Chances are you've got lots of small appliances around your home, because who wouldn't want to save time? energy or water? The real question is how many are you really using? We often make impulse buys without doing enough research. We might have a valid problem we'd like to solve and so when we see what might work, we buy it.
When you only have one coffee drinker in your house (my husband), Keurig's solution for making single cups of coffee makes a lot of sense. But the coffee pods are expensive, wasteful and take up lots of storage space. So we're always looking for an alternative that's just as easy without wasteful pods … but a little research told me not to buy the SoftBrew.
In fact when I started researching several products from Time Magazine's report on the Smarter Home, I was surprised. The article, 10 Gadgets Trying to Save the World offered great ideas, so the hunt was on for one to share for this week's Friday Find. The first appliance I searched for was out of stock on several websites so I couldn't recommend it, another one needs a lot more research and a third wasn't easy to use.
They're all worth looking at to build an awareness of how new products like these small appliances can save us time in the future.
Small Appliances that Save Energy
- Solar Water Header (alibaba.com) – reduces energy by using solar energy to heat your hot water.
- Air-Source Heat Pump (fujitsugeneral.com) – extracts heat heat from outside air (summer and winter), compresses it and pumps it indoors for heating that's almost 4 times as efficient as electric heat.
- Smart outlets with the Wemo Insight Switch (belkin.com) – plugs into any outlet for multiple functions. It will monitor energy use and let you program and/or control when the attached device turns on or off.
- Raven “Tinted” Windows (ravenbrick.com) – offers window tinting that increases or decreases how much sunlight enters your house.
Small Appliances to Help You Save Water
- Water Pebble (waterpebble.com) – for people who take long showers (guilty) and need a reminder to get out faster.
- Laundry Pod (thelaundrypod.com) – cleans your clothes in less than 10 minutes, using less water and you provide the energy with the hand-crank that is similar to a salad spinner.
- Droplet Sprinkler – is used to water individual plants, and tracks weather patterns and makes adjustments automatically.
Other Small Appliances that Reduce Environmental Impact
- Toto Washlet (totousa.com) – is a combination toilet and bidet, to reduce the “… average family's need to use 183 toilet paper rolls in a year”.
- Enduro-Shield (enduroshield.com) – is a protective coating you apply to glass, countertops and tile to repel grime and reduce cleaning, so you'll use fewer paper towels and cleaning chemicals.
- Softbrew (sowdenathome.com) – brews coffee one cup at a time, without using disposable coffee pods. They come in lots of bright colors (or white) and seemed like a great idea until you watch some of the videos. Then you learn it's really for people who grind their coffee beans, so they're willing to warm the coffee pot first … but in our house, we'll stick with Keurig and the new coffee pods from Trader Joes (shown above).
So before you buy your next small appliance, take a few days to research how it works and whether it will deliver on your expectations for saving time, energy, water or waste.