CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be those flashlights, photo printers or food dehydrators — 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 several hundred products — from PS5 games to smartphone apps to wireless speakers — to find the best products you need to make life better. Here are the winning products from March.
Wireless earbuds with incredible battery life and comfort
If you’re looking to spend less than $100 on a pair of noise-canceling earbuds — and want something stylish and low-profile — it’s hard to do much better than the Jabra Elite 4.
An impressible and uniquely stylish set of wireless earbuds
If you’re looking to spend less than $150 on a quality set of noise-canceling earbuds — and want something that stands out from the pack — the Nothing Ear (2) are worth it.
A good audiophile option
If you’re willing to splurge on a stylish pair of headphones with true audiophile-grade sound (and can live without features like active noise cancellation), the Master & Dynamic MH40 are worth the investment.
An excellent small wireless speaker
The Era 100 produces a bigger sound than the Sonos One without increasing the size much and delivers impressive bass for a small speaker. It adds Bluetooth and the option for external sources through a line-in adapter. But the price has gone up again.
Room-filling sound from one speaker
The Era 300 makes it easy to bask in immersive spatial audio — with its wide sound, it feels like you’re listening to more than one speaker. Thanks to crisp treble and deep bass, it sounds good with regular stereo music, too. It’s packed with features, but you pay a premium for the privilege.
Best drip coffee maker overall
The Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker produced consistently delicious, hot cups of coffee, brewed efficiently and cleanly, from sleek, relatively compact hardware that is turnkey to operate, and all for a reasonable price.
Unique outdoor rowing experience with a clean, intuitive interface
The Hydrow Rower is a sleek, premium rowing machine that pairs with a $44-per-month All-Access membership. Yes, it offers a kicking cardio and full-body workout, but we loved how it takes rowing back to its roots with live classes filmed at real-world locales. It may be pricey, but if you want to feel like you’re rowing on the water, then this home gym rowing machine is for you.
The perfect treadmill for running in smaller spaces
If you’ve always wanted a treadmill but didn’t have the space or the cash for a larger machine, the ProForm Carbon T7 is a perfect compromise. No, it doesn’t have the horsepower of larger, pricier treadmills, but you do get a wealth of advanced AI features as well as access to different types of classes with the iFit subscription (which is free for three years). And a smaller footprint paired with a budget price is nothing to sneeze at when you’re thinking about adding to your home gym.
A cult classic trail runner with even better traction
Fans of the Lone Peak series will love the new 7s for their wide width and upgraded grip, while newcomers to this shoe might be surprised at its lack of cushioning and zero-drop design. Either way, Altra has managed to deliver yet another awesome trail sneaker, with slip-proof laces and just the right amount of breathable mesh.
A close-to-perfect bottle with a few shortcomings
It isn’t perfect, but the collapsible HydraPak Flux+ 1.5L bottle has an incredible flow rate and a durable exterior, making it a top dog in the market of bottles with built-in filters. Difficulty keeping it clean, particularly in the long term, holds it back from being a perfect option.
The definitive version of a survival horror masterpiece
Resident Evil 4 is an outstanding retelling of the 2005 original single player story for modern audiences. Everything from the upgraded combat and mobility to the striking audio and visuals go a long way in making this the definitive take on Resident Evil 4.
Best food dehydrator overall
With hassle-free operation and consistent drying, the Nesco Gardenmaster offered the best balance of simplicity and performance of any food dehydrator we tested, and is a great choice for anyone looking to preserve herbs, fruits and vegetables or meats.
A plush bed in a box that’s great for side or back sleepers who appreciate softness
Leesa’s Legend Mattress is an excellent mattress for side sleepers, with soft support to alleviate pressure and back pain and a breathable top cover and ventilated foam layer to keep you cool.
A useful sleep aid that focuses on calm breathing
The Dodow sleep aid is a unique and useful device. It helped us fall asleep faster, and more consistently. It isn’t hard to learn to sync your breath with the light, and once you get used to the process, you’ll feel the results. Just breathe in when it expands and out when it contracts.
An attractive, multitasking bedside assistant
The Hatch Restore 2 is an all-encompassing sleep machine that uses light and sound to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The accompanying app gives you access to a library full of colored lights, white noise, sleep stories and guided meditation. But where the Restore 2 really shines is its amazingly pleasant Sunrise Alarm, which wakes you gently and more humanely than the average alarm clock.
A convenient, app-based countertop oven for busy cooks
The Tovala Smart Oven Air Fryer offers a simple, fresh meal delivery service for one and Wi-Fi connected, one-touch cooking. A great budget toaster oven if you order meals, it jumps to a pricier, less useful purchase if you’re more interested in cooking from scratch. However, if you’re looking to save time and energy, then this countertop oven beats out supermarket frozen food and takeout.
Best plant identification app for mobile overall
During testing, we found PlantNet easy to use, accurate and fast. This free app guides you during setup, lets you search by map or flora, and suggests you enable geolocation (GPS) to improve its plant identification.
The ideal travel backpack if you want to pack for several days away without checking a bag
The Incase A.R.C. Travel Pack is equal parts backpack and suitcase. Its butterfly-style packing system lets you maximize space for packing clothes and other essentials, while it has a separate laptop compartment and plenty of additional pockets. While it’s on the pricey side, its durable exterior and versatility make this a solid addition to your travel wardrobe.
Best checked suitcase overall
With fantastic internal organization and compression, a durable exterior and comfortable handles, the Away Medium suitcase was the most well-rounded bag we tested, with a great combination of maneuverability, capacity, durability and style.
Best robot mop overall
The compact, inexpensive iRobot Braava Jet 240 is simply the best robot mop for the money. While it doesn’t have the smarts of more expensive models and can’t do double duty as a vacuum, its efficient design and simple pattern-based navigation deliver impressive cleaning.
Best robot vacuum overall
The iRobot Roomba j7+ is the best robot vacuum you can buy right now, with impressive cleaning power and smart mapping that creates virtual boundaries to detect and avoid obstacles.
Best office chair overall
The Steelcase Series 1 stood out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market, beating out chairs double the price — making it the best bang for the buck.
The perfect sub-$400 monitor for your home office
The LG UltraFine 4K is a great sub-$400 monitor for anyone looking to upgrade their home office, offering great 4K picture quality and plenty of ports.
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