The Best Tools for Taming Your Garden

We’re living in an urban jungle! With summer in full swing, we’re getting plenty of nature’s unique gifts by way of harvests from the garden.

Of course, productive garden and a great lawn don’t come without work. We’ve lined up some items that fared The Best in testing by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute. They can help make outdoor chores more enjoyable and would be perfect unique gifts for your favorite gardener.

The Best Hose Reel Cart87117_300x300
Why it’s The Best:

  • It quickly retracts up to 265′ of 5/8″ hose and has a strong, 16-gauge steel frame.
  • Four 10″ pneumatic tires provide optimal stability and roll easily across gravel, grass, and concrete.
  • Its hand crank coils a garden hose without requiring laborious manual effort or causing the hose to crimp. 84647_300x300

The Best Garden and Lawn Sprinkler
Why it’s The Best:

  • It waters the largest area and is the easiest to use. This sprinkler’s spray covered up to 1,920 sq. ft., 228 more square feet than other models.
  • It’s the easiest to connect, thanks to a specially designed adapter that attaches to a hose and simply plugs into the sprinkler, eliminating tedious twisting.
  • Its built-in mechanical timer automatically turns the sprinkler off after five minutes to two hours of watering.


The Best Rechargeable Grass Trimmer83830_300x300
Why it’s The Best:

  • Its powerful, precise trimming and long-lasting battery cuts through more than 107 sq. ft. of grass in only two minutes.
  • This trimmer’s 32-volt rechargeable battery provides 35 minutes of trimming after a three-hour charge.
  • When the trimming line breaks, it automatically extends the correct length of line to ensure uninterrupted trimming.

Whether you’re into home entertaining, cooking, fitness or you’re just shopping for unique gifts for family and friends, we have tested-and-approved items that are The Best in their category, and we think you’ll agree.

Dive into Summer Enjoyment with Pool Toys

Kids just love to swim. But come mid- summer, even a child aqua maniac may be getting a tad bored. It’s time to kick it up a notch by adding some unique gifts to your pool or favorite swimming hole.


These pool toys will add playfulness, fun and friendly competition to your family’s aquatic pastimes, adding to memories of enjoying summer around the pool.

Here’s a four-person paddleball set with wearable, waterproof paddles. The four lightweight paddles slip over any size hand like a glove. Both the paddles and ball float, preventing deep dives to retrieve equipment. The game also can be played on land without a net, table, or court. 84646_300x300

Evoking a favorite carnival game, this floating pool version challenges two competitors to displace six plastic balls with integrated squirt cannons. The first player to eject all six balls from a cylinder wins. The game is ready to go in just minutes, following inflation with an air pump. 84898_300x300

For hoops fans, this swimming pool basketball hoop extends your play time beyond sunset. It includes an integrated LED backboard light that provides a reliable shooting target at night. The impact-resistant, structural poly-resin backboard is weatherproof, even in harsh weather…not that we recommend pool use in those conditions. 12210_300x300

Should you find yourself trying to amuse an entire summer camp of languorous kids, this floating raceway course challenges up to 60 participants at a time to navigate its obstacles, balancing, jumping, climbing and crawling.

We all know how quickly summer goes. Be sure to maximize the unique gifts of the season with all this pool fun.

Sway Away – It’s Hammock Day!

There may be no other item that better symbolizes a summer afternoon than a hammock. And fittingly, tomorrow is National Hammock Day!

The hammock was originally developed by natives of Central and South America for sleeping elevated above the ground. The hammock provided protection from snakes, biting insects and other tropical creatures, giving rainforest dwellers the unique gifts of a good night’s sleep. Today, we use hammocks simply to enjoy the unique gifts of a lazy afternoon.

The best way to celebrate National Hammock Day is to while away substantial amounts of time in one. If you don’t already have a hammock, we are happy to suggest some styles that will complement y72116_300x300our porch, deck or garden.87255_300x300

A great addition to any backyard is The Pawleys Island Hammock — the sturdiest, most durable and most well-made you’ll find anywhere. It’s handcrafted on Pawleys Island, South Carolina, the ancestral home of Captain Joshua Ward, who designed the original in the late 1880s. Unlike ordinary hammocks, it is woven instead of knotted, and contains twice as much rope as most models.12664_300x300

Nothing spoils an outdoor lie-me-down faster than pesky flies and mosquitos. This hammock is covered by a canopy with four sides comprised of super-fine, nylon netting that keeps out flying insects while still allowing cooling cross breezes. The roof provides shade and prevents light rain from entering your personal oasis.

