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The Best Personal Safety Devices, Apps, and Alarms

The Best Personal Safety Devices, Apps, and Alarms

That aforementioned feature is helpful if someone is simply being a nuisance, but when you’re in a dangerous situation where a fake call isn’t enough, you can hold down the Flare button to send a message and your location to your selected contacts. Flare has also established a partnership with Noonlight, so you can set up the Flare device (through the app) to call 911 when you hold the button down. You’ll get a text and call immediately, and if you can’t answer, your location is shared with first responders in your area. If you set it off accidentally and want to cancel, the operator will ask for personal identifiers, like the spelling of your last name and phone number, so they know it’s really you.

The pricing has changed since we first tested this one. Bracelets are now $98 (down from $129), but you must now choose a monthly protection plan. At checkout, you’ll choose 6-, 12-, or 24-month plans, which are $5, $4, and $3 per month, respectively, and each gets one month free.

Flare is currently only available for iPhone users; an Android version is still in the works, but the company hasn’t said when it will be available. The battery isn’t rechargeable, which the company says was an intentional design choice to avoid any frustration with having to constantly recharge the thing. But the bracelet is guaranteed to last one year and depending on usage could last as long as two years. After that, you’ll have to purchase an entirely new bracelet for another $98.

The Flare Bracelet for iPhone costs $98 plus a monthly subscription.

Note: The company picks five people each month who are in need to receive a free bracelet. You can nominate yourself or someone you know here. 

More Wearables With Safety Features

InvisaWear keychains, bracelets, and more

Image may contain Cell Phone Electronics Mobile Phone Phone Accessories Accessory and Jewelry

These charms have a button on the back that can be used to call for help.

Photograph: InvisaWear

If you like the idea of Flare but have an Android phone, or simply don’t wear bracelets, then you might want to consider InvisaWear products, which are backed by the home security company ADT. The InvisaWear lineup includes a wide range of products: keychains, bracelets, necklaces, fitness bands, and even scrunchies. (Yes, you can now buy a “smart” scrunchie backed by a home security company.) Like Flare, these products are mostly designed to blend in with the rest of your wardrobe.

Our Favorite Couches (and 1 Armchair) You Can Order Online

Our Favorite Couches (and 1 Armchair) You Can Order Online

Maybe you have a hand-me-down or a thrifted floral confection that isn’t cutting it. Or maybe being stuck at home during quarantine left your sofa seats sunken in and worse for wear. If you need a new sofa, you’ve come to the right place.

A few of us here on the Gear team have spent several months testing a batch of couches you can order online. We haven’t tested enough to make a definitive Best Overall Couch pick yet, but our current favorites are below.

Much like bed-in-a-box mattresses, ordering a couch online is simpler than it sounds. You simply choose what you want, place an order, and voilà: Several boxes will arrive on your front porch. Assemble the parts and you’re good to go. But it’s important to do your research first. Many couch makers offer sample swatches of fabrics, which you should take advantage of, to ensure that the color and feel is exactly what you want. Make sure to measure the area where your couch will be too, as well as doorframes and stairwells for walk-up apartments.

Updated December 2021: We’ve added the Kova, plus an optional Lovesac upgrade.

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The 15 Best (and Worst) Mattresses You Can Buy Online

The 15 Best (and Worst) Mattresses You Can Buy Online

Shopping for the best mattress online is a waking nightmare, and picking the wrong one can literally cause bad dreams or kill your back. It doesn’t help that the online market is flooded with options or that there are more dedicated mattress review sites than stars in the sky. It’s a mess.

WIRED is not a dedicated sleep site, but we did fill a room with 25 of the top mattress-in-a-box models and spent several days unboxing, examining, reclining, and even jumping on each of them last year. Since then we’ve tested about a dozen more. Below are my favorite (and least favorite) mattresses right now. All of the prices shown are for queen-size models.

Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Sound Machines and our roundup of the best gifts for people who like to sleep.

Updated November 2021: We’ve added the Awara, Keetsa, Avocado Green, and MyGreenMattress for kids, and upgraded the Casper to runner-up.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

Matt Jancer, Louryn Strampe, and Scott Gilbertson contributed to this guide.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

Ways to Stay Sane and Relaxed During a Pandemic

Ways to Stay Sane and Relaxed During a Pandemic

Journaling can be as simple as tapping in your Notes app. But I recommend pen and paper. A simple paper planner can double as a journal, as well as help you keep track of your tasks. Here are our favorites. I also like Miquelrius notebooks, because the paper is so delightfully soft. 

The Blue Sky Thoughtful Journal ($35) is good for figuring out what to write. It offers prompts, including intentions and aspirations; weekly highs and lows; places to describe a perfect day or favorite attribute about yourself; as well as plain pages for free writing. 

Gabriela Herstik’s Embody Your Magick: A Guided Journal for the Modern Witch ($15) is a great option for the witches among us, to guide you through your spiritual practice and get to know yourself a little better. 

Read, Read, Read

I used to go through multiple books a month, until my phone, and then college and work, started taking up more of my time. But there’s nothing like cracking open a new book and settling into an alternate world. Plus, filling up bookshelves is an easy way to decorate and make your sanctuary a little warmer.

I prefer real books, but I’ve recently come to appreciate the Kindle. Many ebooks are cheaper than the hard copy, and if you have a library card (and if you don’t, what are you waiting for?) you can check out ebooks for free.

Mind, Body, and Soul

woman doing yoga
Photograph: Getty Images

It’s important to focus on your mental health during this time, but attending to your physical health can give you a mood boost as well. 

Work Out

Some people work out to relieve stress and feel calm. I am not one of those people, but I do take their word for it. WIRED reviews editor Adrienne So put together a guide on how to work out from home that will help even the laziest and most out-of-shape (me) to get moving.

If working out sounds more stress-inducing than stress-relieving, but you still want to stay somewhat active, try yoga. We have some tips on how to make the perfect yoga space at home, from where to buy an inexpensive yoga mat to how to decorate your corner. Yoga melts away my stress and helps build muscle.

Whether your muscles get sore from working out or from slouching over your computer for the 100th day in a row, a muscle massager (also known as a percussive device) might help fix you right up. We love the expensive Theragun, but there are more affordable options, like the SKG F5 ($129), which adds heat, and the nonpercussive Sharper Image Powerboost ($130).

Clear Your Mind

Meditation is an extremely beneficial tool to feel calm. We are constantly plugged in to what’s happening in the world, and right now especially, it’s weighing on us. Setting aside time to meditate, with your phone on silent, will give you at least a few minutes of peace.

All you need to meditate is yourself and a quiet place. But it can be hard to turn off your thoughts and focus on the task at hand. We have some tips for how to get the most out of a simple meditation app. A few that we like include the Headspace app (iOS and Android), which has an easy-to-follow beginner’s course, a decent free library of guided meditations, and Andy Puddicombe’s soothing British voice. Unplug (iOS and Android) has a seven-day free trial. Both have super-short courses, which are perfect for when you’re in desperate need of a mental break.