Showing posts with label Margaret Schindel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Margaret Schindel. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Best Large, Sturdy, Adjustable, Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack

If you hand wash a lot of dishes, nonstick cookware, etc. or have a small kitchen with limited counter space, a large, over-the-sink dish drying rack with two or three tiers can be a great solution.

I recently purchased a large, sturdy, adjustable over-the-sink dish drying rack that easily spans our nearly 33-inch wide double sink. The over sink dish rack we chose easily accommodates our nonstick pots, pans and bakeware, measuring cups and spoons, dishes, mixing bowls, cups, glasses, cutlery, kitchen utensils, and even our large salad spinner and cake carrier. It also gets our bottle and dish brushes, sponges and dish soap off the counter, freeing up valuable kitchen counter space and helping to keep those items neatly organized and easily accessible.

We couldn’t be more thrilled with our new Boosiny stainless steel, 3-tier over sink dish drying rack. Here’s my in-depth product review.

Free Up Valuable Kitchen Counter Space! Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack - Adjustable & Customizable

Since my husband and I are the only ones in our household, we only run the dishwasher every few days, when we have a full load, to save energy and water. So, in addition to our handwashing our nonstick cookware and baking pans, cast iron skillet, carbon steel knives, Thermos Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Travel Tumblers, etc. we also hand wash quite a few dishwasher-safe items that we use every day, such as our tall Vitamix blender (for our smoothies), extra-long Vitamix curved silicone scraper spatula, an extra-large cutting board, chef's knife and 5-quart salad spinner for our nightly dinner salads, two tall shaker bottles for our daily electrolyte supplement drinks, 12-inch pizza pans for our countertop oven, and measuring cups and spoons.

With the exception of our cast iron cookware and carbon steel knives, which need to be towel-dried immediately after washing to prevent rust, we prefer to let our hand washed kitchenware items air dry on a rack. Until recently, however, we haven't had a proper dish drying rack. (In fact, I'm embarrassed to admit that for a long time we were using one of our large stainless steel wire cooling racks as a makeshift countertop dish drying rack until we could figure out a better solution.)

Our old, very small kitchen has extremely limited counter space. The usable surface of those small counters is even smaller, because our Ninja CE251 programmable coffee maker, microwave, food processor, Vitamix blender, KitchenAid mixer and Instant Pot pressure cooker are lined up along the far edge. (We use most of these every day and the built-in kitchen cabinets are too full to store them when they aren't actively in use.) Finding a dish rack with the capacity to handle all our hand washed kitchen items that wouldn't take up any more of our limited counter space than necessary proved challenging.

Types of Dish Drying Racks to Consider

When I started researching dish drying racks, I found four types worth considering for our kitchen.

Traditional Countertop Dish Drainers with Drainboards

Traditional dish drying racks sit on the counter right next to the sink. They are placed over a rimmed rubber drainboard with a lip, where the water collects and drains into the sink. These are very popular and work well for many households. Unfortunately, this type was neither spacious or sturdy enough for our needs, and we didn't have space in the kitchen to store it when not in use to free up that counter space.

Roll-Up Dish Drying Racks

Roll-up over-the-sink dish drying racks can be a great choice if counter space is at a premium or if you like your kitchen counters to look clean and uncluttered. The biggest advantage of this type of drying rack is that it can be rolled up compactly (similar to a bamboo sushi rolling mat) and stored in a kitchen drawer or under the sink when not in use.

One that I considered is the Ahyuan roll up dish drying rack, which is made from high quality 304 stainless steel rods held together on either end with food-grade silicone strips. It comes in several sizes, including one large enough to span the front and back lip of our kitchen sink surround. However, since the base of our kitchen faucet fixture is very close to the edge of the sink, only half of the dish rack could rest on the lip of the surround, while the other half would have to lay on the counter. Also, even the largest size (20.5" x 19.6") would not have enough room to dry all our hand washed dishes, pots, pans, cooking and eating utensils, blender jar, food processor bowl and accessories, etc.

2-Tier or 3-Tier Countertop Dish Drying Racks

Tiered countertop dish drying racks have become increasingly popular in recent years. The very attractive 3-tiered X-cosrack black stainless steel dish drying rack would be fantastic for someone who has enough space for a rack that lives on the countertop. This well designed, adjustable dish rack is large and sturdy enough to accommodate plenty of hand washed dishes, cookware, etc., yet has a fairly compact footprint (15.7" long x 11.2" wide x 22.8" tall). I love that it comes with a utensil holder basket and removable plastic drainboards for each of the three wire shelf baskets. Each shelf basket can be removed and put back quickly easily to adjust them to your preferred height or for cleaning.

This excellent, well made dish rack has nearly 1,000 rave reviews on Amazon. I was sorely tempted to order one, but since we don't have enough counter space to leave it out all the time and it would prevent access to the blender and food processor that would live behind it, I knew it wasn't the right solution for our needs.

2-Tier or 3-Tier Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Racks

These are very similar to the tiered countertop dish drying racks, but they have the advantage of taking up only about an inch of counter space on either side of the kitchen sink and draining directly into it. Unlike roll-up dish racks, they also do not interfere with access to or use of the sink or faucet while your dishes, glasses, pots, pans, etc. are drying.

During my research I read numerous product reviews of highly rated tiered over-the-sink dish drying racks on Amazon. It quickly became apparent that there are significant differences in design, materials and manufacturing quality as well as adjustability, dimensions and capacity between brands and models.

Many models could not be adjusted to span our nearly 33-inch wide double sink. Some did not seem deep or sturdy enough to accommodate a large, heavy casserole dish or Dutch oven, for example. Some were harder to assemble and adjust, and some were more prone to rusting.

Fortunately, I found one that ticked all the boxes for us.

Boosiny 3-tier stainless steel adjustable over sink dish drying rack
Our stainless steel 3-tier over-the-sink dish drying rack doesn't block the view out our kitchen window, even when we pile it high with hand washed dishes, mixing bowls, storage containers, etc.

Reclaim Valuable Kitchen Counter Space With an Over-The-Sink Dish Drying Rack

Given both our limited storage and counter space and the eclectic nature and varying sizes, shapes and weights of the dishes, glasses, pots, pans, cooking and eating utensils, etc., we typically wash by hand, we decided to go with one of the tiered over sink dish racks.

The one we ultimately chose is the Boosiny stainless steel, 3-tier over sink dish drying rack, which I recommend highly.;

Here's why we love it.

Note: We purchased the regular stainless steel version. There is also a less expensive stainless steel model with a gray coating that is slightly different in size, design, and number and style of accessories (for example, it has only six hooks instead of 10).

Sturdy, Stable and Roomy

  • This well made Boosiny stainless steel rack is roomy, stable and solidly built. In fact, it can hold up to 180 lbs. of dishes, pots, pans and other kitchenware and dishwashing supplies!
    • Even when our hand washing load is large and includes one of my heavy vintage ceramic Corningware French White casserole dishes or my enameled cast iron Le Creuset stockpot, this heavy-duty 3-tier dish drying rack can handle it with ease.
  • Some days, my husband and I end up using only part of its generous capacity. Other days, especially if I am baking or cooking something that involves a lot of prep (or measuring cups and spoons), we fill up every inch.

Useful Accessories

The Boosiny 3-tier over-the-sink dish drying rack comes with several accessories that clip onto or hook into the frame:

  • A utensil holder basket with a removable plastic bottom for easy cleaning.
  • A slotted knife holder, also with a removable plastic bottom.
  • A clip-on cutting board holder (we love this thoughtful feature!)
  • A handy small basket compartment for sponges, dish rags, steel wool pads, etc. (which the manufacturer refers to as a "detergent holder")
  • A cup rack that clips onto the side of one of the main shelf baskets
  • A set of 10 long clip-on hooks
    • We use some of ours to hold dish and bottle brushes, and use the rest to hang measuring cups, measuring spoons, cooking utensils with loops or holes, and our stainless steel mesh scrubbing "cloth" for cleaning cast iron pans.

Note: We are planning to bend the arms on the cup rack at a more acute angle, since some of our drinking glasses won't stay on them as is.

Adjustable and Customizable

  • The width of the frame is adjustable from a minimum of 25.6" to a maximum of 33.5" to fit most sinks.
  • The two main racks baskets also slide telescope-fashion to match the desired frame width.
  • Hooks, baskets and other attachments are also completely configurable as desired and can be changed quickly and easily without tools.

Extremely Easy to Assemble and Adjust to Your Liking

  • Minimal assembly required. You can fully assemble and customize the rack to your preferences in about 10 minutes!
  • Start by using the included hex key to connect the horizontal bars to the upright posts and use the small wrench to attach the feet. There are also suction cups for the two back feet for added stability.
  • Next, adjust width of the frame by sliding the horizontal bars and turning the knobs to tighten and stabilize the frame at the desired width.
  • Extend or collapse the two main wire shelves (baskets) to match the width of the frame and hook the tabs into the slotted frame posts at your desired height.
  • Attach the accessories wherever you wish by clipping the utensil holder, slotted knife holder, cutting board holder, sponge/soap holder, cup rack and hooks to the frame or the main wire shelf baskets.
  • You can also rearrange them quickly and easily to find the perfect configuration for your needs.

Easy-to-Clean, Rust-Resistant and Scratch-Resistant Stainless Steel

  • This heavy-duty dish rack is made from high-quality grade 304 stainless steel and is rust- and corrosion-resistant. According to the many glowing product reviews on Amazon, it holds up well over time without rusting issues.
    • Per the manufacturer, this unit passed a 24-hour salt test, an excellent predictor of its resistance to rust and corrosion.
  • Since the wire shelves and accessories attach with tabs or hooks, they are easy to remove and replace, as needed, for periodic cleaning, if desired.

Doesn't Obstruct the View

We are lucky enough to live on a pretty, tree-lined street. One of our concerns when we purchased this 3-tier over-the-sink dish drying rack was that it would be an eyesore and block or partially obstruct the view out our large, counter-to-ceiling kitchen windows. As you can see from my photo, even when the rack is loaded up with dishes, bowls, cookware and even a huge, opaque plastic cake storage box, we can still enjoy the view.

Need a Smaller Dish Rack?

If you like the features of the Boosiny stainless steel, 3-tier over sink dish drying rack but prefer something smaller and more affordable that sits on your counter, this manufacturer also makes several excellent 2-tier dish drying racks, including the Boosiny 304 Stainless Steel 2 Tier Large Dish Rack and Drainboard Set with Utensil Holder, Cup Holder and Dish Drainer.


The Best Large, Sturdy, Adjustable, Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack Cards by Margaret Schindel


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Kitchen Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Best Bone-Conduction Bluetooth Headphones Review: Shokz OpenRun Pro

If you enjoy listening to music, radio, podcasts or audiobooks, watching TV, movies, YouTube, etc., Bluetooth headphones are a must-have — especially if you don't live (or work) alone. If you want to be able to hear ambient noises, such as a phone call, someone speaking to you or an approaching car as you're crossing the street, you'll want to choose open-ear headphones, rather than on-ear or in-ear styles, such as earbuds. And if you care about sound quality and comfort, I highly recommend investing in a good pair of lightweight bone-conduction Bluetooth headphones.

Shokz, which changed its name from Aftershokz in 2021, is the leading brand of bone-conduction Bluetooth heaphones, for good reason. I have owned several pairs over the years and the company's products just keep getting better. 

I recently purchased the new, top-of-the-line (as of this writing) Shokz OpenRun Pro premium bone conduction Bluetooth headphones, which were launched in January 2022 and are significantly superior to my older models. In this product review, I'll share what I love most about my new Shokz OpenRun Pro on-ear headphones and why I think they are worth their premium price tag. I will also recommend some less expensive models of Shokz bone conduction headphones that are also well worth considering, depending on your needs and your budget.

Main image: Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction Open-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

Bone Conduction Headphones

I first learned about bone conduction headphone technology in 2015 from my husband, who researched and purchased his first pair of Shokz (then called Aftershokz) bone-conduction headphones after his primary care doctor advised him to stop wearing earbuds, over-ear or on-ear headphones because of his ear eczema. When his new 'phones arrived, he invited me to try them and I became a fan almost immediately (it did take a couple of minutes to get used to the mild vibration against my outer cheekbones the first time I put them on).

Unlike traditional wired and wireless types, Bluetooth headphones with bone conduction technology bypass the eardrum entirely! Instead of sending vibrations through the air to your eardrum, bone-conduction headphones use transducers to transmit those vibrations through your cranial bones (mainly cheekbones and jawbone) directly to your inner ear, causing the cochlea to send signals to the brain, which processes those vibrations into the sound coming through the headphones.

Interesting fact: Since bone conduction technology bypasses the eardrum, it is also used in certain types of hearing impairment tests and hearing aids.

Advantages of Open-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

We continue to move inexorably from wired to wireless technology. We have become accustomed to the freedom and convenience of no longer being tethered to our devices or having limited mobility while using them because they need to be plugged in. This is especially true when it comes to headphones. Most wireless headphones and the devices we use them with, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones,  have built-in Bluetooth technology. So, for example, when I'm out taking a walk, I can listen to an audiobook through my wireless Bluetooth headphones while the iPhone I'm playing it on is safely zipped inside my purse, backpack or belt bag.

Types of wireless Bluetooth headphones include:

  • Earbuds that fit inside your ears.
  • In-ear monitors (IEMs). These are often the choice of serious audiophiles, professional musicians, band members and sound engineers.
  • Over-ear headphones with cushioned ear cups that enclose your ears completely to isolate whatever you are listening to from ambient noise. Again, if you are a serious audiophile, professional musician or sound engineer, or if you are a frequent traveler, these definitely have their uses.
  • On-ear headphones, where the cushioning rests against your ears, rather than enclosing them, so there is less sound isolation (i.e., you can hear some ambient sounds and others may be able to hear what you are listening to, i.e., sound leakage).
  • Open-ear headphones, which have a slim, wrap-around headband that goes behind the head and above the ears, with the ends resting on your cheekbones just in front of the ears. Most open-ear headphones, including the Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones, use bone conduction technology.
Here are some of the key benefits of open-ear Bluetooth headphones:

  • Comfort. Open-ear headphones tend to be significantly more lightweight than other types that have bands. In addition, some people (including me) find earbuds and IEMs painful. In my case, I can't get earbuds to stay in my ears, and I have tried many different types including those designed specifically for people with hard-to-fit ears!
  • Safety. Open-ear headphones allow you to hear what's going on around you while you're listening to music, audiobooks, podcasts, videos or TV, taking phone calls, etc. So, if you're out for a run in the park and a cyclist is bearing down on you from behind, you won't be caught off-guard. Similarly, if you're vacuuming and an important call comes in, you can not only hear the phone ring but also pick it up and talk with the caller without having to pull out your cell phone or walk over to a land line.
  • Hygiene. When you cover your ears with earbuds, over-ear or on-ear headphones, you're creating an enclosed, warm, moist environment that bacteria thrive in. Earbuds and IEMs are especially non-hygienic, since you are repeatedly inserting them inside your ear, where they become covered with bacteria that can continue to grow after they have been removed. Ick!

    In addition, some people (including my husband and me) have ear eczema, which makes the skin in and on our ears dry, flaky and itchy. Wearing headphones that cover our ears, and especially earbuds or IEMs that fit inside them, exacerbates this condition, whereas open-ear bone conduction Bluetooth headphones allow the skin in and on our ears to "breathe."
  • Unobtrusive appearance. The band on most open-ear Bluetooth headphones is narrow and can be worn under your hair, if desired (unless it's extremely short), so that the only visible part is the small ends containing the transducers, which sit just in front of your ears.
Photo of man wearing Shokz OpenRun Pro Bluetooth bone conduction headphones
The Shokz OpenRun Pro wrap-around band is extremely thin, lightweight and comfortable.

