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The Best Tape Measure: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
After dropping, extending, and scrubbing the blades of 17 different tape measures with 60-grit sandpaper, we found that the best one is the classic 25-foot Stanley PowerLock Tape Measure. It’s our pick after 45 hours of research and three annual updates to this guide, including another 15 hours of work in 2015 testing it against new tools. That’s because the PowerLock delivers the best basic combination of durability, ease of use, and accuracy—and all for a very low price. In fact, the PowerLock is one of the least expensive tape measures that we’ve looked at.
Our pick
25-foot Stanley PowerLock Tape Measure
The best tape measure
The PowerLock is easy to use, durable, affordable, accurate, and capable of doing its job without additional features that aren’t necessary for around-the-house work.
$10 from Amazon
$10 from Home Depot
The weakest part of any tape measure is the blade, and the PowerLock’s is more durable than nearly all the others’ we tested. The thumb-operated blade lock is smooth, strong, and easy to operate with one hand, unlike some other more cumbersome models. Its blade is a quarter-inch slimmer than most contractor’s tools, so it’s easy to lay flat for marking measurements, yet still stiff enough to stand out unsupported for nearly 8 feet, which is plenty. It’s a basic tool whose pared-down simplicity makes it light, tough, accurate, easy to handle, and affordable. Taking all this into consideration to name the tool that gives you the best value, the other tapes—which often cost more—all fell short compared to this one.
gadgets  wirecutter  home_stuff  review  comparo 
10 days ago by rgl7194
Sofa Buying Advice From the People Who Design and Make Them: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
Nobody buys a house without researching the neighborhood and inspecting the foundation, plumbing, and electrical. Yet many people drop serious money on a sofa without understanding what goes into a well-made piece of upholstered furniture. It’s a leap of faith that often leads to buyer’s remorse and one too many “for sale – hardly used” Craigslist postings.
The quality of the frame, suspension, cushioning, and upholstery are what separate a sofa that will last 10 to 20 years from one that will start to wobble or look dingy after only a few. To understand what distinguishes quality components from inferior ones I toured BSC Furniture sofa factory with owner Joshua Siegel, the manufacturer responsible for BenchMade Modern’s line of upholstered seating, followed by a visit to Modernica’s facilities in Los Angeles guided by Jay Novak, co-owner and president of the modernist furniture manufacturer. In 2017, Wirecutter senior editor Christine Cyr Clisset toured the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams factory, based in Taylorsville, North Carolina.
home_stuff  furniture  comparo  review  wirecutter 
10 days ago by rgl7194
Sofa Buying Guide: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
After 45 hours of research, including visiting three furniture factories, interviewing industry experts, and parking ourselves on nearly every sofa we’ve seen, we can tell you exactly what separates great sofas from future curbside donations. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to bring home a durable, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing piece of furniture.
Finding the right sofa for your space and budget begins with deciding what type and style you want. Just as important, you’ll need to determine what size sofa will fit in your home (including through the delivery path of doorways, hallways, stairs, and other exterior/interior obstructions). Then consider how many people you want to seat, and what to avoid (and invest in) if pets or kids will regularly use the sofa. We cover how to check for quality construction, how much you should expect to spend, and when you can get the best deals. We’ve also put together a buying checklist that you can take with you when you’re shopping, to help you remember the most important details.
home_stuff  furniture  comparo  review  wirecutter 
10 days ago by rgl7194
The Best String Trimmers: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
After using 10 string trimmers to level 12,598 square feet of an overgrown field and trimming over 6,000 linear feet along walls and fences, we’re convinced the best string trimmer (also known as a weed wacker or a weed eater1) is the Ego ST1502-SF Power+ 15″ String Trimmer.
Our pick
Ego ST1502-SF Power+ 15″ String Trimmer
The best string trimmer
The Ego far outdistanced the competition in run time and power. It’s also very comfortable to use, even for extended trimming sessions.
$180* from Home Depot
*At the time of publishing, the price was $200.
Compared with other cordless trimmers, the Ego ST1502-SF Power+ 15″ String Trimmer is at a different level—it cut through 1-inch thick Japanese Knotweed like it was grass, while the others pathetically slapped their strings against the thick stalks. With all of that power, you’d expect it to be noisy, but it was also the quietest tool we tested, with a hair-dryer-like hum that sounded more pleasant than the whine of its competitors. The Ego is just as powerful and affordable as a gas tool, but without the messy fuel, smelly exhaust, or time-consuming maintenance. It was also the most capable cordless trimmer we found, with enough run time to cut a 1-foot-wide strip of grass almost two-thirds of a mile long on a single battery charge. At 10 pounds, it was not the lightest trimmer we tried, but its excellent balance and handling made it one of the easiest to swing around and maneuver in tight spots.
gardening  tools  comparo  wirecutter  review 
10 days ago by rgl7194
The Best Nail Clippers: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
After interviewing a podiatrist and testing a total of 10 nail clippers over the past five years—most recently with the help of a nail technician with a decade of experience (who happens to be the mother of one of our reporters)—we’re certain that the Green Bell G-1008 clippers are the best ones. They have sharp blades that cut cleanly through toenails and fingernails alike, and excellent build quality as indicated by their pleasantly surprising heft.
Our pick
Green Bell G-1008
The best nail clippers
These clippers are razor sharp, feel sturdy in hand, and look nicer than the competition.
$15* from Amazon
*At the time of publishing, the price was $14.
The Green Bell G-1008 clippers cut so cleanly that you may not even need to file off the edges when you’re done—though they do have a built-in file if you want to anyway. They also have a sturdier, more ergonomically sculpted body than the other clippers we tried. They’re usually less expensive than the next-sharpest clippers we’ve tested and feel better in hand. “They had a good weight,” the former nail tech tester said about the Green Bell clippers. “I had good control, and I didn’t have to tip around at an angle to get a clean cut.”
grooming  wirecutter  comparo  review 
14 days ago by rgl7194
Can I Trust My Bathroom Scale?: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
Bathroom scales are fickle devices. They can give you a different weight from day to day, or even moment to moment. Sure, the human body fluctuates over the course of the day and there are some crappy scales out there, but even relatively good scales can seem to be wildly inaccurate.
We’ve seen complaints alleging that our pick for the best bathroom scale sometimes reports that the user has lost or gained as much as 10 pounds within a matter of minutes. But, after testing the scale in our homes for over a year, we’re standing by it. Here’s why.
Bathroom scales meant for home use display your weight with a dial or on a digital screen. These scales measure your weight in one of two ways: mechanically, with springs, or electronically, with circuits that bend under weight, altering the current coursing through them. In general, digital bathroom scales are more accurate than mechanical ones. But for the most accurate reading, any bathroom scale must be set up correctly and used consistently.
health  review  wirecutter 
14 days ago by rgl7194
The Best Outdoor Watering Can: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
After 10 hours of research and testing plus ongoing daily use in a community garden, we’re confident that the Bloem 2.6-Gallon Easy Pour is the best outdoor watering can for most people. It’s durable, easy to fill, and comfortable to carry and lift, and its unique spout design can quickly adjust from a rainshower pour to a steady stream of water.
Our pick
Bloem 2.6-Gallon Easy Pour
Easy filling, easy pouring
Durable, comfortable, and convenient to fill and carry, the Bloem watering can has a unique adjustable sprinkle head that makes switching from a rainshower to a steady pour a literal snap.
$17 from Amazon
This was the only watering can we found with an adjustable sprinkle head that converts from a rainshower to a stream of water with one easy click. (With other watering cans, you have to remove the sprinkle head completely to get a steady flow of water.) The Bloem’s rainshower setting is effective for watering both established and immature plants without damaging them, and its steady pour is gentle enough to target crop plants’ roots without washing away the soil around them. The twin handles—a fixed one on the side and a hinged one on top—make filling, carrying, and pouring exceptionally easy. Finally, the Bloem can (which was formerly branded as Fiskars) is sturdy, with a high-quality all-plastic construction that will never rust and no sharp edges or seams that can chafe bare hands.
gardening  water  wirecutter  comparo  review 
21 days ago by rgl7194
How to Build Credit: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
It used to be that the only people who paid any attention to credit history were lenders tasked with determining the trustworthiness of a potential borrower. Nowadays, gatekeepers ranging from employers to landlords to dating services have been known to run a credit check before approving your application.
Unfortunately, building a credit history from scratch is a little like getting your first job. Just as it’s hard to land a job without prior experience and difficult to obtain experience without having a job, it’s not always easy to build a credit history without preexisting credit.
This article can help you begin to build a credit history (and a good one), whether you’re just out of school or newly arrived in the US. It won’t cover how to fix a bad credit history if you’ve made some missteps in the past; we’ll explore that topic in another article.
Table of Contents
What’s a credit history?
Why your credit history is important
How to see if you already have a credit history
What you can do to build a credit history
How long does it take to build a credit history?
How to keep tabs on your credit history
What good credit looks like
Sources
money  finances  wirecutter  banking  credit_report  credit_cards 
27 days ago by rgl7194
The Best Smart Thermostat: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
We spent three months testing nine popular smart thermostats, and after considering design, features, ease of use, how comfortable they kept our home, and integrations with popular smart-home systems, the Nest Thermostat E is our top pick. The best smart thermostat is one that intelligently adjusts your home’s temperature with the least amount of programming, and like other Nest models, the E fits that description—it is simpler to use than any other smart thermostat we tested. And it’s significantly cheaper than previous Nest units, without sacrificing much functionality.
Our pick
Nest Thermostat E
Smart learning for less
The E has most of the learning features and the easy-to-use design of the standard Nest thermostat but costs less and offers a cleaner look.
$160* from Home Depot
*At the time of publishing, the price was $170.
Like all Nest thermostats, the Nest Thermostat E learns your heating and cooling preferences and intelligently creates a schedule, adjusting your home’s temperature so you don’t have to fiddle with it yourself. It installs easily (though it’s compatible with slightly fewer HVAC systems than other Nest models), works with Nest’s Temperature Sensors to help keep all your rooms comfortable, and blends in nicely with walls thanks to a clean, white design that some people may find more appealing than the previous black-and-metal Nest models. It also works with a wide variety of smart-home platforms, including Alexa and Google Assistant. It lacks a few features compared with the standard Nest model, but these are minor conveniences rather than necessities.
wirecutter  smart_home  review  comparo  HVAC 
4 weeks ago by rgl7194
The Best Tent for Family and Car Camping: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
After researching more than two dozen family car-camping tents, talking with a tent designer, interviewing an expert on family camping, and sleeping and playing in a total of 13 large tents on four weekend camping trips and in a neighbor’s flat backyard, we think the Eureka Copper Canyon 6 is the best car-camping tent for most families. Of all the models we tested, the Copper Canyon 6 offers the best combination of a spacious interior, easy setup, good durability, and a reasonable price.
Our pick
Eureka Copper Canyon 6
The best family car-camping tent
Spacious, versatile, and affordable, the Copper Canyon 6 has all the features most car campers need and none of the fussy extras they don’t.
$260* from Amazon
*At the time of publishing, the price was $241.
With a peak height of 7 feet and a cubelike shape, the Copper Canyon 6 was among the roomiest of the tents we tested, with extra space to help you stay organized and sleep more comfortably. It is big and boxy, but as long as you plan on lugging your tent only a couple hundred feet, you don’t need something ultralight and high-tech. Although it isn’t built for stormy weather, it is still tough and durable enough to ride out most rainstorms and windstorms. With a time-tested design, this popular tent is one you can expect to pitch for years to come.
camping  sleep  comparo  review  wirecutter 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Uses This / Nathan Edwards
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi! I'm Nathan Edwards, and I'm a senior editor at Wirecutter, a product reviews website now owned by The New York Times Company. I oversee a bunch of beats including PCs, computer accessories, gaming, networking, and pet gear. I've recently edited articles on automatic pet feeders, game controllers, Wi-Fi extenders, and ultrabooks.
wirecutter  setup  MBP  google  windows  gmail  slack  productivity  spotify  instapaper  twitter  instagram 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
The Best Extension Cords for Your Home and Garage: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
After more than 20 hours researching over 44 different extension cords, talking with safety experts, and testing six of the most promising for flexibility in zero-degree temps, we recommend the U.S. Wire & Cable 50 FT. Extreme All-Weather Extension Cord. It’s the most flexible cord we tested, it’s durable in all types of weather, it won’t break down if dragged through oil or grease, and it makes a strong connection—all of which add up to a cord that should last for years even in the harshest environments.
Our pick
U.S. Wire & Cable 50 FT. Extreme All-Weather Extension Cord
The best extension cord
With a solid power rating and durable construction, this cord can safely handle any job around a home or garage. Plus, it’s the most flexible cord we’ve tested, even in freezing temps.
$41 from Amazon
Because the U.S. Wire & Cable 50 FT. Extreme All-Weather Extension Cord is the most flexible cord we’ve ever tried, it is easy to work with whether you’re in the height of summer heat or the depths of a near-zero-degree winter. The thick, 12-gauge wires inside are rated to handle up to 15 amps—as much as most residential breakers will allow—making it safe to use with most tools and equipment in the US. The outlet has a small LED that lights up when the cord is live. If you’re going to own only one extension cord, the 50-foot version is versatile enough to maneuver across a two-car garage, run between two rooms indoors, or stretch deep into a yard outside. This same cord is also available in a 25-foot length if you want something more manageable, and a 100-foot length if you need more range but want to avoid daisy-chaining cords.
cables  electric  review  comparo  wirecutter 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
How to Pick the Best Extension Cord at the Hardware Store: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
The extension cords you’ll find for sale online are better quality and cost less than the ones generally stocked at brick-and-mortar hardware stores. If you can wait a day or two for shipping, buying online is the way to go. But that’s not particularly helpful advice if you’re in the middle of a project and need an extension cord right now. If you’re going to have only one cord, focus on indoor/outdoor extension cords—generally the ones in bright colors—and follow the tips laid out here to snag the best cord among the limited options in the store. If you’re looking for an indoor cord just to extend your phone charger or plug in a lamp, the guidelines are a little different.
