clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Buy This, Not That: The Best and Worst New Products of 2010

New, 1 comment
This Andrea air purifier "didn't clean the air, and kind of looks like a urinal with a plant in it."
This Andrea air purifier "didn't clean the air, and kind of looks like a urinal with a plant in it."

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

ShopSmart magazine—an independent ad-free magazine published by the folks behind Consumer Reports—has just released its lists of best and worst new products of the year. We've included the best-products list after the jump (good for holiday shopping!), but worst-lists are so much more fun, so here it is—the 22 products that ShopSmart calls "this year's biggest clunkers." Make sure to put these on your Do Not Buy list this holiday:

· Ab Coaster, $250, Using it correctly isn't easy, and some testers had lower-back discomfort.
· Andrea Air Purifier, $200, It didn't clean the air, and it kind of looks like a urinal with a plant in it.
· Augen The Book, $120, The price is nice, but that's the only nice thing we can say about it.
· Black & Decker QuickPress F975, $20, It ran out of steam and dragged on our clothes.
· Burt's Bees Naturally Ageless Intensive Repairing Serum, $25, Prepare to age, naturally.
· Calphalon XL HE650C, $200, It doesn't add much oven space; it won't fit a 4-pound chicken.
· DeLonghi DTT312, $100, This toaster doesn't consistently make good toast, but it can do paninis!
· Glad Force Flex, $8, Glad's heavy duty claims were trashed by the competition.
· Hamilton Beach 44601, $50, It's voice-activated, if it likes your voice. If not, no joe for you!
· Hormel Compleats, Sesame Chicken, about $2, Easy to prep, but the flavor was hard to swallow!
· Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer Pro E-1189, $150, We had to juice slowly or it would jam.
· Jaguar XF, $54,075, This pricey Jag got the worst score of all the cars in our latest reliability survey.
· Jupiter Jack, $23.98 (for two), This purchase is a bad call with its spotty reception.
· Mister Steamy, $20 (for two), The de-wrinkling dryer ball isn't so hot; you still need Mr. Iron.
· Off Clip-On Mosquito Repellent, $10, It clipped on but didn't keep bugs off.
· Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry sheets, $7, Just stick with regular detergent and fabric softener.
· Sharp SuperSteam AX-1200[K], $900, Don't pay $900 for a micro that steams; steam on the stove.
· Slap Chop, $20, It cut unevenly, and all that slapping made our testers' hands hurt.
· Taylor Scale 4832, $18, If you'd rather not know the truth, you should pick this scale.
· Toyota 4Runner, $37,425, This rough rider doesn't let you forget you're driving a truck.
· Toyota Yaris, $16,423, It's cheap, but you get what you pay for: a noisy and uncomfortable ride.
· Viking VMOR205, $1,200, Leave the slow cooking to slow cookers, not microwave ovens.

And now for ShopSmart's Top Ten Best New Products of 2010:

1. Samsung FTQ307NWGX, $1,800, Until recently, you had to pay a few thousand dollars for superfast induction and convection technologies. This well-priced range combines those features, and it excelled in most of our cooking tests.

2. Black & Decker Brew'N Go DCM18S, $25, Single-serve coffee machines are red hot and even starting to become office staples. This maker brewed a cup closest to the joe from a regular drip machine.

3. Dyson Air Multiplier, $300, Though it's crazily expensive, this fan is a standout for its sleek loop design and lack of exposed blades, which makes it fun to look at and safe for little fingers. And test panelists said it felt great, too.

4. H2O Mop Ultra, $100, Steam technology is being built into all kinds of appliances, including washers and dryers, and it doesn't always make a big difference. But the combo of heat, steam, and water was really powerful in this floor mop. It was the best of 10 models at removing our tough, sticky messes.

5. Behr Premium Plus Ultra, $34, This low VOC paint scored highest of all 51 tested. This was the first time that an environmentally friendly brand beat out all the other paints. Plus it primes and paints in one coat.

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!

7. Levi Strauss & Co. Perfectly Slimming Jeans 512, $44, During our fit tests using female staffers, we were wowed by the figure-flattering effects of these tummy-flattening, curve-smoothing jeans.

8. Apple iPad, $500 to $800, It won't replace your laptop, but it's pretty cool — and more portable, which is why we like this e-reader, Web surfer, video and music player, and digital picture frame all rolled into a slim tablet.

9. Panasonic Viera TC-P50VT20, $2,600, Most big manufacturers have come out with 3D sets, but the eye-popping viewing on this 50-inch plasma HDTV blew us away. It's also great for watching regular TV, and the price is reasonable.

10. Ford Mustang, $28,680 (V6), $36,310 (V8), New engines have made the American sports car even more fun to drive. If you'd prefer the wind-in-your-hair Mustang experience, go for the V6 convertible, $27,000.

· ShopSmart Crowns the 10 Hottest Products of the Year [PRN]