The labs are buzzing about our new chain saw tests

The labs are buzzing about our new chain saw tests

Superstorm Sandy blew down more trees in New York and New Jersey than any previous storm on record, experts say. And since then there have been several damaging storms across the nation, including one yesterday that knocked down many trees in the Southeast. So it’s no wonder that chain saws are flying off the shelves of the home improvement stores. We discovered this when Consumer Reports was buying its own batch for new testing, including models from Stihl, Craftsman, … (read more)

News from our labs: Whole-food juicing in the Vitamix 5200

News from our labs: Whole-food juicing in the Vitamix 5200

Whole-food juicing is gaining in popularity as more Americans try to maximize their intake of fiber and other nutrients from fruits and vegetables. In order to liquefy the ingredients found in a typical juice recipe, you need to use a blender. Juicing with a reamer-style citrus juicer or a juice extractor wastes much of the pulp and skin, limiting the apparent health benefits.

We tried out a whole-food juice recipe using the Vitamix 5200, $ 450, one of … (read more)

News from our labs: Best way to cook frozen pizza

News from our labs: Best way to cook frozen pizza

While choosing a frozen pizza from among the myriad pies in the freezer section of your local supermarket isn’t exactly a big deal, it can be confusing. But once you get home and are ready to nosh, a more important decision awaits: to nuke or not to nuke?

In preparation for our test of individual frozen pizzas for an upcoming report, we compared microwave and conventional-oven cooking methods. Some manufacturers list both preparation methods on packaging and leave the … (read more)

With our iron tests, things get steamy in the labs

With our iron tests, things get steamy in the labs

When faced with baskets of wrinkled laundry what you really need is an iron that produces a lot of steam, or a family that wouldn’t mind plenty of polyester. Consumer Reports’ tests of 51 conventional irons found big differences in how much steam they produce. The steamiest of all was the newly tested and top-rated Panasonic NI-W950A. But at $ 220, it’s also the most expensive. Can a $ 50 steam iron get the job done right?

The … (read more)

In our labs, an upright vacuum does triple duty

In our labs, an upright vacuum does triple duty

One of the first choices to make when shopping for a full-size vacuum cleaner is between an upright or canister vac. Occasionally, though, you can buy both in one package. One of the latest models to hit our Ratings, the bagless Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501, is one such model, but with a twist.

Some uprights come with an extra mini-canister, as we’ve seen in the Hoover Platinum Bagged UH30010COM and some older Oreck uprights. The $ 250 (read more)

In our labs, Honda snow blower fights you as well as the snow

In our labs, Honda snow blower fights you as well as the snow

If you’re looking for maximum snow-throwing distance from a compact snow blower and have plenty of money to spare, you might be tempted to spring for the $ 2,200 Honda HS724WA, one of the eight snow blowers we’ve just added to our Ratings of 46 models. It’s on our list of picks chiefly for distance and removal speed, and the brand is preferred by many shoppers. Alas, you may need a lot of muscle to move … (read more)