{"feed":"Wirecutter-Reviews-for-the-Real-World","feedTitle":"Wirecutter: Reviews for the Real World","feedLink":"/feed/Wirecutter-Reviews-for-the-Real-World","catTitle":"Technology","catLink":"/cat/technology"}

A weighted blanket offers “the feeling of hugging someone … without all the annoying hassles of having to be with a person,” comedian Whitney Cummings has said. Companies that sell weighted blankets claim that they are a scientifically proven way to help you calm down. We looked into medical studies and tested three top contenders to check those claims.

So, are weighted blankets truly useful? Sort of.

Whether you’re replacing an existing solid-state drive or upgrading from a traditional hard drive to get better performance, almost every SSD you can buy today is great. But some are still better than others. If you need to buy a SATA SSD right now, we think the 500 GB Crucial MX500 is the best option for most people. The MX500 isn’t the fastest SATA SSD you can get, but it comes close, and it has the best combination of price, performance, and capacity of any drive you can buy.

After researching nearly 50 budgeting apps, having eight people test six of them in their daily lives, speaking with three financial experts, and reading through a half-dozen personal finance books, You Need a Budget (YNAB) is the only budgeting app we’d spend our own money on. Its guided setup helps you create an effective budget, and its user-friendly phone and Web apps help you stick to it better than anything else we tested.

After researching and testing more than 30 high-end compact cameras over the past three years, we recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10 if you’re looking to take the best pictures possible with a camera small enough to slip into your pocket.

We’ve tested more than 20 of the best budget Android phones since 2015, carrying each one for multiple days of hands-on testing, and the Motorola Moto G5 Plus currently offers the best combination of features for the price. It performs better than most other budget Android devices, works on every major US carrier, and has easy-to-use software. But everyone’s budget is different, so we also have a pick for shoppers who can spend a little more as well as for those who need a decent smartphone for $100.

Your home office should be a place where you feel comfortable doing your best work day after day. A team of work-from-home veterans spent more than 150 hours researching and testing equipment for a variety of workspaces and picked out a selection of great gear, including things that many of us use daily in our own home offices.

For most of the country, the winter months mean you can expect frost and probably snow, ice, and freezing rain. If you own a vehicle, that means you also need an ice scraper, likely one that incorporates a snow broom or brush. After more than 40 hours of research and real-world tests of 17 models—the latest round an epic 28-windshield arm-breaker in a negative-3-degree cold-chamber at Ford’s winter-weather test facility in Detroit—we’re confident that the Hopkins 80037 Quick-Lock Pivoting Snowbroom is the best scraper for most people.

After consulting experts in lighting design and optometry, and spending 24 hours researching more than two dozen desk lamps and testing eight, we think the Eufy Lumos E1 LED Desk Lamp is the best LED lamp for working at a desk in a home office or for any other task that requires good, focused light. The E1 is the brightest lamp we tested, with some of the best controls for dimming. Eye doctors recommend using cooler light for tasks during the day and warmer hues at night, and the E1 has the widest range of color temperatures out of the lamps we tested. Using focused, direct light while you work or read helps reduce eye strain, and its adjustability and lamp design lets you avoid glare no matter how you angle the lamp.

After listening to a total of more than 200 portable Bluetooth speakers over the past two years, we think the UE Roll 2 is the best choice for most listeners. It sounds good and plays loud enough to fill a hotel room, plus its slim, waterproof, rugged design makes it an ideal companion for anything from a luxury hotel stay to a weeklong hiking trip.

After spending a combined 459 nights on 45 pillows, talking with nine sleep and industry experts, and long-term testing our top picks for 15 months, we’ve concluded that the best pillow for most people, including back-sleepers, side-sleepers, and stomach-sleepers who prefer a pillow with generous loft, is the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow in standard size. The best choice for stomach-sleepers who prefer something thinner and less lofty is the Parachute Down Pillow in soft density.

After 70 hours of research and testing over three years, including real-world shooting with a handful of the top contenders, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 II is what we recommend for most people looking for a high-performing mirrorless camera system without breaking the bank. The E-M10 II locks focus on subjects quickly, is compatible with more than 70 lenses, and has built-in image stabilization that works with every lens.

After 40 hours of research and weeks of real-world testing in century-old stone basements, we think the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 is the best dehumidifier for most people. It’s effective at drying air, it maintains an optimal level of humidity, and it’s easier to operate than any other model we tested.

