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New Ratings: Gutter guards, leaf blowers and air purifiers

Consumer Reports News: August 03, 2010 08:06 AM

The September issue of Consumer Reports magazine just hit the newsstands with reviews of gutter guards, leaf blowers and air purifiers, among other things. The Home and Garden team also checked the claims of Samsung's WF520ABP washer with PowerFoam. Did it wash or was it a washout? And there were three recalls of household products that you should know about.

Gutter guards
For 16 months we conducted outdoor tests on six professionally installed and 13 do-it-yourself gutter guards. We compared them to unprotected gutters and it was no contest. Our two Best Buy homeowner-installed gutter guards cost 30 cents and 40 cents a foot. The recommended DIY gutter guards ranged from $3.95 to $8.95 a foot. And the cost of the recommended pro-installed guards ranged from $20 to $30 per foot. The best systems kept out debris while keeping in rainwater during our simulated storms. See Ratings (for subscribers).

Leaf blowers
Our tests of 32 leaf blowers revealed 14 capable gas- and electric-powered models with notable improvement among the electric units. That’s good news as more cities crack down on leaf-blower noise. If you live where noise isn't an issue, a gas-powered wheeled blower provided leaf-moving muscle but weighed and cost the most. To reach our results, we removed 2,610 pounds of leaves and cleared 8,070 square feet of ground. ( Ratings.)

Air purifiers
We looked at the pros, cons, and costs of filter-based and electrostatic air purifiers. We focused on portable and whole-house models that use filters because they don't product ozone, a respiratory irritant that can aggravate asthma and cause permanent lung damage. Some of the 30 models we tested were quiet and effective; two did so little that we judged them Don't buy: Performance problem. We put the plant-based portable Andrea ($200) to the test and found you can forgo the purifier and just keep some well-watered plants around the house. ( Ratings.)
Samsung’s WF520ABP PowerFoam
This $1,400 machine is sold with claims that it provides better cleaning by combining water, air, and detergent into a deep-cleaning foam. But we found it didn’t beat some of our Recommended washing machines that cost $600 less.

Recent recalls

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