Best product testing websites
Do you want to get sent products to test, keep them and even earn money reviewing them? We review the best product testing sites, with tips on getting the higher value items.
Dozens of market research companies around the world work on behalf of brands to predict whether a new product is going to fly or flop. And to do this, they heavily rely on hearing the thoughts of real consumers like you.
As a product tester, you can expect to receive free products to test at home which you can then keep (or sell on eBay). In some instances, you may even be paid in cash.
Guide to product testing
What rewards can you get from free product testing?
Are the rewards really worth the time and effort?
It depends on what you're after, but they often are. After all, if the research companies don't offer something of fair value to entice the panel members they need, they wouldn't be in business very long.
Having said that, the quality of rewards does differ across product testing sites (which we'll come to later).
Popular product testing categories
Some of the most popular products you can test fall under one of these categories:
- Technology (e.g. Apple iPad)
- Food and drink
- Cosmetics and toiletries
- Books and magazines
- Clothing and footwear.
Some sites will let you keep products, whereas others may pay you in Amazon vouchers or cash.
In the past, we've come across an opportunity to test a brand new luxury mattress. Not only was the mattress yours to keep, but you also got to keep a new Fitbit, and you got paid £600 for the privilege!
We asked members of our student deals Facebook group what they managed to get while testing products. There was a whole range (and value!) of goods on offer with different product testing companies.
I've product tested so many things. Most expensive was electrical beauty gadgets from Philips totalling a grand!
I received and got to keep bottles of Lynx Signature Aftershave, before they were available in shops (along with more single-use samples to pass onto friends to generate 'buzz').
Find out what sites Lisa and Dale use in our list of the best product testing companies below.
Best product testing websites
If you want to become a product tester, check out these websites:
Pinecone is a well-trusted survey and product testing site, and one of the best paying too.
The only problem with them is that invites are hard to come by, and we only get them every now and then (check via the link below).
How does Pinecone work?
You can sign up to Pinecone to answer surveys and, from time to time, you might be asked to test a product.
What products can you test with Pinecone?
Beauty products, food, drink and more.
How likely are you to receive products with Pinecone?
The Pinecone products are a little more limited than other sites but, as you have fewer users to contend with, the chances of getting a product are actually higher.
Ipsos iSay Review
Ipsos iSay (formally known as i-Say) is one of the UK's leading market research companies and they're more than happy to reward you for your opinions.
How does Ipsos iSay work?
It's simply a case of filling in surveys and letting them know what you think about certain products, or what your typical buying habits are. Sometimes the surveys require i-Say to send you a product to test.
How likely are you to receive products with Ipsos iSay?
We're yet to be sent any products from i-Say but have earned a lot through answering their surveys, so it's still well worth signing up.
Toluna is a great site for getting free products and rewards in exchange for your views. Simply create a free account then you can choose to start testing products or select various polls to answer.
How does Toluna work?
To receive free products for testing, you can visit the 'testing' area of the site (under rewards), and apply to test products. If you are chosen to test the product then it will be sent out to you.
You get to keep the items, in exchange for filling in a short survey about what you thought of the product.
What products can you test with Toluna?
The goods on offer change all the time, but often include shower gel, toothpaste and cosmetics.
How likely are you to receive products with Toluna?
Toluna generally have around 200–500 of each product to test and testers are chosen at random each time.
UPDATE: The Toluna testing area is frequently suspended as they shift their focus towards general paid online surveys (read our review of making money on Toluna). Create an account and keep an eye on their blog and emails for updates.
Clicks Research review
Clicks Research is a great place to get paid to test products. They work with a whole host of big-name brands, including Marks & Spencer, The Body Shop, Boots and Sanctuary.
What's more, aside from testing products, you can also complete surveys to earn Click Points. Once you've earned 2,500 points, you'll earn £25, and as each survey pays between 25–200 points, this could amount to anything between 12–100 surveys.
How does Clicks Research work?
Once you've signed up to the site, take part in as many trials and surveys as possible. The more you complete, the higher your rating and the more tasks you'll be invited to take part in – and if you do so on time, your rating will be even higher.
What products can you test with Clicks Research?
Given the brands that Clicks Research works with, it's no surprise that users have recently tested products including ready meals, slimming shakes, cosmetic products and chocolate.
How likely are you to receive products with Clicks Research?
As we said, your chances of receiving products increase if you complete more surveys and trials. And if you're still struggling to get invitations, Clicks Research recommends keeping your profile as up-to-date as possible.
Alba Science review
Alba Science will typically send you cosmetics to test. The products they send are often pretty high quality, so if you have expensive taste, this could be one worth signing up for.
