Canoe vs Kayak: Which One To Buy This Summer & Why

What exactly is the difference between canoe vs kayak? The two types of boats may look and work very similarly, but they’re also very different in their own ways.

Knowing the differences between canoes and kayaks can help you make a decision about what to buy.

Canoe Vs Kayak: The Key Differences

While there are a huge number of differences based on the specific type of canoe or kayak you’re using, the two boats share a few common features. However, these shared features also hold their own differences between canoes and kayaks.


  • In canoes, paddlers use a single-sided paddle. Canoe paddles are used on either side of the canoe, and paddlers may have to switch back-and-forth to keep their boat straight. Since canoes sit higher than kayaks, canoe paddles also tend to be longer.
  • In kayaks, paddlers use a double-sided paddle. This allows the kayaker to paddle faster and make adjustments much easier than canoes. Kayaks sit lower in the water, and the paddles reflect that by being shorter, as well.


  • In canoes, paddlers usually sit on a seat that looks like a bench. This keeps the riders off the floor of the canoe and out of any water there. While most canoes feature two rows, some can feature up to three or four.
  • In kayaks, riders sit on a molded seat built direction into the kayak with their legs stretched out in front of them. This position allows kayakers to use minimal movements for finer control on the water.


  • In canoes, there isn’t a dedicated cockpit. Instead, the canoe offers an open style with high sides that keep the rider sitting higher in the water.
  • In kayaks, paddlers sit in a closed cockpit. This prevents water from flooding the boat and gives the kayaker a secure position for rough conditions like whitewater rapids.

Types of Canoes You Can Buy

For the most part, there isn’t a large variation between different types of canoes. However, if you’re looking for a specialized type of canoe, there are more options. The main types of canoes include the following:

Recreational Canoes

  • Recreational canoes are the most popular type of canoes. These canoes are used best on slow-moving rivers or calm lakes, and they can sit up to three riders at a time.
  • Recreational canoes measure between 13 and 17 feet long, with a wide beam to create more stability for greater control.

Racing Canoes

  • Racing canoes are specialized canoes that sit in the water lower than recreational canoes. They’re also much narrower than other types of canoes to create more speed in the water.
  • Instead of sitting in racing canoes, racers—either solo or duo—half kneel, half sit in the canoe for better paddling and speed.

Whitewater Canoes

  • Whitewater canoes are another type of specialized canoe that are made specifically for whitewater rafting. They’re shorter than recreational canoes to give the paddler greater control in the rapids.
  • They’re less stable on the water, and they often feature flotation devices in both the front and the back of the canoe. These flotation devices help keep water out of the canoe during rafting.

Types of Kayaks

Kayaks offer a much greater variety of different types than canoes. For this reason, kayaks are often considered to be more versatile than canoes.

Each type of kayak serves a specific function. The main types of kayaks include the following:

Recreational Kayaks

Recreational kayaks are the most popular type of kayaks. They typically measure anywhere between 9 and 12 feet long, and they perform best on calm waters.

For the most part, recreational kayaks are the most stable of the bunch and they typically offer a good amount of onboard storage for gear.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are cheaper than traditional hardshell kayaks, but they still offer just as much versatility. They’re also made out of super-durable materials like PVC so you won’t have to worry about punctures.

Inflatable kayaks are much more portable than hardshell kayaks. As such, they make great choices for people with less space.

Sit-on-top Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks don’t have a traditional cockpit like you would see on other types of canoes. Instead, the paddler sits on top of the kayak.

These kayaks tend to be very stable in the water, making them great choices for families and beginners.

Whitewater Kayaks

  • Whitewater kayaks are made for the most extreme kayakers. These are shorter kayaks—measuring in at 8 or 9 feet—to give the paddler greater control on the rapids.
  • They’re also made with a tighter cockpit that secures you in the kayak so you don’t fall out when you hit tougher rapids.

Touring Kayaks

  • Touring kayaks are longer and slimmer than other types of kayaks with the purpose of creating greater speeds. Most touring kayaks measure between 12 and 18 feet long.
  • Some touring kayaks also feature rudders, called skegs, to help with steering. Since touring kayaks are made to go far, they also include storage compartments for gear.

Racing Kayaks

  • Racing kayaks are low, long, and slim, the combination of which creates a much faster speed. They can be paddled by single or multiple riders.


Canoe vs Kayak: Which One To Buy This Summer & Why was originally published on GR home page


How to Start a (Stubborn) Lawn Mower: Gas or Electric

Having trouble starting your mower? Or perhaps you’re just wondering how to start a lawn mower?

You aren’t alone! Some mowers can be notoriously tricky to rev up, especially if you have an older model. Or if you’ve got an electric mower, jump to How to Start an Electric Mower.

If your mower is giving you problems, you may want to consider an upgrade to a new lawnmower. In fact, it’s now 2018, and if you’re not cutting your lawn with an electric mower you’re missing out. Both from an eco-friendly and maintenance standpoint.

How to Start a Mower Step-by-Step Guide

How to Start a Gas Mower

  1. Step 1: If it’s been a while, check the oil in your mower, which should have an oil tank with attached dipstick near the engine. If your oil is low, fill it before continuing. This step isn’t always necessary, depending on the engine design, so if you cannot locate the oil reservoir, you probably don’t need to worry about it, but you should check in the manual to see if there are any unique oil requirements.
  2. Step 2: Check your gas levels, and if they are low then add more gasoline. The typical 4-stroke lawnmower needs fresh unleaded gasoline with an octane level of 87 or higher. If this is your first mower, make sure you purchase a portable gas canister when getting your gas, which is important for pouring and storage.
  3. Step 3: Look for stop switches or shutoff valves. These are safety/maintenance features included on some gas lawnmower models that prevent fuel from seeping into the engine, creating residues and other issues. Simply make sure these switches and valves are now open.
  4. Step 4: Check for a primer. This is a small rubber button located on the engine. Its job is very important if you have an obstinate engine. Give it around have a dozen pumps.
  5. Step 5: Position yourself behind the mower. Put one hand on the handle and hold down the engine stop lever (not all mowers have this lever on top of the handle, but many do). Use your other hand to grasp the recoil starter handle.
  6. Step 6: Pull the starter handle slowly until you start to feel resistance, and then pull it quickly up toward your shoulder (please don’t pull any muscles at this point).
  7. The Result and Trouble Shooting: The starter will try to ignite the fuel in the engine and get it going, but this ignition sequence doesn’t always work. If the engine is coughing a lot but not starting, try using the primer again to see if that helps – it often does. As a general rule, the older the mower is the more patience you need.

How to Start an Electric Mower

If you are learning to work your first electric mower, you may have some questions about how to start it. Why? Simple: the battery-powered version is very different from the traditional gas mower, and the controls probably look unfamiliar.

Fortunately, electric mowers are usually easier to start than gas mowers, once you learn the process:

  1. Step 1: Make sure that the battery is charged and properly inserted into the mower. If the battery is not properly locked in, then the mower won’t work.
  2. Step 2: Check the safety key. Electric mowers have a safety key that is necessary to complete the electrical circuit and start the motor. This key helps prevent accidentally turning on the mower when you are doing maintenance, checking for clogs, and so on. There is a slot, typically on the handle (occasionally near the battery itself) where you need to insert the key.
  3. Step 3: Look for the electric switch near the mower handle that turns the mower on, and flip it. That should be it! Depending on the design, some electric mowers may have you hold down an additional safety handle while you turn the switch on, so watch for this extra step if it the electric mower doesn’t seem to be working.

If You Still Can’t Start Your Mower

If you’re mower still won’t start, especially after repeated attempts and using our guide, then we can only suggest that you call the manufacturer.

If all that fails, visit your local showroom or a retailer that sells your brand. Often store employees will be able to help you troubleshoot the issue. Once there you might have to leave it for repair.

Hopefully, it’s still under warranty at that point. Also, make sure you check what credit card you purchased your mower with. There is a good chance that your credit card extended the warranty, which could save you hundreds. Or perhaps you bought an extended warranty at point of sale.

The following article How to Start a (Stubborn) Lawn Mower: Gas or Electric is republished from

Best Gaming PCs Under $1,000

Believe it or not, some of the best gaming PCs are under $1000. However, they face stiff competition from Microsoft and Sony, both who produce excellent gaming consoles for less than $500.

Thankfully, many of the top premade PC manufacturers have realized that in order to keep up with their living room competition, they must bring the cost of entry down to remain competitive. So, here are our picks for the 5 top gaming PCs under $1,000.

Top Gaming PC Under $1,000 in 2018

CyberPower PC’s Gamer Dragon

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Dragon is the best pick for 4K gamer’s budget. 

Among the PC gaming community, the customizers and builders at CyberPowerPC are legend. The company is one of the longest running in the business, offering insane deals and discounts on some of the best gaming hardware that assures you you’re always going to get the best possible bang for your buck.

Thanks to wholesale buying practices and a dedicated workforce, often the price you’ll pay to build your own comparative system is only around $50 less than what you’d get for CyberPower to build, customize, and ship the whole package to you in one plug-and-play piece. The company offers dozens of different models that feature a range of specific options you can use to refine what you need out of your machine, but in the pre-built category at least, few offer as strong a value as you’ll find in the latest Gamer Dragon.

With an AMD R9 380 4GB graphics card and an 8-core AMD FX8320 processor, the Dragon streams through AAA titles at 4K resolution without slipping a frame. Of course, if those specs aren’t up to your bar, the best thing about shopping at CyberPowerPC is nearly every single component on the PC you buy is customizable, giving you the option to add or remove any parts to get the power-to-cost ratio exactly where you want it on the dial.

Syber Vapor One

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Syber One is a PC made for the console convert. 

When Steam OS was first announced by Valve back in 2013, dozens of desktop manufacturers rushed out products that were primed to take advantage of the new and exciting operating system. In the case of Syber’s Vapor I, it’s a bit of a “counting your chickens before they hatch” scenario, where potential Steam Machines were commissioned and built before Valve had even confirmed their OS was in beta, leaving them to ship the computer running a regular build of Windows instead.

Nonetheless, the company pushed on, pairing their lineup of console competitors with Windows 10 and Steam’s “Big Picture Mode” installed from the start. The gamble paid off, and the Vapor I is a well-priced PC that makes itself just as much at home under your desk as it does sharing a little space next to the PS4 or Xbox One in your living room. It’s got all the power you need to compare to what a console puts out, and a form factor that simply can’t be beat by anything else in its class.

Alienware X51 R3

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK:  The Alienware is built to perform in any condition. 

As one of the oldest prebuilt desktop computer manufacturers around, Alienware has worked long and hard to shake off the rep that it only makes “overpriced, underpowered machines for people who don’t know any better”. Simply uttering the name in an PC enthusiast forum is enough to get you shadowbanned for life, but over the past several years the company has made immense strides in creating products that look just as good as they perform – all for a price that won’t send your wallet limping off to the hospital.

Read: Best Gaming Laptops 2018

The X51 R3 is the latest PC gaming desktop that is endlessly customizable from the minute you sign on to the website, giving you the option to add as much horsepower as you think you might need and shave off any of the extra noise that doesn’t result in smooth, polygon-packed gaming at its finest. With an Intel 6th-generation Core i7 Skylake processor, it’s rocking the most up-to-date processor of all the other options listed here, not to mention the addition of 8GB of DDR4 RAM clocked to a whopping 2133MHz.

If you want the cutting edge of what’s out there right now, look no further than Alienware’s latest and greatest desktop gaming lineup.

Digital Storm Vanquish 4

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Digital Storm Vanquish is an all-around star. 

Digital Storm has always been known for their attention to detail and quality, and the latest addition to the Vanquish 4 lineup is no different. While it may not be the sleekest or the most stylish of the bunch, it still offers a solid combination of hardware features that will churn out 1080p graphics on medium-to-max settings, depending on the game of your choice.

Read: Best Gaming PC 2018

The Vanquish manages to pack in a 5th-generation Intel i5 6500 CPU alongside an Nvidia GTX950 2GB graphics card, both considered to be some of the best valued peripherals that crank out power like nothing else in the business. Best of all, the Vapor I starts at just $899, leaving a solid Benjamin of room for any extra customization options you might want to add on before you hit the checkout.

Lenovo Erazer X315

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Lenovo offers serious power for multitaskers everywhere. 

Although Lenovo may not exactly be well-known for their gaming pedigree, in recent years the company has shifted its focus onto making solid, reliable, and powerful gaming PCs that don’t cost an arm and a leg but still post impressive specs and an even more impressive all-around build quality.

The Erazer X315 is the best of this latest collection of high-powered desktops to enter the fray, featuring a whopping 12GB of DDR3 RAM, an R9 260 2GB graphics card, and an AMD A10-7850K processor. Sure, it may not be the prettiest girl at the ball or feature all the sex appeal you might get with the Vapor I, but what it lacks in raw aesthetics it more than makes up for in pure, unadulterated power. The Erazer X315 is a beast beneath the hood, and runs at just under our limit for a cool $999 USD.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When shopping on a budget, especially in the realm of PC gaming, you’re always going to want to choose substance over flash. Sure, a lot of prebuilt boxes out there pride themselves on spectacular design and more LEDs lining the case than you can shake a stick at, but it’s important to remember that all these extra design elements don’t come cheap.

As such, you’ll want to avoid things like custom case modifications, laser engraving, or “special anodized materials”, because at the end of the day all these frills do is cut into money that could be better spent on beefing up the graphics card, RAM, or processor. Gaming PCs need all the power they can get, and while the urge to show them off to your friends at the local LAN party may be strong,

Features to Look For

Processor/Graphics Card

  • Although more often than not we’d split these two categories up, when it comes to prebuilt gaming PCs it’s rare that you’ll find two different brands of either installed in the same machine. This is to say that if you get a machine with an AMD processor, almost always that’s going to be paired with an AMD video card, and the same goes for Intel/Nvidia.
  • One bottlenecks the other in gaming, and it isn’t recommended that you try and mix them up as both will have more options to work with their companion component if you keep them paired up. Nvidia cards work like a charm with Intel CPUs, and AMD processors work like a charm with cards under the same name.


  • Obviously, no gamer worth their salt is going to pack in anything less than 8GB of RAM into their machine, and in the sub-$1,000 range you usually aren’t going to find faster than two sticks clocked at 2400MHz.
  • 1833MHz is fine as well, but the majority of demanding AAA titles these days will struggle if you try and kick this all the way down to 1600MHz.

Hard Drive Space

  • This is a big one. Many times the biggest mistake that budget gamers make when picking up a new PC is skimping on hard drive space, or simply grabbing an SSD and forgetting about a secondary HDD altogether.
  • If you plan on gaming, you have to plan on setting aside at least 500GB (1TB ideally) of extra space to fit many of the popular games that are being released today.
  • For example, the base version of The Witcher III  takes up a whopping 40GB of space on its own, let alone the extra add-ons with DLC and expansion packs.

Internal/External WiFi Adapter

  • If you plan on keeping your PC right next to your home’s networking modem, this isn’t a consideration, however if it’s going anywhere else, you need to make sure to either use a USB or internal WiFi card to pick up a wireless signal.
  • With USB 3.0, most adapters can handle any speed you throw at them, although some people do still prefer the internal card in order to reduce the cable noise around their gaming station.

So Which Gaming PC Under $1,000 is Right For You

In a sentence: any of them!

The great thing about PC gaming (outside of the beautiful graphics, endless customization, mods, reliable multiplayer, the list goes on), is unlike consoles, you’re never shoehorned into picking either one or the other. If you want something that looks sleek and plays clean, the Vanquish 4 has got the job covered. Want as much power as you can squeeze out of your budget? The AMD 8-core from CyberPower is an unparalleled beast of a machine. PC gaming gives you the option to play how you want to play, and never compromise for anything less than the best.

