5 reasons to head to Lowe’s this spring

Pergola Lowes.ca

This pergola would be great to entertain under all summer long!

I was recently shopping at my local Lowe’s location for a new BBQ and from the time I entered the store, I was amazed at the products they had on display as part of their spring collection.

Besides their awesome catalogue of barbecues and accessories, Lowe’s has high quality, stylish products to help you entertain all spring and summer long.

Here’s a few items I put on my wishlist after strolling around the store for endless hours.

Perfect pergola

I’m a big fan of pergola’s, and this 10×10 Garden Treasures one really stood out to me. It has a solid price tag at $699, is durable and easy to install, and as a bonus it comes with a canopy. Check out how great it looks with patio lights hanging off of it in the photo above!

Cool cooler

You’re not going to take this camping, but this 30-gallon Cornerstone wooden cooler is ideal for large patio parties. It’s made from real wood, has a hinged lid and looks awesome! It’s a bit pricey at $249 but can be found on sale for under $200.

Wooden cooler Lowes.ca

Your guests will be in awe with every drink they take from this awesome wooden cooler!

Cozy conversation set

With two boys in a small bungalow, our backyard is truly an extension of our living space and this 5-piece allen + roth “conversation set” would be the perfect way to expand outside. It’s made from all-weather wicker, has a solid steel frame and the solid blue cushions really stand out. At $799 it’s not the cheapest set available, but it’s sure to last you many seasons.

Conversation set Lowes.ca

No need to go inside to get comfortable this summer!

Easy garden box

I’ve made my share of garden boxes in the past and can tell you that for $69.99 this 4 ft. x 3 ft. raised EasyGarden bed is a steal. It’s also the perfect size if you’re only looking for a salad selection of lettuces and herbs to grow for the summer.

Garden box Lowes.ca

It doesn’t get much easier or cheaper to get into growing your own food this spring!

Canadiana fire pit

What better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday than by sitting around a fire pit with a beaver, maple leaf and inuksuk cut into its metal base? This Canadiana fire pit will have you singing “O Canada” all summer long! Unfortunately it’s only available online now and will run you $249.

Canadiana fire pit Lowes.ca

Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with this wild Canadiana fire pit!

For more backyard inspiration, check out some of the ideas Lowe’s had on display last year.

What do you think of Lowe’s Canada 2017 spring/summer collection? Anything on your wishlist? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Never fumble for keys again with the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt

Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt

Schlage’s Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt is an easy-to-use connected lock that is functional and sleek.

Along with connected bulbs and thermostats, one of the most obvious places to implement a “smart” home device is your front door. I’ve tested a few of these connected locks in the past but none have been as sleek or friendly to use as the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt.

Unboxing

The Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt comes with a numbered touchpad panel for the outside of the door and a bulkier inside unit that holds the batteries, wires and also acts as an alarm. All required hardware, instructions and batteries are included in the box, along with one physical key (which I have still not used).

There are different trim and colour options available for the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt. I picked up the century trim model in satin nickel and was surprised at how well it immediately blended into the features of my house.

Installation

I was replacing a Kevo Bluetooth Deadbolt with the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt. Swapping the two was extremely simple and took about 20 minutes to do. If you are installing it on a brand new door or a non-standard door, it could take longer to install. The instructions are very detailed and easy to follow, though.

Setting up codes

The Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt comes with two preset 4-digit PIN numbers programmed and a 6-digit programming code (all of these are located in the user guide and on the back of the inside unit). A total of 17 other unique 4-digit PIN numbers can be programmed, making it easy for each family member to have their own code. Setting these up is as simple as entering the programming code followed by the 4-digit PIN you want to set. Again, the instructions are easy to follow and you won’t be lost setting up a PIN.