You’ll likely have more fun than rest in this Paul Bunyan-sized hammock that comfortably accommodates a herd of children, five 200-lb. adults or a single oversized axe-wielding woodsman. It supports up to 1,000 lbs. and spans a size larger than two king-sized mattresses.12452_300x300

Finally, if your style is more on-the-go, this dual hammock sets up on a trailer hitch, giving you a place to relax in a reclined position, adding an element of comfort to any tailgate party. The hammock chairs hang from a three-piece stand that assembles and attaches to any 2″ trailer hitch in just 10 minutes. And then, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the unique gifts of that lazy afternoon.

Remembering Mankind’s Giant Leap

Remembering Mankind’s Giant Leap

It was the greatest engineering feat of all mankind: to place a live human being on Earth’s familiar satellite…the moon!  Over 125 million viewers tuned in to watch this historic event, a record for its day. And this weekend, we mark the 36th anniversary of the first moon landing, Apollo 11, with astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

Ask any schoolboy of the 1960s what he wanted to be when grew up and he would answer without question: a NASA astronaut. Most people don’t realize that the modern life we have with cell phones, microwave ovens, computers, and the Internet all started as government research programs. The unique gifts of these National Aeronautics and Space Administration projects would be shared with us all. And for most of those technological breakthroughs, NASA didn’t charge a dime. Engineers of the day did their job for pride and cosmic curiosity, not economic gain.

At Hammacher Schlemmer, we celebrate the anniversary of the first footprint on the moon and the selfless desire to explore, create and engineer. For the now-grown school boys and girls who, decades later, still dream of space, we have several unique gifts to satisfy their cosmic curiosity.

The personalized book of New York Time articles focuses on the history of space exploration throughout the years. Procured from the archives of The Times, it presents highlights of the “Space Race” from the first satellite, the Soviet’s Sputnik, and of course, the first moon landing. The bound book displays the recipient’s name and “The New York Times History of Space” stamped in gold on the blue leatherette cover.11942_300x300

Explore the moon from the comfort of your own backyard with this observatory-class telescope. It provides the same optical performance demanded by the world’s leading astronomical research institutions. Similar to the design used in NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, its advanced optical system eliminates aberrations to provide a flat, crisp field of view. 12277_300x300

And for the ultimate unique gift for a space buff, this watch is constructed with a cross-section from a genuine nickel-iron meteorite that landed in the Gobi desert. The watch works as a precise lunar phase chronometer for either the northern or southern hemisphere, displaying the lunar cycle throughout an entire synodic month, so thoughts of the moon are always close at hand.

Wet and Wild Watercraft that Wow

Make quite a splash! Hammacher Schlemmer is proud to feature some of the most extreme watercraft you’ll find anywhere. Unlike common motorboats, these marvelous amphibious vehicles deliver the unique gift of speedy travel over water in amazing and unexpected ways.

11933_300x300This flying hovercraft glides over land and water yet also soars in the air up to 70 mph with the aid of integrated wings. Operating in fresh- or saltwater and up to 30% inclines over most terrain, its wings and horizontal elevator enable pilots to simply hop over water- or land-based obstacles unsurmountable to a typical hovercraft.

11990_300x300Heads will be turning at the sight of this streamlined, two-person watercraft that breaches and submerges just like Orca, the killer whale. A pilot, protected beneath a watertight acrylic canopy, pushes and pulls twin control levers to articulate the whale’s pectoral fins for rolls and dives. It can hydroplane up to 50 mph over the water’s surface and it can cruise up to 25 mph while submerged.

12533_300x300This amphibious ATV is the world’s first high-speed all-terrain vehicle that travels both over the land and water at up to 45 mph. Upon entering the water, its retraction system raises the wheels above the waterline to enable smooth waterborne riding in less than five seconds. The engine’s power automatically transfers to a jet drive that propels the craft to planing speed in seconds while the handle bars provide easy maneuvering over the water.

And for those who prefer the head-turning value of a unique gift over speed, this dr18718_300x300agon pedal boat recalls a visit to the amusement park with a leisurely day of fun for up to two adults. Rising like a serpent six feet above the water’s surface, its statuesque form guarantees attention from other boaters, while its quiet, human-powered operation ensures a pleasurable time on the water.

Banish Summer Boredom with Busy-ness

Just as there’s no crying in baseball, there should be no boredom in summer. And to that point, July is National Anti-Boredom Month.

We adults never get bored in summer. There’s always a way to put to use nature’s unique gifts of warmth and sunshine…a lawn to be mowed, a car to be washed, and if we’re lucky, a book to be read under a tree. We’ll fill every minute of these long summer days.

Kids are another story. Without the diversions of school and homework, with friends away at camp or visiting relatives, many a child has complained during summer break that there’s nothing to do. We have some suggestions for summer child’s play, items that would make for much-appreciated unique gifts for any child and their harried parents. 87067_300x300

Fight a tween’s or teen’s ennui with a new variation of a sport they likely already love. The Sidewinding Circular Skates are propelled by leaning side to side, letting the rider glide along as if riding a skateboard without pushing off the ground. Since the wheels are not connected, riders can easily perform 720° spins and turn on a dime. The skates include a connector rod that helps shorten the learning curve for using these unusual skates.

A whole gaggle of younger kids can be kept busy with this airplane-shaped teeter totter that holds up to seven children at once. A child at each wingtip provides the up-and-down rocking motion. A full flight adds three children sitting in the fuselage with one on each stabilizer at the tail – at its maximum capacity of 600 lbs., the teeter totter remains perfectly balanced. 84057_300x300

Finally, because every summer includes some rainy days, may we suggest Kitchen Table Tennis. Not only does this set include everything you need to turn a dining table or kitchen island into a playing surface, it also reverses to reveal chess, checkers and backgammon boards.

When a Pain in the Head is a Pain in the Neck

The World Health Organization estimates that half to three quarters of adults aged 18 – 65 years in the world have had headache in the last year. Besides the enormous cost to society  in lost productivity, any headache that forces you to curtail your activities is more than a headache; it’s a real pain in the neck.

Over-the-counter medications often bring the unique gift of sweet relief. Today, there are also a variety of prescription medications that can help prevent recurring migraines. For many folks, however, studies have shown that a drug-free approach can alleviate up to 87% of headache occurrences.83951_300x300

Many a headache has been caused by eye strain. Make sure you’re working under adequate lighting and eliminate any glare. If you do get an eye-strain-induced headache, this massage mask uses mist, vibration and warmth to relax and soothe the eyes. Its integrated massager pulses to alleviate eye fatigue with gentle vibration that relaxes and calms.84087_300x300 87478_300x300

A professional massage focusing on pressure points in the neck and shoulders can be a unique gift for a sufferer of tension headaches. For a pressure point treatment that you can have at your beck and call this headache reliever targets key points in the head and neck. The embedded therapy balls apply an even pressure on the sub-occipital muscles at the base of the skull. It can be placed in the freezer for cold therapy that helps numb pain and contracts throbbing blood vessels. Also employing the unique gifts of cold therapy, our Superior Headache Relieving Wrap uses cool gel packs to provide relief.

If you have sinus headaches brought on by changes in weather or seasonal allergies, regular use of decongestants and anti-histamines can help. A hot, steamy shower may also ease the pain.

Lastly, if you experience an unusually severe headache or your headaches are increasing in duration, severity or frequency, contact your doctor. It may be the sign of a more serious condition.

Distinguished Award Salutes Aviation’s Heroes

What better time than the week of Independence Day to think about some of our greatest national heroes, our military veterans.

On this day in 1926, the Distinguished Flying Cross was authorized by Congress as a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguished himself or herself in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. Thus, it is America’s oldest military aviation award and as a unique gift of recognition, it is the only medal conferred by all five military services, in all wars and campaigns from World War I to the present.

Among those who have received the honor are Charles Lindbergh, Commander Richard Byrd, John Glenn, Chuck Yeager, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, George H.W. Bush, Amelia Earhart. and Orville and Wilbur Wright. Earhart and the Wright Brothers are among the few non-military persons to ever receive the medal, as an executive order in 1927 decreed the Cross should not be conferred on civilians.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society was founded in 1994 to bring together those who have received this honor. Currently, there are about 6,000 members, with 23 chapters nationwide.

42914_300x300As you plan your July 4th festivities, please take a few moments to reflect on those who have served our country. May we suggest The Army Air Corps Leather Flight Jacket as an ideal and unique gift to honor a special veteran in your life? First issued to the U.S. Army aviators in 1931 and worn by flight crews throughout World War II, the A-2 flight jacket was reissued by the U.S. Air Force in 1987. It is presented in our signature gift box, making it a perfect way to say “thank you”.

