The Truth Behind "As Seen on TV" Products

Think you can believe that fantastic claims you hear in infomercials? The Good Housekeeping Research Institute reviewed some popular products seen on TV. Read on to find out the truth behind the most popular infomercial products instantly!


UGlu
$10 plus $7 S&H
The Pitch: "The strength of super glue. The convenience of tape!"
The Truth: We used these little double-sided-tape-like strips to bond 14 materials, including metal, plastic, wood, and fabric. Most stuck together impressively well, even if they got wet or cold. And it's all true: UGlu doesn't make a mess or stick much to skin, is simple to peel off, sets with no need to clamp, and is generally more user-friendly than the other alternatives. But its strength claims are exaggerated, and in our tests its bond weakened in high temperatures.
The Bottom Line: UGlu is great for tasks like tacking a slipping rug to the floor, repairing peeling linoleum, and scrapbooking, as well as almost anything that needs a removable fix (say, anchoring an outdoor tablecloth during a barbecue). It's less successful on fabric, porous materials such as brick, and any object that may be subjected to a lot of force (a plant hung from the ceiling, or a mug handle, for example).


Shake Weight
$20 plus $10 S&H
The Pitch: "Get strong, sexy, sculpted arms...in just six minutes a day!"
The Truth: Testers who used 2.5-pound dumbbells for half an hour a day, three days a week, achieved slightly better toning results than those who used the Shake Weight with its instructional DVD - which actually clocked in at nearly nine minutes, not the promised six. Nonetheless, many women found the convenience of a shorter routine appealing, particularly those who hadn't done upper-body exercises in the past. The exercise physiologists we spoke to, however, seriously doubted that the Shake Weight could increase muscle activity by 300 percent over regular weights, as claimed.
The Bottom Line: Arm-workout newbies may see results, but veteran exercisers won't find the routine sufficiently strenuous.

Nuwave Pro
$150 plus $30 S&H
The Pitch: "Enjoy healthy and delicious food in just minutes."
The Truth: We broiled, roasted, steamed, and more. This infrared oven did best on baking cookies, air-cooking frozen fries, and dehydrating beef jerky. On average, it was 50 percent faster than an oven if what we were cooking required preheating. But our "waved" burgers lost more juice and released less fat than broiled ones. And forget about using it to reheat.
The Bottom Line: Only worth it if you don't have an oven.


magicJack
$39.95 plus $6.95 S&H
The Pitch: "Make and receive local and long-distance calls in the U.S. and Canada for only $19.95 a year."
The Truth: The $40 device easily connects a regular phone to a USB port on a computer and lets you call as advertised (the first year of service is included; it's $19.95 per year thereafter). But there are a few hang-ups: Sound quality varies widely, and in order to make and receive calls, the computer must be on and connected to a high-speed Internet service. Also, 911 calling may not be as reliable as with a landline; you'll want an alternate phone service in case of emergency.
The Bottom Line: All problems aside, this is a fine, well-priced choice for a second line.

ShamWow
$19.95 plus $7.95 S&H
The Pitch: "It's like a chamois, a towel, a sponge...and holds 12 times its weight in liquid."
The Truth: A good product, but with too many grandiose promises. The ShamWow held 13 times its weight in water in our tests, but lost some absorbency after 10 launderings. It sucked up cola from carpeting well, but didn't remove wine stains completely. On hard surfaces, it absorbed spills better when used dry (a wet one dripped and left liquid behind). It was also good for cleaning electronics, but for drying sweaters and blotting wet dogs, contrary to the claims, air-drying and a regular towel, respectively, were better.
The Bottom Line: Not a bad cleaner, just don't expect miracles.

Find out if other "as seen on TV" products held up to their claims.


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Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.