It's not easy to get excited about toilet seats, but the new Grip-Tight Reveal Q3 from Kohler, on display at the International Builders' Show, could really make life easier in the bathroom—especially if you're the fastidious type, or if you've ever landed on the bathroom floor after a movable seat sent you for a ride.
If you're like most people, the idea of a hands-free faucet still conjures up frustrating visits to the airport bathroom. But Kohler says it has fine-tuned the technology, saving you time in the kitchen—plus preventing the potential spread of germs and bacteria. We tried it out at the International Builders' Show.
With the real estate market heating up again, sellers are getting more creative about describing their homes in ways that make them stand out in the online classifieds. Typically, the ads brag about views, closets and kitchens, but now some homeowners have begun name-dropping the brand of their toilet, according to the Appraisal column in The New York Times. Kohler and Toto are just two toilet brands that have popped up in recent ads. Models from those same brands also appear on Consumer Reports' list of top toilet picks although our best flusher is an American Standard.
The makers of Charmin believe that we should all stop pretending that we don't read in the bathroom. In fact, in a lengthy new ad running in Rolling Stone magazine, Charmin says "everyone needs bathroom entertainment that goes beyond staring at tiles, marble slabs and showerheads." Charmin then makes the cheeky claim that the paper on which the ad is printed "sure is better than our competition." And while it's true that Charmin scored excellent for softness in Consumer Reports tests, it wasn't better than other brands on some key tasks and didn't make our list of top picks.
Plugged toilets are memorable, for all the wrong reasons. And it's the number one problem on the minds of consumers when they buy a toilet, according to a nationally representative poll that plumber manufacturer Kohler shared with Consumer Reports. Second on the list was cleanliness inside the bowl after flushing. Clogged toilets are also pretty important to us and the most heavily weighted part of our toilet tests.
A little bathroom humor helped two toilet manufacturers win honors from the Environmental Protection Agency for advancing the agency's WaterSense conservation program. American Standard and Kohler, which both have top-rated toilets in Consumer Reports tests, were credited for wacky blogs and public service campaigns that use a light-hearted approach to encourage consumers not to waste water.
Tempur-Pedic, the leading maker of memory-foam mattresses is buying Sealy, a rival in the bedding business known mostly for its innerspring models. Combined, the company will include such brands as Tempur, Tempur-Pedic, Sealy, Sealy Posturepedic and Stearns & Foster. When Consumer Reports asked its readers how satisfied they were with their mattresses, 84 percent were very happy with Tempur-Pedic but Sealy and Stearns & Foster fell short of that, scoring 70 and 68 respectively.
Improved imaging technologies have given laminate countertops a serious design makeover in recent years, but you still had to settle for a sink that sat on top of the counter where the edge could collect dirt and bacteria. Now there's a seamless solution from Wilsonart—acrylic sinks that can be chemically bonded to a laminate counter to create a look that was formerly only available in solid surfacing, stainless steel and concrete.
This week Bill Gates announced the winners of his foundation's Reinvent the Toilet Challenge and the top prize went to a solar-powered toilet that produces hydrogen and electricity. The goal of the contest is to invent a toilet that doesn't use water or a sewage system for places in the world that lack those resources. Toilets that use much less water are a priority in this country and in Consumer Reports latest toilet tests we gave top scores to five water misers.
Bathrooms have replaced kitchens as the most remodeled room in the house, mostly because they're smaller and don't need all those pricey appliances. But poor planning can cost you more than you bargained for. To help you find the best materials, Consumer Reports recently tested sinks, countertops, toilets and flooring. We also talked to designers and remodeling professionals who gave us some tips on how to save and how to splurge.
Remodeling is expected to pick up by the end of this year and into 2013, according to a report released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Annual homeowner improvement spending may reach double-digit growth by the first quarter of 2013, the report said, indicating that the outlook is finally improving after a few bad years.
Chances are, you don't sleep as well as you'd like and suspect your mattress may be to blame. Want some good news? You don't necessarily have to spend top-dollar to get a good night's sleep. That's what our subscribers told us about their 17,500 experiences buying and sleeping on mattresses in a new survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Based on their responses, we have Ratings of the top mattress brands and retailers—the results may surprise you.
The contractor-homeowner relationship isn't always easy. Even good pros can give clients headaches, and vice versa. So we asked homeowners and contractors to tell us their troubles—and got advice from the pros on how to avoid the problems.
The right contractor can ensure your remodel runs smoothly—saving you headaches and money in the process. But hiring the right pro isn't always easy. Start by asking friends and neighbors for referrals or visit the website of the National Association of Home Builders, for a list of local builders' associations, which will offer referrals. Then, follow these steps.
Of the small annoyances that pit spouse against spouse and parent against child, many take place in the bathroom. Toothpaste cap off, toilet seat up and toilet paper that unrolls the wrong way. There are two camps on how toilet paper should be dispensed: from over the top (in front of the roll) or from underneath (behind). We asked Consumer Reports' Facebook fans about their preferences and overwhelmingly they voted for the top down approach. We don't take sides at Consumer Reports but we're definitely picky about toilet paper.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: