When looking for things for the home, I use three sources.
- First is Consumer reports (subscription required) and they do some nice tests
- Then, Cooksillustrated.com (subscription required) which is mainly about recipes, but they do some great tests of kitchen stuff
- Then there is the meta site, The Sweethome which is a branch of the Wirecutter. They do a good
- The sanity check is to look at Amazon.com reviews and see what people are saying about the product with the caveat that Amazon oftentimes coalesces reviews of different products into one, so you have to check that.
So given that, what were some things that caught my eye (and reminded me how lucky I am to have used these sites in the past):
- Cuisinart MCP-117-16BR Roasting Pan. Got this a few years ago based on Cooks Illustrated and revalidated by The Sweethome. Really handy. Big so you need some space for it, but it really does work well and a reasonable $80 (Amazon).
- Vollrath Wear-Ever Cookie Sheet. Some folks like rimmed and others rimless, but these vollrath's are great. They don't warp! $20 (Amazon).
- Breville Smart Oven. Ok, this is a little big for a stocking stuffer, but it is incredibly useful and it keeps such even temperature. It is incredibly expensive, but everyone thinks it is worth it. ($250. Amazon). And it uses half the power of a full oven, so stay green as well.
And some things I haven't gotten, but want now that I spent some time researching:
- Cree a19 60W LED Light Bulb. DesigningwithLEDs.com is apparently a huge site for analyzing this, but apparently the era of CFL is ending and the era of LED is finally here. This is a $13 60w ($20 for the 75w) bulb which is dimmable and doesn't have mercury and lasts for 20 years. Can't wait to try it! There is a 75w version coming and also a 40w. Four years ago, I tried a $60 LED bulb outside and it died in two months (!?), so product quality is also important. It has a 10-year warranty, so keep your receipt and go to Home Depot if one dies. They also have a B30 for overhead lighting, a TW series that is very color accurate. Overall they are doing a great job. And they have a compatibility list of dimmers (pdf) so you can see if you can dim them.