Category Archives: Shopping

Appliance Shopping Guide

There are certain shopping strategies that one would be wise to follow when looking to buy a new appliance. Firstly, measurements of the size of space intended for the machine must be made. Ensure too that the space in which the appliance door will open is large enough.

Second, and perhaps most important, is to ensure good a good broad knowledge of different brands and models. Identify those features that are necessary for your own personal buying. Are the machines noisy or do they vibrate? What safety features do they have? How much water do they consume? How energy efficient are they?

The cost of operation is another important feature not to be ignored. The more energy an appliance uses, the more expensive running it will be. If an appliance is going to last ten to twenty years, utility bills are an important consideration, thus an appliances energy rating can make a big difference.

There are also things you can do after purchasing an appliance to reduce your energy bills. If your refrigerator is close to the stove, dishwasher or heat vents, try to move it away. This will reduce the heat flow near the machine and thus reduce the energy needed to cool it. Try to vacuum the coils on the back of your refrigerator every three months to eliminate dirt buildup that reduces efficiency. Also, check the door gasket for air leaks. Finally, defrost the your freezer when more than a quarter-inch of ice builds up.

A pre-rinse of dishes is generally not necessary for many machines that automatically per-rinse or has a rinse/hold cycle. Use the ‘energy saver’ option found on many of the machines.

In terms of clothes washers, ensure that the water level used in the washing machine is compatible to the load of clothes. A small load does not require the whole tub filled. And finally, clean your dryers after each use or as necessary.

Small things like this can be greatly significant in terms of energy conservation. Remember to check the energy rating and to compare the features of each appliance available. Your own personal preferences may vary greatly from anothers, so careful consideration is important when deciding what to buy.

A Fast and Easy Shopping Guide

Let us face it- most guys hate shopping for gifts. We hunt every corner of every store hoping to bump into something that’s at least worth giving. Most of the time, we do not even know the items we are looking for. We just look and look hoping for something interesting to come our way. I can be tiring, it’s time-consuming, it’s stressful, and most of the time, we end up with something we aren’t excited about. There is a better way to shop, my friend. Here are some surefire ways to get the perfect groomsmen gifts without breaking a sweat.

Plan Early If Possible

Good planning almost always beats creativity. Start planning for your gifts at least 2 months before the wedding. By planning ahead, you give yourself more time to think, thus minimizing stress and the possibility of buying mediocre last-minute items. I have known many people who put off buying groomsmen gifts to the last minute. In the end, they decide not to give their best buds presents anymore because they are too preoccupied with bigger things. You do not want this to happen. Plan early if possible.

Set a Budget

Before you go crazy thinking for the perfect gift to give your buds, you have to know how much you are willing to spend for the gifts. Groomsmen gifts do not have to be expensive. The shopping equation is like this: if your gifts are less expensive, they require more creativity and effort; if your gifts are more expensive, chances are these items can stand on their own. So balance and check how much time, money, and creativity you are willing to put into these gifts.

Make a List

Make a list of all possible gifts that you can think of- this is brainstorming so just write them down. Consider your budget and your groomsman’s personality when choosing the gifts. For a present to be memorable, it should be something that you think your buds would love and not something that you think they should love. If you want some inspiration, you can search online for groomsmen gift ideas. You can also read some men’s magazines. They feature some really good stuff aside from the usual testosterone-filled ones you notice.

Shop Online

That’s right, you’re in the 21st century now- everything is at your fingertips. You do not have to go anywhere to buy your groomsmen gifts. All you need is internet access, a credit card, and laptop! You can even get your items the very next day. Fast, easy, and convenient shopping is just a click away. There are plenty of sites who specialize on groomsmen gifts. They offer good tips and affordable items which will surely bring smiles to you and your buds. There are even some sites who personalize items for you just to add brotherly love to your presents. If you prefer to shop in regular stores, you can still use online store to get some gift ideas before you drive over to your local mall.

RC Helicopter Shopping Guide

When shopping for an RC Helicopter the choices and quality are quite abundant and can get real confusing when one goes to make a purchase of an RC Heli. There are literally thousands of makes and models out there to choose from. So when making a purchase of a Remote Controlled Helicopter one wants to make sure the purchase they make is not only suitable for them but they also want to make sure they are getting a model suitable to their skill level.

When purchasing an RC Helicopter from a local dealer or hobby shop in your area which is probably the best thing to do for most beginners. Things are made a little easier because you are actually talking to a professional face to face and a decision can be made as to a choice of a RC Heli based on your skill level. Reason being is if you are a beginner you don’t want to go and slap down a bunch of money on a Remote Controlled Helicopter that is more geared for an experienced user. Then after purchasing that brand new expensive toy, you go and take it out for a flight then crash and damage it before the day is even over! Start small, spend small.

Online purchases of a Remote Controlled Helicopter are more for the experienced and seasoned RC aviator. The experienced RC Helicopter aviator knows what they are looking for, they know what their skill level is and most of the time will stay within that realm. They also know which sites to frequent and which sites not to frequent, just as everything else online there are sites where you will go to buy an RC Heli and get burned if one is not careful.

Online RC aviation sites are also handy for replacement parts that need to be ordered from the manufacturer, not to say that a dealer or hobby shop could not do this for you but chances are it would take more time to get what you need or want through them. Therefore ordering online, if you know exactly what you are ordering can be a real time saver when your RC Helicopter is down for repairs.

One can also obtain huge savings purchasing an RC Heli online as opposed to a local dealer or hobby shop. Your local dealers or hobby shops have overhead they have to pay to stay in business so those costs are passed onto you and in turn you pay more for your purchase. Online sites have almost no overhead and therefore they can pass those savings onto you.

Shopping Guide

Are you looking for just the right piece at your local jewelry store to surprise your partner? Engagement ring shopping is one of the most specialized experiences in the world, and one that almost all of us go through at some point. Buying the perfect diamond engagement rings is no easy task, especially given how individual the shopping experience can be. Don’t worry – there are plenty of resources out there to help guide you through the process, and plenty of professional jewelers in stores that you can consult for help narrowing down the right piece. Wedding pieces can be some of the most stressful and intimidating pieces to select, but they are also the single most common category of fine jewelry sold in the world, so there are plenty of people who have been in your position before. Here are some things to keep in mind while making that big purchase to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that you have an incredible piece of timeless jewelry that is as resilient and beautiful as your union.

There are many kinds of bridal diamond rings and designs that exist on the market, all with promises of traditional design values, modern values, etc. What style works for you and your partner? Have you decided whether or not you are going to buy the ring directly or in pieces? For full customization, buying loose diamonds with separate bands can help really create a unique jewelry piece that gives you the freedom to be much more selective about the completion of the finished piece. However, with so many pieces already available in store, the perfect ring could be staring at you already when you walk into the store. Consider which method would be the best for you and your partner.

Diamond jewelry, in general, is valued by the 4 C’s of diamonds – color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Having a working understanding of these concepts before you go into the store at all will help you figure out what questions to ask the jeweler as you narrow down your choices. A larger diamond is not necessarily a better diamond, after all. Keep this in mind when you see traditionally stunning diamond solitaire gold rings. While they are beautiful, make sure you have all the information on the quality of the ring and jewel itself before committing to any purchases.

Remember that this ring is an investment in your future with your soon-to-be spouse, as well as the piece itself, which will – if properly taken care of – last the length of your marriage. Be prudent about the materials, including potentially investing in a band made with allergy resistant metals if you or your soon-to-be spouse have a family history of metal allergies. Lastly, keep in mind that you and your partner absolutely have a varied taste – the right diamond bridal jewelry piece will be a perfect union of your separate aesthetic desires, representative of your new union and life as a couple.

Online Tool Shopping Guide

In this article, I will talk about the best way to go about shopping for any type of power tool(this will probably even work for just about anything you would want to buy online). If you are shopping for a new power tool, then you probably are in need of said tool, and you should therefore have some idea of what type of tool you are looking for.

