ARTICLE – I always enjoy this time of year when I ask the Gadgeteer team to submit their favorite products of the past year. Today we wrap up this three part series. Hope you enjoy reading about our favorites and also be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.
Acebeam H16 Fishing Headlamp
The Acebeam H16 Fishing Headlamp is my go to flashlight of 2023. It is barely bigger than the rechargeable AA battery that it comes with. Although it has a handband I just clip it in my pocket all the time and I have been surprised at how much I use it daily. Gotta find something under the kitchen sink, out comes the Acebeam. Checking to see if my son is asleep yet so I can play Xbox, out comes the Acebeam on low mode. Relighting the water heater, out comes the Acebeam. Looking for staples in the supply closet at work, Acebeam to the rescue. The best tool is the one you have with you and the Acebeam H16 Fishing Headlamp is so convenient and useful it is my favorite flashlight I have reviewed so far and only costs $23.99 so I bought a few more for the car and tool box.
Where to buy: Amazon
Tozo Open Buds Earphones
I prefer to be able to hear my surroundings when I’m working out and since I reviewed the Tozo Open Buds a few months ago they have become my go to headphones for my daily workouts or when i need to make some calls at work. They connect to my phone instantly and they turn off when placed back in the rechargeable case that lasts a couple weeks without a recharge. You can customize right and left side actions via the Tozo app and they are super comfortable with plenty of adjustability. At $55.99 they won’t break the bank either so the Tozo Open Buds have earned a best of 2023 from me for earphones.
Where to buy: Amazon
Vosteed Raccoon Crossbar Cleaver
For 2023 the Vosteed Raccoon Crossbar Cleaver has earned my top pick for EDC knives. At $56 it is one of if not the best budget knife of the year. The 3.25″ cleaver or sheepsfoot blade is my preferred blade shape and is made of Sandvik 14C28N steel which has great toughness, corrosion resistance, and is easy to sharpen. The green Micarta handle is grippy and comfortable in the hand. The crossbar lock is rock solid and can be used to open the knife along with the thumb stud. The bearings are super smooth and the deep carry pocket clip situates the knife at the perfect height when carried. The whole Vosteed Raccoon line up is a homerun in my books and the Crossbar Cleaver especially for me.
Where to buy: Vosteed website
xTool S1 Laser Engraver
It might surprise you that my reviewed tech for 2023 is not the most expensive item. I chose the 40W xTool S1 laser engraver as my favorite tech for 2023 because provides as great balance between price, power, and capability. One of my favorite aspects of the xTool S1 is that it’s quiet. The working area is large enough for everything I do and the power is great for getting projects done quickly. xTool frequently adds more features to their software, making this even better each time. Whether I’m making parts for my business or neat gifts for friends or family, the xTool S1 is usually center stage.
Where to buy: xTool
FlexiSpot Odin 4-Leg E7Q Standing Desk
When asked what my favorite gadgets I reviewed in 2023 were, I chose neither a gadget nor a favorite. But I did choose what immediately came to mind: the Flexispot Odin E7Q Leg Standing Desk. I received this desk shortly after my hurricane-flooded studio repairs were done and I could move back in. Despite some minor issues setting it up, I could not be happier with this desk. Unlike most standing desks, the Odin has four legs, making this desk rock solid with absolutely no wobble. I’ve never used a desk that didn’t exhibit some wobbling when pushed hard enough. The Odin is my main desk because of its stability. It may not be my favorite “gadget” reviewed this year but it is the most useful, which is why I highly recommend it.
Where to buy: Flexispot
Keychron K1 pro wireless mechanical keyboard
“Oh! Nice keyboard” said my son, who slid in my chair to type something in. I’ve been using the Keychron K1 Pro wireless mechanical keyboard since the spring of this year, and I’m still loving it. It’s just the right height for me and the keycaps are still holding up very well. If I had one gripe, it’s that once in a while I’ll accidentally toggle the backlight key (upper right) which forces me to click through all the different backlight patterns to find the one I like. Otherwise, I haven’t found another keyboard that’s tempted me to switch. Not yet!
Where to buy: Keychron
Canon PIXMA G620 Photo Printer
The Canon PIXMA G620 Photo Printer easily wins my favorite gadget of the year award. I use it to print photos, whether from my Mac or my iPhone, and my wife uses it in conjunction with her Cricut to print stickers. It’s easy to use (once I learned a few tricks), the color is always amazing, the price to print is low, and we love the results. We use this printer all the time, much more than any other gadget that I reviewed in 2023. If you’re looking for a good photo printer, I still recommend the G620!
Where to buy: Amazon or Canon’s online store
XTool D8 automotive smart diagnostic system
My dad always said, “The least expensive car you can own is the one you drive now.” Good advice. Thanks, Dad! I’ve taken his advice and have become a good mechanic, keeping my cars on the road for as long as possible. Having the right tools to do the job is essential. With an easy-to-use interface and ample database, Xtool’s D8 OBD2 Smart Diagnostic Scanner has earned its place on my 2023 favorites list. I use it almost every time I see a Check Engine Light and monitor my car for readiness before my New York State inspection. It saves me time and money every time I turn it on. It even reads and resets SRS and ABS codes.
