Page 1 of 1

Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:25 pm
by DireStraits
I used to subscribe to Consumer Reports magazine years and years ago although they have gone digital (which I have no problem with) are the reviews accurate and is the price of admission worth it?

What's your opinion of the current Consumer Reports digital magazine?

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:35 pm
by runner3081
I don't feel it is, but of course, I get them free through the local library.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:00 pm
by Wabbit
I do still think it is worthwhile. I also think the paper+online approach is appropriate for this day and age. The magazine is more info-tainment and not as many reviews included as in the past. But honestly, I don't keep a pile of the magazines in a box for when I need to buy something, I go online to see the rankings and reviews for the item I'm looking for.

I don't know of any better source for reviews and information about consumer items. I do think they can come in with their own biases. But I regard it as better than the random online reviews, many of which have been proven to be fake. Or just someone with an axe to grind. I don't know of any other entity that anonymously bought 12 toasters, tried them all out, and compared them.

Don't just go by the overall review, many times they have the features broken out separately. So if particular features are important, you might get the item that is best in that feature (for example, the quietest dishwasher might not have the best overall ranking.)

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:27 pm
by bluebolt
Wirecutter.com is a decent free online alternative, but Consumer Reports is good as an additional source (and a primary source for car reviews).

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:42 pm
by RickBoglehead
The digital version is simply more info than the paper version.

We got the paper version for decades and then stopped years ago when they had shorter and shorter articles with big pictures in things we did not buy.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:43 pm
by Stinky
I still subscribe. Their car reviews are very good.

In all honesty, my adult children make more use of it than I do .....

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:44 pm
by miamivice
For what I usually buy, Amazon reviews are excellent and generally reflective of product quality. Except for car review, I am not sure what consumer reports would offer than Amazon reviews do not.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:15 pm
by Trader Joe
DireStraits wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:25 pm
I used to subscribe to Consumer Reports magazine years and years ago although they have gone digital (which I have no problem with) are the reviews accurate and is the price of admission worth it?

What's your opinion of the current Consumer Reports digital magazine?
Consumer Reports reviews have been consistently inaccurate. Especially since going digital.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:21 pm
by beehivehave
miamivice wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:44 pm
For what I usually buy, Amazon reviews are excellent and generally reflective of product quality. Except for car review, I am not sure what consumer reports would offer than Amazon reviews do not.
Amazon reviews are very often rigged.
CR reviews are at least honest attempts conducted by objective experts.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:33 pm
by Nowizard
I believe their evaluations are about as good as you can get. However, it is important to remember that they evaluate based on items like cost, reliability and function. For those who are also interested in appearance, you would be wise to be certain and look at photos or the object itself. This may be particularly true for items such as automobiles.

Tim

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:35 pm
by UpperNwGuy
Wirecutter is better.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:37 pm
by beehivehave
Nowizard wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:33 pm
I believe their evaluations are about as good as you can get. However, it is important to remember that they evaluate based on items like cost, reliability and function. For those who are also interested in appearance, you would be wise to be certain and look at photos or the object itself. This may be particularly true for items such as automobiles.

Tim
The primary problem I have with CR is they don't reveal how they arrive at the final ratings or their recommended models. They must use some weighted criteria but they don't specify - you may prefer different weights.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:48 pm
by DetroitRick
It's often worth it to me, but not as much as it was a few decades ago. I've been digital-only for years. There are periods when I let it lapse, and then re-subscribe when they offer a deal. I find the automotive and appliance reviews most useful, and the more tech-oriented things less useful (of course tech and automotive/appliances are blending nowadays). I use CR together with lots of other sources. I don't need the reviews to be perfect, just fairly accurate and with enough detail to help me assess certain types of purchases and evaluate features/longevity.

We're currently car shopping, and since it's been a while, I'm find CR extremely helpful at this moment. I may read a review, test drive and then disagree. But it's a good start. I do think they are honest and unbiased, but all reviews have their flaws and I don't read any of this stuff in a vacuum anyway. Then again, I can even get some value from critically reading Amazon reviews...

Only the digital version works for my needs. Every so often I want to check something real-time right before purchasing or while shopping. And, of course, it's more current.

Edited to add - one other source that I find especially helpful is YouTube. Especially when I want to evaluate the presence/absence/usefulness of specific features.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:03 pm
by rich126
DetroitRick wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:48 pm
It's often worth it to me, but not as much as it was a few decades ago. I've been digital-only for years. There are periods when I let it lapse, and then re-subscribe when they offer a deal. I find the automotive and appliance reviews most useful, and the more tech-oriented things less useful (of course tech and automotive/appliances are blending nowadays). I use CR together with lots of other sources. I don't need the reviews to be perfect, just fairly accurate and with enough detail to help me assess certain types of purchases and evaluate features/longevity.

