Home & Garden

Bottom Line

According to its website, DirectBuy allows members to purchase merchandise from manufacturers at wholesale prices. DirectBuy's business model boils down to this: In exchange for an upfront buyer's club membership fee of roughly $5,000, you have the opportunity, over the next three years, to save 25 percent or more on a catalog of home-improvement products and furniture.

Users and reviewers are far from impressed with the DirectBuy experience. From the onset, people are turned off by DirectBuy's lack of transparency -- prospective members are not allowed to see what products are available, preventing them from comparing prices. Users say the showroom sales pitch is overly aggressive, and many say they felt cajoled or even bullied by salesmen who issue severe and absurd ultimatums. (A ConsumerReports.org staffer who visits two DirectBuy outlets is told he had to sign up on the spot or never come back.)

  • Might be good for large remodeling projects
  • Some members report significant savings
  • Many locations accredited by Better Business Bureau
  • Very high upfront fees
  • Extremely aggressive sales pitch
  • Can't see catalog before you sign up
  • Huge number of consumer complaints

We found reams of negative comments at RipoffReport.com, GardenWeb.com and at blogs like BradsBlog.com, in which a brief comment about DirectBuy elicits 600 or so vituperative comments. An interior designer posting on GardenWeb.com says she's had numerous clients who were initially very enthusiastic and hoped to save thousands with their investments. However, every single one of those clients was outraged with DirectBuy "not just because of 'beyond poor' service, but they were upset their $3-$5K could have been used on real, tangible products."

The only positive reviews of DirectBuy we could find were at ConsumerReviews.org, and the 20 posts here are uniformly ecstatic (especially compared to what we found elsewhere online). Since ConsumerReviews.org hides behind a masked domain name (meaning we can't tell who operates it), it's highly suspect. In fact, this site represents the very worst of what's out there when it comes to credibility.

One plus is that many locations have Better Business Bureau accreditation, so it's worth checking with your local BBB before signing on. We scanned the ratings for many DirectBuy locations, and while we generally noticed a good number of official complaints, most appeared to have been resolved.

It is difficult to find any positive feedback on DirectBuy, but ConsumerReports.org allows that it might be a worthwhile investment if you're planning to spend over $20,000 on your remodeling project -- and if you're willing to sign up for the program without knowing what merchandise is being offered.

Our Sources

1. DailyFinance.com

DirectBuy Complaints Mount, but Company Says Its Big Fee is Worth It, Jorgen Wouters, Oct. 11, 2010

WalletPop.com reports on the complaints by consumers about DirectBuy's nonrefundable membership dues, strange customer service policies like no canceling or returning orders, and the numerous lawsuits against the company. The reporter concludes that while there seem to be substantial numbers of satisfied members, there are also many very unhappy ones.

2. ConsumerReports.org

With DirectBuy, It Will Cost You a Lot to Save, Chris Fichera, Sept. 13, 2007

ConsumerReports.org staffer Chris Fichera visits two DirectBuy franchises in New York, enduring an extremely hard sell ("we had to sign up on the spot or never come back") that doesn't allow the opportunity to see what products or manufacturers are included in the program. Due to the lack of transparency, ConsumerReports.org is reluctant to say whether or not members actually save money. Fichera notes that "even if you were to save 25 percent on purchases after joining, you'd need to spend more than $20,000 just to recoup your membership fee." Although ConsumerReports.org remains leery of DirectBuy, they do say the program might be beneficial for someone furnishing an entire home or performing major renovations.

3. RipoffReport.com

DirectBuy, Editors of and contributors to RipoffReport.com

At last look, more than 300 consumers have posted complaints here about DirectBuy, and all of them are unusually vitriolic. The consensus is that these companies reap huge up-front charges and fees for a limited amount of savings on the part of the consumer. However, editors report that DirectBuy retained them to conduct an investigation of the RipoffReport.com complaints so that they could improve customer service and resolve the consumer concerns posted. DirectBuy says they have made improvements in their customer service as a result of this investigation.

4. GardenWeb.com

Anyone Used Direct Buy?, Contributors to GardenWeb.com

In this extensive thread, do-it-yourself home remodelers weigh in on DirectBuy. The consensus is that you'll need to spend a lot of money in order for your investment to pay off. Although a few say they saved a significant amount of money, especially on high-end merchandise, the majority of users are largely disappointed. One interior designer says many of her clients invested in DirectBuy and are absolutely frustrated by their experience -- not only is the customer service "poor," but the quality of the items received is "subpar," as well.

5. BradsBlog.net

Beware DirectBuy, "Brad", Nov. 27, 2005

This blog post is notable less for its content -- a brief, skeptical blurb about DirectBuy -- than for the appended comments, over 600 at last count, which are almost uniformly negative. Complaints echo those found at other sources: prospective members are not allowed to preview what's available, salespeople are rude and aggressive, and the savings are not worth the cost of membership fees.

6. Yelp.com

DirectBuy -- Mountain View, CA, Contributors to Yelp.com

Over three dozen comments here (for this particular California DirectBuy location) run the gamut from intense complaints to some positive reviews, especially from people who remodeled multiple rooms and hired the store's in-house designer.

7. Consumerist.com

DirectBuy Won't Let Me In Their Showroom Without My Husband, Meg Marco, Sept. 15, 2010

A reader reports that when she wanted to visit the DirectBuy showroom, they wouldn't give her a pass unless she provided her husband's name, saying they only offer passes to a married person if both spouses can be present at the meeting.

8. ConsumerReviews.org

DirectBuy.com, Contributors to ConsumerReviews.org

Every one of the 20 or so reviews posted on this site is completely ecstatic. However, this website publishes nothing but positive reviews, and it operates under a private domain name -- meaning we can't determine who owns it. There's no information at all about this site. In fact, it represents the very worst of Internet credibility.

Furniture Fix
Bottom Line

Furniture Fix is a set of plastic panels designed to slip under chair and sofa cushions.  Makers claim that these panels will add support to sagging springs and cushions, and even give new life to furniture that otherwise would need replacing.

User reviews provide the bulk of the feedback on Furniture Fix. While a small handful of owners are pleased with Furniture Fix and claim to see a vast improvement in support and height, others aren't so pleased. Even those who are happy with the results note that the slat sets don't include enough panels for a sofa, so the cost is doubled or tripled for larger items. Other owners question the product's durability, reporting that the panels can crack.

  • Elevates cushions
  • Can perk up some worn furniture
  • Panels prone to cracking
  • Multiple sets needed for sofas
  • Problems ordering on website
  • Sharp edges can damage upholstery

The only non-user review we found was from a Washington affiliate station, KEPR, as part of their "Will It Work?" series. In the video, staffers bring out a sagging sofa for the experiment, only to read in the Furniture Fix instructions that at least three sets are required for a sofa. Fortunately, they find a matching sagging loveseat, and after sliding several Furniture Fix panels underneath the cushions they find that the cushion has actually been lifted by two inches. While the results are successful, they conclude that the Furniture Fix doesn't make the loveseat any more comfortable -- and add that you can probably get the same results by sliding a TV tray under the cushions.

Another hiccup is the product's website; customers report overcharging, order doubling, aggressive telemarketing and the impossibility of getting a refund. According to customers, not only is there no order confirmation page on the Furniture Fix website, but the navigation is extremely (some say deliberately) confusing; they say that clicking the button for a free set will actually double or triple a paid order, adding additional shipping and handling charges. Calling customer service to cancel the order does no good; callers are told to call back in a few hours and, when they do, are told that it's too late to cancel because the order has already been shipped.

In the end, Furniture Fix might help bolster sagging cushions in smaller items, but you can probably make your own solution with a piece of plastic or light plywood.

Our Sources

1. KEPR (Pasco, Wash.)

Will It Work? The Furniture Fix, Jay Frank, May 25, 2011

KEPR staffers bring out a sagging sofa to test the Furniture Fix, but find that the instructions say that you need at least three sets for a sofa. They're limited to testing it on a sagging chair instead, with successful results: the chair cushions are lifted by two inches. However, they conclude that, while the Furniture Fix panels do the job, they don't actually make the chair any more comfortable -- and shoving a TV tray under the cushions, they add, would probably have the same results.

2. Amazon.com

Furniture Lift & Fix Panels, Contributors to Amazon.com

Furniture Fix gets only 2 out of 5 stars from about two dozen user reviewers on Amazon.com. The negative posts say that Furniture Fix doesn't hold up and cracks, and that you need to order several sets in order to have enough panels for a sofa. One positive poster says that it does add support to a daybed, although the daybed is not used often and that the plastic wouldn't be sturdy enough for an item that is used frequently.

3. Walmart.com

As Seen On TV Furniture Fix Interlocking Panels, Contributors to Walmart.com

User reviews skew to the negative on Walmart.com. The only 5-star review states that while the product does fix sagging furniture, it only works well on pieces that are "gently used." Another major complaint is that one set is very small and multiple boxes are needed to line a large couch.

4. QVC.com

Furniture Fix Set of 12 Adjustable Furniture Savers, Contributors to QVC.com

The majority of user reviews on QVC.com swing in Furniture Fix's favor; many of the 30 owners are pleased with the improvement in their furniture and say the difference is noticeable. However, middle-of-the-road reviews state that while the product works initially, the slats slide and don't stay in place. Also, since the plastic is sharp, there are a few cases where users report damage to their couch's upholstery.

5. ComplaintsBoard.com

Furniture Fix Forum, Contributors to the ComplaintsBoard.com

There are a number of complaints here about the Furniture Fix website; customers complain of overcharging and order doubling, of poor customer service and of aggressive telemarketers who won't take no for an answer.

Bottom Line

The Pitch: Cuts your cleaning time in half!

The Verdict: Small mop head means cleaning takes longer.

  • Soaks up liquid
  • Small mop head
  • Does not swivel easily
  • Numerous durability issues
  • Pricey compared to similar mops
  • Spinning action not as efficient as wringing

The Hurricane Spin Mop actually has a few slogans: Cuts your cleaning time in half! Spend less time mopping! Cleans, dries and polishes in one easy step!

Ahhh…if it only did all that. Unfortunately, you probably won't spend any less time cleaning with the Hurricane Spin Mop than you will with any other mop -- although it will almost certainly perform better than an old-fashioned sponge mop. Reviewers say that the Hurricane Spin Mop's head is a lot smaller and thinner than it appears in the commercials, so it takes a lot of time to clean all but the smallest floors and has to be rinsed frequently. It also takes longer to remove the water from the mop head than with other spin mops because the Hurricane Mop spins the water out of the mop head using centrifugal force, which is not as efficient as a dedicated wringer like the one included with our best reviewed spin mop, the Twist & Shout (Est. $40).

All of those issues add time to cleaning, they don't subtract from it, and the lack of maneuverability doesn't help. Many reviewers note that they wish they could figure out how to easily swivel the Hurricane Spin Mop like it shows in the commercials. In real life, they say, you have to stand on the base and pull the handle in the direction you want it to go. There also is no "clean, dry and polish" single step as it claims on the box. Like any mop, you have to dip it in water, wring it out, mop, rinse the mop head, and wring it again. And the dirty water that you wring out goes into the bucket, so, for a true rinse, at some point you need to dump the dirty water and use clean water for another pass.

However, the biggest problem with the Hurricane Spin Mop is that it gets dreadful reviews for durability. The foot lever that operates the spinner breaks easily, reviewers say, and it often leaks from the point where the lever is attached to the bucket -- although the good news is that the Hurricane gets good reviews for absorbing puddles. The mop handle is also reported as extremely flimsy, so you have to be careful of putting too much pressure on it when cleaning tough spots. The handle on the Hurricane Spin Mop is also quite short, many note, making it uncomfortable to use.

Having said all that, there are people who are very happy with the Hurricane Spin Mop and say it works very well. However, even some satisfied customers repeat the complaints we detail above, but say once they got a mop that was not broken or didn't leak, that it worked well. In some cases, it took three mops for that to happen.

The Hurricane Spin Mop costs $39.99 from the official web site; either as one payment or two payments of $19.99. Shipping and handling is $12.99, for a grand total of $52.98. For that price, you get the mop with one mop head, the bucket, and a lint removing brush. However, you can buy the mop from Amazon.com for about $37.00 with free shipping.

If you still think a Hurricane Spin Mop is right for you, we suggest you NOT order it from the official website. Not only is it more expensive, but if you want to return it within the 30-day warranty period you have to pay for return shipping and you do not get a refund for your initial shipping and handling fees. So, it could cost you $25 or so and you'll still need to buy a mop. In addition, Telebrands, the manufacturer of the Hurricane Mop gets poor reviews for customer service. 

Better yet, head on over to our newly updated report on mops, to find a spin mop that far outperforms the Hurricane, as well as suggestions for quite a few other types of mops as well. We think you'll be much happier with one of those choices.

Our Sources

1. Amazon.com

Hurricane Spin Mop, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2015

In more than 615 reviews, the Hurricane Spin Mop earns an overall rating of 3.3 stars out of 5. Some like the mop and say it works well -- although even many of its fans say it's flimsy. Most say it simply doesn't work as advertised, that it doesn't maneuver easily, the mop head is very small, and you have to spin the heck out of it to fully wring out the mop.

2. BedBathAndBeyond.com

Hurricane Spin Mop, Contributors to BedBathandBeyond.com, As of May 2015

The Hurricane Spin Mop earns an average rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 in more than 55 reviews. There are many durability complaints with the handle and bucket. Quite a few reviewers mention how difficult it is to straighten the handle and say the mop is just too small. Others love it and say it works well, although several otherwise satisfied customers say that they had to return a faulty bucket several times before getting one that did not leak.

3. Highya.com

Hurricane 360 Spin Mop Reviews, Editors of Highya.com, Not Dated

The editors of Highya.com editors offer an overview of the claims and the features of the Hurricane Spin Mop, although they do not personally test it. They also compile input from reviewers posting to their site, about 126 as of June 2015, who give the Hurricane Mop an overall average rating of 2 stars out of 5. Most complaints are related to sub-par performance, durability issues and pricey additional charges for shipping and handling.

4. Does-The-Product-Work.com

Does Hurricane 360 Spin Mop Really Work?, Contributors to Does the Product Work?, As of May 2015

About 107 reviewers weigh in with their opinion of whether or not the Hurricane Spin mop works as it claims to -- 42 percent say yes, 58 percent say no. Those who like it say it performs just as advertised, and offers a thorough, streak-free cleaning. Other say it's flimsy, the black pedal on the blue bucket is ugly, and that the mop head is much smaller than it appears in the ads.

5. 11Alive.com

Try it Before you Buy it: Hurricane 360 Spin Mop, 11Alive Staff, WXIA, June 23, 2014

In a "does it really work" segment for channel 11 in Atlanta, first-time homeowner MiYata Johhnson tries out the Hurricane Mop; giving it one thumbs up, one down. She likes the spinning action, but says the mop does not clean very well and does not swivel easily.

Magic Mesh
Bottom Line

Magic Mesh is advertised as a simple and affordable alternative to installing a screen door. The mesh curtain is designed to be hung over a doorway using reusable adhesive tabs or thumbtacks; a series of magnetic closures are supposed to keep Magic Mesh in place. The manufacturer claims it's a great way to let fresh air in and keep bugs out, allowing people and pets to go in and out as they please.

When tested, however, Magic Mesh comes up short. Although easy enough to install, many users say it is flimsy and looks unattractive. The magnet closures work better for some than others, but several owners complain that the material tears easily and that the adhesive tabs aren't strong enough to hold Magic Mesh in place. Another common complaint is that Magic Mesh does not provide a tight seal, as there is gapping between the magnets and along the bottom, so bugs can still fly in.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Flimsy material
  • Looks unattractive
  • Lots of gapping
  • Doesn't always close

A reporter for WXIA in Acworth, Ga., tests Magic Mesh and says the magnets don't always close; the material also tears easily, she notes. Tests conducted by WGRZ in Buffalo, N.Y., and WGHP in Greensboro, N.C. produce similar results. Reviewers on Amazon.com are mostly unhappy with the product, complaining that the material is flimsy and the magnets aren't strong enough, though a few are happy enough with Magic Mesh since it's cheaper than putting in a screen door.

Our Sources

1. WXIA (Acworth, Ga.)

Try It Review: Magic Mesh screen door, Karyn Greer, Aug. 24, 2011

Reporter Karyn Greer brings the Magic Mesh to a viewer's home to try it out. They say it's easy to hang up, but note that the magnetic closures don't do a very good job of keeping Magic Mesh closed. They also notice some of the mesh coming apart after only one test. They ultimately give Magic Mesh one thumb up and one thumb down, saying that it's "hit or miss."

2. WGHP (Greensboro, NC)

Deal or Dud: Magic Mesh, Melissa Painter, Jan. 6, 2012

Melissa Painter tries out Magic Mesh at a viewer's home. They say the screen is easy to hang up, but they also think it looks unappealing. After several passes in and out of the house, Magic Mesh only closes behind them about half of the time. They deem it a "dud" for being unreliable.

3. WGRZ (Buffalo, N.Y.)

Product Test: Magic Mesh Screen, Mary Friona, Sept. 7, 2011

Mary Friona tries out Magic Mesh at her own home and is able to hang it up easily, though she thinks it looks unattractive. It closes behind her each time she walks through it, as well as when her three dogs run through it -- but after a week, the screen is failing. Friona also notes that it doesn't completely seal off the doorway, and bugs could get into her home.

4. Amazon.com

Magic Mesh Hands-Free Screen Door, Contributors to Amazon.com

More than 175 customers review Magic Mesh on Amazon.com, and most are either disappointed or have mixed reactions. Some of the common complaints are that the material is flimsy and tears easily, there is too much gapping between the magnet closures and the magnets are so weak that a strong enough breeze will separate them. A few like Magic Mesh and say that since it is so inexpensive, they don't mind that it's not as strong or effective as a regular screen door.

Mister Steamy
Bottom Line

Mister Steamy is advertised as an affordable way to get the soft, wrinkle-free laundry results that expensive steam dryers produce. You're supposed to add water to the Mister Steamy dryer ball, toss it into the dryer with your laundry, set on high heat, and your clothes should come out dry and without wrinkles. It also comes with a bottle of freshening liquid that can be added along with the water to help remove odors from fabrics.

Unfortunately, the results users see rarely come close to living up to Mister Steamy's claims. Clothes tend to come out of the dryer just as wrinkled as when they went in, and sometimes even more so. Some users also notice spots on their clothes from where Mister Steamy leaked both water and the freshening liquid. Many testers are also disappointed that Mister Steamy only works on a high heat setting and that it's so loud while rattling around the dryer. A handful of people find that Mister Steamy works on smaller loads of laundry that contain delicate fabrics, but no one recommends using it in large loads with heavy fabrics, like denim.

  • May work in small loads
  • Doesn't remove wrinkles
  • Loud
  • Only works on high heat
  • Tends to deteriorate quickly

Several television news stations give Mister Steamy a hands-on test. KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Mo., gives it F for both leaking on the clothes and showing no sign of reducing wrinkles. WVEC in Hampton Roads, Va., also declares that Mister Steamy doesn't work, as everything in the dryer still needs to be ironed. WTXF in Philadelphia is a bit happier, finding fewer wrinkles in a load of laundry dried with Mister Steamy when compared to a load dried on its own. Reviewers on HSN.com are very dissatisfied, citing everything from an abundance of wrinkles, the noise factor, and the high heat issue in their complaints. Reviewers on Amazon.com echo these complaints, though a select few recommend trying Mister Steamy in only small loads of laundry.

Our Sources

1. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)

Mr. Steamy: Does it Work, Lauren Keith, Feb. 8, 2010

As part of a regular KFVS "Does it Work Wednesday?" segment, Lauren Keith brings Mister Steamy to the laundromat to try it out. Using both water and the freshening liquid that comes with Mister Steamy, she tests a load of wet and a load of dry clothes. When she checks both loads midway through their cycles, she notices not only spots of water on the clothes, but also from the freshening liquid. After both drying cycles are complete, Lauren still sees some spots and everything is wrinkled, so she needs to re-wash the clothes and iron them once they're done. Ultimately, Mister Steamy gets an F grade.

2. WVEC (Hampton Roads, Va.)

Does it Work? Mister Steamy, Sandra Parker, July 12, 2010

Sandra Parker asks a local viewer try out Mister Steamy in her home. Using only water, she first uses it in a load containing linen shirts, which come out extremely wrinkled. Wondering if the fabric is the problem, she tries Mister Steamy in another load containing cotton-based clothing, but they also come out wrinkled and will need to be ironed before they can be worn. When asked if Mister Steamy works, she says no.

3. WTXF (Philadelphia)

Deal Or Dud: Mister Steamy, Michelle Buckman, Not Dated

Michelle Buckman tries out Mister Steamy in a side-by-side test. She puts one load of wet laundry in the dryer without Mister Steamy, then puts another load in with it, using only water when filling. When comparing both finished loads next to each other, she does see less wrinkles in the load that had Mister Steamy in it, though it isn't completely without wrinkles. She calls Mister Steamy a deal since it could eliminate the need to iron basic items, like jeans and t-shirts.

4. HSN.com

Mister Steamy Steam Dryer Ball Set, Contributors to HSN.com

About 150 customers review Mister Steamy on HSN.com, and the majority of them are dissatisfied. Many complain that they see no reduction in wrinkles when using Mister Steamy, though a small percentage find that it works for smaller items, just not sheets or heavy fabrics. Several also don't like that Mister Steamy is only meant to be used on high heat, since they don't dry their clothes on that setting. Other complaints include how loud Mister Steamy is as it's bounced around the dryer and how quickly the sponge inside of it deteriorates.

5. Amazon.com

Allstar Marketing Group MS011112 Mister Steamy Dryer Balls - As Seen On TV, Contributors to Amazon.com

Two dozen customers review Mister Steamy on Amazon.com, and more than half of them give it the lowest possible rating. Most reviewers found their clothes to be no less wrinkled after drying them with Mister Steamy, and some even say their clothes were more wrinkled and damper than they would have been if dried on their own. Several find that it works in small loads with just a few items that need to be de-wrinkled. The many unhappy customers also comment on how loud Mister Steamy is in the dryer and how quickly the interior sponge falls apart.

My Pillow Review
Bottom Line

The Pitch: Guaranteed the Most Comfortable Pillow You'll Ever Own!

The Verdict: Go to the store. Try pillows. Buy one that feels good.

  • Washable
  • Improves sleep for some
  • Will go flat
  • Does not stay cool
  • Too many unproven claims
  • Pricey compared to comparable pillows

The Pitch: Guaranteed the Most Comfortable Pillow You'll Ever Own!

The Verdict: Go to the store. Try pillows. Buy one that feels good.

The Centers for Disease Control calls lack of sleep a "public health epidemic," saying that it's linked to motor vehicle crashes, medical and occupational errors, and industrial disasters. They also note that about 50 to 70 million adults suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorders, which can result in chronic diseases, depression and obesity.

Not to mention the frustration of lying down at night, only to toss and turn, knowing that you're going to spend the next day in a fog of fatigue.

Little wonder then that the sleep industry is a 30-plus billion dollar business -- peddling everything from the perfect mattress, to the perfect decor, to the perfect pill.

To the perfect pillow? That's what the purveyors of My Pillow -- Original and Premium -- hope to convince you of. They say that it's the most comfortable pillow you'll ever own and offer a 60-day money back guarantee to back up their claims.

And their claims are pretty broad. On the My Pillow website, founder Mike Lindell claims that My Pillow can help with snoring, migraines, sleep apnea, insomnia, fibromyalgia, RLS (restless leg syndrome), neck pain, allergies and TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome). There are no scientific studies backing up these assertions, just Lindell's anecdotes about meeting people with those issues, giving them a My Pillow, and having them tell him later that it worked.  

Other reviews from websites such as Amazon.com and Walmart.com have less-glowing testimonials, and the My Pillow in its various sizes and forms earns fairly average ratings from owners -- not dismal, but not good enough to market the My Pillow as the ultimate pillow for everyone.

Before we get to the complaints, though, we do want to point out that there are those who love the My Pillow, and say it's very comfortable for them. Some say it has helped relieve neck or back pain, or has cut down on their tendency to snore. Many reviewers note that the My Pillow comes in a very small box and, in accordance with the instructions, you need to take it out, allow it to fluff, and then put it in the dryer for 10 minutes or so for it to reach its full dimensions. A number of owners say they still love their My Pillow after several months, but even happy customers say it doesn't keep its shape as well as advertised and must be fluffed in the dryer frequently -- and that they have to wake to fluff it at night. Allergy sufferers like that it's washable and retains its shape after washing.

Back sleepers, overall, seem to be happier than side or stomach sleepers. Also, some say it's important to take the time to go through the pillow selection process on the website to find out which pillow type and size is best for you.

However, close to half of all reviewers are unhappy with the My Pillow. The biggest complaint we saw is that the pillow does not maintain its shape for a full night, and it's "fluff" doesn't last any longer than any other pillow. Many also say that it feels lumpy and they simply cannot get used to it. Another big issue is that the My Pillow does not stay cool. We read many angry reviews from women who thought the pillow would help with hot flashes, only to be extremely disappointed when it did not do so; even satisfied customers say it doesn't have any magic cooling (or at least not heating) properties. There are other scattered complaints of a bad smell with the My Pillow, and a surprising number of unhappy users say it's "loud." Apparently, the foam bits that make up the interior will sometimes squeak when they rub together. Quite a few reviewers are just disappointed that they paid that much for a pillow that did not relieve conditions that it claims to help.

There's no doubt that the My Pillow is pricey, although the pricing structure on the website is confusing. With a promo code (that you have to search around the Internet to find), a $115 pillow is just $55, without the promo code it's full price. There is also a two-for-one-deal at the moment, but, again, you have to figure out the promo code. Shipping is a flat $10 rate. The pillow comes with a 60-day money back guarantee and a 10-year warranty, but you have to ship it back at your own expense if you decide to return it. Buying from Amazon.com is more straightforward: $60 and free shipping with Prime membership.

The bottom line is that the My Pillow might be a great pillow for you, but before spending the money we suggest that you go to a few different stores and buy a few different pillows. Department stores will usually allow you to return a pillow after you use it for a few days if you are unhappy with it, without the hassle and expense of packing and shipping. The fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to sleep issues, no matter what any purveyor of sleep products says.

Our Sources

1. Amazon.com

My Pillow As Seen On TV Queen Size, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2015

These reviews are for the original, not "Premium" My Pillow, and it gets an overall rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 in around 450 reviews. Many of the most recent reviews are simply one or two words; those that go into detail say this pillow is no different than others they have owned, but is much pricier. There are quite a few comments that the My Pillow is lumpy and does not hold its shape and has to be fluffed frequently. Some say it has helped with various issues, such as neck pain.

2. Amazon.com

My Pillow Premium®- Premium Standard/Queen Bed Pillow, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2015

In more than 910 customer reviews, the My Pillow Premium (same product as the original My Pillow, but with a gusset and different size options) earns an overall average rating of 2.8 stars out of 5. There are quite a few complaints of a weird smell out of the package. Many say it's much too thick to be comfortable; others note that it's lumpy. Some love it and say it holds its shape well, but that it's important to get the proper size.

3. Walmart.com

As Seen on TV My Pillow, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of June 2015

About 210 reviewers give the My Pillow an overall rating of 3.6 stars out of 5. As at Amazon.com, users experiences are very subjective; some love My Pillow, saying it's very comfortable. Others say it's lumpy or uncomfortable and does not live up to expectations. A number of snorers say it didn't make any difference.

4. KomoNews.com

My Pillow: Does it Work?, Connie Thompson, Dec. 18, 2013

Connie Thompson, a consumer report for this Seattle-based ABC affiliate, gives a My Pillow to a pillow-enthusiast for a 10-night test. Overall, the tester, Andrea Cordova, said the My Pillow is comfortable, but does need to be fluffed every day and does not stay cool as it claims to. Ultimately, Cordova gives it three-and-a-half stars even though she thinks it's pricey.

Pro Caulk
Bottom Line

Pro Caulk is a simple tool that is advertised as being the solution to messy caulking projects. It's a collection of small, silicone discs that produce different sealing edges when they're run along wet caulk. Simply apply the sealing compound of your choice to tile, select the appropriate Pro Caulk disc and slide it along to get a perfect edge. The tool will collect the excess product, making the clean-up process a lot easier.

Pro Caulk has been tested by many reviewers and customers, and the majority of them say the tool works as advertised. They find the tool simple to use and say that it leaves a smooth finish most of the time, though it depends on the surfaces being worked on. A few users say the material that Pro Caulk discs are made from isn't very strong, and both happy and dissatisfied users note that smoothing caulk with their fingers yields the same results, making them wonder if Pro Caulk is really worth the price.

  • Easy to use
  • Works with a variety of sealing compounds
  • Doesn't work on textured surfaces
  • Made from flimsy material
  • No more effective than using your fingers

Several local television news programs give Pro Caulk a hands-on test, including KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Mo., which finds that the tool works well on flat surfaces and gives it an A grade. WMBF in Myrtle Beach/Florence, S.C., says that Pro Caulk is no substitute for a caulk gun, but that it's a useful tool for those with little to no experience working with caulk. KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., has trouble getting a smooth finish and declares Pro Caulk to be a dud. A reporter for Popular Mechanics tests the tool and is impressed with how it smoothes both straight lines and corners. Reviewers on Amazon.com are mostly happy with Pro Caulk and how easy it is to use, though a small percentage didn't get the results they wanted and found the tool to be flimsy.

In the end, most seem to find Pro Caulk to be useful, particularly for those new to caulking projects.

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Our Sources

1. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)

Pro Caulk: Does it Work?, Lauren Keith, April 29, 2009

As part of KFVS's regular "Does it Work?" segment, Lauren Keith tests Pro Caulk with a couple of Habitat for Humanity volunteers. They first test it in the furnace room and find that Pro Caulk doesn't leave a smooth finish when used against a textured wall. A second test in the bathroom fares better, as the flat bathtub surface helps to make a smooth caulk line. It does take two swipes with the Pro Caulk to get a nice finish. Overall, they give Pro Caulk a grade of A, saying that it works well when sealing a flat surface.

2. WMBF (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

Does It Work: PROCaulk, Editors of KLRT, May 4, 2009

In a regular "Does It Work?" segment, WMBF tests Pro Caulk on some countertops with a professional carpenter. They find that it works well to create smooth caulk lines, though it may take a couple of tries to get it right when used in corners. Pro Caulk also successfully collects a lot of the excess caulk, making the clean-up process a lot easier. While the carpenter says it's no substitute for a caulk gun, he does think that Pro Caulk would work for someone who doesn't have a lot of experience working with caulk.

3. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)

Deal or Dud: Pro Caulk, Editors of KLRT, May 1, 2009

A KLRT reporter tests Pro Caulk with some flooring experts in one of their "Deal or Dud" reports. They find that the tool doesn't leave a perfectly smooth finish, as it claims to do. They also test the Pro Caulk grouting tool and find that it leaves behind too much messy residue. Saying Pro Caulk isn't the tool to use for a project as complex as caulking, they deem it a dud and say that they get better results just using their fingers to create a smooth finish.

