Best beer and blender drinks for game day

Best beer and blender drinks for game day

With frigid temperatures gripping most of the nation, the last thing most people want is an icy drink. But soon it will be game day, when margaritas and piña coladas are part of the party. To make them, you need a blender that crushes ice like a champ, such as the winners of Consumer Reports’ icy drink and ice crush tests. And for the beer drinkers in the crowd, we have the results of our craft beer taste tests.

Tied at … (read more)

What makes the best juice, a blender or a juicer?

What makes the best juice, a blender or a juicer?

The health benefits of fruit and vegetable juice have helped stoke juicer sales. Manufacturers of high-end blenders are trying to squeeze in on the profits by claiming their products can make juice too, in addition to the usual smoothies and shakes. “Turn whole fruits and vegetables into refreshing juices,” says Vitamix, adding that its machine “utilizes every part of your produce and its valuable nutrition.”

Consumer Reports put that claim to the test by pitting the Vitamix 5200, one … (read more)

Consumer Reports’ Best in Show vacuums

Consumer Reports’ Best in Show vacuums

There’s plenty of fur flying at the the 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York this week but when Consumer Reports tests vacuums it forgoes Fido’s fur and uses cat hair instead. Our vacuum testers take the long fur of the Maine Coon cat, rake it into carpeting and then make 14 passes with a vacuum to remove it. Even with so many chances, some vacuums fail the test. But the top dogs in our vacuum tests pick up … (read more)

Best small appliances for the big holiday dinner

Best small appliances for the big holiday dinner

With a roast beast filling the oven and side dishes on every available burner, a holiday host can quickly run out of space to cook a meal and all the trimmings. But with some creative use of small countertop appliances, you can coordinate your dinner so that everything’s ready at the same time. Many of today’s microwaves and toaster ovens have improved cooking capabilities and warming trays have given way to induction burners that can be used to cook as well as … (read more)

Best sparkling wines for your New Year’s Eve party

Best sparkling wines for your New Year’s Eve party

A New Year’s celebration is even more festive with a glass of delicious sparkling wine in hand. Whether it is a big name French Champagne or a delectable and affordable Cava from Spain, choose your bubbly based on your taste and your budget. Fortunately, as we’ve confirmed in our tests, quality sparklers come at a range of price points. (Check our reviews of sparkling wines, including sparkling rosés.)

Shopping for sparkling wine can be a bit daunting—at the … (read more)

Best matching washers and dryers of 2013

Best matching washers and dryers of 2013

In the laundry appliance aisle, 2013 was a pretty good year. There were ways to save money, capacities kept increasing to help make up for longer wash times, and Wi-Fi enabled appliances allowed you to change cycles using your smart phone. You still had to do laundry, but some appliances made it easier or better. Here’s a look.
 
An LG duo with an appealing price. The LG WT1101CW high-efficiency top-loader was the best of the tested top-loaders and at … (read more)

The best countertop appliances for under the tree

The best countertop appliances for under the tree

Cookware and cutlery are popular holiday presents, but shiny things with a plug are much cooler gifts for the holidays, says Debra Mednick of the NPD Group, a marketing research company. “Giving a small appliance as a holiday gift doesn’t have the stigma it once did, and there’s a lot of cool stuff now.” We know. In Consumer Reports’ labs are some blenders, juicers, toaster ovens, and espresso and coffeemakers that have become just a few of our favorite shiny things with … (read more)

Best and worst cleaning products of 2013

Best and worst cleaning products of 2013

Even if keeping your house cleaner isn’t one of your resolutions for 2014, it’s still good to know which cleaning products are worth the expense and which are like throwing money down the drain. Of the laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners, dishwasher detergents and other cleaning products Consumer Reports put to the test this year, some made chores a cinch while others were a waste of elbow grease. Here’s what we liked and what we didn’t. 

Suds duds
(read more)