SleepPhones have rapidly become one of my favorite gadgets of 2020. I use them nightly to assist in blocking out little noises that would have otherwise distracted me when falling asleep. They are comfortable, sound good, and the batteries last all night! Currently $99.95 on Amazon.
I love my Nixplay frames! Being able to load photos from my phone and have a constantly updating and rotating collage of my loved ones, favorite places, and video snippets have eased my feelings of 2020 COVID isolation. The Nixplay photo frame is one of those “I wonder what I did without this” gadgets. $329 on Amazon.
Not a day goes by that I don’t use my intrepid Leatherman multi-tool for some useful task. A few days ago, even used it to prop a door open while I made multiple trips to my car to unload a parcel of Christmas cheer. Multi-tool styles and personalities are as diverse as all the ornaments on my Christmas tree, but having one in my pocket is a gift every time I use it!
Brooke and Mason Miller Hall
This electric skateboard is fantastic. It’s durable, easy-to-use and so much fun. Mason continues to use it often and, after almost a year, the novelty hasn’t worn off. Shop at Exway.
We reviewed this three months ago, and I still use it daily to fight the battle of the dog hair. It’s so light that I can quickly move it around my multi-level home and even on the stairs. I don’t have to hunch over either, so it spares me a lot of back pain. Currently $135.99 on Amazon.
The Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press is not only one of my favorite items I’ve reviewed this year, it is probably one of my favorite review items of all time. Since I started working from home in March 2020 due to the pandemic, I religiously drink two cups of coffee every morning, and the Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press is my favorite way to brew it. It essentially uses an air pocket to push hot water through coffee grounds. It’s quick, simple, and, and cleanup is super easy, plus it’s fun to use. Best of all, I think coffee brewed with the Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press tastes better—less bitter and acidic. You can get one for $31.95 on Amazon.
Groove Belt is one of those products that makes you think, “Wish I’d thought of that!” It uses powerful neodymium magnets to hold the buckle together, making it quick, easy, and just plain fun to buckle and unbuckle. It also features a proprietary webbing material that is super durable and has a bit of stretch to make it fit and feel way more comfortable than standard belts. Plus, it’s minimalist yet rugged styling makes it work with all types of attire. Now that I have a Groove Belt, I seriously doubt that I’ll ever use a traditional belt again. Get one on Amazon.
I like this little knife because, although it’s small, it has many features that are typically found on large knives. It features a flipper style deployment mechanism for its sharp-tipped blade, a frame lock, a low-profile pocket clip, and a lanyard or keychain attachment point. Because I don’t have a need for a large knife on a daily basis, the Bastion Braza Mini D2 Cleaver has become part of my regular EDC kit, and I’ve been very happy with it. Grab one from Bastion.
This has been the only vest/jacket I’ve worn from the above average temperatures of September through the frigid snow blast of late December. It has kept me dry, warm, and organized. The wind-proof and rain-proof outer layer wraps me in a cocoon of EDC carrying pockets. This coat’s best trick is being able to put a full size umbrella in the front pocket and then pull it out like a magician. You can find SCOTTeVEST apparel on Amazon.
Even though I have only been training with these for a month they have made a dramatic difference in my form and technique. The feedback I get after each run gets me excited about my next excursion. Despite some comments that they look like house-arrest monitors, I haven’t been stopped by the police yet! Currently $209.96 on Amazon.
Perhaps there’s no better testament to how these are my favorites other than the fact that I’m using these right now. These TWS buds sound great on their own for a bass-heavy sound or when used with wavelet for a more neutral signature. The microphones for teleconferencing work great too and these have become my go-to devices for virtual meetings. They are $99.99 on Amazon.
This racing setup has been a highlight of 2020 for me, it’s an escape that gets my heart thumping (and combined with my Oculus Quest 2 linked to PC VR) is an alternate reality I’ve enjoyed a lot this year. It’s $399.99 from Logitech and Best Buy
This excellent keyboard is still my daily driver, and I haven’t once considered replacing it since the review. Countless keystrokes later it’s still one of the most accurate and comfortable keyboards I’ve ever used, and looks good to boot. $109.99 from Amazon.
The Phonesoap Go is a really handy device around our house. We all use this to disinfect our phones, credit cards, pens, jewelry, etc., (it kills microbes and does not clean objects of dirt, fingerprints, etc). It’s so easy to use – just pop your device in and tap on the lightning bolt button on the lid. It takes 10 minutes to disinfect. The Phonesoap Go has the added benefit of having a built-in 6000 mAh battery to charge your device(s) while you are on-the-go. I did have to send it back to get the charging LED lights replaced (two of the four lights had gone out) and had to wait a few weeks to get it back, but we like using it. Perhaps in the future, Phonesoap will make all the lights replaceable by the user. You can purchase the PhoneSoap Go Indigo color on Amazon for $79.99.
