Throughout the year, CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — from coffee makers to computers to sheets to shower heads — to help our readers find the absolute best things.
Our testing process is rigorous. We spend countless hours of research, consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings to identify the products we want to bring in for testing, be they things that have stood the test of time or the most promising new contenders. Then we spend weeks or months testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings, putting everything through the sort of use and abuse it’s likely to encounter in your home. We’re confident that our process lets us identify the very best things so you can quickly and easily buy what you need.
Here, we round up all the products that took the top spot in our tests throughout 2022.
The AirPods Pro 2 are as good as it gets for Apple users, with the best sound, controls and active noise cancellation you can find . Existing AirPods Pro owners don't need to rush out and upgrade, but everyone else willing to invest the money is in for a treat.
Sony's XB13 is the first piece of tech we'd throw in our bag this summer. This compact speaker pushes out sound much larger than its size, and the built-in cloth strap lets you securely attach it to a backpack, bike handlebars, or anywhere you want music.
Now priced less stratospherically, the great-sounding AirPods flagship headphones integrate seamlessly with your Mac and iPhone, let you access Apple’s nifty Spatial Audio pseudo-surround format and boast impressive noise cancellation and great controls, making these solid all-day companions.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 improve on the XM4, with a slimmer design and refined noise-canceling microphones — it's the best over-ear Bluetooth headphone you can buy right now. XM4 owners have little reason to upgrade, but for anybody else, the XM5 are the high-end headphones to get.
The 1More SonoFlow wireless over-ear headphone sounds better and has more effective noise-canceling than anything we've tested at its low price. If you want all of these features on a budget, look no further.
We'll make this really simple for you: If you want to spend less than $100 on wireless earbuds, you won't find a better pair than the EarFun Air.
Perfect for commuting, the office, long flights or just around the house, the Bose 700 combine Bose’s industry-leading active noise cancellation with great sound and a new, more comfortable and stylish slimmed-down design.
With everything you need including a high-quality cartridge and helpful setup tools, the Fluance RT82 can get you started on the path to audiophile vinyl listening without breaking the bank.
The Streambar Pro sounds as good as soundbars costing twice as much, and offers more convenience along with it, with simple setup and Roku's great streaming platform built in.
The Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds 2 offer the best noise cancellation you can get in earbuds, along with great sound, so if you're looking to tune out the world around you for travel, office or home without resorting to a big over-ear headphone, this is the way to go.
Beauty and grooming
The Remington Smart Beard Trimmer delivers a consistent, quick trim, can take a beating, and is packed with tons of useful technology that prioritizes convenience, making every trim as easy as possible.
The DryBar Detox Dry Shampoo was the best at absorbing oil, aptly removed sweat and dirt and had the most pleasing scent, leaving our panelists' hair feeling cleaner and smelling better than any other dry shampoo we tried.
This is an all-around reliable moisturizer if you’re looking for a product to have in your vanity year-round, or want to test a low-risk option.
The Dyson Supersonic is expensive. Like, $430 expensive. But, man, does it live up to its hype. It dries hair at warp speed, blasts out heat at a whopping 70 mph, is much, much quieter than other models we tested, and is just futuristic and cool all around.
We found the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner requires little to no effort to create a precise wing, the liner has superior staying power and it didn't irritate those of us with sensitive skin after full days of wear. As an added bonus, it's available in a whopping 12 shades.
Heralded by beauty editors as the GOAT, the Beautyblender Original Makeup Sponge has lived up to its hype. While it’s slightly expensive, its quality (it didn’t disintegrate like others did over time) and effectiveness (it led to the cleanest application of the bunch) make it worth the money.
The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick has thousands of 5-star ratings across the internet, and it’s easy to see why. True to its name, this product clings to your lips for hours upon hours, burritos and messy breakfast sandwiches be damned. It’s also surprisingly moisturizing for such a superior stay-put formula, a combo that’s rare to come by.
The Gillette SkinGuard stood out above all the other razors we tested, thanks to its extremely comfortable and easy shave. Its guarded razor made shaving a breeze, and we experienced zero tugging or irritation when using it. Along with its durability, ease of cleaning and additional precision blade, it was easily the best men’s razor we tried.
Billie The Razor Starter Kit came out on top for its user-friendly design, close shave and overall durability. With built-in charcoal soap for easy lubrication and a rubbery grip for easy handling, it made for a quick, comfortable shaving experience.
If you want to make real espresso drinks at home but you’re on a budget, the De'Longhi Stilosa will give you great coffee and steamed milk with a little practice.
With 40 settings for grind size, from super fine (espresso) to super coarse (French press), the Virtuoso+ gives you a consistent grind every time. Its sleek look and simple, intuitive controls, including a digital timer, allow for optimal convenience.
Blue Bottle's coffee subscription won us over with its balance of variety, customizability and, most importantly, taste. The flavors are complex and bold, but unmistakably delicious. Beyond its coffee, Blue Bottle's subscription is simple and easy to use, with tons of options to tailor to your caffeine needs.
Overall, the Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot scored highest. This sleek, sophisticated and streamlined carafe produces 1 liter (about 4 1/4 cups) of rich, robust brew in just eight hours. It was among the simplest to assemble, it executed an exemplary brew in about the shortest time span and it looked snazzy doing it. Plus, it rang up as the second most affordable of our inventory.
The Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker produced consistently delicious, hot cups of coffee, brewed efficiently and cleanly, from sleek, relatively compact hardware that is turnkey to operate, and all for a reasonable price.
We found the flat-bottom, three-hole design of the Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper allowed for the most even and consistent brewing of all models tested. The Kalita produced the most robust coffee, maintained spot-on temperature, and the most even saturation of the grounds.
The Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus, uses pods that deliver both espresso and “regular” coffee, could simply not be beat for its convenience. Intuitive and a snap to use right out of the box, it looks sleek on the counter, contains a detached 60-ounce water reservoir so you don’t have to refill it with each use and delivers perfectly hot, delicious coffee with a simple tap of a lever and press of a button.
Emergency preparedness essentials
With easy-to-use alerts, four charging options, a bright LCD screen, a powerful flashlight and straightforward controls, the Midland ER310 outperformed the other radios we tested in every area and makes a valuable addition to your household emergency kit.
An easy-to-use ring-binder-style design, high-quality products and all the essentials recommended by the Red Cross means you'll be sure to have everything you need and be able to find it when you need it.
Don’t let the rock-bottom price of this kit fool you — it provides a useful collection of name-brand items packed securely in an easy-to-transport case.
Easy to use, packed with the most up-to-date features and battery technology, and expandable enough to serve as a whole-house emergency generator, the EcoFlow Delta Pro beat impressive competitors in our testing, emerging as the best large solar generator.
This water bottle is so versatile we think every traveler and camper should have it. It boasts a built-in filter, so you can fill it up and drink water from basically anywhere, whether it’s a river or a bathroom sink. And since it’s collapsible, you can always find space to bring it along.
The Peloton Bike+ came out on top (but honestly, just barely) due to its sturdy construction, variety of knowledgeable, inspiring instructors and many high-quality off-the-bike classes. It's a great something-for-everyone buy.
We used the Beats Fit Pro in the gym and all day for work, play and commutes, and found their secure, sweat-resistant design and superb audio make them a perfect fit for anyone's workout, no matter whether you’re an Apple or Android user.
Featuring, as its name suggests, pockets big enough to stash things like your phone or wallet, we loved this pair for its comfort during workouts and everyday activities alike, high-quality construction, secure waistband and chic aesthetic.
The Patagonia Torrentshell outperformed all the other jackets we tested in key areas. It's ridiculously waterproof and will keep you bone-dry in the worst rain, not to mention it's extremely breathable, durable and comes with Patagonia's lifetime Ironclad Guarantee.
Pulling this thin, elegant glass scale out of the box, we were immediately sold on its simple good looks. The design of this scale is on par with several we tested that were far more expensive. It’s sleek and lightweight, and it fits in places most people like to stash a scale — like under the bed, a dresser or a very slim bathroom vanity.
The Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Spray scored miles above every other sunscreen we tested. An SPF 30, broad-spectrum, chemical formulation, this spray sunscreen applied super-light, rubbed into the skin right away and smelled deliciously of coconut.
The Yeti Rambler came out on top during our testing thanks to its stellar thermoregulation, amazing durability and fantastic chug cap that gives you a comfortable and quick drinking experience while maintaining easy access to the superwide mouth.
Functional, breathable and incredibly comfortable, the Geox New Aneko B Abx Woman kept our feet dry through puddles, rainfall and spills. We ordered a half size up for a great fit.
If you’re looking for a sweat-wicking, breathable legging that’ll move with you no matter how brutal your workout is, and a pair that’s so comfortable you’ll nearly forget you’re wearing it at all, the Lululemon Align Pant is an investment we can get behind.
Hands down our favorite feature of the mat is the fact that it's dual-sided, with a smooth and sticky polyurethane-coated top side and a textured natural rubber bottom side that provides loads of traction. Beyond that, though, we also loved that the mat is slightly oversized and provides ample cushion given its 5-millimeter thickness.
The Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones don’t sound as good as sealed earbuds like the Beats Fit Pro, but we loved them for running and hiking, since they let you hear your surroundings as clearly as you would without wearing headphones at all.
All of our testers — even those with 38G and 36DD chest sizes — found the ultra-supportive Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh to be the most comfortable sports bra they’d ever worn. The soft, breathable, sweat-wicking fabric and simple zip-front design kept everyone comfortable even in high-octane workouts.
For under $50, the Razer Kraken X delivers some of the best comfort and sound quality out of all of the affordable wired headsets we tested. It also works well with nearly every platform, thanks to its versatile 3.5mm wired headphone connection.
The Acer XF243Y is an inexpensive way to get in on HDR gaming. With a 1080p IPS display and 144Hz refresh rate, it performs outside its weight class while still being affordable for most budgets.
Asus' top-of-the-line 4K monitor has the best picture quality we tested along with incredibly low input lag — it's expensive, but it's the best gaming monitor we've found, and for serious gamers who can make the investment, it's the one to get.
When it comes to a keyboard that checks all of the possible boxes and then some, the Apex Pro shines bright, delivering extreme value with adjustable switches, individual key lighting and an OLED display that makes quickly changing settings a breeze.
The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition offers the best combination of performance, battery life and features for the price, all packed into an attractive and highly customizable design.
The Corsair Dark Core RGB does it all. It's a gaming mouse that offers wired and wireless connectivity, a comfortable and adjustable grip and eight programmable buttons.
The MSI Aegis RS delivers high-end performance in blockbuster games for an affordable price, and has plenty of space for future upgrades.
The Meta Quest 2 is the most affordable, easy-to-use and intuitive VR headset available. The standalone device doesn’t require a beefy gaming PC, gives you access to a huge game library and has solid visuals and lightweight, ergonomic controllers. Battery life is a little short, but it is the best headset for anyone interested in getting started with VR.
If you’re a bidet beginner and don’t want to spend too much money, the Tushy Classic mounts under your existing toilet seat and gives you a comfortable stream with just enough adjustability.
Affordable, full-featured, effective and compatible with many varieties of replacement brush heads from Philips and third parties, the Sonicare 4100 is a great way to improve your oral hygiene routine. A gentle mode makes it easy for beginners to get used to high-tech brushing.
The gas-fueled Ooni Koda 16 had the most even heat distribution of the gas ovens we tested, making for fuss-free operation and perfectly charred and blistered artisanal pizza crust.
The Ooni Karu 16 was the simplest-to-use multi-fuel oven we tested, with straightforward switching between wood and gas and easy fuel loading — plus it made great artisanal pizzas with either fuel source.
The Brooklinen sheets are soft and light, wicking heat away effectively for people who sleep warm, but still regulating heat nicely in cooler climates. Simultaneously high-end and already perfectly worn in, these were delightful from the first touch.
Fresh out of the box, Frontgate’s Resort Cotton Bath Towel was among the most luxurious-feeling in our testing pool. Thick, soft and snuggly, this product truly feels like a fine hotel bathing experience. At a generous 58 inches by 30 inches, it looks the part too, with a lush surface punctuated by a nice 2-inch-long trim near each towel end.
The Alpha JX bidet seat features an instantaneous and endless supply of warm water along with a fully adjustable stream, dryer, remote and heated seat, making it the best bidet on the market, especially for the price.
The Proven’s Mosquito and Tick Spray proved to be a winner during our user testing. Proven was nice and light to the point we barely felt it on our skin. While you might forget you’re wearing it, though, bugs won’t.
Ring Alarm Pro wasn’t just the most seamless to set up and customize with a range of add-ons, but it offers features that other systems can’t match.
The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier was a breeze to use from the start. It was packaged so that the unit was easy to remove and assemble, and it was filled and misting quickly. The bulk of this humidifier is the tank, so it takes up minimal space, which is just one reason this humidifier ranked as our top choice. It was also a standout when it came to cleaning, which is huge if you’ve ever dealt with a gross, moldy humidifier filter or tank.
The Honeywell Quietset Whole Room tower fan is well built, quiet and affordable, with a solid, stable build and a beautiful, colorfully laid out control panel that was simpler to figure out and use than the competition. It was easier to assemble than the other tower fans we tested, with tool-free construction and a simple connection to the base that was a lot easier to deal with than the other tower models we looked at.
The Frigidaire dehumidifier was among the best performers in our testing, plus i has a superior interface and is easier to use than the competition.
Lightweight, super-steamy, able to get rid of even the stubbornest of wrinkles and priced affordably, Maytag’s M400 practically had us looking forward to laundry day. Heating up in a lightning-fast 39 seconds, the quickest of all irons we tested, it also features a handy indicator light that turns green to alert you it’s ready.
The Happy Light Luxe by Verilux is sleek, slim, packable and stable, and its well-thought-out controls — which were missing from almost every other light that we tested — made customizing the experience a pleasure.
We loved the Kohler Forte Shower Head's three spray settings: There's the drenching, full-coverage rain shower, the pulsating massage and the "silk spray" setting that is basically a super-dense mist.
With accurate readings and a positioning sensor that shines a light on your forehead, plus a silent option and an easy to read LED display, the Braun No-Touch thermometer offers everything you need in a thermometer.
Ring’s Video Doorbell 2 Pro uses radar to give you highly accurate motion alerts, has stellar looking video with a wide, tall field of view and crisp audio, and can even show you on a map the route someone took as they made their way to your door.
Midea’s U-shaped design makes installation a cinch and keeps the compressor outside, making it quieter than other ACs. It cooled the room more quickly and more effectively thanks to a motorized vent that effectively moves to waft cold air throughout the room.