A built-in vacuum is pure genius for a minivan. You'll find this innovation on the 2014 Honda Odyssey, the lightly freshened version our current Top Pick minivan.
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..
Every year $80 million in property damage is caused by clothes dryer fires, many of which are ignited by lint build-up in or around the machine. It's a problem that manufacturers have been trying to solve for decades. One of the most recent efforts is the Lint Lizard, a tube-like device that connects to your vacuum and snakes into the nether regions of your dryer to suck out the lint. In our tests the Lint Lizard found a mint of the fuzzy stuff.
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."
You know your life isn't what it should be when you have to use a flashlight to find the appropriate fill line on the inside of a laundry detergent cap. The markings tell you how much detergent to use. When you can't see them or they're confusing, you can end up dumping too much detergent into your washing machine. That sudsy surplus can lead to all sorts of problems including prolonged rinse cycles and money wasted on both detergent and water.
The plot is simple. People face one messy situation after another--some characters more eccentric than others--and all while dressed in their tennis whites or soft pastels. "Downton Abbey" it isn't, but GE's "Stunning feats of laundry" videos take on the toughest of topics, how to remove common stains from laundry with just the push of a button.
Dyson continues to push the limits of industrial design with the announcement of two new vacuums, each with space-age styling and impressive innovations. The question is, will the DC47 bagless canister vacuum and the DC50 upright vacuum make it onto our top picks list, when other Dyson models have fallen short? Here's how they'll need to improve and what we'll be looking for in our tests.
The Internet is crawling with cat videos but it's a video of a Canadian brown bear that's lumbering up YouTube's most-watched list. It's a clever way to get viewers—more than 13 million so far—to watch an ad for a washing machine. Samsung, which has a knack for viral videos, has done it again with its EcoBubble washer. Consumer Reports hasn't tested this particular washer yet but other Samsung models top our reviews of both front- and top-loading washing machines.
Known for decades for claims that its detergent removed "ring around the collar," a newly formulated Wisk has declared a "state of detergency" on deeper sources of dirt. The dogged spokesman in a series of new online videos may be over-the-top, but as Consumer Reports tests of laundry detergent have shown, his claims are not. Wisk Deep Clean tops our Ratings of detergents for regular top-loaders and its formula for high-efficiency washers is recommended as well.
Pampered pups are prancing around New York City poised to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club's 137th Annual All Breed Dog Show. Last year a perky little Pekingese named Malachy won Best in Show. Sure, the little furball was handsome but as anyone who has a long-haired dog knows, he likely leaves a trail of dog hair wherever he goes. Knowing owners of breeds like that need help, we looked for a champ among the vacuums tested by Consumer Reports and found a few top dogs.
High-efficiency top-loading washers usually offer several advantages over front-loaders, including faster wash time. But not the Frigidaire Affinity HE top-loaders Consumer Reports just tested. They took almost two hours. That's twice as long as some standouts from our tests so when Frigidaire claims on its website, "Thoroughly soaked, thoroughly cleaned," we get what they mean.
Monopoly's Facebook fans have spoken: The iron is out and a cat is in. That was the result of a hard-fought battle over which game token to add to the classic game and which to drop. After the vote closed just before midnight, the iron, which has been a part of the game since 1935, was the least popular of the eight game pieces. But fans of the iron shouldn't despair. Consumer Reports just named 10 winners in its recent tests of steam irons and found some contenders that cost just a bit more than a Monopoly game.
Ordinarily, you wouldn't find an octogenarian on a list of the "World's Buzziest Brands" but there was Pine-Sol keeping company with Starbucks, Red Bull, Samsung and others on Adweek's annual list of the most talked about products of 2012. But we weren't surprised—last year Pine-Sol was the only brand recommended by Consumer Reports in its tests of all-purpose cleaners. The iconic cleaner beat out two other liquids and 16 sprays, including some green newbies.
Front-loading washers use less water than top-loaders but have longer wash cycles—some take 100 minutes or more. That's not the end of the world, but it may be the beginning of laundry pile-up. That's one reason the Whirlpool Duet WFW96HEAW front-loader was impressive in Consumer Reports' latest washing machine tests. It took only 50 minutes to complete a test load.
At the end of last night's "30 Rock" finale, ex-network exec Jack Donaghy is about to set sail around the world when he has a brainstorm: "Clear dishwashers! You can see what's going on inside! It's the best idea I've ever had. Thank God I took that boat trip." Jack may be onto something. In Consumer Reports labs we've noticed that the windows on kitchen and laundry appliances are getting bigger and bigger and one of our top-rated toasters has transparent sides so you can see your bread brown. Hey, it's more exciting than watching paint dry.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: