We reviewed the Halo Capsule in early January 2020 and it feels fitting to bookend the year by returning to one of the best products we’ve tested. In a crowded marketplace where manufacturers opt for an increasing number of bells and whistles to stand out, Capsule’s makers chose a different path, streamlining and simplifying the cordless vacuum cleaner concept.

The pared-back Capsule opts to do a few things and do them well, using thoughtful design to make its mark. Thanks to its innovative carbon fibre shell, it’s the lightest cordless cleaner we’ve tested, weighing only 2.6kg. It has excellent suction and a huge, 1.6 litre dust capacity, which is more than twice that of the Dyson V11.

Perhaps most importantly, the thoughtfulness extends to its environmental impact. This is a product that’s designed to last and leave very little trace of itself in the world afterwards.

Unusually, in the world of cordless cleaners, Capsule uses dust bags, but these are paper and completely compostable. The vacuum cleaner itself has a two-year warranty and has been tested for a decade of use.

If it runs into problems, the makers encourage you to get it serviced and continue using it. And finally, when the time comes to dispose of it, the individual parts of Capsule can all be recycled.  

Of equal importance is the price point. The top-flight cordless vacuum cleaners from the likes of Miele, Samsung and Dyson are selling for around the £600 mark. The Halo Capsule matches many of their specs, betters some and comes in at £250, including a year’s worth of dust pouches.  

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Breville’s Barista Max is an espresso maker with an inbuilt conical burr grinder and milk wand. As you’ll know if you’ve investigated coffee machines of this kind, they tend to be expensive. Home espresso making is the preserve of the hobbyists, who modify their machines and weigh out their grinds to get the perfect extraction.

But what about the rest of us, who just want a decent cup of coffee at home? If you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort (it’s not an automatic bean-to-cup machine) then the Barista Max is a bargain: a solid, reliable machine that contains everything that you need to make espressos, cappuccinos and more at home – except the beans. And it’s all for (just) under £300.

Another simple, innovative product we tested this year is the Pomabrush. It’s a minimalist, all-silicone electric toothbrush that comes with a USB charging travel case. Both brush and case are beautifully designed, feel high quality and are a pleasure to use.

The Pomabrush is waterproof, so you can brush your teeth in the shower (if that’s how you choose to live your life), the silicone is naturally bacteria-resistant so it doesn’t smell musty when it’s been stored in its case and best of all, it has a battery life of four months.

As for the price - it can be yours for £69, which makes it one of the best value electric toothbrushes we’ve tested.

Over the next few days, we’re announcing the rest of our tech award winners for 2020, but we've already picked our favourite smart home tech, TV, and laptop, so check them out.