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Tools & Home Improvement

The Best Work Gloves in 2021

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Humankind has gone to the moon – if you believe the government – plumbed the depths of the ocean and even made a reduced-calorie beer for anyone watching their girlish figure.

While these feats are impressive, none of them could have been accomplished if it weren’t for our hands.

Our hands are a large part of what separates us from the beasts of the field, and without them, we’d have long ago been food for any predator roaming the prairie.

This means they must be protected at all costs. For that, you need a good pair of work gloves.

There is no exact formula for choosing the right gloves. If you work with metal, you need some that will protect you from cuts and scrapes.

If you are gardening, you need something that will give you both protection and dexterity for plucking roots or handling thorns.

For those whose pursuits are truly rough, you need hardy gloves that don’t chafe as you swing an ax, hang drywall, or pull ore from the living earth.

Whoever you are and whatever you do, one of our best work gloves will keep your hands safe and sound.

Carhartt Grain

Does it All: If you need a work glove for around the house or out in the field, the Carhartt Grain model will keep your hands safe from general scrapes, splinters, punctures, blisters, and abrasions.

The body is 100% cotton duck fabric making it pliable with an easy range of motion. The palm is full-grain leather reinforced with suede.

The lining is polyester and has a safety cuff and full side vent for easy removal and to prevent slipping.

Not ideal for warm weather or times when you need precision with your fingers but perfect for general DIY duties.

Epica Cut Resistant Gloves

A Cut Above: Epica had managed to make a glove that is more than 4 times better than leather at preventing cuts without sacrificing manual movement.

These are great for industrial work, machining, metal handling, and even chopping, grating, or cutting in the kitchen.

The gloves have Level 5 EN388 cut resistance, so you know they will stand up to slicing and dicing by the biggest butterfingers out there. They’re also great for handling glass.

Bionic Rose Gardening Gloves

For the Ladies: If you know a woman with a green thumb or are a woman with a green thumb, these gardening gloves from Bionic Rose are meant for you.

They are made from Cabretta Leather that stands up to the most brutal pruning or shearing while allowing you the flexibility to pick a single daffodil without mauling it.

They come with a gauntlet cuff to protect your arms and a reinforced thumb that fights off any burrs that seek to find their way through.

Oddly enough, Bionic Rose does not make decent products for men, so unless you are a gentleman with dainty hands, these will most likely be too small to suit you.

Gold Leaf Soft Touch Gloves

Gardening for Guys: Guys that like to tiptoe through the tulips agree that when it comes to supply work gloves that offer protection and dexterity, Gold Leaf has no peer. The palm is deerskin, which is thinner than leather for better touch sensitivity but tough enough to stand up to the most vicious hedges. The body is made of a Lycra and nylon combination that is flexible and breathable, so your hands won’t make your gloves smell like a locker room during extended use in the summer sun.

Mechanix Wear MG-05-010

For the Gearhead: This is the OG glove made by Mechanix for anyone that wants to spend their time laid out on a creeper rebuilding engines or slamming some NOZ into their ride.

They have a synthetic leather palm and fingertips. Still, the rest is two-way stretch spandex with an interior seam that prevents snagging even when you are elbow deep in an engine.

The thin fabric gives you the ability to hold nuts and bolts in place by touch and slip your hands into the most enclosed spaces without getting caught.

They’re strong enough to take to the track but better for strictly protecting your hands during repairs to avoid leaving too much blood under the hood.

Memphis N9690 Ninja Ice Gloves

Sub-Zero Win: Finding a really good work glove is hard. Finding a good work glove that can also keep your hands warm in freezing temperatures is nearly impossible.

This is why the Ninja Ice Gloves were invented. They are a combination of 100% Nylon exterior for flexibility and PVC acrylic terry interior for comfort and heat retention.

The palms are coated with Hydropellent Technology (HPT) to provide the slip-proof grip that works in ice, snow, and rain. Best of all, they won’t get stiff even if you are working well below zero.

Ironclad TOG-04-L

Tactical Choice: Your job might be a little more than pulling weeds, pounding nails, or bolting down a chassis.

Maybe you need something that you can thread through the trigger guard of an AR-15. Then you’ll want the TOG from Ironclad.

They have a single piece of synthetic leather at the palm, which has a Teflon treatment for fighting off oil. They are usually chosen by hunters, police, military personnel, and probably assassins, though they rarely give reviews.

The body is a combination of Airprene, Terry, and Nylon that won’t snag or reflect light, so your stealth is never compromised.

They work equally well for mechanics and carpenters who need protection and sensation with their fingertips. However, they are a little pricey if that is your only goal.

Stainless Steel Mesh Hand Glove

Honorable Mention: It’s unlikely that you are going to get into a sword fight with the Mountain Who Rides any time soon, but if you feel like having your own Game of Thrones Fantasy as you dig up roots or do home repairs, then the meshwork gloves are chainmail for your hands.

They are more than just costuming. They are actually very functional when you need not just cut-resistance but cut proofing since they are 100% stainless steel.

The metal makeup also means they won’t hold bacteria the way cloth will, so they’re very good for hygienic gardening.

They’re expensive, but if you think that at some point, you will need to slap someone across the face and challenge them to a duel, then you want a glove that is up to really do it.

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Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tools & Home Improvement

The 7 Best Home Tool Kits to Buy in 2021

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A tool kit is a wise investment for fixes or improvements you want or need to make in your home. A good-quality tool kit will prepare you to handle a wide range of small jobs around the house, from assembling furniture to replacing a doorknob.

Let’s take a look at our favorite picks among the best home tool kit options available!

Stanley 65-Piece Mechanics’s Tool Kit: Best Overall 

If you’re in need of an essential tool, the chances are good that the Stanley 65-Piece Mechanics’s Tool Kit will fit your needs.

The toll kit has two sets of hex keys, a standard and Phillips screwdriver, a utility knife, hammer, two sets of pliers, measuring tape, level, a ¼-inch round-head ratchet, a ¼-inch spinner handle, eight ¼-inch sockets, a ¼-inch bit handle, and 30 bits.

Owners say that the Stanley kit has just about everything they need, though some people complain that it doesn’t include an adjustable wrench. However, those in need of a wrench have the option to purchase it along with this kit. A more comprehensive screwdriver set is also available.

The tools all fit in the provided blow-molded plastic case. Although, some users say they don’t stay put as tightly as they like. However, the tools themselves are of very good quality for those who only need them for occasional household use.

WORKPRO 100-Piece Kitchen Drawer Tool Kit: Runner-Up, Best Overall 

A great set for anyone who needs easy access to the bare essentials, the WORKPRO 100-Piece Kitchen Drawer Tool Kit packs a lot of utility into a small package.

The kit includes two pairs of pliers, a utility knife, a hammer, a level, an adjustable wrench, a tape measure, a precision screwdriver, a bit holder, nine sockets, 19 specialty bits, and a set of hex keys.

Reviewers are impressed by the quality of the tools included in the kit, especially for the price. They also like the zippered case that holds this kit, which has straps to keep everything neat and is small enough to fit in a kitchen drawer, as the kit’s name suggests.

However, the reviewers note that the hex-key selection is kinda limited, and there are no wide-jaw pliers, two limitations that might frustrate some.

Some reviewers also note that the selection is a bit limited, and the tools aren’t appropriate for heavy-duty use. Still, they agree the kit is perfect for occasional, limited applications.

WORKPRO 322-Piece Tool Kit with Carry Bag: Best High-End 

Some people may be willing to spend a little extra to ensure their tool kit doesn’t leave them hanging. The WORKPRO 322-Piece Tool Kit with Carry Bag will cover all its bases with a staggering number of tools, reviewers say.

It includes a large socket set, six full-size screwdrivers, three pairs of pliers, and seven precision screwdrivers, a level, a hammer, a utility knife, a tape measure, a folding hex key, scissors, brush, an adjustable wrench, insulated tape, cable ties, and more.

