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.

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.

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

Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac

The Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac is durable and powerful.

I’ve been looking for a decent hand vacuum to use around the house and in my car for quite a while now. Most of these units are either poor quality, don’t do a good enough job cleaning or have terrible battery life. So when I received Ryobi’s ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac as a gift this past week, I was pleasantly surprised that it exceeded all my expectations.

WATCH: My unboxing video of the Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vacuum

Quality

My first thoughts on Ryobi’s hand vac was that it feels like a much more durable product than others I’ve tested in this market. Unlike similar units from Black & Decker and Dirt Devil, I’m not too concerned the Ryobi hand vac would break even if it fell off a table. While it’s not heavy by any means, it does have a bit of weight to it, giving the user more control. The grip also feels nice and makes it easy to hold and use. And the placement of the on/off button is reachable by even my 9-year-old’s thumb.

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

Battery

The first full charge of the ONE+ 18v battery took about 5 hours to complete. After that the unit charges via a wall-mounted holster and stays topped up. The unit also has an LED light to indicate if the battery is full or needs charging. I cleaned my entire car after a day at the beach with two kids (sand everywhere!) without running out of juice. As a bonus, any Ryobi ONE+ lithium-ion battery will work with the hand vac so if you have other Ryobi ONE+ tools you can swap the batteries in a pinch.

Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac

The Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac charging on the wall. Photo courtesy Ryobi.

Suction

No doubt, this is not a typical hand vac when it comes to suction. This thing sucks (in a good way)! Other than my sand-filled car, I’ve used it to vacuum up cat hair on a small rug, gravel my kids brought into the house after a trip to the playground, my father-in-laws camper trailer and a box of cereal I dropped on the floor. It was also great at sucking up fruit flies that somehow took over my kitchen (they didn’t have a chance once I started it up).

Capacity

The Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac has a 3.5 cup capacity canister, which is large enough to clean the average car. It also has a dual filter system to catch small debris. Removing the canister to empty it is very easy to do. Just keep in mind this is meant for dry items only so sucking up wet items should be avoided.

Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac

The Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac has a 3.5 cup capacity canister.

Noise

Because of the power of the hand vac, the unit is pretty loud. It’s tolerable for small clean-ups around the house, but when you get into doing an entire car or cleaning up a trailer or tent while camping, it’s definitely noticeable. Of course the trade-off is that it’s more powerful.

Final thoughts

After a week with the Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vacuum I am still very impressed with it and don’t know how I lived without one for so long. I love the wall mount charger and ease of use (even my kids can use it to clean up their messes) and feel it’s truly a game changer in this market. The only potential downside is that there are absolutely no attachments for it. I haven’t found this to be an issue though and feel it helps keep everything more organized in the long run.

The Ryobi ONE+ 18v EVERCHARGE hand vac kit includes the P714 EVERCHARGE Hand Vacuum, P102 18V ONE+ Compact Lithium-Ion Battery, P180 Wall Adaptor/Charger and Operator’s Manual. It will be available in Canada exclusively at Home Depot later this summer with a MSRP of $88. For more information, visit ryobitools.ca.

Are you excited for Ryobi’s new hand vacuum? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

5 books for the DIYer on your list

DIY books

I’m a DIY addict! I love building things, changing things, designing things and I especially love learning how to do new things (I really should have taken up a trade).

When I’m not puttering around my house I can usually be found watching shows like Ask This Old House, Disaster DIY and Rehab Addict or reading up on subjects like flooring, electrical and plumbing at my local library.

Over the last year I have probably spent way too much reading technical and DIY books as I prepare to take on a basement and kitchen reno in 2016. While most of the books I just put back on the shelf after reading and never think about again, there have been a few that I reference often.

If you have someone on your shopping list who is always doing something (or planning to do something) to their house, here are five books I highly recommend picking up for them.

Please note all links to Amazon.ca below are affiliate links (gotta try to pay for my DIY addiction somehow).

The Backyard Homestead

If you enjoy growing your own food or like the idea of raising backyard chickens, The Backyard Homestead is a must-have book. With tips on everything from laying out a vegetable garden and building raised garden boxes, to preserving and proper butchering techniques, it’s a book I find myself constantly learning from and getting ideas for projects from.

The Backyard Homestead retails for $19.95 at Amazon.ca.

Measure Twice

In his book Measure Twice, contractor and HGTV host Bryan Baeumler uses photos and detailed examples to cover everything from flooring to caulking to laying a patio properly. His book is very DIY-friendly and meant to be read by people who might not get everything that goes into certain tasks around the home. His lists in each chapter of mistakes people make are all excellent points that should not be skipped.

Measure Twice retails for $22.49 at Amazon.ca.

At Home: Sarah Style

If you’re looking for inspiration of what you can do around your home, Sarah Richardson’s At Home: Sarah Style is a great read. The designer and TV personality opens up in the book, sharing photos, stories and even recipes from her personal life. Seeing how her design techniques have changed over the years and reading how she came to do certain things is really quite interesting and makes you want to read more. I pick this book up often just to flip through it to get ideas for paint colours, furniture placement and room accents.

At Home: Sarah Style retails for $25 at Amazon.ca.

The Holmes Manual

It’s really tough to say anything bad about Mike Holmes. He likes to do things right and strives to ensure the average homeowner knows enough to either do things around the house themselves or not get ripped off when hiring someone to do work on their home. The Holmes Manual answers many questions homeowners have asked him over the years and he answers in easy-to-understand terms while using great photos and examples to get his point across. If you like him on TV, you’ll enjoy reading his book.

The Holmes Manual retails for $31.49 at Amazon.ca.

How Your House Works

A more technical book than the others on the list, Charlie Wing’s How Your House Works uses diagrams and informative descriptions to cover every function of a house. It’s an excellent book for new homeowners or for people interested in understanding the ins and out of how their house was built and how to properly maintain it.

How Your House Works retails for $22.45 at Amazon.ca.

Have a DIY book you recommend not on this list? Share it in the comments below.

How to clean a glass cooktop stove

Cleaning glass cooktop

Have a dirty glass cooktop like this? Follow these instructions to get it clean.

One of the worst things about having a glass cooktop stove is that it never really looks clean, especially if you have pots of water boiling over onto it frequently (like we seem to do in our house). This is one of those things that drives my wife and I crazy about our electric Frigidaire stove. Thankfully, I figured out an easy way to get it clean without using any harsh chemicals or spending money on special products (the few items you need you may already have in your home).

Here is how to get your glass cooktop clean.

What you need:

  • Baking soda
  • Large bowl of hot water
  • Dish soap
  • Dish towels
  • Razor blade (optional)

Directions:

Make sure your oven and burners are all off and that the cooktop is completely cool before starting.

Cover the entire cooktop with a layer of baking soda (I prefer Arm & Hammer baking soda as I can get a large 2kg box for about $3.97 at Walmart).

Cleaning glass cooktop

Make sure you have a good layer of baking soda down to cover the entire cooktop.

In a large bowl add hot water with a couple of squirts of dish soap.

Soak a large dish towel or two (you need to be able to cover the entire cooktop) in the hot water/soap mix.

Squeeze out about half the water from the towel/s and place over the baking soda-covered cooktop.

Let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Cleaning glass cooktop

Make sure you cover the entire cooktop with the hot soapy towels.

After 15 minutes scrunch up the towel/s and use them to scrub the cooktop.

Wipe off any residue and check to see how clean the cooktop is.

Cleaning glass cooktop

My cooktop was much cleaner but still had lots of gunk after the first pass.

Cleaning glass cooktop

A closer look at the burned on gunk on my glass cooktop.

If this is the first time you are cleaning your cooktop or if it’s been a long time since you cleaned your cooktop you may notice lots of stuff still burned on. If that is the case repeat the above instructions letting the baking soda and hot towels sit for about 20 – 25 minutes and do another check.

If there is still heavy gunk visible after doing the baking soda procedure a second time use a razor blade (one from a utility knife will do) and gently scrape the gunk, working towards the elements. DO NOT press hard for this as you could scratch the cooktop. The burned on gunk will peel off as you do this.

Cleaning glass cooktop

Be careful when using a razor blade to not press hard or you could scratch the cooktop.

Cleaning glass cooktop

The burned on gunk the razor blade got off my glass cooktop.

After working on the bad spots with a razor blade repeat the baking soda procedure above.

Your cooktop should look almost new when done! Do the baking soda procedure with your regular weekly chores to prevent it from getting bad and you won’t have to work as hard the next time.

Cleaning glass cooktop

A much cleaner glass cooktop.

Cleaning glass cooktop

Being able to see the elements again sure is nice.

Have questions or tips on cleaning around your house? Share them in the comments below.

How to make your own homemade laundry detergent

Homemade laundry detergent

The three ingredients needed to make homemade laundry detergent.

I’ve been making my own homemade laundry detergent for about two years now. In that time I’ve only gone through one box of washing soda, two boxes of borax and a few packs of Ivory soap bars (those are the only ingredients you need, as shown in the photo above). It’s so ridiculously cheap and easy to make your own laundry detergent (liquid and powdered) that the value adds up quickly and you’ll wonder why you paid so much to wash your clothes in the past.

Besides helping you save money at home, making your own laundry detergent is a good idea if you or your kids have sensitive skin (my kids do) or if you have a sensitivity to fragrances (which I do) as it’s almost completely free of chemicals and scent (I also find it’s easier on your washing machine).

Here are the recipes I use for both powdered and liquid homemade laundry detergent. I use both of these in my Samsung front-load washing machine with no issues and great results.

Powdered homemade laundry detergent recipe (for hot load cycles only)

Ingredients:

Directions:

In a large bowl use a fork or whisk to mix 2 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax and 2 cups of Arm & Hammer So Clean! Super Washing Soda together. Make sure there are no clumps and that both are mixed together well (usually about a minute or two of mixing will do).

Finely grate one bar of plain Ivory soap (I use the finest side of my cheese grater for this) into the powder and mix it together well (another minute or two of mixing).

Transfer to a clean glass jar with a lid (I use snap-close glass jars, which you can get cheap at IKEA).

That’s it! You now have powdered laundry detergent. Use about one tablespoon per hot load (use the liquid homemade recipe below for cold cycles as the powdered one will not dissolve properly).

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

My almost-empty jar of homemade powdered laundry detergent. Bought the scuba spoon at Winners (it’s an Umbra).

Liquid homemade laundry detergent recipe (for hot or cold cycles)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 cup of Arm & Hammer So Clean! Super Washing Soda
  • 1 bar of Ivory soap finely grated
  • 1 5-gallon bucket with lid
  • Lots of water

Finely grate the bar of Ivory soap into a large pot on the stove and add six cups of water. Heat on medium, frequently stirring with a large metal spoon until the Ivory soap is completely dissolved (it’s best not to use a wooden spoon for this as the wood can absorb the taste of the soap).

While the Ivory soap is dissolving on the stove mix the cup of 20 Mule Team Borax and cup of Arm & Hammer So Clean! Super Washing Soda in the 5-gallon bucket. Make sure the 5-gallon bucket is clean and empty beforehand!

Add 40 cups of hot tap water to the borax and washing soda in the 5-gallon bucket and stir together until it’s thoroughly dissolved. Again, a large metal spoon is best for this (you can use the same one you used to stir the Ivory soap with).

Pour the pot of dissolved Ivory soap into the 5-gallon bucket and stir it well for a minute or two. At this point your concoction will look very watery.

Put the lid on the bucket and let it sit until the next day.

When you open the bucket the next day you will notice the mixture has become slightly solidified. Give it a good mix with a large metal spoon and it’s ready to use!

Add your homemade liquid laundry detergent to any used laundry detergent bottles you may have (remember reusing is better than recycling – I’ve collected many bottles from friends and family for this as well). Give it a shake before each use. If you prefer to use it straight from the 5-gallon bucket you will want to give it a stir before each use (and be warned it can get a bit messy this way).

Use about a ¼ of a cup (or half a detergent bottle cap) per regular load (more can be used for really dirty laundry).

Buying the ingredients

Some people have had trouble finding the two main ingredients needed to make homemade laundry detergent in Canada. Walmart sells a 2kg box of 20 Mule Team Borax for around $6. A 3kg box of Arm & Hammer So Clean! Super Washing Soda can be found at Home Hardware and No Frills for between $6 – $8. A 10-pack of Ivory soap bars can sometimes be found on sale for $2.99 at Metro or Loblaws. Walmart usually has the best regular price on them though.

For the 5-gallon bucket with lid check Canadian Tire or Home Depot. IKEA has a variety of good, cheap glass jars that work well for storing powdered detergent.

Have questions or tips on making your own homemade laundry detergent? Share them in the comments below.