While there are plenty of honest remodeling contractors out there, the field has its share of bad apples. We asked our Facebook fans to tell us the craziest thing their contractors told them. "Well, all windows leak a little," a poster wrote. "Don't worry about water coming through the electrical fixture," another wrote. Our favorite: "It would save time just to send you a court transcript." This checklist will help you avoid similar experiences with your kitchen remodel:
While streaming-video services seem to get all the love, there are still plenty of good reasons to get a Blu-ray player, especially since many models combine the excellent high-definition picture quality and great sound you get from discs with access to online content.
Q: I've heard that some olive oil labeled as "extra virgin" really isn't. Is that true? —C.K., Staten Island, N.Y.
Anyone who's ever read Consumer Reports car buying advice knows that it's important to go into a showroom ready to fend off pitches for extras you don't need, like extended warranties, pin striping, and paint protection. But unless you're paying attention, you may end up paying extra just for the paint.
The term "all-wheel drive" suggests cars that drive more safely, with wheels keeping their grip on slippery roads. Husqvarna extends the concept for its self-propelled mower with all-wheel drive, the Husqvarna HU800AWD, $500. The company claims it offers, "balance and power to all four wheels in hilly, uneven terrain and other tough mowing conditions." Consumer Reports put the mower to the test in our tough mowing tests of 120 walk-behind mowers, tractors and riders.
Chrysler has agreed to conduct a "voluntary campaign" to inspect and, if needed, upgrade 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty SUVs to improve rear-collision protection. Chrysler had until today to respond to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety recall request due to fire risk.
You can save thousands on a kitchen remodel by refurbishing your cabinets and it's the green way to go. To be fit for reuse, the cabinets must work with your layout, and the units must be plumb, square, and sturdy. Delamination, either from peeling veneers or plywood layers coming apart, is a sign that the cabinets are too far gone. Assuming the cabinets are structurally sound, they can be refinished or refaced. Here's how.
Smart phones, tablets, and laptops do lots of things well, but providing great sound quality usually isn't one of them. The small speakers in many of these devices produce audio that you could charitably call weak or even tinny. So what do you do if you're sharing tunes with friends or you want to listen to music or enjoy a video without putting on a pair of headphones?
We buy and test hundreds of tires a year. The paces we put them through include evaluating for overall performance for stopping on dry and wet roads, handling, resistance to hydroplaning, winter grip, tread life, and fuel efficiency. In all of our years of testing, we've learned that no tire is perfect. But, we bought recently one that is truly something special.
You're standing before a wall of white in the toilet paper aisle of your local retailer, thinking: How much difference can there really be between brands X,Y and Z? So you go with the cheapest, or the one you know best, only to be reminded later that, actually there's a big difference between good and bad TP. That's plain to see in Consumer Reports' toilet paper Ratings, where fifty points separate our first and last-place products. So before restocking your supply, be sure to check the results.
You're forgiven if an ad for "the world's most portable desktop" confuses you. But don't be surprised if claims like that pop up more frequently, because computer manufacturers are beginning to make so-called portable desktops, complete with battery, that can be used something like a giant tablet.
You have to love those Bed Bath & Beyond coupons. The housewares retailer not only gives you 20 percent or $5 off a single item for in-store purchases, but its coupons also never expire, no matter the expiration date stamped on them. (A company spokesperson encourages you to use the coupons by the expiration date.) Beyond a nice bump-up in savings, how could these coupons get any better?
Chevrolet had a lot at stake with the redesigned Silverado. It is the best-selling General Motors model by a long shot, and it is facing off in a hotly contested segment amid some updated players. Consequently, we were eager to see how the 2014 Silverado measures up.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: