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Posts Tagged ‘household’

Sunex 9930M Metric Stubby 10 Piece Combination Wrench Set

May 29th, 2011 No comments

2 Stars- techdad
Sunex Stubby Wrench Set

I needed a stubby wrench set because my kitchen faucet kept getting loose and the wrenches in my tool collection were all too large to work with underneath the kitchen sink. I did a quick search on Amazon and this set seemed reasonably priced for a 10-piece combination set and even came with a roll bag. I would have preferred the Craftsman set, but I couldn’t justify the $65 so I took the plunge on a brand I’d never heard of. Have you heard of Sunex? If not, you might want to take note, because I’d avoid them if possible.

Sunex Stubby roll bagSunex Stubby 19mm Wrench

The roll bag is a nice nylon bag and keeps all the wrenches neatly organized and in place. It uses a long velcro tie to keep the bag securely closed. The combo wrenches are a convenient size for working in tight spaces and appear to be machined well. I was able to complete my job under the kitchen sink without much of a fuss. Unfortunately, when I was inspecting them later to write this review, I painfully found out that Sunex may want to review their manufacturing process.

Sunex Stubby Wench Set unrolled

Not all, but a few of the wrenches near the box end had exposed jagged metal. It’s as if someone took a saw and tried to cut a piece of it. I snagged my thumb on it and it hurt like heck. As soon as I realized that it was more than one of the pieces that had this flaw, I packed it back up to send back to Amazon.

It’s possible I got a bad batch of wrenches, but I’m not willing to give them another try. I’ll try another inexpensive brand first, but if those have similar issues, I may have to bite the bullet and go with the tried and true Craftsman.

Available from Amazon.com.

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Progressive International Adjust-A-Slice and Julienne Mandolin

March 6th, 2011 No comments

3 Stars- techdad

Progressive International Adjust-A-Slice and Julienne Mandolin
My wife has wanted a mandolin slicer for quite some time now but we just never got around to adding one to our ever-growing collection of kitchen gadgets. She was quite excited to finally add one and the Progressive International model seemed to have all the right features. While we are happy to have it, we definitely see areas for improvement.

PROS

  • Slices quickly
  • Easy to clean up
  • Easy to adjust slicing sizes
  • Fits over bowls
  • Slice and julienne in one unit

CONS

  • “Finger guard” isn’t useful
  • Non-slip ridges ineffective
  • Premium price for non-premium build

The Progressive International slicer has a handle with settings to adjust slicing sizes. Selecting one of three sizes alters the angle of the clear plastic slicing surface before it hits the blade. Also, it works over a bowl because of the ridges on the opposite end of the handle, under the slicing slicing surface. Unfortunately, the non-slip ridges don’t stay put very well. The neat feature of this slicer is the ability to flip the knob, raising the blades to julienne.

It comes with a “finger guard” which is just a thinga-ma-bob to hold your veggies down while slicing so that you don’t accidentally slice your fingers. We couldn’t use ours at all. It would not hold our cucumbers, potatoes, or carrots very stable while going through the slicing motion. The problem is that the “finger guard” uses thick plastic, pointed spikes to jab into the food. Thin, steel spikes probably would have worked better. We threw ours in a drawer and just used our hands to hold the veggies and sliced in a slow, methodical motion. A cut-resistant glove would have been more useful.

I found the overall build quality to be ok, but it didn’t stand out, given the premium pricing. We liked it because we can slice through 2 large sweet potatoes in less than 2 minutes, but we didn’t find it to be a very good value. You can get their non-julienne slicer for almost half the price so unless you absolutely need the ability to do both in a single unit, I’d recommend a less expensive non-combo slicer.

Available from Amazon.com.

* Review sample provided by Progressive International

Neosporin Neo To Go! Antiseptic Pain Relieving Spray

December 7th, 2010 No comments

3 Stars- techdadNeosporin Neo To Go!

I have two young children who seem to scrape their knees or elbows anytime they stop out of our front door. I’d seen the Neosporin Neo To Go! product at our local Target store and always wanted to try it out but the price seemed exorbitant for what it was. When Amazon offered me a review unit to try, I was happy to give it a Go!

