The Sweethome is a new spinoff from the unstoppable forces behind The Wirecutter. The hook? Instead of exhaustively reviewing everything and leaving readers with a database to plow though, it just tells you what's best in any given category. The best nailclippers. The best veggie peeler. The best motor oil. The best watering can. The best...

17 Responses to “The Sweethome: "just buy this one", domestic edition”

  1. awjt says:

    The best razor?  A double-sided straight razor that you can slice your jugular with?  LOL.  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002A8JO48/thesweethome-20

    • brandonmwest says:

      Judging tools by the things idiots can do with them is rarely the best approach.

    • EH says:

      I’ve used that exact razor for the past five years, so you may be interested to learn that the blade is exposed maybe a half-millimeter. Not the best jugular tool, and at any rate it’s not a straight razor.

    • SamSam says:

      DE razors are really no harder to use than a regular cartridge razor — there’s a reason that it’s called a “safety razor.”

      I’ve been using one for the last couple months and found it very easy right from the start. I think it’s fine, though I’m not obsessed with it the way many who find their way into old-style shaving seem to become.

    • Mark Bult says:

      A straight razor (which is what you said, and which is basically just a knife) and a safety razor (the latter being what you linked to) are not the same thing. And I’m guessing you’ve never used either one. It’s pretty hard to cut yourself more than a nick with a safety razor.

    • L_Mariachi says:

      As others have pointed out, there’s no such thing as a double-sided straight razor and even if there were what you linked to wouldn’t be it. I use a Merkur safety razor and the only way to to open a vein with it would be to be a total goofus while changing blades. Blades a supply of which runs me maybe ten bucks a year, if that. 

      • awjt says:

        All of this may be true… but it still begs the question… “of all the choices available, this razor is the best?”  WHY?  My 25 cent disposable bic does a fine job…

        • SamSam says:

          … maybe people search for more than “fine?”

          Blog of basically ‘fine’ and reasonably adequate tools” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

  2. styrofoam says:

    You got me with “best motor oil” and I found out it was a bum link to watering cans.  Booo.
     

  3. SamSam says:

    I have this ice tray and do love it, but I knew immediately that his review was going to fall for the common fallacy that big ice cubes will get your drink “just as cold” with “less dilution.”

    This is impossible, as anyone who recognizes that the cooling of your drink comes from the melting of the ice will realize.

    However, that was low-hanging fruit. I’ll probably be taking suggestions from this much as I do from CoolTools — great recommendations, great first stop, good source of wish-list material, but be sure to do your own critical thinking as well.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Physics aside, you’d think that the fact that bartenders use crushed ice to chill cocktails would be a hint.

    • L_Mariachi says:

      The chilling of the drink doesn’t come solely from dilution by melted ice. Otherwise dropping a chunk of granite from the freezer into your cocktail would have no effect. There’s the same thermal transfer that occurs whenever two things of different temperatures touch each other. Cool down the cocktail, warm up the granite or ice.

      • SamSam says:

        As anyone who has used those silly “ice” stones can attest, a stone (or chunk of granite) won’t have anywhere close to the cooling potential of an ice cube.

        The cooling potential of ice comes from the very big latent heat capacity of ice as it changes phase from solid to liquid. This absorbes many times more energy than the simple averaging of thermal energy that occurs when two bodies of different temperatures touch each other.

        The specific heat of granite is about 790 J/kg K. The bigger the number, the more “heat” it can absorb for a given temperature (say zero degrees from your home freezer). The soapstone cubes are about 980. Ice (without the phase change) is 2093. This is only a little better than granite…. until the ice melts. You get 334,000 J/kg as the ice melts — a MUCH bigger number. Thats where the cooling capacity of ice appears. 

        A granite “stone” of the same size would have to be about somewhere around -110 C compared to a same size ice cube to provide similar capacity. That’s rather more than your typical freezer can cool it to.

        …Even if you want to consider that (much, much smaller) transfer of energy, why would a big cube of ice (with a lot more surface area touching the drink) create any smaller absolute quantity of melted water in your drink?

        • L_Mariachi says:

          Damn, I got schooled right there. Well done.

          However, one big ice cube has less surface area than multiple smaller cubes of the same volume, so it would melt more slowly, while not chilling the drink as quickly. 

          Personally, I don’t let drinks sit around long enough for it to make a difference. 

  4. redstarr says:

    Everyone’s needs and priorities are different.  Sometimes the reviewers gripes with something aren’t relevant to my life and things they value aren’t big assets for me.  So their “winner” might not be the best choice for me.  I like the test a bunch of stuff and report on a bunch of different strengths and weaknesses and let me decide for myself approach.  

    • cbirdsong says:

      Fortunately, they document their thought process and the products they look at pretty thoroughly, so one of their pages is a pretty good place to start even if you end up buying something different.

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