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At Consumer Reports, we run thousands of products through thousands of tests each year to find the ones that provide the best performance and value. And while we usually highlight top models, we realize you might also like to know which ones are not so hot.
“For every category, we test each model that comes into our labs with the same rigor,” says John Galeotafiore, an associate testing director at CR. “Even from the same company, you might have some of the best models and some of the worst.”
How did we create this list of worst products? They all earn the lowest Overall Score in their respective categories, with ratings of Fair or Poor in tests of their primary functions. (None are here for safety reasons or otherwise qualify for a Do Not Buy recommendation.)
Not every product category has a bad apple. In some, the worst score is still Good, and that’s why you won’t see every home and appliance category CR tests represented here.
Still, our list does span a wide array of products. From snow blowers and refrigerators to ranges and coffee makers, here are the home products from CR’s tests to avoid.
Leaf blower: Craftsman 74936
Overall Score: 23
CR’s take: The Craftsman 74936 is an underwhelming battery-powered handheld that struggles with its most crucial functions: It earns ratings of Poor for both sweeping and loosening embedded leaves, and just a Fair rating overall.
For better options, read about the best leaf blowers from our tests. And for more information on leaf blowers, see our leaf blower buying guide.
Snow blower: Greenworks 26022
Overall Score: 20
CR’s take: The Greenworks 26022 stands out for being the worst-scoring snow blower in our ratings. It lacks the power to plow snow quickly, remove a pile of snow, or even disperse snow very far from where you plow, earning a Poor rating in all three of these tests. And handling isn’t great, either. It earns a rating of Fair in this test because it lacks freewheel steering, making the machine hard to turn.
For better options, read about the best snow blowers from our tests. And for more information on snow blowers, see our snow blower buying guide.
String trimmer: Stihl FSA 45
Overall Score: 35
CR’s take: The Stihl FSA 45 string trimmer doesn’t exactly make yardwork easy. It had difficulty cutting grass around walls and trees, and it earns a Fair rating for trimming—our testers had to do a second pass to cut 4 to 6 inches of grass. And forget tall grass and weeds: This trimmer struggles to trim both, leaving a messy, uneven patch. Overall, it earns a Fair score, saved by decent ease-of-use and handling ratings.
For better options, read about the best string trimmers from our tests. And for more information on string trimmers, see our string trimmer buying guide.
Refrigerator: Viking Professional 7 Series VBI7360WRSS
Overall Score: 34
CR’s take: This Viking refrigerator costs more than $10,000, but in our tests, its internal temperature does not always match the thermostat setting, earning it a Fair rating for thermostat control. It also earns a Poor rating for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction—consumers who buy Viking refrigerators might experience higher-than-normal breakage rates within the first few years of ownership, and they are unlikely to recommend Viking fridges to others.
For better options, read about the best refrigerators from our tests. And for more information on refrigerators, see our refrigerator buying guide.
Range: Fisher & Paykel OR30SCG4X1
Overall Score: 28
CR’s take: This $3,900 range earns a Poor rating in our cooktop low temperature tests because its burners weren’t able to maintain low-heat settings for tasks that require simmering and melting. It also earns a Poor rating for baking: Cookies and cakes we baked on different racks had uneven browning. Ranges that cost $2,000 less do better in our tests. Its only high point is that it can heat a large pot of water quickly.
For better options, read about the best ranges from our tests. And for more information on ranges, see our range buying guide.
Washing machine: Amana NTW4516FW
Overall Score: 32
CR’s take: If you’re looking for a washing machine that can get stains out of your clothing, this Amana top-load agitator isn’t it. It earns just a Fair rating for washing performance, which means there was plenty of red wine, blood, and carbon stains left on the swatches we washed on a normal cycle. This washer earns an even worse Poor rating for water efficiency, using 25.5 gallons to wash a load; washers that earn an Excellent rating use less than half that amount.
For better options, read about the best washers from our tests. And for more information on washers, see our washer buying guide.
Blender: 3 Squares Soup3rb 7-cup Cook & Blend
Overall Score: 26
CR’s take: This blender is okay at making smoothies, but it earns a Poor rating in our purée tests—it was unable to blend raw vegetables for making soup. The 3 Squares Soup3rb 7-cup Cook & Blend blender also earns a Poor rating for durability because it broke before completing the 45 sessions of crushing ice in our test.
For better options, read about the best blenders from our tests. And for more information on blenders, see our blender buying guide.
Coffee maker: Proctor-Silex Single Serve 49961
Overall Score: 31
CR’s take: This Proctor-Silex makes merely okay-tasting coffee—it receives the same rating of Good for this criteria as the other models in our ratings. It earns a Poor rating for temperature consistency, meaning each cup of coffee differs in how hot it is. Making matters worse, you have to wait for all this mediocrity: It’s slow at brewing a second cup of coffee because the unit needs to be cooled off in between brews. A good single-serve coffee maker typically brews a second cup faster than the first.
For better options, read about the best coffee makers in our tests. And for more information on coffee makers, see our coffee maker buying guide.
Around the House
Flooring: Heritage Mill Red Oak Natural Click PF9356 (Home Depot)
Overall Score: 28
CR’s take: The Heritage Mill Red Oak Natural Click flooring at Home Depot earns only Fair ratings for resisting foot traffic and scratches, meaning it’s more likely to show wear, especially if you have pets or a lot of people in your household. It also doesn’t resist dents, earning a Poor rating for the visible marks left when we dropped objects on it to simulate a pot or utensils falling onto the floor.
For better options, read about the best flooring from our tests. And for more information on flooring, see our flooring buying guide.
Wood stain: Olympic WaterGuard for Wood
Overall Score: 5
CR’s take: The Olympic WaterGuard for Wood stain earns the lowest Overall Score in CR’s stain tests, a mere 5 out of 100. One of its biggest flaws: It earns a Poor rating for its appearance after one year in our accelerated weathering test for decks, meaning this stain didn’t take to the wood at all.
For better options, read about the best wood stains from our tests. And for more information on wood stains, see our wood stain buying guide.
Sheets: Pinzon by Amazon
Overall Score: 25
CR’s Take: Sometimes, you do get what you pay for. These are the cheapest sheets in our ratings, and they’re also the lowest-rated. Our testers note that these sheets do not fit on a queen mattress after less than a year’s worth of washing. (CR tests queen sheets because they are the most common size.)
For better options, read about the best sheets in our tests. And for more information on sheets, see our sheets buying guide.
Steam mop: Shark Steam Pocket S3501
Overall Score: 9
CR’s take: This Shark model is the only one in our ratings that lacks a motorized pump, which means you have to pump this mop yourself to get the steam going. Because of the do-it-yourself pump, the Shark earns a rating of Poor for its ability to clean in our tests. It also earns a Poor for its steam rate due to the fact that the steam level varies depending on how much you pump. One other low point: It has the shortest cord in our ratings—just 20 feet—limiting how far you can range from an outlet.
For better options, read about the best steam mops from our tests. And for more information on steam mops, see our steam mop buying guide.
Video doorbell: Netvue Belle AI
Overall Score: 16
CR’s take: The Netvue Belle AI video doorbell is definitely not the “extra pair of eyes” you want to help keep your home safe. It earns a Poor rating for its video quality, meaning you won’t be able to see much from video taken in regular light, much less low light. It also earns a Poor rating in our response-time tests because it takes almost 13 seconds from the time someone presses the doorbell for you to get an alert on the smartphone app—at which point the UPS driver with your package requiring a signature will be long gone. The best models respond in about half the time.
For better options, read about the best security systems from our tests. And for more information on home security systems, see our home security system buying guide.
Door lock: Weslock 671
Overall Score: 17
CR’s take: A door lock should provide security, but not the Weslock 671 door lock. It earns a Poor rating in our tests for withstanding kick-ins—we use a custom 100-pound steel battering ram that hits the door eight times at increasing heights until the lock fails. Plus, it’s easy to pick or drill through.
For better options, read about the best door locks from our tests. And for more information on door locks, see our door lock buying guide.
Stroller: Graco Aire3 Click Connect
Overall Score: 34
CR’s take: While other Graco strollers fare well in CR’s tests, the Graco Aire3 Click Connect may be the black sheep of the brand family. In our safety tests, the crotch-belt portion of the harness tore at its anchor point in not one but two tests. If the strap breaks entirely, your child can slip out of the seat and potentially fall. Plus, the padded strap covers for the harness get in the way of adjusting the fit—good luck getting a squirmy child safely strapped in. There’s more: You can’t remove and clean the fabric cup holder that’s permanently sewn to the stroller’s grab bar, plus the cup holder is positioned in a way that makes it more difficult to get your child seated. To be fair, this product does still earn ratings of Very Good for ease of use and maneuverability, but its low Fair rating for safety drops its Overall Score significantly, making it the worst-performing traditional stroller in our tests.
For better options, read about the best strollers from our tests. And for more information about strollers, see our stroller buying guide.
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2019, Consumer Reports, Inc.
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