If you follow my column, you know I am a big vinyl fan. Last year I was trying to find something to help me accurately track the hours on my turntable cartridge's stylus. I couldn't find what I wanted, so I created it. While I usually critique other people's products, please indulge me this chance to talk about my own. (Spoiler alert: I like it.)
The StylusTimer is to turntables what an odometer is to cars, except instead of miles, it tracks the number of hours a stylus operates. Why is that important? A stylus (turntable needle) has a finite life span, usually around 1,000 hours. If the stylus is replaced prematurely, you're wasting money. But if is used after it is worn out, sound quality suffers and, more important, the worn stylus damages records. Unfortunately, few turntable users know exactly how many hours are on their stylus.
StylusTimer allows users to track their stylus hours easily and enables enthusiasts to discuss their phono cartridges with a new level of precision. For example, they can say, "My new cartridge was fully broken in at 36 hours." Or, "my stylus has 638 hours on it."
A flashing light lets you know it is recording. It requires deliberate effort to reset. so you don't lose the data if you accidentally touch the reset button, and it remembers your time when you change the battery. It is available for $19.95 with free delivery at stylustimer.com. It's also available at amazon.com, but I think the StylusTimer website is sharper. Then again, I'm biased.
A toothbrush that shines
Over the years, I've tried several electric toothbrushes and never found one that I totally liked. (After the first part of this column, you're probably thinking that now I'm going to say that I invented one. But no.) I've owned a Sonicare toothbrush for years, and although I love the sonic cleaning action, I've never been happy with the price. The full-featured Sonicare models sell for $150 to $300, and I have a hard time paying that much for a toothbrush.
I found the TLOVII sonic toothbrush on Amazon with models selling for as little as $29.99. I bought one, and it was among the best $30 I've ever spent. The five modes (normal, soft, massage, whitening and gum care) allow you to set the toothbrush according to your personal needs.
Look beyond the price
Q: With the $200 off coupon code, the Zvox rechargeable VB25 hearing aids are $299 and the battery-powered VB20s, $199. Batteries cost about $60 a year. So why wouldn't everyone get the VB25 and make up the $100 difference within two years?
A: Because the VB20 has more features. For many users, this makes it worth buying batteries. I suggest visiting zvox.com and comparing the models before deciding. The coupon code HEAR200 has been extended until April 30.