- Business Insider 19:57January 19, 2020The most effective strategy to figure out how much home I could afford started by breaking my expenses into 2 partsShutterstock Last year, my husband and I decided to look into buying a new house. We loved our first home, but it was lacking some of the spaces we needed (like an office for me).
Instead of looking at listings, though, we started by splitting our expenses into two columns: expenses that would likely change if we bought a house, and expenses that would remain the same.
From there, we figured out how much wiggle room we had, set a budget for a new home, and started looking. Our two-part budget strategy would work for almost anyone shopping for a house.
Read more personal finance coverage. In the spring of 2019, my husband and I began considering whether or not it would be a good idea to buy a new home. We loved the house we were living in, but there were a few specific things on our bucket list that it could never provide (like an office for this work-from-home writer, for example).
Still, before jumping into the process of putting our beloved first-ever house on the market and searching for a new one, we decided to price out some renovations that might make staying in our current home doable for a while longer. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: How to find water when you're stuck in the desertSee Also:I asked my financial planner for help buying my second home, and he recommended a 3-part strategy that workedMy husband and I were always good with money until a surprise surgery left us with $10,000 of credit card debt. Here's how we paid it off in 8 months.I inherited $10,000 when my grandpa died and spent the money in 3 ways that changed my life
< Mortgage, Buying A Home, Buying a house, Home Ownership, Budgeting, Personal Finance Insider, PFI Tools, PFI-XAMP, PFI SmartAsset, More PFI Coverage, >
- Business Insider 17:43January 19, 2020This Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was turned into a tiny home on wheels using wood from a 300-year-old Redwood tree — see insideAdvanture Camper van conversion company Advanture Company created the Redwood King, a tiny home on wheels built on a 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
The interior of the van has cabinets and countertops made of real Redwood tree wood that was 300-years-old before it was harvested.
The van conversion was done for a Bay Area resident who wanted to curtail the area's high living costs.
Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories. Camper van conversion company Advanture Company created a tiny home on wheels named "Redwood King" built on a 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van with a 144-inch wheelbase and a high top.
The company, founded in 2016, created the Redwood King as its first-ever build for co-founder Brandon Nelson, who wanted to find an alternative home to offset the Bay Area's expensive living prices. The tiny home mitigated the high costs and is equipped with all-terrain tires, allowing the van and its owner to travel around the country.
The Redwood King has a unique feature: the interior is adorned with real Redwood tree wood that was 300-years-old before it was harvested, according to its maker. This unique wood detailing can be seen all throughout the campervan.
The base build of Advanture's camper vans start at $36,000 and includes an interior package, LED lights, a wheel hub box covers, a bed set up, color options, and a roof ventilation system. Any upgrades, such as heating and showering options, will cost more. Advanture normally takes three months to complete the builds.
Keep scrolling to see more of the Redwood King and it's sleek interior:"I got a van initially so I could mitigate the cost of living in the Bay Area," Brandon Nelson said in a video with Van Talk.
He originally gutted the van and only had a mattress inside while utilizing his former office's amenities for general living needs, such as food and showering, prior to fully converting the van, Nelson said in a YouTube video with Van Talk.
Nelson now does video editing on the road.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:This custom tiny home on wheels was built inside Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and designed to be lightweight with cot beds — see insideThe most-sold used car in every state in 2019 proves how dominant pickup trucks still are in the USThe Ford Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in 'Bullitt' just auctioned for $3.74 million making it the most expensive in the worldSEE ALSO: This custom tiny home on wheels was built inside Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and designed to be lightweight with cot beds — see inside
< BITranspo, Advanture, Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Redwood King, CT Visual Features, tiny home on wheels, tiny homes, VanLife, van conversion, >
- Business Insider 17:27January 19, 2020These are the most popular words used in real-estate listings across the USRobert Nickelsberg/Getty Images A study by online real-estate marketplace Point2Homes found the most popular words used in real-estate listings across the country in 2019.
The study organized the words into eight categories. These categories reveal the most-used words and phrases based on everything from price range to region.
To gather the data, the company analyzed 1.2 million listings across the country and 65 million words.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Whether you're looking to buy a home, rent an apartment, or invest in a second property, you've probably read your fair share of real-estate listings.
In the midst of an industry flooded with new tech, words used to market properties continue to hold importance and influence first impressions. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: The bizarre history of the Yule Log Christmas specialSee Also:Miami's $300 million 'exoskeleton' skyscraper is complete after 7 years. Look inside the Zaha Hadid-designed tower, which comes with a private rooftop helipad.Meghan Markle and Prince Harry retreated to a mansion on Vancouver Island in the weeks before #Megxit news broke. Here are 3 private islands for sale nearby.Meryl Streep is selling her NYC penthouse at a 26% discount. Take a look inside the $18.25 million condo, which spans an entire floor and has a landscaped wraparound terrace.SEE ALSO: The 15 best states for America's middle class, ranked
DON'T MISS: Here's what $3,000 a month in rent will get you in 13 major US cities
< Arts & Culture, BI Select, Real Estate, Real Estate Listings, Luxury real estate, Point2Homes, >
- Observer 15:00January 19, 2020Hilary Swank’s Former West Village Townhouse Is on the Market for $11 MillionPeek inside the charming four-story Charles Street home.
< brownstones, celebrity homes, celebrity real estate, Halstead, Macy's, New York real estate, real estate, slideshow, townhouses, West Village >
- Business Insider 18:10January 18, 2020The rise and fall of Bed Bath & Beyond, one of America's most iconic big box retailersGetty Images Since its founding in 1971, Bed Bath & Beyond has been a go-to destination for home goods, appealing to shoppers with its convenient and affordable "superstore" model.
In recent years, however, the retailer has shown significant signs of struggle, with several quarters of poor sales and dramatic executive shakeups. Here's a closer look at the rise and fall of Bed Bath & Beyond.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Once the golden child of big-box stores, Bed Bath & Beyond is now struggling to stay afloat.
The retailer will shutter 44 stores across eight states in the next year as it attempts to course-correct in the wake of disappointing sales and executive turmoil.
Bed Bath & Beyond was once a leading home goods retailer, appealing to shoppers across the nation with its strategy of abundance. The beloved store, which lined strip malls across the country, became known for its huge assortment of products spanning every color and style imaginable.
Over the years, it became a go-to destination for just about anything and everything for the home and — true to its name — beyond.
We took a closer a look at Bed Bath & Beyond's rise from a small linen store in New Jersey to a major national retail chain now on the brink of collapse. Bed Bath & Beyond was founded in 1971 in New Jersey by Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein.
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider
The duo had formerly worked in management at Arlans, a local discount chain, and saw opportunity for growth in the bed and bath categories.
"We had witnessed the department store shakeout, and knew that specialty stores were going to be the next wave of retailing," Feinstein told the trade publication Chain Store Executive in 1993.
It was originally called Bed 'n Bath, to reflect its specialty linens and bath products. The company would later rebrand to Bed Bath & Beyond in 1987.
Mark Peterson/Corbis via Getty Images
During the course of the 1970s, Bed Bath & Beyond expanded to 17 locations, primarily in the greater New York area and California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:JCPenney is closing 6 stores. See if your local store is on the list.JCPenney is closing a customer service center in Kansas and cutting more than 200 jobs after disappointing holiday salesAs malls shutter across the country, take a look back at 20 of the best shopping montages from classic moviesSEE ALSO: Bed Bath & Beyond is closing stores in at least 8 states. See if your local store is on the list.
< Features, Big Box, Bed Bath & Beyond, Retail, Visual Features, BI Select, Home Goods, >
- Business Insider 16:55January 18, 2020We compared Ross and the struggling Pier 1 Imports and saw why the messier store is actually better to shop for home goodsShoshy Ciment/Business Insider Pier 1 Imports, a major home goods retailer, is struggling and closing up to 450 of its 942 stores.
Ross Stores sells home goods in addition to clothes, shoes, and accessories.
We visited a Ross store in Davie, Florida and a Pier 1 Imports in New York City to see how they compared for home-goods shopping.
While Ross was clearly messier, it was also the better store for home goods, from price to quality.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Pier 1 Imports, once a leader in the home goods sector, is struggling.
The company announced earlier this month in an earnings report that it plans to close up to 450 of its 942 stores, which could impact thousands of employees' jobs.
We visited a New York City Pier 1 Imports store over the summer and were impressed with the quality offerings and charming store layout. However, it was clear why the company has been struggling to compete with other discount home-goods chains.
Ross Stores is an off-price retailer that sells a variety of home goods in addition clothes, shoes, and accessories. The company has a history of posting strong sales and reported an 8% rise in third-quarter sales to $3.8 billion in November.
We also visited a Ross store in Davie, Florida and compared it to our experience at Pier 1 Imports. While Ross was clearly messier, it was also the better store for home goods, from price to quality.
Here was our experience:We visited a Pier 1 Imports on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider
The store was having its semi-annual sale, so we expected to find some deals.
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider
But a sign in the window made it clear that our experience would be focused more on home-making than chiefly discount-finding.
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:I ate similar meals at In-N-Out and Five Guys, and the West Coast chain's cheaper burger beat out the more expensive one6 keto diet-approved menu items major chains have rolled out across the USWe visited a Ross and a TJ Maxx and while the former was far messier, both showed why discount shopping is the future of retailSEE ALSO: We visited a Ross and a TJ Maxx and while the former was far messier, both showed why discount shopping is the future of retail
SEE ALSO: Sign up for Business Insider's retail newsletter, The Drive-Thru.
< Features, Ross, Ross Dress for Less, Pier 1, Pier 1 Imports, Store tour, Store comparison, Home Goods, home-goods store, CT Visual Features, >
- Business Insider 16:32January 18, 2020A group of young people in Silicon Valley could get $1,000 per month from the county government in a trial of basic incomeMarcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley, is considering a basic-income pilot that would give $1,000 per month to young adults transitioning out of foster care.
High housing costs and a lack of affordable housing have made these adults vulnerable to homelessness.
Like the basic-income trial in Stockton, California, the pilot would test whether guaranteeing free money to citizens improves their quality of life.
Visit Businessinsider.com for more stories. Silicon Valley seems to be ever more curious about basic income.
The idea of providing a financial safety net in the form of free money has gained favor among Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield, and former Y Combinator president Sam Altman.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: Here's what Trump's tax plan means for people at every income level from $20,000 to $269,000 a yearSee Also:Packers star linebacker cried after signing a $66 million contract, then went to his mom's job and asked if she was ready to retireThe best bed sheets24 books C-suite leaders and billionaire investors say all entrepreneurs should read to become better leadersSEE ALSO: Silicon Valley's largest city wants to house the homeless in floating apartments
< Basic Income, Basic Income Gaurantee, Basic Income Analysis, Basic Income Trial, Stockton, Income Inequality, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara, San Jose, California, Homeless, Homelessness, >
- Business Insider 01:45January 18, 2020The best cotton sheetsWe tested dozens of cotton sheets to find the best ones you can buy in a variety of weaves and price points.
At the perfect intersection of comfort and value, our pick for best cotton sheets are the 280-thread-count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets from L.L.Bean. Crisp, cool, and soft to the touch, they make bedtime an affordable luxury. Nothing beats the feeling of sliding into a freshly-made bed. Sheets that are breathable and soft to the touch can make the difference between a great night's sleep and tossing and turning. Cotton is the go-to natural fiber for sheets, a classic material that naturally pulls moisture from your body and feels comfortable against your skin, and it works for all four seasons.
To find the best cotton sheets out there, we scanned buyer reviews and testing results from textile pros, then we put the short list of sheets to put to the test (sleeping on them) to pull together our picks for the best cotton bed sheets you can buy.
Choosing the right cotton sheets for you generally comes down to personal preference, and knowing whether you're a lover of percale or sateen is a good starting point. The real key is to test the sheets yourself. Sleep in them a few nights, launder them, and repeat. Online-only companies that sell sheets have made generous return policies part of the process to give you the out if you find you don't like a set of pricey sheets.
Some brands offer other benefits, like deeper pockets (those elastic corners) to accommodate a taller mattress, extra-wide top sheets, or different finishing details that you may find that you like.
Here are the best cotton sheets: Best overall: L.L.Bean 280 Thread Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Best sateen sheets: Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set
Best on a budget: Threshold Performance Sheet Set
Best luxurious sheets: Snowe Sateen Sheet Set
Best organic cotton sheets: Boll & Branch Signature Soft Hemmed Sheet Set
Best percale cotton: Parachute Percale Sheet Set
Best affordable organic cotton sheets: Saatva Dreams Lofton Organic Sheet Set Updated on 1/17/2020 by Jen Gushue: Updated pricing, links, and formatting.The best cotton sheets overall
The 280-thread-count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets from L.L.Bean are crisp, cool, and soft to the touch at a lower price than comparable sheets.
L.L.Bean's moderately-priced pima cotton sheets receive consistently stellar reviews from buyers and professional testers alike. In fact, they topped our list when we compared sheets of various materials as well.
Made from 100% pima cotton in a percale weave, these sheets feel crisp and clean, but also softer than some other percale sheets. The sheets do well after washing, coming out soft and unwrinkled, and reviewers like the 15-inch pocket, which works with standard 10-inch-deep mattresses without moving out of position.
In our testing, these sheets had a soft hand feel right out of the packaging and they were cool and soft to sleep on. Repeat buyers comment that the sheets get even softer after washing. L.L.Bean's sheets have been the Wirecutter's top pick for cotton sheets six years running, both for comfort and for the reasonable pricing
L.L.Bean used a classic hemstitch detail on the flat sheets and the set is available in eight soft colors. You can choose between twin, full, queen, and king sizes. L.L.Bean offers a generous return policy, so you can get a 100% refund if you return them within one year. That way, you can feel comfortable testing them out with little risk.
Pros: Smooth, crisp feel, durability, reasonable price
Cons: Only fit mattresses up to 15 inches thick, no bright colors
The best sateen sheets
The Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set is buttery-soft, and the price tag is more affordable than comparable sheets.
Brooklinen's Luxe Core Sheet set is buttery-soft from the moment you open the packaging. The brand was launched on Kickstarter in 2014 by husband-and-wife team Vicki and Rich Fulop, and Brooklinen has gained a cult following in the industry for its luxurious and affordable bedding.
The sheets are an ongoing favorite here at Business Insider. Our editors have used the sheets for years and insist that they get even softer with age. Brooklinen's sheets are also a top pick from Good Housekeeping's textile labs, which found the sheets to be strong and pill-resistant with multiple washings.
Made of 100% long-staple cotton in a rich sateen weave, the fabric is Oeko-Tex certified and free of harmful chemicals. Heavier and softer than Brooklinen's classic line, the Luxe sheets feel smooth and cozy. These sheets are a premium offering that comes at a more affordable price than comparable luxury sheets, which can cost as much as $300 to $400.
When I tested them, Brooklinen's sheets lived up to all the hype. It felt amazing to slip into them on a chilly night. The pillowcases have a pocket to keep them in place, which is a feature I love for tidiness.
Available in twelve neutral-toned colors and simple patterns, these sheets will work in just about any space. They're available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king sizes. And Brooklinen offers a 60-day no-questions-asked return policy, so you can feel confident in a sight-unseen purchase.
Pros: Super soft, lots of color and pattern options,
Cons: Shorter mattress depth
The best cotton sheets on a budget
The Threshold Performance Sheet Set is way cheaper than most brands without losing out on comfort.
At a fraction of the price of other sateen sheets, the Threshold Performance Sheet Sets are a bargain price for 100% cotton sheets that don't sacrifice comfort. The 16-inch deep pocket on the fitted sheet has two layers of elastic to create a patented "stretch and fit to hold" performance that keeps the fitted sheet in place for mattresses of various depths.
These sheets are also Oeko-Tex certified to be free of harmful chemicals. Target sells the sheets in tons of solid colors, so they're a great option for people who like to coordinate sheets to their decor. To the touch, the Threshold sheets feel crisper than other sateen sheets, making them a good compromise for couples with different sleep preferences.
These sheets can be returned in-store or online for up to a year after purchase, though you may have trouble if the packaging is opened. They are available in twin, full, queen, and king sizes. Threshold's sheets are also the top budget pick at Wirecutter, where testers found the sheets to be just as durable as pricier brands, but slightly more wrinkle-prone and less breathable.
Pros: Available in 21 colors, well-priced, 16-inch pocket depth
Cons: Slightly less soft and breathable than other brands
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best champagne and sparkling wine you can buy onlineThe best men's bathrobesThe best bed sheetsSEE ALSO: The best mattresses for side sleepers
< Features, Insider Picks Guides, sheets, Home, Bedding, Bed, Insider Picks 2020, Bedroom, Best Guides, Buying Guide, Guide Update, Home Guides, >
- Business Insider 23:50January 17, 2020The best men's bathrobesBathrobes are welcome all year round thanks to the casual comfort they afford, but they're indispensable during the cold winter months. If stepping out of the hot shower into the chilly bathroom is your nightmare, then a soft, warm robe is a dream come true. The TowelSelections Men's Plush Kimono Robe is our top choice because it's well-priced, well-made, and luxuriously soft. I must admit that, for a semester or two in college, I was often to be seen wandering around the halls of the dorm and even at times plying the streets of Boston wearing a bathrobe. By my junior year, I had shifted away from wearing loungewear in public, and today, I'll scarcely be caught bringing trash to the curb without first having donned proper attire.
In the home, however, I'm still a great aficionado of the bathrobe. I have a cotton robe I often don immediately after bathing and a fleece robe I'll wear in the morning. My son has a fleece robe that matches its navy blue color. And my wife has a cashmere robe of which I may or may not harbor secret envy.
You don't need to spend a lot of money to get a good bathrobe, but if you're willing to shell out some cash, you can get a robe that will last you for many years. The funny thing about bathrobes is that for some, the best choice is often a low-cost option. For example, I don't care for the feel of silk. I would never buy a silk robe, thus incidentally shielding me from the elevated cost. Someone who lives in a warm climate might want a thin, lightweight robe, thus de facto ensuring he will end up with a lower cost garment. And polyester fleece, one of the softest and coziest materials, is also one of the cheapest.
Choosing the right robe isn't rocket science, but as you might wear the thing every single day for the next ten years, go ahead and choose with care. Consider materials, the weight and warmth of a robe, the length and fit, and of course the price. And if you think you might wear your bathrobe while walking down Bolyston Street on a Thursday afternoon, then, by all means, consider style, too.
Here are the best men's bathrobes: Best bathrobe overall: TowelSelections Men's Plush Kimono Robe
Best warm bathrobe: Alexander Del Rossa Men's Fleece Long Hooded Bathrobe
Best flannel bathrobe: Latuza Men's Cotton Flannel Robe
Best silk bathrobe: LilySilk Men's Long Pure Silk Robe
Best cashmere bathrobe: Cashmere Boutique Men's Full Length Robe
Best post-shower bathrobe: Parachute Classic Robe Updated on 1/17/2020 by Jen Gushue: Updated pricing and links.The best men's bathrobe overall
The warm, well-made TowelSelections Men's Plush Kimono Robe will be as comfortable after 100 wash cycles as it was the first time you slipped it on.
If you close your eyes and picture a bathrobe, it probably looks a lot like the TowelSelections Men's Plush Kimono Robe — a warm, plush robe with a thick collar, a broad belt, and a pair of large pockets. The collar helps to keep you warm, the wide belt prevents uncomfortable pressure, and the pockets are perfect for cold hands or to hold a bottle of shampoo and your comb as you head toward the bathroom.
The robe is machine washable and can be tumbled dry at lower heat settings, and it will last for years and years of daily use provided you launder it with care. That quality is largely due to the centuries-old tradition of garment production in Turkey, the country from which the TowelSelections Men's Plush Kimono Robe is imported. While it's not made from traditional cotton, the skill with which the company manipulates modern polyester fleece will be immediately evident.
All things considered, this well-priced robe is a fine choice to wear during your evening hygiene regimen, but an even better choice to wear all day long on those lazy Sundays.
Pros: Retains softness for years, available in several colors, good price for good quality
Cons: Sizes run large
The best warm bathrobe
Alexander Del Rossa
There's no reason to fear those cold winter mornings when you can wrap yourself in the extra-warm, extra-long Alexander Del Rossa Fleece Hooded Bathrobe.
When the bathroom floor tiles are cold underfoot and the cool bedroom air is wafting through the door after your hot shower, just getting cleaned up can bring its share of shocking cold. That is, unless you have the Alexander Del Rossa Fleece Hooded Bathrobe.
This ankle-length bathrobe is made using twin layers of polar fleece. It has a large hood that wraps over your head, keeping your crown, ears, and neck warm, and its generous fit wraps around your body with plenty of overlap. Basically, this bathrobe will keep you warm from the top of your head right down to your ankles, and that includes your hands, thanks to a pair of oversized pockets.
This is a big, soft, warm robe. It might even be too bulky or too warm for some, but for those who hate being cold after bathing, after a swim or a soak, or merely while lounging about the house, it's a surefire winner.
Those worried about the use of harmful dyes or chemicals will be pleased to know that this robe gets its color from chemical-free dye, which helps the robe maintain its color and means reduced exposure to potentially hazardous compounds.
Pros: Dual-layered insulation, hood for added warmth and comfort, stays tied reliably
Cons: Fabric pills with repeated washings
The best flannel men's bathrobe
The Latuza Cotton Flannel Robe is an absolute classic right down to its flannel material and print design. Plus, it's affordable.
The Latuza Men's Cotton Flannel Robe would not have looked out of place hanging on the bathroom door at your grandfather's house, and chances are good that this robe will still look right at home in your grandchildren's closet, too. This is an elegantly simple garment that's lightweight enough for year-round use but warm enough to take the sting out of a frosty morning newspaper recovery when draped over your pajamas.
The Latuza robe is 100% cotton flannel and comes in several different plaid patterns, including a timeless red and blue blend and a few different light and dark checkered styles. Comfort and classic styling aside, this bathrobe is perhaps most attractive thanks to its low price tag. Though the robe is affordable, it will last for years and years whether worn for a few minutes after the shower or serving as your outer layer of loungewear for hours on end.
Do keep in mind that because it's made from cotton it will likely shrink up after a few washings.
Pros: Great low price tag, classic styling, lightweight but comfortable
Cons: Shrinks with washing, belt too thin
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best bed sheetsThe best kitchen faucetsThis popular online florist has more than 80 fresh bouquets for Valentine's Day — here are the best ones
< Features, Insider Picks Guides, Men, Style, bathrobe, Best Guides, Buying Guide, Guides Update, Insider Picks 2020, Home, Home Guides, Men's Clothing, >
- Business Insider 22:51January 17, 2020I asked my financial planner for help buying my second home, and he recommended a 3-part strategy that workedNoel Hendrickson/Getty Images My husband and I wanted to upgrade to a larger home but weren't sure how much we could afford, so we asked our financial planner for help.
He told us to break our budget into two parts — flexible and non-negotiable amounts — and figure out what we'd be able to put down as a down payment.
Once we ran the numbers, we figured out how much we could comfortably spend. Two months into our new home, our finances are in great shape.
Ask a financial planner for help buying a home. Use SmartAsset's free tool to connect with a qualified professional near you » When my husband and I first got the idea that we might be interested in upgrading to a new house, we both knew there was one person we would need to call before we put anything into motion: our financial planner.
Since we've been working with our financial planner for three years now, we've come to count on his guidance and expertise when it comes to making big financial decisions. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: 5 facts about the animal kingdom that Golden Globe-nominated 'The Lion King' ignoredSee Also:Financial therapy isn't just for people struggling with money — it's for anyone who wants to understand how their thoughts affect their bank accountI met with a new financial planner, and I've already made 2 game-changing tweaks to the way I manage my moneyThe 15 best states to retire for a low cost of living in your golden years
< Buying a house, Buying A Home, Financial Planner, Financial Planning, Mortgage, PFI SmartAdvisor, PFI SmartAsset, pfi, PFI More Financial Planner Coverage, >
- Business Insider 22:21January 17, 2020This $20 handheld milk frother is one of the most foolproof kitchen tools I've used to make coffeeAmazon Lattes and cappuccinos are delicious, but those expensive coffee drinks can really add up.
An Amerisleep study found that the average American spends over $1,000 a year on coffee.
I love fancy coffee drinks, but don't love paying the high prices at coffee shops. The Aerolatte handheld milk frother is one of the most foolproof kitchen tools I've ever used — it turns any milk into a rich foam in just 20 seconds and costs under $20.
Read more: The best milk frother you can buy; The best espresso machines Product Embed: Product Name: Aerolatte Chrome Finish Milk Frother Card Type: small https://produktor.businessinsider.com/productCardService?id=5dd54459fd9db26d7c29b183&type=small&live=true Width: 100% Height: 150%
There's no better way to start your day than with a nice cup of coffee. While a plain old drip coffee will usually do, there's something about sipping on a latte or cappuccino that feels just a little more special. But specialty coffee drinks don't come cheap — the average American spends over $1,000 a year on coffee, according to an Amerisleep study.
I'm all about getting my caffeine kick every morning, but with New York City coffee shops charging $5 or more for a latte I've realized I'm better off becoming my own barista. The Aerolatte handheld milk frother is an affordable, easy-to-use solution that'll make quality coffee beverages from the comfort of your own kitchen, and help you save some money too. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best blenders38 clever gifts for coworkers that they'll actually be happy to receiveAmazon is offering 4 months of access to its music-streaming service for $1 as a Cyber Monday deal — here's how to take advantageSEE ALSO: This $11 reusable K-cup filter saves me more than $1,000 a year on coffee
< IP Reviews, Kitchen, Coffee, product card, Insider Picks 2020, Home, Food, Kitchen appliances, >
- Business Insider 21:32January 17, 2020The best bed sheetsFew would deny that at the end of a long, hard day, sliding into a comfortable bed outfitted with soft, smooth sheets that pamper your skin is one of life's greatest pleasures.
After reviewing dozens of contenders for the best sheets, our top pick is the 280-thread-count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets from L.L. Bean. If you're looking to further increase your bed's comfort, check out our guide to the best pillows. To get the best sleep possible, we invest in the best mattresses and pillows that our budgets allow. But the journey to dreamland doesn't just stop there: You need quality bed linens too. Because why buy an expensive mattress only to ruin the experience with inferior bedding?
Besides, we spend nearly a third of our lifespan sleeping on our beds, so why wouldn't you want the best sheets possible? Not only do you want something soft and comfortable, but you also want something that's durable and can hold up to washes. So we've made it easy for you: We checked out all the top buying websites, listened to opinions from bed sheet buyers, and tested sheets ourselves to compile our list of the best bed sheet sets you can buy.
Here are the best sheets for your bed: Best sheets overall: L.L.Bean 280-thread-count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets
Best sateen cotton sheets: Brooklinen Luxe Sheets
Best linen sheets: MagicLinen
Best Supima sheets: Casper Cool Supima
Best sheets with patterns and colors: Crane & Canopy Sheet Sets
Best flannel sheets: Pinzon Velvet Flannel Sheets
Best organic cotton sheets: Boll & Branch Signature Soft Hemmed Sheet Set
Best modal sheets: Pure Beech Modal Sateen Sheets
Best microfiber sheets: Brooklyn Bedding Microfiber Sheets
Best budget sheets: Room Essentials Jersey Sheet Set Updated on 1/17/2019 by Jen Gushue: Updated prices, links, and formatting. A note on thread count and weave
Thread count: Higher isn't always better
When it's time to buy sheets, many people simply assume that the higher the thread count, the better, and make their choice based on this feature alone. While it's true that thread count (a measurement of how many threads run vertically and horizontally in one square inch of fabric) is important, it turns out that there's another factor that plays a bigger part in sheet comfort: type of fabric.
In fact, according to Consumer Reports, there's no reason to pay extra for sheets with a thread count over 400, but it is worth your while to spend a little more on sheets made from the best kinds of cotton: Pima, Egyptian, or Supima. These long-fiber cottons weave into the softest, most comfortable sheets.
What about weave?
Weave is also important when it comes to choosing sheets you'll love. There are two basic weaves: percale and sateen. Percale sheets have the same number of combed, tightly woven threads running horizontally and vertically. If you prefer sheets with a slightly crisp, cool feel, this is the weave to choose. Percale sheets are durable and strong, standing up to repeated washing even in hot water. Look for a thread count between 200 and 400 for lightweight sheets, or 400 to 600 if you prefer more weight.
Sateen sheets (not the same as satin, which is a fabric, not a weave) have more threads running vertically than horizontally, creating fabric with a slight sheen and a very soft, silky feel. Sateen sheets are generally more delicate than percale bedding, and more likely to pill or come apart in the wash. Still, if you crave the silkiest feel against your skin, this is the weave for you. Thread counts between 300 and 600 are the sweet spot for softness and strength. The best sheets overall
L.L.Bean's wonderfully smooth 280-thread-count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets are durable, comfortable, and just the right weight to give you sweet dreams all year round.
Woven from 100% Pima cotton for the smoothest, softest, make-you-want-to-wiggle feel, L.L.Bean struck gold with its highly rated percale sheet set. As with all percale sheets, these have just a bit of a "crisp" finish, which feels nice and cool against your skin. They are the perfect weight for summer, and unless you live in a very cold climate or prefer to switch to heavier winter sheets, they are cozy enough for the colder months with the addition of a heavier blanket or comforter.
When you toss them in your washing machine and dryer, the sheets come out fresh, unwrinkled, and ready to coax you into the land of Nod. Sized to fit over mattresses up to 15-inches thick, these cotton sheets won't slip or slide as you sleep, and they hold firm to the mattress. They are available in seven basic colors, although alas, no brights. There are a few prints, as well.
L.L.Bean shoppers praise these sheets for their refusal to pill, long life, and wrinkle resistance. Quite a few customers commented that they have purchased several sets of the L.L.Bean sheets, and a common remark was, "These are the only sheets I'll buy."
We chose these sheets as our top pick in our guide to the best cotton sheets. In our testing, these sheets had a soft feel right out of the packaging and they were cool and soft to sleep on. Though L.L.Bean recently discontinued its famous lifetime guarantee, your purchase is still covered for a year, so if you find you're dissatisfied you can return the sheets for any reason.
And we're not the only ones who think the sheets are great. Wirecutter has chosen the L.L.Bean 280-thread-count Percale Sheets as its number one choice six years running, saying these sheets offer a "superior cool feel at a great price."
Consumer Search is another review website that picked the L.L.Bean sheets as its top pick, saying the sheets are "ideal for lovers of crisp, 'old-school' cotton sheets." The reviewer did comment that some buyers felt the sheets were a bit too rough, although they do get softer the more they are washed.
Pros: Smooth, crisp feel, durability, reasonable price
Cons: Only fit mattresses up to 15 inches thick, no bright colors, few prints
The best luxury sheets
If you take your sleep comfort seriously, the pampering touch and good looks of Brooklinen's Luxe Sheets will have you sleeping like a baby.
