ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, is revealing the 10 hottest products of 2010 selected from the thousands of home, food, beauty and other items that were tested throughout the year. Featured in the January 2011 issue, the products range from TVs that offer a theater-quality 3D experience and the addictive Apple iPad to sleek induction ranges that now cost a third less than they did a year ago.
“ShopSmart seeks to celebrate excellence by picking out the best-performing products from the thousands that pass through our labs every year,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “In addition to innovative products that tested well, we included items with great designs (Dyson’s bladeless fan and Levi’s slimming jeans) and ones that were simply outstanding in their class (Private Brand Kirkland Signature Handcrafted Lager and Ales, for instance). And because we don’t have to answer to advertisers, we can bring you the year’s biggest clunkers too.”
In addition to the top 10 products, ShopSmart chose 54 items in nine categories including home, green, food, store brands, beauty, fashion, fitness, electronics and cars. Items were chosen after testers, including engineers, scientists, technicians and statisticians, worked months in the labs evaluating more than 3,000 products.
The only item to make the top 10 on the Hot List
6. Kirkland Signature Handcrafted Lager and Ales, $18.99, Our testers are always on the lookout for great new store-brand products that can save you money, but even we were surprised when beer made the list. This variety pack of 24 bottles is cheap, but it doesn’t taste that way. In blind tests, untrained tasters liked the brews about as much as pricier name-brand beers of the same styles. Cheers! Read the rest of the Top 10 list.
Other Private Brands chosen in the 54 items included:
America’s Choice (A&P) Beef Franks, $2.64 per 16-ounce package
Oscar Mayer might have a memorable TV jingle, but these store-brand franks were tastier—juicy and slightly smoky — and 10 percent cheaper!
Kirkland Signature Environmentally Friendly Ultra 2X HE (Costco), 12 cents per load
This green brand was great at cleaning for half the cost of top-scoring Tide 2X Ultra. It works best in an HE washer.
Market Pantry Chicken Nuggets (Target), 53 cents per serving
Target says that the recipe might change; we hope not too much! These nuggets were so crispy, tender, and chicken-y, we didn’t need dunking sauce.
Kirkland Signature Daily Multi-Vitamins, $14.99 for 500 pills
It’s simply the best deal in multis we found. They were the only ones we tested with the USP seal (meaning they were checked for quality, purity, and potency.)
Up & Up Sport Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 30 (Target), $5.25 per 6-ounce bottle
Its UVA and UVB protection rivaled those of big-brand sprays for half the price, and it met SPF claims even after our water tests.