Alba Science also conducts paid clinical trials, which you'll need to attend their Edinburgh office to take part in. These tend to be for products that aren't quite ready to go on sale, or that make claims which need to be tested (e.g. "visibly smoother skin in eight hours").
How does Alba Science work?
Sign up to Alba Science as a home tester and check out the list of current trials on the site. New opportunities are posted on the website, but it's always worth following them on Facebook and Twitter to keep ahead of the curve.
What products can you test with Alba Science?
When we checked, Alba Science was running a product test for cosmetic face wipes, night creme, body serum and more. You can expect to receive other cosmetic products like moisturiser, shampoo and even toilet roll.
How likely are you to receive products with Alba Science?
Alba Science had quite a few studies running when we checked. We've also seen plenty of reports of users receiving all kinds of products, so it's certainly possible!
Boots Volunteer Panel
Boots Volunteer Panel review
Boots is looking for volunteers to test products before they hit the shelves. From skincare and cosmetics to sun care and toiletries, you could be getting a lot of free items.
If you're chosen as one of the volunteer home testers, all you have to do is fill out a survey after trying the products.
While there won't be any payment for home testing, you will get to keep the items. You can also sign up for the controlled on-site studies, which pay between £10 – £125.
How does Boots Volunteer Panel work?
You can register on the Boots Volunteer Panel website by filling out a small questionnaire. Boots will then pick volunteers for studies depending on certain criteria, so it's not a given that you'll be sent items to test. If you do get chosen, you have to fill out a survey after testing the products.
What products can you test with Boots Volunteer Panel?
There's a range of products you can test with Boots Voltuneer Panel, including skincare, cosmetics, sun care and toiletries from brands sold at Boots. The items could be from a range of brands, including big ones like No7, Soap & Glory, Botanics and Champneys.
How likely are you to receive products with Boots Volunteer Panel?
While you're not guaranteed to be sent products, Boots send over 30,000 items per year to volunteers.
Crowdville is well-established in Italy and is now also making a mark in the UK. They have a unique spin on product testing: apps. If you love discovering the latest and greatest smartphone apps, you should definitely consider getting paid for it.
How does Crowdville work?
Once you've signed up to Crowdville and completed your profile, you need to join a 'mission' (a product test, to you and me). They'll send you all the details from there.
They even have a step-by-step guide showing you how to test the apps – how to take screenshots, report a bug, fill in a survey, and all the rest.
What products can you test with Crowdville?
How likely are you to receive products with Crowdville?
While we haven't been able to test any apps with Crowdville yet, there are many reviews online that say they have. So, there's no harm in signing up and finding out.
This is the service that Save the Student reader Dale was referring to above. Dale did a pretty good job of explaining how it works on our Facebook group, so we'll leave this one to him:
BzzAgent is quite a good company. You can get all sorts from toiletries to food to gadgets etc. They send you products to keep in exchange for small things – for example an honest review, or a post on Instagram or Twitter about it. You've gotta stay active on it though, otherwise your score drops and businesses won't find you!
When I tested the aftershave, all they asked in return was that I posted an unbiased review on the product. Then, for me to get a higher 'BzzScore' (a higher BzzScore improves the chance of companies approaching you in future), they also asked me to post a photo on Instagram, Twitter etc. to generate more buzz!
Dale, Save the Student reader
Product testing tips
If you want to make the most out of being a product tester, check out these tips:
- Know your odds – Even if you sign up to test a product, there's no guarantee you'll actually receive it. Companies have a monthly budget for testing products, and since these sites have thousands of users, they can't send a product to everyone. It's best to think of it as entering a competition each time you apply to test a product.
- Be selective about the products you test – It's easy to get carried away and sign up for every free product you can find, but you're just wasting your own time. If you have no real interest in receiving the latest copy of a baby and parenting magazine, don't fill in the form.
- Always follow up with the company – Never forget that these companies are giving you free stuff because they want to know what you think of them. If you forget to send your reviews, they probably won't send you anything again. It usually only takes a few minutes to give your feedback, so make sure you do it.
- Don't give up after one day – After signing up, make sure to check the website on regular basis to see what's available. On sites such as Toluna, you can even chat with fellow testers. If you prove that you're reliable, have a fully updated profile and that you plan to stick around, you're more likely to receive the best products.
- Set up a product testing email – If you don't want your personal emails to get in the way of your product testing emails then we recommend setting up a separate email account. You can also use this 'alias' email for competitions, survey sites and any other times you're unsure about handing over your personal email.
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