Pull the plug on old-school home gadgets that require mains power. The latest rechargeable batteries and low-energy LED lights and motors are creating a wireless world of portable furniture, lighting, audio, vacuum cleaners and household tools. Some don’t even need to be recharged via the mains — they are powered by the sun or via wind-up lever.
1. The Eton Road Torq
The Eton Road Torq is an always-ready emergency road beacon with a wind-up handle: one minute’s cranking yields 15 minutes of powerful LED torchlight and a flashing beacon, or charge via a DC car power lead; £35.95, from amazon.co.uk or call Nevada on 023 92 313090 (nevadaradio.co.uk).
2. Solar-powered raptor radio — and bottle opener
The splash-proof, rubberised Raptor is a sturdy solar-powered radio that also provides an emergency charge for your phone. It will play continuously in sunlight, or for up to eight hours in the dark. It is also an LED torch, altimeter, barometer, compass, alarm clock — and even a bottle opener; £99.99, from amazon.co.uk or call Nevada on 023 92 313090 (nevada radio.co.uk).
3. NightNight Lights
NightNight lights are powder-coated stand-up steel animal shapes — a rhino, bear or elephant. Created by Sixties designer Clifford Richards, they are back-lit at night with power from a sun-shaped solar panel; £28.95 from prettydandy.co.uk.
4. Squil coffee table
Press a switch and the Squil coffee table by Clay Designs (claydesigns.co.uk) becomes an illuminated sculpture, thanks to strips of low-energy LEDs set into its FSC-certified timber slats. A seven-hour charge gives at least 12 hours of light. It’s 80cm by 80cm by 40cm high, with a slightly larger glass top; £3,750 to order. Call 01260 224738 or visit madebyhandsofbritain.com.
5. The Jongo speaker
The Jongo S340B is a portable rechargeable wireless speaker with wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity and 360-degree sound, to use on its own or as a multi-room music system. It comes in a range of fashion colours with 10 hours of listening per four-hour charge; £149.99 at John Lewis, amazon.co.uk or contact pure.com (0845 1489001).
6. Rechargeable M lamp
Young British designer David Irwin’s portable cordless M Lamp for Juniper was inspired by traditional miners’ lamps. With a charge time of four hours, its touch-dimmable, energy-efficient LED gives 1,000 lux of warm light for about eight hours on a single charge — ample for late-night work or reading in bed — or emergency lighting on full power for up to three hours. Made from aluminium in matt black, glossy white or orange, it is £170 from juniper-design.com (despatched from US; available from this spring).
7. Dyson Digital Slim vacuum
The new Dyson DC44 Digital Slim is a streamline lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner (2.3kg) with an aluminium wand and a spinning motorised head for floor-to-ceiling cleaning. Its powerful motor will clean for 20 minutes, with no drop in performance. It recharges in less than six hours; £279.99, call 0800 954 0154 or visit dyson.com.
8. Solar Keyboard Folio
Slip your iPad into the Solar Folio to add a light-powered keyboard (solar or artificial) and a handy stand and cover. It wakes up as soon as it’s opened and works endlessly so long as there’s light; £119 from logitech.com or call 01753 870 900.
9. Zooka wireless speaker
The Zooka Wireless Speaker is slimline, silicone and Bluetooth-enabled, and simply slides on to a laptop, smartphone or tablet to boom out sound for music, movies or games. It’s also an attractive stand and contains a built-in microphone so you can use it for hands-free conversations. A charge from your laptop using a USB port will give you music for about eight hours — and you can choose from eight fashionable colour shades; £79.99 from amazon.co.uk and from c14audio.com.