5 products we loved testing so much we bought them for ourselves

5. The scrubber you never knew you needed

One of the items I use the most is the Amagabeli Cast Iron Chainmail Scrubber that Michael Desjardin suggested in his piece, 15 products under $40 that totally changed my life. We use our cast iron skillet a few times a week. I was using a brush that was made for the task for years, but it always seemed dirty. The Chainmail Scrubber is actually more effective at cleaning cast iron and you can stick it in the dishwasher when you’re done.

4. The cult favorite pressure cooker

When I first started writing about products we (and our readers) love, I hadn’t even heard of the Instant Pot. But after learning more about how you can cook stuff way faster with this miracle device, I decided to try it out. Now it’s easily my favorite possession. I use it at least 3-4 nights out of the week, nights when I used to order unhealthy, rarely even good, takeout.

Not only does it take minutes instead of hours to cook virtually anything, but it’s all done in one dishwasher-friendly pot. And it’s really hard to screw things up. I’m not a bad cook, but I make my fair share of mistakes cooking in pots and pans.

3. A strong, yet versatile cordless vacuum

The only standout that I can recall is that after writing The Best Cordless Vacuums, I bought the Electrolux Ergorapido. After spending a week testing it and all other cordless vacuums, I came to really appreciate its versatility and power.

2. A winning backpack that holds everything

I tested the the Best School Backpacks (and wrote the article), and then promptly bought the winner, the L.L. Bean Quad Pack, the minute I was done testing. I love how roomy it is, with two laptop slots and two water bottle holders. It also is much more comfortable to wear than my previous backpack.

1. A newer Roku model that cuts out lag time

I had a second-generation Roku for a couple years that I liked, but it always felt a bit laggy and the picture quality was never quite right. When I tried a Roku Ultra at work I realized that my old Roku was roughly 500% slower and that I had been living in the Stone Age. So, for just $100 I massively upgraded my movie and TV watching experience, and I donated my old Roku to Goodwill.