07 October 2015
Protect your barbecue to make sure it still works after the winter
As autumn draws in, it’s time to clean and store your BBQ properly to avoid your first cook-up of next summer starting with a trip to buy a new grill.
Many gas BBQs have to be replaced because the gas burners or metal body succumb to rust over the winter months. Follow our tips to stop the rust setting in and to keep your BBQ in working order after the winter.
1. Protect your BBQ from the elements
Rust usually starts because the metal surfaces of a BBQ get damaged and then damp. So the the ideal place to store your BBQ is in a shed or garage, away from rain, frost and freezing temperatures. Otherwise it’s wise to invest in a BBQ cover, which will cost from 15 to 60. Look for a cover that fits well and is easy to put on and take off. Covers have a habit of blowing off in strong winds, so look for one that has strong ties to attach it to the frame or use a rope to tie it on.
2. Give your grill a proper clean before storing it
Check your BBQ s cleaning instructions first to ensure that the cleaning equipment you use won t damage your grill or invalidate your warranty – some recommend the use of wire-wool scouring pads and others don’t.
The basic steps are to:
Removing carbonised grease from a BBQ lid and clearing the gas burners
- Bake off grease deposits by leaving your grill with the heat and lid on for 15 minutes.
- Leave to cool down. Dispose of charcoal and ash, or disconnect the gas bottle.
- Scrape bits of carbonised grease off the lid and grills with a stainless steel brush.
- Wash the body, grills and flavouriser bars with a sponge and warm water.
- Use a metal pin or BBQ skewer to unblock individual gas outlets, taking care not to put debris into the burner itself.
- Clean stains from painted lids with warm soapy water and polish up with a mild glass cleaner and lint-free cloth.
- Use a mild stainless steel cleaner on the metal parts of the lid or metal shelves.
- Wash the gas burner and body of the BBQ with warm soapy water.
- Dry everything with a lint-free cloth.
3. How to stop cooking grates from rusting
Damaging the surface or coating on your cooking grills/grids/grates can let rust get a foothold. You need to treat the different types of grill materials in different ways to stop this happening.
Cast iron grills
These rust easily unless they’re kept seasoned. After cleaning the grill with warm soapy water and removing any rust with steel wool, dry thoroughly and then wipe over with a highly saturated solid fat such as lard or palm oil. Put them back in the BBQ with the burners on medium heat for a while, then leave them to cool before storing.
Stainless steel grills
After cleaning with a steel brush and warm soapy water dry the grills, then apply a light layer of vegetable oil before storing them away.
Chrome-coated wire grills
Avoid cleaning these with wire wool which can damage the surface – just wash them with hot, soapy water. Use a chrome cleaner if necessary. To prevent rusting, wipe them with cooking oil after rinsing and drying.
4. Final BBQ checks
Before you put your gas BBQ away take a bit of time to check the hose that connects the gas bottle to the BBQ. Remove fat or oil deposits and check the hose for kinks, splits and signs that the rubber is perishing – if it is order a replacement hose before next spring. Store the hose away from frost and direct sunlight.
Storing your cooking gas
- Store gas bottles in an upright position
- Store gas bottles in well-ventilated places
- Ensure gas bottles are stored away from heat and ignition sources
- Make sure gas bottles are stored outdoors, away from building entry/exit points, drains, frost and direct sunlight
- Store gas bottles below ground level
- Keep gas bottles near any corrosive, toxic or oxidant material
07 October 2015
The Zanussi ZWF71240W (left) is 1,120 cheaper than the Samsung WW10H9600EW
Samsung’s hi-tech WW10H9600EW washing machine will set you back an eye-watering 1,349 – which makes it one of the most expensive washing machines we ve ever tested.
It s laden with bells and whistles, including smart connectivity and an automatic detergent dispenser, but is it ever worth shelling out a four-figure sum on a washing machine? We tested it to find out. We pit the Samsung WW10H9600EW against six more conventionally priced machines in the Which? test lab, including three that cost less than 350. In fact, there was a price difference of more than 1,000 between the cheapest and most expensive washing machines in our group test.
Samsung WW10H9600EW: what you need to know
Launched last year, the Samsung WW10H9600EW is one of the most hi-tech models on the market. It s part of Samsung s Ecobubble range machines with this technology mix detergent with water before it goes into the drum, with the aim of improving cleaning power, especially at lower temperatures. It s also one of the first smart washing machines we’ve seen you ll need to download the Samsung Smart Home app, but then you should be able to control this model from your smartphone. You can even download extra cleaning programmes that are tailored to shift different types of grime and stains. As well as the standard programs you’d expect, the machine comes with six specialty cycles. There s a program specifically designed to remove food and cooking stains, and another for grass and mud stains.
And you have a choice when it comes to how you want to use detergent. You can use the automatic detergent dispenser, which you prefill with liquid detergent and fabric conditioner, or you can fill the aqua pebble with powder, liquid or gel detergent, and place it inside the washing machine before each cycle.
Our reviews reveal if spending more on a feature-packed washing machine is worth it
Cheap washing machines
We put the Samsung and its cheaper rivals through the same tough tests, assessing everything from cleaning power to energy efficiency. Our previous tests have shown that there s not always a direct link between price and quality, and we ve certainly found many Best Buy washing machines that cost a lot less than the Samsung WW10H9600EW before now. Read our latest reviews to find out whether it might be worth splashing out or if you re better off going with a cheaper model. If you re just after our full list of the best washing machines we ve tested, head to our Best Buy washing machines2 page.
Latest washing machine reviews
Below is the full list of models we’ve just tested.
Prices are correct as of 06 October 2015 and are subject to change – see our reviews for today’s prices.
07 October 2015
Make life easier by opting for an oven that has pyrolytic or catalytic cleaning
It’s the Great British Bake Off final tonight with just three contestants remaining. For bakers, Ian, Nadiya and Tamal, it’s their turn in the spotlight, but what’s going on behind the scenes to keep the pots, and pans, mixers, trays and ovens in the pristine condition we see on the telly? Across the 10 weeks of Bake Off, 12 contestants bake more than 220 mostly great-looking bakes but their work stations often look a mess by the end. At this point, a team rushes in to clean and wash-up while the bakers take a break. But most of us don t have the luxury of anyone cleaning up after our great kitchen creations.
This is where Which? reviews can come to your rescue. We test hundreds of products including dishwashers, washing-up liquid, dishwasher detergents and self-cleaning ovens which can all help to make your life in the kitchen easier.
At the Bake Off, washing up is done by hand as noise from dishwashers might interfere with filming. Our rigorous lab testing makes sure a dishwasher is great at the basics leaving your dishes sparkling and dry but we also measure how noisy each one is, so you can opt for one that doesn’t drown out the TV especially if Bake Off is on. Go to dishwasher reviews1 to find our verdict on 169 dishwashers.
Best Buy ovens
Apparently Paul Hollywood is so fond of his Aston Martin that he s been known to clean it every couple of hours. But oven cleaning is a job that doesn t appeal to most of us. If you go for an oven that has a high-temperature pyrolytic function or catalytic liners, then cleaning can be a thing of the past. Find out which ovens have impressed in our testing the most at built-in oven Best Buys2.
Clean up your kitchen like a pro
Even if you ve failed to emulate your baking guru s cake creations, you can still get your cookware spotless with our Best Buy cleaning products. Our Best Buy washing-up liquids3 will help you power through even the toughest baked-on food. We introduced a tough grease test after Which? members told us that baked-on fat and grease are the most difficult foodstuffs to wash off by hand. Two of our Best Buys excelled in this test so you can be sure they ll help get your cake tins gleaming.
If you plan to let your dishwasher do the hard work, check our Best Buy dishwasher tablets4 to find out which will help you clean-up after baking cake, bread or pastry and which struggle to shift common foodstuffs. Starchy foods, baked-on egg and burnt milk are among the foods we challenge dishwasher detergents to shift in our tests so you know which will get your dishes the cleanest.
The Microsoft Surface Book1 starts at $1,499 and is aimed at those who purchase high-end laptops2 like the Apple MacBook Pro and HP Spectre x3603. The Surface Book has Core i7 or i5 power and an Nvidia GeForce GPU for engineering, gaming, manufacturing, and scientific tasks. It’s crazy light at 1.6 pounds, and has a quality feel that’s apparent in the short time we’ve had with it. When you first pick it up, the Surface Book has a lot in common with the Apple MacBook Pro4 and the Google Chromebook Pixel5. All three systems are thin but have a solid feel. The 13.5-inch screen is as bright and clear as you’d expect from a flagship product. Tapping the responsive screen is easy to do in laptop mode or the other modes it supports. The chiclet-style keyboard has a good feel, and has 1.6mm of travel to keep touch typists happy. The large 5-point touchpad is likewise responsive and easy to use.
The laptop is fairly light on its own, but all you need to do is push an eject button on the keyboard, and the screen transforms into a tablet. There is a haptic buzz and status light to let you know the tablet is ready to detach. The latch is powered, so it won’t come loose inadvertently like it might with a magnetic or mechanical one. The process only takes a second or two, and once you reseat the screen on the base, it automatically latches again in that position. You can reverse the screen, so it faces outward, protecting the keyboard. It’s a much thinner and sophisticated version of the latch and usage model pioneered in the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix6, and it seems sturdy and well engineered at the same time.
Befitting a premium tablet, the system comes with one of the latest generation Intel Core processors and Nvidia GeForce graphics. The GPU is located in the base of the system, so it is unavailable when the system is in tablet mode, unless you flip the screen around and clip it back onto the base. The latching mechanism has a wide electrical connector, no doubt PCIe-based to facilitate communication between the GPU and the rest of the system. You’ll need to keep the base connected if you’re gaming or otherwise using the GPU for calculations. Adobe Creative Cloud has been updated to detect the presence of the GPU, and it can manage its own processes if you detach the base in the middle of a work session. I’d still save my work before doing so, though. The ports are on the base, including full-sized SM© USB 3.0, SD card reader, and the docking connector for the base station that the Surface Book shares with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Microsoft eliminated the ports from the tablet portion in order to save z-height (aka thickness). The Microsoft Surface Book looks to be a promising competitor to the other high-end laptops and tablets in an increasingly crowded space. It will appeal to design-forward users as well as those who don’t want to leave any power behind when they travel.
A staggering 15,074 handset thefts were reported to police from September last year to August, according to a new study. Although it represents a fall of 1,107 from 16,179 thefts recorded in the previous year – Manchester is still the most-targeted of any major city or town featured in a new report. And according to the study, valuable Apple iPhones make up almost half of them. Out of the 16,179 phones stolen in the year to August 2014, 7,380 were iPhones. The figure for the year to August 2015 stands at 7,062.
The M.E.N. told last month how a man handed over 500 for what he thought were two new iPhone 6s, only to find he had been sold a bag of sugar2. The victim was fleeced by a street trader in Manchester city centre. The statistics, compiled by mobile phone insurer Insurance2Go, show Greater Manchester s figures were three times higher than any other city.
Mobile phone thefts Sept 2014 – August 2015
Startling comparisons between Liverpool and Birmingham were also been revealed, with both cities recording more than 10,000 less thefts than Greater Manchester. In Birmingham, 4,484 handsets were stolen in the 12 months to August, with 2,281 of them iPhones. Liverpool recorded 4,068 thefts over the same period. Of them, 2,064 were Apple iPhones.
The research was commissioned to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Overall, the statistics reveal a year-on-year drop in phone thefts as security tools evolve and improve to deter thieves and make handsets easier to lock and trace. Duncan Spencer, managing director of Insurance2Go, said: With this in mind, we advise all smart phone owners keep their device on their person when in a public place, use PIN locks to protect personal data and familiarise with latest smart phone security features designed specifically to deter mobile phone theft.
There were 15,074 thefts in Greater Manchester between September last year and August
Freedom of Information data requests were submitted to 13 UK police forces in August to obtain the information. Not all forces provided the information asked for, with several FOI requests till outstanding. Researchers focused on the 20 most populated cities in the UK, alongside the five most populated London boroughs.
Overall figures for the Metropolitan Police in London aren t included, only those for the five boroughs. London would be far higher than Greater Manchester, although the per capita theft-rate is unknown. Police issued safety and security advice. They say phones should be kept out of sight in public and never left unattended. Passwords should be used and IMEI numbers recorded. A spokesman also urged phone owners to write their postcodes on handsets with UV pens.