By Haddon Libby

Consumer Reports is an independent consumer product non-profit that protects consumers primarily via product testing.  Many of us use their product reviews when considering large purchases like cars and appliances but never think to check their product reviews on other important products that can impact our daily lives.

As an example, people with diabetes want a reliable and accurate blood glucose meter.  The top-rated blood glucose meter is the Freestyle Freedom Lite with a 93 score with annual supplies cost of $2,500.  Next up with a score of 91 is the Bayer Contour Next and an annual cost of $1,325/year.  Be careful if choosing a Bayer meter as the Bayer Contour is one of the worst rated with a score of 59.  For those on a tight budget, WalMart’s Reli-On costs less than $300 but has a 75 score with complaints of errant readings.

Given that we live in a place where it is sunny most days, we should all wear sunscreen daily.  La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk received the rare perfect score of 100 from Consumer Reports; recommended by more than 90,000 dermatologists, this best in class sunscreen costs about $7.20/ounce.  At one-third the cost, Bullfrog Land Sport Quik Gel SPF 50 came in second with a 95 rating.  In third at 94 is Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70 at a cost of only $1.00/ounce.  Walmart’s Equate Ultra Lotion SPF 50 gets the same score as Coppertone but for the bargain price of 44 cents/ounce.  Amongst spray on sunscreens, Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ got a perfect score at a bargain price of $1.00/ounce.   The lowest rated sunscreen with a score of 14 was Kiss My Face’s Sensitive Side 3 in 1 Lotion SPF 30.  Consumer Reports states that this sunscreen does not work to the SPF 30 level (amongst other concerns).  As Kiss My Face markets this sunscreen with words like vegan and cruelty-free, it seems that they save their cruelty for the sunscreen wearer.

It seems like the desert has had more than its usual share of insects that bite invading our homes.  The top-rated insect repellants with scores of 94 are from CVS’ Total Home and Off Deep Woods Insect Repellent VIII Dry.  Off’s FamilyCare Insect Repellent II Clean Feel must be laced with bug pheromones or sugar water given its dreadful score of 9.   For something DEET free, Repel’s Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent gets a strong score of 90.

Have a baby?  The highest rated baby stroller is the Peg Perego Booklet with an 88 score and cost of $350.  Second place goes to one of the better low-cost options, Mamas & Papas Armadillo stroller with an 84 score at a cost of $170.  The lowest rated that Consumer Reports checked was the Graco Aire3 Click Connect with a dreadful 33 score.  The lowest rated was the Evenflo Nurture Infant Car Seat with a 42 score and cost of $55.

The top-rated infant car seat was the Chicco KeyFit at 86 costing $180.  When your child moves to booster seats, none rated higher than 75.  The lowest rated booster seat that passed safety test was Baby Trend’s Yumi Folding Booster 2 in 1 with a $70 price tag and 46 score.

 When it comes to car insurance, USAA, NJM and Amica topped the list at 92, 90 and 89, respectively.  Some of the more familiar names that did not do were Esurance with the lowest score at 70 followed by Nationwide (71), Liberty Mutual (72), Allstate and Farmers (72), Progressive at (75) and GEICO at (78).

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Haddon Libby is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Fiduciary-Only Investment Advisory firm, Winslow Drake.  For more information on their award-nominated services, please visit or email Haddon at