ShopSmart Crowns the 10 Hottest Products of the Year

Dec 13, 2010, 20:12 ET from ShopSmart Magazine

54 Winners in Home, Food, Beauty & Fitness, Electronics and Cars; Plus 22 Losers

YONKERS, N.Y., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, is revealing the 10 hottest products of 2010 selected from the thousands of home, food, beauty and other items that were tested throughout the year. Featured in the January 2011 issue, the products range from TVs that offer a theater-quality 3D experience and the addictive Apple iPad to top rated "green" paints and sleek induction ranges that now cost a third less than they did a year ago.

"ShopSmart seeks to celebrate excellence by picking out the best-performing products from the thousands that pass through our labs every year," said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. "In addition to innovative products that tested well, we included items with great designs (Dyson's bladeless fan and Levi's slimming jeans) and ones that were simply outstanding in their class (Kirkland Signature Handcrafted Lager and Ales, for instance). And because we don't have to answer to advertisers, we can bring you the year's biggest clunkers too."

In addition to the top 10 products, ShopSmart chose 54 items in nine categories including home, green, food, store brands, beauty, fashion, fitness, electronics and cars.  Items were chosen after testers, including engineers, scientists, technicians and statisticians, worked months in the labs evaluating more than 3,000 products.

The Hot List

  1. Samsung FTQ307NWGX, $1,800, Until recently, you had to pay a few thousand dollars for superfast induction and convection technologies. This well-priced range combines those features, and it excelled in most of our cooking tests.
  2. Black & Decker Brew'N Go DCM18S, $25, Single-serve coffee machines are red hot and even starting to become office staples. This maker brewed a cup closest to the joe from a regular drip machine.
  3. Dyson Air Multiplier, $300, Though it's crazily expensive, this fan is a standout for its sleek loop design and lack of exposed blades, which makes it fun to look at and safe for little fingers. And test panelists said it felt great, too.
  4. H2O Mop Ultra, $100, Steam technology is being built into all kinds of appliances, including washers and dryers, and it doesn't always make a big difference. But the combo of heat, steam, and water was really powerful in this floor mop. It was the best of 10 models at removing our tough, sticky messes.
  5. Behr Premium Plus Ultra, $34, This low VOC paint scored highest of all 51 tested. This was the first time that an environmentally friendly brand beat out all the other paints. Plus it primes and paints in one coat.
  6. Kirkland Signature Handcrafted Lager and Ales, $18.99, Our testers are always on the lookout for great new store-brand products that can save you money, but even we were surprised when beer made the list. This variety pack of 24 bottles is cheap, but it doesn't taste that way. In blind tests, untrained tasters liked the brews about as much as pricier name-brand beers of the same styles. Cheers!
  7. Levi Strauss & Co. Perfectly Slimming Jeans 512, $44, During our fit tests using female staffers, we were wowed by the figure-flattering effects of these tummy-flattening, curve-smoothing jeans.
  8. Apple iPad, $500 to $800, It won't replace your laptop, but it's pretty cool — and more portable, which is why we like this e-reader, Web surfer, video and music player, and digital picture frame all rolled into a slim tablet.
  9. Panasonic Viera TC-P50VT20, $2,600, Most big manufacturers have come out with 3D sets, but the eye-popping viewing on this 50-inch plasma HDTV blew us away. It's also great for watching regular TV, and the price is reasonable.
  10. Ford Mustang, $28,680 (V6), $36,310 (V8), New engines have made the American sports car even more fun to drive. If you'd prefer the wind-in-your-hair Mustang experience, go for the V6 convertible, $27,000. (See page 80 for more details.)

ShopSmart's 20 Worst Products of 2010

Consumers Union, the publisher of ShopSmart, spends millions of dollars buying products and services each year and submits them to rigorous testing. Based on how they performed in the laboratories and in real-world tests, here is a list of the items that made this year's loser list.

  • Ab Coaster, $250, Using it correctly isn't easy, and some testers had lower-back discomfort.
  • Andrea Air Purifier, $200, It didn't clean the air, and it kind of looks like a urinal with a plant in it.
  • Augen The Book, $120, The price is nice, but that's the only nice thing we can say about it.
  • Black & Decker QuickPress F975, $20, It ran out of steam and dragged on our clothes.
  • Burt's Bees Naturally Ageless Intensive Repairing Serum, $25, Prepare to age, naturally.
  • Calphalon XL HE650C, $200, It doesn't add much oven space; it won't fit a 4-pound chicken.
  • DeLonghi DTT312, $100, This toaster doesn't consistently make good toast, but it can do paninis!
  • Glad Force Flex, $8, Glad's heavy duty claims were trashed by the competition.
  • Hamilton Beach 44601, $50, It's voice-activated, if it likes your voice. If not, no joe for you!
  • Hormel Compleats, Sesame Chicken, about $2, Easy to prep, but the flavor was hard to swallow!
  • Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer Pro E-1189, $150, We had to juice slowly or it would jam.
  • Jaguar XF, $54,075, This pricey Jag got the worst score of all the cars in our latest reliability survey.
  • Jupiter Jack, $23.98 (for two), This purchase is a bad call with its spotty reception.
  • Mister Steamy, $20 (for two), The de-wrinkling dryer ball isn't so hot; you still need Mr. Iron.
  • Off Clip-On Mosquito Repellent, $10, It clipped on but didn't keep bugs off.
  • Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry sheets, $7, Just stick with regular detergent and fabric softener.
  • Sharp SuperSteam AX-1200[K], $900, Don't pay $900 for a micro that steams; steam on the stove.
  • Slap Chop, $20, It cut unevenly, and all that slapping made our testers' hands hurt.
  • Taylor Scale 4832, $18, If you'd rather not know the truth, you should pick this scale.
  • Toyota 4Runner, $37,425, This rough rider doesn't let you forget you're driving a truck.
  • Toyota Yaris, $16,423, It's cheap, but you get what you pay for: a noisy and uncomfortable ride.
  • Viking VMOR205, $1,200, Leave the slow cooking to slow cookers, not microwave ovens.

About ShopSmart magazine:

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports' celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and "best of the best" lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at

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