Many people look forward to the summer season all year. It’s a beautiful time to get outside, get together with friends or enjoy cold treats. To make the most of summer, you’ll need a few essentials.

Yard games like Spikeball are an excellent way to get competitive with friends, whereas the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker offers you a delicious way to cool down.

Summer essentials for a good time

In this video

BestReviews’ Jacob Palmer joins Scott Moak to share our picks for the items you need this summer.

Ice cream maker

Ice cream is the perfect way to beat the heat. If you eat ice cream often, you can save money over time by making it yourself. There’s something particularly satisfying about eating ice cream you made from scratch.

When choosing an ice cream maker, think about how much work you want to put into making your treat. Hand-crank models require more effort but produce top-notch ice cream. Alternatively, modern ice cream makers make delicious ice cream with little effort.

Making ice cream is best when you take your time and choose high-quality ingredients. Consider using cream instead of milk and real vanilla instead of vanilla flavoring. Fresh eggs and cream ensure your frozen treat has a good flavor. You can also make things simple by using an ice cream mix.

Backpack cooler

Having cold drinks on hand is necessary for every cookout and tailgating event, but coolers are usually heavy and hard to carry. Luckily, numerous backpack coolers make it easy to transport cold drinks.

Consider size, weight and insulation when buying a backpack cooler. Larger backpacks give you more space to store beverages, but they can be harder to carry. Some feature hard sides, whereas others are soft all the way around. Soft backpacks are more comfortable to carry, but you’ll want to check that they’re made from a thick, puncture-resistant material.

Yard games

If you’re getting your friends and family together for a day of fun, you can’t go wrong with yard games. Many stick to cornhole and horseshoes, but there are a wide range of new yard games worth considering.

Games like Spikeball incorporate volleyball and four square elements for a competitive game that gets you up and moving. Chippo is a yard game made for those who love golfing; it combines elements of golf with cornhole.


Pickleball is a great middle ground between activity and relaxation. This sport combines elements of table tennis and traditional tennis. It gets you on your feet and moving but doesn’t require much running.

Starting with a pickleball set can be a good idea if you’ve never played before. Most sets include nearly everything you need to get started, such as paddles and balls.


When spending time in the sun, it can be easy to forget to apply sunscreen. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the damage the sun’s UV rays can cause. According to the National Institutes of Health, UV rays can reduce skin elasticity and cause skin cancer.

Broad-spectrum sunscreen is the best choice, as it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens that don’t offer broad-spectrum protection may prevent sunburn but don’t prevent deep tissue damage. Additionally, you’ll want a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (or SPF) of at least 30.

Shop this segment

best Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

This is a highly durable machine that produces consistently good ice cream. The insulated freezer bowl eliminates the need for ice. The Cuisinart ice cream maker is relatively compact, making it easy to store. Operating this unit is straightforward.

Sold by Amazon 

best Spikeball Standard Three-Ball Kit

Spikeball Standard Three-Ball Kit

This yard game can be played competitively or casually. You can adjust the net to give the balls more or less bounce. It features foldable legs and a drawstring bag, making it easy to take on the go.

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

best Chippo


This game is a fun choice for fans of cornhole and golf. The set includes two boards, two chipping mats and six balls. Players are impressed with the quality of the balls and boards.

Sold by Amazon

best Onix Recruit Pickleball Starter Set

Onix Recruit Pickleball Starter Set

This set includes two paddles and two balls. It’s an affordable way to get started playing pickleball.

Sold by Amazon

best Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen

This broad-spectrum sunscreen goes on clear and feels incredibly light. It seems to hold up well in water. Most people feel it prevents their skin from burning and never feels greasy.

Sold by Amazon, Supergoop, Kohl’s, Sephora and Ulta Beauty

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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