12 Most Popular Electronic Items Bought in 2018

2018 came and went, with many online purchases made in the final month of the year. Whether it was for a gift or for a “treat-yourself” splurge, below are the top 12 electronic items purchased online in 2018. How many of these did you buy?

Apple Wireless Airpods

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Just take them out and they’re ready to use with all your devices. Put them in your ears and they connect instantly. Speak into them and your voice sounds clear. Introducing AirPods. Simplicity and technology, together like never before. The result is completely magical.

Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker

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The Instant Pot may have gained fame on Pinterest, but it’s not just for food bloggers! Nearly 28,000 people and a 4.5-star rating prove that it’s a worthy investment for anyone who likes to cook at home, but needs a few shortcuts along the way. 

Fire TV Stick 4K

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The Amazon Fire Stick allows you to watch from platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video directly on your TV in 4K. This version has an Alexa (aka voice-activated) remote, making it easier than ever to select what you want to watch. 

Apple iPad (Wi-Fi, 32GB) – Gold

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With a 9.7-inch Retina display, wide color and true tone, the latest version of the Apple iPad was a big hit in 2018. Users are praising the product’s quick speed, excellent camera features and so much more.

WarmlyYours Towel Warmers

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Imagine stepping out of a shower or bath to luxurious, freshly-warmed towels waiting for you on a stylish heated towel rack. Available in several different models, heated towel bath racks by WarmlyYours provide a sleek yet functional design, perfect for a variety of home decor styles. Treat yourself to the comfort of warm towels.

Nintendo Switch

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The Nintendo Switch is the latest buzz in the gaming world. The continually growing selection of games attracts new users all the time — that and the fact that you can virtually play anywhere,and with another person using the Joy-Con controllers.

FeelsWarm Countertop Heaters

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Sticking directly under your overhang, these ultra-thin mats warm up your granite countertops 20-25 °. They come in standard rectangular sizes or can be customized to fit your exact surface. Homeowners everywhere are enjoying the benefit of no longer leaning on a cold surface everyday.

GoPro HERO7 Black

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This is an obvious top seller. It’s the best action camera you can buy. It has excellent video quality and amazing image stabilization for those more adventurous trips.

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader

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The new Kindle Paperwhite is one of the best, and buyers love that it’s waterproof. Heavy readers will enjoy not having to lug those massive hardcovers around with them.

Soft Close Damper for Cabinet Doors

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No more slammed cabinets! These dampers instantly allow cabinet doors to close smoothly and quietly. The brushed nickel blends well with the hinge and works for face frame cabinets on all door overlays & frameless cabinets on full overlay doors.

iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum

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The robot-vacuum craze hasn’t slowed down. This 690 iRobot Roomba — which has Wi-Fi connectivity and works with Alexa — is the Roomba brand’s best-seller as well as one of the top sellers on Amazon. 

Google – Home – Smart Speaker with Google Assistant

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Simplify your everyday life with the Google Home, a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant. Use voice commands to enjoy music, get answers from Google and manage everyday tasks.

Heating Concrete Countertops

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Historically, remodelers had to expend a great deal of pre-planning, researching and engineering to meet the requests of clients desiring heated countertops. This made the feature expensive and limited to high-end homeowners and businesses.

But heating concrete countertops is no longer a challenging feature.

Heating Countertop History concrete countertops

The original method of heating countertops was to utilize floor heating coils and place them onto the substrate that the pre-poured concrete countertop rests upon. The contractor needed to create channels in the substrate so that the thick wires could rest below the surface of the plywood and not get compressed by the concrete.

In addition, floor heating mats commonly draw a significant amount of power, making it very challenging for a renovation of an existing finished home.

The overall process to prepare and design the heating solution commonly took 4-8 hours.

Specially Designed Heating Mats

In recent years, the countertop heating solution has transitioned from floor heating to ultra-thin heating mats that are created specifically for countertop use. 

The new generation of heating mats provides a breakthrough for three reasons: concrete countertops

They are produced using thin highly-ductile foil that can be compressed by hundreds of pounds. This thinness also enables the pads to be attached directly to the pre-formed concrete countertop under an overhang area without requiring the substrate to extend to the overhang edge. 

1. The mats are custom- produced to any shape or size to match the countertop and cabinet design. Plus the mats are usually not sized for the entire counter. They are just placed in specific selected areas – typically just where people rest their arms.

2. The new style of heating pads operates on low voltage, utilizing common power transformers that plug into standard outlets.

Three Basic Installation Types

Despite a wide variety of custom countertop and cabinet designs, there are generally two basic approaches that concrete countertop heating pad manufacturers take into consideration when designing the pad. A third option exists for concrete counter fabricators who want to integrate the heater into the wet concrete. concrete countertops

1. No Overhangs/Full Substrate: The heater is simply rolled out onto the substrate and the tail of the heaters is fed down into a small hole. 

Next, the concrete counter can be placed directly on top of the heater. The material construction of the heater can handle the weight of the concrete without damage.

2. Overhangs and Cabinets concrete countertopsWithout Substrates: The heater is mounted onto the underside of the concrete and will remain permanently attached. For heater installations with a countertop overhang, the heater is attached to the concrete overhang ½” away from the outer edges. If the heater is being attached after the concrete is on the cabinet or is an aftermarket installation, the heater may have cut-outs or unique shapes that accommodate corbels, supports, or other features of the cabinet.

3. Embedding the Heater into the Concrete During Pouring: A third option is to integrate the heating pad within the concrete as the top is being formed, submerging the heating pad when the concrete is partially poured into the form, then covering the heater with additional wet concrete. This approach requires a slightly modified heater that has the electrical cord well protected from the rigors of handling and chemistries. A special rugged strain relief is utilized with the cord for this purpose.

concrete countertops

Finally, the heater is plugged into the controller, the controller into the transformer, and the transformer into the outlet.

Want to learn more about heating concrete, granite or quartz countertops? Click here to see how it works.

The Hardest 'Would You Rather' Home Remodeling Edition

Deciding between two great options is never easy, especially when it comes to remodeling or building your home. 

If cost wasn’t a factor, which of these options would you go with if you couldn’t have the other?

Elaborate Moldings

Exposed Brick

Walk-In Closet

Double Vanities

Heated Floors

Double Shower Heads

Finished Basement

Inground Pool

Hands-Free Faucet

Heated Countertops

Sprinkling System

Electric Fireplace

Walk-In Pantry

Kitchen Island

Heated Garage

4-Stall Garage

Stainless Steel Appliances

Granite Countertops

Large Deck

Large Backyard

Dual Ovens

Farmhouse Sink

Which one of these was the hardest for you? Personally, choosing between a walk-in closet and double vanities was the most difficult! (Had to go with the closet). Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook!

15 Kitchen Island Ideas for Inspiration

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Building a new house or beginning to think about renovating your kitchen? The kitchen island may be one of the first places to start. It is the center of the home after all.

Below are 15 kitchen island designs and ideas to get you excited about your new space.

Glass Shelving

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Show off your stem and barware with glass shelving on one side. This island follows another popular trend in kitchens: two-toned cabinets.

L-Shaped with Breakfast Nook

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Who wouldn’t want to cozy up in this window-facing breakfast nook, perfectly nuzzled into the large island?

Hidden Seating

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This island with mobile seating is beautifully concealed to open up the look and feel of your kitchen.

Island on Wheels

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Who said kitchen islands have to be secured to the floor? This modern home features an open plan and a kitchen island with wheels. Ingenious idea for room flexibility and space maximization.

Heated Countertops

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If you like the look of granite or quartz but hate how cold it feels on your skin, add a countertop heating mat under your overhang. Leave the rest of your countertops cold for food prep.

Extra Large One-Level

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This dark wood and marble countertop island stands out in this white and beige kitchen, with ample dining seating all around. 

Rustic Farm House Style

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Restore old cabinets or make a new island out of old wooden boards. The pallets are always there to help to make something interesting and cool.

Foot Rest

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Add a modern or vintage foot rest to the bottom of your island for a spruced-up look and increased comfort.

Farmhouse Sink

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Check out this massive kitchen island with a farmhouse sink, paper towel holder, white quartzite countertop and furniture-like cabinetry.

T-Shaped Kitchen Island

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Sleek, contemporary and practical, this island is sure to welcome all to gather around it.

Truly Customized

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This island was designed with three different elevations rather than as standard boxy cabinet. Each elevation has its own purpose: the short section holds entertaining essentials and can act as an impromptu bar, the main section houses a microwave, more storage and a small sink and the tall section is a counter-height breakfast bar.

