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What Strategist Readers Bought in July: Bug Zappers and Pull-on Shorts

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.

We may have spoken too soon last month. With reports of COVID cases unfortunately on the rise, readers were back to stocking up on masks, with three top spots nabbed by masks that were regularly showing up in your carts during the thick of the pandemic. But shoppers also took advantage of the long summer days with some new items appearing on our list for the first time: an easygoing pair of Madewell shorts and an electronic insect killer to keep bugs at bay during your backyard barbecues. And, of course, we saw the return of some familiar faces, including an oscillating floor fan to beat the heat and two cult-favorite moisturizers.

Readers decided to replenish their reserves of these expert-approved disposable face masks from EcoGuard, which we tested back in November. Made out of three layers of non-woven fabric, we reported that they were “very comfortable” and fit “pretty well without much need for adjustment.” We even put them through the candle test — first introduced by Bill Nye on TikTok — and when we tried our darndest to blow out the flame of a lighter, “it wouldn’t even budge.”

With breakthrough cases on the rise, more people may be considering double masking to stay safe, which these disposable masks are perfectly suited for. The South Korean version of N95s, they were the top choice among readers back in May and feature a chin guard and adjustable ear loops. These masks also come highly recommended by Camilla Cho, Strategist’s senior vice-president of e-commerce, who especially likes that their tight fit doesn’t fog up her glasses.

The epitome of easy-breezy, these Madewell pull-on shorts are making their first appearance on this list. We suspect it’s because we raved about them in one of our recent Deal of the Day posts, saying that they “come up high on the waist” and have a “similar vibe to the Strat-favorite Patagonia Baggies.” Available in both black and olive, they’re also on sale with special code PSST, so now’s the time to snag yourself a pair before summer is over.

This is the third month in a row where readers flocked to this oscillating floor fan from Lasko, which we’ve ranked as both the best tower and floor fan on Amazon, thanks to its nearly 20,000 five-star ratings. Reviewers say this “gorgeous cooling tower” is “the fan I’ve been dreaming of for years” due to how “whisper quiet” and “unobtrusive” it is. It’s also a favorite of interior designer Ariel Okin, who uses this Lasko to cool down her apartment before her building turns on its central AC.

This Powecom mask is one of the most popular masks among non-health-care workers, which is why we included it on our list of the best disposable masks and the best KN95 masks. We concluded that they are “soft on the skin and create a tight seal all the way around, from the bridge of the nose to the underside of the chin.” And according to Jacob Cohen, a second-grade teacher in Brooklyn, this mask fits more snugly than other KN95s he’s tried and doesn’t move when he’s talking.

After making its first appearance on this list last month, this Harperton nail-clipper set is back for round two, proving its chops as one of the highest-rated sets on Amazon. One five-star reviewer out of nearly 17,000 reports that its sharp, precise blades cut “very well, very cleanly, and very satisfyingly.” It also features a built-in nail file, which another reviewer calls “very useful” and “great for smoothing rough edges after clipping.”

This is the first time that this insect killer is included on this list, likely due to the fact that it topped our roundup of the best bug zappers on Amazon. Reviewers say that “this thing seriously kicks some bug ass,” and have reported that it dispatched “white flies, mosquitoes, [and] moths” with ease. It even comes with a built-in mosquito attractant, which makes it perfect for watching the sunset from your patio without having to worry about how many bug bites you’ll be scratching at later.


Perhaps to calm mask irritation, readers were drawn to this ultrasoothing CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, which last showed up on this list in February. Packed with skin-saving ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin, this cream provides “around-the clock-moisture,” according to dermatologist Dr. Sapna Palep. Plus, it’s fragrance-free and works for a variety of skin types, including normal, dry, and acne-prone, so this cream is pretty much guaranteed to be a safe bet no matter your skin situation.

Photo: retailer

With its inclusion on our Father’s Day gift guide, this Krups coffee grinder was a top pick for June, but turns out readers were still coming back to it in July. It’s a favorite of Birch Coffee co-founder Paul Schlader, who says this wallet-friendly burr grinder beats out some of the more expensive options out there. It has 12 grind-size settings for a variety of brewing methods as well as a “cup selector” dial to grind the exact amount of coffee you’re hankering for.

And, of course, we can’t forget our old friend; this is the 16th time that this Neutrogena gel moisturizer has shown up on this list. Derms “love this stuff,” suggesting it for every skin type under the sun: oily, dry, mature, rosacea-prone. It’s even name-checked as one of the skin-care products recommended for pregnant women. Its lightweight water-based formulation is great for summertime humidity, and according to Dr. Michelle Park of Washington Square Dermatology, it also helps with “plumping up the skin, which can fight fine lines. It’s just an overall great moisturizer.”

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

What Readers Are Buying: Bug Zappers and Pull-on Shorts