THE HANDYMAN Bernzomatic Utility Lighter Typical flame-aiming utility lighters’ straight wands aren’t great for small spaces, such as pilot lights. This one’s bendy neck snakes into tight spots, keeping your hands out of the fire that it ignites.
Zircon 60277 I700 Multiscanner As you scan for studs, the head pivots on its articulated arms to ensure that you’re making solid contact with the wall. It also automatically boosts scan intensity if it detects that the studs are buried deep. $60
Cold Heat Pro Soldering Tool The ceramic bit on this electric soldering iron will heat up or cool down within three seconds, so you can concentrate on melting metal, not avoiding melting your fingers. $30
Power Sentry Power Squid It’s a power strip minus the strip: Each of the five female sockets is attached to its own cord, so bulky plugs and adapters won’t block other outlets. $15

Next: The On-The-Goer >>

THE ON-THE-GOER Saitek A200 portable speaker The top of this compact 2.1-speaker system pops up to increase the internal air volume by 45 percent, boosting the bass-frequency range by 20 percent. $100
Iomega Screenplay This portable 60-gig hard drive, smaller than a CD case, plugs into any TV’s RCA jacks and lets you play back the media stored on the drive through the set. $200
Charge-2-Go The charger’s power-control chip amplifies the voltage of a normal AA cell to match your phone’s specs. It charges for two hours on an alkaline battery, three on a lithium-ion. $25
Logitech V400 Dual Laser Mouse The first-ever dual-laser mouse will work well anywhere, even on highly varnished tabletops. By interpreting the way the beams bounce back and comparing them to one another, it tracks direction and speed better than its single-laser brethren.
Sony Vaio VGN T350 The first consumer notebook with an integrated cellphone transceiver, this laptop will let you access Cingular’s EDGE network for high-speed Web access wherever the service is supported. 1.2GHz Pentium M processor. $2,200

Next: The Amateur Photographer >>

THE AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER Fig Rig This wheel-shaped camcorder support provides the shake-free stability of a tripod with the framing flexibility of a handheld. The handheld stabilizer also acts as a frame to mount all accessories, including zoom controllers, mics and lights. [Shown here with accessories attached.] $300
Nikon Coolpix S4 Nikon packs a 10x optical zoom into its pocketable S4 by stacking the lens vertically. To take a picture, just twist the lens forward and frame it with the camera’s 2.5-inch display. In-camera red-eye fix; face-priority auto focus; 6MP. $400
Sony N1 This eight-megapixel pocket shooter automatically stores small versions of your 500 most recent snaps on its 26 megs of internal memory-even after you’ve transferred them off of the memory card-so you’re always ready to give an impromptu slide show on its three-inch LCD. $500
Panasonic SDR-S100 Three-CCD camcorders generate superior images because the red, green and blue channels each have dedicated image sensors. This is the first such device that records to flash memory-hence the 8.5-ounce weight. 10x optical zoom; two-gig SD card included. $1,200
JVC Everio GZ MG-30US The 30-gig hard drive in this palm-size digital video camera will record seven hours of MPEG2 footage or 30 hours of MPEG4. Too bad the battery lasts only an hour (an extra, 5.5-hour cell costs $150). 25x optical zoom. $800

Next: The Couch Potato >>

THE COUCH POTATO Hisense TL3220 The best $1,000 flat-screen TV that we’ve seen, this 32-inch LCD has an eight-millisecond response time, a 1,200:1 contrast ratio and a 178-degree viewing angle-specs on par with sets costing more than twice as much. $1,000
SpyderTV Seven silicon sensors tuned to different sections of the light spectrum determine how to adjust your set for the best picture. Suction it to a TV screen and follow the prompts on your computer to set it up. $250
Optoma DV10 DLP Projector Delivering home theater anywhere, Optoma Technology’s MovieTime system integrates a DVD player and speakers right into the unit. It isn’t high-definition, and although the onboard speakers are fine, you can also use the audio outputs to connect to an A/V receiver for 5.1-channel surround sound. $1,500
Yamaha YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector Using 40 1.5-inch speakers, each with a two-watt digital amplifier, and two 4 3/8-inch woofers driven by 20-watt amps, this one speaker delivers five channels of Dolby surround. Focused into beams, sound bounces off the walls to perfect the illusion. $1,500
Philips RC 9800i The easiest to use of the all-in-one command-center universal remotes, this touchscreen model also has 802.11b/g Wi-Fi that enables it to stream MP3 files off any computer on the network and play those files on your stereo system. $600

Next: The Early Adopter >>

THE EARLY ADOPTER iRobot Scooba In a chassis only a couple inches larger than a dinner plate, iRobot engineers stuffed a vacuum, scrub brush, waste and wash tanks, squeegee, assorted pumps, a propulsion system and a computer, making it the world’s first robotic mop ‘bot. $400
I-House Smart Hydro Control this Ethernet-connected bathtub via the Web or your cellphone. Call up or log onto the I-House site, enter your tub’s ID number, and tell it what temperature water you’d like. The tub will call you when your bath is ready. $10,000
Linksys CIT 200 AIM Phone It’s like a VoIP telephone, but it uses AOL Instant Messenger’s voice-chat function. The phone, connected to your PC via Wi-Fi, downloads your buddy list and lets you navigate it with the handset. Select a friend and talk to him as though you were chatting on a landline. $150
Bowflex Revolution This home gym system was developed for use in zero gravity. Heavy-duty elastic bands are wound tight around a coil inside a cartridge that resembles a weight plate. Slide one or more onto the machine’s spindle; as you exercise, the machine twists the spindle, stretching the already taut band to provide resistance. $2,400
Hearth & Home Aqueon The world’s first consumer hydrogen-burning fireplace electrolyzes water to harvest its hydrogen. The combustion’s by-products are heat and water vapor, so you don’t need to install a chimney. $50,000.

Next: The Outdoorsman >>

THE OUTDOORSMAN MSR Denali Lightning Ascent Toothy aluminum rails make for easy traversing, the rubber deck stops snow from clumping, and a heel bail eases Achilles strain. 3.38 pounds per pair. $250
Coleman 9949-750 Roadtrip Grill LXE Here’s a grill that collapses into its own dolly. Lift a handle and tow your propane cooker like rolling luggage. It’ll connect to a portable canister or a 20-pound tank. $188
Leatherman Surge The best Leatherman yet, it has 24 tools (not counting the swappable bits and blades), Leatherman’s strongest scissors ever, and a dual-locking system that lets you open locking tools from the inside and outside of the handles. $80
Zeiss 10×42 T FL Victory Series Fluoride-impregnated glass, typically found in telescopes, is now in binoculars. Its chemical composition keeps light waves largely intact, so colors are truer than in standard optics. $1,500