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Aqua Globes

*Est. $10 for two
Reviewed
March 2011
Aqua Globes

Works to evenly water plants in most soils

Pros
  • Dispenses water evenly
  • Works on most plants
  • Attractive
Cons
  • Tricky to fill
  • Can become clogged if misused
  • Can drain too quickly in some soils
  • Can shatter if dropped
Where to Buy
 

The Aqua Globe is designed to water any kind of potted plant, so you don't have to fret about over-watering or leaving your plants unattended while away (up to two weeks). For the most part, owners say Aqua Globes work pretty well. Most people who put the Aqua Globe to the test find that it dispenses water into their plants as needed, and after just a few weeks, their plants are thriving and the soil is moist.

The most common complaint about the Aqua Globe is that it clogs too easily, but others suggest that following the instructions should alleviate this problem. The opening at the end of the tube is tiny, so it's a bit tricky to fill the Globe with water. Some users who have plants in loose or fast-draining soils find that the Aqua Globe empties too quickly, causing their plants to be over-watered. There are some complaints of the Globes being an eyesore, but others find them an attractive addition to their plants, so it all comes down to personal preference.

Popular Mechanics tests an Aqua Globe on a dying houseplant, and it works as advertised, reviving the plant after a few weeks. Two news stations, KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., and WTVD in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., test the Aqua Globe as part of their regular consumer product reports; both are impressed with the results and give it their seal of approval. About.com's guide to herb gardens, Amy Jeanroy, tests the Aqua Globe and finds that it's a good product with some limitations. Customer reviews on Amazon.com, Epinions.com and Target.com are more mixed, with some loving their Aqua Globes and others complaining of clogs, over-watering in certain soils and filling difficulties.

Where To Buy
Aqua Globes AG011706 Glass Plant Watering Bulbs, 2-Pack

 
Buy new: $17.99 $12.93   28 Used & new from $9.31

In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

 

Our Sources

1. PopularMechanics.com

Harry Sawyers tests an Aqua Globe on a wilting indoor plant. Within two weeks, the once-dry plant soil was moist to the touch and the plant was revived. However, Sawyers complains that the Aqua Globe is a bit of an eyesore. He also warns users to be sure to clear a path for the Globe's stem before inserting it, or it can easily become clogged with soil.

Review: Aqua Globe Review: Do As Seen on TV Products Work?, Harry Sawyers, Nov. 20, 2008

2. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)

KLRT, a Fox affiliate in Little Rock, Ark., tests an Aqua Globe at a local nursery, where owner Chuck Walton says the main reason most plants die is overwatering. The test involves three plants: one isn't watered, one is watered by hand and one is watered with an Aqua Globe. After a month, the ignored plant is dead, the hand-watered one is wilting, and the one watered with the Aqua Globe is healthy and thriving. KLRT deems the Aqua Globe to be a good buy that works as advertised.

Review: Deal or Dud: Aqua Globe, June 18, 2008

3. WTVD (Raleigh-Durham, N.C.)

A reporter for WTVD, an ABC affiliate in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., tests an Aqua Globe in a potted houseplant and finds that it works as advertised. She warns users to be sure to follow the instructions, and advises consumers to create a tunnel in the soil so that the Globe doesn't clog. For larger plants, Wilson recommends using two Aqua Globes.

Review: Does It Work: Aqua Globe, Diane Wilson, July 30, 2008

4. About.com

About.com's guide to herb gardens, Amy Jeanroy, reviews the Aqua Globe and awards it 3 out of 5 stars. She says the concept "has some merit" and that the product can be useful, but they're not the solution to all your watering needs. She urges caution with the top-heavy design and thin tube which can get clogged easily. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)

Review: Aqua Globe, Amy Jeanroy

5. Amazon.com

More than 100 customers review the Aqua Globe on Amazon.com (the Aqua Globes are listed several time on this site), and the reviews are a mixed bag. More than half of the reviewers are very happy with their results, and report that the Aqua Globe does a great job of keeping their plants watered properly. Of the reviewers who are displeased with the Aqua Globe, the most common complaint is that they become clogged with soil too easily. Some also say that the Globes are hard to fill with water, and a few reviewers complain that the Aqua Globe actually overwatered their plants.

Review: Aqua Globes Watering Bulbs 2-pk., Contributors to Amazon.com

6. Epinions.com

About a dozen users review the Aqua Globe on Epinions.com, and while most are happy with the product, they warn that the Globes are tedious to fill and say there's a learning curve to getting them to work properly. Those who don't like the Aqua Globe say it empties the water too quickly in well-draining soil, looks unattractive and breaks easily.

Review: Aqua Globes As Seen On TV 2 Pack, Contributors to Epinions.com

7. Target.com

A handful of owners review Aqua Globes at Target.com, giving the product an overall score of 4 out of 5 stars. Most customers are happy with their purchase, but one notes that the Aqua Globe is top-heavy when filled and must be placed at the correct angle. The same owner says that the topsoil still gets dry sometimes, so she continues to do some manual watering.

Review: Aqua Globes Watering Bulbs 2-pk., Contributors to Target.com

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DirectBuy

*Est. $5,000 for three-year membership
Reviewed
February 2011

A costly investment that yields little, if any, savings in most cases.

Pros
  • Might be good for large remodeling projects
  • Some members report significant savings
  • Many locations accredited by Better Business Bureau
Cons
  • Very high upfront fees
  • Extremely aggressive sales pitch
  • Can't see catalog before you sign up
  • Huge number of consumer complaints

According to its website, DirectBuy allows members to purchase merchandise from manufacturers at wholesale prices. DirectBuy's business model boils down to this: In exchange for an upfront buyer's club membership fee of roughly $5,000, you have the opportunity, over the next three years, to save 25 percent or more on a catalog of home-improvement products and furniture.

Users and reviewers are far from impressed with the DirectBuy experience. From the onset, people are turned off by DirectBuy's lack of transparency -- prospective members are not allowed to see what products are available, preventing them from comparing prices. Users say the showroom sales pitch is overly aggressive, and many say they felt cajoled or even bullied by salesmen who issue severe and absurd ultimatums. (A ConsumerReports.org staffer who visits two DirectBuy outlets is told he had to sign up on the spot or never come back.)

We found reams of negative comments at RipoffReport.com, GardenWeb.com and at blogs like BradsBlog.com, in which a brief comment about DirectBuy elicits 600 or so vituperative comments. An interior designer posting on GardenWeb.com says she's had numerous clients who were initially very enthusiastic and hoped to save thousands with their investments. However, every single one of those clients was outraged with DirectBuy "not just because of 'beyond poor' service, but they were upset their $3-$5K could have been used on real, tangible products."

The only positive reviews of DirectBuy we could find were at ConsumerReviews.org, and the 20 posts here are uniformly ecstatic (especially compared to what we found elsewhere online). Since ConsumerReviews.org hides behind a masked domain name (meaning we can't tell who operates it), it's highly suspect. In fact, this site represents the very worst of what's out there when it comes to credibility.

One plus is that many locations have Better Business Bureau accreditation, so it's worth checking with your local BBB before signing on. We scanned the ratings for many DirectBuy locations, and while we generally noticed a good number of official complaints, most appeared to have been resolved.

It is difficult to find any positive feedback on DirectBuy, but ConsumerReports.org allows that it might be a worthwhile investment if you're planning to spend over $20,000 on your remodeling project -- and if you're willing to sign up for the program without knowing what merchandise is being offered.

Our Sources

1. DailyFinance.com

WalletPop.com reports on the complaints by consumers about DirectBuy's nonrefundable membership dues, strange customer service policies like no canceling or returning orders, and the numerous lawsuits against the company. The reporter concludes that while there seem to be substantial numbers of satisfied members, there are also many very unhappy ones.

Review: DirectBuy Complaints Mount, but Company Says Its Big Fee is Worth It, Jorgen Wouters, Oct. 11, 2010

2. ConsumerReports.org

ConsumerReports.org staffer Chris Fichera visits two DirectBuy franchises in New York, enduring an extremely hard sell ("we had to sign up on the spot or never come back") that doesn't allow the opportunity to see what products or manufacturers are included in the program. Due to the lack of transparency, ConsumerReports.org is reluctant to say whether or not members actually save money. Fichera notes that "even if you were to save 25 percent on purchases after joining, you'd need to spend more than $20,000 just to recoup your membership fee." Although ConsumerReports.org remains leery of DirectBuy, they do say the program might be beneficial for someone furnishing an entire home or performing major renovations.

Review: With DirectBuy, It Will Cost You a Lot to Save, Chris Fichera, Sept. 13, 2007

3. RipoffReport.com

At last look, more than 300 consumers have posted complaints here about DirectBuy, and all of them are unusually vitriolic. The consensus is that these companies reap huge up-front charges and fees for a limited amount of savings on the part of the consumer. However, editors report that DirectBuy retained them to conduct an investigation of the RipoffReport.com complaints so that they could improve customer service and resolve the consumer concerns posted. DirectBuy says they have made improvements in their customer service as a result of this investigation.

Review: DirectBuy, Editors of and contributors to RipoffReport.com

4. GardenWeb.com

In this extensive thread, do-it-yourself home remodelers weigh in on DirectBuy. The consensus is that you'll need to spend a lot of money in order for your investment to pay off. Although a few say they saved a significant amount of money, especially on high-end merchandise, the majority of users are largely disappointed. One interior designer says many of her clients invested in DirectBuy and are absolutely frustrated by their experience -- not only is the customer service "poor," but the quality of the items received is "subpar," as well.

Review: Anyone Used Direct Buy?, Contributors to GardenWeb.com

5. BradsBlog.net

This blog post is notable less for its content -- a brief, skeptical blurb about DirectBuy -- than for the appended comments, over 600 at last count, which are almost uniformly negative. Complaints echo those found at other sources: prospective members are not allowed to preview what's available, salespeople are rude and aggressive, and the savings are not worth the cost of membership fees.

Review: Beware DirectBuy, "Brad", Nov. 27, 2005

6. Yelp.com

Over three dozen comments here (for this particular California DirectBuy location) run the gamut from intense complaints to some positive reviews, especially from people who remodeled multiple rooms and hired the store's in-house designer.

Review: DirectBuy -- Mountain View, CA, Contributors to Yelp.com

7. Consumerist.com

A reader reports that when she wanted to visit the DirectBuy showroom, they wouldn't give her a pass unless she provided her husband's name, saying they only offer passes to a married person if both spouses can be present at the meeting.

Review: DirectBuy Won't Let Me In Their Showroom Without My Husband, Meg Marco, Sept. 15, 2010

8. ConsumerReviews.org

Every one of the 20 or so reviews posted on this site is completely ecstatic. However, this website publishes nothing but positive reviews, and it operates under a private domain name -- meaning we can't determine who owns it. There's no information at all about this site. In fact, it represents the very worst of Internet credibility.

Review: DirectBuy.com, Contributors to ConsumerReviews.org

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Furniture Fix

*Est. $15
Reviewed
July 2011
Furniture Fix

Helps for lightly used items, but isn't a fix for truly saggy sofas

Pros
  • Elevates cushions
  • Can perk up some worn furniture
Cons
  • Panels prone to cracking
  • Multiple sets needed for sofas
  • Problems ordering on website
  • Sharp edges can damage upholstery

Furniture Fix is a set of plastic panels designed to slip under chair and sofa cushions.  Makers claim that these panels will add support to sagging springs and cushions, and even give new life to furniture that otherwise would need replacing.

User reviews provide the bulk of the feedback on Furniture Fix. While a small handful of owners are pleased with Furniture Fix and claim to see a vast improvement in support and height, others aren't so pleased. Even those who are happy with the results note that the slat sets don't include enough panels for a sofa, so the cost is doubled or tripled for larger items. Other owners question the product's durability, reporting that the panels can crack.

The only non-user review we found was from a Washington affiliate station, KEPR, as part of their "Will It Work?" series. In the video, staffers bring out a sagging sofa for the experiment, only to read in the Furniture Fix instructions that at least three sets are required for a sofa. Fortunately, they find a matching sagging loveseat, and after sliding several Furniture Fix panels underneath the cushions they find that the cushion has actually been lifted by two inches. While the results are successful, they conclude that the Furniture Fix doesn't make the loveseat any more comfortable -- and add that you can probably get the same results by sliding a TV tray under the cushions.

Another hiccup is the product's website; customers report overcharging, order doubling, aggressive telemarketing and the impossibility of getting a refund. According to customers, not only is there no order confirmation page on the Furniture Fix website, but the navigation is extremely (some say deliberately) confusing; they say that clicking the button for a free set will actually double or triple a paid order, adding additional shipping and handling charges. Calling customer service to cancel the order does no good; callers are told to call back in a few hours and, when they do, are told that it's too late to cancel because the order has already been shipped.

In the end, Furniture Fix might help bolster sagging cushions in smaller items, but you can probably make your own solution with a piece of plastic or light plywood.

Our Sources

1. KEPR (Pasco, Wash.)

KEPR staffers bring out a sagging sofa to test the Furniture Fix, but find that the instructions say that you need at least three sets for a sofa. They're limited to testing it on a sagging chair instead, with successful results: the chair cushions are lifted by two inches. However, they conclude that, while the Furniture Fix panels do the job, they don't actually make the chair any more comfortable -- and shoving a TV tray under the cushions, they add, would probably have the same results.

Review: Will It Work? The Furniture Fix, Jay Frank, May 25, 2011

2. Amazon.com

Furniture Fix gets only 2 out of 5 stars from about two dozen user reviewers on Amazon.com. The negative posts say that Furniture Fix doesn't hold up and cracks, and that you need to order several sets in order to have enough panels for a sofa. One positive poster says that it does add support to a daybed, although the daybed is not used often and that the plastic wouldn't be sturdy enough for an item that is used frequently.

Review: Furniture Lift & Fix Panels, Contributors to Amazon.com

3. Walmart.com

User reviews skew to the negative on Walmart.com. The only 5-star review states that while the product does fix sagging furniture, it only works well on pieces that are "gently used." Another major complaint is that one set is very small and multiple boxes are needed to line a large couch.

Review: As Seen On TV Furniture Fix Interlocking Panels, Contributors to Walmart.com

4. QVC.com

The majority of user reviews on QVC.com swing in Furniture Fix's favor; many of the 30 owners are pleased with the improvement in their furniture and say the difference is noticeable. However, middle-of-the-road reviews state that while the product works initially, the slats slide and don't stay in place. Also, since the plastic is sharp, there are a few cases where users report damage to their couch's upholstery.

Review: Furniture Fix Set of 12 Adjustable Furniture Savers, Contributors to QVC.com

5. ComplaintsBoard.com

There are a number of complaints here about the Furniture Fix website; customers complain of overcharging and order doubling, of poor customer service and of aggressive telemarketers who won't take no for an answer.

Review: Furniture Fix Forum, Contributors to the ComplaintsBoard.com

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Magic Mesh

*Est. $20
Reviewed
November 2011
Magic Mesh

An unreliable alternative to a screen door that works for some, but not for most.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Flimsy material
  • Looks unattractive
  • Lots of gapping
  • Doesn't always close
Where to Buy
 

Magic Mesh is advertised as a simple and affordable alternative to installing a screen door. The mesh curtain is designed to be hung over a doorway using reusable adhesive tabs or thumbtacks; a series of magnetic closures are supposed to keep Magic Mesh in place. The manufacturer claims it's a great way to let fresh air in and keep bugs out, allowing people and pets to go in and out as they please.

When tested, however, Magic Mesh comes up short. Although easy enough to install, many users say it is flimsy and looks unattractive. The magnet closures work better for some than others, but several owners complain that the material tears easily and that the adhesive tabs aren't strong enough to hold Magic Mesh in place. Another common complaint is that Magic Mesh does not provide a tight seal, as there is gapping between the magnets and along the bottom, so bugs can still fly in.

A reporter for WXIA in Acworth, Ga., tests Magic Mesh and says the magnets don't always close; the material also tears easily, she notes. Tests conducted by WGRZ in Buffalo, N.Y., and WGHP in Greensboro, N.C. produce similar results. Reviewers on Amazon.com are mostly unhappy with the product, complaining that the material is flimsy and the magnets aren't strong enough, though a few are happy enough with Magic Mesh since it's cheaper than putting in a screen door.

Where To Buy
Aqua Globes AG011706 Glass Plant Watering Bulbs, 2-Pack

 
Buy new: $17.99 $12.93   28 Used & new from $9.31

In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

 

Our Sources

1. WXIA (Acworth, Ga.)

Reporter Karyn Greer brings the Magic Mesh to a viewer's home to try it out. They say it's easy to hang up, but note that the magnetic closures don't do a very good job of keeping Magic Mesh closed. They also notice some of the mesh coming apart after only one test. They ultimately give Magic Mesh one thumb up and one thumb down, saying that it's "hit or miss."

Review: Try It Review: Magic Mesh screen door, Karyn Greer, Aug. 24, 2011

2. WGHP (Greensboro, NC)

Melissa Painter tries out Magic Mesh at a viewer's home. They say the screen is easy to hang up, but they also think it looks unappealing. After several passes in and out of the house, Magic Mesh only closes behind them about half of the time. They deem it a "dud" for being unreliable.

Review: Deal or Dud: Magic Mesh, Melissa Painter, Jan. 6, 2012

3. WGRZ (Buffalo, N.Y.)

Mary Friona tries out Magic Mesh at her own home and is able to hang it up easily, though she thinks it looks unattractive. It closes behind her each time she walks through it, as well as when her three dogs run through it -- but after a week, the screen is failing. Friona also notes that it doesn't completely seal off the doorway, and bugs could get into her home.

