Ships to: The continental U.S. for free ($30 to HI, AK, and U.S. territories), Canada for $35 ($90 for remote territories), and worldwide at varying rates.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
Opening The Box
Yay for spring and yay for the Spring BREO BOX! This spring, BREO has made some upgrades to offer a more eco-friendly subscription experience, and as always with decisions like this, I'm fully on board. It's a matter of wanting to use less waste for the betterment of our planet just as much as it's a wish to have less to carry to my curb on garbage night every week. What's different? Well, instead of the matte cardboard or wooden boxes that longtime BREO subscribers are used to, the items come packed solely in their duster bag inside a cleverly designed outer cardboard box. The shape and design of the box is in the spirit of their former keepable boxes, but it's curbside recyclable.
*Note: The Spring 2022 box will contain either the Cubinote printer or the Casalink smart plugs + Lume wand. All three are pictured in this review, but not all three are included in this quarter's box. You will not be sent an item you've already received.
On top of that, BREO's usual detailed booklet with information about the items inside the box has gone virtual. Instead you'll find this pared-down single card with a QR code that opens to a digital catalog. It's a really nice experience! I always read through all the info they provide and then recycle the booklet promptly to minimize clutter, so this is a better option for me. Their "signature sensory component," as it's called in the welcome note, is a freshener-style card the size of a credit card that's infused with a cologne-y scent. Everybody loves a waft of a good smell when they open a subscription box, right?
Here's What's Inside
MPOWERED Luci Solar String Lights — Retail Value $49.95
Over my many years of receiving subscription boxes, I've received a number of different styles of string lights. You'd think it would start to feel old by now, but truly, it continues to thrill me. The various sets of camp lights I own are currently a tangled mess in my basement, and I untangle them every spring and summer but it's only bearable with a cold beer in hand and music jamming. This set is leveling up my experience. You can see the solar charging panel on the top of the disc, but they also come with a USB charging cable for a quick-charge. Hit the power button and the first thing that lights up is a strong flashlight-style beam on the top. Bump that button again and your 10 string lights, which come neatly wrapped inside the disc (twist to open) illuminate. They have three brightness settings and last up to 20 hours on one charge. The lights themselves are sturdy, and the cord they're on has occasional small black hooks along it so you can configure your hang setup however you need. I'm really pumped to use these this season. My baby's also really into them—bonus!
Farm Culture Grow Pad Mini Set — Retail Value $49.99 (currently on sale for $39.99)
This small hydroponic herb garden is another upgrade from an item I already own. Well, actually, my aunt gifted me a hydroponic garden about 10 years ago, and after maybe a year of use it sat in storage until a few weeks when I randomly decided to clear it out. It feels serendipitous that this petite version should arrive so soon after. They start you off with some soil foam substrate to plant your seeds in, but the roots live in water long-term. The small fan runs for 15 minutes at a time to prevent bacteria growth, and the light runs on a 12-hour cycle to mimic how much sun herbs need to thrive. This is perfect for the gloomy city where I live—some herbs can grow outdoors in a pot in the summertime, but there are few indoor herbs that do well here. I've been wanting to keep basil year-round for some time, but it just hasn't had enough sunlight to thrive so far.
Farm Culture Seeds — Retail Value $15.00 ($5.00 each)
When I first found these three packets of seeds in my box I thought they were kind of a bonus item. But I see now on the Farm Culture website that they're $5 a pop. That's not unheard of, per se, but it's a pretty high cost. You can easily find them for $3 elsewhere. That said, I'm glad to have received two herbs (basil and rosemary) and a mesclun greens mix to get me started. If I plant my seeds today, they should be ready to harvest in 6 weeks. Perhaps I'll grow the rosemary first, then remove it all and start the basil next, and try to keep it going long-term. The only downside I see to this whole endeavor is that you need a safe surface to place the grow set on, and I can't think of one that makes sense with young kids in the house. But in a different season of life when there's less stuff around I'd probably plop it right on the kitchen counter.
Prepara Herb Savor Classic — Retail Value $31.99
A well-suited pairing to the above product is this herb saver. I've never seen a product like this and I'm very piqued by it! The inner basket acts as a colander for rinsing your herbs. You're meant to dry them completely (I'm incredulous of this step because I find it tricky to fully towel dry herbs without crushing them), then place the colander thing into the plastic container and prop the container in its base. There's a small, lidded opening to fill your herb holder for watering. I've placed bundles of cilantro and parsley in a jar of water in the refrigerator before and it did indeed extend their life, but kind of created a chaotic situation in the fridge. This is just an upgrade of that scenario, and having declared 2022 my year of organization I'm very much pleased with this development.
Portascent Traveler Atomizer — Retail Value $14.99
This travel perfume/cologne bottle seems well-timed. I know my childless peers have been back to traveling for quite some time now, but it's really only beginning to feel like a possibility for my family this spring and summer. We recently took a weekend trip and I found myself festively wanting to bring perfume along. And I did! In a full-size bottle. And it was ridiculous. I used maybe one spray on one evening, and maybe only because I wanted it to feel worth it to have packed it. So I will appreciate having a much more modest amount of perfume packed the next time we take a trip. If you're someone who likes to have perfume options even while on the go, there are multiple colors to choose from out there in the internet, so you could color code them.
