Ah, appliances. Where would we be without them? Well, we’d probably be hunched over our dirty laundry and greasy spills for that much longer, if you want to come right down to it. From cooking to cleaning, these devices have made our domestic chores much easier to handle. Before you go running down the aisles of every department store in town, though, you need to ask yourself: “Which are best for my needs?” Otherwise, you’re just going to wind up with a lot of junk stuffed under your sinks (or acting as expensive towel holders). Here are five of the best home products and appliances (each easy-to-find and relatively inexpensive) that should be a big help in making life easier for yourself and your loved ones.
Crock-Pot – Folks usually resolve only to eat restaurant food as a special once-in-a-while treat, but be honest with yourself: how often do you order out for dinner, or pick up some take-out on the way home from work? Probably far more often than the once a month you promised yourself when you were young and idealistic. Truth is, it’s rough to slog home after a hard day at work, start preparations for dinner, and wait for it to cook while your stomach grumbles away. A crock-pot, or any kind of slow cooker, is a great way to make a stew or a pot roast that simmers to perfection while you’re at work, and then greets you with a fragrant waft of air when you walk in the door at six o’clock. You save money in the end, and you eat healthier, making it one of the best home products or appliances available. Win-win.
Dustbuster – Uh oh. A kid-sized dry spill. Looking forward to lugging out the vacuum cleaner? Didn’t think so. How about a broom and dustpan? That should leave behind some choice particles for you to step on later. Grab a Dustbuster. The little hand-sized vacuum is still a popular and handy appliance. It’s great for little messes, and it’s a champion at handling dusty corners.
Powermat – When an entire family needs to charge its phones all at once (and/or its gaming devices, and/or its mp3 players, etc, etc), the mad scramble for the household’s limited sockets and USB ports resembles a mall parking lot on December 23. With a Powermat, you can charge many of your electronic devices on a single plug, and your electronics won’t wind up scattered to the four corners of your house.
Air Purifiers – Some people, particularly kids, are sensitive to pollutants and allergens in the household. Air purifiers can be a great way to help the entire family breathe easier, but it’s a pretty serious purchase. What should you look for? Good Housekeeping has a handy air purifier shopping guide.
Water Purifiers – Clean air is nice, but you know what’s totally awesome? Clean water. Water filters are a cheap and easy way to take some of the undesirable contents out of your tap water. What’s left behind is the cool, fresh stuff that tastes great. Purifiers are also better for the environment, as you know exactly where your water is coming from and there’s no plastic bottle to discard.
Need more tips on the best appliances money can buy? Visit:
Best Appliances at Good Housekeeping
The 50 Best Kitchen Appliances at Gadgets and Tech @ The Independent
The Kindle Fire combines tablet computer functionality with Amazon.com’s e-book reader, the Kindle. The Kindle Fire is a handsome and handy piece of tech, and a great alternative for anyone feels that the iPad is a bit out of their price range. Unlike the iPad, however, the Fire runs on Android, not iOS, so some users might have a little difficulty rooting out the best Kindle Fire applications.
What about you? If you own a Kindle Fire but feel like you’re not getting much use out of it, make sure you study up on what the tablet is capable of. There are hundreds of useful programs for you to pick and choose over, and they can help you organize your day, work on some documents, or just wind down after a hard day’s work.
Here are five of the best apps available for the Kindle Fire:
Quick Office Pro HD – Need to get some work done on the go? QuickOfficeProHD is a must-have for your Kindle Fire. This app lets you view and edit Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel spreadsheets. It also lets you open and view PDF files without the need to download a separate application. Quick Office Pro HD can also connect you to popular remote office services, including Google Docs, Dropbox, Evernote, and more.
Drawing Pad – Drawing Pad is a must-have for parents who want to encourage their kids’ creativity—and let’s be honest, adults will probably love it, too. It’s a finger-powered drawing program that features a huge assortment of drawing “materials,” including pencil crayons, markers, and paint. You can also mess around with stamps, stickers, and construction paper backgrounds.
