Tech Buying Guides

Our experts recommendations on the best gadgets and software, all in one place. 


Active Noise Canceling

sony wh 1000xm4
The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones in 2021

Everything you need to know before buying your next pair of headphones.

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The Best Noise-Canceling Wireless Earbuds of 2021

There are more wireless earbuds than ever before that have active noise cancellation.

bose headphones anker
What Makes Expensive ANC Headphones Cost So Much?

What's the difference between $100 and $500 noise-canceling headphones? We explain.

bose vs sony headphones
Bose Headphones 700 vs Sony WH-1000XM4
The two best noise-canceling headphones are the Bose Headphones 700 vs Sony WH-1000XM4. But what are the differences between the two? A…
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Wireless Earbuds

collage of three earbud sets
The Best Wireless Earbuds for 2023 (So Far)

It's 2023 and there are a lot of different wireless earbuds to choose from. We've rounded up the best wireless earbuds of 2022.

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5 Wireless Earbuds If You Don’t Want AirPods

Don’t own an iPhone? Or do AirPods not fit in your ears? Get these wireless earbuds.

nothing earbuds one
The Best Cheap Wireless Earbuds of 2023

Don't want to spend $129 on AirPods? No problem. We've rounded up the best true wireless earbuds that cost less than $100.

The Best Wireless Earbuds for Running

It’s time to swap out your basic buds for a pair that goes the extra mile. These are the best wireless earbuds for running.

Hi-Fi Headphones

grado black headphones laying against white counter with a candle and book
The Best Hi-Fi Headphones Under $150

We've rounded up our favorite high-end headphones that cost $150. All are wired. All great for at-home listening.

5 Great In-Ear Headphones for Hi-Fi Sound

When nothing but the best sound will do, turn to these magnificent buds.

black audeze headphones laying on piano
The Best Open-Back Headphones Under $500

If you're a hi-fi enthusiast or music professional, you might want to seriously consider buying open-back headphones.

collage of best expensive headphones
The Most Expensive Headphones Still Worth Buying

With so many expensive headphones flooding the market, how do you know which pair makes sense for you?

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Home Theater


The Most Beautiful TVs You Can Buy Are OLEDs

These are the best OLED TVs that you can actually afford.

What’s Different Between a $500 and a $2,000 TV?

There are two 4K TVs. They are the same size, made in the same year, and have the same resolution.

The Best 4K TVs Under $1,000

If you don’t want to break four digits on a 4K TV, you no longer have to.

What You Need to Know Before You Mount Your TV

It's not as straightforward as hanging a picture.

TV Audio

best dolby atmos soundbars of 2020 gear patrol lead featured
The Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars to Buy Now

There are more soundbars that support Dolby Atmos and deliver a pretty epic home theater experience. These are the best of the best.

soundbar and speaker
Soundbar Versus Speakers: Which Is Best for You

The sound quality of your TV’s built-in speakers is trash. It's time to upgrade.

sony soundbar
The Best Soundbars Under $150

A soundbar is an easy and affordable way to get better sound out of your TV. We've rounded up the best soundbars under $150.

onkyo hts3910 home theater package
The Best Home Theater Starter Kits Under $500

True surround sound, fit for your space.

Home Audio & Hi-Fi


best bookshelf speakers
The Best Active Speakers of 2022

It’s all about the speaker-and-amplifier combo.

a group of speakers
The Best Multi-Room Wireless Speakers of 2023

When it comes to multi-room speakers, there are a lot more options than Sonos these days.

sonos move
The Best Bluetooth Home Speakers

This large and in charge Bluetooth speakers are great for your living room.

collage of three sets of speakers
The Best Bookshelf Speakers for Every Budget

Snag an upgrade for your home audio setup.

Digital Hi-Fi

astell kern anorma sr25
5 Great Portable Hi-Fi Music Players Under $1,000

There is more to mobile music than your smartphone.

collage of three portable dac amps
The Best DAC/Amps to Supercharge Your Phone Audio

Want better-sounding audio from your iPhone or Android? Get a portable DAC/amp.

collage of three digital music streamers
The Best Digital Music Streamers for Your Home

Is there any reason why you should invest in a digital music streamer? Actually, yes.

lossless music
The Best Lossless Music Streaming Services in 2023
There are more lossless music streaming services than ever: Apple, Tidal, Amazon, Tidal and Deezer (but still not Spotify). Here's what…


Integrated Amplifiers Are the Future of Hi-Fi

They’re the best option for most people building a home stereo system.

collage of three headphone amps
The Best Headphone Amplifiers Under $200

Want to give your workstation an audio boost? Get a headphone amplifier. They're simple to use, affordable and damn cool.

home office audio set up speaker amp
5 Great Bookshelf Speaker and Amplifier Pairings
We've paired some of our favorite bookshelf speakers with an amplifier that can properly drive them. If you're looking to build your ow…
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collage of 3 turntables
The Best All-in-One Turntables To Get Into Vinyl

When shopping for an entry-level turntable, make sure it has a built-in preamp.

The Best Turntables Under $1,000

Vinyl geeks rejoice — great sound doesn’t have to come with a four-digit price tag.

5 Affordable Turntables That Even Audiophiles Want

Can you get a great-sounding turntable for under $500?

collage of three turntables
Should You Buy an Automatic Turntable?

Do automatic turntables sound better, worse or the same as manual turntables?

Vinyl Records

How to Clean and Take Care of your Vinyl Records

For the best listening experience, you want to make sure your vinyl records are in tip-top shape.

How to Digitize Your Vinyl Records
A USB turntable works like most other turntables, but it has the added functionality of allowing you save your records as digital files…
12 Essential Records Loved by Audio Nerds

Vinyl records have a warmth, crackle and pop that digital audio files can’t replicate.

The Best Vinyl LPs to Show Off Your Turntable

Put on these records and they’ll sound are a million light years away from today’s sterile digital soundscapes.

Turntable Accessories

The 8 Best Vinyl Accessories, Picked By an Expert
Peter Hahn, the co-owner of the Turntable Lab, the New York-based, go-to music shop for professional DJs, musicians and audiophiles, se…
The Best Phono Carts to Upgrade Your Turntable

If you have a turntable, a new phono cartridge can greatly improve how your records actually sound. Here's what you need to know.

These Turntable and Speaker Combos Make Vinyl Easy

Forget all the moving parts. With these no-hassle hi-fi setups, all you need is a turntable and a set of speakers.

phono preamp
The Best Phono Preamps Under $200

An external phono preamp is a simple, relatively affordable way to upgrade your entry-level turntables.

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Smartphone Accessories

Charging & Battery Packs

collage of three wireless chargers
The Best Wireless Chargers for Your Smartphone

Wireless charging pads have come a long way in the last few years. Get the one that best matches your iPhone and Android.

tech roundup
These Wall Adapters Will Fast-Charge Your iPhone
When you buy a new iPhone, including the new iPhone 14, it won't come with a wall adapter, meaning you'll have to use your own or buy a…
portable battery for smartphone
The Best Portable Chargers for Your Smartphone

Not all power banks are created equal, and it's worth springing for the best.

iphone charging
An Expert Answers Your Phone Charging Questions

How often to charge, how much to fill up, and more.

MagSafe Accessories

three iphones with magsafe accessories
The Best MagSafe Accessories for Your New iPhone

We've rounded up all the best MagSafe accessories for the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. (Updated for 2023.)

The Best MagSafe Cases for Your iPhone

We've rounded up the best smartphone cases for the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and newest iPhone 14. All support MagSafe.

collage of three magsafe car mounts
The Best MagSafe Car Mounts for Your iPhone

A MagSafe-compatible car mount will magnetically hold your newer iPhone in place while you drive. Some will even charge your iPhone.

collage of two iphones with a magsafe battery pack and a battery pack standing in the center
The Best MagSafe Battery Packs for Your iPhone
We've rounded up the best MagSafe compatible power bank that will magnetically stick to the back of your iPhone and wirelessly charge i…

Home Office Tech

Computer Accessories

a computer monitor
The Best External Monitors for Your WFH Setup

These are the best USB-C monitors that work with today’s newest laptops.

external hard drives
The Best External Hard Drives for Your Computer

These are the best external hard drives to backup your files and free up space.

best webcam
The Best Webcams to Upgrade Your Desktop Setup

You're still taking a lot of video calls and your computer's built-in camera stinks. It's time to buy an external webcam.

man using akg pro audio lyra ultrahd
5 Great Microphones To Upgrade Your Video Calls
Whether you're podcasting, streaming or just spending too much time video conferencing, an external USB microphone is a great desktop u…

Keyboards & Mice

collage of three mechanical keyboards
The Best Mechanical Keyboards for Home or Office

Contrary to what many think, mechanical keyboards don’t have to be loud and flashy.

wireless computer mice
The Best Wireless Mouse Devices of 2023

A better wireless mouse can help you be more productive. Get one that works for you.

Your Home Office Needs a Trackball. Here’s Why.

Trackballs are more more comfortable, more useful, more efficient and cooler than every alternative.

3 Great Wireless Keyboards for Your Desktop

Fast and reliable, a wire-free life will lead to a more productive workspace.

Desk Upgrades

best desk pads gear patrol lead full
The Best Desk Pads to Improve Your Workspace

Desk pads are the humblest of workspace accessories, but they can significantly improve your desktop cleanliness and organization.

best computer speakers
The Best Computer Speakers of 2021

A set of computer speakers is an easy (and relatively affordable) way of upgrading the audio quality of your desktop or laptop.

collage of three powerstations
Traveling? You Need a Portable Laptop Charger
Need to charge your laptop on the go? We've rounded up the best portable batteries small enough to fit in your backpack but big enough …
The Best USB-C Docking Stations for Remote Workers

Turn your laptop into a desktop workstation.

Smart Home Gear

a collage featuring smart home cameras from blink, ring and google
The Best Smart Home Cameras of 2023
It doesn’t matter if you’re building a smart home around Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s HomeKit – there’s a smart home camera that’…
smart thermostat
The Best Smart Thermostats of 2022

Here’s what you need to know before buying your first smart thermostat.

The Best Smart Light Bulbs of 2023
Smart light bulbs allow you to control the various lights in your home from anywhere. They're also one of the cheapest smart home gadge…
wemo wifi smart plug
These Are the Best Smart Plugs of 2021

You can to control a fan, lamp or coffee maker with your voice? Get a smart plug.

tech roundup
The Best Smart Alarm Clocks of 2023

A smart alarm clock can set alarms, play calming music while you sleep, and answer questions in the morning about the day ahead.

The Best Smart Alarm Systems That You Can Install Yourself

Gone are the days of mandatory multi-year contracts, wires running down widow frames, and keypads requiring home phone lines.

august smartlock
The Best Apartment-Friendly Smart Home Devices

From smart speakers to smart door bells, smart lights to smart locks. All small, wireless and easily DIY installable.

tucker bowe
Which $100 Smart Speaker Sounds Best?
The Amazon Echo, Nest Audio and HomePod mini are all smart speakers that cost $100. But which one sounds best? We tested all three to f…
Now Is the Time to Get Into Ikea Smart Home. Here’s How

Ikea says it’s “just getting started” in the smart home world. Here’s everything you need to know.

