2015 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 the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

iDevices Thermostat & Switch

Transforming your house into a smart home has never been easier with these new products from iDevices, which work in conjunction with the free iDevices Connected app to allow users to control, monitor and schedule their thermostat and other electronics from any compatible iOS device. While Nest may own a large share of the market with its smart thermostat, the iDevices version is a great alternative for nearly half the price. It features a sleek, minimalistic design and gives you the ability to change the temperature wherever you are, set schedules for different times and days of the week, and even create “Scenes” (like “Going to Bed”) that can be activated with Siri voice commands. The real game-changer, however, is the iDevices Switch, which controls any product (15 amps or less) that you would plug into a standard wall outlet and includes a customizable LED night light that can be turned on or off separately. Better yet, when paired with a Thermostat or multiple Switches in certain rooms or “Zones” (like upstairs or downstairs), it delivers the smart home experience that all those science fiction movies promised us. Just don’t expect it to make you breakfast as well. You can also find these devices at Lowe’s.


Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 740HD Projector

The traditional moviegoing experience has gotten so bad that more and more people have decided to stay away from theaters altogether by creating one of their own inside their homes, and with the PowerLite Home Cinema 740HD projector from Epson, it couldn’t be any easier. In addition to featuring widescreen, high-definition 720p resolution, the Home Cinema 740HD offers up to 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio for rich details in dark scenes and boasts three times brighter colors than leading competitors thanks to its three-chip LCD technology. This results in a viewing experience that’s much closer to a typical theater chain, even if it can’t replicate it exactly. The projector itself is fairly lightweight and compact, so you can take it to your friend’s house or stage a movie night in your backyard, and along with HDMI connectivity for Blu-ray/DVD players and gaming consoles, there’s a USB port that can be used for the latest plug-and-play streaming sticks from Amazon and Roku, as well as a built-in speaker. For home theater junkies looking to upgrade their current setup, the Home Cinema 740HD is a great alternative to buying one of those massive TVs, and at a fraction of the price.

NETGEAR Arlo HD Security Camera

Outfitting your home with a video security system doesn’t have to be a pain in the butt with this relatively affordable and easy-to-manage HD camera that ensures your family and belongings remain safe. It’s 100% wire-free, weatherproof and uses a magnetic mount that can be installed just about anywhere inside or outside the house to fully utilize the camera’s 130-degree range of view. The high-definition 720p video looks great during the daytime, and thanks to the included night vision feature, there’s almost no reduction in picture quality in the dark. To help save on battery power, the Arlo also features motion sensors that will only turn the camera on when it detects movement, and you can set motion alerts to send push notifications and emails so you always know what’s going on at home. The accompanying iOS and Android app even allows to you to view live streaming video and review recent activity using the 1GB of free cloud storage. The only downsides are the lack of audio and the fact that you can burn through batteries really fast depending on use, but those are easy to overlook for the value that you’re getting compared to other home monitoring systems.


Fizzics Beer System

If James Bond was a beer connoisseur, there’s no doubt his arsenal would have included the Fizzics draft machine. Promising a perfect draft experience in the comfort of your own home, Fizzics delivers. Compatible with just about any beer container you can imagine, (cans, bottles and even growlers) this innovative gadget turns any store bought brew into a bar-quality draft pour. And shockingly enough, it does so with no CO2 cartridges of any kind. Thanks to science, this level of beer perfection is harnessed via high frequency sound waves and oscillation. But no physics degree is required, because the device is incredibly easy to use. Pop the lid, insert your beer, pull the tap and enjoy your brew. Of course, no 007 gadget would be complete without a few surprises. Not only can you customize the amount of head in your glass with the patent pending lever system, but it’s even insulated to keep the beer inside nice and cold. Simple to assemble, simple to operate, simple to clean… even Q would be impressed.

Dyson V6 Absolute Cordless Vacuum

Dyson never stops innovating, constantly improving upon their award-winning line of products to make them even better, and that’s certainly true of Dyson’s V6 Absolute cordless vacuum. Combining the best of the Motorhead and Fluffy cordless models, the newest addition to the Dyson family includes the former’s direct-drive cleaner head, which drives bristles deeper into carpet to remove ground-in dirt, as well as the latter’s soft roller cleaner head, which removes large debris and fine dust simultaneously. It’s basically like getting two vacuums for the price of one, powered by the excellent V6 digital motor and featuring HEPA Filtration that captures allergens and expels cleaner air. The V6 Absolute also contains all of the features that have become standard in Dyson’s cordless line, including the ability to convert to a handheld vacuum for quick clean-ups, a convenient docking station for storing and charging, and extra tools to help remove dirt and dust from hard-to-reach places. Though it won’t replace the company’s upright models, the Dyson V6 Absolute is great for small jobs around the house or when you need something a bit more mobile.

Dyson AM10 Humidifier

Humidifiers are an essential part of the winter season for a lot of people, but did you know that some ultrasonic humidifiers can emit over 280 counts of bacteria within minutes of turning on the machine? Or that others evaporate water directly from a wet wick and can harbor bacteria? Quite frankly, that’s just gross, which is why we love that Dyson’s AM10 humidifier utilizes Ultraviolet Cleanse technology that kills 99.9% of bacteria in the water by exposing it to UV light before hygienic mist and hydrated air is projected into the room. That’s not the only thing it has going for it, either. Dyson’s patented Air Multiplier technology generates long-range projection to distribute hydrated air evenly, so that everyone in the room is breathing the same quality air, while the Intelligent Climate Control system measures both the temperature and the moisture in the air to select the best humidity setting. The AM10 is also incredibly quiet, includes a built-in sleep timer for automatic shutoff, and can even be used in the summertime as a high-velocity cooling fan. That’s what you call getting more bang for your buck.

Nostalgia Electrics Half-Barrel Stainless Steel Freestanding Kegerator

Everyone likes free-flowing beer, right? Well, most people we know would appreciate it, and with this awesome Kegerator, you can enjoy beer on demand whenever you like. It holds up to two 1/6 barrel kegs, one 1/4 barrel short keg, one 1/4 barrel slim keg or one 1/2 barrel keg. The unit has 6 cubic feet of interior space and it can be used as a standard refrigerator as well. The unit also includes two American Sankey “D” double tap systems, double meter regulator and 2.5-lb Co2 tank, along with a 13” chrome beer tower and guardrail with removable stainless steel drip tray. It’s obviously a perfect addition to any man cave or garage and for those hot summer nights when you never want to run out of beer.

Weber Stainless Steel Barbecue Tool Set

Most people love to grill, so most people on your gift list will appreciate this cool two-piece stainless steel grilling tool set. Both the spatula and tongs are very large and beautifully designed. The hands-free locking mechanism on the tongs allow you to easily lock and unlock them with minimal effort. They also have precision control to allow for the pickup of smaller foods, while the strong handles support the heavier items you need to take off the grill. Both feature comfort grip handles as well and the tool set is dishwasher safe. Every backyard chef can look like a pro using these tools, though they won’t help you learn how long to cook the steaks!

Black + Decker Auto Pivot Vac

Here’s a great gift for anyone who likes to keep the interior of their car clean, or someone who needs to start cleaning their car more often! The Black & Decker Pivot Vac is compact and lightweight, with an extendable crevice for easy cleaning even in small areas. Its pivoting nose rotates 200 degrees to clean awkward spaces in a variety of angles. It also has a power cord with a 12V adapter that fits into your car’s cigarette lighter socket. It comes with a handy mess sack as well for easy storage in your trunk or garage.


Dewalt 5” Hook & Loop Random Orbit Sander Kit

Here’s a great gift for anyone who has some home projects lined up. A good sander is important if you have any woodworking projects. Dewalt has continued to expand its line of woodworking products with the new 5” Single Speed Random Orbit Sander. The Orbit Sander weighs only 2.9 lbs and stands at 140mm, allowing the user to get close to the sanding surface. The powerful three-amp tool delivers 12,000 OPM on a 3/32” orbit. Basically, it’s a powerful little sander that can make home improvement projects that much easier. The 5” Single Speed Random Orbit Sander achieves smooth finishes with minimal vibration via a separate counterweight that provides the user with comfort and control. Also contributing to user-satisfaction during sanding is a rubber over-mold designed for comfort during use. A rubber dust skirt aids in dust collection and minimizes dust escaping around the pad. Additionally, the dust bag positively locks with one hand onto the innovative sander port.

Black + Decker Lithium Power Squeegee Vac

Here’s a flexible vac that’s great for any home. The Powered Squeegee Vac is a combination of a cleaning squeegee and hand vacuum. It sprays water or all-purpose cleaner and then sucks it up, eliminating the need for wiping and waste of paper towels. With powerful suction and the built-in spray combo, the Squeegee Vac is not only ideal for cleaning windows, shower stalls and mirrors, but also for vacuuming up everyday liquid spills around the house. The fade-free Lithium Ion battery provides serious suction, has a 25-minute run time per charge, and its lightweight design makes it easy to keep cleaning without fatigue. The 11-inch rotating head with microfiber scrubbing pad makes for easy removal of stubborn grime and dirt.