Saturday, April 6, 2013

Surge Suppressors

SurgeX Power Pro
Many surge suppressors, particularly the inexpensive ones commonly found at retail, do a poor job of protection. Surge suppressors built into quality uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units tend to be better, but for best results, use commercial grade surge suppressors -- more expensive, but worth it.

At a minimum, make sure that any point of use surge suppressor is UL 1449 listed/recognized at a suppressed voltage rating (SVR) of at least 330 volts. For endurance, the surge suppressor should also be Classified in Accordance with ANSI/IEEE C62.41-1991, Recommended Practices. (UL 1449 listed products are not necessarily classified for endurance.)

Good commercial grade surge suppressors include:
One of the best commercial grade values is the SurgeX Power Pro, available through Home Depot for $99 (as of this writing).

Tripp Lite Isobar, some of the best standard grade suppressors, are available through Amazon.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Great Coffee by the Cup

Pod-type coffee brewers (e.g., Keurig, K-Fee, Nespresso) are all the current rage, but they trade aroma and taste for convenience, chiefly because you're not getting freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee, which are the keys to a great cup. In addition, the brewing machines can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there are simple and inexpensive ways to get great coffee by the cup with easy cleanup:

Aerobie AeroPress

What makes Aerobie AeroPress special is the plunger for forcing brewed coffee out of grounds with air pressure, thereby ensuring full extraction for maximum strength, espresso-type drinks in a hurry.

Clever Coffee Dripper

What makes Clever Coffee Dripper special as compared to a standard cone filter holder or coffee maker is that ground coffee is kept in contact with water for the entire brewing period by means of a valve in the bottom of the holder, which ensures full brewing like a French press, but without the problem of sediment, especially if a paper filter is used (rather than a gold metal filter).


For best results use freshly ground coffee, ideally by grinding your own with a good burr mill -- see Coffee Grinders under $100.