This is the best __________ I know of....
March 26, 2022 7:44 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite mundane items? I want to own the best box cutter, oven mitts, key ring, wallet, dog collar and lead, notebook, pen, reusable shopping bag, bed sheets, sponge, dish washing brush, lint remover, and _______ on the planet. What's something you own that's amazing and you think everyone should own? Price is no object — what's a thing you bought and never want (or need) to switch to another?
posted by dobbs to Shopping (120 answers total) 245 users marked this as a favorite
This is the best box cutter.

This is the best body pillow, though "best" probably depends on your actual needs in a body pillow, but it's a re-fluffable foam shred core inside a burrito of down-alternative blanket in a beautiful silky pillowcase.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:52 PM on March 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

This is the best box cutter!
posted by amtho at 8:16 PM on March 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

I have big feelings about my very bougie toilet brush!

I think it’s the best because of the coir scrubbing pads that a) smell nice b)work well c) can go in my municipal compost and d) don’t make me keep a small dish of toilet water under my sink. It’s overpriced but I like it so much that I don’t mind. I’m happy every time I clean the toilet (and the pads are also good for cleaning the sink and bathtub!).
posted by centrifugal at 8:19 PM on March 26, 2022 [8 favorites]

RavPower has some extremely useful travel chargers, like this one with 2xUSB-C, 1xUSB-A, and 3xAC outlets or this one with 2xUSB-C and 2xUSB-A. It is so ridiculously useful to have a travel charger that only uses one wall outlet, has an external lead (so it's not a wall wart), and will charge a phone, a USB-C laptop, a baby monitor, and a noise machine. They're incredible for travel but also great for streamlining your bedside setup at home.
posted by kdar at 8:29 PM on March 26, 2022 [11 favorites]

These ice trays I bought them after a few drinks at dinner and then instantly regretted it that night. They’re the best. We’ve brought them with us when we travel. Very satisfying size and easy to fill and empty.
posted by Uncle at 8:32 PM on March 26, 2022 [5 favorites]

I love these deep pocket sheets because I never have to worry about the bottom fitted sheet snapping out of place and crinkling up all over the place.
posted by gt2 at 8:43 PM on March 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

When I was 15, I saw an Alessi 9093 tea kettle in a shop in Pasadena, and was astonished -- I had not known ordinary things like tea kettles could be beautiful. Thirty years later, I thought of that tea kettle, went looking for it, and it was indeed as beautiful as I remembered. I have the updated version, the Tea Rex, which has a dragon whistle and so of course is better. Not all of the dreams I had at 15 have come true for me -- but this one did, and I defy any tea kettle in the land to boil water better.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 8:46 PM on March 26, 2022 [19 favorites]

These are the best sheets.
posted by Toddles at 8:52 PM on March 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

The best boxcutter is one that you can keep on you at all times. And for that, I vote for... Gerber Shard. It's also a bottle opener, a pry tool, screwdriver (both flat and Phillips), nail puller, and fits on keychains or lanyards. AND it's not sharp, so it'll go through TSA checks just fine.
posted by kschang at 8:52 PM on March 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best reusable shopping bag? For something I keep on me, I'd say Nanobag now at 5.0 version. Folds to a tiny size, unpacks to hold about 20L of stuff.

But if I know I'll be going heavy... Ikea Frakta the 19 Gallon open-top version. Easily hold 50 lbs of groceries.
posted by kschang at 8:59 PM on March 26, 2022 [5 favorites]

I can’t believe how wrong you guys are about box cutters. OLFA makes the best box cutters. Source: office manager, open multiple boxes daily, practically wept with joy first time using an OLFA
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:07 PM on March 26, 2022 [13 favorites]

These Revere ware food storage boxes.

The large ones are half gallon, medium a quart, and the small a pint, The lids come down over the sides and are very tight fitting, though not air tight. I sterilize them in the oven before putting them on the shelf, put the leftovers in them before they cool, and the leftovers will then keep in the fridge for weeks without spoiling.

I don’t think anyone will ever make them again because you can’t use them in a microwave, though I believe they were modeled on Bauhaus Kubus containers which would be suitable for microwaves if they were reproduced in borosilicate glass.
posted by jamjam at 9:12 PM on March 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

For my money, I'm partial to OLFA box cutters, but I haven't seen one for sale new with a metal tension knob in a long time. The new ones with plastic knobs are... knobs.

For icetrays, the cheap blue Rubbermaid ones are still incredible. It's not silicon, but when you 'crack' a frozen tray, the ice cubes hover up over the cavity so you can pick them up with your fingertips.

