Most people are antsy to start spending more time outside. Hopefully we can see winter receding in our rear-view mirror. With these thoughts in mind, Consumer Reports (CR) is looking at products which can improve your outdoor experiences this spring and summer.

  • Windows - Most people cringe at the very thought of the cost of these. But not only do new windows improve the outer appearance of your home, they can improve your indoor environment too. New windows can significantly lower your utility bills and make for a quieter home. The newer double-hung windows are easier to clean which is a definite plus. CR recommends getting multiple bids and finding someone with certification from the American Window & Door Institute or Installation Masters.
  • Pressure Washers - Save yourself some time and elbow grease with this appliance that can make quick work of grimy siding or an oil covered driveway. Figure out what your needs are,this will determine if you can go smaller and electric or bigger and gas powered. You might also just consider renting one, which helps you avoid the issues of maintenance, storage, etc.
  • Lawn mowers and tractors - You don't need to be told that these can range in price from around $100 bucks to several thousand. You do need to know, that you can get a decent mower at a price that won't ruin your budget, but you need to do your homework. What are your needs? Do you want to go electric instead of gas? How big is your lawn? Answer those questions and shop around.
  • Gas grills - You will find these deeply discounted at many retailers this month. Once again, you need to figure out what you want and need. This will determine the features you just can't live without. Look for solid construction (stainless steel  carts with seamless construction and welded joints are sturdier than nut-and-bolt assembled carts) and grill stability.
  • Sunscreen - It only makes sense that this much needed spring and summer product should be on sale this month. CR suggest buying more than you think you'll need, because no one wears enough. Also you don't have to spend a fortune to get the best coverage. You can find out how to get a good sunscreen at a great price at Consumer Reports.

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