  1. The first thing you should do is get a piece of paper, so you can make a list.
  2. Now you want to come up with a budget. Once you have a maximum price set, you should write it down and stick with it. The last thing you want to do is go out looking for a $50 tool and come home to an angry wife after you spent $200.
  3. Write down what you expect out of the tool in order of importance. You might only be able to get half the features you want, to stay within your price range. This is where you will have to compromise on features, or you will have to increase your budget.
  4. Its time for research. You obviously have access to the Internet if you are reading this, so now is the time to visit all the manufactures websites. Find the tools you are looking for, make sure they have the features you need, then write down the model numbers. You might even find out a tool has other features you didn’t think you needed.
  5. Go to Amazon and check the model numbers to see if they are within your price range. Amazon might not be the lowest price, but they will give you a good idea on what the tool is going for. Adjust your list of tools.
  6. Here is where I come in. Read other peoples reviews. If its not on tool-rank , then do a search on the Internet, its not hard. In the search box type “manufacturer, model number, review” and hit enter. Ex. “Makita BHR240 review” Read as many reviews as possible. Now its up to you to make some judgement calls. Adjust your tool list again.
  7. Lets go shopping. Always remember, if something looks to good to be true, it probably is. If you find a tool online that is way under priced, go to resellerratings.com and do a search on the website. There, you will find a review on the online store. A lot of times stores will lead you to believe that you are buying a complete tool package, but then try to sell you the accessories that should have already been included. I like to stick with well known online tool stores like Amazon, ToolBarn, Rockler , etc. They are not always the lowest, but they are reliable. STOP. Don’t buy anything yet.
  8. We need coupons. Head over to the deals forums , and see if we have any coupons or deals on the tools you are looking for. You might even find a rebate for a free tool with purchase. My local tool store has a 20% off sale twice a year, so I try to save all my tool purchases for then. If you don’t need the tool right away, wait and try to find a deal.
  9. Take you list of tools, find the best deal you can possibly find, then buy. Just don’t buy the whole list. ­čÖé
  10. Now that you own your new tool, be sure to test it out for a while, then submit your review. This is how you can make Tool-Rank.com a better place.

Camera Shopping Guide

There is no shortage of compact cameras on the market, in fact the shelves are packed with endless choices at every price point. But how can you filter out what you actually need and not overpay for features that no one needs?

Well, this is a simple guide to clarify the various features on these little cameras.

If you are just looking for a point and shoot camera, just go through this simple list:

Focal length: This is basically the field of view of the lens. It’s usually specified in the 35mm equivalent focal lengths, such as the popular 35-105mm that a lot of compact cameras have. The smaller the number the wider the angle of view is.

Look for something with a real wide angle, this means ideally 28mm. Up to 35mm as the widest is still ok, but do not consider any models starting at 38mm and higher, they will be frustrating to use.

Image stabilisation: This is a useful feature that compensates for camera shake and reduces the likelihood of blurry photos. It is especially important if you take a lot of pictures in low light situations.

This is a good feature to have, if you can find it in your price range. If you are mostly shooting out in the sun, don’t worry about it. Many camera manufacturers also somewhat mislead consumers by claiming high ISO’s as a type of image stabilisation. Be sure to check that the camera you plan on buying has actual physical image stabilisation.

Image quality: It is almost impossible to predict the image quality of a camera based on the specifications these days. But there is one easy test you can do to check this:

I have found the following rough test to judge the quality works for a great many cameras: Take a picture, and display it on the screen. Zoom in until 1/16th of the picture is on the screen. This means the little box that shows you where your zoomed in part is should be 1/4 the height and width of the frame, roughly. Now, if the picture looks good at this zoom level, the camera is probably good enough. If it looks all smudgy, move on. While this is an utterly and completely un-scientific test, surprisingly, it works for a lot of cameras.

If you have narrowed your search down to only 2-3 cameras, simply try them out. If you already own an SD-card, this is much easier. When you are trying out the camera in the shop, simply stick your card in the card slot. Take a few pictures, take your card out and make your way to the photo printing machines. You know the ones, which develop and print the selected pictures in 2 minutes? Print out 3-4 pictures of the size you are likely to use, and have a good look. Most shops are not really well lit, so this is quite a good test for a compact camera. Chances are, if you like these pictures, you will be happy with the camera. This is quite a cheap way to test your choice before actually buying the camera.

Screen size and resolution: Most cameras now have decent sized screens, 2.5 inches and bigger. However, the size alone is not the only important thing, the resolution is important as well. A large, low resolution screen will look blocky, so don’t be fooled by the screen size alone. Also, some of the cheaper screens have quite poor brightness or viewing angles, so if the screen is important to you, make sure to actually play with the camera and don’t buy just based on the specifications.

Shopping Guide

Shopping for a crib for a new baby is a wonderful experience with all the cute styles these days the trip is bound to be a pleasure. However, it is important to put safety before anything else when shopping for a crib. New mothers never leave their babies alone except when it is bedtime and therefore safety is key feature to recognize when shopping for a crib.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has a complete list of recommendations and standards to look for when crib shopping.

1. Baby Crib Date of Manufacturing: When shopping for a crib you will probably only be exposed to cribs that have been made and manufactured in the last year or two. However, it is important to know that the Safety Commission does not recommend purchasing cribs that were made before 1991. The Commission also suggests against buying or borrowing a previously used crib.

2. Crib Parts: Ensure that there are no broken or missing parts when shopping for or assembling your baby’s crib. All parts should be thoroughly checked before being shipped for cracks, splinters and breaks, however it is always a good idea to give the crib a once over yourself and be sure to take the time to return and replace any pieces that are not up standards.

3. Crib Slats: By regulation, crib slates are not to be wider than 2 3/8 inches apart. When shopping you can conduct a quick test by trying to pass a soda can between the slats – if it fits the slats are two wide for safety.

4. Crib Mattress: The crib’s mattress should fit snugly inside the crib with minimal space between the mattress and side of the crib so that a baby does not get wedged uncomfortably in any gaps.

5. Crib Corner Posts: Corner posts need to be less than 1/16″ above the edge of the crib. High posts create a dangerous situation if toddlers and babies get an article of clothing looped around the post.

6. Crib Headboards: Naturally you will want a crib that is nearly as adorable as your baby, however take a good look at the headboard design to be sure there are no dangers of your child getting their head, hand or foot stuck in decorative woodcarvings or metalwork.

These are some basic things to look for when shopping for a baby crib. Once you have found the perfect crib take time and care in assembling it and ensure it is placed it in a safe part of your baby’s room away from dangling drapes, curtain pulls or pictures your baby may be able to reach one day soon. Many manufacturers today sell beautiful and stylish cribs that are 100% safe and therefore be sure to find the perfect style to fit your nursery and enjoy the years of use you will get from your crib.

Crib Shopping Guide

When shopping for a travel crib, there are a few design considerations that need to be looked at to ensure one has invested in a quality product. Looking over several key components can rule out the bad travel crib purchases from the better models, but what separates the better travel cribs from the rest?

Brand Matters…Somewhat

There are certain brand names that have taken position in the baby product market that can generally be trusted, and some need to be re-examined altogether. Without slinging mud, there is one particular brand that was well-established until being bought out by another conglomerate (this happens all the time of course). The brand equity is simply not what it used to be.

How can you know if brand equity has been lost in a travel crib?┬áIn a word: customer reviews. Although it may seem counter-productive, seeking out the bad news first is a great way to get a feel for a loss in quality in a brand name – which is the inherent danger of becoming a loyalist.

In addition to re-thinking the view of a “trusted brand” (unless it is a proven, consistent trust), what other factors should parents consider in their travel cribs?

Stability

Many travel cribs have a history of recalls for safety reasons, and to be fair, most manufacturers make necessary corrections. With a travel bed for babies, however, it’s necessary to read up on a brand to be sure no current problems and complaints exist regarding stability of the crib.

Will it fold up once set up? Will it collapse with the baby in it? Can the child push it over by pressing on a wall (as toddlers are likely to do)?

Travel cribs need to be light, but sturdy to be safe for babies. Only consistent reviews and a bit of research can uncover these details.

Organic Materials

With the use of manufacturing plants and man-made materials, the chemicals used in many portable cribs is left wanting. Some parents complain of leaking colors from the mattress of certain models, others claim there is a “plastic smell” emanating from the material.

