Inside Good Housekeeping's Engineering Lab

- Welcome to the Good Housekeeping Institute's Engineering Lab, Chief Technologist Rachel Rothman's high-tech playpen.

The lab has four categories. In consumer electronics, they look at speakers, smartphones, televisions, and computers. They also look at home improvement items like shower heads, toilets, and caulk. Automobiles are tested outside of the lab, in Detroit. And children's products like strollers, high chairs, and toys are also tested in the lab.

Looking for a high chair? No problem. They tested 28 different models to see how easy they are to use, store, and clean, plus, how well they stand up to wear and tear. Need a stroller? Rachel can tell you the safest and the simplest. She says safety is paramount in the Engineering Lab, but they're also looking at how easy those strollers are to maneuver.

Good Housekeeping released its 2017 New Car Awards this month. Rachel's absolute favorite is the Chevy Bolt. She says the electric vehicle drives really well, but is also affordable. After rebates and tax cuts, the Bolt costs as little as $30,000. The Honda Accord is another great family pick. Rachel calls it an all-around wonderful vehicle, that's a great value. You can see all eight of Good Housekeeping's favorite vehicles for the year in the February issue.

Toy testing is probably the loudest thing they do in the lab, dropping toys to make sure they're safe and durable. They particularly test to be sure the toys don't create any choking hazards.

In consumer electronics, if you're thinking of trying a pair of new wireless headphones, Rachel says wait. Right now, she says, they have connectivity issues. They're also bulky, and aren't lasting very long, making it hard to find a truly perfect pair at this point.

If you're shopping for a new ultra-HD TV, no need to spend thousands of dollars. Good Housekeeping recommends one from TCL that is about $500. Rachel says Haier also has good sets at more affordable price points.

Not sure how to turn your house into a more connected home? Start small. Rachel says they love the entire suite of Alexa products from Amazon, like the Echo and the Echo Dot. She also suggests getting your feet wet in the lighting category, because it's easy. You can change just one light bulb and see how you like it.

For the latest tests from the Engineering Lab head to www.goodhousekeeping.com or check out Good Housekeeping Magazine.

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