As a long term subscriber and contributor to Consumer Report, I need to do a bit a defending here. Everyone can come up with an example of a mistake or seemingly silly statement from CR, but I assert that there is no other organization in existence that offers the range of product reviews while taking no money from advertisers of those products. CR buys each product on the open market, they are not given products by manufacturers and their magazine and website have no ads, they are totally subscriber supported.
Jim states that there are "much better sources" and while I usually agree with JIm nearly 100% I cannot agree with that statement. Yes there are multiple places to research products, some very specific and marginally
unbiased. An example lots of people use is Amazon reviews. What many people are unaware of is that some people are provided with free stuff in exchange for "unbiased" reviews. I was offered such a deal from a maker of cell phone and iPad accessories. I posted a couple of honest reviews that while mostly positive, were not glowing 5 star recommendations and suddenly I was no longer offered the products. Some companies actually have employees write glowing reviews of their various products under several screen names. Amazon does its best to weed that out, but cannot spend the time and effort to make sure it doesn't happen. I use Amazon reviews often when making purchases, but only really consider them valid when there have been hundreds of reviews, not a handful. I try to look for large scale problems, or positives and consider many reviews worthless.
Unless one is knowledgeable about everything in existence (
) then we all need help with decisions about product selection. Nearly every major appliance we have purchased has been a CR "Best Buy" and with only one exception (a Kenmore oven) they have been long lived, well made and lived up to the rating.
Car enthusiasts everywhere bash CR auto ratings, missing the point that they will get a review that much more closely matches their needs at "Car and Driver" or a related publication. After years of driving cheap clunkers that were all I could afford and doing all my own mechanic and bodywork, I bought my first new car ever in 1986. When we needed a second car, I bought a Corolla in 1990 based on CR reviews. My car enthusiast brother ridicules my Corollas, as he spends 2 - 3 times the amount on cars that give him the "driving experience" he craves. I've now owned 4 Corolla of which not a single one has had anything major go wrong, worst has been one water pump at about 120K. Except for our current 2014, each of those was sold to friends and I watched them live out their lives (before Wisconsin road salt claimed them) without a single major failure.
Bashing CR for its mistakes seems to be a sport for many "experts". Everyone makes their own decision on who to trust for advice. I prefer mine as unbiased and research based as possible. Is CR always right - of course not. Neither is my Dr, but I surely trust his opinion more than getting medical advice from Facebook comments.