Summer is officially underway! If you already have beach trips and backyard gatherings lined up, you'll likely need a few things to make sure things go as smooth as possible.
Consumer Reports already did all of the work for you when it comes to finding the best summer essentials. From insect repellents to speakers for your summer bash, Consumer Reports Digital Lifestyle Editor Elliot Weiler joined TODAY with Hoda & Jenna to share eight must-haves for enjoying the season.
Keep reading to discover top-rated sunscreens, beach accessories and more.
Best beach accessories
Once you fill this vinyl base up with sand (up to 120 pounds of it), it acts as its own weighted anchor and should keep your umbrella in place on a windy beach day. If you don't quite have the arm strength to twist a beach umbrella into the ground, Consumer Reports says this is a solid option.
Rated "best overall" in its category, you can use the shovel end of this pick to dig a hole in the ground and then fill it in with sand to secure it in place. CR notes, however, that this model did require some work to take it out of the ground in order to pack it up.
Best Bluetooth speakers
With an overall good rating for sound quality and good bass impact and definition, Consumer Reports picks this speaker for its ease of use and sound. CR notes that the bass doesn't go that deep and that it does a "so-so job of recovering room ambience," but the installation process and the ability to switch between audio sources were both easy.
Ranked as a "Best Buy" for portable speakers, this Bluetooth speaker comes in four different colors that deliver good overall sound and a surprising amount of power. CR notes that it would be worth using to play music and TV or movie soundtracks. The exterior is water-resistant, according to the brand, and it also features an analog input for devices that aren't compatible with Bluetooth.
CR's pick for best sunscreen lotion is this "melt-in milk" from La Roche-Posay. They found that, like the Sun Bum spray below, it provides broad spectrum coverage but falls short on its SPF 60 promise, receiving a rating "Very Good" for sun protection in the CR lab. It's on the thinner side and has a slight aroma, but only left behind a moderate amount of film and sheen on testers' skin.
CR says this sunscreen provides "very good" broad spectrum protection in their tests, but doesn't quite fulfill its promise of an SPF 50 rating. It has a slight tropical scent some folks might enjoy, but does leave behind a bit of an "oily film" on your skin, according to CR.
Best insect repellents
If you're looking for a deet-free repellent, this spray is "one of the best-performing of any that CR has tested," Consumer Reports said. Its active ingredient — oil of lemon eucalyptus — helps offer protection from mosquitoes and ticks, without damaging clothing or other fabrics and materials, according to CR testers.
Earning a rating of "Excellent" for protection against mosquitoes (thanks to the 30 percent deet formula) these wipes were a top-performer in the CR lab. However, the rating for their tendency to damage clothing was average, so be sure to patch test before you use them all over.
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