Christmas gift guide 2011

We've trawled our test results to bring you a range of great gift ideas.
 
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03.Under $500

Slow cookers

Breville BSC560If someone you know is short on time, a slow cooker could be the answer to their problems. Cooking a meal is as easy as preparing the ingredients in the morning, adding the required liquid, setting the temperature and forgetting about it. At the end of the day dinner is ready. The appliance cooks the meal at a relatively low temperature while you're busy elsewhere. It’s also designed to cook safely while unattended. We tested 15 slow cookers for cooking performance and ease of use. Take a look at the Slow cookers review for more information.

Tents

WTBOutdoorConnWeekenderA family outing using a tent can be a wonderful event. The surrounds, the expected great weather and the prospect of some family time are aspects most look forward to. A good tent can make or break this experience, so CHOICE tested 14 tents to find out which ones could withstand bad weather, and which were the easiest to use and assemble. Most of the top-scorers are spacious, and are quick to set-up and pull down. They also remained dry inside after wet weather. Take a look at the CHOICE Tents review for more information.

Sunbeam EM5600Home espresso coffee machines

You don't need to spend $1000 on a good quality espresso machine for your house. One of the top scorers on test was less than $350. In fact, three of the four models priced above $1000 are at the bottom of our results table. The best machines can froth milk well, and are easy to use. They should also have a cup warming feature, programmable coffee delivery, and a large-capacity water tank that's easy to fill. For more information, take a look at our Home espresso coffee machine review.

Ryobi Cordless RLM36Mulcher lawnmowers

In Australia, the festive season is usually spent outdoors - so keeping the lawn looking its best if often a top priority. Using a mulching lawnmower can reduce your lawn's need for water and fertiliser, providing not only an environmental advantage but a cost saving one as well. They produce more of a compost than a mulch, chopping grass finely and forcing the clippings back down between the blades of grass and back into the lawn. The best mowers on test were easy to manouevre, maintain and clean. For more information, have a look at our Mulcher lawmowers review.

 

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