If you spend most of your day typing, a mechanical keyboard is a worthwhile upgrade over a cheaper, less comfortable keyboard. They are more durable, responsive, and customizable than other types of keyboards. The best for you depends a lot on personal preference and what you’re using it for, but after spending months testing 31 top-rated keyboards with a four-person panel, we unanimously agree that the WASD Code 87-Key is a great place to start because of its fantastic key feel, build quality, and elegant design.

After nearly 250 hours of research and testing over the past few years, we’ve found that the best choice for an affordable laser printer right now is the Brother HL-L2340DW. Among the dozens of laser printers we’ve looked at, the L2340DW is one of the most economical and least frustrating printers you can buy.

Over the past two years, we’ve considered nearly 300 USB battery packs (also known as power banks) and spent hundreds of hours testing more than 40 of them to find the ones that offer the best value and reliably keep gear charged. The credit-card-sized TravelCard Charger has consistently been our go-to battery to give a smartphone a partial charge to make it through the day. The Jackery Bolt is just a little bigger and provides one to two full smartphone charges, and it has convenient built-in cables. Our larger pick, the Anker PowerCore 20100, can charge your phone every day for a week or keep a fleet of devices going for shorter stints. And for Android devices that are Quick Charge–capable, we found that the medium-size Tronsmart Presto 10000 PBT10 will provide really fast Quick Charge 3.0 speeds at a good price. (If you already have a device with a USB-C port, you’ll get the fastest charging and future-proof tech from dedicated USB-C battery packs instead.)

After researching 85 gaming keyboards and testing 20 by playing dozens of hours of Overwatch, we’ve found that the Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2 has the simplest macro-recording system and the best multicolor backlighting of any keyboard we tested. It’s compact and easy to program, and it offers a variety of switch types. (You can game with any keyboard, of course; if you don’t care about flashy lights and macros, check out our guide to mechanical keyboards.)

A great robe can help you stay warm, cover up, or make your morning routine a bit more pleasant. It’s also a small luxury—something to splurge on, just a little. After spending 75 hours researching and wearing 23 robes in half a dozen different materials, we’ve picked nine standouts that we love for their softness, style, comfort, and practicality. There’s no one robe that works for everyone, but we think most people will find a great match here.

Amazon’s Alexa, the voice-controlled assistant that lives within the Echo speaker, has become a household name. Now a few companies are betting that people who like Alexa in their homes will like it on the road, as well. But is an Alexa dongle for your car actually useful? I tested four Alexa add-on units to find out. The short answer: not yet.

These add-ons vary slightly in design, but at their core, they’re mostly the same type of device. You get a dongle that plugs into your car’s accessory power (aka, cigarette lighter) jack and connects to your car stereo (either via aux cable or Bluetooth). It then wirelessly tethers to your smartphone for an Internet connection. From there, you can ask Alexa to check traffic, weather, and news; play music; control smart-home devices; answer basic search queries; and perform other simple skills. Some have screens, others have a built-in speakers, still others have USB charging ports, but they all function similarly.

I recently took a trip across Queens and Brooklyn with the Garmin Speak, a tiny dash-mounted OLED display with a built-in speaker and microphone, to see what it was like. Once I plugged the Speak into my car’s accessory-power port and tethered it to my iPhone’s data connection via Bluetooth (it automatically reconnects as long as you haven’t...

After a total of 36 hours of testing nearly every kit released since 2014, we’ve determined that the best powerline networking adapter set for most people is the TP-Link AV2000 2-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit. A powerline networking adapter transmits an Internet signal over your home’s electrical wiring, so it’s a good way to get Internet access to a distant part of your house without running additional cables or using a Wi-Fi extender. The broadly compatible TP-Link kit is twice as fast as 2015’s fastest powerline options, so it’s the best way to start or expand your home powerline network.

You don’t have to spend as much as a video game costs on a good glass screen protector for your iPhone. In fact, after testing eight models ranging from $3 apiece to $50, we found the least-expensive option to be the best: TechMatte’s amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector (available for iPhone 8, 7, 6s, and 6, as well as for iPhone 8 plus, 7 Plus, 6s Plus, and 6 Plus and iPhone X) covers the entire active area of the iPhone’s display, something not all protectors can claim. It’s also as scratch resistant as anything else we tested, it’s crystal clear, and fingerprints wipe right off. We found installation to be easy enough, and we appreciate all the cleaning tools included in the box. And even if you get a speck of dust under the glass on your first attempt, it’s not that big of a deal, because you get two or three amFilm protectors in each package.