RELATED: Netatmo Welcome review: the security camera you didn’t know you needed

Locking and unlocking

I have never had a lock as easy to use as the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt. To lock it from the outside all you need to do is press the Schlage logo on the front of the touchpad and, boom! It locks. When you want to unlock your door from the outside, you press the Schlage logo to get it to light up then enter one of your 4-digit PIN numbers (locking and unlocking from the inside works the way any other deadbolt does). You can also set it to auto-lock after 30 seconds and link it to a Wink Hub (see below).

Wink integration

Being able to double check that you locked your door when you get to work or being able to open your door for someone when you’re not home is probably the control you want from a “smart” lock. The Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt can connect to a Wink Hub or Wink Hub 2 in order to give you this control from within the Wink app or from a Wink Relay switch. And it’s worth getting a Wink Hub in order to gain this ability as it truly opens up a whole new world (when I get home with a load of groceries or a sleeping child in the backseat I unlock the door from my car and don’t have to mess around with my arms full).

The alarm

The unit I got has a built-in alarm. While this sounds like a good idea, I found it very sensitive and awkward to use (wind blowing against the door even set it off one night). It also takes a bit to get the alarm to stop once it goes off (my poor papergirl had the scare of her life when I was testing it). After playing with the settings I never found a good middle ground and ended up disabling it.

RELATED: 5 reasons to add Philips Hue bulbs to your smart home

Final thoughts

Issues with the alarm feature aside, the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt is a great lock that’s easy to use and extra functional when paired with a Wink Hub. The ability to use codes instead of keys makes life much easier and has already saved me hours trying to find my keys multiple times a day.

The Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt retails for around $239.99 at Home Depot and Lowe’s in Canada. For more information, visit schlage.com.

Do you use a connected “smart” lock? Interested in one? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Around the House (Oct. 4, 2016)

Around the House is a weekly roundup of news items related to smart devices, tools, kitchen gadgets and anything else worth mentioning that affects how we live at home.

Google Home not coming to Canada

Google held a big event Tuesday to announce the new Pixel smartphone, which features Google Assistant and supposedly has the best smartphone camera ever. The more exciting news was about their Amazon Echo competitor, Google Home. Considering the Echo is still not available in Canada I fully expected Google to jump on the market with Home and completely crush Amazon here (the Home and Echo pretty much do the exact same thing). Sadly, Google did not mention availability in Canada at all and now we have two devices we can only dream about using.

Amazon now ships faster in Toronto and Vancouver

Speaking of Amazon, they now offer same-day and weekend shipping to Amazon Prime members in Toronto and Vancouver (they really should launch their own delivery service here). They also rolled out Twitch Prime last week which offers exclusive gaming content every month, discounts on new release games and a free monthly Twitch channel subscription. Twitch Prime is included with the annual $79 Amazon Prime service for Canadians.

Samsung washing machines could hurt you

Did you purchase a top-loading Samsung washing machine between March 2011 and April 2016? If so, you might want to listen up. Samsung has issued a warning about some of these machines after reports of them “exploding”. According to Consumer Reports, “the problem seems to occur during the spin cycle when some machines suddenly and sometimes violently break apart.” Considering Samsung just had to recall the Galaxy Note 7 over reports of it exploding, this is not a very good year for the company.

No Apple Home support for the Wink Hub 2

In one of the worst-kept secrets around the smart home and “Internet of Things” community, the Wink Hub 2 was officially announced last week. Coming to a Walmart or Home Depot near you for $99US, the Wink Hub 2 adds 5GHz Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port and upgrades the internal memory from 64MB to 512MB. Unfortunately, it does not support Apple Home yet which means it’s really not worth upgrading to if you already have a first-gen Wink Hub. (When I complained about lack of Apple Home support on Twitter the company pointed out they support over 31 brands and 300 devices).

You could win $10,000 in tools from Milwaukee Tools

Milwaukee Tools launched their “Cut the Cord” contest on Oct. 1 with a grand prize of $10,000 in cordless tools! All you have to do to enter is submit a photo of your Milwaukee tool collection at cutthecordcontest.ca and get your friends and family to vote for you. There’s also monthly and weekly prizes up for grabs, along with a “most voted” prize worth $1,200. The contest closes on Jan. 31, 2017. Good luck!

