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Anova Sous Vide Review: Is Good Enough Good Enough?

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Anova

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Anova Review: Slick, Quiet, Affordable

In continuing with my reviews of wifi-enabled sous vide immersion circulators, I bought and tested the Anova Precision Cooker.

In short, this is clearly one of the best immersion circulators that I’ve tested before, so it lives up to the hype of 1200+ reviews on Amazon and an almost five star rating. Anova clearly rocked the sous vide scene when it came out many years ago.

However, there are now more than 20 devices you can buy on Amazon, ranging from less than half the price of Anova, to significantly more expensive. Does the Anova sous vide cooker still rock like it did when it first came out?

Anova

Basic Immersion Circulator Features

For this review, I’m testing the 900 watt bluetooth + wifi version (Gen 2). There’s also an 800 watt version (Gen 1), but if you’re going to go cheaper, you might as well get the updated Nano.

The basic idea behind immersion circulators is that they are able to heat water to a very precise temperature, and hold it at that temperature for a long period of time. This cooks your food to a very precise degree, not overcooking and not undercooking it, leaving it juicy, flavorful, and safe to eat.

Though the Anova Precision Cooker doesn’t state on the sales page how accurate it is, we can assume that it’s within 0.01 degrees. Even basic immersion circulators are able to make this claim, and we see the temperature displayed in 1/10 degrees.

The current temperature and target temperature are displayed on the face of the anova. Once you start cooking, the target temperature (the bottom one) display will flash back and forth between how much time is left in your cook session.

Kudos to the design team. It’s a great looking device!

Anova

The clamp that holds the Anova on the side of water vessel is the “screw” kind, where you need to twist open and twist closed to keep the cooker in place.

Personally, I prefer the “lever” or “clamp” style. You can see the two compared in the image below. Even though I prefer the clamp style, Anova has designed and engineer a very ergonomic solution. The matte-black surface of the clamp feels to the touch exactly how it looks. It’s very soft and smooth – high quality stuff!

Anova

You can also break it down for storage – but why would you want to? I love sous vide cooking too much.

Anova

The Anova App: Does It Ruin The Show?

Though there are several sous vide cookers that can be used remotely, Anova does a better job than most. Setting up the wifi connection is very simple. Download the app and it’ll take you through the pairing process. The hardest part is remembering what your wifi password is LOL.

Unfortunately, the app experience needs some improvement. It is better than the Gourmia app in many ways, but is not nearly as good as the Joule app.

I’m very surprised that with such a meticulously designed product, they really dropped the ball on the user interface of the product.

That being said, there are some cool features about it, and it’s not the worst out there!

Anova

While reviewing the Anova cooker, right off the bat I found it confusing to find where the temperature guides were. Turns out, they are all from the community, and user generated. No thanks. I’d like some professionals making these please.

So I went to “guide”, and there are a few general tips, but not many! Under “beef”, it only contains brisket. Under “chicken”, it only contains breast and thigh. Why is there a corn category? Who knows.

Side Note: A million percent better is the Sous Vide ºC app (Apple). It’s got every detailed type of food you’d like to make, with no unnecessary complicated recipes. Just the type of thing you’re cooking, and temp/time suggestion based on doneness. You can even connect it to WiFi sous vide devices, including the Anova. It’s $3.99, but totally worth it if you cook sous vide often with an Anova.

Here’s a perfect scenario to explain what I mean about the app issues:

I cooked some filet mignon today. Instead of having a “filet mignon” setting, I had to find a recipe for filet mignon with mushroom sauce. It also didn’t ask how thick the cut of meat the recommended cook time was for.

I was going for medium rare, but it was less done that I like, despite having cooked at 133 Fº for 45 minutes. Other sources I checked has a steak that size cooking for 60 or 90 minutes.

Despite my gripes about the user friendliness of the app, once you get going, it’s easy enough to use.

Anova

It’s a very, very quiet immersion circulator!

Having tested and reviewed so many immersion circulators, I’ve become accustomed to the low hum and gurgle of water heating and circulating in the background of my life. However, I had to walk into the kitchen a few times while testing the Anova to make sure it was still working. I just could not hear it while I was in the other room.

This was surprising to me. I have other circulators that put out a similar 800 or 900 watts of energy and were much louder. We’re not talking jackhammers here – just gurgling water, but still, it was a noticeable difference. Perhaps it has to do with the type of water pump they use? Anyway, if you have used immersion circulators before and were annoyed by the sound they made, the Anova Precision Cooker solves that issue. The only other one that is as quiet would be the Joule.

Cooking Sous Vide With Anova

Because this was one of the more popular sous vide cookers out there I took extra time to make a few recipes with it. Below, you can see I made a bone-in ribeye steak.

Anova

Everything went as planned. The first couple times I cooked I made sure to use the Anova app to get a feel for it, however, as I continued to use the device I found myself using the time settings from a competitors app, and then just entering them manually into the Anova app.

Anova

One thing that was quite obvious cooking with Anova however, is that it has a weaker heating element. The basic, 1st generation model has only 800 watts of power, and the second generation only has 900 watts. I used this to cook eggs in the morning once and it was quite a painful experience being hungry and waiting for my water to heat slowly.

I suppose I could operate the app from my bed, or preheat water in a pot if I really wanted to though.

The Gourmia GSV150 has a lot more power, and will heat your water faster. (One trick I use now is to simply fill my water container with hot instead of cold water, and the preheating process is much faster).

Technical Stuff About The Gen 2 Anova

  • Unit Size Size: 14.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches, 2.5 pounds
  • Temperature Range & Precision: Unknown
  • Heating Power: 800 or 900 Watts (2 options)
  • Pump Circulation: 2.4 gallons/minute

Broken down into plain English, here’s what you’re looking at: The power is on the lower end of the scale. 800 watts for the bluetooth-only version is pretty weak. It takes much longer to heat water than a 1200 watt unit. 900 watts is a little better, and is more comparable to other popular units which use about 1000 or 1100 watts.

2.4 GPM is quite good, and other devices do as little as 1.5 GPM and still claim to be able to maintain temperature in 10 gallons of water. 3 GPM is about the max that I’ve seen, so Anova is doing great in this category, especially considering that it’s so quite compared to others!

The Anova is about right very light weight as well. 2.5 pounds is not the smallest available (1.3 lbs, Joule), but it’s a heck of a lot lighter than the six-pound Sansaire. Even the Gourmia units are about 3lbs.  However, it’s size is a little bigger than other immersion circulators you can buy nowadays. Here are some comparison pictures for reference.

Anova

Comparing The Anova Precision Cooker To Other Immersion Circulators

Overall, after all this testing, Anova is my 2nd favorite device. It’s sleek, the app is decent (despite my gripes), and it gets the job done accurately.

Anova

Price Comparison

Let’s get into price. The Amazon affiliate program doesn’t allow posting prices because they fluctuate from day to day, so I’ll discuss it in broader terms.

Previously, Anova was sold at a comparable price to the Sansaire and Joule. Now, Anova is the cheapest of the three. The GSV150 is the newest generation of Gourmia immersion circulators and is usually about 50% cheaper than the Anova.

Older Gourmia models are even cheaper!

Comparing the apps between the Joule, GSV150, and Anova, I rank them follows

  1. Joule
  2. Anova
  3. Gourmia

The Anova Precision Cooker is awesome appliance, and worth every penny. However, if you were really looking forward to the wifi cooking, I highly recommend you check out my Joule review. The Joule really bridges the gap between tech and cooking much more smoothly than Anova.

The one main downside to to the Joule is that there’s no manual cook settings. Everything must be done through your phone!

Who Is The Anova Precision Cooker Best For?

It’s really hard to recommend the Anova immersion circulator now that they have to compete with the Joule. Joule is smaller, more powerful, and has a better app.

In my mind, there are a couple main reasons to get the Anova cooker over the Joule.

  1. You prefer the option to operate the device manually
  2. You prefer the clamp style, which does have advantages
  3. You like the traditional immersion circulator look
  4. You want the quietest device on the market

You can get these options individually with other cookers out there, but not all in one package like you can with Anova!

Final Thoughts

The Anova Precision sous vide cooker circulator was a very cool product to test out. Unfortunately, that coolness was lessened slightly because I tried an even even cooler product on the market.

