Expert Product Reviews & Top 10 Lists

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Blog: 9 Vegetable Gardening Mistakes Every Beginner Should Avoid: An Expert Roundup
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Blog: 17 Best Recipes You Didn’t Know You Could Waffle
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Blog: 21 Best Unexpected Recipes To Make In A Rice Cooker

Outdoor & Garden Equipment

Charcoal Grills
Commercial Pressure Washers
Electric Smokers
Garden Tillers
Infrared Grills
Natural Gas Grills
Pressure Washers
Push Reel Mowers
Rear Tine Tillers
Riding Lawn Mowers
Self Propelled Lawn Mowers
Snow Blowers
Zero Turn Mowers
Six Garden Maintenance & Grilling Tips

1. Maintain your maintenance tools

Extend the life of your lawn maintenance equipment by keeping blades sharp and removing debris and clippings before they dry and causes corrosion, replace pull-start and electrical cords if they are frayed or damaged, and regularly inspect chains for damage and belts for appropriate tautness. Also, it’s important to refer to your owner’s manual to make sure you maintain your equipment’s proper levels of oil and gasoline.

2. Get your tools ready to hibernate

To winterize lawn and garden apparatus, drain oil and water to protect engines and pumps, remove debris from chains and blades to avoid rusting, clean or replace worn sparkplugs and filters, lubricate moving parts so they don’t dry out or corrode over the winter, and either completely drain gas from tanks or add fuel stabilizer. These actions save money and prevent hassle come Springtime.

3. Outdoor food prep safety tips

Ensure safe outdoor cooking by placing your grill or smoker at least 10 feet away from your home on a level, non-flammable surface like concrete or brick, with no structure overhead. Keep a fire extinguisher handy for emergencies, never douse already-lit charcoals with lighter fluid, and don’t operate grills and electric smokers in high winds or wet weather, otherwise you may have to feed the firefighters when they show up.

4. Not all extension cords are created equal

When buying extension cords for outdoor use, don’t purchase cheaper, indoor ones, choose cords marked with a “W” (meaning for outdoor use), and UL symbol (signifying safety hazard tested). Select only the length needed (longer is not better here), and don’t plug two cords together to extend length; buy a longer cord. Also, to avoid electrocution or fire, keep cords away from moving parts, always unplug when not in use, and never use damaged cords.

5. Pick a mower to match the yard

Consider proportion and power when finding the right size lawn maintenance tools. Yards and gardens under 500 square feet can easily be maintained with manual reel mowers and tillers, while electric or gas-powered walk-behind mowers and can handle larger areas with varied terrains. Riding mowers are perfect for lawns that take more than two hours to mow, and a zero-turn mower suits expansive grounds with large obstacles to cut around.

6. Suit up for safety

Dress appropriately to protect yourself from injury when you are outside maintaining your home and property, or preparing food. For maintenance jobs, choose long pants, snug clothing, protective eye and ear gear, gloves, and sturdy, close-toed shoes or boots. Around the grill and smoker, use oven mitts and utensils with long handles, and save clothing with strings, bulky sleeves or hanging embellishments for the catwalk.

Kitchen & Small Appliances

4 Slice Toasters
Air Fryers
Burr Coffee Grinders
Canister Vacuums
Clothes Steamers
Countertop Microwaves
Deep Fryers
Dutch Ovens
Electric Kettles
Espresso Machines
Essential Oil Diffusers
Food Dehydrators
Food Processors
Garbage Disposals
Handheld Vacuums
Ice Cream Makers
Induction Cooktops
Juicers
Popcorn Poppers
Portable Air Conditioners
Rice Cookers
Single Serve Coffee Makers
Slow Cookers
Smoothie Blenders
Stand Mixers
Steam Mops
Stick Vacuums
Toaster Ovens
Vacuum Sealers
Waffle Makers
Get the most out of your kitchen appliances

1. Become a “green” gourmet

Small appliances save time, and leave small energy footprints. Using a toaster oven to heat smaller dishes, or a microwave to heat (or pre-heat) food reduces cooking energy. Pressure cookers allow temperatures to rise rapidly, sealing in liquid, air, and flavors. Crock pots cook your dinner, and keep temperatures hot for hours through insulation, saving electricity. Dehydrators with adjustable thermostat controls dry and preserve food more efficiently than ovens do.

2. Keeping it clean…naturally

Keep kitchen appliances clean and maintained the “green” way – but unplug first! Use natural products to keep it green and clean, like mixing white vinegar and water to decalcify built-up minerals in coffeemakers, steam cleaners and portable AC coils, or making a paste of cream-of-tartar and white vinegar to remove baked on crumbs without scratching. Use steaming water in microwaves and irons to remove gunk and loosen hard particles.

3. De-clutter with an appliance garage

Park your small appliances in a “garage” to keep them organized, out of view, and easily accessible. Built-in cabinetry garages feature hinged, pocketed, or roll-up doors, slide-out cabinets and installed outlets to power up conveniently. Other options include stand-alone units, and do-it-yourself kits. Even a carousel, rolling cart, or curtain “hideaway” hanging under cabinets work, simply choose the garage that matches your space, décor and budget.

4. Take care of your cords

Cords are lifelines to the hand-held accessories that serve you every day. Taking care of them extends the life of your appliances. Whenever possible, plug into wall sockets, not extension cords, and always unplug units with heating elements, powering down first. Keep cords fastened with plastic ties or rubber bands after use, and to avoid damage or fire, never pull cord to unplug, gently remove the plug at the outlet.