Have something to add to Around the House weekly? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Around the House (Sept. 20, 2016)

Around the House is a weekly roundup of news items related to smart devices, tools, kitchen gadgets and anything else worth mentioning that affects how we live at home.

Philips Hue Motion Sensor coming to Canada in October

Philips is adding more ways to control its Hue line of connected bulbs and lighting devices with a new wireless motion sensor. Available in Canada this October for $39.95, the Hue Motion Sensor allows users to run certain scenes during set times. This means that if you want your Hue bulbs to only turn on in “Nightlight” mode when motion is detected between midnight and 6 a.m., you can set it up that way. I can see this being very useful when my son wakes up in the middle of the night.

Hue Motion Sensor

The Philips Hue Motion Sensor will be available in Canada for $39.95 this October.

CraveTV scoops up Rolling Stones doc at TIFF

Right before its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last week, Bell purchased the exclusive rights to The Rolling Stones road movie The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé! : A Trip Across Latin America for its video streaming service CraveTV. The film follows The Rolling Stones during their 2016 Latin American tour, which saw them stop in 10 cities, including Havana. CraveTV subscribers will be able to stream the film beginning Oct. 14. Check out the trailer for it below.

Lay’s taking Chalet Sauce chips mainstream

It seems that Canadians love Lay’s Swiss Chalet sauce flavoured chips so much that the company has to ramp up production to meet demands. The chips have been selling out since they arrived at select Swiss Chalet locations earlier this month and now Lay’s says that along with restocking restaurants, the chips will be available in limited quantities at grocery stores across the country beginning Nov. 1. Expect to see a lot of these out at holiday parties this year!

Apple helping teach kids to code with Swift Playgrounds app

Learning to code is becoming more popular with kids and now Apple is helping with their new iPad app Swift Playgrounds. The free app allows users with no programming experience to get a better understanding of coding concepts and experiment with the Swift language, which is used by professional developers to create apps. Along with app templates, Swift Playgrounds also features lessons and challenges to keep users interested. Swift Playgrounds is available via the App Store.

Swift Playgrounds

Apple’s free Swift Playgrounds iPad app helps teach kids to code.

Amazon Echo coming to Germany and the UK (but not Canada)

Amazon announced last Wednesday its popular Echo device is coming to Germany and the UK this fall, giving us Canadians hope it will be available here at some point soon. Amazon also announced a new (cheaper) Echo Dot that gives users more control of the Echo throughout the entire home. It’s also not available in Canada.

Have something to add to Around the House weekly? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Around the House (Sept. 12, 2016)

Around the House is a weekly roundup of news items related to smart devices, tools, kitchen gadgets and anything else worth mentioning from the last week that affects our home life.

Nest Cam Outdoor arrives

The highly anticipated Nest Cam Outdoor is now available to purchase for a cool $249.99 CDN. The weatherproof camera allows users to monitor the outside of their homes live 24/7 and also includes two-way audio. Users with a Nest Aware subscription can receive person alerts and have 10 or 30-day video history saved in the cloud depending on the package they subscribe to. Nest also added three new thermostat colour options this week. For those unhappy with only being able to purchase the standard stainless steel model, you can now get it in white, black and copper.

Nest Cam Outdoor

The Nest Cam Outdoor is now available in Canada for $249.

Apple shows off ‘Home’ app

During its iPhone 7 event last week, Apple briefly showed off its new ‘Home’ app in iOS 10, which will give users total control of HomeKit integrated smart devices in one location. Compatible devices include the likes of Philips Hue bulbs, the ecobee3 thermostat and Schlage Connect locks (among others). Besides the announcement that Mario is coming to the iPhone and iPad this holiday season (about time!), the ‘Home’ demo was the most exciting thing about the event.