Best Gaming PCs Under $1,000 Read more on: Gadget Review (GR)

Best Vlogging Cameras Under $300

The best vlogging camera under $300 is the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS. Hands down.

That in mind, when you begin your vlogging career, there is a strong likelihood that you won’t have that much money to spend on equipment. However, we strongly suggest investing in a dedicated vlogging camera instead of just using your phone or webcam. Why? Your audience, big or small, will appreciate the added quality – plus they’ll probably be able to tell – and should help you build subscribers faster.

The Top Vlogging Cameras Under $300 of 2018

#1 Canon PowerShot SX610 HS – Best Vlogging Camera Under $300


  • Dedicated video button
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
  • Image optimization


  • Most modes designed for photos, not video
  • Wi-Fi is a little too focused on social media
  • No 4k video option

The Canon PowerShot line is popular even among top YouTubers, and this model remains highly affordable while still providing image stabilization, 1080p video, and a dedicated video button for quickly capturing the moment as necessary.

The Canon Camera Connect app is also an excellent way to control the camera remotely during shoots, and will automatically launch when you link your camera…it’s primarily designed to work with Android, although there is an iOS version available with only slightly less functionality.

If this is the best vlogging camera under $300 option – and we think it is – the SX610 also shows why most vlogging cameras cost more than this. Some niche video features, like slow-motion video capture, aren’t present, although most vloggers may not mind this absence.  The connectivity is a little limited when it comes to transferring video clips (although Google Drive helps), and there could be more room for large professional accessories. It’s an excellent starter camera for your vlogging passion, but there’s also definitely room to grow.

#2 Panasonic Lumix ZS50 – Best Vlogging Camera Under $300 For At Home Vlogging


  • High-speed 100fps – 200fps video mode
  • Good low light performance
  • Powerful image stabilization


  • Controls are a little awkward
  • Too many features focused only on photos
  • Not very durable, not great for outdoor performance

This Lumix model is a surprisingly powerful camera for its size and price. In addition that that interesting extra-high-speed video mode, you also have a good hybrid sensor for image stabilization and the ability to record in both AVCHD and MP4 (a useful feature that not all cameras in this range include).

However, the controls are a little awkward to use, especially for video capture, and many of the features are available only when taking still images, which may reduce the value based on your plans. This camera is also a bit fragile and doesn’t handle exposure to moisture or dust very well, making it better suited to at-home work.

#3 GoPro Hero5 Session – Best Vlogging Action Camera Under $300


  • Stabilized4k video options
  • Instant on/recording option
  • Waterproof and durable


  • No LCD screen on the model for viewing images
  • GoPro mounting isn’t suitable for all activities
  • Voice control is a bit unnecessary

A GoPro model like this makes a perfect choice for outdoor and adventure vlogging. If you like to be on the move, take a look at this Hero: It takes excellent 4k video, it’s easy to control from the app, and it has great image stabilization for when things start to get wild.

While they mount easily to helmets or equipment, you may want something a bit more suited for quieter indoor filming if that’s what your vlog is about. Controls are also a bit finicky – there’s no LCD screen on the model – which means you have to pull out your phone and use the app to review footage or change any settings, a time-consuming option no matter where you’re at.

#4 Nikon Coolpix L340 – Best Vlogging Camera Under $300 For Casual Vloggers


  • Automated mode selection
  • Simple, intuitive controls
  • Great optical zoom if you want to get closer


  • No 1080p HD option
  • Lack of video modes
  • No connectivity options outside USB cable

This Coolpix model shows you everything you get: A big lens with lots of optical zoom, a durable design with simple controls, and some handy software to select the best of 16 different screen modes for you. And…that’s about it. It’s well regarded as an ideal choice for beginners who want an affordable camera to start with and fits that role perfectly.

However, it’s disappointing to see that there’s not much more to this camera. Everything is just a little too simplified. The lack of wireless connectivity is pretty annoying in the modern age, and video can’t go above 720p, which may be a resolution too low for your vlogging plans.

#5 Canon Vixia HF R72 – Top Camcorder for Vlogging Under $300


  • Great image stabilization for video
  • Plenty of video recording options
  • Can hold 12 hours of video


  • No photo capabilities
  • Not all video modes cater to vlogging
  • May take more learning than a traditional camera

A camcorder may be just what you need for vlogging, and this highly affordable model comes with all the video features you could want (well, except for 4k, which is sadly lacking) making it a top pick and one of the best vlogging cameras under $300. It has a variety of different modes including slow motion, fast motion, dual format recording, and even a baby mode. It comes with both NFC and Wi-Fi for fast file transfer, plus remote wireless control for live streaming or other projects.

Amidst all these great features, it’s important to remember that yes, the Vixia is a camcorder, so it can’t take still photos and it’s more difficult to operate than a traditional camera. Again, it’s important to think carefully about how you will use the camera.

#6 Fujifilm FinePix S8600 – Best Vlogging Camera Under $200


  • Plenty of filter options
  • Excellent optical zoom
  • Durable for such a large lens


  • Video is low-quality compared to alternative cameras
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Lack of video stabilization

This model gets a recommendation because 1) it’s highly affordable, and 2) it’s great at taking pictures and then instantly switching to video when necessary. If your vlog is more a mix of videos, picture galleries, and other types of content, this could be the perfect fit for your work.

However, the video features come up short if that’s all you’re interested in. Recording maxes out at 720p and 30fps, which may be too low for your top-notch video dreams. Additionally, there’s no wireless connectivity and a lack of features designed to benefit video specifically.

Nevertheless, it still makes our list of best vlogging cameras under $300 thanks to its low price point and over all veratiltity.

What Platform Should I Vlog On?

This is another very common question that new vloggers have: Where should they start posting their videos? YouTube is good, right? What about social media sites? Should you get your own website?

First, no perfect arrangement of platforms exists: it changes based on your time, expertise, and vlogging goals. Second, videos are very easy to share and upload around the internet on a variety of platforms, so don’t worry too much about being locked into a specific platform. Here are a few more handy platform tips you may want to review:

  • Starting on YouTube is fine. If you don’t have a lot of time, focusing solely on YouTube is a great idea. Many very successful professional vloggers never expand beyond YouTube because they never need to. However, knowing how to monetize on YouTube is also important. The top YouTuber’s make $10+ million. You read that right.
  • A personal website is a good idea. It’s nice to have a place to publish your videos beyond a YouTube channel – this gets you more online visibility and it’s a neat way to add articles or updates if you ever need to use text…or sell related products that you may be producing. However, running a website takes a lot more time and investment than managing a YouTube channel. Plus, we recommend embedding your YouTube videos here as it will help you grow your YT channel.
  • Sharing on social media is effortless. Create social media profiles for your vlog. Then, whenever you post a new video to YouTube, create new posts on platforms like Twitter and Facebook for those videos. Work toward synergy between YouTube and social media sites so you can increase your audience this way. But beware: Facebook and YouTube are at odds. So you’ll likely want to upload videos to each platform to maximize their impact and traction.

Other video platforms are mostly optional: Sites like Vimeo and other video sharing tools aren’t necessary to success. They may help a bit with SEO and audience expansion, but don’t feel forced to use them. However, it’s smart to pay attention to the latest video platforms, where people are spending their time, and what tools are getting the most buzz, just to stay on top

Best Vlogging Cameras Under $300 See more on:

Best Microwave for 2018

We’ve examined and tested some of the most popular new microwave models and the results are in: the Breville Quick Touch ($233.20) exceeded the pack with its high-tech features and size to be named the best microwave on the market in 2018.

Jump To: The Top Microwave Features compared.

The 1,100 watt rating is enough to nuke even thick foods easily, the 1.2 cubic capacity is large enough for most dishes, and the slick screen interface makes it easy to choose from 10 power levels, 33 smart menus, and sensors that detect moisture and more. Unless you absolutely need target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>an over-the-range microwave, this Breville model will bring you into the new age quick cooking.

