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This is the fourth post in my new Sarah’s Gadget Showcase series. #1: Audio Gadgets, #2: Cooking Gadgets, and #3: Reading Gadgets are also available.

This installment of the Gadget Showcase is a collection of random miscellaneous things I use…stuff that works well for me. This is truly a list of “a few of my favorite things.” Enjoy…and tell me what your favorite things are too in the comments section!

solar chargerFreeLoader Pro Solar Charger ($79.99)
As I often travel and run out of power for my laptop or smart phone, a portable power supply is super useful. I have started using this great solar charger. It will charge up just about any device and has a dozen or so little adaptors so it will fit whatever weirdo power input your device has. And hey—it’s solar, so you can get your green on.



led clockTIX LED Clock ($39.99)
I love this clock because it makes me think. Many people mistake it for a binary clock at first glance, but in fact you read the clock by counting the lighted boxes in each column…and that’s the time. I like that it’s colorful (the only colorful thing in my house). And I like that the lighted boxes rotate and move around.



RoombaiRobot Roomba 530 ($349.99)
Why have a vacuum when you can have a robot? It cleans the floors probably better than I would with a manual vacuum cleaner. I love just pushing the little button and letting it do its thing in the room. It handles hard floors and carpeting well. I also love that it doubles as a ride for my cats (little Fiona has figured out that pushing the button will start it up and she’ll ride it around). I have the basic level Roomba, but if you want to throw another $200 at a purchase you can get a super advanced Roomba instead with fancy scheduling features and what not. Yay for robots!

Dyson Air MultiplierDyson Air Multiplier ($299 and up)
Space age air circulation baby! I am very sound sensitive (and smell sensitive, light sensitive…I’m just a sensitive girl!). The sound of fan blades drives me nuts…that “whoomp whoomp” grates on my nerves. But when it’s hot and you’re lacking AC, you need a fan (and icy drinks, cold showers, and popsicles). The Dyson Air Multiplier works as well as a fan, is quieter, creates a more consistent white noise sound, and is much easier to clean since there are no blades. And it looks cool and space-agey. One problem: it’s crazy expensive. The one I have I got with a stockpile of Best Buy gift cards that I didn’t have anything else to spend them on. I don’t know that I’d buy another unless the price goes down.

sleep machineAdaptive Sound+Sleep Therapy System ($99.99)
Insomnia, anyone? This is the best sleep machine, bar none, that I’ve ever heard. It has 10 different sounds to pick from (my favorites are rainfall, ocean, and white noise). The sounds are also all naturally recorded, so it’s not some stupid 60 second loop of mechanically-generated “rain noise” or something. The speaker system is of a totally decent quality. You can set it to a timer. But here are the two coolest features: 1) The Adaptive Setting will set the system to increase or decrease the volume as the ambient room volume goes up or down (read: neighbors upstairs stomping around = volume goes up to cover it); and 2) The Richness Setting will add more or less complexity to the sound you choose, e.g. thunder or bird noises to the rainfall sound. I want to offer up a huge thanks to Michael Porter for introducing me to this gem of a sleep-assisting gadget.

heating padTheraTherm Digital Moist Heating Pad ($74.95)
It’s a heating pad. How cool can it be? Answer: pretty freaking cool. This heating pad draws moisture from the air to provide a moist heat, which is better for your skin and is more penetrating as well. In addition, this bad boy has a programmable digital controller where you can set the exact temperature (I hover around 128 but it goes all the way up to 166) and the time duration (from 1-60 minutes). When my back is sore or even when I’m just a little chilly, I use this heating pad and can fall asleep without worrying about burning myself or setting fire to my bed. Avoidance of accidental fire and skin grafts is always a plus.

dr. riter's real easeDr. Riter’s Real Ease ($35.99)
Keeping on the pain relief theme, this neck support is the magic bullet that fixes most of my computer-use-induced neck problems. I’ve probably tried a dozen different neck stretchers, massagers, supporters, pillows, you name it. This is the only one that does a thing for me. It’s just some foam on top of a curvy piece of plastic—that’s it. But you lay down on the floor with this supporting your neck, and minutes later all that tension just flows out and those muscles reconfigure themselves into the spots they’re supposed to be—you know, supporting your spine instead of wrenching it out of place.

littermaid litter boxLitterMaid Elite Self-Cleaning Litter Box ($129.99)
I love cats. I hate cat litter. I think training your cat to use a human toilet is just weird. So, I deal with the litter. When I got my new kittens, I thought I’d try a self-cleaning litter box. This one has definite pros and cons. Pro: It scoops itself (most of the time). Con: It misses my kittens sometimes because they’re so small they still don’t trigger the sensors, so stuff builds up. Pro: You can set a sleep timer so it doesn’t go off in the middle of the night. Con: When it does go off it is crazy loud. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with this or go back to a normal box. But it’s interesting…and the principle of it is a good one—make a robot do something I’d rather not do. And let me offer advanced apologies to future sentient AI species reading this; I value your existence and worship my superior robot overlords.

“Sarah’s Gadget Showcase, Part 4 (Random Household Gadgets)”

  1. Paul Mills Says:

    My wife and I tried the self-cleaning litter box, but our 22 pound cat overwhelmed it! Our boy Spike eats alot and of course that has the expected results!

  2. Chanel Says:

    I recommend the Litter Robot ( I’ve (well, my cats) been using it for 7 years and my parents have one as well. It doesn’t get clogged up like the rake-style boxes and with two cats it’s a week and a half before I have to remove the waste bag. Cons are that it is fairly expensive, large, and noisy when in action but it’s all definitely worth it (both for my cats and me).

  3. Jennifer Says:

    My cat broke the littermaid one because everytime it would go off, she would hear the noise & come to investigate. Which of course included getting back into the box which of course made it run again. Need less to say, the over-use killed it. I loved it while it worked though.

  4. Nicole Says:

    I recently acquired a second cat and a new apartment, so needed to upgrade my box. While looking around, I found (and purchased) this:

    It is amazing. You still have to remember to ‘clean’ it (by rolling it upside down, which sounds weird but isn’t, honest), but there’s no scooping, it all goes right into a little disposable pan, AND there’s no noise or electricity required. Also, it’s very affordable.

    There’s a video in the reviews – and yeah, it really does work that easily, and that well. I just roll the box every day or two and then dump the waste out!

  5. Hillary Says:

    Thanks for the heating pad recommendation. I was born with a tumor in my neck, and when I get sick and it hurts going to sleep with warm moist heat on the neck is the best cure (and often the only way to sleep). But it always leads to a wet pillow or having to stay awake long enough to turn the pad off. i’m getting this one!

  6. joan kimball Says:

    Hope you post again soon.


  7. Jenica Says:

    That neck thinger is made of magic. I bought one after I read this, and I say again: MAGIC.

  8. blackberrypacks Says:

    I tried the self-cleaning litter box, but our 22 pound cat overwhelmed it! Our boy Spike eats alot and of course that has the expected results!

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