We test thousands of diverse products every year, and picking 50 favourites is never easy. It’s hard to compare a TV to a toaster or a cordless vac to a car, which is why we did the democratic thing and asked everyone working at Which? HQ to vote on the top 10.
Our researchers chose the most exceptional, innovative, unusual, environmentally friendly and best-value products of 2020 and based this list on their picks ahead of the final vote.
We ended up with 50 wonderful devices, from £1,500 robot vacs to £160 fridges. Some we expected to see and some we most certainly didn’t, but each one deserves credit for standing apart from its rivals. However, there can only be one in first place.
Strap in and see the products we loved in 2020. It’s a big list, so use the links below if you want to jump straight to a particular section.
This list appeared first in the December issue of Which? magazine, where we also found the best Christmas food and drink, and tested face masks.
50. Sony ZV-1 camera – £699
This isn’t your average point-and-shoot compact camera. In fact, it’s more of a point-at-yourself and shoot, with its swivelling selfie display to make sure you look perfect for your YouTube upload. Designed with vloggers in mind, it’s no surprise that the video quality, which shoots up to 4K resolution, is superb. Mediocre still images let it down but, in the right hands, the Sony ZV-1 can produce compelling videos. Read our Sony ZV-1 review for more.
49. Sage Nespresso Creatista Plus SNE800DBL coffee machine – £380
This stylish coffee machine looks like it was snatched away from a barista stand on a sundrenched Italian piazza. It makes coffee quickly and quietly, and it does Italy’s famous beverage proud, so it’s no surprise to see it in the top 50. As the fantastic little machine fills each cup with delicious coffee, it’s easy to see why it’s so beloved. Each perfect cup is topped with exquisite crema for one of the best examples of an espresso we’ve seen in our labs.
If you prefer your coffee a little longer, the Creatista has you covered. It froths milk with ease and never gives you more or less than you require, which leads to cappuccinos that look café-quality. Buy a fleet of these and you could probably open your own café; the quality, taste, aroma and appearance is that good and, come closing time, you’d be happy with the easy cleaning and automatic descaling. The Nespresso pods it uses are more costly than most and tough to recycle, but in every other way the Creatista is a wonder. Read our Sage Nespresso Creatista Plus SNE800DL review.
48. Garmin Instinct Solar smartwatch – £349
What makes this smartwatch innovative enough for our top 50? The clue’s in the name. It charges its batteries with the sun’s rays so, weather permitting, it’s your ideal outdoor companion if you aren’t going to see a plug for a while. It’s a bit bulky, but its list of features is as long as your arm, including built-in GPS and tonnes of fitness sensors – the ones we’ve tested are generally accurate. Read our Garmin Instinct Solar review.
47. George Home Cream Kettle GPK201C-19 – £12
We bet that there aren’t many homes in the UK without a kettle, and most of them probably cost more than this one. For £12 you’d expect a drab lump of plastic, but Asda’s bargain is simple, stylish and boils water fast enough to make a tray of teas in an ad break. It makes a racket doing it, so don’t boil when your show’s on, but for £12 it’s phenomenal value. Read our George Home Cream Kettle GPK201C-19 review.
46. Tenda A18 Wi-fi Range Extender AC1200 – £27
Wi-fi is a fickle beast: full strength in the living room, nothing in the kitchen. We all know the dead spots in our home, where the videos we want to watch endlessly buffer and the webpages never load, but plug in a Tenda wi-fi range extender and your coverage woes will be gone quicker than you can load which.co.uk. Read our Tenda A18 Wi-fi Range Extender review.
45. Fitbit Charge 4 fitness tracker – £119
If the Garmin (see 48) is a little big for your taste, or you’re more likely to wake up to a cloudy day than a sunny one, Fitbit’s excellent fitness tracker is the wearable for you. It’s got more trackers than a pack of hunting dogs, built-in GPS so you won’t need to take your phone out with you to track your running route, and its battery can last more than a week. Read our Fitbit Charge 4 review.
44. Dyson V7 Trigger handheld vacuum cleaner – £199
The V7 Trigger sucked up everything we put in front of it regardless of what surface the crumbs were on. Battery life isn’t the longest in turbo mode, but debris vanishes extremely quickly and it even has a hygienic dust ejector that wipes down the container when you empty it. Read our Dyson V7 Trigger review.
43. Sony SRS-XB43 speaker – £200
It’s not subtle, but Sony’s champion speaker packs a portable punch. With an array of built-in multicoloured lights, it’s not the sort of unit designed to sit serenely on a shelf. It wants to be in the heart of the action creating a powerfully bassy mix that gets music to your ears no matter how raucous your evening gets.
Portable Bluetooth speakers usually struggle to give music any real depth, but not here. Its hefty 3kg weight makes it more suited down the garden or at a campsite than on a trek, but its fun design, head-turning sound, long 27-hour battery life (it can charge your smartphone, too) and IP67 water and dustproofing means it deserves a listen wherever your day is taking you. Read our Sony SRS-XB43 review.
42. iRobot Roomba S9+ robot vacuum cleaner – £1,500
Can you put a price on time saved? Probably, but if you want a fantastic robot vacuum cleaner and are happy to pay a lot for it, then the Roomba offers brilliant cleaning and a few tricks up its dust bag.
Most robot vacs need emptying regularly; otherwise, they become glorified trip hazards skirting over the debris they’re supposed to collect. Not the Roomba. It deposits its payload into a separate box whenever full. This extra bin holds the equivalent of 30 full loads in the Roomba, so less emptying for you and more time with your feet up while your little helper busies itself picking up crumbs.
Self-emptying is one thing, but a vac needs to be good at cleaning in the first place, and the Roomba shines here, too. It swept the board (and all our surfaces) doing well for cleaning on all floors and picking up hair. Innovative and accomplished, it had to get in the top 50. Read our iRobot Roomba S9+ review.
41. Fisher & Paykel CI905DTB3 hob – £999
This modern induction masterpiece lets its stylish look and astonishing attributes speak for themselves. It takes just three and a half minutes to get a pan of water bubbling, and its innovative pair of bridging zones offer maximum flexibility however big your pans are. Read our Fisher & Paykel CI905DTB3 review.
40. Maxi Cosi Gia pushchair – £229
You want the best for your newborn. But when pushchairs can run upwards of £1,000, the best may leave you wondering if you can reuse nappies to cut costs elsewhere. The Gia flies in the face of high-price pushchairs and straight into the top 50 by giving you a comfy, versatile stroller for less. Read our Maxi Cosi Gia review.
39. Indesit IWC81252ECO washing machine – £199
This washing machine earns its place in the top 50 by being cheap and good at the basics. It’s not flashy, it’s not overly efficient and it’s far from the quietest, but we can overlook all that when it cleans better than some models up to five times its price. The lack of a digital display means you’ll need to study the manual to figure out how to manipulate the three dials to get the wash you want, but it’s worth it for the end result.
Stains vanish from your clothes, even tougher ones were no match for the washer’s excellent cleaning. Synthetic and natural fabric get the same diligent treatment, and though it takes a while (one cotton program took four hours) slow and steady very much wins this race.
Indesit has made a cut-back, basic washing machine here, but it’s cut back in the right places and not compromised on the quality of the clean. Don’t overlook this model in the quest for flashy features. You need one that gets the fundamentals right, and that’s what Indesit has made. Read our Indesit IWC81252ECO review.
38. Fujifilm X-T4 camera – £1,899
The X-T4 is a great showcase for mirrorless cameras. The picture accuracy is astounding. Each shot is brimming with detail and natural colours, and you won’t notice any blur as the built-in stabilisation and lightning-fast autofocus create stable, clear images. Read our Fujifilm X-T4 review.
37. Nest Hello smart doorbell – £199
Next time you take a walk, note how many smart doorbells you see. They’re popping up on people’s doors more and more. Through an app on your smartphone, these handy little gizmos let you see, and even talk to, whoever’s come a knockin’. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the sofa or on a beach somewhere. It’s ideal for telling delivery drivers where to leave a parcel, or letting you know when you can ignore the visitor entirely. The Nest Hello has a fantastic app and the picture quality is great. Read our Nest Hello review.
36. Olympus PEN E-PL10 camera – £649
For all the Fujifilm X-T4’s quality (see 38), it does cost just shy of £2,000. Enter the Olympus, which will save you a PEN E or two with its more palatable £649 price. What are you missing out on? Not that much honestly, which is why it’s in the top 50. The lack of a viewfinder will put some photographers off, but it rose to every challenge we put in its path – the display is fantastic and the pictures it takes are much the same. Read our Olympus PEN E-PL10 review.
35. Maxi Cosi Coral + FamilyFix3 Base car seat – £439
Maxi Cosi has done it again. Not content with having a pushchair in the top 50 (see 40), it sneaked its 2-in-1 child car seat and carrier in, too. The seat comes in two parts: the main car-seat shell, and an inner carrier with fabric handles. This inner section detaches without needing to unclick the shell from the base or undo the seat belt. And, at 1.7kg, it’s far lighter than your typical infant car seat, which can weigh almost three times as much – between 3 and 5kg.
If you’ve ever tried to delicately detach a sleeping nipper from a car seat only to have them wake and start bawling, you’ll know how handy the Coral’s easy-to-detach inner section can be. Anything that makes a parent’s life easier should be applauded, but Maxi Cosi deserves credit for how safe its seat is, too. It scored five stars for safety in our tough crash tests, is easy to install in your car and the padded inner lining means it’s comfy and snug for your little one. Read our Maxi Cosi Coral + FamilyFix 3 Base review.
34. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13.5-inch – £999
Microsoft is synonymous with computers, but the Windows brand has focused on software for much of its life and left hardware to others. That’s all changed now and we’re glad. The Surface gets a lot right and it’s not outrageously expensive, either. It has a lightning-fast processor and it even sounds good – a rarity in laptops. Read our Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13.5-inch review.
33. Indesit I55RM 1110 S UK fridge – £160
Like the cheap Indesit washing machine (see 39) the I55RM isn’t efficient, but its accurate thermostat means you know exactly how cold your food is and it chills things quickly. Once your food is cold it will stay that way, too, as the temperature doesn’t fluctuate with the weather. Read our Indesit I55RM 1110 S UK review.
32. Hoover Telios Extra Pet TX50PET vacuum cleaner – £149
You can probably tell from its name what this low-cost vac is good at. It picks up pet hair with ease and it’s surprisingly quiet, so you won’t terrify your moulting furry friends while you’re vacuuming. We’d happily recommend it to people without pets, too. It’s that good and that cheap. Read our Hoover Telios Extra Pet TX50PET review.
31. Asus Zenbook Duo UX481FL laptop – £1,499
They’re lighter, thinner and quicker, but today’s laptops aren’t all that different from the original Osborne 1 released in 1981. Well, not all laptops. With its second screen, the Zenbook Duo feels truly new. Just below the 14-inch main screen there is another that’s the same width, but roughly a third the height. It’s not just a display for a select bunch of programs or pointless widgets, but a true second screen that can display programs, webpages or be used to extend programs on the main screen. And it’s a touchscreen.
This versatility makes it more than a gimmick. It’s not just innovation that snagged the Zenbook a spot in the top 50. Even without the extra screen we’d be singing its praises. The solid-state hard drive, 16GB of Ram and i7 processor combine to make a lightning-fast device. This innovation comes at a high price, but if the dual screen catches on, then expect to see more of these devices at lower prices. On this evidence, we hope it does. Read our Asus Zenbook Due UX481FL review.
30. Flymo Contour Cordless 20V grass trimmer – £100
You don’t need extension cables to keep this dirt-cheap grass trimmer juiced. It runs on a 20V battery that gives you 19 minutes’ cutting time – decent for a cordless model. It’s lightweight, too, so perfect for smaller jobs such as edging. Read our Flymo Contour Cordless 20V review.
29. Simba Hybrid mattress – £569
Simba made some bold claims about the Hybrid: ‘The perfect mattress didn’t exist’, it said, so it invented one. And while our praise doesn’t go that far, we doubt you’ll be disappointed with your sleep. Read our Simba Hybrid Mattress review.
28. Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 air fryer – £270
It doesn’t take a genius to see the Actifry is one smart cookie. It fries exceedingly well, but its auto programs and ability to cook two different foods at once set it apart. Air fryers conjure images of crispy golden chips, but the Genius can make crunchy stir-fries and wet food such as curries. In the competition for precious worktop space, this fryer makes a compelling case. It’s the best air fryer and one of the best products of 2020. Read our Tefal Actifry Genius XL 2in1 review.
27. Kenwood KMIX KMX760CH stand mixer – £349
People have been baking for thousands of years, and while stand mixers are a recent addition to the baker’s suite of tools, it’s not an area you would expect to see much innovation. Big bowl, big whisk, much mixing – but Kenwood’s ‘Planetary’ mixing is what earned the kMix a spot on this list, and if you’ve ever struggled to scrape batter from a mixing bowl you’ll understand why.
The action scoops every last inch of mixture and makes sure it’s incorporated into your batter rather than being smeared around the edges of the bowl. It sounds like a small thing, but it shows that even brands at the top of their game don’t have to rest on their laurels. Read our Kenwood KMIX KMX760CH review.
26. Hoover HGM600X cooker hood – £129
And now to a more permanent fixture of your kitchen. This is the crown of your cooker sitting aloft sucking up grease and steam like one of Hoover’s vacuum cleaners sucks up dust. The brand has put that suction experience to good use and made one of the finest, cheapest cooker hoods. Read our Hoover HGM600X review.
25. Hoover HMGI25TB-UK microwave – £129
Hoover can’t stay out of the kitchen, but this time it’s cooking the food rather than getting rid of the fumes. The old adage of boiling on the outside and cold in the middle doesn’t apply to this wonderful microwave – food is evenly heated and quickly. Read our Hoover HMGI25TB-UK review.
24. Spear & Jackson S4545EH hedge trimmer – £45
We couldn’t believe how good the S4545EH was. Most hedge trimmers cost upwards of £100 and, at less than half that, our expectations were low. But it can be set up in seconds, is straightforward to use and perfect if you’re looking to neaten up a few hedges. Read our Spear & Jackson S4545EH review.
23. Google Nest Wi-fi and Point router – £239
What do you get if you cross a router, a smart speaker and a voice assistant? The Nest Wifi & Point. This may seem like an odd combo, but it’s really a logical one. It’s a mesh system, which is like a web of wi-fi stretched over your house, with different nodes. Usually everything connected to your internet needs to communicate with the router, but with mesh it only needs to talk to the nearest node.
It comes with a router and one node (the Point), which doubles as a speaker and assistant. This extra layer of features is built on a solid foundation of excellent coverage, and reliably quick speeds even if several devices are connected at once. Read our Google Nest Wi-fi and Point review.
22. Amazon Fire TV Cube TV streamer – £109
From one hybrid device to another, the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a TV streamer first and foremost. But with the Alexa voice assistant built in, it doubles as an Amazon Echo, too, so you can ask it to play Stranger Things one minute and tell you a joke the next. Not all Echo commands are so trivial, though. Setting timers, playing music, checking the weather forecast and controlling smart products in your home are just some of the skills in an Echo’s repertoire. And it’s one that’s always expanding. The boatload of apps make it a good choice and being able to search for shows with your voice means you’re grappling with an on-screen keyboard far less: hallelujah!
By melding two products into one, Amazon has made one of the pricier streamers, but if you’re after an Echo and something to get BBC iPlayer on your TV, this geometric wonder kills two birds with one stone, and don’t take that too literally because those corners are sharp. When two devices are thrown together like some mad science experiment, you need to give credit when it comes out this well, and that’s why it’s in our top 50. Read our Amazon Fire TV Cube review.
