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.
An LED that replaces 100-watt incandescent lightbulbs is the first of that type to earn Energy Star status. Philips announced that its 22-watt LED is the first 100-watt replacement to meet Energy Star's tough requirements of reducing energy consumption by 75 percent and lasting at least six times longer than an incandescent. (The Philips has a claimed life of 25 times longer.) Consumer Reports hasn't tested this particular LED but it has tested scores of energy-saving lightbulbs to replace 100-watt, 75-watt, 60-watt and 40-watt incandescents, which are being phased out.
If you hate to iron then imagine being a steam iron tester at Consumer Reports. To find the best irons, our testers iron basket after basket of dry, wrinkled linen tablecloths day after day. The fewer the passes needed to smooth out the cloth, the better the iron scores. The irons that emit the most steam tend to do the best job. In fact, in our tests of more than 50 steam irons, we found that most models that cost $30 or less are no bargain, producing far less steam than the models on our list of top steam iron picks.
Most potential homebuyers want their washer and dryer on the main floor of the house, according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders. It's convenient, but if the machines are so noisy they drown out your conversations, then the basement starts to look appealing. In Consumer Reports' tests we found eight matching washer and dryer pairs that are quiet enough for prime placement near a family room or the bedrooms..
When Cree and Philips recently introduced LEDs at Home Depot that cost $13 to $15, half the price of earlier light emitting diode bulbs, one of Consumer Reports' secret shoppers raced to buy them so our lighting experts could begin to test their performance. The LEDs are replacements for 60-watt incandescent bulbs yet use a fraction of the energy. Here's what we found in our initial tests.
Homebuyers have become more practical since the housing market crisis—they don't want cavernous entryways but they do want plenty of storage space. They want to be close to their jobs and integrated into their communities. And they want to keep their energy costs low. In today's market, a McMansion in the exburbs may be a tough sell. Price is still primary, but if you're thinking of buying or selling a home, you should learn how buyers' preferences have changed since the last time you were in the market. Here are the five features today's homebuyers want most.
After receiving 68 reports of LEDs overheating, including some that produced fire or smoke, the Lighting Science Group has recalled 554,000 lightbulbs sold under the brand names Definity, EcoSmart, Sylvania, and Westinghouse. Included in the incidents were eight that resulted in damage to light sockets, fixtures, rugs, carpet, floors, circuits or lamps. The Lighting Science Group is offering new bulbs to buyers.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: