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]

Newsflash: Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches Are Not Nutritious, Taste Weird

There’s a wide variety of frozen breakfast sandwiches on the market, but are any of them any good? No, not particularly, our flavorful colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports determined. Very few of the sandwiches they reviewed earned a good nutrition rating, and sandwiches don’t retain their texture very well after freezing. As with the guacamole tests earlier this year, they provided a recipe and recommended that maybe you just make own breakfast burritos at home instead. [Consumer Reports]

(kevinherzig007)

The Best Way For Students To Avoid High Fees With Campus Banking Products Is To Barely Use Them

All around the country, new and returning college students are being handed IDs they can use as debit cards or they’re being told they can have their aid disbursals deposited straight onto a school-branded card. It all seems incredibly convenient, especially for those who have limited experience handling their own finances, but these school-backed banking products are rarely the best available options for students, who could end up being nickel-and-dimed into debt.
[More]

(Sara Borden)

The New Frontier In Fuel Savings: Cars Without Spare Tires

If you want to lose some weight, get rid of your spare tire. No not your abdominal fat: the emergency spare in the back of your car. Our car-buying colleagues down the highway at the Consumer Reports auto testing center note that many new vehicles lack spare tires. Why? To save weight and thus fuel, and because nobody knows how to change them anymore, anyway. [More]

Quick Fixes For When Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Working Like It Used To

We’re almost through the entire summer: has your air conditioner worked hard for you through the whole season? If it is no longer performing like it used to, here are some quick fix-it-yourself ideas from our optimal-temperature colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports. It’s possible that you don’t need to junk your A/C: just check a few things that you can probably handle yourself. [Consumer Reports]

Consumer Reports Deems NutriBullet A Possible Safety Risk

Consumer Reports Deems NutriBullet A Possible Safety Risk

Infomercials for the NutriBullet Pro 900 claim that “even the toughest ingredients don’t stand a chance,” but when our colleagues at Consumer Reports put it to a durability test that crushes 7 large ice cubes 45 times, they two instances in which the NutriBullet’s blades cracked or broke off, leading CR to judge the device a “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk.” [More]

Drain-FX: Another Infomercial Product That Actually Works

Drain-FX: Another Infomercial Product That Actually Works

Have you seen the ads for Drain-FX, a product for unclogging pipes stuffed with things that really, really shouldn’t be in the plumbing of your house? You might wonder whether it’s all TV hype, or an infomercial product that does what it promises. Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports did, too, and they crammed their drains with a variety of substances to find the answer for all of us. [More]

Sbarro Is The Worst Fast Food Chain In America Because Its Food Doesn’t Taste “Fresh”

Answer: Sbarro.

Whether you’re a burger guy or a burrito gal, you’ve probably got your favorite fast food joints. But in the interest of finding a culinary consensus, our best buds at Consumer Reports decided to make it official with a new survey of readers who chowed down on 96,208 meals at 65 chains. And um, we’ve got some bad news for you, Sbarro (clears throat awkwardly). [More]

(Consumer Reports Pinterest)

Attention, Austin: Consumerist Is Hiring Technology Folks

You’re reading this site right now, if these words are beaming through your eyeballs into your brain — and you could be working for it, if you’ve got the technological savvy and happen to live in Austin, Texas. [More]

Graco Stroller Named A ‘Don’t Buy: Safety Risk’ By Consumer Reports

Graco Stroller Named A ‘Don’t Buy: Safety Risk’ By Consumer Reports

Because there’s really no point in having brakes on a stroller’s wheels if they still allow the stroller to roll, our colleagues at Consumer Reports have judged a double stroller from Graco a “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk” and shared their findings with both the company and federal safety regulators. [More]

4 Popular Cars That Aren’t Worth Your Money

4 Popular Cars That Aren’t Worth Your Money

While you’d like to think you can’t go wrong with a middle-of-the-road vehicle from a well-known car company, sometimes you’re still not getting the most for your car-buying dollar. [More]

Be one in a long line of awesome CR employees, like these guys in 1960.

Calling All Health & Electronics Editors: Consumer Reports Is Hiring

Are you all about electronics? Or maybe you’re in the trenches of health reporting, and seeking a change to your career. If so, today could be the day you find the job you want. Consumer Reports is hiring a Deputy Content Editor for Electronics, and an Investigative Editor and Editor in its Health department. [More]

73 degrees? good luck with that.

Portable Air Conditioners: Not So Portable, Don’t Cool The Air

The concept of a portable air conditioner implies that the device is portable, and that you can cool a room with it. They would be a wonderful tool if this were were true, but tests by our breezy and cool colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports show that they compare unfavorably to window-mounted air conditioners in pretty much every way, and you might be better off with no air conditioner at all. [More]