Business & Finance
Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports December 2017

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
Read More
$7.01(Incl. tax)
$33.75(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
’tis the season for stress-free shopping

YOUR HEART RATE increases. Your blood pressure spikes. You hit a sudden wall of fatigue. Are you taking a final exam, rushing to catch a flight, or leading the Tour de France? No—you’re just shopping for holiday gifts. It may sound incredible, but a study conducted last year by the e-commerce giant eBay found that the stress of holiday shopping can increase your heart rate the same way that vigorous physical activity does. As more Americans opt out of long lines and traffic jams in favor of an online shopping experience, they may be putting a portion of that stress behind them—but they are also entering a complex marketplace that comes with challenges and headaches of its own. This month, we’re focused on helping you be smart and stay serene as…

3 min.
building a better world, together

What’s on Your Plate? WHAT’S AT STAKE A food product recall is the last line of defense for keeping contaminated food off store shelves and out of our kitchens. But there’s a hitch: Not all recalls are created equal. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t always alert consumers to the store names and locations of where recalled products were sold. The agency has defended these inconsistencies by pointing to an obscure and broad interpretation of what qualifies as “confidential commercial information” under the Freedom of Information Act. For example, when the FDA announced a recall in May of frozen raw tuna cubes imported from Indonesia that tested positive for hepatitis A, the action included retailer and location specifics. But when the agency announced a recall last year of strawberries imported from Egypt that also…

8 min.
your feedback

Caring for Aging Loved Ones In our October 2017 “Who Will Care For You?” article, we examined the cost and quality of assisted living options. It generated many comments from residents, caretakers, and advocates alike. To join the conversation, go to CR.org/care1217. VALUE. THAT IS what CR delivers consistently, again and again. I thank you for that. But this letter is about “Who Will Care for You?” I cannot tell you how many people in my family have pored through that article as they think about their senior years. The piece is wellresearched and well-written. But the real benefit is the topic itself. You provide some muchneeded relief to people who are anxious and seeking ways to think about the months and years ahead. —Robert L. Dilenschneider, New York City I READ “Who…

3 min.
know the drill

IF IT HAS BEEN A WHILE since you picked up a cordless drill, you might be accused of having a screw or two loose. The battery-powered borers in our most recent ratings can drill holes and drive screws far longer—and with more power—than similar models did just a few years ago. So whether you need to drive lag bolts into wall studs to mount a flat-screen TV, drill a hole in your front door to hang a holiday wreath, or install a new door lock, most any of the 24 models in our ratings will be a big step up from whatever old cordless drill you have in your toolbox or kitchen drawer. Much of the improvement in performance is due to advances in battery technology. “We’ve seen a 7 to…

1 min.
a key upgrade to cr’s labs

TORQUE AND RPM are the factors used to calculate a drill’s power. To measure them in our labs, we rely on a dynamometer, or dyno. But drills have evolved to such a degree, as a class, that the newest lineup would have flat-out overpowered the dyno we’d been using in our labs for decades “There’s no way we could have tested the new drills on the old dyno,” says Frank Spinelli, the Consumer Reports engineer who oversees our cordless-drill testing program. So to put the newest batch of drills through their paces, we spent $23,000 to upgrade our testing equipment with a new, larger dyno capable of measuring significantly greater torque—more than a typical consumer would ever need. (See the results of our tests in the ratings on page 13.) Once you get…

3 min.
more power to you

GENERAL-USE 12 to 18 volts Most DIYers will be best served by one of these ?-inch-chuck models, which are more powerful than they look: They can bore holes in wood with relative ease and drive a pouch full of screws on a single charge. (Note: This category is graded on a curve, so the scores cannot be compared with heavy-duty models’ scores.) BOSCH PS32-02 $160 66 OVERALL SCORE WHAT’S INCLUDED Two 2.0-Ah batteries, five bits, and a softsided case. CR’S TAKE It’s no coincidence that the lone brushless model in our general-use ratings delivers peerless performance. The Bosch is the most powerful tool in its class and, at under 2 pounds, is less than half the weight of some 18-volt drills. It isn’t your go-to tool for driving large lag bolts—for that you’ll want an…