These are the best parenting and kids products of 2021
2021 has certainly been a year of transition, especially for parents and children. From adjusting back to in-person school to traveling (safely) to see grandparents again, people with kids have certainly learned to go with the flow over the last 12 months.
One thing we've learned is that having the right gear can make every aspect of parenting so much easier. That's why we've continued to test the most popular products on the market to determine which ones are the best for parents and kids, whether they're newborns or tweens.
Here are our favorite parenting products, or jump to all the 2021 Best of Year awards.
The sturdy Baby Jogger City Mini GT2 is incredibly easy to use for everyday life in the city and suburbs alike. Lifting it in and out of the car (or up and down stairs) did not leave us sweaty, cursing, and near tears. It even held up well to being hosed down after an entire ice cream cone got dropped on the seat. Plus, it can be folded in seconds with a single pull of its innovative Quick-Fold handle. Read the full review.
The Joovy is equal parts luxury and economical compact. Some of the extras, like the snack tray, aren’t necessary—but you will be thankful that they are included anyway. Tiny when folded, you can store this stroller just about anywhere in your home (or car) without thinking twice. It can accommodate a car seat, has added storage in the back in the form of a zippered pouch for wallets and keys, and has a reclining seat for kids in need of a nap. It checks all of the boxes, and then some, making it a great choice for almost everyone. The Kooper falls square in the middle of the compact stroller price point, making it a good investment. Read the full review.
BOB jogging strollers are known for being the strongest and most durable on the market. The Revolution Flex 3.0 was a pleasure to use with its mountain bike-style suspension and air-filled tires that provide an ultra-smooth ride on any type of terrain from sidewalks to hiking trails. It also has an adjustable nine-position handlebar, six storage pockets, and an extra large cargo basket to store your gear. Read the full review.
Zoe The Twin+ Luxe is a fantastic option for those looking for an everyday double stroller that’s easy to set up, lightweight (weighing in at just 19 pounds), and compact. Plus, it's a dream to travel with because it fits in the overhead compartment of an airplane. There's plenty of storage, the footrests are adjustable for both kids, and there's even a cupholder for parents. Read the full review.
The lightweight Contours Journey Go features breathable 3-D mesh and moisture-wicking fabric with five different carrying options, making it perfect for your journeys on the go. The 5-in-1 design is easy to set up and allows you to wear it for newborns, facing in, facing out, on your hip, and on your back. Read the full review.
The Beaba Babycook 4-in-1 is a compact all-in-one option that both steams and purées your food. It features a straightforward design that makes it very easy to use and was by far the quietest of the bunch when it came to the blending portion of the food making. It steams in minutes and, with a touch of a button, creates smooth and creamy purées in under one minute. Read the full review.
The Elvie is our top pick due to its high marks across the board: It empties breasts well, is comfortable, and is high-tech yet user-friendly, making pumping (almost) fun. Most importantly, it boasts extreme portability, with no wires or tubing required. Pumps are small and palm-sized, connect directly to bottles that you can cap and refrigerate, and tuck into your bra for discreet pumping anywhere. Read the full review.
The Skip Hop Moby 3-Stage Smart Sling Tub was one of the most comfortable baby baths we tested, largely because of a mesh sling that can be set up to accommodate a newborn in a full-recline position as well as a just-learning-to-sit baby in a partial-recline position. You can also remove the sling entirely for a baby who can sit upright. Read the full review.
The OXO Tot Transitions Straw Cup with removable handles is the best sippy cup we tested for a number of reasons. It performed better than all the other cups when shaken and dropped (it's practically spill-proof!), and on top of that, it’s a breeze to clean. Read the full review.
Because every baby has a different preference when it comes to swings, the Graco Duetsoothe Swing + Rocker’s variable swing directions are key. You can spin the seat 180 degrees, meaning your baby can swing from side-to-side facing either direction, or from front-to-back. Overall, we think this swing is likely to soothe your baby, no matter their swinging preferences. Read the full review.
There’s a lot to love about the Guava Family Lotus Bassinet. Not only is the Lotus great at being a bassinet, but it can transform into a pack and play as well. In addition, the Lotus has the best and most compact fold of any product we tested. It even folds up into a backpack, which is also included. While portability isn’t important to everyone (and not all bassinets we tested even had a way to fold up) the compact design is easy to move and great for traveling with your newborn or your toddler—or even just for setting up in the living room. It’s also quite convenient for when it’s not in use, as it makes storing it especially easy in even the smallest apartments. Read the full review.
Our tester tried the Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit during her baby's dreaded 4-month sleep regression, and it worked so well getting baby back to sleep that it took a couple of months to move on to the next sleep sack on deck. Its patented design helps transition babies from the swaddle by providing a cozy and secure sleep environment—and it really works like magic. Read the full review.
The Queen Rose Full Body U-Shaped pillow did the best to provide both belly support and head support, but it was also was fantastic comfort on our tester's back. Her head felt like it was on a regular pillow, which helped her sleep soundly. It was also easy to shift the side-sleeping position from left to right and still feel supported in all the right areas. Read the full review.
The Cubo Ai Plus baby monitor offers practically every feature a tired new parent could want, including sleep analytics, temperature and humidity alert, and a built-in nightlight and lullabies. Plus the adorable owl design means it looks less like a piece of technology and more like a charming design choice in your baby’s nursery. Read the full review.
The VTech DM221 had by far the best combination of design, build and sound quality, features, and range. It excels as a traditional monitor, and easily covered over 1,000 square feet in our range tests, with no drop-offs anywhere. For extra features, the parent unit has a rechargeable battery, a helpful LCD display, and a belt clip, while the baby unit has a night light. But our favorite feature was the vibrate function; with this setting, the parent unit will vibrate when the baby starts crying, rather than broadcast the audio. Read the full review.
If you're looking for a great pair of volume-limited headphones for kids, the Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet Kids Headphones are the best that we've tested. Though the noise cancellation may seem like a luxury feature for many children, it's an awesome addition for kids who have sensory issues. For other children, the noise cancellation helps reduce the urge to crank the volume to the absolute max. Read the full review.
With shockingly good battery life of almost 13 hours, a record-breaking M1 processor, and an incredibly smooth trackpad and keyboard, the MacBook Air M1 has been a hit among users and reviewers alike. Unless you need Windows 10 for classes, the MacBook Air is a fabulous laptop for pulling all-nighters, writing essays, and streaming high-resolution video. This $1,000 laptop performs better than most laptops twice its price, making it an excellent choice for those who need a powerhouse of a machine. Read the full review.
Micro Kickboard is one of the most popular scooter brands right now, and it’s no wonder. These scooters are solidly built, provide a smooth ride, and they’re pretty cute, too. The Micro Maxi Deluxe is best for ages 5 to 12—it supports up to 110 pounds—and features an adjustable handlebar to grow with your child. A rubber grip handlebar and an intuitive lean-to-steer design make it easier for newbies to learn to ride. Read the full review.
The Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander is one of the simpler guns that we tested, but it consistently garnered high marks from both our adult and child testers. The foam darts are extremely easy to load quickly—you simply stick them directly into the rotating chamber—and while it didn't have perfect aim, players hit the intended target more often than not. It's also easy to shoot and affordable at just under $10. Read the full review.
If you’re looking for a comfortable, protective mask that kids won’t complain about wearing, our young testers found the Happy Masks Pro Series to be so wearable that they forgot to take them off. These are some of the most breathable masks on the market and they claim to be some of the most protective with a nanofiber membrane filter that has been pharmaceutically tested. Happy Masks guarantees that these masks will block over 99.9% of airborne bacteria, pollution, and virus nanoparticles, making them the safest reusable mask we’ve found. Read the full review.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.