Apple Home App

Apple’s ‘Home’ app.

PlayStation 4 Pro announced

The PlayStation 4 Pro is coming November 10. Along with a faster processor and a 1TB hard drive, it opens up 4K gaming. Unfortunately it does not not support 4K UltraHD Blu-ray titles like the XBOX One S does. This is somewhat odd since Sony Home Entertainment has been pumping out 4K UltraHD Blu-ray movies all year, including the Angry Birds movie (which, if you’re going to watch, it might as well be in 4K UltraHD).

PS4 Pro

The Sony PlayStation Pro 4.

Milwaukee Tool has a light for everyone

Four new lighting options are coming this fall from Milwaukee Tool. These include the M18 Rocket LED Tower Light/Charger, M12 ROVER LED Compact Flood Light, M18 LED Search Light and M18 RADIUS LED Compact Site Light w/ONE-KEY, which can be programmed via the ONE-KEY app and remotely controlled from up to 50-feet away. As a fan of the Milwaukee Tool brand I’m excited for all of these. All four options will be available in October.

Milwaukee M18 RADIUS LED Compact Site Light w/ONE-KEY

The Milwaukee M18 RADIUS LED Compact Site Light w/ONE-KEY.

Samsung Canada officially recalls Note 7

After some serious issues surrounding the Note 7 battery (like the potential of it to explode and cause a fire), Samsung Canada has issued a recall notice for the device. If you purchased one between August 19 and September 1, 2016, you are urged to power it down and register for a new one. There’s been approximately 21,953 of these sold in Canada (according to Health Canada) so if you know someone with one let them know about the recall.

Have something to add to Around the House weekly? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

5 reasons to add Philips Hue bulbs to your smart home

Philips Hue

Philips Hue bulbs truly add the “smart” to “smart home”.

For the last few years I’ve been attempting to turn my home into a “smart home”. Some of the products I have added or tested have been great, while others have had constant issues or just didn’t live up to the hype. My latest addition, the Philips Hue connected LED bulb, blows every other “smart” thing out of the water. Here’s five reasons why.

Easy to setup

For my review Philips sent me the Hue White Ambiance A19 Starter Kit. This kit consists of two connected bulbs, a bridge and a remote. Hook the bridge up to your router via an Ethernet cable, screw the bulbs into the light fixtures you want them in, download the app and you’re up and running (seriously, the setup took about 10 minutes in total).

Works with everything

There is nothing more infuriating than not being able to control a “smart” device the way you want. One of the standout features of the Philips Hue bulbs is it can be controlled from almost everything. The Wink Relay works with it as does Amazon’s Echo device (still not available in Canada) and it’s compatible with Apple HomeKit (meaning you can tell Siri to turn lights on and off). It also works with Nest (lights turn on when thermostat is in “Away” mode and turn on if your smoke detector goes off) and can also be controlled via the Harmony Ultimate One remote.

Total control

Along with it working with everything I threw at it, the Hue app gives you total control of the bulbs. You can set routines for the bulbs to turn on and off, change the brightness level (“Dimmed” is great for watching Stranger Things on Netflix) and even change the colour (only if you have a colour Hue bulb). The supplied remote (which can also be mounted to the wall) can be programmed and both the Android and iOS app are easy to use. You can also control it via certain wearables, like the Apple Watch, and use the IFTTT app with it. There’s also third-party apps available that opens up the potential of Hue even further.

RELATED: Nest aims to make your home safer with new outdoor camera

Great bulb

My entire house has been updated to LED bulbs and the Philips Hue bulbs give off some of the best light out of the bunch. The White Ambiance bulbs range between 2000K and 6500K, giving you the ability to have warm or cold light depending on your mood. They’re 800 lumens, use only 10.5 watts and can last up to 25,000 hours (comparable to most LED bulbs these days). Because you can dim them via the bulb there is also no need for expensive dimmer switches, which sometimes cause LED bulbs to hum.

Expandable

Philips makes a range of Hue bulbs and up to 50 bulbs can run off of one bridge. I’ve already purchased extra bulbs for around my house and added some colour ones to the mix (having my lights outside turn orange for Halloween or red and green for Christmas is going to be awesome). There’s also Hue light strips available, which are perfect for under kitchen cabinets.

RELATED: Netatmo Weather Station review: Cool device; far from perfect

Final thoughts

The initial cost of adding Philips Hue bulbs is a bit shocking (the starter kit I was sent is about $129.99) but once you see the control they give you you’ll realize it’s well worth the investment. I honestly don’t know how I survived this long without them.

Are you a fan of Philips Hue bulbs? Use something similar? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Why DeWalt’s battery-operated shop vac is a must-have tool

DeWalt 18V/20V MAX cordless wet/dry vac

DeWalt’s battery-operated shop vac. Yes, it does have a cord.

When it comes to vacuum’s (and most tools) I am an anti-cord guy. Besides delivering power, which batteries these days can do a fine job of, all a cord does is get in the way. Think of these scenarios.

Scenario 1

You’re in the middle of vacuuming up a mess and go to reach a spot that just happens to be an inch out of reach. What happens? Plug falls out of receptacle, vacuum turns off and now you’re frustrated and on a hunt for a new socket somewhere closer (or an extension cord).

Scenario 2

You need to vacuum in a place where there is no wall outlet (like in your attic or the back of your shed) and you don’t have an extension cord long enough. Or the electricity is off where you’re working and you have no generator. Do you just leave the mess in place and move on?

Scenario 3

You have electricity and solve your cord issue by running a long extension cord. Now you’re wrapped around furniture and knocking everything over (or worse, tripping over it yourself and getting injured).

While slightly exaggerated, all three scenarios have happened to me and caused me great stress. So when DeWalt offered to send over their battery-operated shop vac, I jumped at the chance to review it.

RELATED: EGO Power+ releasing 56v battery-operated snow blower fall 2016

One of the biggest surprises after I unboxed the DeWalt 18V/20V MAX cordless wet/dry vac (model DCV581H) was that there is indeed a cord! Since it can’t be used to charge a battery in the unit (which would have made more sense), I see this as a safety blanket for the generation that doesn’t fully believe in battery-operated tools yet and wish there was an option to detach it.

BELOW: Watch as I unbox the DeWalt 18V/20V MAX cordless wet/dry vac

Getting past the cord on a “cordless” wet/dry vac, I was immediately impressed with how lightweight and durable the unit is. Even after adding one of my 20V MAX batteries to power it, it was still easy to carry around.

RELATED: Ryobi’s ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vacuum a game changer

The unit has an attached vacuum hose and includes a crevice tool, wide nozzle tool and a long-life HEPA filter. What it doesn’t come with is a battery, which is to keep the cost of the unit around $100. DeWalt is banking on you to have some of their tools with a battery you can “borrow” for the vac. I used one of my 20V MAX Li-Ion drill batteries (an 18V NiCD/NiHD/Li-Lon stick battery can also be used) and have not had any issues with it running out as I use the vac.

DeWalt shop vac

The battery port on DeWalt’s 18V/20V MAX cordless wet/dry vac.

It’s only a 2-gallon unit, but it feels like I never have to dump the canister when cleaning up dry material. Since I got it, I’ve sucked up drywall dust, small pieces of concrete, sawdust and tiny wood pieces. I’ve also tackled a small basement flood with it. It’s also replaced Ryboi’s ONE+ 18V EVERCHARGE hand vac as my go-to unit for cleaning the car.

DeWalt’s battery-operated shop vac can go from dry to wet items without having to switch out the filter. DeWalt does recommend you empty the canister (which is a very simple process) before sucking up liquid, but this is just to make cleaning the canister and the filter easier. This is a huge time saver during a job and one of the best features of the unit.

Besides being a great little shop vac, the DeWalt 18V/20V MAX cordless wet/dry vac can also act as a blower, which is a bonus for getting debris out of a tight space in order to suck it up. And while it is loud, it’s not as loud as some bigger shop vacs.

DeWalt shop vac

Overall, I highly recommend the DeWalt 18V/20V MAX cordless wet/dry vac. It’s definitely a tool that will make life easier for every DIYer. And if you can find it on sale for under $100, the value is unbelievable.

For more information on the DeWalt 18V/20V MAX cordless wet/dry vac, visit dewalt.ca.

Have you used a battery-operated shop vac? Does one interest you? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

5 things I learned having backyard chickens for a week

Backyard chicken

One of the three backyard hens we had for a week.

We recently had the chance to house three hens in our backyard for a week. While backyard chickens are allowed in our area, most of our family and friends thought we were crazy inviting them into our backyard. The experience was highly educational and fun though, and I don’t think my kids (or my wife and I) will ever look at chickens the same again.

Here are 5 things I learned after having chickens for a week.

Fresh eggs taste better

The entire reason we wanted backyard hens was to get fresh eggs every day. And the three hens we had delivered the goods daily once they were comfortable. Fresh, unwashed eggs don’t need to be refrigerated and really do taste much better than store-bought eggs (eggs will absorb other odors and tastes when sitting inside your fridge). The eggs also had different colour shells and ranged in size depending on what the hens were fed the previous day.

Fresh eggs

A collection of some of the fresh eggs our hens delivered.

Chickens are smarter than they look

The day after the chickens arrived a neighbour said he saw a chicken up the road during his early morning walk and asked if we lost one. Since all our chickens were accounted for we thought someone else in the area must have had chickens, too. Lo and behold, the next morning I caught one of the chickens walking around the front lawn! Even with an electric fence around the hen-house, which was inside a fenced in yard, they somehow figured out a way to escape. Every morning! The bigger surprise though was that they knew how to get back to our house and into their enclosure without us knowing.

RELATED: 5 tips for portaging with kids

They are noisy creatures

Whoever said chickens were quiet never had them wake them up at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday! All three hens would start “bok, bok-ing” every morning and continue to get louder until we went out and fed them. They would do this again in the afternoon when they were hungry and again in the evening when they were hungry (chickens eat a lot!).

They act like dogs

One of the biggest surprises to all of us was how much personality each hen had. They would run to us when we entered the backyard, enjoyed being picked up and petted and if we had a bowl with us they would follow us around waiting to be fed even if there was no food in it). And when they did escape it wasn’t that hard to tell them to get back into the yard. Quite honestly, they acted more like dogs than what I perceived a chicken to act like. It was kind of neat.

Raising chickens is a lot of work

Along with them waking us up, escaping and wanting to constantly eat, we had to clean their poop a few times a day and make sure they were comfortable. Because we had them during a heat wave, this also meant setting up shade zones and misting them to keep them cool. There was no way we could go away for a night while we had them either and if we were to keep them full-time it would be a major lifestyle adjustment.

Feeding hens

Even with all the quirks, my kids learned a lot about farming and where our food comes from and it was a memorable experience they’ll never forget.

If you’re considering getting backyard chickens, check with your municipality to find out the rules and bylaws in your area first.

Do you have or want to have backyard chickens? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Ryobi beefing up product line in Canada

Ryobi demonstrated some of the new tools and accessories they’re bringing to Canada soon at an event in Toronto earlier this month. Along with the ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac, they’re adding upwards of 20 products to their line, beefing it up to over 70 items for Canadian DIYers to play with. Here are a select few I’m excited for.

Ultra-Quiet Garage Door Opener

Ryobi garage door opener

The Ryobi Ultra-Quiet Garage Door Opener is a modular system allowing you to add accessories, such as a fan or speaker, to it.

With their new products, Ryobi appears to be focusing on tools and items around the home that need improving and the Ultra-Quiet Garage Door Opener is a prime example of this mandate.

The Ryobi Ultra-Quiet Garage Door Opener has a 2HP motor, lifetime motion-controlled LED light and sports built-in Wi-Fi, giving you control of it (via an app) even when you’re not home. It’s also compatible with HomeLink and can use a RYOBI ONE+ P108 4Ah battery as back-up in case of a power outage (since it’s on the outside of the opener you can use the battery as a spare for your tools as well).

RELATED: Ryobi’s ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vacuum a game changer

The coolest feature of the Ryobi Ultra-Quiet Garage Door Opener though is that it’s a modular unit and has accessories available that can be attached to it. These include a Bluetooth speaker, park assist unit, garage fan, a 30ft retractable extension cord and carbon monoxide detector. The unit also comes in only three pieces, making it much more easy to assemble than most garage door openers on the market.

The Ryobi Ultra-Quiet Garage Door Opener is available now for $349.

18V ONE+ P737 Power Inflator

Ryobi 18V ONE+ Power Inflator

The Ryobi 18V ONE+ Power Inflator delivers up to 150 psi.

With two kids I’m constantly inflating bike tires and balls of some sort so a cordless handheld power inflator is hugely appealing to me.

The Ryobi 18V ONE+ Power Inflator delivers up to 150 psi, has a 20-inch hose and works with any 18-volt ONE+ battery. It comes with a sports needle and two nozzle accessories (allowing you to inflate a range of items), has a comfortable pistol-grip handle and a 2-inch easy-to-read pressure gauge.

The Ryobi 18V ONE+ Power Inflator is available now for $39.99.

18V ONE+ P516 Reciprocating Saw

I’m always searching for tools to make my life easier around the house and the new Ryobi 18V ONE+ Reciprocating Saw is a great option in this domain.

With a more powerful motor than the previous model, the P516 offers smooth cutting, has a variable speed trigger, an anti-vibe handle and a 1‐1/8” stroke. It’s also cordless and uses the same 18-volt ONE+ battery as other Ryobi tools. It also feels more solid than some other battery-operated reciprocating saws available.

The best feature though is that it’s only going to be $99 when it’s released in Sept.

18V ONE+ 6 Port P135 SUPERCHARGER

Ryobi 18V ONE+ 6 Port SUPERCHARGER

The Ryobi 18V ONE+ 6 Port SUPERCHARGER can be wall-mounted to save space and includes a USB port for charging a smartphone.

One of my biggest pet peeves with battery-operated tools is having multiple chargers plugged in all over my garage. Ryobi’s 18V ONE+ 6 Port SUPERCHARGER solves that problem.

As the name indicates, the SUPERCHARGER can fully charge six Ryobi 18-volt ONE+ batteries at once and can do it in as little as 30 minutes. It has a status light, a temperature indicator that warns if a battery is too cold or hot to charge and can conserve energy while also protecting battery cells.

RELATED: Ryobi’s Phone Works line brings high-tech tools to DIYers

The unit can be mounted to the wall or stand vertically and batteries lock into place so you can use it to transport them if heading over to work on a friends house. It also has a 2-amp USB port that you can charge a smartphone with.

The Ryobi 18V ONE+ 6 Port SUPERCHARGER is available now for $99.

All Ryobi tools are sold exclusively in Canada at The Home Depot. For more information on these and the other tools in the Ryobi line, visit ryobitools.com.

Are you a fan on Ryobi tools? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Get your garage organized with the Proslat wall storage system

Proslat wall storage

The Proslat wall storage system is easy to install and looks very slick.

One of my main goals for 2016 was to get my garage organized. I was hoping to do this before spring but kept procrastinating for one reason or another (too much stuff in my way, not enough time, etc.). This past weekend I took the battle on head first after picking up the Proslat wall storage system.

Why Proslat?

There are many different types of wall storage systems available from brands like Rubbermaid, Gladiator and Kobalt. While more expensive than some of the others, I settled on Proslat mainly because it’s a high quality, expandable system and is easily available in Canada at Lowe’s, Costco and Home Depot. It also has a nice variety of hooks and accessories available and as a bonus, Proslat is a Canadian-based company.

WATCH: My video on installing the Proslat wall storage system

What I got

The Proslat wall storage system is available in black or white in either a 4’ x 4’ or 8’ x 4’ package. I got the 8’ x 4’ white system, which runs between $130 to $150 depending on where you shop. It comes with everything required to mount it to the wall, but does not come with any hooks. Individual hooks are available or you can purchase a hook kit.

Trying to keep costs down I grabbed a few random hooks I thought would come in handy. I realized afterwards I didn’t get enough and that it would have been cheaper if I bought them all in a kit.

Installation

Installing the Proslat wall storage system is very simple for the most part. You start by marking your studs and figuring out how high you want the top of the system from the ground. Once you have the height marked you measure down 4-feet from the top and mount the bottom piece of frame into the studs using the supplied screws. The left and right pieces of frame then need to be cut to size before they get mounted into a stud with the ends fitting into the bottom frame (you only need a screw at the top and bottom of the left and right frame as the screws for the main section will hold the rest in place).

Proslat frame

A close-up of the Proslat frame in place. The left and right sides fit into the bottom piece.

Once the frame is secured, adding the pieces for the main section is even easier. Everything is made from recycled plastic (another reason I went with Proslat) so the main pieces have some flex to them and can be bent into place (if you have enough headroom you can slide the pieces down from the top). After the first piece is set and screwed into the studs, the next piece slides in and snaps onto it and is then screwed into place. Most of the time I found these snapped together with no issue but did get stuck a few times. The times I got stuck I had to use the palm of my hand to “hammer” them down to force them to click together.

After the last section is installed there is a cover that needs to be cut and attached to the top to complete the frame. This piece just snaps into place and doesn’t require screws.

The entire installation took about two hours from start to finish for me to complete.

Proslat installation

Each section of the Proslat wall storage system fits inside the frame, connects to the piece below and is then secured to the studs with screws.

Hooks and accessories

The hooks can be attached and moved around in seconds by just popping them into the track. Smaller ones clip in and rest against the track while bigger ones have a nut you can tighten so they don’t slide around. It would be nice if hooks from other brands worked, but they don’t (I tried).

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Besides hooks, there are shelves, baskets and even steel cabinets available to hang on the Proslat wall system. Unfortunately, they don’t have hangers for balls like Rubbermaid does.

Tools and tips

The hardest part of the entire process was mounting the pieces of frame to the wall as they are made of very flimsy plastic and need to be properly leveled. Having a second person help with this part makes the job go much faster and smoother (the rest can be done solo).

My studs in the garage are exposed which also helped speed up installation. Ensuring you are mounting to studs is key for proper installation.

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I used snips to cut the frame pieces to size and because I decided I only wanted a 50” wide x 4’ high section of the Proslat system on this wall, I used my mitre saw to cut the main section to size. This was quite smelly because the pieces are made of recycled plastic and as an alternative a hacksaw could be used (but would take longer to install). The leftover pieces I have will be used to build another section on the other side of the garage once I clear out more space.

While a drill will suffice, an impact driver makes driving the screws in super quick and easy without stripping them (the screws come with a proper bit as well).

A level, pencil and tape measure are also required for installation.

Final thoughts

The Proslat wall storage system is very slick and has given our garage a new life (my wife says it looks like a Sears display). I have hooks low enough for items my kids use, like baseball bats and bike helmets, while the other hooks are spread out for rakes, shovels and other garden tools (the system can hold 75 lbs per linear foot). It’s also mold and water resistant and can be easily wiped clean. While it is more expensive than some of the other wall storage systems on the market, it’s a quality product and I highly recommend it.

Do you have experience with the Proslat wall storage system? Recommend another brand? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.