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The things we need and want change constantly, and we shop for different things at different times of the year. March is an especially interesting month, as we’re finally starting to ascend from the dark depths of winter into the warmer, happier times of spring. I always love seeing how shopping behaviors shift from seeking out warm, cozy and comforting things like the comforters and heated neck massagers everyone was buying in February to things for spring cleaning like robot vacuums and paper towels.
Because it’s always fun to see what other people were interested in, we took a closer look at our data to find out what was really ringing our readers’ bells in March, and while there were some perennial favorites like the Instant Pot and Home Chef meal kits, there were also plenty of new and unusual trends, including cat toys, keyboard cleaning goop, and more. Did you buy anything on this list last month?
1. Aromatherapy diffusers and essential oils
Essential oil diffusers are insanely popular lately, partly because some claims have been made that breathing in scents like lavender might help with a number of things. Whether you can actually feel better after a little aromatherapy session is still up for debate, but some studies have shown positive results. The reason I think they’re great? Unlike candles and incense, diffusers have no open flame, which means they are vastly safer.
Our readers went gaga for the best essential oil diffuser we’ve ever tested because it was a couple bucks off in March, and for something that’s already so cheap at $16, I can hardly blame them. We loved this particular diffuser because it has a larger-than-average water reservoir, so it can run longer, and the lid locks in place, reducing the risk of spills. People also seemed to really prefer this essential oil set to go with it. It comes with six different single-scent oils—lemongrass, peppermint, orange, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree—and a 4-star rating and 2,200 glowing reviews confirm it’s a great option.
2. Not just one but TWO affordable robot vacuums we love
OK, to be fair, I’m pretty sure that robot vacuums are just insanely popular all the time. Whenever we write these lists, you know… once a month, we can count on at least one robot vacuum making an appearance. This time, there were two. The Eufy RoboVac 11S is our favorite affordable robot vacuum and the Ecovacs Deebot N79S was once our top pick for budget smart robot vacuums.
Both robot vacuums were on sale for $40 off in March, and our readers took advantage! While neither model is still on sale, I have a secret: They go on sale pretty often! If you want one, and want to save a few extra bucks, wait a couple weeks and there will probably be a price drop again. If you would rather start enjoying a life where a robot cleans up after you now, $200-$224 is still a pretty solid price range for a robot vacuum I am confident will do a decent job.
3. Anthropologie clothing and home decor
In the middle of March, Anthropologie held their annual Anthropologie Day, a weekend-long sale (I don’t get that part either) on new arrivals from clothing to shoes to home decor and more, and our readers went bonkers upgrading their spring wardrobes and their homes. Pictured above are three reader favorites: a Capri Blue candle that usually costs $178, this simple yet elegant Lincoln Center dress that usually costs $168, and a Pilcro denim jacket that usually costs $138.
Thanks to a 20% discount, savvy shoppers saved about $30-$35 on each of these items and reaped the benefits of other significant discounts in this brief but amazing sale. And while this big sale is over, we always love poking around the clearance section for discounts.
4. The best baking sheets
Thanks to a 20% discount in mid-March, a bunch of our readers upgraded their kitchens with new baking pans. Not only was this a great price, but these are actually the best sheet pans we have ever tested. They are lightweight but still provide plenty of cooking space. Our tester recommends soaking for a few minutes before washing to remove stuck-on bits, or even using parchment paper or a silicone mat when baking cookies or roasting veggies, but said frozen pizzas slid off with ease.
5. All-Clad cookware that was a little dinged up
All-Clad is a big name in the high-end cookware world, and that means it usually comes with a hefty price tag. While we think the pots, pans, and other cooking tools All-Clad makes are high-quality, even naming their skillet the best stainless steel skillet, we also know a little secret: You don’t always have to pay full price on All-Clad cookware.
Every few months, All-Clad holds what they call a VIP Factory Seconds Sale in which they offload their lightly damaged cookware at crazy deep discounts. One of these sales took place at the beginning of last month, so we weren’t too surprised to find All-Clad on this list. The kind of damage you might encounter is purely cosmetic and the items are functionally sound, but still can’t be sold at full price. So considering everything you cook with will eventually have some wear-and-tear, you won’t even notice the very minor dings and dents after a couple uses.
6. Home Chef meal kits
Subscription meal kits are amazing. They let you try new recipes, teach you new cooking skills, and are just fun and convenient. Home Chef is the best one we have ever tried, and it seems like our readers prefer it too. Not only does Home Chef provide easy-to-follow recipes, but they offer gluten- nut-, and dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options, and their ingredients were the highest quality of all the meal kits we tried and had the best variety and caliber of recipes to choose from each week.
7. One of the best car USB chargers
Having a way to charge your phone in your car is essential whether you spend long hours commuting through traffic, take long road trips, or just putter around town. There are loads of options out there, and they’re mostly all pretty affordable, but they don’t all work the same. In March, we spotted a deal on one of the best USB car chargers we’ve tested for a couple bucks off, and the best part is it’s still at this discounted price! Our tester found that it had the fastest charge time of every model we tried, and he also loved the rubber material that made it much easier to grab and remove than some of the other options we tried.
8. Photos from the top online printing services
It makes me so happy that so many people are actually getting their photos printed out! All too often we let the memories we capture with our phones disappear into the dusty halls of our photo folders. Getting them printed encourages us to actually display and enjoy them, and we tried the top 10 leading online printing services. Of those services, Shutterfly and Amazon came out on top. We named Shutterfly the best overall option because their photos were the highest quality, brightest, and most detailed of all the photos we ordered. Amazon was our favorite affordable option, not just because of the lower prices but because it was so easy to do. You can upload photos right from your phone to the Amazon Photos app, and even just automatically add every picture you take thanks to the free cloud storage every Amazon shopper (not just Prime members) gets.
9. The most popular Instant Pot
Like with robot vacuums, it’s rare that a month goes by without our readers buying lots of Instant Pots, and for that I am so grateful. Why? Because these things are amazing and I never stop telling anyone who will listen that they need to try cooking in one. When I first got my Instant Pot, I figured it’d be like my Crock-Pot: rarely used and covered in dust.
But electric pressure cookers are so much more amazing than I ever thought. Not only can they replace your slow cooker and your rice cooker, but you can cook everything from meatloaf and mashed potatoes (at the same time) to hard-boiled eggs to yogurt and cake, not to mention the standard soups, stews, and chilis. This model went on sale for the best price since Black Friday at the tail-end of the month, and it’s still available for $31 less than usual if you want to find out what the fuss is all about.
At the time of writing this list, this Instant Pot was down to its second lowest price, but typically it sells for $90-$100.
10. Tablets that clean your washing machine
I have always wondered if my washing machine is something I should be cleaning, and if so, how the heck could I do it? Turns out there are these tablets that you can just drop into the washing machine that will help to remove smells of mildew and residue that can build up on the barrel. Over 3,500 Amazon reviewers swear by these tablets, with many saying the results are much better than when they use vinegar (which is another fine way to get things a little cleaner in your machine). You’ll be happy to know that they work in both front-load and top-load machines too!
11. The best contoured sleep mask
I have this streetlight outside my bedroom window that I swear is angled directly at my pillow. I don’t need total darkness to sleep, but when I have that light glaring through my lids, it definitely presents a challenge. Last year, my boyfriend got me this eye mask before we’d even tested it and found it to be the best contoured sleep mask because it had high ratings and great reviews. Our tester confirmed what I already knew: It is comfortable, stays put, and gives you enough room to comfortably open your eyes and enjoy that pitch darkness.
12. An unusual toy most any cat would love
In March, I learned something awesome: So many of our readers have cats too! And they all treated their fluffy familiars to this awesome tower of balls-on-tracks because it’s been on sale for just under $10 for the last couple of weeks. It’s also a highly rated and super popular cat toy on Amazon, so I’m certain all those cat lovers are enjoying plenty of playtime with their kitties. My favorite part is that the balls stay put so you won’t accidentally trip over one in the middle of the night.
13. The best bed pillows we’ve tested
When your pillow is too flat or too stuffed, it can absolutely wreck your sleep, which can absolutely wreck your day. So when the best bed pillow we’ve ever tested went on sale last month, I wasn’t too surprised to see so many of our readers jumping at the chance to pick it up in all three available sizes. This pillow ships over-stuffed, but it’s filled with shredded memory foam that you are encouraged to remove and smoosh around until you have the pillow of your dreams. It comes in a removable bamboo cover, which is machine-washable and kept our tester cooler overnight than cotton-covered pillows.
14. Our favorite mattresses
Considering Tax Day is coming up fast, I have little doubt in my mind that our readers who filed early invested some of their refunds into new mattresses. that’s what I did a few years ago, and it was an amazing decision. The mattresses that really captured everyone’s attention were also the two best mattresses in a box we have tested.* Tuft & Needle snagged our award of the best overall option even though it and the Purple mattress had the exact same scores in our tests. Why? It’s more affordable, and thanks to a sale that’s still ongoing, our readers had a great opportunity to upgrade their beds. Plenty of others went full steam ahead and invested in the pricier Purple, which sets itself apart with an oddly comfortable elastic polymer material in addition to the memory foam other mattresses in a box rely on.
*Testing is still ongoing on other popular models, but these are the best so far.
15. Vitamin C Serum
When we included this serum in a list of the most popular things for women on Amazon our skincare loving readers jumped at the chance to snatch it up because it’s pretty much half the price of other similar products. Vitamin C serum claims to help hydrate and rejuvenate your skin by infusing it with vitamins and nutrients. This can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines while also giving you that healthy “I care about my skin” glow we all crave.
16. Cold brew coffee makers to welcome in spring
When I moved to New England over a decade ago, I happily and quickly adopted the habit of drinking iced coffee all year long. But I get that not everyone wants something refreshing when it’s snowing. Now that spring is officially here, a lot more folks are getting back in the mindset of craving a refreshing brew. But cold brew is super pricey when you get it from Starbucks or any other coffee shop, and our readers are taking matters into their own hands by buying up the best cold brew coffee maker we’ve ever tested. Not only is it sturdy and easy to use, but it’s also airtight so you can store it on its side if fridge space is limited, and we love that low price point. It costs the same as stopping off for cold brew a handful of times, so why not give it a shot. Did I mention it’s totally dishwasher safe?
17. The best-selling shower curtain liner on Amazon
If you have a shower, odds are you have a shower curtain and hopefully you’ve also got a liner to keep water on the inside and protect your much nicer shower curtain. But when is the last time you replaced yours? It’s in and around water and humidity all the time, so mildew is a real threat in your bathroom if you don’t swap things out at least sometimes. Our readers always turn to this highly rated liner as their favorite, and it seems like lots of people were tacking the bathroom as they started spring cleaning around their homes this last month.
18. A nifty gadget that eradicates unpleasant fridge odors
Whether you’re trying to reduce the amount of food you waste or you’re sick of being greeted with a cacophony of smells every time you open the fridge, this unusual kitchen gadget can help. We recently put it to the test and were really impressed that its activated oxygen (a.k.a. ozone) actually helped stop bad odors while keeping produce in edible condition longer. The ozone helps to eliminate and prevent bacterial growth so your foods stay fresh longer, and for just $30, who wouldn’t want to try it?