Keyrings; S-Biner lockings. Available at Canadian HomeDepots, they're very very sturdy micro/ mini/ nano carabiner-style that lock close with a twist of a lever in the middle. Lots of different sizes. I have a main one with big carkey on one end, with smaller "children" that depend off it for various keys at work(s), home. You can fiddle with the configuration to achieve minimum energy-minimum volume configurations. "Minimum energy" as in, minimum volume is typically the easiest stage to settle to after introducing chaos (jiggle them around) into the system.
posted by porpoise at 9:13 PM on March 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

The OXO vegetable peeler is the only peeler.
posted by cholly at 9:13 PM on March 26, 2022 [13 favorites]

You might enjoy the "buy it for life" sub-reddit?
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:13 PM on March 26, 2022 [11 favorites]

Oh man, the Gray Kunz kitchen spoon.
posted by niicholas at 9:23 PM on March 26, 2022 [4 favorites]

The OXO Steady Mounted Paper Towel Holder is the best paper towel holder (here, on Amazon). I never thought that a paper towel holder would delight me, but it makes me happy whenever I use it: it just works. It has just the right amount of tension: I can pull off one sheet of paper towel, with one hand, without any problem, but it's not so tight that it's difficult to change out the roll. It even looks unobtrusive and elegant, mounted beneath my cabinets.

In a fit of pique over a string of poorly functioning paper towel holders, I did extensive research almost a year and a half ago on the best mounted paper towel holder ever, and this was one of the two finalists I determined. (The other finalist, in case you are interested, was the simplehuman one here; I ultimately chose the Oxo one because I found its design less obtrusive and clunky, and its reviews seemed perhaps marginally more positive.) Anyway, I recommend the OXO one without reservation. For over a year it has been serving us perfectly every day.
posted by ClaireBear at 9:24 PM on March 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Readily available online, this is an excellent bread knife. So sharp that you need to be careful when you first use it because you might cut yourself by accident as it goes through faster than you expect. So sharp there are no crumbs.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:35 PM on March 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is the best kitchen sink strainer
posted by TimHare at 10:31 PM on March 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

I use/wear a Gearslinger daypack. Very rugged, just enough room for all my stuff when I'm site surveying, or just around town. I've raved about it on here at least three times now,

A Swiss Army knife that's a 30-year old predecessor of this one. Just enough tools for almost everything. Better to have few things and know how to use them.
posted by unearthed at 11:50 PM on March 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is the best pen! The only one I consistently use up.

These are the best oven mitts. Long enough that I don't burn my hands or arms.
posted by cozenedindigo at 1:17 AM on March 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

The absolute best pepper mill I've ever used is the Männkitchen Pepper Cannon, though I don't own one because it's US$200.

The best plastic food turner is the Matfer Bourgeat Pelton Spatula.

The best kitchen shears are Shun Kitchen Shears.

The best box grater is the Cuisipro Box Grater.
posted by theory at 1:24 AM on March 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

Secrid wallets are the best. There's a lever to pop out your cards and it's small enough to fit in women's pants pockets.
posted by lookoutbelow at 1:34 AM on March 27, 2022 [6 favorites]

This is the best pen! The only one I consistently use up.

Agree. That is an absolutely excellent pen that could be in everybody's list of top five writing implements, lefties and righties.

Not sure about best, but I know some things...
* Lemon squeezers are better than lemon juicers for getting the juice out.
* Polyester is never a best choice.
* Potato mashers should look like this not this, this, this, this, this, or this.
posted by Thella at 1:52 AM on March 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

The CarPet fur remover is awesome, I have three, the first one was a stocking stuffer. It’s the only pet fur remover that actually works to get my cats’ fur out of upholstery creases. The first one lives in the car even though we don’t actually have much cat fur in there, because I use it to get fur off my clothes when I’m going somewhere where that matters. The other two live on different floors of the house. I like that they are bright orange, because I can actually find them. If they get gross I can wipe them down easily. The little bumps are just the right combination of length, bluntness, spacing, and angles. It’s really easy to remove the fur that gets gathered up. No dealing with sticky anything, no refills, no snags on fabric, no static shocks.

Zojirushi is known for its rice cookers in the US but I have two of their stainless steel vacuum insulated mugs as my water bottles and I’ve never found anything better. I will have to try their new design soon because I want a third one in a different color for beverages that could leave flavor in the carafe between dishwasher trips. They have these awesome tops, with a click lock and flip, and pour water at just the right rate for steady drinking without being splashed or sucking. They come totally apart and every part can go in the dishwasher. They are massively effective at keeping things cold or hot. Every other reusable bottle I’ve had has leaked or broken but these things might survive the apocalypse.
posted by Mizu at 1:52 AM on March 27, 2022 [7 favorites]

This is the best pen, I can't live without it.
But the other pen, which is not the best, seems to be a relation of this one.

This is the best can opener. I always thought everyone had them, until there was the can-opener dad discussion on the blue. It takes up little space, and it is easy to clean, with no hinges or gears. And it looks nice.
posted by mumimor at 2:35 AM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

With all due respect, the Best Pen is the humble Le Pen.

Cheap, a beautiful fine point, comes in every color you could possibly imagine. I love to Le Write with it.
posted by champers at 3:15 AM on March 27, 2022 [13 favorites]

These are the best floor mats. We have two in our kitchen and they help prevent pain when I’m standing for a long time at the sink or stove.
posted by eirias at 3:29 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

With all due respect to cholly’s choice there is another. You may also consider Oxo’s serrated version.

