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9 game-changing home products of 2021

One of the things we think a lot about here at Popular Science is how to do more with less. That often means repurposing scraps, finding out-of-the-box solutions, or simply stocking our homes with products singularly capable of making our lives easier. This year, the best home products include a utility knife that turns into a scraper, a robotic vacuum-mop that knows how to avoid wetting your carpet, and shingles that very well could contain recycled asphalt from your neighbor’s old roof.

Anyone living with a long-haired person or pet knows all-too-well the struggle of clearing a vacuum brush head after a thorough cleaning. Those formerly luscious locks love to loop, loop, loop around the rotating cylinder until it’s so clogged you have to wield scissors or a utility knife to free it—barely able to tell which bristles are built in and which used to be on someone’s dome. Dyson solved this modern woe by eschewing the standard tubular brush head shape for a cone inspired by the ancient design of Archimedes’ screw. Pop one of these onto the end of a compatible Dyson vacuum (including the V8, V10, V11, Outsize, and V15) and those obnoxious hairs will find it harder to hang on. As the screw spins, it funnels follicle-grown filaments off its skinniest end, where the bristles are also softer to shake off any hairy grasps. There, they’re helpless against the suction of the vacuum—leaving more hair in the dustbin and less cleanup when you should be done cleaning.

A utility knife is a toolbox must-have. A scraper is much more specialized, but there are plenty of jobs—say cleaning up paint on and around a window—that demand both. ToughBuilt’s first-of-its-kind cutter morphs into a scraper. Press the button on the side of this 6.5-inch-long tool and push it forward to unsheathe the razor; keep going and the blade will flick 90 degrees, locking in place for scraping. There’s also a paint-can opener on the back for when you need it.

Traditional ice cream makers can spend 20 to 40 minutes churning ingredients into the tasty treat we all love. The Ninja Creami spits out its chilled desserts in just 5 minutes. Drop frozen ingredients like fruit into one of the machine’s pint containers, and the appliance shaves them into fine ice particles that match the creamy texture of a well-made dairy delight. When it comes to recipes, you’re essentially limited only by your imagination—if you can freeze it, it’s dessert.

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