Published August 08, 2012
If you love making your neighbors jealous, check out some of these cool tools for around the home that will wow them and have them burning with envy.
Dyson DC39 Animal
Canister style vacuums have some clear advantages over their upright siblings. Because the machine’s heavier parts stay put on the ground, you’re left with a lightweight bar brush that’s easier on the arms. However, because they drag behind you, canister style vacuums can be a little annoying, forever getting caught around a corner or beneath a chair.
Dyson’s team of engineers has greatly reduced this problem with the DC39 Animal ($500). By stuffing the vacuum's machinery and electronics into a ball-shaped device, the vacuum slides around corners much more easily, while still packing the same punch as other Dyson vacs. And with top-of-the-line acoustic seals, the Animal is significantly quieter than most vacuums on the market.
With an induction cooktop, you can bring a pot of water to a boil in about half the time of a conventional stove top. That’s because both gas and electric stoves waste a lot of energy, allowing heat to escape up the sides of a pot, which warms your kitchen but does little to cook your food. An induction cooker, on the other hand, uses electromagnetic energy to directly heat the cookware, speeding up cooking time and saving you the cost of wasted energy.
There is one drawback, however. Because it uses electromagnetism, only ferromagnetic materials will work with the cooktop. This means aluminum, cooper and some stainless steel pans are out. If a magnet sticks to your cookware, however, you’re good to go.
While these appliances were an expensive specialty item just a few years ago, there are now a bunch of affordable single burner cooktops on the market, many for less than $100.
While they might save us money on our energy bills, compact florescent lights haven’t exactly been a hit with consumers. Many complain that these soft-serve styled bulbs take too long to turn on and bathe a room in a harsh, cold light. LED bulbs are a new type of lighting technology that combines the energy-saving potential of CFLs with the warm glow of the incandescent bulbs we know and love.
At $24, Philips AmbientLED bulbs aren’t exactly cheap, but the company says that with average use you can expect to get 20 years of performance out of a single bulb. And because they use about a quarter of the energy of an incandescent bulb, that could save you a bundle in the long run.
If you’re always losing your keys or locking yourself out of your house, you might consider replacing your keychain altogether with the Lockitron ($295). The lock hooks up to your Internet router, allowing you to use your phone to lock and unlock your door.
While a convenient way to let yourself in, the Lockitron also makes it easier to give your guests access. For instance, if you’ve asked your friends or family to look after your home while you go one vacation, there’s no need to drop off a key. Simple text them a passcode and they’ll be able to get in.
IdeaPaint & Chalkboard Paint
Whether you’re seeking a creative outlet for the kids or a handy way to keep track of family chores, perhaps all you need is a fresh coat of paint. IdeaPaint, which, when applied, gives your wall a whiteboard coating that you can use with dry erase markers, allowing you to transform any wall or flat surface into a creative space. If your prefer the old-school aesthetic of blackboards, try out a coat of Benjamin Moore’s Chalkboard Paint on your walls. So whether you like to sketch out your ideas, or can’t live without writing out your to-do lists, you’ll never be too far from a space to write on.