When it comes to baby products, organic is best. There are three standards to watch for to be safe:

1) ASTM F406-7:┬áThe American standard set for children’s beds and furniture.
2) EN716-1 and 2: The European standard for the same.
3) Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1, Eco-certified:┬áThis is the world’s current toughest standard to meet regarding non-toxicity in materials, and very few portable cribs meet it. Thus, if┬áat least one of the first two standards are met,┬áthis is merely icing on the cake.

If a crib meets standard #3, it surpasses the former two – but it is difficult to find many portable cribs that meet the tough third standard.

Endurance

Another common complaint amongst portable crib owners is that the material was flimsy. Usually a foot breaks off, or a mesh wall rips easily. Think of the travel crib as an investment that can be passed down from child to child – or sold at a garage sale if left in tact.

Ease of Set-Up and Tear-Down

Certain models are notoriously difficult to set up and take down, while select few are very easy to deal with. Consider when the travel bed will be used, under what conditions – and if this is an important quality to pay for.

Is it Light?

It may seem obvious, but a travel crib needs to be light. When traveling by plane, the added weight can cost extra in some airlines. Otherwise, simply packing an extra 15 pounds unnecessarily seems counter-intuitive overall, if a choice can be made.

HDTV Shopping Guide

The problem is that when you hit the stores looking for a HDTV, you will see all kinds of models and styles and may have to rely on the sales personnel to help you choose the perfect HDTV for your home. Instead of taking the advice of a sales person that just wants to make money and may steer you towards the most expensive TV set in the store, you should follow this guide.

The first thing you must consider is the viewing angle. I have had both plasma and LCD TV’s in my home and I can tell you from experience, that an LCD will allow you to view from any angle. I can watch all my favorite shows while fixing dinner or sitting in any location in the room whereas with the Plasma the screen was often darkened from various angles making it hard to see what was going on in the crime lab and if Abby was talking to co-workers or even to herself.

The static resolution is also important if you truly want a remarkable HDTV that will allow you to feel like you are present in the movie or even at the ball game. Can you see the fine details? Look at the clothing and faces of those on the screen, you can see the eyelashes or do you see a kind of smear?

Pay close attention to fast movements of the screen. Ask the sales clerk to change the channel if you have to in order to see how clear a sporting event is viewable. As the skier is going down the track, does he look like a blur or can you actually see his legs and arms as he is swooshing down the hill?

A Shopping Guide to Men’s Leather Watches

There are a few accessories that many people cannot live without. One of these accessories is the watch. In fact, this is the only acceptable piece of accessory every man should have. But among all the types, a man with the leather watch is the man of elegance and sophistication. Find out more in this information on men’s leather watches.

Without a doubt, men’s leather watch is always a fine choice. But buying these watches can be a problem for most men. But you do not have to be afraid with this challenge. Choosing the right leather watch requires only some practical fashion tips.

One of the tips that you need to practice when choosing a leather watch is to choose the durable types. This means that you only need to choose the watch made of fine leather and of top quality. In addition, the watch has to be moisture-resistant and can withstand the test of time. It has to be scratch-proof too.

The band has to be made of the finest, genuine leather. But there are people who can’t afford such genuine leather watches? The, you can other options with leather alternatives but this is only advised when budget is too tight. There are also people who have beliefs against the use of genuine leather due to animal abuse and other reasons. Nevertheless, the point is to invest on a strong and durable material that is also aesthetically pleasing.

Another tip is to choose a leather watch that exudes masculinity. These watch models are highly sought in men’s fashion and can transcend trends.

As far as finishes are concerned, gold finishes are not much recommended. This is because a gold watch is not so flexible with your wardrobe. It is so hard to match especially with black clothing. Silver finish and platinum finish are much more recommended as these types can be more elegant with your suits and other outfits.

The band is another consideration. Make sure it is wide enough to fit in your wrist. A perfectly fit watch will look manlier and sophisticated. For leather watches, it is strongly advised that the band is in colors black or dark brown.

In ending, follow these tips and you will surely find the best men’s leather watch for you. Before shopping, picture what you really like and this will guide you when you shopping in various local stores or online. Have a great time shopping!