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Top Of The Best Tea Lights Reviewed In 2018

Last Updated March 1, 2019
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Adrian HoffmanHi! My name is Reginald Meyer. After putting in 50+ hours of research and testing, I made a list of the best Tea Lights of 2018 and explained their differences and advantages.

In this article, I will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features. I hope that my Top 10 list will provide you great options in buying the right fit for you.



Feel free to explore the podium, click on the pictures to find out more.



How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the Tea Lights by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – Homemory Pack of 24 Flameless LED Tea Light, Amber Yellow Flickering Bulb, Long Lasting Battery Operated Electric votive candle, Realistic and Bright Faux tealights Dia 1.4

Homemory Pack of 24 Flameless LED Tea Light, Amber Yellow Flickering Bulb, Long Lasting Battery Operated Electric votive candle, Realistic and Bright Faux tealights Dia 1.4
COOL AND ROMANTIC: The flameless flickering LED tea lights are ideal for decorations, It can be used as mood lights night lights with votive holders or other holders like glass cups. You can put the tea light on table or other place in restaurants, home and garden wedding, party, festival decorations.


№2 – Homemory Realistic and Bright Flickering Bulb Battery Operated Flameless LED Tea Light for Seasonal & Festival Celebration, Pack of 12, Electric Fake Candle in Warm White and Wave Open

Homemory Realistic and Bright Flickering Bulb Battery Operated Flameless LED Tea Light for Seasonal & Festival Celebration, Pack of 12, Electric Fake Candle in Warm White and Wave Open
COOL AND ROMANTIC: The flickering bulb flameless LED Tea Lights are ideal for decorations, It can be used as mood lights night lights with votive holders or other holders like glass cups. You can put the battery tealight on table or other place in restaurants, home and garden wedding, party, festival decorations.


№3 – Party Bargains Unscented White Tea Lights | Decorative Candle Burns 3.5 hours, Tea Light Candles for Wedding, Birthdays and all other Decorative Events | Pack of 200

Party Bargains Unscented White Tea Lights | Decorative Candle Burns 3.5 hours, Tea Light Candles for Wedding, Birthdays and all other Decorative Events | Pack of 200
Packing: Jumbo Value Pack 200 count per box
QUALITY: Each tealight candle is crafted of the highest quality Compression
SAFETY: Molded And Set In Aluminum Cups With 100% Cotton Wicks to enhance its appearance and prevent it from dripping or melting away fast, causes the candles to burn clean and smoke-free.


Candles & Candle Holders

The perfect match for every room, beautifully fragranced candles are ideal for the bathroom, making bath time a relaxing and indulgent treat. Add decorative old world charm to the house or garden with our nautical lanterns and hurricane lamps. Choose the daintiest spring flower and tulip tea lights to add a quirky touch for spring. Available in all sizes, from pillar candles and votive candlesticks to tealights. We’ve signature scents for evening and daytime, including Italian lemon, jasmine, English apple, lime blossom, cedarwood and bergamot. Natural materials like clear and frosted glass, wood, rope handles and brass help you achieve just the right level of light and the look you want. Add elegance, light, a beautiful focal point, at home and in the garden with our beautiful candles and holders. For more ways to illuminate your home, take a look at our

Why we love it

The inviting aroma of stepping in from the cold, Winter will instantaneously wrap your senses with its warm, spicy scent. Curl up on an armchair as notes of cinnamon and clove add warmth to your room, while a dash of fresh orange rebalances your mood. These 1scented tealights use high quality mineral wax that’s poured into clear acrylic cups so as not to spoil the look of your glass tealight holders. If you burn them individually, they’ll give off only a subtle scent. For a stronger scent, we suggest you burn at least six tealights at once.


Pillar candles are a more discreet theatrical candle light that creates atmospheric light in churches, outdoors and inside your home. From a choice of 4cm, 5cm and 5cm with timer the massive collection of battery powered LED pillar candles can suit every venue. In a variety of colours, there’s definitely a colour for your mood or grab colour changing to enjoy them all.

