In my previous role as TechRadar’s Homes Editor, I have tested all kinds of appliances and smart home gadgets. When I’m not testing them out, I’m researching and reading up on the latest and greatest home products that are set to (seemingly) revolutionize the way we go about our days.
We tested the products found in the best coffee machines, the best juicers, the best vacuum cleaners, and even tried the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and other smart home devices.
As a result of all this, I am (very) selective about the appliances and smart home gadgets I choose to permanently reside in my home. The product should also look good. If you need to replace your appliance or want to try something new, please know from me that the products listed below are (really) better.
1. Dyson V11 Outsize
Most of the appliances I review tend to be vacuum cleaners. I’ve loved the Dyson V11 Outsize since it was first released in 2021. Our 3-bed house has ground and ground floors, tiled, wooden and carpeted floors, plus a steep staircase, but the Dyson V11 Outsize handles them all perfectly.
Its large cleaner head senses and adapts to different floors so intelligently that all you have to do is hold down the trigger. However, although it has three different suction settings to switch between when needed, we tend to leave it on automatic for easy cleaning. It’s big and (probably) one of the biggest. so far Empty less often as seen in cordless vacuum cleaners.
However, it comes with a lot of attachments. This includes a quick release extension hose, a mini electric tool, a crevice tool, a quick release mattress tool, a quick release mini soft dusting brush, a quick release stubborn dirt brush, a combination tool, and a separate soft roller cleaner head. All docking and charging gear – this is a lot, but I don’t tend to use them, except for the main high torque XL cleaner head and combination tool.
2. Swan Retro Manual Air Fryer
I was very lucky to get a Swan Retro for the summer. Because it was out of stock since then. It flew off UK shelves and while stock is expected to land at some point in the next few weeks (no spoilers), the Swan Retro does so well in its capabilities that we don’t expect it to run out of stock. Hmm.
OK, that’s not all, but for just $121/£100/AU$175 you can get a 6 liter/6.3 quart air fryer. It looks pretty nice on the countertop. Cooked all kinds of food in it. From frozen chips to Christmas cakes. The only addition I find (sometimes) useful is a separate drawer for cooking two different food types at the same time, and I’m excited about the launch of the Swan Duo Digital 9L Basket Air Fryer. (opens in new tab) next month.
Sorry US readers, the Swan air fryer is only available in the UK. If you want to know my second favorite air fryer, it’s the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 10-Quart Air Fryer (DZ401) with DualZone Technology. (opens in new tab)Large 9.5 liter / 10 quart capacity with two cooking drawers.
3. Ring the video doorbell 3
I don’t understand why I didn’t have one of the best video doorbells of our lives before I joined TechRadar. Ring Video Doorbell 3 makes receiving deliveries much easier and more convenient when you’re not home. With two-way calling, you can talk to someone outside your front door and direct them where to pick up your parcel. From a security standpoint, it can also warn people you don’t want lurking outside your home, but (very) fortunately, we didn’t have to use it for that.
The wireless, battery-powered Ring Video Doorbell 3 was very easy to install. I cut out an old wired doorbell and installed this instead. Being battery powered means it needs to be recharged, which happens every 25 days. Recharging can take up to four hours, and of course, if you’re recharging or haven’t already recharged from a dead battery, you’ll be without a doorbell for a while.
Apart from this, the footage of the street in front of you is clear day and night, and the app is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. It’s all relatively affordable, and at $194 / £159.99 / AUD $282, it’s a bit too pricey for us.
4. Dyson Cool Autoreact
The Dyson Cool Auto React was brought to review in September 2022, during a very hot period. It was going to be in our new Best Fans guide, so this was the perfect setup to test. Cooling and air purifying functions can be done at your own pace.
It has a big pivot void above the drum, looks pretty space age, but I actually like it. . On the actual base/stand of the Dyson Cool Auto React you can see the aforementioned reports on a color LCD panel that displays information about filter status and air quality. Especially since it’s a very expensive appliance at $605/$499.99/$879, the app is useful for learning more about its cooling and purification performance.
5. NutriBullet Blender Combo
I tend to like appliances that are simple, straightforward, yet sophisticated looking, so the Nutribullet Blender Combo has settled into our home. This isn’t an appliance that gets as many uses as the others mentioned here, but it’s an appliance that you might find useful if you want to make your own oat milk, soup, or smoothie.
Perfect for smoothing and whisking large amounts of food together and pouring easily through the drip-free spout. It has three settings, Extraction, Low, Medium, High and Pulse, which you use depending on what you want to create using the dial on the base. The blades can be used to crush ice, blend hot liquids, or cut fruits and vegetables, so we find them very versatile for our needs.
Comes with a generous 1.8 liter / 1.9 quart jug, 3 bullet cups (small containers) and another to-go blade. Everything except the base is dishwasher safe. The only small issue with it is that food tends to get trapped under the blade, so I’ve found it works best for large amounts, even when using bullet cups.