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EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports July 2021

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 Reports, Inc.
Frequency:
Monthly
$6.49(Incl. tax)
$31.20(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
what’s in your credit score?

IN COLLEGE I once had a summer job at a department store. As a perk, it offered employees a store credit card. Naturally, I was excited, but I recall my father tempering my enthusiasm with a talk on how important it was to build my credit history. I can’t say I fully appreciated what he meant at that time, but it was clear that how I used a credit card could either open or close financial opportunities for me in the future. But that lesson left out an important fact: The big companies that trace my financial history to create my unique credit score can get it wrong. Your credit score ties directly into so many facets of your life, enabling you to buy a home, get a job, and procure…

4 min
building a better world, together

Keeping Your Data Secure WHAT’S AT STAKE So-called dark patterns are website or app designs crafted to trick consumers into taking actions that are not in their best interests. Examples include links and menus that encourage users to spend more money or share more data, or that discourage them from opting out of user agreements or from deleting accounts. HOW CR HAS YOUR BACK A 2020 CR study uncovered a cluster of these dark patterns: Confusing and nonfunctioning opt-out processes, it found, were preventing people from exercising their rights under the California Consumer Privacy Act, the landmark 2018 privacy law that gives consumers the right to access, delete, and stop the sale of their information. In March, California’s attorney general relied on that study in prohibiting the use of dark patterns to impede a user’s…

6 min
your feedback

THANK YOU so very much for featuring a man on the cover of the May issue doing the spring cleaning. You certainly know how to please the ladies. —Kyra Teis, Schenectady, NY THANK YOU, CR! I didn’t even know my dishwasher had a filter. I located it, and it was full of gunk. —ChrisKC, via Instagram “CLEANING SECRETS for Every Room” highly scores the Dyson V11 Outsize stick vacuum, but last year CR took [Dyson] off the recommended list for reliability issues. So is CR recommending Dyson or not? —Shelly Scott, via Facebook WRITE Go to CR.org/lettertoeditor to share your comments for publication. EDITOR’S NOTE We’re not, and here’s why: Though the Dyson V11 cordless stick vacuum received an Excellent rating in our lab tests for cleaning carpets, bare floors, and more, we don’t currently recommend Dyson cordless…

1 min
what’s the difference between enamel-coated and uncoated cast-iron pans?

A CAST-IRON PAN with enamel coating doesn’t need to be “seasoned” with vegetable oil to prevent rusting, while an uncoated cast-iron pan does, says CR tester Tara Casaregola. Plus, the smoother enamel surface is easier to clean. But be aware that enamel-coated pans can’t be used on a campfire and can chip over time if dropped or hit with a heavy utensil. (Replace a chipped pan to be sure no bits of enamel get in your food.) Both types retain heat well enough to sear steaks, brown scallops, and bake cornbread. In fact, every cast-iron pan we’ve tested, coated or uncoated, aced our searing test—though the pricey Butter Pat Joan pan, above, turns out the best cornbread.…

2 min
what we’re testing in our labs …

For the latest ratings of these and other product categories, readers with a Digital or All Access membership can go to CR.org. Pressure Washers WE TESTED: 33 models WE TEST FOR: Power, efficiency, and versatility when cleaning a range of surfaces, including outdoor furniture, decking, and concrete walkways. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 62 Range: 45-71 BEST GAS MODEL Simpson MS60763-S $330 71 OVERALL SCORE BEST ELECTRIC MODEL Greenworks GPW2700 $350 66 OVERALL SCORE GREAT ELECTRIC FOR LESS Sun Joe SPX3000 $160 00 OVERALL SCORE Cast-Iron Frying Pans WE TESTED: 23 coated and uncoated pans WE TEST FOR: How evenly the skillet heats up and how well a model can bake cornbread and sear a strip steak. Plus, how easy it is to clean. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 70 Range: 51-83 TOP UNCOATED SKILLET Butter Pat Joan $295 83 OVERALL SCORE TOP ENAMEL-COATED SKILLET Tramontina 80131/066DS $70 80 OVERALL SCORE UNCOATED BARGAIN Artisanal Kitchen Supply Pre-Seasoned (Bed Bath & Beyond)…

3 min
ask our experts

My A/C isn’t cooling well, and it’s the busy season for repairs. Can I troubleshoot it myself? ABSOLUTELY. WE ASKED air conditioner pros and CR test engineers to identify the most common problems that crop up with window and central air conditioners and what consumers can do about them. The most common problem—a dirty filter—affects the performance of window units and central A/C systems, and you can clean or replace the filters yourself. A clogged filter restricts airflow, reducing the ability to cool the air. For central A/C systems, check the manual for when to swap in a new filter. (In CR’s tests, filters last anywhere from three to 12 months.) If you have pets (whose fur can clog filters more quickly) or your system is running constantly, you’ll need to change…