The GHI’s 100 top products on test
From vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances to beauty tools and fitness gear, the Good Housekeeping Institute has tested thousands upon thousands of products since its launch in 1924. To celebrate the magazine’s 100th birthday (it launched two years earlier, in 1922), we’ve compiled the ultimate roundup of the 100 top products across all categories, to help you buy with confidence.
Top products on test
Best cordless vacuum cleaner
- Dyson V11 Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
V11 Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner – Blue
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Our champion stick vac wowed our testers with its unbeatable pick-up (no more going back and forth over the same patch of carpet) to cement its place on our list of top products. Free from the constraints of a cord, it auto-adjusts the suction power to suit your flooring and conserve the hour-long battery life, which it handily counts down on an LED display. Though bulkier as a handheld, it’s just as impressive, while the included crevice tool, mini motorised brush and soft dusting brush make light work of thorough cleaning. The dust canister could not be simpler to empty and the wall-mounted charger allows for neater storage. It’s expensive, but oh so worth it.
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How we test
- To judge pick-up, the GHI team laid down a set amount of a specially-formulated dust on carpet, laminate and floorboards before weighing exactly how much each vac collected in a set number of sweeps.
- Ever fastidious, they then called in bags of fur from the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home and ground it into the carpet to create the nightmare scenario for pet owners before vacuuming.
Best handheld vacuum cleaner
2. Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Dyson V7 Trigger handheld vacuum cleaner.
Another Dyson winner, this handheld vac is a must-own for getting into all your nooks and crannies – we’re talking under sofa cushions (also known as the biscuit crumb graveyard), stairs and car interiors. On test, it sucked up all pet hair and made light work of cleaning every floor type. It comes with three attachments, including a mini motorised brush for lifting ground-in grime, and runs for up to 30 minutes in standard mode (the battery will drain faster on max). Having to keep your finger pressed down is annoying, but it feels pleasingly sturdy to hold and the dust canister is a breeze to empty.
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Best robot vacuum cleaner
3. Neato Botvac D7 Connected Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Neato Botvac D7 Connected Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Robot vacs can neither rival the power and performance of your stick or cylinder vac nor tackle stairs, but they can keep your floors largely dust-free between bigger cleaning sessions. This Neato model maps out your floor plan using lasers, so don’t worry about it bumping into walls, furniture and other obstacles. Our testers found it adept at picking up all manner of dirt, from dust to crumbs, and praised how well it got in and out of awkward areas. It has five cleaning modes and is wifi compatible, meaning you can control it via a smartphone or voice assistant. It charges quickly, too, in a respectable two-and-a-half-hours.
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Best cylinder vacuum cleaner
4. Sebo Airbelt E3 Premium +Boost ePower 92655GB
SEBO AIRBELT E3 PREMIUM +BOOST
Cylinder vacs are those traditional chunky ones with long, flexible hoses, best suited to big homes due to their large dust capacities. They plug into the mains, so won’t die on you halfway through your clean, and tend to be more powerful than sticks, handhelds and robots. The GHI’s pick of 34 models is this lightweight Sebo, which sucked up every speck of dust from carpet and made pet hair vanish in one sweep without clogging. The included upholstery and crevice nozzles slot into built-in storage compartments, ready to grab when needed, and there’s a convenient power control on the handle. Our testers were particularly delighted by the thoughtful bumper design that protects your walls and furniture from knocks, but predictably, the price tag reflects these perks.
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Best steam cleaner
5. Kärcher SC5 EasyFix Premium Steam Cleaner
Karcher SC5 Premium Steam Cleaner
Steam cleaners blitz bacteria using nothing but tap water and heat, meaning you can freshen up everything from flooring to soft furnishings without harsh cleaning products. This powerful cylinder model left vinyl gleaming, ceramic tiles spotless and windows shiny and streak-free – and all with minimal effort on our part. Our testers found it a doddle to assemble and liked that its big tank means you can get all your chores done at once, without it running out of water. It heated up in just three minutes and adjusting the steam output proved easy. It comes with all the main accessories you’ll need, including two scrubbing brushes and a detail nozzle for getting into nooks and crannies. It’s such a gem that you’ll be fighting over who gets to clean the bathroom.
Best steam cleaner reviews
Best carpet cleaning machine
6. Vax Platinum SmartWash Carpet Cleaner
Vax 1-1-142257 Platinum Smartwash Carpet Cleaner, Charcoal/Blue
To deep-clean grubby carpet (which our GHI experts recommend doing at least once a year), you’ll need a punchier appliance than your regular vacuum or steam cleaner. This powerful carpet cleaning machine penetrates the fibres to lift away embedded grime and restore your carpet to its former glory (trust us, there are few things more satisfying). Its near-perfect score speaks for itself – intuitive to use, it banished tough stains in just two passes and left our carpet only slightly damp. Though bulky and heavy, it comes with a generous array of tools, including an upholstery attachment for gently zhuzhing up your sofa.
How we test
- Our GHI testers measured out a set volume of dirt and treaded it into carpet, upholstery and hard flooring. They left it overnight before noting how many passes of the carpet cleaning machine it took to clean the dirty patches.
- After cleaning, the team assessed the dryness of the floor, inspected the pile for improvements in texture and colour and noted how easy they found the machine to assemble and use.
Read more carpet cleaning reviews
Best washing machine
7. Bosch Serie 6 WAU28R90GB
Bosch Serie 6 WAU28R90GB 9kg
If you feel like your dirty laundry is constantly piling up and never depleting, this machine, with its 9kg capacity, will help you plough through it. It shone in the stain removal stakes, banishing 88 per cent of stains on the 40-degree cotton cycle and 87 per cent on the 40-degree synthetic wash while its innovative ‘anti-stain’ function auto-adjusts the temperature, drum movement and soaking time to best blitz the kind of stain you’re tackling, from grass to red wine. There’s an exhaustive range of programs to suit all needs, including a sportswear option for freshening up your gym kit. Its energy consumption was relatively high and its porthole could be bigger to make loading quicker, but it was quiet even when spinning and extremely intuitive to use.
How we test
- We use each washing machine as you would at home, filling it with sheets and towels and trying out the cotton and synthetic programs. To score each model, we measure the weight of the laundry before and after washing (to see how much water it retains), its spin efficiency, the time it takes to complete each cycle and its water and energy usage. We also note any creasing of clothing.
- Given the importance of effective stain removal, particularly if you’re always washing muddy clothes, we add stain strips to each wash and note how much each cycle removes. Finally, we consider each machine’s overall design and ease of use.
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Best steam iron
8. Tefal Ultraglide Anti-Scale FV2662 Steam Iron
Tefal FV2662 Ultraglide Anti-scale Steam Iron
With our top-performing steam iron, your heart will no longer sink when you find your favourite party dress lying in a crumpled heap on the floor – that’s how quickly it blitzes creases. Its precision tip tackles buttons, gathers and pleats with aplomb, and it’s a smart choice if you’re plagued by hard water, as our testers found its anti-calc system effective and easy to clean. Its steam shot is powerful – ideal for those more entrenched wrinkles – and its auto switch-off reassuring in those ‘I think I left the iron on!’ moments.
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Best steam generator iron
9. Morphy Richards PowerSteam Elite Steam Generator Iron 332017
Morphy Richards 332017 PowerTeam Elite
If you’re regularly groaning in the face of a mountain of ironing, it’s time to call in a heavier duty steam generator iron. Though bulkier and most costly, this time-saving invention can produce up to three times more steam than a standard steam iron, helping you banish stubborn creases faster. This model’s large water tank won’t run out before you’ve got through your pile, and its ‘IntelliTemp’ setting auto adjusts the temperature to suit the fabric you’re tackling. Our testers found it best on linen and cotton but liked how effortlessly it glided across all materials. It’s so lightweight that some thought it felt a little cheap, but it offers fantastic value for under £200 and has earned its spot on our top products roundup.
Read more steam generator iron reviews
Best handheld clothes steamer
10. Tefal Access Steam+ Hand Steamer DT8150
TEFAL Access Steam+ DT8150 Hand Steamer
Clothes don’t like being crammed into suitcases, so if you’re jetting off on holiday, pack this travel-friendly handheld steamer too. It heated up in a decent 40 seconds, before quickly lifting all creases from our viscose top and silk evening dress. It banished most wrinkles from our cotton shirt and linen suit too, with no spitting whatsoever. Everything was left dry enough to wear immediately, meaning you’ll be hot footing it to cocktail hour in no time. It only dropped points on account of its trigger lock, which had a tendency to come loose.
