X

Article updated on March 8, 2024 at 10:30 AM PST

My Favorite Summer Gadgets

Check out these are the summer tech gadgets I hand-picked to demo on CBS Mornings.

Our Experts

Written by 
Dan Ackerman
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Why You Can Trust CNET
16171819202122232425+
Years of Experience
14151617181920212223
Hands-on Product Reviewers
6,0007,0008,0009,00010,00011,00012,00013,00014,00015,000
Sq. Feet of Lab Space

CNET’s expert staff reviews and rates dozens of new products and services each month, building on more than a quarter century of expertise.

Our Picks

$46 at Amazon
solor-bank.png
A power bank that does everything
Oimye Solar Charger Power Bank
View details
View details
$200 at Target
Ninja Ice Cream Maker on counter with ice cream
A new twist on ice cream makers
Ninja Creami
View details
View details
$99 at Amazon
sensibo-sky
Retrofits your nonsmart air conditioner
Sensibo Sky
View details
View details
$230 at Amazon
The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium against a purple background
Better person-sensing through radar
Ecobee Smart Thermostat
View details
View details
$38 at Amazon
igrill.png
If your grilling experience doesn't feel smart enough
Weber iGrill Mini
View details
View details
$34 at Amazon
Light-up grilling tool set.
Let's put a flashlight on everything
GrilLight
View details
View details

As spring races by with summer right around the corner, I gathered a handful of my favorite seasonal gadgets and took them on my favorite morning news show, CBS Mornings. Whenever I'm asked to pick tech products to recommend for a TV audience, I try to cover all the bases -- expensive items and budget items, serious products and fun products. 

You can watch the full segment above, and if you're interested in any of the gadgets, I've gone into a little detail about each below. I thought the Ninja Creami ice cream maker would be the big hit, but the hosts (and everyone backstage) were surprisingly smitten with the light-up grill tools. My takeaway: You can almost never go wrong sticking a flashlight on something. 

$46 at Amazon

A power bank that does everything

Oimye Solar Charger Power Bank

Especially during summer trips, everyone should bring a backup power bank along. There are thousands of choices, and frankly they're mostly all fine. I happen to like this ambitious model that has a solar panel, wireless charging for phones, a flashlight and, most importantly, built-in USB-C, Lightning and Micro-USB cables. 

$200 at Target

A new twist on ice cream makers

Ninja Creami

I've tried old-fashioned ice cream makers, the kind with the big metal bowl you have to freeze beforehand and clean out after. It's a pretty time-consuming process. The Ninja Creami flips the concept on its head -- you mix your ingredients in little pint-size plastic containers, freeze those overnight (the Creami comes with three pint containers, extras are about $10), then the machine mixes up really excellent ice cream in 90 seconds. I was dubious, but now I'm a believer. 

Read our full review of the Ninja Creami here

$99 at Amazon

Retrofits your nonsmart air conditioner

Sensibo Sky

This little box beams IR commands to your window unit AC, allowing you to control it via an app. That's pretty basic, but I like that the Sensibo app can also set up schedules and target temperatures, plus geofencing to turn the AC off and on depending on if you're in the house or not. For those of us living in apartments with window AC units, it's a pretty clever upgrade. (Note that you need the AC's remote to set it up. I couldn't find mine, so I that worked fine.)

Read more about the Sensibo Sky here

$230 at Amazon

Better person-sensing through radar

Ecobee Smart Thermostat

We didn't get to this during the TV segment (but you can see it on the table). Still, my CNET Home colleagues highly recommended the new Ecobee as the smart thermostat to beat, especially because it has an air quality sensor, and it uses radar to detect human activity, instead of old-fashioned IR.

Read more about the Ecobee Smart Thermostat here

$38 at Amazon

If your grilling experience doesn't feel smart enough

Weber iGrill Mini

Listen, you don't actually need a smart thermometer for outdoor grilling. But, it's kinda fun, and the companion app for this wireless unit offers easy color-coded warning lights -- from green to yellow to orange to red -- telling you when to take something off the grill. 

$34 at Amazon

Let's put a flashlight on everything

GrilLight

The surprise hit of this TV segment, and frankly a pretty useful idea. I used to have a tiny patio behind my Manhattan apartment, sandwiched between buildings, and it was usually pretty dark. I definitely could have used something like this (as it was, I had a big clip-on light attached to my grill).