The 2021 NFL season has officially kicked off its 102nd season and we’re more than ready to break out the snack foods, pour some ice-cold beverages, and tune into the game. Before we get into the thick of the season, you’ve still got time to give your watching set-up and game day party necessities an upgrade.
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 and tumblers that keep beverages and snacks chilled to soundbars that enhance your watching experience, here are seven must-have items 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.
Get the TCL 55-Inch 5-Series TV at Amazon for $599.99
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
Get the Roku Ultra 2020 Streaming Device at Amazon for $79
3. 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, not to mention, 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.
Get the Yeti Rambler 20 Oz. Tumbler at Amazon for $29.98
4. 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.
Get the Coleman 9-can Soft Cooler at Amazon for $25.79
5. 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 game day 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.
Get the Philips Premium Airfryer XXL at Walmart for $245
6. A quality soundbar for phenomenal gametime 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.
Get the Polk Audio Signa S2 at Amazon for $179
7. 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.
Get the Lodge Cookware Cast Iron 12-Inch Chef Style Skillet at Amazon for $39.95
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.