Beat the Heat with Our Favorite Summer Gadgets

Stay cool during the remaining warm weeks of summer.

In the hottest months of summer, there's nothing quite as refreshing as an ice pop, an ice cream cone, or a glass of lemonade. This week we’ve gathered equipment to help you make these and other stay-cool treats at home. Our favorite ice-pop mold makes four ice pops at a time and is easy to fill and clean. Our longtime favorite ice cream maker produces even, smooth ice cream with the push of just one button. And our top-rated ice cube tray releases easily, and its flexible silicone lid prevents spills. I’ll be glad to have these on hand (and I promise you will be too) when the hot days of summer hit.

—Carolyn Grillo, Senior Editor, ATK Reviews

Our winner had the widest mouth in the lineup, which made it simple to fill—no spills or drips. The screw-on lid had a wide, arched handle that was easy to grip and turn, though users occasionally took an extra few seconds to get the lid on track. We liked that this model was dishwasher-safe and had no extra parts to remove during cleaning, and it survived three indoor drops despite its 2½-pound (filled) weight. It's also available in a 16-ounce size, if you prefer a lighter load.

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This was one of the lightest coolers we tested, making it great for a shorter day trip or picnic. It has a clever little hatch opening on the lid, so it’s easy to quickly grab a drink without having to unzip the entire lid. The two downsides were the zipper sometimes got caught on the fabric and a little bit of the meltwater leaked when the cooler got jostled.

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This ultradurable cooler outpaced every other model in cooling and durability, but it’s a bit heavy for the average person. Ice lasted a whole week, and when we placed sodas and ice packs inside, the cooler kept our beverages below 50 degrees for more than five days. We also loved its rubber latches, which were easy to close, and its durable rope handles. The cooler’s weight did make it fairly difficult for one person to carry when full, and it didn’t fit all our groceries or soda cans (it could fit only 24 cans, along with ice packs). However, if you’re looking for a smaller cooler that holds all the essentials, this is an excellent option.

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This budget-friendly model did a decent job of cooling, keeping ice for six days—longer than any other product priced under $100.00. Its wheels made it more portable, and its roomy interior easily held a weekend's worth of groceries. We liked that the side handles were molded into the body, which prevented them from breaking when dropped. The telescoping handle you use to roll the cooler (like a luggage handle) wasn't so durable, though; one of the poles dented after we dropped the cooler, which prevented us from pushing the handle down and obstructed the lid from opening fully.

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Our favorite blender capably turned out smooth margaritas and smoothies and creamy salad dressing. Like those of the other models in our lineup, its narrow cup opening was difficult to fill, but we appreciated that it came with a small silicone funnel to help. We also liked that this blender was easy to turn on and off with one click of a button. It withstood being placed in a duffel bag and dropped five times onto concrete. It did begin to leak on the 45th smoothie, but that was a lot to ask of a machine likely intended for simpler tasks, such as making one smoothie a day or a few batches of frozen drinks at the beach.

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This ice pop mold was the easiest to use of all those we tested. Its detachable molds had clear fill lines and wide openings, making them a breeze to fill and clean. And it featured slender plastic sticks with unobtrusive drip guards and long, textured handles, making the resulting pops easy to grip and eat. Our only gripe? The drip guards aren’t removable, so you can’t make layers.

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With a hard plastic frame and lid enclosing a silicone ice cube tray, this model was easy to transport to the freezer without spilling and made excellent ice cubes that were clean and straight-edged. The frame and lid also helped reduce freezer and coffee odors; while the silicone tray did smell slightly after a week, the problem was less pronounced than in several other models. Relatively compact, it’ll fit in most freezers.

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This clear ice maker made the prettiest ice cubes: sparkling, perfectly cube-shaped, and completely transparent. Its insulated plastic frame makes it easy to transport to the freezer and helps protect the silicone tray inside against freezer and coffee odors somewhat. But it’s pricey and it requires a large chunk of freezer space. Plus, it can be a bit tricky to pry the silicone ice tray out of its insulated frame; we often needed to chisel four “unclear” cubes off the bottom of the tray before we were able to get the clear ice out.

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The two ice sphere molds in this set were a little finicky to fill, requiring us to pour water through a relatively small hole in the molds’ top hemispheres. But their hard plastic shells were compact and stackable, so they were easy to transport and fit into small niches in the freezer. While the silicone hemispheres that form the ice do pick up some freezer and coffee odor, they make for particularly easy ice removal: Just push on the silicone bottom and the sphere pops right out. As with the other sphere molds, you won’t get perfectly round ice—the spheres look a little like cute ringed planets with small bumps on top.

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This juicer was the most straightforward and enjoyable to use of the masticating juicers, with parts that fit together easily and a relatively fast auger that chewed through carrots, kale, and grapes with ease. As with all the masticating juicers, we had to cut our produce to match the size of its narrow feed tube, but its juice was smooth. It was relatively easy to clean, especially with its included cleaning brush.

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Our winning centrifugal juicer is straightforward to assemble, with parts that fit together well. It’s fast, powering through a pound of carrots in 34 seconds, and it produced smooth juice from carrots, kale, and grapes alike. It had trouble efficiently processing kale leaves, though when we applied a few tips, such as firmly packing the leaves or rolling them up, we had more success. It was among the easiest to clean out of the centrifugal juicers and contained debris fairly well, flinging it from the feed tube much less often than the other centrifugals.

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