PROS

  • Durable container
  • Decent pain relief for minor cuts/scrapes

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Not as simple to operate as it should be
  • Requires some priming
  • Should NOT be stored in a vehicle

First of all, the active ingredients in the Neo To Go! are not antibiotics. Benzalkonium Chloride is the antiseptic, preventing infection, while Pramozine Hydrochloride is the topical analgesic, for temporary pain relief. It does not contain the antibiotics used in the ointment or cream by Neosporin. I don’t view that as good or bad, but in case someone thought that it contained the same ingredients, I wanted to note that it does not.

While I like the durability of the container, I found it to be somewhat difficult to operate. I expected it to work a bit smoother and without having to prime it. If it sits for a while, you have to prime it a few times before the spray comes out. I do like how the lot # and expiration are printed clearly for easy viewing.

I also thought it was rather bogus of Johnson & Johnson to print a car icon, next to the bike and purse. Why? Because only if you happen to go to their website will you see that they do NOT recommend you keep the Neo To Go! in your car. It is supposed to remain at room temperature of much as possible, within 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s pretty standard for medication, but the car icon gives somewhat of a false impression that keeping it in your car is ok. Essentially, you can carry it with you, in a car, on a bike, or in a purse, but should always bring it back inside.

My biggest problem though, is that the price premium for the Neo To Go! doesn’t make up for the very minor convenience of having the spray. If you are that active or prone to minor cuts and scrapes, carrying a tube of Neosporin with you is just as easy. I guess you wouldn’t want to slide it in your jean pocket, but a diaper bag, purse, or jacket pocket would all work fine with the regular tube. I get that the individual unit price is pretty good from Amazon when you order the 6 pack with the 15% off Subscribe & Save discount. But who gets hurt that often? One tube of Neosporin cream usually lasts me about a year or more, even with my two kids challenging concrete on a daily basis. It’s also harder to target smaller cuts because the spray coverage area might be bigger than the actual cut.

My family will definitely get use out of the Neosporin Neo To Go!, but we doubt we will be getting any more. We are just fine with the cream in a tube.

Available from Amazon.com.

* Review sample provided by Neosporin.

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Eureka 71B Hand-Held Vacuum

December 7th, 2010 No comments

4 Stars- techdad

For several years, I kept replacing cordless hand vacuum after hand vacuum. If there is one certainty with those cordless hand vacuums, it is that the batteries inside them will cease to hold a charge after about a year. I finally tired of the cycle and wasted money and decided to try out a corded hand vacuum. The Eureka stood out because of all the positive reviews on Amazon.

The first thing you’ll notice is that it is quite heavy for a hand vacuum. I actually liked the heft because it made it feel more solid and better built. A throwback to the saying that “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.” When running, it is actually quite loud. Louder than the cordless models I’d used in the past. The trade-off is much better performance. The Eureka 71B picks up debris that my full-size Hoover misses. The crevice tool and hose are perfect for corners and wall edges and good for cars & trucks. To my surprise, the hose attachment swiveled for easier maneuverability. Also, I keep sand toys in the back of my 4Runner for my kids so the trunk area has tons of sand. The Eureka 71B had no problem with that job.

My neighbor was so impressed that she asked to borrow it for her SUV. I only wish that it had come with an attachment that worked better in hard to reach places under car seats. The dirt cup is easy to see and fills up fast. Like most bagless vacuum’s, it is easy to clean, but can be messy. I try to empty the dirt cup after each use to keep it from getting too nasty and also to keep it working at it’s best. The 20 foot cord is of convenient length and the cord wrap keeps it nice and tidy when not in use. I do not miss cordless hand vac’s AT ALL. I fully expect the Eureka 71B to outlive all of my previous hand vacuum’s combined, and then some. For the few dollars that Amazon is charging, this purchase is a no-brainer.

Available from Amazon.com.

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Mr. Coffee BVMC-KG1 Single Serve Brewing System

December 6th, 2010 No comments
4 Stars- techdad
Back in June of 2009, Keurig announced a partnership with Mr.  Coffee, as well as Cuisinart.  The Cuisinart partnership created a premium line of Keurig brew machines.  The Mr.  Coffee BVMC-KG1 looks to catch the interest of the more cost-conscious consumer.