Many owners rave about one feature that the WORKPRO kit comes with a nylon bag that has convenient exterior pockets and a shoulder strap.

Some people like being able to chuck tools into a bag instead of putting them in their proper slots in a plastic case, as is required by many tool kits.

Of course, the downside of having so many tools is the weight. This kit weighs in just shy of 25 pounds, so you need to be cautious. The tools are made of heat-treated chrome vanadium steel, and they are sturdy and high quality for the price.

Black and Decker 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Drill & Kit: Best for New Homeowners 

The Black and Decker 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Drill and Project Kit has several handy must-haves for homeowners. It also has one big bonus over most other ready-made kits: a 20-volt, rechargeable power drill.

Tools include a hammer, two screwdrivers, two sets of pliers, an adjustable wrench, a utility knife, a ratcheting screwdriver, 32 bits, four nut drivers, and a magnetic bit tip holder, ten general drill bits, five spade bits, four-hole saws, and a mandrel.

The kit can also be purchased with a screwdriver bit set and a 109-piece drill bit.

People love having a power drill in their kit, which is powerful enough for most common household jobs. Though some reviewers say, it’s not powerful enough for heavy-duty use.

To help guard against stripping screws, this drill has an 11-position clutch. It’s very helpful for users who don’t have much power-tool experience.

The tools are fine for light household use, but most reviewers question the quality, saying they’re a bit flimsy. One feature missing would be the accompanying bag with some internal compartments or dividers to help keep everything organized.

Apollo Precision Tools DT9706 General Tool Set, 39-Piece: Best Budget 

This toolset is a great choice for a first apartment or even a dorm room. This is especially true if you just need the basics.

The 39-piece set includes a claw hammer, 6-inch slip joint pliers, a ratcheting bit driver, a utility knife, 12-foot tape measure, eight hex keys, 8-inch scissors, 20 bits, and four screwdrivers. And to keep things organized, it all comes in a plastic case.

While the Apollo Precision Set tools aren’t as strong as the ones in our best overall pick, they will be sufficient for occasional repairs or home improvement tasks.

This toolset will do the job, but you’ll get what you are paying for. Of course, in case anything breaks, the kit does come with a limited lifetime warranty.

Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set, 170 Piece: Best for Mechanics 

Mechanics usually have different needs than people who won’t be spending much time tinkering in the garage. The Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set does a good job addressing those needs, reviewers say.

The kit has 170 pieces, including three sizes of quick-release ratchets, a wide variety of sockets, a dozen combination wrenches, an adjustable wrench, a magnetic bit driver, and 44 bits, two sets of pliers, four screwdrivers, and more than two dozen hex keys.

Reviewers say the plastic blow-molded case on the Crescent set is sturdy, and they like the convenient folding door that opens from the center, allowing easy access to all the tools or just one side.

However, some reviewers point out that tools don’t always stay put in their slots. But they are complimentary of the heat-treated chrome vanadium steel tools, which they say are have a high-quality look and feel. 

WORKPRO 103-Piece Pink Tool Kit with Easy Carrying Round Pouch: Best for Women 

Who says your toolkit has to be basic black? Fans of pink will flock to this comprehensive kit that is great for the average DIYer with its basic tools the average person needs like a hammer, tape measure, level wrench, and more.

What’s more, the set is compact and lightweight, making it easy to store and pull out when needed. 

A great gift for any woman or perhaps a perfect housewarming gift, this toolset has 87% five-star reviews with customers saying it has everything you need and a great gift for everyone on their list. 

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Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Sports & Outdoors

5 Best Headlamps To Buy In 2021

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There once was a time when the only way you could use a flashlight and keep both your hands-free was to cram it into the crook of your neck.

While there is no evidence to suggest that this caused untold neck and spine injuries, it certainly was not OSHA approved.

Thankfully those days are behind us, and now all you need to go into the dark and still use both your opposable thumbs is a great headlamp.

The common misconception is that any decent headlamp will work for any purpose, but this is patently untrue.

Spelunkers need a narrower beam for exploring caves, while survivalists need a sturdier model that can stand up to adverse weather conditions.

Runners need something that will stay in place through every bump in the road, while trackers need something that won’t ruin their night vision.

Make sure you choose the right lamp for your needs.

LED LENSER H14

Jack of All Trades: The H14 is much more than just a headlamp.

It is a lighting system that can go almost anywhere and serve a multitude of purposes.

Unsurprisingly they are made by the Leatherman Tool Group, the biggest name in multi-purpose since the Swiss Army.

The beam is adjustable, so you can get a broad range for night biking or a narrow beam for cave diving. It has three output modes that range from the modest 25 lumens to nearly 200.

The mounting bracket attached to the light can easily fit on bike handlebars or clamp-on almost anywhere, so it can switch from headlamp to work light with the turn of a screw.

PETZL NAO

Runnin’ Down a Dream: You know what’s more expensive than the Petzl NAO?

A twisted or broken ankle. If you like the peacefulness and tranquility of doing a little jogging at night, the Petzl NAO should be your only choice.

The cost is a little steeper than some, but if you’ve ever done a little roadwork with a cheaper alternative, the difference will be apparent immediately.

The NAO headlamp uses reactive lighting that uses a sensor to automatically detect ambient light and adjust accordingly.

If a cloud suddenly blocks the moon or twilight gives way to pitch blackness, your light won’t fail you, and you won’t miss a stride.

If you prefer more control, you can even customize your settings to help you avoid night runner’s tunnel vision.

The lightweight is easy to adjust to, and it won’t hop out of place as you move. Output ranges from 25 to approximately 150 lumens.

PRINCETON TEC APEX

Thunder Underground: Caving adventures are not for the faint of heart, and these sturdy people need an equally sturdy light to ensure their exploration into the tunnels of the world don’t leave them stranded in the dark.

The Apex line is a little heavier than most, so hopefully, you don’t need to run from any Morlocks during your subterranean excursions.

The reason for the additional heft is the 5 light system that the Apex uses.

It has a single primary LED light surrounded by 4 secondary lights to help give you a panoramic view, as well as a redundant lighting system that will ensure that even if one light breaks, you will still be able to reach the surface safely—a maximum of 200 lumens.

BLACK DIAMOND SPOT

Apocalyptic: When the dead rise and you’re trying to get your ragtag group of survivors across town to the mall, this is the headlamp that will make the difference between living to fight another day and becoming zombie chow.

It comes with three power settings that can be changed with just a tap to the side of the lamp and includes red LEDs for illumination that won’t hurt your night vision so you can remain battle-ready.

The Spot can take a severe beating without breaking, though this makes it one of the heaviest choices out there.

It illuminates nearly 250 feet in front of you with 130 lumens so you can see a threat or trouble from a distance.

The tap technology is ideal for operation with gloves, so it works well in any kind of extreme conditions. The low output gives it the longest battery life of any option.

COAST HL8

Industrial Light: If you’ve ever asked yourself what Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell wears on the weekends, this is the answer.

It looks like the headgear you would want if you were about to do some serious wet work against an entrenched terrorist camp, but really it is better suited to doing any heavy or detailed labor.

The head strap is one of the best and won’t budge while you are under a car or rappelling down the side of a building.

It maxes out at 344 lumens, making it bright enough that you can easily clean and reassemble your AR-15 without missing a single grease spot.

The simple twist focus on the side can narrow your beam so you can see for nearly 700 feet or broaden it so you can watch for mines at your feet.

ZEBRALIGHT H600F MKIV

Hunter’s Helper: We first looked at Zebralight for their H600 model during our LED flashlight roundup.

The H600F model is slightly different from that one because it is geared much more toward hunters, while the other was for the average home user.

It is light enough for hunting down prey if you prefer doing your killing at night while also simple enough to operate that it won’t interfere with your hands whether you prefer a gun or a bow.

The beam gives enough distance to make your shot while also offering sufficient flood capacity for skinning and cleaning.

It is also removable for work that requires a standing or hand-held light. The LED is much warmer than most other headlamp options, so it makes following a blood trail significantly simpler.

Ranges from less than 1 lumen up to more than 1000 if you choose the right model.

Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Tools & Home Improvement

Best Smart Thermostat 2021

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If you’re looking to spend over $100 on a “smart” thermostat, know that the $250 Nest is the only one worth your money.

Not only does it have the internet remote controllability and data visualization offered by other products in this price range, it goes one step further by actually making adjustments for you.

(If you just want a cheap, programmable thermostat with no bells and whistles that just works, skip to the end.)

First, if Nest doesn’t work with your home heating and cooling system, you probably don’t want it.

Considering Nest 3rd generation is compatible with 95% of low voltage heating and cooling systems (and a number of HVAC systems as well), you’re probably in the clear–unless you have some kind of specialty HVAC system.

If your house is compatible, read on. If not, skip to the competition section, where we outline some alternatives that may fit your needs.

The Future We Were Promised

nest thermostat

The concept of a smart thermostat isn’t new, but the actual product has evaded us for years. Before Nest, companies’ perception of a “smart” thermostat was one that was easier for users to program.

As a result, we got these contraptions with color touchscreens that have pop up keyboards, pretty menus, cloud-accessible controls, and data visualization.

But for all their fancy features, they all shared the same flaw: they ultimately rely on humans to make the decisions.

The nest was the first company to realize that programming itself was the problem and that the only solution was to get rid of it entirely.

The Nest is the only thermostat that actually simplifies your life and improves your happiness by making decisions for you.

It does this by learning how you use your home’s climate control system over a one week period and then setting itself accordingly from there on out.

It’s also got a motion sensor in it that automatically sets it into power-saving mode when you’re not around.

And, thanks to its internet connection, it can also factor in the weather when setting the temperature. Now that’s smart.

Why We Like it

nest thermostat

The original Nest debuted a couple of years ago, but it was so far ahead of its time that no companies have even come close to matching its functionality.

Meanwhile, Nest has released a 20% slimmer, more widely compatible version 2.0 already. It’s often called the iPod of thermostats, an apt comparison considering the fact that Nest was started by Tony Fadell, the head of the team that created the original iPod. But the similarities don’t stop there.

In addition to its designers, the Nest also borrows its user interface from the once-ubiquitous click wheel found on every iPod.

Grab and rotate the entire body to navigate through lists, click it down to select.

Lest there be any skeptics among you, CNet’s Lindsey Turrentine writes that “[her] kids can’t stop touching the thermostat to explore the menus, and they instantly understand how Nest works.”

The GUI is similarly intuitive. The display background glows red when the heat is on, blue when the air conditioning is running and stays black when it’s off.

Once it’s installed, setup is a breeze.

nest thermostat

Installing it is almost as simple — assuming you know your way around a screwdriver. It comes with all the necessary tools, parts, and hardware.

All you need is about 15 minutes to take down your old thermostat and match the right wires to the right holes. There’s even a dedicated website to aid you in the setup process.

All the reviews we read indicated that everyone but the most tool-averse among should be able to install it without outside help, but should you need it, installation service is available for $120.

Once it’s installed, setup is a breeze. By all accounts, it shouldn’t take more than a week of preliminary manual adjustments for the Nest to learn your usage habits.

From there on out, it’s pretty much a set it and forget it product. You can still make occasional manual adjustments on the thermostat itself or remotely through its smartphone apps/web app if you so desire.

If the Nest determines those adjustments are truly random, the Nest will ignore them, but if you make them with any sort of regularity, Nest will take that into account and do them for you.

For example, if it notices you’ve been turning up the heat a couple of extra degrees the last several times it rained, Nest will automatically raise the heat for you whenever rain is in the forecast.

Another parameter Nest learns is how long it takes for your house’s furnace/air conditioner to go from setting the desired temperature to actually achieving said temperature.

Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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