Started as a Kickstarter project in 2014, Brooklinen has quickly soared to the heights of success, due to its reasonable prices for high-quality bedding. Luxe Sheets start with the best long-fiber cotton, which is woven into single-ply yarn for the finest, yet softest threads. This also means that the finished thread count of 480 is the true number; many other manufacturers weave lower quality, three-ply yarn into their sheets, then use this trick to inflate their thread count.
Brooklinen's Luxe Collection is a sateen weave, with a soft-as-the-clouds feel. Because sateen is woven more tightly than percale, you'll find these sheets cozy and warm, with a soothingly "heavy" feel that many sleepers love. In fact, Ellen Hoffman, the Director of Content Strategy for the Insider Picks team, has been sleeping on these sheets for more than three years, and reports that they are "hands down the best sheets I've ever put on my bed."
She washes her Brooklinen sheets every two weeks and hasn't experienced a degradation in quality; in fact, she says they've softened with time and, thankfully, don't hold on to stains. Her white sheet set has not yellowed after frequent washings either. Overall, Ellen's sheets are in great condition (no rips or tears, no stains, etc.) after years of use, which is comforting to hear given their higher price.
The softness of these sheets increases every time they are washed. As a bonus, the sheets' wrinkle-resistance improves with each wash, as well. And, by the way, you can do that washing in your machine, then either line-dry your bedding or use your dryer on low heat.
The buzz doesn't stop there. Brooklinen has received positive press all over the web, with InStyle saying, "In order to design beautiful, affordable, and ridiculously comfortable sheets, Brooklinen co-founders Rich and Vicki simply focus on quality and manufacturing responsibly." Vogue writes, "the allure of this brand is certainly its technique and use of long-staple Egyptian cotton, which produces sheets and comforters that are softer than most."
Brooklinen currently offers the Luxe Sheets in seven solid colors, along with patterns like stripes and grids. It also frequently releases limited-editor colors and patterns. You can even mix and match colors or patterns within a sheet set, which is definitely a unique perk. The sheets fit mattresses up to 15 inches thick, so be sure to measure before ordering.
Pros: Super soft, high quality, mix-and-match sheet sets
Cons: Expensive, best if line-dried
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best places to buy winter hats for men, women, and childrenThe best women's leather jacketsThe best thermal gloves
< Features, Insider Picks Guides, Buying Guides, sheets, Home, Bedding, Home Guides, Bedding Guides, Sheets Guides, Guide Update, Buying Guide, Best Guides, Insider Picks 2020, >
- Business Insider 21:18January 17, 2020Interior design startup Modsy uses 3D models to let you see furniture in your space before you buy it — here's how it helped me make the most of my small apartmentModsy Modsy is a service that makes 3D models of the rooms you want to decorate based on pictures you send and its basic dimensions.
The company's interior designers will create two versions of the room, decorated with furniture from popular home stores that you can actually buy through Modsy, and which match your tastes and budget specifically.
For as low as $49 (but typically $199), you'll get two draft designs of your space, plus two updates from your designer and communication with them via email. For $129 (typically $299), you'll get more features, like one-on-one time with a designer via email or phone and unlimited rounds of updates to your two original drafts.
I've used Modsy for my last two apartments, and I recommend it to anyone who can comfortably afford the service. You can see what my bedroom redesign process was like with Modsy.
Read more: 8 companies that offer free or inexpensive interior design services Product Embed: Product Name: Modsy Interior Design Service Card Type: small https://produktor.businessinsider.com/productCardService?id=5e21ced562fa813c03566203&type=small&live=true Width: 100% Height: 150%
If you've ever bought a piece of furniture online and realized only after the setup that it either didn't fit the space physically or aesthetically, you can already name at least one time when you would have benefited from a service like Modsy.
Modsy is an online company that lets you upload photos and dimensions of any room and then creates a 3D model, complete with recommendations from an interior designer on how to fill it using furniture from popular home-decor and furniture stores. If you've already got a nightstand or bed frame, you can pay $15 and Modsy will make a 3D model of it as well, so you truly never have to wonder about what something will look like once put together. You also don't need to crawl around your house with a tape measurer.
The furniture the Modsy designers use is all chosen to fit your preferences. If you're not sure if you like "traditional" or "urban" design, as I wasn't, or if your style has changed over the years, as mine had, there's a quiz you can take to help identify what you like.
Once you get your designs, you can then buy anything from your model at a discount through Modsy, which matches the lowest advertised price on the day you place your order, including any applicable sales and promotions. So, you could save on top of sales at other retailers and potentially pay for the service itself with the discount.
There are four pricing options, with most shoppers probably deciding between the first three. The Luxe option will be the closest resemblance to traditionally hiring an interior designer for your home.
Modsy package options and pricing My experience with Modsy
I've used Modsy twice — once immediately after college, and again for the apartment I moved into immediately after that one. In my experience, the value is definitely worth the price. The 3D designs are extremely helpful and also allow me to be more creative with my space.
The first time I used Modsy, I was moving to a new place after college and wanted to take furniture shopping more seriously, but didn't have a natural gift for interior design. I could appreciate when things looked put-together, and I knew what I liked, but being on the other side of things is never easy, particularly with the visualization (which Modsy takes care of for me). Not being able to imagine all of the furniture, light fixtures, and rugs together also had me buying more basic furniture simply so that I would know it would go together. Modsy allowed me more freedom and creativity.
The second time around, it helped me find a way to blend my past taste (mid-century modern) and furniture with my new taste (eclectic). It also helped me become better at visualizing the possibilities elsewhere in my home, even without using Modsy again on those areas. In terms of price, I find the unlimited drafts with a designer help justify the higher price of the premium option. If you're indecisive, it's probably worth splurging. If you're only looking for a few tweaks, you can get by with the cheaper tier.
Even if you can't afford all the items Modsy uses to fill your space (although they do customize the selection to your budget), it's still a great way to get ideas from experts at an affordable price. I pay a lot in rent so that I can enjoy where I live, and I felt like Modsy was a valuable tool as an extension of that. It helped me make the most out of my apartment and made sure I did so without wasting money on furniture I would later hate.
If you're moving and don't have the mind of an interior designer but want to love your space, I can't recommend the service highly enough.
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Keep reading for a full breakdown of what it's like to use Modsy.Getting started
To begin, head to the Modsy homepage and click "start your project" to begin the questionnaire.
Select which room they'll be creating a 3D model of for you.
And select what the reason for the redesign is.
If you're moving and looking to completely revamp your space, or just want to update your living room, Modsy will be able to help.
Sign up to get a 3D model of your own home decorating project here.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:This Melissa & Doug wooden toy chest is the toy box I didn't know I needed — it's sturdy, safe for tiny fingers, and looks greatThis popular online florist has more than 80 fresh bouquets for Valentine's Day — here are the best onesThe best budget smart speakers
< Home Decorating, Furniture, Home, Design, Modsy, Home Improvement, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, IP Reviews, Features, Insider Picks 2020, Home Decor, Entertaining, Smart Home, product card, >
- Business Insider 20:37January 17, 2020Wayfair's summer sale is happening now — here are 21 of the best deals on furniture and decor
Wayfair Now through January 21, Wayfair is dropping prices for Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and offering discounts of up to 75%.
The biggest discounts are on categories like storage and organization, bedding, wall art, and outdoor furniture.
Shop the Wayfair Ultimate Clearance weekend sale here now. We're also showing you the best individual deals to shop below.
To potentially save more at Wayfair, visit Business Insider Coupons to find the most up-to-date coupons and promo codes. Wayfair always has great discounts, but now through January 21, it's having a huge sale with significant markdowns on categories like outdoor furniture, home decor, bedding, storage and organization, and more. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best kitchen faucets17 top-rated products to clean every room in your house38 unique subscription boxes and services that keep on giving
< Wayfair, Clearance sales, Sale, Discount, Furniture, Bedding, Home and Kitchen, IP Roundup, Insider Picks 2020, >
- Business Insider 19:51January 17, 2020This popular online florist has more than 80 fresh bouquets for Valentine's Day — here are the best onesThe Bouqs Co. If you're looking for beautiful, unique arrangements and reliable delivery to send your loved one Valentine's Day flowers, look no further than online company The Bouqs Co.
The Bouqs Co. delivers fresh, hand-cut flowers from sustainable farms all over the world, with bouquets starting at around $40.
Find all our recommended online flower delivery services here, then shop more Valentine's Day gift ideas once you've successfully placed your flower order.
See more: The best online flower delivery services Valentine's Day is coming up soon and if you haven't thought about what to get your loved one, now's the time to start brainstorming. Whatever you decide to gift or plan, an arrangement of fresh flowers is never a bad idea to include.
With more than 80 beautiful bouquets available for delivery by or on February 14, The Bouqs Co. is one online flower company we come back to time and time again. If you're interested, you can read about how the The Bouqs Co. wowed "Shark Tank" investor Robert Herjavec here.
It partners with sustainable farmers all over the world and local florists to get you the best flowers for your special day, plus you can get them as soon as the next day. But since Valentine's Day is a busy time, you should order your flowers sooner rather than later to ensure you get the bouquet you want. It'll cost $12 to deliver them to your recipient, but delivery is free for orders of at least $100.
We picked out a few of our favorites, which you can see below. Each page features background information about the farmer involved, and you can add a vase to any bouquet for an additional fee.
If you're looking for more Valentine's Day gift ideas, we have you covered: 60 gifts under $25
38 gifts from Amazon — all under $50
85 gifts for her
15 jewelry gifts
33 tech gifts to buy on Amazon
37 tech gifts for men
50 thoughtful gifts for your wife
19 chocolate gifts Shop all Valentine's Day flowers at The Bouqs Co. here.Mixed roses
The Bouqs Co.
Order them here >>
Mix it up with pink, purple, yellow, and white roses in this special Exuberance arrangement.
Available in three sizes: original (12 roses, $39), deluxe (24 roses, $54), and grand (36 roses, $69)
Roses and lilies
The Bouqs Co.
Order them here >>
Or, take the dark but equally romantic route of deep red and yellow flowers.
Available in three sizes: original (16 mixed stems, $54), deluxe (32 mixed stems, $69), and grand (48 mixed stems, $84)
The Bouqs Co.
Order them here >>
The Hello Sunshine bouquet's bright sunflowers and aster accents will bring a smile to anyone's face. Add The Bouq's signature silver metal vase to your purchase for $12.
Available in three sizes: original (12 mixed stems, $49), deluxe (24 mixed stems, $69), and grand (36 mixed stems, $84)
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:33 unique and interesting Valentine's Day gifts you didn't know you could find on Amazon38 unique subscription boxes and services that keep on giving80 Valentine's Day gift ideas for everyone — all under $100
< Features, Gifts, Flowers, Insider Picks 2020, Valentine's Day, Home, >
- Business Insider 19:10January 17, 2020The best kitchen faucetsAs one of the most heavily used household fixtures, your kitchen faucet needs to be highly functional, durable, efficient, and convenient — all while looking great.
The Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet offers all of the above: It streams and sprays, guards against leaks, turns on manually or by touch, resists dirt and fingerprints, and exudes simple elegance.
If you're interested in expanding your kitchen renovation to include your sink basin, check out our guide to the best kitchen sinks. The workhorse kitchen faucet is often taken for granted — until it breaks. Just think of how frequently you and other household members use it to wash your hands, get a drink, scrub vegetables, rinse dishes, wet sponges, and more. Ideally, you want one that stands up to everyday use.
Choosing a kitchen faucet may seem like a mundane task, but it's actually important. You want the right kind to fit your needs and your kitchen's decor, and you don't want to simply opt for the cheapest model.
There is also a myriad of faucet styles to choose from: Valve Control: This is the mechanism that turns your faucet on and off, and adjusts the temperature of the water. Single-handle designs use one lever to control both temperature and flow, while double-handles have two (each handle controlling either the hot or cold water supply). Touch and motion-activated designs are convenient in a lot of ways, but they are dependent on a power source for their sensor. Note: Double handle styles are less common and are generally bought for their aesthetics over practicality — which is why we don't have any featured here. That said, I definitely value their durability: dual handles tend to be sturdier, and less easily yanked on than single handles. Spout style: Choose from revolving or stationary, regular (steady stream) or two-mode (regular and spray), low arc (3 to 8 inches above the top of the sink), or high arc (also known as gooseneck, which is more than 8 inches above the top of the sink) models.
Spray head: The sprayer can be separate from and next to the faucet, or at the end of the spout. The latter type is either pull-down (often on taller faucets) or pull-out (which sometimes includes much of the spout itself).
Finish: Whatever material comprises the faucet's finish (chrome, stainless steel, bronze, copper, brass, nickel, etc.) affects its appearance, cleanability, resistance to spotting and rusting, and price. So before you shop for a new kitchen faucet, think about where (the existing space, pre-existing hardware) and how you plan to use it. Consider each model's specs: Arc and spout height and reach: Do you have ample clearance for high-arc faucet or a cozier kitchen better suited to a low-arc model? Will you need to maneuver pots and pans under the faucet in order to wash them? Do you care how far the spout reaches across or extends over the sink?
Flow rate: Do you want adjustable water pressure? Do you need just a stream (for filling pots or washing vegetables) or also a spray (to add oomph to scrubbing sticky or burnt-on food off of dishes)?
Installation requirements: How many holes does your sink have for fitting a faucet? Some sinks have only one hole, and faucets requiring more than one hole can't be used (unless you plan to drill more holes … which may be inconvenient, costly, or structurally impossible). If your sink does have extra holes that the faucet doesn't need, you can use cover them with an escutcheon or deck plate or use them to fit accessories like a side sprayer or soap dispenser. It's also worth checking to make sure you have enough clearance between the faucet and the wall behind – to ensure your handle can rotate as far as it needs to. No matter which kitchen faucet you pick, choose a model that helps save water. A faucet aerator efficiently reduces the flow rate while still maintaining water pressure, thus conserving water and saving you money. Also, fix (or replace if necessary) the faucet when you notice any leaking. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, "A faucet leaking 60 drops per minute will waste 192 gallons (726.8 liters) per month … 2,304 gallons (8.7 m3) per year." To calculate your household's potential water waste from a leaky kitchen faucet, visit the U.S. Geological Survey's Drip Calculator.
As a residential contractor, I've been replacing and installing different types of faucets for years. From large commercial kitchen models to simple bathroom faucets, I know the mechanical red flags to avoid (like plastic ball valves that leak) and unreliable brands to stay away from.
Using this knowledge — and after reviewing each option's installation and design specs — I visited several appliance showrooms and hardware stores in my area to analyze my top choices. Once I got a hands-on feel each model's functionality and mechanics, I landed on these options as my top picks for the best kitchen faucets.
Here are our top picks for the best kitchen faucets: Best overall kitchen faucet: Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet
Best budget faucet: WEWE Single Handle High Arc Brushed Nickel Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet
Best touchless faucet: Moen Arbor Spot Resist Stainless One-Handle High Arc MotionSense Wave Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet
Best pull-out faucet: Moen Arbor Spot Resist Stainless One-Handle High Arc Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet
Best commercial-style faucet: Kohler Sous Pro-Style Single Handle Pull-Down Sprayer Faucet Updated on 1/16/2020 by Jen Gushue: Updated picks, prices, links, formatting, and text.The best overall kitchen faucet
The sleek and sturdy Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet adds the convenience of touch activation to the versatility of a pull-down spray head.
The Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet doesn't just pack a ton of features into a single faucet, it also looks good while doing it. From the sprayer wand to the integrated LED temperature indicator, it all comes together to make a nice, solid faucet.
