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At Consumer Reports, we take our stocking stuffers seriously—because we know that a well-priced, useful product can bring much joy. Browse our specially curated roundup of top-rated product picks, starting as low as $19.
Go to Consumer Reports' 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.
Chefman Anti-Overflow Belgian Waffle Maker
CR’s take: The Chefman was the only waffle maker we tested to snag a CR Best Buy designation. For far less money than most of the competition, this machine churns out evenly browned round waffles. It garners a Very Good rating for its color-range settings, meaning there’s a remarkable difference between waffles made on the darkest setting (brown and crispy) and lightest setting (light and fluffy). Pros include an indicator to let you know when the waffles are ready, the option to store it vertically to save space, and a batter cup for precise portioning. Con: The handle and latch get uncomfortably warm during cooking, despite the “cool touch” claims, so you may want to use an oven mitt when opening and closing the lid.
For more options: Best Waffle Makers From Consumer Reports' Tests
Anolon Advanced Umber Nonstick
CR's take: The Anolon Advanced Umber nonstick frying pan earns a Very Good rating for durability, which we test by brushing steel wool on the surface up to 2,000 times. It also scores well in our food-release test, which means all four eggs we cooked in the pan slid out easily. And it's a breeze to clean.
For more options: Best Frying Pans for the Way You Cook
Lodge Cast Iron Pre-seasoned
CR’s take: Lodge has been making cast-iron frying pans in its Tennessee foundry since 1896. It's one of the few surviving iconic American brands. This 12-inch Lodge cast-iron pan is top-notch at browning scallops and earns an Excellent rating for searing a steak. Baking is only so-so, though. Heating evenness is also mediocre. It weighs 7.8 pounds, which is about average.
For more options: Best Cast-Iron Frying Pans From Consumer Reports' Tests
Bella Pro Series 90061
CR’s take: The feature-rich Bella Pro Series 90061 does very well across the board in our performance tests. It comes with an auto-shutoff, a permanent filter, a small-batch setting, and brew-strength control. Plus, you can program it to brew at a certain time, say 15 minutes before you wake up. This model has a sleek, black stainless steel finish and is relatively inexpensive compared with the competition. Bella drip machines earn a Very Good rating for predicted reliability, according to our latest member survey.
For more options: Best Drip Coffee Makers From Consumer Reports' Tests
Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill DBM-8
CR's take: This Cuisinart coffee grinder earns a Good rating in overall performance and is a breeze to clean, earning an Excellent score in that regard. It also features dial, button, and slider controls, and can hold about 8 ounces of coffee. At this price, it's a solid pick for turning out a tasty cup of joe.
For more options: Best and Worst Burr Coffee Grinders
Secura Original Stainless Steel Electric Kettle SWK-1701DB
CR’s take: The 7-cup Secura Original electric kettle is plastic on the outside, stainless steel on the inside, and nearly 11 inches high. It’s the only model to snag an Excellent rating in our time-to-cool tests: It keeps 4 cups of boiled water warm for 75 minutes, longer than any of the other kettles.
For more options: Best Electric Kettles From Consumer Reports' Tests
Asobu Insulated Portable Brewer KB900
CR’s take: The Asobu Cold Brew Insulated Portable Brewer KB900 is more expensive than most of the other manual cold-brew models we've tested, but it's a superior performer. In our lab tests, it offers superb convenience and is the only model in our ratings with a Very Good rating for taste. The Asobu isn't dishwasher-safe. It has a stainless steel insulated carafe (rare for a manual model) and brews in 12 to 24 hours depending on how strong you want your coffee.
For more options: Best Cold-Brew Coffee Makers of 2019
Brita Stream Rapids OB55
CR's take: 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.
Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75
CR's take: Excellent at puréeing vegetables for soup, this drawer-sized gadget is also very good at blending yogurt. The Smart Stick also comes with a three-year warranty, better than most we tested.
For more options, check our buying guides and ratings for blenders.
Cuisinart Power Advantage HM-50
CR's take: In our lab tests, this nicely priced hand mixer outperformed models costing twice as much. It’ll turn whipping cream into fluffy peaks in seconds. Stiff cookie dough, which undoes many bargain mixers, proved no problem. You won’t get much in the way of add-ons, but its wire beaters do just fine.
For more options, check our buying guide and ratings for mixers.
CR’s take: A top model for humidifying a small room (up to 100 square feet), the HoMedics cool-mist humidifier earns an Excellent rating in almost all our tests, including those for output, noise, and efficiency. It also has an automatic shutoff feature.
For more options: Best Humidifiers of 2019
CR's take: Whoever gets the Fujifilm Instax 9 in their stocking will start having fun immediately. The Mini 9 spits out physical photo prints with the slightly overexposed look of old Polaroids, giving people and faces the gauzy haze of a good time that plenty of smartphone camera apps try to fake digitally. And the price makes it ideal for a gift or even a bulk buy for a holiday party.
For more options: Best Instant Cameras: How Six Would-Be Polaroid Replacements Stack Up
CR's take: This over-ear wireless model from Monoprice is usually available for around $50, a steal given its superb noise-canceling performance and above-average sound quality. The BT-300ANC features integrated controls for calls, volume, and playback, and the ear cups fold in for easy storage and transport. According to Monoprice, the battery will run for 8 hours between charges with both Bluetooth and noise-canceling turned on. (CR doesn't test battery life in headphones.) You can keep the music going even longer by switching off Bluetooth and using the detachable audio cable, which is included.
For more options: Noise-Canceling Headphones on a Budget
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)
CR's take: The latest Dot is smaller and sleeker than its predecessor, with a fashionable fabric covering and, more important, significantly better sound. The list price is $50, but it’s frequently discounted well below that, making the tiny Dot the cheapest way into the Amazon ecosystem.
For more options: Best Smart Speakers Under $200
Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
CR's take: Amazon's entry-level streaming player retains the rectangular stick-style design of its predecessor, and it's among the least expensive streamers you can buy. It's a 1080p HD model and lacks some of the features you'll find on its pricier sibling, such as 4K HDR video and Dolby Atmos sound. But it's a solid, lower-priced performer with a decent amount of content. Its biggest plus, though, is the Alexa voice remote, which can be used to find, launch, and control content.
For more options, check our buying guide and ratings for streaming media devices.
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