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Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports February 2020

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.

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Consumer Union
Frequency:
Monthly
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
the gender safety gap

I’VE DRIVEN THOUSANDS of miles over my lifetime. My first car was a hand-me-down that took me back and forth between home and college, then down to Washington, D.C., for my first job. Then there was my first cross-country adventure, to see the sights and visit friends. Over the years and across the miles, I put my trust in the cars I drove. Like most Americans, I assumed that automakers were designing and testing cars with my safety in mind. But then I learned that my three brothers can drive on the road with more confidence than I—or any other woman—can. That’s because, shockingly, there are no truly accurate adult “female” crash test dummies. When frontal crash tests are performed to determine safety ratings, dummies modeled on the average male…

4 min.
building a better world, together

Safer Sleep for Infants WHAT’S AT STAKE In April 2019, CR released the findings of an investigation into the Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play Sleeper (published in the July 2019 issue of Consumer Reports). The product was designed—without independent safety testing—to soothe infants with acid reflux by enabling them to sleep at an incline. But we highlighted that doing so contradicts medical advice, and we found that the product had been tied to dozens of infant deaths. A government-funded study has since shown that inclined sleepers increase the risk of infant suffocation. The CR report prompted the recall of all 4.7 million Rock ’n Play Sleepers, and other manufacturers pulled their inclined sleepers from retail shelves as well. Then, in October, the Consumer Product Safety Commission began advising caregivers not to use any infant…

6 min.
your feedback

HOW EXACTLY DOES Colorado plan to “require” an automaker to sell a certain type of car? If I walk into a Colorado car dealership, will someone inform me that I must buy a certain kind of car because the manufacturer is required to sell them? Surely this is an absurd way to promote EVs. —Tom Wiatt, Austin, Texas EDITOR’S NOTE You won’t be forced to purchase a specific kind of vehicle when you walk into a dealership. The requirement in Colorado (initially around 5 percent) simply increases the EV offerings at your dealership and is expected to be a small enough increase to be easily achievable, because many prospective car buyers in Colorado are interested in buying them. And many electric vehicles, depending how much they are driven, may be able to…

1 min.
ask our experts

WHEN FACED WITH the abrasion machine in our surface wear tests, most of the solid wood and engineered wood products receive Good or Fair results. “Laminate and vinyl products are generally made of tougher stuff,” says CR tester Joan Muratore. Our top-performing products get Excellent ratings not just for resisting foot traffic but also stains and sunlight. (The Pergo above offers a limited lifetime warranty that it won’t wear or fade.) Porcelain is also tough but more expensive and trickier to install. Worried that lower-cost laminate and vinyl will look fake? Our experts say it helps to mix up planks from different boxes as you lay them down to break up a repetitive pattern.…

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

Home Speakers Under $300 WE TESTED: 17 wireless and Bluetooth models WE TEST FOR: Sound quality, including the ability to reproduce fine sonic detail; ease of use; and versatility of features offered. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 60 Range: 38-73 Superior Sound Quality Edifier R2000DB, Bluetooth $250 for the pair Retro Look With LCD Screen Fluance Fi50, Bluetooth $130 Sonos-Compatible Bargain Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf, WiFi $100 Flooring WE TESTED: 63 products WE TEST FOR: Resistance to foot traffic, scratches, and denting; appearance after more than 300 hours of sunlight; and staining from common household substances. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 58 Range: 28-94 Best Overall Laminate Pergo Outlast+ Vintage Pewter Oak LF000848 (Home Depot), $3 per sq. ft. Hard-to-Dent Vinyl Armstrong Pryzm Elements of Heritage Vintage Multi PC020, $5.30 per sq. ft. Pretty in Porcelain Style Selections Natural Timber Ash 553878 (Lowe’s), $4 per sq. ft. Slow Cookers WE TESTED: 17 models WE TEST FOR: How well it…

4 min.
ask our experts

What’s the best cold medicine? Drugstore shelves are lined with over-the-counter medications meant to ease cold and flu miseries: fever, headache, congestion, runny nose, body aches, cough, and more. But don’t assume more is better. Why? Multisymptom remedies contain several active ingredients, and the more active ingredients a remedy has, the more likely it is you’ll be exposed to unnecessary side effects, says Leigh Ann Mike, Pharm.D., clinical associate professor of pharmacy at the University of Washington in Seattle. And unless you read the label carefully, you might not realize what’s in it. For example, many multisymptom products contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. If you take acetaminophen in addition to a cold remedy that also contains it, you could get more than is safe—4,000 mg per day or more can lead…