The Wirecutter’s premise is that there is a best option, and that it can be discovered through rigorous testing. And this idea has ruined me.
Because the truth is there isn’t really a “best” anything out there — it’s just easier to rely on these reviews than choose for yourself. Other people’s “best” is never going to include the most important factors to you, personally. I love Wirecutter, but what happens if the best isn’t the best for you?
There are categories of products where it is impossible to find “the best” because everyone’s specific needs are a little different. But there are absolutely products with a “best” option. Take rechargeable AA batteries for instance. They only have one feature — providing power to whatever you put them in — it’s unquestionable that some rechargeable batteries are measurably better at this than others.
Although, I don’t advocate that you just always buy Wirecutter’s recommendation because you might value some attributes higher than their reviewers do. But when I’m looking to make a purchase, I typically start by looking at Wirecutter. I then weigh the different options — they typically have a main pick, a budget pick, and an upgrade pick — then I look into the reasoning behind each recommendation, look at pricing, aesthetics, and choose which one is best for me.
Often Wirecutter gets it right, but if none of their suggestions fit my needs, I use what I learned from their review to make a more informed decision about what I eventually purchase. Wirecutter isn’t perfect, but they do a better job than just about anybody at reviewing products. And I have so many items throughout my home that are simply delightful to use that I wouldn’t have even known about if not for Wirecutter.