As an investor, it doesn't pay to follow the crowd.

In this series, though, we highlight a possible exception -- the collective wisdom of our CAPS community. Read the next section if you're unfamiliar with our methodology. Skip it if you want to go straight to the results.

Why this crowd is different
Jumping into a stock because your rich neighbor did, or because you heard about it from your friend's uncle who used to work on Wall Street, or because CNBC has been talking about it nonstop is a recipe for disaster.

If there's one thing I've learned as a stock analyst, it's that any stock can be gussied up to sound like a world-beater. If there's a second thing I've learned, it's that being a smart person doesn't make you a good investor.

In the hands of a smart person with good communication skills, the never-were and never-will-be stocks sound like tickets to instant fortune. The ancient Greek philosophers made the distinction between rhetoric and knowledge. The former is convincing; the latter is true.

That's why we factor in track record in our Motley Fool CAPS community. We invite everyone to give stocks an outperform (i.e., a "buy") or underperform rating (i.e., a "sell") in CAPS. We then use those opinions to calculate a rating for each stock -- from one to five stars (five being the best). But -- and this is a big distinction -- we give more weight to the opinions of folks whose picks have performed well in the past.

The No. 1 buy in consumer durables
So, with that methodology as prelude, I present to you the top stock that's classified as a consumer durable goods producer (and the top runners-up) based on the number of CAPS members who have rated the stock an outperform. Only stocks garnering a five-star rating are included. 

Company

Market Capitalization (in millions)

Outperform Picks

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Hasbro (NYSE: HAS)

$5,940

1609

*****

Fortune Brands (NYSE: FO)

$6,760

      587

*****

RC2 Corporation (Nasdaq: RCRC)

$381

      461

*****

Canon (NYSE: CAJ)

$51,500

      453

*****

Shanda Games (Nasdaq: GAME)

$1,940

      330

*****

NIVS IntelliMedia Technology Group

$110

315

*****

China Electric Motor

$101

222

*****

Harman International Industries (NYSE: HAR)

$2,080

      169

*****

Universal Electronics (Nasdaq: UEIC)

$248

      108

*****

Natuzzi

$186

      104

*****

Source: Motley Fool CAPS as of August 12, 2010.

More CAPS members think toymaker Hasbro -- and Stock Advisor pick -- is a buy than any other five-star consumer durable goods stock. Do you think a different stock deserves to be the No. 1 buy? Make your thoughts known in CAPS by clicking here. Or just click through to do further research on one of these popular stocks.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. Fortune Brands and Hasbro are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of Natuzzi. The Fool has a disclosure policy.