Everything You Need to Host Overnight Guests for the Holidays

Mary Beth Quirk

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There’s no place like home for the holidays—or so the song goes. But just because your friends and family are spending the night away from their beds and under your roof doesn’t mean they can’t feel right at home with you. Listed below are some of the top-performing products from CR’s tests—from a reliable air mattress for a good night’s sleep to a great coffee maker for caffeinating a crowd—are sure to keep your holiday guests happy.

Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000

CR’s take: A great option for caffeinating a lot of people, the Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000 is a self-serve coffee maker, meaning it forgoes a carafe and lets you fill a mug straight from its heated reservoir. Guests can brew a fresh cup on demand—and no one gets stuck with the dregs that have been sitting on the warmer all morning.

This model does well in our tests, and Cuisinart self-serve machines receive an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction. Features include a removable reservoir, a permanent filter, a water filter, a cleaning indicator, auto-shutoff, programming, and a small-batch setting.

For more options, read “Best Drip Coffee Makers From Consumer Reports’ Tests.”

Oxo Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

CR’s take: The Oxo Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a fantastic grinder and one of the lower-priced models that does well in our tests. It receives strong scores in our grind performance tests, making it a good choice for any brew method you want to use. It also earns a Very Good rating for convenience, thanks to its clearly marked and easy-to-use controls. Our testers find it extremely easy to clean, too, because it has a removable hopper. It features 15 grind settings, a 12-ounce bean hopper (one of the largest), an auto-stop feature, and a timer.

For more options, read “Best and Worst Burr Coffee Grinders.”

Cuisinart PerfecTemp Cordless Electric Kettle CPK-17

CR’s take: The 7-cup Cuisinart PerfecTemp CPK-17 boils about as fast as most of the kettles we tested, but it’s pricey compared with the competition. That said, this stainless kettle has six preset temperature settings for making different types of teas or French-press coffee—whatever your guests like—and it boasts a three-year warranty. It garners a Very Good rating in our convenience tests—you’ll have no trouble reading the markings of the kettle.

For more options, read “Best Electric Kettles From Consumer Reports’ Tests.”

KitchenAid Digital Convection Countertop KCO273SS

CR’s take: Among the best we tested at toasting—out of more than two dozen models we’ve rated—the KitchenAid Digital Convection Countertop oven earned an Excellent rating in our full-batch toast tests. With the ability to toast six slices of bread at a time, it’s a good bet if you have a big family or like to make brunch for a crowd. The KitchenAid serves up toast that’s browned consistently, slice after slice. You’ll also be able to defrost foods, and there are settings for bagels and pizza, plus a convection option. This 1,800-watt toaster oven has a temperature range of 150° to 450° F.

For more options, read “Best Toaster Ovens From Consumer Reports’ Tests.”

Breville Smart 4-Slicer BWM640XL

CR’s take: This beast of a waffle maker weighs 15 pounds—double the weight of any other we tested—and takes up the most countertop real estate, too, measuring a foot wide and 16 inches deep. The Breville BWM640XL aced our tests, scoring an Excellent rating, for example, for even browning. Its large grid can fit twice the batter of a standard round iron, which means a full batch of piping hot waffles in half the time. It sounds an alert when waffles are done and is one of only two models we tested with a countdown timer. Another bonus: It comes with a batter cup, so you can pour the perfect amount of batter every time, without wasteful overflow.

For more options, read “Best Waffle Makers From Consumer Reports’ Tests.”

Brita Stream Rapids OB55

CR’s take: Keep your friends and family well hydrated during their stay. This top-rated Brita pitcher earned a Very Good rating for reducing flavor and odor. Its flow rate—even though it filters as you pour—was quickest of the water filter pitchers we tested.

For more options, check our water filter ratings and buying guide.

Crock-Pot Cook & Carry SCCPVS600ECP-S

CR’s take: One of our highest-rated slow cookers, the 6-quart Crock-Pot Cook & Carry has a ceramic pot, a hinged lid that locks, and a handle on the lid (which makes it easier to carry). It garners an Excellent rating in our low-setting tests, telling you that it can serve up tender beef and veggies when it cooks low and long. It’s impressive on the high setting, too. You can program it for up to 20 hours, and once cooking time ends, this cooker moves into keep-warm mode for up to 4 hours. Wrap the cord around the notches on the back of the cooker for neater storage.

For more options, read “Does Crock-Pot Still Make the Best Slow Cookers?

Honeywell HUL520

CR’s take: A CR Best Buy for humidifying a small room (about 150 square feet), the Honeywell HUL520 earns Excellent ratings in almost all our tests, including those for output, convenience, noise, and efficiency. While it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, you can’t go wrong for the price.

For more options, read “Best Humidifiers of the Year.”

Vornado VMH600

CR’s take: Keep your guests warm wherever they are in the house with this Vornado space heater, which has the best Overall Score of all the space heaters in our tests. It tops our spot-heating test, it’s one of the quieter models (if not the quietest) in our tests, and it sports smart safety features. It weighs 10 pounds and has a fan and remote control.

For more options, read “Best Space Heaters of 2019.”

Simmons Beautyrest Hi Loft Raised

CR’s take: You don’t have to pay triple digits for a great air mattress, and the 17-inch-high Hi-Loft from Simmons Beautyrest proves that. It’s a little more than half the cost of the most expensive air mattress in our ratings, and it performs better than pricier models in our recent tests. During the initial inflation in our convenience tests, our testers found that it took about 3 minutes to reach full firmness; it then took 4 minutes to let all that air out. It earns an Excellent rating on our deflection test, meaning this is an easier mattress to get out of once you’ve sat down. The Simmons comes with a storage bag, and it folds down to 6x12x17 inches, which is on the smaller end of those we tested.

For more options, read “Best and Worst Air Mattresses From Consumer Reports’ Tests.”

Brooklinen Luxe Core

CR’s take: Sweet dreams are made of cozy sheets. This Brooklinen set will fit a 14-inch mattress (or one that’s not as deep). Our testers note that these sheets don’t shrink as much as some other cotton sheets we tested. The Brooklinen set earns Very Good ratings for fit and shrinkage, which means though they do tend to get smaller during washes, they don’t deform all that much over time. Luxe Core sheets are on the softer side, based on our sensory test.

For more options, read “Best and Worst Sheets From Consumer Reports’ Tests.”

Tuft & Needle T&N Mattress

CR’s take: A good night’s sleep can go a long way when you’re spending a lot of time with family and friends. The foam Tuft & Needle Mattress earns an Excellent rating in our durability tests, which means it shows no signs of wear and tear after eight to 10 years of simulated use. It offers decent support for sleepers of all sizes, whether you prefer to sleep on your side or your back. In other words, it’s a crowd pleaser.

For more options, read “Best Mattresses for Guest Rooms.”

More from Consumer Reports:
Top pick tires for 2016
Best used cars for $25,000 and less
7 best mattresses for couples

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