The Best Appliances—Large and Small—Tested in 2023

We tried dozens of new appliances in our kitchens, offices, and workshops. From cooking to cleaning, heating to cooling, and more, these products make life better.

By Beth Cranston and Michelle Larson | Updated Dec 15, 2023 7:51 PM

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Air purifier set up in a room next to a house plant

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Home may be where the heart is, but your heart may not be feeling it if it’s too hot to get comfortable or your fridge struggles to keep your food fresh. Appliances make life easier and more comfortable, but even when you need something new, it’s hard to choose among hundreds of options. This year we’ve tested more than three dozen appliances in a variety of categories, from air conditioners to coffee makers. Here’s the best of what we’ve tried this year, so you don’t have to look so hard for that new appliance.

1. Shark HC502 3-in-1 Air Purifier With NanoSeal HEPA

The Best Appliances Option Shark HC502 3-in-1 Air Purifier With NanoSeal HEPA

Photo: amazon.com

Shark is known for its high-quality appliances, so it’s little surprise that this air purifier was one of our favorites this year. Designed for rooms up to 1,000 square feet, the Shark HC502 boasts some nice-to-have features including an LED air-quality readout, a heating element, a remote control, and an oscillating feature. In our tests, it cleared particulates in just 30 minutes and a large amount of smoke in just 60 minutes. This powerhouse of a purifier can help any home maintain safe—and fresh—air quality.

Get the Shark air purifier at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Shark.

2. Soleus Air Over-the-Sill Air Conditioner

The Best Appliances Option Soleus Air Over-the-Sill Air Conditioner

Photo: amazon.com

The Soleus air conditioner cools air quickly while allowing users to open and close windows freely thanks to its saddlelike design. When we used this window AC, it drastically lowered the temp in an office from 80 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes. We also liked how intuitive the digital display was to use. This model features six usage modes, includes a handy remote control, and runs at quiet 42 decibels, perfect for bedrooms, offices, or any other room that needs to be cool and quiet. It’s available in 6,000 and 8,000 British thermal unit (BTU) sizes, with or without Wi-Fi.

Get the Soleus Air air conditioner at Amazon.

3. Westinghouse WGen9500DF Generator

Person pulling recoil cord to start Westinghouse WGen9500DF Generator.

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

The WGen9500DF is a portable dual-fuel generator capable of running on gasoline or propane. Powered by a robust 457 cubic centimeter 4-stroke OHV Westinghouse engine, the WGen9500DF’s user-friendly features include a built-in fuel gauge; automatic low-oil shutdown; a variety of outlet options; as well as readouts on voltage, frequency, and runtime. In testing, we really appreciated the convenience of the remote-start key fob and were impressed with the running output of 9,500 watts. That output allowed us to run several tools in a workshop over a 6-hour day. The WGen9500DF is a top choice for anyone looking for a backup power solution, an emergency generator, or even remote workshop power.

Get the Westinghouse generator at Amazon, Acme Tools, or Family Farm and Home.

4. Midea 8,000 BTU U-Shaped Air Conditioner

Midea U-Shaped Air Conditioner Review

photo: tom scalisi

With its innovative U-shaped design, the Midea creates a tighter seal between the window and the outside, making it more energy efficient and quieter than standard window units. To top off its great design, this AC unit includes Wi-Fi capability, sleep, energy saver, and auto shutoff modes to further improve efficiency. In testing, it was so quiet that it was barely noticeable (42 decibels), and it cooled our room by 5 degrees Fahrenheit in just 15 minutes. We also thought the control panel and app were both easy to use. We get why this air conditioner has more than 15,000 glowing reviews.

Get the Midea air conditioner at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

5. Dyson Pure Hot Cool Link HP02 Air Purifier

Dyson Air Purifier Review

Photo: Glenda Taylor

The Dyson HP02 is a sleek, multifunctional air purifier that’s perfect for small to medium-sized rooms. It removes pollutants, has a heating element to warm a room when the air gets chilly, and includes a fan to circulate air around the room for a cooling effect. In our particulate and smoke tests, the Dyson returned air levels back to safe in just 60 minutes. In addition to its air-cleaning capability, we appreciated the included remote and how easy it was to change the filter—a definite plus for an air purifier. The Dyson is one seriously stylish-looking way to clear the air.

Get the Dyson air purifier at Amazon or Best Buy.

6. KitchenAid FreeFlex Top Control 24-Inch Dishwasher

A photo of the PrintShield Finish stainless steel door of the KitchenAid FreeFlex dishwasher

Photo: Becky Helzer for Bob Vila

With a variety of wash cycles, a fingerprint-resistant finish, a bonus third rack, an adjustable middle rack, and a very quiet 44-decibel rating, the KitchenAid FreeFlex has a lot to like. This EnergyStar-certified dishwasher also holds 16 place settings. When we used it, we were amazed at how well it cleaned dishes with sticky or baked-on food, like peanut butter and cheese. We also appreciated being able to lower or reposition portions of the middle and lower racks to accommodate odd-shaped dishes. For its ability to clean a variety of messes and accommodate awkward kitchenware, the FreeFlex is a dishwasher worth a serious look.

