Consumer Reports December 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.

United States
Consumer Reports, Inc.
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min
bridging the trust divide

IT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to comprehend all that has happened this past year, and adjust to our new normal. There have been so many seismic disruptions—and the ground is still shifting under our feet as we continue to grapple with the worst public health crisis in a century. Our nation is facing incalculable grief and loss, economic distress, and an overdue reckoning with issues of race and justice—and these challenges are only made more difficult by the deep divisions in our country. We are experiencing the stresses a democracy faces when its citizens can’t trust the information they hear and read. This past year we have seen the direct and dire harms related to COVID-19 misinformation, versions of the same stories that plague so many families forced to wonder whether they can…

3 min
building a better world, together

Student Loan Protection WHAT’S AT STAKE Student debt in the U.S. now adds up to almost $1.7 trillion. That makes student loans the second-largest class of household debt in the country, trailing only home mortgages and ahead of credit card and auto loan debt. On average, 45 million borrowers owe more than $37,000 each. That kind of debt was hard enough to manage before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with millions of jobs destroyed and the U.S. economy struggling to right itself, it represents a fullblown crisis for many students and their families. Making matters worse, the system for repaying student loans has become complex, confusing, and even abusive—and is woefully lacking in consumer protections. Student loan servicers—companies such as FedLoan Servicing, Great Lakes, Navient, Nelnet, and Sallie Mae—are the main point of contact for many…

7 min
your feedback

I HAVE BEEN trying to eat more healthy and make more organic choices for years. But I was shocked to see in your produce pesticide ratings that 76 percent of the [U.S. grown] organic spinach samples contained 33 different pesticides. I had switched to spinach from lettuce because I figured it was better for me.… I guess not! Thank you so much for the graph in the magazine. I’m putting it on my refrigerator for when I make my grocery list! —Diane Hollister, Nashville, TN “HOW MUCH does organic really cost?” CR asked in its October issue. Equally important, if not more so, is “How much does conventionally grown food really cost?” Who pays the environmental, social, and health costs associated with conventional farming’s use of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers?…

3 min
what we’re testing in our labs…

Computer Monitors WE TESTED: 6 models WE TEST FOR: Display quality, including image clarity, color accuracy, and contrast for both text and photos; versatility, including adjustable height; and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 67 Range: 47-69 Best Overall Quality Dell U2419HC, 24” $310 69 OVERALL SCORE Large, Versatile Screen Dell U2719DC, 27” $460 67 OVERALL SCORE Bargain, but Not Adjustable Acer ED242QR, 24” $150 00 OVERALL SCORE Food Processors WE TESTED: 42 models WE TEST FOR: How well a model chops onions and almonds, slices celery and mushrooms, shreds carrots and cheese, and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 58 Range: 35-81 Top-Notch Chop Breville Sous Chef BFP800XL/A, 16 cups $400 81 OVERALL SCORE Excellent Value Oster Versa Pro Series blender/food processor BLSTVB-104-000 4 cups $150 78 OVERALL SCORE 30-Year Motor Warranty Magimix 4200 XL, 12 cups $400 00 OVERALL SCORE Drills WE TESTED: 12 general-use models WE TEST FOR: Power from max rpm to stall, measured…

3 min
will a regular flu shot help protect me against covid-19?

The flu shot won’t protect you against COVID-19, for which there is no vaccine yet, but a flu shot will cut your risk of getting the flu—which is particularly crucial this year. That’s because there will be a substantial period of time when both flu and COVID-19 are circulating, says Erica Shenoy, MD, associate chief of infection control at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Avoiding the flu will help hospitals keep more beds and ventilators available for people with serious cases of COVID-19. While last year’s flu shot was only, on average, 39 percent effective, getting the vaccine reduces your likelihood of becoming severely ill from the virus. There is also no evidence that getting a flu shot increases your risk of getting sick with COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control…

10 min
cr insights

GIFTS FOR $50 OR LESS ✓Cravings By Chrissy Teigen Enamel Coated Cookware $39 78 OVERALL SCORE A smart gift for steak lovers, this oven-safe 11-inch cast-iron skillet earns an Excellent rating at searing meat in our tests and a Very Good at baking cornbread. $Crane Owl Humidifier $45 87 OVERALL SCORE The fun owl humidifier is just one of Crane’s series of animal-inspired machines. It earns Excellent ratings in nearly all of our lab tests and covers an area up to 250 square feet. ✓Cuisinart Power Advantage HM-50 Mixer $40 82 OVERALL SCORE Cuisinart’s 5-speed mixer powers through cookie dough and quickly whips cream in our lab tests (though it’s a little loud while in use). Its wire beaters are easier to clean than center-post mixers. $LEM Boulevard Bike Helmet $40 81 OVERALL SCORE An important accessory for cyclists, this reflective helmet…