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Customer Reviews: 838
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C. MacPhail RSS Feed (Solana Beach, CA USA)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

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TEKTON 37526 16-Inch Groove Joint Pliers
TEKTON 37526 16-Inch Groove Joint Pliers
Price: $19.00
6 used & new from $15.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Not suitable for dentistry, June 8, 2014
.
These bad boys look and feel like industrial quality pliers. When selling for $25 they're the same price as Channel Lock brand at Home Depot, but the Channellock 460 might be a couple of bucks less on amazon.

They are not chrome plated. We'll see how the rust situation plays out with "4150 alloy steel."

The action is smooth. The pivot pin has a spring washer and an adjustable but very secure nut. In rare cases, you could prefer the Channel Locks with no protruding nut.

The jaw depth is 2-1/8", so a 4-inch OD pipe would be just barely in play.

The vinyl grips and everything about them seems good.

"Always Guaranteed" seems to mean lifetime replacement warranty. Easy-to-use replacement form at the Tekton site.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


Dextra 15009 4-volt Dual Angle Lithium-Ion Cordless Screwdriver Kit with Magnetic Screw Holder, 26 Screwdriving Bits, 1 built-in battery, 1 Charger, and 1 Storage Case
Dextra 15009 4-volt Dual Angle Lithium-Ion Cordless Screwdriver Kit with Magnetic Screw Holder, 26 Screwdriving Bits, 1 built-in battery, 1 Charger, and 1 Storage Case
Offered by TruePowerTools
Price: $39.99

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Handy Low-end Driver, June 7, 2014
.
There are so many 4-volt Li-Ion screwdrivers selling for under $40. As a homeowner, it's nice to have a 2nd (or 3rd) driver. Avoid changing bits every 10 seconds. Avoid another trip to the garage. Fits in your pocket while climbing a ladder. Works in a tight-clearance situation when your main drill is too big (see Note 1).

For $25 (call it $16 when you subtract the value of the 27 bits) this is a pretty good deal.

PROs:

- Li-Ion battery
- Torque is good enough (31 in-lbs)
- Clutch (only 6+1 positions)
- Battery indicator lights (3)
- LED nose light
- Pistol or straight handle

OKs:

- Securely holds both Insert bits and Power bits (See Note 2)
- Case is handy and space efficient
- Warranty: 1 year

CONs:

- 200 RPM is slower than it sounds. Everyday use could drive you crazy.
- No spindle lock (for hand torquing stubborn screws)
- Forward-reverse switch is easily pushed by mistake

NIT PICKs:

- The arrow for the clutch settings is almost invisible. Mark it with nail polish or something.
- The Class 2 charger wastes 1.7 watts when sitting idle in your outlet.

- - - Tip - - -

Some of the included bits look like Phillips but they're PZ (Pozidriv) bits. They strip fairly easily if you use them on Phillips screws.

- - - Included Bits - - -

Power bits: PZ2, straight blade, magnetic insert holder

Insert bits: 5 straight blade (3-7 mm); 7 Phillips (#0 - #3); 4 Torx (size 10-25); 3 hex (3-5mm); 5 Posidriv (#0 - #2)

All bits are marked with size and type. Mild steel, not hardened.

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: Clearance - Overall length is 7-3/8" in pistol configuration (including bit).

Note 2: "Insert bits" are shorter bits that have tiny notches at the corners of the shank. "Power bits" have a deep notch that holds the bit more securely.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2014 9:34 PM PST


Spectracide 95829 Triazicide Once and Done! Insect Killer, 32-Ounce Concentrate
Spectracide 95829 Triazicide Once and Done! Insect Killer, 32-Ounce Concentrate
Price: $6.88
22 used & new from $6.88

4.0 out of 5 stars For Ants: It's part of the solution, June 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
.
I've used the older more concentrated version of this product over the years to control the zillions of small ants around our house foundation and patio in Southern California.

We eventually won the battle. It took a few years. The colonies have almost completely given up on our house and patio. The colonies have either blacklisted us, or forgotten we exist. Good surveillance, caulking, persistence, and the below tip.

This product is only 0.08% active ingredient (Gamma Cyhalothrin). The old stuff (Same name and brand) was 0.50% Lambda Cyhalothrin, A 32-oz bottle went about 3 times as far (16,000 sq feet vs 5,000 sq feet).

- - - Tip - - -

Sometimes you have an ant blitz...thousands are running around at once...window cleaner is much better for this. It kills them instantly on contact. This stuff does not. (And window cleaner is a little cheaper when bought as 1-gallon concentrate.) I have a hunch this stuff hangs around longer and has more residual effect than window cleaner.

- - - Pricing - - -

This sells at Home Depot for $ 8.97. It's kind of amazing that amazon can sometimes match that price, shipping included.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


Swage Sport Bluetooth Headphones - Bluetooth V4.0 Perfect for Sports - Lightweight Sport Bluetooth Earphones Black
Swage Sport Bluetooth Headphones - Bluetooth V4.0 Perfect for Sports - Lightweight Sport Bluetooth Earphones Black

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goods and Bads, June 6, 2014
.
** 9-month update -- I use these every day. Great for bike riding, because they don't block out surrounding noises, which would be unsafe. They are a little uncomfortable after an hour of use. The Bluetooth reception is still a minor hassle. I have to switch my iPhone to the right front pocket. Even then, they cut out once in a while depending on body geometry. Very happy overall **

PROs:

* Compact. Fit in your front pocket or almost anywhere.
* Automatically coil up.
* Flexible...Hard to break.

OKs:

- Rich sound
- Doesn't block outside sounds. (That's good or bad)
- Not as immersive as in-ear buds or over-the-ear cans
- Secure fit for sports
- Comfortable enough...maybe bothersome for hours on end
- Plenty of volume
- Audio delay (matters when watching video) is minimal (0.10 sec)
- Up to 10 hours of listening on a charge
- Controls could be easier to feel/find. Not a big problem once you're familiar.
- User manual is reasonably clear and complete
- Charge with standard Micro-USB cable
- Warranty: 1 year (no written warranty enclosed with product)

CONs:

* Signal drop-out from left front pants pocket (see Note 1).

- - - Alternatives - - -

- Avantree Jogger Sports Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone (Less expensive. Controls are easier to feel out. But it doesn't use a standard Micro-USB charging cable.)

- Motorola S305 Bluetooth Stereo Headset w/ Microphone (Less expensive but they don't collapse, controls are hard to feel out, and only 6.5 hours of listening per charge.)

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: Signal drop-out - ongoing drop-outs when I listen from iPhone 4S in left front pants pocket 3 feet away from headphones (nothing else in pocket). Works fine (mostly) from right front pocket.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2014 7:29 PM PDT


StarPack Premium Silicone Kitchen Utensil Set (5 Piece) in Hygienic Solid Coating - Bonus 101 Cooking Tips (Cherry Red)
StarPack Premium Silicone Kitchen Utensil Set (5 Piece) in Hygienic Solid Coating - Bonus 101 Cooking Tips (Cherry Red)
Offered by StarPack Products
Price: $32.91
7 used & new from $12.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Silicone all over., May 19, 2014
.
We use more and more silicone stuff in the kitchen. Very easy clean-up, of course.

This is a perfectly good, competitively priced set.

Because they're silicone-everywhere, there are no grime-collecting crevices.

After purchase they send you an email with some detailed info, including the fact that the spatula (turner) has a stainless steel core and is not microwave safe.

This set does not cover your large-spatula and large-ladle needs. The spatula head is about 2-3/4" x 3-3/4". The ladle holds about 2.5 fluid ounces of water.

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

(I don't do lots of 5-star ratings. My 4-stars means I like it...it's good.)

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


Dremel US40-01 Ultra-Saw Tool Kit with 4 Accessories and 1 Attachment
Dremel US40-01 Ultra-Saw Tool Kit with 4 Accessories and 1 Attachment
Price: $119.00
11 used & new from $89.44

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Special Purpose Tool with Some Issues, May 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
.
There's some nice engineering in this saw, but it traps you in a double insult: Dremel's expensive and short-lived blades. The Ultra-Saw uses Dremel blades only (11mm hole, 3-1/2 to 4-inch diameter).

Dremel is all about spinning abrasives. Maybe that's why the wood cutting blades for this saw are more like grinding wheels than saw blades (see uploaded pic). I don't yet know the durability of the blades, but I have a funny feeling it's not 1000+ cuts, like a carbide tooth saw blade. Dremel says the US500 blade lasts twice as long as the Dremel SM500 blade complained about in Curmudgeon's review ( http://www.amazon.com/review/R2YJ5XQNQJ383S ) of the Dremel SM20-02 120-Volt Saw-Max Tool Kit.

The Ultra-Saw can do a few things your jigsaw can't. You might want this thing in your arsenal, but I don't think it's very good for general use.

Some other 3-3/8" to 5" circular saws have features this one lacks.

PROs:

- Solid construction, heavy-duty cast alloy shoe.
- Does a few things other saws won't (like undercutting baseboards).

OKs:

- Left-side blade helps you see the work (if you're right handed).
- Warranty: 2 years

CONs:

* Only uses Dremel blades
* Dremel wood cutting blades are $15-20 each (or about $10 as part of blade package)
* Dremel wood cutting blades are abrasive based (see uploaded pic). May wear out much faster than a normal carbide saw blade.
- Dremel wood cutting blades put out more fine dust (vs. shavings) and do not cut as cleanly as good quality saw blades
- No bevel cuts
- Maximum cutting depth: 3/4-inch
- Can't use a guide fence on the right side. Adjustment lever is in the way.
- Loud for its size (98 dB...same as my 13-amp circular saw.) (See Note 1.)

