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Purchasing a new big screen television or stove is a fine way to make your home seem new again without having to tackle a major renovation project. But while these basic purchases add a little extra luster to your home, they aren’t all that out of the ordinary.
More interesting are those gadgets that make you feel like they’ve arrived from some strange future, the ones that make you shake your head and say “Why would anyone need that?” And then, on second thought, you admit to yourself, “I absolutely need that.”
To help you with your next home hardware purchases, we’ve rounded up some of the most over-the-top home gadgets that you don’t really need, but you’re certainly going to want.
Neato XV-11—Your Roomba sucks. And I don’t mean that as some kind of lame pun. But you know what’s even better? A robo-vacuum with lasers! Enter the Neato XV-11 $400), the world’s first laser-guided Roomba-alternative. Why would a vacuum need an onboard laser-guidance system, you ask? While the Roomba whirls around your house like a blind animal, often re-cleaning the same spots over and over again, the Neato scans the room and charts a smarter and quicker path to spotlessness.
Dyson Air Multiplier—For years we’ve suffered through the tyranny of traditional fan designs, with their difficult-to-clean, dust-encrusted blades. But now from Dyson — the maker of those revolutionary vacuums — comes the world’s first bladeless fan. The Dyson Air Multiplier ($300-$450) draws and channels air in a method similar to a jet engine, giving you a more powerful, smoother breeze. Sure it’s a steep price to pay for a fan, but that’s what it takes to leave the propellers behind and enter the jet age.
Conmoto Travelmate Fireplace—For thousands of years man has struggled to master and contain the power of fire. Now we can say that the task has been completed and the ultimate goal reached: A gas fireplace outfitted in a sleek transparent suitcase. The Conmoto Travelmate Portable Fireplace ($3,200) means that you’ll never again be left longing for a warming fire in your cramped studio apartment or while on the road.
HumanTouch HT-9500 Massage Chair—Ask any tech junkie and they’ll tell you, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as curling up in a favorite chair with their beloved touchscreen media device. Well HumanTouch has figured out a way to top the quiet comfort of a day spent cradling a tablet in a comfy chair. The HumanTouch HT-9500 massage chair ($5,200) is an iPad- and iPhone-enabled pleasure vessel. Linking with your device, the chair allows you to program and control a relaxation routine of your own making. You can also download routines designed by athletes and physicians for a post-scrimmage rubdown or one to send yourself into a pre-bedtime trance.
Magimix Vision Toaster—Toast should be one of the easiest things to make, but I’m an impatient person, constantly popping it up to check on its progress. Added to that, I have never found a toaster that reliably browns a slice of bread the same way two days in a row. With the Magimix Vision Toaster ($249), the world’s first see-through toaster, you can monitor your bread’s progress second by second, ensuring your morning is never again ruined by a burnt breakfast.
LG Thinq appliances—We’ve been promised “smart homes” for years, but the technology has long been hobbled by “dumb” appliances. LG hopes to change all that with their Thinq line of appliances. Featuring a built in wi-fi network, a Thinq appliance will let you monitor food expiration dates from your iPhone, or download new energy-saving wash cycles for your washing machine.
Troy-Bilt Pack Horse—Why break your back hauling mulch and rocks the old fashioned way when you can put a gas-powered wheelbarrow behind the job? Capable of moving up to 500 pounds, the Troy-Bilt Pack Horse ($1,300) is like having your own backyard mule, without all those the messy droppings to clean up.
Robomow lawnmowers—The Robomow line of automatic mowers will mow your lawn while you sit on the porch sipping lemonade. Sure you could get a push mower for a tenth of the cost, but can you really put a price on idle summer afternoons? Apparently you can: $1,200-$2,000.