The 25 most popular things our readers bought in May
From meat thermometers to hair dryers, there was some smart shopping this month.
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Whew, May was quite the shopping month. Between Mother’s Day, Memorial Day sales, and college graduations, our readers had plenty of reasons to buy something. But we like to think you are all are smart shoppers and won’t just make a purchase because of a low price. No, you're the smart shoppers who read reviewers and buy products that are actually worth the money even at full-price—and we like to think we help you at least a little bit.
From reporting on the best sales and price drops to testing and reviewing top products, we’re experts on shopping smart and we like to share our advice with our readers. Last month, some of our readers shopped some major Memorial Day sales from popular retailers like Wayfair, Nordstrom, and Anthropologie, while others purchased tried and true cooking products like our favorite meat thermometers and can openers for the upcoming barbecue season. Overall, May was a hodgepodge of incredible and sometimes random products.
Check out the 25 most popular things our readers bought in May to get some shopping inspiration for yourself in June.
1. A bright flashlight to light the way
When the upgraded version of our favorite affordable flashlight went on sale for its lowest price, our readers went nuts and with good reason. The Anker Bolder LC90 is zoomable, has 900 lumens, and is rechargeable—meaning you won't have to deal with those odd-sized batteries flashlights typically take (and you tend to never have when you need them). It’s great for everything from walking the dogs at night to dealing with a power outage, and we’d still recommend it even at its normal price. Thankfully, it's one of the many Anker products that goes on sale often enough that you can score a deal if you're patient.
2. A writing tablet for school and doodling?
Although we haven’t specifically written about this writing tablet, the insights we get from Amazon revealed that some of our readers apparently bought a ton of them in early May. It’s basically an electronic whiteboard, so you can doodle or take notes on it and easily erase it all without the mess of whiteboard pens. At less than $10, you could get one for your child (or yourself) to doodle on instead of using your tablet or phone.
3. The best pillows for sweet dreams
When it comes to a good night’s sleep, we couldn’t recommend the Xtreme Comforts pillows enough. They’re the best bed pillows we’ve ever tested because you can adjust the level of “stuffing” to your liking for the best sleep of your life. The memory foam stuffing molds right to your head and the bamboo cover allows for ventilation, so you don’t wake up sweating in the middle of the night. Our readers (and tester) can attest to this, which is why they keep buying them.
4. A unique tool to unclog your drain
If you have any hair at all, you’re probably familiar with the occasional sink or bathroom clog. You know, the ones that are so massive that even liquid clog removers can’t manage to tackle it. People swear by this flexible snake, which is 8 inches long and has 4,000 micro-hooks, to solve their hair blockage woes without dumping chemicals into the water. And since it’s under $10, you might want to pick one up so you have it when you need it.
5. Home decor and furniture from Wayfair’s Memorial Day sale
Memorial Day was a great time to save on appliances, mattresses, and apparel—but our readers flocked to this massive furniture and home decor sale at Wayfair. With discounts up to 70% off, this Wayfair sale was the perfect opportunity for lots of our readers to refresh their homes before the summer. Some of their favorites were items like a stylish boho rug and simple set of patio furniture. If you missed out on the sale, don’t worry: Wayfair runs sales on different departments all the time, so you can almost always save on everything from living room furniture to outdoor decor.
6. A shower curtain that prevents mold
Think about the last time you’ve cleaned or replaced your shower curtain. It was probably long ago, and, unfortunately, your liner also probably has a lot of mold and mildew on it (gross!). A lot of our readers decided to invest in a mildew-resistant shower curtain liner this month to help prevent more ickiness in their showers. This one made from non-toxic, chlorine-free PEVA material, which is specially treated to prevent mold and bacteria from growing. Not only is it a cult favorite and super cheap at under $10, but it also went on sale in May, giving our readers the perfect excuse to buy.
7. The best meat thermometers on the market
We’re officially in grilling season, people! To make perfectly seared meat on the grill, you’re going to want a really good meat thermometer—and Thermoworks makes the best of the best. During May, four of our favorite meat thermometers were on sale: the ThermoPop, the Thermapen Mk4, the ChefAlarm, and the DOT. Although the sale has since ended, we still recommend getting any of these meat and grill thermometers to seriously upgrade your summer barbecues.
