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Not a buzzkill among them

Trimming the Hedges: Best Home Landscaping Tools

One of the "luxuries" of being a home owner is having a yard -- having the space to grill, garden, and maybe even build a moat (it is your castle, after all). Sadly, that yard is just waiting for you to turn your back so it can start creeping and growing past its carefully manicured boundaries. You need an arsenal to fight back; luckily, the weapons are a lot of fun, one of the many stress-relieving, get-it-done perks of being a man. Below are just the tools to help your yard from turning into a Discovery Channel episode of "Life after People".

Time to get hammered

Nailed It: 5 Best Hammers

Of all the tools in a man’s workshop, his hammer is perhaps the most personal. Chances are you still have your first forged striker, but we'll forgive you an upgrade; it really is time. You'd be surprised how much hammer tech has come, but in the end, it's still all about hitting the nail on the head. Here are five of our favorites for beginners to the most hardened steel swingers out there -- whether you loop it, or let it hang from a belt is entirely up to you.

Honey-hued for Honey-do's

Tested: Gladiator Garageworks 48-inch Adjustable Workbench

A workbench is a simple structure. Even the best of them don’t need much to be effective: sturdy legs and a solid top are the only absolutes. It helps if it's level too, but shims and sugar packets have long served man well in this regard. So why would any handyman worth his circular saw ever dream of buying one? Gladiator Garageworks believes they have the answer. We recently put their 48-inch bamboo-topped adjustable model ($500) together -- and to the test.

I, Growbot

Breakdown: RoboReel

You know those videos from the 50s promising a future of flying cars and robo-butlers by the year 2010? Well say hello to what we've managed to conjure up in those 60 years: the RoboReel ($649). We break down the "water" iteration of this spherical helper.

The grass is greener on the other side

Tested: Stihl Battery KombiSystem

If you’re looking for stealthier way to make the neighbors a little green with envy, leave the gas can in the shed and the extension cord on its spool. The Stihl Battery KombiSystem is the newest family of cordless contenders in an ever-growing field of DC-driven landscape products. To find out just how well these wireless workhorses performed, we took a small selection to our back forty (feet, not acres) for a little blade on blade action.

From Baby Daddy to Father

New Father’s (Day) Gift Guide

It's the scariest and most exciting thing a man will ever face: fatherhood. Suddenly there's the pressure of knowing this human life is wholly reliant on you, the hope of being just like your father or the fear of the same thing. It's the moment when BC becomes AD, a distinct frozen moment when a corner is turned and there will forever more only be a "before" (child) and "after". For many of us, Father's Day means finding the right gift for Dad. But now some of us will be receiving gifts as well, and so without further ado, we introduce New Father's Day -- along with a wish list for the sleep-deprived new dad to make the beginning of this next lifetime easier.

Keep the chills, lower the bills

Chill Out: Tips for Keeping Your Home Cool This Summer

The summer of 2012 was one of the hottest seasons ever throughout the United States. Whether we face the same braising this year remains to be seen, but we plan on being prepared. These relatively simple tips to increase energy efficiency should keep you cool and help your wallet stay fat and fluffy this summer season.

Time to hit the deck

Resealing Your Deck: A GP How-To Guide

Spring doesn't really exist anymore. The belief that a season actually occurs between that last dumping of snow and when your smartphone weather apps start to sweat is mythical at best. What we get now is essentially a two-week meteorological reprieve during which we need to squeeze three months' worth of work. To make sure those precious days aren't squandered, we’re dishing out the goods on how to git ‘er done so you can make the most of this summer -- and it starts with resealing your deck.

Only good things in store

Mix It Up: Great Store-Bought Mixers

A decent drink can be hard to find, especially when you’re at home. For the do-it-yourselfers who would rather the "do" simply be mixing the strong stuff with the not-so-strong stuff, we’ve compiled a list of the top five mixers you can find in your friendly neighborhood high-end liquor store. All you have to do is add booze, ice and maybe a wry wink as you drop in the cocktail straw.

Smoke some grass

Blade Runners: 5 Great Riding Mowers for Under $2k

Though you might dream about dropping lotto-winning cash on a pimped-out riding mower, the truth is that you don't need to spend more than $2k for a mower that you can captain with pride. Whether you plan on doing your best Bill Murray (Caddyshack, not Lost in Translation) impression on your own personal links, or hope to trim a more modest green acres, we’ve got the riding mower for you.

The Heat is On

Grill Master: Tips for BBQ Bliss

Grabbing the tongs, stoking the coals and biting into a lightly charred piece of meat is and always will be a shared summer pleasure. That doesn't mean everyone knows how to do it right. To teach you how to truly master the grill -- or even just to bone up the old pros -- we've compiled a list of 10 grilling tips (along with notes from Russ Faulk of Kalamazoo Grills) to make your sizzle entirely satisfactory.

Confirm your searing desires

The Heat is On: 10 Best Grills

Days are getting longer and sleeves are getting shorter. Summer is coming in hot and fast and that means it's time to man the grill.

Poring over coffee's simplest method

Kit: The Perfect Pour Over Coffee Set

Occam’s razor: A philosophical principle suggesting that simpler explanations tend to be better than complex ones. It has broad application, from medicine to ethics to proofs of the existence of God. Now if we apply the razor to our morning coffee, as the thinking men of Gear Patrol are wont to do, we can scrap our fancy drip machines and super-automatic espresso makers and still get a world-class cup of coffee without doing much more than pouring hot water over coffee grounds. We’ve assembled a pour over kit with all the basics to get you started -- at a very affordable price.

Get to Work

Wood, White and Worked All Over: 10 Modern Desks

A man’s desk is his life. It’s where he does his work, pays his bills, keeps his keepsakes, composes his words and his thoughts. It might be the most intimate piece of furniture in the house -- it’s where one is most fully alone, and where, tethered to an often unassuming 50 square feet, a man can finally get down to business. That’s why finding the right desk is so important. Fortunately, plenty of bespoke furniture makers sell gorgeous, modern workspace options. We’ve narrowed down the field with this list of great contemporary desks at a variety of sizes, styles and prices.

The Tale of the Tape

Stanley PowerLock: An Icon Turns 50

Since 1963, we've enjoyed six generations of the Corvette and five versions of the Mustang. Nine different Presidents have called the White House home and we have listened to vinyl give way to tape, CDs and eventually the digital download. We've also had 50 years of the Stanley PowerLock tape measure, a product that has clearly stood the test of time and continues to enjoy its reign at the top.

Bring the heat

Breakdown: The Kalamazoo Outdoor Pizza Oven

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet is the Bentley of the grilling world, so when their Chief Grill master and VP of Design Russ Faulk offered to sit down with us to talk about a new Pizza Oven he'd developed, we brought a bib and hot pepper flakes. Find out what makes his latest pizza oven rig so special in our latest edition of Breakdown.

Pushover

Husqvarna AWD Push Mower: Like a Beast on a Leash

While every man hankers for a tractor to motor around the yard, not every lawn is of a size to justify a riding mower. For the middle ground between a farm and a weed-whackable urban postage stamp, the Husqvarna AWD Push Lawn Mower ($500) is a great choice. I took the bright orange cutter -- just released this month -- for spin and found “push” mower to be a poor descriptor.

Seat Yourself

Swinglab Modular Swing

The American dream in the post Gangham-style age has changed significantly from the days when success was defined by a white picket fence, a Suburban in the driveway and a front porch swing (at least in some parts of the country). Mississippi-based designer and craftsman Andy Hilton decided to re-invent the traditional porch staple as a modern and versatile fixture for the next generation of homeowners.

Eureka

Cree LED Light Bulbs

Cree LED Light Bulbs ($10+) are the best things in lighting since the Almighty started a sentence "Let there be..." Their three selections, in 40-watt, 60-watt and 60-watt "daylight", range from $10-$14 dollars a pop, offer incandescent-like lighting rather than the tepid glow we've come to know from other "green" bulbs, are dimmable and save 84% more energy than said incandescents.

The Desk Warrior's Best Friend

Steelcase Gesture Chair

Touch screen interfaces are verging on honorary appendages, and our daily physicality has evolved as a result. Nowadays, we're Strunching. The Gesture chair by Steelcase is purpose-designed to support all of nine new Steelcase-coined postures (like the "Strunch" and the "Smart Lean"), which are the result of a global study on how the body behaves when interacting with modern technology.

Ensuring your scotch survives, even if you don't

The Flask by The Macallan x Oakley

The fine single malt makers at The Macallan have teamed up with Oakley to create a limited edition box set and spirits container packed with enough raw masculinity to rob the entire Expendables cast of decades of sequel paychecks. While the traditional groomsmen pleaser is designed to serve as a portable and discrete vessel for drinking on the go, The Flask is a boldly designed, laser welded masterpiece whose material spec sheet reads like the space shuttle's.

Be a Handyman, Wherever You Go

The 10 Best Multi-Tools

You're not the guy who has a frequent buyer card at Sears, and you can't always find the perfect tool in your less-than-organized garage. Perhaps it's time to try the multi-tool.

More: Tools
We Don't See Nothin' Wrong With a Little Bump and Grind

Grind it Out: 10 Best Coffee Grinders

You like the line at your favorite coffee shop? Ok, besides the cute barista, you can do better: start by grinding your own beans, then check back with Gear Patrol for other suggestions for stepping up to the big leagues. The journey from coffee hack to ambrosia connoisseur begins with freshly ground java in your French press, drip, or espresso machine. A quick primer first, and then on to our top 10 picks.

A Scout is Trustworthy

Scout Home Security System

When it comes to home security, there don't seem to be many options between expensive monthly-fee security systems and keeping a pump-action under the bed (note: don't do that). The Scout Home Security System ($120+) utilizes wi-fi and mobile connectivity to meet somewhere between safety and affordability.

Old School, High Quality, No BS

Owen & Fred

In the constant pursuit of a high-quality, stylish lifestyle, it's understandable that we men may stray from the path a time or two -- a truck stop frozen burrito here, a discount-grade pair of white socks there. Most times, though, we regret purchasing shoddy products. Owen & Fred, The Store For Men is a response to just such disappointing gimmickry, providing the superbly crafted choice for everything from dopp kits to ties to kitchen accessories and all the rest.

Better your inner barista

Single Origin Beans vs Blends: A Primer

Let’s face it: the average North American spends less time contemplating the beans behind his morning motivator than it takes his barista to scowl disapprovingly. To open his eyes and shed a little light into those dark waters, the GP team delves into the differences between single origin and blended coffees. Our goal? To arm you with information on micro-lot farming, blend aging and why that cup tastes the way it does. It's all about being informed and maximizing enjoyment in your every-morning drink. So put on your scholar cap, pour yourself a cup and read on to explore the methods used to turn those remarkable beans into a masterpiece.

This faucet really blows

Dyson Airblade Tap Hand Dryer And Faucet

There are more inefficient and grosser routines in life, but washing and drying our hands has that certain je ne sais quoi -- the feeling that there must be a more sensible, genius solution on tap somewhere. The genius solution comes courtesy of the folks at Dyson; their Occam's Razor solution is the new Dyson Airblade Tap (call to discuss pricing), a hyper-efficient washer/dryer faucet combo.

Take it outside

Bowers & Wilkins AM-1

Music lovers don’t want to be tethered to an indoor system -- loud enough to be heard outside is too loud for inside -- but even “outdoor” systems rarely last long out in the wet and cold. Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 exposes your music to the elements with impunity, thanks to a durable, weather-resistance speaker enclosure.

Burn the lamp at both ends

Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp

Melatonin is a hormone produced inside the brain that helps regulate sleep. It essentially burns away when light enters the eyes; when there is no light it builds up in your noodle and you snooze. Good taste is something the regulates the aesthetic appeal of your personal environment; the more good taste you have, the more friends you will have. What we're saying is, it's time to ditch the lava lamp and invest in the Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp ($100).

Rack 'em up

Make Bike Rack

Indoor bike racks come in all shapes and sizes, most of them trending toward "modern chic" or "classic natural". Some just look like ugly contemporary sculptures. The Make 001 Bike Rack ($180), first product of fledgling design group Make, combines the best of both worlds with an unpresumptuous shape and clean design.

Rock Out With Your Crock Out

5 Best Slow Cookers

There’s a magic cauldron for preparing food — one you’re likely not using — that combines convenience, a near-guarantee against overcooking and the ability to transform inexpensive, tough cuts of meat into tender, flavorful dishes. This fire-and-forget-it tool? The slow cooker. A slow cooker, as the name suggests, takes low heat, moisture and a long...

Drill baby drill

5 Best 12-Volt Cordless Drills

The cordless drill is the most useful tool in any man’s bag. Untethered power and portability combined with the ability to go from drill to drive in mere seconds make it the go-to grab for most projects around the house. While the 18V and 20V bit-twisters of the world have homes on the belts of contractors and semi-pro weekend warriors alike, breaking out the big guns just to hang a picture or tighten some screws is well, overkill -- plus every now and then things can get a little tight. Whether you’re just beginning your collection or adding to the fleet, the torque and twist-time offered by today's 12V versions rivals many of their corded counterparts, minus the heft; that can often be the difference between completing a job and cursing til the cows come home.

Pamper the pooch

Aesop Animal Wash

He eats your food. He sleeps in your bed. Hell, he kisses your significant other more than you do. Yet you bathe your dog with a hose and a bottle of harsh, ineffective soap. Aesop Animal Wash ($35) is a bit of a splurge, for sure, but it’s made to the same standard as Aesop’s...

Whittle away at your meal

Opinel Bon Apetit Table Knives

Sure, you've used an Opinel blade to eat -- but that was a skewer of venison charred over a kindling fire under the stars. Enjoy quality cutlery under different circumstances with Opinel's Bon Apetit Table Knives ($70). These dishwasher-safe, olive wood-handled knives feature Swedish stainless steel blades and handsome, sleek design, somewhere between a paring and a steak knife

Not-so-large, but in charge

Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator

As mother nature continues to channel Tony Danza -- reminding us of who's the boss of this marble -- on an increasing basis, proper emergency preparedness is more important than ever. The Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator is a breadbox-sized lifeline for powering both critical gadgets like lights and radios along with all of the touchscreen comforts of an upper middle class home.

How a stove suits up

Fog Linen Kitchen Cloths

Listen, we’ve all said some stupid things to impress people. The only difference is that we’ve never said anything that can be disproved (go ahead, see if there’s evidence on the internet proving our uncle wasn’t the inspiration for Weekend at Bernie’s). But you. You actually told a young lady that you’re an excellent cook,...

For the notary public and/or spy in your life

Ion Audio Air Copy

We have a ton of questions about the Ion Audio Air Copy, which was just announced at CES 2013. The primary one is, what’s a company most known for making inexpensive USB turntables doing throwing out a wireless scanner? More importantly, who actually needs — literally, needs — a wireless scanner? From our deep and...

A Plant Tracker To Root For

Parrot Flower Power Plant Monitor

For obsessive but absent-minded tech geeks whose thumbs are jonesin’ to go green, the Flower Power app by Parrot is the perfect gardener on the cheap. Using a wireless bio-dongle — a kitschy divining-rod-shaped device that plugs into the soil next to your budding buddy — the app monitors plants’ stats in real time. Data...