15 Wirecutter Picks Made by Small Businesses

15 Wirecutter Picks Made by Small Businesses

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With so many indie enterprises working hard to stay afloat in 2020, this retail holiday (now in its eleventh year) may be more essential than ever. To help with your Small Business Saturday shopping list, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite picks that you can purchase directly from the smaller brands that make and sell them.

Cornhole boards and bags for serious (and seriously fun) play

AllCornhole Tournament Series Cornhole Boards
Photo: Signe Brewster

AllCornhole Tournament Series Cornhole Boards ($200 at the time of publication)

AllCornhole GameChanger Cornhole Bags (from $100 at the time of publication)

Tossing kernel-filled, palm-sized beanbags into a slanted, wooden board with a hole cut out of its raised end has become a ubiquitous tradition at backyard BBQs, tailgating events, and even outdoor weddings across the country. (It’s not a bad way to spend a socially distanced Saturday with a few friends, either.) After surveying cornhole pros and letting amateurs take a test drive, we determined that AllCornhole’s GameChanger Cornhole Bags and Tournament Series Cornhole Boards are the best around. The regulation-size birch board boasts a smooth finish and built-in cross beams to minimize bounce (making it the board of choice at the American Conrhole League national championship), while the bags enhance a player’s game so much that they’re often referred to as “cheater bags.”

Read more about our best gear for cornhole.

A reliable, all-purpose 3D printer

Prusa i3 MK3S
Photo: Signe Brewster

Prusa i3 MK3S ($750 at the time of publication)

Used to make everything from children’s toys to jewelry and tools to frontline workers’ face shields (this year, at least), a 3D printer is a futuristic gizmo that follows your inputted design commands and squeezes out layers of molten plastic accordingly. Whether you’re a 3D printer novice or a near pro, the Prusa i3 MK3S will quickly become your trusty workhorse. It’s super-quiet, easy to set up, compatible with a huge range of plastics, relatively inexpensive to operate, and (perhaps best of all) produces the largest and best-looking prints of all the machines we tested.

Read more about our 3D printer picks.

Top-notch linen

Rough Linen St. Barts linen robe
Photo: Michael Hession

Rough Linen St. Barts linen robe ($119 at the time of publication)

Rough Linen Smooth tablecloth ($100 at the time of publication)

Impeccable quality never goes out of style. Out of the 22 tablecloths we tested for our guide to the best napkins and tablecloths, nothing came close to the soft, relaxed drape of the Rough Linen Smooth Tablecloth. It’ll lend your table a seamless look that’s equally beautiful when rumpled-up for a dressed-down family dinner, or crisply pressed for special gatherings. As for the Rough Linen St. Barts robe, it was the lightest and softest we tried for our guide to the best robes, with a soft texture, good fit, and breathable, 100% linen fabric.

Read our guides to the best robes and the best napkins and tablecloth.

Affordable, accurate meat thermometers

Photo: Sarah Kobos

ThermoWorks ThermoPop ($34 at the time of publication)

ThermoWorks Dot ($34 at the time of publication)

Few kitchen tools can level up your cooking game more easily than a high-quality meat thermometer. (No more raw chicken or hockey-puck steak!) After testing more than 35 digital, instant-read and probe thermometers this year, our guide writer picked out these two from ThermoWorks as the best for most home cooks. Both are fast, accurate, and reasonably priced, with clear, easy-to-read displays and a temperature range from -58°F to 572 °F. While the Dot can be attached to a grill or smoker or left inside a roast as it bakes, the ThermoPop is waterproof and designed for both righties and lefties.

Read more about our favorite instant-read thermometers.

Snazzy bags for eco-conscious shoppers

Junes Carry-All 3-Pack
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Junes Carry-All 3-Pack ($14 at the time of publication)

Everyone’s got way more reusable shopping bags than they need these days, probaby stuffed into a closet or under a sink; the problem is, none of them look nice. Junes’ colorful mesh bags are so attractive (not to mention well-made and sturdy) that you may find yourself using them to tote plenty of other stuff besides groceries and produce. The ones we tested in late 2019 were machine-washable and manufactured from durable nylon (the company has since released a line of bags made from biodegradable fabric, but we haven’t tried them yet).

Read more about the best reusable produce bags.

A beautiful, surprisingly inexpensive rolling pin

Whetstone Woodenware French rolling pin
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Whetstone Woodenware French rolling pin ($28 at the time of publication)

You won’t find a better rolling pin than this hand-turned, hand-finished gem manufactured by a true mom-and-pop business that’s been around since 1991. Made from kiln-dried hard maple that’s sustainably grown and milled 10 miles away from Whetstone’s storefront in Silver Lake, Indiana, the Whetstone Woodenware French rolling pin is a baking essential that earns high marks for its smooth finish, ideal heft, and perfect length (we recommend the 23-inch version), all of which cuts down on the grunt work of dealing with dough.

Read more from our guide to the best rolling pins.

A practically perfect writing pencil

Palomino Blackwing 602
Photo: Rozette Rago

Palomino Blackwing 602 ($25 for a set of 12 at the time of publication)

Treat the old-fashioned wordsmith (or diligent young student) in your life to our upgrade pencil pick, a writing instrument of virtually unsurpassed quality. Our testers raved over the Palomino Blackwing 602, with its rectangular, replaceable eraser, its hexagonal barrel glazed in soft, dark-gray paint, and its faintly woodsy scent (it’s made from incense cedar). It’s pricey for a pencil, but isn’t treating others to nice things they wouldn’t splurge on themselves what the holidays are all about?

Read our guide to the best pencils for writing and schoolwork.

Indie-curated book subscriptions

Page 1 Books
Photo: Page 1 Books

The Book Drop (starting at $7 per month at the time of publication)

Page 1 Books (starting at $22 per month at the time of publication)

Call Number (starting at $23 per quarter at the time of publication)

The Book Drop, operated by Delaware’s independently owned Bethany Beach Books, offers eight monthly subscription choices, including genre-specific, age-specific, and large-print options. We think it’s a great gift for people who want to be surprised by their monthly book selections, which usually come from indie publishers and are chosen by Bethany Beach staff with help from booksellers, publisher reps, book-club members, and an in-store curator.

Page 1 Books, based out of a Chicago-area bookstore of the same name, might be right for those who can’t resist the knickknacks often displayed near a book shop’s register. Your monthly tome, chosen by a Page 1 employee based on your personal preferences, always comes with extra swag like keychains, candles, or tote bags.

Call Number is a quarterly book box founded and curated by an academic librarian with an exclusive focus on Black fiction, non-fiction, indie, and Young Adult literature from Black authors in America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Every delivery comes with a “library packet” that includes a catalog card, spine label, label protector, and logo sticker.

Read our guide to the best book subscription boxes.

Wallets that pack a wallop

Leatherology Thin Bifold Wallet
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Leatherology Thin Bifold Wallet (starting at $65 at the time of publication)

Leatherology Slim Card Case (starting at $40 at the time of publication)

In our guide to the best slim wallet, we rhapsodized that Leatherology’s Thin Bifold is “the platonic ideal of a leather wallet” that “looks and feels more expensive than it actually is.” Beautifully straightforward in style, it’s also a well-functioning accessory that’s simply pleasurable to use, so it’s no surprise that the company (co-founded in Dallas by siblings Rae and David Liu) also makes our pick for the best card holder, the Leatherology Slim Card Case.

Read our guide to the best slim wallets.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: 15 Wirecutter Picks Made by Small Businesses

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