21. LG SN5Y sound bar – £249
Even the best TV can’t hold a candle to the best sound bar when it comes to audio, and the LG SN5Y is a perfect addition to your home. With its low price, this could have easily been in our bargain category, but with top marks for film sound, LG’s speaker bedecked rectangle is a clear top performer. Read our LG SN5Y review.
20. Miele G5260 SCV dishwasher – £999
List off your requirements and this Miele marks every one with a sweeping, confident tick. It’s expensive, but when the clean is this good it’s easy to understand why. Read our Miele G5260 SCV review.
19. LG OLED55GX6LA TV – £1,799
If sound bars and TV streamers had a choice about which TV they were connected to, we think they’d pick this one. The OLED55GX6LA offers a stunning combination of style, features and quality. It’s designed to be wall mounted, and once there it’s a centrepiece – and a gorgeous one at that. But, don’t fear the domineering black slab – this LG is so much more. You can choose from several works of art to display on its screen when the TV’s not on, and the clever wall mount means there’s barely a gap between the TV and the wall.
As impressive as it looks when turned off, nothing can prepare you for the experience when it’s turned on. Colours radiate from the screen like a freshly painted canvas, and millions of pixels are pushed to their limits to display transcendent images so packed with detail that it can be overwhelming, particularly in 4K. Read our LG OLED55GX6LA review.
18. Garmin Camper 890 MT-D sat nav – £480
It’s fair to say more of us are enjoying the delights of the British Isles rather than heading abroad for holidays. The sense of freedom of packing up your mobile home and heading to the most picturesque parts of the country is wondrous, but actually getting your caravan to your destination isn’t. Odds are you’re travelling to parts unknown, and a satnav is an invaluable tool to navigate the winding country roads (no one wants to do a U-turn with a caravan), but most aren’t designed with motorhomes or trailers in mind. The Garmin Camper is.
It takes into account the extra weight and size of your vehicle when creating routes and warns you if a steep gradient or tight turn is coming up. It even comes with directories of campsites installed, in case you prefer to see where the open road takes you. The massive 8-inch display is sharp and easy to read, and inputting your route is a breeze with the excellent interface. Truly, this is the camper’s best friend and it shows the best things about lists like this are the surprises. Read our Garmin Camper 890 MT-D review.
17. Tefal SV7110 Express Compact iron – £99
You want a steam generator, but don’t want to spend £250. Here’s the answer. Tefal’s extremely cheap iron has no right to be this good. We didn’t test it on corrugated iron, but it might do alright straightening it out as it produces steam like a locomotive to flatten creases. Read our Tefal SV7110 Express Compact review.
16. Apple Mac Mini PC – £799
Mini is right: it’s the smallest PC we’ve tested. But it still manages to pack in some power. This brushed-metal box is sleek, sturdy and swift, with more than enough juice for everyday tasks and heavy office work. Plug it in to a monitor of your choice and you’re good to go. Read our Apple Mac Mini review.
15. Apple iPad Pro 2020 11-inch – £769
Here comes Apple again, but this time the computer has a screen and what a screen it is. Colours burst from it like fireworks and it’s searingly bright, which is perfect for a device you can use outdoors. Coupled with the excellent sharpness, the iPad is a treat to look at, whether that’s watching a film, playing a game, reading a paper, or doing advanced video and photo editing, which the Pro was designed for.
As you’d expect after so many iterations, the software on the Pro is exemplary and as smooth as Carlos Santana. Apple has designed it for more demanding tasks, so it’s blindingly fast at the more basic tasks and no slouch when advanced software puts the pressure on. Add great sound into the mix and you have a fantastically versatile device that’s suitable for just about any job. A wealth of extra gizmos, such as the Apple Pencil, trackpads and keyboards makes it a true jack of all trades, but far from being a master of none, the Pro is up to just about every tablet task. Read our Apple iPad Pro 2020 11-inch review.
14. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro smartphone – £215
Smartphone pricing is a mystery: you can pay more than £1,000 for a phone with similar features to this one, but we often find cheaper phones wanting. Not the Note 9 Pro. It has exceptional battery, responsive software – and yes, the price is correct. Read our Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro review.
13. BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid – £39,345
BMW’s expertise with a petrol car is undeniable and the addition of electrical assistance is near seamless. The electric motor accelerates like a rocket giving a satisfyingly instantaneous hit of propulsion before the petrol comes in to give sustained power. It can also run on electricity alone for up to 36 miles (and up to 87mph), and overall emissions are low even when running on petrol. It handles well, while the quiet ride and plush interior gives the executive air that people expect. If hybrid cars are to be a mainstay of British roads for the next decade, BMW is ready. Read our BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid review.
12. Sennheiser HD 300 headphones – £45
Bluetooth, voice commands and noise cancelling aren’t necessarily bad, but they up the complexity and the price. Sometimes you simply want to plug the cable in, slide them over your ears and listen. The HD 300s fit that niche and sound fantastic doing it. Read our Sennheiser HD 300 review.
11. Bosch Indego S+ 400 robot lawnmower – £840
We have a confession to make: the S+ 400 came out in 2019, but in our defence we weren’t testing robot lawn mowers then and this is too good to leave out. If the robots really are taking over then we’re fine with it if they’re all as good as this one. You could use this on the outfield at Lord’s and probably get away with it.
It’s quite mesmerising watching the surprisingly quiet mower trundle about your garden skilfully avoiding gnomes, birdbaths and borders. It sticks rigidly to its route, and it’s already chosen the most efficient one before it even rolls off the charging plate. The blades slice grass with neat precision while the smartphone app lets you easily set how often you want the mower to go about its business, and you can check its route to make sure it’s not slacking (it’s never slacking). We couldn’t find any fault with this mower at all; there really is no better way to automate cutting the grass. Read our Bosch Indego S+ 400 review.
10. Challenge 7K air conditioner – £350
We enter the top 10 with a device that many wouldn’t have considered buying a few years ago. This air conditioner’s place on the list is due to its rapid cooling and low price, but we’re sure the searingly hot summer had something to do with it. With temperatures rising to almost 38°C, how we would’ve loved a Challenge 7K. As well as its even temperature control, the 7K is one of the smallest, quietest models we’ve tested. It’s still bulky, but it will help you forget that it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement outside. Read our Challenge 7K review.
9. Siemens SN658D01NG dishwasher – £699
You’re looking at an excellent dishwasher, but that’s not the only reason it’s number nine on our list. It’s here because it’s efficient – incredibly so. It removes food with ease, dries plates and leaves no water marks on glassware, and it does it with less water and less energy than almost any other dishwasher we’ve tested all year.
Siemens has made a smart one here, too. You can set it to focus more cleaning on the lower drawer if you’ve loaded it with especially grimy pots, and it can even sense how dirty your dishes are and adjust the temperature of the water accordingly. Read our Siemens SN658D01NG review.
8. LG GBB92STAXP fridge freezer – £999
Lists like this are a great way to celebrate the unsung heroes of the home. Unassuming products that do their job day in, day out, whether that’s heating your home, washing your clothes or keeping your food cold. Our houses are packed with devices that probably deserve a bit more recognition, so go and give your fridge-freezer a little pat to say thank you
You’d think keeping food cold would be an easy job, and it is, but keeping that food at a stable temperature while the heat in the room rises and falls is a different matter. For LG’s wonderful chiller the outside temperature may as well be the same as behind that sealed door. It’s unflappable. We pushed the mercury up to 32°C and back down to 10°C, but the GBB92STAXP didn’t bat an eye. It works swiftly – freezing and chilling quicker than most. Plus, it doesn’t need defrosting and has space for 15 bags of shopping – people will definitely be singing about this hero. Read our LG GBB92STAXP review.
7. TP-Link Kasa KC200 wireless security camera – £80
Home surveillance used to mean expensive closed-circuit camera networks that made your house look like a prison and needed experts to install, but now there’s an army of diminutive cameras ready to alert you when someone steps on to your property. The KC200 is one of the cheapest and best ways of keeping your home secure. It’s linked with an app on your phone, which is where you watch the footage it captures once it senses movement. There will be no squinting trying to work out what on earth triggered it as footage is recorded up to Full HD and is pin-sharp.
Night footage is recorded in black and white, and while it may lose colour it retains all the crispness of bright daytime footage. This sterling little security cam could easily have made it into the bargain category, too. It’s only five percentage points away from the top-scoring wireless security camera, but costs more than two thirds less. You can’t argue with its price. You can’t argue with the quality of the footage – and a team of lawyers won’t be able to argue if you ever need to present that footage in court. Read our TP-Link Kasa KC200 review.
6. Hisense BI5228PXUK built-in oven – £350
Let’s put this bargain built-in oven into perspective. The top-scoring model we’ve tested is £1,279 – close to £1,000 more than this superb Hisense option. What would you do with all that extra cash? Go on holiday, get a new sofa, have a shopping trip? You should at least take Hisense out to dinner to say thank you for making such a fantastic oven or, better yet, cook it a meal. This model doesn’t put a foot wrong, even its subtly more rounded shape, which Hisense says was designed to replicate that of a traditional wood oven, seems to help. We baked shortbread and could have served it to the Queen – both trays came out that beautifully.
We also put a full tray of regular bread in to check its grilling credentials and discovered an incredible 90% coverage. Only the very edges of our bread were anything less than golden brown and ready to be buttered. With each test we administered we were waiting for the mistake, the Achilles’ heel, but it never came.
The pyrolytic cleaning works by burning any food residue to a fine ash that you can sweep away, and it works well. The controls are simple and its interior is ample (even with those rounded edges), so come Christmas you’ll have room for a turkey on one shelf, with all the trimmings on the shelf underneath. Everything it does it does superbly and for significantly less than its competitors. We never expected a bargain oven to be number six in our list, but it more than justifies its place. Read our Hisense BI5228PXUK review.
5. LG OLED48CX6LB TV – £1,489
It’s not 8K, it doesn’t support a new HDR format, it doesn’t even roll up – so why is this TV innovative? Are you sitting down? Because the screen is 48 inches. Now that you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, let’s talk about why this is such a big deal.
OLED TVs usually do well in our tests and LG’s are particularly consistent, but there was always a sticking point: they were too big. The smallest model was 55 inches, but not anymore. For years manufacturers only seemed to be pushing in one direction. The focus was on bigger screens, but the tide is turning and this TV’s undeniable class marks that turning point in style.
According to how many people visit our reviews, 48 to 50-inch sets are the most popular, and the OLED48CX6LB not only fits neatly in that bracket. Its picture and sound quality are great and for anyone waiting for a smaller OLED it’s a dream come true. It deserves its spot in our top five. Read our LG OLED48CS6LB review.
4. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G smartphone – £1,200
If the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro (number 14 on our list) is one extreme, then the S20 Ultra is the other. It’s one of the priciest phones we tested in 2020. Samsung has thrown everything at it. It’s like an engineer made a list of the best components and features expecting to only use a handful, and Samsung signed off on the whole lot. Let’s start with the screen: it’s colossal. At 6.9 inches it’s the biggest we’ve seen from a leading brand in the UK and it’s stunning. As well as being Quad HD+, it also supports HDR10+ (the same format in Samsung’s 4K TVs) and has a refresh rate of 120Hz. As expected, a screen that refreshes the image 120 times per second feels incredibly smooth.
Aided by the Exynos 990 processor and more Ram than many laptops, the phone glides. Apps and webpages open in milliseconds, it’s so responsive that it feels like the phone is reading your mind as a new screen emerges instantaneously with your finger press. How many lenses does it have? Five – five lenses – one at the front and four at the back. One has telephoto zoom, another is packed with megapixels, one can capture wide-angle images and the last is used to measure depth to create more dynamic pictures. They are all exquisite, as are the images they capture.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what this phone can do (not recommended when it costs £1,200) but it defines cutting-edge. Samsung put everything but the kitchen sink into this phone and made every facet immaculate – that’s how you justify a high price. Read our Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G reviews.