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Best upright clothes steamer
11. Fridja Professional Vertical Garment Steamer F1000
FRIDJA f1000 Professional Vertical Garment/Steamer
If you’ve got the space for a bigger and more powerful upright clothes steamer, consider this reliable beast. Thanks to its large tank and wide head, it rapidly ploughs through piles of crumpled laundry, relieving you of tedious ironing. Though punchy, it didn’t damage more delicate fabric, and it impressed our tester by leaving their polycotton shirt as pristine as if it had been ironed. It spat a bit and could do with a ‘ready’ light, but it comes with a range of genuinely useful accessories, such as a trouser clasp and folding hanger, and its wheels make it easy to move about.
Read more clothes steamer reviews
Best food processor
12. Cuisinart Expert Prep Pro
Cuisinart Expert Prep Pro
If you’ve never owned a food processor before, prepare for a revelation, as they’re the closest thing you can get to a sous chef. These nifty appliances chop, dice, mince, knead and more – you name it, it’ll do it. This one will, anyway. Unlike many other models we tried, it left next to no food waste when grating carrots and slicing cucumbers. It whipped up an airy batter that baked into a tasty cake and its vast array of attachments includes a spiralizing disc for making ‘courgetti’ (plus two bowls, a dough blade and a lot else besides). Its suction-cup feet keep it stable on the worktop and there are two speed settings and a pulse button for complete control, even when tackling tougher ingredients or making delicate sauces. Everything can be popped into the dishwasher afterwards, making clean-up refreshingly hassle-free. If your budget doesn’t stretch this far, opt for the also-excellent Easy Prep Pro – our best food processor under £150.
Read more food processor reviews
Best solo microwave
13. Panasonic Compact Solo Microwave NN-E28JBMBPQ
PANASONIC NN-E28JBMBPQ Compact Solo Microwave
When you need to get dinner on the table in minutes, the trusty microwave dons its cape and comes to the rescue. If it’s a basic ‘solo’ model that you’re after, as opposed to a ‘combi’ that also grills and bakes, then your best bet is this user-friendly 20-litre Panasonic with nine programs including fish and vegetables. It cooks both chilled and frozen dishes thoroughly – ours emerged satisfyingly steaming in the middle – and delivers a tantalisingly fluffy jacket potato. The touch display gets grubby quickly, but wipes down easily.
Read more solo microwave reviews
Best combination microwave
14. Sharp Combination Microwave R959SLMAA
Sharp R959SLMAA Combination Microwave Oven, 40 Litre capacity, 900W, Silver
In the market for a ‘combi’ with more cooking capabilities than the above solo? This Sharp model is a microwave, grill and convection oven in one – it could even replace your conventional oven, such is the versatility of its 14 programs and six power levels. It impressed our testers across the board, delivering crispy-skinned jacket potatoes, beautifully golden cupcakes, fully defrosted minced meat and thoroughly cooked, evenly browned ready meals. If you’re unsure whether you need this next-level microwave, ask yourself: what’s the point of macaroni cheese if it isn’t crunchy on top?
Read more combination microwave reviews
Best two-slice toaster
15. Breville Edge 2-Slice Toaster VTT981
Breville VTT981 Edge 2 Slice Toaster
There’s more to the humble toaster than you’d think, with too many models proving too shallow for bigger slices of bread, taking ages to toast or browning inconsistently. This slick grey and silver two-slice, however, ticked all our boxes, offering nine shade settings to suit all tastes, from pale but crisp to dark and crunchy. Its ‘lift and look’ function lets you check in on its progress without cancelling the cycle and its ‘extra lift’ lever protects you from burns when your crumpets (it’s always the crumpets!) get stuck. On test, it repeatedly toasted to our desired colour in under three minutes, with chunky farmhouse slices fully consumed by its deep, wide slots. It lacks a bagel function, but it’s a steal worth snapping up.
Read more two-slice toaster reviews
Best four-slice toaster
16. KitchenAid Long Slot 4-Slice Toaster 5KMT5115
TOASTER LONG SLOT 4 SLICE
Don’t be deceived, this toaster takes four average slices of bread in its two long slots, which also fit paninis for your working-from-home lunches. Its stand-out feature is the ‘little longer’ setting, for those times when your toast pops out nearly brown enough, but not quite. It toasted evenly on test, with full coverage batch after batch, and the bagel function helped our testers enjoy bagels that crisped up on the inside while staying soft and warm on the outside. Just check that it’ll fit on your counter before you buy, as it’s 45cm long.
Read more four-slice toaster reviewsBest sandwich toaster
17. Breville Deep Fill 2-Slice Toastie Maker VST091
Breville Deep Fill Toastie Maker
Sometimes, only a crispy, gooey cheese toastie will do. This non-stick, deep fill toastie maker delivers the ultimate comfort food in just four-and-a-half minutes – ideal for a grab-and-go lunch. Our testers praised its storage-friendly design and were thankful that its effective cut and seal system stopped any filling oozing out, minimising clean-up. It left one side of their toasties slightly browner and hotter than the other, but they merrily wolfed them down.
Read more sandwich toaster reviews
Best slow cooker
18. Crock-Pot Lift & Serve Digital Slow Cooker with Hinged Lid CSC052
Crock-Pot Lift and Serve Digital Slow Cooker
Few kitchen appliances work as hard as your slow cooker, which cooks everything from casseroles to curries ‘long and low’ all day, meaning you can serve up dinner as soon as you get home. The GHI’s favourite of the 34 models on test is this digital Crock-Pot (a brand synonymous with slow cookers) that can cook enough food for up to six people. It didn’t drop a point when cooking stew and soup, tenderising meat and vegetables beautifully and locking in ladles of flavour. The hinged glass lid makes it quick and mess-free to stir or add ingredients and the removable ceramic pot doubles up as a serving dish. Both parts are dishwasher-safe to boot. Everybody round to yours?
Read more slow cooker reviews
Best smoothie maker
19. Ninja Blender with Auto-iQ BN495UK
Ninja Blender with Auto-iQ BN495UK
Home-made smoothies are usually healthier and more affordable than sugary shop-bought versions, so if you like to drink your five-a-day, pick up our winning smoothie maker. Extremely user-friendly with both auto and manual settings, it swiftly pulverised every ingredient our testers threw at it – including ice, oats, kale and raspberry seeds – to create smooth and flavoursome beverages. Two 600ml blending cups are included, both with leak-proof lids and measuring scales printed up the side, and you also get a recipe book to start you off.
Read more smoothie maker reviews
20. Ninja 2-in-1 Jug Blender with Auto-iQ
Ninja 2-in-1 Blender with Auto-iQ
This blender is also a smoothie maker, as it comes with both a multi-serve jug and a personal lidded beaker. It stands out for its ‘Auto-iQ’ technology, which uses three one-touch preset programs (blend, max blend and crush) to blend your ingredients to just the right consistency, no matter what you’re making. On test, it excelled at everything from blending batter and making mayonnaise to pureeing chickpeas and crushing ice. It’s quite noisy and aggressive in action, but it looks slick, takes up relatively little counter space and isn’t a total pain to clean. For such an all-round star, it’s a snip at under £100.
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Best hand blender
21. Bosch CleverMixx Hand Blender MSM2610BGB
Bosch CleverMixx MSM2610BGB Hand Blender
Blend milkshakes and puree chickpeas to make hummus with this foolproof stick blender. Our testers found its ergonomic handle a pleasure to hold and the metal shaft reassuringly robust. The blades made light work of blitzing ingredients and created such powerful suction that clumps never stuck to the bottom of the included jar. There’s only one speed setting, and neither a pulse button nor a whisk attachment, but it’s a solid, no-nonsense buy that should get a lot of use.
Read more hand blender reviews
Best stand mixer
22. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer 5KSM125
MIXER TILT-HEAD 4.8L – ARTISAN 5KSM125
One of the most iconic pieces of kitchen kit, this built-to-last stand mixer tops many a wedding list for good reason. It boasts 10 speeds and comes with flat beaters, whisks and dough hooks to meet all your baking needs with minimal effort on your part. It wowed our testers with its efficiency, even when tackling small quantities, and produced wonderfully crispy pastries and moist sponges. It also coped well with stodgier Christmas pudding, making this retro classic the unbeatable go-to for any aspiring Mary Berry. If the red is too lairy for your taste, it’s also available in black, silver and cream.
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Best hand mixer
23. Russell Hobbs Go Create Electric Hand Mixer 25940
Russell Hobbs 25940 Go Create Hand Mixer
Not everybody has the space or budget for a stand mixer, and in any case, a hand mixer might be all you need. This cheap and cheerful model has detachable beaters for whipping up cream, batter and cake mix. It took our testers under two minutes to whisk glossy egg whites for meringue, with no splashing, and their fairy cakes emerged well-risen and fluffy. The five speeds, plus turbo mode, allow for variable control, but it doesn’t come with dough hooks for bread making. If you’re after those, consider our Bosch runner-up.
Read more hand mixer reviews
Best air fryer
24. Ninja Foodi Max Dual Zone 9.5L AF400UK
Ninja Foodi MAX Dual Zone AF400UK 9.5L Air Fryer – Black
Everybody loves chips, and with an air fryer, you can cook such famously fried classics using minimal, if any, oil. Instead of deep frying, hot air is blasted around the basket, producing seriously tasty results with fewer calories. Thanks to ‘rapid air technology’, air fryers heat up much faster than ovens and are far smaller, too. Our winning model is big enough to feed a large group quickly and well, with our tester enjoying fluffy fairy cakes in 15 minutes and the perfect chicken kiev – crispy on the outside but moist on the inside – in 25. It has two drawers for cooking different foods simultaneously – it’s easy to sync the programs so that the full meal is ready at the same time – and the parts are dishwasher-safe. Tuck in, guilt-free!
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Best soup maker
25. Ninja Blender and Soup Maker HB150UK
Ninja Blender and Soup Maker HB150UK
Essentially a blender with a heating element in its base, this versatile two-in-one appliance can make and cook any smooth or chunky soup you’d like, then keep it warm for up to an hour. Our testers enjoyed a rich and creamy tomato soup, while their Thai butternut squash soup was bright and well-cooked with a satisfying bite. With its blender hat on, it whizzed up a delicious banana milkshake and a silky batter, while it can also be used to crumb bread and make jam. Its bowl is very heavy, but there’s a cleaning program and brush to help you rinse it out, and at least you won’t have to wash up all the pots and pans.
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26. Kenwood Mesmerine Jug Kettle ZJM811
KENWOOD Mesmerine ZJM811PU Jug Kettle
Nobody relishes a steaming cuppa quite like a Brit, so presumably, a good kettle is a must for your kitchen. The GHI tested 182 kettles, boiling enough water to make over 5,000 brews, and this jazzy jug model finished in first place (don’t worry, it also comes in classic black and white). It triumphed in the speedy boiling stakes, taking just over three minutes to boil its maximum 1.6-litre capacity and about 40 seconds to boil enough water for one cup, and the casing stayed relatively cool (predictably, the stainless steel top gets hotter). It’s a tad tricky to see the water level as the gauge is inside, but it feels sturdy to hold, pours cleanly and is a deserving, on-trend winner. The matching toaster came joint seventh in our toaster round-up, too.
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Best bread maker
27. Panasonic Bread Maker SD-R2530
Panasonic SD-R2530KXC Automatic Breadmaker
Make Mary Berry proud with minimal effort, courtesy of this do-it-all bread maker. Our testers found it extremely versatile, with its 30 automatic programs including sourdough, brioche and even jam (yes, you can make jam in a bread maker!). It gave an outstanding performance, producing crisp, airy and well-risen white and wholemeal loaves, with the whole process taking less than two hours in ‘rapid bake’ mode. Its temperature sensors guarantee a crunchy crust, while its kneading blade creates that perfect pillowy inner you’d expect from an artisan bread. Enthusiastic bakers will love it – as will their lucky families!
Read more bread maker reviews
Best bean-to-cup coffee machine
28. Sage The Oracle Touch
the Oracle™ Touch
If only the freshest coffee will do, then a bean-to-cup machine is the next best thing to a live-in barista. Though expensive, this Sage model was our clear winner because it does everything for you – with one touch of a button, it will grind your beans, extract all their flavour and pour what we can confirm will be the espresso of your dreams. Our testers found it modern and luxurious to use yet refreshingly intuitive to set up and get to grips with, so don’t be put off if you’ve never owned a similar appliance. Instructions are clearly displayed on the touch screen and most steps can be modified to suit your tastes. The steam wand proved a touch stiff but the automatic milk texturing function repeatedly delivered top-notch cappuccinos. In short, it’s a revelation, so wake up and smell the coffee!
How we test
- Coffee making is an art, so we roped in an independent expert to help us with these tests.
- Firstly, our team pulled an espresso from each machine and took a temperature reading (it should be between 60-75°C). Next, they steamed cow’s milk and non-dairy milk using the milk frother, took a temperature reading and assessed the stability of the foam by leaving it for five minutes.
- Our coffee pro tasted the espresso and judged it on its taste (looking for well-balanced tones), aroma (ditto), body (it shouldn’t be too thin or too thick) and crema quality (it should be a rich, nutty colour and last until you finish the drink).
Read more bean-to-cup coffee machine reviews
Best espresso coffee machine
29. Beko Espresso Coffee Machine CEP5152B
Beko CEP5152B Espresso Coffee Machine – Black
Coffee aficionados eager to tamp their own grounds and steam their own milk will like the superior control offered by an espresso machine. Our traditional-style winner is the only one that Beko makes, proving once again that quality over quantity is the way to go. It’s surprisingly simplistic – there are just two settings (express coffee and steam milk) – but it made flawless espressos for our testers and our coffee expert enjoyed the “nuanced flavours”. It steamed milk to a fine, velvety foam but note that you’ll need to supply your own jug.
Read more espresso coffee machine reviews
Best pod coffee machine
30. Opal One Nespresso Pod Machine
Best Coffee Guide
OPAL One Coffee Pod Machine
Pod machines make speed their priority, so if you need a caffeine hit first thing to function, you know what to do. Making coffee is as simple as popping in your chosen pod (check out the best eco-friendly pods), pressing a few buttons and waiting for your shot to pour. There’s no need to grind, tamp or steam – everything is automatic. Our champion model was unrivalled in the flavour department, delivering shot after shot of tasty coffee. Our testers praised its smart, compact design that would suit most kitchens and liked that they could tweak the brewing temperature. Expect the speed to slow by the third consecutive espresso, but it’s otherwise hard to fault.
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Best smart lighting
31. Philips Hue Smart Lights
Philips Hue Starter Kit White and Colour Ambiance
If bringing your home into the 21st century was one of your 2022 resolutions, the simplest place to start is with smart light bulbs. From lowering the brightness via your voice assistant to setting them to turn on when the sun sets, it’s all possible once you connect them to your wifi and start playing with the compatible app. Our tech tester found this beginner’s system the bee’s knees – it proved quick to assemble and they loved that you can sync it with your smartphone’s location so that the lights switch on just as you get home. You can save your favourite of 16 million colours and name them for easy voice recall, or get them flashing to the beat of your music for a Sophie Ellis-Bextor-style kitchen disco. Tempted? Give them a try.
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Best DAB radio
32. Roberts Stream 94i DAB+/DAB/FM Internet Radio with Spotify Connect and Added Bluetooth
Roberts Stream94i DAB+/DAB/FM Internet Radio
This glossy black radio is also a wireless Bluetooth speaker, meaning you can play music from your smartphone or tablet through it, as well as tuning into all your favourite stations. It comes with a remote control for easy skipping and pausing and the sound is sharp. It lacks bass on occasion and distorts a bit at maximum volume but our testers found it crisp and clear for everyday listening. Its large colour display and simple buttons make it straightforward to use, but if you want to take it out into the garden, you’ll need to buy the compatible rechargeable battery pack separately.
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Best noise-cancelling headphones
33. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Block out all background noise and immerse yourself in music with these top-of-the-range Bluetooth headphones. The GHI team found the sound quality outstanding, with just the right bass/treble balance whether playing rock, jazz or classical. They felt comfortable to wear while out and about, with the noise-cancelling feature silencing everything from traffic to drilling. The battery should last about 20 hours, but an audio cable is included, should it run flat on a long journey. Though expensive, they’re one of the top products for music nuts.
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Best wifi security camera
34. Arlo Ultra 4K
Arlo Ultra Wireless Outdoor Home Security Camera System
Nobody wants to be the victim of a burglary, so if you haven’t already got a security system set-up, consider installing this wifi surveillance camera to keep an eye on your home from afar and talk to anybody who turns up via the two-way microphone. Its magnetic mount makes it simple to position and the rechargeable battery lasts for up to six months. Our testers praised its crystal-clear colour footage at all hours of the day and night and liked that the smartphone motion alerts could differentiate between movement caused by a person, a car or an animal, meaning you won’t mistake your cat for an intruder. If you’re worried, it gives you the option of triggering a siren or calling a friend without the need to open the app.
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HEALTH & LEISURE
Best massage gun
35. HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun
HoMedics Pro Physio Massage Gun
Nothing beats a good sports massage, but this cordless gun makes a strong substitute. Unlike your deep tissue therapist, it can be tossed into your gym bag, ready to help your aching muscles recover from a heavy duty HIIT session (it does this by encouraging blood flow to the area, reducing inflammation). Its near-flawless score speaks for itself – it’s a remarkably innovative, high-performance model, complete with six interchangeable heads including effective hot and cold options. Our tester found it surprisingly lightweight to hold and said it glided over their skin without making an anti-social din. They liked the included storage case and clear diagrams showing you how to make the most of all its features. Overall, it’s the ultimate treat for a fitness fanatic and one of the top products we’ve tested.
Read more massage gun reviews
Best yoga mat
36. Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat
Super Grip Yoga Mat
The GHI’s resident yogi loves saying ‘namaste’ to this mat during her daily yoga and meditation practice. On test, it stayed firmly fixed to the ground, with its soft latex surface providing sturdy grip for hands and feet. Though thin and lightweight enough to roll up and carry to the studio, it didn’t dent when we used it for a weights workout. Choose from three stylish colours.
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Best fitness tracker
37. Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4 Advanced Fitness Tracker
Whether you want to track your progress in your favourite sport or simply keep an eye on your step count, this activity tracker from household name Fitbit is sure to tick all your boxes. Our testers found it accurate for all types of exercise (choose from 20 options) and loved that it automatically starts logging whenever you get moving. It also records ‘active zone minutes’ – those times when your heart is pumping faster without you moving far, such as when weightlifting, cleaning the car or mowing the lawn – using your resting heart rate and age. Compatible with both Apple and Android, it’s waterproof to 50m deep and has built-in GPS for recording a walking, running or cycling route without the need to take your phone. It can notify you of any missed calls or messages on its 1.5-inch touchscreen and will last up to seven days before running out of juice. Other features include reminders to move, breathing exercises and sleep and menstrual cycle tracking. Phew!
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Best sports bra
38. Decathlon Cardio Training Zip Up Bra
Large High-Support Fitness Bra 920
To beat your parkrun PB, you need to be focused, meaning no chest discomfort putting you off your game. This high-impact sports bra offers the maximum support for your breasts, meaning minimal bouncing and pain. Our testers found it suitably compressing, but not too tight, and liked its adjustable racerback straps and fuss-free front zip. Its lightly padded foam cups assured secure comfort and the soft, flat band meant no distracting digging in during mat Pilates. It’s available in black, grey or pink from sizes 4 to 34.
Read more sports bra reviews
Best yoga leggings
39. Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant 25”
Align HR Pant 25
If these soft, seamless leggings are anything to go by, we can see why yogis everywhere rave about Lululemon. Everyone loved their luxe feel and one tester pronounced them the comfiest pair she’d ever worn. Their high waist keeps everything tucked in, without rolling down during sun salutations, and they’re stretchy but not at all see-through. They come in 14 chic colourways from dark olive to merlot, in sizes 4 to 30.
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Best gym leggings
40. Pocket Sport Plein Air Legging
Plein Air Legging – Black
These full-length gym leggings are among the most fashionable we’ve seen, but they’re not just a pretty face. Hailing from a hot new activewear brand, they’re our most wanted for hardcore workouts due to their sublime fit and grippy high waistband. Our testers found them flattering and secure to wear, with just the right level of compression and no gathering, gaping or slipping mid-session. They breezed through our sweat-wicking lab tests and proved breathable in practice too. They’ll take you from spin class to the sofa, and yes, they feature a pocket.
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Best walking boots
41. Mountain Warehouse Hike Women’s Waterproof Recycled Boots
Mountain Warehouse Hike Womens Waterproof Walking Recycled Boots
The right walking boots will take you on the greatest adventures of your life without slips and blisters blighting the experience. Our 64 testers took 21 different pairs for hikes in all conditions, across a range of terrains, and these boots scrambled into first place. Made from recycled fabric with a strong rubber sole, they’re far hardier than their affordable price tag suggests. They fit snugly without pinching at the toes and proved water-resistant, keeping our panel’s socks dry when stomping through heavy rain and puddles. Like any shoes, you’ll need to break them in for maximum comfort, but their teal colour makes a cheery change from the usual black or brown.
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42. Antler Clifton Medium Suitcase
Clifton medium in black
Everybody has seen footage of luggage being thrown onto planes, so your suitcase needs to be able to withstand rough handling. Enter this hard-sided spinner. It weighs just 3.9kg and can expand from 75 to 100 litres, allowing you to cram in plenty of clothes and souvenirs, with plentiful pockets and dividers. Our testers found its four wheels allowed for stress-free manoeuvrability across all terrains, from tarmac to cobbles. They tested its water resistance – it passed with flying colours – and only its top corners dented slightly when they dropped it from a height. Choose from 11 stylish colours, including black, blush, navy and sage, with a larger size available.
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Best cabin bag
43. Away The Carry-On
This airline-friendly carry-on is packed with features that frequent flyers will adore, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee. It will navigate busy transport hubs with ease, thanks to its four smooth wheels, and it proved extremely durable in our drop test, suffering only light scuffs to its polycarbonate exterior which quickly wiped off. It boasts no fewer than three internal pockets, while a zippered divider and set of adjustable packaging straps help keep everything in place. It comes with a TSA-approved padlock to minimise the risk of damage and is available in six colours.
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Best menstrual cup
44. Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup
Soft Menstrual Cup Regular – Grey
For a greener, cost-effective alternative to disposable pads and tampons, try this menstrual cup. Created by a mum of five daughters and made from medical grade silicone, our panel of 110 women found it easy to insert and totally leak-proof (it can hold the same volume of blood as two to three tampons). The majority (91 per cent) found it comfortable to wear all day and it proved a breeze to clean – simply rinse it under hot, soapy water. There are two sizes available (small for pre-birth and regular for post-birth) and it comes with a carry bag.
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45. Svakom Elva Love Egg Rechargeable Remote Control Vibrator
Svakom Elva Bullet Vibrator
Sex toys come in all shapes and sizes, but this bullet vibrator is reassuringly discreet – and quiet! Our panel of hundreds of women, aged 18 to 80, declared it their favourite of 95, with 89 per cent enjoying a more powerful orgasm. They loved that it can be controlled by a partner via a remote control, but if you’re after some alone time, try the ‘intelligent mode’ that slowly ramps up the intensity to mimic foreplay and intercourse. It’s also fully waterproof, should you wish to spice up your showers.
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HOUSE & GARDEN
46. Silentnight Eco Comfort Breathe Pocket 1200 Mattress
Silentnight Eco Comfort Breathe Pocket 1200 Mattress
We spend roughly a third of our lives in bed, so a mattress is one of the most important investments you can make. It’s a fact that the better your mattress, the better you will sleep and the better you will feel. Given how much our panel raved about our top pick’s comfort and medium-firm support, it offers outstanding value for money at under £600 for a double. It’s suitable for all and most of those with back problems told us their pain had improved since snoozing on it. Robust yet cosy, its pocket springs won’t creak, roll you into the centre or sag after only a year of use. Don’t rely on it for temperature regulation – less than half of our testers found it made much impact – but almost everybody would confidently recommend it overall. In the unlikely case that you buy it, try it and hate it, there’s a 60-night exchange offer.
How we test
- Mattresses are expensive, so we made sure our testing was appropriately rigorous. To get the long-term picture, we sent a detailed survey to a 1,400-strong panel, asking for their opinions on 29 mattresses. Those who owned one duly answered our questions on its support, comfort, durability, breathability and value for money.
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Best mattress protector
47. Panda Bamboo Waterproof Mattress Protector
Panda Bamboo Mattress Protector
To keep your mattress in service for as long as possible, it’s worth adding a protector to fight off stains and spills. Despite their bad reputation as hot, plasticky and noisy to sleep on, modern designs have come a long way. The GHI tried 23 and judged this eco-friendly bamboo buy the best for fit, comfort and security. In fact, it’s one of the top products we’ve reviewed and it pleased our testers so much that it scored the elusive 100/100! Though thin, it’s so waterproof that our mattress was left completely dry after pouring a full glass of water onto it. It didn’t rustle when we moved and emerged unscathed from both the washing machine and tumble dryer. Parents, note that it also comes in a cot size.
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Best mattress topper
48. Simba Hybrid Mattress Topper
Simba Hybrid Mattress Topper
Splurging on a new mattress isn’t always an option, but a mattress topper can make even the lumpiest, springiest of beds feel more luxurious. Our winning topper, made from the same chemical-free foam/spring hybrid as Simba’s high-scoring mattress, had “just the right level of firmness and give” to afford our testers a comfortable and supportive night’s sleep. It might prove slightly too big for your mattress (we’re talking a centimetre), but its grippy base and secure straps make it easy to fit regardless, so don’t let that put you off. It’s available in five sizes from single to super king and its cover is machine washable.
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49. REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel Pillow
REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel Pillow
Finding the right pillow can be quite the feat, particularly as we all have different sleeping styles. To find the universal best, our 48 testers tried a wide range for at least two weeks. They all gave this memory foam pillow 10/10. It didn’t live up to its cooling claims but wowed them in every other way. Ideal for back and side sleepers, it helped ease neck pain by moulding snugly to their heads and necks. It didn’t smell chemically, its soft cover washed well in the GHI lab without shrinking and its five-year guarantee is reassuringly generous. If you sleep on your front and know you’d prefer down, try this fluffy Scooms pillow instead.
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50. Vileda SuperMocio Microfibre & Power XL Mop and Bucket
Vileda SuperMocio Microfibre & Power XL Mop
This string mop’s red fibres send stubborn stains packing while its white ones soak up grease. Its big bucket, sold separately, features a new torsion wringer that constricts like a python, squeezing excess water from the machine washable mop head in seconds. It performed brilliantly on all hard flooring, leaving vinyl, wooden laminate and ceramic tiles gleaming (including that pesky grouting) and quick to dry. Its telescopic handle makes cleaning comfortable no matter your stature, but we wish you could buy the mop and bucket as a set.
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Best pan set
51. Circulon Momentum 5-Piece Anodised Set
Circulon Momentum 5 Piece Hard Anodised Non Stick Cookware Set
Few kitchen items work harder than your pans, so it’s important to invest in a robust, effective set that will last. Our winning five-piece can be used across all hob types (as can every set in our wider roundup, below) and its hard-anodised aluminium finish won’t chip, peel or scratch. Its non-stick coating wowed our tester, proving so effective that only a small splash of oil was required – great if you’re trying to eat more healthily. The included milk pan, frying pan and three lidded saucepans felt lightweight to use and their silicone-cased handles stayed cool during cooking. Better still, the GHI confirmed them all as oven and dishwasher-safe, making this kit versatile value for money.
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Best knife set
52. Zwilling 6-Piece Knife Block Bamboo
ZWILLING J.A HENCKELS Pro knife block and five knives
ZWILLING J.A HENCKELS
Trying to chop, slice and carve with blunt knives can be dangerous as well as frustrating, so you really need a set you can trust for all cooking tasks. Though pricey, this premium six-piece block comes with a lifetime guarantee, making it a smart investment buy. Our testers found it comfortable and effortless to use whether dicing onions, cutting steaks, skinning chicken thighs or julienning peppers. Every knife felt well-balanced and cleaned up a treat, while the space-saving block features internal magnets that keep the blades locked down. The GHI didn’t seek Gordon Ramsay’s seal of approval, but we’re confident he’d give this chef-worthy winner the thumbs up.
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Best bathroom scales
53. Beurer GS 410 SignatureLine Glass Bathroom Scale
Beurer GS410 Signature Line Glass Bathroom Scale
This minimalist glass scale with its large, well-lit digital display is also available in white or silver, meaning it will slot subtly into any bathroom. There’s little in the way of instructions but it’s straightforward to set up and our testers found its simple weight readings remarkably fast and accurate (up to 200kg). Its wide platform, which takes up to size 12 feet, proved stable in use, with no tipping even when stepping directly onto its edges. Close-by vibrations cause it to power up automatically, which might quickly drain the battery, but that’s our only concern.
How we test
- If scales can’t weigh accurately, they’re useless, so the GHI calibrated two different weights as a reference point. Our team then tested each scale with each weight three times, recording how long it took to stabilise and present the result. Ease of use, design and instructions were also taken into account.
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Best weighted blanket
54. Kudd.ly Weighted Blanket
KUDD.LY™ Weighted Blanket
Stressed out and in desperate need of a good night’s sleep? This 5kg weighted blanket will help cut cortisol, boost serotonin and see you right through till morning. Quilted and filled with glass beads, it works by mimicking the ‘deep touch pressure’ of a firm hug, which helps you feel cosy and calm. Our testers loved snuggling up under its fleecy fabric, which kept them warm but not too hot and allowed for natural movement without bunching up. They found it easy to wash in a standard-sized machine and appreciated the included carry bag, but wished it was available in bigger sizes than a single.
Read more weighted blanket reviews
Best electric blanket
55. Slumberdown Wonderfully Warm Electric Blanket
Slumberdown Electric Underblanket – Double
Heating bills are forever soaring, but an electric blanket can keep you toasty in the depths of winter while using less energy. Our winner has an under-blanket design, meaning you secure it to your mattress and snooze on top of it. Its nine settings include extra foot warmth and each half can be programmed differently to keep both you and your partner happy. It has dual detachable LED controls for adjusting the temperature in the night without waking the other up and a washable fleece zip cover that can also withstand the tumble dryer. Our testers reported even heat distribution, said its elasticated straps kept it firmly in place and appreciated the timer and auto shut-off. It’s available in sizes single to super king.
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Best online flower delivery service
Country Wild Garden
Gifting flowers is a timelessly lovely thing to do, but doing so online involves trusting your florist to deliver beautiful blooms on time. Haute did just that, sending our three mystery shoppers stunning hand-tied bouquets (they tried the elegant Purity) that arrived on their specified date, carefully packaged without any damage and looking exactly like the photo. They were helpfully sent a four-hour time slot on the day and, to aid longevity, a care guide and sachet of flower food were included with each bunch. If white flowers aren’t your thing, there are over 50 other arrangements to browse, including letterbox options and hat boxes. Optional extras include champagne and soaps, with most available for Sunday delivery. Next-day delivery is free but make sure you know what size you’ve ordered – the medium shown on the website costs £5 extra, and large £10.
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Joint best wok
57. Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick Wok
Toughened Non-Stick Wok
If stir-fry is your go-to weeknight dinner, a wok will give you much better results than a standard frying pan. The bowl-shaped design distributes heat quicker and more evenly, meaning you can cook faster and use less oil. This deep non-stick model kept all our food inside as we worked, with no burning or sticking even when incorporating a sugary sauce. Made from scratch-resistant aluminium, it’s oven-safe with dual carry handles and looked as good as new after several dishwasher cycles. There are two sizes available – 28cm and 32cm – and it comes with Le Creuset’s famous lifetime guarantee.
Joint best wok
58. Salter Non-Stick Stir Fry Pan
Salter Earth Forged Aluminium Non-Stick 24cm Frying Pan – Green
This wallet-friendly alternative might not be oven-safe, but it has a long handle that stays cool when the heat is on, allowing you to toss your stir fry like a bonafide chef. It could feel more balanced in action, but our testers liked its metallic champagne exterior and found it hassle-free to clean. Its hard-wearing non-stick coating can withstand the dishwasher, but we’d always recommend hand washing when possible.
Read more wok reviews
Best eco toilet roll
59. The Cheeky Panda Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper
The Cheeky Panda – Bamboo Toilet Tissue Paper
The Cheeky Panda
Help save the planet by swapping to this 100 per cent bamboo loo roll. Bamboo grows much faster than trees, making it a more sustainable material than wood, and it’s naturally hypoallergenic too. Our panel found it soft, strong and absorbent and said it tore well along the perforations. Everybody liked the “cute” panda logo and said they would use it again. Though not made in the UK, the recyclable packaging is entirely plastic-free and the subscription model lets you earn points and donate to environmental charities. The company offsets its carbon footprint by donating to the World Land Trust, which works to protect Vietnamese rainforests. Buy it as a small pack of four or as a batch of up to 45 rolls (the most eco option, as fewer deliveries are involved).
Read more eco toilet roll reviews
Best gardening gloves
60. Clip Gloves Cosy Gloves
If Gardeners’ World has inspired you to turn your black thumb green, you’ll need some trusty gardening gloves. Our testers got busy digging, pruning and potting before declaring these Clip Gloves their pick of 41 pairs. Designed for medium to heavy duty use, their breathable latex coating makes them both grippy and flexible and their polyester chenille lining keeps your hands warm. They offer decent wrist coverage, though you’ll need a thicker pair for tackling thorns, and come with a carabiner clip for attaching to a gardening belt or hanging up in the shed.
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Joint best secateurs
61. Davaon Pro Bypass Secateurs DN3102AR
Make like Monty Don with these sharp bypass secateurs, ideal for everyday gardening tasks. Our testers found the non-stick carbon steel blades consistently effective, whether trimming bushes or chopping back deadwood. The grippy, cushioned handle rotates with your hand, allowing you to use it more naturally and comfortably, while a guard protects your fingers from thorns. Shock absorbers, a wire-cutting notch, a sap groove and two safety locks (for small and large hands) combine to offer everything you might need for a pruning session. One of our top products and a real gardening essential.
