The 14 Best Home Essentials Products We Tested in 2023

Make life safer and more comfortable with this wide-ranging selection of top tested picks for your home.

By Michelle Larson and Beth Cranston | Updated Feb 1, 2024 1:47 PM

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A person installing a smart lock onto a door

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

We monitored weather, tested tap water, installed smart locks, and almost set a safe on fire. Why? So you don’t have to! After considering over 100 products as contenders for this list of the best home essentials, we combed through test results, rubric ratings, and hands-on reviews to find our 14 favorite home products. If you’re looking for a new kitchen faucet, an upgraded set of sheets, or a way to reduce waste while fertilizing your garden, our best home essentials list has everything you need.

1. Ambient Weather WS-2902D WiFi Home Weather Station

The Best Home Essentials Option Ambient Weather WS-2902C WiFi Home Weather Station

Photo: amazon.com

For a home weather station that goes above and beyond, consider this Alexa-compatible model from Ambient Weather. After installing and configuring all the weather station’s features, we collected data and compared it to an official weather station nearby. The Ambient Weather array proved very close to the official station’s recordings.

In addition to the basics like temperature, date, time, and precipitation, the weather station shows wind speed and direction, humidity, ultraviolet (UV) and solar radiation, heat index, wind chill, and dew point. Because it’s solar-powered with battery backup, you needn’t worry about it losing power. For ease of use, versatility, and accuracy, this is our top pick for a home weather station.

We tested the WS-2902C model this year, but the newer model WS-2902D has all the same functionality and an even more convenient setup: the unit mounts to any pole between 1.25-inch and 2-inch diameter with a separate mounting bracket.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best home weather station guide.

Get the Ambient Weather home weather station at Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart, or Ambient Weather

2. Bosch GLM 20 Blaze 65-Foot Laser Measure

The Bosch Blaze GLM 50 C Laser Distance Measure

Photo: Tom Scalisi

The Bosch GLM 20 laser measure is a simple but highly accurate digital measuring tool. In testing, we simply pushed the button once to turn it on and again when we were ready to measure. It was accurate to 1/16 inch in our 6-foot test and ⅛ inch in our 20-foot test.

Despite being simple, the Bosch GLM 20 has two notable features. In live mode, we could walk around and point the laser at any object to get a reading of how far away it was. It also stores one measurement while taking another, meaning we display the measurement for the length of a wall while taking a reading on an adjacent wall, allowing us to see both the room’s length and width at a glance.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best digital tape measures guide.

Get the Bosch digital tape measure at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.

3. Brita Tahoe Water Pitcher With Elite Filter

Close up the elite water filter inside Brita Tahoe pitcher

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Clean drinking water is essential for life, but sometimes tap water needs a little help. The Brita Tahoe is a fast, easy, and budget-friendly solution that significantly improves the drinkability of tap water. It’s right-sized for a family yet fits conveniently in the fridge. Its no-soak filter lasts up to 6 months, filtering 120 gallons of water. And the water we get from this pitcher tastes at least as good as bottled water.

Even at a slightly higher cost than its competition, this BPA-free pitcher with a 10-cup capacity is worth the price. It fills three 24-ounce reusable water bottles per fill-up, removes 99 percent of lead, cadmium, mercury, benzene, asbestos, and other water contaminants, and eliminates the taste and odor of chlorine from tap water.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best water filter pitchers guide.

Get the Brita water filter pitcher at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Blain’s Farm & Fleet, or Brita

4. Brooklinen Luxe Sateen Core Sheet Set

The Best Home Essentials Option Brooklinen Luxe Sateen Core Sheet Set

Photo: amazon.com

Though more affordable than the typical $800 price luxury sateen sheets often go for, Brooklinen’s Sateen core sheet set is still an investment. After sleeping on them for 2 weeks, we think these best-selling sheets are an investment worth making, as they did our sleep a world of good.

Brooklinen’s Sateen fabric balances lightweight breathability and a comforting drape, making this sheet set perfect for year-round use. They hold their shape and stitching, washing well without pilling, which reduces the likelihood they’ll need replacing after only a year or two of use. The price also reflects the third-party Oeko-Tex certification, verifying that the sheets are free of potentially harmful chemicals.

Learn how we tested and reviewed this top pick in our Brooklinen sheets review.

Get the Brooklinen sheets at Amazon or Brooklinen.

5. Eufy Smart Lock Touch

The Best Home Essentials Option Eufy Smart Lock Touch

Photo: amazon.com

We’ve tested and installed many Eufy security devices over the years, so going into testing, we were already familiar with the brand’s high quality. Their smart lock was no different. Both our fingerprints and the security code worked flawlessly. We also tested the voice control feature via our Alexa system, and the lock opened and closed remotely without issue.

We rang the doorbell, which connects wirelessly to an inside chime module, and we viewed the camera videos from our smartphone. The videos were very clear, although a shadow from our storm door (when closed) kept triggering the camera’s night vision by blocking some of the sunlight. That was the only downside to the Eufy smart lock, which we deem very easy to install, sync, and operate.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best smart locks guide.

Get the Eufy smart lock at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, or Eufy.

6. FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Dual-Chamber Tumbling Composter

A person emptying compost from the FCMP Outdoor tumbling composter

Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

Earning our best mid-size composter award and plenty of love from our testers is the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 dual-chamber tumbling composter. It’s the perfect size for our household of two, and it offers dual chambers for continuous composting. The bin is made of BPA-free UV-inhibited 100 percent post-consumer recycled polypropylene, and the frame features galvanized tubular steel.

This composter has aeration holes that can be covered, allowing us to accelerate composting by blocking airflow and generating more heat. We also love its ground clearance for emptying, although it does not have a locking mechanism to keep the bin in place. This durable composter sits in direct sun, rain, and freezing temperatures yet shows no signs of damage.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best compost tumblers guide.

Get the FCMP Outdoor compost tumbler at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Target.

7. Gorilla 22-Foot MPXA Multi-Position Aluminum Ladder

A close-up of a person making an adjustment to the Gorilla ladder

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

The Gorilla multiposition ladder earned the top spot in our lineup of best ladders with its impressive 300-pound load capacity and adjustable structure. It transforms into different configurations, including an extension ladder, step ladder, wall ladder, stairway step ladder, and even a scaffold base. This adaptability eliminates the need for multiple ladders, and we found it sturdy in all configurations.

We especially liked the ladder’s stability when extended to its full height. We’ve climbed on many tall ladders that tended to flex, but this Gorilla model remained rigid and didn’t bounce. For a tall ladder, it’s relatively lightweight at 36.9 pounds, making it easy to carry and transport.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best ladders guide.

Get the Gorilla ladder at The Home Depot.

8. Gütewerk High Performance Shower Squeegee

The Best Home Essentials Option Gütewerk High Performance Shower Squeegee

Photo: amazon.com

Cleaning in a rush or dealing with hard or mineralized water? The Gütewerk high-performance shower squeegee is an excellent choice. We loved that it is comfortable to handle and compact in size, making it ideal for apartment storage. Just remember that while the silicone blade slides fast and smoothly, moving the water down the glass, it didn’t necessarily collect water or dirt on the bottom as well as some other options we tested. If it is being used to get rid of dirt, especially on a windshield or mirror, it will likely need to be trailed with a microfiber cloth or rag.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best shower squeegees guide.

Get the Gütewerk shower squeegee at Amazon.

9. Iris Stack & Pull Storage Box

The Best Home Essentials Option Iris Stack & Pull Storage Box

Photo: amazon.com

We loved the versatility of this set of six bins, making them our top pick for the best storage bins. In testing, we used them to hold pet supplies, arts and crafts tools and materials, and even some dried pantry goods. The 19-quart containers are large enough to store an ample amount yet still small enough to fit on shelves. We especially appreciate how the molded hand area at the bottom of the bin made it easier to lift.

The storage bins are semiopaque to offer some privacy as well as just enough visibility to potentially identify what’s inside. Sturdy plastic makes them appropriate for lightweight as well as heavier items.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best storage bins guide.

Get the Iris storage bins at Amazon.

10. Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro

The Jackery 3000 Pro Solar Generator connected to its solar panels to charge in a sunny yard

Photo: Michelle Larson for Bob Vila

With 10 ports and the ability to supply 3,000 watts of electricity, this portable power station has enough juice for a family camping trip or use during an emergency. It includes Jackery’s foldable 200-watt SolarSaga panels for solar recharging alongside AC and DC options.

For those interested in a top-of-the-line portable power station with true off-grid capability, the Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro is hard to beat. After testing it for 2 weeks, we fell in love with the efficient and well-designed solar panels, which take the convenience and functionality of the 3000-watt power station to a whole new level. As a bundle, the Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro is a truly off-grid option for those wanting creature comforts while camping or safety essentials in any environment.

Learn how we tested and reviewed this top pick in our Jackery solar generator review.

Get the Jackery solar generator (with either one or two solar panels) at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Jackery

11. Kidde 60WLDR-W Water Leak + Freeze Detector

The Best Home Essentials Option Kidde 60WLDR-W Water Leak + Freeze Detector

Photo: amazon.com

The multipurpose uses of the Kidde’s 60WLDR-W water leak and freeze detector make it an excellent combination of value and reliability. It earned the top spot in our water-leak detectors guide.

Many bad leaks are caused by freezing, and the Kidde’s sensor quickly and loudly alerted us to an issue when we threw it in the freezer. We liked that the unit was easy to set up using the Kidde app and that the app will automatically bring up emergency contact information if an alert sounds. But we also liked that this device can operate without Wi-Fi, meaning it will trip even if the power and internet service are down.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best water-leak detectors guide.

Read our full review: Kidde 60WLDR-W Water Leak + Freeze Detector

Get the Kidde water-leak detector at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Sam’s Club

12. Moen Arbor One-Handle Pulldown Kitchen Faucet

Man using the spray setting on the Moen Arbor kitchen faucet

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Moen is known for designing beautiful products that last a lifetime. The feature that sets the Moen Arbor faucet apart from its competitors is the Duralock Quick Connect Installation System, which makes it incredibly easy to install. It also features a long hose at 68 inches, and it’s built with Reflex technology to flex, pivot, and stretch in all directions without getting tangled or damaged.

We liked this Moen faucet’s combination of quality and simplicity at a moderate price point. The parts felt substantial, and the pull-down hose is extra long. The 1.5-GPM flow feels somewhat weak, but the boost-stream button increases flow as needed. The one we installed operated manually, but the same style is available with touch or touchless capabilities.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best kitchen faucets guide.

Get the Moen kitchen faucet at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Wayfair.

13. Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit

The Best Home Essentials Option Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit

Photo: amazon.com

Anyone needing a detailed drinking water analysis with the broadest testing parameters will want to consider the Safe Home Ultimate drinking water test kit. In testing, we simply filled the enclosed vials with our samples, sealed the box, and shipped it to their EPA-certified lab, which tested them for 200 water-quality parameters.

This test kit was bulky and expensive but very easy to use and provided incredibly detailed information. We accessed our digitally available results in just under 2 weeks and received a hard copy about a week later. The results themselves were highly detailed and included links to help us learn more about specific contaminants. There was a bit of technical language to navigate, but the links and customer support were helpful.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best water test kit guide.

Get the Safe Home water test kit at Amazon or Safe Home.

14. SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof and Waterproof Safe

The SentrySafe home safe undergoing a water-resistance test with a sprinkler on it

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Deter theft and enjoy the fire- and water-resistant features of our top home safe pick from SentrySafe. Sturdy steel, four live-locking bolts, a pry-resistant hinge bar, and bolt-down hardware keep valuables and important documents safe and secure.

The SentrySafe’s 1.23-cubic-foot capacity is ideal for sensitive materials like USB drives, documents, and jewelry. It can withstand fire, heat, and smoke for up to 1 hour and keep contents dry for up to 24 hours in 8 inches of water. A digital keypad with backup key provides extra security. We especially liked its backlit keypad and interior light, which made it easy to open the safe in low-light environments and see inside without turning on a light or using a flashlight.

Learn how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our best home safes guide.

Get the SentrySafe home safe at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart