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The majority of all Texas residents live in a deregulated energy market. This means every day, people have the freedom to switch to a different provider in their service area to save money. Competition helps keep prices down, and Texas energy rates are below the national average.

  • The average Texas residential electricity bill is 13% lower than the national average.
  • The average Texas commercial electricity bill is 4% lower than the national average.
  • Texas leads the nation in wind and ranks fifth in the nation for solar electricity generation.
  • Texas legislators, however, are actively campaigning against renewable energy solutions.
  • Consumers in Texas can use their power of choice to demand smarter energy solutions.
  • In this article we'll talk about energy options in your service area and discuss the pros and cons of energy deregulation.

But as we have discussed at EcoWatch, deregulation and a race to the bottom of prices also creates risk. Infrastructure falls into disrepair and when the grid fails, customers and legislators point fingers.

This article is designed to talk about the best energy companies in Texas, show how rates vary across the state, and give you some clarity on how Texas energy works. If you searched for other websites for info about "Texas energy" you probably encountered plenty of properties whose sole aim is to sell your information to an energy company. This is not one of those pages. This is meat to be informative. Our goal is to paint a picture of the landscape and talk in-depth about the green energy plans available in Texas.

Why Trust EcoWatch to Talk About Energy

An energy plan is something you have to have. Lights aren't optional for most people. For more than a decade we have written about the importance of renewables. Lately, through both legislation and media attacks, renewables have come under fire. We want to bring energy choice to the forefront, and center the conversation around renewables.

  • Independent journalists. Our team of journalists covers renewable energy, solar power, and electricity rates to help consumers understand the energy landscape.
  • Local perspective. We regularly source customer opinions, installation experts for quotes, and state-by-state data to better understand the energy landscape.
  • Simple education process. Like all our product-focused content, our mission is to help people buy things they were already going to buy in a way that helps the planet.

What is "energy deregulation" in Texas?

In most states, consumers get their electricity from a local utility company. The Texas energy market is different. In Texas the market is deregulated, meaning people and businesses have the power to shop a marketplace of electricity providers.

Renewable and "green" electricity

Texas leads the nation in wind energy generation. It's also a top five states for solar power. This means, despite being closely associated with oil, Texas consumers can pick from green energy plans. The hard part is finding specifics on what makes a plan "green."

To find the specifics of your Texas electricity plan, you have to look at your Electricity Facts Label. If your local Texas electricity provider is unclear about their renewable energy sources, try looking at the green energy plans from Rhythm, Gexa Energy, Chariot Energy, and Green Mountain Energy.

Finding the right energy plan in a deregulated market is hard. You have to research each electric provider, their energy rates, and then pass a credit check. The most important things to consider are (1) am I lowering my monthly bill, and (2) am I moving my home toward a more renewable source of power.

Types of electric plans in Texas

Fixed-rate plans

You pay the same rate every month, regardless of season or changes in the energy market. A fixed-rate electricity plans may require a contract with an annual commitment. An early termination fee can be charged if you leave the contract early. This plan may be right for you if you don't plan to move for a while.

Variable-rate plans

Variable-rate plans change based on the energy market. If demand goes up, so do your prices. We saw the consequences of variable-rate plans in the recent Texas energy crisis. When demand shot up, so did prices for energy customers.

Green energy plans

A green energy plan will rely on wind, solar, and other renewable resources. This is the plan for you if you want to offset 100 percent of your home or office emissions

Prepaid plans

Your credit score has an impact on how much you pay—as it's supposed to be a predictor of how likely you are to pay your bills. Prepaid energy plans allow people with poor credit to acquire power on a prepaid basis.

Texas electricity rates chart

Texas deregulated its energy market in 2002. Since then, consumers have been able to shop for the best rate in their area. It has also brought about a steady increase in competition since the marketplace opened. This means more choices and more for consumers to learn about the process of switching providers.


Source: eia.gov


Best Green Energy Plans in Texas

Here's a chart outlining some of the 100% renewable energy plans available in Texas. We're currently sourcing customer reviews for each company plan and will update this page regularly with new information.

PlanTerm (months)Rate (¢/kWh)
Gexa Saver Deluxe 12
126.9
Gexa Saver Supreme 12
127.3
Gexa Saver 12
127.8
Gexa Saver Save Select 12
129.0
Gexa Saver Value 12
1212.1
Gexa Saver Freedom 12
1212.2
Gexa Saver Freedom 36
3612.2
Gexa Saver Premium 12
1213.5
Gexa Saver Premium 24
2413.5
Gexa Superb Saver 12
1214.8
Green Mountain Pollution Free e-Plus 121211.1
Green Mountain Pollution Free e-Plus 24
2411.3
Lone Star Green 121211.9
Lone Star Green 242411.6
Lone Star Green 363611.2
Rhythm Texas Breeze 121211.3
Rhythm Texas Breeze 24
2410.6
Rhythm Texas Breeze 36
3610.2

Energy shopping checklist

Download the Electricity Facts Label before signing any contract to be sure you understand the price you're paying for power; the percent of your power coming from renewable sources; and any fees (like early termination fees) attached to moving or changing your plan.

Texas Electric Companies FAQs

What if I own a business in Texas?

Texas commercial energy rates were the third-lowest in the nation in 2020. Texans who own companies can shop the same electricity market for their best electricity plan. Pricing info is available with each provider. Cheap electricity rates are also available for companies who work off-hours, and may include some free nights.

Is there a cheap energy rate in my area?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tracks average retail electric rates in Texas. The season, your energy usage, and your provider may impact your rate.

When you use the power can also effect your rate. Customers who use power at an off-peak time can get a lower rate.

What is the difference between a Utility and an Energy Provider?

Utilities are in charge of the operation and maintenance of the energy grid. Utilities are focused on the hardware and infrastructure that runs the grid. Texas utilities include Oncor and Centerpoint Energy.

How do I switch energy plans in Texas?

All a consumer has to do is (1) compare Texas electric providers, (2) switch your electric provider using an online service or form, and (3) verify your lower rate and green energy plan details using the Electricity Facts Label before completing the necessary paperwork.

What is Power to Choose Texas?

Power to Choose is the website managed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). It lists energy plans for consumers to compare. It does not list commercial electricity rates.

How do I find the best Texas energy plan?

Most of the searchable energy rates are attached to a zip code, so you'll need to find the best rate for your area. A Texas energy plan can vary dramatically—so the most important thing is, again, the Energy Facts Label.

You have the power, as a Texan, to push your state toward more renewable energy consumption by switching your home to a green energy plan.

How much can I lower my electric bill?

Find the right plan for your home and lifestyle is key to controlling your energy costs. Electricity companies are competing for customers, which is an advantage for the homeowners.

Deregulation also means there are power outages related to mismanagement and lack of oversight. Every time you look to lower your electric bill, think of the quality of electricity company you are partnering with. How will they impact your wallet, your power supply, and the planet?

What is the best energy provider in Texas?

The top providers in Texas are TXU Energy, Reliant Energy, Direct Energy, and TriEagle Energy.

Electricity companies focused on renewable energy sources and green energy plans include Gexa Energy, Chariot Energy, Green Mountain Energy, and Rhythm.

Gexa Energy is also one of the cheapest electricity providers in the marketplace. They offer a number of affordable electricity plans that are all 100% green.

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Most people know that trees are great for providing shade, clean air and natural beauty for our landscapes. What you might not know is that neglecting trees and avoiding regular pruning and maintenance can have an adverse effect on the environment.

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Sunrun Solar Reviews: Costs, Quality & More (2021)

Is Sunrun the best option for solar panels on your home?

Reviews
Eloi_Omella / E+ / Getty Images

If you're considering a solar panel installation, chances are you've come across the name Sunrun. A lot of literature exists on this leading residential solar panel installer, but research can be overwhelming, so we're breaking down everything you need to know in this Sunrun solar review.

As one of the nation's top solar companies, Sunrun focuses on installing custom-designed solar arrays and backup battery systems, and installations are performed quickly and easily by the provider's massive fleet of technicians. Sunrun also offers a solar leasing program that's popular among customers.

Sunrun Fast Facts
Year Started
2007
Service Areas 22 states and territories, including AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
Service Types Solar panel and backup battery installations
Types of Panels High-efficiency monocrystalline panels from top solar suppliers like LONGi and Costco
Backup Battery Options Brightbox Home Battery storage, which uses lithium-ion batteries like the Tesla Powerwall and the LG Chem
Certifications Solar Energy Industries Association
Better Business Bureau
(BBB) Rating
B+ with accreditation

Read on to learn more about the provider, or to see if Sunrun is available in your area and get a free quote, fill out the 30-second form below.

Sunrun Overview

Founded in 2007, Sunrun's mission is to create a world run by solar energy. Since 2007, Sunrun has expanded at an impressive rate, now offering services in over 20 states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

Sunrun designs solar panel layouts custom to a roof's shape via satellite imagery, giving homeowners more control over the appearance and efficiency of their systems. The company's integrated home solar battery storage service, Brightbox, sets it apart from the many other providers that have yet to deploy storage options that bring a number of key benefits to solar customers.

Sunrun also provides a wide variety of solar financing options for its customers. Catering to a large client base has allowed for Sunrun's massive growth, but it's also presented challenges that have soured the company's reputation online. The BBB gives Sunrun a rating of a B+, which is lower than the average solar provider.

Sunrun Solar Services and Installation

Sunrun is a comprehensive solar installer, providing design and installation of custom solar solutions complete with backup battery storage, home energy monitoring and energy control during outages. These tools can help homeowners manage, store and monitor their home's energy use for additional savings on their electric bills.

