No matter how carefully you treat your nonstick frying pan, the day will come when it loses its slickness and your once beautiful omelets turn into a mess. After the pan becomes scratched and damaged, replacing it is the best option. If you're doing that every two or three years, you probably don't want to pay top dollar for a new skillet. In Consumer Reports new tests of 10-inch frying pans we found three nonstick top picks including a Calphalon for $40 that's a Best Buy. We also tested four uncoated frying pans but none rose to the level of recommended.
Need more room in the refrigerator? A couple of newcomers to Consumer Reports' tests of French-door refrigerators should deliver. With claimed 33-cubic-foot capacities, the Kenmore Elite 72093, $3,400, and the LG LFX33975ST, $3,000, are the largest refrigerators on the market. For all that storage, you might expect some trade-offs in the same way supersized automobiles tend to be less fuel efficient than compact models. But in fact, the Kenmore and LG are top performers, with nearly the highest scores in our Ratings of 260 refrigerators.
One brand, Bosch, has topped our dishwasher Ratings for many years, with a $700 model, the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR7UC, top of the list most recently. Until now. In our latest tests of dishwashers, the Kenmore Elite 12783, $1,200, edged out the now number two Bosch with slightly quieter operation and lower water use.
It's been a century since the first Kenmore sewing machine gave birth to a new brand, probably named after Kenmore Avenue in Chicago. Now controlled by Sears Holding Corporation, the Kenmore brand is on an array of appliances, including dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines. Earlier today, Consumer Reports was on hand for the 100th anniversary media event in New York City. For all the innovations on display, it was also apparent that, when it comes to appliance design, what goes around comes around. Here are three ways:
Whole-food juicing is gaining in popularity as more Americans try to maximize their intake of fiber and other nutrients from fruits and vegetables. In order to liquefy the ingredients found in a typical juice recipe, you need to use a blender. Juicing with a reamer-style citrus juicer or a juice extractor wastes much of the pulp and skin, limiting the apparent health benefits.
LG's latest French-door bottom-freezer, the LG LFX33975ST, has an industry-leading claimed capacity of 33 cubic feet. The use of vacuum insulated panels, or VIPs, is one factor in the $3,500 refrigerator's cavernous interior since this type of insulation allows for an exceptionally thin shell and doors. And based on our preliminary test results, LG's mega fridge is headed for a top spot in our Ratings of nearly 260 refrigerators.
Food Network's Ted Allen develops and tests recipes for his cookbooks so when it came to redesigning his Brooklyn kitchen he knew exactly what he wanted—a space that works both personally and professionally. To keep guests from getting underfoot during dinner prep, Allen's partner, Barry Rice, an interior designer, created separate zones for food prep and cleanup with an adjacent seating area. Of course, not everyone has space for two dishwashers like they do but Rice has plenty of other ideas for creating a kitchen fit for a foodie.
While choosing a frozen pizza from among the myriad pies in the freezer section of your local supermarket isn't exactly a big deal, it can be confusing. But once you get home and are ready to nosh, a more important decision awaits: to nuke or not to nuke?
Compact refrigerators are designed to use space efficiently—they fit in a home office, master bedroom, bar or dorm room. But they aren't as efficient at using energy. In our latest refrigerator tests, some mini refrigerators used as much energy as a full-sized refrigerator, and one used more energy than several of the largest refrigerators we've tested. Stricter federal energy standards, slated to go into effect in September 2014, should help. But if you don't want to wait that long, our tests found some more efficient models as well as ways to keep energy costs of current models down.
Do you tackle an average of 18 cleaning tasks each week over a total of five hours? If so, you're part of an influential breed of cleaners dubbed "cleaning routinists" by S.C. Johnson & Son. As the Wall Street Journal reports, manufacturers are courting these power scrubbers with advanced cleaning products that, they hope, will ultimately be embraced by the mainstream. "It's like if you're designing running wear and testing it on triathletes," Don Frey, Method's vice president of product development, told the WSJ. "The casual runner will see the benefit as well."
One of the great things about a wall oven is that you don't have to contort your body into a pretzel to remove baked goods or a heavy roast. A double oven offers that advantage twice over as well as two times the capacity of a single wall oven. While ranges still rule the kitchen, wall ovens make up 15 percent of the market. That's why Consumer Reports is testing more of them and just added a 30-inch Whirlpool model to our list of top picks. We also tested a Frigidaire double oven, which did a decent job but fell short of our top performers.
Let's say you're shopping for a new washing machine. Would you check SaferProducts.gov for reports of dangerous models? Do you even know what SaferProducts.gov is? If you're like the people interviewed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) for its report on this two-year-old consumer website, the answers are no and no. Which is a shame, since once consumers learn about SaferProducts.gov, they mostly find it useful.
Daewoo Electronics, the third largest electronics firm in South Korea after Samsung and LG, is looking to expand its presence in the U.S. home appliance market. Consumer Reports has tested a handful of Daewoo front-loader washing machines and found them to be only so-so. Daewoo's entrance into our refrigerator Ratings reveals more of the same.
Briggs & Stratton has announced the recall of 5,400 Ariens 920014 Snow-Throw snow blowers. A carburetor-bowl nut can allow fuel to escape from recalled units, creating a fire hazard. The Ariens 920014 appears in Consumer Reports' snow blower Ratings.
They say baseball is a game of inches. So too is kitchen remodeling, another activity that heats up in the spring. The inches matter most if you're forced to work with the existing dimensions of the kitchen, including the openings for your various appliances. That's why the increase in slimmed-down refrigerators is good news for space-challenged remodelers. Here are some narrower-than-normal models from Consumer Reports' latest refrigerator Ratings.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: