Essential winter gadgets

These days there is a gadget for everything, but some are more useful than others. The laptop desk that attaches to your steering wheel is a certainly rather stupid idea, and the less said about the iPotty the better.

But there are plenty of gadgets that make life easier, and in the cold winter months that’s just what we want.

So to make the festive season go smoothly this year, here are our top winter gadgets. Enjoy!

Dehumidifer

peltier-dehumidifier-AquaDri.

Say no to chesty coughs this winter

In the months that end with ‘R’ the air is moist due to low temperatures. This can cause damp, which in turn can cause mould spores and dust mites, both are bad news for your health.

With a dehumidifier however that risk is diminished. It works by collecting moisture either via a fan, electric current on crystal and turning it into water. Simply dispose of the water, and job done.

Log splitter

D3803 Dual Logmaster Logsplitter 2 Cj

Fire the fast way

Chopping wood is always a hard task, but especially in the depths of winter. No one wants to stand in the cold swinging a rather dangerous axe around! That is where a log splitter comes in handy.

Simply put, log splitters make better fires. This is because wood that has been split into smaller pieces burns better. The oxygen needed to keep a fire going has more access to the wood as there is a larger surface area, and this in turn means a brighter, warmer fire.

Instead of a sharp point being swung at speed, a hydraulic or foot operated log splitter works with a splitting wedge, meaning you don’t have to strain your back and you can split more wood than you could by hand.

Halogen oven

Halogen Oven

Impromptu roast dinner anyone?

With winter bills rising, we’re all looking for ways to save money, and a halogen oven will slash bills. Based on a 1300w 12 litre halogen oven cooking a chicken in 40 minutes, you’ll only have to spend 9p on electricity!

You may be wondering how a chicken can cook in 40 minutes? Well, because of hi tech halogen bulb technology and a fan to ensure all of the bowl gets heat, a halogen oven is able to cook tasty food fast.

Potato peeler

Electric potato peeler

How do you like your spuds in the morning?

Stews, roast dinners and soups are the epitome of winter warming food – and potatoes are often an important part of the meal.

When shivering and in need of a winter warmer, like the traditional Welsh dish of cawl, peeling potatoes can be a time consuming task. And for those with joint problems, it can be painful too.

But an automatic potato peeler uses a rotating blade to quickly take the skin off your spuds. Meaning those with poor dexterity needn’t be in pain, those that get cold hands needn’t get numb fingers and those who have a huge Christmas dinner to make, can get on basting the turkey!

For hands that don’t ache, a fire that burns well and fully functioning lungs our gadgets will see you right. And if you do want to research halogen oven recipes online, avoid the steering wheel lap desk, the M1 is for driving after all.


How dehumidifiers work

Fresh and airy atmospheres are a summer luxury. In winter, increased moisture and colder temperatures mean greater risk of health problems.

Dehumidifiers help fend off the mold, moisture and nasty molecules from damp air. How do they work their magic and what ones work best?

Crystal based dehumidifiers

Cordless and Reusable Compact Dehumidifier

It may be small but it packs a punch

Crystals in the device absorb moisture from the air, and then change colour from blue to red. The weight of the device also increases by around 120g; proving that moisture has been absorbed. When this happens, the device is plugged in and a small heater drys out the crystals, turning them blue and allowing you to use the dehumidifier again.

This type of humidifier is silent, easy to use and inexpensive. It is also non toxic and 100% renewable.

Because crystal based dehumidifiers are compact,cordless and don’t require batteries, they can be used almost anywhere; whether hung from garage roofs or on a caravan windowsill.

Compressor dehumidifiers

Advanced Slimline Dehumidifier

Practical decor

A powerful motor inside the dehumidifier sucks in moisture from the air. This moisture then sits in a reservoir, and a light lets you know when its full. To aid the drying process, heat is blown out by a fan.

Compressor dehumidifiers are attractive and blend in with most house’s decor, they’re also compact and unobtrusive.

The majority of these devices can regulate the humidity of a room to an exact level. Meaning you regulate the atmosphere to your liking. Simple programmes allow you to manage the speed and duration of the dehumidifier too.

Peltier dehumidifiers

peltier-dehumidifier-AquaDri.

The silent assassin of mould

Otherwise known as thermoelectric dehumidifiers and probably the smartest of the lot. Electrical currents create a cool surface which draws air through the dehumidifier.This allows water vapor to be condensed, and collected in a reservoir.

The risk of malfunction is minimised as moisture is absorbed with no moving parts. The clever thermoelectric technology also means that the device is silent. There are no chemicals used, no expensive refills and they are very easy to use. Simply plug in and go.

These compact dehumidifiers can be easily stored and can be moved from room to room. Like the compressor dehumidifiers, they also feature an in built fan which blows out warm air, speeding up the process.

Dehumidifiers make your environment cleaner and drier. Without the harmful mould and damp of winter, you and your home will be happier. So the question shouldn’t be “should I get a dehumidifier?” but “which one should I get?”

Extreme needs for thermal trousers

It was Alfred Wainwright who said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”

While this may be true for most situations, there are places where the weather is so severe that no matter what you wear, the elements are bound to come out on top.

Pack your sandals, shorts, thermal trousers and perhaps even a windproof umbrella – as we embark on an extreme weather tour of the world.

Coldest

Oymyakon

It’s cold up north
Source: Sometimes Interesting

Slip your feet into ice skates, or strap on your snowshoes – you’ll need them in the coldest inhabited place on earth. The isolated Russian village of Oymyakon has a population of just 472 – not surprising given its shiver inducing, monthly mean temperature of -46°C.

It’s not just the villagers of Oymyakon, who have it tough. Inhabitants of the Canadian research facility ‘Eureka’ spend the whole year dressed in thermal trousers and super warm coats. With the world’s lowest annual mean temperature of -19.7°C, stepping outside in your jeans and sweater can be fatal.

For a more accessible chilly city, try Winnipeg. The Manitoban capital is dubbed “Winter-peg”, as temperatures rarely reach double figures even in the summer. Once in 1879 the thermometer fell to a bone chilling -47.8°C!

Hottest

Dallol, Ethiopia

Not your usual tourist trap
Source: Atlas Obscura

Many of us like to escape the gloom of the British winter. So if you like to wear your shorts and t-shirt in winter, how about a holiday to Dallol in Ethiopia? The town is a little short on tourist facilities, but it’s consistently sunny. Between 1960 and 1966, the mean daily temperature was 41.1°C, making it on average, the hottest town on earth.

Even the most dedicated sun worshiper would think twice about rolling out their towel in Death Valley. The record temperature there is 56.7°C, which in a place where people run marathons and visit for tourism, is really something.

Unlike Dallol and Death valley, no one has ever lived in the Lut desert of Iran. This is hardly surprising given the temperature there has reached 71°C – the highest ever recorded.

Windiest

Wellington wind

It’s windy down south
Source: Expat Forum

Chicago is called the “windy city” but it’s nothing compared to Wellington. The New Zealand capital once recorded a wind speed of 248km/h. Certainly not weather for a sun hat.

Wellington is built on the edge of the Cook Strait. There, a gap in the mountain range running the length of the North and South islands creates a wind funnel that accelerates the air blowing through it. The effect is strongest on the Wellington side, making this one of the most windy cities on earth.

Wellingtonians must be very fond of windy weather – the shape of the capital’s Westpac Stadium, aka the Cake Tin, creates a vortex – was that by accident or design? So if you go and watch the All Blacks play, you may wish to take a windproof umbrella.

Wettest

Bathing in the rain

Bathing in the rain
Source: Asfayara

Here in Britain we get out and about despite the rain – donning our waxed jackets and rubber wellingtons to fend off precipitation. But in some places, you may just want to stay inside.

Separated by just 10 miles, inhabitants of the Indian towns of Cherrapunj and Mawsnyram must fight over the title for wettest place on earth. In June and July you can expect 120 inches of rain there, more than double the UK annual average of 45 inches.

Driest

San Pedro de Atacama

Not a hose in sight
Source: Leave Your Daily Hell

Jump into moon boots and visit the Mars coloured sand of San Pedro de Atacama. Chile’s Atacama desert is the driest place on earth, but that doesn’t stop flip-flop wearing backpackers from visiting.

Due to the minuscule 15 mm of annual rainfall, there’s a 3 minute shower limit. So you have to wash your hair quickly, or everyone goes thirsty.

If you do decide to visit the Chilean desert, don’t forget to pack something warm to wear. Daytime temperatures maybe scorching, but at night, the mercury can fall to -10°C.

Humid

Singapore Humidity

A muggy night over Singapore
Source: I Super Love

Find yourself a time machine and head back to 1922 Libya. If the statistics recorded at the time are correct, the temperature soared to a scorching 57°C with 100% humidity. Dehumidifiers would do you no good here.

Can’t get your hands on a time machine but still want to get hot and sweaty? With an average annual humidity of 84.2%, you could try Singapore. In Singapore’s popular tourist spots and streets you’re sure to swelter, but if you feel a bit faint, there’s many air-conditioned shops and restaurants in which to retreat.

Do you know of any more extreme weather locations we might have missed?