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Efficient Technique: Buy It For Life

“Buy It For Life” means acquiring and using products that are built to last a lifetime. Amidst the thousands of disposable goods and cheaply-constructed gadgets that provide continual fuel for consumerism, there remain some products that promise enduring excellence. The movement to embrace high-quality, long-lasting goods promotes less consumption, less waste, and (often) less money spent in the long run.

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Home Coffee Roasters: 5 Efficient Choices

Home coffee roasting, once considered an exotic practice only for the hardcore coffee drinker, has seen a rebirth in recent years. Coffee lovers everywhere are embracing this surprisingly simple and efficient way to enjoy the best tasting coffee around. Once a common practice in American households, the 20th century onslaught of commercial coffee roasters and instant coffee virtually wiped out …

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Best Chef Knives

Good chef knives are the workhorses of any kitchen – they will slice, chop and crush as well as a whole drawer of kitchen gadgets. A quality blade will last virtually forever, avoiding the hassle and expense of replacement, and a well-built knife will make preparing ingredients much more efficient. Chef knives have blades around 8 inches long, although this …

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The Best Blenders

If you are a smoothie — or margarita — person, you know how important it is to have the best possible blender. You also know how annoying it is when you are trying to fly out the door and weak blades just can’t power through all those frozen strawberries. No matter what your blending needs, you need a machine that …

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The Best Juice Extractors

Juicing has long been hailed as one of the best ways to get healthy, stay healthy, and live a full, active life. (Just look at Jack LaLanne!) But to get all of the health-inducing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that juicing has to offer, you first have to have the best juice extractor. Here are our picks for the best …

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The Best Slow Cookers

The slow cooker might have been around since the ‘70s, but this trusty kitchen essential has changed quite a bit over the past forty years. It’s faster, sleeker and more energy efficient and than its counter-top ancestors. No matter what your slow cook needs, there’s a top-rated model for you. And the best news? There’s not a drop of avocado …

The Most Energy Efficient Refrigerators

For consumers looking for an energy efficient refrigerator these days, the choices (thankfully) are numerous.  It seems that just about every major appliance manufacturer has developed a model that is energy efficient enough to garner the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program seal of approval. While the most popular refrigerator model in terms of sales is the side-by-side configuration, that …

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Efficient Organic LEDs Demonstrated

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are a new type of LED where a thin film of organic compounds is used to produce electroluminescence.

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The Best Rice Cookers

I recommend a fuzzy logic rice cooker if you eat rice every day, basically making your cooker an always-on device. Your rice will take about twice as long to cook as it does in on-off rice cookers — but if rice is part of your daily routine, that will never be a concern. In a fuzzy logic cooker, there will …

Efficient Natural Deodorizer: MultiFresh

I’ve been testing a new deodorizer called Multi Fresh. It is made with pyroclastic rock called Ignimbrite, which is found in volcanoes. This natural deodorizer absorbs odors like baking soda, but it is said to be many times more effective. Ignimbrite is one of the few negatively charged minerals in existence, so it also works by adsorbing molecules to its …

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Efficient: Foot Pedal Faucet Controllers

Pedal Works HandsFree Faucet Controller

Foot pedal faucet controllers allow you to control a faucet hands-free. These devices are efficient and hygienic — they are commonly found in commercial kitchens and hospitals. I’m not sure why we don’t see them in more homes. You can reduce water use by 50% using pedal controllers, and if it’s hot water, you’ll be saving power too. At a …

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The Best Kitchen Faucet Aerators

One of the least expensive ways to increase the efficiency of your home is to install low-flow aerators on your faucets. These devices save water, and lower utility bills as well, because less hot water is used. Because of this, low-flow aerators will generally pay for themselves in only a few months.

Inexpensive, Non-Toxic Solvent: Washing Soda

Washing soda is an efficient substitute for conventional toxic solvents. It cuts grease, cleans petroleum oil, removes wax, and neutralizes odors in the same way that baking soda does.

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Corelle: Durable and Inexpensive

Corelle dinnerware is efficient because it is highly durable — it doesn’t break, and the designs on the plates cannot be scratched by knives. Corelle is actually made out of glass, but it is created like a sandwich with a glass core that’s thermally bonded to an outer glass glaze. The lamination creates a finished product that is much stronger …

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Top Rated Chef’s Knives

If you are going to be doing any kind of cutting in a kitchen, it is definitely worthwhile to invest in a quality chef’s knife. Experts say you don’t necessarily need to buy a lot of knives — a single quality chef’s knife can handle most cutting tasks. It’s generally agreed that the best knives are forged — a process …

Top Rated Rice Cookers: Zojiriushi

Rice cooker reviews are little hard to find — the bigger consumer magazines don’t seem to cover them, but some other sources on the web do. Reviewers on Cool Tools and Sally’s Kitchen both recommend Zojirushi Rice Cookers. Popular in Japan, Zojirushi cookers are pricey ($150-$200). But they also have no-frills models for about $60.

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Presso: A Non-Electric Espresso Maker

The Presso is a manually operated espresso machine — no electricity is required. You make an espresso by adding hot water and ground coffee at the top. When you press down on the levers, the pressure pushes the water through the coffee, and it is deposited in your cup. You can make either a double espresso or two single espressos …

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Faucet Restrictors/Aerators

Have you ever spent time at the sink, judiciously adjusting the hot and cold water, to achieve that happy medium between “cold” and “scalding hot”? Well, we’ve been there too — and we’ve noticed that water streams down the sink in a meta-inefficient manner. That’s why these faucet restrictors are so handy. They attach like a regular faucet aerator but …

Red Juice: Eco-Intelligent Degreaser & Cleaner

Red juice is a powerful but odor-free cleaner and degreaser. It is made from seaweed, soybean extracts, palm kernels, and palm oils. It can be used around food because it is pH neutral, non-toxic and completely biodegradable. Because of its biodegradability, it can sprayed on surfaces and wiped off without rinsing. Available from: Clean Team ($10)