That's where the CNET Appliances team comes in. We've spent the past 12 months seeking out the best home appliance upgrades of the year, and we've got plenty of recommendations ready for the holiday buying season. Click the gallery above for our full selection of picks, or scroll down to see the best of the bunch.
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Let's start with a no-brainer gift for your favorite coffee snob: the Bonavita Metropolitan. Currently available for about $80, it's a budget-friendly drip coffee maker from one of our favorite brands, and its flavors hit the spot when we tested it.
The design is simple and a bit plasticky, but it's easy to use and easy to keep clean, and at the end of the day (or, in all likelihood, the start of it) the quality of the coffee makes it a clear best buy, and a terrific gift, too.
Summer is far back in the rearview mirror, and there's a good chance you've got someone on your list who's already suffering from the winter blahs. If that's the case, consider plunking down $300 on the Char-Broil Performance XL, one of our favorite gas grills of the year.
No, they probably won't get much use out of it in the dead of winter unless they're truly tenacious, but it'll at least give them lots of cookouts and backyard barbecues to look forward to. And if you're lucky, you might be able to catch a nice sale -- grills typically aren't hot sellers this time of year.
Another good gift for the coffee snob on your shopping list: Ember's smart coffee mug. Not only does it hold your beverage at the optimal drinking temperature, but it'll even track your caffeine intake, then share the data with Apple Health so you can track it.
Our resident coffee expert Brian Bennett uses Ember's smart mug just about every day, and he swears by the thing, calling it "catnip for coffee geeks." Java lovers take note.
Another option that costs $300 -- the Eufy RoboVac 30C. It's a smart cleaner that you can control from your phone or with voice controls via Alexa or Google Assistant, a first for the brand -- and it costs considerably less than comparable models from brands like iRobot and Neato.
And hey, if you just end up keeping it for yourself to help clean up after your next holiday get-together, that's okay, too.
We liked the sous vide smarts of the $300 Paragon Induction Cooktop, which combines an electric cooking surface with a wireless temperature probe to automatically regulate the temperature of a pot of water, allowing you to bring vacuum-sealed meats to a perfect, edge-to-edge-pink medium rare.
This year, the pitch got even stronger when FirstBuild introduced the Paragon Mat, an accessory that comes bundled with the cooktop at no extra cost. The mat lets the Paragon regulate the temperature of your cookware itself, which brings things like precision frying and sautéing into play -- and if you get it as a gift for someone, there's a decent chance they'll cook you something scrumptious with it.
Speaking of new and improved kitchen gadgets, the team behind the Instant Pot decided to double down on their ultrapopular pressure cooker this year by releasing an accompanying blender called the Instant Pot Ace. And wouldn't you know it, they cooked up another winner.
With a built-in heating element, the Ace doesn't just blend -- it actually cooks. It aced our tests, too, making delicious, well-blended soups, smoothies and sauces. Best of all, at $99, the price is just right, making this one of our top appliance recommendations of the year.
The 2018 version of the June Oven is still pricey at $600, but it costs less than the first version and performs better as well. The built-in cameras on this countertop oven will recognize what you're trying to make and automatically set the proper time and temp. It's perfect for your family members who want to make great food with minimal effort.
If your fridge could stand to be replaced, then consider surprising the family with a new one for the holidays. For my money, the LG LSXC22436S belongs right at the top of your list. It's the best-performing side-by-side fridge I've ever tested, and the clean, counter-depth design will blend in with just about any kitchen. It'll even sync up with Google Assistant, or send your phone an alert if your kid ever leaves the door open.
Best of all: It won't break the bank. I'm currently seeing it on sale at a variety of major retailers for about $1,700, which is an absolute steal for a fridge as good as this.
"An almost perfect beer-making bot." That's how my colleague and good pal Andrew Gebhart summed it up after testing the PicoBrew Model C this year, and he should know -- he's literally spent years putting PicoBrew's various homebrew gizmos to the test. The Model C is the one that came the closest to earning his outright recommendation, and you can buy it for the beer aficionado on your list for $400 right now.
We tested a whole bunch of air fryers this year to find the ones that are actually worth it. Much to our french-fried delight, the Simple Chef HF-989 was the most affordable option and also one of the best. This holiday season, we say give the gift of air-fried everything.