Get the KitchenAid dishwasher at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

7. Hisense Wi-Fi Dehumidifier

Hisense Wi-Fi Dehumidifier Review

Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

The Hisense portable dehumidifier can remove up to 50 pints of fluid each day, is suitable for up to 4,500 square feet, and has a 2.3-gallon reservoir. It also has a garden hose connection allowing it to drain continuously so it doesn’t fill up the reservoir. In testing, we found the Hisense app to be well-designed, and especially liked the diagnostic tests and alerts. It was also able to bring the humidity level down from 70 to 60 percent in our space, collecting about 5 cups of water. For anyone who has a large space that requires humidity control, the Hisense Wi-Fi dehumidifier is a great option.

Get the Hisense Wi-Fi dehumidifier at Lowe’s.

8. Frigidaire Gallery 4-Door French Door Refrigerator

Frigidaire Refrigerator Review

Photo: Stephanie Cronk for Bob Vila

This Frigidaire Gallery French-door refrigerator features 26.3 cubic feet of storage and three sections. When we used this fridge, we thought it was the perfect mix of features. We liked the Custom-Flex Temp drawer (which allows users to choose between four specific temperature zones), multiple customizable door organizers, and advanced water filtration. Most of all, we were really wowed by the crisping drawer. In our tests, the refrigerator kept a head of lettuce fresh for 10 full days. For great storage options and the ability to keep food fresher longer, this Frigidaire is tough to beat.

Get the Frigidaire refrigerator at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Best Buy, or AJ Madison.

9. Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven

Cuisinart Air-Fryer Toaster Oven review

photo: Beth Cranston

Cuisinart’s Digital AirFryer is a convenient and versatile air fryer toaster oven. This feature-rich appliance is capable of 13 different functions, including air-frying, baking, broiling, toasting, and warming. Plus, it has five air fryer presets. In our tests, this powerful convection oven browned foods beautifully and even made great toast in just 4 minutes—less time than similar models. We also were impressed at how it was able to cook at speeds comparable to basket air fryers. It’s a great air fryer and handy toaster in one sleek, small appliance.

Get the Cuisinart air fryer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

10. Cuisinart Coffee Center 4-in-1 Barista Bar

A person pouring a cup of coffee from the Cuisinart Coffee Center Barista Bar 4-in-1 Coffeemaker

Photo: Tony Carrick for Bob Vila

Cuisinart’s Coffee Center is a great option for those who enjoy a variety of brews, from morning coffee to a pick-me-up cappuccino or espresso in the afternoon. It comes equipped with a standard 12-cup coffee maker on one side, a single-service brewer on the other, and a steam wand to froth milk. In testing, we found that it was easy to use and enjoyed the robust flavors the coffee-maker side produced. With this combo machine in the kitchen, expensive coffee runs can become a thing of the past.

Get the Cuisinart coffee maker at Amazon, Wayfair, Best Buy, or Crate & Barrel.

11. Cosori Dual Blaze 6.8-Quart Smart Air Fryer

Cosori Large Air Fryer Review

Photo: Beth Cranston

With dual heating elements, the Cosori Dual Blaze heats up fast and offers six cooking functions, including air-fry, broil, and bake. Its square design provides a 6.8-quart capacity that can hold several servings of a variety of foods, while also fitting nicely onto any counter space. In testing, we found so much to like about this air fryer, from the intuitive control panel to the easy-to-clean basket, and, of course, how quickly and evenly it cooked everything. For its great features and functionality, the Cosori Dual Blaze makes a great addition to any kitchen.

Get the Cosori air fryer at Amazon or Cosori.

12. Mr. Heater Buddy Propane Heater

mr heater buddy review

photo: Glenda Taylor

Mr. Heater Buddy portable heaters have been a favorite of Bob Vila team members for years, and this model is no exception. With a fold-down handle, this radiant heater can go just about anywhere. It also provides two heat output options, either 4,000 or 9,000 BTUs. In our tests, it raised the temperature in our 180-square-foot room from 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in just 30 minutes. We also appreciated its safety features: an oxygen depletion sensor and tip-over protection that shuts it off if knocked over. Wherever heat is in short supply, the Buddy offers much-needed warmth.

Get the Mr. Heater propane heater at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Menards.

13. PowerSmith PAVC101 Ash Vacuum

A person using the PowerSmith ash vacuum to clean a firebox.

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

This powerful 10-amp ash vacuum by PowerSmith comes equipped with a 16-foot cord and a 50-inch hose. The canister has a 3-gallon ash capacity, a locking airtight lid, and a user-friendly on/off button on top. We liked PowerSmith’s portability; it rolled smoothly on wheels, but we could use the top handle to carry it if needed. It also comes with two extension wands, a brush nozzle, and a turbo nozzle. We found both nozzles useful for detailed cleaning once the bulk of the ash was picked up. The PowerSmith makes the tricky task of cleaning a fireplace a whole lot easier.

Get the PowerSmith ash vacuum at Amazon, The Home Depot, Wayfair, or Walmart.