It can easily be hidden underneath your hair, if you wish, so that only the small transducers are visible in front of the ears.

Why I Highly Recommend Shokz OpenRun Pro Premium Bone Conduction Open-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

In addition to the pros of open-ear, bone-conduction Bluetooth headphones I've already covered, here are some features and benefits specific to the Shokz OpenRun Pro model I own:

  • close-up of Shokz OpenRun Pro bone conduction headphones control buttons
    Simple power & volume control buttons
     on the right side (above magnetic charging port

    Shokz's newest, most advanced bone conduction technology. Bass tends to be an issue with open-ear headphones, but the new OpenRun Pro 'phones feature Shokz TurboPitch 9th Generation Bone Conduction Technology with CoreCushion bass enhancers inside the transducers for full, rich sound.
  • Multi-point pairing lets you pair with two devices at the same time. I have my Shokz bone-conduction Bluetooth headphones paired with my laptop and my iPhone by default, so I don't have to disconnect and re-pair my Shokz each time I switch from one electronics device to the other multiple times a day.
  • Simple, intuitive controls. The buttons have been enlarged, which makes it much easier to avoid pressing the wrong button.
    • On the right side, there is a large Power/Volume+ button and  Volume- button. Press and hold the Power/Volume+ button for two seconds to power up the headphones, then press and hold it for three seconds to turn them off.
    • Close-up of multifunction button on Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones
      The multifunction button on the
      left side is context-aware.
      On the left side, there is a single, large, context-sensitive multifunction button. Phone calls: Click it once to answer or end a call. Music: Click once to play/pause, double-click while the music is playing to skip to the next song, or triple-click while the music is playing to go to the previous song.
  • Up to 10-hour of music and phone calls on a full charge. Note: With any Bluetooth or other wireless headphones, your actual battery life will depend on the type of audio you're listening to, the volume, the ambient temperature and the output of the USB port used to charge your headphones.  
  • Full charge time: 1 hour. That's pretty fast for 10 hours of use!
  • 5-minute quick charge = 1.5 hours of use. Since these are so lightweight and comfortable, I sometimes forget I'm wearing them and don't remember to turn them off when I'm through listening to my music, audiobook, etc. So, being able to quick-charge them for 5 minutes and immediately use them for another 1.5 hours is an awesome feature!
  • close-up of magnetic induction charging cable and headphone jack
    Magnetic induction charging =
    no fumbling to align the
    charging cable with the charging port!
    Magnetic induction charging cable. The magnetic charging pad on the Shokz OpenRun Pro charging cable firmly snaps into place automatically as soon as it gets near the magnetic charging pad next to the power and volume buttons. Fast and effortless! The location of the charging pad on the headphones has also been moved to make it more easily accessible.
  • Audio battery level notifications. There's no need to guess how much charge you have left, because each time you power on your headphones, a voice will say "Battery High," "Battery Medium," "Battery Low" or "Charge Me." How cool is that?
  • LED charging/charged indicator glows red when charging, then turns blue when fully charged.
  • 20% smaller than previous models. My new Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones are not only more unobtrusive than the older models I have owned, they are also much more lightweight and fit my small-ish head much better, while stil fitting my husband's much larger head equally comfortably.
  • IP55 certified water-resistant. Wear your Shokz OpenRun Pros during a sweaty workout or outdoors in the freezing rain, snow, or blistering heat—they can take it! Just remember that they're water-resistant, not waterproof, so take them off if it starts to pour.
  • Moisture detection alerts. Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones will beep to let you know if it detects water, perspiration or other moisture on the charging pads, so you can stop charging and allow the area to dry completely before charging. 
  • Dual noise-canceling built-in microphone. Perfect for making or taking phone calls or participating in Zoom meetings without annoying electronic feedback.
  • 33 ft. wireless range lets my phone be in one room while I listen to music or audiobooks playing on it in another room.
  • Lightweight nylon fitted zippered hard shell storage and travel case makes it harder for me to lose my new headphones, charging cable, sports headband, warranty card or user guide and protects my investment when I throw them into my purse or suitcase.
  • Optional elasticized headband (included). I have never used mine, but I gather it is to make sure your headphones can't come off while you are running or doing other forms of strenuous exercise.
  • New color option: blue! While I wouldn't sacrifice quality for appearance when choosing an electronics product, I admit I was delighted to see that these superb Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones are available in a pretty aqua blue as well as in black.
  • 2-year warranty. The manufacturer's warranty covers product defects. If you order your Shokz headphones on Amazon you can also purchase an ASURION 2- or 3-Year Portable Electronic Accident Protection Plan with Tech Support for a small additional fee, if you wish.
Photo of aqua blue Shokz OpenRun Pro Bluetooth headphones in black nylon zippered case.
My aqua blue Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones in their
black nylon fitted case (with a loop for the charging cable

The only real "con" is the premium price tag. As of this writing, Shokz OpenRun Pro premium bone conduction open-ear headphones retail for $175.95, much more than I would normally consider spending on this type of product. However, for all the reasons I've listed, uncluding the unmatched comfort, great sound quality, magnetic induction charging and quick charge feature, I consider them a worthwhile investment. 

They are marketed as sports headphones, but I consider them top-of-the-line, open-ear Bluetooth bone conduction headphones for all-around use.

Other Shokz Bone-Conduction Open-Ear Bluetooth Headphones Worth Considering

Shokz open-ear Bluetooth headphones are consistently top-rated by expert technology product review sites such as TechRadar, which named Shokz OpenRun Pro their top pick of The Best Bone Conduction Headphones of 2022. Given their steep price tag, however, there are other, less expensive Shokz models as well as some specialty models that also merit consideration.

Shokz OpenRun have the 8th (vs. 9th) generation of the company's bone conduction technology (with PremiumPitch 2.0 vs. Shokz TurboPitch) and have an 8-hour battery life (vs. 10-hour), a 1.5 hour charge time (vs. 1 hour), a 10-minute quick-charge time for 1.5 hours of usage (vs. 5-minute quick-charge time for 1.5 hours of usage), compared to the Shokz OpenRun Pro. However, they also are IP67-certified waterproof (vs. IP55-certified water-resistant), priced $50 lower than the OpenRun Pro model ($129.95) at the time of publication, and are available in a choice of four colors: Black, bright blue, grey or red. 

Shokz OpenRun Mini headphones are the same model but with a smaller band to fit smaller heads. They only come in black.

Shokz OpenMove have the 7th generation of the company's bone conduction technology with PremiumPitch 2.0, a 6-hour battery life and are IP55-certified water-resistant. They have a partial titanium frame (vs. a full wrap-around titanium frame), use a USB-C charging cable (vs. magnetic induction charging), and don't have a quick-charge feature. On the other hand, they retail for only $79.95 as of this writing, $100 less than the OpenRun Pro model. They come in a choice of blue, grey, pink or white.

Shokz Bone-Conduction Bluetooth Headphones Make a Great Gift

Most people I know own at least one and, for the most part, multiple Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets, TVs, smart watches and fitness trackers. From college students to seniors, there's a Shokz bone-conduction open-ear Bluetooth headphones model to suit their needs and your budget.


The Best Bone-Conduction Bluetooth Headphones Review: Shokz OpenRun Pro by Margaret Schindel


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Electronics Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Gifts Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Best High Security Micro-Cut Shredder for Documents, Media and Credit Cards

To protect yourself against identity theft and identity fraud, including tax identity theft and medical identity theft, the FTC recommends shredding your financial records, Social Security and Medicare cards, and any other documents that have personal information before you throw them out.

In December, I replaced the Amazon Basics 12-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder with Pullout Basket in our home offfice with an Aurora AU1210MA Professional Grade High Security 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper/ CD and Credit Card/ 60 Minutes Continuous Run Time Shredder.  

In this product review, I'll share my tips for choosing the best high-security micro-cut shredder for personal and home office use and why my husband and I consider our new Aurora AU1210MA P-4 security level shredder superior to the Amazon Basics unit it replaced, despite their very similar features, specifications and price tags. 

