Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

As Seen on TV 2011: Does It Work?

By: Danny Lipford
In categories: Today's Homeowner
Testing the Garden Groom hedge trimmer

Testing a standard hedge trimmer (left) against the Garden Groom (right).

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You’ve seen them on late night TV promising to solve all the woes of home ownership; but do those problem solving products for the home really work, or are they just as waste of your time and money? We put them to the test to find out!

Fix It Tape

Use: Nonadhesive repair tape creates an air and water tight seal.
Cost: $19.95 + $5.95 S&H = $25.90 total
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Fix It TapeThis stretchable, nonadhesive tape claims it can be used to provide an air and water tight seal for everything from garden hoses to electrical cords and works even on wet, oily, or dirty surfaces.

In our tests, Fix It Tape worked well to seal a hole in a shop vac hose but failed to seal a split in a garden hose. The tape comes in six, 10’ long rolls in three different colors. The directions were poor; and, at a cost of 43¢ per foot, the tape is pretty expensive as well. (Watch Video)

Hi-Reach Cleaning Kit

Use: Dusting and cleaning high, hard to reach areas.
Cost: $29.95 + $7.95 S&H = $37.90 total
Rating: ★★★½☆

Hi-Reach Cleaning KitThe Hi-Reach Cleaning Kit comes with a telescoping pole, which extends up to 10 feet, and three interchangeable cleaning attachments – a bendable static duster (for cleaning ceiling fans and blinds), a sponge/squeegee (for cleaning windows), and a mop head (for cleaning floors and moldings).

The homeowner who tested it loved the added reach of the extension pole. While the mop head worked well for cleaning molding; the rubber squeegee blade on the window cleaner was deformed, causing it to miss the edges of window panes. The duster worked fairly well but didn’t have enough static cling to hold all the dust. (Watch Video)

Wireless Alarm System

Use: DIY peel and stick wireless alarms for windows and doors.
Cost: $24.95 + $6.95 S&H = $31.90 total
Rating: ★★★★☆

Wireless Alarm SystemThe Wireless Alarm System comes with eight battery powered alarms that work on both doors and windows (batteries included). Simple peel off the adhesive backing, and stick one part of the alarm to the window or door and the other part to the frame.

The wireless alarm sounds when a window is raised or a door opened. Each unit has setting for alarm, chime, or off. The system was easy to install and worked as advertised. The only disadvantage is that the switch on the alarm can be turned off by an intruder as well as the homeowner. (Watch Video)

Safety Grip Handle

Use: To assist in getting in and out of a tub or shower.
Cost: $9.95 + $6.95 S&H = $16.90 total
Rating: ★★★★☆

Safety Grip HandleThe Safety Grip Handle uses flip lever, suction cups to attach to smooth surfaces – such as tile or fiberglass. It can be installed or removed in seconds, without the need for drilling or adhesives.

Though intended to just provide stability, rather than supporting full body weight, the Safety Grip Handle performed well in our tests. While it might not have the holding power of a permanently mounted grab bar, the Safety Grip Handle can provide limited support on slippery surfaces. (Watch Video)

Cordless Light with Remote Control

Use: To provide extra lighting without wiring.
Cost: $13.28 + $4.99 S&H = $18.27 total
Rating: ★★★★☆

Cordless Ceiling/Wall Light with Remote ControlThis battery powered Cordless Ceiling/Wall Light contains 18, energy efficient, LED lights (batteries not included) to provide additional lighting for dimly lit areas, such as closets or pantries.

The light comes with a wireless remote, which can control up to four lights from as far as 20’ away. Installation was simple, and the light and remote control worked as advertised. (Watch Video)

Easy Reach Plant Pulley

Use: Allows hanging plants to be pulled down for watering.
Cost: $10.00 + $7.95 S&H = $17.95 total (for two)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Easy Reach Plant PulleyIf you’ve ever struggled with a rickety step ladder to water hanging plants, then the Easy Reach Plant Pulley may be just what you need. Advertising claims it holds plants up to 25 pounds and extends up to 31” for watering.

To install the Easy Reach Plant Pulley, simply remove the plant from the ceiling hook and attach the pulley to the hook and plant. Pull down on the plant and lock the pulley in place for watering, then release the self-retracting mechanism on the pulley to raise the plant back up.

The Easy Reach Plant Pulley worked fairly well, but the self-retracting mechanism release didn’t go up and down very smoothly. (Watch Video)

Garden Groom

Use: Electric hedge trimmer that collects clippings.
Cost: $99.99 + $6.95 S&H = $106.94 total
Rating: ★★★★½

Garden GroomTrimming hedges can be messy work that leaves lots of clippings on the ground to clean up when you’re finished. The Garden Groom is a lightweight (6 lbs.), electric (plug-in) hedge clipper which claims to capture, shred, and store shrub clippings for easy disposal.

