Today I offer my picks for the ten best products that I reviewed in 2021. The list here are my favorite items that I reviewed – and continued to use – throughout 2021.
The giveaway ended on December 31, 2021.
Below is a quick list of all the products included in my Best of 2021 countdown. Be sure to scroll down to read my summary of each product and see videos for every item on the list.
- Neck Light: Buy | Original Video
- Stupid Car Tray: Buy | Original Video
- Hamilton Beach Toaster: Buy | Original Video
- Pocket Tripod: Buy | Original Video
- Quikflip: Buy | Original Video
- Tire Inflator/Vac: Buy | Original Video
- Zeroll: Buy | Original Video
- Wine Opener: Buy | Original Video
- Stir Crazy: Buy | Original Video
- Shaq Grill: Buy | Original Video
- Cirkul: Buy | Original Video
- Countertop Dishwasher: Buy | Original Video
- Neverstick Pan: Buy | Original Video
Ten Best Products of 2021
Here are my picks for the ten best products I reviewed in 2021, plus three honorable mentions (products that I felt deserved a place in this discussion, but missed the final cut). I sifted through nearly 200 products that I reviewed in 2021 to come up with this list. The only criteria I used was that they had to be reviewed on my YouTube channel in 2021, which means not all of these products came out in 2021, but were new to me this calendar year.
10. Pocket Tripod
When I tested out a collection of phone gadgets back in February 2021, the most interesting of the bunch was the Pocket Tripod. This flat device can be twisted, turned, and even pulled apart to create various configurations that will hold a phone at almost any angle – with or without a case. It has remained in my wallet for nearly a year now and I’ve pulled it out on numerous occasions, especially while flying.
Buy Pocket Tripod at the official website, pocket-tripod.com.
Watch the full review below.
9. Quikflip Hero Hoodie
Quikflip makes hoodies that convert into a backpack, and vice-versa. The model I tried is their popular Hero Hoodie. Most people first noticed this product on Shark Tank, although it has run a highly visible social media advertising campaign in recent months, too. I approached this product with a bit of skepticism, but quickly found it to be a nice hoodie and a perfectly functional drawstring backpack. I wear it as a hoodie almost daily now that the weather has cooled down here in Las Vegas. It’s also idea for vacation, when I often wear it on a cold plane and then convert it to a backpack at my warm destination.
Be sure to check out my full review below.
8. Tire Inflator & Vac
The 4th installment of my “Car Gadget” series included the Varsk car vac and tire inflator. Although this gadget looks like a typical car vac, it includes the ability to inflate tires and other items as well. It’s an item that my son and I have both used in our cars throughout the year and its usefulness only seems to be more obvious over time. I’d also recommend this as a gift idea for the person who spends a lot of time in their car.
Watch the complete video below.
7. Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop (Model 1010ZT)
Not every item in my Top 10 is an innovative or bizarre gadget. Some of the items on this list just do their job exceptionally well, and that is the case for my #7 pick, the Zeroll 1010ZT ice cream scoop. When I compared it to a group of other scoops, I found that this model simply made better scoops with less effort. The company claims that scoops with this model are 20% larger than normal scoops, and I believe it. The Zeroll has one job, and it does that better than any other ice cream scoop I’ve used.
Below is my full ice cream scoop comparison from May 2021.
6. Automatic Wine Opener
It took a couple years of viewer suggestions for me to finally try out an automatic wine opener, and my only regret is that I didn’t try one sooner. Although I’ve used old-school manual wine openers for decades, it only took one use for me to immediately convert to this type of opener. This battery-operated wine opener also includes a foil cutter, which itself is simple and effortless. Removing a wine cork is as simple as placing this gadget over the bottle and pressing a button. Once the cork is out of the bottle, you simply press another button to dispense the cork to your waiting hand. It’s a simple and elegant upgrade over traditional wine openers.
Below is my full wine gadget review.
5. Stir Crazy Popcorn Maker
When I asked my viewers what they wanted me to review, popcorn poppers landed at the top of that list, so I picked up a wide variety of popcorn poppers to try out and gave them all a whirl. In the end, the Stir Crazy by West Bend was my favorite of the bunch. To use it, you simply add 2 tablespoons of oil and a half-cup of kernels. After enjoying the show of the spinning, popping popcorn, you flip the unit over and enjoy a big bowl of fresh popcorn. There is an option to add butter to the lid, although I rarely use that feature. I have not had microwave popcorn since that review, and the Stir Crazy is the only popcorn maker I’ve used.