Top 5 Microwaves Compared

How We Choose the Best Microwave

To find the best microwave brand choices and ultimately find out what is the best microwave, we looked at several important specifications. Let’s talk about them a little to give you a frame of reference:

  • Size and Capacity: We took into account both the best compact microwaves for people with less space and more temporary setups, as well as extra-large models for huge oven ranges. But the inside space matters even more, and for the average microwave we preferred to see capacity at least over 1 cubic foot, if not closer to 1.5. For smaller models we went down to 0.7 cubic feet (although there are impressive models out there that are even smaller).
  • One Touch Options: One touch buttons take care of all the work for you. We particularly like the buttons that combine sensors with a preprogrammed cooking time to automatically adjust based on the food you put inside the microwave. One touch buttons for common foods like popcorn, potatoes, hot dogs and more are also a plus – as are time-saving buttons for immediate reheating, melting, defrosting, and so on.
  • Menu Buttons: Menu buttons offer more complex options than one-touch buttons. We gave a microwave credit if it allowed you to program multi-stage cooking projects or combine express buttons with food buttons to create your own cooking plan. However, things can get too confusing, so it’s important that these menu buttons stay easy to read.
  • Power Levels: Larger microwaves tend to have 10 power levels to choose from. This is a good indication of a high-quality, customizable microwave (especially with inverter technology), but less necessary for compact models. Power levels are also closely related to wattage, which should be over 1,000 watts if possible.

Read More: MAID Oven is the Perfect Kitchen Assistant

Why You Should Buy a New Microwave

What is a microwave’s role in your home? Do you need the best compact microwave to fit on a tiny counter and travel with you when you switch apartments? Do you need the best built in microwave that works with your oven range? No matter your situation, if you’re stuck with a clunky, ugly microwave, it’s time to improve your cooking situation.

A new microwave can provide extra options that you may not have not – including sensors for more accurate cooking times, inverter technology that creates more accurate power levels, and customized cooking menus for the food you love. If you do a lot of cooking, a modern microwave can also serve as an able assistance, with programmable defrosting, butter melting, and warm-up functions that make your cooking projects that much easier. One of these new models may also provide faster cooking times, child locks for great safety, and more consistent cooking/thawing for a variety of foods.

And let’s not forget about design! Today’s microwaves come in sleek, stainless steel frames that will look great in your kitchen and match your other appliances well. Microwave doors are easier to open, too. And if your current microwave is a little too small on the inside for your plates or cups, you can always upgrade to more cubic feet of space so you can use the dish of your choice!

Breville Quick Touch BMO734XL – Editor’s Choice/Best Features

Price: $233.20 | Watts: 1100 | Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet | One Touch: 30 Seconds, Extra Time, 33 Smart Menus | Power Levels: 10

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The best features on today’s microwaves at an affordable price.

The Breville Quick Touch does everything well. With over 1,000 watts and 1.2 cubic feet of space to work with, you won’t have to worry about it being underpowered or wearing out too quickly. But the model gets really impressive when you start looking at the programming options. There’s a Sensor IQ ability to reheat or cook, which senses the steam coming off the food and programs accordingly, and there’s a “Bit More” option as well, which adds extra time based on what you are cooking in case the Sensor IQ doesn’t get it quite right.

The included turntable is easy to remove for cleaning, and the large programming screen allows you to specify power levels, cooking times, and menu options for shortcuts and more complex cooking tasks. If you aren’t a fan of all those automatic options, then there is an amazing 33 different options for menu buttons that can cook a specific kind of food. Thank that excellent LED screen, which allows the microwave to provide many more options than traditional models do (seriously, why don’t more microwave have this feature?).

When you add in the competent wattage and the internal space, which is large enough for the bigger plates in your home, it’s tough to see what this Breville model doesn’t do right. Even the design is pleasantly modern and easy to clean in case of grease or staines. This microwave really does impress on every level…but it’s not an over the range model, which may limit your options.

Kenmore 7212 – Best Countertop Microwave

Price: $79.84 | Watts: 1100 | Capacity: | One Touch: 30 Seconds, 6 Smart Touch Options, Defrost Options| Power Levels: 10

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Clean, efficient and highly Affordable, this model is a great middle-of-the-road choice.

The Kenmore 7212 is a simple, powerful microwave that’s ideal if you want an effective countertop model that doesn’t try to confuse you with too many features. It still offers excellent capabilities like a moisture sensor that automatically adjusts cooking time based on its results, but the six basic smart touch buttons make things easy without the need to learn any new controls. The model also sports an interior, Teflon-like finish designed to allow you to wipe down spills easily (although if you are wondering how to clean a microwave that’s truly dirty, we’ve got some more detailed information for you). The model also comes in both white and stainless steel, although the stainless version is significantly more expensive, so you may lose out on the excellent cost savings that come with this Kenmore if you go for that option instead.

Since this model is particularly affordable, this is a good time to mention that prices can fluctuate based on inventory and other factors. We can’t necessary guarantee that our listed prices are the rule of law. The good news here is that they may drop and save you even more money! But this Kenmore model still remains one of the most affordable picks we found of the bunch.

GE JVM3160RFSS – Best Over the Range Microwave

Price: $180.00 | Watts: 1,000 | Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet | One Touch: 30 Seconds, 2 Food Buttons, 6 Express Cook Options, Defrost, Beverage | Power Levels: 10

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: An ideal over the range model.

Over the range microwaves are a different sort of beast – they typically have extra features like air flow fans underneath their base (used to clear smoke off stoves, which can add to the cost) and tend to be larger than other options. With 300 CFM of air flow and two speed fan controls, this GE model can handle over the range tasks as necessary. That spacious 1.6 cubic feet of space is also great for larger dishes.

Extra options are plentiful here, including the ability to switch the turntable off, the ability to automatically choose power levels for foods, and detailed defrosting options. There aren’t many one touch buttons, but you do get one for popcorn and one for potatoes, which are useful for nearly any type of microwave.

LG LCS0712ST – Best Small Microwave

Price: $137.00 | Watts: 700 | Capacity: 0.7 cubic feet | One Touch: 30 Seconds, 9 Menu Buttons | Power Levels: 10

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: This compact microwave manages to include big features for space savers.

The specs for this LG model are decidedly lower than our other top picks – which is a necessity for the best compact microwave options. While you only get 700 watts and 0.7 cubic feet of cooking space, you also get a smaller model that fits well in tiny spaces and corners (although you may have to adjust cooking times for a lower wattage depending on your past experience).

It’s a rare compact model that comes equipped with 10 power levels, but this LG model offers them. It also has an unprecedented amount of menu options, including one touch buttons for potatoes, ground meat, poultry, popcorn, and so on. You save on space without giving up much of anything with this model, which we call a solid win!

Cuisinart CMW-200 Convection Microwave Oven – Best Convection Microwave

Price: $215.99 | Watts: 1,000 | Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet | One Touch: 30 Seconds, 3 Convection Roast Options, 6 Microwave Food Options, Express Food Options  | Power Levels: N/A

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Convection power allows chefs to turn this large microwave into a small oven at a moment’s notice.

If you’re interested in a classier microwave that goes above and beyond traditional features, this Cuisinart model is for more professional kitchens that require serious heating/reheating capabilities. The convection fans on this 1,000 watt microwave allow you to heat or cook foods in more traditional way, essentially turning the microwave into a convection oven on demand. There’s also a reversible grill rack and a 12-inch turntable crammed inside the unit’s 1.2 cubic foot space, depending on how you prefer to cook your meals.

The defrost options (varying by type or weight) are ideal if you want to warm something up with the microwave before cooking with the convection setting. If you have a busy kitchen and want multiple ways to cook foods (instead of just nuking the occasional popcorn bag), Cuisinart delivers. About the only thing that it’s missing is the ability to set power levels, but with all these other features, that’s a minor quibble to be had.