Option 1: Knectek Labs Cubinote Home — Retail Value $69.95
I'm a great candidate for BREO BOX because I don't have my finger on the pulse of the latest gadgets, and because I'm easily impressed. There's always one product in every box that blows my mind. And this is it for me. Not because I didn't know anything like it existed, but because it's been on my mental wishlist, for no reason whatsoever, for years and years. I can't tell you how many variations of this thing make their way into my social targeted ads, and it's no surprise given how many times I've had one in my shopping cart and then talked myself out of clicking "purchase." What is the dang thing, anyway? It's basically a receipt printer that you can use to print whatever you want. Yep. That's it. It comes pre-loaded with a roll of white paper, and we're sent pink, yellow, and red refills.
*Note: Subscribers will either receive this Cubinote printer OR the smart plugs and sanitizing wand in their box. If you've already received one, you'll be sent the other.
It's not wireless, which doesn't bother me at all since I'm not taking it on the go (although now that I say that I'm imagining some very fun and funny random uses for it out in the world). As soon as you plug it in for the first time, it generates some directions for getting it connected to wifi. You have to download the coordinating app to function it, which can be done by scanning the QR code that prints out. It took me about 3 minutes to get it setup.
Here's what the home screen of the app looks like. My eyes grew wide when I saw you can generate your on QR code with this thing. I haven't a clue why I would ever have a need for that, but I'm thrilled that if I can come up with a use, I have that power at my fingertips!
Here are some examples. Above, the first photo shows the smallest size text you can print words in, a more readable size, and then the largest. The second photo shows a photo I printed of my daughter's artwork. And the third photo is a peek into the glorious two hours I filled with my daughter, printing out the names of everyone we love...because we could. My only gripe about this whole situation is that the "print" button on the app is tiny and closely oriented to "trash" and "save." I probably wouldn't have formed an opinion about this had I not been using it alongside a toddler, but since I have, my feedback is that I wish the "print" button were huge.
Option 2: Casalink Smart Wifi Plugs — Retail Value $29
Smart plugs! There's no way this is new technology, but it's my first exposure to it. In a supremely out-of-touch way, it took me a little head scratching to figure out what the point of these things is. Now that I know I can turn whatever is plugged into these things on or off using my phone, I am the all-seeing eye of my home and I cannot be trusted with my power. Will I be haunting my family? Yes, very much so. In all seriousness, though, once you're setup with the app, you can turn lights or appliances on and off from anywhere, set timers, and connect to Alexa. The future is now, folks.
*Note: Subscribers will either receive this smart plug set and the below sanitizing wand OR the Cubinote in their box. If you've already received one, you'll be sent the other.
Option 3: Lume UV Sanitizing Wand — Retail Value $59
If you received the smart plugs, you'll also have received the Lume sanitizing wand. This product uses UVC LED lights to destroy 99% of germs when you wave it over your items. It's not meant for use on skin—the idea is to disinfect high-touch items or areas, like phones, doorknobs, bedding, entire hotel rooms, you get it. It's not tiny but it could easily tuck into a suitcase, its charge lasts up to 2 hours, and it turns off automatically when flipped over. It wasn't until having a crawling baby in my possession that I began to become a little wary of germs, and since that is my current reality, I'm really excited about this wand.
Value – Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $159 per quarter + free shipping to the contiguous US.
Value Breakdown: This quarter's BREO BOX contains 5-6 items depending on whether you're sent the Cubinote or the smart plugs and sanitizing wand. At $159 for this subscription, you're paying $26.50-$31.80 per item, depending on which spread you received. With the Cubinote, the contents add up to $231.87; with the smart plugs and sanitizing wand the items add up to $249.92. If you consider that the hydroponic herb garden is on sale, that brings each total down by $10. I feel the same way that I often do with this subscription this quarter, which is that I might not have been game to pay nearly $32 per item in this box if I were just shopping for them on my own, but part of the thrill is the surprise, and I do believe a $159 value is easily achieved.
I had especially good luck with this quarter's BREO BOX. Between the string lights, herb savor, and hydroponic garden, I received some upgrades to items I was already interested in. The Cubinote was my shining start this quarter, as it was something I could never justify buying in the past, so it was a treat to be sent one to play around with. I'm aware that not everyone is impressed by seeing items show up that they've already seen in past BREO boxes, but I'm hoping that the promise that subscribers won't be sent repeats ensures that everyone ends with something interesting!
Keep track of your subscriptions by adding this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Other Things You Should Know
When is this box available? This box is seasonal, shipping out four times a year.
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? Yes, the Spring 2022 box is still available as of publication.
What do you think of the Spring BREO BOX? Which item are you most excited to receive?