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Renters, homeowners, and DIY-ers don’t always have the time, money, or skills to accomplish the home improvement tasks on their lists. We get it. Fortunately, one of the benefits of living in a time of rapid innovation is that technology can easily step in where our brains, brawn, and bank accounts fall short. This year, you can upgrade your living space with an easy-install smart showerhead, use spray paint that doesn’t drip, or even consider the most compact in-home water recycling system we’ve ever seen—and that’s just the tip of the screw.
Looking for the complete list of 100 winners? Check it out here.
Grand Award Winner: Smart water recycling by Hydraloop: A compact, easy-to-use gray water recycling system
Gray water is the stuff that spirals down your shower and sink drains, and it’s mostly clean, usable H2O that goes to immediate waste. Recycling this wastewater is doable, but the required systems are frequently large, maintenance-intensive, and involve a complicated jumble of pipes and valves. Hydraloop founder Arthur Valkieser changed that by redesigning existing water treatment technology to eliminate filters, and shrinking his device into something that looks a lot more like a modern household appliance. As water fills the Hydraloop’s tank, sediment sinks to the bottom and lighter grime like soap and hair floats to the top, where it foams up and over as waste. Then, a torrent of air bubbles grabs any free-floating solids and removes them, too. The gray water then enters an aerobic bioreactor where live bacteria feast on any remaining organic material and soap. Every four hours after that, UV-C light disinfects the stored water to kill any remaining bacteria, and the non-potable (but sanitized) water is ready to go back into your washing machine, toilet tank, or garden.
Timberline Solar shingles by GAF Energy: Roofing and renewable energy in one
Installing traditional rack-mounted solar panels requires drilling through your existing roof, creating holes that can lead to leaks and water damage if they’re improperly sealed. GAF Energy’s Timberline Solar shingles, however, nail down just like regular asphalt roofing, thanks to a flexible thermoplastic polymer backing. With that supporting a durable photovoltaic surface, they’ll hang tight in the rain, hail, and winds up to 130 mph. Even brighter: These shingles have serious curb appeal and you won’t have to choose between spending on a roof replacement or investing in solar—you can do both at the same time.
3-in-1 Digital Laser Measurer by Dremel: Precise measurements of uneven surfaces
Anyone who’s tried to measure an odd-shaped object knows the struggle of fumbling with a flexible tape, laboring through numerous calculations, or painstakingly determining the length of a string that once followed the contours of the piece in question. Dremel’s 3-in-1 digital laser measurer makes this job easier with a snap-on wheel you can roll for up to 65 feet along any surface. On top of that, it’s got a laser measurer that’s accurate within an eighth of an inch, and a 5-foot tape for all your in-home measuring needs.
757 PowerHouse by Anker: A longer-lasting portable power station
Whether you need portable outdoor power or are trying to sustain your home through a blackout, the lithium iron phosphate cells inside the Anker 757 PowerHouse will keep your devices juiced for more than 3,000 cycles. That means if you dispense and refill its full 1,500-watt output once a day, this picnic-cooler-sized hub will last for more than eight years. It’s got one car outlet, two USB-C ports, four USB-A connections, and six standard household AC plugs. Bonus: Its flat top allows it to double as a sturdy off-grid table.
Glidden Max-Flex Spray Paint by PPG: Drip-proof spray paint
Few things are more disheartening to a DIY-er than completing a project, shaking up a can of spray paint, and then seeing your first coat start dripping all over your masterpiece. Applying a smooth sheen of color takes practice, and PPG seems to understand that not everyone has the time to learn the fine points of pigment application. The company’s Glidden Max-Flex all-surface paint eschews the traditional conical spray for a unique wide-fan pattern that not only refuses to drip, but dries in minutes. The lacquer-based formulation works on wood, glass, and metal and is available in 16 matte shades ranging from “In the Buff” to “Black Elegance.”
M18 18V Cordless Tire Inflator by Milwaukee: Faster, cooler roadside assistance
It goes without saying that cordless inflators produce lots of air, but they also generate a bunch of heat. That’s a problem when your pump conks out after 5 minutes and you have to wait for it to cool down before you can keep filling your tires. Not only will Milwaukee’s M18 cordless tire inflator push out 1.41 standard cubic feet of air per minute—making it the fastest 18-volt cordless tire inflator around—but its internal fan will keep it chugging along for up to 20 minutes. You might not even need to use it that long, either: It’ll top off a 33-inch light duty truck tire in less than a minute.
Smart Showerhead by hai: No plumber necessary
Smart showerheads frequently require skilled experts to install, and some even feature components that are built into the wall of your bathroom. That’s not accessible for the everyday homeowner. You don’t need tools or special skills to hook up Hai’s smart Bluetooth showerhead, though. Just unscrew the old head, twist on the new one, connect the app, and you’ve got immediate control over both temperature and flow. Use the adjustable spray slider on the head to go from a high-pressure stream to a light mist, and choose your preferred heat level from the app. Plus, customizable LED lights will let you know when you’ve reached your self-imposed limit, saving water.