Haus & Garten Titanium Pruning Shears

 

There’s always gardening to be done in this household, and an essential part of that is good, sturdy, sharp garden shears. Haus & Garten understands this and sent me a pair of their titanium coated pruning shears to try out, and I’m a fan, with some qualifications.

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We’ve always used Fiskars tools in our yard, because in our experience their tools are the perfect intersection of cost, quality and reliability. So Haus & Garten has a high bar to meet to get a 5 star review for their shears. For build quality, they are on par with the better pruning shears we’ve used. The cast aluminum handles are strong, and have a rubberized non-slip coating to ease hand fatigue. The rubber grips didn’t slide around on the handles either, like some of the cheaper brands. The lock mechanism is a little rough, because the rubberized coating on the handles doesn’t allow it to actuate as smooth as it should, and it’s on the smaller side so locking the shears closed without looking will take practice. It also appears to vary from unit to unit, as some don’t have the longer runner coating that block the lock mechanism, while mine did. The blade has a titanium coating that should inhibit rust, corrosion and sticking. The pivot is strong and adjustable. The action is butter smooth and the cuts are clean and sharp every time.

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Where things fall apart is price and warranty. At $29.90 they’re more expensive than the Fiskars Pro Titanium pruners at my local home improvement warehouse, and you simple cannot beat Fiskars 100% lifetime no hassle, no questions asked warranty. I’m sure Haus & Garten will stand behind their products, but I like the ability to send a company a picture of a failed product and have them send out a replacement immediately, and Haus & Garten doesn’t say that’s their policy. In fact, I couldn’t find their warranty policy anywhere, short of the mention of their “Ironclad Quality Guarantee”. So if you see the value here, than Haus & Garten’s hand pruning shears are well made, ergonomic clippers that cost more than some, but less than others.

**Promo Alert!!**

SAVE 10% OFF when you purchase 1 or more Premium Titanium Pruning Shears offered by Haus & Garten. Enter Code HGNRZX7V at checkout.

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Haus & Garten. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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XNvalue’s 18″ Stainless Steel BBQ Grill Brush (Plus Bonus Tongs!)

One of the things we’ll never not need in this house is a good grill brush, especially because one of the few benefits of 10 months of sunny weather here in Southern California is an extended grilling season. Unfortunately, XNvalue tried to reinvent the wheel here, and their product fell just short of good. The less said about the included tongs, the better.

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To start, the brush has a triple head of thick stainless steel wire that have a very healthy amount of stainless steel bristles attached. So far, so good. In brushing the grill, we noted no bristles falling out or coming loose, because getting those in your food and then lodged in your esophagus would be an absolute nightmare. The handle is large and firm, and the wire that comes out of it doesn’t bend or give under a fair amount of pressure. So why then, you wonder, does it not get a great rating from me? Because for reasons that completely escape me, XNvalue turned the brush head 90 degrees so one has to try to brush side to side, not forward and back like every other grill brush I’ve ever seen or used. I don’t know why or how someone at XNvalue thought this was a good idea. It was awkward and made a perfunctory step in grilling a real chore for me. And again, the included tongs are so short and flimsy that they’re fairly useless, especially for grilling, and went right in the trash.

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I’m all for making a product that everyone needs and trying something new. A quick search of Amazon shows a plethora of these types of brushes, some cheaper, some more expensive. At $18 it’s exactly twice what my old go-to brush costs from Weber. And I just don’t see the value.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from XNvalue. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Gentle Giant Garden Tool’s Titanium-coated Bypass Pruner

I do plenty of gardening, and an absolutely essential tool is a good bypass pruner. A bad one will make the job take forever and give you horrible results. A good set will make whatever task you have fly by. The last one’s I covered here were the former. These Gentle Giant Garden Tool’s pruners are most certainly the latter.

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With a soft and ergonomic grip, these Gentle Giant pruners rocketed to the top of my garden tool list, and are right up there with my Fiskars pruners. They have an adjustable grip that will accommodate small hands like mine or giant man mitts like Hubby’s. The aluminum alloy handle is lighter weight that steel while not sacrificing strength to power through tough, dried rose wood. The steel blade has a coating of titanium to help maintain a sharp cutting edge and resist corrosion. What they market as a selling point, but one that I’m not 100% sold on is the “auto rotating handle”. Supposedly, the idea is that the handle rotates so as to not cause friction on the hands that leads to calluses and blisters. Maybe I just need to get used to it but I found that the rotating handle cause me to not maintain a sure grip on the pruners while cutting larger branches. Plus, I’m always of the opinion that the less “moving parts” on a thing, the less likely something in it will fail.

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Lastly, I must touch on the price. These are fantastic pruners, and I like them a great deal, and they have a “lifetime guarantee” (full disclosure, their website says it’s a 45 day warranty, and you must mail the product with receipt back to them. Compare that to Fiskars who just wants a picture of the damaged item and they ship you a replacement…for the lifetime you own the product. FOr a third of the cost.), but $35 is absolutely bonkers. You can get really good pruners for half that price on Amazon, big box stores, and home and garden centers. For a third of that price you can get some really decent ones with a lifetime, n0-hassle replacement warranty. I don’t see any good reason to charge that much for simple, non-anvil, no ratcheting bypass pruners. The rotating handle might be neat, but I think they have a product that will give the bigger companies a real run for their money if the just knock $15-$20 off the price. And clarify their warranty coverage. At $34.95, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. They’re great pruners, just not $35 great.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Till Harvest.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Garden Products Direct: Premium Goatskin Leather Gardening/Rose Pruning Gloves #Review #GardenProductsDirect

 

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Having a large amount of rose bushes is wonderful and the blooms in Southern California are well enjoyed into December and even sometimes beyond, if the temperatures remain warmer. The one thing that always makes a task easier, is having the right tools to perform it. I have used many garden gloves and one thing many gloves do not provide, is enough support and protection where a thorn from a stem could penetrate. I end up getting stabbed and poked with even gloves on the first use. I have used all materials from the self-curing rubbers, to nylons that have extra thread support. Most I end up using for digging and planting when they fail against even protecting me when I trim the dwarf citrus trees. If they can’t protect me against those thin thorns, my roses are better trimmed bare handed than having to deal with ill forming gloves.

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I was sent a pair of rose pruning garden gloves from Garden Products Direct. These are different to those I have found in the “big box stores”, which tends to think ladies just plant pansies and daisies, so we need zero protection from those thorn-less varieties. Most gloves in stores are thin with beautiful designs and colors, however they really just may keep your hands and nails clean when a manicure is not the only thing I am trying to save. I’m looking for overall protection and finally found a pair that may just be up for the tasks I complete. The premium gloves from Garden Products Direct have:

  • Heavy-Duty but still remain soft so you can bend digits and be able to grasp everything from thorny stalks to soft blooms you want to save to create a vase arrangement.
  • Made with 100% goat grain leather and extra long sleeves, which are made from cowhide. This sleeve/cuff provides extra protection when having to trim between branches.
  • The gloves are designed for working hands, so they remain smaller along the fingers and wrist, but still provide enough dexterity to be able to grasp tools from shovels to clippers.
  • The glove’s material also produces lanolin, which keeps hands hydrated and soft when worn and used.

Retail Price Point: $23.99 and that is the same price point for sizes small through large via Amazon.  The gloves are Unisex and I found the size small fit my hands and arms perfectly.  Due to having short and smaller arms, the glove is loose and longer (goes past my elbow), but I can easily fold the cuff at the end to provide a form fitting that is customized to my size.

