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Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning and Buying Guide

Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning and Buying Guide September 2016

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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.
dreams, delivered

CREATING YOUR DREAM KITCHEN can cost a bundle. We know: Consumer Reports spends more than $400,000 each year to buy the appliances we test and rate. Of course, your own project probably won’t cost anywhere near that much, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to save where you can. That’s where the Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide comes in. We offer what no other magazine can: product Ratings and advice from dozens of appliance and home-improvement experts. Our engineers run exhaustive tests on every aspect of the 600-plus products in our Ratings to help you choose the best. Our reader surveys track buyer experience to tell you which brands are likely to last—and which could lead to pricey repairs. And because we buy everything we test and accept…

2 min.
inside our test labs

WE TRY TO TEST models that represent the spectrum of products on the market. Staff shoppers buy them at retail outlets or online, never revealing that they’re for Consumer Reports. (We want to make sure that we test the same products you buy.) Our experts develop tests that re-create the real-world use of each product. If a product malfunctions or performs in an unexpected way, we try to determine whether we’re seeing an isolated case or possibly a bigger problem. We may have an obvious defect repaired. And we usually buy and test additional samples of the same product. We do that to ensure that our Ratings for every model re­ect the experience you may have. Guide to the Ratings WE RATE PRODUCTS on a 100-point scale. These symbols help you tell…

5 min.
big performance in small packages

AMERICAN HOUSES may be growing in size, but so is the number of single households in the U.S. Roughly half of all American women are unattached, and by 2025 there will be as many single-person households in the U.S. as there are homes with families. Manufacturers are taking note of those shifting demographics and responding with a bevy of super-compact countertop appliances, aimed at the single set and their presumably smaller kitchens. One manufacturer’s representative went so far as to call the mini appliances part of their “single lady line.” Though of course the products will appeal to bachelors, too, not to mention downsizing empty nesters, urbanites, or anyone eager to save countertop space. Among the promising petite models are KitchenAid’s Artisan Mini Stand Mixer, $400, pictured, 20 percent smaller and 25…

3 min.
cold coffee is hot

ONCE FOUND ONLY in boutique coffeehouses, cold-brew coffee has grown up, with sales rising 115 percent between 2014 and 2015. Starbucks and Peet’s now sell it by the cup in their shops, and you can buy ready-to-drink bottled versions from companies such as Stumptown and Slingshot at Whole Foods, specialty grocers, and even some Target stores. Not surprisingly, several appliance makers eager to cash in on the trend sell low-tech systems that take the mess out of mixing up a batch of cold brew at home. COLD BREW 101 Cold brew is a very different beast from either iced coffee or the bottled coffee products sold at the supermarket. All of those start with standard hot coffee that’s then chilled, creating a drink that has all of the bitterness and acidity of…

3 min.
cool ways to make cold joe

BRUER COLD BRUER $80 How it works The Bruer stands out from the others we looked at because its process is flow-through. You place ice and water in the upper chamber, and a drop of water per second drips to the grounds. The extract, ready to drink, collects below, yielding about 20 ounces. (Instructions for concentrate are included.) Pros The fastest per ounce, with no waiting for coffee to drain once it’s brewed. Permanent filter. Cons Makes among the least amount of drinkable coffee per use. OXO COLD BREW 1272880 $50 How it works Place the container on its stand, and add grounds and water. After 12 to 24 hours, place a glass carafe beneath the stand and flip the “brew-release switch,” on the bottom, which lets the concentrated brew drip into the carafe. Pros The…

3 min.
save water in the kitchen  

California isn’t the only place facing a dry spell. Water managers in 40 states say that even if water conditions remain normal, they expect shortages in some part of their state over the next decade. That’s according to WaterSense, the water conservation partner of the Environmental Protection Agency. That means we all could benefit from California’s efforts to get “more pop per drop,” as a state water authority put it. When it comes to wasting water in the kitchen, the dishwasher isn’t the culprit; it’s probably you. Too many people rinse their dishes before putting them in a dishwasher designed to do that very job—and do it better than you can. Five ways to save: Replace your old dishwasher. Energy Star dishwashers are about 15 percent more water efficient than standard models.…