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!
In exchange for your time, expect to receive free products to keep (or sell online) and even cash.
What rewards can you get?
Are the rewards really worth the time and effort? It depends what you’re after, but often they 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, naturally the quality of rewards does differ across product testing sites (which we’ll come to later).
Popular product testing categories:
Some sites will let you keep products, whereas others may pay you in Amazon vouchers or cash.
Recently we came 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 had managed to bag. There was a whole range (and value!) of goods on offer with different product testing companies.
Find out what sites Lisa and Dale use in our list of the best product testing companies below.
The best product testing websites
We’ve tried plenty of sites over the years, but there are a select few that are legitimate and deliver what they promise.
Here’s our list of the best opportunities. Maximise your chances of being selected for a panel by joining as many of these as you can.
Review: Toluna is pretty much the best 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 it works: 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 the keep the items, in exchange for filling in a short survey about what you thought of the product.
Example testing items: The goods on offer change all the time, but often include shower gel, toothpaste and cosmetics.
Likelihood of receiving products: 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!
Review: UserTesting is awesome because it lets you test websites for money. Although you won’t be testing physical products, it’s really fun, pays well and the range of sites you get to test keeps you entertained.
How it works: You sign up and complete a test review. If that all goes well you are then sent sites to review from time to time.
You then get paid $10 to your PayPal for every review you do, with each one only taking around 20 minutes.
Example testing items: Just websites (which you don’t get to keep…).
Likelihood of receiving products: It’s a trusted site and only 1% of reviews get declined.
Review: Pinecone is an excellent and 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 it works: You can sign up to Pinecone to answer surveys, and from time to time you might be asked to test a product.
Example testing items: Beauty products, food, drink & more.
Likelihood of receiving products: The Pinecone products are a little more limited than other sites, but as you have less users to contend with, the chances of getting a product are actually higher.
Review: Clicks Research work with a whole host of big name brands, including Marks and 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 and 100 surveys.
How it works: 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.
Example testing items: 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.
Likelihood of receiving products: Like 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 recommend keeping your profile as up-to-date as possible.
Review: As the name might suggest, 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 on worth signing up for!
Alba Science also conduct paid clinical trials, which you’ll need to attend their Edinburgh office to take part in. These tend to be for products which 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 it works: Sign up to Alba Science as a home tester and check out the list of current trials on the site. New opportunities are posted all the time, but it’s always worth following them on Facebook and Twitter to keep ahead of the curve.
Example testing items: When we checked, Alba Science were running a product test for pre-glued lashes – and other than that, you can expect to receive other cosmetic products like moisturiser, shampoo and even toilet roll.
Likelihood of receiving products: Alba Science didn’t have too many trials running when we checked, but we’ve seen plenty of reports of users receiving all kinds of products, so it’s certainly possible!
Review: 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 it works: 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.
Likelihood of receiving products: 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.
Review: Crowdville is the new kid on the product testing block – in the UK, at least. They’re already well-established in Italy, and 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 it works: 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.
Example testing items: Apps.
Likelihood of receiving products: As Crowdville are so new, we can’t quite say how often you’ll be selected for tests. Still, there’s no harm in signing up and finding out, right?
Review: 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
Know your odds
It would be easy to assume that just because you’ve signed up to test a product, you’ll automatically receive it. Unfortunately this is often not the case!
Most companies set aside around £5,000 – £10,000 of products every month to test, and because most of these sites have 1,000s 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 choose
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
If you sign up to a product testing website then never return, you’re not likely to receive anything. Make sure you check back on a 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 “testing” email
If you don’t want your personal emails to get in the way of your 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.
Next read: 40 ways to make money