Most holiday shoppers stress-free as holiday nears, Consumer Reports poll shows

Most holiday shoppers stress-free as holiday nears, Consumer Reports poll shows

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas coming fast, nearly one-third of Americans who plan to give gifts had yet to begin their shopping as of early December, according to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Poll*. Forty-nine percent were less than halfway finished.

But even with that procrastination, 64 percent said they have things under control and will be ready for the holiday. The remaining 36 percent said that preparing for the holiday had them at least … (read more)

Get the most out of your gas grill with these six barbecue tips

Get the most out of your gas grill with these six barbecue tips

Perfectly seared steaks and mouth-watering burgers hot off the grill signal that summer is in full swing. Add grilled corn and watermelon slices and it’s dinnertime. Grilling doesn’t take much fuss, but it can be tricky, resulting in rubbery chicken and charred rib-eyes. Here are six grilling tips from the experts at Consumer Reports.

Add flavor and tenderness with marinades. Use a marinade made with an acid, such as vinegar, lemon juice, or plain … (read more)

Most LEDs still running in our marathon lightbulb tests

Most LEDs still running in our marathon lightbulb tests

After 12,500 hours of testing energy-saving LEDs, most of the lightbulbs in the labs at Consumer Reports are just as bright as they were after 3,000. What does 12,500 hours mean to you? That’s like saying you bought an LED 11 years ago and used it every day for three hours. But not all LEDs still shine brightly in our lab. It was lights out for an EcoSmart from Home Depot.

Our ongoing tests of LEDs found most … (read more)

Key remodeling index shows most activity in seven years

Key remodeling index shows most activity in seven years

An important indicator of remodeling robustness jumped five points this past quarter climbing back to 2005 levels, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The Remodeling Market Index hit 50 meaning that more contractors are reporting higher activity than lower, compared to three months ago. The activity was particularly strong in owner-occupied homes indicating that homeowners are regaining confidence in the value of their houses.

“The strength of the RMI, especially in owner-occupied properties, shows that homeowners are investing … (read more)

What’s the most dependable mower? Depends who you ask

What’s the most dependable mower? Depends who you ask

Price is the most important consideration for consumers when they choose a walk-behind lawn mower, according to a new report from the marketing firm J.D. Power and Associates. Brand was next on the list of selection criteria but the brands cited as most satisfying by J.D. Power respondents didn’t fare especially well in Consumer Reports reliability surveys.

John Deere walk-behind mowers ranked highest in J.D. Power’s so-called “power circle” ratings of walk-behind mowers followed by Toro and Troy-Bilt. … (read more)