Your kitchen is cluttered enough as is. So we pulled together the everyday workhorses that actually warrant a spot on your counter, and will look really good hanging out there long term.
The Best Cookware Set: Made In Starter Set
Whatever your kitchen situation, rounding out your cabinets with Made In’s starter set is the quickest way to elevate your cooking. Each pan evenly conducts heat for chef-quality sears and sautées while the handle stays cool to prevent palm burns. This one focuses on a quartet of four real-deal kitchen workhorses, from a 10-inch non-stick perfect for scrambled eggs to an eight-quart stock pot that can store enough chili for your whole friend group. Best of all, the whole thing takes up shockingly little cabinet space.
The Best Cast Iron Pan: Field Company No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron pans are ultra-sturdy, blessedly inexpensive, and can transition from the stovetop to the oven with ease—no melting plastic here. (You can even toss one directly on a grill or campfire coals for al fresco cooking.) What sets Field Company’s version apart from basic cast irons that you can pick up at a fraction of the price? It’s considerably lighter, which means you can actually pack it it on a camping trip, or transfer a piping hot shakshuka from oven to stove top with one oven-mitted hand instead of two.
The Best Non-Stick Pan: DeBuyer Non-Stick Pan
Scrubbing burnt food off a pan isn’t the worst kitchen chore, but it sure feels like it. Enter DeBuyer’s non-stick pans, each coated with five layers of scratch-resistant teflon engineered to slough off clingy food remains. The 8-inch fry pan is the perfect size for cooking eggs for two or a solo stir-fry, and the primary-colored handles are a fun touch. If nothing else, they’ll look great on the stovetop when you “forget” to do the dishes at the end of the night.
The Best Sheet Pan: Nordic Ware Nonstick Baking Sheet
Sheet pans are often inherited, not purchased. But a quality set is key to even, balanced cooking. Nordic Ware’s non-stick versions are a stalwart of restaurants across the country, making them a great long-term investment for your kitchen too. The pure pleasure of biting into a just-baked cookie is reason enough to keep a few on-hand, but you can use ‘em to roast vegetables and whole chickens, toast nuts, broil salmon, or keep your mise en place in place.
Products for the Sexiest (and Hardest Working) Countertop
Whatever your proficiency level, these tools will have you navigating the kitchen like a pro—or at least looking like one.
The Personal-Sized Blender
The appropriately-named Beast B10 proves that powerful things can come in small packages. The compact 12 lb. device blends frozen bananas, ice, and other stodgy solids with ease. (It can even break down dry ingredients like oats and nuts for homemade flours and peanut butter.) Twelve “ribs” intersect the 750mL capacity blending chamber to keep ingredients moving, while a 100-watt motor powers up pulses or preprogrammed blending cycles to yield the perfect consistency in seconds.
The Do-Everything Oven
When it comes to air fryers, the hype is real… as long as you pick the right model. Brevel’s is in a league of its own, and it does a lot more than just frying. With the touch of a button it can be a convection oven, slow cooker, dehydrator, toaster, and grill. Pop in your salmon, roast chicken, or potatoes and watch in awe as it seamlessly changes temperatures, sets timers, and switches on the broiler—while you stay sprawled on the couch.
The Michelin-Caliber Chef’s Knife
You don’t need a million different kitchen tools: you just need one really sharp knife. Miyabi’s 8-inch chef’s knife—hand-honed from high-carbon stainless steel using a traditional three-step Honbazuke process—is an instrument of slicing, dicing precision. Its lightweight blade boasts a seriously sharp edge, it’s sturdy enough to stand up to daily use, and the birch handle is a joy to hold. Frankly, it just looks beautiful floating on a magnetic knife rack.
Best Coffee Tools
The Best Countertop Coffee Maker: OXO Brew Coffee Maker
OXO’s near-miraculous, easy-to-use brewer asks very little of its user: give it water, give it grounds, and then select how many cups of java you’re fiending for—it doesn’t judge. Two simple taps stand between you and caffeinated bliss, and the handsome design means you won’t want to shove it into the darkest corner of your kitchen after you’ve satisfied your fix.
The Best Electric Kettle: Corvo EKG Electric Kettle
Fellow’s seriously powerful electric kettle is the McLaren of the genre, capable of going from room temp to scalding hot in a matter of seconds. Its wide-ranging temperature control features are designed to steep oolong or genmaicha tea down to the degree, but it’s sleek enough to warrant a permanent position on your counter no matter what you use it for.
The Best for Cold Brew Enthusiasts: Osmo Pro Home Brewer
The Osma Pro may be the most thoughtful cold brew machine on the market, but the science behind it is blessedly straightforward. In a nutshell: pressure pushes cold water through the grounds, extracts lots of flavor, and yields a pay-on-an-iPad quality cold brew in just a couple of minutes. (It doesn’t hurt that the eye-catching design veers into Dieter Rams-at-Braun territory.) A new age in coffee making? Maybe—it takes pods, and doesn’t discriminate—but a new look, for sure.
The Best for Pour-Over Snobs: Yield Originals Pour-Over Coffee Carafe
If you’re ready to transition from regular ol’ coffee drinker to certified Coffee Person, you need a proper pour-over setup. Yield Design’s sleek pour-over carafe is made from durable borosilicate for stress-free handling and top-notch heat retention, and it can make anywhere from one to six cups at a time. Each model comes with a lid to keep leftovers fresh in the fridge, making it easy to turn that leftover morning java into an afternoon iced latte.
The Best Grinder: Ode Brew Grinder
Coffee connoisseurs might debate the merits of different single-origin beans and alt milks, but all of them will admit burr grinders are king. Where conventional blade grinders pulverize beans at random, burr mills grind each bean for an evenly extracted, ultra-aromatic brew. Fellow’s model boasts 31 (!) different settings and an automatic stop, features that make it ideal for every type of home brewer, from French press devotees to endlessly patient pour-over fanatics.
Glasses that say “I don’t have a problem, I just have really good taste”.
Technically speaking, any glass is a wine glass once it’s been filled with a generous pour of Gamay. But the best of the genre should actually make their contents taste better, promoting aeration to develop nuanced flavors. Josephinenhütte’s magnificent hand-blown wine glasses are ultra-thin and designed with a divot at the bottom, so you can skip the hours-long decanting. Saying it’s a difference you can taste sounds a little cheesy (mmm, wine and cheese!) but it’s true.
Save for filing your own taxes, does anything feel more adult than pouring a homemade cocktail into a handsome, borderline fancy glass? Mamo’s multipurpose, duotone cocktail glasses will help you embrace the upsides of aging with panache. More of a beer person? Sophie Lou Jacobsen’s jumbo-sized rippled borosilicate glass cups are as funky as your favorite dry-hopped IPA. Trying to cut back on alcohol altogether? Lateral Objects’ elegant glassware—hand-blown in Poland and individually tinted in a range of rainbow hues—makes upping your H2O intake fun. And all of them can be found at Coming Soon, New York’s preeminent hotspot for kooky, artisanal home goods.
The Thoughtful Finishing Touches
It’s all about the presentation, baby.
If forks could talk, these would let out a low, dry chuckle. David Mellor’s sculptural flatware set bucks current trends (think: steel handles encased in boldly-colored plastic) in favor of vintage silhouettes inspired by Danish tabletops of the past—a retro homage with the perfect amount of modern flair.
The best way to elevate a random late night snack is through presentation, and the best way to present your microwaved nachos is on a Thomas Fuchs Melamine dinner plate. Fuchs’ 1/2 & 1/2 sits somewhere between rustic Spanish enamelware and Italian anti-design, a marriage of influences low and high. Stout like a camping plate and sunny like Massimo Vignelli’s ‘70s-era Heller dishes, this one is the most refined of the bunch—and the most exciting.
The Home Tech
Remember the 1999 Disney film, Smart House? (Of course you do.) Those aren’t the type of gimmicky contraptions you’ll find here. From an actually helpful—laser-enhanced!—vacuum to a projector that makes squinting through movie night a headache of the past, each of these are designed to upgrade your living space—and keep it looking spick and span no matter what you put it through.
The Best Splurge-Worthy Speaker Set: Bang & Olufsen Three-Room Speaker Set
When it comes to home audio, Bang & Olufsen is as premium as it gets. B&O’s smart speakers don’t come cheap, but top-tier design, craftsmanship, and innovation rarely do. On their own, each piece in the brand’s connected three-room speaker set is fantastic to look at—and even better to listen to. And once you get accustomed to their clean lines, crisp sound, and show-stopping materials (think: wood, leather, and aluminum), you’ll never look at your cheap plastic speakers the same.
The Best Speaker for Apple Hardos: Apple HomePod Mini Speaker
At a hair below 100 bucks, the HomePod mini is one of the most accessible Apple devices in the brand’s repertoire—and one of the most underrated options in the smart speaker category. Thanks to S5 chip-enabled computational audio and custom hardware design, it offers impressively clean, bright, 360-degree sound. If Siri is your go-to assistant or you’re looking to round out your Apple entertainment assortment, this is the smart speaker for you.
The Best Soundbar: Sonos “Ray” Soundbar
The Ray is Sonos’ most compact and least expensive soundbar to date, yet somehow manages to deliver on the distinct sound and sex appeal that make the brand an audiophile favorite. Pair it with your smart TV for streaming, laptop or PC for gaming, or use it on its own as a wireless speaker, and that mercifully low price will seem all the more inexplicable.
The Best TV: LG G2 OLED TV
Designed with LG’s leading OLED evo panel technology (and new a9 Gen 5 AI processor), the G2 model offers the brand’s brightest, vividest screen yet, making for a noticeably enhanced entertainment or gaming experience. And because it’s specifically built to mount flush against the wall, it’ll look just as at home at Frieze as it will in your living room.
The Best Projector: Samsung Freestyle Projector
Samsung’s ludicrously lightweight Freestyle projector is the Gen Z-approved TV alternative you’ve been looking for. Automatic screen size optimization, razor sharp HD visuals, and built-in speakers mean you’re movie night-ready straight from the jump.
The Best Vacuum: Dyson V12 Detect Slim Vacuum
Dyson’s brand new handheld vacuum is smarter, cheaper, and more compact than last year’s winner, the V15, but still offers the kind of features you’ve come to expect from the first name in precise, powerful cleaning. At first glance, the laser can seem gimmicky, but it’ll prove its worth when it’s sucking up the tiny particles that riddle your space—evidence displayed in real time on an LCD screen you can show your skeptical roommates. And this time around, Dyson replaced the trigger with a single power button so you can give your hands a break.
The Best Budget Vacuum: Iconpet Turbo Cordless Vacuum Stick
Pet owners will especially dig the cleaning capabilities of this cordless, LED-outfitted vacuum, but you don’t have to be covered in stray fur to appreciate it—detail oriented is detail oriented, after all. And while it may be cheaper than the Dyson pick, Bissell’s smart handheld vac gives fancier models a solid run for their money.
The Best Robot Vacuums: iRobot Roomba S9+, ILIFE A9, Roborock E5
Kicking back on the couch while your robot vacuum cleans up last night’s mess is a deeply satisfying feeling. You really can’t go wrong with any of the OG Roomba models, but the S9+ is the one we keep coming back to thanks to its powerhouse cleaning capabilities and litany of robo-vac party tricks. For pet owners, we recommend Roborock’s E5 vacuum, designed to detect near-imperceptible changes in flooring for an instantly deeper clean. (We also like that it comes with a washable filter that traps pet dander and allergens—you can always upgrade to the version with a mop if you’re feeling fancy). If budget is a primary concern, iLife’s A4s Pro doesn’t come with the same type of nifty self emptying or object avoidance features as its pricier counterparts, but it’ll more than get the job done if you’re looking for basic cleanup competence and hate Swiffering with a passion.
The Best Smart Thermostat: Google Nest Thermostat
Anointing Google’s best-selling smart thermostat top honors in its category isn’t exactly a groundbreaking choice. But with its sleek mirrored finish, the latest version of the Nest is the savviest yet, checking the same boxes as its predecessor—that built-in energy saving feature isn’t going anywhere—for a fraction of the price.
The Best Air Conditioner: July Air Conditioner
So you chose the pre-war walk-up with character over the cookie-cutter skyrise with central air. Now you’re going to need an A/C unit that cools, purifies, and adequately telegraphs your good taste. Luckily for you, July’s hero product comes jam-packed with all the features you’d expect from a modern-day smart A/C unit: voice or app-controlled scheduling, upgraded filters to block out allergens and pollutants, and made-to-order aesthetics. The sleek, single-panel covers come in a range of colors and premium materials, all accented by the brand’s patented slide-and-lock installation frame. And if you’re upgrading from an older, ominously whirring model, July will recycle or donate it and plant a tree in celebration.
The Best Air Purifier: Coway Airmega 150 Air Purifier
In 2022, air purifiers are more essential than ever, and Coway’s is the best we’ve found for smaller spaces. The Airmega 150 uses a trifecta of powerful filters, including a pre-filter for dust and pet hair, a carbon deodorization filter for odors and harmful gasses, and a Green True HEPA filter for ultra-fine particles like bacteria and pollen. Its vintage-inspired silhouette delivers noticeably better air quality without overcrowding whatever room you plop it in.
