Many “buying guides” are bland and generic, but I find that I still enjoy hearing what works for the discerning creators that I follow. I went through my buying history and these are random items that I have bought myself from Amazon (no free samples) that I would gladly go out and buy again. I’ll also list a few misses at the bottom of stuff I wish I hadn’t bought.
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LISEN 15W MagSafe Car Mount Charger
I finally upgraded to the latest iPhone this year after a 3-year wait, and wanted to take better advantage of all the MagSafe features. After a bunch of research, this car mount charger allows your phone to both display information and receive power magnetically with no plugging in required and no spring-type or gravity-type mounts. The magnetic connection is strong and has the extra aligning magnet in addition to the circular ones. Air vent attachment system works well. Includes the USB-C cable (some don’t). Even lights up so it’s easy to find at night. After buying the first one, I bought another one for my spouse’s vehicle.
YETI Rambler 46 oz Bottle w/ Chug Cap and YETI 64 oz Rambler
I have tried many water bottles, as I’m sure you probably have, and this is the best combination of my favorite drinking spout style (no straws!), nice handle, quality construction, and ease of cleaning. I wish it wasn’t the expensive YETI brand, which is very nice but also very expensive, but alas it was. I just have to focus harder on not losing them. The 64 oz bottle is good for longer outings, while the 46 oz is a hard-to-find size that I find perfect for everyday use (holds significantly more than “just” 32 oz, but not unwieldy).
COSORI Air Fryer Pro LE (5 Quart)
Love our air fryer. Use it at least every other day. Air fryers are like microwaves but the food doesn’t get soggy. Reheat all kinds of stuff, from pizza to roasted veggies. Cooks steaks (really!). This Cosori brand was a Wirecutter recommendation that worked out (my average success rate with them is ~70%). Good quality, easy to clean (entire tray is dishwasher safe), nice user interface.
PopSockets Phone Grip Compatible with MagSafe
PopSockets are popular due to their comfort and overall high quality, but these are unique because you can easily take them off when you don’t want it. Works with any Magsafe case or directly onto a naked iPhone. The magnets are very strong so it won’t fall off by accident. Clear color also goes with everything.
VEVA HEPA Filters Compatible with Coway Airmega AP-1512HH (2-Pack)
The Coway Airmega AP-1512HH is a very effective and reliable air filter and has been running in multiple rooms in my house basically non-stop for years. I love the simple, functional design and once you see how much gunk gets caught in the filters, you won’t want your family breathing that into their lungs ever again. I go through a lot of HEPA filters (and use a garden hose on the screens) regularly. These VEVA filters are the highest-quality aftermarket filters that I have found, yet they are only half the price of the OEM filters.
Arctic Zone Titan Cooler – Zipperless Hardbody Cooler
I have traditional big Igloo coolers with and without wheels, but I wanted a lightweight cooler that I could easily carry (but still holds 30 cans!) but also wouldn’t break the bank (i.e. not YETI). This thing has surprisingly good insulation and durable construction. Combines well with reusable ice packs. Easy cleanup. Has a lot of little thoughtful features. Strap is pretty comfortable. This $300 YETI looks great but only holds 18 cans. I’d honestly rather have this Titan, which costs 1/5th as much and holds 30 cans along with a quick-access zipperless lid.
KitchenAid Classic Pizza Wheel
Another random kitchen tool on my list!? Years ago, I got a free promo pizza wheel with an insurance company logo on it. I ended up using it so much it finally got too dull. Cuts so many things faster than a knife. I’ve found KitchenAid brand stuff to be pretty decent quality overall, and this one did not disappoint.
Rester’s Choice Ice Pack for Injuries Reusable
Both old adults (like me) and young kids need a lot of ice packs for their boo-boos. This reusable one is very high quality and goes back and forth from the freezer all the time. Much better than real ice in ziploc backs.
Misses: Here are stuff that was highly-rated in other places like Consumer Reports or Wirecutter, but did not perform up to my expectations.
- Cuisinart 2-Slice Toaster Oven – mostly just another cheaply-made toaster that will last maybe a year, tops.
- Halo Headband Halo II – Sweat kept getting in my eyes while running, and this contraption appeared clever and cost me a whopping $16 for a single one (!) but ended up a gimmick. These headbands were 4 for $12 and ended up working better.
- Perilogics Universal in Flight Airplane Phone Holder Mount – works alright but doesn’t grip that well. Phone ended up falling midflight from the upright tray position multiple times and either landing in my drink or falling into the aisle. Ugh.
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