As Seen on TV 2009: Infomercial Home Products

By: Danny Lipford

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Ever wondered if the infomercial products you see advertized on TV really work? Well, wonder no more. In this episode the Today’s Homeownerteam puts some of the most popular ones to the test to find out.

Mighty Putty

This epoxy putty comes ready to use. Simply cut a piece to length, knead the hardener and resin together, press in place, and allow to harden.

To test the strength of Mighty Putty, we molded a piece to the shape of a chain link, allowed it to harden, and attached it to a weight machine. Mighty Putty held its own, and was still going strong at over 200 pounds.

We also tested the claim that Mighty Putty can seal a hole in a water pipe. Amazingly, it actually worked, even before the putty had a chance to harden. (Watch Video)

Hercules Hook

This curved piece of spring steel wire is used to hang pictures and other items on walls where there isn’t a stud. Simply push the tip of the wire through the wall and push the hook up into the wall cavity.

We tested the claims that the Hercules Hook:

  • Can be easily installed without tools.
  • Leaves just a small hole in the wall.
  • Supports up to 150 pounds.

While the hook was easy to install in drywall with only hand pressure and left only a small 1/16” diameter hole in the wall, it supported less than 50 pounds in our test before pulling out of the wall. Since most pictures weigh under 20 pounds, the Hercules Hook would work well in many situations, but don’t rely on it for very supporting heavy objects.

Stick Up Bulb

This cordless, wall mounted light bulb is powered by four AA batteries. It requires no wiring and can be mounted on a wall with a self-adhesive pad or screws. A pull cord is used to turn the light on and off once it has been mounted.

We tested the Stick Up Bulb and found performed as claimed. The shatterproof bulb was cool to the touch and provided enough light to illuminate a dark closet.

Point ’n Paint

This as seen on TV painting kit comes with a special roller tray, large and small foam pads, and two handles for the pads. The product claims it holds more paint than a brush or roller and can trim out a room without taping or mess simply by sliding the foam pad along walls and around moldings.

The Point ’n Paint worked pretty well trimming around doors and windows, though it leaves a slight unpainted area between the wall and trim. We had less success, however, painting the wall along the baseboard, which left paint on the molding that required cleanup.

Strip-All

This tool consists of a plastic hub with metal fingers that is chucked in a drill to remove paint or rust from surfaces. The instructions recommend that it spin at between 1600-2400 rpm, which is faster than many cordless drills will go.

In our tests the Strip-All did remove most of the paint from a piece of trim molding, but it took off the wood as well, leaving a very rough surface. While it removed much of the rust on metal, it wasn’t any faster than using a wire brush or sandpaper.

ProCaulk

While this caulking kit includes the added bonus of a grout removal tool and a tube of caulking, the big draw is the set of flexible rubber edging tools that are used for smoothing out beads of caulking.

The grout removal tool in the kit worked well for loosening hardened grout or caulking. The ProCaulk edging tools, on the other hand, did not perform very well for smoothing out a bead of caulking after it had been applied. In fact, we found that a dampened finger, sponge, or rag did as good or a better job as ProCaulk.

Gorilla Gripper

This simple tool is supposed to make easy work of carrying sheets of plywood or drywall ranging from 3/8” to 1 1/8” thick. To use, simply slip the gripping pads over the edge of a sheet, then lift and carry using the padded handle.

The Gorilla Gripper worked great in our tests and made carrying heavy sheet a snap. Its rugged construction will hold up to years of use, though the $50 price tag is a bit high unless you use it often. (Watch Video)

Forearm Forklift

This two-person lifting device consists of a pair of 3″ wide heavy duty straps that are slipped under an appliance or other heavy object. Adjustable slots in each end of the straps allow you to lift different size items. Once the straps are in place, slide your arms through the slots and lift, using your arms and legs to support the weight.

The Forearm Forklift worked great, providing an effective way to lift and move heavy objects while minimizing the strain on your back and preventing damage to floors or stairs. (Watch Video)

Awesome Auger

This sold on TV gismo attaches to an electric drill to dig 3”- 4” diameter holes in your yard for fence posts or planting flowers or small plants in your garden.

While the shaft on the Awesome Auger wasn’t as long as it appeared on TV, it did drill holes in compacted soil quickly and easily.

Other Tips from This Episode

Filter Paint with a Window Screen

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Filter Paint with Screen Wire

Old paint often contains dried chips inside the can. While you can buy paint filters to strain them out, a scrap of fiberglass window screen works just as well. Simply drape a piece of screen over the can, and secure it with tape. After filtering the paint, rinse out the screen to use again.

Hampton Bay LED Outdoor Lighting

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Hampton Bay LED Outdoor Lighting

These solar powered landscape lights use LED technology to provide a brighter light to illuminate your walk or drive at night. Hampton Bay LED solar landscape lighting is available at The Home Depot in several styles and finishes.

Save Energy with Hand Crank Tools and Appliances

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Save Energy with Hand Crank Tools

Tools and appliances that use mechanical hand power to turn a drill, generate electricity, or make ice cream, are great ways to go green. They also are always available for use even when the power is out or batteries have gone dead.

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As Seen on TV 2009: Infomercial Home Products