I still highly recommend it, but the Joule really is the kind of sous vide

Pros/Cons Summary of Anova Gen 2

Pros

  • Very Quite Pump!
  • Wifi-Enabled
  • High Quality Construction
  • Cool Design
  • Pretty Good App
  • Accurate Temperature Maintenance
  • Strong Clamp Design
  • Versatile Clamp Can Be Used For Large or Small Pots
  • Manual or Remote Operation
  • Removable Casing For Easy Clean

Cons

  • Takes Longer To Heat Water
  • App Could Be Better
  • I Prefer The “Lever” Style Clamp
  • Sits Shallow In Water

Also, did you know that there’s a cooking container made specifically for cooking sous vide, plus a lid that matches and exactly fits your new Anova?

Food grade polycarbonate containers are less heat conductive, which means less heat loss. Also, putting a lid on top of your container will result in less heat loss, so you will not have to refill your water bath even while doing long cook times. The trouble with lids is that you can’t fit your circulator in the water with a lid on!

LIPAVI has sovled this problem by making containers and specific-shaped lids for a few popular immersion circulators. Anova is one of them!

 

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Save Up to 50% Off on Allbirds’ Black Friday and Cyber Weekend Sale

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Allbirds Black Friday Sale

It’s no secret that Allbirds is our favorite sneaker brand. Not only does the brand make stylish activewear shoes, but they’re also eco-friendly and sustainable, which makes us feel even better about buying from the brand—especially when they’re on sale. Right now, Allbirds’ massive Black Friday sale is on, which means you can save up to 50% off sitewide.

This is Allbids’ biggest sale of the entire year, so whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone on your holiday shopping list or just need a new pair of sneakers or sweats, now’s the time to treat yourself. Grab some of the brand’s best-sellers like the Tree Dasher 1s, Wool Runners, and Natural Leggings. Allbirds’ Black Friday sale runs through December 2, but we suggest shopping sooner than later—it’s selling fast!

Allbirds’ Black Friday Sale

Men’s Wool Runners

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Women’s Tree Dasher 1

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Men’s Tree Toppers

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Women’s Wool Runners

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Women’s Wool Runner Fluff

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REI Hiking Boots Review

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I am so happy to say that rei co-op has come up with a new line of hiking boots! The reason why this makes me so excited is that i love rei co-op products. One of my first hiking backpacks was the rei co-op flash. I still have it to this day because it is of excellent quality and it is pretty durable. Most of rei’s products are pretty affordable, and that includes the rei co-op flash hiking boots. The hiking boots are great for beginner hikers or for people that would love some lightweight hiking boots. Another plus is that they are made from recycled material! I am all about companies that strive to make the planet a better place so check out below to get my full rei co-op flash hiking boots review. I talk about comfort, traction, water resistance, weight, support, value, and much more.

REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots Review

How I Used The REI Co-Op Flash Hiking Boots

I hiked with the rei co-op flash hiking boots on 4 different trails around washington state. I experienced these shoes on different terrains like crossing streams, steep rocky areas, and muddy trails. Overall my experience was pretty great with the rei flash hiking boots, and i loved how lightweight they felt! Here are the trails i hiked to test them out:

  • Lake stuart: 9 miles round trip, 1665 ft. Elevation gain
  • Emmons moraine: 3 miles round trip, 900 ft. Elevation gain
  • Suntop lookout: 2.1 miles round trip,1100 ft. Elevation gain
  • Colchuck lake: 8 miles round trip,2280 ft. Elevation gain

Weight

The one thing that stops me from using hiking boots all the time is weight. Most hiking boots can be a little heavy or bulky when compared to hiking shoes. Luckily, the rei co-op flash hiking boots is on the lighter side compared to many other hiking boots in the market. Many hiking boots are usually over 2 lbs, while the rei co-op flash hiking boots is around 1 lb 13 ounces.

Usually, when hiking long trails, the boot’s weight can start to weigh you down, but luckily, while hiking colchuck lake (9 miles round trip), the weight of the rei co-op flash hiking boots didn’t bother me.

Traction

Colchuck Lake trail is known to be one of the rockiest trails in Washington. I was thankful that the REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots worked well with the nonstop rocks and high elevation gain. This was especially true when going downhill, which is usually my least favorite part of the hike. Most of the time, I have trouble, and I slip or fall on trails, but the REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots prevented this while hiking Colchuck Lake.

Water Resistance

There are streams and rivers all over Washington, and I was able to test out how waterproof the shoes were. Even though I walked through countless streams, my socks stayed nice and dry. So I submerged them in a shallow river to test them out, and yup, my socks were still dry!

When hiking shoes are waterproof, there can be some problems with breathability. This usually leads to blisters because your feet start to sweat when hiking. I luckily didn’t get any blisters on my feet the whole time I was testing out the shoes, which means that the shoes are waterproof yet breathable. This is a huge plus!

Durability

After putting the boots through hell on those 4 hikes (I am not the most graceful hiker), the shoes still looked in pretty good condition. There were no major scratches, no major peeling, and the fabric looks fine.

Comfort

The rei co-op flash hiking boots will need to be broken into. Like most hiking boots, it is recommended to use them around town, at home, or on leisure walks before going on a difficult hike.

They are stiff at first, but they eventually mold to your feet. I do like that there is room in the toe box. I ordered half a size over my regular shoe size (i am usually a size 7 and got a size 7.5), and it fit just fine. I had no problems with my feet swelling or my toenails feeling uncomfortable.

Support

My ankles usually bend like crazy after hiking many miles, and it definitely happened to me while hiking Colchuck Lake. Luckily, the REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots was able to help prevent any major damage to my ankle when it bent(I have injured my ankle this past year while hiking while wearing other boots). I was pretty happy with the ankle support the REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots gave me.

The boots’ insoles felt pretty supportive, but I know that this could be different for others. I have high arch feet, and the insoles felt perfect for me.

Value

I have reviewed and bought many hiking boots throughout the years, and the REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots is the most inexpensive boots I have had on hand. I always love that REI Co-op makes its products available to everyone while still maintaining good quality. The cost for the boots ($130) is a great price, especially for budget buyers and new hikers.

REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots Appearance

The REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots comes in three colors;  Bark/Moss, Granite Black, and Smoke/Lilac. I picked the Smoke Lilac because I usually wear more pink colors on my hikes. I really loved the Lilac color and even got compliments of the color on the trails. I love when outdoor brands make hiking apparel more attractive and fun for women! I hope REI Co-op adds even more fun colors in the future!

Style

What I loved about the REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots is how little they resemble hiking boots. Some hiking boots can look pretty manly, rugged, and bulky. Luckily, I can pretty much wear the boots in many places, not just the trails. Hey, I am all about versatility!

The style of the shoes and the weight makes it pretty easy for me to head to the grocery store or to the mall. When it comes to hiking, looks are probably one of the least important factors (which is why I put it at the bottom), but it is nice if your shoes are versatile. Plus, I like looking cute on the trails because that is my jam and my brand!

Eco-Friendly Materials

Usually, when you think about hiking boots, you do not think about Eco Friendly. Well, my friend, the new REI Flash hiking boots are made with recycled materials. Here are some of the specs:

  • Membrane uses 75% recycled polyester
  • Upper sole is 99% recycled PET
  • Upper sole is also 30% recycled TPU
  • TerraGrip rubber is 20% recycled

As someone who loves the outdoors, I am always so excited to hear when outdoor brands use eco-friendly materials, which is a huge plus. Read more on the recycled materials they use here

Conclusion

Thanks for reading all about the new REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots! Let me know if you have any questions and make sure you check out some of my other hiking posts:

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REI Co-Op Review: Must Read This Before Buying

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Recreational Equipment, Inc., generally known as REI, is an American retail and outside amusement administrations enterprise. It is coordinated as a shoppers’ co-usable. REI sells setting up camp stuff, climbing, climbing, cycling, water, running, wellness, snow, travel hardware, and men, ladies and children clothing. It additionally offers administrations like open air arranged excursions and courses.

REI works 165 retail locations in 39 states. It additionally gets orders by means of mail-request lists and the web.

About REI

REI

Lloyd and Mary Anderson established REI in Seattle, Washington in 1938. The Andersons imported an Akadem Pickel ice hatchet from Austria for themselves as a feature of The Mountain dwellers Fundamental Getting over Course, and chose to set up a co-usable to assist other outside fans in the club with obtaining great quality getting over gear at sensible costs. On June 23, 1938, with the assistance from Seattle lawyer Ed Rombauer, five Mountain dwellers met at Rombauer’s office, and each paid one dollar to join Sporting Gear Agreeable.

During the principal year, Sporting Hardware was just a rack at the Puget Sound Helpful Store, a rancher’s center close to Pike Spot Market in Seattle. In 1942, Lloyd moved to another space a few doors down from The Mountain dwellers club rooms on Pike Road. Jim Whittaker, the principal American to highest point Mount Everest (in 1963), was recruited as the primary full-time representative of REI on July 25, 1955. In 1956, Sporting Hardware Agreeable was consolidated. Whittaker filled in as Chief during the 1960s and was an early board part with American Elevated Club president Nicholas Secure. At the point when Whittaker climbed Mount Everest, it gave REI such an excess of free promoting that the next year, 1964, its gross pay beat $1mil interestingly.

Through the 1970s, it distinguished itself noticeably as REI Center, zeroing in fundamentally on hardware for serious climbers, explorers, and mountaineering endeavors.

No U.S. retailer has promoted the open air and experience travel spaces like REI. In the States, city occupants need to come to depend on it as a one-stop supplier for climbing, setting up camp, bicycling, rowing, strolling the canine, or taking the children to the recreation area. That is thanks to a great extent to REI’s monstrous choice of the best outside dress brands from Patagonia and The North Face to MSR and Arc’teryx.

However, its in-house gear brand, REI Co-Op, tends to fly under the radar, compared to its brand-name counterparts. That’s a shame because many of its own products offer the same great quality and features, plus a fantastic “satisfaction guaranteed” return policy for significantly less than elsewhere. Let’s take a look at everything you should know about REI Co-Op outdoor gear and why you might want to consider the brand for your next gear-up.

What Is REI Co-Op?

REI

REI Co-Op is REI’s own brand of outdoor gear. Its history dates back to 1938, so the company has more than eight decades of field-testing under its belt. At its core, REI promises “gear born from and built for an outdoor life — part of experiences that transform lives.” Most importantly, however, it’s built to be affordable. In the company’s own words, it’s designing outdoor gear and apparel to “break down barriers like cost, activity level, and sizing to get everyone outside.” The bottom line: It’s billed as a more accessible alternative to high-end (and high-priced) outdoor gear, but with the same quality and innovation.

What’s the Price Range of REI Co-Op Gear?

REI

As we said, affordability is one of REI Co-Op’s best selling points. To be sure, it’s pricier than the sort of bargain-basement off-brand gear you might find at, say, Walmart, but often less than more recognizable brands. However, the quality is surprisingly on-par or better than many of those brands. In most cases, the technical innovation and feature set are comparable, too.

What Are the Most Popular REI Co-Op Outdoor Products?

REI

The REI Co-Op catalog runs deep with nearly 1,000 products in total. You’ll find essentials like socks, water bottles, and duffel bags. But, the selection of gear extends well beyond the basics to include everything from hiking boots and expedition tents to backpacks and luggage. The most popular REI Co-Op products include its tents, which deliver some of the best bang-for-your-buck value of any camping tents on the market. Its Half Done and Base Camp tent lines, for example, frequently receive four-star-plus reviews from customers and countless outdoor gear review websites. REI Co-Op sleeping bags like those in the Trailbreak line are similarly well-reviewed. The self-branded line also includes great outerwear options like rain shells and down jackets for men and women. Of course, the best part is that these often cost less than most premium brand-name alternatives.

What’s the Return Policy for REI Co-Op Products?

REI

REI’s generous return policy applies to anything from any brand bought at its stores. For new products (not including outdoor electronics), the company guarantees, “If you’re not satisfied with your REI purchase, you can return it for a replacement or refund within one year of purchase.” That’s already better than almost any retailer. But, in our experience, it tends to go the extra mile to back its own REI Co-Op products. Stories abound of the store accepting returns on years-old products that prematurely failed or that regular customers weren’t happy with. (These stories are anecdotal, of course, so don’t quote us.) Just know that REI really does stand behind its products and typically bends over backward to keep customers happy. This is especially true for REI Co-Op members.

Should I Get an REI Membership?

REI

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker going off the grid for a few days or an outdoors enthusiast prepping for the occasional winter hike, you can probably find whatever it is you’re looking for at REI. If the cashiers consider you a regular, you’re already in the know—and you’ve probably considered investing in an REI Co-op membership, which gives frequent shoppers a chance to earn back a percentage of what they spend at the end of the year.

