12 Expert-Level BBQ Gadgets to Buy This Summer

Giang Nguyen/istock via Getty Images
Giang Nguyen/istock via Getty Images

Outdoor barbecues are a beloved tradition, but that doesn’t mean you have to use traditional equipment. Grill masters and inventors are always cooking up new gizmos for the rest of us to play with. If you want to up your BBQ game, get your mitts on these 12 nifty items before the summer’s end.

1. Char-Broil SmartChef TRU-Infrared 420 3-Burner Cabinet; $644


This high-tech, Wi-Fi-connected grill lets you control your cookout from your phone. You can adjust the burner temperature and monitor cook times on your mobile device with the SmartChef Gas Grill Mobile App, where you can also access a whole library of delicious recipes. If you so desire, the grill will also remind you when it’s time to flip the meat and insert the temperature probes (among other tasks). The burners can also be operated manually, in case you want the occasional experience of cooking with a conventional grill. Whether you're using your phone or controlling temperatures manually, though, the infrared cooking system heats evenly and prevents flare-ups to keep your meat juicy.

Buy it: Walmart

2. Looftlighter Original Electric Fire Starter; $80


Never buy lighter fluid again. In just 60 seconds, the eco-friendly Looftlighter Electric Fire Starter can superheat air to set your charcoal ablaze, no flammable liquids required. Briquettes, natural coal, and wooden kindling can all be easily ignited by the handheld wand.

Buy it: Amazon or BBQ Guys

3. Grillbot Automatic Grill-Cleaning Robot; $100

Grillbot, Amazon

Scraping the crud out of your grill is a nasty chore. The good news is, now you can outsource it. Grillbot is an automated cleaner—like a Roomba for grills—that removes charred residue with swiveling, removable brushes. Heat-resistant plastic allows the Grillbot to operate on sweltering surfaces, so it can be used whether your grill has cooled down or not. Just plop it on top of the grate, set the timer, and close the grill lid. Then grab a cold one while your new best friend terminates some grill scum.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Royal Gourmet 8-Burner Gas Grill; $366


Anyone throwing a big company party or family gathering will want this massive eight-burner grill on standby. It can cook more than 120 hot dogs (or upwards of 60 hamburgers) at the same time. If feeding that many hungry guests all at once doesn’t make you a summertime superhero, we don’t know what does.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Meater Smart Meat Thermometer; $70


The time has come to toss your simple meat thermometer in favor of something a little fancier. MEATER's wireless thermometer probe has two different sensors to ensure your meat is perfectly cooked. One sensor gauges the meat’s internal temperature, and the other measures the ambient heat. Status updates are sent to the free MEATER app, which you can use to keep an eye on your food from pretty much anywhere. (Webber’s iGrill2, $60, is another good option for backyard chefs seeking an app-connected thermometer.)

Buy it: Amazon

6. BBQ Grill Light & Fan; $90

Kill—or should we say, “grill”—two birds with one stone with Sharper Image's barbecue-top light/fan combo. The unit’s adjustable LED fixture gives you a light to cook by after the sun goes down. And no matter what time it is, you’ll want to take advantage of its other key feature: a pair of smoke-clearing fans. The clamp is designed to fit most grill hoods.

Buy it: Sharper Image

7. Stingray 7-in-1 BBQ Grill Multi-tool; $15


Barbecues are busy events—you’ve got burgers to flip, red-hot sausages to pull off the grill, and a six-pack of beer bottles to open. Normally, you’d need at least three separate tools to get everything done. But that’s the beauty of this stainless steel multi-tool from Stingray. It’s an ingenious cross between a BBQ fork, a pair of tongs, a spatula, and a bottle opener. And here’s the best part: You can operate the whole thing with one hand.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Bear Paws Shredder Claws; $13


Able to withstand temperatures as high as 475°F, the Bear Paws are a slick replacement for more conventional cutlery tools. They’re versatile, they’re easy to wash, and they’re just plain cool. Use them to lift, pull, and shred hot meats—all while embracing your inner grizzly.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Chef's Kitchen 7-Piece Outdoor BBQ Apron and Utensil Set; $13


You'll have no more panicked searches for misplaced BBQ tools with this apron and utensil set from Chef's Kitchen. For under $20, you can get a set of salt and pepper shakers, three stainless steel grilling tools, an oven mitt, and, of course, a durable apron with enough pockets to hold all those things.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Grillaholics Stuffed Burger Press; $15


