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If you're not sure where to start, don't sweat it—the experts here at Reviewed are bringing you our favorite products that we've put to the test ahead of this football season. From coolers that keep your refreshments chilled to soundbars that enhance your watching experience, here are 10 must-have products you can get your hands on before the next game.
1. A dependable 4K TV that won't break the bank
As one of our favorite TVs at a stellar value, the TCL 55-Inch 5 Series will satisfy most folks’ television-watching needs, especially for those who are looking to upgrade to a 4K/HDR TV for the first time. This TCL is as good as it gets when it comes to TVs in this price range—and while it may not have all the bells and whistles of a much more expensive model, we found that it provides a dependable performance with up-to-date 4K quality visuals.
But it gets even better: The TCL 5-Series is a Roku TV, meaning it has everything we love about Roku streaming devices already built into the system. This means you’ll have access to a vast library of apps like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ already installed on the 5-Series, along with must-have sports channels like ESPN, NFL, NBC Sports and so much more.
Whether you’re watching Sunday Night Football with friends or staying in for a movie night with family, this TV is any deal-hunters dream.
2. A streaming device for easy access to a variety of sports channels
Speaking of Roku—if you haven’t gotten your hands on a streaming device for the home, you’re missing out on an organized and convenient way to access all your favorite TV shows, movies, and of course, football game programming. We've tested plenty of major players in the streaming device competition like Apple TV 4K, Fire TV Stick 4K and Google Chromecast, but none have impressed us as much as the latest Roku Ultra did.
The Roku Ultra features a smart, intuitive remote that other brands just don't have—it features built-in app shortcuts that can also be programmed to your personal liking, along with voice control for a more modern way of controlling your TV. You'll also get access to an easy-to-use interface where you can scroll through all the Roku channels and apps to find the entertainment that's right for the night
3. A streaming service to watch the game
After you've secured your crystal-clear 4K TV and streaming stick, there's still one more step to take before you're watching the game in high-definition—a streaming subscription. One of the best streaming services to check out if you're a sports fan is Amazon Prime Video. You can watch baseball, basketball and, most recently, football. Plus, you can also watch sports-related videos like interviews and the NFL's first-ever comedy show, The Pile On. If that wasn't reason enough to get Prime Video, you should know that it’s bundled with an Amazon Prime account so if you have one, you have the other.
4. A tumbler to keep your beverages ice cold
The Yeti brand has a cult following—and for good reason. Yeti's stainless steel tumblers are one of its most-coveted products as it actually keeps drinks perfectly hot or cold for hours. When testing out a variety of water bottles, we found the Yeti Rambler Stainless Steel Bottle to stand out from the pack as the best water bottle for outdoor use considering its powerful insulation material.
Besides keeping your drinks at that perfect temperature, the Yeti Rambler is ultra-durable, dishwasher safe and seriously stylish, with plenty of colors to choose from. No matter if you're sipping beverages on the couch while watching the game or at the first fall tailgate of the season, the Yeti Rambler is a must-have.
5. A soft cooler for stowing your beverages and snacks to tailgates
While keeping your current beverage of choice ice cold is essential, you'll want to make sure the rest of your drinks, your snacks and any ice you've packed stay just as cold. Out of all the lunch coolers we've ever tested, the Coleman 9-can Soft-Sided Cooler is a level above the rest for its small yet mighty cooling performance.
In our testing, the Coleman 9-can cooler maintained temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for about six and a half hours, a seriously impressive time frame that'll guarantee cold, refreshing drinks for a small backyard gathering to a stadium-level tailgate. The cooler is also a stellar choice for storage, with plenty of pocket options for packing drinks, sandwiches and cutlery with a breeze. It even features a removable hard liner that can be used for additional cushion and protection for your belongings.
6. An air fryer for crispy, delicious appetizers and meals
The air fryer has rapidly become a staple among kitchens everywhere as an alternative to deep-frying and convection oven cooking, producing delectably crispy and crunchy foods in just a matter of minutes. When gameday calls for crisp chicken wings, french fries and any fried appetizer in between, having an air fryer as your sidekick makes cooking restaurant-level food easier than ever before.
At Reviewed, we've tirelessly tested several brands and models of air fryers to find the best ones on the market—and we found that the Philips Premium Airfryer XXL is the best one you can buy. As the most user-friendly air fryer we tested, the Philips always came out on top with consistently crispy and crunchy food, even when loaded up with a large family-sized amount of food. Plus, the fryer comes with a recipe book full of meal inspiration, just in case you were looking for a new snack to bring to the table this football season.
7. A quality soundbar for phenomenal game time narration
What's good picture quality for your TV without great sound to match? Immerse yourself in the game from the comfort of your home with a top-rated soundbar. Don't think a soundbar needs to be a hefty investment—there are plenty of quality soundbars you can get for under $200, including the Polk Audio Signa S2, one of our top choices for an affordable soundbar.
The Signa S2 boasts all the right features and functionality fit for most households, like an external subwoofer, Bluetooth streaming and different modes for movies, music or nighttime watching. The soundbar itself is glossy and durable, allowing it to blend in nicely with the rest of your set-up. And at $179, you really can't beat this exceptional value.
8. A cast iron skillet for crowd-pleasing, delectable dips
Cast iron skillets: These kitchen staples are just about as classic in American culture as football is. As an incredibly versatile and long-lasting tool that can be passed down to future generations, cast iron skillets are great for searing meat, deep-frying crispy chicken, simmering chili or even baking a sweet skillet cookie.
We've intensively tested plenty of cast iron skillets at Reviewed, with the Lodge Chef Collection 12-Inch scoring our number one spot for its non-stick capabilities and easy-to-handle design. While most traditional cast iron skillets are on the heavier side, the Lodge Chef Collection skillet is surprisingly lightweight, making it easy to cook with and pack away for tailgates or game day parties at other households. For cooking up a delicious dip or classic baked cornbread, this cast iron skillet is a must.
9. A meat subscription service for game day chicken wings and ribs
Having all the right kitchen on tools doesn't mean much if you don't have quality food to cook with it. Quintessential appetizers and meals include home grilled burgers, savory chicken wings, loaded nachos or even a rack of juicy ribs. Instead of visiting a packed grocery store before or on game day, we'd recommend trying out a meat subscription service like Crowd Cow, which brings quality, sustainable, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat from independent ranchers and farmers right to your door.
We put the popular meat subscription service to the test by ordering a pound of ground beef, a 16 oz. bone-in ribeye steak and an 8 oz. sirloin steak. While the food comes frozen at your doorstep, make no mistake that the meat still retains its freshness and taste—all of the meats were deliciously juicy and of great quality. With plenty of cuts to choose from (whether through their subscription service or ordering à la carte), fast shipping, and sustainable packaging, Crowd Cow is the crowd-pleasing solution for all your game day grub. Try the organic free-range or pasture-raised chicken, or maybe the St. Louis spareribs for the perfect Sunday night meal.
10. Merch to show your team spirit
Thanks to the NFL Shop, you don't have to go to the stadium to rock your favorite team's swag. You can show your love for the game right at home with merch delivered to your door. From jerseys to hats, the NFL Shop has everything you could ever want to express your team pride, including customizable apparel with your name on it. The site even offers collectibles like helmet cases and signed footballs.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Football season essentials: The top products for tailgates and parties