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Fall is my favorite season without a doubt. Crisp weather, comfy sweaters, work commutes that don't leave me dripping in sweat... it feels amazing. But with the dropping temperatures comes a rise in colds and the flu. It's a small price to pay to enjoy such a delightful season, but that doesn't mean you have to suffer every time you start to get the sniffles.
In addition to whatever medicine or home remedy you prefer, there are plenty of things out there that are amazing to have when you're under the weather. You'd be surprised how much better you feel when you're laid up under one of the best comforters, breathing in warm, humid air from the top humidifier money can buy.
To help you make the most of your sick days, I put together a list of 15 top-quality products that can speed your recovery, or at least make it as comfortable as possible. Virtually all of the items in this list have been rigorously tested by our experts and outperformed their competitors, so if you do see something you want, you can be sure it'll work as advertised.
1. An electric kettle so you can drink endless tea
Tea is a 100% must-have when you're sick. And an electric kettle makes it even easier to brew cup after cup. Cuisinart makes the best kettle we've ever tested. Not only can you choose the perfect temperature for the type of tea you're making, but it beeps when it's ready and stay warm in case you fall asleep before you can pour a cup. An electric kettle is also great to pre-heat water for instant soup or pasta or a hot water bottle.
2. A humidifier to help you breathe better
One of my least favorite parts of having a cold is the cough that can linger for weeks. To combat this, I crank my humidifier into high gear. You can use it all day if you want, but I usually just run mine at night. I also use it every night during the dry winter months because I’m convinced it helps me feel better (I have zero idea if this is the case, but I also didn’t get sick at all last winter so I’m going to keep doing it).
If you don’t have one already, the best humidifier we’ve ever tested is a good choice, especially because it gives off a warm mist that’s sure to be a comfort when you’re stuck in bed with a cold.
3. A comforter because you’re going to spend a lot of time in bed
When you get a cold, the best "medicine" is lots of rest. If you're going to spend that much time in bed, it helps to have a comfy blanket to snuggle under. We recently tried out all the most popular, and found that this affordable opton from LinenSpa is one of the best comforters that won't break the bank.
4. A mask so you can rest during the day
Unless you accidentally took too much Dayquil, or you still enjoy the sleeping habits of a teenager, resting during the day can be a struggle. Your body isn’t used to it, there’s more noise, the sun’s out...but when you’re sick, sleep is a must.
Instead of relying on medicine to make you groggy enough to get some shut-eye (or in addition to), reach for one of the best sleep masks and . Blocking out light will help you convince/trick your body that it’s time to sleep.
We named this sleep mask our absolute favorite because it stays put all night and the formed cup shape creates some space so your eyes aren’t smooshed in fabric. And these earplugs? Well, they are not only superb at blocking out sound, but they’re comfortable and super cheap too.
5. Earplugs to give you peace and quiet
Just as bright light can keep you from getting that much needed shut-eye, loud sounds are just as distracting. Whether your kids are running around the house and, you know, being kids, or you live on a busy street or the neighbor is remodeling their kitchen (for the 50th time, Karen!), it’s good to have earplugs handy. These are the best pair of ear plugs we've tried. They block out sound, they're comfortable, and you can get a few or a ton for cheap.
6. A water bottle with a straw to stay hydrated
When you’re sick, lifting your hand to sip some water can be exhausting. But you really need to hydrate so you can get better faster. A water bottle, especially one with a straw, is handy because you can leave it in the bed with you all day.
When we tested all the best water bottles, we loved that this one came with a straw for easier sipping. It also hold 25 ounces of water, which means less trips to refill it. For under $15, it’s definitely a purchase you won’t regret, whether you have a cold or you’re healthy as ever.
7. More tissues than you think you’ll need
We’re actually in the midst of testing all the best tissues right now, and while we haven’t yet found the winner, Kleenex is one of the front runners (along with Puffs). We recommend this eight-pack of 130-tissue boxes, as it's a great price and has enough tissues to get you through at least one or two colds.
8. A blender for smoothies when you're hungry but don't want to eat
When you're sick, it can be hard to even think about food, let alone eat it. If you have a blender, you can whip up a healthy smoothie to get all the nutrients you need. This is the best affordable blender we've ever tried, and it's great at crushing ice, blending fruits and veggies into smoothies, and even making nut butters (if that's what you're craving).
9. A juicer for fresh-squeezed beverages
Juice is one of those comforts people crave when they're sick, but the bottled stuff is either full of added sugars or super overpriced because it's "organic." If you want something fresh, a juicer can help. This Black + Decker model is the best affordable juicer we've used, so even if you only use it when you or a family member gets sick (or if you decide to save it for your next brunch party), it's well worth the cost.
10. A pressure cooker for soup in an instant
When you get sick, the last thing you want to do is stand around in the kitchen. A pressure cooker makes it insanely easy to whip up a whole heap of steaming chicken soup. I love this recipe from Damn Delicious, and it's even easier if you splurge on precut veggies. You're sick, you deserve it.
While everyone talks about the Instant Pot, we actually found that the Crock-Pot version performed exactly the same, earning it the title of best electric pressure cooker.
11. A slow cooker so you don’t have to worry about dinner
If you don't have or want to buy a pressure cooker, a slow cooker can be super handy too. You can dump all your ingredients into the pot in the morning, sleep all day, and have dinner ready when you are. This one from Hamilton Beach is the best affordable slow cooker we've tested, and the locking lid is great if you're delivering soup to one of you sick loved ones.
12. A heated blanket so you can cozy up anywhere that's comfy
When you're feeling better enough to drag yourself out of bed and onto the couch, you should still stay cozy. A heated throw is the perfect way to stay warm. While we haven't tested heated blankets officially, I have one of these at home. It's simple, but I love it, especially for the price. It has three heat settings (low, medium, and high) and auto shuts off after a couple hours so you can doze without worry. And it's super soft and cuddly.
13. A space heater for extra warmth to ward off the chills
Whether your bedroom is a bit drafty or you’re waiting as long as humanly possible to turn on the heat, a space heater can help warm your bones when you’ve got a cold.
Most of the models you’ll come across require you to curl up in front of them to benefit from their warmth. The best space heater we’ve ever tested, however, not only warms up the air in front of it, but can raise the temperature of the whole room without issue.
14. An oil diffuser so you can enjoy getting your sense of smell back
An aromatherapy diffuser can be great to run while you're under the weather. You can use calming scents to help get you ready for sleep or try oils that can help clear your nasal passages, like eucalyptus. We ranked InnoGear's as the best essential oil diffuser because it's got a larger tank so you can run it longer than others. The color-changing lights are also great for lighting that won't blind you in the middle of the night.
15. A dehumidifier if it's actually just allergies
If what you thought was a cold is actually allergies or aggravated asthma symptoms, a humidifier will only make things worse. For this, you’d want a dehumidifier that dries out the air. We found that this one from LG removed more moisture from the air than all the others we tested, earning it the title of the best dehumidifier of 2018. Dehumidifiers are not cheap, but they can make a huge difference in the air quality of your home.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.