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The weather this summer has been extreme, to say the least. Here in New England, we’ve alternated between humid days with sweltering temperatures and weeks of straight rain and thunderstorms—delightful, right?
However, this is fairly mild compared to the rest of the country, where some locations are seeing record high temperatures and droughts.
If you’re currently experiencing these oh-so-hot spikes, you may find it pretty unbearable to turn on your oven, dryer, and any other appliances that give off heat. No worries: There are plenty of ways you can avoid using these appliances, starting with these 18 energy-saving gadgets.
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1. An Instant Pot for fast, easy meals
No one wants to slave over a hot oven during the summer—never mind during a heatwave!—and the Instant Pot will be your best friend on those sweltering days. The Instant Pot Ultra is the best pressure cooker we’ve tested, and it can cook your food up to 70% faster than traditional methods!
The 10-in-1 design can be used as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice maker, steamer, and more, meaning you can whip up a whole meal without ever turning on your oven.
2. A retractable clothesline to capitalize on the sunshine
The one good thing about having temperatures in the 90s (or even 100s) is that there’s no need to turn on your clothes dryer. Instead, just set up a retractable clothesline like this one! The line is over 13 feet long, allowing you to hang up all sorts of clothes and linens to dry in the sunshine. It’s an energy-efficient way to dry your laundry, and as an added bonus, your clothes will have the crisp, clean smell of fresh air.
3. Our all-time favorite grill for outdoor cooking
Grilling is my go-to on hot summer days, and the best gas grill we’ve tested is the Weber Spirit II E-310. This propane-powered grill has three burners and more than 500 square inches of cooking space, making it easy to fit more food at once.
It’s incredibly sturdy in its construction, and the lid is actually designed to vent smoke away from your face, making it comfortable to cook on in hot weather.
4. An innovative sleep system that cools down your bed
If you don’t want to turn on your air conditioner (or simply don’t have one), you can sleep more comfortably during heatwaves with the ChiliSleep Cube Sleep System.
This unique mattress pad is hooked up to a water-based system, which regulates the surface temperature of your mattress by circulating water through small tubes. You can set it anywhere from 55 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, and it uses significantly less energy than an air conditioner. The ChiliSleep System is available for all mattress sizes, and queen and king models have individual units and controls for each side of the bed.
5. This versatile pan that will whip up meals pronto
Whether you’re hoping to steam dumplings or whip up a quick stir-fry, the Always Pan makes cooking quick and easy. This unique piece of cookware is designed to replace eight common kitchen essentials, including a fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest.
During testing, we found that it heats up quickly and truly is a jack-of-all-trades, making it an ideal solution for those hot days when you want to get out of the kitchen ASAP.
6. A good microwave so you can just reheat leftovers
On days that I don’t feel like cooking (which is quite often during the summer), I almost always find myself heating up leftovers in the microwave.
The Cuisinart CM-100 is our favorite countertop microwave thanks to its reliable performance and spacious interior, and it’s ideal for nuking meals when you can’t bear to turn on the oven.
It offers 25 preprogrammed settings and 10 power levels, and the microwave will look sleek and modern on your kitchen counter, to boot.
7. A fabric-freshening spray for your not-quite-dirty clothes
For those times when your go-to Zoom meeting shirt isn’t quite clean but doesn’t smell so bad that it justifies running the washer, there’s The Laundress Fabric Fresh. This convenient spray deodorizes and freshens clothing, bedding, upholstery, shoes, and more, and it can even be used on many “dry clean only” materials! It’s the ultimate hack for reviving not-quite-dirty clothing when you don’t feel like doing laundry.
8. A powerful fan that can (almost) replace your AC
On those days when you don’t really need the air conditioning on but still need something to cool down your home, the Vornado 660 Fan will be your best friend.
Don’t be fooled by its small form—this fan delivers extremely impressive volume and air speed, and it beat out the competition in our best fan testing by a long shot. It has four speed settings and can move air up to 100 feet, making it ideal for use in rooms of all sizes.
9. Our top-rated immersion circulator for hands-off cooking
Craving steak, but don’t want to stand over a hot pan? The ChefSteps Joule sous-vide cooker makes cooking meat, vegetables, and more a hands-off task.
This top-rated immersion circulator circulates water in a pot or pan, maintaining a precise temperature to perfectly cook your meal. All you have to do is set it and walk away—in a few hours, you’ll have a delicious steak waiting for you.
10. A misting fan to cool down your patio
You can enjoy your patio or deck, even on the hottest days, with the help of the Frigidaire Outdoor Misting Fan.
The pedestal-style fan has an 18-inch oscillating head and three fan speeds, and it hooks up to a garden hose, providing a cool mist that makes heatwaves more bearable. It can cool down up to 500 square feet, and you can tilt the angle of the fan and adjust the height to send the breeze exactly where it’s needed.
11. An extra-large air fryer for faster cooking
Air fryers do put off heat while cooking but not nearly as much as the oven, and they also get the job done faster. Our favorite air fryer is the Philips Premium XXL, which has a whopping 3-pounds capacity, saving you from having to cook in batches. It doesn’t require pre-heating and is extremely user-friendly. We found that it yields amazingly crunchy and delicious results.
12. A clothes rack so you don’t have to turn on the dryer
Even if you don’t have space for a clothesline, you can air dry your laundry with the AmazonBasics Laundry Rack. Its accordion design folds flat for compact storage, and the rack can hold up to 32 pounds of laundry at a time. Its steel construction is durable yet lightweight, and you may find that you use it all year-round, not just during hot weather.
13. This super-powerful blender that can actually make hot soup
You probably know that Vitamix blenders are powerful, but did you know that these bad boys spin fast enough to make hot soup? Really. The Vitamix 5200 is one of our favorite high-end blenders, has a high-speed motor, and its blades reach speeds fast enough to bring cold ingredients to steaming hot in just 6 minutes. Then, all you have to do is pour it into bowls and serve—no need to break out a pan and heat up the stove. Cool, right?
14. A container that cooks pasta in the microwave
You can make a serving of pasta in a matter of minutes with the Fasta Pasta Cooker—no water boiling required!
This cool gadget is designed to cook pasta in the microwave, and it yields perfectly al dente spaghetti every time with no sticking or boiling over. The cover of the container has measuring holes to help you get the perfect serving size, and one serving of spaghetti is ready in around 12 minutes.
15. A cute wash bin for cleaning small items of clothing
Instead of turning on the washing machine, you can quickly clean your go-to hot weather clothing in this washboard basin. The budget-friendly bin fits in most kitchen sinks, and it has a ramp with ridges that make it easy to scrub dirt out of your clothing. The bin can hold up to 4 quarts of water, and it’s ideal for lightweight garments, underwear, and more.
16. A portable fan that you wear around your neck
It’s easy to stay cool—even when the air conditioning is off—with this portable neck fan. The U-shaped design fits comfortably around your neck, and it has 78 wind outlets that blow a cooling breeze up toward your face.
The battery-powered design lasts for up to 16 hours on its lowest setting, allowing you to take it on the go, and it comes in several colors to match your style.
17. A toaster oven for small-serving meals
If you’re only cooking for one or two people, you can toast, roast, and bake in the Breville Smart Oven Pro, which is the best toaster oven we’ve tested. It works wonderfully for heating up frozen pizza, cooking chicken breasts, and so much more, and it has lots of preset cooking options that make it easy to use.
The Smart Oven Pro is truly only limited by its size, making it a great alternative to a full-size oven on hot days.
18. A dish-drying rack to save you from running the dishwasher
My dishwasher creates quite a bit of steam during its cycle, which is a big no-no for me on humid days. I’d much rather just hand wash my dishes, and this dish-drying rack is an incredibly convenient way to let them drip dry.
It comes in two sizes, and it’s designed to be unrolled over your sink, where you can rest freshly cleaned plates, pans, and more. Plus, it can also be used as a trivet, thanks to its heat-resistant silicone exterior.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 18 gadgets to use when it's too hot for appliances