Photo of Aurora AU1210MA shredder - Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft With This High Security Micro-Cut Shredder

Why You Need a High Security Multi-Media Micro-Cut Shredder

Identity theft is a huge, very serious and growing problem in the US. In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission received 1.4 million reports of identity theft from consumers, according to newly published data from the FTC Consumer Sentinel Network.

Unfortunately, our personal information seems to plastered everywhere these days. So, to protect your privacy and security as well as your identity, in addition to storing materials with identifiable personal information safely until you no longer need them, you should destroy or mutilate them beyond recognition before you discard them in your trash or recycling bins. 

In addition to financial documents you no longer need to keep, such as old bank statements and canceled checks—either printed on paper or stored digitally on CDs—you should also be shredding junk mail, duplicate or expired credit cards, photo IDs, travel itineraries, boarding passes, shipping labels and sticky notes with access codes, account numbers, passwords, etc. 

Thieves will stop at nothing to get their hands on your personal information and can easily cobble together bits and pieces of your identity simply by going through your trash or recycling and then searching online to fill in any missing pieces they need. Once they do, they can wreak havoc with your finances and your life!

They can use your stolen identity not only to charge purchases to your credit cards but also to open new credit card accounts in your name, with purchases billed to you, and even obtain a driver’s license in your name with their photo. Depending on how much information they can acquire and how sophisticated they are at this cruel game, these identity thieves can also steal your tax refunds, social security checks and other benefits. 

Worse yet, proving that you (rather than the perpetrator of the identity theft) are who you claim to be and recovering/reestablishing your personal identity is a nightmare that can take years, especially if you are in a profession such as medicine or finance that makes your stolen identity especially valuable. 

Buying a reliable, high security micro-cut document shredder is the best and cheapest insurance you can invest in to protect your privacy, financial security and identity and give you peace of mind. 

Shopping Tips for Choosing a Personal or Home Office Document Shredder

If you don't yet own a shredder, or if yours has a P1, P2 or P3 security level rating, I strongly recommend that you make buying or upgrading to a high-security, micro-cut shredder for your personal or home office use a high priority. 

There are many document and credit card shredder models and brands, and trying to compare them can be confusing and time-consuming. To make it easier, here are the key features to look to help you choose the best shredder for your personal or professional needs. 

Micro-Cut

The first step in choosing the best shredder for your needs is to decide whether you want a strip-cut, cross-cut or micro-cut type. Your choice of cut type depends on different speed, security and cost trade-offs and priorities.  

As their name suggests, strip-cut shredders cut paper and other materials into long, thin strips. Although they are the fastest and, usually, the least expensive of these three types, they also provide the least security, since the long strips are fairly easy for a thief to piece back together to view your personal information. 

Cross-cut shredders cut paper and other materials into thinner, shorter strips that require more time and effort for a thief to reassemble. They also are somewhat slower and tend to be more expensive than strip-cut units.

Micro-cut shredders cut paper and other materials into tiny diamond- or confetti-shaped bits that make recovery of shredded paper documents and other media nearly impossible to reassemble manually. They also are quite a bit slower and usually cost more than strip-cut and cross-cut models. However, those tradeoffs in speed and price are far outweighed by the much higher level of protection that micro-cut shredders provide.against identity theft and other types of impersonation fraud.

DIN P-4 Security Level / Protection Class 2

Many document shredder manufacturers and retailers include the DIN 66399 security level (P-1 through P-7) in the product information for most or all of the models they offer. These security levels are part of the DIN 66399 standard for secure destruction of physical confidential material stored on paper, film or digital storage devices, which was developed by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) or (English translation) German Institute for Standardization

DIN P-1 security level shredders are suitable for destroying physical materials containing general information that is not personal or confidential, such as junk mail. Security levels P-2 through P-7 are standards suitable for destroying physical materials with increasingly sensitive information, with level P-6 and P-7 shredders reserved for destroying highly confidential, classified and top-secret information, such as national security and military documents.

The seven security levels fall under three categories called protection classes, with protection classes 1-3 indicating low, high and very high levels of security, respectively. Protection class 2 represents a high level of security and includes DIN P-3, P-4 and P-5 security levels. Some security levels fall under two protection classes: a shredder with a P-3 security level could fall into either protection class 1 or protection class, and a P-4 or P-5 shredder may fall under protection classes 2 or 3. 

Different shredder models that share the same DIN "P" security level don't necessarily provide the same level of protection, and product information for shredders designed for home and home office use rarely includes the model's protection class. So, if you need to destroy documents with confidential or sensitive information on a regular basis, you may want to contact the manufacturers, if necessary, to find out the DIN protection class (and security level, if it's not on the product page) for each model you are seriously considering.

A shredder with a protection class 2, P-4 security level rating is an excellent choice for most personal or home office use, providing a good balance of identity theft protection, speed and price. 

Note: If you are an accountant, tax preparer or someone who handles other confidential or sensitive information (such as HIPAA-protected health information) and work in a home office, you may want or need to consider a shredder with a P-5 security level shredder.

A Higher Sheet Capacity Than Your Anticipated Needs

Sheet capacity means how many sheets of paper can be fed through the shredder in a single pass. Consider the volume and thickness of the documents and data storage media you need to shred on a regular basis. Here again, you will need to weigh the convenience and efficiency of a model with a higher sheet capacity against its higher cost. 

That said, based on both my product research and personal experience, micro-cut shredders rarely live up to their manufacturer's sheet capacity claims in the less-than-optimal conditions of real-life, day-to-day use, so I recommend choosing a model with a higher sheet capacity than you think you will need. 

Also, sheet capacities are dependent on a variety of factors including Paper Type and Weight.  Most offices typically use 20 Lb Bond Letter size sheets. Consider a higher volume shredder if you need to shred glossy or heavier paper.

Ability to Shred Credit Cards, Paper With Staples/Small Paper Clips, and CDs/DVDs Used for Data Storage (If You Use Them)

Many years ago, simply cutting up expired or unwanted credit cards with scissors before throwing them in the trash was common practice. Now that credit cards have built-in magnetic strips that store valuable data digitally, scissors no longer "cut it" as a way to protect yourself against identity theft and other types of impersonation fraud. 

I highly recommend choosing a model that can shred plastic credit cards, as well as papers held together with metal staples or small paper clips, without jamming. If you use CDs or DVDs to store or back up personal or professional data, look for one designed to destroy those optical storage media as well.

Close-up photo showing where to insert plastic credit cards, CDs and DVDs into the Aurora AU1210MA high security micro-cut shredder
This clearly-marked section of the Aurora AU1210MA high security micro-cut shredder's feed slot shows where to insert plastic credit cards, CDs or DVDs.

Always Follow the Manufacturer's Guidelines and Restrictions on Shredding Materials

For example, most models should not be used to shred window envelopes or insulated envelopes, large paper clips, bound materials, such as checkbooks or magazines, transparency film, laminated documents, cardboard, or materials with adhesives, such as self-stick labels.

Never Use a Shredder to Destroy a Metal Credit Card!

Increasingly, financial institutions are issuing premium credit cards being made from titanium and other metals. Metal credit cards are considered status symbols and frequently have high credit limits, so they are especially sought after by people who commit identity theft.

Unfortunately, even document shredders designed to work as credit card shredders cannot process these sturdy metal cards. If you try to feed a metal credit card into your document shredder, you are much more likely to destroy your equipment than your card! 

Instead, check out Experian's excellent post on "How to Destroy a Metal Credit Card."

Lightweight Bin With a Window and Wheels or Casters

Paper is heavy, so it's a good idea to choose a shredder with a lightweight bin or wastebasket that allows you to easily monitor the volume of shredded paper and other materials and empty it when it is no more than three-quarters full. 

If you allow your bin to fill up to the top, some of the shreds can be pulled back up into the shredder and cause it to jam. In addition, the fuller the bin, the heavier and more difficult it will be to maneuver, lift and upend when you empty it and the greater the volume of escaped shredded paper "confetti" you will likely have to sweep up afterward. 

Also look for models with a bin that slides in and out easily and has wheels or casters, which also will make it easier to move to another location and back, if necessary, when you need to empty it. 

5- To 10-Gallon Bin Capacity (For Personal or Home Office Use)

Unless you do a lot of shredding, a bin with a 5-gallon capacity should be fine. It's also likely to be able to fit under a work table or desk for storage when you are not working. If you typically need to destroy a larger volume of information, a bin with a 10-gallon capacity may be more suitable for your home office.

Acceptable Throughput Speed

Manufacturers often do not include the throughput speed in the product information, and feeding more sheets into the shredder per pass can slow down the speed considerably. Reading product reviews from customers who have owned multiple document shredder models can be helpful when comparing the throughput speeds of models with similar features and specifications.

Longer Continuous Run Time / Shorter Cool-Down Time

If you typically need to destroy only a handful of documents, junk mail, etc., at a time and can feed them all through your machine in just a few minutes, then comparing the continuous run times and cool-down times of different models isn't that important. However, if frequently need to destroy a large volume of paper documents, plastic credit cards or data stored on CDs or DVDs, look for models with a longer continuous run time and a shorter cool-down time, so you can shred materials for longer stretches without having to stop for an overheated motor and wait for it to cool down before you can resume. 

Note: When looking at any model's continuous run time, keep in mind that the continuous run time claimed by the manufacturer is probably based on feeding single pages of 20-lb. or lighter weight (i.e., thinner) paper without staples or paper clips. When you shred thicker or harder material (such as cardboard, plastic credit cards, CDs or DVDs), the continuous run time will likely be considerably shorter than what is stated in the product description or specifications.

Reliable Performance Over Time

A shredder that works great for a year and then has a significant malfunction can cost much more in the long run than one with a higher price tag that continues to perform well and reliably for many years. When comparing different paper shredder models, take the time to read product reviews, especially the negative or critical reviews, to get a feel for how often the products customers received turned out to be short-lived "lemons."

Highly Recommended: The Aurora AU1210MA Professional Grade High Security 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card Shredder

Before I replaced it with an Aurora AU1210MA, my husband and I were using an Amazon Basics 12-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder with Pullout Basket in our home office. We may have gotten a lemon, but our 12-sheet unit routinely jammed if we fed it more than four sheets of paper at a time. The one we received also was fairly loud. Other than those two issues, it performed pretty well for a year or so. Unfortunately, despite our light usage, additional problems developed over time. The biggest issue was that both the power/function switch and the auto on/off sensors that detect the presence or absence of paper malfunctioned, causing the motor to remain on continuously. This meant the only way to turn the unit off was to plug it in whenever we wanted to shred something and then unplug it again until the next time we needed it, which was inconvenient and annoying. When I read some of the more recent product reviews while shopping for a replacement, I discovered that quite a few other customers who purchased this Amazon Basics micro-cut shredder also experienced sensor malfunction issues after a relatively short time. 

Close-up photo of the Aurora AU1210MA shredder's 4-mode switch
The 4-mode switch on our Aurora high security micro-cut shredder 

The Aurora AU1210MA Professional Grade High Security 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card Shredder has comparable features and specification to those of its Amazon Basics counterpart:

  • Both are P-4 security level micro-cut shredders that their respective manufacturers claim can shred 12 sheets of 20-pound-thickness paper in a single pass into confetti-like particles measuring just 5/32" x 15/32" (4 mm x 11.9 mm) and destroy plastic credit cards, CDs and DVDs, staples and small paper clips. 
  • Both have switches with 4 modes: Auto, Off, Reverse, and Forward (for unclogging or removing jams).
  • They have very similar dimensions and weights. 

However, our Aurota AU1210MA has delivered superior performance during the three months we have owned it so far. 

  • Although we haven't yet tried to feed 12 sheets at a time, our Aurora AU1210MA has successfully shredded stacks of 10 sheets without jamming, compared to the 4-sheet maximum we could feed through our Amazon Basics unit in one pass. 
  • Our Aurora is also noticeably quieter than its Amazon Basics predecessor, which we definitely appreciate.
  • The Aurora AU1210MA's 5-gallon capacity bin is much easier to remove and put back than our Amazon Basics' slightly larger, 5.7-gallon capacity bin.
  • The Aurora shredder claims a 60-minute continuous run time, compared to the 10-minute continuous run time for its Amazon Basics counterpart.

Time will tell whether it continues to perform reliably for the next several years. 

Photo of the author's Aurora AU1210MA high security micro-cut shredder
We have put our Aurora AU1210MA P-4 security level micro-cut document shredder through its paces for three months so far. It has delivered reliable performance and is much quieter than its predecessor.

Key Features and Benefits

Here are some of the reasons I recommend the Aurora AU1210MA Professional Grade High Security 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card Shredder for personal and home office use (and prefer it to the Amazon Basics 12-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder with Pullout Basket):

  • P-4 security level micro-cuts documents and other media into 5/32" x 15/32" (4 mm x 11.9 mm) pieces, rendering confidential personal information or business data printed at its original size nearly impossible to recover in a readable form.
  • Can shred 12 sheets of 20-lb. paper in a single pass.
  • Can destroy CDs, DVDs, plastic credit cards, staples and small paper clips.
  • Long, 60-minute continuous run time (6x longer than the comparable Amazon Basics model).
  • 6 feet per minute shred speed (slower when feeding multiple sheets per pass).
  • Quiet operation.
  • Lightweight yet sturdy 5-gallon capacity bin with wheeled casters is easy to move and maneuver.
  • Large viewing window.
  • Bright LED status indicators: Bin Full, Door Open, Overload, Overheat, Power On
LED status indicators on the Aurora AU1210MA
These LED status indicators on our Aurora AU1210MA micro-cut shredder are brightly lit and clearly visible when they're on.

Protect Your Loved Ones With the Gift of a High Security Micro-Cut Shredder

A high-security micro-cut document shredder may not be the most obvious choice for gift giving, but it can be a thoughtful and valuable present, especially for young adults, seniors, and people who work from home or run a home-based business. 

Giving a friend or loved one an Aurora AU1210MA Professional Grade High Security 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card Shredder can help you protect the recipient against identity theft and other types of impersonation fraud. It can also mean giving the gift of greater peace of mind.


The Best High Security Micro-Cut Shredder For Documents, Media and Credit Cards by Margaret Schindel


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Home Office Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Gifts Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Best Affordable Microfiber Cloths for Cleaning Eyeglasses, Screens & Lenses

Many of us wear prescription eyeglasses, magnifying readers or sunglasses to help us see clearly and protect our precious vision from UV rays. More and more of us rely on our mobile phones, smart phones, tablets, laptops, Kindle or Nook e-readers, smart watches, fitness trackers, digital cameras and other electronics and mobile devices with screens or lenses for working, staying in touch, virtual visits, news, entertainment, hobbies, banking and other important activities. The best and safest way to clean those lenses and screens, especially if they have any type of coating, is with a soft, smooth, tightly-woven, lint-free microfiber cloth, either dry or moistened with water or a good quality cleaning solution designed for that purpose, depending on the type of lens or screen.

This is my product review of the Care Touch microfiber cleaning cloths I purchased recently to replace our older, worn cloths that were no longer cleaning effectively. I highly recommend these excellent, lint-free microfiber cloths for cleaning all types of optic lenses and electronics display screens gently and safely.

Main image: Care Touch Microfiber Cleaning Cloths Safe for Any Lens or Screen!

Both my husband's single-vision glasses and my progressive, no-line bifocals have were expensive, with Transitions lenses and anti-reflective coatings. Each of us also has a pair with single-vision prescription lenses and an anti-glare coating (John's are very dark sunglasses, while mine are for doing close-up work, such as making jewelry, crafting, sewing or pulling out a splinter). We also have a collection of smartphones, tablets and other devices with built-in cameras and displays. Together, they represent a  significant investment that we need to protect with proper care, cleaning and maintenance.

Frequent washing of the cloths you use to clean your optic lenses and display screens is important, since even tiny dust particles or your fingerprints can scratch or smear the delicate surfaces and coatings. So, when I started researching the best microfiber eyeglasses, lens and screen cleaning cloths for our needs, I not only looked for ones that could safely and effectively clean our expensive prescription eyeglasses as well as the camera lenses and display screens on our phones and other devices, I also decided to buy enough so we could swap in clean cloths for dirty ones that needed to be laundered.

As I was comparing products and reading Amazon customer product reviews, the Care Touch microfiber cleaning cloths really stood out. However, since I hadn't heard of this brand before and they don't sell the individually, was a bit hesitant to order a bulk pack of 12 sight unseen. (There was also a pack of six, but the difference in price between the 6-pack and the 12-pack was negligible.) 

I'm very glad I decided to go with my gut and take a chance on them.

Package of 12 Care Touch microfiber cleaning cloths
Inside the bag are 12 microfiber lens and screen cleaning cloths, each folded and individually wrapped in its own cellophane envelope/pouch

What We Love About Care Touch Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Here are some of the key features, benefits and other considerations that impressed me enough to choose the Care Touch Microfiber Cleaning Cloths 12-pack over other, better known and much more expensive brands, such as Zeiss or Nikon.

  • Safe to use on all lenses and display screens, even single- or multi-coated prescription eyeglasses, camera lenses and filters!
  • Machine washable and air dry quickly when laid flat (I recommend a clean cotton terrycloth towel).
  • Durable fabric and construction including pinked, heat-treated edges that resist fraying, so they hold up well through frequent machine washing cycles.
  • Smooth, silky, very finely woven, lint-free microfiber that cleans lenses and screens gently and thoroughly without scratching, smearing or leaving any residue, either with or without water or a cleaning solution, as long as the cloths are kept clean and free from any dust.
  • A generous 6" x 7" size, identical to the lens cleaning cloths we get from our optometrist, which is ideal for eyeglasses, camera lenses, mobile devices and other portable electronics. (Although I prefer a larger size for large-screen TVs and monitors, these work great for those, too, in a pinch.)
  • Individually wrapped in cellophane envelope pouches. 
    • Even though these cellophane pouches were designed to be discarded after opening and removing the cloths, I have been refolding and carefully placing the cloths (except the ones I keep inside my hard eyeglasses cases) back inside the pouches to keep them clean and dust-free between uses. When the cellophane pouches tear, as I'm sure they will at some point, I'll probably store the cloths in sandwich-size food storage bags or make some small drawstring bags from scrap fabric.
  • Great for removing fingerprints from other surfaces, such as crystal glassware, watch crystals and smooth or brushed metal surfaces.
  • A terrific value! When I purchased them on Amazon last month, the price was less than nine dollars for a pack of 12 individually wrapped microfiber cleaning cloths. That's less than 75 cents each! And a dozen gives you enough for multiple pairs of eyeglasses, phones, tablets and other devices, with a couple of extras to swap out for laundering, and you'll still have a couple leftover to share with a friend or family member. 
    • Note: Although a few Amazon reviewers have complained that they received only 10 cloths instead of 12 that was not my experience.
  • Excellent reviews from Amazon customers.
  • Responsive customer support including monitoring and responding to many customer questions on Amazon and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee (return the cloths in their original condition within 30 days or for a full refund or replacement).
My Care Touch Microfiber Cleaning Cloths 12-Pack with five of the individually wrapped cloths

Care Touch Lens Care Products Make Affordable, Thoughtful and Practical Gifts

I can't think of anyone who wouldn't appreciate receiving some new, high quality, durable, gentle and effective microfiber cloths, pre-moistened wipes or spray lens cleaner for keeping their eyeglasses, camera lenses and device screens clean and free of fingerprints, smudges or streaks. Here are my top picks for both personal use and gift giving.

  • Care Touch Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
    • Instead of giving the entire 12-pack to someone who may only have use for a few, consider breaking it up into several smaller stocking stuffers for multiple recipients. At less than 75 cents apiece, tucking a few of these individually wrapped, lint-free microfiber cloths into someone's Christmas stocking will only set you back a couple of bucks. It's rare to find such an inexpensive product that is also well made, truly useful and nice enough to be gift worthy.
  • Single-use Care Touch Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes
    • Care Touch Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes are gentle alcohol prep pads saturated with a 39.5% isopropyl alcohol solution that is milder and safter for cleaning coated or special lenses than the 70% concentration of isopropyl alcohol in the solutions used with typical alsohol prep pads that can damage these types of lenses.
    • Generous 5" x 6" size for cleaning larger as well as smaller lenses and screens.
    • Convenient, compact, and individually sealed so you can easily tuck a couple into your purse or briefcase for quick, streak-free cleaning of fingerprints and smudges on your eyeglasses, phone or tablet screens on the go.
  • Care Touch Lens and Screen Cleaning Set
    • 200 of the pre-moistened lens cleaning wipes
    • 6 of the microfiber cloths
  • Care Touch Eyeglass Cleaner Spray Kit 
    • This kit has everything you or your gift recipient needs for lens and screen care, which makes it a wonderful gift idea for family members and friends, from school-age kids to seniors:
      • Two Care Touch microfiber cleaning cloths
      • Two 8-oz. bottles and one 2-oz. TSA-friendly travel size bottle of Care Touch Eyeglass Cleaner Spray, a gentle yet effective alcohol-free and ammonia-free formula designed to be used with the microfiber cloths for cleaning all lenses, screens, and glass surfaces, even those with anti-reflective, transition, anti-fog or other special coatings.
      • 26 Care Touch Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes
    • At publication time, this kit was selling on Amazon for only $9.99—45% off the list price of $17.99. That's a terrific deal!

The Best Affordable Microfiber Cloths for Cleaning Eyeglasses, Screens & Lenses by Margaret Schindel

Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Reviews About Electronics by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Gifts Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The Best Tool Roll Organizer To Store & Protect Your Tools

Whether you enjoy jewelry making, building, painting or refurbishing models, other hobby, crafts & DIY projects or doing small electronics repairs, investing in good quality tools for doing delicate precision work can help achieve better results faster and with less effort by giving you more precise control and leverage while reducing the strain on your hands (your most valuable tools by far!).

Choosing the right tool storage and organization system can not only help protect that investment but also enhance your efficiency and enjoyment of the creative process while you are working on your projects. However, I have learned the hard way how challenging it can be to evaluate, compare and, ultimately, determine the best solution for your individual tool storage and organization needs, 

Today, I am sharing my personal product review of the DuraTech Tool Roll Organizer, 21 Pockets Tool Bag Roll that I bought a few months ago as a Christmas gift for my husband, who has an extensive collection of precision hand tools for his hobbies, crafts nd DIY projects.

This awesome waterproof DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer can securely hold many tools of different sizes and shapes. You can view them at all a glance, find and remove what you want, and return it to its spot quickly and easily when you have finished using it.

My husband John works long hours at a rewarding but stressful and high-pressure job. One of his favorite ways to relax and recharge his batteries is working on a variety of hobby, crafts & DIY projects. He especially enjoys collecting and restoring rare and hard-to-find, vintage 1:43 scale die-cast model cars and trucks, as well as collecting and refining hard-to-find plaster buildings for our Christmas village display and then painting them in stunning, elaborate detail and adding interior lights. Sometimes, he even adds strategically placed, tiny color-changing LEDs to create special effects (for example, randomly flashing multicolored lights inside a Harry Potter-esque magic shop, as though the wizards inside are trying out different magic wands to find the one that will choose him or her, or simulating the glow of a blacksmith's forge by carving out a large, wide opening in a wall, lining it with iridescent, colored foil through which you can see tiny LEDs, each cycling through red, orange and yellow and out of sync with each other). We actually display two different Christmas villages, one made up of lighted Dept. 56 Christmas in the City buildings and another with John's amazing carved, exquisitely painted and lighted plaster buildings. During the holidays, our display can take up half of our living room, with two villages arranged around that year's train tracks layout and connected by John's wonderful, vintage, O-scale model train collection, some of which he inherited from his beloved uncle.