3. Kia Soul EV – £37,295
The Soul is a car released with confidence. There are no petrol or diesel alternatives, not even a hybrid; it’s electric or nothing and Kia was right to have faith. How likely people are to buy a car like this often comes down to how far you can drive without charging. Kia claimed 280 miles and we managed a still impressive 242 in our independent tests, which is enough to get you from London to York with a few more kWh in the battery to pootle around town.
You’d think York’s famously narrow streets wouldn’t be the best fit for this 1.75-tonne car, but it’s actually quite compact while still providing plenty of room inside for passengers and shopping. With the main drawback of electric cars rendered moot, you’re left with a sea of benefits: rapid acceleration, cheap home refuelling and zero tailpipe emissions, so minimal impact on the environment around you. 73.9kWh is all that’s required to fully charge the battery and it releases no CO2 into the air.
Kia’s confidence in the Soul extends to its warranty, too: it offers seven years. It’s a reliable car to start with, particularly in its first three years, but it’s nice to know that Kia has you covered well into the car’s life. The Soul’s position on this list is because cars like it are so vital. Petrol and diesel cars are not sustainable for our planet, but electric cars with effective ranges of less than 100 miles aren’t the answer. The Soul, with its long range and efficient battery, is. Read our Kia Soul EV review.
2. Halo Capsule cordless vacuum cleaner – £249
Do you know how many of your electricals can be recycled? Probably not, and the answer, sadly, is probably not many. The number of appliances and electronics being dumped in landfill and the opacity from manufacturers around recycling is an enormous issue and it’s one Halo hopes to address with the Capsule.
Everything from the carbon fibre body to the engineering polymers can be recycled, and every two years it can undergo a full service, if it needs one, where it will also be given a new battery (the old one is recycled of course) and returned to you with a clean bill of health. Halo wants you to keep using its machine for as long as possible, not binning it and buying a new one.
Recycling credentials aside, the Capsule is fantastic. It cleans well, has a generous capacity and comes with a whopping 52 bags, which hold about 1.3 litres of detritus each – that’s almost a full bath of dust altogether. It’s not overly expensive for a cordless vac and it cleans brilliantly, but more than anything it shows that manufacturers are running out of excuses on the recyclability of their products. Read our Halo Capsule review.
1. Apple AirPods Pro headphones – £219
Who knew a pair of headphones could be so controversial, but when the original AirPods launched in 2016, many thought Apple had lost the plot. With no wires connecting the earpieces, the brilliantly white clubs of plastic sat in your ears and Apple told us they would stay there. Few believed it. Cue numerous stories focused solely on whether the pods would fall out. The concerned press and prospect of forking out for a single earpiece if one fell out could have spelled doom for the AirPods, but a walk in any town centre today shows truly wireless in-ear headphones have caught on.
Bose, Samsung, Sennheiser, Sony and more all scrambled to launch their own versions, all while Apple was working on the AirPods Pro. Wireless headphones may not quite have as strong eco credentials of number 2 and 3 on our list (see p33), but on grounds of innovation and sheer quality, our staff vote makes them the number one product of 2020.
The standard AirPods are good, but the Pros earn their moniker by improving on them in every way. By adding a rubber earpiece Apple has created a more secure fit, which is welcome when a single replacement costs £85. Even the shape is different, making them more comfortable for you to wear. Sound leakage has been an issue with many of Apple’s headphones, wireless or otherwise, but not the Pros. This one concession to the standards of the industry ends up being one of the Pro’s greatest strengths and we hope to see rubber earpieces on all Apple headphones. The Pros are up to the task whether you enjoy the top 20 or obscure Jazz.
It’s remarkable that tiny earpods can create such versatile, powerful and spatial sound. They’re fantastic at noise cancelling, too. Say goodbye to traffic noise as you walk down the road. They last six hours on a single charge and more than 24 hours if you top them up in the compact portable charging case. AirPods could have been disastrous but proved ingenious, and Apple’s confidence in its own expertise has seen the Pros reach the pinnacle of in-ear headphones and our top 50. Read our Apple AirPods Pro review.