12628_300x300Aviation buffs would love to receive The New York Times History of Aviation. Procured from the archives of The Times, the book presents highlights that span from the momentous first flight of the Wright Brothers to Charles Lindbergh, the first man to make a transatlantic flight and land safely. The book also chronicles Amelia Earhart, the first woman to cross the Atlantic, and her subsequent disappearance in the Pacific, a mystery to this day, but one that continues to unveil new clues even today.

11803E_300x300And finally, for those who are not pilots but have an urge to experience the unique gift of flight nonetheless, we present this genuine Cockpit Flight Simulator. It equips players with the same flight controls found in actual aircraft. Movement of the yoke controls pitch and roll just like real airplanes. Thrust levers and dual rudder pedals control realistic throttle and yaw.

Shake Summer Thirst and Beat the Heat

The peak of summer has arrived. Though many parts of the country have been logging below-normal temperatures this season, hot times and summer in the city are sure to hit us all soon. Here are some unique gifts that will help you keep your cool and stay hydrated with icy beverages.

84432_300x300On the warmest days, you’ll delight kids and adults alike with this machine that makes carnival-worthy snow cones. Its stainless steel blades automatically shave ice cubes into thin, fluffy slivers that, topped with your favorite flavored syrup or beverage, make for a refreshing treat.

76682_300x300Sweet tea is favored for its ice-cold sweetness on sweltering summer days. Our iced tea brewing machine makes up to two quarts of this iconic Dixieland refreshment that originated in the late 19th century. The brewer automatically steeps tea at the proper temperature for optimal flavor extraction and adds your preferred amount of sugar.

11255_300x300Somehow, soft drinks always seem colder out of an old-fashioned soda chest. This authentically detailed replica of the Westinghouse Junior Coca-Cola cooler combines all the hallmarks of the original with modern refrigeration technology. The side-mounted bottle opener and cap catcher, swiveling wheels, and lid chain recall the ubiquitous self-serve chests favored by mom-and-pop stores in the 1930s. The interior holds up to 80 12-oz. cans or 60 8-oz. bottles of your preferred beverage.

Once you have that Coke in hand, you’ll want it to stay cold. We offer several styles of chill-maintaining glassware. The double-walled glasses have a viscous cooling liquid between both layers that freezes in one hour, enabling the glasses to keep a beverage chilled between 32° F and 36° F for 30 minutes or chill a room-temperature libation to 36° F in just 2.5 minutes. These hand-blown glasses would make an ideal and unique gift for a housewarming or as a hostess gift for any summer party.

So enjoy these hot days while we have them. Keeping a cold drink close at hand will help you feel more comfortable all summer long.

Simple Tips for the Best Backyard BBQ

On the subject of friendly neighborhood competitions, the question came up on how to throw a better backyard barbecue.

There are fundamentals that should be observed, of course. If you’re serving steaks, buy the best cut you can afford. Better yet, grill a roast. A simple formula of 15 minutes per pound will yield a beautiful medium-rare presentation, and you can relax a bit and enjoy your guests and the unique gifts of their camaraderie while the meat cooks.

79824_300x300The flavor of your roast, as well as pretty much any meat, fish or fowl, can be made even better with smoke. This wood chip smoker box generates taste-enhancing smoke without producing flames, resulting in a more concentrated, robust flavor.

Try not to use lighter fluid to avoid a chemical after-taste on the food. If you’re using charcoal instead of a gas grill, light the coals using a chimney-style starter. Not only will the food taste better, this method is better for the environment, too.

86925_300x300To keep uncooked meats chilled till the coals are ready or to keep cold side dishes chilled until serving time, this food-chilling platter is ideal for BBQs, buffets, or picnics. The unit’s removable stainless steel platter is chilled by an included freezer pack that keeps cold meats, cheeses, hors d’oeuvres, sushi, or desserts chilled below 45° F for 50 minutes. Its plastic lid ensures protection from insects both indoors and out.

To throw a great backyard barbecue, you’ll need plenty of ice on hand for drinks and coolers. This portable ice maker earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it was the most efficient at producing ice. This model’s 1.8 lbs.-per-hour output was 80% more efficient than other models. The Best model also produced its first batch of clear, well-formed cubes in just under 10 81846A_300x300minutes.

Finally, make sure your guests won’t be eaten alive by mosquitoes. The One Acre Natural Attractant Mosquito Trap lures pesky skeeters within one-acre by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light. When mosquitoes are drawn inside, they die of dehydration. You can give your friends and family the unique gift of an evening under the stars, without the next day’s itchy reminders of uninvited flying pests.