This article is the archived version of a report that appeared in May 2009 Consumer Reports Magazine.
Any of these products is worth a spot in your shopping cart. In recent tests, all proved excellent or very good, and they're still available in their tested formulations. But be aware that their labels and packaging might have changed since our original reports appeared. Prices are average retail. Other sizes might be available.
When we compared the nutrition of some of America's best-known kids' cereals, these proved great alternatives to the super-sweet stuff on many shelves. They're relatively low in sugars, a good source of calcium, and high in iron, and they have some fiber.
With big dark-roasted peanut flavor and crunchy nut bits, these spreads rated higher than many big names. They were not affected by the major peanut recall. Note: The Natural variety isn't available west of Denver.
For very dirty glass, try Windex No Drip, which was excellent at fighting outdoor and indoor grime. (Our indoor-grime tests include greasy finger marks.) The others were a notch less successful on indoor grime though still quite good. Streak Free is by far the cheapest.
With oatmeal, good things come to those who wait. The more cooking time required, we found, the more oaty the flavor and less mushy the texture. None of the tested instants or flavored versions measured up to these plain ones.
They might not make you forget Grandma's recipe, but Marie Callender's and Mrs. Smith's apple pies were somewhat homemade tasting, with firm apples and cinnamon flavor. Marie Callender's Key Lime pie also stood out for its creamy filling, crunchy crust, real lime, and hint of dairy flavors.
Our test have shown that most compact fluorescents should significantly outlast equivalent incandescents and pay for themselves in energy savings.
They're lower in calories and fat than a hamburger, and these were quite tasty. Some of the patties mimic meat; others are grainlike.
Comet and Ajax excelled at removing mildew and left no streaks. Kaboom stopped mildew and soap scum from forming when used daily. Green Works was the best of the cleaners labeled as "natural."
The term "2X" means that the detergent has been halved in volume yet does the same number of loads per package. These liquids did best at removing various stains and preventing soils from redepositing themselves on clean laundry. The HE detergents are designed for use in front-loaders.
Starbucks Doubleshot got excellent marks for its balanced, strong-brewed coffee and rich dairy flavors. The others were almost as good. Bolthouse had the least caffeine.
The inexpensive Eight O'Clock was top-rated and had a complex blend of earthy and fruity flavors. Caribou, sold at some grocery chains and at www.cariboucoffee.com, is fruity and balanced. Kickapoo, also available at some stores and at www.kickapoocoffee.com, is just slightly fruity and floral. And its Fair Trade Certified growers are committed to sustainable production and fair prices to small farmers.