The Best Robot Vacuums

Eufy RoboVac 11S  

Robot vacuums never get bored or distracted, and they don’t mind working every day. In most homes, they keep the floors tidy with barely any effort—pet hair and crumbs just disappear before you even notice a mess. If you want a robot vac, consider the  first. It works well on bare floors and thin rugs, rarely gets stuck, and is much quieter and fits under more furniture than other affordable bots. Share this review on Facebook Share this review on Twitter Save this review on Pocket Share this review on Pinterest Eufy RoboVac 11S A quiet, nimble, affordable robot $224* from Amazon Eufy RoboVac 11S Eufy RoboVac 30 Our pick, plus extra features $270 from Amazon RoboVac 12RoboVac 15CRoboVac 30RoboVac 30CRoboVac 35C iRobot Roomba 690 A repairable bot with Wi-Fi $297* from Amazon $300 from Abt iRobot Roomba 690 iRobot Roomba 960 Better cleaning, smarter navigation $550 from Walmart $550 from Amazon iRobot Roomba i7+ The best robot vac money can buy $1,100 from Amazon $1,100 from Walmart Roomba 960 Roomba i7+review of the Roomba i7+ here a handful of other bots that we like Eufy RoboVac 11S A quiet, nimble, affordable robot $224* from Amazon iRobot Roomba 690 A repairable bot with Wi-Fi $297* from Amazon $300 from Abt iRobot Roomba 960 Better cleaning, smarter navigation $550 from Walmart $550 from Amazon iRobot Roomba i7+ The best robot vac money can buy $1,100 from Amazon $1,100 from Walmart Share this review with E-mail  

Our pick

This affordable robot vacuum is quieter and fits under more furniture than any others. And thanks to its nimble, persistent nav system, it’ll rarely need your attention.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

No other robot vacuum blends into the background like the . It can clean almost every nook of your house, yet you’ll barely notice it. It sounds more like a fan than a vacuum, so even if you’re at home while it’s running, it shouldn’t get on your nerves. Of all the bots we’ve tested, it’s one of the least likely to get stuck and quit cleaning mid-session. We also found that, in certain situations, it’s strong enough and persistent enough to pick up more debris than bots that cost two or three times as much. Like most affordable robots, it relies on a semi-random navigation system, which can struggle in larger homes (and some people get frustrated when they watch it too closely). But it’s perfectly effective in smaller spaces, and you can find ways make it work in bigger areas, too.

Runner-up

The same robot as the 11S, plus extras that most people won’t need: a little more suction, a different paint job, and boundary markers to block the bot from going where you don’t want it to.

The , , , , and are all similar to the 11S, with some combination of extra features added, like Wi-Fi, boundary markers, or extra suction. If you can find any of these upgraded bots for a similar price as the 11S, go ahead and grab it. However, we don’t think it’s worth paying too much extra: None of them are as durable or repairable as some other brands and their extra features aren’t as user-friendly.

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Also great

It’s louder and more expensive than Eufy bots but the Roomba 690 adds an invisible boundary marker, app and voice-assistant controls, and a repairable design that should help it last longer.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $300.

The  is a sturdy, repairable robot that’s still effective and affordable. Like the Eufy RoboVac models, the Roomba 690 is a semi-random navigator that works best in smaller spaces, though it’s a larger, louder machine and typically costs more. The main upside is that it’s designed to be repairable, so in the right hands it should last for years—long enough that you’ll actually save money. (iRobot has an excellent track record for keeping spare parts available for ages.) The Roomba 690 connects to Wi-Fi (if you want it to) and can be controlled from an app or with Alexa voice commands. It also comes with a “virtual wall” beacon, which creates an invisible do-not-cross line for the Roomba—a much more elegant solution than the magnetic strips used by Eufy vacuums.

Upgrade pick

If you have a bigger home or just want a robot that looks smart and cleans super-efficiently, Roomba 960 is the best balance of price, pleasantness, and performance.

A self-emptying dustbin and the ability to clean specific rooms on command make this the easiest, most satisfying Roomba to use—if you’re willing to pay for it.

If you have to clean a large space or just prefer a robot that looks like it knows where it’s going, a robot that maps your house while it works is ideal. We recommend one of the higher-end Roomba models. They drive in a predictable, grid-like pattern, using a camera (and other tricks) to track their location. When they’ve run out of new areas to explore and clean, or when the battery is running low, they can reliably return to their charging docks. And in case they didn’t finish cleaning, they’ll pick up where they left off once they’ve recharged. They’re also much stronger cleaners than our cheaper picks, especially for getting pet hair out of thicker rugs.

The  will work very well in most homes. It’s easy to use, navigates and cleans effectively, and is actually reasonably priced for a robot with its advanced capabilities. We’ve been testing one for a couple of years and haven’t had any big problems with it.

But if you can afford it, the flagship  is the very best robot vacuum that money can buy. It’s the only one that can empty its own dustbin (the dock is itself a vacuum, which sucks debris out of the bot through a trapdoor), and is one of the few that can clean specific rooms on command while skipping others. Both of those marquee features actually work well and legitimately make the i7+ even more convenient than other great robots. (You can read our full .)

Later in this guide, we’ll cover  but that don’t have as much broad appeal as the ones we’ve already talked about.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

This affordable robot vacuum is quieter and fits under more furniture than any others. And thanks to its nimble, persistent nav system, it’ll rarely need your attention.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

Also great

It’s louder and more expensive than Eufy bots but the Roomba 690 adds an invisible boundary marker, app and voice-assistant controls, and a repairable design that should help it last longer.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $300.

Upgrade pick

If you have a bigger home or just want a robot that looks smart and cleans super-efficiently, Roomba 960 is the best balance of price, pleasantness, and performance.

Buying Options

A self-emptying dustbin and the ability to clean specific rooms on command make this the easiest, most satisfying Roomba to use—if you’re willing to pay for it.

Buying Options

The research

Why you should trust me Do robot vacuums really work? How we picked and tested Our pick: Eufy RoboVac 11S Flaws but not dealbreakers Runner-up: Eufy RoboVac 30 Also great: iRobot Roomba 690 Upgrade picks: iRobot Roomba i7+ and Roomba 960 The competition What to look forward to What a robot vacuum can (and can’t) do What makes a good robo-vac Care and maintenance vacuum guidescordlesshandheldplug-in  Why you should trust me 

I’ve written about robot vacuums for Wirecutter since 2013, logging hundreds of hours of research and testing in that time. (I’m also the co-author and editor for Wirecutter’s other , including those about , , and traditional  styles.) Altogether I’ve looked into about 150 different robots and tested about 30 models from 10 brands. That’s included hundreds of cleaning cycles at my home (I’m on my third apartment since I started) and in some of my friends’ homes, too. Most of my guests ask me what the hell I’m doing with so many robots.

In addition to my own testing, I’ve gotten many other perspectives: I’ve spoken directly with dozens of robot-vacuum owners, who live in all kinds of homes: apartments and single-family houses, old and new construction, lots of small rooms or open-concept spaces. Some of them live alone, others have a few kids and hairy dogs. One guy even lives in a mansion near a volcano. I’ve paid attention to all of the comments, tweets, and emails from our readers, including feedback on our picks and expectations about bots in general. I’ve lurked on the  enthusiast forum and messaged with a few of its members. Robot Reviews I’ve read hundreds of reviews posted on big retailers’ websites, including Amazon and Best Buy. We’ve learned about quality-control problems or design flaws in a few models this way. I’ve talked to representatives from just about all of the major robot vacuum brands, including iRobot (Roomba), EcoVacs, Neato, iLife, Electrolux, Roborock, Samsung, LG, and Dyson. I’ve tracked down a few engineers who used to work on robot vacuums, including Bruno Hexsel, a former software engineer for Neato, and Duane Gilbert, a former hardware engineer for iRobot. I’ve looked at reviews from other publications to see if I missed anything in my own testing and reporting. Shout out to ; if you want a different perspective on robot vacuums, the site’s coverage is very thorough and well-presented. TechGearLab

This guide accounts for all of the robot vacuums available in the US as of February 2019. We try to update this guide every few months, whenever promising new models come out. But if it seems like we’re behind the curve on our recommendations, leave a comment or hit us up on Twitter—we may already be testing whichever new model you’re curious about. Do robot vacuums really work?  

Yes, robot vacuums really can keep your floors tidy. They’re not just some toy or novelty item. Some good robots actually cost less than a few of our favorite “traditional” vacuums that you have to push around yourself.

The value in a robot vacuum is that it can clean your floors every single day. Crumbs and pet hair never get a chance to pile up, so they’re a lot less likely to get stuck to your feet or your clothes and end up on your couch or bed. The mess is gone before it can annoy you.

There are some caveats: Robots are much weaker than traditional vacuums, so they don’t really deep clean the dust out of your rugs. They don’t climb stairs. And certain kinds of flooring features and clutter can make it hard for a robot to do its job. But for many people, those are just minor flaws, offset by the convenience of having reliably tidy floors.

We go into much greater detail about what it’s like to live with a robot . here How we picked and tested   Photo: Liam McCabe

Based on years of at-home use and side-by-side testing, we think that nimble, reliable navigation is the most important element in a great robot vacuum. That’s followed by cleaning performance, noise, size and shape, repairability, and then extra features like boundary markers and Wi-Fi.

But there’s a lot of nuance to most of those elements. For example, robots can have weak suction but still be excellent cleaners. Or they can have sophisticated mapping systems but still be poor navigators. Some experts even told us that it’s harder to design a good nav system for a robot vacuum than for a self-driving car. If you’re interested in that level of detail, we’ve written a lot more on what makes a great robot vacuum . here We torture-tested each robot in an area cluttered with several chairs, stray USB cables, a sock, a flat-weave area rug with uneven edges and tassels, and a tall threshold—all of the most common bot-trapping obstacles. Video: Liam McCabe

At least 100 robot vacuums are available on Amazon as of February 2019, and I’ve tested 21 of the most noteworthy models.

For every robot, I run at least two regular cleaning cycles around my apartment. It’s a challenging environment: About 1,000 square feet chopped into nine rooms, with lots of tall thresholds. I don’t have any permanent carpet, but I do have 10 different area rugs, ranging from lightweight doormats to rubber-backed, medium-pile rugs that take up half a room. I have a long-haired cat, a long-haired wife, and an infant daughter, who all leave plenty for the robot to pick up (for my part, I spill a lot of coffee grounds). It’s a really effective space for finding a robot’s weaknesses.

As long as the robots can clean my apartment pretty well, without getting stuck too often, I’ll put them through some stress tests.

In one test, I run the bot in a room with two chairs, some stray USB cables, a sock, a flat-weave area rug with uneven edges and tassels, and a tall threshold—several of the most-common bot-trapping obstacles in one place.

In another test, I pour out about ⅛ cup of all-purpose flour across an area rug and bare floor (including some against a baseboard) and let the bot try to suck it up for a couple of minutes. This gives me a visual gauge for each bot’s raw cleaning power.

I have a long-haired cat, a long-haired wife, and an infant daughter, who all leave plenty for the robot to pick up (for my part, I spill a lot of coffee grounds).

And then I sprinkle a 2-ounce mixture of cat litter and coffee grounds around my dining room, which has a mix of bare wood and a low-pile rug as well as a big table with four chairs and a bench underneath it. I run each bot for 25 minutes or until it stops on its own, whichever comes first. When it’s done, I weigh how much debris each bot managed to pick up.

The dust- and crumb-pickup stress tests are only meant to give us an idea of each bot’s cleaning power—they don’t tell the whole story, and we don’t weigh them too heavily when we’re deciding what to recommend.

I make sure to try out anything related to the interface or user experience: companion smartphone apps (and all of the features within, like no-go lines or suction adjustments), compatibility with voice assistants like Alexa, the physical remote, scheduling system, boundary markers, and anything else like that.

Using a noise-meter app, I measure the volume and frequency of each bot from about 10 feet away as they work.

Then I check how easy it is to take each bot apart and find replacement parts online.

When I find robots that do well on all of those tests, I try to run them as much as possible for a few weeks to see if they perform consistently. Some bots struggle more with navigation than the first rounds of testing revealed, in ways that I wouldn’t have thought of. For example, through this kind of testing I found that Roomba 900-series bots struggled around sunset, and that software updates to the Electrolux Pure i9 sometimes screwed up its navigation.

As of February 2019, the models that we have tested and are currently available in stores include the Eufy , , and ; EcoVacs  and ; iRobot , , , and ; the Neato  and ; ; ; ; ; ; iLife  and ; and . RoboVac 11SRoboVac 30RoboVac 30CDeebot N79SDeebot 900Roomba 690Roomba 960Roomba e5Roomba i7+Botvac D3 ConnectedBotvac D7 ConnectedSamsung Powerbot R7070LG Hom-Bot Turbo+Electrolux Pure i9Xiaomi Mi (1st gen)Roborock S5A8A4sCoral One Our pick: Eufy RoboVac 11S   Photo: Liam McCabe  

Our pick

          Eufy RoboVac 11S A quiet, nimble, affordable robot

This affordable robot vacuum is quieter and fits under more furniture than any others. And thanks to its nimble, persistent nav system, it’ll rarely need your attention.     $224* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

Plenty of affordable robot vacuums clean and navigate effectively, including the . But we like this one the most because it’s so much quieter and it can fit underneath more furniture than anything else we tested. Eufy RoboVac 11S

The 11S is quiet enough that you could easily forget that it’s running if you have to be home while it’s working. We measured it at 54 dBC (from 10 feet away), a full 5 dBC quieter than the  and —that’s a major difference. It sounds more like a fan than a vacuum cleaner. Plenty of other bots are tolerably loud, but the 11S is especially hushed. EcoVacs Deebot N79Roomba 690

Another surprisingly useful upside to the 11S is its short body. It may end up cleaning more of your home than other bots just because it fits beneath more stuff. At 2.85 inches, it’s about three-tenths of an inch shorter than the EcoVacs Deebot N79S (another good, cheap, short robot). That may not seem like much, but it’s enough for the 11S to slide under even more low-clearance furniture where dust and hair build up but never see the light of day. I was surprised the first time I saw the 11S disappear under my bed—and then more surprised when it reemerged with an unholy amount of cat hair stuffed into its bin and wrapped about the brush roll.

Like a bunch of other good robots, the Eufy 11S is a nimble navigator and rarely gets stuck. It is what we call a , which means that (most of the time) it drives in a straight line until it finds an obstacle, makes a semi-random turn, and repeats until the battery runs out. Most robots that cost less than $400 navigate this way. It doesn’t look like it knows what it’s doing, but it is effective. In our testing it stopped running only when it got tangled on a cord or wedged itself underneath something (both of which can stop any robot) and when it beached itself on a tall threshold once. The 11S seems to recognize when it runs into a trap, then runs a routine to escape that particular trap. For instance, if it’s stuck on a threshold, it rocks itself back and forth until it gets itself unstuck. Or if something starts jamming the brush roll, it’ll usually back away from the jam. bump-and-run navigator The 11S has a relatively small brush compared with other robot vacuums, but the dual side brushes help sweep debris toward the intake. Photo: Liam McCabe

The 11S is a very solid cleaner for the price. , you don’t have to worry too much about a bot’s cleaning performance—most of them can suck up obvious debris as long as the navigation system is nimble enough to keep them moving. And although we do run a couple of controlled cleaning tests, we don’t weigh the results too heavily when we decide to make recommendations. As we lay out here

It may end up cleaning more of your home than other bots just because it fits beneath more stuff.

But to prove our point that affordable bump-and-run bots like the 11S can pick up just as much obvious debris as the priciest bots (at least in some situations), take the results of our crumb-pickup test: The 11S actually collected a little bit more debris than anything else we tested: 1.8 ounces out of a 2-ounce mixture of coffee grounds and cat litter. One of our upgrade picks, the Roomba 960, sucked up a similar 1.75 ounces—probably within the test’s margin for error. But a couple of the worst performers captured just 1.4 ounces. We think the results show that the 11S can be very effective at keeping your home tidy as long as it’s able to consistently navigate your space.

Here’s why we think the 11S is so effective in the real world:

The battery life is as long as you’ll find in a bot at this price. Because it’s a bump-and-run robot, that allows it to make more passes around your home, which in turn gives it more opportunities to suck up debris and to cover every patch of ground. We measured its life to be 100 minutes at full power and up to another 50 minutes at reduced power while it looks for its charging dock.

The brush roll is a simple but proven design: A single bristle/blade combo brush, effective enough for loosening obvious debris from short rugs and scooching it toward the intake.

And the suction is strong enough to get most types of visible debris and is slightly better than some competing models. Eufy says this model has 1,300  of suction, which is definitely more than the EcoVacs N79 (at 1,000 Pa). Most other robot makers don’t publish any suction specs, so we’re not actually sure how the Eufy 11S compares with the Roomba 690, for instance. We’re also not sure that the modestly stronger suction matters much: We didn’t notice a big difference compared with the N79 and Roomba 690 in our dust-pickup test. To be clear, some higher-end robots have noticeably more cleaning power than the 11S. The Roomba 960 and Electrolux Pure i9, for example, can clean as much debris in a single pass as the 11S manages after two or more passes and pick up much more small, dusty debris, period, particularly out of carpets. pascals The clamshell-style dustbin is easy to empty. Photo: Liam McCabe

Other noteworthy points:

The 11S itself has a single button on the top of its body that starts or stops the cleaning. It also comes with a remote control (two AAA batteries are included) that can do the same, but also lets you set a daily cleaning time, adjust the suction (we recommend the BoostIQ setting, which ramps up the power slightly when it senses it’s cleaning a rug), steer it manually using a directional pad, or run a few different routines like spot clean (useful), edge clean (meh), and room cleaning (don’t bother).

Eufy sells replacement , , , and through Amazon. filtersbrush rollersside brushesbrush guards

The Eufy RoboVac 11S is actually built by Eufy in its own factory, according to company representatives. In the past, Eufy robots were just relabeled versions of other manufacturers’ machines (the Eufy 11 was the same bot as the EcoVacs Deebot N79, for example—a fact we’ve confirmed with EcoVacs). But now the company makes its own gear. Flaws but not dealbreakers   The Eufy 11S doesn’t have Wi-Fi or any smart-home connectivity, but you can still set a daily cleaning schedule with the remote control. Photo: Liam McCabe

Eufy robots do not seem to be built to last as long as other brands’ robots, particularly the iRobot Roomba models.

While Eufy is relatively new to the category, and its earliest bots were built by another manufacturer (EcoVacs), we’ve seen a concerning number of comments and reviews that the company’s current crop of robots can break down beyond repair within a year. We don’t know exactly how common this is, or if these broken-down units tend to see heavy use. But iRobot sells a lot more robot vacuums than Eufy does, yet we read and hear far fewer complaints about Roomba models ever breaking down so completely, let alone so quickly.

To its credit, Eufy is good about honoring its warranty. Some owners have said that even when their robots died outside of the warranty period, Eufy offered them a refurbished model at a discount. And to be clear, Eufy does sell some major replacement parts, including batteries and (on request) wheels, along with brushes and filters. But if it’s any other problem, you may be out of luck.

The 11S is one of the few remaining robots without Wi-Fi, so you can’t control it from your phone or with voice commands. We’ve asked our staff and some readers, and our sense is that most people are pretty lukewarm on Wi-Fi control anyway. But if that’s a dealbreaker for you, check out one of the  or the . higher-end Eufy RoboVac modelsRoomba 690

As a relatively low-cost robot vacuum, the 11S has some limitations in common with others at its price. For instance: The semi-random navigation irks some people, and isn’t the most efficient method for cleaning larger homes. It doesn’t work with boundary markers, so you won’t be able to block it from going into certain areas unless you set up another physical boundary. At least some of the time (possibly much of the time, depending on the layout of your house), it won’t make it back to its dock. And though it’s a persistent and basically effective cleaner, it’s not the best tool for cleaning longer rugs with lots of ground-in pet hair. You can buy your way out of these problems with a pricier robot, like the  or plenty of others that we cover later in the guide. Roomba 960

The Best Paper Towel

Bounty Select-A-Size paper towels   

After dozens of hours of research, interviews, and testing, we found that  had more scrubbing strength than anything else. They’re also notably absorbent, and the smaller individual sheets allow you to use (and waste) less. Share this review on Facebook Share this review on Twitter Save this review on Pocket Share this review on Pinterest Bounty Select-A-Size Perfect for any size mess $10 from Target(eight rolls) Viva Choose-A-Sheet, Big Roll More absorbent, less scrubbing power $10* from Target(eight rolls) Viva Choose-A-Sheet Marcal’s Small Steps Bounty Select-A-Size Perfect for any size mess $10 from Target(eight rolls) Viva Choose-A-Sheet, Big Roll More absorbent, less scrubbing power $10* from Target(eight rolls) Share this review with E-mail  

Our pick

Bounty paper towels feel good to use, leave no noticeable lint, and remain easy to find at any store that sells paper goods.

In our tests, Bounty was the best paper towel for scrubbing wet surfaces. Head-to-head against our other top pick, the Bounty towel lasted double the scrub strokes across a variety of surfaces while wet before tearing. This added strength reduces the towel’s overall absorbency, but we think strength is more important than absorbency because not every spill occurs on a flat, waxed, and polished surface.

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Also great

Viva towels are thicker and more absorbent than regular paper towels. They’re also soft enough to stand in for face towels or tissues, though that means they aren’t as great at scrubbing.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $36.

As mentioned above, in our tests we prioritized scrubbing ability and wet strength over softness or absorption. But if getting the most absorption is your number one priority in a paper towel,  is your best pick. If you’re indifferent between absorbency and scrubbing ability, just go with whichever brand is cheaper. But don’t expect too much in savings between the brands: Looking closely at the pricing, we’ve seen that Bounty and Viva costs per square feet can fluctuate but stay competitively close.

If you’re willing to sacrifice performance for environmental friendliness and want towels made from recycled materials, we recommend .

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Bounty paper towels feel good to use, leave no noticeable lint, and remain easy to find at any store that sells paper goods.

Buying Options

Also great

Viva towels are thicker and more absorbent than regular paper towels. They’re also soft enough to stand in for face towels or tissues, though that means they aren’t as great at scrubbing.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $36.

The research

Why you should trust us Who should get this How we picked and tested What about eco-friendly paper? Our pick Also great The recycled alternative The competition Long-term test notes Wrapping it up Footnotes Sources the best toilet paper Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and ForestryGood HousekeepingConsumer ReportsReal SimpleLen Penzo according to food savant Alton Brown, a bacterial bacchanal these “bar mops,”Skoy eco-friendly cleaning cloths Consumer ReportsGood Housekeeping. Len Penzo One of our multisurface testing tables. For a short moment during testing, this was the cleanest table in America.  its ratings of paper towels We weighed the towels both dry and wet to test their relative absorbency.  Len Penzo’s testsran it back and forth across the textured strip of a wooden coffee table American Weigh Signature Pocket Scale1 Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry2 Sustainable Forestry InitiativeForest Stewardship Council below Bounty Select-A-Size Perfect for any size mess $10 from Target(eight rolls) Bounty Select-A-Size Subscribe & Save item on Amazon Consumer Reports’s 2014 tests scored just one notch below Vivafor Bounty’s entry his own review of paper towels elemental chlorine-free (ECF) bleaching method environmental groups preferSustainable Forestry Initiative Viva Choose-A-Sheet, Big Roll More absorbent, less scrubbing power $10* from Target(eight rolls) VivaShamWow 2002 California State Science Fair project unconfirmed speculationdifferent material Marcal Small Steps U Size It A save-the-planet option $22* from Amazon Marcal Small Steps Good Housekeeping pretty much echoes what I found in my tests do it the right way its highest ranking Bounty with Dawnwet it longer under running water$9.00 for 80 square feeta rave review (and a seal) from Good Housekeeping Brawny Target’s Up & Up paper towels Costco’s Kirkland Signature towels Bounty BasicScottGreat Value (Walmart) Bounty Select-A-Size  Why you should trust us 

We’ve covered this topic for many years now and put more thought and testing into paper towels than nearly anyone else out there. And not just for paper towels, either—we’ve also performed hours of research, testing, and interviews in the service of choosing . Many of the concerns are the same, including feel, absorbency, dry and wet cleaning strength (or “grip” in our toilet paper review), and environmental and waste issues. As with toilet paper, I tested paper towels by buying a dozen brands rated highly by outside sources, contacting experts, and then testing them and using them in real cleaning and cooking in my home and in an office, trying to pin down the best value.

For this article we spoke with Gary M. Scott, PhD, professor and chair of the . We also tracked multiple reviews from , , and , and we leaned on the obsessive paper towel research of blogger . Since first publishing this guide, we’ve used our top picks in our homes and offices for years, cleaning up an unholy variety of family-, work-, and research-related spills.Who should get this 

If you’re like me, you might sometimes feel as though paper towels are a first-world luxury, earning the scorn of your Great Depression–era ancestors. Could you make do with the studious use of clean white towels? Perhaps. But one toppled bottle of wine or leaking meat package can take out a slew of little white linens. To clean those white towels, you then have to use your washer, often in its own cycle, wasting water and energy. And using and reusing a dishrag is, .

You might sometimes feel as though paper towels are a first-world luxury.

Not that a few good cloth towels, separated for different jobs, aren’t handy to have around. You might complement paper towels with  which I have bought and continue to use, or with , which Amazon reviewers seem to love. However, paper towels are mighty convenient for wiping grills and lining plates under greasy foods. They can clean messes you don’t want to end up cleaning a second time (namely, by washing reusable cloth towels).How we picked and tested 

Finding an expert opinion on paper towels is not easy. Professional kitchens have clean white towels and laundry services. Cleaning services, daycare providers, and kennels tend to buy thin recycled towels on bulk contracts. More than anything, though, there’s hardly a typical use for paper towels. Some people depend on them for just about every cleaning task, while others save them for kitchen work.

Over the years, based on critical reviews and our own research, we’ve looked at many brands and tested 13 paper towels and selected three finalists. The best outside sources we’ve referenced and relied on include the testers and labs at  and Both have done detailed work in measuring the physical properties of each towel, as well as evaluating the softer criteria of feel and scrubbing strength. I also found a few bloggers with smart takes and opinions on paper towels, and one in particular, , who took it on himself to do his own rigorous tests, which were far more documented and explanatory than anything else we found online. Penzo found that Bounty and Viva were the best performers of the seven brands he tested, but he gave Bounty third place and Viva fourth place behind the more budget-oriented Costco-brand and Scott towels he tried, because his criteria were more heavily weighted toward value (a natural position for someone who primarily blogs about personal finance).Photo: Kevin Purdy

Overall, the two major contenders for the title of best towel were clearly Bounty and Viva, depending on which attribute is considered more important: absorbency or toughness. A good paper towel picks up the most liquid or semiliquid mess with the fewest sheets. But absorbency is not king, despite what blue-liquid advertising fantasies have emphasized. Consumer Reports sums up its criteria for  (subscription required and recommended) as including the towel’s ability to absorb water, its ability to withstand scrubbing along a rough surface, and the force needed to tear while it’s wet.

A good paper towel picks up the most liquid or semiliquid mess with the fewest sheets.

We think strength is more important than absorbency, because not every spill occurs on a flat, waxed, and polished surface, and if a towel breaks and lints all over your rug, car mats, or wooden floor, it isn’t a great towel. Furthermore, so long as a towel is decently absorbent, you can always grab a bit more of it if the few sheets you took earlier don’t do the job. In our tests, we wanted to determine what the exact delta in performance was between absorbency and toughness for the most current formulations of Bounty and Viva. After all, our theory would go out the window if either Bounty or Viva was significantly tougher or more absorbent than the other.Photo: Kevin Purdy

To discover the performance differences between the two brands of paper towels, I set up modified replications of . For scrubbing strength, I wrapped each paper towel in a uniform way around a new scrubbing sponge. I soaked the side with the scrubbing surface with a close approximation of 15 milliliters and then , examining the towel after every back-and-forth for any tears of 1 mm or greater, which would presumably lead to greater tears. I chose my unique coffee table after discovering that polished granite and wood did almost nothing to the towels at hand. I tested the contenders five times each.

To test absorbency per a given amount of area, I cut each towel to the same size and weighed them dry with the , which resolves to .01 gram. I then dropped, removed, and held up the paper towels for a set number of seconds at each stage before weighing them again. I tested five sheets each of Bounty and Viva, and of two eco-friendly alternatives.What about eco-friendly paper? 

A strong paper towel should come from a good, sustainable source of wood fiber. As with toilet paper, buying the most environmentally friendly product and having to use more of it is still wasteful, especially when you factor in packaging and return trips to buy more. At first, I was hopeful that we could find an even more environmentally friendly towel that was made of recycled materials. Manufacturers could stand to use fewer resources to make paper towels, and it would be similarly good for users to be able to recycle them more often. That said, there is an essential, inescapable compromise in recycled paper towels that I was glad to hear explained.

I spoke with Gary M. Scott, PhD, professor and chair of the , about the nature of making paper towels using recycled materials and sustainable-fiber sourcing. Long story short: Paper towels made with recycled materials are inherently inferior because they use preprocessed pulp, which makes for a weaker product. “Every time you recycle, you create these bonds and mechanically break them apart,” Scott said. “The results come out something like folding a piece of paper. You can only fold it so many times before it’s worn out.”

But not all is lost on the environmental front. Generally, Scott told us, major buyers such as Bounty buy wood harvested on cycles as long as 60 years and refuse to buy from unverified sources. If this factor is important to you, and if you don’t want to settle for an inferior product, check for certifications from organizations such as the  or the .

If you know you want an ecologically friendly pick, see our favorite recycled paper towel .Our pick  

Our pick

Bounty paper towels feel good to use, leave no noticeable lint, and remain easy to find at any store that sells paper goods.

 is just Bounty, but with more tear-off points that many people find convenient for reducing unnecessary use. And Bounty is quite good at what it does, as we and other testers see it.

In general use, I found that Bounty had that most unique kind of home-goods appeal: no problems. It picked up liquid, it was strong in most of the applications I needed it for, it felt good in my hand, it left no noticeable lint, and it was easy to find at any store that carried paper towels. It’s also available as a  in big rolls with simple packaging. But all of that would be moot if it didn’t have the performance to back everything up, which it does.

Bounty ranked sixth in  (subscription required) with 65 points—the top choice, Bounty’s DuraTowel (more on that later), had a mark of 96, with the Target-only Up & Up brand scoring a 65. So Bounty Select-A-Size did really well, even with less absorbency and fewer square feet per roll (41 square feet on each roll; most range between 38 and 65 feet).

At the time, CR had this to say about Bounty paper towels in its laboratory tests: “Among the nearly two dozen products we tested, two Bounty products were best, but a third version absorbed less than its brand mates.”

That third version, the low-cost Bounty Basic, was still better than half of the total paper towels tested. Standard Bounty received a score of 65 out of 100 overall, plus scores of Very Good in scrubbing, Excellent in wet strength, and Good in absorbency. Only Kirkland’s Extra Signature and Bounty’s DuraTowel and Extra Soft got Excellent ratings in absorbency; in CR’s 2013 tests, Kleenex’s Viva was the only towel to earn that rating.

Good Housekeeping has some words, too. Standard Bounty . The Pros list  includes Bounty’s strength, speed, absorbency, thickness, lack of lint, and absence of dye bleeding from printed versions—so, basically, everything you could want in a paper towel. Good Housekeeping’s take: “These paper towels proved the strongest of the 19 brands we tested when wet, meaning they’ll be great for cleaning tasks like scrubbing the sink. Plus, they didn’t leave any lint, a big plus when cleaning glass surfaces.”

Personal finance blogger Len Penzo took  very seriously (and given the extent of his testing, so did we). He measured milliliters of absorbed liquid in beakers and wrapped towels around a sponge, scrubbing them back and forth across a laminated countertop. He did each of these tests three times for each of the seven major brands he tested, using uniform towel sizes. As a personal finance blogger, he also focused on the cost per roll and per sheet in his rankings.

For Penzo, Bounty did not earn the top slot, as Costco’s majorly affordable Kirkland Signature brand and Scott both edged it out. Bounty finished a respectable third, however, and was “the undisputed champion” of absorbency, pulling up an average of 65 milliliters of water, compared with the next-closest competitor, Viva, at 42 milliliters. Factor in Penzo’s bias toward cost, and Bounty still performed quite well.

In our tests Bounty was the best at scrubbing compared with Viva, and sometimes much better. On average, it could take 17.4 scrubs across what amounted to a wooden rumble strip, versus 16.2 for Viva. Those averages don’t include one test where Bounty survived 25 trips back and forth, or another when Viva broke down after just nine. (In Consumer Reports’s previous test in 2013, Viva’s wet strength was its shortcoming.)

It’s pretty close between these two towels in performance, but we prefer to lean toward scrubbing. Add up our tests, other publications’ evaluations, and bloggers’ findings, and Bounty stands out as the towel that makes the most sense for the most applications.

Bounty isn’t the most environmentally conscious towel brand—it uses an instead of the processed chlorine-free (PCF) method that . But you can take some comfort in Bounty’s certification with the .Also great  

Also great

Viva towels are thicker and more absorbent than regular paper towels. They’re also soft enough to stand in for face towels or tissues, though that means they aren’t as great at scrubbing.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $36.

For the most part, “paper towel” is a bit of a misnomer when applied to the soft-ish, papery stuff found in most kitchens—but that is not the case with Kleenex’s  towels. These towels feel less like paper and more like . If absorbency is the key in your job or your home—you clean up a lot of pet leavings, perhaps—or you need a particularly soft paper towel to occasionally stand in for face towels or tissues, you might go with Viva. It is a notably soft and absorbent option that is still decent at scrubbing.

Even though Bounty outright beat Viva in the latest Consumer Reports tests, Viva outperformed Bounty in Consumer Reports’s 2009 tests, received the only Excellent score in absorbency in CR’s 2011 tests, and ranked as the top pick of Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, and a  in which Claire Y. Eisenberg found that Viva picked up the most orange soda every single time.

Note that in Consumer Reports’s 2014 paper towel test, Viva received a score of only 71. We’ve seen , not too hard to believe, that the later variants of Viva are constructed with a  composition and/or technique, which some user reviews claim is not as good as previous generations of Viva. Still, it is a very good paper towel according to our tests, and it’s a clear second choice for us.The recycled alternative  

Also great

Reusable cloths are arguably more useful than an environmentally friendly paper towel, but this is your best bet. The Marcal towel doesn’t perform as well as our other picks, but it gets the job done.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $30.

If you’re willing to sacrifice a lot of performance to get an inherently compromised product in the name of saving the environment,  is your best bet, though you might consider simply switching to reusable kitchen rags that you launder more regularly. Other reviewers found it viable, too, especially if you value cleaning strength over raw absorbency.

Consumer Reports rated Marcal as Very Good in scrubbing and wet strength in 2011. : “Though a middle-of-the-road performer in our tests, Marcal Small Steps will certainly get the job done. These sheets weren’t quite up to par with the non-recycled varieties in our sample, but they still turned in an average performance at absorbing spills and for a recycled paper towel, these sheets proved fairly strong when wet.”

I tested the Marcal towel against a Seventh Generation towel, a top recycled performer in Consumer Reports and other tests, in the same way that I tested Bounty and Viva. The Marcal towel soaked up 6.7 times its dry weight in water, while the Seventh Generation sample (very, very slowly) absorbed less than 6 times its own weight. In scrubbing tests, the Marcal lasted an average of 4.9 times across the coffee table, while the Seventh Generation averaged 3.2 passes. The Seventh Generation towel is more expensive and not as good.

A near-exclusive Walmart brand, White Cloud, has a recycled Green Earth variety that consistently rates a bit higher than Marcal. Having used it for a few weeks alongside the Marcal towels, however, I would recommend it over Marcal only if Walmart is a regular shopping stop. You don’t want to drive extra miles to get better recycled goods, after all.

The Green Forest brand is more expensive than Marcal and the new-cut brands (relative to the general inexpense of paper towels), rated better only at absorption by testing publications, and not as good at something as simple as drying just-washed hands (even if you ). Green Forest is simply not great at anything in particular, as Consumer Reports can attest.The competition 

Generally speaking, Bounty’s competition (other than the luxurious dark horse Viva) doesn’t rate as well in almost any legitimate third-party testing and often costs more. Then again, some brands come pretty close, and sometimes they might cost notably less with coupons or other incentives.

Consumer Reports did give Bounty’s DuraTowel  by far for paper towels in 2014. For the price, however, I’m not sure anyone who isn’t solely in need of an especially tough towel should spring for the rather hefty DuraTowel. Even then, you can find shop towels that will get tough jobs done for much less.

Besides the fact that DuraTowels are not available as an Amazon Prime purchase (at the moment), not entirely easy to find in stores, and not widely available in money-saving bulk boxes, they are according to our tests only slightly more absorbent than Bounty Select-A-Size (and not as absorbent as Viva), only slightly tougher than Bounty Select-A-Size, and almost 172 percent as expensive per roll. Bounty sells DuraTowels in “King Rolls,” which, on sight and in customer reviews, turn out to be just regular rolls, give or take two sheets.

CR also ranked Bounty Giant pretty high. It’s basically the same thing as Select-A-Size in slightly larger rolls, but it’s also very hard to find.

Another Bounty specialty roll, , debuted in early spring 2015. It contains a specific “water activated” version of Dawn dish soap, and Proctor & Gamble pitches it as a towel that “blasts through messes and picks up more.” You can’t use it to dry vegetables, you need to  to avoid leaving streaks behind on reflective surfaces, and if you use it for simple drying or non-germ-ridden tasks, you end up paying a real premium. Our top pick costs roughly $16.00 for 400 square feet of towel at the moment; Bounty with Dawn currently costs . That’s on top of the need to store a separate paper towel for distinct uses—uses that are not immediately apparent to many people. This towel did win , however.

A local experienced housekeeper recommended  to me, and it rates just below Bounty in Consumer Reports rankings. In my own general use, I found it to be nearly as good, but in a casual absorbency test (using a small brick of water-packaged tofu), Brawny was slower to pick up liquid than Bounty. It was also hard for me to find, with three out of four local grocery or big-box stores not carrying it.

 absorbed about the same as Brawny for me, with slightly less scrubbing strength.

 are aggressively priced, with roughly B or B+ ratings from Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports, but unless you’re a die-hard Costco shopper, these towels are likely not worth the extra trip. Even personal finance blogger Len Penzo, who loves them for their price, did not find them to be top-shelf towels; they’re just really good for the price.

Do not buy Sparkle, unless you have a mess in your car parked just outside a convenience store where Sparkle is the only available option. It is not very good at being a paper towel, and you will end up using more of it to do less.

Among other brands I personally tried for initial impressions, , , and  did not come anywhere close to Bounty or Viva in scrubbing strength, fast absorbency, or, in the case of Great Value, ease of tearing off.

I did not test every other brand nationally available (such as CVS Big Quilts, Walgreens Ultra, or Trader Joe’s), or every environment-friendly variant. Why? All of those rated far lower on other publications’ tests.Long-term test notes 

We’ve used our top picks in many of our homes and offices for over three years now (and sometimes well beyond that) without complaint. While most paper towels will do the job, not every paper towel will do the job well. Depending on the spill, Bounty, Viva, and Marcal are all strong and absorbent enough to handle almost any mess that life puts in front of you.Wrapping it up 

You can find cheaper, more ecologically friendly towels on the shelves. And you have a better towel if you care only about softness and absorption: Viva. But  takes the prize for the best overall value on performance, convenience, and price, and it’s widely available. On top of that, while many brands have since copied the extra perforations of Select-A-Size, the incremental use (and occasional reuse) of a towel that is so strong and absorbent will alleviate some natural paper-product guilt. You could spend more to get somewhat better performance, but you don’t have much reason to do so. Bounty is really good for its price.Footnotes  Jump back.

Normally we would conduct a real-world test using the default square size, but since we mentioned above that if you’re not getting enough absorbency you can just use more squares, the absorbency test we conducted is based on the theoretical limits of each towel’s construction, since the practical limitation of absorbency is limited only by the number of towels you are willing to use. 

Paper makers that pull from fresh-cut wood pulp can mix and match mulch from softwood fibers for pliable strength, hardwood fibers for softness, and eucalyptus fibers for an extra-strong-but-soft kick, Scott told us. Once the manufacturers lay out that fibrous mulch on a fine screen and drain the water out, the fibers go through a bonding process that creates irreversible changes. Towel makers using recycled content must break apart those bonds mechanically and recombine whatever combination of hard, soft, and specialty fibers happen to show up in the supply stream. Some of the paper has been recycled before, too, and treated by myriad processes.  Jump back.

The Best Dish Rack

  Polder 4-Piece Advantage Dish Rack System  

After performing 74 hours of research, interviewing two industrial designers, winnowing a field of 110 dish racks across four categories, and doing the equivalent of 41 loads of dishes between our original testing and a new round for 2017, we’ve concluded that there isn’t “one true dish rack” that’s perfect for everyone. Still, we found that the  is the best one for a four-person household that cooks at least five days a week and has a single average-size sink. Share this review on Facebook Share this review on Twitter Save this review on Pocket Share this review on Pinterest Polder 4-Piece Advantage The best dish rack $45* from Amazon $37 from The Container Store Polder Advantage Simplehuman Slim Wire Frame A slightly smaller runner-up $40 from Amazon Simplehuman Slim Wire Frame Dishrack Zojila Rohan Expensive but functional and beautiful $80* from Zojila Zojila Rohan Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Dish Drainer Inexpensive and lightweight $20* from Walmart Buy from Amazon Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Dish DrainerRubbermaid Antimicrobial Drain Board Simplehuman Steel Frame Dishrack with Wine Glass Holder For homes with big counters and lots of dishes $80 from Amazon $80 from Macy’s Simplehuman Steel Frame Chef’n Dish Garden Extra-compact pick $30* from Amazon Chef’n Dish Garden Polder 4-Piece Advantage The best dish rack $45* from Amazon $37 from The Container Store Simplehuman Slim Wire Frame A slightly smaller runner-up $40 from Amazon Zojila Rohan Expensive but functional and beautiful $80* from Zojila Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Dish Drainer Inexpensive and lightweight $20* from Walmart Buy from Amazon Simplehuman Steel Frame Dishrack with Wine Glass Holder For homes with big counters and lots of dishes $80 from Amazon $80 from Macy’s Chef’n Dish Garden Extra-compact pick $30* from Amazon Share this review with E-mail  

Our pick

Stable, durable, low-maintenance, and reasonably priced, our top pick is the best option for a four-person household with a single average-size sink. With the additional pull-out tray, it can accommodate dishes for an even larger family or dinner parties.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

The  will hold a heavy load of dishes, pots, pans, and glassware, and only take up as much space as a standard toaster oven. Plus, this rack’s utensil holder is one of the largest available and will stay put no matter how much you pile into one end of it. The rack drains effectively and works with a wide range of sink styles, including most overmount sinks.

But the Polder Advantage isn’t perfect—as we’ve discovered, no dish rack is. After watching dishes dry for two weeks straight, we concluded that every dish rack was flawed—some more deeply and/or widely than others. Even the best-performing model, which costs almost twice as much as our main pick, still wasn’t perfect.

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Runner-up

This rack comes with a bamboo knife block, a five-year warranty, and a slightly lower price, and it holds roughly the same number of dishes as our main pick.

If the Polder is sold out or unavailable, or you don’t care for its design, the  is also suitable for a four-person household that cooks nearly daily and has a single, average-size sink. It’s slightly smaller than our main pick and drains out the longer side, so it will take up less space on your counter yet holds about the same number of dishes. The Simplehuman also has some nice added features, including a bamboo knife block and a five-year warranty. This model almost became our main pick, but fell to the runner-up spot due to the number of user reviews mentioning broken parts and other build-quality complaints. The less-open design also means it’s a little trickier to clean and requires slightly more vigilant upkeep.

Upgrade pick

This high-quality stainless steel model drains much more effectively than anything else out there and holds the same amount of dishes as our main pick, but it costs nearly twice as much.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $95.

If you want a dish rack that you’ll never have to replace, you should get the . For the steep price, you get a rack made almost completely out of high-quality thick-gauge stainless steel—only the feet are not. It’s compatible with all overmount sinks, even the porcelain ones with the highest lip. The stainless steel drain tray is the most steeply angled one available and drains more effectively than all of the other racks we considered. Amazingly, the rack was completely dry after five hours, but most others, including the main pick, still had a small amount of water remaining after eight hours. The rack works for any sink and comes with a lifetime warranty. It holds the same amount of dishes as our main pick and runner-up and has a smaller footprint than either of them.

Budget pick

This lightweight model does the job for half the money, but it is noticeably flimsy, has a small utensil holder, and doesn’t come with a drain board. It holds somewhat less than our other full-size picks.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $5.

Our budget pick is the lightweight but decent , which you can pair with the (sold separately). It is smaller and holds less than our other full-size picks, can topple over easily, and is a bit flimsy and not likely to last more than a couple of years with regular use. But as we learned from our tests, it does the job reasonably well and costs half as much as our top pick—so consider it if you need something right now and don’t need it to last forever.

Also great

The Simplehuman Steel Frame is a large and sturdy dish rack perfect for large families or active cooks. It can hold even extra-large pots and pans without dripping onto your countertop.

May be out of stock

Some homes need a larger dish rack, and the  is one of the largest we’ve seen. It’s twice the price of our top pick, but that extra cost brings plenty of extra space and sturdiness. In our tests, this rack easily accommodated a Dutch oven, its lid, and some plates from dinner without wobbling or tipping. The rack’s drip-free design and simple rotating-spout system should keep your countertops safe from any water spills. But be warned: All that water collection and runoff can lead to mold, which means more frequent hand cleaning than you would need for our top pick.

Also great

This all-plastic dish rack has an unusual design that allows it to hold a lot without taking up a bunch of space, drain well, and be used in the sink as well as on the counter. It’s good for a two-person household.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $25.

If you have less than 14 by 14 square inches of counter space to work with or you have a two-person household that cooks most of the week, get the , our pick among compact racks. You can use it in the sink or on the counter, it holds a ton in a small footprint, drains well, and is well-liked by reviewers. It’s not our main pick because it’s a bit too small for the average-size American household of 2.55 people.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Stable, durable, low-maintenance, and reasonably priced, our top pick is the best option for a four-person household with a single average-size sink. With the additional pull-out tray, it can accommodate dishes for an even larger family or dinner parties.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

Runner-up

This rack comes with a bamboo knife block, a five-year warranty, and a slightly lower price, and it holds roughly the same number of dishes as our main pick.

Buying Options

Upgrade pick

This high-quality stainless steel model drains much more effectively than anything else out there and holds the same amount of dishes as our main pick, but it costs nearly twice as much.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $95.

Budget pick

This lightweight model does the job for half the money, but it is noticeably flimsy, has a small utensil holder, and doesn’t come with a drain board. It holds somewhat less than our other full-size picks.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $5.

Also great

The Simplehuman Steel Frame is a large and sturdy dish rack perfect for large families or active cooks. It can hold even extra-large pots and pans without dripping onto your countertop.

Buying Options

May be out of stock

Also great

This all-plastic dish rack has an unusual design that allows it to hold a lot without taking up a bunch of space, drain well, and be used in the sink as well as on the counter. It’s good for a two-person household.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $25.

The research

How we picked and tested Our pick: Polder 4-Piece Advantage Dish Rack System Flaws but not dealbreakers Long-term test notes Runner-up: Simplehuman Slim Wire Frame Dishrack Upgrade pick: Zojila Rohan Budget pick: Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Dish Drainer Also great for a lot of dishes: Simplehuman Steel Frame Dishrack with Wine Glass Holder Also great for smaller kitchens: Chef’n Dish Garden Care and maintenance The competition Sources Dish racks in the Wirecutter test kitchen.  Smart Design4B Our picks, clockwise from top left: Rubbermaid Antimicrobial Dish Drainer, Chef’n Dish Garden, Polder 4-Piece Advantage, Zojila Rohan, Simplehuman Slim Wire Frame Dishrack, and Simplehuman Steel Frame.  sellsmetal modelsracks  How we picked and tested Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

The number and variety of products designed to get your dishes dry is pretty staggering. For this review, we decided to stick to racks (also called dish drainers) that are tray- or bin-shaped, made of plastic or metal, and have some kind of draining capability. Aesthetics factored in a little less, because looks are so subjective.

Yvonne Lin, former associate director at  and founder of design collective , said good dish racks are all about mold management and durability, and the best ones should work for people who are lazy—someone who is not likely to clean the dish rack more than once every few months and who is also not likely to have a dishwasher to throw the rack in whenever it’s gross.

Good mold managers have round contours and fewer (or no) tight corners or crevices where water or gunk can get trapped.

A good rack should hold up to daily use for at least three years, but ideally five or more. For plastic models, problems with mold or discoloration usually arise over time, though with metal the problem is rust. Good mold managers have round contours and fewer (or no) tight corners or crevices where water or gunk can get trapped—which also means they’re easier to clean.

Though bamboo racks have their fans, we eliminated wood models after reading lots of reviewer complaints about mold or rot. Lin also pointed out that constructing a rack out of wood would require drilling a hole to make a joint, and that would create a crevice for mold. Plus, constantly wetting and drying the wood causes it to expand, contract, and eventually crack—and having to oil or wax your dish rack regularly would be more trouble than it’s worth for most folks.

Some dish racks use flat collection trays, others have trays that drain at an angle. Lin got in touch with Alistair Bramley, then a product designer at Smart Design, who told her that most drain trays are not pitched steeply enough to make a difference and that the effect was more psychological than anything else. Heeding his advice, we decided to include in our testing three of the very few models that retained water instead of draining it. However, we found that we still preferred the racks with sloped trays. Even if the effect of the angle is only psychological, it’s nice to get a head start on dumping water out.Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

We eliminated wall-mounted racks (or cabinet built-ins) in the initial stage, too; although they’re common in Europe and a pretty neat solution to the counter real-estate problem, they’re not quite common in the US (IKEA  a couple  and Zojila sells  that are meant to be installed in standard cabinets).

