Privacy tips for the Internet of Things

Privacy tips for the Internet of Things

If you don’t like the idea of being tracked by your devices, you might think you have only two options: Avoid the technology altogether or simply surrender to the surveillance. But for most smart products, there are strategies that can at least restrict how much of your information gets collected.  

1. Password-protect anything that collects personal information. Many smart devices are managed through Internet-based accounts. Some have pass codes you can enter on the device as well. Use both. And … (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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World Maker Faire celebrates all things made by hand

World Maker Faire celebrates all things made by hand

On Sept. 21 and 22, the World Maker Faire descends on New York City. It’s a festival featuring all things made by hand, from handcrafts to sophisticated science projects—a real treat for DIYers. And Consumer Reports is joining the exhibitors this year.

Consumer Reports has a lot in common with the so-called maker movement, and our collective DIY mindset melds well with the spirit of Maker Faire. We test all sorts of products in our labs—vacuum cleaners, (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)