Business & Finance
Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports May 2018

Ratings, recommendations, reliability reports, safety and price comparisons from the world’s largest consumer testing center. Helps consumers make better choices for everything from cars to cell phone service. The only magazine of its kind: Expert, independent, nonprofit. 100% unbiased. Consumer Reports accepts no outside advertising.

United States
Consumer Union
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$7.01(Incl. tax)
$33.75(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
the true cost of high drug prices

THEY ARE PAINFUL stories to hear. Families that have to choose between buying food and buying medication. A woman forced to decide which utilities to turn off to pay for her prescriptions. A mother who stopped taking her own drugs in order to afford her son’s. These are some of the stories people told us during our investigation into how high drug costs are affecting our lives. For many of our friends and neighbors—more than half of whom regularly take at least one prescribed medicine—the rising cost of drugs has made these images more common than ever. Some find themselves delaying retirement or putting off needed home repairs. Others are driven to risky behavior such as rationing doses to defray costs. A recent Consumer Reports survey revealed that 30 percent…

3 min.
building a better world, together

Keeping Hospital Patients Safer WHAT’S AT STAKE When patients go to the hospital or see a doctor, they don’t expect to get sicker. But that happens far more often than it should: An estimated 8.8 million hospital patients suffer from preventable medical harm each year, and as many as 440,000 patients die in hospitals after a medical error or hospital-acquired infection. HOW CR HAS YOUR BACK For more than a decade, CR advocates have worked to enact patient safety reforms at the state and federal levels. A key part of that work has been partnering with patients and their loved ones who have been harmed. We enacted public reporting of hospital infection rates nationwide, pushed medical boards to inform patients about doctors who have been disciplined, and urged Congress to improve medical device and prescription drug…

8 min.
your feedback

Readers’ comments about our content I HAVE BEEN a physician assistant for 10 years in a small emergency department. We handle complex cases and procedures. Over that time I have placed more than 500 central lines and innumerable arterial lines, and performed intubations, thoracentesis, and paracentesis. Emergency Physicians Medical Group is a large company that employs hundreds of advanced practice providers (APPs) with a diverse set of skills and diagnostic capabilities. We handle the sickest of sick cases with excellent results. Am I a physician? Of course not, and I never have claimed to be. If you’re treated by me or my fellow APPs, I am sure that you would receive excellent care and compassion. —Matthew Wilson, Brighton, MI I AM A REGISTERED nurse with a Master of Science in nursing, and I…

1 min.
ask our experts

WHILE TOP-LOAD AGITATORS tend to have 35-to 80-minute cycles, most front-loaders need more time—typically 55 to 120 minutes—because they largely rely on detergent to clean your clothes, which takes a little longer to work than scrubbing them clean the way an agitator does. They also use less water, “but that doesn’t mean your clothes aren’t getting as clean,” says Rich Handel, CR’s test engineer for washers. In fact, the best front-loaders in our tests clean better than most high-scoring top-loaders and tend to be gentler on fabrics. Plus, front-load drums typically spin faster than agitators, which extracts more water and cuts down dryer time. Need to do a small load in a hurry? Many front-loaders also offer a quick-wash cycle.…

2 min.
what we’re testing in our labs …

Detergents WE TESTED: 45 products WE TEST FOR: How well a detergent removes body oil, dirt, grass, blood, chocolate ice cream, and other tough stains. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 57 Range: 33-88 Creme de la Clean Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release 21¢ per load 88 OVERALL SCORE Tough on Stains Persil ProClean Power-Liquid 2in1 22¢ per load 80 OVERALL SCORE Money-Saving Suds All Stainlifter 11¢ per load 67 OVERALL SCORE Front-Load Washing Machines WE TESTED: 39 models WE TEST FOR: How well a model's normal cycle cleans fabrics in an 8-pound load of mixed cotton items, energy and water efficiency, noise, and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 80 Range: 33-86 Best Overall Maytag Maxima MHW8200FW $1,030 86 OVERALL SCORE Whisper Quiet LG Signature WM9500HKA $1,800 81 OVERALL SCORE Great for Tight Budgets Samsung WF42H5000AW $500 80 OVERALL SCORE Programmable Drip Coffee Makers WE TESTED: 80 models WE TEST FOR: Brew performance, including the ability to reach 195° F to 205° F; ease…

3 min.
ask our experts

A typical driver racks up about 12,000 to 15,000 miles annually and will usually need two oil changes a year. But even if you’re driving only half that distance, it doesn’t mean you can skip these oil changes. That’s because mileage isn’t the only factor in determining when your car needs fresh oil. “Oil becomes less effective as it ages,” says John Ibbotson, chief mechanic at CR. When you drive so few miles, you’re frequently not getting the engine hot enough to burn off contaminants that degrade the engine oil. “If you leave that contaminated oil in your car, it can lead to shorter engine life.” Most engines need an oil change every six months, even if you drive fewer miles than your owner’s manual advises for oil changes. There are exceptions:…