The best home devices for winter 2020: Coffee makers, fire pits and other cozy gadgets
The days are steadily getting shorter and the cold weather is here. For me, that conjures images of warm beverages and comfort food. So I’ve put together this list of smart home products for winter, ranging from the Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker to the Philips Hue Lily Outdoor Spot Light — and a bunch of other great stuff.
Of course, all of these gadgets are great year-round, but they’re especially nice to have when it’s cold outside.
Coffee is great any time, but a warm beverage can come in particularly handy during those chilly fall mornings when it’s still dark outside and you need to get going.
The Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker is CNET’s favorite drip coffee maker. Not only is it affordable at $170, we were impressed by its hot, speedy brew that didn’t ruin the coffee grounds. Its 8-cup capacity means a full pot can keep you fueled throughout the workday — and you’ll still have plenty left over to share.
We even prefer the Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker over the popular $190 Bonavita Connoisseur.
A kamado grill is an excellent cold-weather cooking appliance, one you can let sit and do its thing for hours at a time while you stay warm inside and enjoy the smell of brisket or ribs cooking away.
The $1,699 Kamado Joe Classic III is our favorite smoker/kamado grill. Because of its ceramic design, it holds heat well and can cook a variety of different dishes “low and slow” to deliver food that’s ridiculously tender and flavorful.
Yes, the Kamado Joe Classic III is extremely expensive, but if you’re serious about getting a kamado grill that works wonders, this is our favorite by far.
Fall is my favorite time of year to sit around a fire pit, and the Tiki Brand Fire Pit is CNET’s top choice for a backyard fire pit. Priced at $350, this fire pit isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it.
We especially liked its large size, sturdy build and overall design. Its removable ashtray made it easy to clean, too. A built-in airflow system reuses the hot smoke generated from the fire pit, reducing the amount of smoke overall.
It was easy to light, but it gets extremely hot after being lit and takes a long time to cool down afterward, so exercise caution. At 45 pounds, it’s on the heavier side for a modular fire pit, so consider setting it up with two people.
Instant Pot via Amazon
No appliance makes me think of fall more than an Instant Pot. These versatile multicookers can do pretty much anything, including cook up chili, stew and other classic cold-weather meals fast.
The Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 is our favorite model. It acts as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer and rice cooker. You can also use it to sauté and to make yogurt — or even to warm up leftovers. The Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 is available in 3-quart, 6-quart and 8-quart size options.
While it can’t be used for canning or to bake cake, this model has the following modes: Poultry, Meat/Stew, Rice, Bean/Chili, Multigrain, Porridge, Soup/Broth, Steam, Slow Cook, Sauté, Yogurt, Pressure Cook and Keep Warm.
An electric kettle is a helpful kitchen appliance all year, but I use mine even more when it’s cold outside to make hot water for coffee, tea — and to heat up a simmering stock pot more quickly for pasta, mashed potatoes and other comfort dishes.
The Breville BTM800XL is a great electric kettle. It has a large capacity, boils water fast and has a lot of hot water settings. It’s a particularly good option for tea; it features a tea basket that lowers automatically on a timer to steep loose leaf tea — and has custom options for black, green, herbal and other types of tea.
With the days getting shorter, it’s nice to have additional outdoor lighting to illuminate your yard — and to provide some much-needed ambience to the sometimes gloomy fall weather.
The Philips Hue Lily Outdoor Spot Light kit comes in a pack of three lights. The spotlights can shine color-temperature-adjustable white light, but they’re also color-changing, if you want to get festive heading into the holiday season. The Philips Hue Lily Outdoor Spot Lights require a Philips Hue hub to work and are controllable in the Philips Hue app. They’re also supposed to work with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice commands.
Light up your yard with a Philips Hue Outdoor Spotlights 3-pack for $270.