Read More: iChef Oven is Smarter Than a Microwave

Microwave Features to Look For

A Large Enough Capacity for Your Dishes

  • Capacity is a measurement of the inside cooking space in your microwave, and it can vary drastically from model to model. In other words, the dishes that fit into your old microwave may not fit into a new one…which is why capacity is an important feature for the best microwave brand.
  • Microwaves below 1 cubic foot may not be large enough for all plates, platters, or tall mugs. Saving space is great, but don’t do it at the expense of the dishes you prefer to microwave.


  • Many microwaves, particularly larger versions, come with turntables, which turn your food as it is cooked. The feature isn’t particularly necessary except when microwaving large amounts of food, so it’s either going to come in very handy or be an unnecessary annoyance.
  • Find out which! Some questions to ask include: what size of turntable to I want? Do I want a turntable that can be locked when necessary? Is the turntable easy to take out and clean?

Sensors and Smart Features

  • In our experience, sensors and other smart features make microwaves more useful than they’ve been in the past. Technology that can detect the moisture in your food or note the size of what you’re cooking – and making cooking decisions for you based on that data – is almost always worthwhile. Just remember to give those features a try instead of ignoring them!

Over the Range Features

  • If you need a new oven range microwave, then it needs to have the right features for your oven setup. Not only does it need to fit in the same space, but it also needs to handle the same (if any) venting capabilities. Our GE pick is a great option because it can fit in many different types of kitchens, but you need to match features to your requirements.
  • Also when possible, always try to stick with the same brand as your oven for both aesthetics and compatibility. If you’re looking for the best wall oven/microwave combo, make sure features like gas lines and electricity are compatible before your purchase.

The Right Kind of Door

  • Microwave doors generally come with either push-to-open buttons or handles, and they open either to the right or to the left. We’re fans of the door handle version, which allows you greater control and is easier on the long-term fate of the door. However, when it comes to direction make sure you note if you need a right-opening microwave to fit your kitchen’s layout.

Easy-to-Clean Buttons

  • An under-appreciated feature of modern microwave is the button layout. If you’re wondering the best way to clean microwave surfaces, look for glass touch panels with no crevices that could hide dirt and grime for months without you knowing about it.

Read More: Best Chef Knife 2018

Mistakes to Avoid

Not Measuring Before You Buy: We can not reiterate this enough: always measure and compare your space with the dimensions of the microwave you plan to buy beforehand. This is absolutely necessary if you have a cabinet or space specifically for a microwave, but it’s also important if you are buying a counter microwave. The best cheap microwave in the world isn’t going to you much good if it doesn’t fit in that corner when you’re short of kitchen space.

Ignoring How Power Levels Work: If you really want power levels that function accurately, look for a microwave with an inverter. What is an inverter microwave? Essentially, it uses a different type of microwave production that actually does change the power levels and heating. Set power to 5, and the inverter will make sure heating is at 50%. Other types of microwaves will use a cycling method, where the power is always set to 100% but at level 5 it cycles half as much as at level 10. Inverter technology tends to make power levels much more effective and sensible, but either way it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

Not Adjusting for Wattage: Wattage is not only about size, but also about how powerful the microwave is. If your microwave has 1,000 watts or more, it’s going to be very effective at heating. If it has a lower wattage, you may need to temper your expectations: the best way to microwave a potato, for example, may vary based on wattage, especially if you’re making a big change from your old model to the new one.

Ignoring Airflow and Additional Features: For an over the range microwave, you need the right kind of airflow for your setup, and you may need additional features like the ability to control oven range lights. Over the range units are specifically designed for these tasks, but they vary from model to model, so don’t get complacent when buying. Know what you need to keep your stove clear of smoke first!

Buying Based on New Features and Not the Buttons You Use: This mistake can happen when buyers get a little too excited. When all you’re focused on is, “When did the microwave come out?” and “Does it have the latest features?”, then you’re ignoring how you currently use microwaves, which is just as important. If you don’t use any of those menu buttons or defrost features now, you probably won’t use them on a new microwave, either. Buy microwaves based on how you like to use them, not on the latest flashy features.

Worrying About Radiation: “What is microwave radiation? Is it dangerous? Are microwaves safe?” We see these questions a lot, so let’s clear it up once and for all: this type of electromagnetic radiation can be dangerous at high levels, but we’ve been using microwaves for decades, and it’s never been a problem. This is because, from the mesh door to the locking mechanism, microwaves are specifically sealed to prevent radiation from escaping, and the design works really, really well. However, if your oven door is damaged or if you think something is wrong, call a contractor and have them test radiation levels. It only takes a few seconds, and then you’ll know for sure.

What Else You Should Know

In addition to our #1 Pick, you may want to take a look at similar devices to see what can complement your kitchen. Interested in the difference between toaster oven vs. microwave models? Take a look at the latest toaster oven news to find out how these units differ and which foods cook better in one vs. the other.

Of course, once you buy your favorite microwave model, you need to start thinking about what to put inside it! Fortunately, we can help there, too. We’ve also got answers if you’re wondering if styrofoam is microwave safe – or are trying to find the best microwave popcorn for movie night (even low-calorie options). You can also keep up with latest microwave inventions out there, like Samsung’s healthy frying microwave!

The following article Best Microwave for 2018 Read more on: GadgetReview Blog

Top 5 Best Blenders of 2018

Any great chef, professional or amateur, knows that the best blender can be can be a vital tool in crafting the perfect recipe.  In fact, a blender can be used in a variety of capacities, including meal prep, crafting frozen beverages, making green smoothies, or even making your own in-house rice flour. Or perhaps you just want the best one for crushing ice. And it’s because of these demands I picked the following top blenders.  All of which are well made, powerful blenders that can perform again and again in a variety of scenarios.

And that’s why my #1 pick is the Blendtec Designer 725 blender. It might be pricey, but it’s well worth the added cost, as this blender will last not only the test of time, but offers the greatest level of versatility of any blender on the planet today.

It boasts 3.8hp, allowing it to easily tear through fibrous material, such as kale, and is strong enough to convert ice cubes into snow. To that end, the Designer 725’s blades are safe to the touch and the include 5 sided jar ensures an almost perfect blend every time, be it soup, smoothies, ice cream, or anything in between.

So with that in mind, don’t spare too little expense on a great kitchen blender.  If you go cheap (less than $100), you’ll likely be tossing it in the trash not long from purchase.  Thus resulting in you investing more money, as you’ll surely want to upgrade to one of my top picks below.

How We Choose the Best Blenders for 2018

When it comes to blenders and what sets the good apart from the bad, there are a few key features that every top-of-the-line model needed to have in order to make our annual list. First, we didn’t settle for blenders that had jars with less than at least 32oz of capacity, because although this is plenty of space for your morning smoothie, when it comes to making a large number of drinks for a party or blending a big pot of soup at dinner, you’re going to want at least 32oz, if not 64oz or above.

Next was the power of the motor. For this list we only considered blenders that had at least 1400-watts or more, because in our testing and personal experiences with the blender this was the minimum amount necessary to get truly well-blended smoothies and other recipes in a minute or less of blending time. Speaking of blending time, programmable features were a plus on some of the models we tested, but not a must for others when it came to picks like the Vitamix. If you’re not confident in your ability to gauge when a particular drink is blended to perfection you’ll probably want to stick to models like the Blendtec and pre-programmed blend patterns that change depending on the food you plan to make.

How easy a blender is to clean is a huge deal for the daily smoothie connoisseur, because as anyone who’s ever made one can tell you: the longer you let them sit, the harder they are to clean. We looked at blenders that didn’t have a lot of nooks or crannies on their panels that could collect dirt over time, as well as sealed blade housing jars that let you simply put a bit of hot water and a pump of soap inside and spin it once to get the whole container clean in less than 30 seconds.

To test out the blenders on this list, we ran them through a series of trials that involved blending up various foods such as kale, coffee, ice, and other various mixtures to see what kind of results they returned across the food pyramid.

Last was the additional accessories, which we could take or leave ourselves, but know that many people like to have a blender that can double as a Magic Bullet and a food processor all from the same base. This is where the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System really outshines the rest, thanks to the addition of quick and easy to-go cups that attach right to the base. This makes it so you can load up your ingredients the night before in the fridge, pop it on in the morning, and get the rest of your day ready while your smoothie auto-makes itself in the background.