19. A handheld luggage scale to avoid baggage fees at the airport
Nothing is worse than getting to the airport, plopping your checked bag on the scale, and finding out you’re 5 pounds over the limit. Those baggage fees can be a real mood killer, especially if you’re heading to a vacation destination. Rather than wrench up your trip before you even leave, pick up the luggage scale everyone was buying up for Spring Break season. It’s the best luggage scale we’ve ever tested, and we love that it’s so small you can bring it with you to avoid going overboard on souvenirs.
20. An unusual gadget to help rings fit better
Sometimes, you don’t know there’s a simple solution for a problem you’ve had for years, and this ring sizer that we featured in a list of unusually amazing things on Amazon was my A-ha! moment of March. I love rings, but pretty much none of the ones I own fit quite right. They’re all mostly costume jewelry or lower-quality metals, so getting them adjusted is not remotely worth it. This little plastic coil, however, is a great way to easily stop rings from sliding around on your fingers—and it comes with a polishing cloth. Bonus!
21. Our favorite manual and electric can openers
Every kitchen needs a can opener, and having the right one can make a huge difference. We’ve tested all the best manual can openers as well as all the most popular electric can openers, and the top contender in each category really piqued our readers’ interest this past month. A bad can opener turns a simple task into a wrist-cramping and sometimes dangerous task, but a good one will make quick work of popping the top off your Spaghetti-o’s. These are both so affordable, there’s no reason not to upgrade whatever you have at home.
22. Goop that makes it easy to clean your keyboard
Discovering unusual products that make life easier is the 2019 equivalent of finding buried pirate treasure, and in that list of weirdly awesome things you can get on Amazon, we included this cleaning slime that makes it easy to get all the crumbs, dust, and other too-gross-to-think-about stuff out from between the keys. It claims to be insanely easy to use (just press it into your keyboard and peel it away) without being sticky or slimy to the touch, and it’s even lemon-scented so your workspace will feel cleaner. Plus, unlike canned air, this cleaning gel won’t create a cloud of icky particles and for that, your coworkers will thank you.
We’re going to put some of this stuff to the test soon to see how well it really gets the job done. But if you can’t wait to try it yourself, $10 is not a bad price for something that promises to be so handy.
23. The best budget paper towels
Everyone uses paper towels, but not everyone buys them online. When we saw the price drop on this 12-pack of Bounty Essentials, we shared it with our readers, who went into a stock-up frenzy. These are the best value paper towels we’ve ever tested because they were surprisingly durable in our tests. They lost some of their durability when submerged in water and weren’t able to scoop up as much ketchup as more expensive options, but they held up fairly well when we scrubbed a cast iron skillet and were fantastic for dusting and other minor cleaning jobs.
24. A pizza cutter that’s easy to use and easier to clean
Another contender for one of the most popular weird things on Amazon, this pizza slicer is an amazing accessory to have on hand the next time you make homemade pizza. Unlike the more traditional design of tiny wheel at the end of a long handle, this larger wheel makes it easier to apply more pressure, ensuring a clean cut on the first try. I got one for Christmas and absolutely love it for quickly slicing up frozen pizza, a task I used to relegate to my kitchen shears. My favorite feature of the pizza wheel is that it’s 100% dishwasher-safe and is cleverly put together to reduce the risk of accidentally slicing yourself.
25. The best rechargeable AA batteries we’ve ever tested
Rechargeable batteries are a serious game changer, especially if you have multiple remotes and kids’ toys and other battery-powered items. They cost a little more up front but will save you so much in money and time spent searching for and buying new batteries over time. Last year, we tested all the best rechargeable batteries to find out which are actually worth investing in, and just a few months ago, we went back and tried a few new options to make sure our favorites were still the best—and they are.
The Panasonic Eneloop batteries completely blew the competition out of the water because they lasted an hour longer than the second-best batteries we tested. They have a life span of about 500 recharges, about half what some others offer because they have a higher mAh rating (science!), and they can hold 85% of their charge for up to a year of non-use so they’ll be ready to go when you need them.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.
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