Tom’s Guide Awards 2022: The best home appliances and smart home tech this year
We’ve seen all kinds of developments and introductions in the homes category this year. From…
We’ve seen all kinds of developments and introductions in the homes category this year. From appliances which can perform multiple cooking functions, to robot vacuums which actually learn from what they encounter, it’s amazing to see the latest advancements and watch the impact they have in this space.
Smart home devices also grew in intricacy and offerings, with better cameras, better memory and better integration. Ultimately, it’s clear to see that the two categories are indeed merging — modern whitegoods are pretty much expected to come with smart connectivity now, so it will be interesting to see what this means for the future smart home. We had a huge shortlist of products for our Tom’s Guide Awards this year — these are the winners for the homes and smart home categories.
Check out all the winners of the Tom’s Guide Awards 2022.
Best air fryer
Best air fryer: Cosori Smart Wifi Air Fryer
Air fryers come in all shapes and sizes, but the one that caught our attention and ranks as the best air fryer on test, is the Cosori Smart Wifi Air Fryer. It accordingly receives an award this year for its overall performance and user-friendly design. It produces crisp and tender results time-after-time on everything from frozen crinkle cut chips, to breaded chicken fillets. Plus, it can even handle a whole roast chicken — with crispy skin and a golden-brown finish to boot. The control panel is intuitive and the basket is dishwasher-safe, so there’s not much to complain about. You can even program this air fryer from your phone using the Vesync app.
Best air purifier
Best air purifier: Blueair 211+ auto
Air purifiers have spiked in popularity since the pandemic, not just because of their viral claims, but because of the amount of people now working from home. This is a huge category to judge for this reason, but the best air purifier that comes out on top for this award is the Blueair 211+ auto. Not only does it provide an impressive CADR across pollen, dust and smoke (350 for each), it’s simple to set up and use and its sophisticated appearance blends in seamlessly with the decor. It suits rooms up to 540 square feet — so it can handle even the largest of living rooms, and it’s pretty compact considering what it has to offer.
Best Instant Pot
Best Instant Pot: Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Multi Pressure Cooker
Instant Pots have made cooking quick and easy, with a one-touch operation to make just about any dish. While there are many different models in the best Instant Pot range, the Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Multi Pressure Cooker ranked highest. This 7-in-1 multicooker has 13 one-touch programs to make a variety of meals with ease. Which are just a few reasons why the Instant Pot Duo wins this award. It performed consistently across the main programs, such as Saute, Pressure Cooking and Slow Cooking, and it can make a mean casserole. It’s simple to use with a user-friendly control panel, easy to clean and makes an attractive addition to any kitchen.
The Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor takes the award for best juicer because of its terrific performance combined with great value for money. The three-inch wide chute can fit whole ingredients, which saves plenty of food prep time, but the design itself is lightweight and takes up minimal countertop space. As a centrifugal juicer, it produces exceptionally high juice yields, whether you use citrus or leafy ingredients. In fact, it consistently yielded higher volumes of juice compared to models more than twice the price. Value doesn’t get much better than this.
Best blender: Breville the Super Q Blender
Whether you want to make your morning smoothie or mix up a cocktail, you’ll need one of the best blenders. The Breville the Super Q Blender wins this award for its top quality performance, and impressive features. Equipped with twelve speed settings, it comes with a wide-mouthed 68-ounce BPA-free jug for quickly rustling up large quantities. Plus, you can do so much more, like whipping up tasty hummus and oats to crushing ice into refreshing drinks. This will save you trips to the store.
Best meat thermometer
Best meat thermometer: Thermoworks Thermapen One
If you’re looking for the best meat thermometer to accompany your grill, we recommend the Thermoworks Thermapen One. This model takes the award because of its simplicity and accuracy in use. You won’t be waiting around — it takes just over a second to give you a reliable reading and rotates the screen automatically to suit your angle. You can switch from Fahrenheit to Celcius with ease, and you can measure in whole degrees or even in tenths of a degree if you want to be really precise. With 10 colors to choose from, you can customize it to suit your kitchen as well.
Best space heater
Best space heater: Lasko FH500
Seems a little strange to be talking about the best space heater at this time of year, but I’m sure we will be grateful come the winter months. The Lasko FH500 takes the award for this, mainly because you couldn’t ask for much more from a space heater. It heats a room effectively and evenly, while the exterior stays cool to the touch. There’s also a useful eco setting which will cycle the power on and off to maintain a desired temperature. For versatility, this model doubles up as a fan as well, so you can use it at all times of the year.