The dancing flame collection brings cream LED pillar candles to life. With the flickering flame, mid melt wax finish and a wax coating, these candle are almost real. Compatible with a timer, set the candles to be flickering away when you arrive home.


We always have out of the ordinary items that widen eyes at their fashionable uniqueness that makes them the must-have item this season.

These floating LED tealights follow trend, bringing a spectacular candle light above water. Wonder how they work? That’s easy. With metal activation points on every tealight base, once they touch water, the LED light activates and your candles are lit.

These floating lights are a feature on their own and would make the ultimate table centre at weddings, anniversaries, and seasonal parties. Grab a fancy bowl, fill with water and allow the battery-operated tea lights to bring the centre piece to life.


We don’t stop at the water surface, we go underneath it too. Categorised under tealights, our submersible lights wont have the candle wick nor tealight shape. They do, however, bring a bright light in their small size.

Available in the original colours, white, amber and colour changing; these lights will bring a mesmerising show. Illuminating any under water feature you desire, their fully waterproof design allows them to sit under water all battery life. Set in manor house fountains at weddings or drop in water features at festivals and in your garden. You could even make the punch bowl glow too!


The traditional tapered pillar light is one seen still today, filling candelabras with a regal look. From ceilings, tables to floors, taper candles and their holders are set in and about the house in any place we can find.

Discover these multiple sets of stick candles, readily available is sets of and With some sets including a remote, ignite the battery operated tapers with ease.

Bring a realism of candle light with the wax finished taper church candles. Completing the look with a dripping wax affect, the illusion of burning flame candles will complete the room. Glowing LED amber light in churches, special venues or during festivals, the tall flameless candles can bring a warming happy atmosphere.

Consider our exclusive SafeFlame Battery Candles

These handheld battery candles have a realistic LED light that flickers like a real flame. Creates an amazing effect for your candlelight vigil services. A kid-friendly and flameless alternative for your church service or event.

Scented candles

Make home your sanctuary with our elegant scented candles. Housed in our signature coloured glass and blended in England, they instantly create a warm glow and fill the space with your favourite fragrance.

Whether you need to relax, energise or just need a finishing touch for a dinner party, choose from three sizes and a wide selection of blends to set the tone.

For the ultimate fragranced experience, place the candle in a central part of the room to allow the scent to distribute evenly.

Choose a flat heat resistant surface to avoid accidents.

Trim the wick to about 5mm before lighting to avoid enlarged flame and sooting and maximise the burn time.

The first burn is the most important. Allow the wax to melt across the entire surface before extinguishing the flame to prevent ‘tunnelling’.

Spray liberally into the air and on linen to imbue your home with the world’s finest aromas.

When spraying linen, hold 20cm away and only on washable fabric.

Ardent travellers, mist your suitcase before packing for beautifully scented clothes when you arrive at your destination.

Place the reeds in the bottle and leave them for a minute to absorb the oils.

Invert the reeds to place the ‘dry’ ends in the bottle so that the saturated end is exposed.

Allow 2hours for the fragrance to fill the room or invert the reeds every few hours to speed up the process.

Pair your chosen scented candle or aroma reed diffuser with the matching Home & Linen Mist or create a

Battery powered candles

Candle lights trap the beauty of wax candles in a flameless, permanent battery candle. Flameless LED battery candles arrive in all common shapes, sizes and aromas. Tea lights contain a flame shaped LED bulb which flickers gently to copy the effect of an actual candle.

Battery powered wall sconces

These are present in the stores currently in different assortments of size and style. They are ideal for doorways, porches & outdoors over your house and garden. Decorative wall sconces add to the attractiveness and sophistication of your homes.

Battery Powered LED Tea Light Candles

These battery-powered LED tea light candles are just the right match to be used during parties and events. These LED tea light candles flicker providing an impression of real flame and create a warm ambiance imparting it a romantic touch. These candles are safe to use, they are flame free and smoke-free and are just perfect for candle light dinners as well where you need to worry about illuminating them manually.

Lights are easy to handle and can be switched on and off just with a simple switch. With a light time of 100+ hours, candles are sure to stay longer with us and LED lights can be easily replaced via tab located at the bottom. Unlike other products, candles do not look fake but look like real wax.

Divine LED Flameless Battery Powered Tea Light Candles

If you are fed up of dealing with burned wicks and cleaning candle spills, this battery operated tea light candle is for you! These fake candles are battery operated with a realistic flicker which gives them a look of a real wax candle. These are battery operated and are 100% environment-friendly with zero carbon emission, unlike real candles.

Tea light candles come with installed batteries with a light time of 100+ hours. Batteries can be easily replaced via tab from the bottom. These lights are suitable for most of the votive holders with a votive of X inches.

LED Lytes Flameless Candles

Looking for a battery operated candle which could look like a real wax candle? Your prayers are answered in the form of LED Lytes flameless candles which operate on AAA batteries and come with a two-year guarantee from the manufacturer! The package consists of two candles and amber yellow flame.

The candles flicker like real candles but without any wax spills and burnt wick! It is just a hassle-free alternative to creating a perfect ambiance.

Buying Guide For Battery Operated/Powered Candles/ Battery Operated Tea Lights

Battery operated candles are convenient, safe and attractive over the years. Battery powered candles and tea lights seize the beauty of wax candles in a flameless, permanent battery candle. Desire the romance and mood of candles in your homes and exterior minus the hassle and smoke? Battery operated candles seem like flame lighting candles, instead, they use battery powered LED lights which slowly flicker, resembling an actual wick-burning candle. Tea lights possess a flame fashioned LED bulb flickering softly to copy the effect of an actual candle.

LED battery powered tea lights are excellent for outside gatherings due to non-exposed flame and can last nearly 100 hours with a CR203lithium battery. They carry an on-off switch at the bottom and are employed for weddings, holiday celebrations, party planners and interior designers.


The battery operated candles consist of vanilla scented real wax candle which is inches tall and inches wide. It incorporates an auto on/off timer with the candle automatically turning on daily and switching off after hours. The LED bulb functions for 100,000 hours and the AAA batteries offer over 100 hours of illumination and life of 300 hours. The real wax pillar candle has a realistic LED flame without any soot to tidy up and no wax drip or fire hazard. These battery operated candles can even be lit by a remote control. Wind-proof LED Tealights operate efficiently where fire burning candles falter. The tealights measure 1.inches tall with 1.5-inch diameter and are cool to touch.

Easy to Use

The Flameless battery operated candles will save you the hassles of cleaning candle drips or bother about going to sleep without blowing out the candles. They are perfectly safe without any danger of fire. And you don’t have to worry about dripping wax, smoke or scent. The LED Lytes battery-powered LED tea light candles are totally eco-friendly, they carry 0 carbon emission and prolonged battery life. The candles are available with pre-installed batteries which can be turned on by a simple switch.

Singstek LED Motion Sensor Activated Sconce Wall Light

The Singstek motion sensor lights switch on when motion is sensed and switches off automatically after thirty seconds. There are modes – high, low light and off. The light is patented, of high quality and with long operating life. It is suitable for balcony, corridor or garage.

Z-Edge LED Wall Sconce Light With Motion Sensor

Looking for a motion sensing wall sconce lights? Z-Edge wall sconces night light is the perfect fit! Operated with a set of AA batteries, the lights can lighten up your place for around 1000 cycles. Based on new white LED technology, these highly power saving LEDs flaunt a long life and emit more natural light without any eye damage. The sconce lights can detect motion up to meters. The lights are capable of turning on and off if no motion is detected in 1seconds. Lights do not come with pre-installed batteries.

It’s Exciting Lighting Wall Sconce Lights

This wall sconce light for both indoor and outdoor purposes from It’s Exciting Lighting is a perfect sconce wall light that you can easily hang on with no much ado. The sconce light comes with a timer that switches off automatically after hours and comes with 24-hour memory to save energy. The light flaunts a faux burlwood textured acrylic shade which imparts a good decorating touch to the light. These battery operated lights are powered by LED bulbs with a lifespan of 25,000 hours. The bulbs can emit power up to 150 hours when powered by AA batteries.