Joint best secateurs
62. Darlac Expert Bypass Pruners DP1030A
Darlac Expert Bypass Pruners Secateurs DP1030A Garden General Purpose 25mm Cut
Sharing the top spot is another Darlac offering. It’s similar, but the higher price tag gets you an additional included spanner for replacing the blade, plus a lifetime guarantee. These top-of-the-range bypass pruners are lighter, too, with a slightly wider cutting diameter, and you might prefer that the handle doesn’t rotate. They performed brilliantly on test, slicing cleanly through thick and thin branches and proving comfortable to hold and squeeze.
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BEAUTY & GROOMING
Best hair straighteners
63. ghd Gold Styler Professional Hair Straightener
ghd Gold Styler Professional Hair Straighteners
Our top-scoring straightener can curl and wave with its rounded barrel, as well as create sleek, poker-straight looks. It was tested blind, meaning nobody was swayed by ghd’s market-leading reputation, but happily it lived up to it. Our panel found it lightweight and easy to use when attempting all manner of styles and praised it for leaving their hair shinier, silkier and smoother. It heated up in seconds, which anyone who’s always running late will appreciate, and glided cleanly without snagging. It’s only got one temperature setting, which may put off those with fine hair, but it didn’t cause damage for any of our testers and 87 per cent enjoyed results that lasted all day.
How we test
- Over 350 testers with a range of hair lengths, thicknesses and textures put 73 hair straighteners to the test. They fed back on heat-up time, how easily they could reach their roots and how healthy and salon-worthy their hair looked post-styling.
- In the GHI lab, our expert team used an EV Standard machine to measure the temperature of each straightener and test the accuracy of its heat settings.
Read more hair straighteners reviews
Joint best hairdryer
64. Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer
Dyson Supersonic hair dryer Iron/Fuchsia
This innovative hair dryer literally blew our panel away with its precisely directed, high pressure power. Its 2016 launch caused the Dyson website to crash, such was its surrounding hype. Happily, it met high expectations, with all testers planning to replace their current model with this one. It dried quickly and remarkably quietly, leaving hair shinier and less frizzy for 82 per cent, and it comes with five magnetic attachments including a concentrator, diffuser and wide-tooth comb. It ramped up body and volume, with everybody reporting that their bouncy styles lasted until bedtime.
Joint best hairdryer
65. T3 Cura Luxe Hairdryer
T3 Cura LUXE Hairdryer
Sharing the hairdryer top spot is this slick black and rose gold model, which our testers found both stylish and practical. They all agreed that it dried fast, felt comfortable to hold and produced relatively little noise. It left hair soft and shiny, retaining any natural waves, and its volume boost added plenty of oomph to lacklustre locks. The five heat settings and gentle airstream were welcomed by those with more fragile hair, giving healthier looking results, and there’s a handy Velcro tie on the flex for storage. It’s pricey, but worth the splurge.
How we test
- The GHI team recruited 350 testers to trial 65 hairdryers. They were asked to judge each appliance on its ease of use, weight, noise level, drying speed and overall finish.
- Back at base, our experts measured the temperature of the airflow, nozzle and casing and judged each model on its simplicity, instructions and design.
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Best curling tong
66. ghd Classic Curl Tong
ghd Classic Curl Tong
Whether you want waves, curls or ringlets, this versatile tong, again from hair tool experts ghd, will help get you red carpet ready without the A-list price tag. Our panel of 200 testers crowned it the best of 36 tongs, wands and wavers after being left impressed by how robustly it locked their looks in place. Their newfound covetable curls stayed lively all day and night, even in hair that usually struggles to hold style. Fast and easy to use on both long and short hair, its universal voltage makes it a top pick for frequent flyers.
Read more curling tong reviews
Best IPL hair removal device
67. Philips Lumea Prestige IPL BRI954/00
Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Cordless Hair Removal Device
The problem with unwanted body hair is that it likes to grow back – and fast. If you’re tired of constantly shaving, waxing and epilating, try our top-scoring IPL (intense pulsed light) machine, which damages hair follicles at their roots to help keep fuzz at bay permanently. Its sensor identifies the most comfortable of five heat settings for your skin and the compatible app lets you tailor treatment schedules for different areas. Our panel of 107 testers tried it for 12 weeks, carefully following the instructions to remove hair from their underarms, legs, upper lip and bikini line. The majority were enjoying a notable reduction in regrowth come the end of the trial, with 87 per cent finding most hairs gave up completely and any stubborn stragglers grew back finer. Better still, 83 per cent noticed an improvement just four weeks in, mainly on their legs. Use it every fortnight for the first four sessions, then simply touch-up when needed. Just note that it works best against dark hairs on pale to medium skin, as identifying the follicles requires a contrast in the pigments.
Read more IPL hair removal device reviews
Best electric toothbrush
68. Spotlight Oral Care Sonic Toothbrush
Spotlight Oral Care Sonic Toothbrush
Spotlight Oral Care
Though more expensive than your typical manual toothbrush, electric models may keep your teeth and gums healthier, minimising the risk of costly dental treatment in the long term. Their bristles move faster and in more directions than you could manage by hand, often making them more effective at lifting plaque. Despite its speedy sonic vibrations, 85 per cent of our testers found this model surprisingly gentle to use with an impressive battery life. Its three power modes include whitening and sensitive and it comes with three sizes of brush head for the most comfortable clean in all mouths. It performed so professionally that all the panel plan to keep using it.
How we test
- We asked 242 testers to use 15 electric toothbrushes for two weeks and judge each model on its performance, design, ease of use, features and battery life. To determine efficacy, they used a plaque disclosing tablet before and after brushing.
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Best home gel nail kit
69. Bluesky Starter Kit
Bluesky Starter Kit
If forking out for a manicure every three weeks is starting to dent your bank balance, it might be time to give DIY a go. If you fear looking more like Lady Macbeth than Marilyn Monroe, panic not, as this starter gel nail kit is designed for beginners. It comes with everything you need to transform your talons – that’s a LED/UV lamp that fits your whole hand, a nail file, a nail buffer, pre-application cleanser, base coat, top coat and three classic colours. Despite its thick consistency, our 49 testers found the polish fast and streak-free to apply, with everybody saying their nails looked shiny for the next fortnight. No one reported any chipping or peeling for eight days, but they bemoaned having to buy foils and remover separately.
Read more home gel nail kit reviews
Best hot brush
70. ghd Glide Hot Brush
ghd Glide Professional Hot Brush
It can be hard to replicate a salon blow dry in your bedroom, but a good hot brush certainly helps. These style-saving appliances act as a detangler and straightener in one and are particularly useful for getting through thick hair quickly. More than 272 testers tried 33 hot brushes for us, with ghd’s first pro offering taking the crown. It couldn’t be easier to use with its one button, while its slender handle makes it comfortable to hold. Nearly everyone found it glided through their tresses, leaving locks sleek and shiny in seconds. It helped tame flyaways for 89 per cent of the panel, too. It didn’t overheat in our lab temperature tests and the safety conscious will appreciate its automatic switch-off after an hour of non-use.
Read more hot brush reviews
Best nail strengthener
71. Orly Nail Defense Strengthening Treatment
Given how much hand washing we’ve all been doing, your nails may be looking a little worse for wear. To help heal any damage, try this nourishing strengthener that’s packed with proteins to keep peeling and breakages at bay. It beat 41 brands to the top spot, with our panel of 770 women left impressed by how well it protected and restored their nails over the month-long trial period. Some reported faster growth and others enjoyed a healthy shine. It lasted well without chipping and can be used as a thin base coat under colour. Overall, 88 per cent of testers agreed their nails looked and felt stronger after use.
Read more nail strengthener reviews
Best nail growth treatment
72. Duri Rejuvacote 2 Nail Growth System
Duri Rejuvacote 2 Heal and Cures Split Cracked Nails 13.3 ml
This sensitive polish makes the lofty claim of helping nails grow in days, but it met expectations, leaving our 270 testers so thrilled with their results that 86 per cent pledged to keep using it post-trial. Free from formaldehyde, toluene and phthalate, it strengthened their brittle, flaky nails, preventing breakages and speeding up growth.
Best nail growth treatment reviews
Best reusable makeup remover pad
73. My Little Eco Shop Reusable Ultra Soft Makeup Remover Pad
Midnight Black Oval Reusable Ultra Soft Makeup Remover Pad
What makes this thick microfibre pad unique is that it claims to rid your face of makeup using water alone. It fulfilled this lofty promise, leaving our 69 testers with totally clean skin in an instant. They found it soft and gentle, including on their eyes, and liked that it washed easily without staining (though admittedly, its black colour helps). In the GHI lab, it scored a respectable 8/10 after effortlessly removing foundation, lipstick and notoriously tricky waterproof mascara from artificial skin. With care, you should get up to 1,000 washes out of it, making it both an eco and wallet-friendly alternative to disposable wipes and cotton pads.