8. An oil diffuser that might be better than a candle
Don’t hate me, but I believe that essential oil diffusers are better than any candle. You can choose scents like lavender, mint, and eucalyptus that will run for hours on end without potentially burning your house down. Innogear makes the best essential oil diffuser we've ever tested because it has a large water reservoir and can run for nearly 11 hours on its intermittent setting. Plus, it gives off a soft glow almost like a candle, but in several fun colors.
9. Both electric and manual can openers
When I first moved into my apartment, my can opener went missing—and believe me, you do not want to be caught without one when you're hangry. Attempting to open a can of beans with a knife is not only time intensive, but also dangerous and will completely ruin the blade(trust me, I learned the hard way). Apparently, our readers were experiencing similar woes and picked up both our favorite electric can opener and our favorite manual can opener. Both are super affordable too at under $20 each.
- Get the Cuisinart Deluxe Electric Can Opener on Amazon for $16.49
- Get the EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener on Amazon for $13
10. The best noise-canceling headphones
Sony’s WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones made headlines recently with features like the ability to how much or how little you want to hear and pausing music with the touch of an ear cup. As fate would have it, the day we named these bad boys our top pick for noise-canceling headphones, Drop (formerly Massdrop) was selling them for $70 off, which was the major sale for these new headphones that we actually found to be better than the classic Bose QC IIs. Although they’re not currently on sale, we’d still recommend these headphones for their comfort and noise-canceling abilities.
11. Home Depot’s appliances and home furnishings from their ‘Memorial Day’ sale
Memorial Day had us all dreaming about upgrading our kitchens for the summer season, and with Home Depot’s Memorial Day sale, that dream was a little more attainable. There were a ton of incredible deals on appliances, home furnishings, and so much more for the holiday weekend, and to say we were excited is an understatement. Our readers gravitated towards front load washers and air fryers for healthier summer cooking. As of when we wrote this list, the sale was still going so you might still be able to score a good deal.
12. Clothes, shoes, and accessories from Nordstrom’s Half Annual sale
Whenever there’s a Nordstrom sale, you need to run, not walk, to get the best deals on the site before they sell out. With their Half Annual Sale offering up to 50% off popular brands and styles, our readers sprinted to the checkout page. This massive discount made it the perfect time to upgrade their spring and summer wardrobes, and I know my wallet is still hurting from the sale. This year, our readers bought things like the oh-so-popular Zella leggings and these trendy Sam Edelman open-toed mules.
13. Graduation pictures and party invites from Shutterfly
College graduation is a special time filled with iPhone photos of the ceremony followed by a ton of graduation party invites. To print out their precious memories and send out invitations, our readers took advantage of a sale from Shutterfly, which also happens to be our favorite online photo printing service. Shutterfly has sales going on all the time, so you might want to check it out for a unique photo-themed gift for Father’s Day, upcoming weddings, or other events (hint, hint).
14. Our favorite hair dryer at its lowest price
There’s a huge difference between a good hair dryer and a great hair dryer—and that difference is drying time. The Harry Josh Pro Dryer 2000 only took 22 minutes to bring our tester's hair from wet to styled when others took close to 30 minutes, which is why we named it the best hair dryer we’ve ever tested. Earlier this month, we found it on sale for $169 (its lowest price ever!) at Dermstore, and our readers obviously jumped at the deal. Although the price is not that low currently, you can find sales fairly often, especially if you sign up for Dermstore emails or follow them on social (they often run sales that are exclusive to social promotions, FYI).
15. A simple label maker
Label makers are one of those things you don’t think you need, but actually use all the time if you have one. They’re great for organizing things and are basically the adult way to put “mine” on something to keep it from your roommates. When this one from Brother went on sale for just $10, our readers did not miss a beat and are now labeling everything to their hearts' content. We loved that it was small and comfortable enough to hold with one hand, and it comes with a spool of sample tape so you can label right away.
16. High-end cookware from Sur La Table
If you love cooking or just having a pristine kitchen, then you probably idolize iconic brands like Le Creuset, All-Clad, and Staub. Unfortunately, this gorgeous cookware is usually just out of budget for most us, but every-so-often you can find a killer sale that makes these brands actually affordable. When Sur La Table had a warehouse sale for up to 75% off, our readers went for the upgraded Instant Pot Ultra and treated themselves to the iconic Staub Heritage Coquette. Even though the warehouse sale is over, you can still usually find similar brands in their clearance section.
17. A luggage scale to prevent pesky overweight fees
With summer travels looming, you need to be prepared. Not only should you be packing the proper things for a beach trip or camping excursion, but you also need to make sure you don’t overpack and pay absurd overweight fees on your next flight. This $10 luggage scale can be a lifesaver and prevent the embarrassment of pulling items out of your bag at the checkout counter and cramming them into your already overstuffed carry-on. It’s also the best luggage scale we’ve ever tested because it’s incredibly accurate for the low price, so we’re not surprised people have been grabbing these before their summer vacations.
18. An affordable sharpener that keeps knives razor-sharp
Instead of replacing your dull knives, you can give them a refresh for just $6. This inexpensive yet well-designed sharpener has coarse grit for dull, damaged knives and a fine option for polishing and quick touch-ups. It works so well that we've featured it on numerous cult-favorite lists and we're not surprised our readers keep buying it.
19. A hilarious book for recent graduates
Post-college graduation can be a scary, sad time, so our readers wanted gift their new grads some hilarious advice to lift their spirits. This cheeky book is a fun parody of Dr. Seuss's Oh! The Places You'll Go! that will spark some nostalgia but offer something new to the giftee. It might provide some life advice, but it will definitely provide a few laughs.
20. Clothing, accessories, and home decor at Anthropologie
In May, we were blessed with a ton of incredible fashion and home decor sales, including a few at Anthropologie. The retailer had a huge Mother’s Day sale that offered 25% off everything, making this posh, sophisticated store a complete free-for-all. During the sale, our readers bought tons of the coveted Capri Blue Candle, a simple LBD called the Lincoln Center Dress, and these sandals slides that are perfect for summer.
21. A set of jar grips for the toughest seals
Being without a jar grip has had me doing everything from using rubber bands to bashing the lid with a butter knife in an attempt to open my favorite pasta sauce. That’s why a set of jar openers is so important to have handy, and we love that this set comes with three different shapes that are designed to work with different sized jars. They’re weird but they actually work, and clearly our readers struggle with opening jars as I do, considering they bought so many this month.
22. A classier alternative to the red Solo cup
Once you graduate college, it’s finally time to move away from the classic plastic red cups of backyard barbecues and beer pong tounaments and upgrade to a classier drinking vessel. I’m talking about the copper Solo cup, known as "The Party Cup." We're pretty certain our readers probably gave these out graduation gifts, so their new grads could continue the party in the real world with a little more elegance.
23. The best Kindle on the market
With vacations and more free time in the summer, there’s no better time to read a good book, in my opinion. In the warm weather, you can be whisked away to historical fiction world or immerse yourself in a YA fantasy novel (we don’t judge). When traveling, I don’t like lugging a bunch of books around, which is why I love carrying my Kindle with me.
The Kindle Paperwhite happens to be the best e-reader we’ve ever tested because it has twice the amount of storage than it did before and it's waterproof, meaning it’s safe to read at the beach, pool, lake, or bathtub. Plus, Amazon holds weekly Kindle book sales on Sundays, and you can usually find top titles for just $3 or $4.
24. Our favorite affordable robot vacuum
During the summer, even if you have centra air, the last thing you want to do is take time out of your day to vacuum your home. That’s where a robot vacuum comes in. It’ll keep your home nice and tidy until you find the time (and the will) to actually deep clean your floors. If you’re looking for a ‘bot on a budget, then we recommend the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S. It’s our favorite affordable vacuum because of its excellent suction and quiet operation—all at a reasonable price point.
25. This cleaning brush for electronics
Every single day, our various devices are at risk for accruing crumbs, fuzzies, and Cheetos dust. To keep them clean and free of debris, many Amazon reviewers recommend this popular electronic cleaning brush to gently sweep away crumbs and wipe away smudges on their devices. Our readers must have had some dirty keyboards and smudgy screens because they seemed to purchase quite a few of these.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.
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