Best mattress: Saatva Classic Hybrid Mattress
If you want to guarantee a good night’s sleep, having a comfortable mattress makes all the difference. This is the reason why the Saatva Classic Hybrid Mattress wins our award for the best mattress. This luxurious, innerspring hybrid delivers premium comfort and support to contour your form, and suit any sleeping position. You have the option of three levels of firmness and height, and a plush pillow top to cushion your body. What’s more, its high-end design and comfort can rival any luxury hotel for less.
Best coffee maker
Best coffee maker: Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker
If you’re looking for the best morning pick me up you can get, look no further than the Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker. As the best coffee maker we tested, this appliance offers the perfect balance between value for money and quality. It consistently produces a good batch of coffee, plus it features a sleek and compact design which won’t take up much space on the kitchen countertop. You can set it to brew a single cup, which saves time and waste, and it offers all of the basic settings you need, including a programmable timer. It’s a simple design, but at less than $100, it takes this award for what it brings to the table.
Best robot vacuum
Best robot vacuum: iRobot Roomba j7+
The iRobot Roomba j7+ takes the award for the best robot vacuum this year. It stands out above all for its intelligence — learning from its encounters and recognizing objects which could cause problems. This includes everyday items such as loose cables, socks and, most importantly, the dreaded pet poop. As a result, the j7+ is the first robot vacuum guaranteed to avoid pet poop, and it’s even backed by iRobot’s Pet Owner Official Promise (P.O.O.P), whereby iRobot will replace any j7+ that fails to avoid solid pet waste. Our testing found that it was indeed excellent at avoiding obstacles, plus it’s great for picking up loose debris such as Cheerios and kitty litter.
Best robot vacuum for pet hair
Best robot vacuum for pet hair: iRobot Roomba S9+
Pet hair is one of the most difficult customers for robot vacuum cleaners. This is because, with footfall, the fur is embedded and clings to the carpet. Robot vacuums tend to struggle through shedding season for this reason. However, this award goes to the iRobot Roomba S9+ which is indeed one of the best robot vacuums for pet hair. On test, we found it picked up 98% of pet hair on both carpet and hardwood floors. On top of this, mapping out your home is quick and easy, and the self-emptying base is useful if you suffer from allergies too.
Best digital photo frame
Best digital photo frame: Aura Mason Luxe Frame
If you’ve got tons of photos on your phone, the best digital photo frame is a great way to display all your memories. With so many available, the Aura Mason Luxe Frame ranks highly. It wins the award for its outstanding image quality and vibrant, realistic colors, thanks to its 2048 x 1536 resolution on a 2k screen. Plus, it supports both video and sound too. Sealed within a 9.7-inch frame, it comes with two, intuitive touch bar controls that make it super easy to operate. It’s also not touchscreen, which means there’s no unsightly fingerprints to clean off the display — ever.
Best toaster oven
Best toaster oven: Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro
If you value versatility above all, you’ll want to invest in one of the best toaster ovens. The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro takes the award for this category because of its quality, capacity and performance. It’s excellent at baking as well as roasting a chicken, producing crispy and mouth-watering results. In fact, it excels in almost every of the 12 settings it offers, with the exception of toast ironically. We love the stainless steel finish of the design as well as the LCD screen, which is intuitive to navigate. It’s bulky, but it will look great on display in any kitchen.
Best food processor
Best food processor: Magimix Food Processor 14 Cup
The Magimix Food Processor 14 Cup takes the award for best food processor because of its outstanding performance and versatility. Its 14-cup capacity is capable of larger food preparation jobs, while the extra-large feed tube is wide enough to handle whole foods with ease. The Magimix Food Processor is extremely versatile too, and comes with an assortment of accessories to mix anything from eggs to dough in just minutes. Despite its incredible power, it’s very quiet, which is a bonus when you’re cooking up a feast for guests.
Best pizza oven
Best pizza oven: Ooni Koda 16
There’s no such thing as bad pizza, but why suffer with Dominos when you can make your own? After testing more than half a dozen models (and eating more slices than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), the Ooni Koda 16 emerged as the best outdoor pizza oven around. It has an L-shaped burner that ensures an even cook, a large 16-inch surface, and a large opening also means you can use this oven to bake bread, cook steaks, and a whole lot more. You’ll be hosting pizza parties nonstop.
Best video doorbell
Best video doorbell: Nest Doorbell (battery)
When COVID struck, people started getting deliveries even more than before, and that trend hasn’t changed. Whether it’s from Amazon, Postmates, or FedEx, we’re receiving more deliveries than ever before. Which is just one of the reasons why the Nest Doorbell (battery) has received an award this year as the best video doorbell. This video doorbell not only has great package detection (as well as person and animal detection), but gives you those features for free, as well as three hours of video storage. In an age when a lot of smart home devices charge subscriptions for features, it’s nice to see Nest bucking the trend. On top of that, the Nest Doorbell can be wired or run on battery power alone, and it delivers a clear, sharp image day or night. Now you’ll never have to guess who’s knocking.
Best video doorbell under $100
Best video doorbell under $100: Wyze Video Doorbell Pro
We get it — budgets are tight. Wyze has been making some of the best value smart home devices for a while, and the Wyze Video Doorbell Pro is just another example. Yeah, its design may be a bit simple, but you’re getting a versatile video doorbell that can work anywhere — no wires needed — and has package detection, too. While you do need a subscription to use all its features, such as video storage, Wyze’s rates are about half that of every other smart video doorbell, making this a bargain not just now, but in the future, too.
Best smart display
Best smart display: Amazon Echo Show 15
Admittedly, there’s not a lot of competition in this category, as Amazon is just about the only company making smart displays these days. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t trying. The Amazon Echo Show 15 is the first true attempt to make a smart display that’s truly a hub for your home, and it’s the best smart display of the year. This smart display, which can be mounted on your wall, has a new interface and customizable widgets that can let you easily access smart home controls, let you look at your calendar, leave notes for your family, and more. It can even play videos from Netflix and other streaming services, making it almost like a mini-smart TV. It’s an interesting start — we can’t wait to see what’s next.
Best smart lights
Best smart lights: Nanoleaf Lines
Nanoleaf makes some of the best smart lights around, but Nanoleaf Lines might be my favorite version of the company’s decorative panels yet. These RGB bars boast awesome illumination, countless modular configurations, entertaining visualizer technology and more. Unlike Nanoleaf’s existing array of light panel shapes, Lines are powered by backlighting, meaning the emitted light actually reflects off of your walls instead of directly from the panels. The effect is incredible in-person, though it’s likely to catch your eye on TikTok, too. Plus, steady support for Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant make Lines a straightforward, yet lively, smart home fixture for any platform you might use.
Best smart lock
Best smart lock: Schlage Encode Plus
Apart from security, one of the biggest benefits of a smart lock is its convenience. No more digging in your pockets for keys and fumbling around in the dark, trying to find the keyhole. But the best smart locks are getting smarter, and moving beyond the simple keypad. One of the coolest innovations this year has been the Schlage Encode Plus, which lets you simply tap your Apple Watch to the lock to open your door via Apple Wallet. It’s a real time-saver, especially if you have an armload of groceries. We only hope that this technology will be rolled out to other smartwatches, too.
Best security camera
Best security camera: Nest Cam (battery)
The Nest Cam (battery) not only looks like a modern piece of art, but it’s also one of the best home security cameras around. This battery-powered camera has a clever magnetic base that makes it easy to position as well as three hours of local storage — handy if your Internet and power go down. It also comes with free person, animal, and vehicle detection, and has a wide 130-degree field of view and a sharp 1080p resolution. Nest doesn’t often come out with new smart home devices, but when it does, they’re excellent.
Best smart thermostat
Best smart thermostat: Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium
The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium fixed what we thought was the biggest issue with previous models: Its design. While this latest version still has a squircle shape, it now has a much nicer nickel case (rather than plastic) and a bright and colorful touchscreen that takes up the entire face of the thermostat. But it’s not just a new look that makes this the best smart thermostat: The Ecobee also works with every smart home platform, and can be used as a smart speaker with either Siri or Alexa. And, Ecobee also added an air-quality monitor to the device, so you know when you should open a window. Of course, the Ecobee retains what we think is its best feature: wireless remote sensors that can tell you the temperature in different rooms of your house, and then tell the thermostat to keep the heat or the AC on until everything is as you like it.