4. Popular Mechanics

Pro Caulk Review: Do As Seen On TV Products Work?, Harry Sawyers, Dec. 17, 2008

Harry Sawyers tests Pro Caulk while sealing some exterior windows. He says the tool creates a smooth seal in both straight lines and in corners, and that it is far superior to using his fingers to smooth out the caulk. Sawyers says Pro Caulk works as advertised and would be a welcome addition to anyone's toolbox.

5. Amazon.com

Pro Caulk Complete Caulking Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com

About 50 customers review Pro Caulk on Amazon.com, and most are at least satisfied with the product. They find it easy to use and most were able to get smooth caulk lines when using Pro Caulk in their projects, though a select few were unhappy with the results they got. The most common complaint is that the Pro Caulk tool is flimsy, and many customers -- both satisfied and not -- wonder if it's worth the price when they get the same results using their fingers or a plastic spoon to smooth out caulk. The average rating is 3.3 out of 5 stars.

Sobakawa Cloud Pillow
Bottom Line

If the advertisement for the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow is to be believed, it is the ultimate solution for anyone seeking a more comfortable night's sleep. Rather than feathers, foam or fiber, the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow is filled with millions of "air beads" that conform to the shape of your head and neck. According to the ad, these beads also retain their shape longer than other fillers (giving the pillow a longer life) and help keep users cool in warm weather.

According to the many who have used the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, it does deliver on many of its claims. Those seeking a firm and supportive pillow say the Sobakawa keeps its shape better than other pillows and reduces neck pain. However, others find the pillow too hard for their liking. Both happy and unhappy customers mention a distinct chemical smell, which dissipates over time. Reviewers also agree that there is no cooling factor to the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, and that they get just as warm sleeping on it as they do with any other pillow.

  • Supportive
  • Reduces neck pain
  • Keeps its shape
  • Too firm for some
  • Initial chemical smell
  • Doesn't stay cool, as claimed
  • Smaller than standard pillow

A reporter for TV station KLRT in Little Rock, Ark., tries out the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow and says it's a deal, praising the way it conforms to and supports a sleeper's head. Owners posting reviews on Walmart.com are mostly happy, saying that the pillow is supportive, though a few say the pillow is too small and too hard. Amazon.com customers are more mixed in their reactions; some find the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow comfortable and supportive, while others don't care for the pillow's filling. Customers on both BedBathAndBeyond.com and Target.com who want a firm pillow are generally satisfied with the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, though a select few find it to be too firm. Nearly all owners agree that there is a smell to the pillow at first and that it does not offer a cooling factor.

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Our Sources

1. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)

Deal or Dud: Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, Chad Garneau, Jan. 6, 2011

In one of their "Deal or Dud" news segments, a reporter for KLRT gives the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow to a volunteer to test. She uses it for a 30-minute nap and reports that she finds the pillow comfortable and loves the way it "flows" around her head in a wave-like motion. She does notice an odor to the pillow but says that it doesn't bother her, though it might bother those who sleep with their face in their pillow. Overall, the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow is considered a deal.

2. Walmart.com

As Seen on TV Sobakawa Micro-Bead Cloud Pillow, Contributors to Walmart.com

More than 50 customers review the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow on Walmart.com. Most are reasonably satisfied, with 70 percent saying they would recommend the product. Those who crave a supportive pillow or suffer from neck pain like the firmness of the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow and how it molds to their head and neck. Some of the dissatisfied customers say that the pillow is too small and too hard for their liking. Nearly all say that the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow isn't cooling, and many mention a chemical smell that is present when first using the pillow.

3. Amazon.com

Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, Contributors to Amazon.com

More than 30 customers review the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow on Amazon.com, and their reactions are mixed. Some say the pillow offers better head and neck support than pillows with other fillers, while others complain that the filling makes the pillow feel too hard. It is almost unanimously agreed that the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow does not remain any cooler than other pillows, and that there is a distinct smell to the pillow when it is new, which bothers some more than others.

4. BedBathAndBeyond.com

Sobakawa Cloud Pillow, Contributors to BedBathAndBeyond.com

Of the more than 20 customers who review the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow on BedBathAndBeyond.com, most give it a positive rating. Those looking for the support of a firmer pillow are very happy, saying that the pillow offers ample support and that they sleep comfortably with it. A few customers who mention experiencing neck pain with other pillows say they have less or no pain when using the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow. The select few who are unhappy with the pillow say it's too hard and small. Everyone agrees that it does not remain cool.

5. Target.com

Sobakawa Cloud Microbead Pillow, Contributors to Target.com

A handful of customers review the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow on Target.com. Most find it comfortable and supportive, though the chemical smell that accompanies the brand-new pillow is a deal breaker for some. A couple of customers also mention that it's smaller than most other pillows, which they do not care for.