Unfortunately all the blenders on this list are exceedingly loud (some louder than others, but all will still be enough to wake up sleeping housemates/family members), so how they registered in decibel levels wasn’t really a fair metric to make them stick by.

Why You Need a New Blender

Three words: power, durability, and versatility. Sure, you could spend $50 on a cheap-O blender and make some still-slightly-chunky smoothies for a few months, but with daily use you can expect the parts to wear out quickly, and unless you sign up for the extended warranty you’ll probably find yourself right back in the checkout line spending another $50 before the year is out.

With these blenders although the upfront cost might be a bit of a sticker shock, they more than easily pay for themselves in the long run thanks to industry-leading reliability and high-quality parts that won’t snap in half after the second time you put them to good use.

Last there’s the issue of versatility, which options like the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System have in spades. This is a blender that also works as a food processor in a pinch, thanks to the attachable bowl which puts all the same power in, but with a slightly different blade configuration so you can whip up recipes like pico de gallo or guacamole without turning all the ingredients to mush. You’re definitely not going to find those kinds of options on a sub-$100 blender, so with that out of the way let’s get on to the picks!

Blendtec Designer 725 Blender – Editor’s Choice/Best Smoothie Blender

best-blender-editors-choicebest-blenders-1Price: Check Price | Read Full Review: Blendtec Designer 725 Blender Review | Motor: 3.8HP | Warranty: 8 Years

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Powerful, easy to clean and versatile.

I reviewed the Blendtec Designer 725 last year and loved my blending experience.  It’s pricey, yes, but for that you get one of the best blenders money can buy.  Moreover, it’s feels like it’s built to survive a battle.

The base is powered by a 3.8 hp motor, which is enough to power a small car, (a very small car). Seriously, this thing can chop through even the most demanding of products, easily crushing ice to snow cone quality, reducing rice to flour and obliterating even the toughest of foods, including Kale and those equivalent in fiber.

Moreover, all of its buttons are capacitive and backlit, making them not only easy to read at a glance, but even easier to clean free of spilled smoothies, shakes or protein powder. And about those buttons: they’re each programmed to perform a specific task, such as create a smoothie, ice cream, frozen drinks soup, or even clean the blender – just add warm water and a drop or two of dish washing liquid. Lastly, that slider you see is effectively a power knob, allowing you to manually control blends. It can also be set to “pulse” which allows you to tap your finger on and off for quick bursts of power.

And if that doesn’t convince you, Blendtec has packed this blender with Smart Blend technology, which detects any issues with the blend and then tells the user, via the LCD screen, to fix them. However, in my time using this blender, I’ve never had one issue or one blend that didn’t turn out right. And it’s so powerful and fast, this blender can both make and heat up the soup simply by spinning its super safe blades.

Still don’t believe me, just ask the folks at Blendtec, who have blended everything from brooms to iPhones. Seriously, check out their YouTube channel.

Included is Blendtec’s patented Wildside (5 sides) jar that negates the need to push blender contents down (plus ensures a more even blend) and an 8-year warranty. If you’re interested in making rice or almost flour, I suggest picking up the Blendtec Twister Jar.

Note: Blendtec blades are not sharp to the touch, making them extra safe, though when powered on it won’t matter.

Vitamix 7500 Blender – Best Juicing Blender

best-blenders-2Price: Check Price | Read Full Review: Vitamix 7500 Blender Review | Motor: 2.2HP | Warranty: 7 Years

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Easy to use and power beyond reason.

Thanks to a 2.2hp motor and ultra easy to use controls, Vitamix’s 7500 blender makes our list as number 2.  In fact, one of the reasons it ranks 2 in my book is simply because the controls are a bit too simple.

Nevertheless, a low profile 64-oz jar (just 17.5-inches tall – 3 less than the Vitamix 5200) makes it easy to store this blender and due to the simplified controls, easy to operate, especially in high pressure situations, such as restaurants.  At full power the blades can whirl at 270-mph, allowing the Vitamix 7500 to crush, pulverize and blend even the most challenging of foods. And on that note, Vitamix has reduced the dB output of this model, compared to the previous 5200 model, by a whopping 40%. In other words, the Vitamix 7500 is much quieter than its predecessor.

Both professional chefs and weekend kitchen warriors will enjoy the Vitamix 7500’s simplified controls. The left switch pulses contents, the right starts and stop blends, and the center dial increases or decreases the blender’s power making it easy to achieve the right blend be it thick, thin or crushed.

Three colors are available, including white, black and red, all of which include a 7-year warranty.

Oster Versa – Best Budget Blender

best-blenders-3Price: Check PriceMotor: 1400 watts | Warranty: 7 Years

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Priced right for its power and size.

With excellent ratings on Amazon (4.5 stars) it’s hard to not overlook Oster’s Versa blender.  Under the proverbial hood is a 1400-watt motor, and included is a BPA free 64-oz jar that much like the Vitamix, is low profile.

Controls include a variable speed dial, pulse control, and three presets that include smoothies, dips/spreads, and soup. There is also a variable speed control in case you’re looking for added control beyond a few setting – this is key if you’re producing texture oriented recipes.

The stainless steel blades spin at over 250 mph (thanks to the 1400 watt motor), which is more than enough power to pulverize fiber rich vegetables, crush ice, or even make a butter nut squash soup.

And fear not about longevity. As Oster has forgone the traditional plastic connecting pieces, and instead has replaced them with metal, ensuring that you can blend when you need to…every time.

The Oster Versa is on the low end of the price spectrum of my picks, yet it still includes a 7-year warranty and 2 cookbooks.

Cleanblend – Best Blender for the Money

best-blenders-4Price: Check Price | Read Full Review: Cleanblend Blender Review | Motor: 3HP | Warranty: 5 Years

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Comparable power for less money than the big brands.

Need power and not too much cost?  Cleanblend’s Commercial blender has it, providing 3hp of raw power at your finger tips.  That should be enough power to chop through just about anything you can toss in it, including ice, frozen fruit, leafy greens, and can even make soups from scratch.

Read: Our Blender Reviews

The blade assembly is made of food grade Japanese stainless steel, meaning it will last the test of time, and will likely far exceed this blender’s warranty of 5-years.  The founders say their blender offers the same features and power as the competition (here’s looking at Blendtec and Vitamix) but at less than half the price.

And of note, Cleanblend ensures that their 64-oz jar is BPA free (virtually unbreakable) and that all of their blenders parts that touch food, juice, or ice are built from food grade materials.  As a bonus Cleanblend includes a tamper wand, free of charge, which is great for safely pushing down frozen fruit and other food products that doesn’t always reach the blade.

This is our pick for best blender for the money, though keep in mind the 64-oz jar is too big for most countertop with cabinets. And the power is not equitable to that of the Blendtec despite the spec. I know, I’ve tested it, comparing crushed ice and kale to that of Blendtec and Cleanblend, while admirable couldn’t keep up.

Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System with Auto-Spiralizer – Best Personal Blender

Ninja Intelli Sense Blender

best-blenders-5Price: Check Price | Motor: 1500-watt 3HP | Warranty: 2 Years

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Ninja is a great all-around that represents the bleeding-edge of blender tech.

The Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System is my bang for buck pick, with the addition of several common attachments (and one more we’ve never even seen before).  Not only does it include a 1500-watt, 3HP motor, but it also comes with a 72oz blending pitcher, an XL 8-cup food processing bowl along with one Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System cups with sip and seal lids for under $250, Shark tops off the whole package with the introduction of an entirely new attachment this year that they’ve called the “Spiralizer”.

Much like the Vitamix, operating this blender is simple when you want it to be with the option of using only power, start/stop, and pulse – but that’s not the only trick it’s got up its sleeve. The touch-based Intellisense system makes it simple and easy to quickly whip up a smoothie with the press of a button, or get the most out of your salsa with its pre-programmed blend patterns. The cool part about the touchscreen is that it will only display the blend types that match this bowl, blender, or tool you’ve got attached at the time. This cuts down on kitchen confusion and makes it easier to get the best results out of the blender every single time.

(And for anyone who’s wondering: No it’s not a like a normal touchscreen, yes it will still work no matter how wet, greasy, or dough-covered your hands might be).

Finally there’s the Spiralizer, which is designed to take veggies and turns them into noodles for anyone who might be gluten sensitive or are following a low-carb diet (like yours truly). This is the first of its kind I’ve seen on a complete system like this, and in all our tests the Spiralizer made both fettuccine and spaghetti-sized strains almost flawlessly.

The only downside to the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System is that the manufacturer only offers a 1-year warranty, which is less than half the time of all of the above picks.

Key Factors and Features to a Good Blender

Build Quality: If you’re not familiar with blenders this one is easy over look.  Especially when you’re just comparing them on paper.  But it’s generally not until you get a blender home do you realize how cheap the base is, or how low quality the materials are.  For instance, the rubber should last the test of time, including dish washing cycles.  You should also be able to some what mindlessly toss the jar into the sink and not worry that the blade or bottom will break or crack.

Warranty: A good warranty that exceeds two years is almost a must. Most of my picks, except for one, offer a 5-year or more warranty.  Hopefully you never have to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it, especially if you’re using this blender in a commercial capacity.

Ease of Use: Don’t put too much stock in features.  Yes, I love the Blendtec Designer 625 and the ability to hit a button that automatically pulses, and increase or decreases speed.  But when you look at the blender, at the core is a fairly simple set of options, including power and pulsing.  You’ll also want to think about how easy it is to clean a blender.  The Designer 625’s buttons and largely the base is sealed, making it not more than a few wipes away from clean.

Blade: You’ll want durable blades.  Stainless steal is a requirement, as they’ll resist erosion.  I particular like Blendtec’s blade setup.  First off, it’s not sharp.  Second, the entire blade system is sealed into the base of the jar, reducing any risk for contamination.  To clean it, you just need to add soap, warm water, and run it through the cleaning cycle, or put it on a mid to high speed.

Heat Output: Some blenders, thanks to their powerful engines, have a tendency to get very hot and potentially over heat.  I’ve never had this happen with my Blendtec, but nor am I using it in a commercial scenario.  So pay close attention to this and if you plan to use this blender in your restaurant, ensure that it can stand up to the rigors of heavy meal prep or production.

Mistakes to Avoid

Over Looking Noise: All blenders, one way or another are loud.  It’s just incredibly tough, almost impossible, to make them silent. So don’t let quietness be a guiding force.  If you’re truly worried about noise, you might want to upgrade to Blendtec’s Professional 800 series, which includes a cover that houses the entire jar and reduces the dB output quite a bit.

Avoiding a High Price: Face it. A good blender will be expensive.  As will any piece of kitchen gadgetry.  But in this case it will last you, as evidenced by their willingness to offer warranties that exceed that of 1 year .  But as I already stated, if you cheap out, you’ll be paying for it, both in cooking success (or lack there of) and by having to invest in yet another blender.

Specs Are Everything: Specs are just the tip of the ice berg. Which is to say, not all 3HP blenders are comparable.  Take for instance the Blendtec vs the Cleanblend. The Blendtec, while more costly, and seemingly offers the same spec, is in fact more powerful and capable at pulverizing kale and converting ice to snow. Yes, snow!

Which Blender is Right For Me

This list includes a fairly wide spectrum of prices.  For some, it comes purely down to utility and simplicity.  Vitamix hits that mark in spades, yet it lacks the features of the Blendtec.  That in mind, the Blendtec is perhaps best for the cook who is new to blending, as the preprogrammed buttons remove a variable from the equation and might result in more success in cooking/blending.  And right in the middle of those two are either the other three, with Cleanblend offering what is a solid product and a good small guy story (it was started out of a San Diego garage much like Amazon).

Top 5 Best Blenders of 2018 was first published on (GR) gadgetreview

Our Best Standing Desk Picks for 2018

There are several options and features we assessed when picking the best standing desk in 2018 for our top five comparison. The staff at Gadget Review have all made the switch because we love the standing desk benefits, as it can help you burn calories, improve your posture, and help your focus during tasks where your mind might start to wander.

Jump to: Compare the best standing desk features side-by-side.

These factors in mind, it’s no wonder why the Jarvis Bamboo standing desk from Fully hit the top of our list with ease. Thanks to its solid build quality, electronic console with preset height options, and overall durability in all use cases, whether you’re curious about the standing desk revolution or a veteran in the space, the Jarvis is the choice for you.

Top Standing Desks Reviews

How We Choose the Best Standing Desk

When choosing the top standing desks for this list, we considered a variety of models, features, and prices to fit anyone’s budget. First and foremost, it’s important to know there are several different styles of standing desk that can either “stand” on their own (pardon the pun), or can act as an attachment to your preexisting desk to impart additional functionality on top. Standalone standing desks (last one) are desks that can transition between standing or sitting positions, using either a motor or a pneumatic handle to shift from one mode to the next.

Whether or not a desk was motorized was an important consideration, because the last thing you want to be doing while you’re at work is awkwardly trying to jack a desk into position while all your co-workers look on in pity.

Related: Actio Standing Desk Review

Next, there’s the build quality of the desk itself. This includes various factors such as what materials both the top of the desk and the frame are made of (bamboo and aluminum generally do the job without driving up costs), as well as the sturdiness and overall stability of the desk at various heights. One of the most annoying things about poorly made standing desks is a desk that won’t stop wobbling at full height, and while there’s no specific metric to measure the “wobbliness” scale of a product, all the picks on this list have been rated by users and reviewers as being extremely stable in any configuration.

Finally, there’s the overall durability of the ulimate standing desks, and how that relates to price. As we mentioned in the previous section, cheaper materials like bamboo can also take quite a beating if treated with the proper after-coatings, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg while lasting years at a time. Given that most standing desks (and even standing desk add-ons) are designed to last at least five years (optimally around 10), you’ll want to make sure your desk can withstand the abuses and rigors of desk work without denting or warping in the first few months of ownership or less.

Why You Should Buy a New Standing Desk

While the actual health benefits of a standing desk are still hotly contested by scientists and doctors alike, there’s no arguing that standing while you work is a good way to get the blood flowing. As someone who has suffered from lower back pain since a tailbone injury at age 14, I know when something is helping or when it hurts because I’ll feel it sooner and more harshly than most.

Personally I find that whenever I have a task that I need to focus on for long periods of time, standing through half or more of it will keep me more attentive, and give my restless legs a chance to stretch out. It also helps to alleviate some of the strain that my incessant slouching habit puts on my back, shoulders and hips – a pleasure that few desk workers get unless they’re getting up to go to the bathroom or grab a snack.

Related: Duke Adjustable Standing Desk Review

But how to stand at a standing desk is also key, as you should keep your keyboard and mouse at a 90° angle while standing (as doctor’s recommend) so you can improve your standing desk posture while also burning far more calories than you would by sitting down. Depending on your build, it’s said that the average office worker can burn around 50 extra calories an hour while working from a standing position, which can really start to add up if you’re standing for more than three hours a day, five days a week.

In short; if you’re someone who’s wondering how often you should stand up from your desk and wants to improve their posture, burn some calories, and improve their overall focus on specific tasks – then a new standing desk might be in the cards for you.

Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk – Editor’s Choice/Best Looking Standing Desk

best-standing-desk-editors-choicebest-standing-desks-4Price: $395 – $753 | Read Full Review: Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk Review | Motorized: Yes | Height Range: 26.5″ – 45.75″

Spend any amount of time researching standing desks on the internet, and pretty much every site that covers the subject will tell you the same thing: the Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk from Fully is undoubtedly one of (if not the) best of the bunch.

With an extensive number of add-ons, extra features, and durability to boot, it’s hard to find anything that this desk gets wrong. From its programmable microcontroller to the lush bamboo surface, this desk really deserves a “standing” ovation (and I promise that’s officially the last standing-related pun of this writeup).