It will very efficiently peel the ends of your fingers. Use it carefully.
posted by sevenless at 3:36 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Another OXO: the best salad spinner
posted by Morpeth at 3:40 AM on March 27, 2022 [12 favorites]

I love paper notebooks and pens, but I am very much a convert to Remarkable. It has made me look like a super organized person at work (in truth, I am not) and it makes it so easy to find notes and keep running lists. It is the best notebook. I don't think everyone needs one because not everyone is as stuck to taking notes by hand as I am (and I'm sure many of those people have better paper organization systems than I could ever manage). But, for people who take notes on paper and then lose track of their important notes, it really is a wonderful tool.
posted by snaw at 3:50 AM on March 27, 2022 [19 favorites]

The best coffee maker.
posted by evilmomlady at 4:36 AM on March 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

The best toaster has a manual lift instead of that dratted fiddly pop-up mechanism and is made of heavy, solid metal. I don't see our model here and with the caveat that they may not make 'em like they used to, but behold the best toaster.
posted by evilmomlady at 4:58 AM on March 27, 2022

In case you don't see the mundane item recommendation you are looking for in this thread, a couple of recent posts on the green asked about "best ___" review sites. Why is the Wirecutter Bad? generated a few good "here is another source of reviews" answers. And this spin-off question, What are the best focused review sites?
posted by BlueTongueLizard at 5:25 AM on March 27, 2022 [7 favorites]

The best slippers are Glerups. They’re warm but not sweaty, comfy, and durable: just excellent slippers. Mine have been going strong for 7 years of daily use.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 5:53 AM on March 27, 2022 [9 favorites]

Bagpodz are the best reusable shopping bags - ten of them come in a stuff sack, and then the side unzips to pull them out easily. I can fit a week’s groceries for three in them.
posted by Kriesa at 6:01 AM on March 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

I throw trash away in paper bags and staple the tops together so the contents don't go blowing on garbage day. My old Swingline kept jamming when I used it vertically, so I sought out the best stapler. It's the MAX USA Easy Grip. Contrary to what several reviews say, I've had no problem using standard staples for it. It's hard to explain how much better it is than any other stapler I've tried - it's easier to use and the staples end up being much more tightly compacted. I've thought about giving them as gifts, but I don't know how much normal people use staplers these days.

After one day pouring a roach into my cup (the only one I've ever seen in my house, so it's not like there was a big infestation), I decided to change to glass, electric teakettles. My favorite is currently unavailable, but it's a joy to use. The blue light is so pretty, and it's kind of fun to watch the water boil.

My vote for best oven mitts is the Big Red House double oven mitt. The silicone strips made it seem weirdly thick at first, but I've had no trouble using it and it's great for making sure hot stuff doesn't slip.

I've been downsizing, and this is making me realize I really do own practical things that "spark joy."

(Hoping someone chimes in with best can opener. I've hated every one I've tried, and they all rust.)
posted by FencingGal at 6:05 AM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

This is the absolute best toothpaste tube squeezer. Lost lasting, durable, and much more effective than plastic ones. Large enough to work on tubes larger than toothpaste as well.

My husband says Corelle dishes are the best dishes since they are in lightweight, droppable, and the white ware is lead free.

I am ISO the best cheese slicer.
posted by donut_princess at 6:18 AM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

If you want a vertical laptop stand, Oakywood makes the best one.
posted by FencingGal at 6:22 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

The OXO vegetable peeler is the only peeler.

That’s pretty much true about any OXO product. Both my can opener and my pizza slicer are great. But, my 12” tongs are indisputably perfect.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:29 AM on March 27, 2022 [7 favorites]

This is the best wallet. I've had mine 10 years and still have 90 years left on the warranty.
posted by COD at 6:30 AM on March 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

This is the best multi-pen.

Bonus tip: if you want the look of the traditional Bic ones, you can buy this blue one as well and combine the top from one and the bottom from the other to achieve a reasonable approximation, but with a gel ink writing experience.
posted by 10ch at 6:32 AM on March 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the answers so far. Please keep 'em coming.

More categories that interest me: ice makers or trays, cocktail shakers and mixing glasses, pet waste bags, pots for plants, frying pan, paring knife, portable light, lighter, flashlight, bottle stopper, water bottle, water filter, duvet...

My two cents for best: boxcutter, umbrella, charging cables, water bottle / flask.
posted by dobbs at 6:33 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

These are the best kitchen/junk drawer scissors.
posted by 10ch at 6:36 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

My very favorite tool that I learned about from my library work is this "Label peeler and Sticker Remover." It can take a stuck sticker off of any surface, and it can be used a lot of home projects- like small drips of paint that have dried. It is super sharp on all sides, so you have to be careful, but it can be used as a box cutter in a pinch.
posted by momochan at 6:36 AM on March 27, 2022 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, and best reusable shopping bag for me is Magfoldy Tote.
posted by dobbs at 6:38 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

The best flashlight is the classic Maglite.

My husband gave me one for my birthday, and I adore it. Not only does it give excellent light, it is durable and has fantastic heft and clonkiness, while not being unwieldy.