We looked primarily at dish racks that could be used by one- to four-person households that wash dishes at least five days a week. For most people, the main constraint is counter space. The ideal model holds a lot of different-shaped items while having the smallest footprint and/or lowest clearance. With this in mind, we broke down the categories according to their use of space: Full-size, which is big enough for three- to four-person households that eat in every day Compact, for smaller households or less use Over-the-sink/in-sink, for those with double sinks Collapsible, for people with limited counter space or requiring more flexibility in their setup (and because the X-shaped folding model is fairly common)

We didn’t find much in the way of editorial criticism or reviews of dish racks, though there are plenty slide shows and posts (like the ones from and ) that mention discontinued racks and have questionable picks without transparent test data. Real SimpleApartment Therapy

Ultimately, the best source of information for identifying dish racks to test was customer reviews, primarily from Amazon, though we did comb through plenty of reviews on many brands’ websites and other retail-homewares websites. From an initial list of 68 dish racks that fit the categories, and noting the obvious problems that cropped up repeatedly in the reviews or overall negative reviews, we narrowed the field to 28 contenders, pretty evenly divided in each category.

To test the dish racks, we first looked at how much they could hold and how well they did that task. We loaded each with items that were weirdly shaped (sheet pans of different sizes, pie plates, thick-lipped bowls and plates) and fragile (wine glasses). We checked to see if they were stable and balanced if loaded on one side with just heavy glasses. We noted compatibility with overmount sinks, any added features with actual value, and any features or flaws that really stood out.

Most of the racks we considered came with drain trays, some of which were crucial to the rack’s effectiveness, so in general it’s better to buy a dish rack that includes one, rather than try to order a second rack that might not be that compatible. (Our budget pick is an exception, because the drain board that’s sold separately is intended to work with that rack.)

Plastic parts that are thin or protruding (as in dish slots or fins on a drainboard) tend to be harder to clean because they have tight corners.

To approximate the dish output for dinner for a four-person household, we gathered four full-size dinner plates, a large salad bowl (a 4-quart Pyrex or standard stainless steel bowl), a 4.5-quart Dutch oven with lid, a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, four drinking glasses, three large utensils (wooden spoon, spatula, serving spoon), and four sets of forks and knives, recording the maximum amount we could sensibly (but not that conservatively) load onto each rack.

To assess how well the racks actually dried dishes, we immersed each item from the predetermined maximum load into a tub full of warm water and held it in the air for two seconds before placing it into the rack. We allowed the dishes to sit undisturbed for at least eight hours, checking about halfway through to see how it was going. Many racks didn’t even make it this far; they were eliminated early on for being unstable or not holding up dishes well.

In general, metal performed better than plastic because plastic racks typically require a more enclosed shape, which prevents air circulation and means standing water evaporates less easily. Plastic parts that are thin or protruding (as in dish slots or fins on a drainboard) tend to be harder to clean because they have tight corners. And if the quality control is poor, plastic models will have flash (the excess bits of plastic from leaks in the injection molding) or burrs that can trap moisture and mold. Plastic fins and other protruding parts can trap mold and gunk in tight corners and be hard to clean. Photo: Winnie Yang

Metal wire, even in a thin gauge, has the added benefit of being able to support a lot of weight. One thing we did not expect, however, was that stainless steel might be too hard on dishes and pots. The thicker the gauge, the less flexible it was, which meant that wire slots could potentially chip or scratch enamel or scratch dishes. Rubber-coated steel was gentle on dishes but unfortunately tended to be slippery.

What was clear at the end of that battery of testing was that no dish rack was perfect.

What was clear at the end of that battery of testing was that no dish rack was perfect. The results were pretty dissatisfying. Even the best-performing dish rack had issues, and for about $90 you would expect no issues, so that clearly couldn’t be the top pick. The next best one cost about $30 less but had a substantial number of complaints about rusting and parts breaking. That one would work for a runner-up but not as the top pick. So we went back and took another look at two models that we eliminated early on because of reviews. In retesting we found our top pick and a basic option worthy of consideration.

For our 2017 update, we looked at 15 new dish racks and tested three of them head to head with our reigning pick, the Polder. We loaded just the utensil holders and stacked one side with heavy glasses to test balance before subjecting them to a variety of item-specific capacity and stability tests, including wine glasses, half and quarter cookie sheets, a heavy cast-iron Dutch oven, and thick-rimmed glass bowls. We also tested to see how well they could hold an estimated standard dish load (four sets of utensils, four plates, four drinking glasses, a glass serving bowl, large wooden spoon, two spatulas, a 12-inch skillet, and a 2-quart saucepan). We then rinsed that same set of items and set them up to dry in each rack to see how well air circulated and where the water either drained or pooled. We didn’t let each load sit for eight hours this time, because all the racks that made it to the drying round will dry your dishes eventually, and focused more on any spots that looked like they would hold water and create possible mold issues. Our pick: Polder 4-Piece Advantage Dish Rack System To stave off mold, the rack needs to minimize the amount of standing water it holds. The Polder Advantage’s drain tray is angled steeply enough and has sufficiently high sides so that most of the water drained immediately into the sink. The channel was wide enough not to be overwhelmed by a large flow and also not so wide that controlling the direction of flow was a problem. After eight hours, the rack still had about a tablespoon of water left in it, and although the other racks from the final cut performed better, this was an acceptable result. Our top pick, the Polder 4-Piece Advantage Dish Rack System. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald  

Our pick

          Polder 4-Piece Advantage The best dish rack

Stable, durable, low-maintenance, and reasonably priced, our top pick is the best option for a four-person household with a single average-size sink. With the additional pull-out tray, it can accommodate dishes for an even larger family or dinner parties.     $45* from Amazon   $37 from The Container Store

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

In a field crowded with underperforming or overpriced dish racks, the  came out on top not because of outstanding performance on any particular metric, but because it didn’t have any major flaws among the qualities we looked at, and it offered a great overall balance compared with the competition. It was durable, did what it was supposed to do reasonably well, and didn’t cost a (relative) bundle. According to a reader survey we did for our 2016 update, the major complaints people have about their current dish racks are low capacity and lack of mold resistance, and the Polder should have no issues with either. Polder 4-Piece Advantage Dish Rack System

The Polder Advantage can hold all the dishes a four-person household would use if cooking regularly, as well as odd-shaped items like baking pans, pie plates, and fragile wine glasses, while not taking up that much counter or vertical space. It drains effectively, works with a wide range of sink styles, and is stable, durable, and low maintenance. Our top pick can hold all the dishes a four-person household would use if cooking regularly. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Counter real estate is hard to come by for many, so if you’re going to dedicate any of that precious space to what amounts to a holding area, it better be used efficiently. As far as footprint, the Polder Advantage, at 19 by 14 inches, fell pretty squarely in the middle of the pack, but among the best performers, it had the lowest profile (about 6 inches, along with the Rubbermaid Antimicrobial). We had to work harder to maneuver wet plates into the Simplehuman Wire Frame (our previous runner-up, measuring 21 by 16½ by 8½ inches), and the Zojila Rohan (18 by 13½ by 7½ inches) because we have lower cabinets.

Although our pick has a relatively lightweight open-wire frame, it stayed put even when the cupholders on one end were loaded with heavy mugs. The Polder Advantage’s extra drying tray. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Many reviewers found it frustrating that their models wouldn’t drain properly because the spout didn’t make it over the lip of their overmount sink, but the Polder Advantage gives you about ¾ inch of clearance, which works for many sink styles.

The last thing you need when you’re wrangling fragile glasses or heavy pots is for your dish rack to collapse or topple over. Although our pick has a relatively lightweight open-wire frame, it stayed put even when the cupholders on one end were loaded with heavy mugs. And because the utensil holder’s clip attachment spans the entire width of the rack, holding it flush against the side, it stays stable even if you pile your weightiest silverware into one end. The Polder Advantage’s drain tray is angled steeply enough and has sufficiently high sides that most of the water drained immediately into the sink. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

For durability—which for metal racks mostly involves rust, though weak or broken joints or deformation are also possibilities—I relied on the reviewers to assess how the rack handled frequent use over a longer period. A few complained of rust, but that’s actually true of all metal racks. Design expert Yvonne Lin explains that quality control is a problem for every manufacturer, especially because nearly all of these products are made in China: “The factories aren’t making very much money, so if they want to make a profit, they’re going to have to cut corners as much as they can.” The rust complaints about the Polder made up just a small fraction of total feedback; this was true of all the highly rated racks. The Polder Advantage’s utensil tray. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

There were also complaints about standing water leading to mold and gunk buildup, but they were few—and a few, we suspect, were the result of putting the rack on top of the drain tray (which messes up the angle) instead of placing the tray where it’s intended to sit, right above the feet.

The ribs on the Polder Advantage’s drain tray do have some tight corners, but the ribs are quite short and the tray is mostly an open expanse that gently curves up to the rim, which makes for relatively easy cleaning.

The Polder Advantage comes with an additional tray, which can be used for glasses, bowls, or anything else that dries well lying flat. It stows below the drain tray when not in use. It also has a draining side, so if you’re also using the rest of the dish rack, it may take some creative arranging to get both trays to drain into the sink at the same time. Also, the extra tray’s very slight angle may need a little jerry-rigged boost at one end to drain properly.

How This Network of New Generation Industrialists is Creating a Fresh Pool of Entrepreneurs

When he left his secure job of managing 75 skill training centres of a renowned company across Bengal in 2014, it was at the behest of his mentor who was his employer. He was encouraged by employer turned mentor to start a skill training business independently. The initial fillip helped him set up five centres.

This is the story of and his mentorJoint Managing Director,. Within a year into our operation, Hui has successfully registered 1159 students who are trained in sectors like banking, retail, and hospitality at five districts of Bengal.Uttam Hui Rahul Dasgupta,  Globsyn Group

“We have successfully created over 300 district job opportunities and are connected with Globsyn and various Government ministries besides becoming the national assessor for Retail Sector Skill Council. It is time there are more like me who feel encouraged to start their own ventures without any fear of failure and  will be the guiding force to incubate and show them the right direction to achieve success,” he enthused.ALFA Network

ALFA Network is a forum formed with new generation industrialists and leaders from Kolkata along with century-old trade and industry body ASSOCHAM to boost India’s vision to create Entrepreneurs for tomorrow. With a special focus on entrepreneurship, it has started to engage with Central ministries such as NITI AYOG and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Department of Education in the state of West Bengal to take this agenda forward. The members come from 30 different sectors with over 300 years of experience of running businesses.

From a tailor cum line-man working for a big brand to an entrepreneur, the growth story of  also resonates with Hui.  Co-Founder and Director, and also a mentor of Alfa Network helped Abur buy 30 machines and invested in his humble factory. Today, Abur runs a factory with 250 machines and has a workforce of 300.AburVivek Goyal, Zinc London 

“Had I not received the support in my initial days I could not have outperformed my own expectations. Presently, I am all set to open another factory,” shared Abur.Start-up Mentoring is About Scaffolding the Unit

It is now a general consensus that start-ups need to find the right guidance at the beginning of their venture, to sustain and thrive. With this aim, ALFA Network is working towards easing procedural hassles, stringent labour laws and economic regulations in the process turning growth into a mass movement. 

Dasgupta feels mentors act as a guide for a start-up by not only encouraging and providing information and knowledge but also stimulating personal and professional growth. “A mentor often acts as a sounding board, a trusted advisor that brings forward their successes and failures and often helps a start-up to get connected to the right opportunities that help in business growth. At times, the mentor might also decide to participate with equity in a venture,” he elaborated.

For Director,and an ALFA member, mentorship can vary between start-ups but typically a mentor would look to advises, connect, train, motivate and help structure and drive an entrepreneur towards achieving their goals.Devesh Bansal,  Skipper Limited 

According to another member Director,and Director,  as a network ALFA believes in promoting start-ups and it does so by connecting entrepreneurs with possible investors, organizations, incubators, and accelerators. “However, when it comes to mentoring, we believe, our job is to primarily scaffold the start-up with our experience and knowledge so that they are able to achieve their vision,” he iterated.Aditya Vikram Mehta,  White Castle Hospitality Jaypee India Ltd.Aiming a National Growth

ALFA has around 10 success stories of start-ups who have been mentored by the members and are running successful and sustainable businesses today. Most of these start-ups have been handpicked by the members and represent sectors like manufacturing, hospitality, education, gems and Jewelry and apparel amongst others.

The network has a mission is to grow its membership and mentorship program nationally. “We intend to have close to 100 mentors for the start-up community by 2018. On the demand side, ALFA has already started working with IIM-C and other start-up accelerators and have extended our members as mentors to these ecosystems,” shared Dasgupta.Business Linkages Works Better Than Funding

The support program provided by the members is strongly pegged on providing business linkages to the fledgling businesses. The members jointly voiced that business linkages are more important than funding for a start-up.

“In most cases when a start-up raises capital, it spends it on marketing, promotion and client acquisition. We believe the entire process can be cut short by connecting start-ups with our member organizations or connections from the external business ecosystem. This not only saves time or money but also helps a start-up gain credibility which helps them to become sustainable quickly,” enunciated Dasgupta.   

Elaborating furtherBansal proclaimed that the start-ups that they adopted and provided linkages have grown to become sustainable and credible much quicker. “Many of them have also gone to acquire newer client and most importantly, financially, these entrepreneurs have been able to deploy their capital to improve their products and services rather than invest in client acquisitions,” he notified.Collaborative Approach Between Seekers and Providers

Speaking about creating a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem, the members shared that in order to build a relevant entrepreneurial ecosystem, like the government agencies, the corporates too have an important role to play. “Our mission at ALFA is to work with the corporates and the start-up community to build a cohesive and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem,” informed Dasgupta.

On the prerequisites of the start-ups, Mehta charted out three basic elements – a clear vision, identifying the problem they are trying to solve be passionate about it, putting together a passionate and talented team that has espoused the vision and finally, focusing on a structure, process, and discipline at an early stage – for not just raising funding but to scale quickly.

The Best Upright Carpet Cleaners

Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Deluxe Pet 24A4  

You probably don’t need to buy an upright carpet cleaner. Aside from spot-cleaning major stains, one wash per year is plenty for most people, so it makes more sense to rent a machine or hire a pro. But if you want fresh-looking rugs all the time, get the . We tested eight models, and this was the only one that completely cleaned up our mess. Share this review on Facebook Share this review on Twitter Save this review on Pocket Share this review on Pinterest Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Deluxe Pet 24A4 The best dirt and stain removal $220 from Amazon DeepClean Lift-Offstandalone portable spot cleaner Hoover Turbo Scrub Carpet Cleaner FH50130 Cheaper, nimbler, okay at cleaning $100 from Home Depot $125 from Walmart Hoover Turbo Scrub Carpet Cleaner FH50130 Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Deluxe Pet 24A4 The best dirt and stain removal $220 from Amazon Hoover Turbo Scrub Carpet Cleaner FH50130 Cheaper, nimbler, okay at cleaning $100 from Home Depot $125 from Walmart Share this review with E-mail  

Our pick

This is the only carpet cleaner we tested that completely removed dirt and other tough stains. Thanks to the lift-off canister, it doubles as a convenient spot cleaner, too.

The  was able to wash a heap of potting soil out of our test carpet in just a handful of back-and-forth passes, whereas every other model left something behind (or just smeared the dirt around). That’s enough of a reason to pick the DeepClean Lift-Off, but for bonus points, it’s also an excellent spot cleaner. Using either its main scrubber or its hose tool, we were able to totally remove tough stains—including dried red wine and bacon grease—that every other cleaner struggled with. Even better, it has a lift-away canister (identical to our favorite , as far as we can tell) that makes using that hose a little more comfortable. The main downsides are that when you need to use it in upright mode, it’s heavy and bulky compared with other models, and it costs more, too. We also found that it left our rug much more damp at the end of a cleaning session.

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Budget pick

Although it left behind some dull stains that the Bissell cleaned up in our tests, this Hoover is much cheaper, smaller, and lighter. It could keep rugs looking pretty good between professional cleanings.

The  is not quite as good a cleaner as the Bissell 24A4, but it is smaller, lighter, and more maneuverable, for a lot less money. We found that the Hoover left the dirtiest parts of our test rug looking a little dull, and it struggled to clean up red wine and ink stains (even when we used its scrubbing hose tool). But if you hire a professional every year anyway, you could use this Hoover to keep the fibers looking relatively bright between those visits. It also has a heat-dry feature, so you don’t have to wait as long to walk on your carpet again after a cleaning.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

This is the only carpet cleaner we tested that completely removed dirt and other tough stains. Thanks to the lift-off canister, it doubles as a convenient spot cleaner, too.

Buying Options

Budget pick

Although it left behind some dull stains that the Bissell cleaned up in our tests, this Hoover is much cheaper, smaller, and lighter. It could keep rugs looking pretty good between professional cleanings.

Buying Options

The research

Why you should trust us Who should get this How we picked How we tested Our pick: Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Deluxe Pet 24A4 Budget pick: Hoover Turbo Scrub Carpet Cleaner FH50130 The competition Care and maintenance Dryex Carpet and Rug CleaningDan Dan the Carpet ManTop Notch Carpet & UpholsteryJay’s Mobile Detail & Carpet Cleaningportable carpet and upholstery cleaners Reviewed.com portable carpet and upholstery cleaner this guide vacuuming The best carpet cleaners remove the most dirt and stains but are also easy to use.  48-ounce bottle of formula for about $20  Why you should trust us 

To learn what makes a good carpet cleaner, we interviewed four professional carpet and upholstery cleaners: Michael D. Ellis of  in Olympia, Washington; Dan Richard of  in Orlando, Florida; Rodney Rhoden of  in Orlando; and Jay from  in Las Vegas. We also talked to some customer service reps from Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Room & Board, and we interviewed a product manager from Bissell. We did some of those interviews in 2016, when we first published our guide to ; a few others we did in 2018 to expand our coverage to include upright models.

We spent more than 30 hours researching and comparing carpet cleaners, including 10 hours of hands-on testing with the eight best models we could find. On top of that, I’ve been covering the portable cleaners category since we first published that guide, and I’ve been writing about appliances generally for more than six years—first at  and now as a staff writer for Wirecutter.Who should get this 

An upright carpet cleaner can keep your rugs and carpets looking pretty fresh. Most people are happy to clean their rugs just once a year, in which case it probably makes more sense to rent a Rug Doctor from the supermarket or to call a professional cleaning service. But if you want to keep your rugs looking tip-top all year long, you could buy a carpet cleaner of your own.

Upright carpet cleaners are meant to freshen up the dull, dingy look that builds up in rugs over time. But these cleaners can also work well for cleaning up major stains like spilled wine or dog poop—you just might have to use the hose and scrubbing attachments for those jobs. (If you’re concerned about cleaning up only those kinds of stains, you’re probably better off getting a —they’re smaller and more convenient for those jobs, and they typically cost less than uprights.)

Before buying anything, think about whether you really need to own a carpet cleaner. Unless you’ll use it at least a few times per year, you probably don’t.

Renting one could make sense instead. While it usually costs about $250 to buy our favorite upright carpet cleaner, you can rent one (typically a Rug Doctor model) from Home Depot, Walmart, or even your local supermarket for around $40 per day. The downside is that a rental cleaner is bigger and heavier than most uprights, and getting it into a small car could be a minor challenge.

Or you could hire a professional. They can get your carpets much cleaner than any store-bought (or -rented) machine can, and in hiring one you sidestep any risk of accidentally ruining your rug. Most services charge around $80 to $130 for 200 to 400 square feet of carpet, but check out  from HomeAdvisor for a better breakdown of how much a professional cleaning might cost you.

Also, before you buy (or rent) a carpet cleaner, make sure your carpet can handle the water-based extraction-cleaning method they use. Most can. But if you have an heirloom rug or something really high-end that you’re nervous about damaging, it’s wiser to hire a professional. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’ll bite you in the butt—by over-wetting, delamination, etc,” wrote Michael D. Ellis of Dryex Carpet and Rug Cleaning in Olympia, Washington, when we asked him about the downsides to store-bought cleaners.

You can avoid the need for wet-cleaning your carpets by  them, ideally at least once a week. Dan Richard of Dan Dan the Carpet Man in Orlando, Florida, told us one of the main reasons people end up needing to hire a pro is that they don’t vacuum enough. Vacuuming is also a sure way to keep dust, allergens, and perfumed chemicals at bay.How we picked Photo: Michael Hession

Based on what we learned from our experts and owner reviews, here’s what we think is most important in an upright carpet cleaner.

 The best carpet cleaners can completely remove dirt, soil, and other stains, without smearing sediment or residue, in just a handful of back-and-forth passes. They also have a strong suction that removes excess moisture, allowing the carpet to dry pretty quickly, without soap residue.Cleaning performance:

 For an upright cleaner to be really valuable, it should have an extendable hose, plus attachable tools, that can completely remove tough stains from both carpet and upholstery (including stairs, cushions, and auto interiors). Most models with hoses come with a attachment. Ideally, they also have a  for reaching tight corners.Hose-tool performance:scrubbing brushcrevice tool

 Ideally, a cleaner should be light enough for you to grab it by the handle and haul it up or down a flight of stairs. That can be a little hard to find, though some models  with an empty tank (water adds some heft, obviously), which is manageable. The handle and wheels should also let you push the machine easily from odd angles, even over bumps and thresholds.Maneuverability:weigh less than 20 pounds

 We focused on machines with solution tanks that were easy to fill up and clean out. You’ll see —one for a full detergent load and one for a small amount, or “quick clean,” in case you don’t want to leave excess solution in the tank when storing it away. The dirty tank should have a  so you can fit your hand in to wash it manually. The tanks should have so you can rest them on the floor or counter while filling them.Ease of use and operation:two fill lines on the clean tankremovable lid flat bottoms

 This feature blows hot air on your rugs to help them dry faster after the wet-cleaning process. It’s a useful function, though as far as we can tell it’s found only in Hoover carpet cleaners. Depending on how much solution you use, the heated drying should allow you to walk across freshly cleaned carpet in an hour or two, rather than waiting up to five hours for an unheated air dry.Heated drying:

We also preferred cleaners with a . Without one of those, you have to hold the cord in your hand while cleaning just to avoid running it over. The machine should also have a , allowing for easy on/off control; if not, it should at least have a . The hose tool should quickly and easily snap onto the machine; if it’s permanently attached, the tools should easily snap on and off. Finally, we looked for cleaners that  while running at full power.clip on the handle to hold the power cordpower button on the handlepedal switch on the baseweren’t too loud

Some features aren’t as important as they may seem. You can pretty much ignore the following:

 With the exception of the crevice tool, which can be useful for cleaning tight spaces, most of the hose-tool attachments work the same—they just have different widths. Given the secondary use of the hose tool and how the attachments are mostly meant for cleaning stains on furniture, car interiors, or stairs, the width of the hose tool isn’t especially important.Number of scrubbing tools or cleaning attachments:

 You’ll find a variety of tank types and designs. Some keep the clean tank and the dirty tank completely separate; some combine them. Some are big; some are small. Some have plastic bladders that sit within the dirty tank, saving space and time when you’re cleaning. Some of these differences are helpful when it comes to cleaning and filling, but not so much that they affect the machine’s overall cleaning performance.Tank design:

 Uprights typically range in tank size from ¾ to 1¼ gallons. You may find that the smaller ones run out of solution too quickly, while the bigger ones add too much extra weight to the machine while also requiring you to waste solution after each use. We think 1 gallon represents a good compromise, but we didn’t dock points from any machine for having a different size. How much area a full tank covers depends on how filthy the carpet is and how much solution you’re using; we’ve seen estimates ranging from 200 square feet on a full tank to a mere 15 square feet. That’s quite a spread—but because you personally control how much solution the machine uses, it’s impossible to credit the machine itself with how much mileage it gets.Solution-tank capacity:

 We haven’t found a carpet cleaner with a power cord that’s less than 20 feet. That’s plenty of length for pretty much any situation, especially when you factor in the length of the hose tool.Cord/hose length:

 Most cleaners come with an 8-ounce trial-size bottle of formula—some, more than that. We’ve never tested formulas against one another, so we can’t say for sure whether one type is best, but they don’t appear to have any huge differences. If you use your machine only two or three times a year, that trial-size bottle might last you the entire year, but chances are, you’ll have to resupply in short order. You can pick up a . That should last a couple of years, depending on how liberal you are with the solution trigger.Cleaning formula:

Most carpet cleaners cost between $200 and $250, but you can definitely run across some cheaper models out there for as low as $100. We haven’t found that price scales reliably with cleaning performance, though the cheaper models tend to have fewer hose-tool attachments or in some cases no hose tool at all. They also seem to be the exclusive territory of Hoover; Bissell, the other player in this arena, is usually a bit more expensive.

We put together a list of 26 competing models, winnowed it down to eight top contenders, and had those units shipped to an apartment in Boston for testing. The contenders were: Bissell CrossWave 1785A Bissell DeepClean Lift-Off Deluxe Pet 24A4 Bissell DeepClean Premier Pet 17N4 Bissell PowerLifter PowerBrush 1622 Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro 1986 Hoover Turbo Scrub Carpet Cleaner FH50130 / Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner FH50150FH50150NC Hoover Power Scrub Elite Pet Carpet Cleaner FH50251 We ran each cleaner over a patch of dirt until we removed as much soil as we could.  How we tested Photo: Michael Hession

We bought two cream-colored, 5.25-by-7-foot area rugs and coated each in an even layer of potting soil. Then we doused the fabric in tap water and used a broom to rub the soil into the carpet fibers, creating an evenly stained surface. We let it dry before testing, visually dividing each of the two carpets into seven “columns” for testing—four for the carpet cleaners and three for the attached hose tools (two of the models we tested didn’t have hose tools). One by one, we turned the cleaners on and ran them over their respective carpet “columns” or sections, taking as many passes as necessary to clean the carpet as much as possible.

We then tested each machine’s hose tool on a separate section of carpet. For the top performers, we created the same set of stain types—protein, tannin, dye, and oil—as we use for testing portable carpet cleaners, using egg batter, red wine, black pen ink, and cooking oil, respectively. We didn’t have a way to assess precisely how much stain or soil a cleaner removed from each section; we just used our eyes to judge which machine performed best.

We then tested each carpet cleaner for ease of use: We tested how easily the machine could pass over bumps and thresholds, and judged how sturdy the wheels, handles, latches, and overall build quality were. We also looked at how easy each machine was to lift and carry around. We checked to see if each machine had a cord clip and power button on the handle or the base of the machine. We looked at how easy it was to clean the dirty tank, and we tested how easy it was to attach or remove the various parts, including the cleaning scrubber, hose tool, dirty tank, and clean tank. We looked for two level lines on the clean tank, and we determined how easily we could remove, open, and clean the dirty tank.

Finally, we ranked each machine by cleaning performance, hose-tool performance, price, maneuverability, and usability features (size, weight, cord clip, clean-tank level lines, cord length, power-button location and type, number of hose-tool attachments, clean/dirty tank size, cord length, warranty, amount and type of cleaning formulas included, noise). We put all this data into a spreadsheet and looked at everything side by side, selecting the top two models as our picks.

The Best Cordless Stick Vacuum

Dyson V7 Motorhead                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Power cords got you wound up? If you want a cordless vacuum that can clean your entire home, the  is probably your best bet. It’s as powerful as cordless vacuums get, with the best handling, quietest operation, and easiest to empty dustbin for the price. We’ve done more than 125 hours of research and testing on cordless vacuums over the past three years, and this was an easy choice to make.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Share this review on Facebook                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Share this review on Twitter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Save this review on Pocket                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Share this review on Pinterest Dyson V7 Motorhead The best cordless vacuum $300 from Amazon $250 from Walmart $250 from Macy’s V7 Motorhead plug-in model Shark IonFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light A heavier and louder cordless vacuum, better on hard floors $275* from Amazon $320 from Macy’s Shark IonFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Hoover BH50020PC Linx Signature Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner Good performance, great price $147* from Amazon $147 from Walmart Hoover Linx (BH50020) Dyson V8 Absolute The very best and most expensive cordless vacuum cleaner  $350 from Amazon $370 from Walmart Dyson V8 Absolute Dyson V7 Motorhead The best cordless vacuum $300 from Amazon $250 from Walmart $250 from Macy’s Shark IonFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light A heavier and louder cordless vacuum, better on hard floors $275* from Amazon $320 from Macy’s Hoover BH50020PC Linx Signature Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner Good performance, great price $147* from Amazon $147 from Walmart Dyson V8 Absolute The very best and most expensive cordless vacuum cleaner  $350 from Amazon $370 from Walmart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Share this review with E-mail  

Our pick

One of the most powerful cordless vacuum cleaners, and the most pleasant to use, with smooth handling, tolerable noise, and a no-touch dustbin. Great for cleaning up all kinds of debris (including pet hair) from bare floors and most carpets.

We found in our testing that the  is particularly good at getting dust and hair out of carpets, compared with most other cordless models. It works well on bare floors, too. The battery can last 28 minutes with the cleaning head attached, which is plenty for most apartments or townhouses, and even a lot of single-family houses if you work fast. It can also convert into a handheld vacuum, and comes with two snap-on tools.

On the downside, the V7 is a very expensive vacuum. But if you want a cordless vacuum that can clean your whole home as thoroughly as a good , this is how much it costs. Our runner-up is the only model that comes close to matching the cleaning performance, but we think paying the extra amount for the V7 is worth doing because this model is easier to use.

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Runner-up

Better at getting crumbs off bare floors and pet hair off furniture. But it’s heavier and louder, has a shorter battery life, and just isn’t quite as pleasant to use.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $285.

The  isn’t our main pick because it’s noticeably heavier and louder than the Dyson V7 Motorhead. It’s not quite as strong of a carpet cleaner, either, and the battery lasts for only 20 minutes. But it’s better at cleaning upholstery and picking up big crumbs off bare floors, and has a longer warranty. The battery pack is also removable and charges in a separate dock, which could help the IonFlex DuoClean have a longer life span than the V7. If those upsides seem more important to you, grab this Shark instead of the Dyson.

Budget pick

For quick pickups or good-enough apartment cleaning, the Hoover Linx is the sturdiest cordless vac for the money.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $170.

If you just need something affordable and convenient for tidying up a small space, the  is a tried-and-true option. It’s one of the most effective cleaners among budget-priced cordless vacs, and it has a respectable 16-minute run time. The foam filter is reusable, clogs and tangles are easy to clear, and the machine doesn’t need much general maintenance. Like its competitors at this price, it’s effective only at cleaning bare floors and maybe sweeping up some surface-level crumbs and hair from short rugs. The Linx has been available since 2009 and has thousands of owner reviews, so we know that most people should expect good performance from it over a couple of years. (This model used to be known as the Hoover Platinum Collection Linx; to the best of our knowledge, the new vacuum is exactly the same.)

Upgrade pick

The very best cordless vacuum cleaner, with more attachments, a longer battery life, and slightly stronger suction than our main pick. But wow is it expensive.$500

You save $150 (30%)

The  is the best cordless vacuum overall. It’s essentially the same vacuum as the V7, with a little more suction, six minutes of extra battery life, and some tools that help it clean upholstery and bare floors better—useful but mostly marginal advantages over our main pick, for a whole lot more money. It is a great machine, though the price is way steep.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

One of the most powerful cordless vacuum cleaners, and the most pleasant to use, with smooth handling, tolerable noise, and a no-touch dustbin. Great for cleaning up all kinds of debris (including pet hair) from bare floors and most carpets.

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Runner-up

Better at getting crumbs off bare floors and pet hair off furniture. But it’s heavier and louder, has a shorter battery life, and just isn’t quite as pleasant to use.

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*At the time of publishing, the price was $285.

Budget pick

For quick pickups or good-enough apartment cleaning, the Hoover Linx is the sturdiest cordless vac for the money.

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*At the time of publishing, the price was $170.

Upgrade pick

The very best cordless vacuum cleaner, with more attachments, a longer battery life, and slightly stronger suction than our main pick. But wow is it expensive.

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$500

You save $150 (30%)

The research

Why you should trust us                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Who should get this                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       How we picked                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       How we tested                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Our pick: Dyson V7 Motorhead                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Flaws but not dealbreakers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Long-term test notes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Runner-up: Shark IonFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Budget pick: Hoover Linx (BH50020)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Upgrade pick: Dyson V8 Absolute                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       What about the Dyson Cyclone V10?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The competition                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       What to look forward to robotshandheldsplug-ins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why you should trust us 

Liam McCabe, who wrote the first few versions of this guide, has covered vacuums for Wirecutter for more than four years, logging hundreds of hours of vacuum research and testing. He’s personally tested dozens of vacuums of all types (cordless, , , and traditional ) in several homes with varied floor plans. And he has at least passing knowledge of hundreds more vacuums. He wrote this guide from 2014 through 2016 (at one point, he had more than 19 vacuums in his condo for testing), and has edited it since 2017. And for what it’s worth, he’s mostly lived in spaces where cordless vacuums are easier to use than plug-ins.

At one point, we had more than 19 vacuums in one condo for testing.

Michelle Ma is a former retail reporter who has interviewed dozens of manufacturers about how their products are made, sold, and used. For this update, she looked into 32 new models and logged over 20 hours testing nine models total, both at home and at our test site. She also lives in an apartment with a tight floor plan, where a cordless vacuum makes more sense than a plug-in model.

Although we do our own testing, we also think it’s important to hear what other people have to say. We’ve interviewed a bunch of vacuum experts over the years, including: Kyle Wiens, CEO of , which publishes vacuum repair manuals iFixit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Caroline Blazovsky, founder of  and indoor air quality specialist who sits on the ’s public education committee My Healthy HomeIndoor Air Quality Association                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Greg Truex, senior director at J.D. Power who handles home appliance studies David VanAmburg, managing director at the  American Customer Satisfaction Index                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Justin Haver, vice president at  and 20-year veteran of the vacuum industry GoVacuum.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Denis Spindler, owner of  in Waltham, Massachusetts, since 1984 (and an employee there since 1977) Mr. Sweeper Sew & Vac                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Brian Driscoll, a vacuum service technician and shop manager known as the  from  Vacuum King of Reddithis series of popular AMAs                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Jeffrey May, indoor air-quality consultant and author of  My House Is Killing Me!: The Home Guide for Families with Allergies and Asthma                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Brian Oliver, brand manager (at the time) of the  Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Rob Green, reliability manager (at the time) at  Dyson                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Anthony Del Gaudio, a product manager (at the time) for  Miele                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Josh Mutlow, senior design engineer at Dyson Christopher Shook, director of engineering at Stanley Black & Decker Zara Jones, product manager of handheld vacuums at Stanley Black & Decker Keith Barry, editor in chief of  Reviewed Home                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Rich Brown, executive editor of  appliance reviews at CNET CNETConsumer ReportsGood HousekeepingReviewed.com plug-in modelsthe very-best plug-in models we have a quick guide for that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Our picks (left to right): Dyson V8 Absolute, our upgrade pick; Shark IonFlex DuoClean, our runner-up; Dirt Devil Reach Max Multi, our budget pick; Dyson V7 Motorhead, our main pick. 

We’ve also made a point to listen to as many of our readers as we can through comments on our guides, emails, Twitter exchanges, and message board posts.

And we also read other vacuum reviews, including customer reviews (we’ve easily scanned more than 1,000) as well as those from other editorial sources like , , , and .Who should get this Photo: Michael Hession

If you’re willing to pay more for the convenience of a cordless vacuum, go for it. The best cordless vacuums now have enough cleaning power to match good plug-in vacuums, and enough battery life to clean small to midsize homes in a single session (up to roughly 2,000 square feet for our main pick).

Obviously, the best part about owning a cordless vacuum is that you have no cable to unwrap and rewrap during every cleaning session or to catch on corners and doorways. If you’ve ever skipped vacuuming because you’re feeling too lazy to unwrap the cord (guilty as charged) or your cramped floor plan makes cord-wrangling feel like a major chore, a cordless vacuum can be a life-changer. They’re also typically thin and light, which makes them easy to handle and to stash away between uses. Apartment dwellers usually gain the most by going cordless.

But cordless vacuums have some disadvantages compared with good . They always than models with comparable cleaning ability. For example, our main pick costs more than twice as much as our favorite plug-in model. Cordless vacuums also have much  on average, as well as  periods most of the time. That’s partly because the batteries in cordless vacs are likely to wear out after a few years. Their . Even the longest-lasting models won’t quite be able to clean a typical new-construction house (about 2,600 square feet) in a single session. They also all need , so once the battery dies, you’ll need to walk away from cleaning for a while. And compared with , cordless vacuums .cost much more shorter life spansshorter warrantybatteries don’t last long enough to clean big housesat least three hours to rechargecan’t clean as deeply or filter dust as effectively

If you’ve ever skipped vacuuming because you’re feeling too lazy to unwrap the cord, a cordless vacuum can be a life-changer.

