I test appliances for a living - here's what you'll find in my home

appliances on display
(Image credit: Future / Jennifer Oksien)

As Homes Editor for TechRadar, and in previous roles, I have tested all kinds of appliances and smart home gadgets. When I've not been testing them I've been researching and reading up on the latest and greatest home products which are set to (seemingly) revolutionize how we go about our days.

I've tested products you see featured in the best coffee machines, best juicers, and best vacuum cleaners. I have even had the pleasure to try out the Ring Video Doorbell 3, plus other smart home devices.

The result of all this is that I am (very) selective about the appliances and smart home gadgets that I choose to take up permanent residence in our home. I'm not all about the spec and performance, though - the products need to look good, too. If you need to replace an appliance or you want to try something new, then you can take it from me that the products you see featured below are going to be (really) good.

dyson v11 outsize stood next to wall

(Image credit: Future / Jennifer Oksien)

1. Dyson V11 Outsize

The majority of appliances that I review tend to be vacuum cleaners. We've had the Dyson V11 Outsize since it was first released in 2021, and it's one which we keep coming back to. Our 3-bed home has a ground-level and 1st floor with tiled, wood, and carpeted flooring, plus a steep staircase to contend with, and the Dyson V11 Outsize handles them all perfectly.

Its large cleaner head rather intelligently senses and adapts to the different floors so all we need to do is hold down the trigger and go. There are three different suction settings to toggle through if we feel like it though, but we tend to just keep it on Auto for an easy clean. The 1.7-liter / 1.79-quart bin is 150% bigger than the standard Dyson V11, and it's (probably) one of the largest we have ever seen on a cordless vacuum cleaner so emptying it is less frequent.

It does come with a ton of attachments, however. This includes a quick-release extension hose, mini-motorized tool, crevice tool, quick-release mattress tool, quick-release mini soft dusting brush, quick-release stubborn dirt brush, combination tool, and a separate soft roller cleaner head - plus all the docking and charging gear - which is a lot, and I don't tend to use any of them apart from the main high torque XL cleaner head and the combination tool.

swan air fryer on countertop

(Image credit: Future / Jennifer Oksien)

2. Swan Retro Manual Air Fryer

I was mega fortunate to get hold of the Swan Retro when I did in the summer because ever since then it has been out of stock. It flew off the shelves in the UK and although stock is expected to land at some point within the next few coming weeks (no spoilers), we're not expecting it to hang around because the Swan Retro is so good at what it does.

OK, so there's a bit more to it than that, but for just shy of $121 / £100 / AU$175 you're getting a 6-liter / 6.3-quart air fryer with a 1-hour timer and sliding temperature scale that looks rather lovely on the countertop. We've cooked all sorts of food in it; from frozen chips to a Christmas cake. The only addition that I would (sometimes) find useful is a separate drawer to cook two different food types at the same time, so I'm excited about the launch of the Swan Duo Digital 9L Basket Air Fryer next month.

Sorry US readers: Swan air fryers are only available in the UK. If you'd like to know my second favorite air fryer, it's the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 10-quart Air Fryer with DualZone technology (DZ401). It has two cooking drawers and a large 9.5-liter / 10-quart capacity.

ring video doorbell 3 mounted on wall

(Image credit: Future)

3. Ring Video Doorbell 3

Why we didn't have one of the best video doorbells in our lives before I started at TechRadar is beyond me. The Ring Video Doorbell 3 has made receiving deliveries when we're not home so much easier and more convenient. It has two-way talk so we can speak with whoever is outside our front door to give instructions on where to take our parcels. From a security point of view, you can even warn off those who you don't want lurking around outside the home, although we have (very) fortunately not had to use it for that.

We have the wireless, battery-powered Ring Video Doorbell 3 which was mega easy to install - we just gave our old wired doorbell the snip and mounted this one in place of it. Being battery-powered means that it needs a recharge, and this happens every 25 days. Recharging takes up to four hours but of course, while it's recharging, or you're yet to get around to recharging it from a dead battery, you're going to be without a doorbell for a little while. 

Aside from this, the footage of the street in front of us is clear night and day, and the app is really easy to use and engage with. It's all relatively affordable too priced at  $194 / £159.99 / AU$282, so is a bit of a no-brainer to us.

dyson autoract set up in front room for review

(Image credit: Future)

4. Dyson Cool Auto React

The Dyson Cool Auto React was brought in to review during the really hot spell of weather in September 2022. It was to be featured in our new best fans guide so this was the perfect setting to test and, being by the roadside, meant that both the cooling and air purifying functions could be put through their paces.

It looks quite space-aged with a big pivoting void on top of a drum, but we actually like that. It comes with a controller so you can toggle through all the speed settings, oscillations, and reports. On the actual base/stand of the Dyson Cool Auto React, you can see said reports on the color LCD panel that display information about the health of the filter and the air quality. We would find an app helpful to find out more about its cooling and purifying performance, especially since at  $605 / £499.99 / $879 this is quite an expensive appliance.

nutribullet combo blender on counter top

(Image credit: Future / Jennifer Oksien)

5. Nutribullet Blender Combo

I tend to like simple, straightforward, yet sleek-looking appliances, which is why the Nutribullet Blender Combo has taken up residence in our home. It is not an appliance that gets as much use as those others I have mentioned here but is still one that we find useful when we want to make our own oat milk, soup, or smoothie.

It's fantastic for smoothing and whizzing large quantities of foods together, which can easily be poured out from the drip-free spout. It has three settings - extract, low, medium, high, and pulse - that we use according to what we are making, which can be selected using the dials on the base. The blades crush ice, blend hot liquids and cut through fruits and veg, so we find it incredibly versatile for our needs.

It comes with a generous 1.8-liter / 1.9-quart jug, 3 bullet cups (small containers), and another blade for making something to-go. Everything aside from the base (obviously) is dishwasher safe. The only little niggle with have with it is that we find it best for larger quantities, even when using the bullet cups because food tends to get trapped underneath the blades.

Jennifer Oksien
Homes Editor

 Jennifer Oksien is TechRadar’s Homes Editor. Jennifer (Jenny) has over a decade of experience as a digital product writer specialising in appliances, smart tech and mattresses for some of the UKs leading retailers and magazine titles such as Real Homes, Ideal Home and Livingetc. Generally, you’ll find her watching the latest Netflix series, digging around in the garden or attempting to make a cake that is edible.