The 10 Greatest Home Innovations Of The Year

These are the Best Of What's New

Estwing al-pro framing hammer grand award winner

Estwing Al-Pro Framing Hammer: Light Hammer, Heavy Hitter

House framers can drive hundreds of nails a day. For them, a heavy hammer means more fatigue—and possibly more missed hits (and injuries). Estwing's new Al-Pro Framing Hammer lightens the load. Designers crafted the shaft out of aircraft-grade aluminum, making it half the weight of its pricier titanium competitors, and letting workers hit longer without getting worn out. The team also filled the head with steel shot, which dampens vibration from blows and allows for maximum force in every swing. Not to cripple the tool's nail-pulling ability with a softer aluminum claw, Estwing opted to make the teeth out of sturdy steel. All this adds up to a lifetime hammer for the day-rate pro—as well as for the weekend home-improvement wannabe. $130Photo by Sam Kaplan
NWI Cubit: Math-Whiz Measuring Tool

NWI Cubit: Math-Whiz Measuring Tool

The hardest part of picture hanging is finding a wall's center. Cubit calculates it for you. Slide it along any surface to find exact middle—or if you're the asymmetrical type, a third, or any "look-at-me" variation. $72Courtesy NWI
Bosch Reaxx: The Safest Table Saw

Bosch Reaxx: The Safest Table Saw

Humans are careless. Machines are here to help. Bosch's Reaxx 10-inch job-site table saw retracts its blade if it detects the presence of a wayward human appendage. A low-voltage current runs through the blade, and if the system detects a disruption—indicating human flesh—the blade retracts to mitigate potential injury. The blade is not damaged, which was an issue with previous injury-preventing technology. $1,499Courtesy Reaxx
DEWALT Flexvolt Battery: A Battery for Every Tool

DeWalt Flexvolt Battery: A Battery for Every Tool

Cordless power tools are handy. But each requires a unique voltage, leaving DIYers with a lot of bricks. DeWalt's self-regulating battery is the only one you'll need. It recognizes the DeWalt tool it's mated with and delivers the correct voltage. It even regulates output for older DeWalt tools. The batteries max out at 60 volts, and a pair can create a new class of 120-volt cordless tools—like table saws—or dial down for less power-thirsty tools. $149Photo by Sam Kaplan
Nelson Solar-Active Facade: Energy-Saving House Exterior

Nelson Solar-Activated Facade: Energy-Saving House Exterior

Goodbye expensive energy bills. Made of wood and glass, Nelson's home exterior can both warm a home and cool it. In winter, the sun's rays pass through a glass facade and warm an internal layer of louvered wood, which traps the heat to create a thermal buffer against the nighttime cold. In summer, when the sun is higher in the skys its rays strike these angled wooden slats, which create a shading effect for the home, keeping it cool.Courtesy Nelson
Sherwin Williams Paint Shield: House Paint That Kills Disease

Sherwin Williams Paint Shield: House Paint That Kills Disease

Why should house paint just look pretty? Now it can protect you and your family from invaders. Sherwin Williams' new Paint Shield kills 99.9 percent of staph, MRSA, E. coli, VRE, and Enterobacter aerogenes—the type of microscopic bad stuff that can make you sick, and even kill you. The paint does this by way of a quaternary ammonium compound (the same substance used in many home cleaning products). The first EPA-registered microbicidal paint, it remains effective for years. Sleep tight and don't let the Enterobacter bite. $85 per gallonCourtesy Sherman Williams
Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator: A Fridge That Helps You Shop

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator: A Fridge That Helps You Shop

You can't recall if you ate that last artisanal pudding. That's okay because the Family Hub refrigerator can help you remember. It has three internal cameras that spy on your supplies (or lack thereof). Tap an app, and there's a picture of your shelves. $6,000Courtesy Samsung
Molekule: An Air Purifier That Actually Purifies

Molekule: An Air Purifier That Actually Purifies

Most air purifiers trap airborne particulates, leaving them stuck in filters where they can escape or breed into lung-hacking spores. Molekule annihilates them. The cylindrical aluminum-clad device uses low-energy ultraviolet light and a nano-coated filter in a process called photoelectrochemical oxidation—basically zapping bacteria, allergens, dust, and pollutants into their base elements. That means bacteria and viruses can't breed in your machine. No bacteria is small enough to safely pass through Molekule's defenses. Breathe deep and easy. $799Courtesy Molekule
Lighting Science HealthE Genesis: Just-Right Light

Lighting Science HealthE Genesis: Just-Right Light

Light affects your body's circadian rhythm, which in turn dictates your energy level, sleep cycles, and overall health. The HealthE Genesis lamp keeps things in sync with a super-precise lighting spectrum that can fluctuate based on the time of day or night. It keeps your biology so well in time that NASA is installing a custom version of it on the International Space Station to regulate astronauts' sleep with precision. $175Photo by Sam Kaplan
Ember: A Mug That Brings the Heat

Ember: A Mug That Brings the Heat

Temperature will influence a coffee's flavor. A few degrees off, and your precious pour-over might as well be a street-corner bodega brew. The Ember mug gets taste right every time, because phase-change materials (a substance akin to candle wax) embedded in its walls deliver precise temperature control—from an optimal 120 to 150 degrees—set by a handy dial on the base. Taste that, bodega coffee man. $149Courtesy Ember

This article was originally published in the November/December 2016 issue of Popular Science, under the title "Best Of What's New: Home."