What really sets the Delta Leland apart from competitors is the functional design of its pull-down spray-head. It's got a nice ergonomic tulip-shape that is easy to get a grip on, and its magnetic locking system connects it to the spout nice and tight.
The spray head itself has a rocker-style switch for toggling between settings — standard and sprayer — without having to hold a button down the whole time. A separate button controls the Spray Shield setting, which is one of those things that sounds like a gimmicky feature but is actually pretty useful. Basically, the Spray Shield focuses the water into a thin, extra powerful stream to blast off stuck-on food, while also creating a cone of water around the area to prevent splashing.
I was really surprised by the flexibility of the connector hose. Usually, these are stiff and rubbery, but even with a braided nylon covering, the Delta hose didn't affect my control at all. The 22" hose, plus the 15.4" faucet height make it great for tasks like filling up a big pot of water on the counter, instead of having to place it in the sink.
The Touch2O technology is the main feature of the Delta Leland Faucet, and it really shines here. This allows you to turn on the water by touching anywhere on the spout or handle. I personally appreciate touch faucets most when cooking with raw fish or chicken. I can control the water with my elbow through the entire process of rinsing off the meat, breading it, tossing it in the pan, and then washing my hands. A standard faucet would either have to be on the entire time, or I'd be washing my hands (and the faucet) after each step.
A handy LED display on the base of the Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet tells you the current temperature, transitioning from blue to red as it moves from cold to hot. Keep in mind though; this LED only turns on when the water is running. This means that you'll have to be a little more self-aware when using the touch feature, and confirm via the LED that the temperature is what you think it is.
The drawback of any touch-activated faucet is the need for a power source, and this model requires four AAAA batteries — or you could use the included AC adapter if you have an outlet in your sink cabinet. If you have a garbage disposal you probably do.
In my personal experience replacing faucets — and several plumbers that I spoke with agree — single handle faucets like this are eventually going to wear out and begin to leak. It's inevitable. Which is why touch activation is a great way to extend the lifespan of your faucet.
That being said, if you don't think you need the touch activation, Delta does make the same faucet in a standard style for a bit cheaper. That model still includes everything else, the Spray Shield, etc.
Even with the solenoid needed to power the sensor, installation of the Delta Leland Pull-Down Touch2O Kitchen Faucet is pretty straightforward if you have a couple of adjustable pliers on hand and an Allen key. Delta did a nice job with the instruction manual, and also has some helpful videos that supplement it nicely.
Pros: Stylish, lifetime warranty on parts and finishes, design reduces valve wear and tear.
Cons: Electronics only have a five-year warranty, batteries need to be replaced every 2 years.
The best budget faucet
The WEWE Single Handle High Arc Brushed Nickel Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet is low in price but high in quality with efficient operation and a simple tulip design.
Typically, lower-priced faucets look nice on the surface but skimp on components behind the scenes. The WEWE Single Handle Faucet delivers on both fronts, with braided supply lines for durability, an ABS plastic aerator (think of the tough plastic used to make Lego bricks), and ceramic disk valves.
Even though ceramic disk valves are pretty common these days, it was still a nice surprise to see them on a faucet at this low price. With no rubber caps to wear down over time, ceramic valves prevent leaks more effectively than ball valves and are pretty much mandatory for a quality faucet. (Though they are susceptible to cracking if you apply too much pressure to them, so keep that in mind.)
In addition to the standard stream and sprayer settings, the WEWE Faucet also lets you pause the water with a button on the spray head, which I really appreciate. You do have to continuously hold down the button while pausing, but it's still a useful feature for preventing over-spraying while moving back and forth between the sink and countertop, for example.
All of its components are solid metal, which gives the WEWE Faucet a nice solid feel to it. This faucet definitely doesn't have a flimsy or "cheap" feel you might expect from a budget option.
That being said, the zinc alloy and nickel finish are probably the reason for its low price. Cheaper than stainless steel, and not as resistant to water spots, brushed nickel will need a little more maintenance to stay clean. A soft cloth and soapy water should do the trick, just remember to stay away from any abrasive cleaning pads that can scratch the finish, as well as any cleaners that contain ammonia.
The WEWE Faucet has a high-arc (15.7-inches tall) neck that swivels 360 degrees. The spout hangs 8.5 inches above and reaches 8.5 inches across the top of the sink. The sprayer head hose is 71 inches in total length, and 23 inches when pulled out of the faucet.
Just like the higher-priced options on this list, installation is simple and should be doable for anyone willing to crawl under their sink and spend 30 minutes down there. You're not getting the "quick-connect" technology that pricier models have, so you'll be tightening the supply lines the old fashioned way (with your fingers and a couple of wrenches).
Pros: Good price, nice appearance, three-way spray setting, and easy installation
Cons: Zinc alloy is less durable, brushed nickel requires more maintenance than stainless steel
The best touchless faucet
Even if your hands are full or covered with grease or raw-meat juices, you can still turn the water on and off with the Moen Arbor Spot Resist Stainless One-Handle High Arc MotionSense Wave Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet.
Have you ever used dirty hands to turn on a faucet in order, only to have to wash the faucet itself and then mop up the ensuing puddles? It is a nuisance you can avoid with the Moen Arbor MotionSense Kitchen Faucet. Marrying form with function, this model offers convenient, hands-free operation with just the wave of your hand; the Wave Sensor (on top) and Ready Sensor (in front) initiate and stop water flow when either one detects motion.
By adjusting the control box under the sink, you're also able to control the default temperature of the water when the sensors activate the faucet. The Moen factory setting is lukewarm, but if you'd rather have it be warmer for rinsing dishes, or colder for drinking water, it couldn't be easier to adjust.
And if you ever feel like disabling one or both of the sensors, that's simple too. Just hold your hand in front of the sensor for 5 seconds and it will stop registering until it's activated again. While they're disabled you also can use the lever handle to turn the water on and off manually, as well as adjust the water pressure and temperature.
The Moen Arbor MotionSense Faucet has a 100-degree-rotating high-arc spout (15.5 inches) — great for filling and cleaning large pots. The spout with a pull-down spray head offers three functions: an aerated stream, a strong "PowerClean" spray for heavy-duty cleaning, and a pause that temporarily stops the water flow (1.5 gallons per minute maximum). The spray head's hose is 68 inches in total length and retracts smoothly to dock into place.
When it comes to installation, don't let the intimidating control box fool you, Moen's are among the easiest faucets to install. Their "Duralock Quick-Connect" installation system makes it easy to attach the hoses and lines to the control box, and their one-way connections basically make them impossible to install incorrectly.
Pros: Convenient no-touch operation, spot-resistant finish
Cons: Expensive, motion sensors may need to be re-calibrated routinely
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best dog bootsThe best FreeSync monitorsThe best budget smart speakers
< Features, Home and Kitchen, Kitchen accessories, Insider Picks Guides, Best Guides, Buying Guide, DIY Guides, Insider Picks 2020, Kitchen Guides, Guide Update, >
- Business Insider 19:09January 17, 2020US housing starts reach highest level in 13 years after 'spectacular' December surgeJoe Raedle/Getty Images US housing starts soared nearly 17% in December to a 13-year high, according to a Friday release from the Census Bureau.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate for home starts reached 1.61 million last month, topping estimates from economists surveyed by Bloomberg and leaping higher from 1.375 million in November.
The data signals a continued recovery for the housing market as low mortgage rates and resilient consumer confidence lift construction company's projections.
Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories. US housing starts spiked 16.9% in December to their highest level in 13 years, according to a Friday Census Bureau release.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate for housing starts reached 1.61 million last month, its highest point since December 2006. The positive data suggests continued recovery in the US housing market amid low mortgage rates, historically low unemployment levels, and robust consumer confidence.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruptionSee Also:24 books C-suite leaders and billionaire investors say all entrepreneurs should read to become better leadersThe world's most accurate economic forecaster 8 years running told us why Trump's Phase One trade deal is not nearly enough to prevent a looming US slowdownThe Chase Sapphire Reserve card is still a great option for frequent travelers — and it's hard to beat for bonus points
< Economy, Housing Market, Housing Market Signals, Homebuilders, Housing Starts, Housing, Economic Data, >
- Business Insider 18:51January 17, 202017 top-rated products to clean every room in your houseYutong Yuan/Business Insider Cleaning your entire house isn't as intimidating a process when you have all the right cleaning products for each and every room.
We found 17 top-rated cleaners, appliances, and tools that people swear by to clean their bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms.
They include a high-tech robot vacuum, a classic hand duster, and multi-use tools designed to save time, energy, and space.
Read more: The best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry appliances you can buy; The best bathroom cleaning products you can buy Even the thought of cleaning tires me out, and I usually have to spend a few hours (ok, more like days) mentally preparing for the chore.
However, I've found that once I start cleaning one of the rooms in my apartment, I get into a productive groove that whisks me from bathroom to kitchen to living room to bedroom with montage-like ease.
Having both the mental strength to clean and a proper toolkit of products on hand will help you reach this cleaning groove and get the chore over as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
If you're equipped with thorough, durable, and easy-to-use cleaners and appliances, you can clean your entire home and barely break a sweat in the process.
What products should you fill your cleaning basket with? We looked to the top-rated ones first to see what everyone else swears by to catch dust bunnies, clear out clogged drains, and make their countertops sparkle as much as when they first moved in.
These 17 cleaning products are all highly rated best sellers you can use throughout your house, from the bathroom to the living room. Anywhere: Dyson V10 Absolute Cordless Vacuum
Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, $399.99, available at Amazon
Though $500 can seem like a lot to pay for a vacuum, the V10's powerful and thorough cleaning capabilities make every dollar worth it. The battery only runs when you push on the trigger and it lasts for up to 60 minutes, letting you clean your whole apartment more efficiently than ever before. It comes with two cleaner heads (one for hardwood floors and one for carpet) and four additional tools so you can reach every inch of any surface.
Anywhere: iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi/Alexa, $374.89, available at Amazon (currently only available from third party sellers)
If you absolutely hate cleaning, let a robot vacuum do the work for you. While you're outside of the house, it can make use of all that empty time to clean your house and even automatically return to its docking station to recharge. It senses where there are concentrated areas of dirt and moves around your furniture so you won't return home to find it jammed in a corner.
The app lets you schedule cleaning sessions anywhere, while Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility integrate it seamlessly into your smart home set up.
Anywhere: Clorox Wipes
Clorox Value Pack Scented Disinfecting Wipes (3-pack, 225-count), $9.99, available at Target | Also available at: Walmart
You'll see these bleach-free wipes in nearly everyone's cleaning cabinet because they're thick and durable, kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, and come in three fresh scents. They dispense easily out of the canister and dry quickly, plus they're safe on hard and nonporous surfaces like finished hardwood, sealed granite, and stainless steel.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:20 fun stocking stuffers your baby will love — from novelty holiday bibs to animal-shaped teethersThe best toilet seat bidetsThe best paper towelsSEE ALSO: 11 top-rated bathroom cleaners and tools to get rid of mold and grime in your shower
< Cleaning, Home, Home and Kitchen, Bathroom, BI Graphics, IP Roundup, Yutong Yuan, Insider Picks 2020, Kitchen, >
- Breitbart News 18:26January 17, 2020Homebuilding Soars to 13-Year HighDecember saw a huge and unexpected boom in homebuilding.
< Economy, home building, homes, housing, Real Estate >
- iXBT 15:06January 17, 2020Xiaomi Smartmi Heater - управляемый конвекционный обогревательЗдравствуйте друзьяЧитать дальше
< smartmi, mihome, xiaomi, DNQZNB03ZM >
- Business Insider 14:49January 17, 2020A man in Nigeria built his wife a house that looks like a giant plane because she 'loves to travel'Reuters / Afolabi Sotunde A man in Abuja, Nigeria built an unusual airplane-shaped house for his six children and wife who "loves to travel," according to Reuters.
The BBC reported that construction began in 1999 — and is still ongoing.
Rather than an airplane converted into a house, the home is made from concrete in the shape of a plane, and is on a complex that also includes a guest house, mosque, swimming pool, garden, and covered car port.
Said Jammal told the BBC he hopes the home will become a tourist attraction in Abuja.
Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a... well, it does technically look like a plane, but it's really a house.
Located in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, the unusual-looking home is the brainchild of local man Said Jammal, who built the home for his six children and wife Liza who "loves to travel," according to Reuters.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: Why red and green are the colors of ChristmasSee Also:A rabbit in a bowtie sipped champagne and ate croissants in business class, and it'll make you feel bad about flying economyIt took me 24 hours to fly from Guam to New York, and there are 6 items I wish I had brought in my carry-on and 6 I couldn't have survived withoutA creator who has become YouTube's supervillain called 911 when reporter Chris Hansen knocked on his door to ask him about accusations of grooming underage fans
< Lifestyle UK, Airplane, Aviation, Africa, Nigeria, Travel, Construction, building, Transportation, Homes, Real Estate, >
- Breitbart News 04:43January 17, 2020Senators Urge DHS Chief Wolf: Do Not Import More H-2B Foreign WorkersA bipartisan coalition of United States Senators is asking Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf not to follow the path of former Secretaries Kirstjen Nielsen and Kevin McAleenan by allowing businesses to import more low-skilled foreign workers.
< 2020 Election, Immigration, Politics, American workers, big business lobby, blue collar workers, Chad Wolf, department of homeland security, DHS, foreign workers, H-2B visas, Kevin McAleenan, Kirstjen Nielsen, mass immigration >
- Business Insider 01:16January 17, 2020The best budget smart speakersA great smart speaker can play music, answer questions, and control other smart home devices through voice commands.
Larger smart speakers with premium audio can cost a lot of money, but there are several affordable options available with very solid performance. We think the Amazon Echo Dot is the best budget smart speaker around, thanks to its wide array of smart features and simple, intuitive design. The original Amazon Echo launched in 2014, unleashing a whole new ecosystem of products with support for digital assistants. And while the first-generation model retailed for $200, prices for these devices have dropped pretty dramatically since then. Other companies, like Google, have also released their own entry-level smart speaker models, bringing even more options to buyers.
Now, there are a number of great budget smart speakers for those who want access to a digital assistant but prefer not to shell out a ton of cash. Though they don't offer the audio performance that flagship speakers provide, these entry-level smart speakers are a convenient way to get basic music playback and voice control support for other smart products in your home. Budget smart speakers are also a great buy if you plan on picking up multiple units and placing one in each room of your house.
Before you decide on a smart speaker, you should take into account which compatible devices and services you already own or subscribe to. Alexa still dominates the virtual assistant space (it currently has over 80,000 skills worldwide), but if you already use a lot of Android products, you may want to go for a speaker that syncs up with Google Assistant instead.
It can be tricky to figure out which affordable smart speaker fits your needs — you may even want to learn a bit more about what they can do, the devices they support, and the privacy concerns surrounding them. To help narrow the field, we went ahead and tested and researched the most popular wallet-friendly options on the market to bring you a list of the best of the best.
Here are the best budget smart speakers you can buy: Best budget smart speaker overall: Amazon Echo Dot
Best budget smart speaker with Google Assistant: Google Nest Mini
Best portable budget smart speaker: Fabriq Riff
Best budget smart speaker with a display: Amazon Echo Show 5
The best budget smart speaker overall
The Amazon Echo Dot features all the awesome smart features that you get on any other Alexa speaker, but comes at a fraction of the price.
Looking for a great smart speaker with (almost) all the benefits of the Amazon Echo? There's a fun-sized Echo perfect for your needs — and it's called the Amazon Echo Dot.
For starters, it comes fully-loaded with Amazon Alexa — so just like on the Amazon Echo, you'll be able to use it to control smart home devices, search for information from the web, play music, and more. But the best thing about it is how inexpensive it is.
