Shopping Discussion

Buying bigger products in Canada- who tests and evaluates?

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[OP]
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Feb 27, 2008
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Prince Edward County…

Buying bigger products in Canada- who tests and evaluates?

I have always loved using Consumer Reports to research products. I get online access free, via Toronto Public Library.

Their thorough testing and evaluation regimens allow me to select products with confidence- catagories like- Predicted Reliability, energy efficiency, etc.- things I need to know to inform my decision, along with price.

But for many products, especially appliances, such as for window air-conditioners which I'm currently looking at, the models listed on Consumer Reports are rarely available in Canada. There are a few "slightly different" models available in our stores- but they may be relative garbage models, who knows? Unless you are an electrical engineer and can look at both you compare, You lug it home, plug it in and pray? And those online consumer reviews are woefully inadequate, generally amateur impressions, with rare follow-up for reliability etc, compared to the methodical scientific comparisons CR does.

Does anyone know how to find independant, accurate ratings for products in Canada? Consumer Reports used to have a "Canada Extra" section to address this, but it seems they have mostly stopped.
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[OP]
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Feb 27, 2008
1006 posts
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Prince Edward County…
Bumping for having edited to make it about reliable testing for products generally, and not just about my current frustration: researching to find a reliable, efficient, low-noise window AC unit.
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Apr 29, 2018
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I only know about CR.

For such goods, I tend to go for the best-selling model. They are normally at the lower end of the price spectrum and due to the volumes of sale, they are made to last.

For AC's specifically, this strategy works great for me. They all last 4-5 years anyway & I just replace them when they start to develop leaks & fail
[OP]
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Feb 27, 2008
1006 posts
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Prince Edward County…
kramer1 wrote: I only know about CR.

For such goods, I tend to go for the best-selling model. They are normally at the lower end of the price spectrum and due to the volumes of sale, they are made to last.

For AC's specifically, this strategy works great for me. They all last 4-5 years anyway & I just replace them when they start to develop leaks & fail
Yeah, that makes sense. I still find it frustrating that we don't have access to this incredibly detailed testing info.

For example, my wife gets woken up in our bedroom by noisy AC, she can't sleep. So that feature is obviously huge for us. If I were able to buy in the States, I'd sort the test results column by noise, look at the top 3-4 models that are also good in other ways and not too expensive, and I've narrowed our choice down to meet our needs. THEN I turn to RFD to shop by price. I do this all the time with other products that are more international. AC units are not. None of those models are sold here.

It frustrates me to not be able to be scientific in my choices. A bargain is never a bargain if it doesn't suit your needs.

And I suppose I could buy from an American vendor but then what about DOA's or warrenty issues?
[OP]
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Feb 27, 2008
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Prince Edward County…
TheGreatGazoo wrote: I look at Wirecutter recommendations frequently.
Yeah so do I! Especially for electronics. But AC units are not as cross-border as electronics.
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Apr 29, 2018
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MooseOnLoose wrote: Yeah, that makes sense. I still find it frustrating that we don't have access to this incredibly detailed testing info.

For example, my wife gets woken up in our bedroom by noisy AC, she can't sleep. So that feature is obviously huge for us. If I were able to buy in the States, I'd sort the test results column by noise, look at the top 3-4 models that are also good in other ways and not too expensive, and I've narrowed our choice down to meet our needs. THEN I turn to RFD to shop by price. I do this all the time with other products that are more international. AC units are not. None of those models are sold here.

It frustrates me to not be able to be scientific in my choices. A bargain is never a bargain if it doesn't suit your needs.

And I suppose I could buy from an American vendor but then what about DOA's or warrenty issues?
For silent ACs, Daikin is king
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There might not be the exact same model numbers as the U.S., but there usually similar or comparable versions sold in Canada. Say you're looking an appliance, and model XYZ123 and XYZ119 are highly rated but XYZ102 isn't that great. The manufacturer might only sell XYZ121C in Canada, and the "C" just means Canada and if you look at features, it's comparable to the highly rated ones, so there's some reassurance that it may perform as well as those ones.

If the manufacturers of the best ones don't sell in Canada at all, then yeah, you'll have to compromise and look at ones sold here. We're 1/10 the market of the U.S. and have increased costs, so that's life.
[OP]
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Feb 27, 2008
1006 posts
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Prince Edward County…
kramer1 wrote: For silent ACs, Daikin is king
Thanks Kramer1. And that is often the kind of information that have to use. "Somebody on RFD says..."
[OP]
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Feb 27, 2008
1006 posts
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Prince Edward County…
jm1 wrote: There might not be the exact same model numbers as the U.S., but there usually similar or comparable versions sold in Canada. Say you're looking an appliance, and model XYZ123 and XYZ119 are highly rated but XYZ102 isn't that great. The manufacturer might only sell XYZ121C in Canada, and the "C" just means Canada and if you look at features, it's comparable to the highly rated ones, so there's some reassurance that it may perform as well as those ones.

If the manufacturers of the best ones don't sell in Canada at all, then yeah, you'll have to compromise and look at ones sold here. We're 1/10 the market of the U.S. and have increased costs, so that's life.
Right, thanks. "May perform as well" being the operative words.

I wonder if one might write to the manufacturer for verification that the guts of the model are essentially the same between the different model numbers?
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MooseOnLoose wrote: Right, thanks. "May perform as well" being the operative words.

I wonder if one might write to the manufacturer for verification that the guts of the model are essentially the same between the different model numbers?
From what I know the AC manufacturing industry is highly concentrated with most being made by GREE. Only a few other manufacturers exist and I think Daikin maybe one of them

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