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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 06-20-2012 02:42 PM 1489 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4861 posts in 3042 days

06-20-2012 02:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Before buying anything I shop and I read reviews to death.

I read reviews, read documents and gave phone calls to get informed for three weeks before, at last, last night I ordered a reverse osmosis system for our kitchen.

Yesterday trying to fix it I destroyed my TS miter gauge.
I read reviews before ordering a new one , finally I ordered an Osborne.

Something about reviews always surprise me: for most tools or stuff I want to buy the reviews go from one extreme to the other.
The is true of the Osborne miter gauge and of the RO system I bought, most reviews are very good or excellent but one or two says that these are a piece of crap.

How to explain that a tool, or other things, can have such a wide difference in reviews and which one to believe?

Thanks for reading

-- Bert

25 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3642 days

#1 posted 06-20-2012 02:55 PM

you have to review the reviews as well…

no joke!

first step is to realize we are all different, and we all have our own perspectives, points of views, likes, dislikes, and very very different taste than others at times. these reviews are ALL based on just that!

so while person A expects a miter gauge to be the end-of-all-answers, another merely needs it for cutting square cuts, the reviews coming from both will be VERY different.

What I do with reviews- is I review them. I try to read as many as I can, and do statistics on them and also read between the lines – I usually will NOT read through the “GREAT” reviews, and also not at the “WORST” reviews – I’ll look at the 2/3 stars out of 5 stars reviews and actually read the content of what trouble/issues people had with product A, if this is user related, or something they expected it to do but it doesn’t I could be OK with it, but if it seems like a mfg. issue – I’ll try to stay clear. at least I’ll know what to expect and what workarounds I could use before hand and avoid surprises.

but that’s me – and like I said, we are all very different.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jesse.R's profile


55 posts in 2919 days

#2 posted 06-20-2012 03:00 PM

competitors often post fake negative reviews on products to hurt sales. the more competition and advertising we get on the internet the harder its becomming to find the truth. you have to take reviews with a grain of salt as you never know what kind of person is writing them. better to come to a community like this one with lots of experienced people and ask for the opinion of people who have had experience with the product.

-- jesse

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Bill White

4928 posts in 3954 days

#3 posted 06-20-2012 03:00 PM

I’m just glad that Maggie didn’t read any reviews before she married me.


View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8029 posts in 2322 days

#4 posted 06-20-2012 03:06 PM

Lev has it right….

With Amazon reviews…. I want to see a min. of 4 star average. But then… I read all the one and two star reviews and look for a common thread. When you find a common theme popping up, you know you’ve gone beyon brand loyalty and post purchase justification to something factual. Switch problems on Bosch routers, collet problems on Hitachi routers, etc… Even the top tool brands can have problems. Sometimes this stears me away from that product, but then again, sometimes it helps me to make sure I got the newer production that has this problem fixed.

I’m amazed how many reviews have the phrase “I haven’t had a chance to use it yer, but…” Let me finish that sentence for ya… ” therefore my opinion is worthless”.

I also look at who is doing the review. When a guy says “I’ve run a commercial electrician business for 25 years, and these cordless drill batteries don’t hold up” it means quite a bit more than “I used this drill in my garage three times and the batteries are great”.

I should start looking at reviews with my kids… as it is an opportunity to develope critical thinking skills and to tune up their BS sensors.

Good luck with your Unnisaw restoration Bert…. Hope is turns out to be a real gem for you.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View a1Jim's profile


117087 posts in 3571 days

#5 posted 06-20-2012 03:12 PM

Hey Bert

Some times it’s the nut behind the wheel that give negative reviews. In other words they can’t figure out how something works so it has to be the products fault. It also has to do with what they are basing there review on,as an example someone buys a $99 table saw and has never owner a table saw before and have only used a old junk circular saw says their saw it great but the guy with the new Saw Stop says it’s junk.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2242 days

#6 posted 06-20-2012 03:20 PM

I’ve posted in extent about reviews as soliciting feedback is a big part of my job ( I think in the laguna threads). You are dead on. Reviews are either one extreme or the other. I’ll reiterate my example. You and a friend go to a fast food joint for lunch. Your experience is one of the 3 below:

1 – Your food was cooked and prepared exactly as your ordered it. It tasted exactly as you would expect it to, and your wait time for acceptable for you.

2 – your food was awful. Under cooked, you asked for no mustard and you got mustard, your fries were cold and over salted, you ordered a diet and got regular.

3 – Your food is exceptional. Best meal you have ever had at this establishment. Not only that, but it was already waiting for you by the time you had a chance to pay and pull up to the second window.

You will likely never tell anyone about #1 unless they ask.You won’t even mention anything to the friend sitting in your passenger seat.

You are extremely likely to tell at least 2 or 3 people about #2. Your food was not what you expected, you were “cheated” and you need to get the word out and emotionally that validates and vindicates your experience.

#3 was also not what you expected, it was better. You are somewhat likely to tell someone about it, but not half as likely as you would if your food was terrible.

People rarely feel the need to point out a product or service that is fully adequate, but not exceptional in any way – good or bad. In reality, adequacy is what we expect when we buy something. You don’t expect to be completely blown away, nor do you expect to be very disappointed. You expect the product and/or service to be as described and work how you envisioned it should. Technically, that’s 5 stars, but unless you are blown away positively or negatively, you aren’t going to say anything.