ZEEFO Retro Night Light

The energy-efficient LEDs offer super-bright permanent lighting the daylight sensor turns on the light only when dark thereby conserving battery life. The brushed copper appearance base imparts the lamp a graceful feel with the opaque vertically cylindrical lamp saving space and delivering exquisite soft illumination.


The lamps are useful when there is a power outage as it illuminates well using only three AA batteries. It can be used as vanity light or its LED light emits bright light for reading or as a workplace light. As they are wireless, they brighten up areas that lack outlets for immediate illumination. They are also great for offices and camping purposes. Zeefo table lamp makes great bedside lamp and even add stars to your bedroom.

Mr. Beams Weatherproof Battery Powered Outdoor Lights

It has simple wireless installation and a LED light coverage that can span 400 square feet and is powered by D-Cell batteries. The Led spotlight can be turned on and off automatically by the motion sensor. Its 300 Lumen light intensity makes it among the brightest wireless spotlights in the market including the solar models available.

Its battery conserving feature to turning off instantly after 15-20 minutes if there is no movement is an advantage. The LED light can be easily rotated for angle adjustment to make the light shine.

TaoTronics Motion Sensor Outdoor Spotlight

This outdoor spotlight from the house of TaoTronics is what you need to power up your camps and outdoors. The outdoor light is capable of detecting motion and can turn itself on or off by detecting your motion up to 2m with its 120-degree sensor. The outdoor Led lights are weatherproof and are capable of withstanding harsh climate. The lights are powered up by D-cell alkaline batteries. The outdoor lights are capable of lighting up to 400 square feet of coverage with its LEDs that emit 300 lumens of light.

AYL Starlight Camping Lantern

AYL starlight camping lantern is a perfect lantern to rely upon during hiking, camping, outages, hurricanes and other outdoor activities and emergencies. The lantern is shockproof and is powered by long-lasting batteries. The lantern is weatherproof along with shockproof which makes it a perfect pick to be used outdoors. The battery can power 600 lumens Led bulb for days straight when used continuously which makes it a powerful lantern. The lamp comes with lighting mode consisting of flashing strobe, high and low. Depending on your needs and requirements of the lighting, you can adjust the power accordingly.

MalloMe Camping Lantern Flashlight

MalloMe camping lantern flashlight is an ideal lantern to be used during backpacking, hiking, fishing, and during emergencies. The lantern features an ultra-bright 360 degree 12lumen LED which is ROHS approved. The lantern is foldable and easy to carry along. The lantern is available in colors including golden brown, blue, green and black. The LED has a lifespan of 100,000 hours and is a multi-purpose essential for a range of applications.

Tips on Buying Best Battery Operated Outdoor Lights/Camping Lantern

Battery operated outdoor lights cater to a range of purposes. They are the perfect pick during hiking and outdoor activities, in camping and even come handy during emergencies. The ideal outdoor light should be resistant to harsh weather and durable enough. The lantern should also be lightweight, foldable and easy to carry along outside. Here are a few factors that you need to consider in order to make a smart purchase:

Innotech 30 LED String Lights

This battery operated string light with 30 LEDs are perfect for Christmas decoration, indoor wedding decoration, bedroom decoration and birthday parties. The string lights are powered by a battery and are very easy to use. The string light is made up of high-quality material and has low radiation with no pollution at all. They have high brightness and are power saving. The string lights can help you save 70% energy and they flaunt a lifetime which is times the lifetime of an ordinary incandescent string light.

GDealer String Lights

The battery powered string lights are made from top-quality wire material and have brightness and minimal radiation. You just need to place the batteries inside and the light works brilliantly. It has an on/off switch and has a remote control.

Equipped with a timing function, the string lights have a set timer which can keep the lights on for hours on and 1hours off every day. The brightness of the lights can be easily adjusted with its 1keys remote control. The lights come with lighting modes consisting of fade, flash, and strobe. The lights are waterproof and come with 180 days money back guarantee.

Dailyart LED Battery Powered String Light

This string light from the house of Dailyart is 1feet in length and flaunts 40 non-friable globes which are made up of translucent plastic. LEDs are used as bulbs to ensure that the light is bright and eco-friendly. These string lights are powered by a battery and are geared up by a set of AA batteries for charging.

RTGS Sets String Lights Battery Powered

RTGS string light is based on feet ultra thin wire made up of silver which has 1micro LED lights connected to it. The battery of the string lights is not only small and clear but is easy to hide as well. The lights are powered by CR203batteries which come pre-installed with the lights and are capable of providing 2hours of continuous power. The lights can bent, and are sturdy and robust enough to be used for decoration purposes. The lights come with 2-year warranty and come with a promise of long lasting durability.

Factors to consider when buying Battery Operated String Lights

The battery operated String and Christmas lights are ideal for Christmas decoration or Valentine’s Day Party and for both indoor home bedroom or Birthday party. These can be also be used at commercial places and are ideal for use in restaurants or small business. They are waterproof and can enhance any home décor.

Our Bluetooth speaker pick

This all-in-one speaker offers a wide sound stage, with clear, crisp highs and midrange audio and hearty, booming bass, no matter where you set it up in a room or from which angle you listen to it.

Using a smallish Bluetooth speaker allows you to have a dance party in any room and cede control of the decks to your friends with Bluetooth-enabled devices. Our favorite home Bluetooth speaker is the Peachtree Audio Deepblue2.

It’s the one speaker we tested that everyone on our blind-listening panel agreed sounded great—and once the blindfolds came off, that everyone agreed looked good. A Bluetooth speaker won’t be as powerful or rich as a stereo system, but in our tests the Deepbluedelivered full, big sound for the wide variety of music styles we tried. For the price, nothing else can touch it—this model sounds at least 80 percent as good as our upgrade pick, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless, a speaker that sells for hundreds of dollars more.

If you’re interested in filling a much bigger space—or the whole house—you should get our favorite whole-home audio system instead. Or if you’d rather have something that you can move from room to room, and you’re willing to give up a bit of sound quality, get the Riva Turbo X, which is the upgrade pick in our portable speaker guide. —Ganda Suthivarakom

Rule the ambience for guests in every room of the house (no matter how big your palace is) with a whole-home wireless music system. We’ve spent hundreds of hours over several months using six whole-home wireless music systems in every possible room and Sonos is still the best around because it’s super easy to use and set up, and has excellent sound quality for the price.

The best part about a wireless home music system compared with a series of Bluetooth speakers is that it connects directly to the Internet instead of relying on your phone or computer. Just select the music you want to play and the machine will do the rest, freeing up your phone to do other stuff—with no notification sounds or ringtones to interrupt playback. And you can play different music in different rooms, or group them together, all while maintaining independent volume control on each unit. —GS


A good selection of candles can make or break a party’s atmosphere. In a new round of testing this fall, we looked at dozens of candles online and spent several hours on research to determine our top picks.

You can find four main styles of candles: tapers, which are tall and skinny, and stand in candlesticks; pillar candles, which are squat (usually at least to inches in diameter) and come in a variety of heights; votives, which measure about inches tall and inch wide, and go in votive holders; and tea lights, small candles in metal cups that traditionally serve to warm teapots but also make great accent lighting.

For all the candles we tested, we looked for four main things: no dripping (which can ruin candleholders or tablecloths), very little smoke or none at all, no scent to interfere with food on the table, and the length of burn time. (set of three)

With an impressively long burn time of about seven hours, Richland’s Tealight Candles Extended Burn (available in a pack of 100) are our pick. These tea lights gave off the least amount of smoke compared with IKEA Glimma unscented tea lights (sold in a pack of 100) and Waxations Superior Quality Unscented Tea Light Candles (available in a pack of 125). In our test, the IKEA candles burned for only five hours, and their wax turned an unattractive yellow color. The Waxations tea lights had the shortest burn time of four hours and gave off a lot of smoke when extinguished. —Jamie Wiebe, Michael Sullivan

