Spring brings with it sunshine, warm weather, and blossoming flowers. But it’s also time for the ever-dreaded spring cleaning. While this annual multi-task can be a drag, investing in a few cool gadgets can help cut down on some of the drearier tasks so that you can get back to enjoying the – hopefully - lovely weather.
When it comes to prepping your garden’s soil in the spring, traditional hand tools are a back-breaking option, while motorized tillers are expensive, large, and difficult to navigate around trees and bushes. The Black & Decker Garden Cultivator ($203) is battery-powered tiller that is roughly the size of a weed whacker, making it easy to work around existing growth. Its spinning tines dig a few inches deep, perfect for breaking up compacted top soil and uprooting weeds.
Few household tasks are as loathsome as cleaning the gutters. Scraping years’ worth of half-decomposed goop out of a trough while perilously perched atop a ladder is no way to spend a beautiful spring afternoon. Enter the iRobot Looj ($129-$169), an automated gutter-cleaning solution from the same company that brought us the Roomba vacuum cleaner. Running on a set of tank-like treads, the Looj blasts through leaves and debris with its spinning front paddles, meaning you only have to climb the ladder once, set it loose and you’re done in no time.
If you were to cross a chainsaw with a pair of garden shears, you’d end up with Black & Decker’s Alligator Lopper ($95-$238), a power tool perfectly suited for trimming small to medium sized branches. The Alligator’s clamping jaws form a tight grip, while its 6-inch chainsaw makes short work of overhanging branches or overgrown shrubs.
Pool season might still be a few months away, but now is a good time to start thinking about how to keep yours clean. The iRobot Verro ($399-$999) is a line of automated cleaners that crawl across the floor of your pool, filtering out everything from leaves down to algae and bacteria. The Verro is even able to climb up the sides of walls and steps, giving your pool a thorough cleaning, without you having to lift a finger.
Robo-vacuums have been around for a few years now, and while they work great on carpets, they are less-than-ideal for those with hardwood floors. The Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner ($200) is specifically designed for hard-surface floors, relying on Swiffer-style microfiber cloths rather than a vacuum, making it a quieter alternative to the Roomba.
But regardless of whether you go with a Mint or a Roomba, you’re going to have to pick up a vacuum at some point in order to give your house a thorough cleaning. Those robo-cleaners are limited to flat surfaces and can’t clean hard-to-reach places like stairs, blinds or couch cushions. Dyson has already revolutionized the upright vacuum field, but now the company has set their sites on small, battery-powered machines that perform nearly as well as their bigger brothers. The Dyson Multi floor ($299) weighs less than five pounds, sports the same Cyclone suction systems found in the larger Dyson vacuums and is completely cordless. It’s a great alternative for those who loathe lugging around a heavy upright, yet need something that can still get the job done.