50 Products That Will Dramatically Improve Your Life in 2021
Kick off the new year with the products that will help you live your best life every single day.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.
Set yourself up for success
On December 31, 2019, nobody could have predicted how the next 365 days would play out. The pandemic dramatically reshaped our lives in 2020, and while the new COVID-19 vaccine will hopefully bring some sense of normalcy back into our lives, it is likely that we’ll still be spending a lot of time at home in the new year. This time, though, we’re prepared, and we can better figure out not just how to survive but to thrive.
One thing that will make that easier? Finding the right products to help you live your best life during these weird times. Of course, that’s what this list is for! From gadgets and gizmos that will help you save time to personal-care items that will kick stress to the curb, these are the gems that will make every day that much better in 2021. If you have a specific goal in mind for the next 12 months, you’ll also want to check out these products that will help you keep your New Year’s resolutions.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
A safer soap pump: Simplehuman Sensor Pump
One thing that has become crystal clear to us over the past year? Hand hygiene is super important. While a traditional soap pump will get the job done, this touch-free Simplehuman dispenser is an even better option. That’s because you don’t have to worry about coming into contact with other people’s germs—or leaving yours on the pump. Simply put your hand underneath this device and the sensor will dole out the perfect dollop of soap. COVID concerns aside, it’s also helpful in the kitchen when you’re handling raw meat or other items that could contaminate whatever you touch.
A smoother sipping experience: Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge
If you’re a cocktail connoisseur, this creatively designed whiskey glass will up your drinking game. During the freezing process, ice forms a wedge shape on one side of the glass. Then, when you pour yourself a drink, the wedge will slowly (and perfectly) melt into your whiskey without watering it down. While we’re on the subject, find out what your love of whiskey says about your personality.
A family-friendly activity: ECR4Kids Jumbo 4-to-Score Giant Game Set
Most of us played the classic game Connect 4 when we were kids. Take a trip down memory lane with this jumbo version that’s fun for the whole family. Wondering if it’s as good as it looks? Ellen DeGeneres thinks so! She recently featured this brain-boosting, motor-skill-refining party game on her show as one of the best holiday gifts of the year. Stock up on at-home fun with these other great backyard games.
The perfect conversation starter: Family TableTopics
Do your kids suddenly go silent when you ask them how their day was? Engage them in a different way at the dinner table with these creative cards from TableTopics. You get 135 family-friendly questions that will elicit silly, thought-provoking, and surprisingly profound answers from the whole family. They’re also a terrific idea for Zoom calls with the grandparents. For more family bonding, try playing these 19 classic board games together.
A frizz-fighting towel: Ettitude Bamboo Lyocell Waffle Hair Towel
If you’re still wrapping huge, heavy towels around your head after a shower, it’s time for a change. These bamboo waffle hair towels from Ettitude will seriously upgrade your hair-washing experience. They’re lightweight, super absorbent, and also help tame frizz and flyaways, making them a must-have product in your hair-care arsenal. If you’re looking to tame your mane, you’ll also want to pick up this $8 frizzy hair product that has near-perfect reviews on Amazon.
A totally accurate thermometer: Tru+Med Touch-Free Infrared Thermometer
Many of us are taking our temperature at least once per day, and for those of us with kids, that number can increase exponentially. That’s why having an easy-to-operate, accurate, and technologically advanced thermometer is key. This touch-free model from Tru+Med will make the job quick, easy, and painless, helping you to catch possible signs of COVID-19 or any other ailment as soon as possible. While a thermometer is a great investment, don’t waste your money on these coronavirus products.
An important COVID-19 health tool: Zacurate Pulse Oximeter
One of the first things a doctor will do if they suspect you have COVID-19 is use a pulse oximeter to determine your blood-oxygen saturation levels. You can keep an eye on your own levels with this handy and incredibly affordable gadget from Zacurate. Just slip it over your finger for an accurate reading. Our advice? Don’t wait until you’re having a problem to buy this. This is also one of the unexpected items you should pack if you’re going on vacation during the pandemic.
A more supportive sneaker: Hoka One One Clifton 7 Running Shoes
Remember the heels and loafers you used to wear every day? If the answer is “barely,” you’re in the right place. For an everyday athletic shoe that will keep your tootsies comfortable and supported while you’re working from home, running around town, or exercising on the treadmill, you won’t regret investing in these Hoka One One Clifton 7 running shoes. The brand has become incredibly popular in recent years with everyone from doctors to fitness enthusiasts, and if you try them, you’ll see why—you’ll feel like you’re walking on a cloud. Don’t miss these tricks to keep your new kicks stink-free.
A stronger immune system: Ancient Nutrition SBO Probiotics
There’s no need to refrigerate these probiotics, but that doesn’t mean they’re not powerful. Ancient Nutrition SBO Probiotics has 50 billion CFUs (that’s colony-forming units) per serving, and uses four different strains of good bacteria for greater diversity. It also contains prebiotics, which act as a fertilizer for probiotics, helping you develop a healthier digestive system and bolstered immunity—something we can all use right now. As a bonus, the probiotics will keep you, um, regular, and have less occasional gas, bloating and diarrhea.
A screen-free device for little ones: Echo Dot Kids Edition
“Alexa, read me a story.” The All-New Echo Dot Kids Edition is made for wild imaginations, delivering crisp vocals for your kids without any visual stimulation. They can ask Alexa questions, set alarms, and even get help with their homework—all from an adorable, tigerlicious speaker. In the market for a new smart device for yourself? Find out if an Amazon Echo or Dot is right for you.
A serious Wi-Fi upgrade: eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi Router
Due to the pandemic, many Americans are working from home—and will be for the foreseeable future. If you’re one of them and you haven’t upgraded your Wi-Fi yet, it’s high time you did. This all-new mesh system from eero features Wi-Fi 6, the latest technology that delivers faster speeds, higher performance, and better support for all the devices in your home. It’s also super easy to set up, and the company offers free customer support seven days a week. Aside from a great Wi-Fi signal, this is the best gift for anyone who is working remotely.
A soothing soundtrack: HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine
This compact, portable sound machine will help you sleep—or simply help you relax after a stressful day—with six digitally recorded relaxing sounds that are designed to mimic the natural environment. It even has a timer option, so you can choose how long you want to listen to the waves, the rain, or a babbling brook. And how’s this for a ringing endorsement? More than 25,000 Amazon reviewers rave about this under-$25 device and claim that it’s better than sound machines triple the price.
A styling product for Zoom-ready hair: Odele Air Dry Styler
Think of Odele’s star product as athleisure for your hair, offering an easy and effortless approach to laid-back but Zoom-friendly hair. This styling cream is vegan, gender-neutral, sulfate-free, made with natural fragrances, and formulated for multiple hair types and textures. It is a serious multitasker, smoothing frizz and taming flyaways while adding shine, hydration, and even a little bit of hold. While you’re at it, check out these other hair-care products stylists can’t live without.
Protection from the sun…and your screen: Versed Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen
Most of us have increased our screen time over the past year, and our skin may be paying for it. Yes, that’s right—as if we didn’t already have enough to worry about, the blue light from our devices can damage our skin and prematurely age it. Protect yourself from that new danger, as well as the other usual suspects like environmental pollution and the sun, with this effective, clean, and affordable skin-care product from Versed. Guards Up is an oil-free formula with a creamy texture that works to prevent UVA and UVB rays as well as HEV (high energy visible) from penetrating your skin. Here are another 17 sunscreens you’ll be happy to wear every day.
The 2021 version of a bath bomb: Nectar Bath Treats Herbal Bath Teas
Bath bombs will never go out of style, but herbal bath teas are a trend that will make a splash in 2021. Nectar has created a super fun line featuring some amazing ingredients that will rejuvenate you during your soak. Choose from calming lavender oatmeal or a luxurious green tea extract and chamomile combo for an unbeatable bathing experience.
An instantly updated look: Mayvenn Wigs
There’s no better time to update your ‘do than the new year. Mayvenn Wigs will help you switch up your look in an instant, whether you want to add length, change your color, or simply try out a different cut. They even offer free customization with qualifying purchases. Check out these other Black-owned beauty products you really need in your life.
Salon-style curls at home: Chi Spin N Curl
Fabulous hair is just a twirl away. This best-selling curling wand has been all over TikTok in recent months. Fans claim that Chi’s Spin N Curl is a much more affordable version of Dyson’s popular AirWrap and that it can transform average hair into salon-worthy curls in mere minutes.
A comfier way to use your tablet in bed: The Original Flippy
Whether you use your tablet to read or to binge-watch your favorite show, you’ve likely realized that finding a comfortable position to do that is downright impossible. We have a solution for you: The Original Flippy is one of those genius products you never knew existed but is going to make your life so much better. It’s a lightweight pillow that props up your tablet (or a good, old-fashioned book), acting as the perfect stand. It’s also great for traveling or propping up your things wherever you are. And you can feel good about this purchase, too: Proceeds help support the literacy nonprofit First Book. If you love this idea, take a look at these other purchases that give back.
An easier way to sanitize: O3waterworks Sanitizing Spray Bottle
If you are one of those people who’s obsessed with sanitizing everything—which actually may be most of us in the age of COVID—you’ll want to invest in this clever invention. Just add water and aqueous ozone (ozone dissolved in water) to disinfect surfaces. It only leaves behind pure water, and you’ll love that there’s no chemical smell. Here are more products that’ll clean your house fast.
A multitasking kitchen appliance: Oster Air Fryer Oven
Is it time to replace your toaster? This multitasking toaster oven and air fryer from Oster is the way to go. It really does it all, combining nine cooking functions—including air fryer, convection oven, broiler, toaster oven, and dehydrator—in one premium countertop appliance. You can make anything from French fries and veggie chips to chicken nuggets and pizza in it. Just make sure to avoid these 11 mistakes everyone makes with their air fryer.
Improved digestion: FoodMarble Aire
Digestive issues are no fun, but the good news is that they’re usually preventable. FoodMarble is basically a personal digestive tracker that, along with an app, helps you find foods that are compatible with your system. After you eat a meal, you simply blow into the contraption. Then you can figure out how your breath scores and see how your symptoms vary over time. It also tracks your sleep and stress levels.
The perfect athlete’s mask: Under Armour Sports Mask
We know that wearing a mask is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it can feel restrictive and suffocating when exercising. This Under Armour mask takes care of that problem because it was specifically designed for maximum breathability while playing sports. And that’s not all it has going for it: It also has an anti-microbial treatment on its inside layer, as well as UA Iso-Chill fabric on the lining and ear loops so it always feels cool to the touch, no matter how long you wear it. When this mask first hit the market, it sold out in an hour. Lucky for you, it’s currently available on Amazon in five colors and five sizes, but don’t delay if you want to nab one! Looking to stay safe and warm this winter? Check out our favorite cold-weather face masks.
Clean air anywhere: Lasko HEPA Desktop Air Purifier
Wish you could clean the air wherever you go? You can with Lasko’s HEPA Desktop Air Purifier. Small enough to sit on your desk but powerful enough to filter out smoke, cooking smells, pet odors, and more, this gadget relies on a HEPA filter that captures 99.97 percent of airborne irritants. That means virus-sized particles, mold, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and other allergens will be gone before you know it.
A complete charging station: Base Station Pro
Finally, a complete charging station that allows you to charge multiple devices at once. Simply place up to three of them on the surface and they’ll immediately start charging. It’s the perfect addition to your home or office—or these days, the home that doubles as the office! FYI, never charge your phone in these 8 spots.
A better desk light: LumiCharge Smart Desk Lamp and Universal Phone Charging Dock
If you don’t have a lot of space on your desk, this innovative lamp is the ultimate space saver. It’s an LED lamp and a universal (and wireless) phone charger all in one, making it the perfect addition to your workspace. Here’s what else you need to be successful while working at home.
A sounder sleep: Plushbeds Hyrid Latex Mattress
This handcrafted hybrid mattress, which is aptly named the Luxury Bliss, is what sweet dreams are made of. It’s constructed with motion-isolating coils that support the natural position of your spine, as well as certified organic latex, cotton, and wool for further comfort and safety. Try this mattress for 100 nights and if your body in a state of complete bliss, you can return it for a full refund. Still on the fence? Here’s why you need to replace your mattress sooner than seven years.
A skin refresh: iT Cosmetics Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream
Fine lines and dark spots are so 2020. Give yourself the gift of younger-looking skin in the new year with this Hello Results Daily Retinol Cream. Developed in conjunction with dermatologists and plastic surgeons, this nightly skin cream and anti-aging serum is formulated with dual retinol, which is gentle enough for daily use yet concentrated enough to produce great results.
The best bedding ever: Layla Bamboo Sheets
Are you due for a bedding refresh? Layla Bamboo Sheets are the easy way to make your bed 10 times cozier. These luxurious linens made from bamboo are not only breathable and cool—they’re also soft, silky, and supple, to boot. Just how silky, soft, and supple? According to the company, they’re the equivalent of twice the thread count of cotton. Warning: You may never want to get out of bed.
A comfortable daily mask: Athleta Everyday Non-Medical Face Masks
A year into the pandemic and there are a lot of options for protective cloth face masks. However, they aren’t all created equal when it comes to comfort. Even off-duty doctors are obsessed with these practically perfect masks from Athleta. Soft, breathable, and adjustable, they are constructed in a pleated style to comfortably cover your nose and mouth. They also feature adjustable, soft-knit ear loops that won’t dig into your skin.
The perfect wake-up call: The Loftie Clock
If one of your resolutions for 2021 is to break your smartphone habit—especially while in bed—the Loftie Clock is a great tool to help. The revolutionary alarm clock has a dimmable display, nightlight, and two-phase alarm. OK, that sounds like a good alarm clock, but here’s where things get great: It also features custom content that’s playable right on the device, including guided meditations, sound baths, breathwork exercises, sleep playlists, and a variety of relaxing sounds. With one of these, you can leave your smartphone in the other room and wait to check your emails and text messages until after you get out of bed.
An easier way to carry bags: Click & Carry
If you’re a city dweller, then you’re well accustomed to the struggle of carrying bunches of bags at once. It’s awkward and exhausting, and it makes your hands hurt. The Click & Carry is an ergonomically designed tool that majorly simplifies the task. The click-open, padded handle holds multiples bags at once, allowing you to tote around several of them either in your hand or slung over your shoulder.
A kick start to your healthy-eating resolution: FreshlyFit
From $8.49 per meal
Eating better and exercising more are two of the top New Year’s resolutions every year. Freshly, one of America’s favorite meal-delivery programs, can help you keep these promises to yourself. The brand is launching a new line of meals in 2021 designed to fuel active lifestyles. Each meal designed by a nutritionist and built on a foundation of clean, whole-food ingredients with a nutritional profile that’s low in carbs, protein-powered, and gluten-free. It’s also an easy way to try out specific diets, including keto, paleo, and plant-based meals. For more options, check out these 16 other meal-delivery kits.
An anywhere workout: Activbody Activ5
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been forced to think outside of the box (and the gym!) when it comes to fitness. Touted as the “tiny gym in your pocket,” Activ5 is a portable strength-training fitness device that makes exercise fun and convenient. The palm-sized wireless device features 100 unique low-impact workouts based on isometric exercises (meaning users engage muscles without movement), which you will be coached through in five-minute intervals. The accompanying app measures data such as strength, strength increases, precision, and other personal metrics. All you need is a smartphone, your body weight, and a space to work out.
Self-care tools: Before Noon Grounding Toolbox
Even the most grounded souls were uprooted in 2020. This thoughtful Grounding Toolbox from Before Noon will help you return to your spiritual baseline. This beautifully curated, Goop-endorsed kit includes a smudge stick, smoky quartz, 30-day healing journal, and calming serum. This would also make a great self-care gift for a friend in need of pampering.
Effortlessly cleaner floors: Samsung Jetbot Mop
“I love to mop,” said nobody ever. If you aren’t into the chore, you can sit back, relax, and let the new Samsung Jetbot Mop clean your floors for you. The robotic mop features dual spinning fiber pads that easily and quickly remove dust and dirt from tile, vinyl, laminate, and hardwood floors. If you’re really short on space and time, you might also want to try these top-rated vacuum mop combos.
Longer, darker lashes: RapidGlam Lash Enhancing Mascserum
Instead of using a lash serum and a mascara, try RapidGlam, which pulls double duty as both. Just apply it to lashes the same way you would any mascara. They will be instantly amplified, as well as coated in a conditioning and fortifying solution. In just six weeks, your lashes will be stronger, fuller, and longer. Choosing the right mascara is one of the makeup secrets of women who always look put together.
A more colorful home: General Electric Full Color Smart LED Bulb
We could all use a little more light (and color!) in our lives after the darkest year in recent history. These smart light bulbs from General Electric should do the trick! Use your smartphone or a simple voice command via a Google Home device to transform your boring bulb into a kaleidoscope of color. Create a festive scene for the holidays, light up your child’s room with his favorite color, match a colorful schedule to your sleep/wake cycle, and more. Bonus: You don’t need a hub for these crowd pleasers.
Organization inspiration: The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals
One of the most popular ways to kick off the new year is to get organized. If you need a little help coming up with a tactical plan, the hosts of the wildly popular show The Home Edit have written a book to guide you through the process. Pair it with these 13 must-have organizers seen on the series and you’ll be all set for a streamlined 2021.
A planner with purpose: BestSelf Co.’s Self Journal
After putting 2020 behind us, it’s time to get focused and motivated. This 13-week life planner will help you set goals, keep a gratitude list, and encourage inner positivity while tracking your daily progress. Not only will the process help you keep your New Year’s resolutions and inspire personal growth, but it will also enable you to perform your very best at work. In case you’re wondering, here’s what a gratitude journal really looks like.
A sense of security: SimpliSafe 5-Piece Home Security System
Gone are the days when a home security system required the help of a professional and thousands of dollars. This DIY security system from SimpliSafe is easy to set up and has everything you need to get started. You can also add other pieces to your system, like a video doorbell or a smart lock, and you have the option of signing up for professional monitoring with police, fire, and medical dispatch, too. Here are more of the best home security systems, according to experts.
At-home dry cleaning: The Laundress Dry Cleaning Detox Kit
Dry cleaning is expensive, and it’s easy to forget to drop off (and pick up) your items. This laundry essential will change all that. The Laundress Dry Cleaning Detox Kit has everything you need to safely clean and preserve woolens, delicates, synthetics, and more—in the comfort of your own home. Trust us when we say that this is truly life-changing. For the rest of your things, add these 8 secret ingredients to your laundry for amazing results.
An Alexa-enabled slow cooker: CrockPot My Time Slow Cooker
As if slow cooking wasn’t already the easiest way to whip up delicious meals, this Alexa-enabled slow cooker from CrockPot offers the added convenience of voice-controlled cooking. You can start or stop the gadget with your voice, program cook times or heat settings, and also check the status of your meal from anywhere. Here are another 12 Alexa-enabled gadgets that will simplify your life.
Heat therapy on the go: GoHeat Cordless Heating Pad
Soothe aching muscles at home or on the go with this portable, soothing heating pad. It provides targeted, high-level heat therapy to your back, arms, legs, and shoulders with a convenient, rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can run for up to four hours on a single charge.
A warmer blanket: Sunbeam Heated Throw
This luxurious, reversible heated Sherpa/Royal Mink throw from Sunbeam is the very definition of silky-softness—plus, it will keep you toasty warm all winter long. With three heat settings and a convenient, three-hour auto shutoff, it has everything you need to curl up and relax without a worry in the world.
A handy wine gadget: Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener
Never struggle to open a wine bottle again with this cordless, electric bottle opener that safely cuts the foil seal of your wine bottle and removes the cork in seconds. A single charge offers the power to open up to 30 bottles. One more thing you need to know before you pour yourself a glass? How to store wine the right way.
A top-notch travel pillow: Ostrichpillow Go
Since road trips are a great socially distanced travel option, they were super popular in 2020, and that trend will likely continue in the new year. If you’re going to be spending any significant time in the car, you need the Ostrichpillow Go neck pillow. Its cozy adjustable memory foam and ergonomic design will help keep your neck supported, whether you’re on your next adventure or just relaxing at home with a good book.
An anti-aging essential: Spencer Barnes LA Neck, Chin & Jawline Sculpting Wand
This triple-threat anti-aging serum burns fat, builds collagen, and regenerates cells while you sleep. In doing so, it diminishes discoloration and age spots, minimizes fine lines and wrinkles, and resculpts your chin, jawline, and neck area. Looking for more products that will turn back the clock? Check out these other anti-aging creams that dermatologists trust the most.
The perfect pan: Abbio Nonstick Skillet
For perfectly cooked meals, you need the perfect tool. That’s where this professional-grade, nonstick pan comes in. Its fully clad steel and aluminum construction ensures even heating when you’re cooking everything from scrambled eggs to stir-fry dishes; plus, it’s super durable, so you’ll have it for years as long as you avoid these mistakes that shorten the life of nonstick cookware. While this pan will be your go-to, if you can afford to splurge on the whole set, do it—you won’t regret it.
Cooking inspiration: America’s Test Kitchen Toaster Oven Perfection Cookbook
Toaster ovens are having a moment in 2021. With an influx of toaster ovens that double as air fryers, many of us are adding them back into our kitchen. That’s why America’s Test Kitchen devoted its latest cookbook to cooking in these compact ovens. Enjoy 100 recipes, ranging from mini meatloaves to a whole chicken.
A smarter way to infuse fragrance into your space: Aera Smart Diffuser
Since you’re spending so much more time at home, a sweet-smelling space is key. That’s why the Aera Smart Diffuser is about to become your new best friend. Enjoy hundreds of hours of fragrance infused into your home—and control the device via an app on your smartphone or Alexa, though which you’ll be able to turn it on or off, as well as adjust the intensity of the scent. Next, check out more brilliant buys on Amazon with practically perfect reviews.
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