Summer is coming to an end, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't reward yourself with a cool product--one that saves time or helps you get through the fall season in style. These items are in a different category, meant to give add some spark to life.

The best mower I've ever tested, the Cub Cadet Pro Z is a hybrid of sorts. It's a normal riding mower you operate using a steering wheel, but because of the "zero turn" design, you can reach tight corners, cut close around a fence, or trim diagonally. Many "zero turn" mowers force you to move handles back and forth, but this one is easy for anyone to operate. There's a 25-horsepower engine, commercial grade "deck" you can stand on if needed, and a roll-bar you can lower to fit under tree branches if needed. It's a monster.

This coffee machine can roast, grind, and brew coffee in about 20 minutes. Since we're talking about the best of the best, this machine makes a fine, flavorful cup that rivals what I've tasted at finer coffee shops. The company sends green coffee beans from all over the world, creating an ecosystem where you can expect the machine to roast exactly the way it should for that bean. (Packets cost around $2-4 for a pot.)

A mattress that arrives in a box--that's something I've never tested. The Nuvanna uses some cool technology that absorbs motion as you sleep. On the top layer, gel particles disperse heat, almost like a running jacket that wicks away moisture. I slept comfortable and sound for a solid month testing the product with no complaints. One of the unique things about the company is that they can arrange a donation to the Salvation Army if you don't like the product (or, in my case, if you're a journalist.).

My favorite speaker company, Fluance makes high-end gear without the high-end price. This five-speaker system, which I tested with every style of music under the sun, is loud and crisp, mostly thanks to the high-end material used for construction and the down-firing subwoofers inside the tall, floor-standing main speakers (I also tested the floor sub). The bass feels warm and distinct at the same time. It also looks trendy and cool.

Vizio made a big impression on me with this particular television model, which uses something called XLED. it meant the television screen has a brightness and a pop that seemed quite different--especially for Hollywood movies--in terms of the wider color range and great clarity. It uses HDR and runs in 4K, which just means you can see more colors and more pixels. I tested with a Dish Hopper in 4K and with movies like Arrival in 4K, a sci-fi movie with deep black and gray tones. Outstanding.

Published on: Aug 17, 2017
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