Evaluating the best product can be daunting, but the Oak Ridge Public Library has access to Consumer Reports online to help you make an informed decision for your next major purchase. For 80 years, this non-profit industry leader has been dedicated to providing independent reviews and information to consumers. To access informative articles and product reviews, simply go to the library website at www.orpl.org, click the Consumer Reports button, and enter your library card number.
Patrons familiar with the print edition of Consumer Reports magazine will find the online layout, appearance, and ratings familiar. Search for products from A to Z or browse by specialized topics on appliances, babies and kids, cars, electronics, health, home and garden, or money. First, locate a topic or product you want to know more about, like the popular air fryers, password managers, flooring, tires, nursing bras, banks & credit unions, and insect repellents. Then, peruse the ratings, recommendations, or buying guide for that item or topic.
The unique features and functions of products determine the parameters and details for ratings. They can include comparisons of features and specifications, reliability and satisfaction ratings, and a wide range of product specific features tested and rated by the Consumer Reports Labs. Comparisons rated and tested include parameters ranging from ergonomics, battery life, noise, customer service, impact absorption, wet braking, to user safety. Print the ratings to take with you or to refer to later. Don’t forget, since it’s online you can always access reviews with your mobile device.
Buying guides can be particularly useful to consumers who know little to nothing about a product; they tell you about the product, features that are important and why they are important. This resource can help facilitate your own evaluative process. Whether it is your one-stop-shop for your purchasing decisions or the starting point for your research journey, buying guides will help you to make informed decisions.
Current issues of the magazine can also be accessed online as well as past issues. You may not think video content when you think of Consumer Reports, but they have their own television content called “Consumer 101.” The show provides in-depth information on a variety of topics and products. They also offer a daily briefing and newsletters to help keep you informed. Just search for “Consumer 101” to browse the videos or see them occasionally on different topics as additional content.
Let your library card from ORPL help you navigate product information and purchasing decisions through Consumer Reports!
Virginia Spence works for the Oak Ridge Public Library.