Infomercial Products: Do They Work?

Late-night infomercials often hawk "life-changing" products guaranteed to make our lives easier -- but do they really work? After her first report in November, "Good Morning America" technology contributor Becky Worley tested four more infomercial products.

Swivel Sweeper by Ontel

Web Site:

The Infomercial Claim: "The Swivel Sweeper uses quad brush technology. So it cleans forward, backward and side to side. And it even swivels and pivots, picking up wherever it goes."

Cost: $39.99

What Worley Says: The Swivel Sweeper is not a vacuum replacement, but it does an excellent job on quick cleanups to tidy up floors. It is light, agile and easily maneuvered. It has a chintzy motor that konks out whenever it encounters tassels or anything that impedes the spinning brushes. You can also hear the motor straining on plush carpets -- it has no suction, just brushes spinning, so it just cleans the top of carpets.

When you tap the sweeper against anything or if it goes over a bump, it has a tendency to spill its dirt out. The battery is pretty anemic, and people who've used it over a few months complain online that they see a significant decrease in battery life to the point where it's not worth using.

The Company Says: The Swivel Sweeper is not intended to work like a full-steam vacuum. It is for quick cleaning, mainly on surfaces. However, it does have a little suction ability. They tested the sweeper by running it over a patch of completely clean carpet and found that it did actually suck up some dirt. But it is supposed to be used mainly to clean spills on top of surfaces. As far as the dirt falling out, like all sweepers or vacuums, you have to empty it on occasion. It only has so much capacity, and this depends on what you are cleaning up. It could fill up really fast if you are cleaning up a big spill. It all depends. The sweeper also comes with a rechargeable battery.

Grade: B-

Grease Bullet by Telebrands

Web Site:

The Infomercial Claim: "The secret to Grease Bullet's cleaning power are special enzymes that eat away baked-on grease right before your eyes."

Cost: $ 10.00

What Worley Says: I tested a pan with burned-on hamburger, a glass casserole dish with burned-on corn and a barbecue grill. The hamburger pan was nasty. I followed the directions exactly and when I tried to rub the burned residue off after 40 minutes of soaking, I was able to remove some of the food residue, but the burned-on grease wouldn't budge. I got a sponge out and tried the soft side of the sponge but made no progress. The scouring side of the sponge made some progress, but to really clean the pan, I had to use steel wool. The corn seemed to be loosened and soft after soaking, but I did have to scrub. The Grease Bullet did get the burned meat off the barbecue, but it did very little for the layers of burned grease.

The Company Says: Numerous phone calls for comment were not returned.

Grade: C-

Fold Flat Colander, distributed by Telebrands

Web Site:

The Infomercial Claim: "It opens to strain and folds flat for easy storage. It's the colander that's large enough to strain a big pot of pasta, but folds down small enough that you can store it anywhere. And it even saves space in the dishwasher."

Cost: $14.99

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