Last December I signed up for the online access to consumerreports.org Considering they review everything it is only fitting to review the site. The basic service you would expect would be to search for a product, compare and read reviews. On every level the site fails.
Just recently I wanted to buy an LED light bulb. Having read consumer reports articles on led bulbs I figure they would have some reviews. Searching for "light bulbs" or "led bulb" or other variations produced pointless results. Having to guess where they are in the "appliances" menu you can click the "view all" option, but that only brings you to a page that shows you some categories each of which you have to click "more" on and further drill down. If they review LED bulbs I don't know about it. On more than one occasion I have given up trying to find a product and just Googled for reviews on other sites.
How many different TV's are their out there? How many do you think consumer reports have reviewed over the years? How many do you think are comparable? Less than a dozen. Category after category this is the same. The actual items don't list very many specs for each product making it hard to compare. For all of the hype about energy savings you would think they would actually list the Watt's the TV used, but nope they only show an estimate such as "Energy cost/yr. $59" which has no relation on what my local energy costs might be and makes it especially difficult to compare the TV to one I found elsewhere. This is repeated over and over across the site. This is also inconsistent such as to go with a TV people often buy receivers, but they don't list the energy cost for them. Lastly given that there are only a dozen TV's to compare you would think you could compare them all, but nope you can only compare five at a time. All it is doing is making a table on a webpage, nothing fancy so I can only guess as to why some middle manager decreed that rule.
In a magazine you are limited to the amount of space you can write about a product, but not online. And yet the reviews for items are sometimes so short I half wonder if they are just computer generated from the half dozen product ratings. If I wanted to know what thermostat was the number one consumer reports pick I could Google it. I paid for the subscription expecting to actually read an in depth reason why it was better.
To conclude when researching items on consumerreports.org when I can actually find the categories I find myself Googling elsewhere to read the in-depth reviews. Often those other sites even list the same group of very good products making me feel taken for having paid for consumerreports.org when I didn't end up finding anything of value on the site.