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19 Things You Need To Survive The Impending Winter Maelstrom

Aside from a hibernation den.

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To help prepare for the frozen hellscape that is just around the corner, I asked the editors at The Sweethome for their expert opinions on exactly what products you need to survive winter.

The Sweethome (and its sister site, The Wirecutter) is a website where deep-dive research nerds and product testers conduct hundreds of hours of research and put products through punishing tests to find the best items that will truly last a lifetime. They figure if you're going to spend your money on stuff, you might as well get the stuff that actually works. I often consult The Sweethome before buying home products (this broom is just as great as they said it is!) and really trust their picks.

Here's Glenn Fleishman, an editor-at-large at The Wirecutter and The Sweethome, with his winter recommendations:

1. Glider Gloves Touchscreen Gloves — $25

The Wirecutter

Need to use your phone's touchscreen in the cold? We found that Glider Gloves Winter Style Touchscreen Gloves are the best insulated touchscreen gloves available. We winnowed dozens of pairs of gloves down to nine pairs and then tested those over 14 hours in the extreme winter conditions of Bend, Oregon. The Glider Gloves' seamless construction and double-layered knit fabric kept hands from freezing but still let us tap and swipe accurately. The fleece lining makes for a more snug fit than floppy knit gloves or overly loose fleece-only gloves can offer. And the honeycomb grip pattern on the palm and fingers keeps your phone from slipping so well, you could even use it one-handed.

2. Hopkins Quick Lock Pivoting Snowbroom — $23.42

The Sweethome

We are still finishing our updated guide to ice scrapers, but after scraping ice-blasted windshields 28 times over six hours in a sunless, -3-degree cold chamber at Ford, The Sweethome recommends the Hopkins 80037. Its aggressive teeth and sharp blade cleared windshields as fast as any scraper tested. Its seriously strong aluminum handle extends from 38 to 60 inches, giving it mini-car-to-SUV range. And its plow-like broom sweeps even heavy snow in one pass. Since it's currently out of stock, the nearly identical Dart Seasonal CB99 is a fine choice.


3. Swedish Ice Scraper — $12

The Sweethome

The Swedish Ice Scraper is the surprise of the year. It's an almost comically simple tool: just a wedge of plexiglass. But under our brutal testing conditions, it was the only scraper that cut clean through rock-hard ice and exposed the windshield glass in a single pass. It's too short to easily reach across an SUV, and you'll need to buy a separate snow broom. But it's cheap, unbeatable for plain frost and ice, and small enough to keep handy in the glove box year-round.

4. Puffs Basic Facial Tissue — $4.50 (three boxes)

The Sweethome

When the sniffles hit, The Sweethome recommends Puffs Basic Facial Tissue, which we settled on following 40 hours of research and expert interviews, plus testing on more than a dozen brands. You can find tissues that are softer, tissues that are stronger when pulled apart or punctured, and tissues that claim to apply a balm of aloe or menthol. But the Puffs Basic tissues were the most absorbent of all those we tested (and arguably the softest non-lotion tissues), and they fared remarkably well — better than Kleenex — across all our toughness tests. The Puffs also cost less than a penny per tissue when purchased in packs of three 180-count boxes — cheaper than any of the competition.

5. Ames Mountain Mover + Stout Backsaver Attachment — $34

The Sweethome

You don't have to break your back shoveling snow. After investigating nearly 75 shovels and then having a four-person crew test 14 of them, The Sweethome recommends the dream combo of the Ames Mountain Mover ($25.97) with the Stout Backsaver handle attachment ($8.95). The Ames's durable scoop can break up ice and compacted snow, and the curved aluminum shaft makes moving the powdery stuff out of the way less of a strain. Our testers went bananas after adding the Stout Backsaver, an inexpensive bolt-on handle that allows you to shovel while keeping a more upright posture.

6. EnergyFlux Rechargeable Hand Warmer — $35

The Wirecutter

Even if you're wearing warm clothes, your hands will get cold. The Wirecutter picked the thoroughly modern EnergyFlux to solve that problem after spending a total of 48 hours researching and testing eight hand warmers, including chemically powered disposables. The EnergyFlux plugs into a USB port or a wall outlet to charge and can provide about six hours of heat, an hour more than other battery-powered hand warmers. The hefty battery inside can also double as a phone charger. If you need something that runs forever — or, OK, 19 hours — the Zippo Hand Warmer ($13) keeps going and going, though it needs lighter fluid and requires starting with a match.

7. Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug — $26

The Sweethome

We tested seven travel mugs to find one that will keep a drink hot for your commute — or your whole day. The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug smoked the challengers: In a test, our test, 200°F water was still a zesty 150°F eight hours later. That's more than 20 degrees hotter than the result we got from the next runner-up, and the difference between hot and lukewarm coffee. The latest version of this mug is more lightweight, and though it's more expensive than competitors, it will never, ever leak in your bag.


8. Lasko Ceramic Space Heater — $25

The Sweethome

For heating a small room (11 by 13 feet), The Sweethome picked the Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater after a Ph.D. physicist looked at 12 finalists over 27 hours of hands-on testing. Inexpensive, compact, lightweight (just three pounds!), and easy to control, the Lasko heats up quickly and comes with a great warranty. It's also tiny — about the size of a loaf of bread — so you can move it from room to room with ease. It isn't the fastest heater we tested, but it's a close second, and it costs a quarter of the price of the fastest model. The fan makes the Lasko a bit noisy, but not unbearable.

If you're looking to heat a larger area, we recommend the De'Longhi EW7507EB radiator ($101). It's an oil heater, so it takes a while to get started, but in our tests it raised the temperature of a room more than most competitors did. The downside: You have to reset the digital controls every time you unplug it and plug it back in.

9. Honeywell HCM-350 Humidifier — $60

The Sweethome

If you're looking to counter the dry air of winter, we chose the Honeywell HCM-350 as the best humidifier for most people after testing 15 top-ranked models over two years. It's the easiest to fill and clean of the units we tested, without nooks and crannies in the tank that breed bacteria. Its electronics aren't housed in the tank, so you can completely submerge the tank for a soak and a scrub. We also appreciated that it uses evaporation instead of the warm-mist or ultrasonic mechanisms typical in competitors: You'll never run into issues with white dust, pools of water around the base, or over-humidification.

10. H&M Control-Top Tights — $13


The Sweethome considered more than 50 pairs of tights and tested 16, and we found that H&M's $13 100 Denier Control-top Tights are extremely comfy and nearly as indestructible as the best in class — but $49 — Wolford Velvet De Luxe 66 tights. Unlike other control-tops, the very opaque, warm H&M tights have a soft waistband that smoothes without pinching and sits high enough to avoid creating a muffin top.

11. Wahl Lithium Ion All-In-One Beard Trimmer — $35

The Sweethome

After we conducted 40 hours of research and sacrificed many follicles in testing, we chose the cordless Wahl Lithium Ion All-in-One Trimmer as the best beard trimmer. It had the sharpest blades, the most reliable beard guides, the longest run time, and the strongest overall stubble-cutting power in our tests. While it stands out in general, it's especially good for the extra-hirsute beard wearer who needs more power and longer battery life to manscape. Charging it enough to use it for two hours (longer than competitors) takes just one hour. And this model cut more hair in a single pass — and cut it shorter — than any other rechargeable trimmer we tested.

12. Dearfoams Velveteen Clog Slippers — $25

Amy Sefton / BuzzFeed Life

For toasty toes, the Dearfoams Velveteen Clog Slippers are the way to go. The Sweethome looked at 14 different pairs of slippers, testing them for 40 hours, and found that these vegan clogs were the best of the budget pairs. Manmade materials tend to get sweatier than natural wool and sheepskin, but the Dearfoams were among the most breathable slippers in our testing group. If you can afford to splurge, the Haflinger AT Classic Hardsole Slippers ($95) hit the nonsweaty sweet spot with a hard latex sole and a warm, moisture-wicking upper made of boiled wool.


