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NHS Wrap-up: eight trends for 2008

Las Vegas Green was the dominant theme at the 2008 National Hardware Show, threading its way through virtually every product category in the Las Vegas Convention Center. But other trends also emerged in electrical, tools, lawn and garden and housewares this year, and Home Channel News editors picked out eight of them:

LED lighting. These bright, long-lasting bulbs have moved beyond flashlights and desk lamps to clip-on barbeque lights, dog collars and the rims of baseball caps. Jasco, in partnership with GE, showed an extensive line of LED nightlights, lanterns, votives and other decorative lights.

Jr. DIYers. You no longer have to take your kid to a Home Depot workshop on Saturday morning to build a wooden birdhouse or toolbox. Now there’s ready-to-assemble kits gauged to different skill levels and an assortment of kid-sized tools -- including a drill -- that really work. There’s even a snowman-making kit that guarantees “the perfect snow creature every time.”

Fashion-forward safety wear. Forget those dowdy orange and yellow florescent vests. Safety equipment manufacturers are showing “high visibility” T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, coveralls and gloves that fulfill ANSI requirements and change with the seasons.

Say no to solvents. Vendors in both the cleaning products and the paint categories came up with numerous “eco-friendly” alternatives to traditional paint removers, drain clearers, toilet, tub and tile cleaners and other harsh chemicals.

Solar power rules. The sun will be firing up all kinds of devices this year, from tiki torches and lanterns to citronella diffusers and Christmas lights.

Be kind to animals. Glue traps and rat poisons are being replaced with more humane “catch and release” pest control devices. One trap used a plastic soda bottle -- recycled, of course. Another wand-like instrument caught spiders so they could be “relocated” outdoors.

Gardening made easy. Time-pressed consumers found plenty of shortcuts to a beautiful backyard, including light meters, battery-powered sprayers, release-on-demand fertilizers and water-holding soils. Two companies offered ready-made vegetable gardens, and one vendor sold a “grow your own tree” kit (elm, apple, gingko, pine) that came in a biodegradable coconut coir pot.

No more worries. Homeowners are willing to pay for peace of mind when it comes to any number of issues. Several vendors exhibited home generators for stand-by power, as well as devices that shut off the main water supply when you leave home or alert you by phone when there’s a water leak anywhere in the house. General Tools is marketing an auto safety tool that can break car windows and cut through seat belts for a quick escape.

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