Design trends: time-saving gadgets

We take a look at the latest time-saving gadgets and appliances, including speed showers, floor cleaners, food processors, dishwashers and even robotic lawnmowers.
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Many gadgets are claimed to make life easier - but we've actually tested these time-saving appliances and they really could save you well over seven hours a week.

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1. Watering systems
Watering systems are big garden time savers. Research by Gardena shows we spend an average 24 minutes a week watering plants and vegetables. Gardena's Micro Drip system (from £59.99; visit can drip or sprinkle water on to flowerbeds, veg patches and even patio containers. It uses water sparingly and operates with a timer, so once set up you needn't do a thing. Keep in place permanently (the black hose lies discreetly on the soil) or temporarily to water plants while you're on holiday.

Weekly time saving: 24 minutes
2. Robotic lawnmowers
Robotic lawnmowers are ideal for medium to large lawns and can even navigate obstacles such as trees and garden furniture. The Honda Miimo (from £1,990; visit cuts little and often, automatically mowing several times a week then recharging itself at its base station beside the lawn. The fine (2-3mm) clippings are scattered on the grass, so there's no box to empty. And your lawn is always neatly mowed — as if by magic.

Weekly time saving: at least an hour
3. Speedshower
According to speedshower maker Mira, most of us waste at least 30 seconds a day waiting for the shower to come up to the right temperature. The Mira Platinum Dual (from £790; has a wireless remote control so you can switch it on from the bedroom. What's more, an eco-mode pauses the shower once it has reached the desired temperature so that no water is wasted.

Weekly time saving: at least three and a half minutes
4. Hard floor cleaners
Hard floors can be tough to clean so save time with the Vorverk VK150, plus an SP530 cleaning attachment (£849; Tests showed it cleaned floors in a third of the time it took to mop, scrub and vacuum. Even if you're just mopping a kitchen and bathroom, it will save you nearly half an hour. The Vorverk also uses 90 per cent less water and gets better results.

Weekly time saving: at least 28 minutes
5. Induction hobs
Cook more quickly. Induction hobs are 90 per cent efficient, while gas hobs are about 50 per cent efficient and traditional electric hobs 55 per cent. That energy goes into your cooking so induction hobs cook faster; water boils nearly twice as fast with induction. Stellar portable induction hobs (from £84; stellarcook can be added to any kitchen, saving 10 minutes a day.

Weekly time saving: 70 minutes
6. Kitchen tools
Food processors are great but take so long to set up and clean, they rarely save much time. Üutensil's kitchen tools save time on simple cooking tasks such as whisking or mashing. The Red Dot design award-winning Stirr (£15;, a battery-powered automatic pan stirrer, sits in a saucepan and travels in a circle breaking up lumps to produce impressively smooth sauces.

Weekly time saving: half an hour
7. Dishwasher
If you don't have a dishwasher then get one — it saves so much time. Look for a high-capacity machine that's easy to load. Research by Intertek UK and shows that the 14-place setting Caple Di628 (£699; takes only 10 minutes to load and unload, compared with 70 minutes it would take you to handwash the lot.

Weekly time saving: four hours and 40 minutes

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