Gadgets and good ideas
Home Channel News editors have assembled here a collection of the innovative, the colorful and the resourceful. From self-sufficient plants and key-hiding rocks to paintbrush-replacing gloves and multi-bit screwdrivers, there is certainly something here for the gadget lover in all of us.
Trimaco ProPaint Mitt
Trimaco’s ProPaint Mitt, made of super absorbent premium fabric, is worn by the painter like a glove. The user dips it in paint or stain and applies it in a wrap-around fashion. The Mitt provides fast, consistent coverage and works on any shaped surface, including columns, fences, railings and other tight spots. In addition, the ProPaint Mitt doesn’t shed. (trimaco.com)
Ergodyne Arsenal Lil’ Buddy Tool Organizers
Ergodyne has expanded its Arsenal Equipment Storage System: Tool Bag series, including seven new Arsenal Lil’ Buddies, which organize and keep all wrenches, drivers, socket sets, pliers and bits in one place. The product launch includes the Large Clamshell Organizer, Small Clamshell Organizer, Large Zipper Top Organizer, Small Zipper Top Organizer, Mini Duffel Tool Organizer, Tall Clear Zipper Bag and Short Clear Zipper Bag. Lil’ Buddies feature heavy-duty zippers, water-resistant backing, durable nylon stitching, and built-in clear or mesh component. (ergodyne.com)
Rockler Pock-It Hole Clamp
Rockler has enhanced its Pock-It Hole Clamp with a new push-button quick-release feature. This feature allows the clamp’s threads to be quickly and easily slid in and out when the quick-release button is pressed, decreasing set-up and takedown time for each pocket hole joint. Final tightening of the new clamp is still done with the original’s ratcheting handle, according to Rockler. The clamp works with 3/4-in.-thick face frames and casework, allowing the fastening of one pocket hole while the other pocket hole of the same joint is clamped. (rockler.com)
Channellock Code Blue 13- and 18-Tip Ratcheting Screwdrivers
Channellock’s Code Blue 13 ‘N 1 and 18 ‘N 1 ratcheting screwdrivers offer the user convenient two-way operation. The bits are stored in the handles, which makes swapping them between jobs quick and easy. The Code Blue 13 ‘N 1 (shown at right) features a dual-composition comfort grip and a 28-tooth ratchet that delivers 225 inch/lbs. of torque. The 18 ‘N 1 (at left) has a few more bits, and a comfortable high-torque grip. The quick-change action helps get jobs done faster. (channellock.com)
RocLok Hide a Key
The RocLok Hide a Key is a faux rock key hiding system, which incorporates the security of a combination lock box with the benefits of a rock key hider. It requires no batteries to change, and the built-in lock box offers 1,000 combinations. The RocLok is a realistic size and weight, and the cement-based material adapts naturally with its environment. It is available in five rock types to match natural stones in various parts of the country, and weighs 4 lbs. to 12 lbs. RocLok is built to withstand harsh weather and ages naturally like real rocks and stones. (roclok.com)
Click and Grow
Click and Grow allows plants to grow on their own, requiring only batteries and a two months’ supply of water. The planter’s sensors, processor and software do the rest of the work. The technology uses no soil, and plants are grown from six available cartridges. According to the company, another 50 cartridges will be sold soon. All Click and Grow plant cartridges fit the company’s automated pot, and each pot can grow only one plant at a time. Plants cannot be replanted outside the system. (clickandgrow.com)
Johnson Level Power Tape
Johnson Level & Tool has introduced its Stud-Squared Power Tape, a combination tape measure, square and layout tool. It features a 25-ft. tape measure within a 1.5-in. by 3-in. by 3.5-in. housing to match common framing dimensions. Two slide-out Extender Guides are built into the case for marking and squaring wide boards. Centering V-notches allow the user to lay out single and double frames, 2-in. by 4-in. wall partitions and double microlams. A grommet hole at the 1-in. mark fits a nail to draw an accurate radius. (johnsonlevel.com)
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Closet and laundry storage
Sales of closet storage and laundry storage declined 1.3% and 1.5%, respectively, in the 12 months ended July 31, according to consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group. Dollar volume, according to NPD, was about $2.94 billion for storage in the closet, and about $180 million in the laundry room. Unit volume declined more than dollar volume, indicating an increase in average ticket.
As expected, warehouse home centers and mass merchants lead the way in sales, but specialty stores are showing the fastest growth in closet market share.
Younger consumers are driving sales of closet and laundry storage. The logical explanation is that these consumers are outfitting new homes with the necessary organization. However, it is the 35-to-54 age group that is showing growth in laundry.
One word: Plastic.
Plastic accounted for 53.7% of closet storage organization material in 2011, down slightly from 2001, but way up from 2009. Closet storage type has shown very little change from year to year, with a slight uptick in boxes and a slight downturn in closet kits.
Purchase motivators are very similar across the board for both closet, and laundry storage and organization. In deciding on retailers, the key consideration for the consumer is “price.”
For now, price is still the
For now, price is still the top motivator for home products. Perhaps in time, consumers would also place more importance in the environmental friendliness of those products. Like electrical products, there is a huge room for improvement in terms of eco-friendliness.
Are large home builders running out of money?
Home-building businesses may be at risk for consolidation if home sales don’t pick up soon, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal.
Several production home builders may be running low in cash, the article said, as their stock prices continue to sink as the housing slowdown drags on. Toll Brothers, Lennar Corp., Beazer and Hovnanian were all mentioned as being on various analysts’ “watch lists,” although all have taken measures to cut overhead, change products or refinance their debt.
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