How do you like the sound of receiving free products to try before anyone else, and giving your honest opinion to major brands? With product testing in the UK you can do exactly that.
Lots of big companies are willing to send free review products to you. They will then use your feedback to influence how their products are developed and marketed.
It’s so easy to get started with trialling products. You simply give your details, including name and address. Then just sit back and wait for some freebies to arrive through the post!
The following guide lists a range of options for anyone keen to get involved in testing products for free – and giving their opinion to someone who really will listen to and act upon it.
- What is product testing?
- How do I become a product tester?
- Types of product testing
- The best product testing sites in the UK
- Traditional Product Testing Sites
- Review and Share Sites
- Traditional and Survey Sites
- Product Survey Sites
- Completing your profile
- Making the Most of Product Testing
- Staying Safe Online
What is product testing?
In most cases products are developed in environments such as a scientific laboratory, a test kitchen, a design studio or a boardroom. Although every care has been taken to create a product customers will love, that isn’t always the case.
None of the hard work put into making a great product matters if the item doesn’t sell. The bottom line is – if it’s not flying off the shelves, the company won’t make a profit.
Remember, they need to recoup the cost of developing and marketing that product – before they even begin to make money.
This is where product testers come in. At various stages of development, they get involved, giving opinions on matters such as the packaging and pricing. Large companies want to know – is the packaging appealing and how much would you expect to pay. The biggest question of all being – would you actually buy the product?
Usually brands will seek the opinions of product testers during the final stages of product development. Ideally they want to gain feedback from a broad range of people, to ensure their items will appeal to as wide a market as possible.
It is therefore important that those who test products are real-life, everyday Brits, who will give as objective and rounded an opinion as possible. What they really want to know is whether their product is ready to be launched, or if some more work is required to improve it first.
Product testing sites provide a connection between the company and those who want to test products for free. There are plenty of these free product testing sites in the UK, who will send out items for potential customers to sample and review.
Anyone participating in these product trials will thus get free samples to review. In return, they will share their feedback with the companies concerned. This will be used to influence future product development and marketing. In some cases, direct quotes reflecting testers’ thoughts may even be used for packaging and advertising materials.
It’s not a get rich quick scheme, but as a reward the product is then yours to keep and use as you like. You get free items, while the company gains valuable feedback. It’s a winner for all concerned!
So if you want to review products and keep them, read on to discover how to get started.
How do I become a product tester?
Just like the items themselves, product testing websites are aimed at those members of the household who are most likely to make the purchase. Sometimes very specific groups of people are targeted – such as mums – but anyone can sign up.
The first step is to complete a tester profile, and this is used to determine who the best product testers are likely to be for each item. It’s a good idea to give as much information as possible at this stage, as it could make the difference between being included or excluded. Registering with a number of free product testing sites will also increase your chances of being selected.
While no guarantees are given, you could start saving money right away by being sent free products to test. As long as you’re an adult who has some say in the items bought by your household, big brands should be interested in hearing your opinion.
Types of product testing
There are several ways to take part in testing products. Many of these come via the type of third party sites mentioned above. Some of these offer traditional testing, where the product is sent to your home for you to try out.
You will then give your feedback, which will be used to improve product development.
Products vary hugely, but UK money savers have typically tested all kinds of items – from toiletries, chocolate or household goods to children’s clothing.
Some company websites may also advertise for product testers themselves.
If you have a few moments to spare, a bit of quick online research should reveal the latest companies who are looking for people to try out their goods for free. Examples include Boots, Philips and Tesco. You can find out more about these opportunities below.
The third route regarding how to test products for free involves ‘review and share’ websites. They want you to get the word out there on social media, so to this end they will want you to post product feedback.
Basically, they want you to share their product with the world, so they want people who are willing to make people listen. Ideal for any would-be influencers out there!
These ‘review and share’ sites might ask you to give out money-off coupons to your friends, colleagues and family, and will also require you to report back by providing links to social media posts or completing some kind of report.
Users of such sites are generally ranked according to how frequently and effectively they share, and this will determine the products you may be sent in future.
They do require honest feedback, however, and are against users spamming about their items. You should also always be clear and honest about the fact that the product was a freebie!
One more option is to take paid online surveys. Participants who complete these online will usually be rewarded for their efforts with some sort of payment, typically gift cards.
Sometimes you can even claim real cash via PayPal. Some of the sites listed in this guide offer paid surveys as well as product testing.
The best product testing sites in the UK
If you want to test and keep premium products from big brands, then check out the following guide to the best product testing websites in the UK.
Traditional Product Testing Sites
1. Clicks Research
The premise is simple – they send you the items, which you then get to test and keep. In return, they want your valued feedback, which will then be used to shape future products.
Categories include toiletries, skincare and cosmetics, household goods, food and beverages, baby items, clothing, pet supplies and more.
Any products that Clicks Research want you to test will be sent direct to your home. You will then try them out in your own time, before completing a short online survey as instructed.
The item is then yours to keep! Participating brands include the likes of Boots, Tesco, M&S and The Body Shop.
Users can claim £25 in cash once they’ve accumulated enough points. You must be over 18 to join, and it’s wise to update your profile regularly to increase your chances of selection.
2. Boots Volunteer Panel
UK-based Boots the chemist recruits members of the public to sample all sorts of products. If they sell it and you make it onto the Boots Volunteer Panel, then you have a great chance of being sent products to test on a regular basis.
Fans of the Boots panel rave about the items they’ve had for free, including all kinds of cosmetics and toiletries. Sometimes members are even sent health and beauty appliances that they get to keep after giving their feedback.
Boots are keen to have a diverse panel that reflects their customer base, so no one is guaranteed to get in.
It’s free and quick to apply, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a go. Judging by social media feedback, we reckon you stand around a 50% chance of being given a place.
From foundation or mascara to massage oil, deodorant and nail polish, there is plenty to gain if you are accepted.
Brands that Boots work with include big names like Champneys, Remington and Soap and Glory as well as their own ranges like No. 7, Soltan and Botanics.
If there are extra tasks involved – such as taking photos – you could earn extra in Boots vouchers too. Applicants must be 18 or over.
3. Alba Volunteers
If you love cosmetics, then another site you might be interested in is Alba Science.
This company specialise in trialling toiletries in particular, and are often looking for male and female participants.
Their latest projects are posted on the site homepage, so it’s worth checking regularly to see if there’s one of interest to you.
At the time of writing Alba were seeking people to take part in patch tests as well as acne and spot, male grooming and moisturisation studies.
They also required members for their home testing panel and the opportunity to earn via their Edinburgh-based clinical panel, If you live close enough to that, you could be paid between £50 and £500 for each clinical trial.
All home trial products have already been rigorously tested – in fact many are already being sold. The company simply require valuable insights into customer experience.
If you are invited to take part in a clinical trial, all this entails will be made clear before you agree to anything. All applicants to Alba Volunteers should be aged 18 or over.
4. Tesco Home Panel
Boots isn’t the only big British retailer to have a consumer panel of its own. Tesco do too – and members may be sent free test products as part of the deal.
The Tesco Home Panel is also free and easy to join, and users may also be invited to take surveys or even participate in focus groups.
Whether you fancy testing a fragranced candle, food items or kitchenware, it’s worth signing up to the supermarket giant.
Members have reported receiving all sorts of goodies in the past – from loo roll or shaving cream to clothing or even a dishwasher.
Like Boots, the Tesco panel is selective, as they want to have members that represent all of society’s demographic groups.
It has been suggested that regular Tesco shoppers may be offered more opportunities, but no one can say for sure. That’s certainly not a problem if you pop in there often anyway.
This panel often requires members to complete a survey before they have a chance of being chosen to road test a product.