Buy longer than you think you’ll need
When you’re guessing how long of an extension cord you need, leave yourself extra room for error and buy the next longest cord. Not only is a longer cord more convenient—it’s annoying to just barely reach your work area—-but it’s safer too. That’s because you’re not supposed to daisy-chain extension cords, connecting one to another. The extra length of multiple cords plugged in to each other (without thicker wires to make up for the distance) adds electrical resistance between the outlet and the thing you’re trying to power. Added resistance can in turn cause voltage drops that will make equipment like drills, saws, and vacuums run at lower power. The extra resistance of daisy-chaining cords can also cause additional heat to build up along the way, increasing the risk of one of the cords melting or even starting a fire.
electric  cables  review  howto  wirecutter  comparo 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Where Should You Buy Appliances?: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
“If you’re a member, Costco offers the cheapest delivery and installation of the big national chains, you’ll get an additional year of warranty coverage for many products, and it will help you make warranty claims with the manufacturer. The downside is that it has a limited selection compared with most other stores: For example, it doesn’t sell some of our favorite brands, including Bosch or KitchenAid dishwashers, Electrolux washing machines, or Frigidaire ranges. (The chain does carry most of the LG, GE, and Whirlpool/Maytag appliances we recommend, though.)

“Among stores that don’t require a membership, Lowe’s has some of the most affordable and flexible delivery, installation, and haul-away options, and is one of the few that offers to help you make claims on your warranty if you need to. In some areas, Lowe’s employees will make the delivery—otherwise your order will be delivered and installed by a third party, as with most chains. Lowe’s doesn’t sell Electrolux laundry products, however.”
appliances  wirecutter  2018 
6 weeks ago by handcoding
The Best Pen: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
We interviewed experts with thousands of hours of experience testing stationery, and subjected their favorite pens to nearly 70 professionally picky Wirecutter staffers, to affirm that the Uni-ball Jetstream is the best pen for everyday writing. It’s easy to find in stores, it writes smoothly on most paper, and it’s affordable enough that you won’t be heartbroken if someone permanently borrows it.
Our pick
Uni-ball Jetstream
The best pen
Affordable, smooth, left-hand friendly, and filled with the best-performing ink, the Jetstream is a verified go-to pen.
$10 from Amazon
(pack of three)
For most people in most situations, the Uni-ball Jetstream is the best pen for the job. Its pigment-darkened ballpoint ink flows out smoothly and evenly, without skipping and with minimal pressure. The ink sinks into paper and dries quickly (which is great for lefties), and it rarely, if ever, feathers out from your lines or bleeds through good notebook paper. Available in a variety of tip widths and colors, the Jetstream is sold in office-supply stores and through online merchants. It felt reasonably good in our testers’ hands, and it has been a Wirecutter pick since 2013.
Tip width as tested: 0.7 mm
Widths available: 0.38 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 1.0 mm
Style: Ballpoint
Ink type: Hybrid (low-viscosity ballpoint ink with pigments)
writing  review  comparo  wirecutter 
7 weeks ago by rgl7194
How to Make Espresso at Home: A Starter Guide: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company
If you’re a coffee aficionado interested in pulling great shots at home, our review of the best espresso machine, grinder, and accessories can help you pick out a great beginner setup—but you’ll need a little practice and patience to get the hang of it. With that in mind, we enlisted David Castillo, the training and education manager at Joe Coffee Company in New York City (I also work at Joe Coffee Company as a consultant), to spend some time with the Breville Infuser (our top-pick machine), and give us some advice on getting started.
Though I have a long coffee background myself, including not just consulting at Joe Coffee Company but researching and writing Wirecutter’s guides to coffee grinders and drip coffee makers, and serving as associate editor at coffee news website Sprudge.com, I’ve spent nearly all of my time in the coffee industry on the drinking side of the bar. So I asked my colleague David if he might drop by my home testing lab and share his award-winning expertise using the beginner-friendly gear we recommend.
The bare minimum setup you’ll need to get started brewing espresso is the machine itself (which, in the case of the Breville Infuser, comes with a portafilter and tamper already) and, whether you do the grinding yourself or not, some coffee ground correctly for espresso (a much finer grind than you may be used to for filter coffee). Ideally you’ll grind coffee for each espresso right before you pull the shot, because coffee goes stale rapidly once it’s ground. And although picking out a coffee bean strictly marketed as “espresso” isn’t necessary, you’ll find that the best roasters strive to build coffee blends that taste balanced and pleasing in the espresso brewing process—as well as retain their best characteristics when served with milk.
coffee  howto  wirecutter  guide 
7 weeks ago by rgl7194

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