From vacuum cleaners to air conditioners and heaters, there's a whole world of technology out there helping to keep our 21st century homes clean, comfortable and at the temperature we want them to be.
With such a wide range of choice from major brands such as Electrolux, DeLonghi, Bosch, Dyson, Dimplex and Hoover, it can be difficult to know which to go for. Here are some helpful hints to get you started.
When you're choosing a vacuum cleaner, a steam cleaner or a carpet washer, consider first of all where you'll be using it - clearly an occasional vacuum cleaner for a caravan won't need to be as robust as one you're going to use daily to clean up after a large family and three dogs.
Portability is a big factor in these items, as typically you'll be carrying them from room to room, so if you have limited mobility look for a lightweight item. Smaller, more compact machines also tend to be better for crowded houses or where you have to navigate around a lot of furniture, but you'll need to match the convenience of a smaller machine against any downsizing in power or efficiency.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Portable heaters come in a wide range of options, from electric fan heaters to convector heaters or oil filled portable radiators. Look for energy efficiency approval ratings if you intend to use it a lot, and make sure you check what size room it is intended for too. Timers and thermostats are useful, rather than just an on/off facility, and will help you keep costs down.
If you're looking for an air conditioning unit, it's essential to choose one with the right cooling capacity for your home - too much capacity will be overly expensive; too little and you might as well not bother. Again, check energy efficiency ratings if you want to get the most cost-effective solution.