View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3042 days

#7 posted 06-20-2012 03:22 PM

Thank you for your answers

“Good luck with your Unnisaw restoration Bert….
Hope is turns out to be a real gem for you.”
It is finished, I need to post some pics.( may be tonight or to morrow morning)

-- Bert

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4861 posts in 3042 days

#8 posted 06-20-2012 04:06 PM

lumberjoe, your comments make a lot of sense

-- Bert

View MrRon's profile


4758 posts in 3237 days

#9 posted 06-20-2012 05:02 PM

The trouble with reviews is: The reviewer has nothing equivalent to compare it against. Comparing a Chevy V6 PU against a Ford V8 PU isn’t a good comparison. Each has it’s own +’s and -’s. Therefore it’s safe to say no 2 items are alike and really can’t be compared against each other. It all comes down to preference.

View knotscott's profile


8006 posts in 3369 days

#10 posted 06-20-2012 05:24 PM

It’s extremely subjective. What’s your favorite color, favorite song, favorite food, favorite sports team….? I’ll bet your choices are different than mine, but neither of us are wrong.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8029 posts in 2322 days

#11 posted 06-20-2012 05:40 PM

I recommend using to shop online prices (though to be honest, Amazon is almost always the lowest price).

But here’s why…. when you post a review on price grabber, it must be acompanied by an order number. Then, b4 your review is displayed, price grabber confirms with the retailer that you actually purchased product from them.

This way, only “real consumers” can post reviews….. and… only one review is allowed per customer.

Even with their attempted controls, however, I think the retailers themselves are working the system…. not to defame the competition, but to boost themselves.

I bought my wife a digital camera from an outfit called bestpricephoto and had a horrible experience….. even though I checked the reviews. But I only checked the recent reviews and didn’t drill down to the older ones with negative comments. These of course, revealed exaclty the horribly dishonest bait and switch tactics and sale of gray market cameras. Turns out, they bribe their customers to post positive reviews, often b4 the product is even recieved, by offering some little accessory for free if they leave positive feedback. The true dirt was there to be read… but it was dilluted by the heap of glowing hype.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2242 days

#12 posted 06-20-2012 05:56 PM

ssnvet, you said it right when you alluded to deductive reasoning. This is a tough skill to acquire and you need to do it through looking at a very large sample sizes. There are three types of reviews that are very prevalent and stand out to me that I instantly flag and ignore:

1 – “people with a purpose”. They may have been wronged in some form or another by the product or manufacturer. They have something to prove, and want to get even. Spreading the word about your negative experience makes you feel vindicated, especially when a lot of review commenters validate your feelings by saying things like “wow, that is terrible! they will never get my business!” These are often wordy, and also more often than not, it comes from people who are not frequent reviewers/posters.

2. “The gushers”. These people are overly happy to own their product and they want the world to know what they just bought. It’s definitely better than whatever you own, and they will gladly tell you why. More often than not, they have never used it. If they have actually used it, they have never used anything in that category other than the one they own. They will also defend their purchase despite it’s obvious flaws that they refuse to acknowledge.

3 – The “ESO”. This is an IT inside joke term which means Equipment Superior to Operator. The first thing that will get me to skip a tool review is complaining a lot about set up instructions. We are builders. We know how things should fit together. I bet most of us could figure out how to assemble something without instructions at all. Albeit it may take a lot of time, but we could do it. If your number one complaint is lack of instruction, you may as well write ”nothing to see here, move along”. In addition as as I posted in my review here for the Freud SD208, I hate when people take stars off for the case something comes in or doesn’t come in. Are you buying a tool or a case? When I get something without a case or with a crappy case, that is an instant (and legitimate to my DW) excuse to buy some wood and fire up the table saw.

Hope this helps!


View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3134 days

#13 posted 06-20-2012 06:46 PM

I wouldn’t knock reviews just because they are complaining about a case or instructions. I think reviews should take into account comparative items and that should indicate the importance of things like cases and instructions. For instance, if you’ve used a Leigh jig before, you might be impressed by the great manual they have. Without the manual, you could probably still figure out how to make perfect joints, but it would take a lot of trial and error. In this case the quality and inclusion of the manual adds real value to the tool itself.
Cases too can be a great value add for many tools. I’m sure if festool replaced their systainers with bags, there would be a huge uproar. Plus for a contractor, who may be charging his clients $100/hr, spending an hour to buy wood, design, and fabricate a custom case for a $100 tool may be all the reason he needs to not buy that tool.
Speaking of the Freud SD208, the lack of case was one of the factors that made be buy the SD508 instead. Once I factored in the fact that I wouldn’t have to make my own case and the special plywood chippers, the $100 price diff was much easier to swallow.

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3042 days

#14 posted 06-20-2012 06:51 PM

Talking about cases: I never keep them.
I never find any use for them and in general I find them way to cumbersome and impractical.
I toss them out as soon as I have the tool out of it.
( is this a review for cases?)

-- Bert

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2242 days

#15 posted 06-20-2012 06:56 PM

Sarit, good points. If I were in the business, I would probably value nice balsitic plastic cases a lot more than I do. Being a hobbiest, my tools remain in my shop and I place little value on the case itself. I am for more concerned about the performance of what is inside. I will also concede to your point about instructions for jigs. That is one place where set-up instructions and use instructions are critical. People giving a router a 2 star review because the manual doesn’t tell you how to cut a 3/8” rabbet in plywood makes me think you probably shouldn’t be reviewing a router.

Edit – again I actually like the case on the SD208. It holds the blades and shims/spacers quite well and is not at all cumbersome. It hangs nicely on a nail in the wall next to my table saw inserts


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