Pet Friendly Island

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Allow your furry family members to eat like royalty with this built-in pet eating station.

Table Attached

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Extend your island with a lower-level wooden seating area attached.

Built-In Microwave

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Update the flow of your cooking process by adding a space in your current island for your microwave. See how to do it yourself here.

Center Island Breakfast Nook

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This is a great option if you are into breakfast nooks but your kitchen layout can’t accommodate the usual design for it – built in a corner, adjacent to a wall etc.

Want more kitchen inspiration? Follow us on Pinterest and Instagram!

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertops

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In recent years, quartz has become a widely popular countertop selection for homeowners and business owners. Its elegance, beauty and durability are among the many reasons why it is so highly praised.

Below are 10 of the most commonly asked questions about quartz countertops, with answers from top professionals in the industry. 

Are quartz countertops seamless in design? quartz

“Whether or not your quartz countertops will be seamless completely depends on the size of your kitchen and the layout of your lower cabinets. Like granite, quartz is sold in slabs; however, all slabs max out at a certain length.

The most common maximum slab length for both granite and quartz is 125” L x 65” W. This means if your lower cabinets are longer than 125” in length that your countertops will have to be seamed. Otherwise, you can achieve seamless quartz countertops.”

-Savvy Studio Kitchen & Bath

How do I care for my quartz countertop? quartz

“Quartz countertops are easy to care for, and because the surface is non-porous, they are hard to stain. Use mild dish soap and water for everyday cleaning and stay away from harsh, abrasive cleansers, and cleansers that contain bleach. You can gently scrape hardened material off with a plastic putty knife.”

-PF Custom Countertops

How is quartz different from marble and granite? quartz

“Quartz countertops which are sold under brand names such as Zodiaq™, Hanstone™, Silestone™ and Cambria™ are man-made stone surfaces. Quartz products offer consistency in patterns and colors that natural stone can not. Quartz surfaces do not offer the uniqueness and varied random patterns of natural granite and marble.”

-Hatton Granite Countertops

Is quartz less expensive than granite or marble? quartz

“No, not necessarily. Depending on the level of granite or marble and the particular company or pattern of quartz; granite can be a significantly more cost effective material. However, if you are considering a level 3-4 granite/marble, or an exotic stone; quartz is most likely going to be a more affordable way to go.

Some factors that change the cost of granite are the extraction of the stone, and the shipping of the material which consumes a lot of time, money and energy. Factors that change the price of quartz are company, pattern or color of material, demand, labor rates, thickness and edge treatment, among others.”

-Indoor City

Can I heat my quartz countertop to avoid leaning on such a cold surface every morning? 

“Yes, the easiest, safest and least expensive way to remove the cold feel of this material is to apply a stick-on countertop heating mat underneath your quartz overhang. If you are installing new countertops without an overhang, your contractor can easily lay out the heating mat under the stone.”

-FeelsWarm Technology

Can quartz chip? 

“Under normal use it is very unlikely that your quartz countertop will ever chip. Edges are usually more susceptible to chipping than the middle of the surface, and if hit with enough force, chipping can occur. These occurrences are generally not covered by any manufacturing warranty, but would usually be repairable, depending on the size and scope of the chip or damage.”

-Selective Countertops

Will quartz products vary in color? 

“Quartz countertops are composed of 93% natural quartz. Variation in the natural stone (quartz) color, pattern, size, shape, and shade are inherent and unique characteristics to be expected with quartz products.”

-FLOFORM Countertops

What special precautions should be taken when cooking near quartz? 

“Quartz can be affected by extreme heat, so manufacturers recommend using cutting boards, trivets and hot pads while preparing meals. Quartz is very durable, but remember that any material can be damaged if not cared for properly.”

-Natura Quartz

Will quartz countertops stain? 

“The hard surface of Quartz is non-porous and very resistant to staining, even better than marble.  Quartz counters can resist oil, coffee, wine, juice and most other common kitchen spills. It is not 100% stain resistant though and is susceptible to stains from solvents, sodium hydroxide, and permanent markers.”

-Graniterra

What are the advantages of Granite Countertops? 

“Maintenance free, non-porous, requires no sealing, food safe, large color selection, stain resistant, scratch and chip resistant.”

-Contour Countertops