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7 gifts that save Mom time all year long

Top-rated home gear makes quick work of common household tasks

Published: May 02, 2014 12:00 PM

Bet your Mom would love it if she were able to spend more time with the family and less doing chores. The experts and editors at Consumer Reports are always looking for time-saving features in our tests of appliances and other home gear. We’ve discovered top-performing products that speed through routine household tasks. Of course, the best way to save Mom time is to do it yourself or at least pitch in and help. Here are some of the best time-savers from our tests.

Single-serve coffeemakers
Three models of Delonghi Nescafe Dolce Gusto perked to the top of our pod coffeemaker tests and a fourth wasn’t far behind. The top-rated DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio EDG455T, $130, and its brandmates turned out first cups of coffee quickly and were just as speedy at making the second. We also liked them for their temperature consistency.

Toaster ovens
Speed up breakfast or lunch with the Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P, $125, toaster oven. Its quartz and ceramic heating elements cook more efficiently than conventional coil-heated ovens and don’t require any time for preheating. It’s a remake of a popular model that was discontinued in 2006 and the compact shape means it takes up less counter space.

Personal blenders
None of the personal blenders in our tests spun to the top of our Ratings but the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51101, $20, is worth a look. It’s convenient, makes very good purée and a similar model comes in a host of colors. Some of the other personal blenders in our tests have to-go cups that you can take with you without having to transfer your smoothie from one container to another.

LG Hom-Bot Square LrV790R

Our quickest microwave oven was the GE Profile PEB2060DM[BB], $270, which was the only microwave in our tests to get excellent marks for speed. It was easy to use and very good at defrosting and evenly heating food. It's relatively quiet on high and has a sensor that determines when food is done.

For the cook who loves to print out recipes or display them online, Sony has a Kitchen Editon of its Xperia Tablet Z, $550. It comes loaded with cooking and recipe apps, and includes a stand. Also included is an iGrill wireless digital thermometer, which lets you monitor food temperatures using an electronic device. And the best part is it’s easy to keep clean. It’s water-resistant, so you can wipe it clean with a wet cloth or even rinse it under the faucet.

Robotic vacuums
Two of the three robotic vacuums we tested made our list of top vacuum picks—the Roomba 760, $450, and the LG Hom-Bot Square LrV790R, $800. The Roomba edged out the LG Hom-Bot Square on floors and carpet but the LG Hom-Bot was quieter. And think of the entertainment value she’ll get watching them skitter across the floor.

Steam irons
A steam iron with a fast steaming rate can help you get out of the house in no time. Our top-rated Panasonic NI-W950A, $220, had an excellent steaming rate and was also top-notch at ironing fabric. For a lot less, you can buy one of our two CR Best Buys, the Singer Expert Finish EF, $60, or the Rowenta Effective Comfort DW2070, $50, which scored similarly to the Panasonic.

Gifts that require no work
If you think your Mom would be insulted by the gift of an appliance, take a look at our taste tests of boxed chocolates, ice cream, sparkling wines, and craft beers. We also just ordered Mother’s Day bouquets from FTD and 1-800-flowers. Respondents to our questionnaire were pretty happy with the arrangements we received until they compared them to the bouquets on the florists’ websites. They were disappointed when they found flower substitutions in the mixed bouquets but were slightly more satisfied with FTD overall.

—Mary H.J. Farrell

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