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.
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.
It's not the coziest looking chair, but "6 Shades of Grey," the winning entry in a design competition sponsored by Wilsonart, is one of the most inventive uses of laminate you might ever see. Designed by University of Oregon student Katie Lee, the chair will be on display from May 18-21 at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City.
There's so much more to grilling than burgers, steaks and hot dogs. Fish, veggies, whole roasts, and pizza are also great on the barbecue. But you'll need more than the old burger flipper to whip up those dishes. Special gadgets such as grilling baskets, woks, cooking racks and pizza stones will give you the tastiest and neatest results. But which ones are really worth it? To find out, Consumer Reports' experts tried eight new grilling gizmos and found some big differences in those that are designed to do the same job.
A cold beer may already be your go-to barbecue beverage. But like wine, different types of beer taste better with some foods than others. Here's our experts' beer menu for which types of beer go best with what foods, from pre-party nibbles to dessert (yes, dessert).
Things are getting a bit messy in the detergent aisle. More laundry detergent containers are starting to resemble food packaging, of all things, and if that doesn't throw you the labels might—gluten-free and vegan claims? Consumer Reports' latest laundry detergent tests found some clear winners and some confusing containers.
There are just a few things to know about Mother's Day. First, remember the holiday. This year Mother's Day takes place on Sunday, May 12, so you don't have many shopping days left. Second, book a table. Restaurants are packed on Mother's Day, so if you're going out to celebrate, get on Yelp, OpenTable, or some other dining site now. And third, don't limit yourself to the classics and the clichéd. When choosing a Mother's Day present, the sky's the limit, as you'll see below in our selection of gifts for the mom who . . .
Garden hoses can be unwieldy so the promise of a lightweight, expandable hose that takes up little space was hard to resist. Consumer Reports tried out three 50-foot models of this new breed of garden hose, which weighs as little as one pound and stretches like an accordion to roughly three times its original length with the water on. And while the so-called pocket hoses don't really fit in your pocket, they live up to most of their claims.
With names like Minnie's Polka Dots, Eeyore's Rain Cloud and Belle of the Ball, Walmart has introduced a line of Disney-themed paints. Sold in colors that match Disney bedding products, the retailer hopes to appeal to parents who continually redecorate their children's rooms as they grow. Claimed to be kid-tough, the paints are made by Glidden, a brand that has typically done well in Consumer Reports paint tests.
After months of testing gas grills the results are in and out of the 100-plus grills, the Weber Spirit SP-320 tops Consumer Reports' gas grill Ratings. At $600, the Spirit isn't the most affordable model on our tops picks list, but there's a lot to like about this midsized grill. It's easy to use and preheats quickly and evenly. And the Weber was excellent on high and low heat. Here's what else we found in our tests.
Many infomercial products aren't worth more than the time you spend watching the frantic pitches. But three that we've tested combine good performance and real value: Lint Lizard, Ninja Master Prep Professional blender, and Ooma.
Sherwin-Williams' Chip It, an online color tool, creates paint palettes based on images that catch your eye. Simply find an online photo with colors you love—a Maui sunset, Parisian café—or use an image saved on your computer and upload it to letschipit.com. A palette of up to 10 Sherwin-Williams' colors instantly appears, corresponding to the hues in your photo. And while we like this online app, not all Sherwin-Williams paints measured up in Consumer Reports paint tests.
Q: My wife and I are moving our laundry from the basement to the top floor of our three-story condo. What are the pros and cons of using a venting or non-venting dryer? Which is preferable?—Vic White Park City, UT
Q: We've tried using compact fluorescent lightbulbs in our remote-controlled ceiling fans. The bulbs blink and burn out within minutes. Is there a special type of bulb needed?—Helen Dula Puyallup, WA
When it comes to household chores, windows cleaning ranks right up there with, well, window cleaning. There's a reason many people who clean homes for a living tell you they don't do windows, and if they do, you can expect to pay extra for the work.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: