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29 products our editors tried and loved in 2023

This year, our team found standout items from Apple, Reebok and more.
NBC Select editors share their favorite purchases from 2023 including headphones, lotions and sneakers.
NBC Select editors share their favorite purchases from 2023 including headphones, lotions and sneakers. Amazon

Throughout the year, we’ve helped our readers decide on products to buy across categories like tech, health and wellness, kitchen, apparel and more. In addition to helping our readers, we put our expert shopping skills to the test and bought many products for ourselves. 

As the year comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on the best products we purchased this year. Below, you’ll find staff picks from 2023, like electric tea kettles, sneakers, headphones and cat feeders. 

SKIP AHEAD Tech | Health and wellness | Home | Kitchen | Fitness | Apparel and accessories | Pets 

Editor’s picks: Tech

Apple Earpods (USB-C)

Whenever I’m on a call or video chat, I prefer to use these wired earbuds. I sound much clearer than with wireless when speaking into the mic, and I never have to deal with connectivity issues or battery concerns. I can easily plug them into my laptop or my iPhone 15. - Harry Rabinowitz, NBC Select reporter

Kasa Smart Plug HS103P2

I finally understand why our readers love smart plugs so much. It’s because after you use one, you start thinking about all the other devices in your home you can automate and suddenly you need a million more. That’s what happened to me, anyway. I jumped on the smart home bandwagon this year and now I use smart plugs to control lights, a humidifier, my turtle’s heat lamp, Christmas tree lights and more. Talk to me this time next year and I’m sure my smart plug collection will have doubled. - Zoe Malin, NBC Select associate updates editor

Editor’s picks: Health and wellness

Sun Bum Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion 

This SPF 30 tinted sunscreen from Sun Bum has been a staple in my makeup routine this year. I don’t love super heavy skin products, so I loved how this product was both lightweight and provided coverage. It was perfect for hot and humid summer days in New York City. - Hannah Fuechtman, NBC Page

Native Unscented Sensitive Facial Cleanser

This isn’t the sexiest product but it gets the job done. I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles — just something uncomplicated that won’t leave my skin feeling too dry or oily. I also love the ingredients label. The list is small and there’s a non-science-y description for each one, which feels super empowering for someone who tries to shop as thoughtfully as possible. I’ve since graduated to the body wash too. - Nikki Brown, NBC Select SEO Editor

Verb Curl Foaming Gel

All my fellow curly-haired people understand the struggle of finding and understanding your curl type and then having to find the perfect product to make your hair stay happy and healthy. And while none of us may ever find that absolute “perfect” curly hair product — if one even exists — this one has come pretty close for me. Verb’s top-rated curl foaming gel is one of the most unique hair products I’ve come across  because it combines the strengths and effects of gel (curl definition and frizz control) and mousse (lightweight and crunch-free feel) into one. It’s on the verge of becoming my favorite hair product and has already taken the place of several products on my shelf. - Kelsey Fredricks, NBC Select production coordinator

Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Hydrating Face Serum

I have very dry skin, and it often feels like a moisturizer doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to hydrating my skin. I use this serum both in the morning and at night and each time, the skin on my face feels like it got a nice drink of water. And as someone with sensitive, rosacea-prone skin, I appreciate that the serum has a gentle, fragrance-free formula to calm any irritation and prevent redness. - Mili Godio, NBC Select updates editor

Cantu Jamaican Black Castor Oil Taming Gel

I’m obsessed with how sleek this stuff makes my hair look whenever I slick it back into a bun or ponytail. A lot of gels can leave you with that hard, crunchy feel at the end of the day. With this gel, my hair still feels mostly soft, which is a huge win, especially when switching up hair styles throughout the week. - Nikki Brown, NBC Select SEO Editor

Youth to the People Superfood Gentle Antioxidant Refillable Cleanser

I confess. I caved and bought the cleanser I’d been hearing all the youth talk on and on about and I’ll admit — I get the hype. I sought a cleanser that would leave me feeling freshly cleansed after a long, sweaty day or a cold, dry night, and this vitamin- and antioxidant-rich cleanser does the trick. It’s formulated for various skin types and is non-drying, according to the brand. Youth to the People’s best-seller also has kale, green tea and spinach to help promote hydration and fight signs of aging, according to the brand. It also comes in a mini version if you don’t want to commit to the full-size. My only real qualm with this product is it’s not fragrance-free, which can irritate my skin, so be aware if you have sensitive skin. Other than that this gets a gold star in my book. - Kelsey Fredricks, NBC Select production coordinator

Grace and Stella Under Eye Masks

These under eye masks have been my go-to product when my dry under eyes are acting up, or when I want to look more energized before heading out in the morning. I keep them on for 15-20 minutes and my eyes are noticeably less puffy and feel more hydrated. Plus, they provide a cooling sensation that feels great, especially early in  the morning. - Mili Godio, NBC Select updates editor

Editor’s picks: Home

Rolife Book Nook Kit – Garden House

I wandered into a toy store at the end of a really bad day and spotted this immediately. I’m a big DIY-er — a lot of the furniture in my apartment is either secondhand or repurposed — so crafting is something I naturally fell in love with. At first, I was overwhelmed by all of the pieces and the thick instruction booklet but it’s been crazy easy to put together. I work on it a few minutes everyday and I’m almost done — can’t wait to see the final product! - Nikki Brown, NBC Select SEO Editor


I’m sure this comes as no shock to anyone who knows me, but 2023 was my year of the Hulken. I started the year with zero and I now own two (one medium, one large). I also gifted it this holiday season and convinced multiple people to buy one. I use this glorious bag on wheels for laundry, hauling boxes to and from the post office, groceries and more. Every time I leave my apartment with it, someone stops me to ask about it. I was in line at Trader Joe’s a few months ago and after telling someone why I love the Hulken so much, I watched them open the Amazon app and buy one. It was seriously one of the best moments of the year. - Zoe Malin, NBC Select associate updates editor

Wilcoxson Brooklyn Ceramics Small Mug

Sipping tea is so much more satisfying when it’s in a pretty mug. It’s a small thing that has made a huge difference in my daily routine. A beautifully designed ceramic mug, based on my experience, forces you to slow down and take a few deep breaths because it’s distracting in the best way possible. Plus, I love that these are handmade locally, which adds a unique touch. — Nikki Brown, NBC Select SEO Editor

Muji 5-Pack Multicolor Ruled Notebooks

One time in a writing class, I witnessed my classmate using these notebooks. I was drawn to the ideal B5 size, how lightly ruled the lines were, how the ink didn’t bleed through the page and how the spine pressed flat and could be closed without wear or tear. I’d been on the hunt for staple stationery to be my #1 sidekick for the rest of college, and once I worked up the courage to ask my classmate where she found this stack of notebook gold, these did the trick. Flash-forward to this year, I stumbled upon this set again at a Muji store, and they remain the GOAT of writing notebooks, in my opinion. Muji also sells some of my favorite gel pens and desk organizers, like this acrylic 5-drawer desk organizer. Now that we’ve been reunited, I hope we never part again. - Kelsey Fredricks, NBC Select production coordinator

Fireworx Sun Blocking Window Film

If you want your cats to enjoy watching a bird feeder up close without scaring the birds away, you absolutely need this window film because it provides a literal filter between the two. Installing it alone is doable, though I recommend having an extra pair of hands for the best application. The added bonus is even more privacy, especially in the summer when I like to leave the blinds and curtains open. - Nikki Brown, NBC Select SEO Editor

Editor’s picks: Kitchen

Josu Just Salt

This salt from Josu, featured in our Small Business Saturday article, has been a welcome addition to my cooking this year. It’s mineral rich, boasting some of the highest concentrations of calcium, potassium and magnesium of any edible salt in the world, according to the brand, which gives it a depth of flavor beyond traditional table or kosher salt. They also come in flavored versions like Cinnamon Vanilla, Kimchi and Savory Mushroom, which I also own. I love these salts on a variety of things like popcorn, cooked vegetables, egg salad and lattes. - Hannah Fuechtman, NBC Page

Poppi Doc Pop

Amazon says I bought a 12 pack of Poppi 29 times in 2023, which is equivalent to 348 total cans of fizzy perfection — since I need to drink one a day in order to function, the math checks out. I often have more Poppi in my refrigerator than food, and it brings me so much joy to debate the best flavors with my friends and family since they’re hooked too. Cracking open a can and pouring it into a wine glass is the best way to end a long day, and it’s a ritual I’m taking with me into 2024. - Zoe Malin, NBC Select associate updates editor

Hamilton Beach Electric Tea Kettle

I bought this electric tea kettle in September. It has made it so much faster and easier to make hot beverages, just in time for the cold NYC winter. It heats water in minutes, and you can choose from six different temperature options. I love that the kettle shuts off automatically when it’s done — it’s one less thing for me to remember to set a timer for. During especially cold days, I’ll often drink plain hot water to stay warm and comfortable (and hydrated). - Harry Rabinowitz, NBC Select reporter

Graza Sizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This year, I discovered Graza olive oil and immediately fell in love — it’s so easy to cook with, and the taste is amazing. I use it every time I roast, sear and pan fry food. It also comes in a convenient squeeze bottle that lets me easily drizzle it on a pan or over fish and veggies mess-free. - Mili Godio, NBC Select updates editor

Oxo Good Grips Silicone Sink Strainer

Cleaning the sink is one of my least favorite tasks. Cleaning the sink drain? Bottom of the list. This strainer makes that job a little less miserable: It catches kitchen scraps, which prevents them from blocking the drain. When it’s full, you can flip it and push the silicone center to invert the entire thing — the food scraps then fall out naturally, without needing to scoop them out by hand. — Harry Rabinowitz, NBC Select reporter

