I found myself drawn to simple, easy-to-use products in 2013 and decided to put together a list of those I use each day. These aren’t products I’ve used for a week or two, but stuff I’ve used for months or even years.
1. iPhone 5 – The iPhone is the best gadget I’ve ever owned, by a wide margin. My iPhone is my GPS, alarm clock, music player, watch, camera, ATM/Bill Payer, eReader, package tracker, note taker, keep-in-touch-with-friends-and-family device that I rely on more than any other computing device I own.
2. Logitech G710+ Keyboard and M705 Mouse – I’ve never paid over $35 for a keyboard until I tried my friend’s mechanical keyboard. Spending nearly $150 on a keyboard might seem absurd. But it’s a bargain given how much time I spend at my computer. From the programmable and back-lit keys to the perfect feel and sound of the keyboard, it’s hard to imagine going back. The M705 mouse includes no useless extra buttons, is simple to use and battery life that lasts upwards of 3 years.
3. The North Face Beanie – Looks as good today as when I bought it 8 years ago. I wear it instead of a baseball hat to keep my head and ears warm when the temps near the 30s.
4. Hoover Platinum Lightweight Vacuum – I’ve purchased a number of vacuums over the years ranging from cheap to expensive. What I like most about this Hoover is its simplicity. It doesn’t have extra hoses to manage or fancy mechanics like self-drive. It only includes a high/low setting and On/Off switch. It’s so light-weight that even my younger kids can use it. The large HEPA bags are expensive, but last quite a while.
5. Corsair Vengeance 1500 Headphones – Since I began working from home, I’ve found using a good set of headphones are essential to blocking out the distractions. These are a good balance of quality and price. I use them at least 8 hours a day either listening to music or calling into conference calls.
6. Apple TV – I never thought my family would get as much use out of this device. Our XBox and DirecTV receiver are 3rd class citizens now. We use the Apple to stream Netflix and kid shows we own over iTunes. But the killer feature is Air Play where the kids (and adults) can push video and pictures from their iOS devices to the TV. Brilliant device that doesn’t try to do everything, but what it does, it does well.
7. Sanuks – These are casual shoes my brother told me about two years ago, and I wear mine every single day. They aren’t handsome and they might make your feet look larger than they are, but they are lightweight and super comfortable. Zappos often has them on sale so check there first.
8. Timbuk2 Messenger Bag – My messenger bag is going on 14 years and I’ve beat the crap out of it over the years. I wouldn’t trade it for another bag at any cost. I carry it around on my bike, to church, and to toss snacks in it for our baby. Maybe the best $80 I’ve ever spent.
9. Spotify – Nearly every song at your fingertips. That’s Spotify. I used to spend hundreds each year on CDs that get scratched or lost. I will never manage another MP3 collection again.
10. Zeroll Model 2010 Ice Cream Scoop – I’m making one exception for this product which I’ve only owned since Christmas. But I’ve scooped enough ice cream for impatient kids to know a good scoop when I try one and this is it. You will love the Zeroll the first time you try it. It’s that good.