Staff Picks: Our Editors’ 10 Favorite Products of the Year
We tested thousands of products in 2019, determined to find out which products are worth your time and your money. Our list of editor’s picks represents the gear we recommend the most. Feel like we missed something or disagree with one of the picks? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Products are listed alphabetically.
Blancpain Air Command
Modeled on a vintage pilot’s watch from the 1950s that was never serially produced, the Blancpain Air Command is a masterpiece of midcentury watch design — or rather, the modern interpretation thereof. Featuring a flyback chronograph movement, rotating countdown bezel and a tachymeter scale used to compute speed and distance, the Air Command is a classic pilot’s watch. But it’s the use of modern materials, such as Super-LumiNova and sapphire crystals, that bring it firmly into the 21st century.
Case Diameter: 42.5mm
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
With its all-new system of eight noise-detecting microphones, the new Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 aren’t just the best ANC headphones out there and heir the throne of the legendary QuietComfort line. Their ability to isolate your voice and mute ambient noise can give you an almost magical ability to speak softly and achieve a sense of privacy while on the phone in a public place. It’s a truly innovative feature that fundamentally changes the way we use our tech.
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Charging Port: USB-C
Battery Life: Up to 20 hours
• An Engineer Explains the Magic of Bose’s New Headphones
• The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones of 2019
Google Pixel 3a
In a field of increasingly four-figure phones, Google’s Pixel 3a is notable not just for its screamingly modest $400 price tag. This comfortably competent, pleasantly plastic midrange phone also includes a stunning, flagship worthy camera that punches way above its weight. The result? A phone that’s not only a terrific value, but that challenges the very notion that a top-notch camera is a premium feature, and argues that it is instead an absolute necessity.
Display: 5.6-inch, OLED, 1080 x 2220 pixels
Headphone Jack: Yessir
• What’s the Catch With Google’s Wildly Cheap New Phone?
Four Roses Small Batch Select
The new Four Roses Small Batch Select is a blend of six recipes (different combinations of mashbills and yeast strains), each aged for at least six years, including the four recipes that showed up in Master Distiller Brent Elliot’s one-off, the 130th Anniversary Small Batch, which took home the title of “World’s Best Bourbon” in the 2019 World Whiskies Awards.
Small Batch Select is Elliot through and through; since taking up his role, he’s been releasing blends with some of the lesser-known recipes, like those made with their more herbal yeast. Also of note: Small Batch Select is the most premium Four Roses to ever see wide release. It’s the highest-priced booze of the permanent collection and, in a nod to current trends, it weighs in at the highest proof. And the company elected to skip the chill-filtration process, giving the whiskey a thicker, more oily mouthfeel. Previously, you could only find non-chill-filtered Four Roses at this proof if you were able to get your hands on the annually released Four Roses Limited Editions.
All Natural: Non-chill-filtered
Serve: Neat, with a few drops of water
• Four Roses’s New Whiskey Brings a Legendary Bourbon Recipe to the Masses
With smart styling and XC4® waterproof DNA, the Elkins Wingtip can take on anything. Soft, breathable sheepskin mesh lining makes you feel like you’re walking on clouds, while still completely waterproof and tested with over 15,000 flexes. These are the perfect wingtips to get you through your commute and sail right through the day. Buy Now: $169
The idea of a “travel camera” is a confusing one in 2019. Just about everyone who’s traveling already has one on their phone, and odds are, it’s pretty good. So what makes a good travel camera, and why is this one so well-suited for the task? Outrageously high image quality is a must (gotta justify using it over your phone, after all) and the X-T30 has that in spades. That’s in part thanks to the excellent sensor, but it’s Fujifilm’s suite of lenses — especially its fast and compact prime lenses — that make the biggest difference. No portrait mode in the world can get close to the pure optical perfection of Fuji’s 35mm f/1.4.
Sensor Size: 26.1 megapixels
ISO Range: 160 – 12,800
Max Continuous Shooting: 8 frames per second
Price: $899 (body)
• Review: This Is the Perfect Travel Camera for Most People
• The 3 Best Cameras to Buy Under $1,000
Hoka One One Carbon X
Studies show lighter shoes can mean faster times, and at under nine ounces, the Carbon X is considerably lighter than your normal everyday training shoe, while still delivering that all-important stable ride. And the beauty of the Carbon X is that it isn’t designed for elites on race day; it’s an all-inclusive, everyday shoe that’s bouncy and fun and probably the brand’s best iteration of rocker tech yet. It just might be the most democratic high-performance running shoe ever made.
Heel-Toe Drop: 5mm
Weight: 8.7 ounces
Use Case: Road running and racing
• Hoka One One Launches What Could Be Its Fastest Running Shoe Yet
• The Hoka One One Carbon X: A Race Day Shoe for the Everyman
Americans love pickup trucks, and Americans love Jeep Wranglers. So rather than attempt to build a new truck from the ground up, Jeep’s product planners and engineers chose to keep it simple, taking the four-door Wrangler — specifically, the all-new, more-refined JL generation — stretching out the wheelbase and affixing a metal box to the end of it. You can snag a well-equipped one for around $45,000; considering you’re scoring an off-roader, a five-seat family car, a convertible and a pickup truck in one for that price, it’s hard to see that as anything but the deal of the year.
Powertrain: 3.6-liter V6 or 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6; six-speed manual transmission; four-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 285 (gasoline); 260 (diesel
Torque: 260 (gasoline), 440 (diesel)
• 2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Truck for the People
• We Go Off-Roading in the All-New Jeep Gladiator Overland Pickup
Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown Western Shirt
Since 2017, Wellthread’s discoveries have been featured in cobranded collections with California wardrobe essentials brand Outerknown. And the most recent season, released for fall, included an unprecedented version of the classic Levi’s Barstow Western shirt. Available in olive moleskin and indigo ikat, the shirts are made entirely of cotton — that includes the fabric, thread, label and even the buttons. This means they have the greatest potential to be recycled in the future.
Material: 100% cotton
Fabrics: Olive moleskin and indigo ikat
• These New Levi’s Shirts Are Game Changing
• Can Better Denim Change the World? Levi’s Is Betting on It
Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert
A few years ago, early electric mountain bikes promised to revolutionize the sport. But that promise was overblown, because …well, they sucked. Specialized’s new Turbo Kenevo Expert leads the charge of the third generation of E-MTBs — the first ones that don’t. It’s designed to rip down hills and climb up them again with equal aplomb. Like a Leatherman, it can do things you probably never will, but it’s cool to think you might.
Frame: M5 premium aluminum
Battery: 700 watt-hours
Travel: 180mm (7.1 inches)
• Are Electric Mountain Bikes Ruining Trail Systems?
• I Thought I Knew How to Mountain Bike — Then I Went To Mountain Bike Camp
It can be tempting to write Sunday off as an organic lawn-care subscription box, but the company’s considered, data-driven take on lawn care presents a genuinely new way to care for a backyard. When a customer signs up for Sunday, they receive a kit to take a soil sample. From there, Sunday tests the contents of the soil to determine what vital nutrients might be missing and needed to better promote the health of the grass. Customers then receive products — which are comprised of materials like organic food waste from grocery stores and seaweed — that are meant to fill in the gaps. For $150 a year, the startup sends customers regular intervals of completely bespoke natural lawn-care products via mail.
Consistent: Three shipments a year
Location sensitive: Uses GPS data to assess sunlight deficiencies
Clean: No glyphosate used in any product