Issues with Freezer Temperature? Calling Appliance Repair Service in Manhattan

Freezer and Appliance Repair in Manhattan

While perhaps not as essential as other appliance units in the house, the freezer still plays an important role in the kitchen throughout the world. Be it for a little ice cream after dinner or a quick frozen snack, the freezer is an integral part of the cooking experience. For that reason, having a freezer break down can be a massive pain. For starters, the mess that it can create when everything begins to melt and food goes bad can be enough to make anyone not want to deal with the problem. When dealing with appliance repair in Manhattan and just freezers and refrigerators in general, there are a few things to keep in mind that should help out in many instances.

Freezer Too Warm

One of the most glaring issues people will experience with freezers and one of the most important issues when it comes to freezer repair is that the freezer is too warm. If this is the case, the freezer of obviously not functioning properly as it is not performing its sole task of keeping food frozen. If this has happened, there are four possible fixes that you can look into.

The first fix is an easy one and it involves the light inside the freezer. The door of the freezer has a switch so that the light will turn off when the door is shut. Yes, the light does really turn off when you shut the door. To test if this switch is working, locate it when the door is open. It is usually somewhere along the frame of the door. Simply push in the switch to see if the light is turning on and off.

If it has no effect, the switch will need to be replaced. It is always best to consult the owner’s manual for unit specific directions on replacing parts of the unit; however it is very important to remember to disconnect the freezer from any electrical source prior to doing any freezer repairs.

Issues with the Defrost Thermostat

The second common issue is the defrost thermostat. Once again, ensure that the unit is unplugged from the wall before doing any work and consult the owner’s manual to find information regarding where the thermostat is located. Once you have located it, use pliers to remove the connecters from the terminals and then proceed to remove the thermostat from the unit. Use a multitester to test the thermostat. It should give a reading of zero when cold, however if it has removed and sitting outside for some time it will have warmed up. If this is the case, the reading will show as infinity. If the readings differ from that, the thermostat is defective and will need to be replaced.

Next, there may be a problem with the defrost timer. As with before, use the owner’s manual to find the defrost timer and after removing it from the device you will need to test it. Test each connection using your multitester as with the thermostat. The reading on the 1st and 2nd connection should read zero, while the reading on the third connection will read as infinity. If you do not receive these readings, then the defrost timer is not functioning properly and will need to be replaced.

Issues with the Defrost Heater

The final part of this particular area in freezer repair involves the defrost heater. The defrost heater will need to be removed from the freezer before it can be tested. Using pliers remove the device from the unit; however do not pull on the wires to remove it. Once again, use a multitester to test the connections. Unlike before however, the connections should read more than zero, but less than infinity. If you receive any other readings the defrost heater is malfunctioning and will need to be replaced.

All of these items can be replaced on your own if you are comfortable working on the unit, however if not it is best to call a professional who specializes in freezer repair. These four devices are the core of controlling the temperature in the freezer, so if you are having any issues it is always best to check them before jumping to any other conclusions. For instance, even if the opposite of before is true and now the freezer is far too cold and the fridge too warm, check for faults in those four parts.

Calling a Freezer Repair Service in New York

If you cannot locate the problem or if you do not feel comfortable working on the machine, it is always best to call for help. Luckily, appliance repair shops are common throughout the country and there is always someone close by who will be able to assist you. If you have not used a company in the past, doing a quick online search will yield results. You can also read online reviews and find a company or individual who seems trustworthy and that you would be willing to call to take a look at the unit. An online search may also be able to answer any questions you have in regards to what might be wrong with the unit before the repairmen comes over to take a look at it. If the machine is newer, it is also important to remember that it might still be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. However, if it is older it is not likely to be covered and you will likely to need to contact local freezer repair in Manhattan.

If and when the freezer stops working, don’t panic as it does not have to be too much of a headache to deal with. Keep in mind that it happens to everyone and there are plenty of people there to help you. Most people will not hesitate to pick up the phone and call a repair shop, however if you are willing and have the tools, you can always play around with it yourself and try and fix the problem. Just remember that safety is very important when dealing with appliances and you should always take the proper precautions to ensure your own safety.

Why you should choose Bear Appliance Repair for your appliance repair in Brooklyn

Bear Appliance Repair has been in the appliance repair business for years with technicians that are courteous and knowledgeable. Our prices are affordable, and our first priority is always our customers. With no work too small or too big for us, we will always be prepared to work in favor of you. All our work of appliance repair in Brooklyn is always 100% fulfillment guaranteed.

At Bear Appliance Repair, our goal is to provide our customer with the best value and better service. We will offer you the best quote for our appliance repair in Brooklyn and we are also accessible on all days in a week, even on Holidays and Weekends.

You can rely on our affordable and dedicated appliance repair service because our technicians are suitable trained to carry out the repair work of any appliance, irrespective of their model and make. Our appliance repair company is crammed with incredibly experienced, expert technicians and well-informed, gracious office staff, who provide our patrons with the finest quality work.

Who we are?

At Bear Appliance Repair, we continuously endeavor to stay well informed on any modifications in our industry, so that we will be capable of offering our customers the latest and most up to date information and services at all times.

Our well-trained technicians will always offer you a precise estimate for your appliance repair in Brooklyn and will get your approval earlier than starting any repair work. We have 95% of the most common components in our stock that are required for washers, refrigerators, dryers, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens, stoves, ranges etc, regardless of their model and make..

We offer our dedicated services throughout Brooklyn and the adjoining areas, including Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island. If you come across any challenging issues with your appliances, you can get in touch with Bear Appliance Repair over your phone on any day at any time and let us address those issues so as to bring your appliance to usual working condition.

What appliances we service in Brooklyn?

As an approved, licensed and bonded appliance repair company in Brooklyn, New York, we are specialized in repairing:

  • v Freezers.
  • v Refrigerators.
  • v Washers.
  • v Ovens.
  • v Dryers.
  • v Stoves.
  • v Ranges.
  • v Dishwashers.
  • v Microwaves.
  • v Air conditioners.

We consider that the best appreciation for our technicians is client’s satisfaction.

Why you should choose Bear Appliance Repair in Brooklyn NY?

Although there are several reasons that Bear Appliance Repair happens to be the primary option for homeowners in and around Brooklyn for their entire appliance repair needs, some of the notable reasons include:

  • As a reliable appliance repair company in Brooklyn, we offer punctual, guaranteed and professional repairs on all leading brands.
  • We are the only business in the neighborhood to offer the lowest prices for repairing your appliances.
  • We do not charge you extra for evenings, holidays and weekends.
  • We offer our appliance repair service in Brooklyn on the same day of receiving your service call.

If any of your appliances have a problem, irrespective of its nature, we can assist. We even offer emergency appliance service in the neighborhood whenever an emergency exists.

Our service in the neighborhood is swift, gracious, and reliable from the time your service call is received by us. Our dedicated and knowledgeable repair technicians have been trained to pay attention, help and respond to your service requirements quickly.

Our technicians and we are Insured and licensed for your protection. We would like to make sure that you know who you have in your house and that you are entirely protected.

Bear Appliance Repair technicians are highly experienced and they have several years of field occupation behind them. We tender same day service on the majority of orders placed.

We are easily accessible in Brooklyn at all times, as we are situated at the heart of the neighborhood. Our appliance repair technicians will carry 95% of factory components in the trucks, so the majority of the jobs are completed during the first visit itself.

Above all, we offer a written guarantee for all the appliance repair work we undertake.

Whenever you are in necessity of an appliance repair in Brooklyn on emergency basis, give us a phone call. We would be glad to service your appliance requirements in a professional and in an affordable way. Get in touch with Bear Appliance Repair today to get an affordable quote for all of your appliance repairs in Brooklyn.

How to Find Reputable Refrigerator Repair in Brooklyn NY

RefrigeratorWe have been carrying out the service of finding refrigerator repair in Brooklyn for many years with technicians that are well-informed and polite. Our first priority is our customers and we offer our dedicated and professional services at affordable prices. For us, no job is too small or too big. Our technicians are appropriately trained to carry out the refrigerator repair in Brooklyn with great professionalism, irrespective of their model and make. We are 100 % dedicated to our services, so we are always prepared to work for you and our work is always 100% guaranteed.

Find Refrigerator Repair in Brooklyn, NY on all Leading Brands

At our Brooklyn-based business, our aim is to offer our clients the best value and best service. We will provide you with the best estimate for performing your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn and we are available on all days in a week, even on Holidays and Weekends, as well.

When you hire our service to fix your refrigerator, you can rest guaranteed that the job is in the hands of an approved, bonded and insured business, so you can relax or concentrate on your other usual errands. We are capable of fixing all leading brands of refrigerators, as our business is crammed with very experienced, expert, knowledgeable, gracious technicians, who supply our customers with the highest quality work. We consider that the best appreciation for our technicians is client’s satisfaction.

A refrigerator is one of the vital and most required domestic appliances in any Brooklyn, NY family. If it breaks down, all food items you preserve into it would get spoiled, so you have to fix it as quickly as possible by hiring a professional business, like us. We are the leading professional business in the neighborhood who can carry out your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn in a more professional way. When you hire our services, you will get a lot of benefits. Some of them include:

  • You will get the same day repair service.
  • There are no hidden charges involved in our services.
  • Our services are more professional.
  • We offer our work guarantee in writing.
  • You will get your refrigerator fixed at more affordable rates.
  • When you call us, you will get a quick response from our technicians.
  • Above all, we are insured and licensed providers, so you can rest assured that you will get your work done in a professional way.

Though there are several reasons that our business happens to be the primary option for refrigerator repair in Brooklyn, NY some notable reasons include:

  • We offer punctual, expert, guaranteed repairs on all foremost brands.
  • We are providing our services with the lowest prices for your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn.
  • We do not charge you extra for our services in evenings,holidays and weekends.

As we service all models and makes of refrigerators, if your refrigerator has a problem, we can assist on any day at any time, according to your convenience.

Our refrigerator repair service in Brooklyn is friendly, fast and reliable from the time your call is acknowledged by us. Our technicians have been trained to pay attention, help and react to your service requirements quickly. Our whole staff is insured and licensed. We would like to ensure that you know who you have in your Brooklyn home and that you are entirely protected.

The cost involved in repairing your refrigerator in Brooklyn, NY relies on:

  • Direct labor costs that include planning, material purchase and job equipment, area research, set up and onslaught.
  • Cost of materials that may be essential to repair a refrigerator, including fittings and connectors.

Furthermore, the cost of fixing a refrigerator will count on the nature of the fault, irrespective of the model and make.

Bear Appliance Repair is your fast and effective Brooklyn, NY refrigerator repair service with over 22 years of experience! At Bear Appliance Repair, we’ll do what it takes to get your fridge running at a high level once again, and our office is conveniently located in Brooklyn, NY. When you contact us for a refrigerator repair, we’ll quickly address your concerns and schedule your appointment with one of our trained and knowledgeable technicians.

How to Find a Reliable Service Provider for Stove Repair in Queens, NY

GE_Profile_stoveSometimes you wake up one morning on your way to work and you discover that there is a barrier between you and your favorite breakfast. The stove burner won’t spark or it is faulty and thus you can’t prepare your quick fix, or special morning heavy; a situation that prompts you to look for a reliable service provider for stove repair in Queens. You are left with no option other than reaching out to the corn or cereals with your ice cold milk or quick coffee. Especially due to the fact that it is a place quite busy and sometime tricky to navigate, getting a firm you can trust with your kitchenware may not as it may seem, come in as bread and butter in Queens, but can rather be daunting task that demands a few considerations. The process can however be less stressful if you utilize the below pointers and guide tips.

Importance of Seeking Stove Repair in Queens, NY

When problems arise with your stove, you can either choose to fix it yourself or hire a professional technician to do the job. Doing it yourself might be effective in the short run, but you may not have the repair time, expertise, equipment, and the parts required in case replacements are necessary. If unprofessionally done, there is a possibility of faults reoccurring and leading to extra damages, not to mention your kitchen catching fire, or the appliance loosing functionality altogether. The beauty with a reliable firm for stove repair in Queens, NY is that they can fix your stove efficiently and professionally, which will save you from the possible risks, save you time and money.

  1. Start by Conducting a Research and Getting Referrals

Your friends and neighbors can come in handy as the first places to seek credible information. You never know, they too might have encountered the same thing in their kitchens. As you get a few referrals, also rely on your other friend, the internet for more research. Start by typing on the search bars, term such as “a list of best stove repair in Queens Companies.” If you know of a few real estate firms or hoteliers, you can as well liaise with them for credible referrals. From here you can come up with a list of some prospective companies ton vet based on the following considerations.

  1. Their Service Experience

How long a repair service provider has been in business will matter a lot, as more often than not, experience may be a direct translation of the level of expertise and as such their reliability for effective service and long-lasting solutions. Take precaution and only go for fully certified and registered appliance service companies in Queens. You do not want to have a newbie in the field experiment with your kitchenware. They might leave a potential hazard with you. If you manage to meet a representative from a prospective firm in person, you can ask them about training of their technicians and their experience levels as well.

  1. Their Customer Support Levels and Reputation

Just from the way a representative from a prospective firm answers your call, you can be able to summarize their service levels. Look for supportive customer service in your reliable service provider; by the way they handle your queries and concerns. How long they take to respond and how helpful they sound is highly important. A good firm will even give you directions and help you understand the various electrical requirements that will be involved. However, looking at their service history is also crucial. You don’t want to deal with a firm for Stove Repair in Queens; that has a track record of bad reputation. You can always get credible information from reviews and testimonials online. How previous customers and corporate references rate them determines how reliable they are.

  1. Consider the Cost Factor and Warranties

It would be unrealistic to say that price is not an important factor when choosing an appliance repair company. It is important to call a few service providers for stove repair in Queens and ask for their quotes to do comparisons. A good way to go about it as you make the call would be to go to the main problem direct, like “how much will you charge me to fix my stove burner that has a sparking problem.” However, it is crucial that you be on the lookout for extremely know service prices that may look unrealistic. This may suggest an inexperienced technician or pretender out to make some quick money from people like you.

Make comparisons carefully, and remember to consider quality more than price. Seek to know the rates (whether hourly, or per piece of work) and remember to ask whether there are other charges apart from the service fees as some notorious firms like hiding fees. The mode of payment is also important, s most people prefer credit cards for you can reverse a transaction if you were not satisfied by their services. You might also want to determine their warranty policies and whether they offer workmanship guarantees for their services. This is of crucial importance, just in case the appliance malfunctions after being serviced or ends up causing damages to your home, you need and insured service provider.

 

 

How to Setup a Wireless Router

How to Setup a Wireless Router Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

With so many new routers hitting the scene last year packed to the brim with features like 802.11ad transmission and mesh range extenders, figuring out how to setup a wireless router isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. Buying the router is only half the battle, and knowing how to set up your new device is imperative to getting your home WiFi network up, running, and secured in 20 minutes or less!

Things You’ll Need

  1. A wireless router
  2. Ethernet Cable
  3. An internet modem
  4. An internet subscription

Setting Up a Wireless Router

1. Getting Things Hooked Up

The first step in any router setup is to pull everything you need out of the box, and take stock of what you have to work with. If you’re buying your router brand new it should come with its own 3ft (or more, in some cases) Ethernet cable that you can use to hook up to your modem.

how to setup a wireless router-box

Check to make sure you have all the parts you need when you first pull the router out of the box.

Once you have everything unpackaged, plug in the router to a wall, preferably in a space that’s close enough to your modem so the cord you have can reach. If you’re worried about range from the modem or don’t have mesh extenders, you can buy 25ft Ethernet cables off Amazon for only $7.99.

2. Choose Your Setup Platform

After the router runs through its bootup process, you should see a new WiFi network in your vicinity that’s named after the manufacturer themselves. For example, a router made by Netgear might have “NETGEAR-39” as the network that you can connect to from the device of your choosing.

Which brings us to the next step: picking your setup platform. While the traditional route of using your desktop or laptop to setup the router is still a solid way to go, many of the bigger manufacturers like Linksys and Netgear have begun turning to mobile platforms as an easier way to get you up and running in a matter of minutes, rather than the hours it used to take in the old days.

No matter which platform you choose though, the steps beyond this point all remain the same, so don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything if you choose to go desktop over mobile, or vice versa.

3. Connect to the Network

Once you’ve found the new wireless network on the device you plan to use, it’s time to connect. Although this isn’t true for older routers, pretty much any made in the past five years will start out as a WPA2-protected network. To find the default password for it, either consult your router’s manual, or flip it over and look on the bottom.

Many routers will include both the default SSID and the password somewhere on the router itself, as a backup just in case you lose your documentation at some point in the process. It should look something like the example below, found on the Linksys 3200ACM which we had the pleasure of reviewing earlier this year (and also topped our list as the #1 Top Wireless Router for 2017).

Once you’re connected, the process of getting your router through its actual configuration process will differ, depending on the manufacturer. We’re going to go through the general steps that all routers will ask you to complete, as well as go over a few of the features you should have enabled, but unfortunately there’s no way to write a master guide on the setup steps from here because they vary between different hardware makers and software approaches.

4. Enter New Credentials

how to setup a wireless router

Look for the barcode panel underneath your router for the default credentials

Although it may be tempting to simply leave your router at the configuration it came with out of the box and call it a day, we recommend changing both the default SSID and password to something unique to your home. Oftentimes, prospective hackers will look for networks that carry default SSIDs (NETGEAR-39, for example) as easier targets than those with more complicated names, as a default configuration shows that not much effort must have been paid to the rest of the setup, making it all that much easier for them to get in.

Another option is to stop publicly broadcasting the SSID altogether, a good move for the especially security conscious among us. Again, how you actually do this will change depending on the router dashboard you’re using and the platform you’re connecting through, but consult your user’s manual to find the location of these settings and learn how they can be toggled on or off accordingly.

5. Enable Extra Features

As we’ve already mentioned a few times (and this will be the last, we promise), the exact extra features you’re going to get from your router are going to be wildly different depending not only on the manufacturer, but also the cost tier of the router you’re trying to setup.

Read More: Top Wireless Router for 2017 – The In-Depth Buyer’s Guide

Some of the more common features we can comment on, however, include things like the option to turn your router into a home-based media server (check the back of your router for a USB port, this is the first indication). Others like parental controls and firewall configurations are a must for big homes with a lot of people who browse at the same time, and if your router comes with choices like phishing filters and DDoS protection, this is also the time to get it enabled so you don’t have to come back and worry about it later.

6. Connect to Your Modem

how to setup a wireless router-internet

Your router may read either “Internet” or “LAN”, depending on the model

Once the router has been properly configured, it’s time to get it online. Depending on your ISP (Internet Service Provider), you may have one of two separate kinds of modems: those with WiFi, and those without. Modems with no internal WiFi will connect directly to your router with no problems, and all it takes in this case is cycling the modem (unplug for 30 seconds, then back on), and then plugging the Ethernet cable from the “Internet” port on your modem to the “Internet” port on the back of your router.

If you have a modem with internal WiFi, you might need to either disable the internal WiFi first (again, consult your user’s manual for the exact directions on how to do this), or run it in what’s called “Bridge Mode”. Bridge Mode allows you to transfer the wireless responsibility over to the router, rather than sourcing it from the modem first. This is most common in fiber optic and DSL modems, however there are still a few select cases where cable broadband providers might have given you a modem which will only work on an external router when Bridge Mode is enabled.

7. Test for Proper Operation

Once the modem is plugged in and all the lights are flashing green (both on the modem and the router you’re hooked into), it’s time to test the connection. Using either a mobile device or a computer, you can start out by simply visiting Google.com as a nice starting point. If that loads without any problems, you can then move into more acute testing scenarios, like running it through SpeedTest.net to see what kind of speed improvements you’re getting off your brand new router!

Another good test to run before you pack up, is for range. To do this, simply grab a phone or tablet that’s connected to the router, and roam throughout your home while keeping an eye on the number of bars you’re getting at any given time. Run more speed tests from the outer reaches of your property, and if for any reason you’re not getting a good signal in vital areas of use (the living room, for example), you have a few different options available. The first (and most obvious), is simply to move the modem and the router to a more centralized location of your home – as long as there is a jack you can plug into nearby.

If that’s not an option, you might want to invest in newer “mesh networking” systems like the AmpliFi HD, which uses a series of external antennas that can plug into any standard electrical socket and boost your router’s signal by 50% or more in optimal use scenarios.

Summary

As much as we would have liked to have been able to delve deeper into the many extra features and options you’ll find on some of the top routers on shelves in 2017, there are simply too many different options and configurations out there to cover in a single post! That said, this guide should still give you the basics of everything you need to get your router out of the box and onto the internet, at a level that both protects your family from hackers and increases your wireless speeds in the places where you need them most.

The post How to Setup a Wireless Router appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Best Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker: Pour Yourself a Fresh Cup With Our Top 3

Best Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker: Pour Yourself a Fresh Cup With Our Top 3 Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

If you’re looking for quick, affordable coffee-making devices, you need the best Hamilton Beach coffeemaker. These models are famed for their ease of use and low prices. They also tend to be compact and highly adaptable to different coffee-drinking preferences. This makes them excellent office or workroom coffee makers.

When it comes to the top Hamilton Beach coffee maker, the Hamilton Beach 49980A 2-Way ($54.43) is an easy recommendation for the busiest locations. Anyone can use this simple coffeemaker, but it can easily switch between a 12-cup carafe and a separate thermos/cup pouring option for different preferences. It can also use either soft pods or coffee grounds, depending on your setup, making it affordable and versatile.

Best Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker

  Hamilton-Beach-49980A Hamilton-Beach-12-Cup Hamilton-Beach-49970
Hamilton Beach 49980A 2-Way Hamilton Beach 26201 Digital Coffee Maker Hamilton Beach 49970 Personal Cup
Rank #1 – Editor’s Choice/Best Hamilton Beach Two Way Flexbrew Coffee Maker #2 – Best Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Coffee Maker #3 – Best Hamilton Beach Single Cup Coffee Maker
Amazon Rating 4andhalf-stars 4stars-new 4stars-new
Capacity 12 cup, single serve 12 cup 12 ounces
Strength Options Regular, Bold Bold, Regular Melitta coffee pods only
Timer 24 hour, 2 hour automatic shutdown Programmable clock with 2-hour automatic shutoff Auto shutoff only
Price (as configured) $54.43 $47.08 $16.99
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now


How We Choose the Best Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker

How do we judge the best Hamilton Beach coffeemakers, when so much is dependent on the beans and the style of coffee people prefer? It’s true, a lot of decisions in coffee come down to preference, but there are still specific things we look for when making calls about the best models on the market.

For example, one important specification for coffee makers is extraction – or how much coffee the machine extracts from the grounds on a single pass. Many coffee makers have problems with overextraction, or extracting too much essence from the grounds, which leads to an acidic, sharp taste that true coffee fans will avoid at all costs. Fortunately, Hamilton Beach coffee maker models have one of the best “total dissolved solids” ratios in the coffee making business, at around 1.27 – 1.30 percent – where overextraction starts to become a problem in the mid-1.30s. This is mattering less now that coffee makers are turning to pods and cups, but for traditional brewing and filtration methods, it’s still an important measurement.

We also care a lot about ease of use. We look for simple buttons and screens that make it very easy to program and control your coffee maker. Hamilton Beach coffee makers fall into the highly traditional category here: they offer a few small buttons and a small timer screen that takes up as little room as possible. Within that framework, we looked for settings that were easy to understand and use.

Wondering how to clean a Hamilton Beach coffee maker? Ease of use also extends to prep and cleaning, so we also considered what carafes and water tanks were the easiest to take out, clean, and replace easily. A smooth latch design, without any crevices for coffee to hide, is important when cleaning your Hamilton Beach coffee maker.

Speaking of the carafe, how well does it work? We looked for carafes that were easy to hold (no one likes spilling hot coffee) and quickly pour into a mug, as well as replace without slipping out of the coffee maker by accident. About that hot coffee: for those who like truly hot coffee, heat needs to be between 190° and 200° Fahrenheit when it is poured, so that’s the range that we look for. Heat retention is also important in a Hamilton Beach coffee maker – we give weight to carafes that have heating plates and insulated designs to keep coffee warm for as long as possible (without coming too close to burning it in the process).

Finally, we looked at price. Here Hamilton Beach coffee maker models really shine, making it easy to find competent coffee makers below $50. They may not have a lot of fancy bells and whistles, but they still get the job done when you need a cup of coffee on the go.

Why You Should Buy a New Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach coffee maker models make excellent first-time coffee machines, or last-minute replacements. If you are moving into a new space and don’t have a coffee maker or a lot of money to purchase one, these models make excellent choices – plus they are relatively small and can easily fit onto tiny counters without taking up too much space.

Or perhaps your office/home coffee maker suddenly broke down, and you’re facing the prospect of a whole lot of grumpy people unless you can come up with an immediate replacement. Here, the right Hamilton Beach coffee maker models can come to the rescue with a simple coffee machine that you don’t need to save up for or spend time studying complex features to purchase. Sometimes, the easiest way to get something done is still one of the best.

#1 Pick Hamilton Beach 49980A 2-Way – Editor’s Choice/Best Hamilton Beach Two Way Flexbrew Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach coffee maker - Hamilton Beach 49980a

A versatile model ideal for busy areas.

Price: $54.43 | Capacity: 12 cup, single serve | Strength Options: Regular, Bold | Timer: 24 hour, 2 hour automatic shutdown

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: A 2-way coffee maker perfect for busy areas.

This Hamilton Beach coffee maker is not only highly affordable, it’s also immensely useful, thanks to the dual operation of both the full pot and thermos settings. The coffeemaker has options for both a single serve option, and a 12-cup carafe with an included warming plate to keep the coffee hot. Either can be filled, which means that people who just want to pour a cup of coffee can do it, and people who brought their own thermos or mug can simply put it down on the alternative stand and brew themselves their own, private pour. The single serve option has its own mesh filter that can use either pre-packaged soft pods, or coffee grounds, so it’s highly flexible. It’s an ideal solution for a busy, high-traffic area where a variety of people need their coffee fix and have personal preferences.

On the note of preferences, the Hamilton Beach coffee maker also comes with two strength options, regular and bold, along with basic programming that allows for control over a 24-hour cycle. This includes a 2-hour automatic shutoff to help save energy. There aren’t many other options here, but Hamilton Beach coffee makers aren’t about stacking multiple programming features, they’re about getting you coffee fast and reliably, and this model does just that. Plus, for fans of traditional coffee makers there’s nothing new to learn, which is a big advantage when replacing a coffee machine for multiple people.

This Hamilton Beach coffee maker model is clearly ideal for both offices, and any personal users who prefer using their own tall thermoses but hate pouring a full carafe into them. It’s also worth noting that this is probably the best-looking HB model we’ve seen, with a curved profile that’s well-detailed with stainless steel pieces. However, it’s important to note that this model can only brew one side at one time – you’ll have to switch back and forth between carafe and cup, so it’s best to fill the carafe first.

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#2 Pick Hamilton Beach 26201 Digital Coffee Maker – Best Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach coffee makers - Hamilton Beach 12-cup

A traditional coffee maker with a modern twist.

Price: $47.08 | Capacity: 12 cup | Strength Options: Bold, Regular | Timer: Programmable clock with 2-hour automatic shutoff

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: A simple, highly affordable large-carafe coffeemaker ideal for no-nonsense coffee.

Don’t need the single serve option? Then this HB model has you covered with its basic 12-cup carafe. It’s the same basic design that has been unchanged for decades, but updated with a more modern design, and more compact than ever (7.41 inches wide) so that it can fit in tighter spaces. The design includes a swing-out brew basket with a release catch and a removable water reservoir…as well as the interesting addition of a swivel base with little wheels that make the model easy to turn around for maintenance.

When it comes to adjustments, the Hamilton Beach coffee maker model has options for brewing bold, regular, or brewing 1-4 cups individually for filling mugs. There’s also adjustable “keep warm” functions, a programmable clock, and pause/serve options for putting the machine on hold. Just the basics, but the basics are done well, and that’s exactly what certain buyers are looking for.

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#3 Pick  Hamilton Beach 49970 Personal Cup – Best Hamilton Beach Single Cup Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach coffee maker - Hamilton Beach 49970

A personal, travel-friendly coffee maker.

Price: $16.99 | Capacity: 12 ounces | Strength Options: Melitta coffee pods only | Timer: Auto shutoff only

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: A single cup coffee maker for those who need one.

Two important things to note. First, some people need a private coffee maker for their own apartment-based cup of joe in the morning. Or they may need a small travel coffee maker for business trips or for setup in a secondary location (study rooms, etc.). Either way, there’s certainly a place for such a small, 12-ounce Hamilton Beach coffee maker, especially one that works as well as this.

Second, while there are no timer set options here, this Hamilton Beach coffee maker more than makes up for it with affordability. How many other new coffee machines can you find for $16.99? It’s a great option if you don’t have any extra money to spend on coffee. Of course, note that it’s specifically designed for use with Melitta coffee pods. No coffee grounds here, and no, K-Cups will not work, so you will have to invest in some new soft pods.

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What to Look for When Buying the Best Cuisinart Coffee Maker

Design

  • Hamilton Beach coffee makers tend to be small and oblong. The top models we picked all have stainless steel accents, which makes it easier for them to match modern kitchen appliances. It’s something to think about if you want everything to match.
  • Design also affects use. Look at how the carafe is positioned, how the water tank is refilled, and how you have to hold your hands to push the Hamilton Beach coffee maker buttons. Sometimes these small details end up being the most important on a machine you use every day.

Timers

  • We picked models that have programmable options for 24-hour periods with an automatic shutoff to help save power and avoid wear-and-tear. This is really basic – coffee makers should always have features like these.
  • More advanced timers that offer smartphone control and sensors can be useful, but Hamilton Beach coffee maker models are more about saving money than adding tech features.

Brew Time

  • Just how fast is the brew time? You don’t want to wait around for your coffee! Around 15 minutes is usually the maximum in today’s busy world, and we prefer coffee makers that take less time than that.
  • Single use coffee making options are a bit different, since you just slam a pod in and go. We included models for this option too, which makes delays a bit moot, and may be a solution for you.

Strength Options

  • Two or three strength options are often useful when working with traditional Hamilton Beach coffee maker filters and grounds. Plus, if a lot of people use the coffee maker, they can pick their preference from pot to pot.
  • However, keep in mind the issue with overextraction that we mentioned above – traditional drip coffeemakers often struggle with overextraction, so sometimes lower strength options can improve taste.

2-Way Options

  • Our top pick is a 2-way, which means it can fill a carafe and a single-serve mug as needed. This is a great solution for offices and other places with multiple coffee drinkers.

Mobility

  • You may not think much about mobility, but it can come in useful. Our third Hamilton Beach coffee maker pick is small enough to pick up at ease, while our second pick actually comes with wheels for quick adjustments.

Related: Best Coffee Maker with Grinder 2017

Mistakes to Avoid

Not considering size and use: A 12-cup carafe is important when the coffee maker is going to be used by a lot of people – a single serve option is best suited for just a few people. If you need a carafe larger than 12 cups, you’ll have to search more carefully. Consider how much coffee the machine will go through, and then make sure you have a coffee maker that can meet demand.

Assuming coffee will last beyond two hours: Hamilton Beach coffee makers, like many coffee makers, come with an automatic shutoff after two hours. This shuts off any warming features too, which means that the coffee will quickly go cold. Of course, it may be unlikely that a pot will last that long anyway, but it’s something to think about in busy areas. These coffee makers are not really suitable if you want a pot of coffee that lasts for the whole day, or stays warm indefinitely (a thought that hardcore coffee fans would find unpalatable anyway).

Forgetting about the water tank: Water tanks need love, too! Regularly clean and rinse these tanks if they are present. They have a big impact on taste, and you really don’t want them getting dirty. Also make sure they are filled, or that programmable timer isn’t going to do you much good.

Not buying extra pods: A couple of the Hamilton Beach coffee maker models we picked have options – or requirements – to use Melitta coffee pods. Yes, you should always use Melitta brand in this case, because other pods may not work. Melitta pods are fairly inexpensive, so it’s a good idea to stock up on them.

What Else You Should Think About

After looking for the best Hamilton Beach coffeemaker, you may want to take a look at our piece on how to descale pod coffee makers, an important step for all single serve coffee machines that helps prevent problems with build-up and clogging. Yes, coffee machines need maintenance too! For more options, you may want to take a look at our lists for the best drip coffee maker and the best Cuisinart coffee maker too, just to expand your options.

If you’d like to expand in an entirely different way and consider your own espresso maker, there are many speedy espresso machines on the market. The consumer-friendly Nespresso machines are particularly popular, but there are a variety of home espresso machines to look at as well, including hybrids that can also make coffee.

The post Best Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker: Pour Yourself a Fresh Cup With Our Top 3 appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Best Charcoal Grill

Best Charcoal Grill Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Fans of traditional grilling need the best charcoal grill to practice their craft – it’s really that simple. But what should the best charcoal grill focus on? Should it be highly portable for on-the-go parties? Should it be a hybrid that can handle gas fuel as well? Just what is the best charcoal grill on the market? It’s time to find out.

In the end, the top place went to Weber’s Original Kettle 22-inch grill, both for its classic design and affordability. Sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than a simple, effective kettle shape that concentrates heat while still being easy to clean. Plus, with 363 square inches of cooking space, this Weber can still handle larger grilling tasks. But we made sure to highlight other types of grills for different missions, so take a look at all the winners!

Best Charcoal Grill

  shark-rotator shark-rotator shark-rotator
Rank #1 – Editor’s Choice/
Best Charcoal Grill
Under $100
#2 – Best Gas
Charcoal
Combo Grill
#3 – Best Portable
Charcoal Grill
Amazon Rating five-stars 4andhalf-stars 4stars-new
Cooking Surface 363 square inches 420 square inches
primary
120 square inches warming
tray
157 square inches
Portable Semi-portable Semi-Portable Portable
Weight 31.8 110 18
Ash Catcher Aluminum dish Grease Cup No
Price $99.00 $329.99 $34.99
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now


How We Choose the Best Charcoal Grills

What is the best charcoal grill on the market? How do you even judge something like that? While charcoal grill performance does depend on the user, there are still plenty of ways to decide just how effective the best grill is.

We started with size and design, looking for grills that could fit in a variety of places, with simple and effective designs that make them easy to use. This is particularly important when it comes to placing and lighting charcoal, where different designs have a noticeable impact on heating and the time it takes to ready the grill.

Versatility is also important: grills that can be easily used in multiple areas, or for a variety of different purposes/cooking techniques scored high on our list, while grills with multiple heating options also did well. Closely related is ease of use: What features does the grill have to make it easier to operate? If you’re wondering how to use a charcoal grill, you don’t want confusing instructions or unfriendly components. Ash catchers, simple latches and buttons, and clear designs all help you starting cooking with no trouble and manage your grill (with minimum burns).

The highest rated charcoal grills also offer you the right features for the right price: One of the advantages of going charcoal is that grills tend to be more affordable. We looked for models that didn’t overcharge for features that you don’t need, and extra-affordable prices for mobile models.

Related: EZ Grill Review

Why You Should Buy a New Charcoal Grill

Isn’t it about time your grill had a specific purpose? Don’t just buy a grill to have one – buy the right model for your life and where you actually want to grill. Nothing will change a grill from a rarely used home accessory into a favorite cooking companion like switching to a model that includes features you actually need, like the option to switch over to gas, or super portability for tailgating.

Additionally, if you just moved to a house with a yard, deck, or space large enough to grill, you may be looking at purchasing a charcoal grill for the first time. Why not start with the best? Of course, the opposite problem also applies: If your charcoal grill is 5-10 years old, it may be growing grimy, rusted, and generally unpleasant to use. The best charcoal grills are affordable replacements for old models, and if you grill frequently it’s worthwhile to upgrade!

#1 Pick  Weber Original Kettle 22-inch Charcoal Grill – Editor’s Choice/Best Charcoal Grill Under $100

Best Charcoal Grills - Weber Kettle

Look familiar? When you think charcoal, you think Weber. 

Price: $99.00 | Cooking Surface: 363 square inches | Portable: semi-portable | Ash Catcher: Aluminum dish | Weight: 31.8 pounds

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Traditional is hard to beat with this affordable grill that still gets it all right.

What is a charcoal grill, really? Practically speaking, it’s a vehicle for your briquettes (or pellets, etc.) that provides fast, effective heat, with an easy method for holding food while it cooks and controlling the application of heat. Grills that enable this process with minimal distractions are the grills that you want – and that’s where Weber shines.

The Original Kettle Web grill hasn’t changed in decades, because it doesn’t have to. Everything in this simple, effective design is made to help you grill with charcoal, with minimal fuss and cleanup. It just works.

Behind that classic, minimalistic design are features that haven’t needed much improvement for so long, because they already function so well. The aluminum ash catcher is effective and easy to clean as long as you keep up on it. The rounded design is perfect for concentrating and controlling heat for a quick warming process and effective cooking without any cold spots.

The ventilation system is probably one of the weakest points of the model – with the slide-open system that’s still a little too flimsy – but it’s still the cheapest way of offering simple smoke/ventilation control out there.

Also, keep in mind that this model is more portable than it may seem at first glance. Those durable wheels make it easy to haul around the yard, and even move from house to house with a little deconstruction. Not only is this the best Weber charcoal grill we could find, it’s also one of the most affordable large grills on the market (albeit without high-tech smart features), so it won’t be outside of anyone’s price range. What’s not to love?

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#2 Pick  Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner – Best Gas Charcoal Combo Grill

Best Charcoal Grill - Char-Broil Gas2coal

A gas grill that can switch to charcoal for cooking sessions.

Price: $329.99 | Cooking Surface: 420 square inches primary, 120 square inches warming| Portable: Semi-portable | Ash Catcher: Grease cup  |Weight : 110 pounds

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Switch between gas and charcoal – with plenty of room for larger meals.

Gas grills have completely revolutionized the industry, and there are always going to be grillers who appreciate the speed and ease of using a tank of gas instead of heating up charcoal. But what happens if you want both? What if you prefer some foods grilled with charcoal, and others with gas? You turn to this Char-Broil model, which can handle both.

The Gas2Coal, as the name implies, allows you to switch between gas and charcoal. You cannot use them both at the same time, but you can customize your cooking method based on the meal. Ordinarily, the grill is gas. If you want charcoal, you insert a simple charcoal tray, light the briquettes with the gas grill, and allow them to heat up. There’s no ash catcher, but like other gas grills the model does have a grease cup to catch drippings.

Also, despite the size – 420 square inches of cooking space with a 120 square inch warming shelf – this model also has large wheels that make it more mobile than you may expect. Lower the arm trays, and it can fit into smaller corners. However, the size and gas capabilities do increase the price noticeably, so you’ll have to pay quite a bit more to get this hybrid option fired up on your back porch.

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#3 Pick  Marsh Allen Cast Iron Hibachi Charcoal Grill – Best Portable Charcoal Grill

Best Charcoal Grill - Marsh Allen Cast Iron Hibachi

Small, affordable, and well-crafted – what’s not to love?

Price: $34.99 | Cooking Surface: 157 square inches | Portable: Yes | Ash Catcher: No  |Weight : 18 pounds

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: This fold-up grill is perfect for grilling away from home.

Are you in the market for a highly portable grill that you can use for camping, tailgate parties, or other places where there’s not a lot of room? Hibachi style grills are exactly what you need, and this Marsh Allen model is one of the best that we’ve seen. The cooking surface is only 157 square inches, but the whole thing folds up for super-simple travel and use.

If you’re wondering how to start a charcoal grill like this, it doesn’t take much work. Unfolded grill easily expands: there are two small grates, each with their own iron handle for control and placement, that you can use to cook a variety of meats at differing temperatures. At the bottom of are two adjustable air vents for control burn rate.

Grilling on the go is never especially easy, but it’s a whole lot more fun with a Hibachi grill like this on your side. The only issue is its size, which may be too small for a larger gathering. Of course, at $35, you could easily get two of them and assign someone else to the other grill.

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What to Look for When Buying the Best Charcoal Grill

Durable Coatings

  • Look for protective coatings for the outside of the grill that make both cooking and cleaning easier.
  • One of the few but welcome improvements to the classic Weber grill has been the porcelain enamel and extra-tough nylon handles. Coatings that make it easy to wipe away soot and grease are a big plus.

Aluminum Parts

  • If you are wondering how to clean a charcoal grill, it begins with choosing the right components. In addition to those welcome enamel and ceramic coatings, looking for aluminum dishes and other pieces that will 1) resist rust and 2) make cleaning even easier.
  • Stainless steel works, but it isn’t quite as resistant to rust as aluminum, and steel grates can be tough to clean off at times. Cast iron is often favored by traditionalists, but it’s one of the hardest to keep clean, so if you go with our third pick then make sure you take care of it and don’t let it rust!

Warranties

  • Our top Weber pick has a 10-year limited warranty. Our Char-Broil hybrid pick comes with different warranties for different components.
  • These types of warranties help make sure that if something goes drastically wrong, you can at least work to get the grill replaced.

Extra Space/Shelving/Storage

  • Extra space is always welcome – and we’re not just talking about grilling space, although that’s great.
  • Look for warming shelves and side trays where you can put dishes, lighter fluid, and tools. Grills aren’t always good at providing much extra space, but the best charcoal grills tend to offer a little extra space to put these things down while you’re working.

Safety Features

  • What’s the best way to start a charcoal grill? The frequent answer is, “Whichever way doesn’t burn off your eyebrows.” Seriously though; safety is important, so keep an eye open for designs that easily contain charcoal and help you control the heat with no surprises. Remember that – except in rare exceptions – you’ll also need to vent hot smoke while using the grill.

Related: Best Chef Knife 2017

Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t forget about grilling experience: If you don’t know how to use a charcoal grill, don’t buy one…at least not yet. Learn what you’re doing first. Learn how long to cook chicken on a charcoal grill, along with burger patties, hot dogs, and other common foods. Learn how to put out a charcoal grill, and how to clean a charcoal grill properly too – all things that benefit from experience. If necessary, choose a smaller, cheaper model while you learn more about your own grilling skills and what sort of model will work for you in the long-term. Charcoal grilling isn’t much like gas grilling or cooking on the stove.

Don’t ignore space requirements: Too many people buy grills without really thinking about where to put them. With small Hibachi models that’s not a problem, but if you buy a standing grill you may want to do some measurement first to make sure it really will fit on your deck or balcony.

Don’t forget local codes: Speaking of where to put your grill, know that most apartments and condos have rules against using even the best charcoal grills on balconies or anywhere near the buildings. Know the rules before you buy!

Don’t avoid cleaning the grill: Grilling works much better if you clean the grill every time afterward. This is a common mistake many grillers make, but that grease and ash will just get harder to clean if you leave it on, and lower the lifespan of your grill over time.

Think about more foods than just meat: When buying a grill, think about what else you will cook on it – not just burgers and steak, but also corn, toasted breads, zucchini, string beans, and much more. Pick a grill that has room for all the food you’ll cook!

What Else You Should Think About

If you’re looking for the best charcoal grills and smokers for cooking and aren’t sure where to start, you may want to read up on cooking charcoal and learn about how to find the best charcoal for grilling. The same is true if you aren’t sure how to light a charcoal grill: If you don’t have much experience, take it slow and learn the proper steps before you begin.

To keep up on the latest grill and smoker picks, Gadget Review covers other grilling news you may be interested in knowing about. If you prefer more indoor styles of cooking, you may want to check out articles like the best over the range microwave, as well.

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Chevy Bolt EV Review

Chevy Bolt EV Review Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Enter on a beautiful sunny day in in California. The would be camera pans down over a dealership and follows a customer inside. The customer walks in and inquires about the Chevy Bolt EV. The salespersons replies back with “Chevy Volt?” in affirmation. This, for the most part, sums up my experience when talking to people about the Chevy Bolt, save for those that joined me on a trip a few weeks ago to Palo Alto, California to drive Chevy’s first long range all electric car. That all being said, I’m happy to report that the moniker is perhaps the biggest crux of this all electric car. So keep reading my review of the Chevy Bolt review to learn everything, or most things you need to know when buying this 100%, no gasoline car.

Overview

Range: 238 miles on a single charge
Model: Bolt
Availability: Feb 2017

Summary: The first long range all electric car that won’t destroy your bank.

What We Liked

  • Price/range ratio is unlike any other car on the market
  • Excellent driving dynamics
  • Android Auto and CarPlay

What We Didn’t

  • Small trunk-ish (16.9 cubic feet)
  • Styling and design language is close to a mini-van

What You Should Know About the Chevy Bolt

Range is just over 200 miles. You’ll get more with a mindful foot, though the car does a remarkable job of managing energy consumption through gauges (plus you can hand brake with a paddle behind the steering wheel). Fear not about outside temperature issues, at least to a large degree, as Chevy has leveraged the power of liquid cooling to manage the battery cell’s temperature and in turn provide an optimal atmosphere. Range anxiety will kick in when there is around the 20-30 miles left in the “tank”. And the reason I state that is because I believe the Bolt’s computer does an admirable job of predicting range. Which is to say at no time in my day of driving did I see the range bounce around, though it wasn’t often that I was flooring it.

Chevy Bolt EV

It seats 5, though 5 adults could be a bit of squeeze.

It seats 5, though I’d imagine it could be a squeeze with 5 adults. But 4 of us went to SFO in it with no problems. I sat in the back behind the driver who is probably 5′ 10″ and I had no problems with head or leg room. That said, the trunk is smaller. In fact, the entire capacity of the Bolt (94.4 cubitc feet – 16.9 in the trunk) is evidently smaller than a Prius.

Update: as one commenter pointed out, the total capacity of the Bolt is actually listed as higher than that of the Prius (94.4 vs 93.7 respectively). However, anecdotally I still stand by my testament; the 2015 Prius volume feels bigger than the Bolt. That said, the Prius does have a larger trunk (21.6 cubic feet) which might explain why it feels larger. And to that end, perhaps Toyota got creative in other areas that I’m not cognizant of.

I know the latter isn’t an electric car, but many will be looking at that when considering the Bolt. I would have liked to see more space in the trunk as I believe it was just beyond unusable for long road trips, provided of course you have more than 2 people in the car. Chevy heavily pushed this as a family car to us, but the reality is that with strollers and such it really isn’t practical. Sorry Chevy.

Chevy Bolt EV Back Seat

Im over 6-foot and didn’t feel too much of a squeeze in the rear.

The battery pack is the base of the car and as a result gives a fairly open feeling at least in the front of the vehicle. Things get pretty conventional in the back seat in terms of space, which I already touched on. But the reason I mention that is that the i3, which we reviewed a few years ago and did this zany video, feels entirely different than most if not all cars.

Driving Dynamics

I was super impressed with the driving dynamics with the Chevy Bolt. Too many cars feel unstable at high speed. Not so with the Bolt. Both at highway and surface road speeds the Bolt has an uncanny amount of zippiness to it and stability. Lane changes at 65-70 mph feel controlled and planted. Moreover, it takes little to manage this car and keep it in the lane. I know that might sound like a “totally obivy” thing, but if you drive enough cars you learn quickly what is and isn’t stable. And believe me, it’s not always price reflective, as BMW’s 7 series, their most recent one, in my experience, is not this, at least on highways.

Chevy Bolt EV

Chevy Bolt EV Trip computer – on the right is remaining range.

Because the battery pack is in the floor of the car, the Bolt’s center of gravity, like Tesla, is super low. This adds to its stability. There is of course a limit here, but given the car’s class, I didn’t feel as though I ever came close to it.

If I took anything away from the Bolt, is that it its ride comfort is a touch on the tighter, or less springy side. In short this equates to the aforementioned stability but also makes the car less comfortable than some “competitors” in the space, such as the Prius.

Pick up? In the words of many lovely Italian archetypes: forget about it! The Bolt has some kick, unlike the Spark EV. You’ll get to 60mph in just under 6.5 seconds. So in other words 6.499999, because “the under” is a Chevy quote. For posterity’s sake that’s all thanks to the equivalent of 200hp and 266 lb-ft of torque.

The Special Rear View Mirror and Other Tech

Chevy Bolt EV Mirror

Flip the switch and the rear view mirror turns into a rear view camera display.

The rear view in this car is special. How? With the flip of a switch it converts to a display that uses the rear view camera to display what’s behind you. Why is this cool? Because it effectively skips anything in the back seat that is blocking your view. In actual use I didn’t like driving with it on. However, I could see it being very useful with a full car load.

Other tech:

  • Android Auto/Car Play
  • Bluetooth Connectivity and optional Bose 6 speaker
  • 10.2″ Infotainment screen (no maps built-in)
  • 8″ driver screen

Charging the Chevy Bolt

Chevy Bolt EV Energy Break Down

A break down of how the Chevy Bolt used energy during our trip.

Just plug it in. Duh. But seriously. You’ll get 4 miles back for every hour you charge on your home’s normal outlet, a 110 volt. Upgrade things, as in install a home charge, and that time drops. Total time for a full charge on a 240 is 9 hours, so you can pretty much double that number to figure out what a regular, conventional outlet will provide. A DC fast charger – you’ll need to add this option to the car when you buy it (it’s costs $750 – two extra holes at the top of port) – scores you 80% in 1 hour or 100% in 2 hours. Yes, like your phone’s battery, the last 20% takes much longer since the charge slows to more of a trickle to prevent damage to the battery. That all being said, the home charger, for $699, and can be rolled into the car’s purchase price allowing you to finance it. This doesn’t include installation cost but there should be plenty of info here.

Cost to Own The Chevy Bolt

Some of you are probably wondering what’s the up keep and maintenance on the Chevy Bolt. Well, the first thing you should recognize is that you’ll have to go to a dealer to get all your work done – general mechanics just don’t have the tools.  The great news is that visits should be super few and far between for regular maintenance.  According to GM your first visit, on the official level, will be at 100,000 miles (still looking into the cost here). Say what?!?! I know. Hard to believe. But since there is no oil to change…you’ll of course need a tire rotation at 7,500 miles, but you should be able to get that done any where.

Chevy Bolt Trunk

The trunk, anecdotally speaking, is smaller than the Prius.

That said, the tires on the Bolt are special; they’re Michelin self seal tires that can stay spinning provided the whole is no larger than 3/16th – the hole seals itself. They’re also low rolling resistance. Tirerack has them for $149 a pop, and they’re officially called the Michelin Energy Saver A/S 215/50R17 all-season.

Chevy Bolt EV Review Wrap Up

Save for the styling – I’m just not into car’s like this but that’s a personal takeaway – and the lack of trunk space. The Chevy Bolt is the first all electric car that actually makes sense to me. The BMW i3 while cool just doesn’t have the range to warrant it as an everyday car. The Bolt can replace your everyday driver and more importantly be your only car given its range and driving dynamics. Acclimation to charging will surely have to come, but with time, and the proliferation of charging stations this burden will lessen.

Price of the Bolt starts at $37k for the LT. You can add stuff here and there or just jump to the Premier, which costs $44k all in. And that’s before any tax incentives. In California I believe you can still get back $10k total ($2500 from the state and $7500 from the Fed), so your cap cost is significantly reduced. That said, don’t wait too long, as the rebates and tax incentives will eventually dry up, at least on the federal side as it’s capped on the manufacturer level. With price in mind, I preferred the cloth interior over the leather, but the leather might add more long term value, especially if you have sticky fingered kids.

 

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Best Pour Over Coffee Maker: Brew Like A Pro

Best Pour Over Coffee Maker: Brew Like A Pro Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

With coffee giants like Starbucks officially adopting the pour over coffee method as the superior way to brew the perfect cup of Joe, you might be asking yourself, what is the best pour over coffee maker in 2017?

As a daily coffee drinker of 15 years and a pour over amateur of the past two, I’ve learned a lot about what goes into the perfect pour. This is why it was easy to name the Hario V60 as the#1 pour over coffee maker this year, thanks to its ceramic built spout with grooved inlets that gives you all the control you need when learning the art of pour over at its finest.

Best Pour Over Coffee Maker

  51-yu-d5il-_sl1000_ 419u2dlkvgl 81hvfbhidnl-_sl1500_
Name Hario V60 Chemex 8-Cup Bartelli Paperless
Rank #1 – Editor’s Choice/
Best Pour Over Coffee
Maker with Grinder
#2 – Best Multi-cup
Pour Over
Coffee Maker
#3 – Best Pour Over
Drip Coffee Maker
Amazon Rating 4.5stars-new 4stars-new 4.5stars-new
Carafe Size N/A 8 4 cups
Filters Cone-shaped #2 Cone-shaped Stainless-steel paperless
Price $19.43 $39.79 $19.99
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now


How We Choose the Best Pour Over Coffee Maker

As the pour over revolution began to pick up steam over the past few years, I, as a coffee drinker of 15 years, decided to get my own setup to see what all the fuss was about. Since then I’ve been pretty obsessed with perfecting the process, buying around $200 worth of equipment since I first started.

I’ve also known and lived with a number of self-professed “coffee nuts”, who would often spend hundreds of dollars on coffee-making equipment just to get the perfect cup of Joe every single time. I’ve used a number of different spouts and kettles during my experimentation, and while my own pour over coffee making setup is modest, I still do what I can to carefully control the temperature of the water using a candy thermometer to ensure that the temperature of my pouring water stands at a perfect 190° throughout the brewing process. I’ve more advanced pour-over systems, such as those made from copper, and also experimented with French press and newer brewers like the AeroPress, which uses pressure and a vacuum seal to create a uniquely hearty cup of coffee every time.

To find the best pour over coffee maker, I considered a number of various factors and features when making my picks, including the material the spout is made of, the shape of the spout/whether it uses grooves inside the cup, the capacity of the carafe (if it has one), the type of filter it uses, and whether or not it comes with any extra features like a washable filter or included kettle. The process of learning how to use a pour over coffee maker isn’t a simple one, which is why it was important to us that the picks we went with have a clear set of instructions packed away inside the box as well.

Read More: Best Coffee Maker With Grinder

Why You Should Buy a Pour Over Coffee Maker

For anyone who by this point might be asking themselves “what is a pour over coffee maker?”, pour over is a new trend in both home and professional coffee brewing techniques that The actual practice of pour over itself is actually quite old, but it’s only recently that both hipster cafes and major chains like Starbucks have embraced the slower, more methodical method of brewing you daily cup of Joe.

Depending on who you ask, these days there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be drinking all your coffee made with the pour over style. Personally I don’t think there’s a huge difference between a freshly brewed cup of coffee from a quality coffee maker and pour over, but pour over ensures you get a fresh cup of coffee every time you go back for another refill, unlike a coffee maker which can quickly grow stale. You also have far more control over the brew style when going the pour over route, which can – if done properly – yield a more consistently flavorful cup that’s great from the first sip to the last.

That said if you don’t have the time to do pour over right, it’s not really worth doing at all. On average you can expect to spend anywhere from 3-5 minutes on the prep for your coffee (grinding the beans, getting your water to the proper temperature), and another 3-5 brewing. 10 minutes may be your entire break depending on where you work, so unless you know you’ll be able to devote the time and focus necessary to getting a flawless cup, a standard drip coffee maker might be the choice for you instead.

#1 Pick  Hario V60 Ceramic – Editor’s Choice/Best Pour Over Coffee Maker

 Pour Over Coffee Maker - Hario V60 Pour Over Coffee

For the price, this pour over coffee making starter kit can’t be beat.

Price: $19.43  | Features: Several build materials, grooved design, single-spout

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK:  The Hario V60 offers convenience and consistency at a great price.

Hario is a longtime staple player in the coffee industry, and although there may be a ton of young upstart coffee brewers who think they’ve got it all figured out (read: hipsters), there are still a few tried-and-true traditions in the space that will always hold strong no matter what the latest trend is.

With the Hario V60 Ceramic pour over coffee maker, the company keeps things simple, cheap, and to the point – otherwise known as “just about everything that I love in a top product”. The V60 doesn’t really have a ton of flash or extra features outside of its spiral groove system inside the spout, but what it lacks in grandiosity it makes up for in consistently producing tasty cups of coffee day in and day out with no muss, and no fuss.

The V60 we’ve recommended here is the ceramic version, however due to its versatility Hario also offers the option to switch over to any number of different materials and colors, including: copper, glass, and plastic. As I’ll get into more below, I personally think that ceramic is the best material for beginner pour over users to try out, however if you’re confident in your abilities then a copper V60 pour over coffee maker might be the way to go instead.

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#2 Pick Chemex 8-Cup Classic Series Coffeemaker – Best Multi-Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker

Best Pour Over Coffee Maker - Chemex 8-cup Pour Over Coffee Maker

Got a big party that demands the best? Give them a taste from the Chemex 8-cup.

Price: $39.79   | Features: 40oz carafe, polished wood collar, 8-cup capacity

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK:  The Chemex 8-cup Classic Series is perfect for pour over coffee parties.

If you plan on doing your pour over brewing in bulk, you might want to invest in something like the Chemex 8-Cup Classic Series Glass Coffeemaker instead of the standard spout-on-a-cup system we’ve sported in the other two picks on this list.

Related: Best Cuisinart Coffee Maker

This is an all-in-one carafe that combines the spout and the receptacle of a pour over coffee maker into one, and can make/serve up to eight 5oz cups of coffee at a time. With the help of the wooden handle around the mid-section, you can easily make your coffee, dispose of the filter, and then serve to multiple people all in the same movement without burning your hands.

If you’re hosting a party this can be a more accessible way to still get that pour over quality for a room full of people at a time. In case the 8-cup model isn’t large enough however, the company does offer a 10-cup version that should fill the mugs of everyone around your table without a problem.

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#3 Pick  Bartelli Paperless Pour Over Coffee Maker – Best Pour Over Drip Coffee Maker

Pour Over Coffee MakerBartelli Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee

Stainless steel makes for the best paperless filter.

Price: $19.99   | Features: Permanent paperless filter design, 18/10 stainless steel, single-spout

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK:  If you want the most eco-friendly coffee on the planet, paperless options like the Bartelli are the way to go.

Convenience isn’t exactly the name of the game when it comes to pour over coffee, (you’re better off going with an automatic drip model for something like that). But, at least when you go with a stainless permanent-filter model like the Bartelli Paperless Pour Over Coffee Maker, you know you’re eliminating one step in a process that already has a few too many for the coffee drinker who needs to get out the door in thirty seconds or less.

Paperless permanent filters come in many different types, sizes and shapes, but we prefer stainless steel options for their ease of use and even simpler cleanup process. Stainless steel won’t stain over time, (hence the name), which means the hundredth cup of of coffee you strain through this filter will taste exactly the same as the first as long as you clean it regularly.

Bartelli also claims that paper filters remove all the “essential oils and nutrients” from coffee, though we couldn’t find any external research which substantiated this claim. That said, the Bartelli still performs above and beyond even some of the cheaper ceramic options despite being made of metal, thanks to the layering scheme of its 18/10 stainless steel.

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Most Important Features

Material

  • While a ceramic pour over coffee maker won’t necessarily affect the flavor of your coffee any more than a glass one might, things get a bit dodgier once we enter copper/plastic/stainless steel territory.
  • The main reason for the different materials comes down to heat retention and dissipation. Ceramic, for example, absorbs and wicks away heat more slowly than copper might.
  • The benefit of this is that you don’t risk burning your beans if your pour speed isn’t as trained as it could be. If you’re confident in your abilities though, a metal spout made of copper or stainless steel might be better since the temperature is more easily controlled, but also more fickle to keep consistent.
  • If you’re still learning, glass or ceramic should be the choice, while plastic should be avoided altogether (unless cost is a serious issue for you).

Filter Type/Quality

  • Pour over coffee makers come in two types: those with permanent filters, and others that use standard filters.
  • Standard pour over coffee makers will use the same filters as a regular drip coffee maker, while any that have a permanent filter utilize a washable, endless-use filter that never needs to be swapped out or thrown away.
  • I have no preference one way or the other, though some say that you can garner a bit more control over the flavor of your coffee by using a standard filter instead of a permanent one.
  • If you do go with paper, try and find any filters that are unbleached. These have less of an effect on the environment, and are more biodegradable once they inevitably end up in a landfill.

Spout Shape

  • There has been a lot of talk lately about the “science” of pour over coffee, with hipsters and scientists from MIT both racing one another to bring the art of coffee into the 21st century.
  • Part of this effort is evident in the shape of spouts that we’re seeing come out of the more premium pour over coffee makers, which will use grooves and indents to separate through the silt and make sure the hot water has a perfect path through the grinds every single time.
  • Whether or not these small improvements to the spout makes any noticeable difference in the flavor of the coffee itself is still a hotly debated topic, but you’re always encouraged to try both types for yourself to see which suits your pallette best!

Pour Over Coffee Maker vs. French Press

  • Last up, there’s the endless debate between pour over coffee and cofee made in a French press.
  • Again on a personal note, I prefer the level of control that pour over affords you in comparison to French press, but that said, you can still only really make one cup at a time if you don’t have more than 10 minutes to spare.
  • French press coffee tastes nearly as good as pour over, but you can also make about 2-3 cups at the same time instead of just one, depending on the size of the unit you’re using to brew.

Mistakes or Things to Avoid

Use a Proper Gooseneck Kettle: Even though they may seem a little too expensive upfront, a proper kettle is key when investing in a new pour over setup. We like the Hario 1.2L VKB Kettle, which uses its unique spout design to ensure that you have full, reliable control over your pour no matter what angle you’re approaching the cup from. These kettles are also made from materials that are designed to retain water at a specific temperature over longer periods of time, ensuring you won’t have to live next to the stove to keep reheating your water during the pour process to maintain proper temps.

Go Stainless to Stay Eco-Friendly: Even with passively-aggressive-themed coffee filters like these on shelves, in the end the best way to save the Earth is to use a permanent filter system, preferably one made out of stainless steel. Other materials do work, but often they stain over time and start to soak through with the flavor of the last 500 cups you brewed after time.

Don’t Fudge the Details: Although it may be tempting to think you can quickly learn how to brew pour over and power through every cup like a pro in no time, like any skill, creating the perfect cup of coffee through this method takes time and persistence. The grounds will burn if you’re not using a thermometer (190°F is your optimal temperature), will taste bitter if you’re pouring too slow, or won’t be strong enough if you pour too quick. Make sure you’re the kind of person who can hit all these details perfectly every time you want a cup of coffee, especially when you’re still trying to rub eight hours of fresh sleep out of your eyes.

What Else You Should Think About

No matter which best pour over coffee maker you decide to go with, before you start doing anything you should learn how the art of pour over works in the first place. These YouTube tutorials from Portland’s own Stumptown Roasters are a good beginner’s course, featuring the Hario V60 here, and the Chemex here.

Of course, if you’re one of the millions of people who simply don’t have the time or patience to sit around and make sure their water is just below the boiling point to get their caffeine in the morning, we always recommend going with alternative models like the Best Coffee Maker with Grinder 2017, or the Best Drip Coffee Maker for the true traditionalists among us.

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SonicSole Review: An App for Walkers and Runners to Ease Into Exercise

SonicSole Review: An App for Walkers and Runners to Ease Into Exercise Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

When it comes to running or regularly power walking, it’s getting into the habit that’s the hard part – and SonicSole wants to help. SonicSole is a walking/running/music app for beginners, with musical sessions that focus on providing the right beat for your pace. There are currently three difficulties: a starter session for those who want to practice walking or slower jogs, and an intermediate options for runners who want to run for 30 minutes and get a good workout and an advanced option. But is this app worth your time? That depends on your exercise history.

App Interface

SonicSole 2

SonicSole’s app can start a session in seconds.

SonicSole’s interface is shallow – but it’s designed to be that way, and the ultra-simple design plays to its strengths. Once you’ve signed up and accessed the app, the home screen is SonicSole’s collection of running/walking tracks. You can scroll through all the tracks available through a number of different genres, such as “Eternal Skies” or “Enter the Zone” and play any of them with a single tap. For those who prefer running apps they can start in seconds, it’s a handy feature. All the other buttons are immediately available as well, with large, clear options for adding a track to your favorite list, downloading it onto your phone, showing your progress, and more.

Read More: Best Running Shoes for 2017

There are two side menus that open up, but their options are limited. One sidebar lets you control coaching, duration, and difficulty. The other side allows you to look at your recent activity and any favorites you’ve collected. The whole experience is designed for those who don’t have any time to waste learning a new app – or who may be uncomfortable with apps in the first place.

Smart Features

SonicSole 4

SonicSole is strictly a phone app.

SonicSole may be a simple app, but it works hard to incorporate smart features. At any time during a session, you can share your score and run on Twitter or Facebook. The app judges your running distance and speed by using the accelerometer sensor in your phone, so it’s specifically designed for those lightweight phones that you can strap on your arm or legs while you walk/run – not the most comfortable solution, but it does provide more accurate results than a casual pedometer.

 

Song Content

SonicSole

SonicSole focuses on beat, but the music lacks much else.

Song content is the weakest feature of SonicSole. In some ways, the music selection feels like a work in progress, where “beat” was made the priority and everything else has been pushed aside for the moment. Every session is instrumental, and most are EDM or Chill (even the Rock option feels highly processed) with voice coach overlays. The bass isn’t particularly deep, and no session is particularly memorable – in other words, it’s all fluff. And that fluff is fine, easy to run to…for about 10 or 15 minutes. Then you start longing for a real, popular song with lyrics or a pulsing beat, like the kind available on dozens of apps already on your phones.

There are probably proprietary reasons that SonicSole can’t use real songs on its sessions, but there should still be a workaround here. A tie-in with internet radio stations has been proven possible – or the ability to tap into playlists already stored on your phone. Features like these need to be added to keep the music alive, or enthusiasm peters out quickly.

Speaking of that voice coach: it’s fine. If you’re looking for general advice and platitudes like the kind you would get in an average cycling class, they’re here. If you don’t like them, you can turn them off. They tend to repeat word-for-word as long as you stay in the same difficulty, but this is something that can be updated in later versions with more variety.

Read More: Best Headphones for Running

Final Thoughts

SonicSole is made for those who’ve never tried wearables, who haven’t tried the gym – who aren’t even sure they like this whole fitness trend. It’s made for people who don’t want to learn new apps or integrate their smart fitness platforms with lots of customization. It’s particularly friendly to people who don’t run or walk regularly but want to start, and prefer a simple app with light footprint to help them do it. A starter kit, if you will, for running or walking inspiration. Those with more experience will want to move onto greater customization though the app promises updates in the future.

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Best Sleeping Bags 2017

Best Sleeping Bags 2017 Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Catch some Z’s while camping, hiking, or traversing the Ozarks with the best sleeping bags of 2017. Our top rated sleeping bags represent some of the very best cold weather, ultralight, budget, and camping sleeping bags on the market. For this round-up we narrowed our initial selections based on specific use and focused on temperature ratings, form factor, insulation type, features, and price to determine the absolute best sleeping bag for consumers in each category.

Our #1 top pick and Editor’s Choice for the best sleeping bags for cold weather is the North Face Inferno 0° Summit Series sleeping bag. The bag’s 800 fill is some of the highest quality down fill available providing excellent loft that traps heat and delivers nearly incomparable protection from the elements.

Best Sleeping Bags 2017

  The North Face Inferno 0F Western Mountaineering Summerlite Mummy 32F Klymit KSB 20F The North Face Blue Kazoo Kelty Dualist 6
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now
The North Face Inferno 0F Western Mountaineering Summerlite Mummy 32F Klymit KSB 20F The North Face Blue Kazoo Kelty Dualist 6
Rank #1 – Editor’s Choice/Best Sleeping Bag for Cold Weather #2 – Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bag #3 – Best Budget Sleeping Bag #4 – Best Sleeping Bag for Camping #5 – Best Compact Sleeping Bag
Consumer Rating five-stars five-stars 4andhalf-stars N/A 4stars-new
Low Temp Rating 0° F 32° F 20° F 15° F 6° F
Weight 1 lb 13.3 oz 1 lb 3 oz 2 lb 12 oz 2 lb 9 oz 4 lb 4 oz
Price $500 $420 $140 $203 $144


How We Choose the Best Sleeping Bag

As an avid backpacker, I’ve had my fair share of sleeping bags both during the fall in South Texas and the dead of winter in Northern New Mexico’s Wheeler Peak Wilderness – and I know how much of a bummer it can be to fall victim to a poorly constructed bag while on the trail. Our main goal with this roundup is to help you make a more informed decision, and reduce the probability of you having a bad time stuck shivering in the cold on your next adventure.

Sleeping bags come in a variety of temperature ratings ranging from 32° F, or warmer, all the way down to -30° and below. Since this roundup review is inclusive of bags which cover all climates, we didn’t eliminate sleeping bags based solely on temperature ratings. Having stated that, it’s important to understand exactly what a sleeping bag’s rating means and how it might affect you the next time you’re out in the wild.

Typically, summer bags are rated for 32° and higher, three-seasons have a rating of between 10° and 32°, and winter bags are designed for temps of 10° and below. Ratings listed on sleeping bags describe the lowest air temperature in which a user can sleep comfortably within the bag. These ratings usually assume that the sleeper is wearing long underwear, and using an air, or foam, sleeping pad in conjunction with the bag – some form of insulation between the ground (or passing air if you’re sleeping in a hammock) is required since the fill insulation within a sleeping bag will be depressed when you lay on top of it (effectively nullifying most of the insulating property).

The type of sleeping bag, either mummy, rectangular, semi-rectangular, or double should first be considered when considering a bag that suits your individual needs. Aside from the obvious differences, what are the advantages and/or disadvantages of using one form versus another? Casual campers will probably prefer a rectangular, or semi-rectangular, bag over a mummy style because these offer more internal space to move around, are often less expensive, and don’t hug the body as tightly as a more technically-designed mummy bags – mummy bags are meant for multi-night camps, or environments in which campers may be more exposed to the elements. They’re the ideal choice for cold weather environments because they’re designed to maximize efficient use of a small amount of space. Mummy bags are also typically lighter than rectangular bags, and pack better than bulkier rectangular sleeping bags. Double wide sleeping bags allow for two adults to share one bag which is nice if you’re planning a romantic evening under the stars.

There are three major types of insulation used to fill sleeping bags: synthetic, down, and water-resistant down. Synthetic filled bags are typically more common among lower cost sleeping bags unintended for heavy outback use. The synthetic fill is usually a little heavier than down, and it doesn’t compress as well, but it will still work as an effective insulator when it gets wet. Down filled bags are usually pricier, but they often offer a higher insulating value per pound and can be compressed more tightly making them a preferred choice among backpackers. A down side to down fill though is that if the down becomes wet it loses a lot of its insulating value. Water-resistant down is down that’s been treated to repel water and is another, more expensive option for consumers.

What about fill? How do you compare the quality and amount of fill between sleeping bags? The loft, or “fluffiness,” of a down product is referred to as the fill power and is related to the insulating value and relative comfort of a sleeping bag. The larger the fill power, the more air per ounce of down can be trapped which means a greater ability to insulate. While the fill power can be used to roughly gauge the total insulating value of a product, it is important to keep in mind that the quality of the fill makes a significant difference in the performance too. Fill greater than 750 is very different from 400 fills. Nearly all fill used in the production of the majority of sleeping bags is sourced as a byproduct from geese raised for food. This is where the majority of the lower-grade fill comes from. Most birds meant for consumption aren’t mature, and their feathers have not completely developed the way an adult bird’s feathers would. Higher-grade fills like those rated at 750, or more, are sourced from more mature geese which are kept alive for breeding purposes. Collection of the fill is more tedious as it falls away naturally from the birds, but the down lofts much better since it comes from older birds.

Other critical components of the best sleeping bag construction which we considered during our review were the shell and lining material. A bag’s outer shell is usually made using a ripstop nylon (in some cases polyester) to enhance durability. Some fabric shells are treated with a water repellent finish (referred to as a Durable Water Repellant, or DWR) to make external surfaces hydrophobic (water beads up and falls away instead of being absorbed by the fabric). Since perspiration is a relatively common human function during sleep, internal surfaces are typically developed to disperse moisture and therefore aren’t made to be hydrophobic.

Sleeping bag hoods are especially important if you’re spending your time camping in cooler temperatures. Some hoods are designed with a pillow pocket as an added optional level of comfort for users.

Stash pockets, sleeping pad sleeves, stuff sacks, storage sacks, and each sleeping bag liner was also considered in part to ensure that consumer comfort and storage options were taken in to consideration when manufacturers designed these bags.

In order to compare sleeping bags properly, all of these variables must be accounted for, weighed, and considered based on individual use.

Why You Should Buy the Best Sleeping Bag

No two camping trips are identical. While it’s easy to unzip a bag that’s too hot, if you’re constantly having to adjust a zipper because you’re uncomfortable in a bag you’ve probably brought along the wrong bag for the job. Keep in mind where and when you plan on using your sleeping bag and then narrow down your options based on the coldest possible temperature for the environment you’ll be spending time in.

Backpacking sleeping bags are more compact when compressed than camping sleeping bags, and often weigh less too. If you’re obsessed with cutting down weight, reducing the weight of your sleeping bag is one of the top ways to cut weight fast. Consider an ultralight option that’s suited for the trip.

Taking everything we’ve touched on into consideration, let’s get on with the list of the best rated sleeping bags of 2017.

#1 Pick The North Face Inferno 0F – Editor’s Choice/Best Sleeping Bag for Cold Weather

Best sleeping bags - The North Face Inferno 0F

Our top pick as the best sleeping bag for cold weather camping and backpacking

Price: $500 | Low Temp Rating: 0° F | Weight: 1 lb 13.3 oz | Material Durability Rating: A+ | Water Resistance: Yes

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING BAGS TOP PICK: Solidly constructed and built with performance athletes in mind, this sleeping bag will keep you comfortable and protected from the elements again and again.

The North Face Summit Series demonstrates product design and manufacturing excellence in every product facet that bears the badge. Consumer focus is at the heart of any successful company, and The North Face truly delivers with its line of professional-grade products developed in conjunction with athletes that know what true adventurers and adrenaline junkies need.

This is a professional-grade, zero degree sleeping bag intended for winter campers, or serious expeditions that require nothing short of the best in outdoor technology. The bag is insulated with The North Face’s 800-fill ProDown – a water-resistant fill that’s designed to retain its dryness and loft for 100 minutes instead of six to seven minutes like regular down.

Roomy on the inside thanks to a wider cut than other comparable sleeping bags, the Inferno 0° allows sleepers to wear more layers should they require a greater degree of protection from the elements. Heat loss prevention elements such as a full-draft collar and integrated draft overlap ensure that body heat stays where it should when bundled up in the bag.

External surfaces on the hood, foot box, and back are constructed from a water-resistant Neovent Air fabric which helps to avoid water absorption in wet areas.

Noteworthy features of the Inferno 0° include a trapezoidal side baffle designed to mitigate movement of the down while you sleep, a center zipper for easier access, an internal gear pocket, hood cinch-cord , and a compression and storage sack for stowing both on and off of the trail. Combining the bag’s superior performance and materials makes justifying this bag as one of the best sleeping bags of 2017 easy.

Other great sleeping bags for cold weather: TETON LEEF 0°, TETON ALTOS 0°

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#2 Pick Western Mountaineering Summerlite Mummy 32F – Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Best sleeping bags - Western Mountaineering Summerlite Mummy 32F

Tough, ultralight, simple, and sure to keep you protected from the elements.

Price: $420 | Low Temp Rating: 32° F | Weight: 1 lb 3 oz | Material Durability Rating: A+ | Water Resistance: No

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING BAGS TOP PICK: High quality down from geese raised for breeding is all that Western Mountaineering uses, and that means excellent fill for all of the company’s bags. In addition to that, the Summerlite is the lightest bag they make – which makes it a perfect fit for weight conscience backpackers that want high-quality, ultralight gear.

Coming in at only 1lb 3oz, the Summerlite from Western Mountaineering is the lightest sleeping bag the company offers in which a continuous baffle construction is used. Insulated draft protection and a full-length zipper keep comfort levels in check when on the trail too.

Other excellent ultralight bags are available, ranging from 13.9 to 21.9oz, but we’ve found that the Summerlite “takes the cake” with respect to cost, warmth, weight, versatility, and comfort grading reports.

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#3 Pick Klymit KSB 20F – Best Budget Sleeping Bag

Best sleeping bag - Klymit KSB 20F

One phenomenal bag that’s well priced for the amount of protection and comfort it offers.

Price: $140 | Low Temp Rating: 20° F | Weight: 2 lb 12 oz | Material Durability Rating: A | Water Resistance: Yes

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING BAGS TOP PICK: It’s difficult to find a sleeping bag that’s both comfortable and affordable – not to mention reliable – but that’s exactly what Klymit has brought to consumers with the KSB 20° Down. An excellent product that won’t break the bank, and is sure to keep you sleeping like a baby on your next adventure.

Klymit is known for its unconventional approach to manufacturing high-quality, outdoor gear at competitive prices, and the KSB 20F is the perfect example of that. One of the best sleeping bags of 2017, it’s constructed from a lofty 650 down fill and is both comfortable and highly insulating for a reasonable price.

Heat loss is mitigated through the use of an incorporated draft collar, fat foot box, mummy hood, and flexible baffles around the core of the sleeping bag. In addition to a little extra loft in the foot box, a half-moon shape design helps to keep warmth in the bag, provide sleepers with a little extra foot room, and even can accommodate one of Klymit’s sleeping pads inside the bag itself.

In field testing, this bag surpassed expectations in comfort, durability, temperature rating, compression, and cost – We tested this bag in the Ozark Mountains on a three-day hike and it made us want to stay even longer. Low temps touvhed in the high 20s and with one base layer and a Kylmit V Sleeping Pad we felt nearly as cozy as we would have at home in our beds. The bag compresses down smaller than most others in its segment and we had no problem stuffing it in the lower section (sleeping bag compartment) of our packs.

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#4 Pick The North Face Blue Kazoo – Best Sleeping Bag for Camping

Best sleeping bags - The North Face Blue Kazoo

You’ll never go wrong with a Blue Kazoo – our top pick for the best camping sleeping bag of 2017.

Price: $203Low Temp Rating: 15° F | Weight: 2 lb 9 oz | Material Durability Rating: A+ | Water Resistance: Yes

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING BAGS TOP PICK: A classic sleeping bag that has protected three-season hikers and campers for generations.

It’s no wonder so many campers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiast go with The North Face when it comes to gear selection – they make some of the best outdoor gear on the planet, just ask someone that owns the Blue Kazoo. It’s a sleeping bag that’s been around for at decades and for good reason, its superior quality and reliability make a staple among some that frequent the great outdoors.

The bag’s over-sized hood and widely cut chest section make even large-bodied sleepers feel comfortable when all zipped up (and if you’re not Goliath you can easily turn over while in the bag). The foot area is roomy and comfortable too.

Rated to 15° F, we’ve found that with a quality sleeping pad and base layers you can comfortably rely on this rating – potentially even lower, although we haven’t tested this bag in temps under its rated limit. The compressibility of the bag may leave a little to be desired (9 x 17″ when in its compression sack), but when compared to other bags offer by The North Face, like the Cat’s Meow, we’ve found this one to be on the smaller side (no real complaints from our team of testers).

Other Great Sleeping Bags for Camping: Paria Mummy 15F, The North Face Campforter, The North Face Cat’s Meow

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#5 Pick Kelty Dualist 6 – Best Compact Sleeping Bag

Best sleeping bag - Kelty Dualist 6

The absolute best compact bag you can find.

Price: $144 | Low Temp Rating: 6° F | Weight: 4 lb 4 oz | Material Durability Rating: A+ | Water Resistance: Yes

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING BAGS TOP PICK: One of the absolute best sleeping bags for hikers that need fantastic protection in a small package. This synthetic jewel is an excellent choice!

The synthetic ThermaDri insulation used in the Kelty Dualist 6 sleeping bag is ideal for camping and hiking in cold and moist environments. Experienced hikers will tell you they know all too well how much it sucks to be stuck with wet down gear. In fact, if it’s really cold outside, having a wet down sleeping bag can be life threatening – leaving hikers with only one option, to keep hiking until their gear drys, or they’re in a warmer climate.

This bag’s water resistant, quick-drying material helps to solve the problem of wet down (wet down offers little to no protection from the elements). A super tough exterior polyester shell and lining deliver exceptional durability without compromising comfort and the bag’s ability to breathe.

The foot box and hood offer plenty of room to move around and stay cozy, and a full-length zipper is constructed with an antisnag binding tape making venting a breeze even in pitch black darkness.

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Key Factors to Consider

Temperature Rating

  • Temperature is the most important aspects of any sleeping bag
  • Make sure your bag is rated for your specific environment’s lowest possible temperature
  • Expect the cost of winter bags to be significantly more than summer, or three-season options

Materials

  • Synthetic materials will often cost less than down alternatives, but will typically weight more and offer less insulation value per pound than down
  • If exposed to water, untreated down will not maintain its insulating properties like synthetics
  • Water-resistant down is the more expensive, but more reliable when exposed to moisture
  • Higher fill (+750) is usually a better quality down which offers more loft than lower-grade down

Weight

  • One of the three most heaviest components in a backpacker’s pack (shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad), your sleeping bag should be picked carefully to ensure it’s ideal for your specific use. Having something that’s too heavy will quickly become a hassle on the trail
  • On the other hand, if you’re a casual camper weight may be the least important thing you consider when buying. Larger rectangular bags will probably be better suited for casual overnight stays

Key Best Sleeping Bags Features

Shell and Lining Material

  • Exterior materials should be thicker and more durable since they’ll likely be exposed to rougher surfaces than the inner lining.
  • Durable Water Repellent materials (DWR) are ideal for bags with untreated down fill, in which users expect moisture could be problematic.

Hood

  • Nearly everyone has heard that 40 to 45 percent of a person’s body heat is lost through the head, but that’s actually completely false. Body heat is lost evenly according to most medical studies on the subject. Regardless, it’s important that you keep all of your appendages warm in colder weather so an attached hood is ideal for those seeking more frigid environments.

Stash Pocket

  • We all love pockets. They help us organize our stuff, and we all love our stuff too. Stash pockets come in handy for those important bits of gear that you need to keep close to yourself when you sleep. Maybe it’s a phone, a GPS unit, a headlamp, or maybe it’s a note from your girlfriend in Barcelona
  • Keep in mind, an extra pocket (or any pocket) means extra weight. If you’re an ultralight enthusiast, you know you don’t need a pocket.

Sleeping Pad Sleeve

  • These work really well for people that tend toss and turn in their sleep. Not much else sucks more than having to get up in the woods at night and readjust your sleeping pad so you’re not lying on the ground

Pillow Pocket

  • If you need more than your extra sweater to cushion your head while you camp, a sleeping bag with an included pocket for a camping pillow might be right for you

Stuff Sack

  • A necessity for the backpacker, a stuff sack helps compress that bulky sleeping bag down to a smaller size for cramming in your backpack. We prefer stuff sacks that have compression straps.

Mistakes to Avoid

Unfortunately, we all are prone to making not so perfect decisions from time to time, and one of those decisions could be buying a sleeping bag that you really don’t need. Maybe it’s temperature rating isn’t ideal for you, or perhaps after buying you find that a rectangular bag is better suited for your particular sleeping needs. Rest assured, with a little research (and a helping hand from our review team) buying the right sleeping bag for your adventure doesn’t have to be difficult.

Some sleeping bags are offered in both a regular and long length option. If you’re taller than six feet, chances are you’ll need a bag that’s meant for it. Don’t make the mistake of buying a bag that’s too short, that’s a recipe for poor comfort for sure.

Always, always, always pay close attention to the temperature rating on the bag you’re considering. Having one of the best sleeping bags rated for 0° is great, but if you never camp in environments less than 30° you don’t need it. Buy something that’s perfect for the trip and you’ll stay happy on the trail.

What Else You Should Think About

Through bag testing and field research with experienced hikers, both weekend trekkers and thru-hikers, we’ve found that another critical factor to consider is bag volume when compressed. Some sleeping bags don’t compress well, and if you’re toting around a relatively small pack (say 45 liters), packing a large sleeping bag might present a challenge – especially if you can’t strap it outside of your pack. If you’re hiking for any extended period of time, we suggest making sure that your sleeping bag of choice packs well.

Don’t forget that sleeping pad! Our article on the best sleeping pads can help you pick the perfect sleeping bag companion from the litter. Without a pad you risk reducing your bags insulation value, and potentially damaging your bag on rough ground. If you’re on the hunt for a great tent, check out our article on the best backpacking tents – it should help. This article on the best tents of 2017 is a good resource too.

Looking for something that’s a little less serious and a little more fun? Check out our review of the shark sleeping bag, bear sleeping bag, and the tauntaun sleeping bag. These make epic children’s sleeping bags, conversation pieces, or some of the best sleeping bags for adults on the trail if you have an ineer geek that needs a fix – just make sure you pay attention to that temperture rating.

Our #1 top pick and Editor’s Best Choice for the best sleeping bags for cold weather is The North Face Inferno 0° Summit Series sleeping bag. It will keep you warm and dry in some of the most challenging environments, and it’s competitively priced to ensure your hard-earned money is spent wisely.

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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Projector Review

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Projector Review Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Until recently, there were two very distinct categories of projector: 4K, and everybody else. Sony had a firm grip on the ultra-elite market, producing just three projectors that could actually display at 4K for the cool price of $10,000 a pop (or more).

Now however, as technology always does, the price is finally starting to come down a bit for a new class of projector like the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB. This is a projector which features what the company refers to as “4K enhancement”, a form of upscaling that brings the quality up and the costs down for those who want a 4K home theater system but don’t have $10k laying around in spare change.

But how does 4K enhancement stand up to true 4K, and is it worth the extra cost? Read on in our Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB review to find out!

Overview

Price: $2999.00 on Amazon 
Available: Now
Model: 5040UB

Summary: The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB is one of the best looking projectors on the market today, one that gets you near-4K quality at a fraction of the cost of standard 4K projectors.

What We Liked

  • Spectacular image quality in all tests
  • Gaming performance was great
  • 4K quality was apparent at medium viewing distance

What We Didn’t

  • Big, bulky profile
  • No speakers
  • Expensive
  • Runs loud and hot

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Specs

61rmngherl-_sl1500_
Amazon Rating 4.5stars-new
Screen Size 50″ – 300″
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Lumens 2,500
Contrast Ratio 1,000,000:1
Refresh Rates 60Hz
3D Capable? green-check-mark
Display Technology 3-chip LCD
Short Throw? red-x-icon
HDMI Ports 1 2.2/MHL, 1 2.0
Onboard Speakers red-x-icon
Weight 24.3 lbs
Device Dimensions 17.7 x 20.5 x 6.7 inches
Price $2,999.00
Buy Now


Design

When I first reviewed the Epson 5040UB’s cousin, the Powerlite 1440, I noted how the projector’s (what I thought at the time) massive footprint may not fit on a shelf or coffee table comfortably without you having to move a few things around.

The 5040UB on the other hand may have you reorganizing your entire living room around its humongous 20.5″ x 17.7″ x 7.6″, 24lb frame. I haven’t met a projector mount to date that’s rated for 24lbs, and although I’m sure there are a few that could handle it, for the most part I would expect to be installing this monolith somewhere very central to your home theater layout as a whole. 

The actual design of the Epson isn’t too bad to look at, with rounded white edges and a small lens door that opens on its own when the projector is in use. The automatic whirring to life of the lens door gives the projector more of that cinematic, “curtains unfurling” kind of feel, which is a nice after touch considering how much you have to spend to get a ticket into this theater.

Hardware

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB

As big as this projector is, it keeps the port options to a minimum

The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD  projector uses 3-LCD chip technology to create its images at a maximum display resolution of 1920 x 1080 (with 4K upscaling and HDR), alongside a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and ANSI lumen rating of 2500, with the ability to show an image as large as small as 50″ or large as 300″ across from corner to corner, at a distance of 32 feet.

For such a beast of a projector, the PowerLite 5040UB is suspiciously low on available ports, with just 1 HDMI 2.2, 1 HDMI 1.4, 2 USB 2.0 slots, one mini-USB, and 1 LAN jack on the back.

User Interface and Settings

The users interface of the Epson 5040UB doesn’t deviate much from what we first saw on the PowerLite 1440, however I will say that I was sorely disappointed in the keystoning options we were given.

Unlike other projectors (such as the Optoma HD HD28DSE) include the choice of four-corner keystoning, which is far superior to the plain one-axis vertical keystoning on the 5040UB.

For such an expensive projector we would have assumed this feature was a must-have, but guess the lack of it might have something to do with the Pixel Shift technology that’s used to make the 4K enhancement work.

Testing and Performance

Brightness/Picture Quality

The Epson 5040UB uses what’s known as “pixel shift” technology to create what the company calls “4K enhancement” quality images, which uses a 1080p 3LCD chip and then shifts the number of pixels to approximate at 4K resolution.

Without getting too technical, essentially this means that while you can technically display at a resolution that looks similar to 4K, in reality it’s only got about half the pixels, or twice that of 1080p.

Epson PowerLite 5040

Whether it was a game or movie, the color reproduction on the 5040UB was superb

Regardless of what some 4K purists might say however, I personally thought the quality on the Epson 5040UB was well worth the price, producing some of the most luxuriously deep and nuanced colors we’ve seen on a projector to date.

One area where the projector could have worked a little harder was in the brightness department. Here, at a distance of 10ft in near-total darkness with the projector set to its own preset “Bright mode”, we recorded a rating of 1,131 lux in the middle of the image, with a variable rate of 900 – 1300 lux around the corners.

Gaming Performance

Just as good as movies like Zootopia looked on this projector, games like Ori and the Blind Forest looked even better.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB

Projector gaming performance at its finest

This is the game I like to use to test the color and responsiveness of any given device because aside from it being one of the most gorgeous titles to be released in the past ten years, it’s also highly dependent on quick response and reaction times to master its punishingly accurate movement system.

The 60Hz refresh rate, as usual, might rub a few hardcore PC gamers the wrong way, but if you’re running the Epson on a console you shouldn’t be able to notice any glaring issues whether you’re gaming online or off.

3D Performance

3D performance was just as eye-dazzling as what we saw in movies and games on the 2D side of things, however there was a more discernible difference in the pixel density when we put the glasses on.

This is likely again due to something in the way the 3LCD chip actually upscales the content it displays, but without knowing the technical details of how the pixels are actually being shifted, we can’t say for sure.

Noise and Heat

Being such a loud, proud machine, it’s no surprise that the 5040UB churned out some serious noise and heat during our various testing procedures.

To keep the pixel-shifted chip and lens cooled down, the fans had to run at around 43dB, just to keep the resting temperature of the projector at 128° F.

If you plan on running this projector without an air conditioner around, be ready to get hot under the collar during love movie watching or gaming sessions in an enclosed space.

Sound

When it comes to sound, I guess Epson assumed that if you can afford a $2,999 projector, you’ve probably got at least another $50 lying around to drop on a decent pair of additional speakers because there are none to “speak” of on this model.

If you want additional sound it will need to be external, so keep that in mind before dropping a few paychecks on this Epson.

Wrap Up

The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD produces beautiful 1080p images that look just about as close to 4K as they need to at this cost.

Look anywhere else (like on our Best 4K projectors of 2016 list), and you’ll see that a normal 4K chip will cost you, at a minimum, $10,000 to get in your home. At just over a quarter of the cost, the Epson projector is undoubtedly the best projector we at Gadget Review have used before…but it’s also the most expensive, so take all that praise with a slight grain of salt.

If you want to be the first person on your block to display 4K content at pictures sizes larger than 80″ across, the Epson is your best bet to make that happen now, without forking over the down payment on a house in order to do it.

Read More: Best Home Theater Projector for 2016

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How to Clean Stainless Steel Refrigerator

How to Clean Stainless Steel Refrigerator Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

If you have stainless steel refrigerator you know what a hassle it can be to keep it clean and glimmering.

In fact, just Googling “how to clean stainless steel refrigerator” turns up all sorts of Google searches related to the problem, like:

  • what do you clean a stainless steel refrigerator with
  • how to clean fingerprints off stainless steel refrigerator
  • how do you clean stainless steel refrigerator door
  • how to clean stainless steel appliances with baking soda

It’s clearly a common problem that many face – and there’s a ton online regarding the “right” method of cleaning and polishing stainless steel. We’re here to make the process as simple and painless as possible, and get that stainless steel refrigerator shining like new in no time.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Refrigerator and what are the products you will need.

So, what do you clean a stainless steel refrigerator with? Various cleaners are sold specifically for cleaning stainless steel, but you can use any common household cleaners to get the job done. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Dawn (or any dish soap)
  • Baby, Mineral, or Coconut Oil – Alternatively, you can use a stainless steel cleaner.
  • Cotton Towel (x2)

Note: The bottom to top cleaning method ensures that the cleaning solution is used maximally.

how to clean stainless steel refrigerator - Common Stainless Steel Cleaning Products

While stainless steel cleaners can be purchased, simple dish detergent can be used in conjunction with an oil (like baby oil) to get the same result

Pay Attention to the Grain

Stainless steel has “grain” lines similar to wood. Inspect your stainless surface closely and note the direction of the grain. This should be the direction in which you both clean and polish the surface.

Pay special attention to stainless handles and knobs as these most likely have different “grain” patterns from flat sheets like a door. “Grain” patterns are actually finishing patterns created by the forges that create these metals. Avoid using abrasive materials on your stainless steel refrigerator as this will most likely result in permanent damage to surfaces.

Clean Stainless Steel First!

Dirty Stainless Steel Refrigerator

This stainless steel refrigerator needs a good cleaning and polishing

Dish soap, like Dawn, can be diluted with water for a simple and effective cleaning solution. Nothing too precise is required here, just squeeze a small amount of dish detergent into a closed kitchen sink and dilute with water until you have a homogeneous mixture of soapy goodness. Use a cotton rag, or sponge, to soak up some of your cleaning solution and then proceed to wipe the stainless surface down from bottom to top.

Wipe the surface with a dry towel after you’re done with this step.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners like bleach as these will stain and damage a stainless steel refrigerator. Avoid using sprays, or solutions, that contain bleach too. Even dirty water and cleaning solutions not meant for stainless steel refrigerators can stain and damage surfaces so be very cautious when selecting cleaning materials prior to your first time cleaning.

Polish

Clean Stainless Steel Refrigerator

See the difference between the close and far sides of this side-by-side refrigerator after cleaning?

Once you’ve removed any stains, grime, and dirt from the surface it’s time to begin polishing your stainless-steel appliance.

Apply a very small amount of oil (about the size of a dime per refrigerator door area) to a dry cotton towel, or microfiber cloth. In sections, rub the oil into the grain of the stainless steel, working your way from bottom to top once again. Ensure moderate pressure is used when rubbing oil into the steel. Continue to buff the surface until it feels just a little smoother than the rest of the untreated sections – usually this will take a few minutes per section if you want it done right.

If you aren’t satisified with the luster after buffing with oil, a trick that many professional cleaners will use is to treat the surface again with a fine layer of flour. Yep, common cooking flour. Take a very fine coating and cover the entire surface. Then, buff again as you did with the oil, rubbing into the grain for a few minutes. Wipe away any excess flour and you should be left with a lustrous shine worth showing off to guests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBXCLxCdEi

*Video Note: Stainless-steel will not oxidize for a very long time – not something you should be concerned with.

If you’re using a stainless-steel cleaner instead, work the cleaner into the metal using the same method, go with the grain, not against it. We recommend Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner to get the best results.

Other Considerations

Some homeowners prefer using white, or apple cider, vinegar to clean stainless steel appliances as these products don’t release as many volatile organic compounds  as store bought stainless cleaners. If you’re cleaning with an aerosol product, it’s important to adhere to manufacturer warnings and proper use directions to ensure you stay safe while using the product. You might also want to consider the use of an indoor air purifier to keep your home’s air quality at its highest level while you clean.

Additionally, if you’re truly after that professional-grade shine – consider using a commercial-grade stainless steel refrigerator polish coupled with an electric buffer. These can be purchased online, here’s a favorite of ours, and used to buff a stainless steel surface to a high-grade sparkle relatively quickly. Scratches can be buffed away using this method too. If you’re using an automatic buffer, be sure that you buff the entire area and not just segments as an inconsistency in shine will be noticeable. Don’t forget to clean that surface first though!

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Best Sleeping Pad

Best Sleeping Pad Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

While a portable Sleep Number mattress isn’t an option (yet), a best sleeping pad offered by an outdoor specialty manufacturers can ensure a sound night’s rest on the trail without needing to count sheep. Don’t make the mistake of packing the wrong sleeping pad for your next wilderness adventure – Nothing blows harder than hiking fifteen miles, setting up camp, and laying down only to discover your pad isn’t going to cut it. Follow our guide below for a little help picking out the perfect sleeping pad for your next excursion.

For those in a hurry, our #1 top pick and Editor’s Choice for the best sleeping pad is the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol ($35-45). Its unique dimple design makes it a comfortable choice, it’s lightweight, and its level of insulation exceeds expectations for a pad that weighs only fourteen ounces and costs under $50 USD.

Best Sleeping Pad

  Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol REI AirRail 1.5 Exped SynMat Hyperlite Klymit Static V2 Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol REI AirRail 1.5 Exped SynMat Hyperlite Klymit Static V2 Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
Rank #1 – Editor’s Choice/Best Backpacking Sleeping Pad #2 – Best Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad #3 – Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad #4 – Best Camping Sleeping Pad #5 – Best Sleeping Pad for Side Sleepers
Consumer Rating 4andhalf-stars 4stars-new 4stars-new 4andhalf-stars 4stars-new
Weight 14 oz 26 oz 14.6 oz 16.3 oz 16 oz
R-Value 2.6 4.2 3.3 1.3 3.2
Price $44 $90 134 $60 $160


How We Choose the Best Sleeping Pad

Like any other gear, sleeping pads should be carefully selected based on your unique hiking and/or camping conditions. Each of our top picks have been selected for application-specific properties. If you’re planning on camping overnight in extreme winter conditions, a pad’s R-value (its thermal resistance rating), should be a primary performance indicator that you consider. On the other hand, if you’re camping on the beach in July, comfort and cost may be the only two aspects you’re interested in. We weighed these properties in each top category below, with the most significant taking priority.

Some designs compliment human anatomy more so than others. Things like a tapered cut, side baffle inclusion, air compartment distribution, and foam cell construction all play in how well a sleeping pad supports someone while they sleep. Design elements like these also function to extend the usable life of pads through careful consideration of functionality and potential stress via use.

Insulating materials are rated for thermal resistance using a numerical value referred to as the R-value. This is used to classify the ability of an insulating material, in this case a sleeping pad, to withstand changes to an external environment’s temperature variations. Sleeping pads with higher R-values will generally keep campers warmer than those with lower values (i.e. 2.3 is better than 1.5). Performance testing to determine an R-value is done in a controlled, 70° Fahrenheit environment without airflow across the surface of the pads being examined. Because of this testing standard, R-values should be considered carefully based on trial and error. If you’re comparing similar pads (for instance, both foam dimple designs with equivalent thicknesses), then the corresponding R-values can be used to measure relative thermal protection reliably. If, however, you’re comparing an air pad to a foam pad with similar R-values, the best way to arrive at a definitive conclusion is to use both pads in the field.

For our ultralight top pick, weight was obviously a more important factor than other design and performance aspects. Weight, as it should be, was considered based on intended application; family, overnight campers aren’t going to value a one pound weight reduction as much as ultralight, cross-country hikers.

Other comparable pads’ costs were evaluated to determine if the cost alone was enough to keep them competitive. From our study, general use pads typically cost between $20 and $40 USD. Sleeping pads with significant R-values (5, or higher) can range between $110 and $250. And true ultralight pads (weighing less than 1 lb) start around $130 USD.

There are three primary types of sleeping pads: manually-inflated, self-inflating, and closed-cell foam pads. Manually-inflating and self-inflating pads are often preferred over foam pads because foam is rigid, bulky, and firmness can’t be adjusted like it can be with an inflatable variant. Backpackers, campers, car campers, and everyone in-between that prefer a highly-compressible pad (something that can easily be stowed away in a backpack) will typically opt for an air pad. For our review, construction type was considered in relation to application just like our other sleeping pad variables. As with everything else, your unique situation should be evaluated carefully when selecting one of the best sleeping pads for your next outdoor adventure.

Note: All of our top pick prices, weights, and packed sizes reflect those for regularly-sized sleeping pads.

Why You Should Buy One of the Best Sleeping Pads

No matter what you’re planning on your next trip, it’s important that you go prepared. Even a well constructed, lofty sleeping bag isn’t going to keep you warm if you’re using it on the ground; Down fill (or synthetic) within a sleeping bag compresses when you lay on it, reducing the ability for warm air to become trapped inside. If you’re sleeping on the ground with only a sleeping bag, you’re going to lose body heat. A sleeping pad ensures that you’re insulated from the ground.

In colder temperatures, having another layer of insulation between you and the ground (or air if you’re a hammock camper) can mean the difference between life and death (in extreme cases). It’s important that you plan accordingly for the environment you’ll be spending time in. Cold weather backpacking can be a lot of fun, but if you’re unprepared you’re going to have a bad time.

Many newer sleeping pads are engineered with higher-grade insulating materials, reflective components for radiating body heat back toward a sleeper, tougher materials which better resist sharp rocks and twigs, and often are lighter weight than older sleeping pads.

#1 Pick Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol – Editor’s Choice/Best Backpacking Sleeping Pad

Best Sleeping Pad - Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol

A no-brainer for the classic adventurer

Price: $44 | Packed Size: 20 x 5 x 5.5″ | Weight: 14 oz | R-value: 2.6

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING PAD TOP PICK: Super lightweight, worry free closed-cell foam construction, and a staple among outback trekkers, the Z Lite and Z Lite Sol are some of the best backpacking sleeping pads on the market.

The Therm-a-Rest brand is manufactured by Cascade Designs and is known among outdoor enthusiasts for its ultralight, trekking, travel, and camping sleeping pads. The brand’s website actually has a nice sleeping pad selection tool that steps consumers through their needs to determine the best fit for each adventure.

Ideal for backpackers, thru-hikers, and mountaineers, the Z Lite Sol is the brand’s improved design on the already great Z Lite mattress. Both are some of the lightest, compact, closed-cell sleeping pads on the market. They conveniently fold into an accordion-style shape for easy, external stowage on a pack, and the dimple design helps to retain heat from a sleepers body. The Z Lite Sol sets itself apart from the original in that it also has a reflective coating, ThermaCapture, which helps to capture radiant heat (Therm-a-Rest claims this increases overall warmth over the original model by almost 20%).

Closed-cell foam used in the construction of this pad is designed to be softer on the top and firmer on the bottom so that sleepers benefit from a surface that gives just a little more to their unique physique.

View on Amazon

#2 Pick REI AirRail 1.5 – Best Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

Best Sleeping Pad - REI AirRail 1.5

Air rails help sleepers stay secure and warm on the trail

Price: $90 | Packed Size: 9 x 6.5″ | Weight: 26 oz | R-value: 4.2

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING PAD TOP PICK: A self-inflating dream come true, REI’s AirRail 1.5 is the perfect sleeping pad for campers looking for a lightweight alternative in which comfort doesn’t have to be sacrificed.

REI’s AirRail 1.5 Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad offers backpackers a low-weight pad with superior comfort. It’s a hybrid design combining an insulated foam filler with internal air compartments and side baffles. The air compartment firmness can be adjusted manually by filling the pad with more air through the inlet/outlet valve. Side baffles help to insulate a sleeper’s sides while also mitigating the possibility of rolling of the pad during a night’s sleep.

Quick-closing, high-flow valves ensure that inflation and deflation takes less time than comparable pads. The pad is constructed of a durable 75-denier polyester top and bottom, all seams are welded, and the top of the pad is embossed with a nonslip surface.

All in all, REI’s AirRail 1.5 made our list as  the best sleeping pad of the self-inflating variety due to its reliability and great combination of features which hikers often look for in a pad.

 

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#3 Pick Exped SynMat Hyperlite – Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad

Best backpacking sleeping pad - Exped SynMat Hyperlite

An outstanding design that keeps adventurers warm and cozy all night long

Price: $134 | Packed Size: 9 x 5.25″ | Weight: 14.6 oz | R-value: 3.3

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING PAD TOP PICK: The Exped SynMat Hyperlite is so lightweight you’ll forget you packed it, and it can be compressed to a near pocket-sized volume.

Exped’s SynMat Hyperlite delivers comfort on the level of an at-home mattress to the outdoors and minimizes the amount of weight you’ll need while trekking in to the outback.

Unique baffles that run the length of the pad create a support structure that gives to a sleepers body contours, helping develop a comfortable surface every time – even against uneven terrain. Welded seams ensure an airtight construction and mitigate the risk of a pad failure.

A lofted, microfiber insulation is engineered in a way that allows this sleeping pad to retain heat and function flawlessly even in colder environments – this is a 4-season pad.

Exped’s “FlatValve” design facilitates high airflow in and out of the pad and reduces the probability of tearing around the valve-to-pad interface which effectively increases the expected life of this mat.

A stuff sack and tear/puncture kit are included with this mat for extra measure, comfort, and convenience.

 

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#4 Pick Klymit Static V2 – Best Camping Sleeping Pad

Best backpacking sleeping pad - Klymit Static V2

A home run for comfort and compressibility

Price: $60 | Packed Size: 8 x 3″ | Weight: 16.33 oz | R-value: 1.3

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING PAD TOP PICK: Klymit hit the nail on the head with this sleeping pad. It delivers an excellent combination of comfort and compressibility for its cost.

Exceptional comfort and only one pound of weight, the Static V2 from Klymit hit the mark when it comes to performance, cost, and design. Ideal for back country hikers, campers, and even casual use, the V2 has a “body-mapped” ergonomic design on an over-sized sleeping area for maximum comfort.

Side rail cushion compartments help to cradle sleepers for a better nights sleep and added security from rolling off of the pad during the night. The segmented air compartment inside of the pad helps to reduce air movement when on the sleeping pad, and also mitigates air loss in the event of a puncture. A twist-pull valve allows for inflation in as little as ten breaths, and deflates with ease. The valve also locks closed to prevent inadvertent opening while sleeping.

30-denier polyester on the top and 75-denier polyester on the bottom help improve comfort and durability. The pad comes with a patch kit, storage bag, and is treated with an anti-microbial laminate to prevent bacterial growth in and out of the pad.

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#5 Pick Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad – Best Sleeping Pad for Side Sleepers

Best sleeping pad - Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite

An unbeatable sleeping pad that’s reliable and effective for most adventures

Price: $160 | Packed Size: 9 x 4″ | Weight: 16 oz | R-value: 3.2

WHY IT’S A BEST SLEEPING PAD TOP PICK: Best-in-class comfort, compression, and insulation, the NeoAir XLite is a phenomenal sleeping pad for both side, back , and stomach sleepers alike.

Ideal for hikers, thru-hikers, and back country minimalists, Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad is an excellent product that delivers a high level of comfort, a solid R-value for keeping sleepers warm, and a low-weight option for those that value every ounce.

A specially made reflective layer helps to reduce heat loss and trap body heat in air pockets without adding too much bulk to the overall design. The NeoAir XLite uses advanced fabrics and a tapered design to keep the warmth-to-weight ratio as ideal as possible.

The pad can be a bit noisy, but the combination of comfort and weight at this price point is difficult to beat.

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Key Sleeping Pad Factors

Trip Specific 

  • Picking the right pad for the job is the most important factor when navigating the hundreds of options available to consumers.
  • Foam pads may not be ideal for an ultralight backpacker. Keep function in mind first and foremost.

Size

  • If packability is a crucial component of your essential gear then a highly-compressible air pad may be a better choice than a foam pad.
  • Consider how you’ll carry your pad, and then eliminate the ones that don’t match your criteria.

Weight

  • Ultralight fanatic? Even if you aren’t, backpackers know how important pack weight is.
  • Your sleeping pad is one of three main weight and volume contributors in a pack (tent/hammock, sleeping bag, sleeping pad) and should be selected carefully to ensure your gear is technically ready for its specific use.

Best Sleeping Pad Features

Self-Inflating

  • Self-inflating sleeping bags have an open-cell foam layer internal to the outer polypropylene (or similar synthetic) layer. Once the air valve is opened, the foam layer expands and pulls air into the bag. Additional air can be blown into the bag to adjust the firmness of the mattress.

R-Value

  • A sleeping pad’s R-value is a measure of how well a pad can resist heat conductivity. The higher the value, the better a pad’s ability to insulate you.
  • R-values range from 1 (minimum insulation) all the way to 9.5 (extremely well insulated). As with all other features, consider every aspect of a pad before making a final decision.

Baffles

  • Some sleeping pads have side baffles meant to keep you snugly on the pad while sleeping (they’re also quite nice in hammock tents). Other pads have integrated pillow baffles.
  • From a purely functional perspective, these features do little to add value to a pad – but personal preferences vary greatly. These are options  if you fancy them.

Inflation Methodology

  • Valve types and air chambers vary greatly between inflating air pads. Notable features include fast-filling (or high-volume) inflation and deflation valves which allow for a fast setup, or breakdown, often only requiring a few large breaths.
  • Multiple air chambers have the added benefit of ensuring a pad retains most of its air in the event of a puncture, as well as reducing heat loss via compartmentalization.

Pad Textures

  • Another common feature to look for is pad texturing meant to keep sleepers more comfortable, but also helping maintain the position of the pad while moving around throughout the night. Textures vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but are typically coarse and applied to pads with an adhesive.
  • Some non-slip coatings can make re-packing your deflated pad a bit more difficult. We recommend floading up the pad in such a way so that the non-clip coating is contained within folds before rolling up and storing in a stuff sack.

Packed Size

  • Dependent on your particular needs, sleeping pads are available in a wide variety of packed sizes and can accommodate even the strictest ultralight hiker.
  • Typically packed size is relative to pad weight (the heavier the pad, the larger the packed size)
  • Foam pads are rigid and usually need to be strapped to the outside of a pack for trekking
  • Our top air pad picks all compress to a volumetric space of approximately 215 cubic inches, or about the size of an MSR camping cookset.

Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for the Best Sleeping Pad

We really can’t emphasize just how important it is that you pick a pad designed for your intended use. Always check weather reports if you’re planning on spending any time exposed to the elements while your hiking, or camping, and ensure that your gear can collectively protect you from the lowest possible temperature. Both air pads and foam pads can effectively help to insulate you from external temps and reduce the amount of body heat lost through a night in the wild.

If you’re packing an air mattress, ensure you’re equipped to handle a tear, or rip. Most air pads will come with an include patch kit, but if your doesn’t you can buy these online, or from a local outdoor retailer for a few bucks. Nothing sucks more than having to sleep on a cold, hard surface because you’ve accidentally puncture your bed.

Regular, short, wide, and everything in-between. Make sure you check pad measurements in relation to your individual needs. Most pads come in a variety of sizes to accommodate men and women of both the large and small variety.

What Else You Should Think About

Having one of the best sleeping pads is just one facet of the overall equation. Another thing to consider is if you’re well-equipped when it comes to a backpacking backpack. Check out of list of the best backpacking backpacks to see how yours measures up, or to shop for one of the year’s best. Have light for the trip? Consider reading our review of the best hiking headlamps of 2017.

As with any outdoor adventure, remember to leave with what you bring in. Leave no trace, and stay safe. Hiking in the wilderness can be very rewarding and exciting, but you should take care to ensure you’re prepared for the worst each and every time. Let family and friends know where you’re going, take the right GPS unit and physical maps with you, and plan based on the environment and seasonal climate.

Our top pick and Editor’s Choice for the best backpacking sleeping pad is the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol. It’s lightweight, durable, and its R-value relative to its construction properties is a good value for nearly every budget.

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