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What Strategist Readers Bought in October: Space Heaters and Water Flossers

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Welcome back to Your Shopping Cart, where we break out the top ten products that you, devoted Strategist readers, all bought in droves. Think of this as the tl;dr of the Strategist. If your like-minded brethren are buying these items, maybe you’d like to, too.

Our readers’ shopping carts looked quite different this time last year: It wasn’t the month of Prime Day, for one, and they certainly weren’t buying boxes of medical masks. (According to our records, last October, you bought some kitschy dishcloths, fuzzy dog beds, and lots of moisturizer.) But times have changed, and, as we noted last month, it appears our readers have continued to settle into our new normal — even with winter on the way. There’s an outdoor heater for keeping warm in the great, socially distanced outdoors; some easy-to-hold crayons to keep the little ones entertained; and an office chair to add to your once-temporary WFH setup. And while our favorite Waterpik makes its first post-Prime Day appearance, we’ve seen most of these best-selling items before, including an adjustable memory-foam pillow, a moisturizer for all skin types, and, yes, lots of face masks.

1. Sfavereak Disposable Face Mask
$9 for 50
$9 for 50

Back in August, a couple of essential workers told us that they relied on these medical-grade masks while working through the pandemic, and two doctors attested to their efficacy in crowded places: “If you’re going to have to be in a high-risk environment, something like the subway, with lots of other people in a relatively closely confined area, perhaps for a prolonged period of time, then mask effectiveness might really play a difference in protecting you,” Dr. Scott Segal, chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health, told us. Naturally, these masks have topped our readers’ shopping lists since August, and it’s no surprise that they took the top spot in your carts again this month, with COVID-19 cases on the rise. What is surprising, however, is that it seems our readers are officially opting for disposable masks over reusable ones — Vistaprint who? — as we enter into the third wave of the pandemic.

[Editor’s note: The Sfavereak Disposable Face Masks are now sold out, but these top-rated disposable ones are still in stock.]

Last month was the first time we’d ever seen an office chair in readers’ shopping carts — a testament to just how permanent our work-from-home setups are becoming. Now at No. 2 on our list of best sellers, this supportive, mesh-backed desk chair from Modway has quickly become a Strategist-reader favorite, after Physio Logic founder Dr. Rudy Gehrman told us that it makes for a convincing dupe to the super-sleek, super-expensive Herman Miller Aeron chair. Consider our readers convinced (and lumbar-supported).

Another top-five pick from last month, these blue-light blocking glasses have become a work-from-home staple for mitigating itchy, watery eyes due to excessive screen time — according to nearly 12,000 Amazon reviewers. “Lets face it, more and more people are using multiple monitors for their work days,” writes one five-star reviewer. “Prior to wearing these, I could ‘feel’ the pressure in my eyes from looking at my screens. I put these on, and I can ‘feel’ less pressure and less strain on my eyes almost immediately.” We also found that, in one 2009 study, volunteers who wore blue-light-blocking glasses three hours before bedtime reported better sleep quality (something that’s essential for keeping your immune system strong). And while we aren’t sure whether our readers are buying pairs for themselves or as holiday gifts, we suspect these glasses will continue to top this list as the holidays near and the nights get longer.

Strategist readers themselves seem to prefer disposable masks, but it looks like fabric ones are still the go-to for kids. And while it’s the first time we’ve seen any face masks for kids on this list, we predict this Crayola set will be the mask of choice for kids of all ages, now that students are returning, albeit slowly, to in-person instruction. Erin Bakst, the senior vice-president of people and culture at Vox Media, told us that they’re a hit with her 3-year-old, because “they tend not to get up into the kiddo’s eyes.” She adds, “They’re bright, the cut is good, and the ear loops are adjustable.” This pack comes with a mesh laundry bag and name tags to keep track of everyone’s individual masks, and are made with dual-layer fabric. (And would make for a practical stocking stuffer for just about any kid on your holiday list, if you’ve yet to snag a set.)

This adjustable memory-foam pillow has been on the list before — six times since 2018, to be exact — and for good reason: It’s the best-rated pick among Amazon reviewers looking for either a memory-foam or bamboo-covered pillows, as well as a favorite among the 20,000 five-star reviewers who say it’s the “holy grail” of pillows. Strategist writer Lori Keong even compared it to a “warm hug for your head,” which, given the state of the world right now, sounds like just what our readers need.