Review: Product Test: Magic Mesh Screen, Mary Friona, Sept. 7, 2011

4. Amazon.com

More than 175 customers review Magic Mesh on Amazon.com, and most are either disappointed or have mixed reactions. Some of the common complaints are that the material is flimsy and tears easily, there is too much gapping between the magnet closures and the magnets are so weak that a strong enough breeze will separate them. A few like Magic Mesh and say that since it is so inexpensive, they don't mind that it's not as strong or effective as a regular screen door.

Review: Magic Mesh Hands-Free Screen Door, Contributors to Amazon.com

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Mister Steamy

*Est. $20
Reviewed
December 2011
Mister Steamy

No more effective than drying your clothes by themselves

Pros
  • May work in small loads
Cons
  • Doesn't remove wrinkles
  • Loud
  • Only works on high heat
  • Tends to deteriorate quickly
Where to Buy
 

Mister Steamy is advertised as an affordable way to get the soft, wrinkle-free laundry results that expensive steam dryers produce. You're supposed to add water to the Mister Steamy dryer ball, toss it into the dryer with your laundry, set on high heat, and your clothes should come out dry and without wrinkles. It also comes with a bottle of freshening liquid that can be added along with the water to help remove odors from fabrics.

Unfortunately, the results users see rarely come close to living up to Mister Steamy's claims. Clothes tend to come out of the dryer just as wrinkled as when they went in, and sometimes even more so. Some users also notice spots on their clothes from where Mister Steamy leaked both water and the freshening liquid. Many testers are also disappointed that Mister Steamy only works on a high heat setting and that it's so loud while rattling around the dryer. A handful of people find that Mister Steamy works on smaller loads of laundry that contain delicate fabrics, but no one recommends using it in large loads with heavy fabrics, like denim.

Several television news stations give Mister Steamy a hands-on test. KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Mo., gives it F for both leaking on the clothes and showing no sign of reducing wrinkles. WVEC in Hampton Roads, Va., also declares that Mister Steamy doesn't work, as everything in the dryer still needs to be ironed. WTXF in Philadelphia is a bit happier, finding fewer wrinkles in a load of laundry dried with Mister Steamy when compared to a load dried on its own. Reviewers on HSN.com are very dissatisfied, citing everything from an abundance of wrinkles, the noise factor, and the high heat issue in their complaints. Reviewers on Amazon.com echo these complaints, though a select few recommend trying Mister Steamy in only small loads of laundry.

Where To Buy
Aqua Globes AG011706 Glass Plant Watering Bulbs, 2-Pack

 
Buy new: $17.99 $12.93   28 Used & new from $9.31

In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

 

Our Sources

1. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)

As part of a regular KFVS "Does it Work Wednesday?" segment, Lauren Keith brings Mister Steamy to the laundromat to try it out. Using both water and the freshening liquid that comes with Mister Steamy, she tests a load of wet and a load of dry clothes. When she checks both loads midway through their cycles, she notices not only spots of water on the clothes, but also from the freshening liquid. After both drying cycles are complete, Lauren still sees some spots and everything is wrinkled, so she needs to re-wash the clothes and iron them once they're done. Ultimately, Mister Steamy gets an F grade.

Review: Mr. Steamy: Does it Work, Lauren Keith, Feb. 8, 2010

2. WVEC (Hampton Roads, Va.)

Sandra Parker asks a local viewer try out Mister Steamy in her home. Using only water, she first uses it in a load containing linen shirts, which come out extremely wrinkled. Wondering if the fabric is the problem, she tries Mister Steamy in another load containing cotton-based clothing, but they also come out wrinkled and will need to be ironed before they can be worn. When asked if Mister Steamy works, she says no.

Review: Does it Work? Mister Steamy, Sandra Parker, July 12, 2010

3. WTXF (Philadelphia)

Michelle Buckman tries out Mister Steamy in a side-by-side test. She puts one load of wet laundry in the dryer without Mister Steamy, then puts another load in with it, using only water when filling. When comparing both finished loads next to each other, she does see less wrinkles in the load that had Mister Steamy in it, though it isn't completely without wrinkles. She calls Mister Steamy a deal since it could eliminate the need to iron basic items, like jeans and t-shirts.

Review: Deal Or Dud: Mister Steamy, Michelle Buckman, Not Dated

4. HSN.com

About 150 customers review Mister Steamy on HSN.com, and the majority of them are dissatisfied. Many complain that they see no reduction in wrinkles when using Mister Steamy, though a small percentage find that it works for smaller items, just not sheets or heavy fabrics. Several also don't like that Mister Steamy is only meant to be used on high heat, since they don't dry their clothes on that setting. Other complaints include how loud Mister Steamy is as it's bounced around the dryer and how quickly the sponge inside of it deteriorates.

Review: Mister Steamy Steam Dryer Ball Set, Contributors to HSN.com

5. Amazon.com

Two dozen customers review Mister Steamy on Amazon.com, and more than half of them give it the lowest possible rating. Most reviewers found their clothes to be no less wrinkled after drying them with Mister Steamy, and some even say their clothes were more wrinkled and damper than they would have been if dried on their own. Several find that it works in small loads with just a few items that need to be de-wrinkled. The many unhappy customers also comment on how loud Mister Steamy is in the dryer and how quickly the interior sponge falls apart.

Review: Allstar Marketing Group MS011112 Mister Steamy Dryer Balls - As Seen On TV, Contributors to Amazon.com

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nuvoH2O

Est. $700 and up
Reviewed
August 2013
nuvoH2O

With an excellent customer-service reputation, 90-day money-back guarantee and high recommendations from actual homeowners, the nuvoH2O is worth a try if you have hard-water issues.

Pros
  • Small and convenient to place
  • Does not produce waste nor require electricity
  • Excellent customer service
  • Lifetime warranty and 90-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Few users have trouble installing
  • Rare cases of ineffective use

Performance

The nuvoH2O claims to produce softer water by using citric acid rather than sodium. However, experts in water technology, like Mark Timmons from USWaterSystems.com, say getting softer water from a salt-free system is impossible; the only way to soften water is to use sodium. A salt-free system like nuvoH2O produces conditioned, not softened, water.

While some may question the science, most customers who have nuvoH2O in their homes, such as those who review it on Amazon.com, are happy with the results of the system, saying they see a reduction in hard-water spots and that their water both feels and tastes better. Only a small percentage of users contend they see no improvement.

Ease of use

NuvoH2O claims to remove hard-water buildup in water heaters and plumbing fixtures, and to produce softer water that leaves less residue on dishes and your body. The nuvoH2O uses citric acid rather than salt to condition the water, though, and the various systems can be attached to a water supply by anyone -- no plumber needed. However, a notable number of people find the installation process trickier than promised.

Customer service

Whether or not nuvoH2O owners are satisfied with the performance of their system, they all agree the customer service is excellent. Amazon.com contributors attest that nuvoH2O customer service representatives are quick to respond to emails or phone calls, and only one user (out of nearly 100) reports having trouble receiving their 90-day refund when requested. NuvoH2O even goes so far as to respond to each partially negative Amazon.com review, explaining that they "wanted to comment on your experience with us. We just recently created an Amazon.com account to respond to these types of issues."

Where To Buy
Aqua Globes AG011706 Glass Plant Watering Bulbs, 2-Pack

 
Buy new: $17.99 $12.93   28 Used & new from $9.31

In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

 

Our Sources

1. Amazon.com

Amazon.com contains feedback on the nuvoH2O from just over 90 customers. It scores an average rating of 3.85 stars (out of 5). More than half of the reviewers find the nuvoH2O to work as promised and are more than pleased with the customer service. Others question its effectiveness.

Review: NuvoH2O Home Complete Salt-Free Water Softening System, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2013

2. RipoffReport.com

RipoffReport.com allows dissatisfied customers of any product or service to share their experiences. In this case, one such disgruntled consumer submits a long rant against nuvoH2O. He is met by several existing or potential nuvoH2O customers who call into question his evaluation process and specific claims. The Director of Business Development of nuvoH2O attempts to answer his complaints, including explaining in great detail the water-softening process of the nuvoH2O, complete with works cited.

Review: Complaint Review: NuvoH2O, Contributors to RipoffReport.com, As of August 2013

3. USWaterSystems.com

Mark Timmons, who has been working in the water-treatment industry for more than 38 years, addresses water-related questions on USWaterSystems.com, a site that sells water-treatment filters and accessories. When a contributor asks specifically about the nuvoH2O system, Timmons admits he has never used it, but believes the results it promises to be scientifically impossible to achieve.

