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FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!
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Best Budget-Friendly: Makion Halloween Lights
Let’s talk pumpkin lights!
When it comes to these lights, we realize they have several uses. Some folks are looking for lights for actual pumpkins—for that spooky, flickering effect. Other folks want a string of pumpkin lights for an indoor display . . . or pumpkin lights on stakes to light a sidewalk.
We tried out various pumpkin lights, which can get rather pricey. But there is good news: Makion’s pumpkin lights are both bright and cheery . . . at a price that is easy on the wallet.
What We Liked
• Super cute! And quite bright.
• LED lights are cool to the touch.
• Use 2 AA batteries.
• Can be used inside or out.
• Perfect size. Each pumpkin is about the size of a golf ball.
What Needs Work
• Assembly required.
• Battery box is not weatherproof. So while you can put these lights outside, you will need to protect the battery compartment from moisture.
Best Lights With Timer/Remote
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Best Lights With Timer/Remote: HOME MOST 2-Pack Halloween Pumpkin Lights with Remote/Timer
Tea lights are great to use for pumpkins . . . but what if you only want to light the pumpkin for a few hours at night? Wouldn’t it nice to have a timer function? Or a remote to turn the light on and off?
Home Most’s 2-pack of pumpkin lights is our pick for this scenario—especially if you have large pumpkins that are difficult to move around. Or are outside and you’d prefer to turn on and off the lights from the comfort of your home.
We found these lights easy to use and versatile . . . you can chose a flicker effect or steady glow.
What We Liked
• Adjustable brightness.
• Timer works for 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours.
• Infrared control works from 20 feet away.
• Warm, yellow glow.
What Needs Work
• Batteries not included. These lights work on 3 AAA batteries.
• Not waterproof. So you may want to use these for pumpkins that are protected from rain, such as on a deck.
• Could be a bit brighter, in our opinion.
Best Pumpkin String Lights
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Best Pumpkin String Lights: Kailedi’s Halloween Lights
We tried out various pumpkins string lights before picking Kailedi’s string of 20 pumpkin lights as the best bet—affordable yet so cute. Here’s more:
What We Liked
• LED bulbs stay cool.
• Flashing or steady mode.
• Pumpkins are waterproof (but battery compartment isn’t).
What Needs Work
• Small in size.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.
Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!
About the Authors: Denise & Alan Fields
Denise & Alan Fields have made a career out of chronicling life’s milestones: getting married, buying a home and raising kids.
As best-selling authors, the Fields have written a series of best-selling consumer guides, including Baby Bargains (over two million copies in print).
With detailed reviews and recommendations of cribs, strollers and car seats, Baby Bargains has helped multiple generations of parents pick out the best gear for baby since 1994
Inside, Baby Bargains, you’ll find:
• CHEAT SHEETS for your baby registry―create a baby registry in minutes with our good, better, best ideas.
• SEVEN THINGS no one tells you about baby gear, from nursery furniture to feeding baby.
• Dozens of SAFETY TIPS to keep baby safe and affordably
baby proof your home.
Co-author Denise Fields is one half of the team that wrote the beloved baby care series, Baby 411.
Covering pregnancy, baby and toddler years, the Baby 411 series is both fun to read and informative—the inside scoop on your child’s growth, development and health.
Think of it as the ultimate FAQ for new parents:
• Sleep. The best way to get your baby to sleep through the night.
• First aid—when to worry, when not to . . . and what to do when baby gets sick. No-nonsense, down-to-earth advice you can trust.
• Fussy baby 411. Is it colic? Acid reflux? Or something else? Discover the secrets to soothing a fussy baby.
• Detailed nutrition info with a step-by-step guide for successful breastfeeding, introducing solid food and the ‘‘new and improved’’ formulas. Plus: simple steps to avoid food allergies!
Raised in Loveland, Colorado, Denise Fields caught the writing bug early in life. She won awards for her essays at the tender age of 12, all while tending her family’s pet donkey at a farm in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.
Fields received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado before co-founding a publishing company in Austin, Texas in 1988.