The types of panels and inverters Sunrun offers come from brand names like SolarEdge, LONGi and Costco. They are ideal for the quick and easy installations that Sunrun prides itself on. An average customer could expect the installation process to look like this:

  • Receive a free quote by providing preliminary information such as your address, monthly energy costs and credit score.
  • If interested after receiving the quote, a Sunrun sales rep will provide a detailed proposal including your custom system design, appearance and estimated energy savings over the course of the system's lifetime. The proposal should include any local and state solar incentives, so be sure to make note that any are included.
  • Once you've decided on the custom system that fits your needs, you will need to complete paperwork and obtain permits and approvals. Sunrun will handle the permits and approvals from your presiding city or county, but you should expect this process to take a few weeks.
  • During the permitting process, Sunrun will also check for net metering programs through your utility company and will enroll you if eligible.
  • Once all permits and approvals are gathered, Sunrun will install your system. With Sunrun's resources, this will likely be the easiest part of the entire process.
  • Finally, you'll need to pass inspection and turn on the system. Once the system is installed, both the city and your electric company will most likely require inspections. Sunrun will handle the logistics of both. Once these pass, a customer will be able to turn the system on.

Solar Panel Warranty

All Sunrun installations, whether leases or purchases, are covered by the Sunrun Guarantee. This 10-year comprehensive warranty includes free equipment replacement and system repairs, covers all parts and labor costs and guarantees that roof penetrations are watertight.

Sunrun advertises free maintenance, repairs and insurance on its products, but it should be noted that those services are only available to customers leasing panels through Sunrun. Any customers who have purchased panels from Sunrun will be held to the product warranty of the panels they purchase (typically between 12-25 years). As such, all warranty claims will be handled through the panel manufacturer rather than Sunrun.

Sunrun Costs and Financing

The cost of a solar system from a particular provider is difficult to estimate, as pricing can vary widely depending on your state, your roof and your home's energy needs. As Sunrun has been an industry leader for some time, most other solar providers actually offer installations at a slightly lower cost to give them a competitive edge. This is just another reason we encourage our readers to get quotes from competing solar companies.

Much of Sunrun's expansion can also be credited to its utilization of solar leases, which allow homeowners to rent solar equipment from Sunrun at a monthly cost. Though leasing panels provides immediate energy savings with a low upfront cost, purchasing panels provides the greatest value long-term. Keep in mind that leases will not be eligible for the solar tax credit.

Solar Financing Options

Sunrun offers four different solar plans for its customers.

  1. Monthly lease: This option requires the least money down but also provides the least overall value. Sunrun retains ownership of the panels and you make monthly payments to purchase the energy they generate. The monthly payments are guaranteed to be less than what your utility payment would be, but the savings are not as great as they would be if you purchased the panels.
  2. Full lease: In a full lease, the customer pays Sunrun an upfront fee to rent the panels for around 25 years (the term of the lease can vary). Sunrun retains ownership of the solar equipment. This saves a customer more money than a monthly lease, but it's still significantly less than if a customer purchased panels.
  3. Monthly loan: Customers can receive a solar loan from a third party to fund the purchase of solar equipment. These loans require monthly payments and typically have a payback period of between five and 10 years. In a monthly loan, a customer still owns the system outright, which adds to their property value, allows them to claim the solar tax credit and provides greater long-term energy savings than a lease. However, they will pay interest on the loan, making the system more expensive.
  4. Full purchase: A full purchase is the most recommended method of investing in solar energy. When customers purchase panels, they buy the system designed by Sunrun outright. Immediately, the solar panels add property value and the homeowner is eligible for the solar tax credit. Over time, homeowners will see a larger return on investment when paying in cash.

Sunrun Solar Reviews

Sunrun's size is both its biggest strength and its biggest weakness, and most customer reviews reflect just that. Positive Sunrun solar reviews praise the company's speed and ease of installation, yet a high employee turnover rate, communication troubles and growing pains have plagued a number of customers who feel their needs were not met.

Positive Sunrun Reviews

The size and resources of Sunrun make its business model reliant on high volumes of installed solar panels. Positive reviews usually reflect a quick and easy installation with immediate energy savings and little to no maintenance or further customer support needed. Most frequently, these positive reviews come from customers who opted for a solar lease rather than ownership.

Here are a couple of examples:

"I originally had my Solar installed by another company that was eventually purchased by Sunrun. The service with Sunrun has been far better than the service with the previous company."
— Brian Schopf via Trustpilot

"We have had our Sunrun system in place for over a year now. No problems at all. They were very courteous and responsive during the installation process."
— Peter W via BBB

Negative Sunrun Reviews

Most of Sunrun's negative reviews stem from a lack of attention to a customer's needs. Sunrun is one of the nation's largest solar providers, which presents challenges for customers troubleshooting issues with their system's performance.

Solar panel issues can be difficult to troubleshoot, and the size of Sunrun's client base can make the company's customer service department more difficult to get in touch with than a smaller solar provider.

This Sunrun review reflects the overall sentiment from dissatisfied customers:

"Worst company ever for follow-up once you have a problem… I have been waiting for a new inverter [for] seven months. No one bothers to tell you what they are going to do, or what they have done once they finally get to your house for a repair. No written report to update you. I have lost money this year because my system is either not running or is underperforming."
— Linda T via BBB

Final Thoughts on Sunrun Solar

Sunrun's mission, size and breadth of services make it one of the most well-known solar providers in the country today. However, its B+ BBB rating and poor reputation for customer service may make some buyers wary. An average customer experience with Sunrun will depend greatly on the quality of the sales representative assigned to your area, and many homeowners have run into bad experiences.

Sunrun Pros Sunrun Cons
Expansive service area Expensive labor
Backup battery services Frequent customer service issues
Free maintenance on leases
Flexible financing and lease options

Sunrun is a good and practical choice for customers looking to quickly and simply save money on their energy bills through a solar lease. However, for homeowners looking for attentive customer service both before and after installation, we advise you to shop around. You can start getting free quotes from a number of solar installers near you below.

Solar Energy Provider Comparison

To put this Sunrun review in perspective, let's compare the company to a few other national providers. Sunrun typically ranks highly in services offered, service areas and flexible payment options. Where Sunrun unsurprisingly falters is in its reputation for customer service and BBB rating.

Sunrun Blue Raven Solar SunPower
Year Started 2007 2014 1985
Services Offered Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring, maintenance Solar panel installation, monitoring, maintenance Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring
Service Areas AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. CO, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MO, NC, NV, OH, OR, SC, TX, UT, VA All 50 States
BBB Rating B+ A+ A+
Payment Options Cash, loan, lease, PPA Cash, in-house financing plans Cash, loan, lease

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sunrun a legit company?

Sunrun is a legitimate solar installer leading the industry in quantity of installs and breadth of products offered. Hundreds of thousands of homes across the country have installed solar power with Sunrun. Though Sunrun is legitimate, there is a concerning amount of bad reviews regarding Sunrun's customer experience. Often, unconcerned sales staff can make customers feel their business was not taken seriously.

Is Sunrun solar a good deal?

As is the case with most solar providers, getting a good deal is dependent on many factors. Sunrun is certainly capable of providing customers with a solar energy system that saves them money, but a better deal might be found by a different solar provider, especially if you are looking to purchase panels rather than lease from Sunrun.

Is Sunrun owned by Tesla?

Sunrun is not owned by Tesla. In fact, Sunrun is one of Tesla's biggest rival companies in the solar industry. Unlike Sunrun, Tesla solar offerings focus more on products and less on installation services, so the companies are distinctly different.

Which is better, SunPower or Sunrun?

Which company is better will depend on what the customer is looking for. If you're looking for customer service, a high BBB rating and to purchase high-quality panels, we'd likely recommend SunPower over Sunrun. If you're a customer looking for a quick and easy solar panel lease to save a small but guaranteed rate on your energy bill each month, Sunrun may be the better choice.

Where is Sunrun available?

Sunrun is available in 22 states and territories, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Elmar Gubisch / EyeEm / Getty Images

Installing solar panels is a great option for homeowners who want to reduce their power bills, and the payback period can be just a handful of years with favorable conditions. However, renters and apartment owners cannot use a typical solar power system due to the lack of space, and renters in particular must also negotiate with their landlords. A miniature solar system that is portable and easy to install can be a better option in these cases.

Rooftop solar systems can greatly reduce your electric bills, and you can add solar batteries to store solar energy for use at night. However, because most systems are tied to the power local grid, you must meet many technical requirements and get a permit to put solar on your property. The initial investment and paperwork are not a problem when installing solar panels in a home you own, but they're a limiting factor for renters.

If you don't own your home or apartment, you may have little incentive to invest in improving someone else's property. Even if your landlord gives you permission to install solar panels, the decision only makes sense financially if you plan to rent for a very long time — longer than the solar payback period. Also, consider the following factors:

  • When your lease ends, your landlord may not be willing to purchase the solar panels you installed.
  • Moving rooftop solar panels to another home is difficult, and you will need a professional installation and another permit for the new property.

There are many types of miniature solar systems that can be installed without the complex requirements and permitting procedures of more permanent structures. These systems are an excellent option for renters, since taking them to another property is as simple as relocating your TV.

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Pixelci / iStock / Getty Images

If you're looking to keep cool this summer, you may be looking for a new air conditioning unit. Whether you're looking for a standalone AC unit or a central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, choosing one of the best solar-powered AC units can help you reduce your carbon footprint and save money on utility bills.