Review: Saltfree Water Conditioners -- Boom or Bane?, Mark Timmons, Jan. 14, 2011

4. ConsumerReports.org

In the user forums section of ConsumerReports.org, several contributors discuss the pros and cons of different water-softening processes. Within the answers posted by several well-informed users we found useful information regarding the value and effectiveness of different units, including the nuvoH2O. Currently, ConsumerReports.org does not evaluate water softeners.

Review: Discussion: Water Heaters - Salt Free Water Softeners, Contributors to ConsumerReports.org, As of August 2013

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Pro Caulk

*Est. $10
Reviewed
August 2011
Pro Caulk

Works well, but isn't much better than using your fingers

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Works with a variety of sealing compounds
Cons
  • Doesn't work on textured surfaces
  • Made from flimsy material
  • No more effective than using your fingers
Where to Buy
 

Pro Caulk is a simple tool that is advertised as being the solution to messy caulking projects. It's a collection of small, silicone discs that produce different sealing edges when they're run along wet caulk. Simply apply the sealing compound of your choice to tile, select the appropriate Pro Caulk disc and slide it along to get a perfect edge. The tool will collect the excess product, making the clean-up process a lot easier.

Pro Caulk has been tested by many reviewers and customers, and the majority of them say the tool works as advertised. They find the tool simple to use and say that it leaves a smooth finish most of the time, though it depends on the surfaces being worked on. A few users say the material that Pro Caulk discs are made from isn't very strong, and both happy and dissatisfied users note that smoothing caulk with their fingers yields the same results, making them wonder if Pro Caulk is really worth the price.

Several local television news programs give Pro Caulk a hands-on test, including KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Mo., which finds that the tool works well on flat surfaces and gives it an A grade. WMBF in Myrtle Beach/Florence, S.C., says that Pro Caulk is no substitute for a caulk gun, but that it's a useful tool for those with little to no experience working with caulk. KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., has trouble getting a smooth finish and declares Pro Caulk to be a dud. A reporter for Popular Mechanics tests the tool and is impressed with how it smoothes both straight lines and corners. Reviewers on Amazon.com are mostly happy with Pro Caulk and how easy it is to use, though a small percentage didn't get the results they wanted and found the tool to be flimsy.

In the end, most seem to find Pro Caulk to be useful, particularly for those new to caulking projects.

Where To Buy
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Our Sources

1. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)

As part of KFVS's regular "Does it Work?" segment, Lauren Keith tests Pro Caulk with a couple of Habitat for Humanity volunteers. They first test it in the furnace room and find that Pro Caulk doesn't leave a smooth finish when used against a textured wall. A second test in the bathroom fares better, as the flat bathtub surface helps to make a smooth caulk line. It does take two swipes with the Pro Caulk to get a nice finish. Overall, they give Pro Caulk a grade of A, saying that it works well when sealing a flat surface.

Review: Pro Caulk: Does it Work?, Lauren Keith, April 29, 2009

2. WMBF (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

In a regular "Does It Work?" segment, WMBF tests Pro Caulk on some countertops with a professional carpenter. They find that it works well to create smooth caulk lines, though it may take a couple of tries to get it right when used in corners. Pro Caulk also successfully collects a lot of the excess caulk, making the clean-up process a lot easier. While the carpenter says it's no substitute for a caulk gun, he does think that Pro Caulk would work for someone who doesn't have a lot of experience working with caulk.

Review: Does It Work: PROCaulk, Editors of KLRT, May 4, 2009

3. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)

A KLRT reporter tests Pro Caulk with some flooring experts in one of their "Deal or Dud" reports. They find that the tool doesn't leave a perfectly smooth finish, as it claims to do. They also test the Pro Caulk grouting tool and find that it leaves behind too much messy residue. Saying Pro Caulk isn't the tool to use for a project as complex as caulking, they deem it a dud and say that they get better results just using their fingers to create a smooth finish.

Review: Deal or Dud: Pro Caulk, Editors of KLRT, May 1, 2009

4. PopularMechanics.com

Harry Sawyers tests Pro Caulk while sealing some exterior windows. He says the tool creates a smooth seal in both straight lines and in corners, and that it is far superior to using his fingers to smooth out the caulk. Sawyers says Pro Caulk works as advertised and would be a welcome addition to anyone's toolbox.

Review: Pro Caulk Review: Do As Seen On TV Products Work?, Harry Sawyers, Dec. 17, 2008

5. Amazon.com

About 50 customers review Pro Caulk on Amazon.com, and most are at least satisfied with the product. They find it easy to use and most were able to get smooth caulk lines when using Pro Caulk in their projects, though a select few were unhappy with the results they got. The most common complaint is that the Pro Caulk tool is flimsy, and many customers -- both satisfied and not -- wonder if it's worth the price when they get the same results using their fingers or a plastic spoon to smooth out caulk. The average rating is 3.3 out of 5 stars.