We keep it for both lumination and self-defense.
posted by champers at 6:38 AM on March 27, 2022 [7 favorites]

This is the best salad bowl

This is the best bathrobe
posted by Mchelly at 6:39 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

These are the best pot holders (and better than oven mitts IMHO).
posted by 10ch at 6:43 AM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

If you're like me and forget every foldable tote you've ever bought/need more structure to hold your groceries, these are the best reusable bags.
posted by kingdead at 6:44 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is the best funnel for canning.
posted by 10ch at 6:45 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is the best all around useful basket. You can use it in the garden, on a picnic, at the store/farmer's market. It holds a ton and you'll be surprised by its uses. I've had mine for almost 20 years and still use it almost every day.
posted by 10ch at 6:47 AM on March 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

Has anyone posted the best water bottle, that keeps water cold and has a straw yet?
posted by champers at 6:49 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is the best tool for weeding your garden. And this tool is the next best. They are perfect used in conjuction.
posted by 10ch at 6:51 AM on March 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

This perfectly adequate cast iron combo pan and casserole set has already outlived every other pan in our kitchen, is the last of that class of tool that I ever expect to buy, and can reasonably be anticipated to see use from my grandchildren's grandchildren.

Is it an absolutely basic mass produced design upon which assorted improvements are clearly possible? Sure. Are they such major improvements as to be worth paying a premium for? Nope. Is it ever going to break? Nope. Has it helped me improve my hand, wrist and arm strength? Yes it has. Is it an absolute every-time joy to cook with? You bet.

But even if you're going to disdain my perfectly adequate cast iron cookware on the sole grounds that excellent value for money doesn't actually count as a dimension of "best", you will certainly be unable to do so for these pants which are clearly the best on the planet by any conceivable metric.
posted by flabdablet at 6:54 AM on March 27, 2022 [6 favorites]

Also: I don't expect I'll ever need any desktop or server operating system on any computer I ever own that isn't either Debian or derived directly from Debian. Shit just works, yo. And it doesn't fucking spy on you.
posted by flabdablet at 7:03 AM on March 27, 2022 [11 favorites]

Best portable lights are the Luci original and the Luci EMRG. Solar powered, flattish, lightweight, effective, convenient. I have a few and keep one each in my daypack, camping gear, car, and kayak. Attach them to your pack or kayak to charge while you walk or paddle. Put it on your dashboard to charge the day before a long trip so you have it in case of emergency. Or just set them up facing the sun for use whenever you need them. Mine are seven years old and still going strong.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:10 AM on March 27, 2022 [7 favorites]

The best treatment for chapped hands is O'Keeffe's Working Hands. I've always had problems with chapped hands during wintertime, and I've tried many other brands of hand moisturizer. None of them worked half as well as O'Keeffe's. I find that I need to use it just once per day, at bedtime.

I also have a long-standing problem with getting bloody noses in the winter. NozAid Nasal Moisturizer has mostly cured that problem. It's a bit expensive, so I refill it with Spectrum Sesame Oil, which is pretty cheap (I'm still using the same bottle I bought three years ago). I tried other treatments for my nose, and none of them worked as well as squirting a bit of sesame oil up my nose at bedtime.
posted by alex1965 at 7:20 AM on March 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

Takeya is the best water bottle. Contigo is the best travel coffee mug. Zojirushi is the best coffee maker. All Clad makes the best saute pan and saucepan. Vintage Black and Decker toasters and waffle makers from the flea market are the best.
posted by Miko at 7:34 AM on March 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

The best mechanical pencil
posted by Chenko at 7:40 AM on March 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

The absolute best crepe pan, hands down, is this carbon steel one from DeBuyer. It takes a seasoning very easily, is light enough that it is easy to swirl the crepe batter to coat, and just makes crepe-making easy, pleasant, and reliable.
posted by redfoxtail at 7:58 AM on March 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

These are the best silicone spatulas. They replaced OXOs that had worn out, and are surprisingly superior.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:14 AM on March 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

I bought this wallet 6 years ago and it's just perfect for my needs. Holds a few cards, cash folded if necessary. The elastic band in theory might need replacement, but so far it's showing no wear. It is certainly a bit minimalist, though.

I cannot recommend Simple Leather Belt Co. highly enough for, well, simple leather belts. I kept buying belts in stores and they'd show wear way too quickly and look shabby as hell. These are buy-it-for-life belts. My first one is over 3 years old and shows remarkably little wear for what was basically daily use with a pair of jeans. I bought 2 more a year ago after verifying that the first one lasted.
posted by explosion at 8:17 AM on March 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

Victorinox make the best paring knives, in several different lengths and handle materials. That page doesn't have the four-pack I own, of same-size 3.25" knives in four neon-colored handles so you can SEE the damn things before you throw them away in a handful of counter trash.

But even more importantly, they make an exquisite tomato knife, also available in a folding style for your on-the-go tomato-cutting needs.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:18 AM on March 27, 2022 [8 favorites]

My favorite boxcutter is the Milwaukee Fastback. All metal, locks open and closed, opens or closes with a button press and a flick of the wrist. Tool-less blade change, magnetic spare blade storage. All metal, tough as nails. Opened the day's freight shipments (easily 100 mixed cartons) with one for years. Uses standard utility blades. Almost never leaves my belt.
posted by xedrik at 8:25 AM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

For someone whose idea of a "best" wallet is NOT minimalist, is largely card-oriented, and really easy to use if you have manual dexterity challenges or a minor tremor, this is your wallet. I bought my original one in a drugstore from the As Seen On TV section as I was moving out of Texas a decade ago, and when it fell apart several years later it took me two years of internet searching to start finding the same style again, and I now have a backup of this one though it's held up pretty much perfectly for 5+ years.

I constantly get asked about it when I take it out at checkout.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:29 AM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

All of the many Anker products I have used have been very very good. I stopped bothering with cheaper stuff.
posted by jcworth at 8:36 AM on March 27, 2022 [6 favorites]

But even more importantly, they make an exquisite tomato knife, also available in a folding style for your on-the-go tomato-cutting needs - Lyn Never

I just picked up the very same knife (not the folding one) and can agree that it is a wonderful tool.
posted by synecdoche at 8:38 AM on March 27, 2022

In the category of ‘things I didn’t know I needed until I got one’ : a JarKey, for breaking the vacuum on jars to make them easier to open.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:00 AM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

The best manual can opener is EZ DUZ IT. It's so easy to turn the handle, doesn't jam, and it's inexpensive. I've had mine for several years and would not give it up.
posted by jostaggs at 9:25 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

The Thermoworks Thermapen is the best quick read, digital probe thermometer. Some people swear by their digital timer, the Timestick Trio but I think the buttons are hard to press, it fails catastrophically when low on battery and it is a bit more wonky to use than it should.
posted by mmascolino at 9:42 AM on March 27, 2022 [8 favorites]

I am often peeling very difficult squash and this palm peeler which you wear on your hand is helpful for me.

Dansko has the best clogs if you need to be standing in them all day every day.

For the work I do, I buy these black pens by the box.

I have an old Kindle Keyboard which I bought in 2013 for $50 and still use basically every night. It has wifi, it does not surf the web except in sort of emergency fashion, it is not backlit. I do not know if you would think it is the best, but I certainly do. I have this case for it which I maintain is the best case.

The best treatment for chapped hands is O'Keeffe's Working Hands.

I second this recommendation but am also partial to Bag Balm.
posted by jessamyn at 10:14 AM on March 27, 2022

Multi-bit screwdriver: Wadsworth Falls Delux. (There are multiple lengths including little finger-tighening holders, and a 12 degree ratcheting angle, so you can get into any tight spaces.

Single blade folding knives: Spyderco. (The Ladybug Salt has been great. Tiny, legal to carry nearly everywhere, never rusts, hasn't needed sharpening after much abuse.)

Non-medical tweezers: TDI International high precision series

Holding things: palmgren vices, especially the 1.5 inch non-lug ones. (Note that many will rust if you leave them un-oiled.)

Mechanical pencil: YAFA executive pencil. Sadly, it doesn't look like anyone is selling new ones now. They've come and gone at least twice in the past. I still haven't figured out who actually manufactures them. I haven't tried too hard. I did buy a lifetime supply last time they were on sale. I'm on pencils 2 and 3 at home and work after retiring pencil 1 after more than 20 years so as not to lose it for sentimental reasons. It still works great.
posted by eotvos at 10:15 AM on March 27, 2022

Gonna second the secrid wallets mentioned above. Bills are easily accessible, and if you travel it’ll hold about any size of bill. In addition to the nifty pop-out card feature, your cards are kept in a metal sleeve that protects your contactless cards from drive-by attacks. All this and it’s somehow thinner, shorter and narrower than any wallet I’ve ever owned. It’s a great gift idea.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:47 AM on March 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

This perfectly adequate cast iron combo pan and casserole set has already outlived every other pan in our kitchen, is the last of that class of tool that I ever expect to buy, and can reasonably be anticipated to see use from my grandchildren's grandchildren.

While I agree, I also have a le Creuset skillet which is enameled in their black enamel for higher temperatures and it is perhaps easier to work with if you are not dedicated to keeping your pans well-seasoned. I have two kids, and one has no problem with taking care of my cast-iron and carbon steel cookware. The other one is less enthusiastic. I think about this, because you need to think about the next generation when you buy pans that are that expensive.

My favorite pan is my old carbon steel wok, which cost ten dollars 25 years ago. Seriously, I'm going to get someone to put on a new handle when the existing one breaks off one day, as it will. There is nothing that wok can't cook.
posted by mumimor at 11:27 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Going to chime in with a different peeler opinion. The Kuhn Rikon peeler is the gold standard, stick peelers will never compare.
posted by Ferreous at 11:33 AM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Also, Yeti coolers are amazing. You can go camping and not have to buy new ice for two or three days. Pricey but worth every penny.
posted by gt2 at 12:05 PM on March 27, 2022

Also, O'Keeffe's Working Hands, mentioned above, is fantastic if you have thick callouses on your feet that occasionally crack and hurt. It's a bit greasy and will leave footprints on the floor, but it does wonders inside a shoe for long walks. Much better than most things designed for feet.

(Edit: Apologies if it's a derail, but anybody know if the Secrid Wallet mentioned a few times above works when opening RFID door locks without removing cards from the wallet?)
posted by eotvos at 12:23 PM on March 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

Adding my voice to the chorus in support of Victorinox tomato knives. We use the same ones for everything from cutting up huge pumpkins to table knives to steak knives and they're just excellent. Astonishing value for money.

