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 Sony LinkBuds S offer excellent sound, strong noise cancellation and Sony’s actually smart Adaptive Sound Control to tailor performance to your surroundings. The LinkBuds S are a good buy for Android users, with support for LDAC high-res audio, and they work well with iOS, too.
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.
The OXO Brew Pour-Over Coffee Maker is perfect for beginners, as it takes the guesswork out of the pouring process. Simply fill the water tank to your desired amount and let it control the flow rate.
If you don’t have a grinder or if you prefer an all-in-one-machine, the Breville Barista Pro has the same great automatic features as the Bambino Plus, plus a quality grinder and a little more programmability.
The Breville Bambino Plus takes the guesswork out of great espresso, with automatic features to help you through every step of the process of making café-quality drinks.
If you want espresso drinks at the touch of a button, the Philips 3200 does everything for you, from grinding to milk steaming, without any additional effort. It’s always ready to serve up a quality espresso, latte or cappuccino.
The latest update to a 30-year-old design, the Gaggia Classic Pro doesn’t have as many automatic features as some more modern machines, but there’s no better machine for learning barista skills. And it makes great espresso and milk drinks.
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 updated features, an upgraded LiFePO4/LFP battery, a ton of ports and easy expansion, the new EcoFlow Delta 2 outperformed everything in its class in our testing. It hits the sweet spot for most people who need portable power and a dependable emergency backup.
Bluetti’s EB70S packs the latest LFP battery chemistry and plenty of capacity into a compact package that’s great for camping, on-the-go preparedness, a car emergency kit or taking any place you need reliable power.
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.