Gadgets to keep you cool in the heat

Dyson's Hot + Cool is $449.99 at Sears, The Bay, Future Shop and other department and electronics...

Dyson's Hot + Cool is $449.99 at Sears, The Bay, Future Shop and other department and electronics stores. (Supplied)

Natalia Manzocco, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:01 PM ET

How about this weather we're having, huh?

With heat waves erupting across the country, it seems like there's no escaping the toasty wrath of Mother Nature. Relief is elusive — the office air conditioning is unreliable, your car's AC takes forever to get going, and as for public transit? Forget it.

If you need to break out the big guns, consider chilling out with a few of these gadgets. Just remember, some of the best ways to keep cool are mercifully low-tech — long live the Mr. Freeze and the lemonade stand.

A large fan, pointed at your sweltering noggin, is usually the first line of defence against a heat wave. It's one of the simplest gadgets there is — so naturally, when Dyson decided to build one, it became both intuitively useful and sculpturally beautiful. After rolling out the Dyson Hot space heater, the company worked in a heat-free fan setting to create the Hot + Cool. Just turn the heat down to 0 C, and the fan kicks in; use the wireless remote to set it from 1 (whisper) to 10 (full blast). The company's much-vaunted blade-free Air Multiplier design is safe to have around kids and pets. Of course, it also heats a room like a dream — but we can talk about that in a few months, OK? The Hot + Cool is $449.99 at Sears, The Bay, Future Shop and other department and electronics stores.

'Tis the season for barbecues, picnics and cookouts. If you'd like to keep something chilled without diluting it or ferrying it back and forth to the cooler or fridge, take a tip: Try the Tilt. The gel-filled "chilling sphere" can be used for dips, drinks, whatever; it also includes a metal hook you can pop onto your bowl or glass so fishing it out won't make a mess. As for the ants and bees your snacks or sangria will attract: You're on your own there. The Tilt is $17.99 for one or $34.99 for two at soireehome.com.

My apartment is AC-free, and seemingly designed to retain heat; at night, the mercury barely drops, and I've been resorting to the classic stick-feet-out-from-under-the-covers manoeuvre. A far more sophisticated solution is Brookstone's bed fan, which is designed to pipe cool air under the sheets from the foot of your bed. The height is adjustable, and you can put it to one side or in the middle for two sleepers. The accompanying wireless remote is backlit on touch for drowsy users, and you twist the top to increase or decrease the fan's intensity. Odd couples, take note: If one of you is perpetually sweating under the covers, and the other partner likes to wear footie pyjamas in the dead of summer, this will work wonders year-round. Catch the wind for $99.99 at brookstone.com.

If you're looking for a portable way to stay cool — something more reliable than one of those battery powered handheld fans, perhaps — you may find relief in Coldfront. The "portable cooling system" consists of melt-free cooling packets and a portable cooling core, all zipped into a unit about the size of a sunglass case. Each packet will stay cool on your skin for about 10 minutes; after that, pop it into the case next to the core and it'll be ready for use again in 20 minutes.The kit is $79.90 at mycoldfront.com.


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