Earn freebies for testing products
The top 'freebies for feedback' sites
Product development's big business. By checking items work and verifying marketing claims, companies boost sales. Add the power of word-of-mouth recommendations, and it's clear why they're happy for you to test goodies for nowt.
From perfume to electric shavers, coats to chocolate, MoneySavers have grabbed hundreds of brand-new freebies. This guide has a rundown of the top product-testing freebie sites and how to bag the best stuff.
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How product-testing freebies work
The big thing to understand is tests are aimed at certain groups (eg, dads aged 35-40), and you answer a few questions to check if you qualify. It's unlikely you'll qualify for every test and there's a limit on how many people can test each product. So respond at speed, as the best freebies go fast.
There are a few ways to take part:
Traditional product testing. They send you a product, you feed back on if it works. MoneySavers have blagged everything from perfume to school uniforms. See Traditional Product Testing.
'Review and share' sites. As well as asking for feedback, these sites ask you to post honest opinions of freebies on Facebook and Twitter, or discuss them with mates. See 'Review and share' sites.
- Company websites. Rather than use traditional product-testing sites, some companies advertise for product testers on their own websites. Right now Philips, Elemis and Vileda are all looking for product testers.
While you may not be selected straightaway, some MoneySavers report huge success by keeping at it. Please add your successes to the Product Testing forum discussion.
I've had loads of stuff to test, including shampoo, face wash, kitchen rolls, tissues, cling film, kitchen wet wipes, body butter, hairspray, men's jumpers, PJ bottoms, a £40 winter coat and a lovely £22 dress.
For me, the best freebies come via product-testing sites. If I add up the value of everything I've tested this year, it's probably not far off £100.
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Top traditional product-testing sites
We've worked our way through hundreds of MoneySavers' reviews to find the top eight traditional product-testing sites, where all you need to do is feed back on freebies. Huge thanks to all the MoneySavers whose feedback went into the guide. If you've found a top product-testing site we're missing, let us know in the Product Testing discussion.
Once you've tested the product, answer questions properly and on time to boost your chances of getting more trials.
Don't just google 'product testing' to find this kind of site though. You may get a shyster site promising, say, free iPhones, when it's actually a ploy to get your data or bank details.
Boots Volunteer Panel
A huge hit with MoneySavers, the Boots Volunteer Panel tests big-name products including No7, Soltan, Soap & Glory, Botanics and Champneys.
The scheme's been running a while, but when we've tried to include it previously, it's always been closed to new applicants. Now it's looking for members.
The catch is that by no means everyone is accepted – Boots only selects certain people to ensure it has a mix of demographics. From what we've seen on social media, there seems to be a roughly 50-50 chance of getting in, though it's likely it'll be swamped with applications right now as we're featuring it in our weekly email.
If you're not selected, don't despair – remember to try again in December 2018, when the panel's refreshed.
It's well worth a try as last year, for example, it handed out 30,000 free items. If you are selected, Boots will let you know about new trials by email – you then apply online.
Forumites have been chuffed with their hauls. Sarah1972 says:
This week I have had bath foam, mascara, hand cream and stretch-mark cream. Hubby has had shave gel, moisturising face cream and deodorant.
I received a Remington facial brush, RRP £80 :-D. Very happy today.
And FUCHSIA says:
I love the Boots panel. I haven't bought foundation in ages, as I keep getting sent them. Have had massage oils, face cleansers, nail varnish, lippy, mascara, eyeliner, deodorant, hair serums… you name it.
MoneySavers have blagged everything from anti-ageing creams to chocolate bars via Clicks Research. The firm does testing for big-name brands such as Boots, Marks and Spencer, The Body Shop and Tesco.
Even if not selected, each time you take part in a survey it pays Clicks points (usually between 25-200 per survey). Once you've earned 2,500, you can exchange them for £25.
On the downside, some MoneySavers say the website is glitchy. But if you stick with it, you could get some decent goodies. The more often you update your profile, the more trials you get.
With a focus on cosmetics, Alba Science gives away goodies such as shampoos, conditioners, facemasks and fake tan.
Most products arrive in anonymous packaging, so forumites have fun trying to work out which brand they've blagged – often posh ones.
Alba says 'home trial' freebie products have been safety-tested and many are already on the market – it's just trying to substantiate marketing claims and get consumer opinion. The company also offers paid research studies separately, and makes it clear when products are at the earlier stages of testing.
Parenting website MadeForMums hands out free toys and baby gear in return for reviews from users. The site uses this feedback to inform its buyers' guides on baby and toddler products.
Recent giveaways include kids' sunglasses, a Braun thermometer and a Fisher-Price activity centre. Even better, testers who leave 'quality feedback' are often entered into a draw to win £100 or more in Amazon vouchers.
To get involved, keep an eye on the MadeForMums product testing forum page. If a freebie takes your fancy, join the forum and reply to the thread with the details requested.
Who can join? Check individual threads for details but you'll need to be a parent (it's for dads too, not just mums).
Extra payment on top? Users who give 'quality feedback' are often entered into a draw to win Amazon vouchers.
Feed back: MadeForMums
Tesco Home Panels
Tesco Home Panels has a cult following on the MSE Forum, but is currently not taking on new members. It says to check its site again in a few weeks.
It sends users trial products from – you've guessed it – Tesco. Forumites have amassed £100s of goodies, including jumpers, shaving foam, cat litter, a dishwasher, loo roll and school polo shirts, to name a few.
You need a free Tesco Clubcard to apply. Not everyone is selected though, as it often looks for people from certain groups (but won't say which ones). Some people in the forum suggest you may get more freebies if you shop there.
They won't always select you, but even if they don't, you get one point for doing the survey to apply to test a product. Once you rack up 50, you're automatically sent a £10 Bonusbond voucher, valid at multiple retailers, including Argos, Boots and Debenhams.
Some MoneySavers have also been paid £35 to take part in focus groups on products in person.
Forumite lbw22 says:
I've been a member for two years and have tested about 12 products from sanitary towels to a coat. My husband tested a shirt too.
Another site worth a shot is Toluna. The site's popular for its paid online surveys (see our Online Surveys guide for more). But it also gives away free products to test, such as L'Oreal make-up, Bic razors and Spontex cloths.
MoneySavers report getting invited to trial products after filling in surveys. There's also a product testing page, where you can apply for trials directly.
You get paid for its normal surveys, but not product testing. (Once you reach 60,000 points, you can cash them in via PayPal or get a £10 retail voucher, including Marks and Spencer, Mothercare and Argos.)
On the downside, some MoneySavers say freebies can be sporadic. Forumite Girl Overboard says:
I was sent three products in consecutive weeks soon after joining Toluna. Then nothing for over a year (despite applying every week). Then I got two in consecutive weeks. So it's pretty random.
It's well worth signing up for i-Say's paid surveys anyway, as many forumites rack up £10 or more of Amazon vouchers every month.
Even better, you earn points for taking surveys on the free products you receive – between 5 and 250 points for each – which can then be redeemed for vouchers. For example, you need 1,380 points to get a £10 Amazon voucher.
Forumite SparklesJD says:
i-Say have sent me products to test: a pack of nappies, box of sanitary towels and some crisps. You get paid for doing the initial survey, then again for the follow-up.
Mega-popular online survey site Pinecone (see our Survey Sites guide for more on this side of things) also sends out free products to test.
The catch is it's invitation-only, and the recruitment process seems like it's more secretive than the Freemasons'. You have to wait until you're invited or spot a web banner advert on another site to sign up.
Several MoneySavers have bagged free items via Pinecone. But they are not allowed to reveal which ones – the first rule of Pinecone is "you do not talk about Pinecone". We've included this here so you'll know to jump if an invite appears.
Who can join? Over-18s. You must be invited/spot a banner
Extra payment on top? No, but you get £3 for completing separate surveys
Top 'review and share' sites
'Review and share' sites are where companies send freebies, but instead of just asking for feedback, they also ask you to discuss products with pals and on social media. This could mean handing out money-off coupons to mates or posting on Facebook or Twitter.
Once a task is completed, you send the company a link to a blog comment/Twitter post or submit a 'report' of a conversation with a friend. You'll be ranked based on how often and how well you share.
The sites say you should never spam about the products, and you can share both positive and negative experiences – what you say is up to you.
Always let people know you got the product for free. Ensure those you talk to understand you're a member of a scheme and are trialling the product for nothing.
Under consumer law, people need to ensure that if they are paid or get a product free, posts or comments are clearly labeled as such. See this open letter from the Competition & Markets Authority for more.
Do this with integrity – be truthful, as others may rely on your views when choosing how to spend their money.
Plus remember, posting reviews about products on this site's forum just to blag freebies breaks our rules.
Covering Procter & Gamble products, Savvy Circle doles out goodies from brands including Olay, Fairy, Pampers, Max Factor and Braun. As well as feeding back on products, you're expected to mention them in everyday conversation and online.
It encourages you to share the freebies with friends and family, then feed back their opinions. As always, explain to pals why you have the freebie and how it works.
The site awards stars each time you add to a 'campaign', for example by submitting a report on a chat you had with a friend or commenting on a blog. The more stars, the more freebies.
This is no small beer – forumite tracy6697 got £200ish of electric shavers:
Received my Braun shavers from Savvy Circle today. A Series 9 razor for my husband – he's going to be really pleased when he gets back from work! I got the face epilator and can't wait to try it out.
You can earn loads of free products through marketing company BzzAgent. MoneySavers have bagged Vanish stain remover, E45 lotion and even electric toothbrushes.
The catch? As an 'agent', once you receive products, you must start "meaningful and authentic conversations" about them with online buddies and real life friends.
The more "active and influential" you are, the more Bzz campaigns you'll get. See how it measures this.
Many MoneySavers are fans. Forumite Mummybaker says:
I have had steam generator irons, wet Ladyshaves, free cookies and all sorts. It's worth it – not much effort involved and they like you to be genuine about your thoughts.
Similar to the review and share sites above, Trnd sends you a product to test, as well as samples to hand out to friends, as part of what it calls a 'project'. You then post reports on conversations you've had and give your own honest feedback on the product.
You'll earn bonus points (called 'Wombats') for taking part in surveys and submitting reports about projects. They have no cash value but show Trnd how active you are as a member – this is one of the ways it chooses who should take part in new projects. Previous projects have included Iams, Vidal Sassoon and Brut products.
There isn't much feedback from MoneySavers on this site yet – if you've used it, please let us know in the forum.