One of the tools I have used over the last two years with a great degree of success is Consumer Reports. This magazine has been around for such a long time that it’s practically a household name. It’s truly a wonder why people don’t use it more often, so I’ve decided to do a little free promotion and open up people’s eyes to the benefits of Consumer Reports! For those unaware of its existence or what “CR” does, it’s nothing more than a magazine that publishes reviews, comparisons, recommendations, and all sorts of analysis for consumer products, based on their extensive tests and polls. It’s now also an informative website that provides on-demand content for subscribers.
According to Consumer Union’s mission (the organization that owns CR), it maintains an environment free of any bias because CU “accepts no outside advertising and no free samples and employs several hundred mystery shoppers and technical experts to buy and test the products it evaluates.”
With the proliferation of the Internet, Consumer Reports has become an invaluable and much more powerful tool. In addition to a great print magazine, the entire library of content is now instantly available on-demand whenever I look at purchasing a new product. All it takes is a quick search on CR’s website to determine whether that family of products has been reviewed. To date, I have found nothing that I wished to search for that had not been discussed in some way.
At $26 per year for the online subscription, this is an amazing value for the price, and something I would easily pay over $100 for.
Where is the Value?
- Save Time – Don’t waste time researching purchases, only to find a lot of hyped-up marketing language on the product’s websites.
- Save Money – Don’t spend time buying overpriced things, or items that just won’t work as promised.
- Cost-Value Analysis – Sometimes you don’t want to buy the most expensive/best thing available. With CR, you can easily tell if the #2 or #3 recommendations are much lower in price.
- Recommendations – Need a quick list of suggested items you can pick from? CR’s Editor’s Picks will do the trick.
- Daily Features – Check in daily with CR to read about a new or featured product or service.
My Use of Consumer Reports
Over the last 18 months, I have used Consumer Reports for a number of things, but in particular the following:
- Car Research – One of the most comprehensive sections of CR; I use it regularly to stay up-to-date on the best current cars out there.
- Car Insurance Reviews – When it came time to renew my policy, I checked in here and discovered top-rated insurance companies I had never even heard of.
- Renter’s Insurance Reviews – See above.
- Programmable Thermostats – Our old apartment featured a standard, non-programmable thermostat, and our electric bills were eating us up. I found an affordable model that was sure to work.
- Brokerage Company Reviews – I am always looking for the best deal out there, but have settled with a top-rated company that I’m very pleased with, thanks to CR’s reviews.
- Clothes Dryer for a Friend – A friend was looking to replace his old dryer, and I helped him out with the best-rated models available.
- Electric Shaver – My wife has been looking to buy an electric shaver as a present for me. I sent her to this website as a means of finding the one that won’t disappoint.
- Computer Monitor – When we received an unexpected computer desktop for free, we needed to purchase a monitor to use it. This module helped us find something affordable that would perform.
- Flat-Screen TV – We recently purchased a small flat-screen TV and used CR to guide us.
- Household Cleaners – Curious about which cleaners perform the best? We were too, and have since stopped hopping around from brand to brand.
Consumer Reports is one of the most affordable ways to save time, money, and your sanity when it comes to just about anything else you spend our money on. I highly recommend you check it out for yourself.