Category Archives: News

Hurricane Cleanup

The aftermath of a disaster is devastating to anyone affected. The sight of returning to damaged property can be overwhelming. Sometimes, the only way to begin healing the pain is to immediately start the clean-up process. Here are some helpful hurricane cleanup tips from the Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Emergency Management Agency when returning to damaged property.

Most importantly, make sure your home or business is safe before entering to begin hurricane cleanup work. That may require examination by a building inspector or other government authority. Standing water from flooding, live electrical wires, or leaking gas lines are just a few of the hazards which may be present in a damaged structure, as well as when driving or walking into an affected area. You must know it is safe before going back. Once you’ve received permission to enter, open doors and windows to allow maximum ventilation. Take photos of damage.

Use a radio or other device to keep abreast of breaking news and weather. Have a mobile phone charged and ready to use in case additional emergencies occur.4 iPhone iPad Charging Hub


Wear proper safety equipment. Eye protection is a must! Hard hats, work boots and gloves, ear plugs or headphones, should be worn at all times. Wearing a respirator will make breathing easier, especially for those with allergy issues, but disaster locations always have additional airborne impurities, so these are highly recommended. Keep a first aid kit handy for minor injuries, cuts, and scrapes. When flood waters are involved, wear watertight boots and gloves. Remember, flood water is filthy. It is not comprised simply of sea or river water, but also sewage, fuels, and every other substance the storm surge has picked up along the way. Assume that everything it has contacted is contaminated, and must be dealt with accordingly.

Solar Power GeneratorKeep in mind hurricane cleanup will be extremely difficult, intense labor. Pace yourself. Do not overwork. Start with one task, and get it done before moving on to the next. Eat properly, and avoid alcohol. If you become tired, rest, or call it a day. If you become faint or injured, seek medical attention immediately. If using  fuel-powered generators, keep them outside, away from windows, to avoid carbon monoxide buildup inside. The Solar Power Generator uses renewal energy from the sun, is quiet, and gives off no emissions.

When flooding has occurred, as is most often the case with hurricane cleanup, take extra precautions to assure safety. Storm surge and heavy rains are major calamities associated with hurricanes and tropical storms. Standing flood water may contain hidden hazards. Do not assume it is safe to walk through. Water and electricity do not mix. Turn off electrical circuits and electrical equipment only if you can do so without standing in water. Call an electrician for assistance if this is the case. Never attempt to turn power on or off, nor use electrical tools, when you must stand in flood waters.

The Environmental Protection Agency advises disposing of all items that have been in standing water for more than 48 hours. Any items capable of soaking up flood waters that became wet should be discarded. Carpeting and rugs, including their padding, mattresses, upholstered sofas and chairs cannot be cleaned and should be thrown away. In addition, stuffed animals and baby toys, books, and paper products must be thrown out. Tear down and discard drywall, wall coverings, and insulation that have been contaminated by flood waters. Wet clothing should be laundered in hot water and detergent before being worn again.

Get help with larger and heavy items. Water-logged items will have added weight than when dry. Be sure you are on solid footing when working and when removing damaged items. Along with hiding obstacles, flood waters can make surfaces slippery.

Best Low Profile Window FanIn order to combat the infestation of mold, all hard surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned with hot water and laundry or dish detergent, then disinfected with a 1-to-5 ratio of bleach to water.  This includes flooring, concrete, appliances and counter tops, metal furniture, and moldings.  Keep doors and windows open, and use fans when available to keep air moving. It is recommended that a dehumidifier be used if you have a generator, or once power is restored. The key to eliminating mold and mildew is to eliminate moisture.

Be sure to maintain proper hygiene to the fullest extent possible. Flood waters contain many kinds of pollutants and contaminants. Wash thoroughly with soap and water when you’ve finished working. Any cuts or sores should be washed, then covered with an antibiotic ointment to stave off infection. Launder clothing that has come in contact with flood waters separate from other laundry. This includes not only the clothes you’ve just worked in, but the clothing in your home that became wet in the flooding.

Hurricane cleanup outside your home or business can be just as labor-intensive.  Be sure downed electric lines are no longer live before attempting to work near them to remove fallen trees or other debris. Wear proper safety equipment if a chainsaw will be needed. Any trees leaning precariously after the storm should be dealt with by a professional tree feller.

If the task of cleaning up in and around your home or business becomes too much to handle, and you must hire someone to do it for you, be sure to employ qualified professionals. There are those who would prey on folks in unfortunate predicaments. If you suspect someone has attempted to scam you, contact authorities immediately. Once they’ve moved on from your home, they’ll try to lure someone else into their scheme.

For further information on hurricane cleanup and being safe during the aftermath of a disaster, you are encouraged to go to the CDC’s site or contact FEMA for assistance.

Dressing for the Season

Now that summer has faded to fall, many have been tasked with transforming their wardrobes from tanks and shorts to sleeves and pants. Gone is the single light jacket we kept handy for rainy days, replaced by thicker, insulated coats and wind breakers. Yet for every northerner swapping out tees for sweaters, there’s a southern belle merely trading fall colors over summer fare. No more white pants (it is past Labor Day, after all), but not needing to switch entirely to cold-weather attire. So how much does your geographic location affect your wardrobe in each season?

Of course, someone living in South Florida or Arizona will be much less challenged by winter’s approach as someone in, say, the Dakotas. That doesn’t mean there will be no need for cold-weather apparel in the south, but it certainly won’t be necessary on a daily basis, as would be the case up north. And how many times have those of us in colder climates seen folks waiting for a cab at the airport, shivering in frigid air after packing too light for the colder regions they’d be visiting? Even returning home from a trip, especially if for an extended period of time, can leave one ill prepared for their arrival back into temperatures that have changed dramatically since departing home.

These leaves us to wonder how you personally deal with the change of seasons and their apparel ramifications. Do you look forward to hitting the stores for the latest fashion updates? What about moving: Have any of you had to completely redo your wardrobe because you’ve moved from one distinctive climate to another? We’d love to hear from you!

Is Tailgating a dying tradition?

If you’ve ever been on campus of any college or university with a football program, you know there are two very distinct atmospheric differences between game and non-game days. On Sunday through Friday, you’re free to go anywhere on the quad. Leave the car where you see fit, as parking spaces are likely easy to find. But Saturday? If it’s fall, then the campus, and maybe even the school’s entire town, are focused on football, and that means Tailgating.

It’s time-honored tradition. Put the grill in the back of the pickup. Load up the cooler, or any water-tight vessel willing to spend its weekend on chilling duty, with ice, beer, meat, and sodas. Grab every portable, foldable,  piece of seating you can find, and head to the stadium parking lot for this biggest meal you’ll have all week. You’re going tailgating. Of course, it’s not just football games either. Be it soccer, baseball, even your recreational league softball outings, if there’s a parking lot, there’s a party.

Or is there? Some teams, schools, and venues are putting limits on just how much fun can be available to these barbecuing revelers. One NFL team, the Houston Texans, changed their policies and began prohibiting fans without game-tickets from being in stadium parking lots, though for $10, season ticket holders could buy up to 4 passes so friends could meet them to tailgate before game time. This blogger had a former co-worker profiled in the local newspaper because of his football tailgating prowess, even though he stayed in the parking lot for the entire game. Had this rule been in effect, he would have been at the mercy of a gracious ticket holder willing to put his name on the list of non-ticketed visitors. And if he were partying at the home of the Chicago Bears, his mini-fest would be over at kick-off, as the Bears do not allow tailgating while the game is in progress.

Many colleges and universities have chosen to limit the scope of football tailgating festivities as well, though many feel these are attempts to control underage consumption of alcohol more than curtailing the party atmosphere at the stadium. And while many disagree with an institution’s attempts to police any group’s behavior, it can be difficult to fault an organization that reacts when they feel safety is a concern.

Have your tailgating rituals been affected by rule and policy changes? We would love to hear about. Let us know in the comments section!


The search for the perfect home

There is a new fad in television programming revolving around choosing a new home. Perspective house hunters from all over the world are featured as they seek to find the ideal dwelling for their needs. Their preferred real estate specialist helps them select up to 3 (actually, it seems it is always 3) houses, condos, or 423289_10150628172168893_722201739_napartments, based on budget and locale, among other factors.

A large segment of those appearing on the show don’t have children, so being in a location nearest to the “best local school system” rarely comes into play. Many are seeking vacation homes, which then eliminates the need to be close to the workplace. From there, the criteria is as wide open as an unfurnished full-floor penthouse. Specifications and interests that would seem minute, even bizarre to some house hunters, give insight into just how personal intimate details of a home can be. (A personal favorite on one program was “Sorry, this house just doesn’t have the crown moldings I like.”)

What are the most important factors for you when house hunting? Is it location/proximity to work or schools? Or do you prefer being closer to the beach, or the shopping districts? Number of bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate a larger family or overnight visitors? Do you require amenities such as a swimming pool, or extra entertaining space? Sound off now in the comments section. We’d love to hear how you chose your home!

What was your favorite sports moment?

Thanks to Raul Ibanez, the Yankees took a 2-1 lead over the Orioles last night in the American League Divisional Series. Were you in the stands at Yankee Stadium? It’s tough to beat a walk-off, come-from-behind victory for sports drama.

What was the best sporting event you’ve attended? Was it a Playoff Game? Perhaps an Olympic venue? Maybe it was a college Bowl game, or an NCAA Tournament basketball contest. Did you have prime seats to a phenomenal individual achievement, like Wilt’s 100 points, or an Ali knockout?

If you’ve witnessed the Play of the Year, or the impossible upset; if you were in attendance for the greatest comeback of the season, or worst call by an official, we want to know about it! Give us the where, when, and what happened to make it the most thrilling athletic event of your life!

Cold and Flu Season fast approaches

In many areas of the United States, the cold and flu season has begun. At Hammacher Schlemmer, we have items that can help you combat the effects of the influenza virus this winter. Comfort items to keep you warm and cozy throughout the colder months. Personal care products to help you monitor your health. Exercise equipment to build strength and help your body fight off infection and illness. We also carry home wares to prepare healthy foods to help your immune system cope with the barrage of germs that will try to lay you up until the spring thaw.

Best Warm Mist HumidifierCombat the dry winter air in your home with The Best Warm Mist Humidifier. The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute judged this humidifier The best because it increased humidity 15% faster than lesser models, emitted 120% more air moisture than the others, and it operated for 12.36 hours on a full tank, unlike other humidifiers that ran for only 5.62 hours.

Sinus Relief SystemThe Sinus Relief System was developed by an ear, nose, and throat specialist to gently irrigate sinuses and flush away mucus build-up caused by allergies, colds, the flu, or sinusitis. The unit’s saline solution deploys a technique that hearkens back to the ancient yogic tradition of the neti pot to painlessly improve your breathing and mitigate sinus discomfort without medication.

Compact Elliptical TrainerThe Compact Elliptical Trainer let’s you stay active to help your body fight off illness, on days when the weather won’t let you leave the house. Its small 20″ by 12″ footprint takes up limited floor space, be it in your home or office, and it stores out of the way in a closet when you’ve finished exercising. With germs and viruses attacking you at every turn, physical activity is important to keep your immune system strong.

Don’t let a cold or flu keep you from enjoying the change of seasons. With Hammacher Schlemmer’s variety of options, you’ll have everything you need to stay happy and healthy through the cold winter months.

The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute

Determining the Best

The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization created in 1983 to research, test, and rate consumer products objectively until determining the items that are truly superior in each category.

Through rigorous testing, products are thoroughly vetted until we can declare in confidence that one has earned the designation “Best.” We perform this testing without influence from manufacturers, vendors, or merchants.

To peruse our most recent inductees into the ranks of the Best, please follow this link.

Join the Testing Panel

Hammacher customers who share our commitment to ferreting out the Best play a vital role in our testing process. We invite all our more discerning customers to share their expertise by joining the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute Consumer Feedback & Testing Panel. Simply take our Testing Panel Survey to help us determine a fit for our needs in upcoming tests or surveys.

On Our Testing Methods

When the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute sets out to test a specific category, we perform a wide-ranging search to identify the leading products in that category. Even products from Hammacher Schlemmer’s competitors are included in tests to ensure that a Best product is truly the best of its kind. We begin with a consumer survey to determine which features and capabilities they deem most important for that category, and most tests are designed to replicate the manner in which consumers use the devices.

Then we seek out professionals or experts whose specialized knowledge and skills provide valuable insight into a product category and help us evaluate products more effectively. For example, a professional chef helped us determine The Best Cast Iron Skillet, while a collegiate chess team provided critical consultation for The Best Electronic Chess Game test.

For certain tests we use sophisticated, calibrated equipment, such as sphygmomanometers to determine The Best Heart Rate Monitor, or a digital sound meter to measure the noise emitted by fans and air cleaners.

When necessary, we commission the services of certified independent laboratories that follow established testing standards and procedures. We worked with a hydrostatic weighing facility for The Best Body Composition Measuring Scale test and commissioned a certified air quality-testing laboratory to determine The Best Tabletop Air Cleaner.

We also rely on consumer testing panels that use the products as they would in a domestic setting and record their experiences. With the brand names hidden, panelists read instruction manuals, assemble devices, and evaluate the different models based on their overall effectiveness, ease of use, safety features, and other relevant categories.

Zoltar has granted our wish

Zoltar has come through for Hammacher Schlemmer. We had a pocket full of quarters, yet all it took was one wish.

We had taken a nervous stroll down the boardwalk, trying to enjoy the cool evening breezes, but knowing this was not about the journey. This was about a purpose. Our Holiday catalog was coming soon, yet inspiration had eluded us. A coverless catalog? That would never do. A home page of solid white? Absolutely not!

And so we walked. Zoltar would help us, but we had to find him. Past the Arcade, where the children played and the teenagers gathered. Blocking out the pinball bells, and undeterred by the scent of boardwalk fries and funnel cakes, onward we walked.

ZoltarAnd suddenly, as if he had stepped from the shadows so as not to be missed, he was there. Richly detailed with a handlebar mustache and beard, a gold head wrap, gold shirt, paisley vest, and jewelry, he was unmistakable. Zoltar acknowledged our presence and invited us to approach him. Awestruck, we fumbled for a coin, inserted it, and stepped back in nervous anticipation. He nodded his head, his crystal ball illuminated, and he presented us with our fortune. We would have our new cover, and he would grace our website with his presence!

Weight lifted from our shoulders, we enjoyed the journey home much more than we had in getting there. As we took turns holding the fortune in our hands, reading it over and over, we wondered aloud when the changes would appear.

Friends, we invite you to find out with us. Zoltar has requested your presence.

What do you mean, “No Hockey”?

Personalized Backyard Hockey Rink

The decision by the NHL to impose a lockout  following the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement has many of us disheartened. For the third time in less than 20 years, a labor dispute will deter hockey fans from their daily fix of passing, checking, and goal scoring. Already, the first two weeks of the regular season have been canceled, with no news of a pending resolution.

And while we can’t replace the speed and intensity of ice hockey at its highest level, Hammacher Schlemmer has just enough to tide you over until our favorite skaters are back on the ice rinks of North America. The Personalized Backyard Hockey Rink lets you bring the fun and excitement of odd-man rushes, penalty shots, and kick saves right to your door. No tickets needed to get in, no satellite dish required to watch, and no minivan full of equipment to load up. Let’s just play hockey!

The Personalized Backyard Hockey Rink

Electric bicycles emerge in Vegas

Electric Comfort BicycleElectric bicycles will be a topic of conversation when Interbike commences this week at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. Interbike is North America’s largest annual gathering of the bicycle industry, with over 750 companies representing more than 1,200 brands attending. And one of the trends they’ll be focusing on is the “e-bike.”


E-bikes combine traditional pedal power with an electric motor for assisting the rider

Folding Electric Bicycle

when going uphill, or across broad flats. With today’s commuter constantly on the lookout for alternatives to heavy automobile traffic, more and more are turning to the bicycle as a way not only save time, but to be “greener” as well. The electric bicycle offers a combination of a bike that allows one to continue moving when motorists have become gridlocked, and an electricity-powered mode of transportation for those who would rather not physically pedal their bikes through an entire commute.

At Hammacher Schlemmer, we have several e-bikes to choose from. Fold-able e-bikes, tricycles, even e-bikes for multiple riders! Whether you need to beat traffic getting to and from work, or are looking for a fun way to get around the neighborhood, we have the electric bicycle to fit your needs. Take a tour through our Outdoor Fun section, and find your ride today!