Even though the REI Co-op recently increased the cost of its membership, it still remains a modest price of admission: A lifetime membership is just $30. (If you’re already a co-op member, you’ll be grandfathered in to the new program.) And as long as you spend at least $10 a year on qualifying purchases, you’ll earn 10 percent back in annual dividends, plus you’ll get access to member-only discounts during special in-store events, and in some cases, free shipping. You can choose to either apply your dividends (issued yearly in March) toward REI purchases or receive them as cash in your pocket. And as of March 2, 2022, members will now receive even more benefits, including free shipping on most purchases and exclusive access to new and limited-edition gear.

At face value, signing up seems like a no-brainer—but whether the Co-op membership makes sense for you depends on how you shop and what you shop for.

What are your shopping habits?

REI

If you’re an REI regular who normally pays full price, you’ll squeeze the most out of the membership benefits. Bargain hunters won’t get money back at the end of the year, though, since you can’t earn dividends on sale or clearance items. REI Outlet purchases don’t qualify for dividends either.

Will you use the exclusives?

An REI membership comes with a handful of exclusive perks that only Co-op members can take advantage of, many of which have been recently introduced. For instance, members now have the opportunity to save 20% on REI’s bike and snow shop services, plus free flat tire repair and machine wax. These savings make a membership especially attractive to bikers, skiers, and snowboarders alike.

Members receive special pricing on Co-op Experiences, though dividends can’t be applied to trips or to classes at the REI Outdoor School. If you plan to take advantage of the discounts on REI Adventures, signing up would be advantageous even if you only shop the sale section (thus forgoing dividends). Instead of collecting dividends, you’ll save on the total price of your trip—and then some. For instance, members can get a discount of up to 57 percent off their lift tickets at select ski resorts (there are about 60 locations to choose from); at some resorts, that represents more than $100 in savings.

REI

Previously, REI stores hosted an annual garage sale—available only to co-op members—featuring returned items at bargain prices, but the company has recently renamed the initiative Re/Supply. The program, available only to co-op members who want to trade in used gear, is similar to Garage Sale but instead of yearly sales, members will have the ability to buy used year-round. In-store trade-ins are available at a few brick and mortar locations—with more to come—but members around the country can send in their used gear in exchange for an REI gift card.

Members also get exclusive access to the Member Collection, which includes early access to new gear, limited edition gear, special offers, and access to one-of-a-kind brand collabs.

Are you planning to make just one big purchase?

There are some instances in which signing up for the Co-op membership can be beneficial even if you never again set foot in an REI (or surf the site) after your first purchase. If you’re in the market for pricier gear—like a GPS running watch or a canopy tent that fits the whole family—becoming a member is definitely worth it. Take the Garmin Forerunner 645 running watch, for example: If you buy the watch at its full price of $400, you’ll earn 10 percent ($40) back in dividends at the end of the year. Sure, you’ll net only $20—but that’s $20 more than you had before, and no one can argue against free money.

REI

How often do you shop online?

Until recently, REI’s spending threshold for free shipping was at least $50, which made shopping online less economical for folks who weren’t able to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. But REI is now offering members free shipping for most items, which makes a membership even more enticing for those making small purchases online. You might still be charged separate handling fees for larger, bulkier items—so you may still want to opt for in-store pickup if possible to avoid paying more on those purchases.

Are you a brand loyalist?

You may second-guess an REI membership even if you’re constantly shopping for outdoor gear. Just because you’re an outdoors enthusiast doesn’t mean you have to buy from REI—competitors like Amazon, Backcountry, and Moosejaw often match REI’s sale pricing, even that of its member-only sales. With that in mind, having exclusive access to REI discounts thanks to your Co-op membership doesn’t mean much, especially if your order is ineligible for dividends and free shipping.

REI

But brand loyalty is a very real thing, and for many shoppers, REI is an upstanding retailer that donates a percentage of its earnings to various nonprofits. The company has recently announced that it’ll be donating $5 for every lifetime membership purchase to the REI Cooperative Action Fund, a public charity that donates to nonprofits that promote justice, equality, and belonging in the outdoors So if you find yourself choosing REI over and over again—even though other retailers might offer better sales—a Co-op membership probably makes sense for you. This is especially true if you have a particular penchant for REI-branded gear—Wirecutter certainly has a few favorites.

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