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Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning and Buying Guide

Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning and Buying Guide January 2019

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Consumer Reports Kitchen & Planning Buying Guide will help you get the kitchen you’ve always wanted at a price you can afford. Filled with our exclusive buying advice and ratings, best & worst products, real-world and test-based approach, you’ll be shopping smarter and getting the best kitchen—for less

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United States
Consumer Reports, Inc.

in this issue

1 min.
remodeling with confidence

You know you want good looks and top-notch products in your new kitchen, but how can you tell the really great gear from the not-good-enough? Don’t worry: Consumer Reports is here to help. Our team of kitchen pros—editors, researchers, market experts, and more—will guide you through your remodel, sharing insights straight from our labs on everything from fridges to flooring, and more. When you’re ready to shop, turn to the Buying Guide on page 32. You’ll find thousands of ratings and reviews based on the exhaustive tests our engineers run on every product we evaluate and on our surveys of CR members’ experiences with the products in their homes. You can trust our advice because we’re nonprofit and independent: We buy all the products we test, and we accept no ads. So relax—buying…

1 min.

TREND WATCH Gold Rush No longer purely utilitarian, today’s kitchens are living and entertaining centers with style to match, right down to everyday essentials—which are suddenly showing up in rich, gleaming gold. Case in point: this Goldtouch Bakeware Set, $363 for 15 pieces; williams-sonoma.com. TREND WATCH Gold Rush What’s America’s Favorite Place to Shop for Home Furnishings? According to a new poll of 1,800 consumers from Market Force Information, a firm specializing in customer experience management, it’s Ikea, by a wide margin. In the poll, Ikea won for product variety and availability, but Target was found to have the best store layouts. Source: Market Force Information. Taking Color Inspiration From Nature Paint manufacturers have made the choice of their “Color of the Year”—a single shade that trend forecasters believe will become dominant—an annual tradition. Some years, the picks are…

1 min.
instant pot face-off

VS. T-Fal CY505E Electric Pressure Cooker, $70 TEST RESULT: Instant Pot wins by a nose. The Instant Pot took just 54 minutes to turn out pork ribs that were juicy and tender. The 6-quart T-Fal took 56 minutes. VS. Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S Slow Cooker, $50 TEST RESULT: It’s a tie. Both turned out delicious pulled pork. The Instant Pot took a bit longer. VS. Aroma ARC-914SBD Rice Cooker, $30 TEST RESULT: Instant Pot wins. Two cups of brown rice took 60 minutes in the Aroma rice cooker. The Instant Pot cooked the same amount in 45 minutes, and it tasted just as good. VS. Hamilton Beach 37530Z Steamer, $40 TEST RESULT: Steamer wins. Vegetables steamed in the Instant Pot were mushy, and their color had faded.…

1 min.
freezers with smart storage features

Stand-alone freezers used to contain little more in the interior cavity than wide-open space. That was especially true for chest freezers, though even uprights were short on organizational help. Today’s models offer many features that make it easier to organize and store a variety of foods, from soft-freeze compartments for ice cream to tiered storage bins to convertible models that can change from freezer to fridge, and back. “Chest freezers usually offer more usable storage space than upright models,” says Joe Pacella, a test engineer at Consumer Reports’ freezer lab. “But upright models come in self-defrosting configurations, which can save a lot of hassle.” If you do opt for a chest freezer, one feature-filled model to consider is the GE FCM16DLWW, $600 (left). One of our highest-rated manual-defrost chest freezers, it has a…

2 min.
products we love

1. Oster Pro 1200 Plus Food Processor Attachment BLSTMB-CBF-000 $90 Though small at only 5 cups, this is a sturdy pick with great chopping and dicing features, as well as excellent grating. Plus, it will easily fit in any kitchen and costs hundreds less than some other models. oster.com 2. Melamine Mixing Bowls With Spout $33 for three We haven’t tested these bowls, but they have an appealing design, with easy-grip handles, spouts, and nonslip bases. williams-sonoma.com 3. LooseLeaf Kale and Greens Stripper $8 This neat tool (which we have not tested) promises to make quick work stripping the leaves of greens herbs from their stems. chefn.com 4. Bella Pro Series KT-3431 (90062) Toaster $50 This mighty mini toaster excelled in all of our tests, and even offers a “gluten free” setting to…

3 min.
better, and bigger

A LARGER KITCHEN is probably high on most homeowners’ wish lists, but sometimes size isn’t enough. “Our old kitchen was actually pretty big,” says Kelly McLain of the pre-renovation space she shared with her husband, Andrew Naughton, and their three daughters. “But the design was so inefficient, it felt much smaller than it was.” Among the problems in the original space: minimal counter space, shallow cabinets, not enough light, and dual bottlenecks. “The refrigerator door opened into the breakfast table, so if someone wanted some milk during a meal, the person sitting by the fridge had to get up,” says Kate. “And there was a desk right at the bottom of the stairs, and the door to the stairs was constantly hitting the desk chair—which, with three kids, was always left…