In this article, we'll go over the basics of solar energy AC units, including installation tips, the benefits of solar HVAC, information on the best solar-powered air conditioners on the market and frequently asked questions.

Why Switch to a Solar AC Unit or Solar HVAC Unit?

Air conditioners and HVAC systems remove heat from the air inside your home through cooling and recirculation, allowing hot air and moisture to be released outside. Solar AC units work similarly — without driving up your electricity bills in the summer.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, AC costs represent 12% of home energy costs in the U.S., ranging from 5% in very cold climates to 27% in hot-humid climates.

A residential cooling system can be used to lower the temperature of one or a few rooms in one's house, or the whole house. Central air conditioning is used to cool the whole house, while a standalone AC unit is typically used for smaller spaces. According to the EIA, in 2015, about 60% of U.S. households relied on central air conditioning, while 23% used an AC unit; about 5% of households relied on both central HVAC and a supplementary AC unit.

Conventional air conditioner systems cost over $29 billion annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. What's more, the DOE says AC units and systems release about 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. This means that, despite their convenience, conventional AC units cause a good amount of air pollution, especially in hotter regions.

The good news is that you can cut both home energy costs and your carbon footprint by choosing a solar power system.

A solar AC unit is a good option for homeowners who don't need a full solar panel installation, such as people with small roofs, who live in condos or who want solar-powered RV cooling. However, it may be more cost-effective for homeowners to install a whole-home solar AC system to get the best energy savings and a more substantial return on investment.

Interested in getting a full solar panel system installed for your home? Fill out the free, no-obligation form below to get a quote from a trusted solar installer in your area.

Types of Solar-Powered AC Units

If you're ready to make the switch to clean energy, you're probably wondering how to narrow down the best solar-powered AC unit for your home. Before you look at specific products, it helps to understand the different types of solar technology on the market.

The three main types of solar-powered air conditioners are direct current (DC) solar air conditioners, alternating current (AC) solar air conditioners, and hybrid solar air conditioners.

Direct and alternating current refers to the way energy flows: DC only flows in one direction, while AC changes direction often. These currents are often used in different applications. Home energy grids use alternating current, while batteries use direct current.

Here's how these types of currents work in solar-powered AC units:

  • DC solar air conditioners: Direct current solar air conditioners use the DC power that is produced by photovoltaic panels. Because these systems don't require an inverter to change the power to alternating current, they're optimal for off-grid applications.
  • AC solar air conditioners: Alternating current solar air conditioners are designed to work with your home's existing power grid. This means that the DC current collected from the solar panels is converted into AC power for use with the solar air conditioner, which can be used on the electrical grid.
  • Hybrid solar air conditioners: Hybrid solar air conditioners use a combination of electricity from the grid and solar power to reduce the overall cooling costs of your space or whole home. More specifically, an AC/DC hybrid system uses grid electricity to run the unit's fans, but solar energy to run the compressor.

Pros and Cons: Find the Best Solar-Powered AC Unit for Your House

Now that you know how these solar panels work to cool your home, let's take a look at the pros and cons of each option:


Type of Solar
AC Unit
Pros Cons
DC solar air conditioner - Can be used off-grid
- Do not require an inverter if used as a standalone system
- Cannot be connected to home energy system without an inverter
- Requires a battery bank to store energy for cooling at night or in low-light settings
AC solar air conditioner - Works seamlesslywith existing power grid - Always requires an inverter
Hybrid solar air conditioner - Can lead to higher cost savings without installing a whole home energy system
- Does not require a solar battery, as it can be supplemented with your grid power supply
- Can limit the number of appliances you run at one time
- Can be more expensive than other types of solar panel systems

5 Best Solar-Powered AC Units

Currently, the following HVAC manufacturers and top solar companies make the best solar-powered air conditioner units and systems on the market:

SolAir World

Whether you want to go entirely off-grid or invest in a smaller solar air unit, SolAir World has some of the best solar-powered AC solutions available. The company offers hybrid solar air conditioners as well as 100% off-grid systems. In addition to solar air conditioners, SolAir World also sells solar panels, solar refrigerators, ceiling fans and batteries.

GREE

GREE makes a variety of conventional air conditioning solutions, including a Solar Hybrid Hi Wall Inverter Air Conditioner. This heat pump is easy to set up and use, but you'll need to buy solar panels separately from the AC unit, as GREE only manufactures the air conditioners. This means you can choose the best solar panels for your budget and energy needs. And, because it's a hybrid unit, it will pull grid power at night or on cloudy days, no battery bank required.

LEZETi Hybrid Solar AC

The LEZETi Hybrid Solar AC is manufactured by Thomas Edison Solar. Although it's a hybrid air conditioner, it runs directly on DC power from a solar panel. This means you don't need an inverter or charge controller, and the unit has a high efficiency because the power doesn't have to be converted to alternating current. You also don't need a backup battery, as the unit is hooked up to your main electricity source for low-light use.

Lennox

Lennox, a leading air conditioner and HVAC manufacturer, also offers high-quality solar-ready AC units. The air conditioner and heat pump models in the Dave Lennox Signature® Collection are all equipped for solar hook-up. These are some of the most energy-efficient models the company makes, and by pairing them with one of the most efficient solar panels, Lennox says you can decrease your overall utility bills by up to 50%.

HotSpot Energy

HotSpot Energy sells a variety of clean energy solutions, such as solar AC units, chillers, solar pool heaters, solar batteries and solar water heaters. In terms of home heating and cooling, the company has a few hybrid models for on-grid use and DC-only models for off-grid applications. Additionally, you can purchase a hybrid inverter from HotSpot that can turn any AC unit (or other alternating current appliance) into a solar-powered unit.

Solar HVAC Unit FAQs

Here are a few commonly asked questions about the best solar-powered AC systems:

How does solar-powered air conditioning work?

Solar-powered air conditioning works a lot like conventional air conditioning — it sucks heat out of the air in your home, releasing it outside, to cool your indoor space — but runs off renewable energy. A solar-powered AC relies on sunlight to power the system. Using photovoltaic panels, also known as solar cells, solar AC systems convert the sun's light energy into electricity that is used to power the air conditioner.

How many panels will I need to run a solar AC unit?

The number of solar panels you use to power your AC unit will determine its ability to cool your home. In reality, the number of solar panels you will need to use depends on your exact solar-powered air conditioner and how much power (typically measured in watts) that it uses. According to The Phoenix Sun, you will need one to five panels for a 100-watt solar AC system. Most AC systems rely on about 1,200 watts, which would require about five panels, according to Easy Solar Guide. A central solar-powered AC would require much more – 3,000 to 5,000 watts.

In short, the number of solar panels you need depends on your cooling needs. A larger AC system will require more solar panels, while a smaller AC unit will require fewer panels. Make sure to assess your cooling needs to make sure your solar-powered AC system will have the proper power source.

How much does a solar HVAC unit cost?

Compared to regular air conditioning systems, solar-powered HVAC systems are a lot more costly – about $2,000 before installation fees. Adding in the installation fee, the price rises to about $5,000.

While a solar HVAC can be a large investment, the payoff in terms of utility bill savings and reduced carbon footprint can make it worth it in the long run. You can also check to see whether your locality or state offers incentives for installing solar-powered AC.

Do I need a battery for my solar AC unit?

A solar battery system will ensure your solar-powered AC will still work at night, on cloudy days, or any time the sun isn't directly hitting your panels. This is helpful because, in the event of a nighttime or low-light power outage, your solar-powered AC unit will still be able to operate off reserve battery power.

Is a hybrid solar air conditioner different from a standard heat pump?

Yes, as a hybrid solar air conditioner can work both as a direct DC system (which can be used as a standalone unit for off-grid application) and as a hybrid DC unit (which pulls power from the grid when there is no sunlight).

Final Thoughts: Is Solar Air Conditioning Worth It?

Whether investing in one of the best solar-powered AC systems is worth it for your home depends on many factors, including your energy needs, local climate, budget and whether your home is optimized for a solar system.

Solar air conditioning is best suited for places that get very hot and humid, and therefore require a lot of AC. If you have a home that is optimal for a full solar energy system, it may be better to do a house-wide installation (you can get a free quote for your home below). However, if you don't, a solar AC unit could still be a good option for clean energy in your home.

iStock

Your electric bill depends on where you live. It also depends on your electricity provider. Some providers may offer fixed rates and others vary. There has also been no shortage of stories in the news lately about power outages caused by deregulated platforms initially designed to help consumers save money that eventually became overwhelmed by crushing cold or heat. However much you pay on your monthly bill, theres no doubt you've heard about the potential for low rates and greater plan flexibility.

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In Today's Eco Update

  • Keystone XL is dead.
  • Revived Siberian microorganism.
  • The Big Con.
  • Record CO2 emissions.
  • Dr. Bronner's chocolate.

– summaries below written by Angely Mercado

The Keystone XL Pipeline Is Officially Dead

The Keystone XL pipeline is officially canceled.

TC Energy, the Canadian company behind the pipeline that would have moved oil from Alberta's tar sands to Nebraska, confirmed Wednesday that it was giving up on the controversial project.

"The Company will continue to coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the Project," the company wrote.

The news was met with jubilation from environmental and Indigenous groups who had spent years battling the project over concerns it would worsen the climate crisis and harm the ecosystems and communities along its route.

Olivia Rosane

24,000-Year-Old Microorganism Revived From Permafrost

Scientists in Russia have revived a bdelloid rotifer — a multicellular microorganism found in wet environments — after the invertebrate spent 24,000 years frozen 11 feet beneath the Siberian permafrost.

