The Pitch: "Holds 12 times its weight in liquid"
April 2009. Based on its over-the-top infomercial, the ShamWow seems like the ultimate solution for cleaning up large spills and leaks. However, most users say that the ShamWow really isn't any better than a roll of paper towels. Some ShamWow fans love this infomercial product and claim that if used properly, it will indeed hold 12 times its weight in liquid, as advertised, but others aren't so sure.
The majority of customers who buy the ShamWow are impressed in reviews, with the most common complaint being that it doesn't really absorb liquid so much as smear it around. Those who tried using the ShamWow as a towel -- as some swimmers are said to do -- say that it works better in that capacity, but add that the material is a bit too rough on the skin for this use.
A reporter for a Little Rock, Ark., Fox affiliate tests the ShamWow during one of their regular "Deal or Dud" segments, and deems it an overall dud. A reporter for Popular Mechanics, meanwhile, finds that the ShamWow works fairly well, though he suggests keeping paper towels on hand to mop up what the ShamWow misses. Customer reviews on InfomercialRatings.com are a mixed bag, with users either loving or hating ShamWow's performance. Reviews on Amazon.com and MeasuredUp.com are more on the negative side, with most echoing the complaint that the ShamWow just doesn't absorb enough and isn't worth the cost.
1. KLRT (Little Rock, Ark.)
Kevin Kelly tests the ShamWow to see if it really does everything it advertises. When using it to dry a wet tabletop, the ShamWow leaves behind a lot of water, and when used to sop up soda from carpet, it works only to a point, leaving plenty of soda underneath the carpet. One tester uses it as a towel after a swim and finds that it dries him thoroughly and quickly, but that wasn't enough to garner a positive review. Overall, Kelly rates the ShamWow as a dud, rather than a deal.
Review: Deal or Dud: ShamWow, Kevin Kelly, Sept. 4, 2008
Harry Sawyers tests the ShamWow to see if it does everything it claims: soaking soda out of carpet, cleaning a spill from a potted plant, wiping down kitchen counters and doubling as a bath mat and a towel. He says it works better as a bath mat and towel than it does at cleaning up messes, though it's a bit rough on the skin. When used to soak up spilled liquids, the ShamWow does a decent job, but doesn't fully dry the surfaces it is used on. Sawyer decides that the ShamWow works well enough, but suggests keeping paper towels on hand as a backup.
Review: Does the ShamWow Really Work? As Seen on TV Product Review, Harry Sawyers, Dec. 4, 2008
More than 250 customers review the ShamWow on InfomercialRatings.com, and they either love it or hate it. Some claim that it works great for absorbing spills and leaks, while others say it merely pushes the liquid around rather than absorbing it. Several customers like using the ShamWow to wash their cars, but a couple who have done so say it scratched the paint.
Review: ShamWow Reviews and Ratings, Contributors to InfomercialRatings.com
Out of more than two dozen Amazon.com customer reviews, most aren't very happy with the ShamWow and say it doesn't work for soaking up spills or as a towel. The few who like it say that the instructions need to be followed in order for it to work: The ShamWow should be damp before being used to soak up anything and it shouldn't be put in the dryer after being washed.
Review: ShamWow!, Contributors to Amazon.com
More than 15 customers review the ShamWow on MeasuredUp.com, and only a couple find that it works as advertised in the infomercial. Most say that it doesn't absorb well and just pushes liquids around.
Review: ShamWow Reviews, Contributors to MeasuredUp.com
After rival pitchman Billy Mays proclaims his Zorbeez absorbent towels to be better than the ShamWow on a radio program, Popular Mechanics editors decide to put the two products to the test. They assess how much each towel can absorb as well as drying time, using beer and melted snow. The ShamWow easily bests the Zorbeez, editors find.
Review: Shamwow vs. Zorbeez: Which Works Better? As Seen On TV Lab Test, Editors of PopularMechanics.com, Mar. 24, 2009