Where to buy: Amazon
Switchbot Curtain 3 robot
I love home automation and have dozens of automated gadgets performing everything from opening my blinds at sunrise, turning on lights when the garage door opens, and changing outdoor lights to match the season. SwitchBot is an integral part of my home, and I currently have 35 of their devices. For 2023, their updated Curtain 3 robots open my drapes at sunrise and close them at sunset using IFTTT. I love them! For my Christmas wish this year, I’m asking Santa for them to make wall switches!
Where to buy: Amazon – Curtain opener, Amazon – Solar panel
Velotric Packer 1 cargo e-bike
Of all the things I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing over the last few years, the Velotric Packer 1 takes the crown for my favorite simply because it’s so darn useful while also being fun to ride. Nearly every day I bundle our toddler into his seat behind me and run errands, including large Costco hauls with flats of soda or other large/heavy/bulky cargo. I’ve ridden much more expensive “bucket” eBikes, and prefer the longtail cargo layout of the Velotric Packer 1. It rides like a normal bike instead of a wallowing whale (bucket bikes), has a nice top speed of 28 mph, and good components top to bottom, making for a great ride every time. The range is also more than sufficient for us, even if it’s a bit less than some other eBikes I’ve reviewed lately. I rarely use more than half the battery even when going on long rides.
Where to buy: Velotric
Roborock S7 Max Ultra Robot Vacuum/Mop
Hands down, my favorite tech item I reviewed this year is the Roborock S7 Max Ultra Robot Vacuum/Mop with a docking station. It is used at home every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. I have a routine where I empty the dirty water and fill the clean tank every day after it runs. Then, on the weekend, I use an air compressor to blow out the filter, switch out the mop pad for a clean one, and clean the docking station base. This vacuum/mop has done an excellent job keeping my floors clean. It mops all of my tile floors while washing the mop at intervals. A big bonus is that the docking station will air-dry the mop after the vacuum is done for the day. No more stinky wet mop cloths! It maps out the house and does a great job of avoiding obstacles. It even recognizes new obstacles, like our Christmas trees that unexpectedly popped up in previously free areas. It is the priceiest of the Roborock robot vacuum/mops, but you get what you pay for.
Where to buy: Roborock and Amazon
Saker Mini Chainsaw
This might seem an odd pick for my favorite item that I’ve reviewed this year, but it’s the one that surprised me the most, and that I still use quite often. I honestly thought that it was going to be a joke, with limited power and no utility, but it’s amazingly useful. I use it when we go camping, cleaning up around the house, and even for some quick cuts when building things. I’ve even given this saw to members of my family!
Where to buy: Saker or Amazon
DOACE heated soft-shell jacket
This heated jacket by DOACE changed the entire experience of skiing for me. With customizable heated areas around the jacket, and the comfortable fit, this is the one piece of ski gear I can’t live without.
Where to buy: Amazon or DOACE
Waterfield Designs Compact Executive Backpack
I have used this backpack much more than I thought I would. I started using it as my daily carry bag back and forth to the office. But I have also used it on many out-of-town trips, even trips that were longer and where I would normally take a bigger bag. It’s just such great quality and has so many pockets that hold all my essentials, the backpack size doesn’t bother me or inconvenience me at all. I love it!
Where to buy: Waterfield’s website
Pura 4 smart fragrance diffuser
My favorite gadget I reviewed in 2023 is the Pura 4 Smart Fragrance Diffuser. This gadget is used daily in my household. With its integrated smart timing, we always have pleasant smells (not overpowering) in our home daily and at times that work for us. Not only do I love it so much that I now have purchased numerous other scent cartridges to try, but a few guests who have been in my home have now purchased their own diffusers, because they loved the smells and simplicity of using this gadget as well. Pet and kid friendly and with over 350 scents, the Pura 4 Smart Fragrance Diffuser is definitely one of those gadgets you didn’t know existed, but are so glad it does. For just the cost of a couple of candles, consider it as a new gift giving option that the recipient is bound to love.
Where to buy: Company website
Hollyland Mars 4K video wireless transmitter-receiver
This transmitter/receiver set has worked flawlessly since I received them, and they enable me to record and monitor high-quality video while being mobile or overcoming physical obstacles that would otherwise pose a logistical nightmare when trying to run cables to accomplish the same tasks.
Where to buy: Hollyland website and Amazon
Ecoflow Delta 2 Max Power Station
The EcoFlow Delta 2 Max Power Station along with the add-on battery (update to be posted soon) have allowed me to run my entire office/studio off the power grid. Being as ECO-friendly and power-independent as possible is an ongoing goal of mine, and the amazing products from EcoFlow allow me to do just that. This Power Station has dual solar inputs to ensure maximum solar charging and more than enough AC and USB ports for just about everything in my studio.
Where to buy: Amazon and Ecoflow
Heybike Horizon eBike
I loved the Heybike Horizon I reviewed this year. It’s a beautiful design, has every e-bike feature you could ever want, and is moderately priced. What more can I say? This bike turned more heads and had the most questions from folks that I would come across as I was out riding it.
Where to buy: Heybike website and Amazon