Hardware show: Some bloomin’ good ideas for the yard

Consumer Reports News: May 12, 2011 06:00 PM

Squirrel-defying bird feeders, wrist-friendly rakes and back-saving pot lifters are just some of the lawn and garden products on display at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. Some were the results of happy accidents while others employ a bit of Yankee ingenuity.

ErgoDig garden tools. After company founder William Rogers used a bent pipe to modify a broken shovel handle, he noticed that his wrist immediately felt better as he worked. Now he’s brought out a full line of shovels, hoes, pitch forks and other tools with the same slightly offset handle.

The PotLifter. Using two straps, the PotLifter ($22) enables you and a friend to move a heavy pot filled with dirt, a propane tank or even put the head on a snowman. In other words, it’s a way to get your arms around a bulky item.

Droll Yankees. With names like the Yankee Tipper, Yankee Flipper and Yankee Whipper, you gotta laugh. Still, the company claims that their bird feeders are squirrel-proof and even offers a warranty against squirrel damage.

The Compost Wizard Hybrid. Good Ideas Inc. combined a rain barrel and a compost barrel to get an odd-looking contraption that does double duty. It’s a bit of an eyesore but your neighbors won’t be laughing when you’re watering your plants with water from the 47-gallon barrel and they’re paying for theirs.

The Original Grill Gauge. Hang a propane tank on this handheld spring scale and you can determine how much fuel remains. It automatically subtracts the weight of the tank, typically 17 pounds. At $14.95, it’s a cheaper alternative to the $90 Lite Cylinder translucent propane tank we just tested.

Ryobi’s lithium-ion powered string trimmers. Ryobi is showing off its ONE + 18- and 24-volt string trimmers with new lithium-ion batteries. Both have pivoting heads and can convert into edgers. The 18-volt model is $119 and the 24-volt model $159 at Home Depot. You can see the 18-volt model in action at the hardware show.

Gian Trotta

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