According to a study published in Current Biology, research has suggested these tiny creatures can slow their metabolisms down to almost stagnant and survive frozen for up to 10 years. Scientists from the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science found that rotifers can survive for much longer. The 24,000-year-old rotifer was able to reproduce and feed after being thawed.

Report Details Fossil Fuel Industry's Deceptive 'Net Zero' Strategy

A new report published by a trio of progressive advocacy groups unveiled the so called "net zero" climate pledges, which are often touted by corporations and governments as solutions to the climate emergency. The report's authors argued that it's simply a form of greenwashing that should be eschewed in favor of Real Zero policies based on meaningful, near-term commitments to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

The report, The Big Con: How Big Polluters Are Advancing a "Net Zero" Climate Agenda to Delay, Deceive, and Deny, was published by Corporate Accountability, the Global Forest Coalition, and Friends of the Earth International, and is endorsed by more than 60 environmental organizations.

CO2 Reaches Its Highest Level in Human History

Last month, EcoWatch reported that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels this year were expected to climb to beyond 2019 levels, despite falling during the pandemic. Two reports released earlier this week detailed that CO2 levels have indeed spiked, and that the annual peak reached 419 parts per million (PPM) in May, the highest level in human history.

Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who published the reports, have tracked atmospheric CO2 for more than 60 years. But using other data, researchers were able to estimate that CO2 levels haven't been this high on Earth in more than 4 million years.

Dr. Bronner's to Launch Vegan, Organic Chocolate Bars

Dr. Bronner's, a popular natural soap brand, is releasing Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate this Aug. 1 and will sell its product online by the fall. The dairy-free chocolate will come in six different flavors: roasted whole hazelnuts, crunchy hazelnut butter, salted whole almonds, salted almond butter, salted dark chocolate and smooth coconut praline. The bars will be made from cocoa grown through regenerative organic practices, and are made with lower-glycemic coconut sugar.

The push to produce chocolate began when Dr. Bronner's learned that the Ghanian farmers who supply its Regenerative Organic Certified Serendipalm also grow cocoa and decided to expand the partnership. The company's farming partners use dynamic agroforestry, a farming method used by Indigenous peoples of Latin America. Dynamic agroforestry creates "forest-like systems with high biomass production," according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In addition to being certified USDA organic and vegan, the chocolate is a certified fair trade product.

Madeleine_Steinbach / iStock / Getty Images

Krill oil has gained a lot of popularity recently as a superior alternative to fish oil. Basically, the claim goes, anything fish oil can do, krill oil does better. Read on to learn what makes krill oil supplements better than fish oil supplements, why you should consider adding these to your list of vitamin subscriptions and supplements, and which brands we recommend.

What is Krill Oil?

Krill oil is made from a tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the ocean and usually serve as whale food. In fact, krill means "whale food" in Norwegian. These tiny organisms actually play an extremely important role in the food chains of marine ecosystems. The krill used to make krill oil are usually found in the waters around Antarctica.

Just like the fish oils found in supplements, krill oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that contain EPA and DHA, two compounds that are proven to have a number of health benefits. Krill oil can help support healthy skin, in addition to other vitamin supplements for dry skin. While you can also take supplements to boost your immune system, improving the health of your skin is a great way to help fight off infections too.

But what makes krill oil better than fish oil?

It's believed that krill oil is better absorbed in the body than fish oil. Both derive most of their benefits through the EPA and DHA that are contained in their fatty acid stores. However, for the same dose, krill oil will result in more fatty acids in the blood than fish oil. A potential explanation for this is that while fish oil's fatty acids come as triglycerides, krill oil's come as phospholipids which are more easily processed by the body.

Additionally, the oil from krill contains astaxanthin which is an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties that might have an enhanced positive effect on heart health. Studies have shown that krill oil is more effective than fish oil at lowering blood pressure and lowering bad cholesterol.

Our Picks for the Best Krill Oil Supplements

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

How We Chose Our Favorite Supplements

Here are the factors that we considered when comparing the best krill oil brands to create our list of recommended supplements.

Omega-3 Content - We looked to see the amount of omega-3 fatty acids contained in each krill oil softgel or capsule.

Astaxanthin Content - The best krill oil pills contain this naturally-occurring antioxidant.

Third-Party Lab Testing - For any nutritional supplement, we choose brands that guarantee the quality of their product through independent lab testing.

Krill Source - We also compared these supplements for the source of their krill oil, and only recommend brands that use sustainably-harvested krill.

Complete Reviews of the Top Krill Oil Supplements

Best Overall: Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil

Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil Supplement

sportsresearch.com

  • Omega-3s - 240 mg per softgel
  • Astaxanthin - 500 mcg per softgel
  • Source - Antarctica

Why buy: IKOS certified and made with their proprietary Superba krill oil formula, Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil is an excellent choice if you're looking to enjoy the benefits that quality omega-3 fatty acids can provide. Every softgel capsule contains 1000 mg of krill oil, making it a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids. We like that their krill oil is also certified as sustainably sourced by the MSC.

Best for Joint Health: Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil

Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil

vivanaturals.com

  • Omega-3s - 330 mg per 2 capsules
  • Astaxanthin - 1.6 mg per 2 capsules
  • Source - Antarctica

Why buy: Viva Naturals uses a trademarked Caplique capsulation to avoid any krill oil odor or potential fishy burps. WIth 90 mg of DHA and 165 mg of EPA per 2 capsule serving, this supplement will definitely give you your money's worth, as they pack more DHA and EPA than your average supplement. We like that these capsules contain a higher concentration of the antioxidant astaxanthin, and are designed to eliminate any fishy aftertaste.

Best for Heart Health: NOW Neptune Krill Oil

NOW Neptune Krill Oil

nowfoods.com

  • Omega-3s - 250 mg per 2 softgels
  • Astaxanthin - 360 mcg per 2 softgels
  • Source - Antarctica

Why buy: NOW Neptune Krill Oil supplements use 100% Neptune krill oil, a patented oil derived from Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Two softgels contain 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 360 mcg of astaxanthin that can promote better cardiovascular and joint health. We like NOW Neptune Krill Oil because they also get their krill oil from a Friend of the Sea certified source.

Strongest: Bulletproof Omega Krill Complex

Bulletproof Omega Krill Complex

bulletproof.com

  • Omega-3s - 1,560 mg per 2 softgels
  • Astaxanthin - 2 mg per 2 softgels
  • Krill Source - Antarctica

Why buy: Bulletproof Omega Krill Complex offers the highest concentration of omega-3s on our list. Made with a unique blend of wild-caught Atlantic and Pacific sardine, anchovy, and mackerel oils, Norwegian herring roe oil, and Antarctic krill oil, it packs 1,560 mg of omega-3 fatty acids into two softgels. We love that they only partner with MSC or Friend of the Sea certified sustainable fisheries for their oils.

Best for Cognitive Health: Onnit Krill Oil

Onnit Krill Oil

onnit.com

  • Omega-3s - 240 mg per 2 softgels
  • Astaxanthin - 200 mcg per 2 softgels
  • Krill Source - Antarctica

Why buy: Onnit Krill Oil makes it easy to supplement your diet with the essential nutrients found in krill with just two softgels per day. The DHA and EPA fatty acids, plus astaxanthin, contained in these supplements can help support better cognitive, heart, and joint health. Plus, they source their krill from a Friend of the Sea certified supplier.

Best for Sustainability: Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus

Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus

vitalplan.com

  • Omega-3s - 330 mg per 3 softgels
  • Astaxanthin - 150 mcg per 3 softgels
  • Krill Source - Antarctica

Why buy: We love Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, astaxanthin, and choline to help promote brain, cardiovascular, and joint health, and because it is made with sustainably-harvested Antarctic krill. In fact, Vital Plan uses Superba krill oil, which is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and is 100% traceable.

The Research on Krill Oil Supplements

Research has long demonstrated the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in foods like fish, nuts, and certain grains like flax seed. Since krill oil naturally contains higher levels of these beneficial nutrients, it has also been found to provide a number of health benefits.

Numerous studies have linked the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and krill oil to cardiovascular health, finding that those who ingest higher levels of these nutrients are at lower risk for coronary heart disease, potentially lower risk of stroke, and have lower cholesterol levels. Another study found that krill oil supplements offer a safe alternative to fish oil for those seeking cardiovascular benefits in a smaller and more convenient form.

Krill oil supplementation has also been found to help reduce the symptoms of knee and joint pain.

Additionally, researchers found that rats given krill oil supplements showed improved cognitive function and benefited from anti-depressant-like effects. However, more research on its effect for human brain development and function is needed.

How to Choose the Right Krill Oil Supplement

When shopping for a krill oil supplement, there are important pieces of information that you should always look for. Here are some tips on how to compare brands and how to read labels.

What to Look For

Lab Testing

For any supplement, always check to see if it has undergone third-party lab testing for quality and safety. This is especially important for any fish or krill oil to make sure that it does not contain any harmful compounds like mercury.

Concentrations

Look for the amount of krill oil contained in each capsule and each serving (as these will sometimes differ). You should choose supplements that offer between 200 mg and 350 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per serving for the best results.

Sourcing

Make it a priority to learn where the brand sources its supply of krill oil. We recommend brands that use sustainably-harvested Antarctic krill oil because the process of harvesting is more tightly regulated by various groups.

Filler-Free

This is good advice for all nutritional supplements, but be sure the krill oil you choose does not contain any unwanted or unnecessary ingredients. All of our recommendations contain just the krill oil and the capsule it comes in.

How to Read Labels

When you are comparing krill oil supplements, here are some key things to look for on any label:

  • Supplement Facts - This is where you can find information on the amount of krill oil in each capsule, how many capsules make up one serving, and a breakdown of how many omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients are contained in the supplement.
  • Other Ingredients - Listed at the bottom of the supplement facts table, this list will tell you what the capsule itself is made of and if there are any additional ingredients present.
  • Certifications - Check the label for important certifications and seals of approvals that can tell you if a krill oil is IKOS-certified, third-party lab tested, or sustainably harvest.

How to Use Krill Oil Supplements

Krill oil supplements typically come in capsules that you swallow with water, just like any probiotic supplements or digestive enzymes. For most brands, 2 to 3 capsules make up a single serving, and you can take a serving either once or twice per day. Some brands recommend their supplements be taken with food to aid in their digestion and absorption.

Safety & Side Effects

While krill oil supplements are generally considered safe for most adults, it is extremely important to note that you should not take krill oil if you are allergic to shellfish. The potential side effects for krill oil are considered mild and similar to fish oils, including:

  • Upset stomach
  • Fishy taste
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
Fish oils and krill oils may also interact with certain medications. If you take a prescription medication, make sure you talk with your doctor before adding krill oil supplements to your diet.
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While topical lotions and creams may help treat the immediate discomfort of dry skin, they may not address the underlying cause. Adding the right vitamin subscription or supplement may rejuvenate and hydrate your skin from the inside, helping you to avoid dry skin from the start. Here are some of the most important vitamins for skin health and the best supplements for dry skin that we recommend.

Our 7 Top Supplements for Dry Skin

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

What are the Most Important Vitamins and Minerals for Dry Skin?

Here are some of the vitamins and minerals that can play an important role in maintaining your skin and preventing it from drying out.

Vitamin D - Vitamin D plays a a critical role for many aspects of your body's health, including your skin. It is important for skin barrier function and skin cell growth, as well as maintaining the skin immune system, which acts as a first line of defense against harmful pathogens. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to dry skin and certain skin conditions.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C is another crucial component of healthy skin, as it plays a role in both the production of collagen and serves as a protective antioxidant. The skin contains naturally high levels of vitamin C which may help prevent moisture loss by supporting skin barrier function. This vitamin is also found in supplements to boost the immune system.

Collagen - Collagen is one of the single most important proteins in the body, and in fact makes up the majority your skin. Taking a collagen supplement may help improve skin elasticity and hydration, potentially reducing the appearance of wrinkles and helping to maintain proper skin moisture.

Fish Oil - Fish oil contains two essential fatty acids, DHA and EPA, that are extremely important to skin health. They help make up the barrier made of fatty acids in the skin that helps lock in moisture to prevent dryness. Fish oil, or krill oil supplements, can also help reduce inflammation and protect against sun damage.

Hyaluronic Acid - Sometimes used in topical ointments, hyaluronic acid plays a key role in skin hydration and elasticity. One study found that hyaluronic acid supplements improved the skin's moisture and elasticity which reduced wrinkles and roughness.

Probiotics - Certain probiotics may not only help improve digestive health, but could also play a role in boosting skin health as well. Researchers in one study found that administering a certain type of good bacteria for the gut also boosted the skin barrier and improved skin hydration.

How We Chose the Best Vitamins and Supplements for Dry Skin

To create our list of the best vitamin and mineral supplements for dry skin, we compared brands and products by looking at a number of factors. These included:

  • Ingredients - We looked for supplements that used plant-based or vegan sources for their ingredients versus animal-derived sources. We also chose products made without artificial fillers, colors, or sweeteners.
  • Lab Testing - We prioritized supplements that undergo independent third-party lab testing for quality and safety.
  • Allergen Free - The best vitamin supplements should also be free from soy, gluten, dairy, and peanuts.
  • Backed By Science - It's important to know what is included in a supplement and why. We looked for supplements that were either backed by clinical research, doctor-formulated, or offered the science behind their vitamins and minerals.
  • Customer Experience - We checked reviews from actual customers to see if the supplement worked as described and if they recommended it. The best brands also offered a money-back guarantee on their products.

The 7 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Dry Skin

Best Vitamin D Supplement: Nested Naturals Vegan D3 + K2

Nested Naturals Vegan D3 + K2

nestednaturals.com

  • Vitamins/Minerals - Vitamin D3, vitamin K2
  • Ingredients - Nettle leaf extract, vegetable cellulose capsule, magnesium stearate
  • Great For - Strong bones, cardiovascular health, positive mood, brain health, skin health
Why buy: Nested Naturals Vegan D3 + K2 capsules can provide an all-in-one "sunshine vitamin" supplement. We love that their vitamin D3 is derived from lichen, and their vitamin K2 comes from chickpeas, meaning this is a completely cruelty-free and vegan way to boost your intake of these important nutrients. These capsules also contain nettle leaf extract for additional wellness benefits.
$20

Best Vitamin C Supplement: Global Healing Liquid Vitamin C

Global Healing Plant-Based Liquid Vitamin C

globalhealing.com

  • Vitamins/Minerals - Vitamin C
  • Ingredients - Organic amla fruit extract, organic acerola fruit extract, organic kakadu plum fruit extract, organic camu camu fruit extract, organic rosehip whole plant extract, organic glycerin, triple-distilled water, organic plant essence blend, energized trace minerals
  • Great For - Supporting immune function, collagen and protein production, cardiovascular health, strong antioxidant
Why buy: Global Healing offers a plant-based, USDA organic vitamin C liquid complex that can help boost your body's natural collagen and protein production for healthy skin. We love that it is organic, all-natural, vegan, and free from soy, dairy, gluten, and GMOs. One bottle of Global Healing Plant-Based Vitamin C equals the amount of vitamin C found in 150 oranges. Plus, they offer a full year money back guarantee.
$20

Best Collagen Supplement: Sunwarrior Vegan Collagen Capsules

Sunwarrior Vegan Collagen Capsules

sunwarrior.com

  • Vitamins/Minerals - Collagen
  • Ingredients - Organic sea buckthorn, panax Korean ginseng root extract, pomegranate extract, asparagus, okra, coffeeberry extract, quercetin, acerola, camu camu, açai berry, and mangosteen, vegetable capsule
  • Great For - Skin elasticity, repairing sun damaged skin, joint health, cell regeneration
Why buy: Sunwarrior Vegan Collagen Capsules offer a great way to restore and repair your skin with plant-based and natural ingredients. We love that they pack so many beneficial plant extracts into a vegetable capsule that is also soy, dairy, gluten, and synthetic-free. Take these clinically-researched collagen supplements to help restore your skin from damage and protect it moving forward.
$25

Best Collagen Protein Powder: Bulletproof Beauty Boost

Bulletproof Beauty Boost Collagen Protein Powder

bulletproof.com

  • Vitamins/Minerals - Collagen, keratin, biotin, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, B vitamins, zinc, copper
  • Ingredients - Fruit and vegetable juice, citric acid, sodium, malic acid, stevia leaf extract.
  • Great For - Skin elasticity and hydration, strong hair and nails
Why buy: Bulletproof Beauty Boost is a collagen protein powder you can mix with water or smoothies for a nourishing supplement to help support healthy skin, hair, and nails. We love that it contains grass-fed collagen peptides for better skin elasticity, hyaluronic acid to moisturize the skin, vitamin C to help keep your skin protected, and biotin and keratin to support strong hair and nails.
$27

Best Fatty Acid Supplement: Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus

Vital Plan Krill Oil Plus

vitalplan.com

  • Vitamins/Minerals - DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, choline, astaxanthin
  • Ingredients - Sustainably harvested krill oil, gelatin, glycerol, sorbital
  • Great For - Promoting cardiovascular, brain, joint, immune, and skin health
Why buy: Krill Oil Plus supplements from Vital Plan are an excellent way to get more of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that could help prevent dry skin. Since these softgels are made using krill oil instead of fish oil, they offer higher levels of fatty acids and also contain the antioxident astaxanthin and the nutrient choline. We love that they sustainably source their krill oil from Antarctica through a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified and traceable supplier.
$36

Best for Skin Moisture: Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered Superfood Honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered Superfood Honey

beekeepersnaturals.com

  • Vitamins/Minerals - B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, antioxidants, acetylcholine
  • Ingredients - Raw enzymatic honey, royal jelly, raw bee pollen, bee propolis extract
  • Great For - Immune support, increased energy, brain function, enhanced skin moisture barrier
Why buy: Beekeeper's Naturals provides the ultimate superfood with their B.Powered Superfood Honey. We like that it's made with natural ingredients like raw honey, royal jelly from the hive, bee pollen, and bee propolis extract, which is a natural antibiotic made by bees from plant resin to help protect the hive. This super-powered honey can build up your skin's moisture barrier, helping it stay hydrated to prevent dryness.
$40

Best Vitamin Spray: Onnit Vitamin D3 Spray

Onnit Vitamin D3 Spray

onnit.com

  • Vitamins/Minerals - Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), vitamin K2 (Menaquinone-7), vitamin E
  • Ingredients - MCT coconut oil, olive oil, natural flavors, stevia leaf extract
  • Great For - Bone, heart, and skin health, plus mood and vitality

Why buy: We like this vitamin D3 spray from Onnit because it offers plant-based vitamin D plus vitamin K2 in a convenient and easy to take form. The vitamin D itself is extracted from lichens and is paired with K2 to help direct the calcium in your body to the places it needs it most. This vitamin spray is a great way to get the vitamin D your body needs to maintain healthy skin, especially if you're stuck inside and can't get proper sun exposure.

