6 Nifty Gadgets
As home improvement enthusiasts, we are constantly in search of tools, materials and nifty gadgets that can improve personal comfort and get a job done as quickly and easily as possible. Local home and garden shows, major building industry trade shows, television shows, books, magazines, catalogs and the Internet are all excellent resources for such information.
Lumber, most power tools and an array of hardware can be readily found through most of these resources. On the other hand, try finding a liquid propane tank pressure gauge, a steel brick clip that can be used, among other things, to hang Christmas stockings, and a tile grout whitener with a built-in applicator. Sound far-fetched? Not really, we found each of the aforementioned products (and more) in a catalog.
While old habits are hard to break, an astonishing number of people are opting to trade trips to home centers and specialty stores for catalogue and online shopping. The phone, a fax, the click of a mouse and a credit card are all that one needs to have a thingamajig delivered right to the door.
The benefits to this style of trade are many – no traffic to fight, no shoppers to tangle with (other than the one seated next to you in your home or office), and no long check out lines. A possible disadvantage is that one might have to wait a day or so to receive an order. However, a wait may be well worth the convenience of shopping from home without the aggravation that can often accompany an in-store purchase.
Any way you look at it, brick and mortar stores and their shoppers aren’t going anywhere, at least not any time soon. However, growth in E-commerce (phone, fax, pos sysytem like pos singapore and computer shopping) is traveling at record speed and there appears to be no end in sight. If anything, consumers now have more buying choices than ever and choice is a good thing. And speaking of choice, E-commerce provides an almost infinite amount of inventory that most brick and mortar stores could not – and for some, would not – want to carry.
What follows is a sampling of some nifty gadgets that we found in a catalog and while shopping on-line.
1) Tile Grout Whitener: If you’re tired of coffee stained grout, this little device will do the trick. It consists of a 4-oz bottle and applicator tip that is a bit larger than the average tube of lipstick. The bottle contains enough dye to whiten about 350 yards of grout. In case you are interested, that’s enough to do two average sized bathrooms. What makes this particular product unusual is the applicator tip that consists of a small wheel. Very cool! After 24 hours the stuff is dry and you can begin staining your grout again. That is unless you seal the grout to prevent staining. Found that in the catalog too. One 4-oz bottle sells for under $10.
2) Outdoor Light Timer: Although we found this one in our local store, we felt is was worth the mention because of its uniqueness. Trying to plug in a traditional analogue timer into an outdoor electrical box can be impossible – unless you’re willing to tear the protective outlet cover off. That’s a no-no that can spell an electrical shock or short – especially in damp or wet weather. This particular gizmo has a traditional weatherproof grounded plug with a short cord attached to a timer that will turn Christmas lights or other outdoor lighting on and off after a preset number of hours. Or, it can be set to turn on at dusk and off at dawn. A holiday must-have for under $20.
3) LP Tank Pressure Gauge: If you like to barbecue using liquid propane gas (LP), you’ll love one of these. You’ll never have to worry about running out of fuel again – especially during one of those big holiday cookouts. Plus, there’s an added bonus. A “thermal fuse” shuts off the gas if there’s a fire, and an “excess-flow limiting device activates in the event of hose, fitting or regulator failure. Added safety and convenience can be yours for the under $30 cost of this baby.
4) Automatic Door Closer: An array of automatic door closing devices has been around for ages. So, what makes this one worth mentioning? Its size and ease of installation. Simply remove an existing hinge pin (the device that hold the two pieces of a hinge together) and replace it this one – a fraction of the size of a traditional door closer. Great for preventing pets and toddlers from getting into off-limit areas. Under $10.
5) Brick Clips: Use one of these little gizmos to hang almost anything on brick – without drilling. Spring-Steel Brick Clips ™ snap easily onto a brick wall to support up to 25 pounds. No anchors to hang or holes to drill, no damage to brick or mortar. Great for Christmas stockings, wreaths, art or other decorative items. A set of four will set you back a touch under ten bucks.
6) Hand Cart: What could be better than a hand cart for hauling heavy objects around? A hand cart that folds away for easy storage! This hard-working hand cart makes it easy to move up to 250 lbs of boxes, bags of dog food, file cabinets, folding chairs, large planters, even big trash cans. What makes this even more nifty is its telescoping handle that slides down to under 29 inches high. Its lightweight aluminum frame and two large ball-bearing wheels weigh less than 15 pounds. Best of all, when you’re not using it you can conveniently store it. Under $60.
Peaked your interest? Begin combing through catalogs and clicking your way down the information superhighway. You just might find that thingamabob after all.