The Home Office
If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, you’re probably bored of it by now. The novelty of your standing desk has long since worn off, the fancy swivel chair you rush-ordered is wreaking havoc on your back, and the desk light perched precariously by your monitor won’t stop flickering. Thankfully, you’ve got options—and hopefully lots of time before home office essentials become as scarce as dumbbell sets were two years ago. This is everything you should buy to rekindle the flame with your WFH setup.
The Best Desk Overall: Made By Choice “Fem” Work Desk
Standing desks are good for you, sure, but they can also be a serious home office flex. Made by Choice’s Scandi-style work desk fits together easily out of the box (no confounding manuals, screws, or dowels), and the design allows you to use it at regular height or as a tiered standing desk with additional storage. Plus, those chunky rounded legs and corners make it a far cry from the terrifying spring-loaded contraptions you’ll encounter on Facebook Marketplace.
The Best Adjustable Desk: Branch Standing Desk
Branch’s adjustable standing desk makes alternating between sitting and standing a cinch. Thanks to a simple set of buttons, it’s easy to find and save your height preferences so you don’t have to expend precious lunch hour time trying to recreate the previous day’s experience. And unlike the janky rides crank-operated versions offer, the glide up and down is smooth enough to protect your filled-to-the-brim coffee cup.
The Best Desk for People Who Secretly Miss Their Cubicles: Schönbuch “Akira Bureau” Desk
Anything can be a desk if you have enough imagination. But few offer a distraction-free work space without approximating the bland aesthetics of your forlorn cubicle. No longer. Schönbuch’s tricked-out bureau desk comes in a handful of monochromatic finishes, but the variety of accent colors are the real standout. It’s also designed to stay open after you’re done using it, no matter what state you leave it in. An excuse to never tidy up or an A+ creative concept? We’ll go with the latter.
The Best Customizable Office Chair: Haworth “Maari” Chair
If it seems like everyone has the same ergonomic desk chair, you’re not far off. Historically, the genre hasn’t allowed for much creative freedom—except when it comes to color. The base of Haworth’s Maari chair only comes in two, but there are six more to choose from for the seat and backrest. (We’re partial to Melange Nap 951, a rich sage green that feels fresh and a little bit quirky.) Naturally, the chair’s support is aces too: when you lean forward, it leans forward with you. It sounds simple, but it makes a difference when you’re gearing up for another day of Zooms.
The Best Multi-Purpose Chair: Knoll KN07 Armless Chair
If you’ve ever lived in a studio—or an NYC-sized one-bedroom apartment—you know the value of owning a versatile chair. If it’s comfortable enough to support a day hunched over your computer, blends in next to your dining table, and pinch hits as a not-quite-lounge chair for unexpected company, you’ve found a unicorn. Knoll’s KNO07 chair, made in collaboration with the Italian designer Piero Lissoniis, checks all three boxes and then some.
The Best Splurge-Worthy Chair: Herman Miller Embody Chair
If you’re going to sit all day, you may as well do it right, and if you’re going to do it right, you might as well go with Herman Miller. Long the leaders in teched-out office seating, the brand’s newest flagship model—designed with the input of 30 PhDs and physicians—is a downright indulgent office chair. An upright, flexible throne that mimics the spine’s natural curve, it’s pliable enough to kill pressure build-up, and refined enough to take you to another tax bracket—or at least help you soldier through another hour of work.
The Best Statement Desk Lamp: Yowie Tiny Table Light
No matter what kind of WFH setup you’re, ah, working with, the right lamp can make or break the vibe. Gantri’s tiny-but-mighty table lamp, designed in collaboration with the Philly home goods store Yowie, makes logging on each day feel a little less mundane. Four petal-like legs support a bright, dome-shaped diffuser that gently floods your desk with soft light. It’s cheery, unexpected, and well-equipped to keep your eyes from straining to read that last email.
The Best LED Desk Lamp: Dyson Solarcycle Morph Desk Light
Dyson’s task light was already a shoe-in to take home the award for “Most Versatile”, but we’re inclined to give it top honors in the “Most Handsome” category too. Not only can you tweak its color temperature and brightness based on your specific daylight patterns, it automatically adjusts every minute, which feels like having a little piece of sun in your office…or living room…or bedroom. The ambient glow setting is especially slick, yielding a soft light transformed by the perforated shell of the lamp’s neck.