The Mobvoi TicWatch C2+ is the watch I use every day. It’s so much more responsive than my Fossil Q Venture HR Gen 4 watch because the TicWatch has 1 GB of RAM versus 512 MB on the Fossil. If you’re looking for an attractive and responsive smartwatch with a moderate feature set that won’t break the bank then this is worth a look. You should know that this watch only has the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset and is missing a speaker, ambient light sensor, and sleep tracking, but I am able to work around these issues and still enjoy using it. You can purchase TicWatch C2+ at Walmart.com for $157.49.
The Anker PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB-C Ethernet Hub was indispensable to us this year. My kids have been doing online exams for their classes and it’s been vital that they have a stable internet connection which meant using an Ethernet connection, not WiFi. Since none of our laptops have an Ethernet jack, we had to use the PowerExpand+ for this and it worked well! All the other ports work well too. It’s a really handy device to have since most laptops sold over the last few years are severely lacking the necessary ports that users need. You can purchase the PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB-C Ethernet Hub on Amazon for $27.99.
I love the JouleBAR Power Strip simply because it does what it’s supposed to do perfectly and disappears into the background of my life. Light-up power ports are something I never even knew I needed! Now whenever I’m plugging in yet another power-hungry device via USB or standard plug, the JouleBAR is right there waiting for me. Some people might say that a power strip can’t be sexy, but with its over-engineered aluminum case and sleek design, the JouleBAR comes about as close as possible. It’s currently $69 from Amazon.
When my company switched to a work-from-home model way back in March, my only communication with my team was through my laptop’s tiny built-in microphone. The sound was tinny and weak, but all of that changed when I started using the JLAB Audio Talk. Now my voice comes through loud and clear. I get as many compliments on the great sound the mic provides as I do for the professional looking design when I’m on full video chat. This is a great microphone for work at a great price. You can get one for $99 on Amazon.
I spoke about how much I love the TruSens Z-2000 before, but I’m always happy to do it again. This device has helped me get a great night’s sleep for a while now and I absolutely can’t see how I’d live without it. I have yet to have to clean the filters even though I check them frequently. The TruSense is a little on the pricey side, but totally worth it. Currently $249 on Amazon.
If there was one thing I’d recommend every driver have, it’s a good dashcam. The Geko Orbit 530 is small, easy to set up, and is just the thing you’ll wish you would have had when you need to show your insurance company definitive proof that the accident wasn’t your fault. Shop for a Geko dashcam on Amazon.
This laptop stand squeaked in at the end of 2020, but it’s been fantastic for elevating my laptop screen to a more comfortable and ergonomic position. It’s made working from home less of a pain in the neck, literally. It’s $59.99 on Amazon.
Even without having to go into the office for most of the year, the Filson Dryden remains my computer bag for keeping all my laptop accessories in one place. I’ve been using it to tote my computer and tech stuff from room to room, and it’s been a perfect mobile office in a bag. This bag is $175 from Bespoke Post.
For the majority of 2020, the Jabra Elite Active 75t’s have been my go-to earbuds for Zoom calls to runs in the rain. Their secure, comfortable fit, IP57 durability, portability, and great sound make them ideal for my lifestyle. They are regularly in my pocket (or in my ears) as I go thru my day. Currently $123.60 from Amazon.
While not perfect and definitely a niche product, the Mighty Mule MM572W dual swing gate opener is a great option for those DIYers who want/need a smart gate actuator. Its ability to automatically open and close your gate(s), connect to the internet, and be monitored and controlled via the Mighty Mule smartphone app has been an excellent upgrade from our old system. We use our gate throughout our day, opening and shutting it multiple times as we come and go and the MM572W has been rock solid…a great modern day convenience. The system is $733 on Amazon.
The TerraMaster F2-422 professional 2 bay NAS was the most fun review I did this year. I nerded out researching/choosing the drives, consulting with my network buddies, and ultimately setting up this device. Now admittedly, once operational a NAS really is pretty boring but it was a great time making it as zippy, quiet, and optimized as I (reasonably) could. Buy one for $359.99 on Amazon.
When it came to my favorite gadgets of 2020, I decided to go with my favorite overall, and my top “most useful” gadget of 2020. I’ll start it off with my top favorite.
The BonBowl has been a wonderful addition to my cooking regime. That’s because, before BonBowl, I didn’t cook a wide variety of foods due to not having a stove/cooktop readily available. Now with the BonBowl, I’ve tried new foods and found ways to make my old favorites. The best part? It is so much easier than actually using a stove! Buy one for $149 on Amazon.
With the COVID pandemic, schools closed and everything in 2020 shifted virtual. This camera allows me to communicate with the staff and students during the daytime and stream at night. It has done double duty in 2020 and is still holding strong. A webcam wouldn’t usually be on my list, but 2020 and the versatility of the webcam during these crazy times made this my #2. Grab one from Amazon.