Even if you’re not selected you will earn points for this, which can be converted into vouchers once you’ve earned enough.
Panel members will need to be 18 or over, and you must have a Tesco Clubcard in order to apply.
5. Philips Product Testers
Respected manufacturer Philips offers the public opportunities to take part in free product testing of their electronics items. This is because they want to know what real life people think of their newest ranges.
The Philips Product Tester programme thus offers users the chance to give feedback on products by applying for campaigns they are interested in.
The first step is to sign up and activate your account. Then you can find a product test you like the look of and apply for it.
If you’re successful, the item will be provided either free or charge or at a reduced price. After testing the product, you are then required to provide an in-depth evaluation.
Links to reviews you’ve written may also be requested. After that, the product is yours to keep.
As with all sites, don’t forget to give as much detail as you can when completing that profile to improve your chances of selection.
6. Home Tester Club
This product testers’ club has over three million members, and is centred around the idea of ‘shoppers helping shoppers’.
The products they deal with typically include groceries, toiletries and other items available in large supermarkets.
Once you’ve tested a product you simply leave your honest review on the Home Tester Club site. Sometimes social media shares will also be requested.
The idea is to help companies to provide the products that will give their customers an improved experience.
Badges are awarded by the site when you share your opinions and images. Those who earn more badges are then more likely to be sent further freebies to try out and review.
In this case, keeping the product is the reward for your participation. Anyone over 18 can apply to become a member of the Home Tester Club.
7. The Savvy Circle
This product tester club is part of Super Savvy Me, belonging to Proctor and Gamble.
Brands owned by this large company include Aussie, Braun, Olay, Fairy, Persil, Flash, Max Factor and Oral B.
You thus have a good chance of being recruited to test a range of consumer items – from electrical appliances to shampoo, moisturiser, toothpaste, make-up, laundry detergent, washing-up liquid and more.
The Savvy Circle likes members to share the products with their friends and family, as well as mentioning them on social media. Each time you contribute to a blog or social media or report feedback, stars are awarded.
The more stars you earn, the better your chances of being sent more or higher value products in future – such as electrical items by Braun. Like many others, this site is only for over-18s.
Trnd works in a similar way to The Savvy Circle. In the interests of real home products testing, users are sent items to try. These will often include samples that you can dole out to family and friends, all as part of the same ‘project’.
Your task is then to report feedback by relating details of discussions you’ve had about the product – as well as your own thoughts.
Points are awarded when you submit reports or complete surveys. Like many other sites, the idea is not to review products for money, as the items themselves are your reward.
The more you participate, the more points you will accumulate. This demonstrates to Trnd how active their members are, and future project participants will be decided on this basis.
In the past, products have included toiletries, cat food, fragrance, bathroom items and even rum. All Trnd members must be 18 or over.
Traditional and Survey Sites
9. Valued Opinions
The name of this free product testing website says it all. Valued Opinions works on the basis that big brands want to hear from you.
We all have something to say, and here participants get the opportunity to influence large companies.
The first step is to sign up with Valued Opinions – remember to complete that profile as fully as possible when you do so.
Next, you get involved in product testing – or online surveys – before giving your feedback. The item is then yours to keep. If you take part in surveys, then they can earn you rewards, such as gift cards for various big name retailers.
i-Say is another site that offers surveys as well as product testing for free.
Users say you need to complete surveys before you’d be invited to try and review out items, but that’s not a bad thing when you can earn points for every survey you take part in.
Points are awarded for every survey, and can soon mount up. Between 5 and 250 points are paid for each one.
These can then be exchanged for vouchers to spend with M&S, Amazon, Decathlon, Tesco and others. You can even donate them to charity instead if you’re feeling flush. i-Say members must be 16 plus.
i-Say were formerly known as Ipsos.
Toluna is known as a paid survey site, but they also offer consumers opportunities for free product testing at home.
Users say it’s worth getting started by completing some online surveys, as people who do so are then often chosen to try out free items.
Toluna’s portfolio includes big brands like Amazon, Kellogg’s, L’Oreal and Sony Music, so there are a variety of possibilities when you sign up with them. ‘
Toluna Influencers’ are a big thing, so if you like to shout about your favourite brands then this might just be the right one for you. If you’re 16 or over, you can sign up with Toluna.
Product Survey Sites
Lifepoints is a major product testing site, with consumers from more than 40 countries taking part.
They say their members have in common the desire to shape a better world, and are valued for their important insights into how this can be achieved.
Getting started with Lifepoints is easy and you’ll get 10 points just for signing up. Mostly giving your opinion is then a matter of completing surveys online.
For each one completed, you’ll earn those Lifepoints that can then be redeemed via PayPal or exchanged for gift cards.
Nielsen specialise in passing on consumer feedback to big businesses. They are one of the largest market research organisations on the planet, and there are several ways the British public can get involved.
Participants can take consumer surveys online, and their feedback will be used to determine how products are developed, advertised and sold. Another way to earn with Nielsen is by scanning your shopping receipts.
The simplest way to get stared with Nielsen is to join the Nielsen Computer and Mobile panel. Becoming a member will mean downloading an app to your mobile or a non-intrusive piece of software on your computer in order to share your internet usage behaviour.
It really is money for jam as you do very little, other than allowing the app to track your usage.
Completing your profile
Whichever type of product-test site you choose to sign up to, the initial step is always to complete an online profile.
As mentioned, some companies are looking for specific groups of people, or perhaps they want a broad spread of people from various age groups and areas to reflect the overall population.
While the details you give won’t be shared specifically, a market research company might share basics with their client.
Rather than showing them Ann Smith from 1A Albion Way, for instance, they would see a London-based female in the 5-60 age bracket.
This is so their clients can tell whether or not the type and mix of participants represents their target market.
It is therefore worth spending a little extra time in filling out the online forms. Those who give more information will give the agency or company a much clearer idea of whether or not they are the right tester for the product.
For example, let’s say a company was trying to discover whether full-time mums in north-east England would buy their new range of baby food.
So they would be looking for a tester who is female, a mother, not employed, has a baby and lives in the north east. They would also be seeking the member of the household who does most of the food shopping.
Think of it as a box-ticking exercise. The more boxes you can tick, the more chance you have of being selected. As it’s not too taxing an exercise, you could also complete the forms while watching TV in the evening, for instance.
Making the Most of Product Testing
What are you expecting from product testing? Passively waiting for the postman to show up with some new exciting item might bring results, but those who actively seek opportunities will always be more likely to succeed.
Maximise your chances by keeping your profiles and memberships updated and make sure they are as complete as possible.
As mentioned, a lot of sites reward those who participate regularly and effectively, so get involved whenever you can by checking in and completing surveys or tasks.
While mundane tasks like household shopping may not seem very exciting, they can be empowering when you realise that your opinion is actually highly valued.
If you’re doing the shopping anyway – why not take it one quick step further and be rewarded for your efforts?
Becoming a product tester is a fun way to share your opinions and try out some new items for free. Your ideas may even have some impact on how we all shop – as well as the type of products that are available to buy in future.
Staying Safe Online
One last word before we leave you to sign up to your chosen product testing sites. All those mentioned here are safe, legitimate sites, with many existing users.
While there’s nothing to stop you seeking out your own opportunities, do make sure to stay safe online.
Why? Well as mentioned the first step in signing up involves giving companies a lot of information about you, so it’s wise to make sure that your details are secure.
Sadly there are fake and scam sites out there, as well as the legitimate ones who treat your information with care.
Beware of sites that say something like ‘test phones for free and keep them’. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Choose a site from the above list if you want to be sure, or if you do find your own options then it is worth Googling their name plus ‘reviews’ to find out more.
For example, search for ‘home tester club reviews’, substituting the name of the site. If there is still any doubt, it’s best to steer well clear.