This thing is great, especially since I only use a laptop without an external keyboard and mouse. It comes flat packed and fully assembled. The aluminum frame supports up to 22 pounds, enough to hold your computer and various knick-knacks (don’t lean on it), and it’s also quiet when getting on and off. Just squeeze the handles on either side of the desk and its height will adjust almost silently. Plus, it’s lightweight, so I can easily move it around when I want to use my kitchen table like, you know, a kitchen table. Now I even have somewhere to tidy up my cat! – Senior Editor, Andrew Tarantola
Nest Thermostat (2020)
For years, I have coveted Nest smart thermostats. In an industry overloaded with smart home failures, they’ve come up with many useful upgrades over their old-school counterparts. Plus, they just looked incredibly cool. So when I left Brooklyn and finally got the chance to upgrade my home hardware, I jumped at the chance to install Google’s new touchscreen Nest thermostat.
It’s a good deal at $ 130, compared to $ 249 for the spiffier Nest Learning Thermostat. And it was an obvious purchase once I found out my power company was selling it for half the price, which allowed me to purchase two thermostats and additional wall plates for around $ 160. (PSA: be sure to check with your power company for similar offers.) Of course, the cheaper Nest does not have the beautiful rotating ring, nor most of the “learning” abilities of its elder. But that price was much more acceptable than spending over $ 500.
So far after a fairly straightforward installation process, I’m happy with the purchase. My wife and I can adjust the temperature in the house on our phones while our daughter is sleeping, which is better than tiptoeing on our creaky wood floors. On the rare occasion that we leave the house, we can turn down the temperature to save energy and then warm things up on the way home. After connecting our Nest devices to Alexa, we can also use our Echo devices to monitor and change temperatures. And we can even keep an eye on how much power we’re using, thanks to some basic charts in the Google Home app.
I know it’s a more basic experience than the Nest Learning Thermostat. The biggest downside is that the cheaper Nest doesn’t support external temperature sensors, making it more difficult to adjust heating and air conditioning for specific rooms. But it’s hard to argue with the new Nest’s low price tag, especially if you can find further discounts. – Senior Editor, Devindra Hardawar
Keychron K2 mechanical keyboard
2020 was the year my trusty ten-year-old Apple Magic keyboard gave up the ghost. To be fair, this outing was assisted by me and a spilled drink, but I needed a new keyboard nonetheless. I was tired of mechanical keyboards, having heard coworkers slam the morale of their office neighbors one key at a time. But now I’m working from home and, well, I wanted to see what it was about.
Given the large number of options, I was sure I would be spoiled for choice, but it turns out that my requirements were (apparently) quite specific. I wanted something sleek, small, wireless (with optional wired) with all the shortcuts for a Mac (media controls, Mission Control, etc.). After days of scouring the internet, about one called me: Keychron K2 ($ 69). After taking the plunge, I’m incredibly happy. It’s Tenkeyless (TKL) so doesn’t take up a lot of desktop space, is wireless (with multiple device support), and has Mac shortcuts and shift keys.
I love how it looks, but I admit I’m also a reluctant convert to anything “mechanical”. I’ve never had a problem typing on the old Magic keyboard, and I still think claims about the quality of the tuners may be bordering on cult, but the Keychron is a pleasure to type. I didn’t need RGB, so I went for the slightly cheaper white backlight model, but it still made it more of a deal than a replacement. Magic keyboard ($ 99), so overall it’s a win. – Deputy Editor-in-Chief, James Trew
COSORI electric kettle
2020 brought some good things to me, and one of them was the Cosori electric kettle I invested in this spring. It probably sounds silly to most (especially my British colleagues), but as a New Yorker in my late 20s, I had never owned a kettle – let alone electric. As my partner and I have started to work more and more from home, we are no longer satisfied with the coffee that our automatic machine made each morning. We wanted to have more options than these little pods of coffee and, to be honest, we wanted the best tasting coffee.
As a result, I dove head first into the world of pouring and French press coffee and bought a few supplies, one being this electric kettle. I chose it because it appeared to be a mid-road electric kettle – not too fancy, but advanced enough to have a few variable temperature presets to choose from. The fanciest part is arguably her gooseneck and I chose this because according to many coffee enthusiast websites it allows for more accurate pouring when using a container as a Chemex (they were right).
Needless to say, this little kitchen appliance has totally changed the way my partner and I make coffee, tea and even a cup of ramen sometimes. Aside from the variable presets, which make it easier than ever to brew a great cup of tea, the ‘keep warm’ feature is one of my favorites because no matter how strapped I am in my morning routine. , the boiling water I need for our coffees will be waiting for me when I’m ready. It’s not a new phone or next-gen gaming console, but one of the things I learned from 2020 is to enjoy the little things, and this kettle made my morning cup of coffee. even more of a treat. – Commercial writer, Valentina Palladino
Classic 2-in-1 Gray Texture Scent Warmer
I am very sensitive to scents, so I spent many years and countless dollars trying to find the perfect home fragrance solution. Deodorant sprays don’t last very long, candles leave a burnt smell when they’re out, and reed diffusers are either too expensive or don’t dissipate well in my apartment. I hate the artificial scent that Glade or Febreeze plugins give off, and have even tried scent gadgets like the Aera, but like plugins, they sort of smell manufactured.
I had been thinking of wax melts as a solution for a while and finally bought this cute from Bed Bath and beyond a few weeks ago. And honestly, I blame myself for not buying one sooner. I used it with candles that had burned out but still had a lot of wax residue, and the effect was exactly what I wanted. I get the intensity of the scent of a burning candle without having to deal with the smell of smoke after I put it out.
The wax melter I bought is pretty basic – I picked the one that best matches my decor. I imagine there are larger, more powerful versions available that might offer the option of setting timers (maybe even through an app!) So you won’t have to keep turning it on when you want to set the mood and turn it off when you go to bed. Until these get prettier, however, I’m happy with my little wax melter (even though it’s basically a small, round baking sheet with a ceramic dish). If you are looking for an effective and long lasting home fragrance method, I highly recommend a wax melter for this spa experience. – Editor-in-Chief, Cherlynn Low