- - - Alternatives - - -

In many cases, you're better off with a good jigsaw. If you need a small circular saw, check these out:

- Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw Kit (4-1/2", 5-amp)
- Rockwell RK3440K VersaCut Circular Saw (3-3/8", 4-amp)
- Makita SH01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless 3-3/8-Inch Circular Saw Kit

- - - Some Specifications - - -

- Blade hole size: 11mm
- Shoe dimensions: 3-3/4"W x 6-5/8"L
- Saw dimensions (approximate): 4-3/8"W x 4-3/4"H x 15"L
- Saw weight: 4 lbs 15-1/2 oz. (includes US500 blade, accessory handle, and 6-1/2 ft. cord)
- Width of cuts in wood (US500 & US-600 blades): 0.08"

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: Noise measured at 24 inch distance in outdoor grassy area, using a BAFX Products Decibel Meter. Free-spinning saw...no cutting noise.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 22, 2015 8:11 PM PDT


BAFX Products (TM) - Decibel Meter / Sound Level Reader - W/ Battery!
BAFX Products (TM) - Decibel Meter / Sound Level Reader - W/ Battery!
Offered by BAFX Products
Price: $18.98

50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice design, Nice features, Nice Price., May 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
.
It's easy to use, and has lots of features for a low cost sound meter. Also sold as other brands for a few bucks less (see below).

It helps me with product reviews of some overly noisy products.

PROs:

- Good loudness range (30-130 dBA)
- No range selector. It just works.
- Good frequency range (31.5 Hz to 8500 Hz)
- Tripod mount
- Simple to use
- MAX hold function
- Auto off (or you can disable auto off)
- Can be calibrated
- Nice Price (usually $20 or a little less)

OKs:

- TYPE 2 accuracy (better then +/- 2 dB accuracy)
- Display is back lit and large enough
- Uses 9-volt battery (AA would be nicer)
- Branded product (but the device and user manual have no brand or company indication)
- Warranty: 1 year (but no written warranty provided with product)

CONs:

- Hand noise messes up readings (see Note 1)
- No "Average" readout

- - - Alternatives - - -

The same meter is sold as...

- Etekcity 30dB-130dB Decibel Digital Sound Level Meter
- Weanas GM1351 30dB-130dB Digital Sound Level Meter
- HQRP 30dB - 130dB Digital Sound Level Meter

A similar meter has more features...

- Wensn Mini USB Digital Sound Noise Pressure Level Meter Tester

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: You need to hold it very carefully when below 70 dB. The slightest hand friction transmits to the microphone and messes up your readings.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2015 9:19 PM PDT


Tide Coldwater Clean Fresh Scent High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent 48 Loads, 92 Fl Oz
Tide Coldwater Clean Fresh Scent High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent 48 Loads, 92 Fl Oz

4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Wrong Here, May 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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This is a review of Tide's High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent, Coldwater Clean Fresh Scent

Let's be honest, I don't know if this gets clothes cleaner than Wisk, Cheer, All, Kirkland (Costco), or Tide's 42 other detergent flavors.

Consumer Reports says these 5 brands test well in the lab.

It makes sense to kick the hot water habit for most of your laundry adventures. If you believe the Sterilized Life is neither happier nor longer than the Clean-enough Life.

So, compare prices, don't use excess amounts of detergent, and get with the cold water habit!

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


Swingline 747 Classic Stapler, 20 Sheets, Black (74701)
Swingline 747 Classic Stapler, 20 Sheets, Black (74701)
Price: $14.46
22 used & new from $13.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Stapler...or get the "Commercial" model, May 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
.
- - - "Commercial" model vs. "747 Classic"

The Swingline Commercial Desk Stapler (44401) is available for about half the cost ($8 or less on a good day). A little less guarantee, and it doesn't open 180° for tacking. But maybe better looking, unless you like the boxy 1970's look.

As a tribute to customer confusion, Swingline names the less robust model "Commercial."

- - - Choosing Staples - - -

The box says to use S.F. 4 staples. These are apparently a premium version of "Standard S.F. 1" staples. Supposedly fewer jams. Swingline does not care to explain the differences, or the fact that either type will work. I only tried the stapler with S.F. 1 staples and it works fine so far.

[keywords: SF4, SF1, SF-4, SF-1]

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


Multi-Angle Portable Stand for Tablets, E-readers and Smartphones
Multi-Angle Portable Stand for Tablets, E-readers and Smartphones
Offered by AccMarket
Price: $14.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Duty, Compact, Works Well., May 13, 2014
.
It's a very practical, heavy duty, affordable, compact stand.

If you look closely, the edge and finish details are a bit crude. Not as bad as in their pictures, but also not first class.

You could easily give it 5-stars.

PROs:

- Nice price (when selling for $9)
- 10 positions (angles)
- Works with a wide variety of devices
- Does not topple when tapping corners of screen (I tried all positions)
- Does not scratch your device

OKs:

- Finish and edge imperfections
- Frequent angle adjustments can be tedious

CONs:

- Can't power devices while in portrait mode (with home button at base)

- - - Alternatives - - -

Other companies sell what appears to be the same stand:

- Anker Multi-Angle Portable Stand for Tablets
- SHARKK Multi-Angle Portable Stand for Tablets
- Aibocn Universal Portable and Adjustable Tablet Cell Phone Stand

Here's a different design that will let you charge in portrait mode.

- Case Star Black Aluminum Desktop Stand

- - - More Info - - -

Check the Anker listing for over 1200 opinions about this stand.

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


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