair of Edifiers, which allows the speakers to create a convincing illusion that the musicians are there in the room with you. They include a variety of connections—from robust Bluetooth pairing to RCA and digital jacks. They’re not designed to work as part of a multiroom system, though. They’re all about playing music in one place with truly impressive fidelity. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
For more options: Best Wireless Speakers
The Bose Smart Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are the successor to the company’s flagship QuietComfort 35 Series II headphones, and the two models are almost identical in performance. Both deliver superb sound quality and noise cancellation. But the Bose 700 earphones have a much slimmer profile when folded up, and they have a few updated elements, including more integration with digital assistants, touch controls, and sensors for Bose’s “augmented reality” apps. Bose has kept some of the best-loved features from its older models as well, such as adjustable levels of noise cancellation, a monitoring mode to let in sound from your environment, and an advertised 20-hour battery life.
For more options: Best Noise-Canceling Headphones