Are There Any Non-DEET Insect Repellants That Work?

Are There Any Non-DEET Insect Repellants That Work?

For half a century, DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) has been the most commonly used ingredient in insect repellants. While DEET does work to keep the tiny critters off, it can also have some ugly side effects, including rashes, disorientation, and seizures. People looking for equally effective but safer insect repellants haven’t had much to choose from, but new tests show that some non-DEET products can offer the same level of protection. [More]

(saramarie)

Nearly 70 Million Americans Had Their Personal Information Compromised In 2014

Given the sheer number of high-profile data breaches in recent years, and the varying levels of personal information stolen, it can be difficult to quantify how many American consumers were affected. A new survey tries to answer the questions of how many people have had their info stolen (a lot) and what consumers are doing to protect themselves (not much). [More]

Your New Apple Watch Might Look Nice, But Will It Get Scratched?

Your New Apple Watch Might Look Nice, But Will It Get Scratched?

How many of us are toting around smartphones with cracked and scratched screens? No need to raise your hand; we can’t actually see you. Now imagine that your phone screen was continuous exposed to the elements in a position on your body where it can easily get scratched, and you’ve imagined the life of an Apple Watch. So can the pricey accessory take a licking and keep on… well, not ticking exactly, but you get the idea. [More]

Consumer Reports Rates Brinkmann Patio Grill ‘Don’t Buy’ For Now

Consumer Reports Rates Brinkmann Patio Grill ‘Don’t Buy’ For Now

Here in the Northeast, there are now mere weeks until grilling season begins. Safety is very important when you’re lighting an actual fire a short distance from your house, and our fire-roasted colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports test the gas grills that they review for their cooking power and their safety. One grill this season failed one of the safety tests, and for now they’ve given the Brinkmann Patio 810-6230-S a “Don’t Buy” rating. [More]

(Kenny Lannert)

Putting Your Phone In Your Back Pocket May Also Be Bad For Your Butt & Back

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last year, it’s that some phones can bend if put under enough pressure. But in addition to possibly putting an unwanted curve or crack in that expensive telecommunications device, stashing a phone in your back pocket may result in a literal pain in the butt. [More]

Walmart, Pathmark, A&P, Waldbaum’s Bring Up Rear In Latest Supermarket Survey

(Ben Schumin)

Walmart may still be the nation’s most shopped-at supermarket chain, but it’s far from the most beloved. In fact, in the latest ratings of 68 supermarket chains published by our colleagues at Consumer Reports, Walmart had the worst satisfaction score from readers. [More]

(Chodhound)

Authorities In Five States Suing Magazine & Newspaper Subscription Service Accused Of Fraud

The attorneys general of five states have filed a lawsuit against a company they say is peddling magazine and newspaper subscriptions it isn’t authorized to sell, and charging highly inflated prices for them to boot. [More]

5 Costco Kirkland Signature Products May Be Just As Good As Name Brands

5 Costco Kirkland Signature Products May Be Just As Good As Name Brands

Costco members know they can often get a decent price on name-brand kitchen staples by shopping in bulk at the warehouse store. But if you’ve been ignoring the company’s store-brand Kirkland Signature line of products, you might be passing up on a chance to save even more without sacrificing quality. [More]

5 Food Prep Tips For Reducing Pesticide Risks

5 Food Prep Tips For Reducing Pesticide Risks

When you buy a sack of potatoes with dirt still clinging to the spuds, you know they’ll need a wash before going into your dinner. But those completely clean-looking apples, peaches, and strawberries may carry a less-visible danger in the form of pesticide residues. [More]

Who’s Making The Money When Your Smart TV Watches You Back?

Who’s Making The Money When Your Smart TV Watches You Back?

We’ve heard plenty of times in the past few years that if you have a smart TV — one that’s internet-enabled, for all that app goodness — that it might be watching you just as much as you watch it. Samsung in particular generates a lot of questions about how secure your data is with your TV, as do LG and Vizio. But there’s a missing piece to the equation. If your TV is watching you, why? Who stands to gain (in the sense of cold hard cash) from your data? [More]

(Great Beyond)

Have A Question For The CEO Of General Mills? Ask Away

From cereal to cake to frozen veggies to soup to whatever labels you would put on Chex Mix or Hamburger Helper, General Mills is responsible for a large number of the biggest brands in your pantry, fridge and freezer, but you may not know much about the company whose roots go back nearly 150 years. Now you’ve got the chance to take your questions directly to the CEO of General Mills. [More]

Comcast, Time Warner Cable Still Bringing Up Rear In Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Comcast and TWC accounted for the four lowest-scoring results in the ACSI's 2014 surveys.

While federal regulators continue their review of the pending merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast, it’s time to look at how these two companies fared in various customer satisfaction surveys from the last 12 months. We’ll give you a hint: It didn’t go well. [More]

Not for feline use. (Mark Turnauckas)

This holiday season, give the people you care about a gift that combines portable consumer electronics with genuine concern for their well-being. Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports say that you can get a well-rated home blood pressure monitor for as little as $40. What’s a more thoughtful gift than wanting to make sure someone stays alive for longer? [Consumer Reports]

Check Out Consumer Reports’ Interactive Gift Guide

Check Out Consumer Reports’ Interactive Gift Guide

Still don’t know what to get the people on your shopping list? Or maybe you haven’t decided what you should ask your loved ones to get you to demonstrate that they don’t hate you. Our colleagues at Consumer Reports have put together a fully interactive guide to this year’s most sought-after electronics, cars, exercise equipment, and more. [More]

Really Cheap Tires? Surprise: They Might Be Risky Counterfeits

Really Cheap Tires? Surprise: They Might Be Risky Counterfeits

Everyone knows that the “genuine designer handbag” going for $20 from a street vendor is neither genuine nor designer, and indeed may not even hold up as a bag. But when you go to a reputable retailer and spend what it costs to replace the tires on your car, you expect to get what the real goods. Alas, Consumer Reports has found: just because there’s a brand name you know on the outside of a tire, doesn’t mean you’re getting what you should be. [More]

Do You Really Need A Fridge With A Water And Ice Dispenser?

Do You Really Need A Fridge With A Water And Ice Dispenser?

Water and ice dispensers are a common addition to refrigerators, but are they a useful one? They can be. They offer fresh, on-demand water and ice, usually freshly filtered. The convenience might encourage you to drink more ice water. However, they also take up space and cause problems. [More]

The Troy-Bilt FLEX Is The Cuisinart Of Lawn Care

The Troy-Bilt FLEX Is The Cuisinart Of Lawn Care

What if you could buy one piece of equipment that would take care of many of your home and lawn care needs? Kind of like a food processor with different blades, but for the outside of your house. And huge. It would be a snow blower, lawn mower, leaf blower, and pressure washer all in one. This is a real thing, but should it be? [More]

Consumer Reports Test Shows It Takes A Lot To Bend New iPhones

Consumer Reports

While there have been anecdotal claims of the new iPhone 6 Plus bending just from spending too much time in a user’s pocket and multiple videos of people showing that you can bend one of these phones with your bare hands, there hasn’t been much science done to determine exactly how much force is needed to get that undesired curve in your oversized phone (or is it an undersized tablet?). Thankfully, our colleagues at Consumer Reports have cool machines to figure this kind of thing out. [More]