The Very Best Money and Health Tools in 2024, According to CNET Editors

These products and services are the best of the best. 

To bring you the below list of tools that can improve your money and health this year, CNET editors plumbed the results of hundreds of hands-on tests and evaluations. The resulting picks are Editors’ Choice awards: a distinction representing the strongest possible recommendation by our staff experts. 

For this edition of Editors’ Choice, we focused on finances, fitness and overall wellness just in time for the final sprint of tax season, National Sleep Awareness Month and the approach of summer. 

We selected the products and services that came out on top when our expert editors rated or tested them. Among the categories we’ve selected here are credit cards, tax software, mattresses, meal delivery services, bed sheets and more. To make this list, a product or service must have been personally evaluated by a CNET editor with expertise in that category and rated as a top pick when compared to its competition.

Because money and health are so personal, we also consult industry experts to learn about what makes a great product the best, but the final Editors’ Choice designations are made exclusively by CNET editors who draw upon years of expertise and hands-on evaluations. 

— Adam Auriemma, CNET Editor-in-Chief



Win tax season

Ready or not, this year’s tax filing deadline is almost here. Filing online and opting for direct deposit is the best way to get your refund sooner, and it may help you avoid painful tax mistakes. “The primary advantage to filing taxes electronically is the ability to minimize data entry errors in the tax authorities’ systems,” said Andrew Griffith, CPA, CNET expert review board member and associate professor of accounting at Iona University. 

CNET’s tax editors tested the top online tax filing software to find the most user-friendly and helpful options available. We recommend the IRS’s Free File or Direct File options if you’re eligible. For everyone else, these two tax software options make filing easiest.  

Who is it best for?
Most filers, except for investors and the self-employed, and particularly filers who like a lot of handholding when filing their taxes.

Our favorite thing
If you qualify for TurboTax Free Edition this year, you can get help from a tax expert and a final review for free through March 31 with TurboTax Live Assisted Basic. 

Why we love it
TurboTax is the most expensive tax software I reviewed this year — but no other company holds your hand through the process quite like it. The Q&A style format and integrated help and support features make filing easy and intuitive. It’s a great option if you qualify to file for free or if you want to maximize deductions with its Deluxe tier.

This year, TurboTax features Intuit Assist, a generative AI assistant available for all tiers that help to match you with a tax expert (should you need it) and analyze your uploaded documents to create a personalized tax filing checklist.

Its biggest drawback is how frequently TurboTax tries to upsell you into working with a tax expert or upgrading to a higher tier. Be wary of this if you’re eligible to file your taxes for free. TurboTax has had its run-ins with the FTC because of this.

— Danni Santana, CNET Money editor

Read CNET’s TurboTax review.

Who is it best for?
Anyone looking for TurboTax-like software at a cheaper price, and those who do not qualify for TurboTax Free Edition.

Our favorite thing
H&R Block has made it even easier to switch from TurboTax this year. You can import your TurboTax data by typing in the phone number associated with your Intuit account.

Why we love it
H&R Block doesn’t hold your hand through the tax filing process the same way TurboTax does, but it offers lower pricing compared to the industry leader. Where H&R Block shines most is with its Free Online tier. 

Its Free Online edition is available to students and adults with simple returns and allows a wider range of credits and tax forms than TurboTax. The free plan includes a variety of income forms and tax credits, including unemployment compensation. You can also claim expenses like education costs. I used H&R Block to file my taxes this year for these reasons. 

H&R Block’s online platform is easy to use, even without assistance from a Live Tax Pro or its new AI Tax Assist chatbot. Help screens are easily accessible too. They pop up on a side panel on the right-hand side of the screen. If you leave the help screen open, it auto-generates answers to questions you might have as you go through the tax filing process.

Like TurboTax, the FTC recently filed a complaint against H&R Block for upselling those eligible to file for free to a paid tier. Make sure you qualify for the filing tier you’re interested in before filing, since downgrading can be a pain with this tax software.

— Danni Santana, CNET Money editor

Read CNET’s H&R Block review.


Bank smarter

Savings interest rates have been at record highs since late 2022, so there’s never been a better time to make the most of your savings. While it’s hard to go wrong with a no-fee interest-earning bank account at an FDIC-insured bank, we do have some favorites.

