When you choose a product that's easier on the environment there's often a trade-off, such as a higher price or lower performance. Take washers, for example. Front-loaders use less water and extract more of it than top-loaders, but typically take longer. That's why the Maytag Maxima and Whirlpool Duet front-loaders Consumer Reports just tested turned our heads. They did an excellent job in 45 minutes.
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).
As refrigerators have gotten bigger and better—often boasting more than 30 cubic feet of claimed capacity and neat features like LCD displays and seltzer water dispensers—prices have also increased. Nearly half of the 60-plus models on our list of recommended refrigerators cost $2,000 or more, and you can easily spend many times that on a pricey built-in. But there are also plenty of less-expensive, yet still high-performing models to choose from. Here are five to consider if money is a concern.
If the spring showers haven't already forced you into a dehumidifier purchase, the dog days of summer to come should. New models often appear in late spring and early summer, so be on the lookout for sales and in-store promotions. Delay too long and you might have to settle for a less-than-optimal dehumidifier—either a unit that's sized incorrectly to your needs or one that comes up short in Consumer Reports' dehumidifier tests.
It's National Home Remodeling Month but don't make the mistake that many homeowners do when they attempt home repairs for which they have neither the skills nor the know-how. Doing so can cost you time and money or even put you in the hospital. Repainting the dining room is likely doable but rewiring the chandelier, probably not. The National Association of Home Builders says there are some jobs that are best left to professionals.
A growing list of free websites and smart-phone apps can help you narrow your choices of paint colors, figure out how much paint you'll need—and even "paint" your house before you open a can. When you're ready to buy make sure you get a paint that can weather the elements. Not all do, as Consumer Reports discovered in its exterior paint tests.
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.
Green may be all the rage on the runway. But when it comes to the outside of your house, think blue if you're selling and more neutral colors if you're staying awhile. Experts we talked to about colors that help sell a house say traditional trumps trendy. No matter what color you choose, pick a paint that lasts. In Consumer Reports tests of exterior paints, the best still looked excellent after six years and very good after nine.
If you'll be doing yard work, hiking, or just sitting on the lawn in the spring loveliness this weekend, be aware that you might not be alone out there: It's tick time again.
With the unofficial start of summer just a few weeks away, now's the time to do a thorough safety check around the yard to prevent the slips, trips, falls, burns, and other accidents that each year send tens of thousands of people to the emergency room. A recent outdoor safety survey of nearly 1,300 adults by the Consumer Reports National Research Center revealed the top danger spots.
It's never been wise to play around with lead paint, the kind kicked up during the renovation of homes built before 1978. Nowadays, doing so can be costly in more ways than one, as the Environmental Protection Agency continues to fine violators of its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP).
A hot summer forecast—and air-conditioner prices that are going up with the mercury—could mean an early run on window units. But you needn't wait and sweat it out: Consumer Reports testers just named 15 top room air conditioners that include several small and mid-sized models priced at around $200 or less. But the volume of some we tested could keep you up at night. And a few might have you struggling with less-than-intuitive controls.
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.
Six months ago Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to millions in the Northeast and the homes of Consumer Reports readers were no exception. When we spoke to 8,389 of our subscribers who live in the affected areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, 76 percent said they lost power for at least a day and the median number of days without power was seven. A fortunate few, 19 percent, used generators during the outage and, in part, because of the unavailability of fuel, those who owned portable models fared worse than those with stationary models.
With states in the Midwest bracing for flooding and a rare May snowstorm predicted in the Plains states, other parts of the country have been unusually dry this spring. It's been a tough start to the growing season for some lawns. During dry weather, it's tempting to overirrigate, but grass is actually very resilient—though you may have to settle for a less-than-verdant lawn until the rains return. Here's how to make it through a dry spell.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: