updated april 12, 2018 – Consumer Reports has long been a respected name when it comes to reviewing consumer products and choosing the best of the options in the marketplace. Its coverage of cars & trucks is especially well respected, because it offers reviews of new vehicles as well as used vehicles, including information on which cars have the most problems (and fewest problems) and how long you can expect a certain make and model to last.
To us, it is established that Consumer Reports provides value. But the question is: how much value? Is it worth it to be a paid subscriber?
Let’s talk first about what Consumer Reports actually costs. You can get an online subscription for $35 per year, or you can choose to get that online subscription at $6.95 per month if you want to test it out for a shorter term. (But note that it will automatically renew each month unless you stop it.)
You can also choose the print Consumer Reports magazine for $30 per year. If you are a print subscriber, you can add a digital subscription for $25 more, which means you pay $55 per year for both.
In our minds, Consumer Reports is generally worth the money for the digital subscription, because it gives you all the Consumer Reports data you want in one place. You can then quickly search for recommendations based on whatever product you are considering buying. If you are a print subscriber, this is much more difficult — you have to save all your issues and then try to remember which one had the feature on the best vacuums (for example). So, having the digital version gives you the best of what you probably want Consumer Reports for — testing and recommendations, searchable in one location.
The print edition of Consumer Reports is not a particularly “readable” magazine. Unless you are in the market for a particular car or other product, the reviews and recommendations may not be very interesting in a particular month. The magazine also offers lengthier articles about topics such as how to buy insurance, online safety, etc., but these are not that special in a vast Internet awash with free content that might fit the bill just as well.
Bottom line: an online subscription to Consumer Reports at $35 per year is worth your hard-earned cash — other subscription options, not so much.