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Thread: Consumer Reports

  1. #1
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    Consumer Reports

    I've had good experience with Consumer Reports product reviews. I like the idea that they aren't advertising. They actually test things.

    Any Pros and Cons I'm missing? Any alternative sites you like?
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

  2. #2
    I'm a believer in CR. But you'll probably get responses from at least a few cynics.

    In terms of other reviews, I am a follower of average ratings where there are a lot of reviews, as in thousands. People will always tell you about cooked fake reviews, but it is very hard to do that in the thousands. Research shows there is a lot of accuracy in what they call crowd wisdom, where the sample group is large enough to correct for aberrations and outliers.

    Of course, there's nothing as good as the endorsement of a trusted friend or family member. Unless you have that one friend who cannot rest until you buy the latest and greatest gadget he has recently purchased and is temporarily obsessed about. I have a friend like that whom I call the original product evangelist.

  3. #3
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    I really like the concept and I am not a cynic who believes that CR has a hidden bias. That said, I have had some really bad experiences with products purchased based on CR reviews. Most have been small-dollar products, so no big regrets. I have probably just had bad luck.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Joiner View Post
    I've had good experience with Consumer Reports product reviews. I like the idea that they aren't advertising. They actually test things.

    Any Pros and Cons I'm missing? Any alternative sites you like?
    One person told me Consumer Reports would be fine if they stuck to automobiles or other products they understand.

    My memory of a review to garner my skepticism was on bicycles back in my bicycling days. They may have liked the Schwinn Varsity bike because it was built like a tank. Anyone who has pedaled up many hills know you do not want to be pedaling a tank.

    BTW, my first 10 speed was a Schwinn Varsity.

    In another review they didn't like some enameled cast iron cookware because it was too heavy. They instead recommended an aluminum set. Some of my enameled cast iron cookware is over 45 years old. The only aluminum cookware of mine that has held up over a decade is in my shop holding scraps of wood. It hasn't been used for cooking more than once or twice.

    This may have been the last time a Consumer Reports was brought to my attention. The review was on refrigerators. At this time General Motors still manufactured Frigidaire appliances. GM also made the same appliances with a Montgomery Wards badge on the door. At the time of the review they rated The Montgomery Wards unit the best. The very same unit with a Frigidaire badge was rated low.

    In today's world one can put > review "____________" (fill in product name and model) into their favorite search engine and find praise and complaints on almost anything.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
    Andrew , Jim's post on CR ...and my hilarious send-up on CR pretty much cover CR quirkiness. Seems they want to
    find unique criteria for quality. But they do great work on washing machines.

  6. #6
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    My problem with CR is that it's clear that they don't really have a good understanding of most of the stuff the review. That leads to ratings based on metrics that are almost meaningless while important stuff may be completely ignored. Their intent is good, and I admire the no ads policy, but they just don't have the knowledge and expertise to review most of what they write about.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Joiner View Post
    Any alternative sites you like?
    I like CR for the most part. I also check reviews on wirecutter.com. I've had good luck with things i purchased based on their reviews.

    Dav

  8. #8
    Their reviews were more helpful in the days before manufacturers started introducing new models every year or even more often; sometimes with minor tweaks, sometimes major. Too often, when you try to find model X that was carefully tested and reviewed and rated high, that model is no longer available. They try to update their reviews fairly often, but it is a huge challenge given the number of products out there and the expense of buying bunches of them every year or two to test. One of the most valuable features used to be the repair history of the various brands and models, but with such constant and frequent churn by the manufacturers, it's almost impossible for them to collect useful data. Not to mention how hard it must be for them to get people to fill out their annual surveys that are the basis for the history. I know I only fill mine out maybe once out of three years, if that, because it takes a ton of time to gather all the information.

    Certainly they blow it sometimes, but usually there's more value there than sorting through page after page of "it was damaged in shipping so it must be lousy" kind of useless reviews.

    One gripe I have always had with them, even years ago when they were better than today, is that they often don't explain the value of various features. For example, if you're shopping for a new lawnmower, say, they might tell you which is the best high wheel mower without ever telling you why you might want a high wheel mower or when to avoid one....
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  9. #9
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    Generally, I Like CR but wish they published how they weighted each category when determining a overall product score. For example when I was shopping for a dishwasher wash cycle length was discussed at length in the article and seemed to be more important than two features I really care about. ó reliability and noise. How a louder more repair prone brand of DW was ranked higher than another just because it took less time to wash the dishes is mind boggling especially when other criteria were basically the same.

  10. #10
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    Consumer Reports is only one opinion. They view things through a very particular lens. I rely on multiple sources when I research a purchase.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  11. #11
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    Jim,

    Not sure about Frigidaire/Wards, but Whirlpool used to manufacture a lot of Kenmore appliances for Sears. Although a lot of them looked identical, or nearly so, the Kenmores were not just Whirlpool products with a Kenmore badge - Sears had their own specs for at least some of the functional parts of the appliances.

  12. #12
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    Years ago I gave Consumer Reports quite a bit of respect. Not so much anymore. In fact, I rarely go there. This is because of buying an expensive double oven and a dishwasher and a refrigerator that they had top rating on and they all had serious problems. Low's even had their report on the double oven at the cash register for people to read. I fell for it and have regretted it ever since.

    Sometimes I have looked something up in Consumer Reports and the rating criteria didn't seem important to me. I felt other things were more important to me.

    I now rely more on the star ratings of consumers. Lots of ratings and I read motly the negative ones to see if they apply to me or are something I can live with.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the replies.
    Major household appliance reviews on CR aren't of any value to me. The models they like are never available in my area.

    Vacuum tests are of some value. For most small appliances I like Amazon reviews better. Car tests I like. The paint tests are very thorough.

    I don't see CR as having any bias but they generalize to much on most things.
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

  14. #14
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    At one time Kenmore owned Whirlpool and had an agreement that any new item was Kenmore first then the next year Whirlpool could put it out

  15. #15
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    Being from the Detroit area, I may be biased myself, but CR certainly has a thing for non-domestic vehicles. Cancelled our subscription a while ago. Now I find what I like and go to HD or Amazon reviews, where there are more than a hundred if possible, and see what actual users have to say, at least for smaller items. Bottom line, I tend to buy what fits my needs, reviews sometimes be damned. Just bought a 2020 Jeep Cherokee for my wife. So far, so good, love the bells and whistles. CR would likely not give it a good review. Didn't bother to even look.
    NOW you tell me...

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