But be careful with them because they are wicked sharp, and especially when they're completely new and the pointy bits on the serrations are still at full strength, they want to taste your blood and will do so given the slightest opportunity.
posted by flabdablet at 1:01 PM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is the best immersion blender

This is the best plastic-free replaceable-blade razor with a swivel head

This is the best folding kitchen scale

This is the best...carbide edge scraper. Which you'd think wouldn't be that useful, but after a measuring tape and a screwdriver, this is the most commonly used tool in my house. It's just so good at scraping.
posted by euphoria066 at 1:10 PM on March 27, 2022

Because the Good Knives can’t go in the dishwasher, this knife brush has been a game changer.

It allows you to clean knives without fear of death or injury. What a concept! Also useful for the Micropolane grater and various stand mixer and food processor attachments.
posted by fruitslinger at 1:15 PM on March 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

My favorite for scrubbing without scratching when cleaning gunk off dishes and pans are soaking them and then using Dobie Pads. Favorite mechanical pencils are Paper Mate SharpWriter Mechanical Pencils. Strongly seconding Victorinox paring knives; I love this one. I also use this WÜSTHOF Classic 5" Serrated Utility Knife all the time. I love the older version we have of this Escali kitchen scale.
posted by gudrun at 1:30 PM on March 27, 2022

My favorite pan is my old carbon steel wok, which cost ten dollars 25 years ago.

I was first introduced to cast iron cookware by the one quart pot I bought for two dollars in an outback op shop in 1995. It was rusted and sad but half an hour with vegetable oil and steel wool dealt with that and it competently cooked many lentil curries and baked endless amounts of beer bread on campfire coals during that year-long trip around Australia.

I still have it, though these days I use the Lodge stuff far more often because it's bigger. Unlike the Lodge pans, my little outback pot has a wooden handle that does a good job of not getting too hot to handle without oven mitts, yet unscrews easily when I want to put the whole thing in the oven.

Well seasoned plain cast iron and carbon steel cookware is the best. It just is. It doesn't care what the spatula is made of or how fast you heat and cool it or whether you scratch it when you scrub it and if you drop it on the floor then it's the floor that will come off worse. All it ever wants even after quite horrible punishment is a gentle scrub with steel swarf and hot water, a quick rub over with cooking oil, and a promise to be used again tomorrow and it's good to go. You can keep your fancy schmancy high priced enamelware with its pretty colours and its care instructions and the sadness of beauty inevitably marred by stains and chips and thermal cracks. I want nothing to do with it :-)

Because the Good Knives can’t go in the dishwasher

The aforementioned Victorinox paring and tomato knives are stainless steel with indestructible one-piece plastic handles and absolutely can and do.
posted by flabdablet at 1:31 PM on March 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

Just because they can go in the dishwasher doesn't mean they should. They're still going to be jostled around and likely have their blade bang into stuff. Hand washing is still best practice on any decent knife if you want to maintain the edge as long as possible.
posted by Ferreous at 2:48 PM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

I think it depends on your dishwasher and your knives.
I have a dishwasher where the cutlery goes on a separate shelf and doesn't jostle at all, but of course the detergent is very abrasive. But I'm thinking that if a knife with a plastic handle lasts 20-30 years, I'll be OK, in terms of economy and sustainability. Right now, I think I'm at ten years for those knives.

I have other knives that I hand wash, and that is OK, cleaning a knife really isn't a big deal.

This all leads to getting back on subject:
Nur Miele, Miele sagte Tante, die alle Waschmaschine kante.

Really, get yourself the best dishwasher and washing machine you can afford. They last forever and pay themselves back within a couple of years in energy use, water use and reliability.

One knife I have that can't go in the dishwasher might have been my great-grandmother's. So over a hundred years old. And I have a couple of cast-iron pots that are at least 70 years old, maybe older. I think this is the new modern. Stuff that keeps forever.
posted by mumimor at 3:45 PM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

This popcorn popper is the best!
posted by SageTrail at 6:32 PM on March 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

And, yes yes to Victorinox paring knife ... I have one and just love it!!
posted by SageTrail at 6:46 PM on March 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

I don't know if they're available outside the UK, but the Joseph Joseph Elevate range of cooking utensils is the best (example subset). The integral stands mean you can put them down anywhere without worrying about making a mess of the surface or dirtying the business end of the utensil. Sounds like a silly thing to spend money on, until you have one and discover how great it is not to have to think about that any more.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:51 AM on March 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm partial to the wallets from for back pocket carry.
posted by Awfki at 4:55 AM on March 28, 2022 [4 favorites]

I have used all possible pens. These are the best pens I know of.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:09 PM on March 28, 2022

This is the best garlic solution: Joseph Joseph Garlic Crusher
posted by Freyja at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2022

The best everyday carry multi-tool is the Leatherman Micra. I can't count the number of times I've found uses for the scissors, screwdrivers, knife, nail cleaner and file, tweezers... all in a tiny affordable package
posted by signsofrain at 8:52 PM on March 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

Most of the stuff I have that is the best of what it is, came from my favorite store. Like this Jar Opener.
posted by ambulocetus at 5:59 PM on March 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