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

In an age when most people experience photos only as pixels on their phones, nothing draws attention at a party like the tactile, retro charm of an instant camera. Our pick for an instant camera is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. Its film is widely available, and the pocket-sized prints make for excellent keepsakes with more-accurate colors and finer detail than its competitors can produce, all in a compact and durable retro design. —GS

The Duralex Picardie survived an 8-foot fall off a roof onto a linoleum floor. It stacks neatly, too, and it costs only a few dollars per glass. (set of six)

After 2hours of research including drop tests onto tile and concrete, plus years of long-term testing, we couldn’t resist picking the Picardie tumbler from French manufacturer Duralex as our favorite drinking glass. While they look elegant enough for the dinner table, they’re versatile enough to sit stacked up on the bar for use as wine or cocktail glasses. You’ll spot these glasses at Paris bistros and Middle Eastern tea shops, making everything from espresso shots to bordeaux look good. During our temperature stress tests, the Picardie tumbler’s tempered glass withstood freezing temps and boiling water, so it’ll work for both hot apple cider and ice water. When we flung the tumblers off an 8-foot roof onto a linoleum floor, they didn’t break, and because they stack well they’re easy to store once your dinner is over.

The 10⅞-ounce size is ideal for smaller portions of juice or warm punch and comes in boxes of six. For water or for tall coolers like iced tea and lemonade, the 16⅞-ounce tumbler (box of six) is big enough to hold your drink and lots of ice, too.

Our champagne glass pick

The Viv doesn’t have the characteristics that make higher-end flutes better than others, namely tulip-shaped bowls, effervescence points, and leaded crystal. For fine dining or an intimate occasion, our favorite high-quality Champagne flute is the Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige, and you can read about it in our full-length guide.

Wine glasses

The Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Glass is ideal for casual drinking and entertaining. Photo: Michael Hession

The best wine glass for hosting parties is the durable Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Wine Glass. This inexpensive, tulip-shaped glass ranked among the top stemware chosen by our experts in our blind taste test. It stood out for showcasing the aromas of both red and white wines well. It’s nicely balanced with a thin lip that doesn’t distract from enjoyment of the overall drinking experience. The Libbey glass has a classic look that makes it appropriate for daily use, or for more formal occasions such as dinners and cocktail parties. It’s also dishwasher-safe, and since it’s so affordably priced, you won’t be heartbroken if one breaks.

If you’re seeking something more elegant to create a polished and formal feel for your dinner table, check out our full-length wine glass guide. —MS for a set of 3

When it comes to having a pitcher of water on the table, we found that simple and cheap is the way to go. The Weck Juice Jar is economical, sturdy, and comfortable to hold. It has a small footprint, and the classic shape blends in well on most dining tables. It comes with a loose-fitting glass lid that’s a little impractical for day-to-day use, but thankfully you can purchase a plastic snap-on lid if you require airtight storage in the refrigerator. Even with the extra lid, though, we can’t recommend storing this jar on its side in case your fridge has limited shelf clearance. —Lesley Stockton

If you want a cobbler shaker

This all-in-one shaker and strainer will be easier to use for novice mixologists. It has less of a tendency to leak than other cobbler-style shakers, and it feels more solidly built.

If you want an all-in-one option, we also like the Usagi Cobbler Shaker. Cobbler-style shakers, which separate into three pieces (a canister, a lid with a strainer, and a cap to cover the holes), are sometimes easier for beginners but generally prone to leaking. The Usagi is the only cobbler shaker we’ve found that doesn’t: In our tests, all three parts remained snug during shaking, yet the parts weren’t so tight as to make breaking the seal difficult. We also appreciate that the Usagi shaker has a little ergonomic indentation in the cap where you can put your index finger while shaking. For those who care, this shaker also looks nice and classic. —Christine Cyr Clisset

For larger parties, grab big bags of ice from the supermarket or gas station and then separate the ice into two groups: ice that cools your beverages (and won’t be consumed) and clean ice meant for drinks. The clean ice needs its own container—nobody should have to stick a hand in the cooler to grab ice meant for chilling dirty off-the-shelf cans of beer.

