Product reviews from trusted sources: Consumer Reports and beyond

Making decisions about which product to buy can be difficult. Reviews on online shopping sites can be helpful, but sometimes you need an unbiased source. Consumer Reports is known for its objective, thorough reviews of products and services. They accept no advertising and are known for editorial integrity.

You can read the print edition of Consumer Reports at any library location. You can also get web-only content through Consumer Reports from Ebsco. Or, read the magazine online through MasterFILE Premier. 

  • The Consumer Reports website offers limited free content. The library is a subscriber. You can access ratings, reviews and articles with your library card through Consumer Reports from Ebsco.
  • Through MasterFILE Premier, you can find articles from the monthly issues of Consumer Reports magazine with your library card. Once you’re in MasterFILE Premier, go to the search box and type the topic you’re researching plus the phrase “Consumer Reports” with quotation marks.

If Consumer Reports didn't review your item recently, another magazine might have. Try a MasterFILE Premier search for the item and the phrase "product evaluation" (use the quotation marks). For example, a search for “cosmetics” and “product evaluation” yields reviews from publications like Dermatology Times and Men’s Health.

Product review websites

Here are some other well-regarded product review sites:

  • Wirecutter: Reviews of technology, appliances, home goods and more, from the staff of the New York Times. Some additional Wirecutter content is in the New York Times (1980-present) database (log in with your library card number and password).
  • Good Housekeeping: Testing consumer products and awarding the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval since 1900. Their focus is on domestic products like kitchen appliances, toys, cleaning products and personal care items.
  • CNET: Primarily reviews of technology (phones, streaming services, laptops), but also some non-tech items like mattresses and meal kits.
  • The Strategist: From New York magazine, focusing on online shopping. Features traditional reviews by topic (like pillows and picture frames) and gift guides.

Specialty reviews

Many magazines and websites about hobbies and interests review products for that hobby, such as:

  • Runner’s World: Tests running shoes, athletic clothes and earbuds that won’t fall out while you do laps.
  • Car and Driver and MotorTrend: Reviews and testing of new cars.
  • Byrdie: Publishes reviews of cosmetics, haircare and skincare products. Some articles are reviewed by medical or beauty professionals.

How to evaluate a review or shopping site

Not sure if that mattress review site is independent, or if it only posts positive reviews of the products sold by the website? Here are some things to look for:

  • A review site should have an “about us” page that tells you who owns it or funds it. It should also describe its editorial policies. 
  • Is the site directly selling the item they are reviewing? If so, they may have an interest in only including positive reviews.
  • Any site that allows customers to review products or services without verifying purchases (e.g., Amazon, Yelp or Tripadvisor) can be manipulated. Read these reviews with a degree of caution or skepticism.

Happy shopping!