BEST ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH
Pro: Access harder-to-reach areas in your mouth
Con: Cost of replacement brushes can add up
Best for: Those who wish to avoid extra time in the dentist’s chair
Retail price: $40
It has been 52 years since the first electric toothbrush debuted, and there’s still no conclusive evidence that they’re significantly better than a properly used manual brush. That said, some newer electric toothbrushes do offer distinct advantages over your standard bristle stick that can justify the higher price. Studies have indicated that people tend to brush longer when they use an electric toothbrush, as the experience is generally easier and more enjoyable. And because of their smaller heads, many electric toothbrushes can access harder-to-reach areas in your mouth.
The trick these days is figuring out which features are actually useful. If you’re looking for a solid electric brush but don’t care about things like LCD screens and built-in UV sanitizers (which don’t add much benefit, according to the ADA), the Oral-B Professional Care 1000, at around $40 from Amazon.com, is a fantastic choice.
The 1000 has all the features our tests found to be legitimately useful, like a vibrating pulse every 30 seconds to help you reach the optimal two-minute brush time goal and a pressure indicator that stops the motor if you’re brushing too hard.
Going up in the Oral-B lineup gets you largely needless bells and whistles, like multiple cleaning modes, a separate wireless smart guide that communicates with your toothbrush and tells you how to brush, or a bulky head-storage unit built into the charger base, which is inconvenient for traveling. Going down takes away legitimately useful features like the vibrating brush-head timer.
And although Oral-B’s replacement brushes tend to be cheaper than competitors, a fresh set of bristles every few months can add to the cost of going electric. But if it helps prevent a couple of cavities and a few extra trips to the dentist’s chair, many will find the extra expense to be entirely worthwhile.
BEST WATER BOTTLE
Pro: Good for you and the environment
Con: Slightly narrow mouth makes it less ideal for mixing protein shakes
Best for: Staying hydrated
Retail price: $18
We set out to find a water bottle that would satisfy most people’s day-to-day drinking needs, and could also be brought along on a day trip or a weekend adventure outdoors. That calls for a bottle that’s durable, easy to use and affordable, and the $18 Klean Kanteen fits the bill on all counts.
The Classic comes in 12-, 18-, 27- and 42-ounce sizes and in an assortment of colors. We recommend the 27-ounce size, a good compromise between portability and capacity. It’s tall, but not so tall that it won’t fit comfortably in a backpack, and it’s slender enough to sit in a standard cup holder. All sizes are made of durable, dishwasher-safe stainless steel, which is less likely to develop and retain odors than plastic bottles. And the Klean Kanteen eliminates any worry of plastic contamination.
If you’re planning on using the bottle with a water purification system or mixing protein shakes, a Nalgene bottle with a wider 2.25-inch mouth may be worth considering. But for everyday water-drinking, we like the Klean Kanteen’s 1.75-inch mouth for ensuring a spill-free sip.