The Weather Channel is tracking a Nor'easter they've named Winter Storm Nemo, which is poised to become a powerful storm that will likely dump snow on the Northeast this Friday. Forecasters say a clipper from the north is expected to combine with a rainy storm moving through the South to create a snowstorm in many parts of upstate New York and New England. Where and when the two systems collide is still uncertain but now's a good time to make sure your snow blower and generator are working
When the Super Bowl was plunged into darkness after Beyonce's electrifying halftime performance, Twitter lit up. In a play on her hit, "Single Ladies," one Twit-wit wrote, "If you liked it, you should've put a backup generator on it." And indeed standby generators were able to keep some of the lights on but not enough to prevent a game delay. Lesson learned? Make sure you have a generator large enough to power through a big event.
More and bigger storms like Hurricane Sandy have driven generator sales through the roof. You can check whether some of the latest models are working with your cell phone—and sidestep fueling issues when gas stations are closed. New models on display at the International Builders' Show can be monitored from a smart phone or run on propane instead of gasoline.
Panasonic says its new EY74A1 drill is one of the fastest in its category. But the big news is the claim that this 18-volt drill can also run on just 14.4 volts with about as much oomph ... if a bit less run time. Called Dual Voltage Technology, it includes a more-advanced motor and electronics and lithium-nickel batteries that pack more energy than manganese or cobalt with less weight. We saw it in action at the International Builders' Show.
If you live up north, you're likely thinking more about snow blowers and generators than string trimmers. But for readers in warmer climes, the yard work never ends so we've just added 15 new string trimmers to our Ratings. One especially notable entry is the first battery-powered electric we've seen with the power of a two-cycle gas trimmer.
If you're looking for maximum snow-throwing distance from a compact snow blower and have plenty of money to spare, you might be tempted to spring for the $2,200 Honda HS724WA, one of the eight snow blowers we've just added to our Ratings of 46 models. It's on our list of picks chiefly for distance and removal speed, and the brand is preferred by many shoppers. Alas, you may need a lot of muscle to move it around.
Power, speed, and run time are among the criteria that separate the welcome cordless-tool gift from the model that gets used once or twice before it's banished to the basement. But in Consumer Reports tests, we found plenty of choices that do all they should do with batteries that last through most jobs and don't take hours to recharge if they do run down. Here are some of our top choices that were lightweight in their respective categories and easy to handle.
When you have a snow blower, you should expect some parts to wear out over time, and we encourage you to keep extra belts, shear bolts, and spark plugs on hand for that reason. What we don't expect to see in these machines are parts that bend under normal use. But that's what happened with the 24-inch Craftsman 88173, one of the otherwise better performers among the eight new snow blowers our experts have finished testing.
A two-stage model that fights you as well as the snow, a sexy but disappointing single-stage model, and a pleasant surprise in a corded-electric snow blower are among initial impressions from our recent testing. The latest batch of snow blowers includes models from Craftsman, GreenWorks, Honda, Husqvarna, and Toro.
American Honda Motor Co. Inc., of Torrance, Calif. has recalled about 150,600 of its gasoline-powered portable generators because the fuel hose can leak, posing a fire and burn hazard.
Pramac America LLC, of Kearney, Neb., has recalled about 7,700 of its Powermate Sx 5500 portable generators because the fuel filter on this generator allows gasoline to leak, posing a fire hazard.
Of the dozens of deaths attributed to Hurricane Sandy, many were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from generators being run in garages, basements, porches and other enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Unfortunately, the rush to power a home without lights, heat or a running refrigerator, can leave little time to protect yourself and your home from the generator itself. Before the next emergency, here are five known hazards you can prevent.
This week's early Nor'easter came just as we were testing this season's snow blowers at our Yonkers headquarters in New York. The latest batch comprises models from Craftsman, GreenWorks, Honda, Husqvarna, and Toro. Some new features, such as an anti-clog design and a simple-to-use chute control, have made a good first impression. But we'll reserve final judgment until the results of all our tough tests are in. In the meantime, check out the 23 winners in our current Ratings.
The widespread power outages caused by Superstorm Sandy resulted in many homeowners using generators for the first time. Consumer Reports heard from some of these novices on our Facebook page where we asked them about their experiences restoring temporary power to their homes. The biggest complaint was that gas was hard to find. Given that, some readers asked about alternative fuel sources as well as how to safely install and use a generator. Here's some answers from our experts.
The second I saw the email I jumped up from my desk, images of lights and warmth and refrigerated food dancing in my head. It was Thursday, November 1; four days after Sandy left much of the eastern United States, including my house, without electrical power.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: