2013 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Home

Gifts like these might not be the most romantic if you’re buying for your wife or girlfriend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find cool stuff that will put a smile on their face. Products for the home can be just as desirable if you focus on items with great design or that make someone’s life a lot easier, and if you stick to those simple guidelines, you’ll make whoever is on the receiving end very happy.

Click on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Dyson AM05 Hot + Cool Fan

When it comes to vacuums, you can’t do much better than Dyson, and apparently, the same is true with their bladeless fans as well. The new Dyson AM05 Hot + Cool Fan will keep you toasty during the winter months and cool in the summer. We won’t bore you with the specifics of its Air Multiplier technology, other than to say that it works as advertised. All you need to do is select your target temperature – from 33˚F to 99˚F – and the machine’s intelligent thermostat keeps it there. Unlike other space heaters, however, the AM05 doesn’t waste energy by constantly turning on and off, efficiently heating the room quickly and evenly so you can sleep in peace. And if the machine happens to tip over, the power cuts out automatically, making it much safer than other models. Additionally, oscillation, airflow and temperature can be controlled using a remote control (magnetized for easy storage on top of the fan), and the machine can be tilted upwards and downwards by 10 degrees to help direct the airflow. Like most Dyson products, it’s a little pricey, but you pay more for that kind of quality.

Edge of Belgravia Ceramic Knives

We’re always on the lookout for cool, unique additions to the kitchen, and these stylish knives from Edge of Belgravia certainly fit the bill. Part of an exclusive limited edition of 1400, they’re just as much cutting edge chef knives as they are pieces of art. The ceramic blades are made of zirconium oxide, forged under 300 tons of pressure and 1400˚C, rendering them almost as hard as diamond. As a result, the blades remain sharp for years without the need for sharpening. They’re also incredibly lightweight and won’t rust or discolor over time. Edge of Belgravia’s ceramic range is offered individually or in a five-piece set that includes a slicer, chef’s knife, santoku, utility knife and paring knife. The matte rubberized handles are extremely comfortable, while the blades themselves are superb in action. However, because of the brittle nature of the ceramic blades, they need to be treated with care. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be a Top Chef, but you should at least have a respect for the art of cooking in order to get the most out of these awesome knives.

Keurig Vue V700 Brewing System

When it comes to single serve brewing machines, Keurig is king, which is why it was a little surprising that the company decided to introduce a whole new line of brewers last year; one that utilizes a different delivery method (called Vue packs) in place of the popular K-Cups. But after testing out the new Keurig Vue V700, we can understand why they made the change, because it’s a vast improvement on the last generation of brewers. Featuring new Custom Brew Technology that adjusts water pressure, timing and airflow, as well as the ability to select brew strength and temperature on the V700’s fully programmable color touchscreen, your drink of choice is brewed to perfection. And in addition to the previous brewing options (hot/iced coffee, hot/iced tea and hot chocolate), you can also now make frothy café beverages like lattes. It only takes about a minute to brew and accommodates eight different sizes, ranging from a 4 oz. coffee cup to an 18 oz. travel mug. Though there aren’t as many varieties of Vue packs compared to the massive K-Cup line, we fully expect the selection to continue to grow over the next year or so.

Cuisinart Single Serve Brewing System

For those that have already invested too heavily in K-Cups, or just like the larger variety of brands and flavors available, we’d recommend Cuisinart’s Keurig-approved brewing system. It’s not as fancy as the Vue V700, but it’s a solid brewer with some cool features, including a fully programmable blue backlit LCD with a digital clock, auto on/off timer and adjustable temperature option. It also has a removable 80 oz. water reservoir that eliminates the need for frequent refills, and a one-touch hot water button for making tea and hot chocolate or rinsing out the brew chamber. The machine even comes in three different finishes (black, silver and a higher-end chrome) to personalize your kitchen, although they’re all pretty sharp. Though it’s a little expensive compared to Keurig’s units, Cuisinart’s single serve brewing system comes with a My K-Cup reusable coffee filter (for using your own coffee grounds) and a charcoal water filter, which more than justifies the price.

Char-Broil Performance Tru-Infared 2-Burner Grill

For some people, grilling season takes place year-round, but even for those who spend their winters shoveling snow from their driveways, it’s as good a time as any to start preparing for your next cookout, and the Char-Broil Performance Tru-Infrared series (available online and at retail stores like ACE Hardware) offers excellent gas grills without breaking the bank. The 2-burner model is perfect for people who want the benefits of Char-Broil’s bigger grills on a smaller scale. It offers 340 sq. inches of stainless steel primary cooking grates and a 125 sq. inch porcelain-coated secondary wire rack with 21,000 BTU stainless steel burners that can be adjusted from 200 to 700 degrees. There are also two easy fold-out shelves that add more space when you need it. The Surefire ignition has an electronic spark at each burner for a reliable start every time, and you can switch from propane to natural gas with an optional conversion kit. The coolest thing about the Tru-Infared series, however, is the patented infared cooking system, which not only cooks your food faster while using less gas, but also distributes heat more evenly and prevents flare-ups. It’s the kind of features that most gas grills should have, but don’t.

Dyson DC50 Vacuum

We’ve covered several Dyson vacuums in the past, and although their steep price tags have always been a point of contention for some, we still believe that it’s worth every dollar for one of the best vacuums on the market. The DC50 is not only the company’s lightest upright vacuum to date, but the first to include a carbon fiber brush bar that helps remove fine dust on hard floors. Boasting Dyson’s trademark Ball technology, the DC50 is incredibly easy to maneuver, and it’s more powerful than past models thanks to the new two-tier radial cyclones under the hood, which work in parallel to generate a high centrifugal airflow that captures microscopic dust like mold, spores and bacteria. The tangle-free turbine tool features counter-rotating brush heads to remove dirt and hair without the mess, while the quick release wand makes cleaning stairs a breeze. The DC50 doesn’t feel as solid as other Dysons, but it’s yet another high-quality vacuum that’s worth the investment provided you’re not on a tight budget.

Moneual Rydis Hybrid Robot Vacuum Cleaner

If you’re buying for someone that can’t push a traditional vacuum or simply doesn’t have the time to clean as often as they’d like, the Moneual Rydis is a worthy alternative. Robot vacuum technology has come a long way since the early days of the Roomba, and this hybrid cleaner rivals the iconic product, right down to its disc-like design. The Rydis features a powerful BLDL motor that provides superior suction power, twin side brushes that pick up dust from corners, a detachable microfiber mop for tile or hardwood floors, and a multi-layered filter to trap mold, ticks and most allergens. As you might expect, it’s also jam-packed with technology, including a Smart Sensor that prevents the Rydis from colliding into walls and other obstacles, a Shadow Mode that detects low light areas (like underneath and behind furniture) to ensure a more concentrated vacuuming, and five different cleaning modes. It won’t work as well for those who live in small apartments or have cluttered rooms due to the oversensitive Smart Sensor, and we can’t imagine how pets might react considering how scared they are of regular vacuums, but the Moneual Rydis is a great gift for the right person.

Porter-Cable V20 MAX Linked System Power Tools

Whether you’re home improvement novice or DIY expert, everyone needs a good set of tools around the house, and Porter-Cable’s 20V MAX Linked System power tools are an excellent, high-performance cordless line that ingeniously utilizes an interchangeable lithium battery that can be used in any of their products. We were sent the 2-Tool Lithium Combo Kit (which includes a ½-inch drill/driver and ¼-inch impact driver) to test out, and we could immediately see why Porter-Cable has been around for as long as they have. Both drills have a nice weight to them, are incredibly durable and perform to the high standards of the brand’s reputation. The variable speed triggers let you control the power beyond the usual “low,” “medium” and “high” settings, while features like the battery fuel gauge and integrated LED light are nice additions. Porter-Cable also recently expanded their 20V MAX line to include a reciprocating tiger saw, 6 ½-inch circular saw, oscillating tool, cut-off tool, jigsaw and pivoting flashlight, giving you plenty of gift ideas for many years to come.

Husqvarna AWD Walk Mower

It’s never too early to start thinking about spring, but with the sunshine and warm weather comes the perennial task of yard work, and while no one enjoys doing it, Husqvarna’s new all-wheel drive mower sure makes it a lot easier. This thing is like the Jeep of lawnmowers – designed to provide balance and power on hilly, uneven terrain and other tough mowing conditions. Of course, it’s a great product no matter what kind of lawn you have, and that quality becomes evident just upon taking it out of the box. Featuring a powerful 190cc Honda engine that takes most of the work out of pushing, Husqvarna’s AWD model also features the option to adjust mowing speeds according to your specific needs and a 3-in-1 cutting system for bagging, mulching or side discharging trimmings. It’s also loaded with additional features like a side bumper that doubles as a grass comb, premium wheels with rugged tread tires that won’t tear up your lawn, and a water hose connector for easy cleaning of the deck. In other words, for people who really care about their yards, accept no substitutes.

KRUPS Convection Toaster Oven

Whether you’re an expert in the kitchen or prepare most of your meals in a microwave, it’s hard to go wrong with a convection oven, especially for those trying to lower their utility bills, because they use a lot less energy than a traditional oven. The new 6-slice toaster oven from KRUPS is an excellent addition to any kitchen, featuring two sets of quartz heating elements (above and below) that heat food faster and more evenly. The stainless steel reflective crumb tray also helps direct heat to all corners of the oven for optimal results. There are six presets for one-step cooking (like pizza, bagels, etc.), as well as options to bake, broil, reheat, defrost and toast. Additionally, the illuminated LCD control panel lets you to select your temperature and set a timer, and when it’s not in use, it doubles as a clock. The non-stick interior surface is durable and easy to clean, and the oven has a large enough capacity for a medium-sized Pyrex dish without taking up too much counter space, which is important for apartment dwellers.