Things you should know about tool reviews
If you are like me, you want to make sure you are getting a great product at a great price. That is probably why you take the time to research, and read reviews before you spend your cash. But what if you buy a product based on a review, only to find out the product was not accurately tested, or it was misrepresented?
Take reviews from places that want to sell you something with a grain of salt. A lot of stores use product reviews to help sell more products. But can you really trust these reviews? After all, all they really want is for you to buy something from them. Places like these sometimes only tell you the good points, and leave out the bad.
You might be thinking non-partial groups are the best place to get reviews. eg. Magazines, etc. They are good, but they are not the best. Even they can get it wrong. There is no way for you to really know if the testing they preformed, matches the kind of use, and abuse you would be using the tool for. Take a look at a recent test from Popular Mechanics Power Sander Face-Off: Abusive Lab Test (With Video!). They name the Craftsman Vibrafree as the clear winner, but from the looks of it, the testing was not accurate. If you notice in the video, you can see that all three sanders are using different color sandpaper; this probably means they where different types of sandpaper. Some sandpaper is best suited of paint, some for hard wood, some for soft, etc. If I am correct in assuming they were different types of paper (I probably am), this is clearly a major bug with their test. I asked the same question in the comments for that test, and received no answer.
So, you would guess consumer reviews are the best type of review. eg Tool-Rank.com , or Amazon, forums. The answer again is no, but I will tell you what you should look for in consumer reviews. The first thing you should look for is a high average review. This will help you narrow down your results. Read both the good, and the bad reviews. People have preferences; what is bad for one person is not always bad for you. Someone might give a bad review on the whole tool because of a single feature that you might never use. Make sure the features you need have high marks.
In short, there is no single best type of review. Use the combined information from all types of reviews when searching for your next tool, and you will probably be glad you did.