Consumer Reports worth subscribing to?
July 26, 2008 5:48 PM   Subscribe

Are there any other companies/websites that compare to Consumer Reports for information/ratings of consumer products? Before I subscribe to their service I was looking for input as to the quality of the reports they provide. Thanks.
posted by boby to Shopping (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I check out for opinions from people who've bought and used products. One always has to take it with a grain of salt of course, but if a product gets a half a dozen thumbs down votes, you know something is wrong.

Also, good old is turning into a great consumer resource since they allow people to write reviews for the consumer goods they sell.

And then there's 100 Places to Find Reviews for Every Product
posted by storybored at 7:47 PM on July 26, 2008

Consumer Reports is the oldest and most respected source of product testing and rating in the U.S. They are strictly neutral and accept no money from any corporation — your subscription supports them. Their ratings are not off-the-cuff opinions — they buy the products in stores and use scientific testing methods to compare and rate them. They test some products really often (cameras, cars) but other products less often (washing machines, vacuum cleaners). That's why the web site subscription is useful — you can easily find the most recent review, even if it's a year or two back. And the ratings are presented in a chart, so you can scan the results at a glance.

User reviews (such as Amazon's) can be helpful, and I've used them, but they tend to be most helpful when you've already narrowed your choices down and want a user's perspective on a particular brand and model. And it helps if there are a LOT of reviews, to minimize the effect of reviewers who are enthusiastic because they were, um, paid to be enthusiastic.

For some products, such as digital cameras, there are a few excellent web sites that analyze and rate products. They can be really insightful and quite up-to-date on the latest cameras.

But for ratings on a broad spectrum of consumer products and a trustworthy reputation, Consumer Reports is the gold standard.
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:07 PM on July 26, 2008

100 Places to Find Reviews for Every Product is actually here.
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:12 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

However, although Consumer Reports is a good site and their reviews are objective, it still suffers from being a single rating. That is why I always consult Consumersearch. It is a meta-review site that aggregates reviews from Consumer Reports and other places that do ratings. It is my go to site when looking for product reviews.
posted by bove at 9:26 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

This doesn't actually answer your question, but I wanted to make sure you knew that you probably have access to Consumer Reports for free through your local library's magazine and newspaper databases. My library provides free access to Proquest, which is just one database that provides full text access to nearly all Consumer Reports articles from your home computer with your library card. As far as other sources, the ones I use regularly at work are the aforementioned epinions and consumersearch.

a friendly librarian
posted by agathafrye at 9:35 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is probably irrelevant to you but in the DC area we have the Washington Consumers Checkbook, which I can strongly recommend. I imagine other areas have something similar.
posted by TheRaven at 5:37 AM on July 27, 2008

I'm a fan. I have a yearly web subscription, and I check the recent ratings before making any large purchases. I haven't been steered wrong yet, but be forewarned that their ratings on certain things are going to age mighty fast. Particularly with small electrics, where it seems like some companies change their designs and model numbers every two months.
posted by Citrus at 8:11 AM on July 28, 2008

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