Check out my popcorn popper comparison below.
4. Shaq Grill
One day while perusing the aisles in Target, I noticed two smokeless grills side by side, one featuring George Foreman and one featuring Shaquille O’Neal. It was in that moment that I thought of comparing two similarly-priced grills from two of my favorite former athletes. Having owned Foreman grills in the past, I assumed that model would be a contender, but Shaq’s new entry into the indoor grilling arena was a question mark. To my surprise, Shaq not only hung with Big George’s grill, but in some tests even surpassed it. This contact grill is excellent for a wide range of foods from hamburgers to paninis.
Below is my full Shaq-vs-George video.
3. Cirkul Water Bottle
Cirkul is an interesting water bottle system that uses flavored pods to enhance the taste of plain water. There are a variety of “sips” (their name for the pods) in different categories, and the strength of each flavor can be adjusted on a dial from numbers 1 through 9. I had seen several videos online with people seemingly overreacting to the bold Cirkul flavors, but after trying it out for myself I realized that those reactions may have actually been genuine. I’ve tried most flavors and they can be quite bold, in a good way. I usually set the dial around “4” for most flavors, but this can vary by flavor. If you’re someone who struggles to get enough water every day, the Cirkul water bottle system maybe something to consider.
Cirkul is only available direct from the official website, drinkcirkul.com.
Be sure to check out my full Cirkul review below.
2. Countertop Dishwasher
I spent months researching countertop dishwashers before I settled on this Novete model. One feature I knew I wanted was an included water tank because hose hookups aren’t compatible with every sink, which will then require adapters or even plumbers to make it work. The Novete actually offers hookups and a tank, so compatibility shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. I also like that this model has a window, allowing you to see the action inside. I put it through some rather rigorous tests, including caked-on oatmeal, and my dishes turned out as well my full-size GE dishwasher could deliver. I realize not everyone needs an item like this, but for those who do, the Novete is an excellent choice.
Watch my complete review below.
1. Ninja Neverstick Pan
I was a bit torn when choosing the Ninja Foodi Neverstick Pan as my top pick for 2021. On one hand, it seemed hard for me to choose anything else, but on the other hand my top pick in 2020 was also by Ninja, so I was hesitant to put them atop my list two years in a row. In the end, I had to choose this pan because it is simply the best product I reviewed in 2021. If you saw my original review, embedded below, you’ll se that it performed well alongside several other popular pans in my collection. In the ensuing months since that review, however, I have grown to love this pan even more. It’s heavy and durable, reminiscent of a cast iron skillet. The surface heats evenly and the nonstick surface has held up beautifully. I’ve reviewed numerous pans over the years, and this is my favorite.
Below is my full review.
Below are a few products that I had considered for my Top 10, but just missed the final cut. I still think they are worthy of mentioning, so let’s take a look at three honorable mentions.
Stupid Car Tray
Known for its “stupid” name, the Stupid Car Tray is elegant in its simplicity for the problem that it solves. Passenger seats on cars are angled, which is well-suited for the rear ends of riders, but is not friendly to most items placed there. Enter, the Stupid Car Tray, with legs on one side to provide a much flatter surface for items stored on the passenger seat. I tested out extreme examples like pizza and drinks, and it performed flawlessly. This item has been in one of our family cars at all times since my review.
Watch my full review below.
Glocusent Neck Light
This is another item that flew under my radar, despite numerous requests to try it out. Eventually I got around to testing out the Glocusent Neck Light, and finally realized why so many viewers wanted me to try it. This flexible light wraps around your neck and can be adjusted to shine at about any angle. On either end is a light that can be adjusted individually with three levels of brightness. A button on the back of the unit can also adjust the hue of the light to three different shades. This rechargeable model is very lightweight and each charge lasts and extraordinary amount of time. That’s probably why it’s still a Best Seller on Amazon, even after about 50,000 ratings.
Check out the full review below.
Hamilton Beach Toaster
I had been wanting to do a toaster comparison for years, but the cheap-vs-expensive idea has been run into the ground, so I had the idea to only compare cheap toasters, ranging in price from $10-$30. Although the $30 Cuisinart model fared quite well, this $15 Hamilton Beach toaster also impressed during my tests. There is nothing particularly special about it, other than the fact that it toasts both sides of the bread evenly, and didn’t burn even on the highest setting. If you just need a cheap toaster that works well, this should be on your short list.
Watch the full video below.
Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me this far. I appreciate you more than you know. I look forward to what interesting products I run across in 2022.