$25


The Research on Vitamin Supplements for Dry Skin

Research indicates that certain vitamins and supplements, including vitamin D, vitamin C, fish oil, collagen, and even some probiotics, may help to manage and improve dry skin.

Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms from certain skin conditions, specifically atopic dermatitis (AD), or eczema. Deficiencies in vitamin D have also been linked to certain skin diseases like psoriasis and acne. One study also demonstrated a relationship between vitamin D levels and skin moisture levels.

Vitamin C plays a wide variety of roles in skin health. Cell culture studies have found that vitamin C can enhance the production of barrier lipids that help form the skin's moisture barrier. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C also make it important in protecting the skin from UV damage.

The fatty acids found in fish and krill oils have widely-known applications for cosmetic and therapeutic benefits for the skin. Fish oil helped to improve the symptoms of patients suffering from psoriasis in one study, and it has also proven to help reduce skin inflammation from sun damage. Collagen has also been shown to directly benefit skin health. A study of oral collagen supplements found that they resulted in improved skin elasticity and skin hydration over a placebo.

How to Choose the Best Vitamins and Supplements for Dry Skin

As with any natural supplement, it's important to make sure that you are selecting products that are safe, effective, and transparent. Here are some tips to use when shopping for dry skin vitamins and supplements.

What to Look For

These are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when comparing supplement options.

Transparency: Look for brands that clearly label all of the ingredients in their supplements. You should know exactly what is in each supplement and how it was derived.

Natural Ingredients: Choose brands that use plant-based or organic ingredients for their vitamins and minerals. If they do use animal-derived compounds, make sure that they are ethically and sustainably sourced.

Lab Testing: The best way to make sure that a supplement is safe and effective is to look for proof of independent third-party lab testing.

Clinical Science: You can always look for information on whether a vitamin supplement is doctor-formulated or backed by clinical research.

How to Read Labels

Make sure that you take the time to read the label of all vitamin supplements. Specifically, look for these pieces of information.

  • Ingredient List - Check the ingredient list to make sure that you are not allergic to anything In the supplement.
  • Amount - Look to see how much of the specific vitamin is present in each serving size of the supplement so that you can take the correct amount.
  • Suggested Use - Many brands include guidelines for use that can help you know how much of the supplement to take and when.
  • Free From - You can check the label to see if a supplement is vegan, non-GMO, and if it is free from allergens like gluten, dairy and soy.

Safety & Side Effects

Like any dietary supplement or medication, vitamin supplements for dry skin may cause certain side effects if you take too much. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements, the recommended amount of vitamin D for most adults in a day is 600 international units (IU), or 15 micrograms (mcg). The upper limit of vitamin D the average adult can intake from all sources, including food and supplements, in a day is 4,000 IU (100 mcg). Having too much vitamin D in your bloodstream can result in side effects including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • Pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive urination and thirst
  • Kidney stones
Extremely high levels of vitamin D can even result in kidney failure and irregular heartbeat.

For vitamin C, the NIH recommends a daily amount of 75 mg for most adult women and 90 mg for most adult men. The upper limit of vitamin C intake for adults is 2,000 mg. Ingesting too much vitamin C can result in side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.

The NIH recommends 1.1 g of omega-3 fatty acids for women and 1.6 g for men per day. According to the USDA, adults should limit their intake of omega-3 fatty acids to no more than 3 g per day. The side effects of consuming too much omega-3 are mild and may include things like an unpleasant taste, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, headache, and smelly sweat.

Extremely high levels of vitamin D, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids can also interact with certain medications. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding a vitamin supplement to your diet if you take prescription medications.

Takeaway

If you suffer from dry skin, a vitamin supplement may help to promote healthier and more hydrated skin. These supplements should not be taken in place of prescribed medical treatment for serious skin conditions, but could be used to help support your skin's moisture retention and elasticity. Use our guide to find the right vitamin supplement for dry skin for you.

HighGradeRoots / iStock / Getty Images Plus

CBD, or cannabidiol, now comes in a variety of different forms, including CBD oils, CBD gummies, pills, and even water soluble CBD powders. You can also use CBD vape oil like you would any other vape juice. Our guide to the best CBD vape oils will help you identify the top brands to consider and will provide important information about CBD, vaping, and wellness.

What is CBD Vape Oil?

CBD can be vaporized and inhaled. To that end, many companies offer CBD vaping products, sometimes referred to as CBD vape juice, CBD vape pens, or CBD vape cartridges. These products normally come as disposable or refillable cartridges for vape pens . The vape pen vaporizes the specially made CBD contained in the cartridge, which is then inhaled. It is the same principle behind e-cigarettes and THC vape products.

Vaporization is normally considered a potent way to ingest CBD and so it is not for everyone. Because the vapor is inhaled, the molecule enters the bloodstream much quicker, so vaping produces a fast and relatively intense feeling.

While CBD vape oil may be used as an aid to help you quit smoking, we do not recommend smoking or vaping CBD as your primary method of ingesting CBD because of the health concerns associated with smoking. For alternative methods of taking CBD, check out our oil tincture and gummy bears and edible reviews.

Note that new federal laws went into in effect starting April 2021 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, that place new regulations and restrictions around the online sale and delivery of all vaping products. In order to purchase any vape product online, you will need to verify your age and use a shipping service that requires an adult signature upon delivery. As a result, several brands have discontinued their CBD vape pens or no longer sell them online.

Top CBD Vape Oil Products for 2021

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

How We Chose the Best CBD Vape Oils

Here is a list of factors we consider when choosing and ranking our brand selection.

Hemp source - Hemp source is one of the most important parts of the CBD manufacturing process. We make sure to only pick companies that grow hemp according to the most up-to-date botanical and cultivation methods. We also make sure to choose companies that use organically grown, locally-sourced hemp.

Extraction process - There are three primary types of extraction for CBD products. The first involves crushing the leaves and stems and removing the residual mixture. Solvent extraction involves running the hemp plant through a solvent mixture (most of the time ethanol) then boiling away the solvent to leave the oil residue. The last common method is called supercritical CO2 extraction. Supercritical CO2 extraction is considered the gold standard when it comes to CBD production. As such, we try to find companies that use supercritical methods for their products.

Manufacturing standards - There are several third-party organizations that vet companies based on manufacturing standards and the quality/accuracy of their products. These agencies test company products to make sure that they are made properly and actually contain what they are advertised to contain. As such, we only choose products and companies that have readily accessible third-party lab reports ascertaining the quality of ingredients and production. Any company that does not provide this information for consumers is automatically excluded from consideration.

Extra ingredients - CBD products rarely contain just CBD and nothing else. Many contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids and other molecules such as terpenes. Some may contain delta-8 THC. We make sure that any companies we choose use all-natural ingredients and do not rely on any synthetic or artificial chemicals. We also look at the type and quality of alternative ingredients

Potency - Potency, or concentration, refers to the overall strength of the mixture. Potency is normally measured in milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml). Most of the time a product will list the potency on the label along with the quantity and volume of the product. Potency is very important because it determines the recommended dose that you should take.

Brand transparency - It is important when dealing with CBD companies that the brand is transparent about their products, methods, and supply chains. So, when looking for companies, we make sure only to pick those that have reliable and transparent business practices, product labelings, and company information/policies.

Customer reviews and testimonials - The last major factor we consider is customer reviews and testimonials. Customer reviews encompass more than just the quality of products. They also talk about how it is to interact with the company and the overall company experience. Customer reviews can also give insights in specific matters that general product descriptions cannot give. They also give a good indication of the public reputation of a company.

The Best CBD Vape Oils of 2021

Best Overall: CBDistillery CBD E-Liquid

CBDistillery CBD E-Liquid Mango

thecbdistillery.com

  • CBD - Broad Spectrum
  • Strength - 1000 mg CBD per bottle
  • Flavor - Mango
Why buy: We like this extra strength CBD E-Liquid from CBDistillery because it provides 1000 mg of broad spectrum CBD with no THC or nicotine. Available in flavors like mango, strawberry, mint, and grape, this CBD vape oil is also third-party lab tested for quality with a QR code right on the box so you can view the test results for yourself.

Best for Relaxation: Botany Farms CBG Vape Cartridge

Botany Farms CBG Vape Cartridge

botanyfarms.com

  • CBD - Full Spectrum (includes Delta-8 THC)
  • Strength - 35% CBD, 25% CBG, 9% Delta-8 THC, 7% CBN, 7% CBC per 1 gram
  • Flavor - Lemon Diesel

Why buy: This Botany Farms CBG vape cartridge offers a full spectrum blend of CBD and other cannabinoids, including delta-8 THC, for a calming and relaxing experience with a bright, citrusy flavor. Because it does contain full spectrum hemp extract and delta-8, we strongly recommend only using this product to relax in the evenings and that you do not drive after use.

The Research on CBD You Can Smoke

CBD has become an interesting object of study by scientists because of its potential therapeutic and medicinal properties. CBD may help support relief from certain health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic pain
  • Joint pain

Out of all these effects, the potential pain reducing and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are the most well-established. CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and has also been shown to be to help with pain management in certain cases.

The exact mechanism of action of CBD is through the body's endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a large network of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body's brain and nervous tissue. Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system is involved in mediating several homeostatic processes in the body.

To be clear, CBD is not medicine and is not generally approved by the FDA for medical use. CBD is not intended to serve as a substitute or replacement for any approved medical treatment and CBD is not known to cure any diseases.