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Joint best anti-ageing eye cream
74. Clarins Total Eye Lift Concentrate
Clarins Total Eye Lift
The delicate skin around your eyes is often the first to give your ageing game away. Happily, this targeted cream can help hide crow’s feet (those fine lines at the outer corners of your eyes), dark circles and puffiness, with almost all our 430 panellists reporting improvements to ‘the big three’ after four weeks of use. Its silky formula is 94 per cent natural and features cassie wax, a skin-plumping floral extract. Everybody said it glided on easily and absorbed quickly, with 93% enjoying an instant moisture boost. Only a small amount is needed per application and its shiny red packaging makes it easy to find in your washbag.
Joint best anti-ageing eye cream
75. Murad Resurgence Renewing Eye Cream
Murad Renewing Eye Cream, 15ml
If energising tired eyes is your aim, this cream’s blend of soybean and wild yam will hydrate and firm up your skin. Our panel raved about its ability to diminish dark circles, depuff under-eyes and reduce the look of fine lines, while generally giving them a brighter and well-rested appearance. Only one of our 430 testers saw no visible changes. Lightweight, non-greasy and fragrance-free, it felt soothing to apply and sank easily into their skin. It’s expensive, but cheaper than a holiday.
Read more anti-ageing eye cream reviews
Best LED face mask
76. Cellreturn Platinum LED Mask
CELLRETURN Platinum LED Mask
These high-tech machines don’t come cheap – this LED face mask costs over £1,500 – but if you’re struggling with an array of skincare concerns, from acne to redness, pigmentation to ageing, they can be a worthy investment. The light therapy they offer (from infrared for upping collagen density to blue for reducing sebum) isn’t as powerful as the treatments offered in dermatology clinics, but they provide a quick, simple solution that may prove cost-effective in the long term. Cellreturn’s model successfully minimised the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, redness and inflammation for over half of our 98 testers, all of whom used it as instructed for four weeks. It left 67% with firmer, brighter skin and 83% found it comfortable to use. Of course, should you start experiencing any irritation, stop using it and consult your GP.
Read more LED face mask reviews
Best shampoo and conditioner for curly hair
77. Trepadora Gojiberry Mint Reviving Hair Rinse and Quinoa Repair Deep Conditioner
BUY HAIR RINSE BUY CONDITIONER
The golden rule for curly hair types is to steer well clear of oil-stripping, frizz-inducing sodium lauryl sulfate. Instead, you need a shampoo and conditioner that’s brimming with hydrating goodies, like this ‘reviving’ gojiberry mint duo from ‘made for curls’ brand, Trepadora. The shampoo is gentle enough to cleanse the finest curls without weighing them down. It left our panel of 160 women – with everything from light waves to tight coils – with refreshed, shiny hair. Creamy and luxurious, the conditioner locked in moisture to add softness and bouncy definition, while the pump dispensers made for quick, mess-free use in the shower each morning.
Read more curly hair shampoo and conditioner reviews
Best shampoo and conditioner for oily hair
78. OGX Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner
OGX Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Shampoo
Cleanse hair deeply while still boosting shine with this apple cider vinegar shampoo and conditioner. Our panel of 350 testers named the duo their favourite for degreasing locks, with 75 per cent agreeing that their scalp’s oil levels felt better balanced by the end of the two-week trial. Paraben and sulphate-free, 88 per cent said their hair felt cleaner for longer after use, while 81 per cent were left with softer and more nourished strands. In the GHI lab, it reduced oiliness by 91 per cent – our testers applied artificial sebum to hair switches and used a Sebumeter to measure oil levels after using it – and scored highly for its smoothing and hydrating effects. Its fresh and fruity apple scent was voted the best on test, too, so don’t worry about smelling like a fish and chip shop!
Read more oily hair shampoo and conditioner reviews
Joint best retinol serum
79. Temple Spa Trufflelixir Super Luxe Serum
Temple Spa Trufflelixir Super Luxe Serum
Retinol – a form of vitamin A – is the hero of anti-ageing skincare, but these serums can be expensive, so it’s important to buy the best. Our panel of 207 women loved this powerful botanical formula, which helped encourage collagen production and speed up skin cell regeneration to leave 64 per cent with a visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. Its herbal scent proved divisive, but most found it cooling and fast-absorbing to apply and 71 per cent were pleased with how smooth and even their skin looked four weeks later.
Joint best retinol serum
80. Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Skin Resurfacer
Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Retinol Skin Resurfacer 30ml
This serum’s wallet-friendly price tag belies its joint highest score. Creamy in texture, it blends retinol with two similar ingredients – a peptide and a plant-based alternative – that offer anti-ageing benefits without the potential irritation. Everyone found it quick to spread and sink in, giving them an instant moisture boost, and 83 per cent thought their skin looked and felt better by the end of the month-long trial. They all liked the subtle floral scent and would continue using it.
Read more retinol serum reviews
Best hair supplements
81. New Nordic Hair Volume Gummies
Holland and Barrett
New Nordic Hair Volume Supplement 60 Gummies
These yummy apple-flavoured gummies are packed with hair-strengthening biotin and zinc. Our 150 testers took them twice daily for three months as advised, with 55 per cent reporting ramped up volume and growth after two. By the end of the trial, 73 per cent were enjoying boosted volume while just over half reported stronger, thicker locks with added shine. Some said their skin also looked and felt healthier. Note that you will need to take most hair supplements regularly for at least three months, as our panel did, before noticing any improvements, with the biggest changes usually experienced by those who were deficient in certain vitamins and minerals beforehand. If in doubt, you know what to do – chat to your GP.
Read more hair supplement reviews
Joint best nail supplements
82. Together Beautiful Hair, Skin & Nail Daily
Beautiful Hair, Skin & Nail Daily
The protein collagen can help save your nails from splitting, and these vegan-friendly capsules are brimming with the stuff. They got a firm thumbs up from our 130 testers, almost all of whom were left with tougher nails after just two months of twice-daily doses. They kept breakages at bay and accelerated growth, with most of the panel also reporting healthier hair and clearer, more radiant skin. Some found them uncomfortably big to swallow and didn’t like their taste, but 90 per cent were happy with their results three months later, so they should work if you can get them down and are in need of a nutrients top-up.
Joint best nail supplements
83. Bioglan Beauty Collagen Gummies
Holland and Barrett
Bioglan Beauty Collagen 60 Strawberry Gummies
These gummies are made with biotin, vitamin C and readily absorbed marine collagen, but don’t worry, they taste like strawberries, not fish! They helped our panel’s nails grow faster, leaving an impressive 82 per cent with noticeably stronger talons after three months of taking the recommended two to five a day. Two thirds of testers said their hair looked thicker and shinier by the end of the trial, too. Their only complaint was that the gummies stuck together in the jar, making dispensing tricky – store them in a cool, dry place to minimise this.
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Best lightweight foundation
84. Maybelline New York Dream Urban Cover Foundation
Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Protective Makeup
In conjunction with a professional makeup artist, our panel of 328 women branded this lightweight foundation the best of 19 on test. They found its full coverage formula effortless to blend into skin and comfortably breathable to wear. It cleverly concealed blemishes and hydrated dry patches, all while leaving a naturally radiant finish that lasted throughout the day. It comes in 20 shades and has SPF50, eliminating the need for a separate facial sunscreen.
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Best illuminating primer
85. Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Illuminating Primer
Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer 50ml – Illuminating
To smooth and even out your skin tone for a glowing, flawless finish that lasts, add this illuminating primer to your makeup bag. Our 180 testers tried 15 products for two weeks and named it their winner, with our consultant makeup artist also heaping praise upon it. Its water-based formula hydrated without clogging up their pores, creating the perfect base for foundation and leaving them with brighter complexions that shone with a natural radiance. You get 50ml of product in the chic rose gold tube, making it reasonable value for money.
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Best waterproof mascara
86. Revlon Volumazing Waterproof Mascara
Revlon Volumazing Mascara Waterproof Blackest Black
This volumising mascara is designed to stay firmly put even if you cry, go swimming or get caught in the rain. It satisfied most of our nearly 300-strong panel, with 92 per cent finding it as waterproof as claimed. Creamy in texture with a jet black finish, it didn’t clump or flake all day. Its wavy bristles help to lengthen and fan out lashes for 86 per cent, with one to two coats producing the best results. To remove it post-party, gently wipe an oil-based cleanser over your eye area, without rubbing.
