Consumer Reports

ShopSmart names best, worst products of 2010

ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports, recently revealed the 10 hottest products of 2010 selected from the thousands of home, food, beauty and other items that were tested throughout the year and some of the year’s biggest clunkers, too.
“In addition to innovative products that tested well, other items on the list had great designs (Dyson’s bladeless fan and Levi’s slimming jeans) and ones that were simply outstanding in their class (Kirkland Signature Handcrafted Lager and Ales, for instance), said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart.
In addition to the top 10 products, ShopSmart chose 54 items in nine categories including home, green, food, store brands, beauty, fashion, fitness, electronics and cars. Items were chosen after testers, including engineers, scientists, technicians and statisticians, worked months in the labs evaluating more than 3,000 products.
ShopSmart’s hot list
1. Samsung FTQ307NWGX, $1,800. This well-priced range combines super-fast induction and convection technologies, and it excelled in most of the cooking tests.
2. Black & Decker Brew’N Go DCM18S, $25. This single-serve coffee maker brewed a cup closest to the joe from a regular drip machine.
3. Dyson Air Multiplier, $300. Though it’s crazily expensive, this fan is a standout for its sleek loop design and lack of exposed blades, which makes it fun to look at and safe for little fingers.
4. H2O Mop Ultra, $100. The combo of heat, steam, and water was really powerful in this floor mop. It was the best of 10 models at removing tough, sticky messes.
5. Behr Premium Plus Ultra, $34. This low VOC paint scored highest of all 51 tested. This was the first time that an environmentally friendly brand beat out all the other paints. Plus it primes and paints in one coat.
6. Kirkland Signature Handcrafted Lager and Ales, $18.99. ShopSmart’s testers are always on the lookout for great new store-brand products that can save you money, but even they were surprised when beer made the list. This variety pack of 24 bottles is cheap, but it doesn’t taste that way.
7. Levi Strauss & Co. Perfectly Slimming Jeans 512, $44. During fit tests using female staffers, testers were wowed by the figure-flattering effects of these tummy-flattening, curve-smoothing jeans.
8. Apple iPad, $500 to $800. It won’t replace your laptop, but this e-reader, Web surfer, video and music player, and digital picture frame, all rolled into a slim tablet, is pretty cool — and more portable.
9. Panasonic Viera TC-P50VT20, $2,600. Most big manufacturers have come out with 3D sets, but the eye-popping viewing on this 50-inch plasma HDTV blew testers away. It’s also great for watching regular TV, and the price is reasonable.
10. Ford Mustang, $28,680 (V6), $36,310 (V8). New engines have made the American sports car even more fun to drive. If you’d prefer the wind-in-your-hair Mustang experience, go for the V6 convertible, $27,000.
ShopSmart’s worst products of 2010
Consumers Union, the publisher of ShopSmart, spends millions of dollars buying products and services each year and submits them to rigorous testing. Based on how they performed in the laboratories and in real-world tests, here are some of the items that made this year’s loser list.
• Andrea Air Purifier, $200. It didn’t clean the air, and it kind of looks like a urinal with a plant in it.
• Burt’s Bees Naturally Ageless Intensive Repairing Serum, $25. Prepare to age, naturally.
• Off Clip-On Mosquito Repellent, $10. It clipped on but didn’t keep bugs off.
• Taylor Scale 4832, $18. If you’d rather not know the truth, you should pick this scale.
• Toyota Yaris, $16,423. It’s cheap, but you get what you pay for: a noisy and uncomfortable ride.