We love you O, but there are better buys to be had.
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'Tis the season to be jolly, because our lord and savior Oprah Winfrey has just released her Favorite Things of 2018. This year, she's bestowed a "favorite" tag upon a whopping 107 things—including some budget picks—from the realm of fashion to cooking to home decor and beyond. Though some of her picks this year left us a little cold (like this questionable fur vest) we have some especially choice opinions about the categories we've tested this year.
Here at Reviewed, we take product testing seriously—it's in our name, sure, but it's also in our blood. Each year, we scientifically test hundreds of products in our state-of-the-art labs in Cambridge, Mass. to find the best of the best. That means we can authoritatively say when a product is good—or terrible.
So we took a good, hard look at Oprah's 2018 recommendations and compared them to our top-rated products to see how they stacked up (don't worry—it's not all bad). This is what we found:
Not only is Oprah's favorite juicer a whopping $700, but when we tested the best juicers, a similar Hurom model paled in comparison to our favorite Omega model—the Hurom is less user-friendly, isn't super easy to clean, is harder to assemble, and felt less secure due its smaller base. If you're looking to hop on the juicing bandwagon (or just step your game up), the Omega gives great flavor and yield, with little pulp and a much more palatable pricetag.
Yes, the Bindle bottle is cute, what with its little storage compartment at the base to stow your keys, card, and the like. But the best water bottle you can buy is actually the Hydro Flask. It’s portable, versatile, durable, and well designed—and it can keep ice intact for days on end without any melting or condensation thanks to its patented double-wall vacuum. That means you can toss it into your bag and forget about it with nary a leak in sight.
Oprah loves these pricey bamboo sheets because "they're the softest ever and may help regulate body temperature," but in our testing, the best bed sheets are actually half the price from Brooklinen. Their weighty sateen feel is wrinkle-resistant, and in our tester's notes, her first comment was, “I’m actually sad I have to take these off my bed.” They'll make crawling into bed a little more luxurious, without putting a huge dent in your wallet.
Oprah's beloved Courant doubles as an expensive accessory tray, but a truly great wireless charging pad should support fast charging and be both affordable, and easy to set up and use without much thought—who wants to set their phone down at night and find it dead in the morning? The Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad has a rubberized ring that keeps your smartphone from slip-sliding off and an LED indicator, so you know when it's working (or when it's not).
Oy, Oprah, $360 on a set of brushes? That's the definition of wasting your money on makeup brushes. When we got the scoop from a makeup artist (who, yes, also loved these Artis brushes), she advised us that any brush with natural-fiber bristles and a plastic handle is just as good. Yoseng also makes a set of 10 brushes, but for a fraction of the price, and with the same large, flat surface that allows for easy makeup distribution and even coverage—and 1.5k five-star ratings on Amazon is always a good sign.
Oprah's recommendation: Fleischer & Wolf Portland Ash 8-Piece Knife Set—$220
Buy instead: Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Block Set—$150
Oprah loves this chic magnetic knife set because "it hardly takes up any space" and protects hands from sharp blades. Luckily, our best knife set under $200 is the similarly stylish and functional Mercer glass block—and the knives are a dream to slice and dice with. If you want to invest in a higher-quality knife set, check out our favorite knife sets—they're a bit more expensive, but a good knife set lasts forever.
Oprah is right that Nespresso makes the best pod espresso maker on the market, but our favorite model is actually the Citiz. Its narrow design holds 17 cups, but takes up very little counter space and it couldn’t be easier to operate, with two brewing sizes for anything from a double cap to a quick espresso. At Reviewed, we have one in the break room—and I'm completely addicted to its perfect combination of bitter and sweetness.
Oprah's recommendation: Julep Divine Shine 12-Piece Ultra-Hydrating Lip Gloss—$150
Buy instead: Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit Lipstick—$4
A pack of 12 glosses for $150 is, I suppose, relatively reasonable—until you consider that this ultra-affordable Wet 'n Wild lipstick is the best lipstick you can buy. It's lightweight and smoothing, and it wears for 10 hours without transferring, smudging, drying, or flaking. It also keeps lips hydrated. Plus, think about all the other makeup you can buy with the money you save.
When we tested the best hand mixers, we did love a moderately-priced, six-speed Black + Decker model, but we still think you're better off with the Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus. It's on the pricey side, but it handles all mixing tasks exceptionally well and is convenient to use—plus, it has a handy storage case to house those beaters that always get lost in your pantry. From whipping cream to kneading bread, you can’t beat the Cuisinart (don't hate me, Oprah).
Plastic straws are so passé, and Oprah and I both agree that "friends don’t let friends use plastic straws!" However, the best reusable straws you can buy aren't her Izola straws, but Hummingbird glass straws. They're a little wider than your average straw, but the glass prevents the straw from getting uncomfortably cold on your mouth as you sip iced coffee or smoothies. They're also super easy to clean, thanks to an included squeegee and the transparent design. We love 'em.
Please, put your pitchforks down: We didn't disagree with everything on Queen O's list! We, like Oprah, love the following picks: some have even won our coveted best of year awards. These are the products Oprah picked that offer great performance at the intersection of value and usability.
Oprah's (and our!) recommendation: Amazon Echo Spot—$100
"Good things, meet a small package!" Girl, yes. We also love the Amazon Echo Spot—it even won our top spot as the best smart home device for apartments. This efficient little guy has all of Alexa’s visual cues and video functionality without taking up much room. Its screen is small but super useful with a sleek design makes that looks just as at home on a bedside table as it does on a kitchen counter.
Oprah's (and our!) recommendation: Apple Airpods—$160
As O says, "To live your best life is to live a cord-free life," and we wholeheartedly agree when it comes Airpods—even our resident cynic hates to love them. They're hands-down the best wireless earbuds you can buy because they're simple to use, convenient, and offer much better sound than even their wired counterparts.
Oprah's (and our!) recommendation: Clarisonic Mia Smart—$250
When we tested the best facial cleansing brushes, we said that "There’s a reason why Clarisonic is a top-of-mind brand for facial cleansing devices: Nothing else even comes close to the Mia 2. It's pricey, but you absolutely get what you pay for." Oprah's pick, the Mia Smart, is the cooler older sister of the Mia 2. It has an extra cleansing setting and extended battery life, and it connects to the app for custom skincare routines and gently transitions your skin to sonic cleansing over the first weeks of use.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.