How to Build a Smart Home, the Smart Way

These days, anyone can use their phone to turn on the lights.

multi speaker audio
How to Turn Your Smart Speakers Into a Stereo Pair
You can configure two smart speakers in a stereo pair and they'll sound way better. Here's how to do it with Amazon's, Google's, Apple'…
How to Build a Smart Home the Easy (and Cheap) Way
We’ve rounded by the best smart home devices to get you started on your journey to build an entry-level Apple, Amazon or Google smart h…

Networking, Privacy and Security

Password Managers

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Why You Need a Password Manager (And Five to Try)
Writing down passwords on a notepad, or just using the same password for everything, may have served you well so far, but these are hig…
google chrome on laptop
How to Use Google Chrome As a Password Manager
If you use Chrome as your default web browser, you can take advantage of its free feature that helps you remember you username and pass…
icloud on ipad, iphone, and macbook
The Apple Password Feature You Should Be Using

Apple's cloud-based storage service makes a good (and free) password manager. It's easy.

How to Make Your Online Passwords Ironclad
In this digital age, cybersecurity is everything. To be better protected, we asked two experts to teach us how to create a better passw…

Online Security & Privacy

The Best VPN Services to Make Online Data Private

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) make going online safer by hiding your data and identity.

google chrome on laptop
10 Google Chrome Settings To Change Right Now
In the usual course of day-to-day life, you don’t need to spend much time messing around with browser settings, but if you get under th…
How to Prevent the Internet from Tracking You

Follow these steps to completely disappear from the online world.

Going to a Protest? Change These 7 Phone Settings
Your smartphone is a crucial tool for communication and documenting police brutality, but it also generates evidence that can be used a…


tech roundup
How to Get Great Wi-Fi, Even in Your Backyard

Need some helpful tips to improve the Wi-Fi in and around your home?

Before Buying a Mesh Wi-Fi System, What to Know

Roughly 90-percent of homes complain of dead zones and slow Wi-Fi. A mesh system like Nest Wifi can solve that.

wifi speed
Your Internet Isn’t As Fast As It Could Be
Fast, reliable internet at home has never been more important, but fast, reliable internet isn’t always what you get out of your home n…
hotspots lead
The Best Mobile Hotspots of 2023

Safe and secure, a hotspot lets you take Wi-Fi with you.

Apps & Software

Video & Audio Streaming

Every Free Streaming Trial You Should Know About

Wondering if a streaming service has a free trial? From Netflix to Max, Apple Music to Tidal — we break it down.

lossless music
The Best Lossless Music Streaming Services in 2023
There are more lossless music streaming services than ever: Apple, Tidal, Amazon, Tidal and Deezer (but still not Spotify). Here's what…
apple music refresh
How to Listen to Lossless Tracks on Apple Music

In order to listen to Apple Music's lossless audio tracks, you need the proper hardware. Here's what you need to know.

How to Become a Spotify Power User

We’ve rounded up the best tricks of the trade to help you get the most out of your Spotify subscription.

Mobile Productivity

google gmail app
The Best Email Apps to Use With Your Gmail Account

These alternative apps can help supercharge your Gmail account.

evernote app displayed on phone and computer
The Best Note-Taking Apps of 2022

There are a lot of different note-taking apps out there, but they're far from all the same.

mac displaying app store
The Best Productivity Apps of 2023
From calendar apps to to-do-list apps, project management apps to note-taking apps, these are our favorite productivity apps to help yo…
5 Apps That Turn Your Phone Into a Doc Scanner

Think you need a physical scanner? Odds are you don't.

Desktop Productivity

12 Chrome Extensions That Will Make You a Power User
These extensions help you get around the web faster, add extra security for your online travels, change the look of your browser and mu…
How to Use Slack: 5 Simple Tricks to Boost Productivity and Keep You Sane

If Slack is your new cyber-office, it’s worth taking some time to get everything set up right.

imac dock
5 Ways to Get The Most Out of the Dock on macOS

You should definitely customize one of the most important parts of your Mac.

microsoft outlook
The Best Calendar Apps to Keep Your Life Organized

Whether it's your work or personal life, a calendar app is a vital tool for staying organized, productive and on schedule.

Wearables & Health Tech

Smartwatches & Wearables

best smart watches 2020
The Best Smartwatches of 2021

Before buying a smartwatch, there are few vital things to know as well. We've also rounded up the best smartwatches to buy.

apple smartwatch or fitness tracker fitbit inspire 2
Which to Buy: Smartwatch or Fitness Tracker?

In the past, there was a clear divide between fitness tracker and watch. Not anymore.

lux watches
Luxury Smartwatches vs. the Premium Apple Watch

And is traditional watchmaking compatible with wearable tech?

hybrid smartwatches
You'd Never Guess That These Are Smartwatches

Smartwatch functionality and mechanical watch looks combine in these hybrid timepieces that offer the best of both worlds.

Apple Watch

apple watch accessories
The Best Accessories for Your Apple Watch

We've rounded up the best chargers, protective cases and accessories for your Apple Watch.

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The Best Sleep Tracking Apps for Your Apple Watch

Apple finally has a sleep-tracking app for the Apple Watch. But there are some great third-party alternatives, too.

apple watch rings
How to Master Your Apple Watch's Activity Rings
Every Apple Watch has Activity Rings. Here's what they mean, how to customize them, how to close them and how to compete against your f…
collage of apple watch and band
The Best Apple Watch Bands You Can Buy Right Now

The universe of Apple Watch bands is vast, and that's a good thing.

Fitness & Wellness Tech

man and woman working out at home peloton fitness app
The Best Fitness Apps for Effective Training Help

Countless apps strive to help make you fitter, stronger and leaner than ever before. Here are our favorites.

iphone health app
How to Get the Most Out of the iPhone's Health App

Are you using the Health app on your iPhone? If not, you should be.

Can New Technology Help You Get Fitter at Home?
At a time when home fitness is especially relevant, two new products promise to help you sweat without crowding your house. Our testers…
Waste Too Much Time on Your Phone? These Apps Can Help

Get a handle on your screen time with apps that help you track your usage, and even limit it.


Film Cameras

collage of three vintage cameras
28 Great Vintage Cameras You Can Still Buy

Vintage film cameras from every era still worth adding to your collection.

collage of polaroid cameras
The Best Instant Cameras That Embrace Nostalgia
Instant film cameras are fun, cheap and more prevalent than ever. Yep, the likes of Polaroid and Fujifilm (and some others) are still m…
collage of three 35mm cameras
The Best 35mm Cameras to Use in 2022

These still-great bits of kit are a great way to get (or stay) into film.

vintage cameras rolleiflex, olympus, and yeshiva
Dead Camera Brands (And Cameras You Can Still Buy)

Many brands did not survive the transition to digital, but their cameras are still around.

Film & Development

tech roundup
The Best 35mm Film for Vintage Cameras

Looking to shoot film? These are the eight best films for every situation.

film developing tank with 135 photographic film in a tank after developed close up
What You Need to Develop Film, And Why to Try It

It's easier than you might think.

staff cameras gear patrol hunter
5 Great Reasons You Should Be Shooting Film

It's not just hipster nonsense. There are terrific practical reasons for any photographer to shoot a roll or two.

Developing Film Is Easier than You Think
What shooting film lacks in instant gratification, it makes up for in satisfaction, especially if you learn to process and scan your ow…

Camera Accessories

Terrific Tripods to Take Your Photography to the Next Level

A tripod might be the signal most important tool for photographers and videographers.

Pro Photographers Share Their Favorite Accessories

Savannah Cummins, Jeff Johnson and Chris Burkard share their favorite accessories for outdoor photography.

amazon tripod
The Best Photography Accessories Under $25

We've round up the best camera accessories and gadgets, all under $25, that deserve a place in your camera bag.

three camera backpacks
The Best Camera Backpacks of 2023

The best bags to haul and protect your photography equipment around town or into the mountains.