Published on July 15th, 2009 | by Greg0
Great Household Gadgets from Waring and Vessel
Maybe camping isn’t your thing, and we would hate for anyone to think that our outdoors coverage has prevented us from keeping up with gadgets for your house- and ours.
We’ve taken a look at items from Vessel before, and the concept remains the same. Now owned by Oxo, the company has expanded their line of lighting solutions. They still use the same nifty contactless charging system, with rechargeable batteries and small charging bases. And each LED light still illuminates your room with a warm, not-too-bright glow. Best of all, if the base loses power, the lights turn on, allowing you instant emergency lighting.
We tried out the demi-glow candela 8, and liked the smaller size of the lights and fairly long battery life. The stated lifetime was 8 hours, but ours sometimes didn’t make it that far, turning off after about 5 or 6 on occasion. We were using a non-consumer sample, and did have some issues with batteries not charging on one of the lights. The on/off button on each light allows you to control it away from the base, and the base itself has a nice handle for easy transport. Luckily, the lights themselves are pretty stable and sturdy, and the system is simplicity itself with no extraneous buttons or cords. $69 for a set of four, or $129 for eight.
The Luau lamp is a great idea, taking the concept and enlarging it, perfect for the eponymous event or anything outside. Windproof, the Luau lamp is quite a bit larger and brighter than the smaller versions, and the battery lasts long enough for the longest parties, up to 8 or 9 hours. Unlike the candelas, the big sister offers a neat way to dim the lamp, via the rotating base, and it also features indicators for charging. The charger is a bit less sturdy than we would’ve liked, and definitely isn’t outdoors-ready. Other than that inconvenience, the device is the perfect poolside lantern. As it is, the the pleasing shape and comfortable weight (light enough to carry, heavy enough to stay put in a wind) make for a great conversation piece and super-useful indoor/outdoor lamp. We hope the price drops a bit from $199, but it’s a unique item and a great gift idea.
Speaking of gifts, nothing goes better with the gift of wine than a nice wine opener. Waring makes a pretty broad array of kitchen equipment, including some nice blenders and juicers. The Professional Cordless Wine Opener looks and feels much like their other products- black with stainless steel, solidly built. Granted, opening wine bottles is not that difficult, but the Waring does make it simpler- just push the down button to penetrate the cork and then the up button to pull it out. No mess, no fuss, no wrist pain. The batteries last long enough to open plenty of vino- Waring claims 80- but we weren’t able to drink enough to find out for sure. It can handle synthetic corks easily, and we didn’t have a broken cork during our tests.
The base charger seems overbuilt- unnecessarily large. And the foil cutter is separate, unfortunately, though a nice one is included and stores easily. The unit is a bit heavy, though it likely needs to be, and we did like the comfortable grip and size. If a cork does get stuck in the unit, though, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get it out, which could be an issue. Altogether, it’s perhaps extravagant at $40 or so, but very useful for those who prefer Rieslings and Chardonnays on a regular basis.