Where’s My Water? – All work and no play, right? The Kindle Fire doesn’t boast the same massive game selection as an iPad, but you can still play some tablet gaming’s best offerings. Where’s My Water? is a physics-based puzzle game that stars an adorable alligator named Swampy. Your mission is to re-direct streams of water into Swampy’s bath. It’s harder than it sounds, given that the game takes place in the sewers of New York, so all kinds of unpleasant stuff can end up in the tub instead. It’s perfect for gamers of any age. You’ll be hooked.
Netflix – The Internet’s premier movie- and- television-streaming service is available on the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire’s version of the application loads quickly, is easy to use, and offers welcome options like easy access to subtitles.
Audible for Android – If you own any kind of Android device, Audible for Android should be your go-to app for audio books. You can pick your favorites from a huge library of classics, or try something new. Audible for Android also has a Sleep Mode, so you can drift off without having to worry about your Kindle Fire’s battery life.
For more great Kindle Fire app picks, check out:
The Best Apps for Your Kindle Fire at Hubpages
Top 14 Kindle Fire Apps at PCWorld
Best Kindle Fire Apps at DigitalTrends
Most smartphones are able to record video, and they do a decent job. Note the key word, here: “Decent.” Smartphones are a great option for spontaneous video recording, but you might want to consider a more specialized device for family vacations and special moments. Shopping for a video camera can be a little overwhelming, though, because there are a lot of choices on the market. The big question potential owners must ask: What are the best video cameras you can buy on any budget – and which camcorders produce the best results as compared to mobile devices?
Thankfully, as a whole, it bears remembering: Across the board, most camcorders are still an excellent buy. They offer superior quality video recording next to smartphones, they’re more durable, they offer more storage space (as well as more storage options), and they’re cheaper than a smartphone when you take into account that you’re not locked into a phone plan for years on end. Shopping for a new video camera? Here are five of the best camcorders you can buy:
Sony Bloggie Touch 8GB – The Sony Bloggie Touch has a bit of an odd moniker, but it’s a good middle-of-the-road camcorder. It shoots crisp, clear video despite its compact size, it captures audio well, and shooting is as easy as turning the system on and tapping the big red “Record” button. The Bloggie also interfaces easily with computers. It’s a good option for nurturing a young person who has a growing interest in making his or her own films. Note that Sony also offers affordable Bloggie models that let you live stream video to the Web, and shoot 3D footage as well – all worth keeping top of mind.
Toshiba Camileo P100 – The Camileo P100 is another easy-to-use camcorder, though unlike the rectangular Bloggie Touch, it has a pistol-like grip that makes extended shooting a little more comfortable. The Camileo P100 also features 8x optical zoom, can capture 8-megapixel stills, and has an HDMI connector, which allows for direct video playback through an HDTV.
Canon Vixia HF G10 – The Canon Vixia HF G10 offers a lot of features in its tiny frame. It’s a little pricier than the Camileo P100 or the Bloggie, so it might be more at home in the hands of a professional—though it’s still simple enough for anyone to use. The Vixia HF G10 has a 12x zoom, can capture 14-megapixel stills, and can connect directly to an HDTV.
Sanyo VPC-FH1A Full HD Video – The well-priced Sanyo VPC-FH1A Full HD Video is quite a mouthful, but it’s also a great little camcorder. It has a 16x zoom, it’s lightweight, and its SD/SDHC slot can support cards that go up to 32GB.
Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera – Glub. Capture video underwater with the Kodak Playsport HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera. This little workhorse is built to weather tough environments, and can record action even when it’s submerged up to 9.8 feet. It’s roughly the size of a smartphone, so it won’t weigh you down.
For more information on great camcorder models, visit:
Pocket Camcorders vs Smartphones at About.com
5 Best Camcorders at CNET
5 Best High Definition Camcorders at The Geek Stuff