6 Everyday Gadgets with Manual Powered Alternatives

Normally when I write up one of these articles I pick one gadget or appliance that normally runs on traditional electricity or fossil fuels and describe the benefits of an alternative energy version of the same thing. But there are so many everyday gadgets that we use that have energy free alternatives that may not warrant a full-page write-up but are still important to know about.

We are so accustomed to flipping a switch and have our gadgets turn on and do all of our work for us. But if you want to reduce electricity usage and your carbon footprint there are plenty of alternatives to gadgets you use every day, and most of them don’t require much more work on your part than the powered versions.

Can Opener

Ok, in all fairness most of you probably already have a hand crank can opener. They are far more common than the electric variety. If, however, you are using an electric can opener and you are not running a restaurant where you need to open hundreds of cans a day, switch to an old-fashioned can opener, a simple metal one will probably last longer than that loud electric version anyway.

Coffee Maker

If you are a real coffee lover then you are doing yourself a disservice by drinking the regular drip brew variety. A French press makes a much better coffee and only takes about ten minutes. Coffee out of a French press tastes richer and gets you going faster. If you are someone who uses the single serve cups of coffee then you can use a French press to enjoy a single-cup of coffee without sending a bunch of cups off to the landfill.


I really have never seen the need for a dryer. They use up so much electricity to get clothes dry that I’ve always seen them as a way to throw money down the drain. All you really need is either a clothesline or drying rack. Clothes dried on a line feel softer, don’t fade as easily and smell better, so much so in fact that they make dryer sheets designed to smell like your clothes were dried on the line. Just skip the middleman.

Lawn Mower

If you have a relatively small yard quit wasting your money on the gas or electricity needed to power it. A simple push behind, motorless lawn mower will get the job done just as well and. Just make sure to keep the blades sharpened and cut your grass regularly before it gets too high, and you won’t have a problem.


Just like with the lawn mower above, your vacuum cleaner can be swapped out for a push, motorless sweeper that will do a great job on your carpets. In my personal opinion, I like motorless sweepers a lot more than a regular vacuum. There are far less moving parts involved, which means if you accidentally sweep up a screw or coin you’re less likely to break the whole thing.

Air Purifier

You don’t need to drop hundreds of dollars on an air purifier because nature figured out how to purify the air long ago. Add a few of the right houseplants to any room and purify your air the way the world has done it for millions of years. If you crave extra purification, add a Himalayan salt candle or a beeswax candle and really cut down on any impurities in the air without increasing your electric bill.

For most things now you can just flip a switch and let a gadget do all of the work for you, but if your trying to reduce the amount of energy you are using there are plenty of manual versions. After all, for most of history, we didn’t have electricity but we still managed to accomplish plenty of things. It may take a little extra work on your part but generally, the outcome is of a higher quality and more satisfying.


  1. My grandso wants to use a powerless push mower but it needs wheels. Do you know anywhere in the states we might find them?
    Your Friend, Loucile Hall

  2. Thanks for the useful information. I want to try your recommendations in practice! Only an air purifier I’m not sure what I can replace with plants, because modern models are already energy-efficient and perform specific functions, such as cleaning the air from mold spores.

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