If you need more help choosing the right type of vacuum for your home, !How we picked Photo: Michael Hession

We started by making a list of all the cordless vacuums we could find. Since 2014, when we began to cover this category, we’ve tracked 115 models (though many are now discontinued). Here are the factors we prioritized:

Crucial, bare-minimum features:

We didn’t seriously consider any models that didn’t meet these baselines. More voltage does not necessarily mean more cleaning power, but 20 volts is a good baseline for decent suction. Weaker batteries struggle with larger debris, like the road salt or chunks of food we sometimes cleaned up while testing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       A 20-volt battery or greater:  Most cordless vacuums now use this battery type, but some old stragglers out there still use NiCD or NiMH batteries. Those types take much longer to recharge than lithium-based cells, and NiCD-based models are particularly awful because they start to lose suction about halfway through their running time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       A lithium or lithium-ion battery:  That’s about the cutoff for 1,000 square feet of cleaning. Because we were looking for a cordless vacuum that could replace a plug-in, we wanted to find something that could work in more types of homes than just small apartments, even if it couldn’t quite handle the average American house.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       At least 20 minutes of running time:  Most of the time you’ll be cleaning your floors, but it’s handy to have a two-in-one design so that you can clean windowsills, shelves, curtains, ceilings, upholstery, and tight spaces around furniture and appliances.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Can convert to a handheld vacuum:  : This is crucial if you want your vacuum to really work on carpets.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Bristled brush roll

Important, useful features:

These traits set the best models apart from the good ones. Some cordless vacuums are much better than others at getting ground-in hair and dust out of carpets and cracks between floorboards. Although battery voltage and a good brush roll can tell you a little bit about this, the best way to get at this is through testing. A good cordless vac should suck up noticeable debris from bare floors and short- or medium-pile carpets in a couple of passes, as well as some of the less-noticeable fine dust and hair that accumulates deeper in carpets over time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Cleaning power:  People with wrist pain, or who live in tight spaces, often turn to a cordless vacuum for the ease of handling it provides over a traditional upright. So we looked for models that didn’t feel heavy and clunky and that could steer around corners and into tight spaces with ease. A swiveling joint really helped with handling, though most models have one these days. An easy-to-empty dustbin, intuitive controls, and easy-to-remove filters also factored into our decisions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Comfort and handling:   Although 20 minutes was our baseline, the more the merrier.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       More battery life: The typical upright vacuum comes in at around 70 decibels (dBC), so we’re looking for something around that or lower. Aside from general loudness, we also looked for vacs that operated at lower frequencies, which sound less annoying.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Noise:  We’ve found that an average customer rating of four out of five stars is an accurate cutoff for user satisfaction. Any lower is a sign of a design flaw or quality-control problem.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Strong customer ratings: 

Less-important features:

These are factors that may seem important, but are actually so similar from model to model that they’re not worth fussing over. Warranties are typically around two years for most cordless vacuums, though we did favor brands with better reputations for responsive customer service. We also heard from the folks at J.D. Power that only 5.8 percent of people actually use their warranties, so it’s low on the list of priorities for most people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Warranty:  Both are pretty much a given on any cordless vacuum these days.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Reusable filters and swiveling joints: 

We found that the sweet spot for cordless vacuums with all the right specs (on paper at least) can be anywhere from $180 to $350.

Cheaper vacuums under $180 lack some important features and won’t come close to replacing a good plug-in vacuum. However, some work fine to tidy smaller spaces—not a bad choice for a cozy apartment with light or no carpeting, or as a secondary vacuum for your kitchen. Spend less than $80, and they’re all bad.

Spending more than $350 can yield some marginal upsides, like a somewhat longer battery life, or extra attachments that improve cleaning performance in some scenarios. You can get one of these if you want, though it’s a lot of money to pay for modest improvements.

After winnowing the possibilities based on specs, we decided to call in nine vacuums for testing: Eufy HomeVac Duo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Deik EV660                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Dirt Devil Reach Max Multi Cordless (BD22522)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       VonHaus 2-in-1 Cordless                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Hoover React BH53200                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Shark IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Dyson V6 Cord-free                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Dyson V7 Motorhead                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Dyson V8 Absolute

For previous versions of this guide, we also tested the , , , , and , which are all still available. We didn’t think that they were the best picks last year, so we didn’t retest them this year. Hoover LinxHoover Air Cordless LiftHoover CruiseBlack+Decker Smartech HSVJ520JMBF27Eufy HomeVac Lightweight

APARTMENT CLEANING SERVICES

Top-quality solutions for condos, rentals & more

Coming home is a wonderful feeling, especially if your residence is clean and orderly when you arrive. No matter what type of dwelling you call home, Molly Maid delivers the most trusted home and apartment cleaning services around.What’s our secret? Well, it’s really no secret: We’re flexible We’re insured We work with our customers’ preferences We offer a satisfaction warranty

Whether you need our services on a weekly or monthly basis, you can look forward to our industry-leading services and flexible scheduling without the pressure of contracts.

The name homeowners trust

Our customers love the fact that we incorporate their wishes into our time-tested cleaning methods. By working with you to create your very own cleaning plan and following it every time we perform a cleaning service, we’re able to ensure consistent results that meet your needs. Each of our professional house cleaners undergoes extensive training to ensure that the services you receive are not only the Molly Maid way, but are your way as well. It’s our honor to wear a nationally recognized uniform and provide your most important space with the quality cleaning it deserves.

When you request condo, rental, or apartment cleaning services, you’ll receive guaranteed results without having to worry about cancellations or liability. Our team of trusted residential housekeepers will always arrive at your home when scheduled, with your cleaning plan in hand. It’s our goal to give you the free time you need and a clean home you can be proud of.

Molly Maid housekeeper services are also available for renters in need of move-in or move-out services. When your security deposit is on the line, trust our professionals to leave your rental spick and span.

How to Clean an Oven Quickly and Painlessly

  lasagnaThanksgiving turkeycookie crumbsGood Housekeeping Institute SHOP NOW SHOP NOW SHOP NOW SHOP NOW Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleanertable salt Brillo Basics Estracell Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge Simple Green All-Purpose Cleanerscrubbing pad  

Remember that night when your  bubbled over in the oven? Yep, the cheese and sauce — while burnt — is still there. Same with the juices from your . And the  from last weekend. Not only is an oven’s grime and grease a fire hazard, it also influences how your food cooks tastes. To prevent buildup, Carolyn Forte, director of the  Cleaning Lab, recommends deep cleaning your oven . But if you really want to stay on top of things, wipe it down once a month or when you notice it’s starting to look dirty.and two or three times a year

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Shutting the oven door and pretending that it’s not full of grime, grease, and bits of food is not a cleaning solution. Instead, follow this guide by to make your oven look — and cook — as good as new.


How to Clean Inside the Oven

Wipe down loose bits of food on the inside with a damp sponge or cloth. If available, use the self-cleaning cycle on your appliance to ensure that every nook and cranny is touched. Hold up: Isn’t the oven’s self-cleaning function usually more trouble than it’s worth?

It depends. If you use this function regularly — every four months like Forte suggests — then you won’t deal with foul odors or smoke, which many people complain about. However, it’s important to remember that for the function to work properly, the inside of the oven reaches insanely high temperatures to burn off any leftover food and grease. That means some smoke and a funky burning smell are inevitable.

If you don’t own a self-cleaning oven or aren’t in the mood to deal with the smoke alarm aftermath, use  to effectively remove any spills. For a more natural approach, sprinkle  to absorb fresh spills and wipe it up with a damp sponge or cloth once the oven is cool.


How to Clean Oven Racks

Your approach for cleaning the oven racks should be totally different from how you clean the appliance’s inner shell. First, remove the racks from your oven so that you can comfortably — and effectively — clean them. Wash the racks one at a time in warm, sudsy water. Scrub stubborn gunk and grime with a pad, like . Rinse the racks, let dry, and slide them back into place.


How to Clean Oven Door

The outside of your oven, however, can be cleaned the same way as the interior with warm, sudsy water and a sponge. For streak and spot-free glass, spritz on a glass or grease-cutting multi-purpose cleaner like . Scrub with a , rinse with a clean cloth or sponge, and let dry.        IZUSEKGETTY IMAGES

And whatever you do,  that suggests you take apart your oven door. “You should never disassemble the oven door to clean between the glass layers,” says Forte. “This should only be done by an authorized technician to help prevent damaging the glass or the door, or voiding your oven’s warranty.” don’t try the Pinterest hack


How to Clean Tough (and Stubborn) Grime

That sticky  filling that’s clinging on to your oven for dear life? The only way to completely get rid of it is by using your appliance’s self-cleaning function. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle or have an older appliance, place a hot, wet cloth on top of burned spots to help soften the gunk. Then scrub with a  and wipe dry. apple pieheavy-duty pad


How to Prevent Gunk and Grime

Just because you now know how to effectively clean your oven doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try preventing a mess in the first place. As a general rule of thumb,  or  to prevent splatters and place  on the bottom racks when baking pies and casseroles to catch anything that might spill over. As soon as you suspect a spill, wipe it up before it becomes a bigger problem. cover pans with lidsaluminum foilbaking sheets

Here’s Exactly How to Clean Your Microwave

All it takes is one leftover  to turn a sparkling clean microwave into a war zone. If you avoid cleaning this appliance because you think it requires more elbow grease than you can muster up, we have good news: Carolyn Forte, director of the  Cleaning Lab, has easy tips to help you tackle this on the regular. spaghetti dinnerGood Housekeeping Institute

But first, you’ll need a few supplies. Many household essentials work very well at getting rid of all the gunk in your microwave. You can use  to get rid of all the gunk in your microwave — but steer clear of bleach.baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar (white or apple cider)

There’s really no need to use bleach on microwaves because the surfaces generally don’t get stained like countertops or sinks do, according to Forte. Plus,  actually cautions against using bleach on any part of the microwave because it makes the plastic parts brittle. General Electric  

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How to Clean the Inside of Microwaves

Place 1 cup of water and some lemon, lime, or orange slices (squeeze a little juice from the fruit slices into the water) or several tablespoons of white or apple cider  in a microwave-safe bowl and set it inside your appliance. Turn it on high power for several minutes until the mixture boils and the window is steamy. Let it cool for 5 minutes before opening the door, then remove the bowl and wipe the inside clean with a sponge. vinegar


How to Clean Greasy Microwave Doors

  RELATED STORY     Top-Tested Microwaves That Bring the Heat

Clean the rubber gasket around the door with a sponge dampened with water and dipped in a little baking soda. Wipe with a damp cloth or sponge to rinse. If the window is greasy, clean with a mixture of half vinegar and half water, then dry. You can also wipe your microwave door down with a good all-purpose, grease-cutting cleaner, like .Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner


How to Clean Microwave Exteriors

Here’s another place you can utilize your  (or even a sudsy mix of dish soap and water). Just make sure you apply the cleaner with a cloth or sponge — don’t spray directly on the appliance, or you’ll risk cleaner getting into the vent holes. “You don’t want cleaner getting into the inner workings of the microwave,” Forte says. “And don’t spray the control panel directly either.” When you’re done applying the cleaner, rinse with a clean sponge or cloth and buff dry. all-purpose cleaner    


How to Clean Stubborn Spots

For super stuck-on ick, Forte recommends using Good Housekeeping Seal holder . You can wash most removable pieces (like the turntable) in the dishwasher or a sink full of sudsy water. Just make sure you read your manufacturer’s manual beforehand. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser


How to Prevent Excess Microwave Grime

Want to make your cleaning experience easier next time? Forte recommends wiping down your appliance every couple of days, depending on how often you use it and, of course, right after something splatters so bits don’t bake on. Be sure to cover any foods you reheat, even with just a paper plate, to prevent splatters in the first place. You’ll thank yourself later.

How to Deal With Distractions Stealing Time Away From Your To-Do List

Many successful entrepreneurs swear by some variation of the to-do list.  maintains several on her phone at the same time. Casper’s prefers using sticky notes. Postmates CEO  is a fan of apps such as Clear.  sets regular alarms to spur her back into action. Barbara CorcoranJeff ChapinBastian LehmannRandi Zuckerberg

But in any given day, there will be things that will throw you off course: an unexpected meeting, dealing with a customer complaint, or maybe you just didn’t get enough sleep and your third cup of coffee isn’t cutting it.

Your impulse might be to stay the course as best you can and not let distractions sap your productivity. But a recent study from University of Texas, University of Maryland and UCLA sought to explore how effective that approach really is, by comparing what the researchers identified as more classic “time management planning” to “contingent planning.”

With contingent planning, the idea is to account for the disruptions that can seep into your day and structure your day around them. “Contingent planning is less commonly used than time-management planning because individuals frequently make plans that overestimate how much they will get done and underestimate (or fail altogether) to account for how their work will be disrupted,” the researchers explained in a of their findings in  summaryHarvard Business Review.Related: 27 Founders Reveal Their Favorite Tool to Keep Them Organized

The researchers monitored the work of 187 employees from different industries over the course of two weeks. They found that time management planning was effective for the participants’ engagement in their work and daily productivity.

But this kind of planning worked best when there were a limited amount of interruptions. Ultimately, they found that on days when up to 20 percent of the time was taken up with interruptions, time management planning did very little to help the employees get things done. When it came to the employees who utilized the daily contingent planning, the researchers found that the positive influence of that mindset was maintained even in the face of a lot of interruptions.

“While the benefits of time-management planning are less effective when interruptions occur, contingent planning continued to be beneficial regardless of the level of interruptions employees faced,” the researchers explained.

As you go about your day, there will be all manner of distractions. Acknowledging that isn’t a failing, but rather a key to making the most of the time you have.  Does this strategy make sense to you? Let us know in the comments.