April 21, 2009 User Manuals. They can be extremely handy things, and they play an important role in the world of consumer electronics. The problem is that once you’ve gotten your nifty new product, the manual gets a brief glance, maybe a once over, but it often tends to get discarded or lost with the original packaging. Equally you may have made a second hand purchase sans manual and when the time comes that you actually need it - something gets broken, or there is a feature you need to learn about - lo and behold, said manual is nowhere to be found. However, there is still hope in this digital age of mass information sharing, even if you’re searching for that obscure out-of-print document. Jamilah Le takes a look at some of the best places on the web to track down user manuals.
Others have been kind enough to upload their original manuals into digital files that you can download, sometimes at a price, so that you should you ever encounter a problem, there is a place you can get your user manual back. The number one source, without actually being on our list, is the website of the product’s brand itself. In most cases, product companies have sources where you can download their product information and manuals, often for free, and occasionally, you can even shoot them an email and they might just have one for you. A great resource is to do specific searches, and Dave Taylor has a good instructional on how to do that. Most manuals are available in PDF format.
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Back to websites dedicated to the task - here's our top 5:
- 5. Usersmanualguide.com This site contains a large list of manuals for various products, but the site itself is not particularly user friendly, and there is no search box. For instance, click on Sony and there will be 43 pages of manuals listed, but no categories to help you further.
- 4. Devicemanuals.com This resource comes with a search bar and there are seperate lists of manufacturers and categories, but there are still some navigation issues. There is also a forum - although it doesn’t seem very active. Manuals are free, but download safety is not guaranteed.
- 3. User-manuals.com A large selection of user and service manuals, mostly for large appliances. Costs are about USD$8.99 per manual.
- 2. Theusermanualsite.com This site contains thousands of product manuals and a huge A to Z search list of brands and product types. There' also a blog and a community where you can post requests or questions if you just can’t find what you’re looking for. Requires free membership.
- 1. Safemanuals.com Topping the list is Safemanuals, a site that has come to our attention before with its claimed 5,600 brands and 1.4 million manuals available to download in a wide range of languages, all completely free. There is a forum, and a place you can upload your user manuals for others. It does not require membership.
Note that products like sewing machines might require more specific searches – there are dedicated websites that may prove more useful than these more broad-based resources. Happy hunting!