After 20 hours of watching ice melt, we can say that our favorite ice bucket is the Oggi Stainless Steel Ice Bucket. Double-walled for insulation, this shiny, stainless model has a removable lid, a 3-quart capacity, and an included pair of tongs. In our tests, it didn’t sweat at all on the outside, keeping stacks of napkins and tablecloths dry.—EO

Well liquor

Stocking a bar is a matter of personal taste: It’s your party, so buy what you prefer. As long as you’re offering something to drink, your guests will be happy to linger. But if you need to stock up from scratch and want suggestions for basic, crowd-pleasing bottles of liquor that are good for most cocktails but won’t blow your budget, we narrowed the field down to seven selections. How much booze should you buy? The best advice is to buy plenty. Martha Stewart also has a helpful party calculator to determine how much to buy.

After speaking to eight celebrated bartenders, researching what the entertaining experts had to say, and cross-referencing their responses, we recommend the following.

Vodka: Absolut. Dale DeGroff, formerly of the Rainbow Room, told us, “If you want something a little more viscous, with a little more flavor, we’re talking pastry flavor, you get the malty, grainy: Absolut.”

Gin: Tanqueray. Chad Solomon of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons called Tanqueray a “Rolls-Royce–quality” gin.

Dry vermouth: Dolin. Solomon and John deBary of Momofuku both picked Dolin for dry vermouth, a key ingredient in martinis.

Bourbon: Wild Turkey. “Right there in the heart, at 10proof, is Wild Turkey,” DeGroff said. “This man is the master.”

Whisky: The Famous Grouse. Solomon gave points to The Famous Grouse whisky for being “more of a mixer than a sipper … it’s not overly sweetened and has a little bit of smoke to it.”

Rum: Bacardi Superior. For white rum, DeGroff told us, “obviously Bacardi.”

Different cocktails (or straight sipping) may be better suited to different bottles. You know your friends, so pick and choose the alcohol you think they’ll enjoy most. —Nick Guy

Our sparkling wine pick

It’s bready and complex, and it smells like burnt sugar. People recommend Gruet to us all the time, even when we’re not asking.

Real Champagne is expensive and not commonly bought by the case. Luckily, you have much to choose from beyond the French stuff these days, and if you’re having a celebration and you don’t want to go broke, we recommend Gruet Brut. This non-vintage sparkler from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is made in the French style by a family from Champagne.

To find a great bottle that’s available for purchase by the case, we first consulted “best of” lists from various sources, including Food & Wine, Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, The Nest, Serious Eats, and Wine Enthusiast. Then we sought out the experts.

Chad Solomon, a Milk & Honey bar alumnus and partner of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons, told us, “It’s quite lovely to sip on.” Michael McCaulley, wine director and partner of Philadelphia’s Tria bar-cafe, said, “It’s toastier, it’s bready, it’s complex, it’s awesome with luscious cheese.” It’s also widely available across the US, including at online shops such as Astor Wines & Spirits.

Again and again, our sources listed Gruet Brut as one of their favorites, even without our mentioning it. Just to make sure, we pitted it against the Wine Enthusiast–approved Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, which pops up on top sparkler lists, as well as against the similarly well-received Segura Viudas Aria Brut Cava, yet in taste tests the Gruet was the clear favorite.—NG

Our utensils pick

Sturdy, disposable cutlery is hard to find, but Kirkland’s plastic stuff fills the bill and won’t break on you.

In our tine-to-tine face-off of three plastic utensil sets, the clear winner was Kirkland Signature Crystal Clear Cutlery. These utensils won’t break on you mid-meal unless you’re dining with the Hulk, and they come in a huge quantity for cheap, so one box (which can be even cheaper in-store at Costco) should last you through quite a few dinner parties, bake-offs, and picnics. The 360-piece set comes in real-world proportions of 180 forks, 120 spoons, and 60 knives.

Our slow cooker pick

With a slow cooker you can put a roast with mouthwatering, braised flavor on the table without spending all day tending to it. Plus, preparing your main dish in an independent appliance can help free up valuable oven and stove space.

We considered many slow-cooker models across the budget range and couldn’t find the perfect one—most of them run too hot. After 5hours of research and testing, we decided that our pick is the slightly fancier but still affordable Hamilton Beach 6-quart Programmable Set & Forget, which is large enough to hold a 4-pound brisket. The built-in meat probe seems gimmicky, but slow-cooker expert Phyllis Pellman Good told us that it’s a useful feature. Keep in mind, though, that the short probe may not be long enough to reach into the front cut of every brisket.

If your brisket has gone eight hours and hasn’t reached optimal melt-in-your-mouth texture, keep cooking it on low for a few more hours. The writer behind Smitten Kitchen, a big fan of slow-cooker brisket, lets hers go for 10.

Is a roast too formal or hearty for your soirée? Slow cookers set on low are also the perfect serving vehicle for hors d’oeuvres like glazed meatballs, crowd-pleasing dips, mulled wine, and even decadent desserts. —Camille Chatterjee

Puff pastry

Ready-made puff pastry offers an easy and sophisticated option for entertaining. It’s a great staple to keep on hand for making fancy-looking desserts, special entrées like beef Wellington, and even breakfast pastries. Using puff pastry is also one of the best ways to make tasty, impressive-looking appetizers with the bare minimum of effort.

Most people don’t want to make puff pastry from scratch, as it’s a labor-intensive process. The store-bought variety can be a real time-saver, especially when you’re prepping for a gathering, and we found Trader Joe’s Puff Pastry Dough to be the best you can buy.

As the name suggests, puff pastry puffs up as it bakes. The resulting pastry should have an airy, flaky texture. The flavor should be buttery and have a melt-in-your-mouth quality. Good ready-made puff pastry should be relatively easy to work with. Ready-made puff pastry dough usually comes in a sheet; it should roll out smoothly, without cracking where it was folded in the package. The dough should feel slightly moist but not wet, and no sections of the dough sheet should be dry or suffering the effects of freezer burn.

Generally you can find premade puff pastry dough in the freezer section of a grocery store, near the pie crust and phyllo dough. After testing Trader Joe’s dough against the high-end Dufour Classic Puff Pastry and the commonly available Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, we found the Trader Joe’s brand to offer the best taste and the best value.

TJ’s puff pastry comes thinly rolled in parchment, which makes it easy to unroll and work with immediately. Although we like that the Dufour Classic dough is made with butter (which we could particularly taste in our apple tart), we also tasted the butter in the Trader Joe’s brand (which is created with a combination of butter and non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening made from palm oil). And at about a fourth of the price of the Dufour dough, Trader Joe’s puff pastry is a steal. It’s available only during the holidays, so if you like it, stock up; it should keep in a steady freezer for about six months. Otherwise, Dufour’s puff pastry is our offseason pick. —CCC

Toaster oven

A toaster oven is a must for parties: It frees up oven space and heats up canapés without heating up your whole kitchen (which is good if you have a lot of people congregated in your kitchen). For our best toaster oven guide, we spent over 5hours on research and went through stacks and stacks of toasted white bread, mini pizza bagels, and cookies. Our main pick is the Panasonic FlashXpress, which is smaller than most competitors and cheaper, too. For a party, however, we’d recommend a larger toaster that can function as an auxiliary oven, the Cuisinart TOB-260NChef’s Convection Toaster Oven. —Raphael Brion

Garbage bag

For large parties, Husky’s bags will hold a lot of the garbage and recycling that piles up at the end of the night, and they’re extra-thick to ward off punctures.

Our pick for the best kitchen trash bag is the Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bag, which works fine for a smaller dinner party. But as anyone who has had to clean up after an excellent party knows, a tremendous amount of garbage and recycling can pile up—especially if you’re using disposable flatware. For these situations, you’ll want a contractor bag.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Tea Lights wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Tea Lights



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