It’s been a strange year, and one that’s left many of us spending record levels of time at home. So as we head into yet another season of home schooling, hanging with friends virtually, and working from the kitchen table, we’re giving serious thought to some items we can splurge on that will make the days inside just a little more tolerable.
We spoke to several home experts to find out which appliances they think should make the top of everyone’s list—here’s what they said.
1. Portable AC unit
Although the hot weather might be over for some, others are experiencing the last gasp(s) of summer—so there’s still plenty of time to get your money’s worth out of a portable AC unit.
“Portable AC units are great for climates that only have a few weeks of hot weather a year,” says certified designer and podcast host Eric Goranson. “Places like Portland, OR, where only about half of the residences have built-in air conditioning, these units can get you through those couple of hot weeks that become uncomfortable. It’s also the perfect solution for renters who don’t have an HVAC system.”
Don’t spend one more day sweating it out at home. Check out this Black + Decker 8,000-BTU portable air conditioner ($278 from Wayfair).
If you’re anything like us, regular water just doesn’t cut it anymore. Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring on the bubbles without having to go to the store and stock up on cans of the stuff?
“SodaStream is a great alternative to having soda and flavored water filling up a pantry or refrigerator,” says Goranson. “It can also be a great addition to a wet bar area where flavored sodas can be a part of any adult mixed beverage. Plus it’s so much easier on the environment to reduce the amount of packaging with soda cans or bottles.”
Make all your favorite bubbly beverages at home with SodaStream ($79 from Amazon).
Your floors are probably seeing a lot more traffic these days, and rather than spending countless hours vacuuming up the dirt and dust, you may just want to add a Roomba to your wishlist.
“A clutter-free environment is nonlivable for pests, so it’s essential to keep your house clean,” says Yaniv Masjedi, chief marketing officer at Nextiva. “Smart vacuums are excellent cleaning tools for maintaining an uncluttered household without manual labor.”
Get your passive cleaning plan up and running with this iRobot Roomba ($244 from Walmart).
4. Second refrigerator
Going to the grocery store less means stocking up when you do go. But where are you going to put all those perishables?! If you’re lucky enough to have the space for one, now’s a great time to invest in a second refrigerator or freezer.
“With flush-built refrigerators having less capacity, a second fridge is a popular option,” says Goranson. “Using an old one isn’t a great idea as they use a ton of energy, so it pays to buy a new one. If you get one with an ice maker, you’ll probably never have to run to get ice for that party again.”
Update your food storage with this Samsung counter-depth French door refrigerator with ice maker ($1,399 from Lowe’s).
5. Espresso machine
“Most coffee lovers like to indulge in espresso drinks at cafes and restaurants, so with the pandemic going on, buying an espresso machine is the perfect solution,” says designer and travel blogger Lindsey Maxwell of Where You Make It.
Learn how to make your own lattes and cappuccinos with the De’Longhi Dedica deluxe espresso machine ($264 from Bed, Bath & Beyond).
6. Air purifier
All this time indoors means air quality is more important than ever—and with colder weather on its way, we won’t be able to open the windows for a breath of fresh air. To the rescue: an air purifier.
If you can’t build a purifier into your HVAC system, try the portable Airpura UV600 air purifier ($900 from Sylvane).
“The UV germicidal lamp in it sterilizes antigens, pathogens, and mold spores when they hit the filters,” says Goranson. “It’s a great machine in a little package.”
7. Smart thermostat
Rather than trying to find the perfect temperature for your house, why not let one of these smart thermostats do it for you?
“It’s a smart investment—you’ll save money on your electric bill, plus control your home’s temperature from your phone,” says Maxwell.
Stay toasty warm this season with the ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control ($249 from Amazon).
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