In fact, there are only 2 FDA-approved medicines that contain CBD as their active ingredient, both of which are meant to treat certain forms of epilepsy. Since CBD is not approved for medical use, you should always talk to your doctor first before using a CBD product.

How to Choose the Right Vape Juice

With any CBD vape juice or oil, it's important to make sure that you choose a product that is safe and made using quality, natural ingredients. Make sure you consider these factors when shopping.

What to Look For

Here are the key things to look for when comparing CBD vape oil products:

Type of CBD: Always known the type of CBD contained in any CBD vape oil product, whether that's full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate.

Hemp Source: Look for brands that source their hemp from organic farms in the United States.

Lab Testing: The most important factor to consider is independent third-party lab testing. You should never purchase a CBD product that does not offer proof of independent testing.

Instructions: Some CBD vape cartridges will include specific instructions on how to to use them with your existing vape pen or device, as well as if they can be mixed with other e-liquids.

How to Read Labels

Take the time to read the label of any CBD vape juice product before you buy. Always look for the following information.

  • Strength - Check to see how much CBD is contained in the product so you know how much will be in each serving.
  • Other Ingredients - Make sure you know what other cannabinoids or ingredients are included in the vape, especially if you are concerned about THC.
  • Test Results - The best brands include links or QR codes to the certificates of analysis from the lab tests of their CBD. Use these to check the results for yourself.

Safety & Side Effects

CBD can cause a certain number of side effects, though most of them are mild.. The most common reported side effects of CBD are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue/lethargy
  • Indigestion
  • Changes in appetite
  • Upset stomach

The most commonly reported side effect is fatigue and tiredness. CBD can also interact with certain prescription medications, so be sure to consult with your doctor before using CBD if you take any prescription medicines.

It's also important to note that vaping or smoking of any kind carries serious health risks. While vape oils may be used to aid in the cessation of smoking, it is not advised as the primary method of taking CBD.

Takeaway

You should always take the time to research any CBD product that you purchase, but this is especially important when it comes to CBD vape oils and CBD vape pens. You can also explore other CBD options including oil tinctures, gummies, capsules, and water soluble mixes in order to enjoy the potential benefits of CBD.

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There's no better way to show your dog that you love them than by keeping them healthy. In addition to exercise, a healthy diet, grooming, and regular checkups at the vet, you can also help support your dog's wellbeing with CBD dog treats. Learn how CBD oils and treats can benefit your four-legged friend and see which brands made our list of the best CBD treats for dogs.

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Photo by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

If you've been wanting to try CBD oils made from hemp, but have been concerned about the price, our guide to the most affordable CBD oils will help you find the best quality CBD products from reputable and trusted brands. We explain how and why we chose our top recommended CBD oils as well as how affordable CBD oils could benefit you. Keep reading to find the right CBD oil for you and your wallet.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the hundreds of natural plant compounds called cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. CBD oil is made by extracting this compound from the hemp plant, then filtering and purifying it into an ingestible tincture. Most CBD tinctures use a carrier oil, like hemp seed, olive, or coconut oil. There are affordable CBD oils and very strong CBD oils. It's important to pay attention to what you're buying.

CBD then works in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which may play a role in regulating process from mood and mental wellness to inflammation and pain. While it is similar in some respects to another naturally-occurring cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects and will not get you high. Like any natural supplement, it's important to choose a high-quality CBD oil from a reputable brand to ensure it is safe and effective.

Cheap CBD Oils vs Cheaply-Made: Spotting the Difference

The price for CBD oils can vary greatly depending on the brand, the concentration, and the amount, among other factors. It's important to note that while you should not automatically select the cheapest option without considering the quality, the most expensive CBD options are not always the best ones either.

An affordable or cheap CBD oil does not mean a cheaply-made CBD product. Instead, our guide highlights CBD products that offer a natural, safe, and effective hemp extract with a competitive price for the type and amount of CBD it includes. We want to help you find dependable and trustworthy CBD at affordable prices, not unsafe or questionable CBD solely based on low prices.

Our Top Affordable CBD Oils for 2021

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

How We Chose the Best Value CBD Oils

In researching the most affordable CBD brands, we looked closely at a number of different criteria to make sure that we only recommended clean, effective, safe, and fairly-priced CBD oils. Here are the details of how we compared each brand so that you can compare for yourself and find the right balance between quality and affordability.

Potency

How much CBD a tincture contains will determine how strong it is. The more CBD, in milligrams, per milliliter in a product, the more potent the tincture will be. The strength and potency of the product you choose should be determined by both your experience with CBD and what you are trying to accomplish with it. For example, if you have extreme pain from a chronic health condition, you will want a stronger, more potent CBD oil. Conversely, if you're new to CBD or only want to support your overall wellness and health, then you will want to go with a lower strength.

Extraction Method

There are a few methods in which CBD is extracted out of the hemp plant. Those methods include steam distillation, ethanol (solvent) extraction, Co2 extraction, and hydrocarbon extraction. Out of all of these methods, Co2 extraction is the cleanest and most effective because it pulls out higher levels of CBD from the hemp plant. Lastly, of all the methods mentioned, hydrocarbon extraction is the least preferred because it can deposit dangerous toxins in the final product.

Hemp Source

CBD comes from industrial hemp plants. The overall quality of the hemp will have a large role in determining how much a product costs as well as the quality. Organic hemp that is clean and pesticide-free, herbicide-free, and chemical-free produces the highest quality CBD oils. CBD brands that use organic hemp will have products that are slightly more expensive than brands that use hemp that is not carefully crafted to be of the best quality. We also typically recommend choosing CBD made from U.S. grown hemp.

Independent Lab Testing

Before you purchase any type of CBD product, you should look to see if it includes independent third-party lab test reports. Even though you are purchasing affordable CBD, you should still know what you are putting into your body. These lab tests will confirm the safety and potency of the products you are purchasing.The top brands that we recommend based on our strict guidelines all utilize independent third-party lab testing and make the results easily accessible for each batch of products.

Price

We also considered the price of each product on our list to make sure that we recommended quality CBD products that are also easy to afford. Since the concentration of CBD can affect the price dramatically, most of the CBD oils we included on our list are lower strength and offer a great place to start if you are new to CBD. Remember, you don't have to sacrifice quality for price and you should never risk taking an unsafe or untested product just because it is cheaper.

6 Best Affordable CBD Oils of 2021 Reviewed

Best Overall: Cornbread Hemp

Cornbread Hemp Distilled CBD Oil 25 mg

cornbreadhemp.com

  • Type of CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 25 mg CBD per serving
  • Source - Kentucky

Why buy: We recommend Cornbread Hemp because their CBD oils are USDA organic, made from Kentucky-grown organic hemp, and use a unique flower-only extract for a cleaner CBD oil with a light flavor. Their Distilled USDA Organic CBD Oil is a great option for daytime use, and may help provide a sense of calm and relief from anxiety. For a high-quality organic CBD oil, it also comes at an affordable price.

$40

Most Affordable: R+R Medicinals

R+R Medicinals Organic Full Spectrum Hemp Extractrrmeds.com

R+R Medicinals Fresh Mint CBD Tincture

  • Type of CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 16.67 mg CBD per serving
  • Source - Colorado

Why buy: R+R Medicinals offers the most affordable CBD oil on our list, but we like it because it's also USDA organic and made from Colorado-grown hemp. This full spectrum oil comes in a tasty Fresh Mint flavor, from natural mint flavoring, and contains over 2 mg of secondary cannabinoids including CBG, CBC, CBN, THC, and CBL. Choose this oil for a potent dose of natural relief at a fantastic price.

$27

Best Full Spectrum: CBDistillery

CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil 17 mg

thecbdistillery.com

  • Type of CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 17 mg CBD per serving
  • Source - USA

Why buy: Not only is CBDistillery one of the most trusted CBD brands out there, they are also one of the most affordable. We like their Relief + Relax Full Spectrum CBD oil because it made using the aerial parts of non-GMO, U.S.-grown industrial hemp for a dependable full spectrum oil. The 17 mg strength is a good place to start if you are new to CBD as it will allow you to begin with a relatively low dose to see how it affects you. We also love CBDistillery's CBD gummies.

$35

Best Broad Spectrum: Medterra

Medterra CBD Oil 16 mg

medterra.com

  • Type of CBD - Broad Spectrum
  • Strength - 16 mg CBD per serving
  • Source - Kentucky

Why buy: Medterra is one of our favorite brands because they offer a line of THC-free broad spectrum oils made from organic hemp grown on farms in Kentucky. The brand's broad spectrum tinctures utilize the full-plant hemp extract without any THC, but still contain other beneficial compounds such as CBG, CBN, CBC, CBL and natural terpenes. This is an affordable and effective option if you want a THC-free CBD oil.

$35

Best for Beginners: Naternal

Naternal Full Spectrum Oil

naternal.com

Naternal Full Spectrum

  • Type of CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 40 mg CBD per serving
  • Source - North Carolina

Why buy: Naternal CBD oils are both affordable and high-quality. The brand strives to create potent, clean, and affordable oils using organic hemp grown in North Carolina that is free from pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. We especially like Naternal's easy-to-use dosing guide including on each box. This makes it especially simple for new users to measure the appropriate amount of CBD for each serving.

$40

Best Flavors: FAB CBD

FAB CBD Full Spectrum oil

fabcbd.com

  • Type of CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 10 mg CBD per 1 mL dropper
  • Source - Colorado

Why buy: All of FAB CBD's organic hemp is from Colorado and is pesticide-free, herbicide-free, and devoid of harmful chemicals. FAB CBD also uses the extremely clean Co2 extraction process to acquire its hemp extracts. This is another CBD oil that comes in a great starter dose, and we love the five different flavor options. Choose FAB CBD for an easy and affordable way to introduce CBD into your wellness routine.

$39

The Research on Affordable CBD Oil

CBD oils contain a host of beneficial compounds, phytonutrients, and terpenes. Two of the main cannabinoid compounds are cannabidiol, or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. When these compounds combine with each other, they produce what's known as the entourage effect. In the entourage effect, the different cannabinoids and compounds work synergistically with the body's endocannabinoid system to enhance the overall benefits of the hemp extract while reducing any side effects.

Every human has an endocannabinoid system that works to regulate bodily functions and sensations. The endocannabinoid system contains two receptors, CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors that are found throughout the body work to regulate pain, emotion, movement, thinking, appetite, memories, and other functions. CB2 receptors are located within the immune system and work to regulate inflammation and pain. When a full spectrum oil enters into the body, the trace amounts of THC will latch onto the CB1 receptors while CBD will attach itself to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors to help the body maintain a state of homeostasis.

Multiple research studies have shown that CBD may help to provide relief for conditions like:

How to Shop for Cheap CBD Oil

While it might be tempting to only purchase cheap CBD oils based on price, it's better to buy affordable oils from reputable brands instead of cheap oils from brands that potentially cut corners and use inferior ingredients. Hemp plants are bioaccumulators, meaning that they absorb any compounds found in the soil where they grow. Cheaply-made CBD oils may use hemp that has absorbed harmful compounds like heavy metals, pesticides, or other toxins if it is not grown organically.

What to Look For

Here are some of the primary things to look for when comparing the best value CBD oils to make sure that you get high-quality and cheap CBD instead of just cheaply-made CBD.

Lab Testing

The most important thing to look for in any CBD product is proof of independent third-party lab testing. This tells you exactly what is in the tincture and how much CBD is contained in each serving. All of the brands on our list make the lab test results of their products easily available, either through their site or through a QR code included on the packaging.

Certifications

An easy way to identify quality CBD products is to look for professional certifications or seals of approval from industry groups. These can include symbols like USDA organic, U.S. Hemp Authority certified, the Non-GMO Project, and ISO 9001:2015 manufacturing certification.

Cost

While looking for cheap CBD, you should make sure to compare prices for similar products and potencies. Certain brands may offer special deals or sizes for a lower price in certain cases, but if you notice a product's price is way off from similar CBD oil options from other brands, it might be too good to be true. Again, you are looking for affordable CBD, not the cheapest option out there.

Customer Reviews

Check both the brand's site and online for verified customer reviews. These can tell you how the product worked for other users and whether or not it helped provide any benefits. If you can't find any reviews or additional information on a product, it might be better to choose one that has been tried and tested by other actual customers first.

How to Read Labels

When you shop for the best cheap CBD oils, it's a good idea to look at the labels for key information about the product. Here are some tips on how to read them and what kinds of info to look for.

  • Concentration - The label should clearly tell you the CBD content of the tincture. This is typically measured in milligrams per 1 milliliter dropper.
  • CBD Spectrum - Make sure you know the type of hemp extract used in the product. This is especially important if you want to avoid even trace amounts of THC for a drug test.
  • Carrier Oil - Each CBD tincture uses a carrier oil to make the hemp extract digestible. Always make sure that you are not allergic to the carrier oil or any other ingredients present.
  • Test Results - The most important thing to look for is certification that the CBD oil has been independently tested by a third-party lab. Most brands include a QR code on the label that links to the results.

How to Use

When it comes to using CBD oil, it's important to understand that there is not one set dose that will work the best for everyone. Everybody is different, and everyone's body responds differently to CBD.

Always remember to start low and go slow. The best general guideline to follow is to begin with 5 mL, or half a dropper full, once a day for one week. After a week has elapsed, see how you're feeling. If you aren't achieving your desired effect, then you can increase the dosage to half a dropper full twice a day for one week. After the week has passed, increase again if needed. Remember, your body needs to adjust to the CBD and that CBD typically works best by building up in your system over time.

Safety & Side Effects

While CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated by most adults, it can cause a few side effects. These side effects are typically mild and are often the result of taking too much CBD at one time. Always consult with your doctor before starting CBD, especially if you have concerns about how CBD will interact with your medications.

Some common side effects of CBD are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Mild nausea

If you're taking prescription medication, then you might be familiar with the Grapefruit Rule. Put simply, the rule states that some medications cannot be taken with grapefruit or other citrus fruits and juices. CBD functions in very much the same way, as it may change the way that the body metabolizes certain medications. Always consult with your doctor before starting CBD, especially if you have concerns about how CBD will interact with your medications.

Takeaway

There are a lot of affordable CBD oil options out there today, but it's important to distinguish between the brands that have a cheap price and the brands that use cheap ingredients. It's important to find an affordable CBD oil that works best for your budget and for your overall health without sacrificing quality or safety.

A pump jack and surface water at an oil well and fracking site in the San Joaquin Valley, California. Citizens of the Planet / Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

What is fracking?

Fracking is a process of blasting water, chemicals and frac sand deep into the earth to break up sedimentary rock and access natural gas and crude oil deposits. The fracking industry, which has sought to promote the practice as safe and controlled, has preferred the term "hydraulic fracturing."

Fracking emerged as an unconventional, "relatively new" and extremely popular technique only about 20 years ago in the U.S., after advances in technology gave it an unprecedented ability to identify and extract massive amounts of resources efficiently.

Fracking is one of the most important environmental issues today, and it's a prime example of how a new technology that offers immediate economic and political benefits can outpace (often less obvious) environmental and health concerns.

Why is fracking so controversial?

Modern fracking emerged so quickly, faster than its impacts were understood. Just as importantly, once scientists, health experts and the public started to object with evidence of harm it was causing, business and government succeeded in perpetuating a message of uncertainty, that more research was necessary, further enabling the "full speed ahead" fracking juggernaut.

How does fracking impact the environment?

Fracking's supporters have pushed an environmental angle, insisting that natural gas can be a "bridge fuel," a cheaper, cleaner option than coal before we have a large-scale transition to renewable energy. This claim has some merit, as natural gas does emit much less carbon dioxide than coal or oil. However, it is still a fossil fuel, adding harmful emissions while the climate crisis worsens. Moreover, fracking wells leak methane, a greenhouse gas more than 25 times more potent than CO2.

Water

In order to break up rock formations one to two miles deep, a fracking operation requires millions of gallons amount of water. After it's used, the resulting wastewater, which contains chemicals is pumped back into injection wells, sent to treatment plants, or can be dangerously dumped or spilled.

In 2016 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report skewed friendly to industry in its language: Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources in the United States. The EPA acknowledged that drinking water contamination was possible, but ultimately came to this conclusion: "Data gaps and uncertainties limited EPA's ability to fully assess the potential impacts on drinking water resources locally and nationally."

Earthquakes

According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, disposal of wastewater has caused an increase in earthquakes in the central U.S. Seismologists have reported that fracking's initial blasting process can trigger earthquakes.

Air Pollution

In addition to methane, fracking releases many toxic contaminants into the air. EPA has acknowledged the public health threat, but a lack of urgent political pressure has sidelined the agency into advising on ways to control and reduce, rather than eliminate, the danger.

Toxic Chemicals

Fracking fluids contain unknown chemicals and known carcinogens such as benzene. Fracking companies haven't been required to disclose their proprietary formulas, however. This is yet another example of how uncertainty serves as an enabling force. The EPA has identified more than 1,000 different chemicals used in fracking fluid.

Wildlife

Fracking can destroy wildlife habitats, pollute rivers and fisheries, poison birds, and use up water supplies that animals need to survive.

How does fracking affect the economy?

The fracking boom made the U.S. the world's largest producer of oil and gas, reducing its energy imports from 26% to less than 4%. It has lowered oil and gas prices and created thousands of industry jobs. While fracking companies profited greatly at first, as prices dropped their margins collapsed. Many are now going bankrupt.

How is fracking regulated?

Congress has enabled the oil and gas industry to be exempt from such regulations as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Fracking surged during the Obama administration, which moved to protect water from fracking on federal lands in 2015. Subsequently, the Trump administration sought to roll back protections and expand fracking on federal lands.

Key Examples of Fracking in the United States

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale is the source for about 40% of shale gas production in the U.S.

New York

While the Marcellus Shale also runs through New York, the state has banned fracking.

Texas

Texas produces more crude oil than any other state.

North Dakota

The Bakken Shale in North Dakota has been one of the main sites for the fracking boom and subsequent bust, leaving behind extensive environmental damage.

A recent report found that all 50 states could provide 100% (or even greater) in-state renewable energy.

Other Countries

Outside the U.S., only Canada, China and Argentina have commercial fracking operations. A UN report in 2018 said that other countries were "highly unlikely" to produce at such a large scale as the U.S., due to political and cultural factors, and existing infrastructure.

The Future of Fracking

While renewables were considered a solution for "peak oil" only a decade ago, fracking changed the terms of the debate, with a new focus from environmentalists to "keep it in the ground" starting in 2015.

The Biden administration now stands at a pivotal moment in the climate crisis. Biden's stance on fracking is not yet entirely clear, but he has rejoined the Paris agreement and appears to take climate seriously. At the same time, he is sympathetic to workers in fossil fuel industries, was vice president during the fracking boom years under Obama, and may be more inclined to seek a gradual transition than one fast enough to help solve the crisis.

WildEarth Guardians