Since John isn't easy to buy gifts for, I usually ask him for a Christmas wish list to give me some guidance. (I also choose one or two gifts for him that will be complete surprises, but in case they miss the mark, I know that he'll at least get some of the gifts he really wants!) Two of the items on his most recent wish list were a set of good quality, upgraded pliers and cutters and a better storage and organization solution for them and the rest of his precision hobby tools. 

Since I used many of the same items as jewelry making tools, I knew exactly which pliers and cutters I wanted to buy for him. Xuron makes very high quality tools for small-scale, delicate, precision work at a very reasonable price. They are also more durable than similar tools I have purchased from much more expensive brands. So I chose several pairs of my favorite Xuron pliers and cutters as part of John's Christmas gift.

However, while there are lots of great toolboxes and other tool storage and organization options for larger tools, like hammers, wrenches and sockets, I knew that finding a better tool storage and organization solution for my husband that would meet his specific requirements would be a lot more challenging, since he had already experimented with several different types of tool organizers and storage that weren't working for him.

Close-up photo of Xuron and other jewelry making and hobby precision tools (pliers and cutters)
The five Xuron jewelry making and electronics pliers and cutters I gifted to my husband for Christmas, nestled in the four lower and far right upper pockets of the DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer I also gave him to store them and the other precision tools in his collection.

Great Tool Storage and Organization Solutions for Precision Pliers, Model Building Tools, Jewelry Making Tools, Etc. Are Surprisingly Hard to Find!

Last year, John purchased a secondhand, wheeled O.P.I. nail polish salesperson's sample case that he has been converting into a super cool, customized, mobile crafting workstation with a spacious, attached, removable work surface that he calls his hobby tray. Since he doesn't have a dedicated workspace for his hobbies and crafts, this clever solution now enables him to work on crafts and DIY projects whenever he has a bit of time, wherever he happens to be. Even better, it also doubles as a compact, consolidated storage organizer for all his painted plaster Christmas village, electronics repair and vintage die-cast car refurbishing and model building tools, supplies and current projects. 

He has been having a blast "imagineering" (to use a Disney term) and tweaking his one-of-a-kind mobile craft storage and workstation over time. In fact, redesigning and refining has turned out to be one of his favorite projects to date!

He had come up with workable solutions for customizing the interior in terms of organizing and storing his paintbrushes, paints, glues, sandpaper, markers and other supplies and for safely storing delicate project works-in-progress. Unfortunately, he wanted (and needed) a better way to store and organize a variety of other tools, including pliers and cutters, needle files, riffler files, X-ACTO knives and blades, hemostats, dental picks, micro carving tools, tweezers, specialty pens, scissors, miniature screwdrivers, a ruler, a pin vise, micro drill bits, etc. 

These precision tools needed to be easily visible and acccessible while in use and protected during storage and transport, and the tool organizer not only would need to fit neatly inside the top compartment of the new mobile hobby storage/workstation but also work as a standalone, portable tool storage organizer that he could easily bring to another location, for example, to help a friend or family member with an electronics or jewelry repair project. 

In addition, John's ideal tool organizer and storage solution would need to hold a lot of tools, in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and store them compactly, as well as be both lightweight, sturdy and wear-resistant. 

Traditional and Nontraditional Tool Organizers Didn't Meet Our Needs

Like John, I have been a "maker" since I was a child. and have spent many years trying to find better storage and organizing solutions for my jewelry making, beading, metal clay, polymer clay and painting tools and supplies. While I discovered some wonderful bead storage and organization solutions years ago for my enormous collection of rare and vintage beads and jewelry making supplies, I continue to search for better jewelry making tool storage and organization solutions.

Between the two of us, we have tried or considered a variety of traditional hobby, DIY and craft tool holders and organizers, such as brush holders, tool caddies, plier stands and tackle boxes. (Plano tackle box systems are wonderful for storing jewelry findings, beads, and other jewelry making supplies, but not the best solution for storing, organizing and protecting delicate precision tools.)

We both have also tried a number of non-traditional tool storage and organization solutions, such as cosmetics organizers, including the acrylic eye pencil and lip pencil organizers and lipstick/lip gloss organizer that I keep on my vanity for makeup.  (They work great for their intended use!)

Unfortunately, every commercial or DIY tool organizer solution either of us has tried over the years has had significant limitations that failed to meet our respective precision tool storage and organization needs. As a result, each of us ended up having to cobble together several different tool storage and organization products to accommodate our collections.

Some of the Tool Storage and Organizer Products We Tried That Missed the Mark (and Why)

  • Storing delicate, precision tools in a Plano tackle box rack system would give them no protection. They would rub against each other, potentially nicking or dulling cutter blades or scratching or dinging smooth pliers jaws, creating uneven surfaces that would transfer to the wire or metal on which they were used. 
    • For example, John's coarse bastard file or diamond-coated riffler files could wreak havoc on his pair of fine nippers if they were to come into contact. 
    • Another important downside of that type of storage is that it would not be easy to see each individual tool at a glance and find and remove the desired one quickly and easily.
  • Tool storage organizers with uniform-size compartments, like brush holders or marker storage units, would not work for pliers, cutters or similarly shaped tools. Even straight tools of varying widths, lengths/heights and diameters could not be stored and organized in these storage solutions efficiently (and some tools were too wide or thick to fit at all.    
  • None of the three common types of pliers storage solutions I have used have been particularly convenient for me, and none would work for John's mobile hobby and crafts cart. 

A pliers rack is fine if you have a permanent spot for it to live in a dedicated workspace. However, they don't protect the tips of the pliers, cutters or nippers from each other and would be unsuitable to lay on their sides in John's rolling hobby station cart.

Wood pliers blocks keep the pliers and cutters separated and, therefore, somewhat protected. However, they don't fit every pair of pliers or cutters (especially those with wider/ergonomic handles or grips), and removing and replacing the tools into the holes in the block requires a bit more fiddling than we want to do, especially for the pairs in the middle of the block.

I have a lot of jewelry making pliers and cutters, most of which I have been storing in zippered tool pouches (similar to this Eurotool tool pouch with zipper), for lack of a better lightweight, easily portable solution. They have elastic loops or straps inside to hold the tools in place and prevent them from knocking into each other when not in use. Unfortunately, since the manufacturer doesn't know the sizes, shapes, handle widths and other characteristics of the pliers and cutters you own or how many you have, I have found that unless the zipppered tool case was designed by the manufacturer for a specific brand and set of these tools, it is very difficult to use the interior storage space efficiently.

More importantly, in my experience, it is impossible to remove a pair of pliers or cutters from the elasticized loops without using two hands, even if the tool pouch was custom designed by (or for) the tool manufacturer to work with a specific set of pliers and cutters from a single product line, and especially if the tips have protective caps. So, whenever you are working on a project and need one of those tools, you have to stop working, put down the project so you have both hands free, and then wiggle and coax the required pair of pliers or cutters out from under their elastic strap restraints (without banging into or dislodging any adjacent pairs) before you can pick up the project again with your nondomiant hand and try to pick up where you left off before this unnecessary and distracting interruption.

The need for a simpler, more compact, more portable tool storage solution became a much higher priority when John began customizing his new mobile hobby workstation. (Since we have also been rethinking and trying to redesign my too-small crafts room/ "studio" space, if I could figure out a great tool storage and organization solution for John, I had my fingers crossed that maybe it could work for my jewelry making and crafting tools, too!) 

The DuraTech 21-Pocket Tool Roll Organizer to the Rescue

One Tool Organizer and Storage Solution to Rule (and Hold and Protect) Them All!

Photo showing the full length interior of the open tool roll filled with tools
The main pockets are in wider and narrower widths to accommodate a wide range of tool types, shapes and sizes and provide flexibility in how your organize them. The bright turquoise blue lining also makes it much easier to see and distinguish between the "business ends" of different pliers, cutters and other precision tools.