PROS
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • No mess
  • Good value (for a Keurig)
CONS
  • Higher cost for coffee using K-Cups
  • Higher up-front cost of coffee maker
I was a heavy coffee drinker in college and at my first office job but have otherwise been a casual java drinker since.  I had owned coffee machines in the past but typically went the route of the Peet’s, Starbucks, Caribou, etc.  It was easier, more social, and usually tasted better.  Going through the motions with a coffee maker at home was an arduous task, which often resulted in me having to throw away many bags of coffee due to expiration.  Then came Mr.  Coffee and Keurig technology.

Upon opening the box, I saw a clearly illustrated Quick Start guide that took me through the process of using K-Cups in the machine.  It did however, leave out that you should run a cycle with just water before first use.  I scanned the manual for a few minutes, ran the prep cycle then brewed my first K-Cup coffee, ever.  It turned out just fine.  I was AMAZED at how quickly it brewed.  I would say it took me about 5 minutes from start to sip.

Afterwards, I just opened the brewer compartment to remove the used K-Cup and tossed it in the trash.  No filter to deal with or carafe to clean.  Quick to brew and easy to clean! Now, eventually you will need to clean out the parts to remove scaling and such, but depending on your use, I’d guess once a week would suffice.

The Mr.  Coffee BVMC-KG1 is a no frills, personal 8-ounce single-cup brew machine.  It is similar to the Keurig-branded mini brewer.  The water reservoir is very small and just enough to brew your 8 ounce cup.  The brewer compartment, where you insert the K-Cup, reminds me a little of an old cassette player.  It opens up and you place the K-Cup inside and it accepts it for use.  Then there’s the drip tray that removes for easy dumping and cleaning.  There are only 3 indicator lights.  The first, surrounds the “Brew Now/Off” button and blinks softly when you press it to indicate the machine is working.  The second light, “Heating” lets you know that it is heating up the water.  The third indicator light, “Brewing”, shows that the coffee is being brewed.  When the coffee is finished, the “Brew Now/Off” button turns off and the machine is ready to be run again.

My only hesitation in recommending the machine goes for all single-serve pod-based coffee machines.  Cost.  The intial cost is usually pretty high when compared to a normal coffee maker and cost per K-Cup can be quite high relative to using normal bags of ground coffee.  However, if you are looking at these systems, then what you are after is probably convenience, not a cheap cup of coffee.  In that case, I believe the Mr.  Coffee BVMC-KG1 is a great addition to your home or office.

 
Available from Amazon.com.

* Review unit provided by Mr. Coffee

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Tom’s of Maine Natural Anticavity Toothpaste for Children, Silly Strawberry

December 6th, 2010 No comments
4 Stars- techdad

My wife and I have been using Tom’s of Maine adult toothpaste for almost a year now and have been pleased with the results.  No cavities.  I admit that it took me about a week or so to get used to the new flavor, having switched over from normal, Colgate, Crest, Mentadent, etc.  However, we really like the fact that it uses natural ingredients and that it does not contain artificial sweeteners, like saccharin.  We did try to get our children to use ours as well.  Unfortunately, they gagged each time we brushed their teeth because of the taste so we stuck with Crest for kids toothpaste.  Until that is, we discovered the Tom’s of Maine strawberry flavored toothpaste for kids.

Since the Amazon product is an expensive 6 pack, we decided to buy a single tube from a local retailer to give it a try first.  Our kids were excited to try out new toothpaste and more importantly, enjoyed the flavor without gagging! Sold!  I don’t know why the big toothpaste companies can’t make toothpaste without saccharin.  Until they do, we are a Tom’s of Maine toothpaste household, even at the sometimes premium pice.

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Sharpie Retractable Ultra Fine Point Permanent Markers

December 6th, 2010 No comments
4 Stars- techdad

I have been using ultra fine point Sharpies for years to primarily write on blank CDR’s or DVD’s.  I have tried using competing permanent markers and was left disappointed.  They weren’t as bold as Sharpies.  With the old cap-style Sharpies, I’d have to get the ink running first or it would not write on the blank discs.  The retractable Sharpies do not have that problem.  The travel on the retractable button is a bit longer than on normal pens, which can make it a little awkward to use, but not a big deal.

If you’re a Sharpie user, then I recommend you try the retractable version.  They are a simple, no-worry permanent marker.

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