Home and garden

Last reviewed: May 2010
Man using lawn tractor in front of house

These standout products enable DIY home improvements while enhancing home security. Among general-purpose drills, the Panasonic EY6432GKW, $200, repeated atop our Ratings. But a newcomer to our latest Ratings, the Porter-Cable PC1800DK-2, provided good performance for half the cost. That drill's inclusion in the Porter-Cable's $300 PCL418C-2 cordless tool kit helped it to outperform kits costing $500 in our Best & Worst ratings.

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs can save up to $56 over the life of each bulb, and have improved in light quality. Spiral and indoor flood models from EcoSmart costing $1.50 and $6.50 respectively topped our ratings, while a $7 bulb from Philips was the best outdoor floodlight.

In our recent tests of indoor paints, Sherwin-Williams' Duration Home Satin, $47, cost half again as much and didn't perform as well as Behr's top-rated Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel, $33, which had the added benefit of not needing a primer and being low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Worthy detectors of other household dangers included the $40 First Alert CO615 stand-alone carbon-monoxide alarm, the Kidde P12000 dual-sensor smoke alarm, $30, and the $8 Homax LeadCheck 5250 lead testing kit and Accustar Alpha Track radon testing kit, $28 (full reports on all these products are available on our Home Improvement page).

One type of smoke you won't mind is that which wafts from your gas grill. Apply any savings you've garnered above to a Recommended gas grill such as the Weber Genesis E320, $700, or the Brinkmann 810-8411S, $200. The Char-Broil Commercial Quantum 463247310, $500, and Char-Broil Select 463620208, $100, topped our large and portable/small grill categories, respectively.

You'll find detailed discussions of particular brands and models of all of these items in our home and garden forums. More products and projects to help beautify and secure your home can be found in our Home Remodeling & Improvement Guide.

For more Best & Worst products see our Kitchens & baths & Laundry and cleaning reports.