The National Hardware Show is the premier annual event in the world for home-improvement professionals. This year we joined more than 62,000 industry-trade professionals to have a look at the latest and greatest in tools, hardware and more.
The National Hardware Show covers the entire scope of home-improvement and building supplies. Designed as six shows in one... hardware; plumbing, electrical and HVAC; paint and home decorating; lawn, garden and outdoor living, building products; and housewares... the show has nearly 3,000 exhibiting firms.
Like a couple of kids in a candy store, we comb the exhibit floor in search of new and exciting products that can save money and enhance comfort and convenience. Here's a sample of what we found:
*Solar Assist Electronic Pest Repeller-
If moles or gophers are wreaking havoc in your garden and you've tried just about everything without success, put the power of sound and the sun to work for you. Weitech, Inc. has come up with a solar assist battery-powered mole and gopher repeller. The Model 0675 repels burrowing rodents from your yard or garden using variable frequency technology. Most household pests hear sounds far above the hearing range of humans... the ultrasonic range. Weitech's unit emits ultrasonic sound waves that cause targeted pests to leave the area. What makes this unit special is its built-in solar panel that prolongs the life of the four D-cell batteries that are used to power the device. It's constructed of tough ABS plastic. Simply install the unit into existing rodent holes or mounds and let it go to work ridding your garden of unwanted burrowing rodents. $39.95; www.weitech.com; 1-800-343-2659.
*Lift Away Graffiti Remover-
Graffiti in America causes a significant amount of property damage each year. In the battle against graffiti, Dumond Chemicals, Inc. has come up with Lift Away Graffiti Remover. The product, which comes in an aerosol can, is a citrus-based formulation that is biodegradable and environmentally safe. The manufacturer claims the product will remove most types of graffiti and many stains from masonry, concrete, glass, terrazzo, metal and other surfaces in about 15 minutes. $12.95; www.dumondchemicals.com; 1-800-245-1191.
*Kill A Watt-
With high-energy prices causing consumers to be increasingly wary of energy use, P3 International introduced the Kill A Watt. The transistor radio-sized device is designed to monitor the amount of electricity consumed by household appliances. Thus, you can determine just how efficient certain appliances are... especially older models... and weigh what the savings would be with a new energy-efficient model. Simply connect your appliances to the Kill A Watt and it will assess how efficient they really are. A large LCD display will count consumption by the kilowatt-hour... the same method used by local utility companies. It allows the user to calculate electrical consumption, and costs by the day, week, month or year. It can also be used to check the quality of power by monitoring voltage and line frequency. Now you'll know if it's time for a new refrigerator or if that old air conditioner is saving you money. $49.95; www.p3international.com; 1-888-895-6282.
*Christmas Tree Stand-
What would the National Hardware Show be without an innovative new gadget for holiday decorating? Fortunately, we don't have the answer. If you feel a little like Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase's character in National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation"), when it comes to putting up the Christmas tree, there's hope from Krinner Christmas Tree Stands. They unveiled their new "Vario 7" Christmas tree stand at this year's Hardware Show. Billed as "Europe's most popular Christmas tree stand," the Vario 7 looks a lot like other tree stands, except for the cable and foot pedal. Instead of the traditional thumbscrews that hold the trunk in place, the Vario 7 uses a single cable that joins five "claws" that clamp down on the trunk. A foot lever located at one side of the stand engages the claws. It also has a neat water indicator that tells you when its time to add water to the reservoir. If you're tired of lying on your tummy battling branches, this might be the answer. $79.95; www.easy2stand.com; 1-602-595-4419.
If you like hanging wallpaper, you're going to love the BladEater Holster by Design Ovations, Inc. The BladEater is a holster for utility knives with a built-in blade snapper that can be used with one hand. It is a safe and convenient alternative to using pliers to break off a dull blade. The holster consists of a soft plastic pouch that clips onto the user's belt and contains a pocket for a utility knife plus three rigid plastic compartments. One compartment features an angled slit. A knife user simply inserts the blade into the slit, snaps, and the blade breaks along the score line, and the spent segment drops into the compartment. A second compartment holds fresh blades, and a third is used to store the blade ends when they are ready to be discarded. When that space is full (approximately 10 blades), it can be properly disposed of and replaced with a new disposable container. $14.99; www.bladeater.com; 1-513-677-5860.
You can get more information on the National Hardware Show and have a look at more of the 1,700 new products introduced at this year's show by logging on to www.nationalhardwareshow.com.