Tag Archives: product testing

Behind the scenes at Consumer Reports – what happens to all the products tested?

Consumer Reports tests thousands of products a year and helps us find everything from the best printers to paper towels. Did you know they name the machines that tests those products? During a recent visit to Consumer Reports in Yonkers, New York, for a NewsChannel 5 story, I found a side of CR that’s rarely seen on TV.

So, what happens to all those products? The baked goods like cookies and brownies are left in the hallways of CR. As soon as we arrived, we noticed this plate of sugar cookies at like 9 A.M. Sure enough they were testing sugar cookies that day and the leftovers were there to grab.

Other items are auctioned off to employees. This generated some fun on Twitter when I named the story, “Consumer Reports tests cars, bras.” Yes, really they test bras. It was a big topic of conversation during my visit because they were looking for testers. Would you let your colleagues see you testing a bra? It has to be tested they told me. So, maybe they don’t auction off the bras but everything else is up for grabs and sold to the highest bidder.

Click here to watch that story

Some of the labs are a little strange. The anechoic chamber made my ears hurt. It’s a sound-proof roof filled with fiberglass on the walls, floor, and ceiling. You really can hear a pin drop in this room.

The location of camcorder and camera testing looks like a movie set.

It really is a place like none other I’ve ever visited. To be honest, it’s a very unassuming building from the outside. It doesn’t look big or significant. On the inside, you really are blown away by the labyrinth of labs. Thanks to CR for opening their doors and showing and allowing me to show people another side to the great consumer testing facility.

RoboStir put to the test

There are new kitchen gadgets that promise to do the stirring for you. You simply put the automatic stirrer in your soup or sauce and it spins the mixture. For a story on NewsChannel 5, we tested the RoboStir, to answer the question “Does It Really Do That?”

We had foodie, Sue Carrara, test the RoboStir. It costs just under $10.

You turn it on and off, and select the speeds by pressing a button on top of the RoboStir. It’s a feature Carrara didn’t like because you have to go through all three speeds to turn it off so it can cause splashing if the high speed is too much for your liquid.

It worked great with gravy, but did not work with her preserved strawberries.

“That’s strawberries and sugar that’s it,” Carrara said pointing to the strawberry preserves she poured into a pan to heat.

“These strawberries are cooked they’re soft it should be no problem,” Carrara said.

Consumer Reports tested RoboStir and a similar product called StirCrazy. They had similar problems when they tested the products with cheese sauce, tomato sauce, and sauteed onions and garlic.

Sometimes the stirrers simply stopped, and other times the sauces burned.

If you want a gadget for once in awhile, spend the $10. Otherwise, just use a spoon.