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Home: Time for a new toy? Here’s a few things you didn’t know you needed

Posted: September 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Kyle Kennedy, appliance-sales specialist at the Saugus Lowe’s, points out the Shark Steam Pocket Mop ($99.99), one of the newest innovations in small appliances. Predictions are that steam mops will soon be the next “must-have” small appliance.

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Small appliances are sort of like wives, I guess. When you first get them, and they are all shiny and new, you are thrilled just to look at them, can’t wait to play with them and you keep them out for everyone else to admire.

However, after some usage, you realize all those “extra” features are more trouble than they are worth. And after time and grime accumulate on them, you find yourself hiding them away in dark places.

So, you trade in the old ones and get new ones, right?

If you are in the market for a small appliance, or even if you just like to imagine yourself toying with all the pretty new objects you don’t have (and, yes, this could still apply to the above comparison), a trip to the appliance section of your nearby superstore could serve as amusement park-like entertainment this holiday weekend.

I did just that on Thursday, stopping by the Saugus Lowe’s.

There, Todd Brandt, the appliance-department manager, and Kyle Kennedy, appliance-sales specialist, filled me in on all the latest toys.

Now, there are far too many types and models of small appliances to really cover here, but we will highlight a few.

Steam mops
Both Brandt and Kennedy agreed that steam mops are the next big thing. They are perfect for cleaning floors made of laminate, hardwood, tile or vinyl.

“They work far better than typical mops,” Brandt said. “A regular mop pushes the dirt around.”

“The steam releases the dirt,” Kennedy added. “It’s only steam. There’s no detergent. And it sanitizes while it cleans.”

While there were several models of steam mops on display at Lowe’s, the Shark Steam Pocket Mop ($99.99) would make a very good choice, with the following features:
* a two-sided cleaning tackles large areas and big messes;

* ready-to-use in seconds;

* natural mopping motion creates steam on demand;

* sanitizes and leaves floors virtually dry;

* safe to use on all sealed hard floor surfaces;

* freshens and deodorizes carpets;

* and delivers steam when you want it, where you want it .

Brandt and Kennedy also pointed out that there are steam mops with vacuum ability, as well.
These give you the flexibility to clean multiple surfaces and allow you to vacuum up heavy dirt before you steam hard surfaces. The Bissell model at Lowe’s ($129) weighs only 9.5 pounds.

Vacuum cleaners
When it comes to the latest things in vacuum cleaners, both Brandt and Kennedy favor vacuums by Dyson, ranging from about $400 to about $600.

While this is pretty pricey, they noted you get a lot of great features. The Dyson 11-Amp DC25 Animal Upright Vacuum ($549.99) features include:
* designed for home with pets;

* Dyson Ball technology — steers smoothly with the turn of the wrist;

* Root Cyclone technology — patented technology that doesn’t lose suction power as you vacuum;

* mini-turbine head for pet hair pick up;

* quick-draw Telescope Reach wand;

* five-year warranty — parts and labor;

* certified asthma & allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America;

* and cleaner exhaust air — air expelled from a Dyson has up to 150 times less mold and bacteria than the air you breath.

Wine coolers
In this case, a “wine cooler” is not a drink, but a small refrigerator designed for wine storage.

These are perfect for media rooms, bonus rooms, home bars, dining rooms and kitchens. They come in various sizes, from 41 to 64 bottles of storage, and are priced accordingly.

Some even have dual climate zones, so that you can keep your white wines colder than your robust reds.

A  single-temperature, 42-bottle refrigerator is $299 at Lowe’s.

These days, coffeemakers are available in a bewildering array of styles and features. Kennedy and Brandt pointed out that the single-cup brewers are becoming very popular. The Keurig Elite B40 Brewer ($114.99) offers these features:
* always ready and always brews in under one minute

* choice of two cup sizes

* quiet-Brew technology

* enjoy beverages hot or brew them over ice

* removable 48-oz. water reservoir

* and it’s BPA free

Small ovens
Lowe’s has all kinds of toaster ovens, but one of the latest developments is convection technology, which moves hot air over what you are cooking.

“It cooks faster and cleaner,” Brandt said. “You can bake cookies and it won’t burn them.” A Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven was priced at $99.99.

And, finally, there are small appliances that are functional and fun.

For example, there’s the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker ($199.99), which just might help you get through the long Labor Day weekend if you have to spend it at home.

This delightful machine allows you to “blend 36 oz. of margarita (or other) confection for adventure.”

And manual settings allow you to adjust the texture to your own, individual tastes.

The Ninja Master Prep Professional blender ($59.99) has dishwasher-safe and microwave-safe parts and chops, beats, blends and crushes ice.

In it you can make everything from ice cream to grated cheese.

Of course, there are many other small-appliance wonders awaiting you.

The Saugus Lowe’s is located at 26415 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus, CA 91350. The phone number is (661) 297-1400. You can also visit


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