Treat Yourself With These Great Valentine's Day Gifts
An adjustable pillow and soft sheets, an air fryer, a single-serve coffee maker, and more
Whether you’re coupled up or flying solo, you should make sure to treat yourself on Valentine's Day. Want to expand your snacking repertory? This is your day. Need an evening of pizza and rom-coms on the couch? Do it. From a trusty air fryer to a comfy pillow for that "Bridgerton" binge-fest, CR offers recommendations on top-performing products to help you celebrate . . . you.
Luna Cotton Weighted Blanket
If you've been thinking of trying a weighted blanket, February could be your time. The cover of the Luna blanket is cotton; it doesn't come with a duvet cover. Luna says you can wash it in cold water on the gentle setting and hang it to dry or tumble-dry on low heat. Bonus: It's sold in 24 colors to suit your decorating needs.
For more options: We Tested 5 Weighted Blankets. Here's What We Found.
Rejoice, singletons! The world is your air-fried oyster, and you don't have to share any of your food. The 2.6-quart NuWave Brio 36011 has electronic controls with preprogrammed settings that are among the easiest to see and use of the models we've tested, earning an Excellent rating in our evaluation of controls.
For more options: Best Air Fryers
The 5.5-quart Le Creuset Signature tops our ratings in the Dutch oven category. It earns an Excellent rating in our browning tests, the only Dutch oven 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
Upgrade your quarantine cooking routine. Made of stainless steel with a nonstick coating, this All-Clad Tri-Ply pan is a standout in CR’s egg-release test; the eggs easily slide out of the pan every time. It earns a Very Good rating for cooking evenness, too, turning out nicely browned pancakes. The nonstick coating stands up to our steel-wool durability test, and the handle stays cool to the touch. It's oven-safe up to 500° F, and can be used on an induction cooktop.
For more options: Best Nonstick Frying Pans
Calphalon’s scaled-down waffle maker is ideal for small households. It will reliably turn out waffles, but you won't be able to feed an army efficiently. The smaller rectangular grid makes only two square waffles at a time. The Calphalon CKCLWF1 scores a Very Good rating for even browning but loses some points in our test for color range, in which it scores a Good. That means there's less variation between the dark and light settings; waffles cooked on the light setting still come out pretty brown. A countdown timer indicates how much cooking time remains, and an alarm will sound once your waffles are ready. This CR-recommended model aces our assessment for ease of use, too. It stays cool on the outside throughout the cooking process, has a wraparound moat to collect excess batter for easy cleanup, and can be stored on its side to save space.
For more options: Best Waffle Makers
If you’re looking for a very good model at a reasonable price, check out the SodaStream Fizzi. It scores well for making seltzer with a consistent amount of bubbles, and it’s among the easiest soda makers to use, too. The Fizzi’s bottle caps stay on well when the contents are under pressure. The CO2 injector sits at the top of the water line, so gas entering the bottle doesn’t freeze the water in the nozzle and ice up the works. You can vary the carbonation simply by pressing the button for longer or shorter times. (If you buy this model from Target, it comes with two extra bottles.)
For more options: Best Soda Makers
Thermos Stainlesss King 16 oz
This stellar mug from Thermos kept drinks hot for an impressive 7½ hours in our tests. It also has an easy-to-clean lid, which earns a rating of Very Good. But one of the three lid gaskets can't be removed or replaced, so when it goes, so goes your mug. The tapered design means the mug will fit in the cup holder of most cars. Bonus: It has a handy tea hook on the underside of the lid, so you can suspend a tea bag in water without losing it inside.
For more options: Best Insulated Travel Mugs
The Nespresso Essenza Mini earns high marks for first-cup speed, repeat-cup speed, and cup-size consistency, as well as a brewing-range rating of Excellent, which means you have plenty of control over the strength of your coffee. The easy-to-use Essenza Mini can brew three different types of coffee—lungo, espresso, and ristretto—depending on the capsules you buy.
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 found it extremely easy to clean, too, because it has a removable hopper. It features 15 grind settings, a 12-ounce bean hopper (one of the largest), an auto-stop feature, and a timer.
For more options: Best and Worst Burr Coffee Grinders
In our evaluation of cold brew machines, the Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker DCB-10 performed 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
About half of the volunteers on CR's electric toothbrush panel lauded the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 for leaving their teeth with a clean feeling. It has three brushing speeds, three brushing modes, and a pressure sensor, timer, and charge level indicator. Its easy-start option allows it to gently increase speed during use.
For more options: Best Electric Toothbrushes
Give yourself the gift of less toilet paper anxiety. The Tushy Classic bidet attachment has a dial to adjust the water pressure, as well as three settings fore and aft. A few users in our recent study of bidets said it was easier to move themselves rather than adjust the nozzle, so if you have limited mobility, this bidet may not be a great option. Some users found that it shifted a bit under the toilet seat. And one said the water pressure could be quite strong: “A 2 or 3 on the dial will give you a blast!” Most users found the Classic easy to install and had no trouble figuring out the water-pressure dial or nozzle adjustment switch.
For more options: Bidet Review: 'I Have Less Toilet Paper Anxiety'
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. (CR doesn't test battery life in headphones.) You can keep the music going even longer by switching off Bluetooth and using the detachable audio cable, which is included.
For more options: Best Headphones Under $100
Keep an eye on your heart rate this Valentine’s Day with a smartwatch. The new Apple Watch SE packs in 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 (40mm or 44mm) 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.
Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2
Get down to some serious gaming with a new headset. The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 is a 2.4GHz wireless model with 7.1 surround sound technology and a claimed battery life of up to 16 hours. On-ear controls let you adjust the volume and mute the mic. You can also mute by flipping the mic upward, a feature often mentioned as a plus by our users. An LED light indicator lets you know when Mute is on. Online software controls allow you to tweak equalizer settings, set up pretuned audio profiles, and customize the RGB lighting on each earcup. The model is compatible with PC and PS4.
For more options: How to Choose a Great Gaming Headset
This charger has a built-in cooling fan and a gridded surface that lets air flow behind the device, which is meant to allow for faster charging. As a small trade-off, the charger is bulkier than most of its competitors. The angled stand also allows you to view a phone’s screen in portrait or landscape position as it charges.
For more options: Best Wireless Chargers for Your Smartphone and Other Devices
Treat yourself to comfort with an ergonomic keyboard. Available in a wired or wireless configuration, the Kinesis Freestyle2 features a fully split design. That means each half of the keyboard can be positioned directly in line with your shoulders, effectively reducing internal shoulder rotation and ulnar deviation of the wrist. The membrane keys are easy to activate and include options for shortcuts and media controls. The palm rests, adjustable legs, and number pad are sold separately ($35 to $50). It's compatible with Android, Chrome, iOS, Linux, Mac, and Windows.
For more options: The Best Ergonomic Keyboard for You
Adesso iMouse E1
This mouse places the forearm, wrist, and hand in a handshake position, greatly reducing forearm pronation. When properly oriented, it also reduces wrist extension. Note, however, that the natural position with the front facing forward requires slight extension. The model features six programmable buttons, two dpi settings (1000/1600), and a glossy finish that picks up fingerprints easily and may make the palm and fingers feel sweaty. For a similarly priced left-handed option, check out the Adesso iMouse E9.
For more options: The Best Ergonomic Mouse for You