This is the best garlic solution: Joseph Joseph Garlic Crusher

Agree! But we now swear by the all-steel version because we've had the plastic crack on us (bonus - that peeler sleeve actually works)
posted by Mchelly at 7:12 AM on March 30, 2022

This silicone basting brush. It lasts forever, after years of trying different bulb basters and wondering why they didn't work and didn't last.
posted by BibiRose at 7:22 AM on March 30, 2022

Re: the best notebook - Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Hardcover, dot grid pages. I buy them in bulk and they're intensely pleasurable to write in. I throw them in my backpack for my daily walk/bus commute and they hold up very well.
posted by mostly vowels at 6:07 PM on April 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

These are the best sheets. Here is why:
*Top/Bottom tags so you know you are putting them on the right way round
*Very deep pocket
*A "two-stage" corner elastic that means they never come off.
*And comfy and durable and pretty darn cheap

This is the best pen. It is known. I have a deal with my boss that entitles me to these pens and it is one of the best perks of my job.

This is my favorite boxcutter. Maybe not the best, but lookit 'em! So cute!
posted by Rock Steady at 1:07 PM on April 4, 2022

Everyone who said Olfa makes the best utility knifes are indeed correct. Their Cushion Grip Art Knife is also the best craft knife, especially when used with Swann-Morton blades.

The Euroschrim Trek Umbrella is my favorite travel companion.

My favorite mechanical pencil is the Rotring Rapid Pro.

The best tourniquet is the NAR CAT Tourniquet.

And finally, I know people have pretty strong feelings about clothespins, but this is the best clothespin.
posted by codex99 at 2:55 PM on April 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

If all can openers seem like a struggle, or you injure yourself easily, I suggest this one from Kuhn. It takes a second to understand how it works but I like that it doesn't seem to require the force of others and it doesn't leave sharp edges.

I don't have a brand preference, but the style of Reporter's Notebooks is exactly what I need. 90% of the time I'm writing I am writing long lists, and I had no idea a pad for this existed!
posted by jennybento at 7:55 PM on April 4, 2022

These headphones.

I bought a pair at a store in the Square One mall in Mississauga a few years back for around CDN$12. They have a wire (i.e. thing that works) instead of Bluetooth and a built-in microphone. I've used them daily and they are hardly worn, continue to work perfectly and have really, really not-bad sound quality. Late last year, I was able to go back to the same store and picked up another three on clearance for $10 each.
posted by suetanvil at 8:53 PM on April 4, 2022

(Hoping someone chimes in with best can opener. I've hated every one I've tried, and they all rust.)

There are these things called "safety can openers" or similar, jennybento linked one Kuhn branded one and I use an Oxo branded one. They're great. They cut in a different way than ye olde can openers do, and as a result leave a clean cut without sharp edges which is the biggest plus IMO.

So far mine has not rusted and I've had it for almost 5 years now.

If you have 20 minutes here's a great video on this seemingly innocuous innovation.
posted by theony at 10:02 PM on April 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

I used to love these useful little devices for slicing open the shrink wrap on a CD case. Thy were cheap, reliable and simple enough never to break down. They did one job well, and kept on doing it for years on end. I wish more technology was like that.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:12 AM on April 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

My wife and I both have the Zojirushi SM series travel mugs and they are the best. I've had hot beverages stay hot for up to 8 hours while sealed inside a mug, and it easily outlasts the Contigo mentioned upthread. Their flip lock is easy to operate one handed, and they're pretty easy to clean.

I also swear by the Zojirushi Micom rice cooker. It's just a good, solid grain cooker with a dependable keep warm setting and a "set and forget" timer. One of those appliances where I can just assign it a task, offload the cognitive work and focus on other things in the kitchen.

Also, I don't have a favorite brand of corkscrew but after owning a double-lever corkscrew, I wouldn't go with any other type ever again. It's still compact enough to fit in an apron or pants pocket, but the two step design makes opening wine bottles very, very easy.
posted by bl1nk at 5:42 AM on April 5, 2022

Response by poster: Best Can Opener.
posted by dobbs at 5:51 AM on April 5, 2022

Really old Zojirushi glass lined thermoses and water/coffee carafes are also amazing. I have a 4 liter glass lined wide mouth food jar style thermos I used to carry around in my car full of ice cubes during the summer, and it would hold usable (for sparkling water) ice for more than seven days sitting in a car which got very hot during the days.
posted by jamjam at 6:34 AM on April 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

I completely forgot the one that is probably the most important in my daily life: the original Tombow correction tape. Don't be fooled by their conventionally shaped version, the tape goes off track every time.
posted by Morpeth at 3:27 AM on April 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

I love my Nitecore Tip Flashlight. I have the old 1-led version which I’ve used daily for at least 5 years for dog walking and finding the bathroom in the basement at work. It lives on my work lanyard and the metal enclosure is now pleasingly scuffed and worn. I don’t know if it is down with its life of toilet-related activities (presumably it had dreams of tactical utility) but it is a helluva flashlight and neither too big nor too small.
posted by aesop at 4:32 AM on April 6, 2022 [2 favorites]

The best boxcutter is one that you can keep on you at all times.

