How to Find the Highest Quality Products (For the Best Price)

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In my post, 10 Beginner Tips to Save Money, the final tip to save money centered around actually buying the most expensive option, or more accurately, the highest quality option which usually tends to be the most expensive as well. (This isn’t always the case, as we will see.)

So how do you find quality products for the best price?

Research is usually your best friend. But who has time to find and read five different articles about which ice cream scoop is the best ice cream scoop?

Thankfully, the folks over at Wirecutter do.

I’ve been relying on Wirecutter for years to find the best combination of quality and price on purchases from all sorts of categories. I believe they are the best consumer review site. Whenever I need to buy a new gaming headset, toilet bowl brush, or even a car, I always check Wirecutter. Even if I don’t go with their recommendation, it’s great to learn a bit more about the product category and the different options available at different price tiers.

I’ve found you can also trust Consumer Reports just as much as Wirecutter. I simply prefer the interface on Wirecutter a bit more. Consumer Reports generally gets their information from questionnaires to their consumer members or direct testing at their testing center in Westchester County, New York, and its auto test center in Colchester, Connecticut. Wirecutter gets their review information from a staff of researchers, reporters, and testers not affiliated with the companies or products they are reviewing.

Recently, my girlfriend and I wanted to purchase a new backpack cooler that would last for years and keep food and drinks cold overnight for our camping trips. We agreed to spend a little extra to get the best product but weren’t sure which one that would be. A friend recommended the Yeti Backpack Cooler. But coming in at 300 big ones, that was a hard pass.

A quick visit to Wirecutter’s Best Cooler section showed that after four years of testing, the Polar Bear Original Backpack Cooler was the highest quality option on the market. (We got ours direct from the Polar Bear Cooler website because Amazon only sold a bundle deal with their ice packs.) And the best part is it was priced $190 less than the Yeti.

andy from parks and recreation excited
Talk about sensible.

A little history on Wirecutter reveals they are an independent review site that was purchased by The New York Times back in 2016. They don’t write reviews based on which company pays them the most. In fact, companies don’t pay them for reviews at all. Instead, they generally make money on the affiliate links in the posts themselves (similar to almost every other website, including this one).

Here they outline the way they maintain independence and unbiased reviews. I hope you find their website useful as it can be really disappointing to find out you bought a low quality item for a high price.

Just listen to Aziz Ansari discuss his difficulties trying to find the best sheets:

Maybe if Aziz had read this week’s Sensible Snack, he wouldn’t have had so much trouble finding the best sheets. Just don’t go spilling your ice cream on your sheets otherwise you’ll need the best laundry detergent. (They have everything!)

I am not associated with Consumer Reports, Wirecutter or NY Times in any way and receive no personal or monetary benefit from sharing this. I just enjoy using the site for gifts and household items. I think you will too.

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