Review: Pro Caulk Complete Caulking Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com

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Sobakawa Cloud Pillow

*Est. $20
Reviewed
September 2011
Sobakawa Cloud Pillow

Good for those craving firm support -- just air it out first

Pros
  • Supportive
  • Reduces neck pain
  • Keeps its shape
Cons
  • Too firm for some
  • Initial chemical smell
  • Doesn't stay cool, as claimed
  • Smaller than standard pillow
Where to Buy
 

If the advertisement for the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow is to be believed, it is the ultimate solution for anyone seeking a more comfortable night's sleep. Rather than feathers, foam or fiber, the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow is filled with millions of "air beads" that conform to the shape of your head and neck. According to the ad, these beads also retain their shape longer than other fillers (giving the pillow a longer life) and help keep users cool in warm weather.

According to the many who have used the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, it does deliver on many of its claims. Those seeking a firm and supportive pillow say the Sobakawa keeps its shape better than other pillows and reduces neck pain. However, others find the pillow too hard for their liking. Both happy and unhappy customers mention a distinct chemical smell, which dissipates over time. Reviewers also agree that there is no cooling factor to the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, and that they get just as warm sleeping on it as they do with any other pillow.

A reporter for TV station KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., tries out the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow and says it's a deal, praising the way it conforms to and supports a sleeper's head. Owners posting reviews on Walmart.com are mostly happy, saying that the pillow is supportive, though a few say the pillow is too small and too hard. Amazon.com customers are more mixed in their reactions; some find the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow comfortable and supportive, while others don't care for the pillow's filling. Customers on both BedBathAndBeyond.com and Target.com who want a firm pillow are generally satisfied with the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, though a select few find it to be too firm. Nearly all owners agree that there is a smell to the pillow at first and that it does not offer a cooling factor.

Where To Buy
Aqua Globes AG011706 Glass Plant Watering Bulbs, 2-Pack

 
Buy new: $17.99 $12.93   28 Used & new from $9.31

In Stock. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

 

Our Sources

1. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)

In one of their "Deal or Dud" news segments, a reporter for KLRT gives the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow to a volunteer to test. She uses it for a 30-minute nap and reports that she finds the pillow comfortable and loves the way it "flows" around her head in a wave-like motion. She does notice an odor to the pillow but says that it doesn't bother her, though it might bother those who sleep with their face in their pillow. Overall, the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow is considered a deal.

Review: Deal or Dud: Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, Chad Garneau, Jan. 6, 2011

2. Walmart.com

More than 50 customers review the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow on Walmart.com. Most are reasonably satisfied, with 70 percent saying they would recommend the product. Those who crave a supportive pillow or suffer from neck pain like the firmness of the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow and how it molds to their head and neck. Some of the dissatisfied customers say that the pillow is too small and too hard for their liking. Nearly all say that the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow isn't cooling, and many mention a chemical smell that is present when first using the pillow.

Review: As Seen on TV Sobakawa Micro-Bead Cloud Pillow, Contributors to Walmart.com

3. Amazon.com

More than 30 customers review the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow on Amazon.com, and their reactions are mixed. Some say the pillow offers better head and neck support than pillows with other fillers, while others complain that the filling makes the pillow feel too hard. It is almost unanimously agreed that the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow does not remain any cooler than other pillows, and that there is a distinct smell to the pillow when it is new, which bothers some more than others.

Review: Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, Contributors to Amazon.com

4. BedBathAndBeyond.com

Of the more than 20 customers who review the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow on BedBathAndBeyond.com, most give it a positive rating. Those looking for the support of a firmer pillow are very happy, saying that the pillow offers ample support and that they sleep comfortably with it. A few customers who mention experiencing neck pain with other pillows say they have less or no pain when using the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow. The select few who are unhappy with the pillow say it's too hard and small. Everyone agrees that it does not remain cool.

Review: Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, Contributors to BedBathAndBeyond.com

5. Target.com

A handful of customers review the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow on Target.com. Most find it comfortable and supportive, though the chemical smell that accompanies the brand-new pillow is a deal breaker for some. A couple of customers also mention that it's smaller than most other pillows, which they do not care for.

Review: Sobakawa Cloud Microbead Pillow, Contributors to Target.com

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