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)

5 gross things Consumer Reports buys for testing

5 gross things Consumer Reports buys for testing

Dust, pet hair, soap scum and other dirt and debris that homeowners struggle to get rid of are coveted items in the labs at Consumer Reports. In fact, we pay for the yucky stuff. What better way to determine if the vacuums, air purifiers, washing machines and other products we test are up to the job? Here are five gross things we buy that no one else wants and how we use them in our tests.

Household dust for air purifier tests

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Calphalon XL 9-speed blender deemed safe by Consumer Reports

Calphalon XL 9-speed blender deemed safe by Consumer Reports

During initial testing of the Calphalon XL 9-speed blender last summer, we discovered a defective blade assembly that could pose a serious safety risk to consumers. The $ 130 blender landed on our Don’t Buy: Safety Problem list, and was later recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. As part of the recall, Calphalon promised a free repair kit to all owners of the defective product. We’ve since received our repair kit and retested the blender, subjecting … (read more)

Consumer Reports’ Best Refrigerators of 2013

Consumer Reports’ Best Refrigerators of 2013

Shoppers continued to embrace French-door bottom-freezer refrigerators in 2013. Not surprising, manufacturers focused their innovation on this newer configuration, which keeps fresh food at eye-level behind space-saving side-by-side doors. Most of our top picks of the year are drawn from that category, but we also included a new top-freezer, notable for its nifty price tag, if not its game-changing design.

Samsung T9000 RF32FMQDBSR. The $ 3,500 Samsung T9000, above, first caught our eye at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, … (read more)

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)

Consumer Reports’ Naughty & Nice list for 2013

Consumer Reports’ Naughty & Nice list for 2013

 

Policies, like products, sometimes fall short of expectations. And for the fourth year in a row, Consumer Reports is releasing its annual Naughty & Nice list, a campaign to shed light on company policies or practices that help or hinder the public.

The list includes retailers, airlines, telecom companies, and others that we’ve dinged for fees, fine print, or punitive practices; others were lauded for generous and outstanding customer service, for instance.

Several Consumer Reports staff members who cover retailing, finance, electronics, and … (read more)

Coffeemakers that missed the mark in Consumer Reports’ tests

Coffeemakers that missed the mark in Consumer Reports’ tests

Coffeemakers are a popular holiday gift, so if you’re looking for a machine for the coffee achiever in your life, check our coffeemaker Ratings. You’ll find many low-priced models that hit the mark, including traditional drip, espresso, and pod machines.

But not every coffeemaker we test deliver the convenience and optimal brewing that count, including those featured here.

Flashy with flaws

Panasonic NC-ZF1, $ 230 Michael Graves Design (JCPenney), $ 115 Calphalon Quick Brew 1838804, $ 100

Paying big for the … (read more)

Consumer Reports tweaks its washer tests

Consumer Reports tweaks its washer tests

Washers are getting better and better at getting clothes clean using less energy and water. They also extract more water in the process, and that means less time in the dryer. Following this welcome trend, the appliance experts at Consumer Reports have raised the bar in our tests for cleaning and water and energy efficiency. As a result, some of our washing machine scores have changed.  

As the result of innovations, some manufacturers have been able to update their washers so that they … (read more)