Right now, you’re probably reading this on a computer, laptop, tablet or even a phone. Over the past 60 years, we’ve seen a lot of innovative products appear in our homes. We’ve whittled down a list of 60 top products rated by us, but what ones would you choose?
‘We want you to come up with a list of the 60 most important products of the past 60 years’. This was the challenge set to a small team of Which? product researchers when we first discussed ideas for our 14-page celebration of ‘60 products that changed our lives’ in November’s edition of Which? magazine.
Cue big gulps all round as we grappled with how to create a list of just 60, from the many thousands of products that Which? has tested since it was founded in 1957. Explore the Which? Timeline to find out more.
Establishing our criteria was of course essential. What did we mean by ‘most important’? Did they have to be products that you would buy, such as a camera or domestic appliance? Or could they be technological developments, such as the internet or global positioning satellites?
Did they have to be invented after 1957, and should we select only the first example of that product. What about Which? Best Buys or best sellers?
We settled on the idea that these products should be important because they changed the way that we live over the past 60 years. This includes products that have made our homes simpler to run, transformed how we use our leisure time and made it easier to travel or communicate across great distances.
Our fairly youthful team had the disadvantage of not even being born when Which? was founded, so to come up with our list we’ve spent many hours combing through dusty Which? back issues to get ideas.
Luckily, many members responded to our Help Wanted requests in Which? magazine to tell us about the products that had the most impact on them, and it was a pleasure to read their stories of how buying an automatic washing machine, stair lift or tablet computer had made their lives better.
Members of our Which? Connect online panel contributed their own ideas, too, giving us a list of 10 generic products to investigate further:
3. Mobile phone
5. Automatic washing machine
6. Car (safety, reliability etc)
Although we hope that we didn’t leave any life-transforming products out, whittling down the list to just 60 was hard. We expect that some may think ‘how could they have missed XYZ from that list?’.
So what would you put on your list of 60 most important products? And cast your vote on what you think will be the most influential product of 2017…