Probably one of the most unique features that sets the Jarvis apart from the competition is the option to add powered grommets to each side of the desk, which can make it easier for users who don’t have a ton of cable length to spare to make it to standing height without their monitor and accessories getting tugged off the side and falling to the floor.

When I reviewed the Jarvis last year I was blown away by how much weight it could lift (a claimed 350lbs), while remaining incredibly stable at just about any height. Although I’m not the tallest person around at 6’0, I was still able to comfortably use the Jarvis in most use scenarios without much knee or leg pain (thanks in due part to the Imprint CumulusPRO standing mat), and the desk was rock solid when propped up against a wall during mellow typing workdays and frantic gaming sessions alike.

The Jarvis Bamboo really is the epitome of what people mean when they talk about the “complete package”, and whether you’re on your first standing desk or your fifth, there’s no doubt the Jarvis is a perfect match for you at home, at work, or anywhere else in between.

 StandDesk Stand Up Desk – Best Budget Standing Desk

best-standing-desks-2Price: $559 | Motorized: Yes | Height Range: 29″ – 45″

The StandDesk is a minimalistic option, and the top standing desk if you want something without too many extra frills or a high cost out of pocket. Sure you still get a few choices between colors and there are several optional accessories, including a power strip and standing mat, but the real focus here is made to be on simplicity first.

Make sure to use $50SHARE3 to save $50 on your order

The materials may not be as high-end as some other desks, but you get what you pay for when you’re shopping on a budget.

The StandDesk is now slightly more expensive than the Jarvis at its most basic, but comes with a few extra features that would leave you with a $629 pricetag if you were to only shop with Fully.

 UpDesk UpWrite Standing Desk – Best Sit Stand Desk

best-standing-desks-3Price: $890 – $1,040 (model dependent) | Motorized: Yes | Height Range: 23.5″ – 49.5″

The UpDesk UpWrite also gets a lot of points for simplicity and a minimalistic design that keeps the price low compared to NextDesk and similarly pricey standing desks.

However, it also picks up a few points for style, since this is one of the few standing desks to features a curved, modern surface that branches away from the boring rectangles of other desks and can also serve as a whiteboard. This can make it ideal if you like to sit closer to your monitor or keyboard, or if you’re more comfortable when your mouse is held off to your right instead of directly in front of your wrist.

The only drawback here is that while it also offers electrical adjustment for different heights and some cable management options, there are very few extra features to speak of otherwise.

Focal Locus Stand Up Desk – Best Adjustable Standing Desk

best-standing-desks-1Price: $1,497 | Motorized: Yes | Height Range: 24″ – 50.5″

This is a standing desk design that’s made more for the artist, someone who needs some room and light to shine directly on their desk at specific angles, as well as the ability to work in the digital world. Sure, you can put a laptop up on its slanted surface, which can slant up to 15°, but an extra platform is also available for larger monitors.

The desk also includes a hand crank to change positions, a handy hole for cords or cups, and cable management clips. It is designed to work perfectly with the Locus Seat, which allows you to sit in a standing position – in effect is helps stretch your hip flexors without the fatigue of standing, thus reducing lower back issues the same way standing might.

VariDesk Pro Plus 36 – Sit and Stand Desk Converter

best-standing-desks-5Price: $395 | Motorized: No | Height Range: 24″ – 50.5″

This is another add-on standing desk option, with a curious design that made to latch onto the corner of a desk and move between a sitting and standing position at will. It does this through a

The idea is that if you want to spend some of the workday sitting, and some of it standing, you can switch between the two states in an instant. The adjustment points of the monitor stand are particularly handy, allowing for a variety of set-ups and multiple monitor screens if required. You can also adjust the flexible keyboard stand to whatever height and angle you want, providing a lot of welcome customization to your working stance you won’t find in any other model on this list.

Standing Desk Key Factors to Consider


  • This probably goes without saying, but you’ll want a durable standing desk.  One that is made of high end materials like bamboo or walnut wood.
  • That in mind, you’ll want a standing desk that is sturdy on its feet and won’t easily sway when knocked into or when leaned on.  All of our picks are sturdy and built to last the test of time.  Plus most of them have excellent warranties to boot, just in case anything goes wrong.

Motorized vs. Pneumatic vs. Hand-Crank

  • Personal preferences aside, ultimately which style of powered or non-powered standing desk that’s right for you will come down to how often you switch between sitting and standing per day.
  • Pneumatic and motorized desks make it simple to make the transition, but can also be quite a bit more costly than hand-crank versions.
  • That said, hand-crank desks can also run into issues with stability and durability if you aren’t extra careful with them every time you switch, which can be a pain if you find yourself doing it often.

Grommets/Cable Management

  • This may not sound like a huge deal, but when using standing desks how the cables are managed can become a bigger issue than you think.
  • Options like the desk on this list, the Jarvis, offer two different grommet styles: standard holes that feed down to your computer, or powered/USB grommets which actually act as an extension cord to be sure you don’t get tangled up.
  • Be sure to measure the length of all your monitor cables, keyboard cables, and mouse cable before buying a standing desk to be sure they’ll all reach your desktop or laptop when the desk is fully extended to standing height.

Ease of Use 

  • Now, I prefer the electric motors, simply because it makes switching between sittings and standing.  But if you’re die hard, you’ll opt for a manual standing desk, only because it force you to be more active by cranking a handle to go back and forth.
  • In effect, this will cause you to stand longer, though it could make you sit longer because you’re reluctant to get up and crank.
  • All of the above standing desks offers extremely efficient up and down motors, save for one, which is hand crank, the Focal.  And you can buy that with a standing chair for some added scratch – I suggest you take a close look at that accessory if you’re considering that desk.


  • Stability is of course a very important feature to have on a standing desk, but there’s a little more to this than meets the eye.
  • Say for example you’re putting your standing desk directly against a wall. Even at max height, with the help of the wall to support it the wobbliest standing desk will still sit fairly still as long as it’s got the flat surface to support it.
  • That said if you’re using a standing desk against a shakier cubicle wall or in the middle of an open office plan,

Mistakes to Avoid

Going Too Cheap: If you go cheap, you’ll likely be okay in the short term, but find yourself in need of an upgrade not too long after. Largely because cheaper standing desks don’t have the level of sturdiness you need when you’re working at full height. There is one cheaper option on this list, but keep in mind most of the savings are there because it’s designed to go on top of a desk, which is another cost that will have to be factored into the final price. That said if you already have a desk that’s sturdy enough as it is, this might be the most optimal choice for you.

Match Your Height: In theory, a 48″ max height for the standing desks should be ample for most people, and will be enough for users who measure up to heights of 6′ 5″. Optimally no matter what height you are, you’ll want the desk height to be at a level that doesn’t cause you shoulder or arm strain over long work days. This is the 90° angle we talked about earlier, and if your arms are closing in on Frankenstein lurking height, you’re doing it wrong.

Not Easily Adjustable: It may not seem like a big deal now, but if you have to crank hard to get to a standing height, you’ll probably just end up avoiding it altogether. Or if the electronic motor is slow and loud you’ll avoid upsetting your office mates, provided you’re not working from home.  All of the standing desks above offer fairly quiet and smooth operation, whether crank, hydraulic, or motor-driven.

What Else You Should Think About

There are clearly many standing desk benefits, but make sure you follow this standing desk guide on how to use it properly. And while our list of best standing desks is helpful, you might want to also read our standing desk reviews as well learn about some of the features to look for in a standing desk.

Lastly, you’ll want to also take a look at our list of standing desk mats to be sure you get the most comfortable surfaces to stand on as possible. These mats can reduce overall fatigue and keep you standing well beyond the normal limit that your co-workers might hit, and will also prevent you from wearing down your knees or straining your back as you might if you were standing on hardwood or carpet alone.

Our Best Standing Desk Picks for 2018 See more on: GadgetReview Expert Testing & Reviews