Mere weeks after Kenmore unseated Bosch from the top of our dishwasher Ratings, the brand has rung the bell anew with a new model in the number-one slot. But the Kenmore Elite 12793, $1,350, has an additional claim to fame: an industry-first motorized spray arm. We decided to see how it worked, using an action camcorder mounted inside the dishwasher while it ran.
The best you can hope for when shopping for a riding mower is a solidly built, top-performing machine that doesn't leave you feeling clipped on the price. This year, in fact, we have two such models in our lawn tractor tests—a pair of zero-turn-radius mowers from MTD's Troy-Bilt brand that we named CR Best Buys.
If you're shopping for new appliances, you might hear the argument that energy-efficient models don't perform as well as their power-hungry counterparts. Or that you'll have to spend more for maximum efficiency. A report out today from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project refutes both claims, and it does so with a deep analysis of real data, including more than 20 years' worth of findings from Consumer Reports' test labs.
Price isn't the best indicator of a gas grill's performance but cheap and flimsy parts, especially when they come with short warranties, are a tip-off that the grill is not long for this world. On average, Americans pay just over $325 for a gas grill and then haul it to the curb in three years, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Before you buy a new grill find out if your old one is worth repairing.
Even a top-performing walk-behind mower, lawn tractor, or rider won't make your lawn the belle of the block if your mowing is too random. Here are some tips for smarter use of your mower or riding machine, along with some finishing touches to help your yard look its best before you fire up the grill this Memorial Day weekend.
Q: My electric water heater had a six-year warranty and is now nine years old. A plumber told me to replace it before I have a problem such as a leak because it may be a major one that floods my finished basement. Do you agree? —Michael Lah Portland, CT
At Consumer Reports, we strongly recommend that any walk-behind mower you buy have a premium engine. These engines, with their more efficient overhead-valve designs, run cleaner and quieter, and are easier to maintain. And the engines have better odds of lasting through the years. Of course, even with a good engine you need a mower that matches the size of your lawn and the type of grass you grow.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced the recall of two models of Optimus portable electric space heaters, including one model that Consumer Reports judged a Don't Buy: Safety Risk last year and asked the safety agency to recall.
John Deere lawn tractors and riders have figured prominently in Consumer Reports' mower tests, and this year's Deere lineup—including at least one newly tested winner—shows that the company is responding well to increased competition from the likes of MTD's Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt brands.
Quartz is the top-performing material in our countertop tests, and it's also where we're seeing some of the most innovative designs. That was apparent at the recent Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in New Orleans, where Silestone Suede, a quartz countertop with a soft, leathery finish was among the more head-turning products. The only catch? The surface may require extra care and attention, which negates the very attribute that makes quartz our top countertop.
With farmer's markets and produce stands about to burst, now is the time to pick up a new blender. Besides mixing up a season's worth of smoothies, you can experiment with whole-food juicing, whereby all or most of the fruits and vegetables are blended to a refreshing, vitamin-packed drink. Too healthy sounding? The following picks from our latest blender tests will also make a killer margarita.
Saving money on major appliances and kitchen countertops can take some sleuthing but who doesn't like discovering a deal? Good timing helps. Watch for major retailers to discount refrigerators, laundry appliances, and more around Memorial Day. Our own digital digging turned up six ways to save.
Our washing test for dishwashers is grueling, with 10 place settings slathered with egg yolks, peanut butter, raspberry jam, and other goo left to harden overnight before we run a cycle. We expect a range of results from utterly spotless dishes to those with bits of food still stuck to them. What we didn't expect was a load of items that stayed dirty because the soap dispenser didn't open.
The past few years have been tough for fans of Oreck vacuums, air purifiers, and other home cleaning products.The iconic brand that introduced lightweight upright vacuums to the market 50 years ago was not as successful with its newer products and last week the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Now it's trying to shore up its finances as Thomas Oreck attempts to buy back the company his father founded and revitalize its product line.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: