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Wednesday, January 4, 2023

My 10 Best Product Reviews of 2022 Revisited

Last year I published 18 in-depth, personal product reviews here on Review This Reviews. As I was looking back at them recently, I decided to revisit and share my 10 favorite products that I reviewed in 2022.

My 10 Best Product Reviews of 2022 Revisited
Check out the best products I reviewed in 2022 to find some great buys in 2023!

My Top 10 Product Reviews From 2022

I hope the reviews I've chosen to highlight in this "best of 2022" collection will help you find some new favorites of your own, as well as some terrific gift ideas for others to enjoy.

My Favorite Fashion Product Review

VIKIDEER Microfleece Lined, Ultra Soft Lambskin Leather Touchscreen Gloves

Winter here in New England is long and extremely cold. These VIKIDEER microfleece-lined, ultra soft lambskin leather touchscreen gloves keep my always-chilly hands and arms warm and cozy, even when I need to pull out my mobile phone, Kindle or other touchscreen device.

VIKIDEER long, warm, lined, lambskin leather touchscreen  gloves
VIKIDEER Elegant Winter Black Long Leather Full Touchscreen Gloves for Women

They're also long enough to prevent any gap below the hem of my coat sleeves when I bend or raise my arms, so they stay nice and toasty even in the chilliest weather. Any woman who lives in a cold climate would love to receive these as a gift!

Check out my in-depth review of these Long, Lined Leather Gloves - A Luxurious, Affordable Gift She'll Love.

My Best Gift Review for Music, Audiobook and Podcast Lovers

SHOKZ OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones

My husband and I love listening to audiobooks or music while we are doing chores, relaxing, traveling, etc. We both love our SHOKZ bone conduction Bluetooth headphones and wear them all the time.

Man wearing SHOKZ OpenRun Pro bone conduction Bluetooth headphones
SHOKZ OpenRun Pro Open-Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Sport Headphones

He first introduced me to bone-conduction Bluetooth headphones several years ago, and I've never looked back! Bone-conduction headphones use a technology that transmits sound vibrations along your cheekbones instead of through the air into your ears. It's great for someone like me, who has difficulty with ear buds, and for my husband, who has itchy ears and doesn't like anything in or against them. 

SHOKZ is the undisputed leader in bone conduction headphones. They make a variety of styles, but our favorites by far are the OpenRun and OpenRun Pro, which are both ultra lightweight. In fact, I often tease my husband about his SHOKZ bone conduction headphones being permanently grafted onto his head, since they are so comfortable that he forgets he's wearing them and almost never takes them off during the day, even when he's not listening to anything through them.

Learn more about why we're such hugs fans in The Best Bone-Conduction Bluetooth Headphones Review: Shokz OpenRun Pro.

My Best Gift Review Pick for Recipients Who Are Hard to Buy For

DuraTech Tool Roll Organizer With 21 Pockets

My husband enjoys working on cars, scale models, and model trains. As a result, he has several collections of prized hand tools for both automotive and hobby use. Keeping not only his wrenches and sockets but also his fine precision tools organized and well protected is a high priority for him. 

DuraTech tool storage organizer - rolled up and latched

After considerable product research, I chose this attractive, durable, well-designed and well-made DuraTech tool roll organizer as a Christmas gift for him and he absolutely loves it. 

Here's a view of the interior, filled with his precision hand tools, including fine nippers, needle nose pliers, precision tweezers and X-ACTO knives:

DuraTech tool roll organizer, unrolled to show tools stored inside
DURATECH Tool Roll Organizer, 21 Pockets Tool Bag Roll

I'm planning to buy one for myself for my most-often-used jewelry making and crafting tools.

Find out more about why this makes such a terrific gift for anyone who relies on hand tools for hobbies, models, automotive repairs, etc. in my review of The Best Tool Roll Organizer To Store & Protect Your Tools.

My Best Health Product Review

Dnsly Ultrasonic Toothbrush Set With Travel Case and Extra Brush Heads

I've been using top name brand ultrasonic toothbrushes with fancy features from Oral-B and Philips Sonicare for most of my life. A few months ago, however, I switched to this much more affordable and equally effective Dnsly ultrasonic toothbrush set with a choice of five brushing modes (White, Clean, Sensitive, Polish and Massage). It also has ultra soft bristles that protect my gums from erosion as well as compact brush heads and an interdental brush that make it easier to get into hard-to-reach spots. 

Dnsly electric toothbrush with travel case
Dnsly Sonic Electric Toothbrush with 5 Modes, 2-Minute Smart Timer, 8 Brush Heads, 1 Travel Case

The set I purchased includes a hard, fitted travel case, a clear plastic brush head cover (so you can toss it in your purse or briefcase without carrying the travel case) and seven brush heads, in addition to the tiny, pointed interdental brush. You can brush twice a day for 30 days on a single 4-hour charge, which makes it perfect for travel! 

Check out this affordable, high quality set in my product review of The Best Dentist Approved, Inexpensive, 5-Mode Electric Toothbrush.

My Top 3 Kitchen Product Reviews

I enjoy cooking and baking, but not washing dishes. Three of my favorite product purchases for 2022 were kitchen items that have made our time spent prepping, making good food and cleaning up more efficient and enjoyable.

Adjustable Stainless Steel 3-Tier Over Sink Dish Drying Rack

The first was this fabulous three-tier 304 stainless steel dish drying rack that has gotten all our nonstick cookware, bakeware, oversized items (like the Vitamix blender jar and the large cake storage box in the photo) and other hand washable items off our countertops. (This large-capacity drying rack also comes in a smaller, two-tier version.)

Boosiny stainless steel, 3-tier over sink dish drying rack
BOOSINY Adjustable 3-Tier Over Sink Dish Drying Rack, 304 Stainless Steel

We love the adjustable-height shelves and moveable accessories, such as the hanging hooks, utensil holder, cup hooks, soap/sponge tray and cutting board holder, that we can configure to our needs and preferences. With the limited counter space in our old galley kitchen, this over-the-sink dish drying rack has been a godsend! And the convenience of being able to simply hang items to drip dry after hand washing them means we save electricity by running our dishwasher less often.

Read my full review of The Best Large, Sturdy, Adjustable, Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack to learn more about why it is one of my favorite product purchases of the past year.

Mueller Ultra-Stick 500 Watt 9-Speed Immersion Blender, Electric Whisk and Frother

My second favorite kitchen purchase from 2022 is this awesome Müeller Ultra-Stickmulti-purpose hand blender with a heavy-duty 500-watt copper motor and brushed stainless steel body. The comfortable handle with an ergonomic, non-slip grip makes this hand blender a pleasure to use, and the powerful motor offers 9 speeds and a Turbo Mode for a burst of extra power when needed.

Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender model MU-HB-02
Mueller Ultra-Stick 500 Watt 9-Speed Immersion Multi-Purpose Hand Blender

The three attachments make this three, high-quality, small kitchen appliances in one: an immersion blender, an electric whisk and a milk frother. We use ours all the time for blending soups, making fresh whipped cream and frothing milk for our coffee (or making frothy bulletproof coffee or silky-smooth hot cocoa).

Read my detailed review of The Best Powerful, Lightweight Stick Blender With Versatile Attachments.

Astercook 15-piece German Stainless Steel Kitchen and Steak Knives Set With Wooden Storage Block

My third kitchen product purchase from last year that my husband and I have really been enjoying is our Astercook kitchen and steak knives set.

Astercook 15-piece stainless steel kitchen and steak knives set in a wood storage block
Asktercook 15-piece German high-carbon stainless steel kitchen & steak knives set with storage block

This 15-piece set includes an acacia wood knife block fitted with a full set of the most useful kitchen knives, including an 8" chef knife, 8" slicing knife, 7" santoku knife, 8" serrated bread knife, 5" utility knife and a 3.5" paring knife; a set of six 4.5" serrated steak knives; a pair of kitchen shears with a handy built-in bottle opener; and a sturdy sharpening steel for honing the sharp, German stainless steel blades to keep them "in good nick." 

My husband and I have been extremely pleased with the quality of these knives, especially considering the extremely low price (less than $45 as of this post's publication date)!

Learn more about this excellent, inexpensive knife set that would be a great addition to any kitchen, and a welcome gift for anyone outfitting their first kitchen, in my in-depth review of The Best Affordable, Super Sharp Kitchen and Steak Knives Set.

My Favorite Low Carb and Keto Food Reviews

Scotty's Everyday Keto Pizza Crust Mix With 0 Net Carbs Per Slice

My husband and I both love high-carbohydrate foods like breads, rolls, cookies, cakes and pizza. We have chosen to cut back substantially on both carbs and highly processed foods because of the health benefits we have both noticed when we eat a very low carb, largely whole food diet. Even though my husband is quite slim and has to make sure he eats enough calories to avoid losing weight, we both have experienced significant improvements in mental clarity and focus, reduction in joint pain and inflammation, and other health benefits by eating this way. However, neither of us is willing to give up our favorite foods, so I invest time and effort researching, trying out and evaluating healthy, low carb alternatives for foods like pizza crusts and burger buns.

I have tried several low carb pizza crust mix products and recipes, and one of my favorites so far is Scotty's Everyday Keto Pizza Crust Mix. 

Pizza made with Scotty's Everyday Keto Pizza Crust Mix

One of the reasons is convenience, since this mix calls for only olive oil and water, both of which we always have on hand. Others include speed (just mix, roll and bake), fairly clean, healthy ingredients), high in dietary fiber, low in calories and 0 net carbs per slice, and a surprisingly good taste and texture considering the nutritional profile.

This mix makes a pizza crust that, unlike some low carb options, is crisp on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside, and sturdy enough to pick up and eat with your hands. We love being able to eat pizza for dinner once a week again and have fun changing up the toppings to keep things interesting.

Check out my full review of The Best Keto Pizza Crust Mix With 0 Net Carbs including some of our favorite low carb, keto friendly pizza toppings.

KetoBakes Best EVER Sandwich Buns Keto Bake Mix

Update July 2023: Sadly, KetoBakes has gone out of business. 

My husband makes the best burgers and, for many years, we have had a tradition of him making his special Friday night burgers (or, as we like to call them, Friday night "burglars") to celebrate the end of the work week and kick off the weekend. Although some people enjoy using lettuce as a burger wrap, we much prefer ours on a nice, soft, lightly toasted bun. And, although we love Natural Ovens Bakery Keto-Friendly Buns and often keep a few bags in our freezer, they contain a few ingredients that aren't strictly "clean keto" and are not gluten-free.

So, unless I'm pressed for time, I prefer baking fresh burger buns using KetoBakes Best EVER Sandwich Buns Keto Bake Mix, which lives up to its name as far as keto-friendly buns are concerned.

KetoBakes Best Ever Sandwich Bun Mix
KetoBakes Best EVER Sandwich Buns Keto Bake Mix

This mix has clean ingredients, the same ones I would use if I were baking keto buns from scratch, and makes soft, pillowy, yummy buns that are perfect for burgers or sandwiches. They also freeze beautifully, which I do in my favorite Stasher reusable silicone 1/2 gallon food storage bags, which open and seal incredibly quickly and easily (I love them!). 

Get the 411 on this excellent baking mix in my product review of The Best Low Carb Keto Sandwich and Burger Buns Mix.

ChocZero Regular and Dark Cocoa Hazelnut Keto Spreads and Livlo Zello Keto-Friendly Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

These low-carb chocolate hazelnut spreads with no added sugars offer three excellent, healthy (and keto-friendly) alternatives for people who love Nutella.

ChocZero and Livlo ZELLO keto chocolate hazelnut spreads
ChocZero Dark Cocoa Hazelnut Keto Spread, Livlo Zello Keto-Friendly Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and ChocZero Cocoa Hazelnut Keto Spread

I've provided a detailed side-by-side comparison of the flavor, size, price, nutrition facts, ingredients, dietary restriction / special diets information and other considerations in my review Comparing the Best Keto-Friendly Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads - No Added Sugars.

I hope this recap of my 10 favorite products that I reviewed in 2022 helps you find some gift ideas or new favorites of your own for the coming year.

Wishing all our Review This Reviews readers and my fellow contributors a healthy, happy, peaceful and prosperous 2023!

My 10 Best Product Reviews of 2022 Revisited 

by Margaret Schindel

Read More Fashion Reviews From Our Contributors

Read More Health Reviews From Our Contributors

Read More Kitchen Product Reviews From Our Contributors

Read More Low Carb & Keto Diet Reviews From Our Contributors

Read More Food Product Reviews From Our Contributors

Read More Gift Ideas From Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Sunday, March 5, 2023

How to Choose the Best Saatva Mattress for Your Needs

In 2021, my husband and I became the proud owners of a Saatva mattress. This post is the second in a series of candid, in-depth reviews in which I share our personal experiences as a couple shopping for, choosing, ordering and sleeping on our first Saatva mattress, adjustable base and bedding, as well as exchanging the split-top mattress we initially chose for a standard (solid) version of the same model.

In part one of this series I explained why we wanted to replace our old mattress with a Saatva, the unexpected opportunity that enabled us to shop for one sooner than expected, our most important needs and wants and the models we considered based on those criteria.

In today’s post I’ll share the extensive product research I conducted to help us choose the best Saatva mattress for our needs and my experiences interacting with both the company’s website and its customer service representatives, as well as my favorite third-party expert mattress review sites.

How to Choose the Right Saatva Mattress for you and your partner

Disclosure: I have joined the company’s affiliate program, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through one of the links in this post I may be eligible to receive a commission, at no cost to you. I highly recommend the Saatva company and its products for their excellent quality, performance, price and customer service. The opinions, product reviews and recommendations in this post are my own and are based on my personal experiences. The decision to click on those links to learn more about the company’s products or make a purchase is greatly appreciated, but entirely up to you.

How to Choose the Best Saatva Mattress for Your Sleeping Preferences and Needs

I have been buying online since 1995, not long after Amazon launched. One of the things I love most about shopping online is how easy it is to research and compare products before deciding which ones to purchase. Since our sleep quality has a profound effect on our quality of life, I put even more time and effort than usual into researching which Saatva mattress would best meet both my and my husband’s needs and sleeping preferences.

Here are the resources I used to evaluate in depth the five mattress models we considered and finalize our decision on which would work best for us as a couple.

Mattress Buying Guide

Saatva's Mattress Buying Guide is a great place to start your mattress selection journey, regardless of which brand of mattress you decide to purchase.

It explains the four main mattress types (innerspring, memory foam, latex and hybrid) and compares them according to six key criteria: price, lifespan, firmness levels, motion transfer (a major consideration if you sleep with a partner), edge support and which sleeping position(s) each type is best suited to.

The Saatva Mattress Buying Guide also walks you through five key high-level decisions: choosing the type of mattress you want, determining your ideal firmness level, picking the right size, deciding on a mattress base, and (last, but not least) reading the fine print. It also answers a few FAQ and recommends taking the mattress quiz.

Although my husband and I struggled a bit with some of these decisions, since we have different preferences for firmness and sleep positions, this buying guide really helped us begin to narrow and prioritize our list of models to consider.

Mattress Quiz

Armed with our requirements and preferences wish list and what I learned from the Ultimate Mattress Buying Guide, my next step was to take the Saatva Mattress Quiz.

