Apple’s Airpods Pro have bagged Which?’s product of the year for 2020, but the list also include a £12 kettle, a camera with a swivelling display for selfie-addicts and even a robot vacuum cleaner that empties its own dust bag.
The consumer watchdog’s experts nominated their favourite products launched or tested over the last year – whittling down 3,500 products to just 50 based on exceptional innovation, sustainability or value for money.
The diverse list of high-performing tech, cars and home appliances is led by the Apple Airpods Pro (£219), with Which?’s judges deciding they improve the already exceptional standard AirPods in every way – going as far as to say it is “remarkable that tiny earpods can create such versatile, powerful and spatial sound”.
By adding a rubber earpiece, Which? experts found that Apple has created a more secure fit which makes them better at cancelling outside noise, more comfortable and crucially, difficult to lose – which is welcome when a single replacement costs £85.
In second place was the Halo Capsule (£249), a recyclable cordless vacuum that comes with enough capacity and extra disposable bags to fill a bathtub with dust.
Which? researchers found that this exceptional vacuum not only cleans brilliantly, but every component of the carbon fibre machine is recyclable. Every two years it can undergo a full service where the old battery will be recycled and replaced with a new one, if needed.
Completing the top three is another environmentally-friendly pick, the Kia Soul (£37,295). An electric vehicle (EV) praised by experts for its long-range and efficient battery, it lasted 242 miles in Which? independent tests, enough to get from London to York with enough energy leftover in the battery to find a parking space in town.
The cheapest product in Which?’s top 10 is a wireless security camera, the TP-Link Casa KC200 (£80), which came in at number seven. While it performed almost as highly as the top-scoring wireless security camera in Which?’s tests, it costs two thirds less and doesn’t scrimp on the quality of the footage it produces.
Among the more quirky products in Which?’s list is the iRobot Roomba S9 in 42nd place. While pricey at £1,500, this robot vacuum is not only excellent at cleaning, earning a full five stars in this category Which? testing but it also empties its own dust bag. Innovative and high-scoring, Which? experts said, “it had to get in the top 50.”
Despite costing just £12, Asda’s George Home Cream Kettle GPK201C-19 made it into Which?’s top 50 products of the year at number 47. Experts said it was a bit noisy, but with its simple and stylish appearance, it represents “phenomenal” value.
In 50th place on the list, the Sony ZV-1 camera (£699) has a swivelling selfie display, making it perfect for vloggers who want to look perfect for their next YouTube upload. It produces “superb” quality videos and is only slightly let down by the quality of still images it shoots.
Says Harry Rose, Editor, Which? magazine:
“Apple’s new Airpods Pro edged out some fantastic contenders by taking a product that was already exceptional and improving it to the point of near-perfection.
“It is a huge task to sift through the thousands of products Which? tests each year and whittle it down to just 50 – but this year’s list showcases the very best in high-tech gadgets, advances in sustainability and value for money products proving there are great buys out there for anyone prepared to do their research.”
Which?’s top 10 products of the year (prices correct as of October 2020):
Apple Airpods Pro (£219) – Wireless in-ear headphones described as Apple’s pinnacle of in-ear headphones for its noise cancelling abilities, lack of sound leakage and incredible sound.
Halo Capsule (£249) – Carbon fibre bagged cordless vacuum thoughtfully made to be recyclable, include biodegradable bags and battery replacements.
Kia Soul (£37,295) – Fully electric vehicle from Kia which was found to travel 242 miles on a single charge in an independent Which? test.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G (£1,200) – A mobile phone that has more memory than most laptops, five high-tech lenses and an interface so responsive, experts said that it feels like the device is ‘reading your mind’.
LG OLED48CX6LB (£1,489) – A 48 inch OLED TV from LG, considered to be one of the best. Its picture and sound quality are second to none according to Which? experts.
HISENSE BI5228PXUK (£350) – A bargain built-in oven that doesn’t put a foot wrong, according to Which? experts.
TP-LINK CASA KC200 (£80) – Wireless security camera that is almost as good as the best models in its category but significantly cheaper.
LG GBB92STAXP (£999) – A fridge freezer that proved unflappable when it came to temperature changes and has space for 15 bags of shopping.
SIEMENS SN658D01NG (£699) – A dishwasher so energy efficient, Which? has labelled this machine an Eco Buy.
CHALLENGE 7K (£350) – A compact and quiet air conditioner enters the top 10 with rapid cooling and a low price