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Take a look around! Hottest new home items

Do you love to be the first on your block with the newest home products or designs? Well, we've got some inside scoop. TODAY home contributor Lou Manfredini went to the 2008 International Home & Housewares Show and wants to share his favorite picks from it.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

The 2008 International Home & Housewares Show is home to some 2,100 exhibitors and more than 60,000 buyers, sellers, inventors and experts in the field of home goods. There are 13 miles of aisles (meaning if you walked up and down every aisle of stuff you would have walked 13 miles)! It's really too bad that it's not open to the public, because there are some terrific displays and gadgets for the home. I walked around and spoke to many different companies about what they had that was new, hot and different. Here's a short list of what I found:

Want a line of cleaning products that works and that lessens its carbon footprint? Then Wonder Tablitz cleaners are for you. They ship empty bottles along with three tablets and you then add your own water to the bottle to create the cleaner. With all other liquid cleaners, 95 percent of what you're purchasing is water; that water adds weight and costs a lot of money to ship. The bottles retail for about $6.99 each, which makes three total bottles of cleaner. Extra tablet packs cost less than $5. For more info and to find a retailer in your area, visit Wonder Tablitz's Web site.  

It seems like we never have enough time to eat lunch at work; more and more of us are eating at our desks because there is too much to do. Well, now you can at least have a hot lunch, thanks to the new iWave Cube microwave oven. You can heat up soup or pop corn; warm up coffee, even a Hot Pocket. You can take this unit anywhere you can plug it in. This one-cubic-foot microwave oven retails for about $130. For more information or to purchase it, visit the Sharper Image Web site.

Humidifying the air in small spaces is now very easy with the tiny space humidifier from Air-O-Swiss. By using a standard-size water bottle, you can ultrasonically humidify a space as large as 100 square feet. It's a great item to take when you travel or use it in your office. This unit will be available in September 2008 and should retail for $59.99 (water bottle not included). For more information, visit the Air-O-Swiss Web site.

Those of us who are parents can all remember that first ride home with our newborn — it was scary. I thought for sure someone from the hospital was going to follow us home to tell us what to do. I learned quickly, though, that newborns did not come with instruction manuals. To lessen that feeling, new parents can utilize the SafetyMate®. This talking first-aid system helps you understand what to do in case of an emergency. The unit will clearly and calmly instruct you on the right procedure for stings, burns, allergic reactions, even CPR. The new unit will be on the market in late May 2008 and will cost about $149.99. For further information visit SafetyMate's Web site.

The green movement is smack-dab in the middle of the kitchen with Cuisinart's new Green Gourmet. This new line of cookware is more eco-friendly in the way it's made and sold. The nonstick surface is called Ceramica; it's petroleum-free and also PTFE-free and PFOA-free. (Both of these chemicals, used in many nonstick surfaces, have raised safety concerns when they start to break down over time.) The handles are made from recycled stainless steel and even the packaging is made from post-consumer fibers and soy ink. The product will retail for $25-$70. You can learn more about it on Cuisinart's Web site

Your holidays, birthdays and special occasions just got a whole lot easier with the Gift Wrapping Station. The collapsible workbench holds up to 36 rolls of gift wrap, ribbons and bows. Legs fold down to create a comfortable workstation to wrap gifts in a snap, and when you're done you can fold it up and slide it under your bed. It retails for $99 and can be found at The Container Store Web site.

And now, from the out-of-the-box thinking department, three items I thought were a little forward and fun:

  1. The 2-Carat Cup is truly a girl's best friend. This coffee mug features a ring-finger loop that sports a fake diamond to impress your friends as you sip your herbal tea. For more on this fun item and others like it, visit

  2. Imagine if you only had to shave your legs every 4 to 6 weeks — that's what the folks at Emjoi say is possible with their hair removal tool. This electric unit is like 72 tweezers that remove the hair by pulling rather than shaving. The company claims it's virtually painless. I have to say I tried it and it was not that bad. The new unit will retail for $119. For more information, visit the Emjoi Web site.

  3. If you need a double shot of espresso to get your day started, then you have to try the new Handpresso®. This handheld unit makes a double shot no matter where you are; just pour in hot water, place the coffee pack in the unit, pump the unit about 30 times to create the pressure and then pour. Mmmm, good to the last drop. It only costs $150, but that's at specialty stores. To learn more about this product, visit the Handpresso Web site

These last two items aren't from the Home & Housewares Show, but I learned about them in my travels and I liked them so much I had to share. I do not know about you, but at our house my wife and I are always searching for the remote as we get ready to turn off the TV and go to sleep. We end up slapping the bed until we find the thing and then it always seems to fall on the floor. Now there's Neat Sheets; these top-quality, high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets have pockets sewn into the sides to hold the remote, a pair of glasses, even an iPod. They come in all different sizes and range in price from $39-$199, depending on the thread count and size. You can learn more about them at Neat Sheets' Web site

Did you ever think you would actually tell your child to go ahead and write on the refrigerator? Well, with the new Amana Jot, now you can. It has a dry-erase board on the door panels where you can write lists, notes to your husband, even the joke of the day and then wipe it right off. The unit sells for about $549 and is 17.6 cubic feet. For further information, visit the Amana Web site.

If you have more questions or comments, please visit Lou Manfredini at .