I admit to having been a bit skeptical about the results since it only asked about my weight range, how I like my mattress to feel and my sleep concerns, not those of my sleeping partner, although I could tell it that my husband and I had different firmness preferences and different preferred sleep positions.

However, the recommendations it offered were surprisingly appropriate, and I moved the Loom & Leaf Relaxed Firm memory foam mattress and the Saatva Solaire to the top of our “short list” of contenders.

Sleep Enlightened Blog

Saatva’s Sleep Enlightened blog is dedicated to educating people about how to choose the best mattress for their needs, the importance of sleep and how to get a great night’s sleep, regardless of which mattress brand, type or model they sleep on.

It includes thoughtful, well-researched and well-written posts about how to choose a mattress as well as about sleep health, sleep-related lifestyle tips and other valuable content.

This blog is well worth the read for anyone who could benefit from more restful, refreshing and restorative sleep (i.e., nearly everyone!).

Product Information

Saatva does a terrific job with its product pages. They are designed to give visitors the most important information about each product as clearly and concisely as possible, keeping the details hidden until the site visitor chooses to click to learn more about something on the page.

I loved the use of exploded views to show the anatomy of each mattress model, including the different layers, materials, construction and the role that each layer plays in providing comfort, support, durability and other desirable characteristics.

Exploded view diagram of Saatva Solaire mattress
The product page for each mattress model includes an exploded view diagram showing all the layers and explaining the function and purpose of each

The clean, uncluttered product page design has a lot going for it, but also one significant drawback for a product research junkie like me: There is no way to view all the product information about a particular mattress at one time. Since I wanted to do an in-depth comparison of different models in our consideration set, I tried to create my own side-by-side comparison chart by going to each model's product page, clicking on each topic, drilling down through each clickable element and copying and pasting the details into a table, but I finally gave up. (That said, however, most mattress shoppers probably neither want nor need as much granular detail as I did when comparing different models.)

Thanks in part to the candid feedback I shared with my friend Joe, Saatva’s chief marketing officer, the product pages are now more helpful and consistent in their layout, making it easier to compare product information about different models. The company also added a comparison page that let customers easily compare Saatva models side-by-side based on mattress type, firmness, sleep surface materials, core and base support, cooling levels and other key features and attributes.

I also had a hard time finding detailed information about the differences between an upper-flex king and a split king Solaire mattress and their respective advantages, limitations and other key considerations, such as needing to use special split-top sheets for an upper-flex mattress and requiring a compatibly configured adjustable base for either an upper-flex or a split king.

Now, the Saatva Solaire mattress product page now contains a new section that provides a lot more information about the upper-flex option and adjustable bases in a much more visible location.

Solaire Upper-Flex Mattress + Adjustable Base Plus
The Solaire mattress product page now makes it easier to learn about the split-top “upper-flex” option, which needs to be paired with an upper-flex Adjustable Base Plus

Note: I will also provide detailed side-by-side comparisons of all the queen and king Saatva Solaire mattress configuration options in the last post in this series.

Customer Reviews and Questions

Reading customer product reviews is always a key part of my pre-purchase online research. Since I knew that (unlike some companies) Saatva doesn’t edit or filter their customer reviews, I felt confident that the reviews were authentic.

I spent quite a bit of time reading the customer reviews on for the five mattress models on my list and was impressed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback. An impressive number of customers complimented not only the quality and comfort of the Saatva mattresses they purchased but also the outstanding customer service they received. Even buyers who ultimately decided to return their mattresses during the generous trial period were effusive in their praise of the company and its products!

I also looked at the customer questions and the answers provided by a Saatva representative, which were clear, helpful and timely. Most of the questions I looked at had received same-day answers. In retrospect, I wish I had taken advantage of the “Ask a question” button when I was doing my product research!

Online Chat

Next, I decided to use the website’s online chat option to speak with a Saatva Sleep Guide (customer support representative) to get more personalized recommendations based on more detailed input, especially since I wanted to find a mattress that would meet both my and my husband’s different needs.

After the representative listened to our list of wants and needs, I was surprised and impressed that she initially suggested we might want to consider buying just a Saatva latex mattress topper or memory foam topper rather than a whole new mattress, which would be considerably less expensive, since our mattress wasn’t that old. That’s just one of many examples I encountered that proved the authenticity of Saatva’s “How can I help you?” versus “What can I sell you?” philosophy.  However, since our mattress sagged so badly, my husband and I wanted to replace it rather than trying to get by for another year or two with just a new topper.

The more I spoke with the representative, the more I leaned toward the Saatva Solaire mattress, since each side could be customized to my husband's and my individual firmness preferences and the air chambers would make the center sagging that we typically experienced with our mattresses less of an issue (as long as we didn’t set the firmness settings on our respective sides too far apart).

The representative also made a good case for the Zenhaven dual-sided natural latex mattress, which has both a Luxury Plush side with a medium (4–5) firmness and a Gentle Firm side with a firmer (7–8) firmness. She recommended using it with the Luxury Plush side up for us, which “contours to your body effortlessly to relieve pressure points from all sleep positions” and would work whether my husband and I were in the “spoon” position on our sides or whether we turned on our backs or stomachs.