As the co-author of 23 books, Fields has written extensively on consumer topics, including real estate, parenting and children’s products.
A frequent guest on television, radio and online, Fields has been cited as an expert source by the New York Times, who hailed her Baby Bargains book as “the Bible of baby gear.”
Fields also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and on TV shows like Good Morning America and the NBC Today Show.
Alan Fields grew up in Dallas, Texas before attending the University of Colorado and receiving a Bachelor of Science degree.
Fields worked both in newspapers and radio before launching a career as a book author.
Together with Denise, Fields moved to Austin, Texas where Fields received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Colorado.
Fields co-founded Windsor Peak Press, a boutique publishing company now based in Boulder, CO.
As a consumer advocate and money-saving expert, Fields has been quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times and even People Magazine.
Denise & Alan Fields talking money-saving tips with Katie Couric.
How We Come Up With Recommendations
Let’s talk about how we pick products to recommend.
In a world full of influencers paid to shill a product, you deserve unbiased recommendations based on solid research and testing.
That’s why we are here.
Here’s three reasons why folks trust our recommendations and advice when it comes to selecting products for your home and family:
We have been researching, reviewing and rating products for families and the home since 1994. (Yes, that long!). This is what we do—we obsess about gear so you don’t have to.
We have many fine competitors online but we challenge you to find one who has as much experience in the family category as Baby Bargains. Go ahead, we’ll wait right here.
We do hands-on research.
What does that mean?
How we research varies by the product category. For some products used in a home, we purchase them with our own money (no freebies) and test them in-house.
Example: for a review on the best vanilla bean paste (part of our series on baking products), we compare the thickness of several brands in our test kitchen:
For other recommendations, we tap our vast readership (our books have 3 million copies in print) for their feedback. We look for real-world product reports from our readers to narrow down the vast field of choices in many categories.
To keep things fair, we also do blind taste tests when it comes to items like food. We’ll gather a panel of ramen enthusiasts, for example, and then have them chow down on mystery bowls to see which scores best.
To get insights beyond our own testing and reader feedback, we interview industry experts to get the inside scoop on what separates a quality product from an inferior choice.
Finally, we regularly meet one on one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. On a recent trip to a Ohio, we visited the factory that makes mattresses we review to watch the manufacturing process:
The result of all this effort: you get the most reliable gear reviews you can find, online or off.
We aim to give you additional insight beyond what you can find yourself via online descriptions and reviews.
How do we get to do this? That brings us to reason number 2 . . .
Let’s do something you won’t hear from our competitors: we’re going to tell you exactly how we make money.
We make a living from sales of our print books and affiliate commissions. What does that mean? When you purchase a recommended product that is linked in an article, we may get a small commission.
Do you see anything missing? That’s right—we do NOT take money from the brands we review. No cash, no free samples, no gift baskets. When we fly to see a manufacturer’s factory, we pay ALL of our travel expenses. The result: we tell you how it really is.
Let’s talk about a dirty secret of influencers who “review” gear. Many take free product to give away in contests. Others accept samples in exchange for a review. Some insist on cash.
That compromises independence, in our opinion.
To keep it real, we insist on being independent from the brands we review.
Want to see something really scary? Take a look at this:
Yes, that my friends, is a luggage scale. It strikes fear and terror in the hearts of a certain group of people—baby stroller makers.
That’s because stroller makes often brag about how little their strollers weigh, knowing that’s a key feature consumers look for. Lightweight strollers are preferred over those that weigh more than 25 lbs.
So here’s our secret sauce: we carry a portable luggage scale with us when we evaluate new strollers. And wouldn’t you know it? The ACTUAL weight of strollers is often more than what marketers state. Surprised?
It’s that little bit of fact checking that separates Baby Bargains from other gear review sources. Most simply take the maker’s word on a stroller’s weight. We verify.
We take that same approach to all the products we review, aiming to produce thorough research that goes deeper than our competitors.
So there you have it—who we are, how we got here and how we come up with our recommendations. As always, we value your feedback, so drop us a line via our web page or social media channels. Thanks in advance for your support.
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