8 Products to Splurge on This Week
Treat yourself to one (or more!) of these favorite products for DIYers.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.
In a story a few months ago, you said the “best” garden hose doesn’t exist. I beg to differ. After trying two “non-kink” and very heavy hoses that invariably did just that, I invested in a 100-ft. Tuff Guard hose (about $130). It doesn’t kink and is much lighter than my other hoses. I love it! — Charles Boysen, Subscriber
The hose uses a “double helix” construction with an inner polyester fabric twisted around the water tube in the opposite direction of the polypropylene ribs you see on the outside. That makes the hose tough to kink, but also harder to coil by hand. It’s also available in 25-ft. ($30) and 50-ft. ($65) lengths. — Travis Larson, Senior Editor
These are the 10 best garden hoses on Amazon.
Iron-laced water is tough on everything from your clothes to your toilet. When you use Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter water softening salt ($32) in your water softener, it works where you don’t see, protecting the insides of your water heater, appliances and pipes. But you will see, feel and taste the improvements. This product reduces rust stains and the film buildup on shower doors. Removing iron from your water does more: Dishes sparkle, hair shines, towels are soft. It’s amazing what a bag or two of salt can do.
A water softener removes dissolved iron by ion exchange, just as it removes calcium and magnesium. Getting the iron out of the softener resin bed during regeneration is often a problem. The Iron Fighter helps this process, adding life to your resin bed. Learn how to easily repair a water softener here.
Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter water softening salt is suitable for most water softeners. — Barry Shoultz, Field Editor
Paint brush combs have been around forever. But the Warner Professional Paint Brush Comb with Roller Cleaner ($3) has a few extra features others don’t. It has two sets of teeth for cleaning bristles, one for up near the ferrule and the other for the main part of the brush. As a bonus, this handy gizmo can run the length of a soaked paint roller, returning paint to your can and cutting cleaning time. There’s also a little tab on the end for cleaning paint can rims. Granted, this isn’t one of the great innovations of the 21st century, but if you need to buy a brush comb, this one’s a gem. — Barry Shoultz, Field Editor
Learn some pro-approved secrets to preserving paint brushes and rollers.
When you’ve been in business since 1792, like Sikkens, you’re likely to know what you’re doing. Sikkens was granted the title of “Royal” in 1905 and distinguished as a “supplier to the Royal Family” in 1932 for the premium quality and performance of its products. Among its many products is Sikkens Cetol SRD Translucent Wood Finish ($80). It provides a true one-coat application, effective for most outdoor wood surfaces. Its formula includes finely ground iron oxide pigments for vibrant, natural colors. It tends to hold up very well to temperature and climate extremes and UV rays.
Wood projects will inevitably need to be refinished. Learn the best way to succeed at this tough job right here!
Surface preparation, as with all finish applications, is critical. A natural bristle brush is the preferred method of application, although a roller or airless sprayer will work. I’m a brush guy, still believing the ol’ brush works the stain into the wood better. — Barry Shoultz, Field Editor
I am the queen bee of LED bulbs, and I have news to share: Cree has a $7 2-pack of dimmable warm white LED bulbs that replaces a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Available at Home Depot, it comes with a 10-year warranty. It uses 84 percent less energy and lasts 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb. It uses only 9.5 watts and casts a nice, gentle yellowish light (it’s in my floor lamp at home). LED bulbs can change color. Is it right for you?
How about dimming? Cree says the LED works with any standard or low-voltage dimmer. “Dimmable” LED bulbs are still hit-and-miss, so I’m reserving judgment (there’s a list of compatible dimmers at creebulb.com). Also check out Cree’s EcoSmart 6 inch LED 65 Watt-equivalent Downlight for recessed lights ($22 at Home Depot), which continues to get top marks from reviewers. — Elisa Bernick, Associate Editor
Two guys sharing one compressor is common on a job site. So is tripping over a hose because the guy on the other side of the splice jerks on his hose just as you’re stepping over yours. And if you’re working on a roof, tripping on a hose could result in a career-ending tumble to the ground, or worse.
Amflo makes a hose reel ($138) that has two ports attached to the reel itself, and two anchor bases, so it can be fastened to a roof. Because it’s a reel, you only have to pull out as much of the 75-ft. hose as you need. It’s not just for roofers, though. It’s a great tool for all carpentry, even on the ground. — Mark Peterson, Associate Editor
Build one of our favorite projects, an air compressor cart.
When most people think “floor protection,” they think rosin paper or canvas drop cloths, but there are other choices. Clean & Safe drop cloths roll out like rosin paper but lie flat on the floor and don’t need to be taped down. Like canvas, the cloth provides rugged protection, but it’s skid-resistant bottom keeps it from sliding around. It’s reusable and made from post-consumer recycled products. Your customers will know you’re not messing around when you roll this stuff across their hardwood floor. Don’t want to buy one of these drop cloths? Just try cardboard!
Clean & Safe drop cloths cost about 37¢ per sq. ft., and you can buy a roll at dropcloth.com. — Mark Peterson, Associate Editor
Music always helps make the workday move along a little quicker, but dragging a radio to every corner of the job site gets old in a hurry, and trying to maneuver with earbud wires dangling out your ears is clumsy and sometimes dangerous. Check out 23 more tools worth splurging on right here.
The folks at CLC Work Gear figured out that wherever you’re working, your tools are probable close at hand. So they’ve added speakers and a docking station to their 18-in. tool bag. Just connect your digital music player or smartphone, and wherever your tools go, so go your tunes. The sound system doesn’t take up much space and is powered by an AC wall plug transformer or four D-cell batteries. You can get a Tech Gear Stereo Speaker 18-in. MegaMouth Tool Bag for about $158 online. — Mark Peterson, Associate Editor