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87. Braun Silk-Epil 9-561 Wet & Dry Epilator
Braun Silk-épil 9 9-561 Wet and Dry Cordless Epilator
This sleek, cordless epilator has a wide, pivoting head and built-in light to help you grab every tiny hair. It performed equally well on wet and dry skin, without causing our 22 testers much discomfort (epilators tweeze hairs directly from the follicle, so they can pinch a bit), and it was lightweight enough for them to remove all their body hair in one go, without experiencing arm ache. Everyone was happy with their long-lasting smooth finish, preferring it to their usual hair removal method, but 60 per cent would have liked more detailed instructions. It comes with a charging stand and carry case and its six attachments include a precision cap, exfoliating brush, shaver head and massage pad.
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Best beard oil
88. Percy Nobleman Signature Scented Beard Oil
Beard Oil by Percy Nobleman
Facial hair needs TLC to look suave rather than straw-like, which is where beard oil comes in. Essential for any male grooming routine, it conditions coarse strands, tames rebel strays and moisturises the underlying skin to leave it smoother and softer. Our panel of 300 stubbly, bearded or moustachioed men tried 24 brands and liked this lightweight offering the most, finding it quick to absorb for instant styling and hydration. It scored full marks in our lab test for smoothness (we use a Dia-Stron machine to measure how easy hair fibres are to comb through before and after application) and everybody said they would continue to use it – surely the definition of success.
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Best whitening toothpaste
89. Pearl Drops Strong Polished White Toothpaste
Pearl Drops Strong Polished White Toothpaste 75Ml
From coffee and red wine to curry, tomato sauce and even balsamic vinegar, many of our favourite foods can stain our teeth. Enter this tried and tested minty toothpaste, which claims to whiten your smile by four shades in just three weeks. It buffs with a scrubbing agent, but is formulated to be ‘low abrasion’, and it also features a blue-toned brightener that coats your no-so-pearly whites as you brush. Most of our testers found it effective, without causing increased sensitivity, and some compared it to visiting their hygienist – surely the ultimate compliment given how fresh and clean those trips leave your mouth feeling.
How we test
- Our panel of 278 testers tried 13 brands of whitening toothpaste for eight weeks, judging each product on its whitening effects (including stain removal and prevention) and whether it made their teeth or gums more sensitive.
- The GHI team took pictures of testers’ teeth with a VISIA image analysis machine before and after the trial and noted any changes.
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Best teeth whitening kit
90. Billion Dollar Smile Cosmetics USB Teeth Whitening Kit
Billion Dollar Smile USB Teeth Whitening Kit
Billion Dollar Smile
What’s unique about this kit is that it can be powered by your smartphone (or other USB device) to speed up the whitening process on the move. It comes with three gel pens and an LED mouthpiece that turns itself off after 16 minutes of treatment, meaning you can get on with other things without the need to clock-watch. Our testers found it simple to use and reported whiter teeth just four to six days later, as promised on the packaging and backed up by our lab tests. It didn’t spark tooth or gum irritation for anyone, but if you’re prone to sensitivity, check with your dentist before trying it.
How we test
- The GHI invited 318 testers to the lab, where we took images of their teeth before and after whitening treatment, using our VISIA complexion analysis machine. We rated the colour of their teeth using a whiteness scale.
- The panel also used the kits at home, feeding back on how easy and comfortable they were to use, how long they took to work and their overall effectiveness.
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FOOD & DRINK
Best extra virgin olive oil
91. Picualia Extra Virgin Olive Oil
PICUALIA Extra virgin olive oil 500ml
For the healthiest olive oil, it’s extra virgin, made only from cold-pressed olives, that you need on your kitchen worktop. EVOO also has a deeper flavour, so save it for drizzling over salads and pasta dishes or as a dip for freshly-baked bread. The GHI team sampled 21 bottles to find the most nuanced tastes that could make any at-home gastronomic experience sparkle. Don’t waste our winner on cooking – it’s a premium product made from Spanish picual olives. Its rich vibrancy transported our testers straight to the Med and is sure to impress any foodie.
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Best fruit and vegetable delivery box
92. Daylesford Market Garden Veg Box
Many of us started buying fruit and veg delivery boxes during lockdown and have kept up the habit ever since. More convenient than popping to the supermarket, the best are packed with high quality, seasonal produce. But with the market now flooded with options, which should you try first (other than your local supplier, of course)? Our 10 taste testers liked Daylesford’s organic offering the most. Coming straight from their Cotswolds farm, you’ll always find five items inside, along with a signed note from whoever packed it all up. Our ingredients arrived in tip-top condition and enthusiastic chefs will love the regular unusual inclusions, such as black radish and red Russian kale.
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Best smoked salmon
93. London Smoke & Cure Sashimi-Grade Smoked Salmon
London Smoke and Cure
Sashimi-Grade Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon is a favourite for summer garden parties and the festive season alike, such is its delectability and versatility (do you like yours best on blinis with horseradish or with buttery scrambled eggs?). Our smoked salmon specialists sampled 20 packs from supermarkets and independent smokeries to find the best for aroma, appearance, texture and flavour balance. These tender, thickly-cut slices come fresh enough to be eaten raw, with our ideal subtly sweet yet naturally salty taste shining through.
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Best beef burgers
94. Eversfield Organic Beef Steak Burgers
Beef Steak Burgers
If you’re trying to eat better quality meat, you’ll be hard pushed to beat these organic, grass-fed beef burgers from online butcher Eversfield. Seasoned with onion, salt, pepper and absolutely nothing else (so they’re gluten-free, too), our testers said they smelled fantastic and tasted rich and juicy. To ensure you always have some in the freezer, ready to fire up the BBQ, they can also be bought on subscription. Serve with lightly toasted brioche buns, slices of melted cheddar and dollops of tomato chutney. Divine.
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Best supermarket champagne
95. Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Brut NV
Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Champagne75cl
Choosing the best champers for your special occasion is important, which is why we asked three experts to join our 10-strong consumer testing panel. For the second year running, they crowned this Waitrose bottle king of the supermarket sparklers. Made solely from pinot noir grapes, they praised its aromatic notes of lemon, apple and toast, smooth bubbles and lasting refreshing finish. For the perfect pairing, enjoy it with smoked salmon blinis at a dinner party or fish and chips on a Friday. Top up, please!
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Best whisky under £35
96. Old Pulteney 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 70 cl
Our GHI testers focused their whisky hunt on the best affordable single malts, sampling a range of flavours to suit all palates, from light and floral to fruity and spicy. The ‘wee dram’ they most enjoyed drinking came from this ever-popular Old Pulteney, with its notes of heather honey and sweet vanilla, sprinkled with orange zest and summery peach. Delicious.
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97. Malfy Gin Rosa
Malfy Rosa Sicilian Pink Grapefruit Flavoured Gin, 70cl
Gin is a favoured tipple among the GHI team, be it dry, pink or flavoured. They tried a whopping 72 brands of the juniper-based spirit, including lesser known craft distilleries, to find the very best of the berries. This Italian pink gin was declared the overall winner for its fruity freshness, with one tester describing it as “like biting into a fresh grapefruit”.
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Best prosecco under £15
98. La Gioiosa Prosecco DOC, Treviso
La Gioiosa Prosecco DOC, Treviso
Lighter on the palate and the wallet than champagne, prosecco is a perennially popular party sipper. Our three experts joined seven readers to put 24 bottles of bubbles to the test, looking for full flavour, lively fizz and overall drinkability. This classic prosecco bagged the top spot with its tart fruity notes of lemon, green apple and peach, energetic bubbles and crisp finish. Fittingly, its name means ‘joyful’ in Italian.
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Best bottled cocktail
99. M&S The Marksologist Madagascan Vanilla Espresso Martini Cocktail
M&S Vanilla Espresso Martini
For those nights when you fancy a cocktail, but are too tired to faff around measuring and muddling, only a ready-made concoction will do. Our panel of experts and consumers tried 21 of the best, from gimlets and negronis to old fashioneds and margaritas, but their favourite was this espresso martini from good old M&S. It boasted all the quality of a freshly-mixed drink, with a divine aroma courtesy of its decadent twist of vanilla. Shake with ice to achieve that famously frothy top, garnish with coffee beans and serve to up to four guests.
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Best spiced rum
100. The Salford Spiced Rum
The Whiskey Exchange
The Salford Spiced Rum
Spiced rums are hugely popular today, thanks to the wide range of flavours from tropical banana to warming ginger. Our GHI testers sipped their way through 26 bottles of the stuff, helped by 10 experts and consumers, looking for easy-drinking potions that balanced sweetness, fruit and spice to perfection. This calvados-esque rum tasted like wintry apple pie, with hints of cinnamon, vanilla and raisins. Inspired by the Caribbean, it’s actually made in small batches in Salford, where it’s also infused with banana, pineapple, ginger and nutmeg. The ceramic vessel itself deserves a mention – illustrating its origins, it’d make a unique gift for a friend’s drinks trolley.
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