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March has been a month to remember — for some, it might have felt more like a year than a month. NBC News readers proved themselves exceptionally serious about staying clean and sanitizing their tech — a somewhat elevated concern for many as the coronavirus illness COVID-19 continues to spread across the country. Given the increasing number of Americans working from home — where it can be hard-but-doable to stay focused — many readers seemed keen on boosting their Internet connections with new wireless routers, mesh Wi-Fi systems and some of the newer Wi-Fi 6 routers. Other than that, some of our most-read articles last month included our shopping guides to computer monitors, smart thermostats, sound bars and bookshelf speakers — for those preferring audio solitude, we published an article on what active noise canceling headphones are and how they work. And lastly, some of our kitchen-centric coverage drew lots of attention, both the more hefty cast iron cookware shopping guide and our guide to making great cookies at home.
As you check out the shopping guides and recommendations above, we also wanted to be sure to share which of the specific sanitizing, tech, fitness and kitchen products were most popular among readers last month. Below are the top 15 most popular products across these categories. Catching up? Check out the most popular products we covered in February.
In this article
- Popular sanitizing products
- Popular tech and productivity products
- Popular fitness products
- Popular kitchen and cooking products
Popular sanitizing products: UV light sanitizers and self-cleaning bottles
In March, readers found increasing interest in both keeping their devices clean and sanitized.
From our original UV light sanitizers coverage: The smaller and more portable iteration of the HoMedics UV light sanitizer below "will fit your phone and little else — which might be worth the trouble considering the amount of time we use our phones."
In the same article, we highlighted another highly-rated Homedics product: "HoMedics has a portable sanitizer you can use to keep cleaning the surface of your phone, smartwatch, keys, wallet, glasses and so on."
And here is yet another popular option from the same coverage: "LARQ's bottlecap is equipped with UV-C LED lights that are designed to purify up to 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses in your water. The bottle is set to self-clean every two hours." Last month, retailer Uncommon Goods released its own edition of a UV-C LED light self-cleaning bottle that looks a lot like the LARQ.
Veering somewhat from the more tech-centric items above, here's a ready alternative to paper towels or even sponges. "Microfiber cleaning cloths cut cleaning time in half because they’re able to grab the smallest — microscopic to be exact — particles of dirt, dust and dander," we previously reported on BETTER.
Popular tech and productivity products: routers, ANC headphones and power strips
As Whitson Gordon notes in his guide to Wi-Fi routers: "You’d be surprised what less than $100 will get you in this day and age. TP-Link offers some of the best bang for your buck with their Archer A7 router, a budget-focused router with remarkably fast Wireless AC performance, offering theoretical top speeds of 1300Mbps for an individual device or 1750Mbps combined speed across multiple devices.
Another popular router last month is featured both in the general guide to Wi-Fi routers mentioned above but also in Gordon's guide to Wi-Fi 6 wireless routers: "This is the cream of the crop — one of the fastest, congestion-busting-est routers you can buy right now, thanks to its combination of Wi-Fi 6 and those tri-band antennas."
And finally, from Gordon's mesh Wi-Fi guide: "Eero was one of the pioneers in the consumer mesh Wi-Fi space ... It’s not the fastest mesh system around, but it comes at a great price compared to the competition, and it’s extremely easy to set up. (If you can wire each unit together with Ethernet in your walls, all the better.)"
In his guide to shopping for active noise canceling headphones, Gordon explains that the WH-1000XM3 headphones "cancel out more noise than most of the competition. It can also let in outside noise through its microphones, but unlike the Bose 700, this setting doesn’t adjust the level of noise cancelling — so some folks may experience discomfort even with this setting turned down."
If the above options are too expensive, Gordon recommends Mpow’s H10 wireless noise-cancelling headphones as "a solid alternative. They’re not as powerful as higher-end choices — in my tests, they did a good job blocking out low-pitched drones but were not as effective at blocking out people talking next to me. Having said that, for long airplane trips, they’ll do nicely without breaking the bank."
Gordon, who's been a remote worker for years and learned a thing or two about keeping all of his tech devices safely powered, recommends the Tripp Lite 8-outlet surge protector, arguing it's "a bit bigger than most standard power strips, but it has enough space to fit a couple larger power bricks without covering up the other outlets — which can be a big plus if you’ve got multiple laptop blocks connected to it. It also contains an automatic shutoff mechanism that stops delivering power once its surge protection has worn out, so you know when it’s time to buy a new one."
Popular fitness products: Exercise bikes
Often a reader-favorite since we first put it out, our guide to exercise bikes and indoor cycling solutions found renewed interest as more and more readers might have found their gyms shutting down.
From our guide to at-home cycling solutions: "An adjustable seat and ergonomic handlebars — with integrated heart monitors — and wheels for portability make for a feature-heavy and relatively affordable at-home fitness solution from a leading brand like Schwinn."
On the higher-end of things: "The latest EX5S Bike model comes with a 21.5-inch HD touchscreen that flips 180 degrees for live streaming workouts. It's equipped with adjustable handlebars and has been outfitted with a new motor for more precise resistance levels. If incline and decline cycling are important to you, note the Echelon won't let you adjust either."
Popular kitchen and cooking products: KitchenAid accessories and dry ingredients
In last month's baking guide from cookie expert Jonathan Bender, he ran through everything you need to make great cookies at home — three of those suggestions were very popular.
The Beater Blade is a KitchenAid attachment that scrapes the sides of the bowl while it mixes the dough. The pointed tip also hits the bottom of the bowl, helping to fold together all the ingredients.
"While fresh dry ingredients are important, there are also a few key places in a recipe where you should be willing to stretch your budget," Bender wrote. "Real vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, will be designated with the word 'pure.'"
Finally, Bender wrote: "The right knife is the one that works for your hand. I find myself often reaching for the least expensive knife in my drawer, the Pure Komachi serrated sandwich knife. This steel knife is lightweight, helps slice bar cookies and can be used as a spreader in a pinch."
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More shopping guides and recommendations
- How to brew a great cup of coffee at home
- Working remote? Here's one way to stay fit.
- Which is the best smart thermostat for you?
- How to improve remote work with laptop stands
Catch up on the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations.