Best Web Site for Brand Assessment?

What’s the best, easiest to navigate web site(s) for quickly determining what the best brand & model of stuff is? Like wave runners, camcorders, digital cameras, printers, etc. There are so many brands & models to choose from–Best Buy alone has over 30 camcorders. So I haven’t gotten around to figuring one out yet, and life is passing by. I’m looking for a site or sites with lots of brief reviews, simple explanations of what to look for in an item (and what to look out for), maybe star ratings, reliable general consensuses, something to save time and help a person pick the best quality and price options for various stuff without having to get a degree in every item they need. Like, if you absolutely have to have the best, you need this one. But if you just want this and this, you should save your money and get this model, which won’t break easily like that one…I don’t want to wallow in consumerism–I just want to get it over with and get on with the important stuff.


IMO, there is no one site that will give you the quick skinny on what’s the best whatever. Every product will accumulate positive and negative reviews, and all the sites will put the positives first, which makes everything sound kewl.

That said, if I have no idea what make/model to consider first when buying something, I tend to pop by epinions for a starting point. There’s still a lot of legwork involved, but at least I have something to start with.

Sounds like you want Consumer Reports. The reviews aren’t free – a subscription is required – but you can pay $5 for one month’s access and then cancel. The other options are $26/year, or $19/year if you already subscribe to the magazine.

In terms of free sites, for electronics I really like CNET Shopper.

      • Consumer Reports is the only US site I would trust, and no I don’t work for them. Just based on the principles on which they operate. $26 a year is not a lot to pay, if you plan on buying anything that costs more than a couple hundred dollars that they reviewed.
  • The major problem with “online open review” sites is their susceptibility to astroturfing–which is a nickname for “fake grassroots support”. All these places have this problem. Places like Amazon’s reviews, epinions, etc. They have lots of reviews, but you simply don’t know why or who posted those reviews.