The design of the speaker is also pretty nice. It features a fabric covering (available in colors like Charcoal, Heather Gray, Plum, and Sandstone), along with easy-access buttons on the top for things like muting the microphone and controlling volume.
One downside — the Dot's sound quality isn't as good as the more expensive Amazon Echo's, though that's to be expected of a device that's substantially smaller. As a workaround, the Dot comes with an audio out port and Bluetooth, so you can connect it to a larger audio system.
Despite its less-than-crisp sound, the Echo Dot has still gotten some pretty great reviews. Digital Trends scored the device an impressive 9/10, while TechRadar gave it a similarly positive 4.5/5.
If you're willing to pay a little extra, you should also consider Amazon's new Echo Dot with clock. This model adds a simple LED display for showing the time and temperature.
Pros: Well-designed, compact, super smart, very affordable
Cons: Audio quality isn't amazing
The best budget smart speaker with Google Assistant
Google Assistant offers great smart home performance, and you can get it in a super affordable speaker — the Google Nest Mini.
If you like the idea of the Amazon Echo Dot but prefer to stick within Google's ecosystem, then the Google Nest Mini is a better fit for you. The compact smart speaker is designed to serve as a replacement for the original Google Home Mini.
The Nest Mini is about as small as the Amazon Echo Dot, but instead of Alexa you'll get Google Assistant support, which offers a lot of the same smart features.
With Google Assistant, you can play music from a variety of services through voice commands, including Google Play, Spotify, YouTube Music, and more. You can also ask the speaker general questions, receive news briefings, get weather updates, set alarms, and control other compatible smart devices.
The Google Nest Mini is pretty well-designed too. It's a little less angular than the Echo Dot, but it still offers a very similar puck-shaped design with a fabric covering around the top and capacitive controls for things like volume. It's also available in a few colors, like Charcoal, Sky, Coral, and Chalk. A handy keyhole is integrated on the back as well, making it easy to mount on a wall.
While the Google Nest Mini is super smart and pretty stylish, it's not perfect. Like Amazon's Echo Dot, audio playback on the device is a little limited, so it's not the best speaker for those that want to enjoy loud, full-sounding music. With that said, the audio performance has been improved compared to Google's older entry-level smart speaker, the Google Home Mini.
Unlike the Amazon Echo Dot, however, the Nest Mini lacks a 3.5mm audio out port. This means you can't use a wired connection to hook the Mini up to another speaker for better audio playback. If you want that feature, you'll have to go for the Echo Dot instead.
Pros: Google Assistant built-in, affordable, nice design, keyhole for easy wall-mounting
Cons: Audio quality isn't great, doesn't include a 3.5mm audio out port
The best portable budget smart speaker
The Fabriq Riff features Alexa support and a built-in battery for portable Bluetooth playback. Perhaps you're looking for a smart speaker that you can move around the home with ease — in which case it's worth considering the Fabriq Riff. This speaker is perhaps most unique because of its design, but it also offers Alexa support and comes at a very affordable price.
As a smart speaker, you'll get the primary benefits that come with any Alexa device, including voice control and support for various skills. With that said, you will need to press a physical mic button on the speaker in order to activate Alexa. Alexa also requires a Wi-Fi connection to work, but you can still play music via Bluetooth when you don't have access to the internet.
When it comes to battery life, the speaker is rated for five hours of use, which is decent for the price. As the name implies, the Fabriq features an attractive fabric design. It's available in several unique patterns — including "Arrows," "Blue Steel," and "Jack Plaid" — offering a bit more style than typical speakers.
The Fabriq Riff doesn't sound as good as some larger, more expensive portable speakers, but considering its price, it offers a nice balance between portability and smart features. As Tom's Guide notes in its review, there are some quirks, but the Riff is a solid buy if you want a portable speaker with Alexa on a budget.
Pros: Interesting design, Alexa built-in, integrated battery for portable use
Cons: Sound isn't as good as more expensive speakers, battery life could be better
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best FreeSync monitorsThe best video baby monitorsThe best yoga pants
< Features, Smart Home, Smart Speaker, Insider Picks Guides, Best Guides, Buying Guide, Insider Picks 2020, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, >
- Business Insider 00:57January 17, 202029 photos of beautiful tiny house kitchens that show just how creative homeowners can bePhoto by Bryan Aulick Tiny house kitchens can still have large appliances, expensive furnishings, full islands, and plenty of countertop space.
But some are so small they only have two-burner stoves, limited counter space, and no cabinets.
Tiny house owners often devise creative solutions to storage problems, such as tables that fold away or pantries hidden beneath staircases.
Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. In a traditional American house, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and the same can be said for a tiny house.
Although tiny houses are smaller, they can still include large appliances, fancy furnishings, full islands, numerous cabinetry, and plenty of countertop space. On the other hand, there are some tiny houses that can only fit mini-fridges, two-burner stoves, and pull-down tables because of the lack of space.
Keep scrolling to see how homeowners make the most of their — often truly tiny — kitchen spaces. Dolly Rubiano's tiny house is just 270 square feet but her kitchen feels large due to its white cabinets.
Courtesy of Dolly Rubiano
She also featured a lot of greenery in her kitchen and the rest of her tiny home.
Her kitchen also has enough space to feature her unique design style.
Courtesy of Dolly Rubiano
Rubiano said her kitchen style is minimalistic, vintage, and bohemian.
Although she has plenty of counter space, the tiny house only has a two-burner stove.
Courtesy of Dolly Rubiano
Below the stovetop, there is also a small oven.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:A British company will sell knives with square tips after a sharp rise in knife crime8 beautiful homes you won't believe are made out of shipping containersDisney just dropped a new kitchen collection, and some items cost as little as $8
< tiny houses, Downsizing, Home, Kitchen, Design, >
- Business Insider 21:28January 16, 2020How to shop at Grove Collaborative, the site that makes buying household cleaning supplies convenient and environmentally friendlyGrove Collaborative/Instagram All the home products, including natural cleaning supplies, makeup, and baby products, sold on Grove Collaborative are non-toxic, ethically made, and cruelty-free.
The certified B Corp wants to make it as easy as possible to shop brands you'll feel good about using in your home and on your body.
It does this by supplying top brands like Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation and offering an auto-replenishment subscription service for the supplies you'll always need.
Read more: The best bathroom cleaning products you can buy; Product Embed: Product Name: Grove Collaborative VIP Membership (per year) Card Type: small https://produktor.businessinsider.com/productCardService?id=5e20788762fa8179d2665b02&type=small&live=true Width: 100% Height: 150%
Finding brands that you feel good about using in your home and on your body is getting easier. If you're looking for natural cleaning products, skin care and makeup, and even baby products, you have more options than ever before.
Though the number of natural brands is growing, it does take time to vet these individual products and brands, and there still aren't many places where you can buy all of them in one place. Grove Collaborative, a company that delivers all-natural home, beauty, and personal-care products from top brands, hopes to become the only site you visit to keep your home stocked with these supplies. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:This online startup makes cute organic clothes for babies and kids — its curated Birthday Boxes are great gifts for any childThis personalized tea subscription delivers 4 unique teas every month — here's why a devout tea drinker recommends itThe best floor cleanersSEE ALSO: Grove Collaborative makes natural hand soap and dishwashing soap that actually gets me excited to do the dishes
DON'T MISS: 17 top-rated products to clean every room in your house
< Cleaning, Home and Kitchen, Natural Products, product card, Home, Kitchen, Insider Picks 2020, >
- Business Insider 21:26January 16, 20208 surprising household items you should clean every day, according to an expertczitrox/Shutterstock; NavinTar/Shutterstock; editing by Darcy Schild Many common items and spaces around the house are often overlooked when it comes to regular cleaning sessions.
Insider spoke with Melissa Maker, a YouTuber, author, and founder of Toronto-based cleaning service and brand, Clean My Space.
Maker revealed her biggest recommendations for what spaces, appliances, and accessories people probably aren't cleaning daily, but should be.
Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Cleaning the house can tend to feel like a chore, where sparkling results shown on cleaning product labels are rarely achieved.
Insider spoke to Melissa Maker, a professional cleaner and founder of Clean My Space, to find out which household items and spaces typically aren't cleaned every day — but should be.
Keep reading for the spots Maker recommends tidying on a daily basis, and that can make a surprising difference in a home's appearance and cleanliness.Toothbrush cups can easily be neglected, but they should be cleaned often.
Nick Starichenko/Shutterstock; Editing by Darcy Schild
"The one thing I think people don't ever think about in their bathroom is their toothbrush holder," Marker said. "I'm actually so grossed out by toothbrush holders that I've forgone one altogether. I lay out a face cloth and put all my accessories on there and change it every couple of days."
Many cups and toothbrush containers can be regularly cleaned in the dishwasher, Marker said, or they can be rinsed with dish soap every few days.
Bathroom mirrors, countertops, and sinks should be wiped daily to make the space seem substantially tidier.
Krista Abel/Shutterstock; Editing by Darcy Schild
Marker told Insider that taking a minute each day to refresh the bathroom countertop area can make a big difference in the cleanliness of the overall bathroom.
"One thing I like to do is just to grab a microfiber cloth and just wet it with water, and I wipe the mirror first, then faucet and handles, and then sink," Marker said. "It takes under a minute and just doing that makes all the difference. It helps the bathroom stay tidier between bigger cleans."
Electronic toothbrushes and their chargers can become built-up with gunk over time.
Ugis Riba/Shutterstock; Editing by Darcy Schild
Marker said that when people put their freshly used electronic toothbrush back in the charger or stand, it can easily lead to stains and hard-to-clean gunk.
She recommends laying the toothbrush on a washcloth and only using the stand or charger as needed.
"You can also use a microfiber cloth with baking soda and clean any discolored areas on the toothbrush handle," she said.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:Interior designers reveal the 12 things in your home you should get rid of8 beautiful homes you won't believe are made out of shipping containersDisney just dropped a new kitchen collection, and some items cost as little as $8
< Features, Home, living, Cleaning, House, Interiors, >
- Observer 20:09January 16, 2020Shaun White Is Looking for an $11 Million Buyer for His Malibu Beach HouseThe Olympic gold medalist is ready to part with his second beach home.
< athletes, Beach House, California, celebrity homes, celebrity real estate, Compass, Malibu, Olympics, Point Dume, real estate, slideshow, snowboarding >
- Business Insider 17:07January 16, 2020A high school teacher bought a 'trashed' home in Detroit for $2,600 and got it into livable condition in less than 2 years. Here's how she did it.Deandra Averhart The Detroit Land Bank Authority is selling thousands of publicly owned properties through programs such as Own It Now and Auction. These homes can be bought for as low as $1,000.
In June 2018, Deandra Averhart, a native Detroiter, purchased one for just $2,690.50.
In an interview with Business Insider, Deandra explained how she transformed the property and her biggest takeaways from the project.
This article is part of Business Insider's ongoing series, How I Renovated It, where we talk to homeowners around the country about the process, budget, and transformation that goes into a renovation.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. You can become a homeowner in Detroit, Michigan, for a few thousand dollars — but it'll take a lot of work.
The Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA), founded in 2008, set out on a mission to return run-down and vacant properties in the city to productive use. To do so, it sells thousands of publicly owned properties through programs such as Own It Now and Auction. Homes can be bought for as little as $1,000.
But claiming full ownership is not without work: The DLBA has a compliance program that requires purchasers to either renovate and occupy or demolish the house.
We caught up with Deandra Averhart, a native Detroiter, who purchased an abandoned home through the DLBA's Own It Now program in June 2018. She paid just $2,690.50 for it and has spent a year and five months fixing it up. So far, she's spent around $13,000 on renovations. One way she was able to keep the budget low was by decorating with furniture she bought at thrift stores or on Craigslist.
In an interview with Business Insider, Deandra explained how she transformed the property and her biggest takeaways from the project.
Do you have a home-renovation story you'd like to share with our readers? Get in touch with this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.The Detroit Land Bank Authority — the DLBA — is one of several organizations and people working to revitalize Detroit.
Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images
A weak housing market and low-valued homes have made it difficult for Detroiters to obtain mortgages. The Detroit Home Mortgage program, which was put in place in 2016, is working to increase homeownership in the city by lending qualified buyers the money needed to both purchase and renovate homes in the city.
Through the program, Detroiters can receive two loans: The first mortgage is for the appraised value of the home, while the second mortgage, which has a limit of $75,000, closes the gap between the home's sale price and its appraised value and covers the cost of renovations.
Deandra Averhart bought this abandoned three-bedroom, one-bathroom home in June 2018 through the DLBA's Own It Now program. It's located in Detroit, near the University District.
She told Business Insider that originally, she wasn't interested in buying a house. However, after talking to a friend, she decided that investing her money was a better idea than paying rent.
A brief history: Detroit, Michigan, was once home to a booming auto industry. However, in the 1950s, the industry started declining and companies started moving out of the city. By the 1960s, people were leaving in droves.
In 2013, the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. Now, more than five years later, more and more programs are seeking to improve the city.
Wealthy entrepreneurs are investing in the city too, like Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans. As Business Insider previously reported, after Gilbert moved his company to downtown Detroit in 2010, he started the real-estate firm Bedrock.
Not only is Quicken Loans one of Detroit's largest employers and taxpayers, but as of 2018, Bedrock had invested or allocated $5.6 billion in roughly 100 properties in downtown Detroit and nearby neighborhoods.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:How the world's top 15 luxury housing markets will perform in 2020There's a house designed to look like a giant wooden tent in the middle of a Japanese village — here's a look insideInside the $72 million ranch the size of San Francisco and 1 hour east of the Bay Area that the state of California may want to turn into a state parkSEE ALSO: A Detroit man bought an abandoned house in the city for $2,100 and spent 9 months renovating it for his mom. Here's how he did it — and what it looks like now.
NOW READ: A Maryland couple bought a 120-year-old church for $320,000 and now live in it with their 3 kids — here's a look at how they turned it into a home
< Features, Arts & Culture, BI Select, Real Estate, renovated homes, How I Renovated It, >
- Observer 16:52January 16, 2020John Travolta Sold His Longtime Brentwood Home to Scooter Braun for $18 MillionThe music executive already owns the house next door.
< Brentwood, celebrity homes, celebrity real estate, Los Angeles, Los Angeles real estate, real estate >
- Huffington Post UK 16:25January 16, 2020Here's What The £500k For The Big Ben Brexit Bongs Could Have Paid For Just A Few Metres Away
< uk news, brexit, uk politics, Homelessness, foodbanks, Big Ben, news, politics, homelessness, foodbanks, big-ben, NEWS >
- The Guardian 15:30January 16, 2020Nearly 1 million EU citizens in UK yet to apply for settled statusDespite take-up by 2.7 million, alarm over numbers granted weaker pre-settled statusAn estimated 900,000 EU citizens in the UK have yet to apply for settled status, which they need to remain in the country long-term after Brexit.The data comes a day after the European parliament raised concerns that EU citizens risked discrimination after Brexit in seeking housing and employment. Continue reading...
< Brexit, European Union, Home Office, Politics, UK news, Europe >
- Huffington Post UK 14:21January 16, 2020Valentine's Day Trees Are Here – And Look At How Extra They Are
< Christmas, home, Valentine's Day, valentines, christmas, valentines-day, LIFE, lifestyle >
- Guardian 10:00January 16, 2020Google Nest Mini review: better bass and recycled plasticUpgrade keeps what is good and improves sound for Google’s smallest, cheapest smart speakerThe second generation of Google’s smallest smart speaker gets a new name, more eco-friendly, a little smarter and more bass.The £49 Nest Mini replaces the Google Home Mini as part of a revamped and renamed line of Google smart home products under the Nest brand, pushing its predecessor to a clearance price of only £19. Continue reading...
< Google, Google Assistant, Google Home, Smart speakers, Alphabet, Technology, Gadgets, Smart homes >
- Business Insider 02:39January 16, 2020Oakland police were armed with riot gear, a battering ram, and a robot to evict 2 homeless moms and 2 activists from an empty house they were occupying to protest California's housing crisisJeff Chiu/AP Mothers and activists with a local advocacy group called Moms 4 Housing had been illegally occupying a vacant home in Oakland, California, to protest the city's housing crisis.
Alameda County officers, armed with riot gear, an armored vehicle, and a robot evicted and arrested four protesters associated with the group early Tuesday morning.
The dramatic faceoff drew widespread community support for the moms' cause, and highlighted the negative ripple effects of Silicon Valley's expanding workforce on working-class California natives.
Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Just before dawn broke on Tuesday, Alameda County law enforcement officers arrived at a single-family residence in Oakland, California, armed with riot gear, a ballistic vehicle, and a robot to evict two homeless mothers and two activists.
Officers rammed down the barricaded doors of the three-bedroom home on Magnolia Street, then had a robot enter the property to assess any danger before deputies entered to arrest the group of housing advocates who had been illegally occupying the home.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: Behind the scenes with Shepard Smith — the Fox News star who just announced his resignation from the networkSee Also:'I still haven't been forgiven by God for the covering up': Internal Boeing emails about 737 Max's safety show one staffer feared eternal damnationAn ex-con who was helped by prison consultants says Lori Loughlin should learn to 'be humble' ahead of her college admissions scandal trialFamily members of Boeing 737 Max crash victims say they spent the night 'agonizing' over being the 'punchline' to internal messages about the plane's safety failings
< Homelessness, Silicon Valley, Housing Affordability, Gentrification, Housing Crisis, Oakland, original reporting, >
- Business Insider 01:10January 16, 2020The best pillows for your bedA good pillow means a good night's sleep. We reviewed dozens of pillows to narrow down the choices to the ones you'll love best.
The Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow is our top pick, because it offers the comfortable "sinking in" sensation of a traditional memory foam pillow without the excessive heat or firmness that can be a problem with solid foam.
If you're looking to outfit the rest of your bed, check out our guide to the best sheets you can buy. In ancient times, a carved stone was considered a very comfortable and supportive pillow, but in today's world, you're probably looking for something a bit softer. Luckily, you've got a lot more to choose from than the people of ancient times.
There's a nearly dizzying array of pillows on display in any bed-and-bath shop, or on the virtual shelves of your favorite online home store. That can make it a bit difficult to choose the best pillow for your needs. Is memory foam best? How about down? Or maybe you're confused about all the different shapes: standard, contour, bolster. Well, have no fear, because we've done the research for you.
While ultimately, there is no "best for everyone" pillow — personal preference plays a huge part in determining the pillow you'll like the most — we checked out all the top recommendations from consumer buying websites, listened to what pillow buyers had to say, and even tried out some of the pillows ourselves to bring you the pillows most likely to send you off to the land of Nod comfortably.
Here are the best pillows for your bed: Best pillow overall: Coop Original Pillow
Best budget pillow: Le'vista Hotel Collection Pillow
Best hybrid pillow: Leesa Hybrid Pillow
Best down pillow: Royal Hotel Goose Down Pillow
Best luxurious pillow: Saatva Pillow
Best buckwheat hull pillow: Zen Chi Buckwheat Hull Pillow
Best bolster pillow: Cushy Form Half-Moon Bolster Pillow
Best gel pillow: Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow
Best body pillow: Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Full Body Pillow Updated on 1/15/2020 by Jen Gushue: Updated picks, prices, links, and formatting.The best pillow overall
Coop Home Goods
The Premium Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow from Coop Home Goods will have you sleeping like a baby with its perfect support and variable firmness.
"Ahhh." That's the sigh of contentment you'll utter as your weary head meets the Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow. It offers the support and comfortable "sinking in" sensation of a traditional memory foam pillow, but none of the excessive heat or firmness that can be a problem with solid foam. It's also our top pick overall in our memory foam pillow buying guide.
What makes the Coop Home Goods pillow particularly wonderful is that it's adjustable. You can unzip the inner pillow cover to add or remove foam until the pillow is just the way you like it. It's also hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, so you won't wake up sniffly or congested. When it's time to clean the pillow, no problem — just toss it in your washing machine and dryer. We recommend that you add another pillow or a blanket to balance the load, along with a couple of clean tennis balls to help fluff up the foam.
Coop Home Goods' proprietary shredded memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified, meaning it's guaranteed to be free of chemicals and toxins you really don't want to sleep with, such as formaldehyde, lead, mercury, ozone depleters, PBDEs, phthalates, and TCEP flame retardants. Manufactured in California, the pillow has a 30-day guarantee, so if you don't love it, you can return it with no questions asked.
We combed through customer reviews, and while most were positive, we did come across a few that mentioned the pillow's odor, which can be strong initially but fades away within a day or two.
The Premium Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow has a polyester/bamboo cover that is cool and comfortable for sleep, and it's easily removed for washing. Inside, there's an interlock knit cover to contain the foam. Both covers have zippers so you can access the foam for easy adjustment.
Pros: Adjustable loft, very supportive and comfortable, not too hot
Cons: Some initial odor, you have to let it expand from vacuum-sealed packaging
The best budget pillow
Smart Home Bedding
If you want excellent support and comfort at an equally great price, the two-set Le'vista Hotel Collection Pillow is what you've been dreaming of.
Just because a pillow is inexpensive doesn't mean it can't also be comfortable. The Le'vista Hotel Collection Pillow (formerly Smart Home Bedding Super Plush Pillow) definitely qualifies on both counts. The fill is a down alternative, meaning it has a similar feel to goose down, but it is made of a 50/50 cotton and polyester blend. While nothing perfectly matches the cloudlike feel of genuine down, this two-pillow pack comes pretty close.
The pillows are densely filled, so the support is fairly firm, yet with the soft give that is a hallmark of down. You'll also appreciate the fill's resistance to dust mites and other allergens. Even better for allergy sufferers, you can toss this pillow into the washing machine and dryer without any ill effects or loss of loft.
Nothing is perfect, however, and we did come across a few buyer reviews complaining that the pillows flattened out sooner than expected, and some people said they were too hard.
Pros: Inexpensive, good support, hypoallergenic
Cons: Flatten out, some feel they are too hard
The best hybrid pillow
The Leesa Hybrid Pillow combines the best of both worlds with a firm gel pillow base and a soft quilted top layer.
The Leesa Hybrid pillow is the perfect pillow for anyone who wants the firm support of a memory foam pillow and the soft cushy feel of a down pillow at the same time. The combination seems impossible, but Leesa has done it.
The Hybrid Pillow has a down-like quilted pocket layer on one side, a firmer, ventilated gel comfort layer on the other side, and a removable pillow insert between these two layers. The multi-layered approach makes this a very customizable pillow.
You can take the quilted pillowtop part off and use the firmer pillow base, you can flip it over and sleep on the cool gel side, or you can take the firm center out and just use the fluffy quilted top as your pillow.
I've been sleeping on this pillow for months now and I love it. The gel pillow base is firm enough to make me feel like I'm still sleeping on my memory foam pillow, but the soft, quilted down alternative topper makes it more comfortable to rest my head on the pillow at night. I'm a side sleeper, so I need support, but sometimes my very firm memory foam pillow can hurt my ears if I stay on one side for too long (the human head is heavy!)
I'm not the only person who loves this pillow, either. Several other Insider Picks staffers tried it and loved it. Nonbiased Reviews also recommends it highly.
The only real downside here is that this pillow is on the expensive side. However, given how versatile it is and the fact that it will last you for years, it's well worth the price. It's also not a huge risk because you can use it for 100 nights and if you decide it's not right, you can return it — no questions asked.
If you still have qualms, Leesa's philanthropy should assuage your concerns a bit. The pillow is part of Leesa's One-Ten Program, in which one pillow is donated for every 10 sold.
Pros: Firm pillow base, soft pillow top, adjustable design, cooling gel layer, 100 night trial
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:25 hidden gems on Amazon that make thoughtful and personal gifts for anyone on your list37 unique subscription boxes and services that keep on givingThese candles smell like home, and they're the perfect gift this holiday seasonSEE ALSO: The best sheets you can buy for your bed
DON'T MISS: The best mattresses you can buy
< Features, Insider Picks Guides, Buying Guide, Home, Bed, Pillows, Guide Update, Best Guides, Insider Picks 2020, Bedding Guides, Sleep, Home Guides, >
- Observer 00:33January 16, 20205 Gwyneth-Approved Goop-y Products to Buy Now That the Vagina Candle Sold OutConsider a necklace-vibrator combo or an optimism card set.
< Candles, Essential Oils, Goop, home design, lifestyle, meditation, Scented Candles, shopping, Wellness >
- Business Insider 23:11January 15, 20208 beautiful homes you won't believe are made out of shipping containersZach Smithey Homes made out of shipping containers are becoming just as popular as tiny houses.
Creative designs help transform shipping containers into stunning living spaces, some of which are available to rent on Airbnb.
Some shipping container homes even feature walk-in showers, king-sized beds, elaborate dining rooms, and hot tubs.
Read on to check out the homes that are so beautiful, you won't believe they're made of shipping containers.
Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Zack and Brie Smithey's 3,100-square-foot home looks like a Tudor mansion.
The home is made of eight containers, and it features three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms.
The striped exterior and round windows make the home look elegant.
The Smithey family told Insider that they like the sustainability of shipping containers.
"After considering several different nontraditional construction options, we decided to use shipping containers," the couple told Insider.
"We gravitated toward the sustainability and economy of using containers."
"We did nearly all of the construction ourselves," they added.
Approximately 90% of the materials in the Smitheys' home are recycled.
The home took a little over a year to build, and Zack built the majority of the furniture while Brie created the "interior design concept," as Zack puts it.
"For me, this house was like a huge piece of art, an enormous sculpture filled with my art and custom furniture," he added.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:Disney just dropped a new kitchen collection, and some items cost as little as $8We had interior designers critique 10 famous apartments from shows like 'Friends' and 'Gossip Girl'Inside the life of NikkieTutorials, a beauty YouTuber who just came out as transgender in a new video
< Features, Shipping containers, Home, Design, Tiny Living, >
- Business Insider 23:00January 15, 2020Trump was reportedly 'verbally and emotionally abusive' toward former Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen NielsenAssociated Press/Jacquelyn Martin President Donald Trump was "verbally and emotionally abusive" toward former Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen when she worked for him, according to a new book by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig.
An excerpt of the book first published by The Post said Trump "made fun of her stature and believed that at about five feet four inches she was not physically intimidating."
The president reportedly told others of Nielsen, "She's so short."
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump "verbally and emotionally" abused Kirstjen Nielsen, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, according to a new book by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig.
An excerpt of the book first published by The Post said Trump "made fun of her stature and believed that at about five feet four inches she was not physically intimidating."See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hopeSee Also:Text messages show a Giuliani associate discussing how to stalk 'that b---h' Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine in a bid to get her firedTrump sided with Bernie Sanders in his spat over whether he told Elizabeth Warren a woman can't win in 2020Explosive new documents involving Rudy Giuliani and a Ukrainian associate show the shocking extent of Trump's pressure campaignSEE ALSO: A Trump donor who allegedly surveilled former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine has promoted the right-wing 'QAnon' conspiracy theory
< Donald Trump, Kirstjen Nielsen, President Donald Trump, Homeland Security, Trump administration, >
- Coindesk 21:57January 15, 2020NJ Counterterrorism Chief Warns US Congress: Crypto Is Funding ‘Domestic Extremism’New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples predicted Wednesday that domestic terrorists will increasingly turn to bitcoin.
< Policy & regulation, Congress, Terrorism, New Jersey, Terrorist Financing, Homeland Security >
- Business Insider 21:07January 15, 2020Disney just dropped a new kitchen collection, and some items cost as little as $8shopDisney Disney released a new kitchen collection featuring beloved characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
The new additions to the brand's home collection include essentials like measuring cups and spoons, salt and pepper shakers, and kitchen towels.
There are also fun items like a cookie jar, an ice-cream scoop, and a cupcake-decorating kit.
Items from the new collection are available online at shopDisney, and in select locations at the Disney parks worldwide.
Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Thanks to Disney's home collection, you don't have to leave the pixie dust behind when you leave the parks — you can add a touch of magic to every room of your house.
Minnie and Mickey Mouse fans will especially love the newest additions to Disney's home collection, which includes kitchen accessories and tools for adults and little ones alike.
Here are some of the best pieces in the new line, ranging from least to most expensive.These measuring spoons include four of the most beloved Disney characters.
Perfect for baking, this set of four measuring spoons features Minnie, Mickey, Donald, and Pluto.
The spoons come in 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, and 1 tablespoon sizes and also include a Mickey-shaped loop to keep them together in your drawer.
The colorful plastic measuring cups are an equally important addition to any kitchen.
Every home chef needs measuring cups, and this cute set is sure to be useful no matter what you're whipping up.
There's a black Mickey handle on 1 cup, a yellow Pluto handle on 1/2 cup, a red Minnie handle on 1/3 cup, and a white Donald handle on 1/4 cup, matching each character's signature color.
Serve up sweetness in spades with this Mickey-themed ice-cream scoop.
When that ice-cream craving hits, you'll want to have this adorable Mickey Mouse scooper in your arsenal.
The clear acrylic scoop features a hollow handle filled with colorful fake sprinkles — some are even Mickey-shaped.
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:11 things you should never do in a grocery store, according to former employees12 celebrities who went to Ivy League schoolsI tried every single dessert at Burger King and ranked them
< Features, Freelancer, Disney, Shopping, Kitchen, Home Decor, Home, >
- Business Insider 21:00January 15, 2020Amazon's head of devices says the smart home is still 'too complicated' — and working with major rivals like Apple and Google is the way to fix it (AMZN, AAPL, GOOG, GOOGL)Stephen Brashear/Getty Images Although the rise of virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa has made it easier to use connected household products, smart home devices are still generally "too complicated," David Limp, Amazon's senior vice president for devices and services, said in an interview with Business Insider.
Part of how the company is trying to fix that involves working with competitors Apple and Google. The three companies announced a partnership in December to create a common standard for connected home products.
The move also highlights how companies that have traditionally been competitors are required to work together to boost the adoption of smart home products, a market that's been slow to take off.
At the same time, large tech firms like Amazon and its subsidiary, Ring, have found themselves at the center of privacy-oriented concerns. Limp says Amazon has increased security and privacy resources "across the board" in recent years.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. For years, smart home devices have struggled to take off — despite the "Jetsons"-esque future that Silicon Valley giants have promised.
In 2016, for example, a survey of 2,000 homes in the United Kingdom conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the majority of people were not interested in purchasing smart home gadgets. But roughly three years later, it looks like that may be finally starting to change. Global shipments of connected home devices are projected to hit 1.39 billion by 2023, and in 2019, the market grew by 23.5% year-over-year, according to the International Data Corporation. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, global shipments grew by 37.3% compared to the previous year, the IDC also said.
Much of that growth can be at least partially attributed to voice assistants made by Amazon and Google, which can be found in everything from sink faucets to wall clocks to ovens.
But despite the proliferation of Amazon's Alexa and the Google Assistant, the technology itself is still too complex. So says David Limp, Amazon's senior vice president for devices and services, who oversees the company's sprawling line of Echo and Alexa products.
"The smart home is still too hard," Limp told Business Insider in a recent interview. "It's not really that smart yet, and it's too complicated."
Making the smart home work is critical for Amazon if it wants to compete with Google, Apple, and Samsung among others in the consumer technology market. Amazon missed out on the smartphone craze with its ill-received Fire phone, which Amazon quickly discontinued after its 2014 launch and resulted in a $170 million write-down for the company.
But since then, the company's Alexa voice assistant has become the face of the company's consumer presence. The company has said that there are now hundreds of millions of Alexa devices in the wild, and customers interact with Alexa billions of times each week. With roughly a quarter of the worldwide market for smart speakers as of the second quarter of 2019, Amazon's Echo devices have ousted other major players like Google and Chinese tech giant Baidu, according to market research firm Canalys.
"Amazon has a strategic imperative to be successful in this," Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at market research firm Moor Insights & Strategy, said to Business Insider in a previous interview. "They weren't only enough to be part of the PC revolution. They failed in smartphones ... So it's strategically important, and more important for them than for Google and Apple, to be successful."
Boosting the adoption of smart home tech could be crucial for that goal. Amazon may be the leader when it comes to voice assistant usage in the home through it's smart speakers, but Apple and Google have an inherent advantage in the smartphone space, since their digital helpers are integrated into the world's most popular mobile devices at the operating system level. Making the smart home 'easier for everybody'
Amazon has been gradually introducing new features to make manipulating smart home gadgets with your voice much easier.
In September, for example, it introduced a new program called "certified for humans," which is designed to help smart appliance makers cut down on the number of steps it takes for customers to connect their gadgets to Amazon's Alexa.
But perhaps the most unexpected way in which Amazon hopes to reduce the complications surrounding smart home technology is by partnering with its rivals. In December, Amazon, Apple, Google, and the ZigBee Alliance announced that they would collaborate to help develop one common connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home devices. Doing so should make it easier for customers to purchase connected home devices, like a smart lock or home security camera, without worrying about whether or not it will work with their Amazon Echo or Google Home.
"That just makes it easier for everybody," says Limp. "It makes it easier for the manufacturer of those devices, it makes it easier for us to build the software to integrate them. And it gives customers more choice."
It's 'great' that Apple has an Echo rival
The cooperation between Amazon, Apple, and Google is yet another sign that the ways in which these companies are approaching voice assistants and the smart home market is vastly different than their respective strategies for the smartphone industry, where tech firms have traditionally competed to convince customers to choose one siloed platform over another.
The crux of what makes voice assistants and smart home devices appealing, comparatively, is the notion that they should work seamlessly and naturally across devices, whether you're an iPhone or Android loyalist.
As such, making the smart home work effortlessly may require companies like Amazon to rethink how it views its relationships with firms that offer competing products and services. Limp tells me, for example, about the recent launch of Apple services like Apple TV Plus and Apple Music on Amazon's own platforms, despite the fact that they're competitors. He also said it's "great" that Apple sells its own smart speaker that directly competes with the Echo.
"We brought Apple Music and most recently, Apple Podcasts, to Alexa, and that's been very successful," he said. "And even though Amazon has its own music service, that's fine. We give customers choice, and we want to do that. And we try to do that as many times as we can."
Alexa's reach is growing as privacy concerns continue
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
But Amazon, and other large tech firms like Google, have much more to worry about than just the competition and simplifying the experience of using their connected home products. Amazon and its rivals are expanding the capabilities of their smart home devices and voice assistants as concerns over privacy and security are higher than ever.
Amazon's Ring lineup in particular has been at the center of privacy-related controversies. Most recently, the camera security startup that Amazon acquired in 2018 came under scrutiny after hackers remotely accessed its cameras, enabling intruders to, in some cases, spy on children. Separately, the company has also been criticized for its partnerships with law enforcement.
When asked about whether Amazon has ramped up its investment in security and privacy, Limp said it's increased resources "across the board."
"For you to come back and shop at Amazon, you have to believe that Amazon is going to do the right thing by you as a customer," Limp said. "There's no reason you couldn't shop somewhere else tomorrow. And so we have to earn [your] trust every day."
Down the line, Amazon has ambitions to make Alexa significantly smarter than it is today. The company envisions a scenario in which Alexa could anticipate your needs before you even ask, such as offering to book an Uber ride or dinner table after you ask it about movie times, Miriam Daniel, Amazon's vice president of Echo and Alexa devices, previously told Business Insider.
In the meantime, Amazon certainly seems focused on putting Alexa in more corners of your home and the rest of your life, including the car. But for Amazon, developing new Alexa-enabled products comes down to one important factor: whether the company feels like it can meaningfully improve the user experience. That's a large part of why Amazon hasn't launched an Alexa-powered smartwatch even though it's released smart earbuds with its voice-enabled helper built-in, according to Limp.
"We'll make mistakes, you know, we have in the past, we certainly will in the future," said Limp. "But our job is to have a high quality filter on what we actually give out to the public. And hopefully most of them succeed."
See Also:Do you own a Ring home security camera? Business Insider wants to hear from you.The Justice Department is demanding that Apple make it easier to unlock suspects' iPhones, but experts say it can do that without Apple's cooperation. Here's how.Amazon's wildly popular video game streaming service, Twitch, is no longer the biggest game in town: These are all the stars who have signed exclusivity deals with the competitionSEE ALSO: Sony surprised everyone with a futuristic prototype car at CES, and it's another sign that tech companies are going to have a big say in what the future of the car looks like
< Amazon, Amazon Echo, Amazon Alexa, Smart Home, Apple, Google, Ring, Tech, CES 2020, Features, AMZN, AAPL, GOOG, GOOGL >
- Business Insider 20:40January 15, 2020The best smart light bulbsSmart light bulbs bring your home into the 21st century, allowing you to control your lights straight from your phone or with your voice.
After much testing, it's clear that the Philips Hue light bulbs are still the best ones you can buy because they are reliable, consistent, easy to use, and work remotely. If you're looking to smarten up your home, there are two things you can buy to get started. The first is a smart speaker with a smart assistant, like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The second is a set of smart light bulbs. These two are the easiest and most affordable entryways into building a smart home, and a gateway to future smart devices like smart plugs, security cameras and sensors, door locks, etc.
When it comes to smart light bulbs, there are lots of different options available, with the most recognized ones being the Philips Hue bulbs. But before you settle on any particular brand, there are a number of things you should think about beforehand, especially if you plan on outfitting your entire home. Here's a quick rundown of things to consider: Color or white: Smart light bulbs generally come in two flavors — color bulbs or white bulbs. White bulbs, as you might assume, really only turn on and off like your standard light bulb, while color bulbs can change colors. Of course, white bulbs are also generally cheaper than color bulbs because they are less technically complex to create. The nice thing about either is they're dimmable.
Connectivity: Most smart bulbs "talk" to a central hub (using a technology called Zigbee), which is then connected to a home's network via Wi-Fi (wireless) or Ethernet (wired). But some smart bulbs use other routes: The C by GE bulbs work through Bluetooth, for example. So, what are the pros and cons?Wi-Fi connectivity means that you can control your bulbs anywhere you have an internet connection, so you can turn them on or off remotely with your phone even if you're miles away. But as mentioned, you'll need a separate hub, and each brand will require its own dedicated hub. Bluetooth bulbs can only connect to a phone within a certain range (approximately up to 33 feet), but the trade-off is that Bluetooth bulbs don't require a hub and use less energy. Hub-based bulbs can work independently or as a collective and can be controlled by multiple users, while a Bluetooth bulb can only talk to one phone at a time.
Smart home compatibility: Looking to integrate the bulbs with smart home platforms like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit? You might want to check that your bulbs are compatible before you buy them. That way, you can control your bulbs with your voice, and your bulbs can interact with other smart devices in your home. We tested several smart light bulbs to find the best ones you can buy. We picked bulbs at various price points and included some that don't need a hub. The lights that have hubs do work better and more consistently. The hub also enables you to control your lights remotely, so we think it's worth the price if you're really serious about building a smart home.
You can also check out our guide to the best normal light bulbs if you're not convinced that smart bulbs are for you. Read on to learn all about our top picks for the best smart light bulbs.
Here are the best smart light bulbs you can buy: Best smart light bulbs overall: Philips Hue Starter Kit
Best smart light bulbs without a hub: LIFX bulb
Best Bluetooth smart light bulbs: C by GE bulbs
Best decorative smart lights: Nanoleaf Light Panel Starter Kit
Best portable smart light: Philips Hue Go
Best Zigbee smart light bulbs: Cree smart bulbs Updated on 11/27/2019 by Caitlin Petreycik: Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added related guides. The best smart light bulbs overall
The Philips Hue light bulbs are easy to use and set up, and they are the most reliable bulbs we've tested.
Philips is arguably the most famous smart light bulb manufacturer, and for good reason. In our testing, not only were the Philips Hue light bulbs extremely easy to set up, but they were also easy to use and very consistent.
Perhaps the best thing about the Philips Hue bulbs is their versatility. You could go for the color-changing bulbs, which are a little more expensive, but there's also the option for the simple white bulbs, which are cheaper and could offer a better option for those looking to set up their entire home. No matter which set you buy, all Hue bulbs are dimmable and can be controlled remotely with the Hue app.
The light bulbs themselves output 800 lumens, which is more than enough for most small to medium-sized rooms, and while larger rooms could benefit from multiple bulbs, that's also true of your standard 60W light bulbs that your home may already be using. On top of that, they're relatively small, unlike bulbs from the likes of LIFX, so they'll be able to fit into most places that your average light bulbs fit.
You can also control the bulbs with your voice if you have Google Home, Apple HomeKit, or Amazon Alexa. It's extremely convenient when you don't want to go get your phone or your hands are busy. You can also control the lights using the respective apps for the aforementioned platforms. The bulbs also support both Bluetooth and Zigbee, which means you can use them with or without a Hue Bridge hub that's included in the starter kit.
There are a few downsides to using Philips Hue bulbs, including the high startup cost. The Hue Bridge hub will not support other brands' bulbs, even if they use Zigbee, but some Zigbee-certified hubs will support Hue bulbs. Of course, the upside to that is reliability and the ability to remotely control your lights, so it is well worth it.
We weren't the only ones who liked the Philips Hue smart bulbs — both CNET and Trusted Reviews rated them highly. Experts and buyers alike agree that these bulbs are the best ones you can buy. Having purchased and tested various smart bulbs, Guides Editor Les Shu eventually settled on Philips Hue for his home, citing the easy set-up and operation with both HomeKit and Alexa.
Pros: Reliable, versatile, easy to use, easy to set up, consistent, voice control, dimmable
Cons: Hue Bridge hub not compatible with other smart bulbs, a little pricey
The best smart light bulbs without a hub
LIFX's bulbs are easy to use and offer a ton of customization in the awesome app, but best of all, they work without a hub.
Interested in setting up your home with smart lighting but don't necessarily want to deal with a hub and the cost associated with one? LIFX's bulbs are probably your best bet.
LIFX has been around for a while now, and the company makes some excellent bulbs that can be set up completely hub-free. Simply screw the bulb in and follow the instructions in the app. The app is pretty easy to use, and it allows you to control bulbs individually or in groups to set scenes, schedule the lights to turn on and off, and even turn on effects like a strobe light for parties.
There are also a few different bulbs available, including the standard A19 bulb and the BR30 model, so you should be able to find the right bulb for most situations.
There are a few downsides to these bulbs. For starters, they're somewhat large, and because there's so much tech packed into each individual bulb, the cost for a bulb is a little higher than the Philips Hue, though these LIFX bulbs don't require a hub. We also found in our testing that at times the app could be a little buggy and not recognize when bulbs were on, though that was rare.
Budget alternative: We like the LIFX bulbs because they support Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit platforms. If you don't need HomeKit support, we recommend the Kasa smart light bulbs from TP-Link. We've had great success with Kasa bulbs, which work similarly to LIFX bulbs — no hub needed. A dimmable white bulb and a multicolor variant are both great affordable options. A dimmable soft white bulb and tunable white bulb (adjustable from soft white to bright white) are also available.
Pros: Excellent app, very bright, easy to set up, no hub required
Cons: Somewhat large, can sometimes have trouble connecting
The best Bluetooth smart light bulbs
C By GE
The C by GE Bluetooth smart bulbs are easy to set up and use in the app, and they cost far less than Wi-Fi bulbs.
Looking for a bulb that connects through Bluetooth? GE has the solution for you: C by GE light bulbs. This starter pack comes with two bulbs, called C-Life and C-Sleep, and each is designed for different uses. The C-Life is for everyday use, and the C-Sleep is for use in the bedroom.
What's the difference between the bulbs? C-Life is really only a white color (if white can be a color), while C-Sleep offers three different settings: a cold light, to energize you in the morning, a normal white light, and a warm light to promote sleep at night.
Because the bulbs connect through Bluetooth and don't require Wi-Fi, they're pretty small and also relatively cheap, because you don't need to factor in a hub — great for homeowners who are just stepping into the smart lighting world and aren't yet ready to commit to a full lighting system. This two-pack is also less expensive than our hub-less Wi-Fi options, the LIFX and TP-Link Kasa bulbs.
The trade-off is that you have to be within Bluetooth range — 10 meters or 33 feet — to use the bulbs, so forget about using them while you're out of the house or even at the other end of the home. That can be a real problem for some users, especially those who want to really turn their home into a smart home. You may also run into connectivity issues.
Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go for these bulbs. The app is quite easy to use — although perhaps not as easy as Philips and LIFX — and the C By GE bulbs represent a great introduction to smart lighting.
The C by GE Life and Sleep bulbs also support Google Assistant, no hub necessary. With a device like a Google Nest Mini, you can control the bulbs with your voice or remotely. If you're looking to expand the C by GE bulbs' capabilities, connect them to the C by GE smart plug, which adds support for Amazon Alexa and Google Home, as well as away-from-home control.
Pros: Cheap, easy to connect
Cons: Limited color options, app could be more user-friendly
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:26 tactful gifts for your in-laws that will make a great impression10 artificial Christmas trees from Walmart that won't break your budgetThe best fitness trackersSEE ALSO: The best light bulbs you can buy
< Features, Insider Picks Guides, Tech, Smart Home, Smart Light, smart light bulbs, Philips Hue smart bulbs, Tech Insider, Insider Picks 2019, Buying Guide, Guide Update, Best Guides, >
- Observer 20:38January 15, 2020Meghan Markle Makes First Public Appearances in Canada in Her New Royal RoleMeghan Markle is already settling into her new Canadian life as she waits for Prince Harry to join her.
< British Royal Family, Canada, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, royal engagement, Royal family news, royal homes, Royal news, royals, Royalty, SussexRoyal, United Kingdom, Vancouver, Vancouver Island >
- Business Insider 20:19January 15, 2020Blueland is a new household cleaning startup that helps you reduce single-use plastic consumption — here’s how the products performBlueland/Instagram There are ways to eliminate single-use plastics from nearly every aspect of your life, including the way you clean your home.
Blueland is a new startup that makes reusable cleaning products so you never have to throw a plastic household cleaner in the trash can again.
The Clean Essentials kit ($39) contains sturdy reusable bottles and dissolvable tablets for multi-surface, glass and mirror, and bathroom cleaners and hand soap. All you need to do is add water and a tablet to the bottle.
Since tablet refills are small and cost only $2 each, this system also saves you money and space on cleaning products in the long run.
See more: The best cleaning products for kitchen and laundry appliances; The best bathroom cleaning products Product Embed: Product Name: Blueland Clean Essentials Kit Card Type: small https://produktor.businessinsider.com/productCardService?id=5dc1ce7e7eece57c803499a9&type=small&live=true Width: 100% Height: 150%
It's becoming easier to eliminate single-use plastic. When you go grocery shopping, use a nylon tote bag. Instead of buying plastic water bottles, use water filters at home and carry a reusable water bottle when you go out. To wash your hair and brush your teeth, use shampoo bars and mouthwash tablets.
If you look hard enough, there are now ways to "de-plasticize" nearly every aspect of your life, including the laborious, expensive, and wasteful chore of cleaning your home. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best mixing bowlsEverlane's recycled Snap-Front Liner is the rare and perfect iteration of a mid-weight jacketThe best Dutch ovens
< Cleaning, Home, Home and Kitchen, Shark Tank, Startup, product card, IP Reviews, Insider Picks 2020, Kitchen, Bathroom, >
- Business Insider 17:45January 15, 2020I’ve had this $149 Pendleton blanket for more than 4 years and it hasn't shrunk, pilled, or faded — I loved it so much that I bought a secondMacy's As someone who's always cold, I needed a warm blanket that I could use even after the winter.
Pendleton's Eco-Wise Wool Blanket (starting at $149) was my answer. It's made from 100% pure virgin wool and is machine-washable.
I have two solid-colored blankets and have used them for more than four years. They haven't shrunk, pilled, or faded. Product Embed: Product Name: Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Blanket (Twin) Card Type: small https://produktor.businessinsider.com/productCardService?id=5e1f251cb2e66a16e9424087&type=small&live=true Width: 100% Height: 150%
As a perpetually-cold person, I'm always looking for ways to keep myself warm. As I write this review in the office, I'm wearing a shearling coat over my outfit.
During my first year of college, I was freezing every night so I searched desperately for a high-quality blanket that would fit the twin and extra-long twin beds I slept on, and could be used all throughout the year instead of just one winter. Thankfully, I found Pendleton's Eco-Wise Wool Blanket (starting at $149).See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:Award-winning European mattress brand Emma has launched in the US — its namesake mattress has 3 layers of supportive, breathable foam that also prevents motion transferThese interactive toys aren't just dog's play — they sharpen your dog's problem-solving skills while rewarding them with treatsWe tried the Furbo dog camera that lets you monitor and play with your pet from afar — here's what it's like to use
< Home, Blankets, Bedding, IP Reviews, Home Decor, Bedroom, Insider Picks 2020, >
- Business Insider 16:59January 15, 2020Are home improvements tax deductible? Generally only in 2 casesJohner Images/Getty Home improvements on a personal residence are generally not tax deductible for federal income taxes.
However, installing energy efficient equipment on your property may qualify you for a tax credit, and renovations to a home for medical purposes may qualify as a tax deductible medical expense.
In addition, renovating your home can increase your basis, or total financial investment, in the property. This reduces your taxable capital gain if and when you sell the home.
This post was reviewed for accuracy by Thomas C. Corley, CPA.
Read more personal finance coverage. If you're building a new patio in your backyard or revamping the kitchen in your home, don't expect to get a tax break.
Under America's current federal tax code, home improvements are generally not tax deductible. However, there are two instances in which you may qualify for a tax break for making specific additions or improvements to your home, but they're not all that common.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.See Also:Here's when you can expect your tax refund to hit your bank account, according to the IRSYour state tax refund may take longer to hit your bank account than your federal refund — here's how to find out when it's comingEven Americans decades from retirement are worried about healthcare costs, and they have good reason to be
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- Business Insider 15:01January 15, 2020THE US HOME HEALTHCARE REPORT: How US providers are using telehealth to tap into the booming home healthcare market (CVS)This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.
US home healthcare is evolving into a massive market for US health systems and hospitals. The US home healthcare market is projected to grow about 7% annually from $103 billion in 2018 to $173 billion by 2026 — outpacing growth in all other care types, including hospital care (+5.3% annually) and physician services (+5.6% annually) — and providers must figure out how to tap into the burgeoning space.
Business Insider IntelligenceSee the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:One question on a Walgreens investor call sums up the massive pressures facing the pharmacy giant after an earnings whiffRespira raised over $2 million to disrupt the embattled vape industry with a heat-free vaporizer. Here's the pitch deck that made it happen.Exploring agricultural drones: The future of farming is precision agriculture, mapping, and spraying
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- Business Insider 01:40January 15, 2020The best soundbarsA good soundbar enhances your home theater, offering a nice upgrade over built-in speakers on most TVs. Soundbars are available at a variety of performance levels, from basic 2.1-channel to surround-sound and even Dolby Atmos.
Many soundbars also include wireless connectivity for easy music streaming, as well as smart features like voice control.
With an attractive price point and great audio performance, the Yamaha YAS-209 is the best soundbar for most needs. A good home theater isn't complete without an upgraded audio system. Most TVs don't offer great built-in audio — even if the picture looks stellar — and it's almost mandatory to fix that with an external solution.
For most people, the search begins with a soundbar. While everyone's dream is to have an elaborate 7.1-channel surround-sound setup, that's not a realistic or practical proposition for many. Some can cost a pretty penny, but you would also need ample space to place all those speakers and a subwoofer around the room. Not to mention, you'll need a separate AV receiver to process and power everything.
With that in mind, a good soundbar is a perfect alternative — offering a smaller footprint, punchy sound, and no need for a receiver. Great soundbars are available at all price points, including solid entry-level models with simple stereo playback and more expensive models with surround sound capabilities. Some flagship soundbar systems even include support for advanced home theater formats like Dolby Atmos, enabling enhanced movie performance with sound effects that come from behind and above the listening position.
When choosing a soundbar, it's important to note how many audio playback channels it supports. Channels essentially refer to audio separation, allowing directional mixes to be processed and speaker drivers to be positioned in order to create the effect that sound is coming from different directions.
Channel specifications are listed as a string of up to three numbers separated by decimal points. The first number represents how many standard directional channels are included (left, right, center, surrounds). The second number indicates if the device includes a dedicated low-frequency channel or separate subwoofer for extra bass. The final number indicates how many height channels are included for Dolby Atmos support.
A few common channel configurations found on soundbars include: 2.0-channel: This kind of soundbar includes two channels for basic left and right stereo audio separation.
2.1-channel: Like the above but includes a built-in low-frequency channel or a separate subwoofer unit for dedicated bass.
3.1-channel: In addition to left, right, and low-frequency channels, a 3.1-channel soundbar also features a center channel for dialogue when watching movies.
5.1-channel: Soundbars with more than three channels step things up through the addition of surround sound. These extra channels can be simulated via special acoustic and virtualization techniques, or they can be physically added through separate satellite speakers meant to be placed behind or to the side of your listening position.
5.1.2-channel and above: Soundbars that have a third channel designation include support for Dolby Atmos and/or DTS:X audio. This means that they feature special virtualization or upfiring speaker drivers designed to simulate the effect of sound coming from above. The final number in the sequence after the low-frequency channel specifies how many overhead channels are included. Beyond channel support, connectivity is another key factor you should look at when buying a soundbar. Most include standard wired audio ports for connecting to a TV or other media device. The most common connections are Toslink optical and HDMI ARC. In addition to wired ports, most soundbars also now support wireless connectivity, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for easy music streaming from a mobile device or music service like Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music.
Some wireless soundbar models also support multi-room audio playback, enabling them to pair with other audio products throughout your home. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant functionality are becoming more common as well, giving select soundbars integrated hands-free voice control and digital assistant support.
With all these factors in mind, there are plenty of soundbars out there suited for all types of buyers. Whether you just want a simple upgrade from your TV's wimpy speakers or you want a full home theater experience, we've researched and tested several soundbar models, selecting the very best options for a variety of needs.
Here are the best soundbars you can buy: Best soundbar overall: Yamaha YAS-209
Best budget soundbar: Vizio SB362An-F6
Best digital assistant soundbar: Sonos Beam
Best soundbar with Dolby Atmos: Vizio SB46514-F6
Best media player soundbar: Roku 9101R
Best soundbar for hearing impaired: ZVOX AccuVoice AV155 Updated on 01/14/2020 by Steven Cohen, Quentyn Kennemer, and Les Shu: Added new options and updated formatting.The best soundbar overall
Yamaha's YAS-209 delivers great sound, well-balanced functionality, and Amazon Alexa support for a reasonable price.
It may come as no surprise that vaunted audio brand Yamaha has an option topping this list. The YAS-209 soundbar — an improvement over 2017's YAS-207 — offers the perfect blend of audio quality, features, ease of use, and price.
Despite being a modest two-piece kit, the YAS-209's most impressive feat is its ability to fill a room with great audio. It has no problem doing that thanks to a combination of four 1.75-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters. Those are joined by a wireless 6.5-inch subwoofer.
Though still a 2.1-channel design, the hardware pairs with audio-processing smarts like DTS Virtual:X for a simulated surround sound effect. The result, reviewers and customers say, is absolutely stunning for something so affordable. The YAS-209 will make an unsuspecting soul think there might be some extra speakers hidden around the room, but that's just Yamaha's solid manipulation of audio waves at work.
The YAS-209's specs include HDMI ARC, a technology that allows compatible TVs to control volume adjustments of connected devices, as well as an extra HDMI-in port that supports 4K HDR passthrough (but not Dolby Vision). A Toslink optical audio port is also featured for TVs without HDMI, and you can also wirelessly stream music from a mobile device via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Finally, the YAS-209 even includes integrated support for Amazon Alexa thanks to built-in microphones, enabling digital assistant features and hands-free control for functions like volume.
All things considered, for a 2.1-channel soundbar with great audio performance and built-in voice control, the Yamaha YAS-209 offers one of the best soundbar values out there.
Pros: Easy setup, Alexa support, room-filling sound offers great highs and lows, diverse connection options, sleek appearance, smartphone app makes fine-tuning a breeze
Cons: No onboard display, doesn't support Dolby Vision passthrough
The best budget soundbar
With a unique design and solid audio performance, Vizio's SB362An-F6 is a great pick for budget buyers.
Vizio got its start as a budget brand, so it's no surprise that the company still excels at affordable soundbar models. This includes the 36-inch SB362An-F6, which is frequently on sale for under $100. It's a 2.1-channel bar with built-in subwoofers, meaning you'll get two main drivers for pure stereo sound and a little extra bass without the need for a separate subwoofer unit.
Standing out from typical rectangular box soundbars, the SB362An-F6 actually features a unique trapezoid design with angled sides that slope down to create a hexagonal profile. Buttons for various controls rest on the side of the bar, including volume, source, a dedicated Bluetooth audio button, and the all-important power button.
Vizio employs audio technology from DTS and Dolby to enhance your sound, including DTS Virtual:X. This feature can create a virtual soundfield from the device's 2.1-channels, resulting in simulated surround and height effects. Processing like this is never as convincing as a genuine multi-speaker system, but reviewers say it does provide an enhanced soundstage, especially for the price.
Wired connection options are basic but certainly get the job done. On the back of the bar you'll find an optical audio port for your TV. You can also hook other sources up directly with a 3.5mm auxiliary port or even over USB. Sadly, there are no HDMI ports for ARC or video passthrough, so you'll have to connect any additional media devices to your display and not the soundbar itself.
For wireless playback, the soundbar also supports Bluetooth, making it easy to stream music from your smartphone. An included remote handles all your needs for adjusting volume, accessing basic equalizer options, and toggling various modes.
There are more expensive wireless soundbar options out there that will net you more powerful performance and extra connectivity options like HDMI and Wi-Fi, but the SB362An-F6 is one of the best models you can snag for such a budget-friendly price.
Pros: Highly affordable, easy to set up and use, unique design, ample sound for basic needs, Bluetooth lets you play phone tunes
Cons: No HDMI, doesn't support Wi-Fi, bass not as powerful as soundbar models with a separate subwoofer
The best digital assistant soundbar
With the Sonos Beam, your living room becomes the center of a blissful smart home.
The Sonos Beam is a bit different from other options on this list. While positioned as a home theater enhancer, it can't quite match the sound profiles of those which include more elaborate audio technologies such as Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X.
That doesn't mean the Beam can't produce nice sound, though. Sonos offers a soundbar that features four full-range woofers working with a lone tweeter to provide a 3.0-channel system. It's a sure upgrade over any TV's built-in solution.
What you're really paying for, however, is the Sonos experience, which means it can work with other Sonos products to facilitate a fully wireless multi-room audio setup. It syncs with other Sonos products using a Bluetooth LE connection before letting Wi-Fi take over the data transmission duties. This means you can't stream tunes via Bluetooth, but you can access many of your favorite services through the Sonos app to play music over a Wi-Fi connection.
The Sonos Beam's other claim to fame is built-in support for Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. With five far-field microphones in play, you can choose which assistant you'd like to use to issue hands-free voice commands, manage music playback, control your smart home, and more. There's also native AirPlay 2 support for Apple users, and the Beam even includes an ethernet port for those times when Wi-Fi just isn't cooperating.
Despite its lack of deep audio processing technologies (it supports standard PCM stereo and basic Dolby Digital sources), the Sonos Beam etches out a nice spot in its niche for those who want a simple all-in-one soundbar solution with wireless music playback, HDMI, and voice assistant capabilities. Tom's Guide says it could do with some heavier bass but otherwise offers a fantastic listening experience.
Pros: Offers ample sound for a basic home theater, your choice between Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, blends seamlessly into the Sonos family, AirPlay 2 support makes life easy for iPhone users, compact build
Cons: Lacks Bluetooth audio streaming, no DTS support
See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:The best ChromebooksThe best smart displaysThe best smartwatches for womenSEE ALSO: The best streaming sticks and boxes you can buy
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- Business Insider 01:33January 15, 2020We tried the Furbo dog camera that lets you monitor and talk to your pet from afar — here's what it's like to useFurbo With the Furbo dog camera, you can keep an eye on your dog when you're away from home using your smartphone.
Not only is the Furbo a pet camera, but you can also toss treats to your dog and it has a clicker sound for reinforcing training.
For $174 at Amazon, I consider this dog camera a great deal and plan to continue using it well into the future. Product Embed: Product Name: Furbo Dog Camera Card Type: small https://produktor.businessinsider.com/productCardService?id=5d8cbf1d2e22af56a60201bb&type=small&live=true Width: 100% Height: 150%
I'm familiar with most of the pet cameras currently on the market, but the Furbo dog camera is the first one I tried for myself.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:Award-winning European mattress brand Emma has launched in the US — its namesake mattress has 3 layers of supportive, breathable foam that also prevents motion transferThese interactive toys aren't just dog's play — they sharpen your dog's problem-solving skills while rewarding them with treatsAudible's audio book subscription is $50 off right now when you sign up for a full year of the service
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- Business Insider 00:22January 15, 202019 home-improvement projects that will give you the coolest homeThese 19 home-improvement projects will give you the coolest home.
They include hidden decks, expandable balconies, garage screen doors, mini-golf courses, and more.
You can buy it, DIY it, or hire a professional to get the look you want.
Visit Insider.com for more stories. Find them here: Dr. Decks
Velux Cabrio balcony
Finished Basements NJ
Polycave wine cellar
Nexus 21 lifts
Hopfenhohle beer cooler
Lego wall art
Lighthouse Laser Arts
Baldi Home Jewels
JMP Wood Stairs
See Also:Interior designers reveal the 12 things in your home you should get rid ofI went inside 3 rented apartments in Vienna, and it was obvious why it's the 'world's most liveable city'Interior designers reveal 13 things they'd buy at Dollar Tree this month
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