10 things you should get for winter before it’s too late
Winter is coming.
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Although it may seem like we have at least another month until the first snowfall, the dreaded ice storms and snowy days will be upon us sooner than you think—and we need to get prepared. You don’t want to be in the position where you need to go buy a new a snow shovel, but you can’t actually leave your house because you can't shovel your driveway.
So you’re not stuck snowed-in and waiting for your winter essentials to be delivered, you should probably get them before the weather gets worse. If you're not sure what you need, we put together a list of the 10 things we recommend to survive winter:
1. A snow shovel so you can get out of the house
Whether you need to create a path from the garage to the street or you need to dig your car out of the snow, a good snow shovel is essential. You’re going to want one that won’t leave you sore after hours of shoveling and won’t scrape your car while you’re digging around it.
Although we're still testing all the top snow shovels to find the best, this one from Snow Joe is a popular option. It has two handles that act as a fulcrum, so the movements are gentler on your back. Reviewers also love that it helps them shovel a bit faster and for longer.
2. A good scraper to get the ice off your windshield
Ice on your windshield is a huge culprit to running late in the morning. You can’t see through the ice and you definitely cannot drive with it on your windshield. If you park your car outside at any time during the winter, you’re going to need an ice scraper. These simple gadgets make it easy to remove ice and snow without damaging your windows, so you’re not waiting 10 minutes for the heat of your car to melt it.
This one from Mallory is long enough to reach your entire windshield from one side. It also comes with a brush to easily wipe away excess snow. Keep one in your car so you’re always prepared for unpredictable weather.
3. Space heater for the chilliest nights
It’s almost impossible to sleep at night if your feet are freezing because the room is too cold. Instead of attempting to warm yourself up with a pile of blankets, you should just order a space heater now to alleviate the problem before it starts.
The Lasko 754200 is the best affordable space heater we’ve ever tested and it can warm up part of a room despite its small size. It's also so affordable that you might as well get one for every room in your house and office.
4. A humidifier so you can stop coughing
The winter makes the air painfully dry and can cause some painful coughs. My poor roommate was hacking up a storm until she finally gave in and got a humidifier to finally relieve her symptoms. This one from Vicks is our favorite humidifier because it has the capability to run all night and there’s a medicine cup sits right over the exhaust for extra relief when you have a cold. Get one now before that cough really gets out of hand.
5. Work gloves that can handle the cold
Doing any sort of work outdoors in the winter is made immensely harder with wet, cold gloves. If you really want to get to work shoveling snow or hammering nails for your holiday lights in the cold, you’re going to need a solid pair of work gloves. Thanks to their ability to stand up to freezing conditions and being both waterproof and windproof, the Youngstown Winter Proof Plus earned the award for the best work gloves for cold weather in our tests. They’re a bit stiff and only allow for a gripping motion, but that’s all you really need to shovel snow or swing a hammer anyway.
6. An extension cord you can use outside
For those of us who plan on hanging holiday lights or need to run the snowblower this winter, you’re probably going to want an extension cord that can hold up to the wet, cold weather. The Voltec Pro Outdoor Extension Cord is the best outdoor extension cord we’ve ever tested because it's extremely durable and has a large power capacity (15 A). This way, you don't have to worry about your snow blower blowing a fuse or your Christmas decorations deflating on the lawn because of some bad weather.
7. Window/door insulation to keep the chill away
Drafty windows and doors can cost you big bucks trying to keep the house warm. Cold air and wind constantly slip through my bedroom windows and causes me to crank up the heat in the middle of the night, which adds up fast on my heating bill. If you also deal with this chilly problem, invest in some foam insulation to easily seal up the cracks in windows and door leading outside. Your body and wallet will thank you.
8. A rake to get rid of leaves before the snow falls
Before you can even think about shoveling snow, you’re going to want to make sure your lawn isn’t covered with leaves. When the snow melts, you’ll be left with soggy, decomposing leaves that are harder to pick up, so it’s best to take care of the mess beforehand. After testing the best rakes out there, we gave this one from Tru Tough the top spot. We loved this rake because it's easy to use and only left a few leaves behind, so you’ll get the job done faster before the first snowfall.
9. An electric kettle for a quick cup of tea
An electric kettle will never fail you. It heats up water much faster than a stovetop kettle, is more reliable than the microwave, and doesn't take up much-needed space on the stove. If you’ve been living an electric kettle-free life, I suggest you get one now, so you can quickly and easily make tea and hot cocoa all winter long. This one from Cuisinart is our favorite electric kettle because it allows you to select different temperatures for specific teas and it boiled water faster than all the other kettles we tested. It even beeps when the water's ready so there's no watched-pot waiting.
10. A smart thermostat to save energy
In the age of the smart home, it’s probably time to upgrade your thermostat before winter strikes. Smart thermostats can save energy and money on your heating bill by allowing you to control the temperature remotely from your phone and set schedules. That means you can lower the heat when you leave, but have everything nice and toasty before you get home.
After testing a variety of smart thermostats, we found that Emerson Sensi was the easiest to set up as long as you have a C-wire (and the ecobee4 is best if you don't). We loved that it connects to a variety of smart assistants, like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Its scheduling function allows for different people to create different schedules and it can automatically adjust the temperature when you’re not home. Pretty cool, right?
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.