Search for a product review on the web and you are bound to generate a host of advice, opinions and ratings. Knowing which ones are reliable is close to an art form so that having the right tools to cut through the claims is particularly handy. A key to this is finding organizations that provide reliable, unbiased information and are transparent in their rating methodology.
Since 1936 Consumer Reports, under the auspices of the independent and non-profit Consumers Union, has established itself as a source of dependable information. It conducts comprehensive testing of each item featured in its monthly publication and uses mystery shoppers and technical experts to further enhance its evaluations. It is not supported by advertising revenue from the products it reviews so this source gets high marks for independence.
Access the print editions of Consumer Reports through our subscription to the Ebscohost database. Browse to a specific issue or search within the publications.
Magazines and Websites
Consumer Reports has set the stage for product reviews and ratings. However, other great sources for information about consumer items are magazines that cover an industry or niche. For example, parenting magazines, such as Parents, contain reviews of children's products. PC Magazine reviews computers, phones and software. AARP site is an excellent source of reviews for products catering to the 50+ market.
Editors at this About.com site use professional product reviews from sources such as Consumer Reports, CNET and Gizmodo along with actual consumer reviews from sites such as Amazon.com to compile reviews of products. Visit their FAQ page to see their disclaimer about their relationship between online advertisers and reviews. ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, a part of The New York Times Company.