Coolest Green Gadgets
SolarKindle Lighted Cover
The Amazon Kindle is the hottest e-reader on the market, and now it has a cool green gadget to match. The SolarKindle Lighted Cover from SolarFocus is the world's first solar-powered e-reader cover. It features an eco-friendly design with a flexible, lightweight, high-performance solar panel built into the cover, so you can keep your Kindle charged up without plugging in. The built-in LED reading lamp is always available -- each hour of solar charging gives you three days of uninterrupted use -- and the dual-charging (USB/solar) reserve battery provides backup equal to months of unplugged reading time.
Bedol Water-Powered Clock
Wake up to the possibilities of a greener lifestyle with this water-powered clock from Bedol. This high-quality, low-maintenance chronometer couldn't be easier to use: just add water. No batteries, no electricity, no chemicals and no pollution. You don't even have to wind it. Just fill it with tap water and it runs itself, providing 8-12 weeks of accurate timekeeping before you need to refill it. And while you're changing the water, the clock's built-in memory chip will keep it running precisely on time.
Nest Self-Programming Thermostat
How you adjust your thermostat has a big impact on your energy costs, but most of us are a little haphazard in our approach to climate control. The Nest is a self-programming thermostat that learns what you like and how you live and adjusts your home environment accordingly. This handy gadget makes sure the temperature is right when you get up in the morning, turns it down when you're asleep or away, and works tirelessly to deliver the ultimate in personal comfort while lowering your energy costs. Every time you turn the ring, the Nest learns a little more about you, and you can control it from anywhere: there's a smartphone app that lets you adjust the Nest remotely.
Eco ATM Gadget Recycler
This isn't a gadget you're going to haul around with you every day, but it could become an important tool in your effort to live green. E-waste is a growing problem worldwide, but knowing how you can become part of the solution isn't always easy. Enter the ecoATM, a self-service electronic eCycling station that quickly inspects and assigns real-time secondary market value to portable devices, collects them for safe disposal, issues payment to the consumer, and handles any additional trade-in promotions or discounts offered by the manufacturer or retailer on the spot. What could be better?
Ray Solar-Powered Suction Charger
You'll never have to worry about a dead cell phone battery when you have Ray, the portable solar charger. You'll get maximum solar exposure because Ray attaches to any window with its own suction cup, or sits on flat surfaces with a moveable kickstand. Ray holds enough energy to fully charge your phone via USB cord, and an LED light indicates battery status. When you're finished charging, the USB cord neatly tucks under the kickstand for easy storage.
Change the Record Recycled Amplifier
It's the next step in the evolution of music: old vinyl records transformed into smartphone speakers. The Recycled Amplifier is also the ultimate accessory for eco-conscious consumers, because it uses no electricity or wires to boost the sound of your smartphone, and it's made completely from recycled vinyl. Want to turn your smartphone into a speakerphone, or share your music with others? Now you can, with style and nostalgia. It's the best of both worlds.
Neoperl Faucet Aerator
Another low-tech green gadget that will pay big dividends on a small investment is this faucet aerator from Neoperl. Screw it onto your kitchen or bathroom faucet and it aerates the water, reducing the amount of water you use for everyday tasks such washing your hands, brushing your teeth and doing the dishes. Unless you're trying to fill a bucket in record time, you're not likely to notice the low-flow effect, but the water you save will add up to cost savings and environmental benefits.
Smart Power Strips
This may look like an ordinary power strip, but it's much more. Sure, the built-in surge protector will help save your expensive computers, tablets and smartphones from the ravages of power surges, but Smart Power Strip also senses when your gadgets are turned off and fully charged -- and turns off the electricity to save power. By not wasting energy on gadgets, this handy accessory helps your wallet and the environment.
HYmini Portable Wind and Solar Charger
Talk about personal power: now you have the power to charge your MP3 player, smartphone or digital camera by simply riding your bike or running around the block. The HYmini portable charger uses a combination of wind and solar power to recharge your gadgets while you enjoy the great outdoors. The HYmini even supports you on couch-potato days by recharging from a conventional wall socket.
Seiko Solar Watch
Blending high style with an earth-friendly battery that never needs replacing, a Seiko solar watch might be the perfect gift for the man or woman who has (almost) everything. When worn daily, the battery will remain fully charged because this watch recharges in any kind of light -- indoors or out. And even if it's left in a drawer for years, the self-charging technology will be up and running with only eight minutes of light exposure.
Larry West is a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest and a former award-winning environmental journalist.