Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs (both at $1.03 per serving) towered over the cheaper competition in terms of flavor and texture. Edy’s/Dryer’s, Turkey Hill, Friendly’s, Blue Bell, and Blue Bunny didn’t come close.
There was a bottleneck of fairly similar brands near the top of the rankings of coffee blends. Starbucks House Blend earned the highest score, narrowly, in blind tastings, at $11.37 per pound. Inexpensive stalwarts including Folger’s and Maxwell House were low rated.
Using any sunscreen is better than none, but the product is only part of the equation. You need to rely on clothing and hats to protect your skin, too, and judiciously reapply an ounce (2 tablespoons to cover your face and body) every 2 hours. The lotion we tested that offered optimal UVA and UVB protection was Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 (shown). At $1.38 per ounce, it’s a modest splurge.
Bounty Duratowel, at $4.04 per 100 square feet, proved outstanding. It offered excellent absorbency, wet strength, and scrubability. For tough jobs or repeated use, no other towel came close.
Lithium batteries performed much better than alkalines, especially in cameras, which tend to drain a charge quickly. Alkalines cost far less, and some perform almost as well as lithiums in low-drain devices such as flashlights and remotes. Among the lithiums, Energizer Ultimate, at $5.50 per pair, was the standout. Once dead, both types can generally be tossed in the trash.
Puffs Ultra Soft & Strong lived up to its name. The tissues were the only ones judged excellent at resistance to tearing and stretching. That strength comes in handy if you’re battling a cold or allergies. And they were soft, too, though slightly less so than a few others that compromised on toughness. Puffs Ultra Strong, at $1.69 per 100 sheets, outperformed less expensive tissues from store brands such as Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods, Target, and Walgreens, as well as those from Scotties and several Kleenex versions.