On that topic, I can earnestly recommend Olfa's Magnetic Touch knives, which are the logical fusion of utility knife and fridge magnet, and are now stuck in any location where I just need a knife for a second, like opening parcels or breaking up boxes.

I would gently encourage folks to put the name of the product in their links, since sadly, URLs aren't forever.
posted by zamboni at 7:16 AM on April 7, 2022 [10 favorites]

I had to think about this question for a little bit. Etymotic ear plugs are the best earplugs. I've worn them at many concerts and music festivals and so far they've protected my ears well (no more ringing after a show) and hardly affect the sound quality at all. They're also more comfortable than those giant foam ones, and when I'm done I clean them off and put them back in their little case. Protect your ears!
posted by j.r at 10:46 AM on April 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

Seki nail clippers are, with no doubt, so much better than any other nail clipper I've ever been able to try. Didn't realize nail clippers had a high end, but this is certainly it.

Shun (or Kershaw) kitchen shears, same thing. Both brands come from the same factory. Again, didn't much realize there were grades of shears. These are real real good.

Benchmade knives. I have the North Fork, but they're all solid. They resharpen it for me free any time I want to mail it to them for the work.

Darn Tough socks. Both good and lifetime warranty. I've recently sent 10y old pairs back - they had holes - and gotten a gift certificate to pick my own replacement.

Seconding the Etymotic ear plugs, actually.
posted by talldean at 7:47 PM on April 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: The world's greatest lint brush is this Muji Carpet Cleaner.
posted by dobbs at 5:21 PM on April 30, 2022

Response by poster: I'm going to go all out for Solidteknics frying pans, specifically the Quenched AUS-ION ones. They've replaced my Staub and Le Creuset cast iron pans as they're just as good, if not better, at a fraction of the weight, and my non-stick pans as they're just as non-stick. In addition, if you get two of the same diameter, you can put them top-to-top and they'll sit flush so you can flip things like Spanish tortilla.

A fantastic, life-changing bit of kit.

For cycling, the Beeline Velo 2 bike GPS is amazing and certainly the best I've found in the price range. I'll also give my endorsement to the Orp horn/light and the Lumos Ultra helmet and Flectr reflectors.
posted by dobbs at 6:44 PM on November 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

The best wallet is the Alicia Klein Taxi Wallet, with one expandable coin pouch, a slot for a stack of cards, and two sections for (U.S.) bills.

The best kitchen everything is the OXO version.

The best pocketknife is the Benchmade #551 Griptilian (or, for the small-of-hand, the Mini Griptilian). Mine was about $85 when new. You send it in for $5 for periodic servicing, and it opens smoothly and stays sharp a long time. Such a great tool.

Tweezerman makes the best tweezers I have ever used. I have the (I think) Petite Tweeze Set of two, and they are as razor sharp as they day I got them. I use them mostly for splinters and repairing things, and they are just perfect.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:40 PM on November 22, 2022

The best double-edge razor blade are Feather Hi-Stainless (#81-S in the yellow package, if possible). Just so, so sharp.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:48 PM on November 22, 2022

Response by poster: Gonna say Boox e-paper tablets are the best e-paper tablets. Better than a kindle because they run the Kindle app (they run Android). Better than a ReMarkable because you attach a bluetooth keyboard to them.
posted by dobbs at 4:57 PM on November 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have not used the Joseph Joseph garlic crusher mentioned up thread, but I can recommend the Zyliss garlic press.

This is because:
1. You don't need to peel the garlic clove
2. It pretty much cleans itself

I have been using mine for 20 years so far, and it doesn't show any signs of wearing out. My mother has one that is at least 30 years old. There is no need to peel the garlic, the insides will be extruded and the peel will remain in the press. When you pull the peel out it generally takes any remnants with it, so the holes are clear. It looks like the new design comes with a hole cleaning thingy.

With it being a hand help press you can crush the garlic directly into the pan/bowl, or whatever.

I have crushed ginger in mine, but I think that was pushing it to the limits of its design parameters. It would probably work with juicy fresh ginger, if you grow your own.

The only bit of advice I have is that it should be clean immediately after use. This applies to any garlic crusher. Garlic gets very persistent if it dries onto the device.
posted by asok at 11:20 AM on November 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have a different Swiss peeler to recommend than the Kuhn Rikon one. Zena (recently purchased by Victorinox) make fantastic all metal peelers that cost very little. The also have a little loop on the side for taking the eyes out of potatoes. Expect to pay £4-5. I have had multiple chefs and kitchen staff tell me this is the one they use at work.

Can be used for julienne cuts, and they make a julienne shredder as well.

Again, as it is a metal blade, it should be cleaned immediately after use. I have mine hanging from a hook above the work surface, so it can dry there and be ready for use.
posted by asok at 11:33 AM on November 25, 2022

This Stanley Fat Max tape measure is the best one I have used. It is intelligently constructed, easy to read and versatile.

The only thing it doesn't have is a hoop to hang it up, but that can easily be added to the belt hook.
posted by asok at 11:38 AM on November 25, 2022

Response by poster: This Outlier Dreamweight Raw Cut Merino T is the most comfortable shirt I know of. Their description of "feels almost like nothing at all, only softer" is accurate.
posted by dobbs at 10:10 PM on February 18, 2023

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