The Garden Groom uses a 9” diameter, high speed, enclosed blade to help prevent damage to electrical cords. It preformed well, trimming as fast or faster than a electric hedge trimmer, and did a good job of gathering up and storing the clippings. (Watch Video)

Paint Zoom

Use: High Volume Low Pressure home paint sprayer.
Cost: $99.99 + $19.95 S&H = $119.94 total
Rating: ★★★★☆

Paint ZoomHigh Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) paint sprayers are a great way to paint cabinets, doors, shutters, and even walls. They use a large volume of low pressure air to reduce the amount of paint overspray when compared to high pressure paint sprayers.

Spray painting with the Paint Zoom required the paint to be thinned considerably, as is the case with most paint sprayers. Once the paint was thinned, the Paint Zoom did a good job of coverage with little overspray. Some of the parts appeared to be a cheaply made, and it may not be ideal for every painting chore; but overall, the Paint Zoom worked well. (Watch Video)

Special thanks to Elaine Sessions with Roberts Brothers, Inc. for help with locations for this episode.

Other Tips from This Episode

Drilling Into Metal

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Drilling Into Metal

To prevent a drill bit from wandering when drilling into metal, put the point of a center punch or nail set where you want the hole, then tap it with a hammer to make a small depression in the metal. Position the drill bit on the dent, and drill the hole.

Rolls of ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
ScotchBlue for Delicate Surfaces

ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces is perfect for taping freshly painted surfaces, since it comes off easily for up to 60 days and has Edge-Lock technology for cleaner lines. ScotchBlue for Delicate Surfaces is available at The Home Depot.

Do Green Cleaners Really Work

Ask Danny Lipford:
Do Green Cleaners Really Work

While some green cleaners work well, be sure to check independent reviews to see which ones do the best job. Many common household ingredients – such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and salt – are also great for cleaning, and are both eco-friendly and inexpensive.

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11 Comments on “As Seen on TV 2011: Does It Work?”

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  1. Daniel J. Urban Says:
    October 7th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    This just answered some questions for me. Thank you!!! Can’t wait for your review of that drill bit to screw driving flipping device. To me it looks flimsy and if you used it on oak it might break. Of coarse I could be wrong as looks can certainly be deceiving in television…

  2. Marc Says:
    October 9th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Thanks Danny.
    Never really trust as seen on TV products. Please do more of these. Really feel I am getting an unbiased reveiw coming from you and your crew at Today’s Homeowner.

  3. Bill Hall Says:
    December 3rd, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Hi. I bought the Easy Reach Plant Pulley because i have a bird feeder on my deck at my apartment. It was hard to refill the way i had it. With the Pulley, i can pull it down, take it off the clip, refill it and push it back up. I have had it all summer and have had no problems with it. It pulls down with no problem and goes back up smoothly. However i am curious to see how it works in a Michigan winter.

  4. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 3rd, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Hi Bill,
    Thanks for the feedback! Let us know how it holds up over time.

  5. Susan Elmore Says:
    December 4th, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Thank you Bill for your feedback on Easy Reach Plant Pulley as I was needing 3 of them for my hummingbird feeders I hang from the eaves of my house to watch through my windows. You have answered my questions.

  6. Christopher Brown Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks a lot Danny,
    I found the “As Seen On TV” episode very informative. I haven’t bought any thing from TV sales in a long time because of the somewhat deceptive nature of the sales techniques. “Only $X for this ‘can’t live without it’ product… BUT WAIT! We will give you another for FREE. Just pay additional shipping & handling…” That seems really deceptive.
    One day, someone will quit trying to insult my intelligence and just tell me straight up front how much it will cost and just how much the shipping/handling charge will be.
    I did like how your researchers showed how much a customer would pay (total payment) and if the product was really worth the amount.
    Thanks for the great informative show and the time and effort you put into all of your shows,

  7. Sandy Hunt Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Thanks for the reviews on the Graden Groom. We were considering buying one but found it hard to believe that it could perform as advertised. Many reviews that are posted are anonymous or on the company’s own website so it is assuring to read an impartial review that was also easy to find! We will be ordering one soon.

  8. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Hi Sandy,
    Glad we could be of help! Good luck with the Garden Groom.

  9. Bill Hall Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Hi. Well, I have used the easy reach plant pulley for a year now. It worked well during the summer but i was waiting to see how it performed during a michigan winter. I am happy to report that the pulley is working just as well now as it did when i first got it. It has gone thru summer and winter and no sign of any trouble. Am very pleased with it. Hope this helps others.

  10. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Bill,
    Thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear it worked in the cold!

  11. Valerie Rollins Says:
    September 21st, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Thanks so much for the Garden Groom info. I just found your web site and it was a GREAT!!!!!! Help!!!!.
    I’ll be ordering one soon and will come back and let you know what I think.
    Thanks again

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