13. O’Cedar 24″ Multi-Surface Push Broom — $25

The Sweethome

A winter broom needs to handle all kinds of material, from sand and gravel to leaves and pine needles to ice and rocks. The Sweethome considered 14 outdoor brooms in more than 25 hours of testing, including at a Boy Scouts Audubon Society sanctuary, and picked the O'Cedar 24 Multi-Surface Push Broom. It sweeps up all sorts of material, and it has synthetic bristles, which won't rot. The broom also has a unique, beefy fastener between its head and handle that, unlike competitors' connections, didn't unscrew or pop off during our testing.

14. Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Programmable Set & Forget Slow Cooker — $50

The Sweethome

A slow cooker should be easy to program and capable of cooking consistently over a long period. After more than 58 hours of research and testing, The Sweethome found a great, affordable model that ticks all the boxes: the Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Programmable Set & Forget. Its intuitive interface and modest price make it the best deal for your money, but what truly sells it is the fact that it's the only slow cooker that includes a heat probe to monitor the doneness of roasts and check the temperature of other dishes. Thanks to its touchscreen, its locking lid (for countertop safety and meal transport), and its performance, it stands out from more luxurious models with more features.

15. Pacific Coast Platinum European Comforter — $110

The Sweethome compared specs for 150 comforter models, and after 85 hours of research followed by weeks of sleep testing, we found that the $110 queen-size Pacific Coast Platinum European Comforter offers the warmth and weight of duvets that cost twice as much. Note: If you don't have a Costco membership, you can find the same one on Amazon for $157.) It's an absolute bargain for the quality of the 650-fill-power down, and it sports a cotton shell that won't bleed feather fill. The only downside to this comforter is that its stitching doesn't keep the filling in place over time as well as the others we tested, so you'll need to massage the down back into place from time to time.

16. Cuisinart CPK-17 Electric Kettle — $85

The Sweethome

Tea and coffee taste best when steeped or brewed at the right temperature, and after considering a short list of a dozen kettles and testing the top models for temperature accuracy, The Sweethome found a kettle with precise controls that consistently makes a great cup. The Cuisinart CPK-17 Cordless Electric Kettle has six preset temperatures and can keep water heated to a chosen setting for up to 30 minutes. With a 1.7-liter capacity (and a convenient 360-degree swiveling base), it can handle a large pot of tea or coffee. Its removable scale filter makes it easy to clean. The Cuisinart offers all the best kettle features while avoiding any of the glaring flaws that plague its competition. It also comes with a three-year warranty, the best in its class.

17. Finum Brewing Basket — $10

The Sweethome

We researched dozens of tea steeper models, interviewed experts, and drank many cups of tea before picking the Finum Brewing Basket (the large version) as the most versatile and well-made tea steeper available. The fine-mesh-and-plastic in-cup steeping basket allows more water flow than other infusers, while more effectively keeping tea particles from escaping into the cup. It's one of the only models in our testing group that fit both mugs and teapots, and it's among the easiest to clean. (The Finum also comes in a medium size for cups smaller than 2.8 inches in diameter.)

18. Sears Craftsman Quiet 208cc Snow Blower — $900

The Sweethome

If you need to clear a driveway after regular six-inch snowfalls, you need a snow blower. And they're not cheap — sorry! — but after 50 hours of research, The Sweethome settled on the Sears Craftsman Quiet 208cc Snow Blower. This self-propelled beast includes power steering (an option usually found only on more expensive models), but it's much quieter than its competitors. It also sports an electric starter (no pull cord!), and no-mar skid shoes keep it from ruining a deck or patio.

19. Nest Learning Thermostat, Third Generation — $250

The Sweethome

Do you need a smart thermostat? Probably not. But they're fun and attractive, and will do a better job of scheduling the heating and cooling of your house — and therefore saving money — than you will. The Sweethome found the Nest Learning Thermostat, now in its third generation, to be the best intelligent thermostat. It has the right combination of style and substance, its software and apps are solid and elegant, and you can easily change the temperature from your phone or computer, so you won't have to get up from your cozy spot on the couch to find the perfect setting.