I should add: I've only bought the Sears powder detergents, not the liquid. Also, there are many reviews on all the Sears detergents, both liquid and powder, at the Sears website, and I have not seen anything but VERY positive reviews there.
Powder or liquid? It's a personal preference mostly. What should you use? Use what works best for you and your laundry conditions. Water makes a difference as does the person doing the laundry. Right here, I think it's easier to clean up liquid, someone else thinks powder is easier to clean up. Your water conditions are different than mine. So try different ones and see what works best for you and your conditions. I tried powder again after swearing it off years ago because of the caking problems. That seems to be taken care of these days. I don't know how much powdered detergent I threw away because it was like a rock, wouldn't dissolve and was a waste of money. But I've been using powders happily until I got such a deal on the Tide that I'll be using liquid again (and very happily) for a long time to come. 5 bottles will last me for years. Plus I have a box and 1/2 pail of powder here too. So I'm set for a long time.
I absolutely love the powder detergent compared to the liquid. The liquid is more of a hassle to make and I agree about it not getting the clothes as clean. I use more detergent when I use the liquid so I am not sure if it is cost efficient or not. However with the powered detergent recipe from above I have been using it for 2 months now and love it. I use 2 tbls the clothes smell great and the stains come out well. A big plus for me is that my 6 year old’s rash has gone away and we had tried everything from dreft to hypoallergenic everything and it never went away.
I have nothing against Tide HE detergent; I've used the HE powder and liquid formulas w/o any real problem, though I do wish I could find the HE powder detergent w/bleach, as I used that non-HE formula for years in my old conventional washer and really liked its whitening power. Because of this, I've bought the Sears Oxi-Clean formula to see how it will do on white laundry.