Most of the product categories covered by Consumer Reports are pretty competitive, with several models vying for the top spot. But every now and then we see a model pull away from the field by a sizable margin—say 10 points or more in our 100-point scale. Versatility is often the key differentiator, whether it's the ability to chop, slice, and dice with equal precision, or a knack for cleaning carpets as readily as bare floors. Here are five standouts from our recent rounds of testing.
Breville food processor. The Breville BFP800XL/A is the only food processor judged excellent overall in our tests, with an overall score that's 11 points better than the next-best model. It combines superb chopping, slicing, and shredding with very good grating. It's also very quiet, especially given its powerful motor. At $400, you are paying a premium for the exceptional performance.
Breville immersion blender. Breville also has our top-rated immersion blender, the Breville Control Grip BSB510XL, which scores a 92 in our Ratings, 13 points ahead of the second-place model from Miallegro. The $100 Breville was the only immersion blender to ace both our yogurt blend and soup puree tests. If you blend a lot of soups or sauces in the pot, this is the tool for you.
Vitamix blenders. Among full-size blenders, the Vitamix 5200 actually shares the top spot with the Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004; both models scored an impressive 91. But we're giving Vitamix props as a standout brand because all of the Vitamix models we've tested made our recommended list. That consistency is impressive, since we often see brands with both high and low performers. Vitamix also backs its products with a generous 5- or 7-year warranty.
Roomba robotic vacuum. These devices help take the grunt work out of cleaning. But not all robotic vacuums are up to the task. The Roomba 760 is the best exception. It was excellent on carpet and bare floors in our tests, good enough for an overall score of 90. The next best LG Hom-Bot Square also made our picks list, but it wasn't quite as effective at cleaning, for an overall a score of 79. The $450 Roomba is also quite a bit cheaper than the $800 LG.
Clear2O water filter. It's not technically an appliance, but the Clear20 CWS100A carafe style water filter sits out on the countertop, so we're including it here. Plus it was truly exceptional in our tests at removing lead and chloroform while maintaining a strong, steady flow. That earned it an overall score of 93, 23 points better than the next best carafe filter, the ZeroWater ZP010. And at $23, it's a CR Best Buy.
—Daniel DiClerico (@dandiclerico)