What’s better than a hamburger covered in delicious toppings? A hamburger that’s stuffed with ‘em, courtesy of Grillaholics' stuffed burger press. Take some patty meat, put it at the bottom of this press, and use the inverted cup on the lid to make an opening for your favorite ingredients. Then put the remaining meat on top and close the contraption. With a simple squeeze, you’ll have the makings of a perfectly round, goodie-filled burger. Included with your purchase is a digital recipe book worthy of Bob Belcher.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Charcoal Companion Stainless Grill Clips; $10 for Four


Grilled veggies are a welcome addition to any BBQ spread, but flipping individual pepper slices or asparagus spears one-by-one is a pain. Fortunately, Charcoal Companion offers game-changing clamps that’ll save you a bunch of steps. Once you’ve secured a handful of vegetables inside one of these clips, you can flip them all in unison.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with Sear Box; $900


You don’t have to micromanage your fuel supply to grill meats with that perfect, wood-smoked flavor. The Woodwind automatically burns just enough wooden pellets to reach and maintain whatever cooking temperature you set. Inside, you’ll find 811 inches of cooking space. And next to the main grill, there’s a propane-powered sear box that gets as hot as 900°F.

Buy it: Amazon or BBQ Guys

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10 Reusable Gifts for Your Eco-Friendliest Friend

Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
DecorChic/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

By this point, your eco-friendly pal probably has a reusable water bottle that accompanies them everywhere and some sturdy grocery totes that keep their plastic-bag count below par. Here are 10 other sustainable gift ideas that’ll help them in their conservation efforts.

1. Reusable Produce Bags; $13

No more staticky plastic bags.Naturally Sensible/Amazon

The complimentary plastic produce bags in grocery stores aren’t great, but neither is having all your spherical fruits and vegetables roll pell-mell down the checkout conveyor belt. Enter the perfect alternative: mesh bags that are nylon, lightweight, and even machine-washable.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Animal Tea Infusers; $16

Nothing like afternoon tea with your tiny animal friends.DecorChic/Amazon

Saying goodbye to disposable tea bags calls for a quality tea diffuser, and there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t be shaped like an adorable animal. This “ParTEA Pack” includes a hippo, platypus, otter, cat, and owl, which can all hang over the edge of a glass or mug. (In other words, you won’t have to fish them out with your fingers or dirty a spoon when your loose leaf is done steeping.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Rocketbook Smart Notebook; $25

Typing your notes on a tablet or laptop might save trees, but it doesn’t quite capture the feeling of writing on paper with a regular pen. The Rocketbook, on the other hand, does. After you’re finished filling a page with sketches, musings, or whatever else, you scan it into the Rocketbook app with your smartphone, wipe it clean with the microfiber cloth, and start again. This one also comes with a compatible pen, but any PILOT FriXion pens will do.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Food Huggers; $13

"I'm a hugger!"Food Huggers/Amazon

It’s hard to compete with the convenience of plastic wrap or tin foil when it comes to covering the exposed end of a piece of produce or an open tin can—and keeping those leftovers in food storage containers can take up valuable space in the fridge. This set of five silicone Food Huggers stretch to fit over a wide range of circular goods, from a lidless jar to half a lemon.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Swiffer Mop Pads; $15

For floors that'll shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.Turbo Microfiber/Amazon

Swiffers may be much less unwieldy than regular mops, but the disposable pads present a problem to anyone who likes to keep their trash output to a minimum. These machine-washable pads fasten to the bottom of any Swiffer WetJet, and the thick microfiber will trap dirt and dust instead of pushing it into corners. Each pad lasts for at least 100 uses, so you’d be saving your eco-friendly friend quite a bit of money, too.

Buy it: Amazon

6. SodaStream for Sparkling Water; $69

A fondness for fizzy over flat water doesn’t have to mean buying it bottled. Not only does the SodaStream let you make seltzer at home, but it’s also small enough that it won’t take up too much precious counter space. SodaStream also sells flavor drops to give your home-brewed beverage even more flair—this pack from Amazon ($25) includes mango, orange, raspberry, lemon, and lime.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Washable Lint Roller; $13

Roller dirty.iLifeTech/Amazon

There’s a good chance that anyone with a pet (or just an intense dislike for lint) has lint-rolled their way through countless sticky sheets. iLifeTech’s reusable roller boasts “the power of glue,” which doesn’t wear off even after you’ve washed it. Each one also comes with a 3-inch travel-sized version, so you can stay fuzz-free on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Countertop Compost Bin; $23

Like a tiny Tin Man for your table.Epica/Amazon

Even if you keep a compost pile in your own backyard, it doesn’t make sense to dash outside every time you need to dump a food scrap. A countertop compost bin can come in handy, especially if it kills odors and blends in with your decor. This 1.3-gallon pail does both. It’s made of stainless steel—which matches just about everything—and contains an activated-charcoal filter that prevents rancid peels and juices from stinking up your kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fabric-Softening Dryer Balls; $17

Also great for learning how to juggle without breaking anything.Smart Sheep

Nobody likes starchy, scratchy clothes, but some people might like blowing through bottles of fabric softener and boxes of dryer sheets even less. Smart Sheep is here to offer a solution: wool dryer balls. Not only do they last for more than 1000 loads, they also dry your laundry faster. And since they don’t contain any chemicals, fragrances, or synthetic materials, they’re a doubly great option for people with allergies and/or sensitive skin.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Rechargeable Batteries; $40

Say goodbye to loose batteries in your junk drawer.eneloop/Amazon

While plenty of devices are rechargeable themselves, others still require batteries to buzz, whir, and change the TV channel—so it’s good to have some rechargeable batteries on hand. In addition to AA batteries, AAA batteries, and a charger, this case from Panasonic comes with tiny canisters that function as C and D batteries when you slip the smaller batteries into them.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Cozy Pajama Sets for Christmas Morning

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Christmas morning is always exciting, but it’s even more fun when you get to wake up wearing brand-new pajamas. We’ve combed the internet to find 10 pajama sets and slippers that will make this year’s Christmas one for the books (or the family Christmas card).

1. Fa La La Llama Pajama Pants; $24

Lazy Ones/Amazon

These punny pajamas pants are available in matching sizes for your whole family—even your dog! Get the matching pajama shirt here, or find other variations designed for men, children, and babies.

Buy it: Amazon

2. The Grinch Onesie; $23-$45

Dr. Seuss/Amazon

Not everyone is full of cheer or pep on Christmas morning. If you’re more of, well, a grinch during the holiday season, let your pajamas reflect your inner mood. This fuzzy onesie comes in sizes for women, men, children, and toddlers, making them a perfect gift for the whole family.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Christmas Elf Slippers with Bell; $23

Slumberzzz/Amazon

“These slippers require a certain person to wear them,” says one reviewer. To pull these off, you need to have an unconditional love for Christmas, the reviewer says, and you can’t be afraid of occasional laughs. But you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd (and have super cozy feet!).

Buy it: Amazon

4. 2020 Pajama Set; $10-$25

Fudule Christmas/Amazon

Nothing says 2020 quite like an illustration of Santa in a mask, carrying a gift bag full of hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper. Commemorate this extremely unusual year with a pajama set that’s available in sizes for women, men, children, and babies. In true 2020 form, each pajama set also comes with a matching fabric mask.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Custom Photo Pajamas; $38

Veelu/Amazon

Design your own personalized pajamas for a gift that your family is certain to remember for years to come. Using Amazon’s customization feature, you can upload any picture of your choosing—whether it’s an adorable photo of a family pet or a wacky snapshot of yourself. But if personalized pajamas aren’t your style, we’ve also compiled a list of 10 other customizable gifts that might be more up your alley.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Snowman Onesie; $35

Silver Lilly/Amazon

With its stretchy wrist and ankle cuffs and attached red scarf, this super-soft onesie will keep you from getting frosty on cold winter nights. It’s available in four unisex sizes, but reviewers recommend sizing up if you’re in between two options.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Matching Family Santa Pajama Set; $21-$54

Pajama Graham/Amazon

Turn every member of your family (including your pets!) into a doppelgänger of jolly old Saint Nicholas himself. These pajamas are made from 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex jersey, meaning they'll be super soft to wear all day long. Add a Santa hat and a faux beard to complete the look.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Ugly Christmas Santa Slippers; $20

Ugly Christmas Slippers/Amazon

These goofy slippers pair well with any set of Christmas pajamas. Plus, the soft faux fur and cushioned padding make them super cozy for trips around the house.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Let it Snow Color-In Pajamas; $40

Uncommon Goods

Creative kids will love being able to color their own pajamas. This polyester shirt and pant set comes with seven markers and a practice coloring sheet so kids can work out their designs before moving over to the fabric. To set the colors, an adult will need to iron the set right after coloring and air cure flat for 24 hours.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

10. Sloth Onesie; $36-$45

Alexander Del Rossa/Amazon

This cozy fleece onesie is perfect for the person who tends to feel a little sleepy and slothful on Christmas morning. With a drawstring hoodie and two cozy pockets, this onesie will keep you so warm and snug that you won’t want to move at all. Are you in search of other gifts for the sloth fan in your life? Check out our list here.

Buy it: Amazon

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