Editor's picks: Fitness

Salsa Journeyer Apex 1 700c Bike

My cycling habits changed from daily commuting to going on much longer weekend rides. While I loved my commuter bike, it wasn’t well-suited to the 30-plus mile rides I was gravitating towards outside the city. This gravel bike on the other hand made me feel like the world was my oyster.  It’s able to tackle nearly any type of road or trail comfortably and easily. It has wide tires (with clearance for even wider ones if needed), a large gear range that makes inclines under 7% easy, and a relaxed geometry that encourages a comfortable riding position that’s not too tight or aggressive. With my new upgraded pedals, it’s the best bike I’ve ever had. - Harry Rabinowitz, NBC Select reporter

Editor’s picks: Apparel and accessories

Reebok Club C 85 Vintage Shoes

These shoes have been my go to for years, and I just purchased another pair to wear throughout 2024. I love these shoes. They’re stylish and comfortable, and I have worn through the soles on multiple pairs because I walk around in them so much. From work to the grocery store to grabbing coffee with friends, these shoes can be worn anywhere. - Hannah Fuechtman, NBC Page 

Everlane The Straight Fit Corduroy Pant

These are my first pair of corduroy pants, and now I’m tempted to break up with denim. They are the perfect balance between comfortable and professional — not so form-fitting that they are uncomfortable to commute in, but slim and flattering in a way that’s easy to dress up. They are machine washable and dryable, and have become a staple of my work wardrobe. - Harry Rabinowitz, NBC Select reporter

Catbird Baby Cygnet Ring

A cygnet ring has been on my wishlist for awhile but I was struggling to find one that didn’t look too bulky on my petite hands. I’m so glad Catbird makes a “baby” version — it’s adorably dainty, and will be part of my work uniform going into the new year. And, of course, I had it engraved with an N. - Nikki Brown, NBC Select SEO Editor

Puma Women’s Carina 2.0 Sneaker

I got tired of my Air Force Ones and needed a white sneaker for both work and play. What I like most about these are the platforms — they’re not too high or low, so I don’t ever worry about them looking bulky or heavy. They’re also true workhorses that I can style with virtually any outfit, including some dresses. - Nikki Brown, NBC Select SEO Editor

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 Running Sneaker

As an avid jogger, owning a pair of shoes that are going to protect my feet and give me a cushiony, but sturdy, feel is essential. I’ve been aware that Brooks is a household name in the running community — and a favorite among many NBC Select staffers — but I hadn’t put them to the test myself. But after I wore these while walking from the tippy top to the very bottom of Manhattan (aka the “Broad City Challenge”), totaling 43,739 steps in 10 hours, these have become a new favorite pair of mine. While my feet naturally felt sore after taking that many steps, I can confidently say these were the best option I had for my journey. These shoes also offer whole body and arch support, according to the brand, which is a must for me since I tend to overpronate while running. - Kelsey Fredricks, NBC Select production coordinator

Bagsmart Toiletry Travel Bag

As a makeup and skin care enthusiast, I need a large toiletry bag to comfortably travel with all of my essentials. This large version of the Bagsmart toiletry bag is by far my favorite one to travel with — it manages to fit everything I need for my skin, hair and body care routines, while still looking sleek. It also has a metal hook to hang it on doors, which means my array of products aren’t scattered all over a bathroom counter.  It includes plenty of pockets to keep things separated, organized and in reach, too. - Mili Godio, NBC Select updates editor

Editor’s picks: Pets

Tuft+Paw Cloud Nine Window Hammock

This window perch has made my cat Wanda’s life infinitely better in 2023. It’s like she goes into a trance when she uses it — she lays on her back, belly up in the sun, closes her eyes and literally smiles. She relaxes in that position for hours until a pigeon lands on our window and she has to watch its every movement. After seeing how much Wanda adores it, it’s no mystery why Tuft+Paw’s hammock won Select’s Pet Awards this year. I just adopted a kitten so fingers crossed I see her and Wanda snuggling together on the hammock soon. - Zoe Malin, NBC Select associate updates editor

Frisco Foldable & Colorful Tri-Tunnel Cat Toy

If my especially curious and chaotic cat Kiwi could understand me and I asked him to choose between this play tunnel and everything else in his possession, he would take maybe a millisecond to think about it, then dive headfirst into the tunnel without a second thought. This pop-up cat play tunnel is another one of Select’s Pet Awards winners and is one of the main ways Kiwi stays stimulated throughout the day. Small dangling cat toys come attached to it for extra fun and stimulation and it’s perfect for cats who enjoy exploring, enclosed spaces and playing hide-and-seek. This is also Kiwi’s favorite spot to sleep when he wants some peace and quiet, so instead of storing it away (which is very easy to do), I usually leave it out for him. - Kelsey Fredricks, NBC Select production coordinator

Voluas Automatic Cat Feeder

I think there’s such a thing as too much research when it comes to shopping. And I definitely went overboard with automatic cat feeders, so naturally, I was still nervous after purchasing this one. Luckily, my fears subsided once I got it set up. The only tricky part was setting the portions — one is very small (just 2.5 tsp) so I had to do a lot of math — not my strong suit — to land on the perfect amount for each meal. It does what it says and that brought me so much relief before going out of town. - Nikki Brown, NBC Select SEO Editor

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