We here at CNN Underscored test hundreds of products a month to identify the best in respective categories — from nonstick pans to shower heads.
Going on now, Wayfair — among other Black Friday deals currently going — has slashed prices on some of the best products we’ve tested all year. So if you’ve been waiting on a new air fryer or maybe a sharp new kitchen knife set, it’s time to shop these deals before they sell out.
This pan can cook way more than the average frying pan, with the ability to boil and stew. During our testing, we found that the T-fal’s extended side height helps contain voluminous veggies — like kale — that would otherwise overflow before they’re wilted down by heat. When it comes to pulling off nonstick, the T-fal absolutely delivers — nothing clung to the pan’s surface while we were testing, which is why we named it the best nonstick pan overall.
You can also get it on sale as part of a three-piece set for $87.54, down from $149.
Read more from our testing of nonstick pans here.
The primary reason the Kohler Forte topped our list is because of the immersive shower experience it provides. Delivering a powerful rainfall spray, comprised of big, full droplets of water, the shower head’s main “full coverage” setting is all-encompassing and perfect for daily use. The intense pressure makes washing shampoo and conditioner out of your hair a quick process, and it’s super helpful when rinsing off soaped-up little ones who are much shorter and farther away from the head.
Read more from our testing of shower heads here.
Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven
When testing 13 highly rated Dutch ovens, we found the Le Creuset — which we named the best splurge Dutch oven — brought water to a boil much faster than any other model. And while all the recipes we made turned out well, Le Creuset’s results were always just a little bit superior. For example, all the pans produced fluffy, light rice, but while the others left at least some of the grains sticking to the pan and had variances in heat distribution when we tested different areas of the Dutch oven with an infrared thermometer, Le Creuset left nary a trace of rice behind and displayed perfect heat distribution.
Read more from our testing of Dutch ovens here.
Best cast-iron skillet: Lodge Cast-Iron Skillets, Set of 2 ($49.99, originally $74.50; wayfair.com)
The Lodge Chef Collection 12-Inch Skillet rose to the top of our rankings for not only delivering great results across all of our testing criteria but also for its affordable price. Lodge, the oldest and longest-running American cast iron manufacturer, reimagined its classic cast-iron skillet in 2019, releasing the Chef Collection that’s 15% lighter and features a slightly elevated, elongated and curved handle that gives better leverage and control. It has slightly sloped sidewalls that, while shallower than the classic version, make it easy to move your spatula around the pan. Now at Wayfair, you can get two skillets for what you’d usually spend to get just the 12-inch skillet.
Read more from our testing of cast-iron skillets here.
Despite this fryer’s basic controls, or perhaps because of them, the Dash Tasti-Crisp ended up cooking all of our food items really well. The fries turned out crispy and evenly cooked, with a nice soft interior; the shrimp were perfect and crunchy; and even the Brussels sprouts came out great after a little trial and error with recommended cooking times.
Read more from our testing of air fryers here.
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
When we started comparing its details against the other Dutch ovens we tested, Lodge’s enameled version kept coming out near the top. We noted its large handles and the lid’s amply sized metal knob, both features that make using a heavy pan easier — especially while wearing oven mitts or handling with a kitchen towel, which is necessary because these pans get hot, handles and all.
When it came to cleaning up after each round of testing, the Lodge, which is available in nearly a dozen colors, looked good as new after a little soaking in sudsy water, with no visible staining, chips or cracks.
Read more from our testing of Dutch ovens here.
One thing that truly sets this set apart from our top choice is the ice-hardened, precision-honed blades. The chef’s knife, which was our favorite from the Zwilling set, for one, practically dropped through a head of lettuce, and easily sliced through carrots, onions, herbs and more. The chef’s knife is typically the most used knife in a home cook’s block, so the fact that this was the standout piece in the set shows that Zwilling knows what matters most. The only thing that kept us from naming it best overall was the price, which this sale offsets.
Read more from our testing of kitchen knife sets here.
Simplicity and reliability. That’s what you’ll get with this scale. When we measured the same item several times and/or compared it to other scales, its accuracy was dependable. It has a wider surface, which is excellent for bigger bowls if you’re using them in your meal prep. A drawback of this scale, though, is the positioning of the display screen. You can really only use a bowl to measure since a plate covers up the numbers. We learned this — and forgot this! — several times during our month of testing, and we were frustrated each time we had to dirty another dish to measure.
Read more from our testing of kitchen scales here.
Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker
Aside from a perfectly delicious meal — during all of our cooking tests — we loved that the housing and all handles stayed cool to the touch. This helps with maneuvering the slow cooker and ensuring no little hands are burnt. The cord on this slow cooker was also one of the longer ones measured, which helps if your outlet socket is slightly farther away from your cooking space.
Read more from our testing of slow cookers here.
With 12 adjustable grind settings, this is our top pick for amateur baristas ready to up their game with a burr grinder. The Bistro, which uses 35mm stainless steel conical burrs to crush beans, received high rankings for a consistent grind on multiple settings during our testing.
And using it couldn’t have been easier: Just pour your beans into the hopper, choose your grind size by twisting the hopper, set the timer anywhere from one to 20 seconds, flip the power switch and turn it on.
Read more from our testing of coffee grinders here.
Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker
Out of all the compressor machines we tested, the Whynter ICM-201SB Upright Automatic Ice Cream Maker was by far the best. This ice cream maker was not only amazingly simple to use, but it also churned the smoothest ice cream out of all the machines we tested, with barely any icy buildup on the sides of the bowl. Plus, the Whynter’s upright configuration means that it takes up a lot less space on your counter than other compressor models. In fact, it only took up a bit more room than most of the non-compressor models, which is quite amazing since the Whynter has a full freezing system inside of it.
Read more from our testing of ice cream makers here.