Reviews

We Tested 300+ Products in 2023, and These Were Our Favorites

We understand better than most that the right tools make any task easier to accomplish, so we've thoroughly tested hundreds to develop this set of reliable recommendations. See the winners from the past year.
A Bob Vila Writer Testing Products (like a Stihl Chainsaw) for Best of the Test 2023 Awards

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

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The Bob Vila team tests products all year long, from robotic pool cleaners and portable generators to power drills and smart locks. In 2023, we got our hands on more than 300 items and tested these products in real-life situations. Our homes, garages, yards, gardens, and pools have turned into real-world labs to observe tools and gadgets in practice, determine if they live up to their hype, and answer the question, “Which one works best?”

BobVila.com’s Best of the Test 2023 Awards are overseen by the brand’s Product Reviews team, which is made up of writers and editors who have both industry expertise and home improvement and garden knowledge. This team weighs efficacy and functionality, design quality, user-friendliness, and value for the dollar. We use each score card to help us pick our Best Overalls in that product category as well as the standouts from the broader collections of tools, lawn and garden, outdoor living, appliances, and home essentials.

As we close the books on 2023, we’re thrilled to share the fruits of multiple months of hands-on testing: 62 products we’d buy again for our own homes and to-do lists. Click into any category below to see which gear stood out to us this year.

Best of the Test Winners: Our Favorite Drills, Nailers, Oscillating Tools, Tool Kits, and More

The Best Power Tools & DIY Products We Tested in 2023

Want to know which tools the Bob Vila team trusts for our own home improvement projects? Start with this shortlist of power and hand tools that wowed our writers and editors most in head-to-heads with the competition. We drilled, sanded, sawed, and more—and these are the dozen tools we’d buy again to stock a home workshop.

Best of the Test Winners: Our Favorite Chainsaws, Bird Feeders, Gardens, and More

The Best Lawn & Garden Products We Tested in 2023

Mowing, pruning, scrubbing, and more—we used our own backyard maintenance (and then some!) to try out more than 100 outdoor products this year. The competition was as thick, but we’ve trimmed it back to our top 12 for a wide range of yardwork.

Best of the Test Outdoor Living Winners: Our Favorite Grills, Lanterns, Patio Heaters, and More

The Best Outdoor Living Products We Tested in 2023

We’d spend every sunny day outdoors, if we could—and backyard pastimes are that much more enjoyable with the right gear. So we literally field-tested more than 100 products this year, from grills and griddles to fire pits and coolers.  Of the ones we’ve used, we highly recommend these 11 products to make the most of every outdoor space and adventure.

Best of the Test Appliance Winners: Our Favorite Air Conditioners, Air Fryer Ovens, Air Purifiers, and More

The Best Appliances We Tested in 2023

We know well that appliances large and small are all important investments in the home. Our writers and editors turned their kitchens, offices, and workshops into labs to see the real-life performance of air purifiers, heaters, kitchen appliances, and more. From cooking to cleaning and heating to cooling, these products make life better.

Best of the Test Home Winners: Water Filters, Home Safes, Smart Locks, Faucets, and More

The Best Home Essentials Products We Tested in 2023

To find basics that elevate everyday tasks around the home, we spent hours monitoring the weather, filtering and testing tap water, installing and living with smart locks—even nearly set safe on fire to find its limits. We narrowed 100+ contenders down to 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 a recommendation for your every need.