Third-Party Mattress Review Sites and Buying Guides

Years ago, when I was doing market research into the mattress industry, I found out that many of these types of sites are owned by media companies that are paid to promote more obscure mattress brands while purporting to be objective in their reviews and recommendations. (No wonder mattress shopping can be so confusing! It's hard to know whom to trust.)

Fortunately, even though virtually all the review sites and buying guides receive free products for review and use affiliate links to support themselves, there are sites such as Mattress Clarity, The Sleep Judge, Good Bed and Sleepopolis that provide in-depth, expert reviews using pressure mapping technology and other objective tests as well as subjective evaluations. Some also include balanced, detailed video reviews along with their written reviews. 

Reading and watching their Saatva product reviews reinforced that either the Solaire or the Zenhaven would be the best mattress choice for my husband’s and my needs.

Phone Calls With a Saatva Mattress Showroom Manager

I had one advantage over the typical online Saatva mattress buyer: My friend Joe at Saatva arranged for my husband and me to have a phone conversation with Michael, the manager of the flagship Saatva Viewing Room showroom in New York City, to help us finalize our choice between the Solaire and the Zenhaven.

Saatva Viewing Room flagship showroom in New York City
Saatva’s flagship Viewing Room in New York City, one of six (soon to be eight) showrooms across the U.S. where you can view, touch and try out different Saatva mattresses, adjustable bases, bedding and other products in person

Joe and I had agreed that no one should know I had any contacts at Saatva. We wanted to ensure that I would not get preferential treatment, since our goal was for me to give him objective feedback on my experience as a first-time Saatva customer. However, since Michael’s job is to help in-person visitors to the Saatva NYC showroom, there would have been no reason for a remote customer to call him for advice. So, as a favor to me, Joe asked Michael if he would be willing to help some friends (i.e., my husband and me) choose between two Saatva mattresses we were considering and to provide his thoughts on whether an adjustable base would be a worthwhile investment for us.

Michael was kind enough to make time to speak with us on his day off. He was incredibly knowledgeable, extremely helpful and very patient with our many questions. He recommended a Solaire for us over a Zenhaven.

When we asked about whether an adjustable base would be worth the cost for us, he asked us several questions to determine how much we would likely use and benefit from the additional features the adjustable base provides. Based on lifestyle and health considerations, such as my husband’s and my different sleeping and waking times, my frequent insomnia and our common back and joint pain, he felt that the adjustable base would provide significant benefits, especially in the top-split “upper flex” configuration that would allow either of us to raise the head of just our side of the bed without affecting our partner's side.

Choosing Between a Standard and Upper-Flex King Solaire Mattress and Adjustable Base

After discussing our needs, wants and concerns in detail with Michael, he ultimately recommended a king Saatva Solaire mattress in the upper-flex configuration with the Saatva Adjustable Base Plus (which was then called the Lineal adjustable base), with the understanding that the upper-flex king Adjustable Base Plus would be a final sale purchase.

When we raised our concerns about the width of the center gap down the upper third of the mattress, since we sleep in the “spoon” position for part of every night, Michael said he thought it probably wouldn’t bother us much, especially if we also ordered the diamond-quilted upper-flex king organic cotton mattress pad that he also recommended for us, which would provide added comfort, protect the mattress and fill in the center split somewhat. He also pointed out that if we ordered the king upper-flex and the split turned out to be a problem, we could exchange it for a solid king Solaire mattress within the extremely generous Saatva home trial period (which was 180 nights and is now 365 nights — one full year to try out your new mattress!).

The other important consideration was that the Adjustable Base Plus for the king upper-flex Solaire mattress would be two Twin XL adjustable bases that would be joined during the delivery and set-up process. If we decided to exchange the king upper-flex mattress for a solid one, the bases could be reconfigured during the delivery and set-up of the new mattress so that both the head and the foot of the entire bed would be raised and lowered in sync. However, unlike the standard Twin XL bases used with a standard king Solaire mattress, the bases used in the upper-flex configuration would not have the wall-hugger technology that simultaneously glides you back toward the wall as you raise the head of the bed, keeping your bedside table, remote, lamp, etc., in easy reach. Since the adjustable bases are final sale, if we went with the upper-flex base, we wouldn’t be able to exchange it for the standard king with the wall-hugger capability if we decided to exchange our upper-flex Solaire mattress for the standard version.

After much discussion, my husband and I finally decided that if we didn’t give the upper-flex option a try, we would always wonder whether we had made the right choice.

Ordering Online and Updates

In my next post I’ll share my experience with placing our Solaire mattress, Adjustable Base Plus and mattress pad order online.

Be sure to subscribe* to Review This Reviews to be notified when new posts in this Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper series (and my popular keto diet success series) are published!

*See the email subscription box in the sidebar; if you are viewing on a mobile device and don't see the sidebar in your browser, click on "View web version" at the bottom of the page.

How to Choose the Best Mattress for Your Needs by Margaret Schindel

Posts in This Series

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 1: The Journey Begins

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 2: How to Choose the Best Saatva Mattress for Your Needs

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 3: Ordering a Saatva Mattress and Adjustable Bed Online — A Candid Review

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 4: Saatva Organic Cotton Mattress Pad and Sheet Set Product Reviews

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 5: Saatva Mattress and Adjustable Base White Glove Delivery and Setup

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 6: Saatva Solaire Mattress and Adjustable Base Plus Product Reviews

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 7: Exchanging a Saatva Mattress: My Personal Experience

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 8: Which Queen or King Saatva Solaire Mattress and Adjustable Base to Buy

Read more product reviews from our Contributors at

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How to Choose the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers

Fine mesh strainers are used for many different types of cooking, baking and food preparation tasks, from sifting powdered dry ingredients for baking or garnishing baked goods to straining sauces and custards, rinsing uncooked rice, quinoa or beans, and draining pots of cooked pasta. 

When the sieves I inherited from my mom that had served us both for decades eventually needed to be replaced, shopping for replacements turned out to be more challenging than I could have anticipated. 

In this review, I'll share my advice on how to choose the best fine mesh kitchen strainers for your needs as well as my product reviews for the fine mesh sieves I purchased nearly five years ago and recommend highly.

How to Pick the Best Fine Mesh Strainers for Your Needs: 3 Pro Shopping Tips
Learn how to be a savvy consumer when shopping for fine mesh kitchen strainers.

3 Pro Shopping Tips for Choosing the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers for Your Needs.

Think About How You Will Be Using Them.

When shopping for fine mesh strainers, the best choice will depend on what you want to use them for. The ideal diameter, depth, handle, weight balance, durability, wire mesh size and stiffness will be very different for mesh sieves used primarily for sifting cocoa powder, flour or powdered sugar than for those used mainly for straining fresh raspberry seeds or draining a large quantity of just-cooked pasta. 

So, before you start researching or shopping for new fine mesh sieves, take a few minutes to think about the types of tasks you want, need and expect your new strainers to perform well.

Consider the Most Important Product Features and Characteristics for Your Specific Uses. 

Once you have made a list of the things you want to use your new strainer(s) for, it's time to educate yourself about the different types of materials, construction, mesh fineness, and other options available in models at different price points and think about which ones might be best suited to your needs, priorities and budget. 

For example, if you are shopping for a small strainer for steeping loose tea in a cup or travel mug, an inexpensive model made of a very finely woven nylon mesh material might do the best job of filtering out the tea leaves. On the other hand, if you also want to be able to sift or dust small amounts of cocoa powder or confectioners sugar, you might decide to go with a more expensive, stainless steel model that has a stiffer wire mesh and a slightly looser weave, the tradeoff being that it wouldn't be quite as effective at filtering out the small, powdery bits of tea leaf. 

Similarly, having a comfortable, contoured, riveted handle (and preferably two) may be a priority if you are looking for a large-capacity, heavy-duty strainer, but a thinner, flatter handle attached with spot welding might be fine if you only need a small or medium size strainer for lighter-duty tasks.

Stay Focused on Your Needs As You Compare Fine Mesh Strainers and Read Product Reviews.

Whether a review is positive or negative, consider the author's praise or complaints in the context of your own needs and priorities. Also keep an eye out for negative fine mesh strainer reviews based on inappropriate assumptions or unreasonable expectations. 

Reviews by reputable industry experts can be extremely valuable, but it's important to consider how well the reviewers' evaluation and rating criteria match for your own needs, preferences and intended uses for the product. 

I learned this firsthand at the beginning of 2017. A few weeks after I bought a Cuisinart set of small, medium and large strainers that I wanted just for the two smaller sizes, Cook's Illustrated published a fine mesh strainers equipment review (subscription required) that rated the Cuisinart set as "not recommended." Since I trust and respect the America's Test Kitchen staff's opinions, I was dismayed by the low rating for the set I had just bought. However, when I looked at the reviewers' product selection criteria and the performance tests they had devised, I saw that many of the features, specifications and use cases they had focused on (e.g., approximately 9" diameter, stiff, extremely fine wire mesh baskets, handles that were comfortable to hold over an extended period of time, long, wide hooks that fit easily over both medium and large pots and bowls) weren't relevant to the small and medium Cuisinart strainers or the types of tasks for which I had chosen that set. 

On the other hand, those criteria and tests were extremely relevant to my needs and wants for the much sturdier Kukpo 9-inch strainer I had purchased to complement the small and medium sized Cuisinart sieves. If that Cook's Illustrated equipment review had been published one month sooner, I might have had second thoughts about buying my $14 Kukpo, despite the $45 price tag of the only "highly recommended" model, the Rösle 7.9-inch Stainless Steel Round Handle Kitchen Strainer

So, keep your own needs in mind as you are reading fine mesh strainer reviews and looking at product features and specifications. Also, remember that no strainer can do every job equally well and be open to the possibility that investing in more than one might be your best bet, depending on how many things you want to use them for.  

Recommended Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainer Reviews 

Here are my personal product reviews for the best fine mesh kitchen strainers I purchased to replace the much older ones I had inherited. The ones I am recommending have been in frequent use in my kitchen for at least several years, show minimal signs of wear and continue to meet my quality and performance needs and expectations.

Kukpo Stainless Steel Double Fine Mesh Strainer Review

If you are looking for a large, versatile, affordable sieve that does a good job at a variety of kitchen tasks, the Kukpo Stainless Steel Fine Double Mesh Strainer, 9 Inch Diameter is an excellent choice.

9-inch diameter Kukpo Stainless Steel Fine Double Mesh Strainer
This sturdy, inexpensive Kukpo 9-inch stainless steel fine double mesh strainer can handle most straining, sieving and sifting tasks well.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Practical size. The basket rim is 9" across and the fine wire mesh basket itself is about 8" wide at the top and 3.25" deep, large enough to easily drain a pound of cooked pasta, but not so large that it's unwieldy.
  • A versatile workhorse. If you're looking for a single, good quality, inexpensive fine mesh food strainer that performs well for most uses, I highly recommend this 9-inch Kukpo model. It's great for straining stock, sauces, yogurt, custard, frying oil and coffee grounds; separating milk solids from melted butter for clarified butter or ghee; rinsing rice, beans, lentils and grains such as quinoa; straining seeds from fresh berry purée; and sifting flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa or powdered sugar.
  • Durable construction, including two riveted handles. Unlike many fine mesh strainers, this one has no gap between the wire mesh screen and the rim/frame where bits of food residue can get stuck and be hard to remove. It also has two handles that distribute the weight more evenly and are riveted to the rim rather than spot-welded, making it more comfortable and well balanced to hold when draining a large volume of heavy food, such as cooked pasta.
  • Two layers of fine wire mesh for better strength, stiffness and filtering ability. Doubling the mesh creates a stronger, sturdier basket that holds its shape better and resists denting, despite its size, even when mashing fresh strawberries, raspberries, or confectioners sugar firmly against the mesh to strain the seeds or break up hard lumps.
  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel. I generally prefer to wash my fine mesh sieves by hand, but it's nice to be able to run them through the dishwasher occasionally to sanitize them more thoroughly. This one has an all stainless steel construction that doesn't rust, not only in my own experience but also in those of many other customers, according to their product reviews. 
  • 100% money back guarantee. Although I couldn't find any details about the terms of this guarantee, quite a few Amazon customers have raved about the company's outstanding customer service in their reviews. 

Cuisinart Set of 3 Mesh Strainers

I've found that pairing this set of three Cuisinart stainless steel strainers with the larger, sturdier, 9-inch Kukpo double mesh strainer covers all the bases for any use I can think of.

set of three Cuisinart stainless steel strainers
This set of three Cuisinart mesh strainers is excellent for light-duty tasks like dusting desserts with cocoa or confectioners sugar, rinsing berries and juicing lemons.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Three useful sizes. This set includes 3 1/8”, 5 ½”, and 7 7/8” diameter fine mesh sieves.
  • Great for less strenuous tasks. The two smaller sizes in this set are ideal for things like straining loose tea leaves, dusting powdered sugar or cocoa over desserts, washing a cup of fresh berries or string beans, or straining the seeds while juicing a lemon. The largest one is fine for sifting a couple of cups of dry baking ingredients and similar light-duty tasks, but the spot-welded handles and thinner wire mesh make it too delicate for heavier contents and more demanding applications that require the sturdier Kukpo strainer.
  • Surprisingly inexpensive. At the time of publication, this set of three cost less than $14 on Amazon. Even though I prefer the 9" Kukpo to the 7 7/8" strainer in the Cuisinart set, I consider that a very good value, even for just the small and medium sizes.
  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel. I haven't found a single speck of rust on any of mine after nearly five years of frequent use.
  • Limited lifetime warranty. Cuisinart offers a limited lifetime warranty for its products if you register your purchase with them. I haven't been able to find any information about what it covers for this strainer set. 

Bonus Tip: Use a Stiff, Thin-Bristled Brush to Dislodge Any Food Particles Stuck in the Fine Mesh

Whether you plan to wash your strainers by hand or in the dishwasher, I highly recommend inspecting the fine wire mesh carefully for any bits of food residue that might be stuck. It's best to wash and check the mesh as soon as possible after use, since any clogs will be much harder to dislodge if they are allowed to dry inside those tiny openings. If you need more time, just submerge the strainer in hot water and until you are able to clean and inspect it properly. 

I have found that small, dense brushes with thin, stiff bristles, like the two in the OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set, are the most effective tools for clearing stubborn food particles from the fine wire mesh. 

How to Choose the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers by Margaret Schindel

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Sunday, March 12, 2023

Saatva Organic Cotton Mattress Pad and Sheet Set Product Reviews

Welcome to part four of my blog series on becoming a first-time Saatva mattress shopper and owner. In my previous post, I reviewed my husband’s and my experience with ordering a Saatva Solaire mattress, adjustable base and bedding online.

In today’s post, I’ll share our impressions of the Saatva organic cotton mattress pad and sheet set that arrived while our mattress was being made for us.

Silky smooth and breathable Saatva Organic Cotton Bedding Product Review

Disclosure: I have joined the company’s affiliate program, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through one of the links in this post I may be eligible to receive a commission, at no cost to you. I highly recommend the Saatva company and its products for their excellent quality, performance, price and customer service. The opinions, product reviews and recommendations in this post are my own and are based on my personal experiences. The decision to click on those links to learn more about the company’s products or make a purchase is greatly appreciated, but entirely up to you.

Luxurious, Breathable, Organic Cotton Bedding

Unlike the mass-manufactured mattresses sold in retail stores, every Saatva mattress is individually handcrafted to order for the customer who purchased it. However, I assume Saatva bedding is manufactured in advance and ready to ship, since our mattress pad arrived just four days after I ordered it and our sheet set arrived soon thereafter.

Even before we had a chance to see and touch our new Saatva organic cotton sateen sheet set and quilted organic cotton mattress pad, we were struck by the packaging's elegance and attention to detail.

It started with the cardboard shipping boxes, which were custom printed with the Saatva logo and even had a convenient handle for carrying them into the house.

Saatva shipping box for bedding
Even the cardboard shipping boxes for our Saatva sheets and mattress pad were sturdy, well made and thoughtfully designed

The inside of the shipping box lid contained the printed message, “Quiet the hum of everyday life. Slip into luxurious, natural comfort. Welcome to Saatva.” A lot more upscale and luxury mood-inducing than the typical shipping boxes used for bedding!

The shipping box for the sheet set contained a large, white gift box tied with a gold satin ribbon.

Open shipping box containing Saatva organic cotton sateen sheet set
The message inside the shipping box lid was just one example of Saatva’s attention to detail

When we untied the ribbon and opened the gift box, the contents were neatly folded inside tissue paper, sealed with a brown paper seal embossed with a large “S” and topped with an elegant, printed card.

Tissue paper wrapping, embossed seal, tag and card insert inside shipping box
Every element of the packaging was simple, elegant and thoughtful

The card reinforced Saatva’s brand values and commitment to environmental and social responsibility as well as to its customers, using simple, straightforward language that made me believe in the message’s sincerity and authenticity.

Close up of printed card inside the Saatva organic sheet set packaging
The card inside was the perfect embodiment of Saatva's brand promise

When we opened the seal on the tissue paper, we were surprised to see a well-made, reusable canvas tote bag that enclosed and protected our new organic cotton sateen sheet set.

Canvas tote bag enclosing Saatva organic cotton sateen sheet set
The reusable canvas tote in which our sheet set was shipped was a lovely, surprise gift and far preferable to the single-use plastic in which most sheets are packaged!

The quality of the materials and workmanship for both the sheet set and the mattress pad were superb. The tightly woven, organic cotton fabric was extremely silky to the touch. I was even more impressed that this luxury sheet set, which sold for $225 at the time, was a free gift with the purchase of our upper-flex Saatva Solaire mattress.

Saatva organic cotton sheet set, unwrapped and removed from canvas tote
The free luxury sheet set was made of silky-smooth organic cotton and nicely finished

These upscale bedding products and their thoughtful packaging far exceeded even my very high expectations. I couldn’t wait to start sleeping on them as soon as our Solaire mattress and adjustable base were delivered.

A Very Generous (and Smart) Gift

The upper-flex Saatva Solaire mattress we had ordered has a split along the top part of the mattress, so that one person can raise the head of the bed just on their side without affecting their partner’s side, which requires a split-top fitted sheet. Saatva sells sheets only in sets, so we couldn’t order just upper-flex fitted sheets to use with the extremely nice standard king-size sheet sets we already owned. So, we had planned to purchase some top-split fitted sheets for our new mattress on Amazon. However, I discovered that the selection of sheets is much more limited for split-top mattresses than for standard (solid) ones.

Saatva’s strategy of giving customers who purchase an upper-flex mattress the generous gift of a free sheet set with a split-top fitted sheet is very smart. It allowed us not only to start sleeping on our new mattress as soon as it was delivered but also to experience the quality of Saatva’s sheet sets.

After trying out their deliciously silky, well-made organic cotton sheets, we would definitely have purchased additional upper-flex sheet sets from Saatva if we had decided to keep our upper-flex king Solaire instead of exchanging it for a standard (solid) version of the mattress (spoiler alert!).

In fact, we did purchase a standard king Saatva organic cotton sateen sheet set for our standard king Solaire after we decided to exchange our upper-flex mattress.

By transforming something as mundane as the delivery and unboxing of a mattress pad and sheet set into a surprising, delightful, luxurious and memorable event, Saatva delivered on their marketing promises and created an extraordinarily positive first impression on this first-time customer.

What's Next: Saatva White Glove Delivery Review

In my next post, I’ll share my experience with Saatva’s white glove delivery and set-up of my new Solaire mattress and Lineal adjustable base, now called the Saatva Adjustable Base Plus.

Be sure to subscribe* to Review This Reviews to be notified when new posts in this Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper series (and my popular keto diet success series) are published!

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Saatva Organic Cotton Mattress Pad and Sheet Set Product Reviews by Margaret Schindel

Posts in This Series

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 1: The Journey Begins

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 2: How to Choose the Best Saatva Mattress for Your Needs

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 3: Ordering a Saatva Mattress and Adjustable Bed Online — A Candid Review

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 4: Saatva Organic Cotton Mattress Pad and Sheet Set Product Reviews

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 5: Saatva Mattress and Adjustable Base White Glove Delivery and Setup

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 6: Saatva Solaire Mattress and Adjustable Base Plus Product Reviews

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 7: Exchanging a Saatva Mattress: My Personal Experience

Confessions of a Saatva Mattress Shopper, Part 8: Which Queen or King Saatva Solaire Mattress and Adjustable Base to Buy

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