Obsessive single-focus review sites
January 11, 2024 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Sleep Like the Dead for mattresses. Ken Rockwell's camera and lens reviews for, well, camera and lens reviews. What are the other obsessively-focused review sites dedicated to applying a highly thorough process and methodology to reviewing everything within a particular product category? These websites just really satisfy me to pore over and I want to find more.

I am looking for sites that meet all THREE requirements of 1) obsessively thorough, 2) reviews, of 3) one specific category of product.

1)The Ramen Rater for example is a review site focused on one type of product, but is not obsessively thorough in its methodology. Hans's reviews are great, but they're just a paragraph or so each and don't follow a strict system.

(It occurs to me that most of the truly obsessive reviews will probably be in the category of "very large purchases that most people will only make a few times", like mattresses and cameras, or cars and wristwatches, though I don't necessarily want to limit this question!)

2) Something like Ian's Shoelace Site is obsessively singularly-focused and uses an extremely thorough methodology, but Ian's tutorials—while also great!—aren't reviews.

3) And finally, sites like Consumer Reports and The Wirecutter have an obsessive, thorough methodology and are review sites—I personally use them—but they aren't singularly-focused and review products across all kinds of categories.

Thank you for reading and recommending!
posted by capricorn to Computers & Internet (28 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
DC Rainmaker for smart watches and other "sports gadgets."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 9:05 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]

rtings for TVs and other audio/visual stuff
posted by BungaDunga at 9:13 AM on January 11

(RIP) Sheldon Brown's bicycle site is more about maintaining and working on bicycles than reviewing new ones, but it is obsessive in its own singular focus.
posted by gauche at 9:14 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

Best Binocular Reviews

This website is a single focus, and kind of baffles me: Crepuscular Stuff. Is it an ai-generated website trying to generate amazon affiliate link sales? Maybe. But why this way??

This out of date / defunct Candy Blog may also be of interest.
posted by hepta at 9:27 AM on January 11

Also, another one you might be interested in is Tom & Lorenzo, who review red carpet outfits worn by celebrities. It is pretty comprehensive. It is also only partly about what the outfit looks like - there is also a lot of discussion of the imagecraft inherent in red carpet dressing - like what message the star is trying to send with an outfit, whether it fits the season/setting/event/product being promoted, etc.
posted by hepta at 9:29 AM on January 11

posted by zamboni at 9:39 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

1000 Misspent Hours and Counting contains 1,700 reviews of horror movies, all written by one person, over the past 20 years. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
posted by bigbigdog at 9:41 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]

I don't think it's been updated in a while, but there is a website devoted to reviewing camera tripods.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:45 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

I'm into bikes.

Rando Richard reviews bike saddles, specifically in the context of very long bike rides. This is not quite to the level of obsessiveness and thoroughness that you might be seeking, since saddle preferences are inherently subjective.

Bicycle Rolling Resistance reviews bike tires.

Zero Friction Cycling reviews chains and lubes. They do sell products, but the guy who runs it has a solid reputation for trustworthiness.

Wouter Scholten reviews bike lights (and other stuff).
posted by adamrice at 10:36 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]

Contemporary Christian Worship Songs evaluated based on whether or not they are scriptural:

The Berean Test
posted by Erinaceus europaeus at 11:40 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

Sort of related, there's The Mane Quest for horse video game reviews and discussion. I myself also run Wyverns & Waypoints which is a similar site but for video games about dragons.
posted by Teadog at 12:04 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

Mountain of Ink, a review site for fountain pen inks. Each ink is tested using five nibs and on four different kinds of paper. Along with drying time, water resistance, feathering behavior, bleeding tendency, and show-through, each ink's shading, sheen, and shimmer is documented. Each ink is also visually compared to a grouping of previously reviewed inks in similar colors, and each review ends with the author's subjective impression of handwriting a page of Tolkein with that ink.

The front page of the site currently features review #2480 (!!!).
posted by Hellgirl at 12:58 PM on January 11 [8 favorites]

I stumbled on applerankings.com, which ellerhodes pointed out, just last week. Beyond its practical use, it's a joy to read, especially the negative reviews: Red Delicious: Coffee Grinds in a Leather Glove. Newtown Pippin: Long Island's Sand-Filled Condom.

Courtesy of comedian Brian Frange, who explains: "What started as a bit revolving around his love of apples has now become a full-time job where Brian makes $700,000,000,000 per week providing apple advice for wealthy fruit enthusiasts. Brian is not in the pocket of big apple and all reviews are inarguably accurate and not corrupted by corporate influence.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:15 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

There is a wildly obsessive subculture of bag nerds, and the PackHacker reviews are very good.

Outdoor Gear Lab is like Consumer Reports but for the kind of stuff you buy at REI.
posted by mostly vowels at 1:42 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]

If you're into (somewhat gimmicky) video, there's Project Farm. His schtick is to buy a bunch of tools in a single category, then test them in various improvised ways while narrating in vaguely shouty YouTube Voice. Whether those tests are a fair assessment of daily use is an open question, but the channel seems to be quite popular.
posted by zamboni at 2:13 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]

BreatheSafeAir focuses on reviews of a wide range of masks and respirators designed to protect the wearer from air pollution, which includes pathogens.
Armbrust has a major part of their site devoted to respirator testing.
posted by Sophont at 2:33 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

There's another apple review website: Adam's Apples
posted by paradeofblimps at 2:42 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

Not a blog per se, but a Youtube channel for all you need to know about typewriters! That IS one of your interests, ISN'T IT!

posted by BostonTerrier at 3:14 PM on January 11

There's Zakreviews for flashlights.
posted by hovey at 3:40 PM on January 11

Not sure this counts but I'm a fan of Lead Safe Mama.
posted by slidell at 8:39 PM on January 11

Eham for review of amateur radio equipment.
posted by chasles at 6:32 AM on January 12

Although there's no shortage of book and music review sources, I admire -- and sometimes trust -- the exhaustive Web 1.0-designed The Complete Review for books, particularly literature on translation, and Piero Scaruffi for music.
posted by Theiform at 10:22 AM on January 12

Radio Jay Allen - reviews of portable AM/FM/shortwave radios
posted by Seeking Direction at 11:10 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]

Just as a side note, Ken Rockwell’s reviews are far from thorough or methodological, and the focus of his site is primarily based around affiliate revenue. Many of his reviews are for products he’s later admitted he never tried, his actual comprehension of camera technology is terribly lacking, and the “testing” itself is sloppy at best and intentionally deceitful at worst.
posted by Molten Berle at 4:17 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

366 weird movies has well over 366 reviews of weird movies, which by-and-large means genre films from indy and foreign directors. If you are looking for something off the Holywood beaten path, this site's a gem.
posted by chromecow at 11:49 PM on February 20

https://thetoy.org/ meticulously reviews sex toys, mostly vibrators. Scrolling through the author's review for, for example, the Womanizer Next, there are illustrative gifs, there are comaprison charts, there are measurements of air flow, audio frequency, dB levels, and multiple assessment categories including a review of reviews. A treasure of a resource!
posted by Pwoink at 8:58 AM on February 21

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