 

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Verdict:

The gloves being made from natural leathers/hides will have a odor but nothing out of the norm, and I pretty much associate it with the scents you get from leather-goods, like from wallets, purses, and jackets made of such materials. This is to be expected and it’s not a chemical laden scent, so that was welcoming and was easy to air out by leaving them out overnight in the garage. I ordered a size small because my biggest gripe with gloves has been fit. The fingers are always too long and wide with my former gloves and this ends up frustrating me when I am trying to grasp because I lose that “real feel” when it comes to gardening. I end up over manipulating plants when planting because I lose dexterity when fabrics remain stiff but too thin to even prevent dirt granules from entering and soiling both the inside of my glove and hands. The gloves from Garden Products Direct fit perfectly and allowed my fingers to bend with ease while still remaining protected from dirt and sand. Nothing seeps in because your hands and arms remain protected. I was able to trim bougainvilleas, that tend to be bushy and full of thorns with ease. When I removed the gloves, my hands were spotless and soft. No dirt under my nails and nothing even made it through where the stitching meets, because the gloves are well stitched and made with quality in mind. I shop many stores from nurseries to garden centers and have never been able to locate gloves of this kind. I have found many that look like these, but once you feel them and see how they are stitched to the materials used, they are just gloves that are not made with manual labor in mind. I don’t walk around with a basket filled with flowers to plant and just need protection from soft dirt. I’m the kind of girl that trims palm tree branches, fights with the seed pods Sago palms produce, trims back over 35 rose bushes every winter and the type that does not let rose blooms die on the branch. This means every 3 days, I am even out past sunset trimming roses because even though I love nature, I have the worst seasonal allergies, so I trim when the winds die down a bit. The last thing I need, is frustrations caused by the tools I use and this includes protection type products like gloves. The gloves from Garden Products Direct came with zero frustrations and I must admit that the perk of having zero thorn pokes, jabs, scratches, and punctures is a nice thing that I am not use to experiencing. I admit the gloves not only kept my digits clean from dirt but it was nice removing the gloves and not finding dirt under the fingernails of the fingers I use more when pruning. Even my palm had no abrasions from the clippers because when you start cutting branches, poor fitting gloves cause rubbing, which causes calluses and even blisters. I had none of that, so these work just like they should!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Garden Products Direct.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

AGPtek Lighting Waterproof Mood Ball by Foober US

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These cooler fall nights are just what the doctor ordered after a blistering finish to a hot SoCal summer, and that means dinner in outside int he waning light, night swims and lights, lights, and more lights. I never thought much about “decorating” the surface of the water of our pool, especially since so much money and effort is spent keeping it crystal clear! To say I was intrigued by this Foober “mood” ball would be an understatement.

 

It’s just what it says it is: A lightweight, color changing ball that floats along the surface of the water. It’s watertight and runs on just two little button-cell cr2032 batteries. It is a little difficult to open at first, because it’s sealed so tight, but that’s better than being loose and letting water in to fry the little circuit board inside. About the size of a softball, in the day time it doesn’t look like much, but once the sun sets it really comes to life. It will only work in water, so don’t think you can fudge it an have it in a planter or something. A single ball tend to get lost in a moderate to  large pool, so if you really want a cool effect, be sure to pick up a few! Though at $7.99 for one, I would like it to be around the $4.99 mark, because while it is neat to look at, it’s very small and is the very textbook definition of “novelty” light.

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There could be numerous applications for in the home, too, like filling a wide-mouth vase with a little water and letting this little guy float under some flowers. It’s an energy efficient LED that gives this little Mood Ball his light, and ensures that it will last a good, long while before needing to replace the batteries. A neat little bauble for those nights under the waning light.

Connect with AGPtek:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from AGPTek.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

LifeWell Technologies Aluminum Garden Trowel

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Going back to the garden, I like hand tools best. Not only are they easier for me to use and control but they are a little more intimate than Hubby’s larger, more rugged tools. And when LifeWell Technologies offered me their aluminum Garden Trowel, I was thrilled. I’ve had a few different garden trowels, of various materials and build qualities, and almost all were found to be lacking. They’d bend, break, rust, or just plain fall apart and fail me. Usually mid-job, and nothing will frustrate a gal more. LifeWell Technologies claims this is “The Best Trowel You’ll Ever Buy”. Bold words. Let’s see if they live up to them.

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LifeWell Technologies Garden trowel looks to solve all of those previously mentioned issues. Rust? Pffft. It’s made of aircraft grade aluminum, polished to a flawless chrome-like finish. The edge is sharp enough to dig clean through rocky, uneven ground with no issue. Bending? A thing of the past, what with the thick, robust neck and full tang handle. Break? Did I mention that it’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum? This LifeWell Technologies trowel shouldn’t break even under heavy loads and stresses. So now that we’ve established that this trowel is better than all my past trowels, lets get into how it’s been so overbuilt that it became my favorite.

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A lot of trowels I’ve owned have been just a straight wooden handle, with little thought given to ergonomics or comfort. This LifeWell Technologies Garden Trowel has a handle clearly made by someone who has used the before and knows exactly when one puts their fingers and thumb. It has a rubberized non-slip coating too, that not only reduces hand strain my being slightly padded, but means your damp or wet hand won’t go sliding down the handle and crash painfully into the spade. It even has a slightly elongated tip if you need to pound the trowel past a tough root or two. It’s even a bright and attractive neon green that means your not going to lose it in the grass or tall shrubs. It’s not so heavy that you get hand fatigue but not so light that you think it’ll break on the first rock it hit. “Built like a brick ‘out’house” Hubby would say, although not so politely. I think I’ve found the garden tool I won’t be sharing with Hubby. This green beauty is all mine. As for LifeWell Technologies boast of this being the best trowel I’ll ever buy, it might well be, as well as the last  trowel I’ll ever need to buy. Well done, LifeWell Technologies.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from LifeWell Technologies.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Pine Tree Gloves Bamboo Gardening Gloves

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Aside from my latest spurts of artsy-fartsy-ness, I love to garden. I love the outdoors, I love my flowers and my plants. The butterflies, and bumblebees and dragonflies. But what drives me bonkers, though, is completely destroying my manicure digging in the dirt. Hubby always tells me we have gloves, and I’ll occasionally use some nitrile ones, but anyone can tell you those aren’t made for gardening. When Pine Tree Gloves offered me a pair of their bamboo gardening gloves, I was more than eager to try them.

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I’ve used “dipped” gloves like this before, and I was (and still am!) a huge fan of them. Ideally, they are lighter and less cumbersome than Hubby’s leather outdoors gloves, offer decent finger and palm protection as well as grip, but fit the hands much better for fine motor control and manipulation. Pine Tree Gloves bamboo gloves seem to tick off all these important metrics. But they fall a little short for me and I’ll explain why this might be my situation and not yours.

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See, I don’t mess around gardening. When I’m done I’m usually covered in dirt. Digging up bulbs, planting new shrubs, reclaiming decorative rock…It’s no “Martha Stewart” stuff with me, all dressed to the nines with my hair and makeup did. No, no, no. So I need tools (and let’s face it, gloves are tools)  that can keep up with me. Pine Tree Gloves Bamboo Gardening gloves were saying “No mas” by about hour 4. While the back are a light woven bamboo fabric, it’s not a tight weave and dirt gets in. It collects in the fingers that are not porous and since I have short-ish fingers, there’s some space at the front of the glove for all that dirt. And it grinds into your fingertips something fierce. Then, at the very end, I noticed that the plastic coating they’re dipped in started to break down, kind of crack apart. Little pieces were lost to the dirt and one finger ended up “exposed”. So, after one use, they were pretty much toast. At $8.99, that’s a little steep for a single-use product. Now, granted, I probably used them a lot harder than maybe was intended. Digging out old bulbs in rocky, densely packed soil is not my every day gardening activity, and probably not yours either. But I’ve had some others last at least a few uses before being tossed, so I’m not entirely sold on these for my needs.

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In the end, if you do light gardening or just need some gloves on while you use a tool or two, these might just fit the bill. But if you have heavy, hard work that needs doing, you’re probably better off with some split leather and canvas gloves for a couple of bucks a pair.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Pine Tree Gloves.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Hori Hori Garden Digging Knife by Sensei

Every once in a while, you get a hold of a tool you didn’t know you needed, one that has become so useful you don’t know you got by without it before. Sensei’s “Hori Hori” Digging Knife is one such tool. At first glance it seems to be a shiny monotasker, and it’s so, so much more than that. Let me share why.

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Pickaxes, hoes, shovels, and garden spades all have their place, but it when you’re trying to dig up (or through) tough roots, or you have a very limited digging space (like up against a wall), you come to appreciate a single handed tool that cuts smooth, fast and clean. Sensei’s Digging knife does just that, and more. It has a razor-sharp side that slices and dices just about everything so clean you’d think it was brand-new Mach-5. But flip it over, and there’s serrated side that’ll go through almost anything like butter, in ground or out. Like cleaning up our yuccas. The fronds on those guys also have their own micro-serrations, so trimming them back can lead to a couple of handfuls of papercuts and a box of band-aids in your future. Not with Sensei’s Hori Hori Knife, as it made short work of the fronds and left clean, smooth cuts with no effort.

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Through old rosebush roots, no problem. Cleaning up our sago palm trees? A snap. cutting though grass to lay sprinkler lines? Done and done. With it’s 7.5″ high-polished stainless steel blade, it’s big enough for big jobs, and small enough for ones that need a little more finesse. It’s concave design means it’s also good for just plain-old digging, through even the toughest soils. The contoured, textured handle is injection-molded high-impact ABS plastic, and the tang of the blade runs about 1/2 way up the handle. It feels sturdy and near indestructible. But should something go pear-shaped, Sensei backs their Digging Knife with a 90-day no-hassle guarantee with 100% of your money back if you’re not satisfied.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sensei.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

AYL® Silicone Heat Resistant Grilling BBQ Gloves Set #Review #AYLsiliconeGlove

It’s no big secret I cook. A lot. So handling hot dishes and pans is pretty much an occupational hazard. What you may not know is hubby also grills. A lot. Except grilling can be messy, even more so sometimes than normal cooking and baking. Gloves are a must. So these AYL silicone grilling gloves are a product long overdue for this house. Made from heat-resistant (Up to 425°!), BPA free silicone, dishwasher safe, and one size fits most. Let’s dive right in.

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And To start, these grill mitts do indeed fit most. Both hubby and I fit into them with no problem when we tried them on.  While they are “heat resistant”, you will still feel the temperature through the gloves. So I wouldn’t hang onto hot things for very long. And while they did fit, don’t expect to be terribly dexterous while wearing them. A plus AND minus is the little grippy nubs surrounding the mitts. They are little heart shaped, which while timely and adorable, might be off putting to overly manly-men types. They also get BBQ shmutz stuck in between them due to being so deep. But, a little soap and a dish brush and you’re good as new. The pair have little hanging holes for storage/drying, and the bright red color means even Mr. Distracted, Hubby, can find them in the dark. Another big plus of the silicone is that it won’t hold scents or smells easily. And if you’ve ever handled smoked meats, you know those scents seriously linger.

Retail Price Point: $19.99 via Amazon

Lest you think these are good for outdoors only, they are winners inside the house too. With normal oven mitts, you’re lucky to have a thumb. Which makes grabbing some pans, lids or dishes a game of “Do I really have a hold of it?”. Anyone who’s found out they didn’t knows how much fun that can be when it’s all down the front of your clothes or all over the kitchen floor. A thing of the past with these mitts. Overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and with a “free premium lifetime guarantee” included, you can’t go wrong here. I’d say grab a pair and try them on for size.

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Connect with AYL:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from AYL®.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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