As usual for me when shopping for an important product purchase, I did my due diligence. 

I began with an in-depth needs analysis, asking John to describe in detail his storage and organization requirements for his model building tools and to take me through all the types of craft storage he had already tried and explain why they didn't do what he wanted and needed.

Then, armed with that information (and a spinning head!), I dove into my product research. Since I had already been looking for solutions to similar storage and organization challenges for my jewelry making tools for my compact crafts studio redesign, I was already familiar with a lot of what was out there and knew that none of what I had found so far would meet my husband's very specific needs.

Fortunately, my persistence paid off! I wanted to make sure that whatever tool storage and organization solution I picked for John would be one he would be happy with, so I had decided to run my choice by him before ordering it, rather than keeping it a surprise until he opened it with his other Christmas gifts.

When I showed him the DuraTech Tool Roll Organizer, 21 Pockets Tool Bag Roll I had picked out for him on Amazon, I could telll immediately from his interest that I was on the right track. The more he read, looked at the product photos and read the product reviews, the more his eyes lit up.

I placed the order that same day, fingers crossed that he would love his new DuraTech tool roll organizer as much when he put his gift to use after Christmas as he did when looking at the product page. Fortunately, he did!

Key Features and Benefits

After filling his new tool organizer with his scale model making tools and using his DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer for more than a month, here are the things he loves about his gift.

Extreme close-up photo showing bartack stitching reinforcement between the pockets, which are bound with stitched twill bias binding tape
Areas of stress are reinforced with bartack stitching between the pockets and heavy-duty, stitched twill tape bias binding enclosing the edges of the pockets and flaps. .

Durable Premium Fabric, High Quality Construction

  • The double-layer, high-quality, waterproof 1680-denier turquoise blue and 900-denier black oxford cloth fabrics are extremely durable, making this Dura-Tech tool roll organizer both sturdy and water-resistant. (Oxford cloth is a tight basketweave fabric. The ones used in this tool roll appear to be ballistic coated nylon or polyester oxford cloth, similar to Cordura fabric.)
    • Even if you aren't storing your tools in a car or shed or traveling with them, so they are exposed to the elements, it's still nice to know that they will be protected against spills and water damage in the event of an accident.
  • The comfortable haul handle, adjustable straps, buckles and hook-and-loop flap closure are also made of sturdy, high-quality materials with durable construction, e.g.:
    • bartack stitching reinforcement between the pockets and on the top haul handle, areas most likely to be subject to stress during use.
    • edges of the pockets and flaps are bound with heavy-duty twill tape bias binding tape and stitched securely with sturdy contrasting thread.
  • After two months of nearly nonstop use, my husband’s DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer still looks brand new.

    Thoughtful and Attractive Design

    Pockets Galore

    • The 17 main pockets that span the length of the tool roll's interior along both sides are tall and come in different widths. The wider pockets can accommodate and hold most pliers and cutters securely to prevent them from moving around and potentially causing damage to the working surfaces. The narrower pockets are great for storing thinner tools and can even accommodate a 12-inch ruler, as you can see in the photos of my husband's DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer.
    • The three shorter, deeper, gusseted pockets at one end can hold a surprising amount, and there is a flap with a hook-and-loop tape closure to help keep the contents from escaping accidentally. These are great for storing smaller items (e.g., a set of micro drill bits housed in a hard storage case, a set of sockets, small packages of nails, screws or washers, a tape measure). 
    • At the opposite end, there is also a sturdy mesh pocket attached to the outside of one of the 17 main pockets. Since this mesh pocket is shorter and also see-through, it's perfect for shorter tools, such as needle files, that could slide down inside one of the taller, opaque, main pockets, where they would be hidden and hard to reach. 
    • The DuraTech tool roll organizer lays flat when unrolled and filled with tools, and there’s plenty of room in each pocket. This means you not only can store all your crafting, model building or jewelry making tools in one place and see them all at a glance, you can also easily remove and replace each tool with just one hand while you are working, so you don't have to put down your project every time you need to reach for a new tool.
    Close-up photo of mesh pocket
    The open mesh pocket at one end of my husband's DuraTech Tool Roll Organizer holds micro drill bits (in a fitted case), needle files and a small diamond nail file for rounding and smoothing wire ends

    Striking Use of Contrasting Colors Goes Beyond Just Good Looks

    • The two-tone black and bright turquoise color-blocked design looks very sharp and distinctive. Bonus—the bright blue color makes it easy to spot your tool storage organizer quickly if you happen to misplace it (or if your work space, craft room or studio is messy and overcrowded, like mine). 
    • The "business end" of the tool(s) in each stitched pocket are much more visible against the backdrop of the bright turquoise fabric lining in the center. So, you can quickly and easily distinguish a pair of round-nose pliers from a matching pair of needle-nose pliers or a Phillips-head from a flathead mini screwdriver, or pick out an individual diamond-coated riffler file from others in an assorted set.

    Versatile Touches

    • The large, sturdy, aluminum D-ring next to the haul handle can be used to hang your DuraTech tool roll organizer from a hook or to use as a keyring, attach a water bottle, etc.
    Close-up detail photo of bartack-reinforced haul handle, tough, high-denier oxford cloth fabric and sturdy D-ring for hanging
    This close-up photo of the bartack-stitched, reinforced haul handle, durable, high-denier, heavy-duty oxford cloth fabric and large, sturdy D-ring help you visualize a few examples of the high quality materials, workmanship and construction that went into this superior  tool roll orgaizer.

    Capacious When in Use, Lightweight and Compact When Rolled up for Storage

    • The DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer can hold a lot of pliers, cutters and other hand tools.
    • The adjustable straps allow this tool roll organizer to accommodate a large number of tools of varying shapes and sizes and store them securely. In fact, if you shake the closed and buckled  tool roll, you won't hear any of the tools rattling against each other. 
    • As you can see, even after my husband put all his favorite model making, crafts and DIY and other hobby tools into his new DuraTech tool roll organizer, there is still plenty of storage room for future specialty pliers or other precision tool acquisitions. (As any hobby or crafting enthusiast will tell you, you can never have too many tools, lol!)
    • Given its generous capacity, this tool roll is surprisingly lightweight and compact. It's takes up relatively little real estate on a work surface or in a cabinet, drawer or rolling cart and doesn't add much weight to that of its contents, making it extremely portable.

    A Remarkable Value

    • After researching so many tool organizers and storage solutions, I was very surprised (and delighted) to discover how affordable this DuraTech tool roll organizer is, given its obviously  superior quality materials, construction, design and durability compared to most of the other types of storage and organization products I've found during my extensive searches. 
    • Currently this DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer is priced at less than $18 on Amazon, which I consider an absolute steal in terms of value for money.

    A Inexpensive and Thoughtful Gift for Any Jewelry Making, Scale Model Making, Electronics or DIY Enthusiast

    My husband couldn't be more thrilled with his DuraTech 21-pocket tool roll organizer. I'm seriously considering buying another for my jewelry making pliers, cutters, awls and other hand tools.

    It's hard to imagine anyone whose hobbies and interests include model railroading, remote-control cars and planes, building scale models or dioramas, jewelry making, watch repair, electronics and similar creative pursuits who wouldn't appreciate receiving such an attractive, thoughtfully designed, well made and durable storage organizer for their precision tools as a gift.

    Of course, if that description also fits you, I encourage you to consider treating yourself to one of these terrific DuraTech tool roll organizers. 

    The Best Tool Roll Organizer To Store and Protect Your Tools by Margaret Schindel


    Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

    Read More Reviews About Crafts & DIY by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

    Read More DIY Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

    Read More Gifts Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




    Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


    FOLLOW US ON:
    Review This Reviews Quick View Home Page

    The Review This Contributors



    Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010RenaissanceWomanLou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaSam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecoratingforEventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G



    Review This is Dedicated to the
    Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

    Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner


    We may be apart, but
    You Are Not Forgotten





    “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

    X