5. Recycle your gadgets

You found the perfect new gadget, but how should you dispose of the old one? If it’s still operable, you can recycle it by donating it to Goodwill, or posting it on one of several nationwide networks devoted to keeping working things out of landfills. Your municipality may even have an electronics recycling service that will take it, or search the internet to find a recycling center near you.

6. Dorm life must-haves

Sending your kids off to college with a few essential accessories such as a mini-fridge, water filter, microwave oven and coffee maker will help them save money, eat healthier, and feel more at home. To keep their dorm room comfy and virus-free, send along a humidifier too, and don’t forget a vacuum cleaner so they can keep at least their side of their room clean and dust-free.

Health & Personal Care

Beard Trimmers
Electric Shavers
Electric Toothbrushes
Epilators
Flat Irons
Hair Clippers
Hair Dryers
Nose Hair Trimmers

Large Appliances

Air Purifiers
Carpet Cleaners
Dehumidifiers
Humidifiers
Washer / Dryer Combos
6 Important Buying Tips

1. Plan before you buy

When making a major purchase, common sense, friendly advice, and a little chutzpah can prevent buyer’s remorse. Prioritize a list of must-have features, do comparative research online, poll friends on their appliance likes and dislikes, and bring one of them to the store as your wingman, running interference against impulse buys and pushy salespeople. And don’t be afraid negotiate for the best price or, at least, free delivery.

2. Timing is everything

For the best deals, shop when discounts are offered on last year’s models to make room for new ones coming in. Specifically, May is the best month for refrigerators, September and October are great for everything else, and come January, whatever remains will be reduced even more. Also, shopping towards the end of any month may give you extra bargaining power due to monthly quotas and commissions coming to a close.

3. Keep that air moving

Many household items such as refrigerators, dryers, air conditioners, purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers require air to flow freely in order to function optimally and reduce energy. Aid the process by not overstocking the refrigerator, moving air treatment units away from walls and bulky furniture, clean and replace filters often, and keep coils and vents free from dust, hair and other debris.

4. Donating made easy, and profitable

Many charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army make it easy for you to donate your unwanted household appliances. Although inoperable units are occasionally accepted, they typically will pick up items in good working condition that are “saleable”. What’s more, these donated items are tax-deductible too, with values generally ranging from $20-$350, making it a win-win for everyone.

5. Nothing lasts forever

Regular maintenance extends the life of any large household device, but knowing expected life-spans can help you decide if it’s better to repair or replace. Typically, items such as trash compactors, mini-fridges, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers can last 5-8 years, while generally the life-span of full-size refrigerators, dryers, dishwashers and freezers is a decade or more, and you can expect your electric or gas range to last roughly 5 years longer.

6. To color, or not to color

Going for color in your home’s large appliances can be tricky, because that limits your decorating palette. Also, if you buy several in a splashy new color and have to replace one down the road, it might not be available anymore because manufacturers quickly discontinue lines that don’t sell well. Practicality seems to drive and dominate the market, as neutral finishes like stainless steel, white, and black are most popular.

Hobbies & Crafts

Embroidery Machines
Metal Detectors
Sewing Machines

DIY & Tools

Cordless Drills
Portable Generators
Router Tables
How to handle your tools?

1. The basic rules of tool safety

While hand-tool safety gear generally includes some sort of eye protection and gloves, power tools require more extensive protection such as wrap-around goggles or face shields, anti-vibration gloves, work shoes, and sometimes even earplugs and dust respirators. But the most fundamental protection starts with safe work practices like using properly grounded tools, keeping a firm grip on handles, and never using excessive force or operating if intoxicated, drowsy or distracted.

2. Top 3 reasons why tools malfunction

Chances are, if your power tool is not working properly, or at all, the problem lies in either worn carbon brushes which supply the motor with an electric current, malfunctioning switches (either toggle or variable speed), or a power cord that is frayed, shorted, or otherwise damaged. Before replacing any of these, unplug first, remove batteries, and snap a picture of inside wiring as a guide to make reassembly easier.

3. Organize with recycled items

Recycling household items to organize your workshop is simple. By cutting disposable pie tins or heavy-duty paper plates in half and mount on the wall you can store round blades or sanding discs. Carefully slit one side of PVC pipe or garden hose to use as a protector for saws and other blades. Or use an old tie rack to hang tools with holes in their handles like wrenches and paint brushes.

Sport & Exercise Equipment

Adjustable Dumbbells
Rowing Machines
How to find the best exercise equipment?

1. Exercise your right to choose

To help you fulfill your work-out goals, choose apparatus that fits your space, is comfortable for your body, and placed in a well-lit area (preferably with a door to prevent interruptions), and a mirror for motivation. Test equipment before bringing it home to make sure you feel comfortable using it, and can adjust seats, pedals, stride lengths, straps, etc. so you can’t make any excuses later for not using it.

2. Work out some big savings

All it takes is a little leg work to save big on refurbished, or hardly-used sports gear and fitness machines. Work those search engines to find websites that list like-new equipment with big discounts, check with manufacturers and retail stores to see if they have any re-furbished equipment previously leased by one of many gyms that have gone out of business, and exercise your brain to uncover the best deals available.

3. Sweat it out, but clean if off

Getting rid of sweat on fitness equipment helps it last longer, and prevents bacteria growth. Chemical cleaners and bleach can prematurely age or crack vinyl and plastic components and are hard on skin, so disinfect equipment with a solution of 2 cups hot water, ½ cup baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar at least once a week, vacuum under treadmills, and clean hand-held equipment with antimicrobial wipes or sprays.
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