We're currently car shopping, and since it's been a while, I'm find CR extremely helpful at this moment. I may read a review, test drive and then disagree. But it's a good start. I do think they are honest and unbiased, but all reviews have their flaws and I don't read any of this stuff in a vacuum anyway. Then again, I can even get some value from critically reading Amazon reviews...

Only the digital version works for my needs. Every so often I want to check something real-time right before purchasing or while shopping. And, of course, it's more current.
I agree with you. The price is cheap enough to get the digital version and I refer to it for various appliances and info on various items. I still like the fact that they are one of the few reviewers out there that don't accept advertising. You buy (well in the old days) a car magazine or a stereo magazine and read reviews of products while they are accepting advertising from the same company. Unlikely to get a critical review.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:09 pm
by RickBoglehead
beehivehave wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:21 pm
miamivice wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:44 pm
For what I usually buy, Amazon reviews are excellent and generally reflective of product quality. Except for car review, I am not sure what consumer reports would offer than Amazon reviews do not.
Amazon reviews are very often rigged.
CR reviews are at least honest attempts conducted by objective experts.
This ^^^

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:23 pm
by FrugalInvestor
I don't have nearly as much confidence in Consumer Reports as I did years ago, maybe because as others have mentioned there are so many other sources for information these days. I do, however, like to refer to it when I'm making big dollar purchases like an appliance or a new car. Because those purchases are few and far between I just buy a one-month online subscription when I need it. That seems to be the most cost efficient strategy for my needs.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:54 pm
by bad1bill
I got the habit from my Dad and have kept it up for many years even though I no longer use it as we have reached the stage where we no longer buy that much stuff.

Unlike Amazon and Wirecutter, CR is beholden to no one and diligently attempts to review impartially and independently. While I do use Wirecutter's reviews a lot (and Amazon as well), many times I feel Wirecutter in general omits certain competitors products thereby not completely reviewing ALL possibilities (and thereby producing a biased review).

I recently switched to a foil shaver from a rotary due to a Wirecutter review. While the foil shaver was a hair closer (pun intended), it was very loud (to the point of concern about decibel levels), it pulled painfully if I let my beard go more than a day and despite careful handling, the foil broke after 6 months of use. I happily am back with a rotary and wondering why I switched.

CR also lobbies for issues that concern middle-class (and lower) families (food and product safety for example) and my subscription helps to pay for that. Their car reliability issue (and product reliability in general) is comprised of the results of thousands of subscribers responding to an annual questionnaire.

Unfortunately, I see CR eventually dying and I think it is sad. Until then, I'll make it a point to renew my subscription....

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:18 pm
by TBillT
We still get CR.
I feel like they are little more political these days.
When we bought our Prius in 2006 it was like every issue was saying how dumb that was financially.
But they got religion now and to some extent I miss the old CR.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:22 pm
by Whakamole
I was surprised how much mail CR has been sending my parents pleading for money. We're talking weekly mailings, that's not counting email. I wonder how many think their subscription is due and just cut them a check each time.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:46 pm
by michaeljc70
I like looking at the relevant issue for big ticket items. I take it with a grain of salt though and use it in conjunction with any other information I can find. I think the repair surveys are more informative than their own opinions. They've not tested and/or panned several appliances I've bought and really liked. Frankly, they don't give much information as to what their criteria and testing is for a lot of stuff.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:50 pm
by vshun
Still subscribed to paper version but quality of content and reviews keeps going down every decade. Worth it still since it's not very expensive.
To the poster who said that Amazon reviews are great subscription-this may have been the case 15-10 years ago when Amazon was just starting and people were not rigging reviews. There are overseas services that post reviews for pennies to any buyer on Amazon and yelp. If you are trusting Amazon then I suggest you use fakespot to validate the reviews.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:52 pm
by michaeljc70
vshun wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:50 pm
Still subscribed to paper version but quality of content and reviews keeps going down every decade. Worth it still since it's not very expensive.
To the poster who said that Amazon reviews are great subscription-this may have been the case 15-10 years ago when Amazon was just starting and people were not rigging reviews. There are overseas services that post reviews for pennies to any buyer on Amazon and yelp. If you are trusting Amazon then I suggest you use fakespot to validate the reviews.
+1

I've bought things that had tons of 4 and 5 star reviews and think they must have been fake or gotten a different product. Another things I've seen is that the review is for a product by the same seller that is completely different. It tells you above the review the product and I've seen some crazy things.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:01 pm
by gtd98765
I subscribe to CR both paper and digital for the same reason I support the Red Cross: I think their mission is important and life would be tougher if no one did it. Except for infrequent cars and appliances, I don't actually use the product reviews very much. But I do page through the mag every month and every once in a while find something useful or interesting.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:58 pm
by BolderBoy
I think CR is worthless. 2002 I bought a CR "best buy" recommended dishwasher. Worst DW I'd ever used. 2003 the same DW model was listed by CR as the worst DW ever made.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:43 am
by Pigeon
I think they are one of the few sources for good, independent reviews of products. I think it's a lesser publication than it used to be, which is true of just about every popular press publication I can think of.