Each of our editors’ favorite bank accounts can help you earn a competitive return on your money and offer other competitive benefits and tools to help you make the most of your money.

Experts consistently say not to worry about getting the absolute highest rate on a savings account, but to keep the big picture in mind. “Pick a bank that cares about you as a customer and that you feel confident will do right by you when you need financial solutions most,” said Bernadette Joy, personal finance coach and CNET expert review board member.

Who is it best for?
Anyone who wants to earn interest on their checking account balance without paying hefty fees.

Our favorite thing
You get the competitive interest rate of an online bank without sacrificing branch access. 

Why we love it
Don’t be fooled by its name: the Schwab Bank Investor Checking account isn’t just for investors. It’s a great everyday checking account that has no monthly fees, no balance requirements, earns interest and comes with unlimited out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements and overdraft protection. It’s FDIC-insured to protect your money and linked to a brokerage account if you’re interested in investing, too. 

And customers love it. Schwab is a five-time J.D. Power award winner, awarded highest for its customer satisfaction. I like that you can easily bank online, via app or visit one of its branches for in-person assistance. Its 24/7 customer service availability is a bonus. 

— Dashia Milden, CNET Money editor

Read CNET’s Schwab High-Yield Investor Checking account review.

Who is it best for?
Anyone who wants to earn extra interest on their savings account and doesn’t need physical branch access or cash deposit options. 

Our favorite thing
Ally’s savings buckets, or digital envelopes, let you organize and separate savings goals within one account. This useful tool helps you track your progress and stay on target.

Why we love it
Consistently topping CNET’s best savings accounts list, Ally’s online savings account has a competitive APY, no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. While there are savings accounts offering higher APYs than Ally, this online bank’s customer service and innovative features help it stand out from the competition.

Ally’s savings account is a favorite among many of our CNET editors and ranked third on J.D. Power’s 2023 US Direct Banking Satisfaction Study for savings providers. Our editors like that Ally makes setting and reaching savings goals even easier with savings buckets, round-ups and a surprise savings feature that analyzes your spending habits to identify small amounts that can be safely transferred to boost your savings. This effortless savings strategy can add up over time, helping to grow your savings without much effort. We also like that Ally offers 24/7 live customer service assistance.

— Toni Husbands, CNET Money banking writer

Read CNET’s Ally Bank review.

BMO Alto

Who is it best for?
Savers who want competitive rates across common CD terms — especially if you want to open a CD that doesn’t have a minimum deposit requirement.

Our favorite thing
Unlike other high-APY CD providers, BMO Alto has no minimum deposit requirement, making its CDs accessible to more savers.

Why we love it
BMO Alto, the online-only division of BMO, consistently ranks high on our list of top CD issuers across multiple terms. It offers a range of common CD terms to choose from — six months, one year, two years, three years, four years and five years — making it easy to find a term that fits your savings timeline.

What sets BMO Alto’s CD offerings apart from other high-yielding CDs is the lack of any minimum deposit requirement. You may earn slightly more on some terms with other banks, but you’ll need to deposit as much as $1,500 even to open one with some other banks. BMO Alto’s CDs are accessible to all savers and offer surprisingly high rates for accounts with no barrier to entry.

As an online-only bank, BMO Alto doesn’t have physical locations, and it also doesn’t offer an app. For a “set it and forget it” product like CDs — where not touching your money is the key to high earnings — this isn’t a significant drawback. It could even be a perk if you’re worried you’ll be tempted to dip into your funds early.

— Kelly Ernst, CNET Money banking editor

Read CNET’s BMO Alto review.

Who is it best for?
Anyone who wants the benefits of a checking and savings account in one easy-to-use bank account.

Our favorite thing
Most money market accounts limit the number of transfers or transactions you can make each month before charging a fee. Ally’s limit is higher than most — 10 per billing period — and if you only occasionally exceed this number, it won’t charge you. 

Why we love it
Ally is one of the most popular online-only banks out there, and we think it lives up to the hype. Its money market account earns a competitive APY on all balance tiers, and it comes with both check-writing and debit card access. I also like that it doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees or have a minimum deposit requirement. 

You can make unlimited withdrawals at any of Ally’s Allpoint ATMs, of which there are over 43,000 around the U.S. Ally will reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle for out-of-network ATM expenses. One downside: Ally doesn’t accept cash deposits. You can deposit checks remotely and use direct deposit or online transfers to add funds to your Ally account. 

— Liliana Hall, CNET Money banking writer

Read CNET’s Ally Bank review.

Find the right credit card

A credit card can be the single most important tool you have available to help you grow your credit score and increase your financial power. “Using a credit card responsibly can help you build a strong credit history, which leads to a higher credit score and ultimately makes it easier to access more favorable rates when making a large purchase, like a car or house,” said Mark Reese, credit card expert and CNET expert review board member

Credit cards are also risky — particularly since average APRs have risen above 20%. If you’re not able to pay off a purchase you charge to your card, you could end up facing interest charges that can easily grow into high-interest debt, which can be very difficult to pay down. Our credit card editors have highlighted a few standout credit cards that can help you build credit with ease, earn rewards and even pay off existing high-interest debt.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Who is it best for?
The Wells Fargo Active Cash is great for anyone looking for uncomplicated rewards. 

Our favorite thing
This jack-of-all-trades credit card does it all: earns competitive rewards, has an easy-to-earn welcome bonus, comes with an intro APR for qualifying balance transfers and purchases, and has additional card benefits.

Why we love it
The Active Cash’s main appeal is its simplicity. Its 2% cash rewards structure is among the highest for a flat-rate credit card. While some credit cards require high spending to earn a welcome bonus, the Active Cash card will be easy for most people to obtain through regular spending. It also does more than earn rewards. It has an introductory purchase and balance transfer APR that can help you finance a large purchase or transfer high-interest credit card debt.

I’m also a big fan of its supplemental features. I recently took advantage of its roadside assistance when I broke down on the coldest day of the year. It saved me money and the trouble of having to change my tire in the middle of a winter storm.

–Evan Zimmer, CNET Money credit card editor

Read CNET’s Wells Fargo Active Cash review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Who is it best for?
People who travel even a handful of times per year.

Our favorite thing
Its rewards program is one of the best of any card, offering higher value redemption through Chase Ultimate Rewards and a 1:1 transfer rate to Chase’s travel partners.

Why we love it
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is an easy choice for frequent travelers. The rewards are decent for a card at its fee level, but its redemption options are where this card shines. You get a 25% redemption bonus when you use points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and I’m a big fan of its 1:1 point transfer rate to Chase’s travel partners.

Outside of that, it’s an affordable card with useful perks including travel insurance and a $50 annual hotel credit for hotels booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

–Evan Zimmer, CNET Money credit card editor

Read CNET’s Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Citi

Who is it best for?
Anyone who wants to eliminate existing credit card debt with a balance transfer card.

Our favorite thing
This balance transfer card has one of the longest introductory APR periods with one of the lowest balance transfer fees.

Why we love it
If you have a balance on a credit card that’s accruing interest every month, you could get a respite from interest payments by transferring your debt to the Citi Simplicity card. You’ll have 21 months at the 0% interest rate to pay down your balance (after that a 19.24% to 29.99% variable APR kicks in). Make sure you can pay off your balance in full before the introductory offer ends, or your remaining balance will start accruing interest, which can add to your debt.

I like that this balance transfer card has a lower balance transfer fee for the first four months — intro fee of 3% of each transfer with a $5 minimum. Most other balance transfer credit cards that offer a 21-month introductory period charge a 5% balance transfer fee right away. I’ve personally used this card to pay down my own debt, transferring two card balances and setting up automatic payments to ensure I pay off the full balance within 21 months.

–Evan Zimmer, CNET Money credit card editor

Read CNET’s Citi Simplicity review.

Discover

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Who is it best for?
College students looking to establish their credit history.

Our favorite thing
It offers impressive rewards, a rarity in a student credit card.

Why we love it
The Discover it® Student Cash Back* lets you build credit, earns rewards and comes with one of the most generous welcome bonuses around. You’ll earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories (up to $1,500 each quarter, then 1%) that you activate every three months. Instead of a traditional welcome bonus structure, Discover will essentially double the rewards you earn at the end of your first year with the card.

The most important thing to remember here is not to be enticed into overspending. Only spend what you’re able to pay off right away, otherwise you’ll become bogged down by expensive interest charges. Set auto alerts to remind you of payments, or even set up autopay to ensure you won’t miss any.

–Evan Zimmer, CNET Money credit card editor

Read CNET’s Discover it Student Cash Back review.

Discover

Discover it®️ Secured Credit Card

Who is it best for?
Anyone looking to build or rebuild credit.

Our favorite thing
You can repair your credit without sacrificing rewards.

Why we love it
A secured credit card means you’ll offer collateral (in the form of a refundable security deposit) to serve as your credit line. Usually secured cards don’t earn rewards or come with a welcome bonus, but the Discover it Secured Card* offers both.

Cardholders can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 spent each quarter in combined purchases, then 1%), and the rewards you earn will be essentially doubled at the end of your first year thanks to the card’s welcome offer.

–Evan Zimmer, CNET Money credit card editor

Read CNET’s Discover it Secured card review.

Automate your money with financial apps

Financial apps can help automate tedious tasks, from balancing your budget to growing your credit score — while offering you key insights into money habits that may be holding you back.

“Money apps are like your financial sidekick, armed with tools such as expense management, automation and goal monitoring to turn the mundane task of managing money into a less stressful journey toward your money goals,” says Bernadette Joy, personal finance coach and CNET expert review board member

Rocket Money

Who is it best for?
Anyone looking for an easy-to-use, low-cost budget app. It’s also great for former Mint users looking for a comparable alternative

Our favorite thing
Rocket Money’s Premium version has a sliding pricing scale of $4 to $12 per month. You select how much you want to pay and receive the same features regardless of the amount you choose.

Why we love it
When it comes to the best value for your money, Rocket Money packs a punch. The free version offers basic budgeting features like expense tracking, which might be all you need. If you want features like custom spending categories and real-time account syncing, the Premium version costs a reasonable $4 to $12 per month — on the low end compared to other top budgeting apps. You get the same features whatever amount you choose to pay, and there’s a free seven-day trial so you can test it out.

I like that the premium tier is packed with perks including automated savings and credit report and net worth tracking. It also offers notifications for everything from low balances to monthly bill increases to help you keep on top of your budget. Rocket also offers a separate bill negotiation service to help trim your expenses. Rocket’s interface is clean, intuitive and easy to navigate on both the app and the desktop platform.

You can pay more for more complex features with other apps, but Rocket Money is a great option for budgeters who want a straightforward, affordable way to manage their cash flow. As a former Mint user, I’ve found it to be the best alternative for my needs.

 -Kelly Ernst, CNET Money banking editor

Read CNET’s Rocket Money review.

Who is it best for?
Anyone who wants to keep a closer eye on their credit and finances.

Our favorite thing
Experian offers ways to increase your Experian credit score with its free Experian Boost program.

Why we love it
Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus in the US. While the other two, Equifax and TransUnion, also offer similar services, Experian pulls ahead thanks to its clean UI and Experian Boost program.

The free version gets you access to your FICO credit score and Experian credit report, as well as a breakdown of your debts. Like other credit monitoring services, there are educational resources for you to take advantage of and score calculators. If you sign up for Experian Boost, you can add qualifying bill payments to your credit report to help increase your Experian credit score, sometimes by up to 13 points or more. Considering your credit score is how lenders decide which terms to offer you, a score increase could have a big impact on your finances. Keep in mind this boost only shows up on your Experian credit score — it won’t benefit you if the lender checks your Equifax or TransUnion credit report.

While the free version is useful, Experian’s paid version ($24.99 monthly) adds features like a credit score comparison among all three credit bureaus, subscription cancellation and bill negotiation service, identity theft insurance, fraud alerts and resolution support. The main downside is the product offers you’ll be served, which has become a necessary evil when navigating any credit monitoring app.

— Evan Zimmer, CNET Money credit card editor

Read CNET’s Experian review.


Sleep well to be well

Despite what “sleep is for the weak” culture has told you, sleep is essential for maintaining your overall well-being. Adequate sleep is linked to better mood regulation, cognitive function, weight management and improved immune system function. “However, it’s equally important to ease the pressure on achieving ‘perfect’ sleep and instead focus on cultivating habits and environments conducive to restful sleep,” says psychotherapist and sleep specialist Annie Miller, LCSW-C, LICSW.

While many factors like noise, environment and underlying conditions can impact your sleep quality, the right items such as your mattress, pillows, bedding and any sleep accessories can help you optimize your slumber.

Our staff of certified sleep experts and wellness editors hand-picked their favorite products tested over the years to help you achieve the best sleep ever.

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

Who is it best for?
The Frida Mom Adjustable Keep-Cool Pregnancy Pillow is ideal for pregnant (and non-pregnant) people looking for a supportive pillow that doesn’t take up much space.

Our favorite thing
The pillow is cylinder-shaped and moldable so you can use it comfortably side-sleeping while pregnant or on your back or stomach postpartum. It also keeps you cool at night, which is a big plus for those who sleep hot. 

Why we love it
I tested various pregnancy pillows while I was pregnant to see which made sleep more bearable. By the third trimester, I had the worst insomnia, and all that mattered to me was that I felt comfortable in bed. The Frida Mom Adjustable Keep-Cool Pregnancy Pillow was the instant winner. I still use it postpartum because it’s that versatile and as a side sleeper I like hugging onto a pillow that supports my hips. I tested pregnancy pillows that were in the form of wedges, full body sized and other cooling types–many of which I enjoyed. The Frida Mom adjustable pillow seemed to be the most user-friendly and I found myself reaching for it even when I was laying on the couch because it was lightweight and a practical size. From a home decor standpoint, I appreciated that the pillow easily blends in with the others on my bed, without taking up so much room.

—Giselle Castro-Sloboda, CNET Fitness and Nutrition Writer 

Buffy

Who is it best for?
The Buffy Breeze sheet set is great for hot sleepers or those who need help keeping the perfect temperature. 

Our favorite thing
These sheets are made with eucalyptus fibers meaning that they are highly breathable, naturally temperature-regulating, gentle on skin and have a buttery texture. 

Why we love it
Having the right sheets is essential for a good night’s sleep. I sleep on the Buffy Breeze sheets every night, and I no longer wake up covered in sweat. I’ve tested other popular sheet brands like Brooklinen, but Buffy sheets are softer and lighter than ordinary cotton, and I never get too hot nor too cold at night. I love that these are eco-friendly, too. Since they’re made with eucalyptus, they require less water to produce — a great choice for the eco-conscious buyer. I’m also a big fan of how many colors and patterns the sheets are available in. I was able to find a color that paired perfectly with my bedding and bedroom colors. 

-Caroline Igo, Sleep Lead Editor 

Taylor Leamey/CNET

Who is it best for?
This customizable comforter from Sleep Number ends the long-fought temperature war many couples face at night. 

Our favorite thing
The Create Your Perfect Comforter from Sleep Number has a zipper that runs down the middle, allowing each person the flexibility to choose the fill and weight that suits their needs. 

Why we love it
You’ll like the Sleep Number comforter if you’re like me and have lived through the never-ending tug-of-war with your blanket and partner. The concept is simple: each person gets exactly what they need from their side of the blanket. This means there’s no need for anyone to kick it off at night while the other person freezes.

During my years of testing blankets and bedding products, I haven’t encountered a comforter that is as customizable as the Create Your Perfect Comforter. Each person can choose between down and down alternative fills and three warmth options: light, medium and extra warmth. When testing, I slept with the extra warmth selection, while my partner opted for the lightweight option because he’s a notoriously hot sleeper.  

The two sides of the blanket are joined down the middle by a zipper, but don’t worry; the fabric folds keep you from feeling it at night. The comforter has a comfortable, almost buttery-smooth feel that just about anyone will like. 

The Create Your Perfect Comforter is $140 per side, though Sleep Number often runs sales to knock down the price. If you can afford it, this comforter is well worth the money. 

-Taylor Leamey, CNET Wellness Senior Writer

Drowsy

Who is it best for?
The Drowsy sleep mask is best for those sensitive to light when trying to sleep, frequent travelers who rest while on the go and those with irregular sleep schedules seeking a dark and sleep-inducing environment.

Our favorite thing
Besides the double-padded silk, which makes it incredibly fluffy and soft, this eye mask features a unique design that hugs your face (in the best way possible) to block out light and ensure maximum comfort.

