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The best products we’ve tested in August: Electric toothbrushes, pillows and more


CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be those electric toothbrushes to pillows to mobile apps — to find the absolute best in each respective category. Our testing process is rigorous, starting out by spending hours of research to find the top products in each category. Once we create a testing pool of products, we test and retest each product multiple times in real-world settings over several weeks or even months.

This year, we’ve already tested many dozens of products — from Macbooks to rice cookers to home indoor security cameras — to find the best products you need to make life better. Here are the winning products from August.

Philips Sonicare 4100

Affordable, full-featured, effective and compatible with many varieties of replacement brush heads from Philips and third parties, the Sonicare 4100 is a great way to improve your oral hygiene routine. A gentle mode makes it easy for beginners to get used to high-tech brushing.

Philips Sonicare for Kids

Easy to use, with a built in-timer, multiple modes and a simple app that guides kids through the brushing session. The Philips Sonicare for Kids makes brushing effective and fun.

Arlo Essential Indoor Security Camera

Arlo’s Essential Indoor Security Camera is built with privacy in mind, is easy to set up and offers an inexpensive monthly storage plan. The video quality is top-notch, prompt motion alerts and audio sounds great.

Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker

The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy consistently had the best results in all of our cooking tests. It cooks perfectly fluffy rice every time and has handy features that make it a must-have for people who cook and eat rice regularly.

Stand mixers

KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer delivered the best performance of the mixers we tested. With more than 20 available colors and a classic profile, you’ll want to keep this tilt-head mixer on display in your kitchen.

L.L. Bean 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set

The L.L.Bean sheets are the nicest feeling sheets we tried: breathable and crisp, they’re great at regulating temperature throughout the night, and the eyelet hem along the top sheet and pillowcases made these sheets feel straight out of a hotel.

Parachute

Among the most luxe feeling we tested, the Parachute linen sheets have pleasant weight in hand and a unique texture. The Parachute sheets come in a broad range of colors and sizes, and each different piece of the bedding set is available individually for replacements or to mix & match with other fabrics.

Coop Home Goods The Eden

Soft and supportive without feeling too firm, The Eden pillow from Coop Home Goods was one of our favorite pillows in testing. The fill can be added or removed to suit different body types and preferences, meaning it should suit almost any back sleeper.

Eli and Elm Side Sleeper

The supportive Eli and Elm Side Sleeper pillow has a U-shaped cutout that makes room for your shoulder when sleeping on your side. It also cradled our necks well when we slept on our backs, so it’s great for anyone who shifts positions.

Saatva Latex Pillow

The Saatva pillow was a favorite, supportive enough while squishy and malleable in the best way. The outer layer is filled with down-alternative fibers and a removable inner core made of shredded latex is completely encased so the fill doesn’t spill out.

Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask

The Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask features a genius nose wire, so it blocks all — and we mean all — of the light. The mask is soft on the eyes and comfortable on the head, and it never so much as budged during the night, no matter our sleep position.

Rosetta Stone

We liked the Rosetta Stone app’s easy-to-use design and logical lesson format. It helped us learn the basics of French rather easily. It’s available in 25 languages, including Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. It offers a 3-day free trial.

Apple Pay

While Apple Pay only works on iOS devices, its user interface is uncluttered and simple to use. The app also offers robust security and authentication for all your purchases, and offers 2% cash back on P2P payments.

Strava

Strava connects to a variety of heart rate monitors and offers robust tools for creating customized running routes. The app is recommended for experienced runners and professional or semi-pro athletes; however, it’s easy enough to use for any runner.

LoseIt! Premium

We found LoseIt! Premium to be simple and intuitive, and the most affordable of the weight loss apps we tested. It offers robust support for its user community, with active nutrition- and weight loss-related user forum discussions.

Cabeau Evolution S3

The Cabeau Evolution S3 is the Goldilocks of travel pillows: We found it firm enough to support our head and neck, soft enough to fall asleep on and perfectly portable, thanks to its being made of springy memory foam that enables you to compress it to half its size.

EarFun Air

We’ll make this really simple for you: If you want to spend less than $100 on wireless earbuds, you won’t find a better pair than the EarFun Air.

MacBook Air M2

The MacBook Air M2 is the ideal MacBook for most people, packing the best performance you can get for the price into a slim, modern design with lots of practical upgrades over the previous generation.

Best smartphone overall: Apple iPhone 13

Apple’s iPhone 13 has a modern build with an immersive display, with the best performance and one of the best cameras of all the phones we’ve ever tested.

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