I consult our public library's subscription with some frequency. I use the public library for all of my popular press publication usage as it's overall more cost effective for the community and more environmentally friendly.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:18 am
by tomd37
I subscribe to CR both paper and digital for the same reason I support the Red Cross: I think their mission is important and life would be tougher if no one did it. Except for infrequent cars and appliances, I don't actually use the product reviews very much. But I do page through the mag every month and every once in a while find something useful or interesting.
The post above expresses my sentiments exactly. I have had a continuous paper subscription since the January 1965 issue and also about five years ago I ordered an online subscription

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:00 am
by Rob5TCP
Like many had the paper version for many many years. Mostly keep the digital (but sometimes let it lapse for a few months). Amazon would be the best, but the reviews are frequently so badly manipulated as to be worthless.

Wirecutter seems to be another good choice.

For major purchases I still check with C/R; for more mundane I use Amazon after checking
two different "fake review checkers".

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:02 am
by ScaledWheel
CR is an amazing organization and I have deep respect for what they do, so I do spend the $50 (or maybe it's $40) for an annual digital subscription. Whether or not it's "worth" the price really depends on how much you buy and use their service.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:50 am
by TBillT
duplicate

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:39 am
by carolinaman
I am a longtime subscriber and use both paper and digital. Both have value for me.

There is now more competition in many consumer areas. For example, I am in the market for a high end TV right now and use rtings.com a lot. Consumer Report does a good job on TVs as well but there is more mystery as to how they rated TVs. I found the ratings fairly consistent between the too but a lot more detail with rtings.com. Same for autos. I use edmunds,com, kbb.com and others, but still use CR too.

Their user surveys are excellent and are very credible. They also have high credibility in their ratings and reviews, unlike many other websites. Most other websites rely on clicks or ads to fund them which in some instances may influence their ratings. CR does neither, hence, I am confident their reviews are objective.

If I had to choose between paper and digital, I would do digital because it is more timely. Their TV ratings for December (pre Black Friday issue) was available online in September.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:50 pm
by birnhamwood
I subscribe to digital, but over all I prefer to listen to Amazon's 400 housewives discussing the merits of frying pan A over frying pan B.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:15 pm
by Dead Man Walking
I have a digital subscription. The magazine doesn’t provide any information that I find valuable. They send raffle tickets so often that I frequently return them without making a contribution. I use CR as one resource when I purchase some products.

DMW

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:15 am
by 6miths
I still use it and find it useful. Have a digital subscription and read the hard copy at the library and bookstore. Perhaps not as good as it was years ago but that is partly because industry has made it harder to compare products due to the proliferation of manufacturers/models and variations on models.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:04 pm
by Winston19
I am not a huge wirecutter fan the quality seems to have gone downhill. The linked review on dining room tables is the perfect example. They didn't actually buy or test a single table but they surfed the Web, visited a few stores and talked to some "experts" and based the review on that.

At least consumer reports actually buys and tests products before reviewing.


https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/dinin ... nder-1000/

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:58 am
by iamlucky13
Consumer Reports reviews are consistent within a product range - same reviewing team, same methodology.

That has significant value that user-submitted reviews doesn't provide. On the other hand, user submitted reviews in aggregate can provide a rough sense of overall satisfaction and short-term reliability.

On some big ticket items, like appliances and cars, Consumer Reports also does owner reliability surveys. This is one of their most important types of data, in my opinion. (Also, it makes me speculate we might all be better if VXUS underweighted Samsung :wink: )

I use both user reviews and Consumer Reports if getting a purchase right the first time is important to me.

I also frequently refer to the Wirecutter, which usually provides more detail than Consumer Reports, but tests fewer products, and sometimes the details they write are superfluous. Also, it's pretty clear that The Wirecutter's initial research to select which products they will test relies heavily on Consumer Reports, and I agree with others that lately their focus has been on volume of reviews, rather than quality.

On the whole, Consumer Reports is my favorite review source, but not sole source. It's a great value when accessing for free online through our local library's portal, but because the testing and customer surveys they do cost money to continue, I'm contemplating doing occasional monthly subscriptions to help ensure they can keep providing that data.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:02 am
by krafty81
Long time paper and digital subscriber. Best used for cars, electronics, and outdoor equipment. Worst for appliances. They have ignored all the icemaker issues (class action lawsuit) with Samsung fridges. Why they are still recommended is beyond me. They seem to lump appliances together for ease of rating.

Re: Consumer Reports

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:04 am
by bengal22
Never trusted CR car reviews. They were biased against domestic automakers.