Why we love it
The Drowsy is my top sleep mask recommendation thanks to its unique, full-face design that completely blocks out light. Unlike other sleep masks, the Drowsy eye mask offers breathable, silk-and-100% cotton materials that contour your face without putting pressure on your eyes. I especially like the adjustable strap, a rare feature that allowed me to fit the mask to my head so it didn’t slip off, even during more active sleep. The Drowsy Sleep Mask is lightweight and comes in 15 colors, so you can choose the perfect shade for yourself or a loved one. In the 8 months since I started sleeping with this mask, I’ve almost always slept through the night, leaving me feeling more recharged than I have in years. While it’s more expensive than others, the quality materials and adjustable, ergonomic design make it well worth the extra cost.

— Nasha Addarich Martínez, CNET Sleep and Wellness Managing Editor

Who is it best for?
The Brooklyn Bedding Signature is an accommodating hybrid mattress for all sleeper types. Since it has a soft neutral feel and is available in three different firmness options, it’s versatile enough to work for just about anyone, no matter if you sleep on your side, stomach, back or a combination.

Our favorite thing
No other hybrid mattress at this price point offers the same amount of features to choose from, including three different firmness levels and an optional cooling cover. We’ve tested hundreds of mattresses, and above all others, we can confidently recommend the Brooklyn Bedding Signature mattress to pretty much everyone.

Why we love it
This bed is one of our most highly regarded mattresses because it combines comfort, optionality and value.

The top comfort layers are a blend of proprietary foams from Brooklyn Bedding and those plus the coils give the Signature mattress an accommodating neutral, hybrid feel that most people really like, myself included. I find this bed to have a super comfortable feel with a nice balance of everything I look for in a bed.

It also comes with multiple firmness options ranging from an accommodating medium that is excellent for couples and combination sleepers and more specialized soft and firm models so you should be able to find an option that works for you. The Signature also has an optional “cloud pillow-top” that adds more comfort foam and a cooling material.

Mattresses can be expensive, and my favorite thing about the Brooklyn Bedding Signature is its amazing value. A queen size retails for only $1,332 and is regularly discounted to bring the price down to about $1,000 which makes it one of the best values in online mattresses without making any compromises on quality. 

I regularly recommend this bed to people in my personal life, including my sister who took advantage of Brooklyn Bedding’s 30% military discount and has slept on the Signature mattress going on six years and she loves it to this day.

– James Christison, Senior Video Producer, CNET Sleep 


Healthy Meal Delivery

Feeling better starts with eating better. True health and wellness happens from the inside out and that means eating a balanced diet with lean protein and plenty of vegetables. We’ve tested more than two dozen meal delivery services to find the best, the cheapest and the healthiest options to support your busy week. 

There are meal kits and prepared meal subscriptions to help you lower your cholesterol, eat more plant-based meals per week or simply cut down on empty carbs and excessive calories. None of those metrics matter if the food doesn’t taste good.

Purple Carrot

Who is it best for?
Anyone looking to cook healthy, plant-based meals but doesn’t know where to start. Those looking to save time otherwise spent on meal planning, shopping and organizing a dinner plan.

Our favorite thing
Purple Carrot takes vegan cooking seriously and has some of the most thoughtful recipes of any service we tested. Using Purple Carrot we learned how to cook plant-based staples — lentils, ancient grains, greens and hearty root vegetables — without having to make lengthy trips to the grocery store or spend time planning meals. 

Why we love it
Purple Carrot doesn’t rely on fake meat or plant-based gimmicks. You’ll learn authentic, wholesome vegan cooking without the use of processed foods full of salt or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Most meal kits have vegetarian or vegan options but Purple Carrot has the most interesting plant-based meal kits that make use of classic vegan cooking techniques. The thoughtful recipes teach budding chefs how to use foundational meat-free ingredients.

Having tested every meal kit service, many of them two or three times, Purple Carrot stands out. I enjoyed every meal I’ve made from the service and Purple Carrot schooled me on how to prepare key plant-based ingredients that I wasn’t familiar with before. Whether it’s soaking lentils for an Indian Dal or discovering the versatility of vegan cashew cheese, Purple Carrot makes plant-based eating feel additive — and not like you’re losing anything or trying to replace beef or chicken with a lesser version.

Purple Carrot has fewer options per week than most in the category, but I’ve always found the ones they offer to be more inventive and interesting than the plant-based options from other meal kit services.

Ingredients are of a higher quality, too. Much of Purple Carrot’s produce is organic and vegetables show up looking bright and fresh. Purple Carrot’s meal kits are packed neatly and carefully with easy-to-follow recipes that mostly take less than 30 minutes to prepare.

– David Watsky, Senior Editor

David Watsky/CNET

Who is it best for?
Those looking to stock the fridge or freezer with clean premade meals that ladder up to healthy eating goals. If you have trouble with eating or ordering impulse control, having healthy meals on hand will help save you from cheap, greasy delivery on busy weeknights.

Our favorite thing
In a word: consistency. It doesn’t get any easier than prepared meal services, and Fresh N Lean is one of the healthiest we tried with consistently tasty meals. 

Why we love it
I’ve tried more than 20 Fresh N Lean meals and there wasn’t a bad meal in the bunch. Some of the meals even verge on restaurant quality. If you choose one of Fresh N Lean’s larger plans, meals cost around $11, which is definitely cheaper than takeout.

Fresh N Lean has meal plans to accommodate several diets including keto, paleo, high-protein, Mediterranean and heart healthy. The portions are substantial and the food is always cooked well with tender meat and vegetables that retain some snap.

Fresh N Lean’s weekly menu covers a variety of cuisine types from the familiar such as keto burgers with quinoa to more adventurous global recipes. There are more than 50 meals to choose from which helps keep things from getting stale. Fresh N Lean also has excellent snack add-ons including energy bars, low-sugar peanut butter cups and spiced nut mixes.

All of Fresh N Lean’s healthy meals are vacuum-sealed so they can be stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen for later.

– David Watsky, Senior Editor


How we choose Editors’ Choice picks

The CNET Editors’ Choice badge represents the strongest recommendation of a product or service evaluated by CNET experts. The award distinguishes the products and services that have made a lasting impression on CNET’s editorial team.

To earn an Editors’ Choice distinction, a product or service must be a top pick in its category, score a minimum benchmark when rated or be selected by a CNET expert based on hands-on testing of the product and its competition. Awarded by our experienced editors, enhanced by lab testing in dedicated facilities, and more selective than a standard Best-List inclusion or a positive review, readers can know that Editors’ Choice Award recipients are the best of the best.

Money

CNET Money editors rate money products and services based on first-hand testing (when possible) and by evaluating a variety of features and costs.

  • We rate credit cards based on set categories — from rewards and travel to credit-building. Some features we consider include rewards, welcome bonuses, cost-to-value and additional card member benefits. 
  • We rate banking products and services across select criteria, including accessibility, fees, interest rates (when applicable), customer satisfaction and more.
  • We test tax software first-hand and rate each platform based on how easy it is to navigate, help and support options, price-to-value, tax situations supported and options for free filing. 
  • We rate money apps, like credit monitoring services and budgeting apps based on first-person testing, product features and pricing.

Wellness

Our team of sleep experts used their years of first-hand testing experience to assess each of the products included on this list. 

  • Comfort is the first and foremost factor we consider. We use our experience using the product, its feel, and its construction to help inform our recommendation for who it best suits. 
  • Construction is another factor that we consider when testing products. In addition to assessing what goes into the product, we use construction to determine the durability we expect someone to get from it. We also look at extra features contributing to added durability, like reinforced edges or zoned support designs on mattresses. 
  • We compare the price of each product to the market and other products we rate highly. This allows us to spot what’s a good deal and what’s not. 
  • Additional key features that help inform who the product is best for will vary by product, like mattress firmness or a sheet thread count.

Meal Kits

  • We evaluate and rate meal kits and prepared meal services with a fixed rubric that includes freshness, taste, ease of execution, packaging and overall value.
  • When considering healthy meal delivery, we evaluate each service’s weekly menu options, particularly how many healthy, lower-calorie or plant-based recipes are available. 
  • Consideration is also paid to whether or not a meal subscription services specific eating plans including low-carb, Mediterranean diet, low-sodium, organic and diabetes-friendly
  • We also take careful note of each brand’s website or app and how easy it is to navigate, along with how easy the service makes it to pause or cancel a subscription or edit your order at any given time. 
  • Once a delivery of meals or meal kits arrives, we note how fresh the ingredients seem, how easy it is to heat or cook and how it tastes, once prepared. 

*All information about the Discover it Student Cash Back and the Discover it Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.




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