Friday, December 12, 2008

Gifts that really hit home

Holiday News That Really Hits Home: Consumer Reports has taken a lot of guesswork out of holiday gift-giving by offering 100 top-rated gifts to consider. We've whittled down that list to just 10 top gifts that really hit home. Shop till you drop!

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com
Enter The Deadline Newsroom

Unauthorized use of this story is a copyright violation -- a federal crime

Deadline Newsroom - Consumer Reports has taken a lot of guesswork out of holiday gift-giving by offering a host of top-rated goods to consider.

And of the "100 Top-Rated Products" CR tested in 2008, we took a look at both recommended items, those that CR believes deserves a gift-giver's consideration, and CR Best Buys, CR's recommended items that score high in both quality and relative affordability.

We further whittled the list down to the "Top 10 Top-Rated Gifts That Really Hit Home."

Here's what we found.

Home entertainment

Samsung 40-inch LCD HDTV, Model LN40A550, $1,300, "Best Buy"

CR calls this watcher a "top-notch 1080p set with excellent picture quality across the board." It was also selected for an ease-of-use menu system; images with excellent detail, great color, and "some of the deeper black levels we've seen on LCDs." Viewing at angles was considered only "average."

Vizio 47-inch LCD HDTV, Model VO47LF, $1,300, "Recommended"
An extra seven inches for the same price as the "Best Buy" above, the Vizio is "designed for those with big-screen dreams and an earthbound budget," but the model is no slouch when it comes to picture quality, 1080p resolution, a wide viewing angle, and four High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) inputs.

Nintendo's Wii gaming console, $250, Wii Fit software, balance board, $90, "Recommended"
Instead of passively watching those big screen TVs, become an onscreen avatar performing yoga positions and practicing strength training, aerobics, and balance. You can knock off or keep off those seasonal binge-eating pounds and track your progress toward better health and fitness.

Kitchen, cooking

Amana bottom-freezer refrigerator, Model AFD2535DE[W], $1,550, "Best Buy"
This 36-inch, 25-cubic-foot, French-door fridge, has excellent temperature control, convenient pullout freezer drawers, and more usable space for leftovers and other goodies than most fridges in its class.

Black & Decker Smart Brew coffee maker, Model DCM2500, $35 "Best Buy"
The best drip coffeemaker among the 8-to-12-cup models CR tested, the B&D comes with programmable settings, easy pouring to offset the morning shakes before that first cup.

GE Profile countertop microwave, Model JES2251SJ[SS], $220, "Best Buy"
Earning the highest overall score of any large countertop microwave CR tested, the GE model includes intuitive touchpad controls and advanced cooking sensors that earned it excellent scores for auto defrost and ease of use. Sleek, stainless steel also looks better than the typical black box nukers.

Weber Q 200 portable grill, Model 396002, $190, "Recommended"
Called "the toast of any tailgate," this gas fired Weber heats evenly, but is equally capable at low-temperature slow cooking.

Home improvements

Electrolux Oxygen canister vacuum, Model EL6988, $400, "Recommended"
This model has been available with rebates that slashed the price to below $200! And it cleans both hardwood floors and carpets. Considered a canister, it has an upright-like cleaning accessory that gives it the upright feel. This writer invested in one at the deep discount. This puppy really sucks. And that's a good thing.

Teragren Synergy bamboo flooring, Model TPF-SYN-Wheat, $7.50 per sq. ft., "Recommended"
A green gift designed to floor any recipient, bamboo grows quickly and is harvested, rather than cut down completely, so it's renewable. This variety of bamboo flooring, unlike others "actually beat oak and other hardwoods for toughness, and it also resisted color change, a problem in some bamboo flooring," says CR.

Benjamin Moore interior paint, Model Aura low luster, $55 gallon, "Recommended"
Don't knock it until you tried it as a gift that keeps on giving in the form of added value for that home equity minded person on your list. This is "finally" a paint with a low level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that performs as well as regular paint. The paint delivers excellent coverage, resisted staining and stood up to scrubbing. Available in 3,300 colors, this paint won't limit your options for being green.

More from Consumer Reports: Sellers get break on commissions
More home spending tips: Tax rebate uses for buyers, sellers homeowners
Home safe home for the holidays
Don't 'eat your house' unless it's gingerbread
Eat, drink, be wary at holiday house parties

© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Advertise on DeadlineNews.Com

Shop DeadlineNews.Com

Get news that really hits home for your Web site or blog from DeadlineNews.Com.

Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist, parlayed 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service, the San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews Group -- DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service and Web site and the Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's news back shop. Perkins is also a National Real Estate Examiner. All the news that really hits home from three locations -- that's location, location, location!

DeadlineNews.Com's Editorial Content Is Intellectual Property • Unauthorized Use Is A Federal Crime

No comments: