Free Review WordPress themes are surprisingly scarce. Review themes – which are sometimes also known as affiliate marketing themes – are themes developed specifically to give your site the functionality to review products and services.
It is even harder to find free review themes that are premium. For some reason, the big boys of WordPress themes make plenty of free themes for every other business sector except reviews.
The scarcity of free premium review themes is odd. Review sites are specialized business oriented sites that are increasingly popular across the world as more and more people seek comparative information on the million of products and services being hawked online. You would think this is one of those themes-sectors where there would be plenty of free themes.
Still, after days of frustrating searching, we have found four free review themes that hit the high level of quality and support of premium themes. Just four. The rest – and they were not many others – were either outdated, had no demo to verify their functionality or had no support. Those four themes top the list of our favorite review themes.
But please don’t get confused: it is not that there are no good review themes out there. There are lots of superb review WordPress themes all over the place. It is just that they are not free. In fact, premium review themes are some of the most expensive WordPress themes. To give you a clearer picture, we have selected the three top premium for-sale review themes and added them to our list.
Why Free Review Themes Are Scarce
But why are there such few free review WordPress themes? Our guess is that it is because review themes are complicated. Unlike most other themes, review themes have to do more than present information, images, videos and data. They also have to crunch data and information so as to compare products and services – and be sophisticated enough for search engines to pick up their products and service ratings. In fact Google prefers review themes to follow the review schema, a review standard set by schema.org to create a uniform order across different products and services reviews.
The scarcity of free review WordPress themes may also have something to do with their business logic. Big theme developers typically offer free themes on the calculation that after a while – as the site grows – the owner will upgrade to a more sophisticated paid theme. But reviews sites, particularly straight-up affiliate marketing sites, make money from commissions by online retailers whose products they review. That makes them a difficult lot to persuade to upgrade to paid review themes if their free themes are already working out. If the site is reviewing products already and making money, what more sophistication do you need?
But perhaps the main reason why free review WordPress themes are scarce is because you actually don’t need to have a review theme for your site to review products and services. You could simply take any good eCommerce theme and add a good review plugin. There are plenty of such plugins from established theme developers. The catch, again, is that most good review plugins are not free. To complete our list, we have featured three of the best review plugins we could find.
Here then is our list of the best four free review WordPress themes. Plus the best three paid review themes and plugins that stand out from the crowd.
1. Ready Review Free Theme
The Ready Review WordPress theme is the free version of a more sophisticated paid theme, the Affiliate Review Plus theme. Both are creations of Ready Themes, a developer that specializes in monetization themes – affiliate review themes and Adsense themes – and has six other themes.
The Ready Review theme is a basic but adequate review theme. It does not have some of the features of premium review themes such as Amazon integration and multiple slider displays, but it has everything you really need to run an affiliate marketing site. That includes the credibility and support that comes from association with a reputable developer. It is important for a review theme to have the trust of other online marketers – so they can pay commissions without questions.
The Ready Review theme also has all the other important feature of review themes. First is responsiveness. The theme adjusts to different screen sizes including smart phones and tablets.
Other notable features of the theme are:
- Top Product sidebar widget that allows you to display your key products on the side bar.
- Star rating to differentiate product and services scores
- SEO optimization
- Custom options including a custom menu and unlimited color options.
2. Box Office Free Review theme
The Box Office is a free review WordPress theme that is true to its name. It is a theme to review movies. But the Box Office theme comes with both image and video review features which make it usable for just about any other type of product and service review.
The Box Office free review theme is a product of Fab Themes, a big developer with a huge portfolio of both free and paid premium themes. That gives the Box Office theme the necessary support and trust.
As you would expect, the Box office theme is heavy on movie review features. The key features here are the full color thumbnails and video displays that are pretty photo enabled – a neat media lightbox feature that supports video display in flash, iFrames and YouTube.
Other features of the Box Office free review theme include:
- Custom post types, metaboxes and menus
- Theme option panel
- Banner ads
- Widgetized sidebar
3. aReview Free Review Theme
The interestingly named aReview theme is possibly the most sophisticated free review theme currently in the public domain. It has three review modes, for affiliate marketing, movies and games, each with custom fields to cover the peculiar needs of its niche. For example, the games review mode gives you the genre, publisher, release date fields that are different from those of the movie or affiliate marketing mode.
The aReview also covers the other basics of a good review theme. That includes being responsive and, just as importantly, a customizer with a slick carousal feature that allows you to decide the category to display and the number of posts to feature. The aReview free review theme is a also well supported by its creator, AThemes, a developer with over 20 other themes and a good track record.
Other notable features of the aReview free review theme include:
- 5 custom widgets, including top rated products widget, video and social media widgets.
- Logo and Favicon upload,
- Full color control
- Optional author bio and custom scrolling
4. Reviewgine Lite Free Review Theme
The Reviewgine Lite free review theme is the stripped down version of the more sophisticated Reviewgine Premium theme. The pair are creations of Ready Themes, makers of the more famous Ready free Review theme.
Like the Ready Review theme, the Reviewgine Lite theme adequately covers the basics of review themes. It has good support and security, thanks to its developers standing, and is responsive. It also has a star rating feature with the added advantage of displaying top products in the side bar.
Other features of the Reviewgine Lite free theme include:
- SEO optimization,
- Easy to use custom options panel,
- Custom menu and unlimited color options
5. The InReview Premium Review Theme
If you choose to venture into the world of paid review themes, the InReview WordPress theme is a good choice. It is a sophisticated review theme by the big boys of theme development, Elegant Themes, and it packs quite a punch. For example, it comes with superb support, including free updates plus frequent W3C compliant security audits.
The InReview theme also comes with a rating system that includes user ratings that are combined automatically. Better still, it has an affiliate integration feature that allows multiple sites and their users to review products and services – and link visitors to the source affiliate sites.
And, like all Elegant themes, the InReview theme comes with the famous ePanel that automatically integrates with the WordPress dashboard and enables you to adjust and tinker with a whole load of features. That includes managing ads, optimization and color control, all without using any code.
Other notable features of the InReview theme are:
- Multi-browser compatibility,
- >Complete localization,
- Multiple category ratings including author ratings,
- >SEO control,
- Ad management,
6. Puzzles Premium Magazine and Review theme
Puzzles Review theme is a WordPress theme that combines magazine and review features. That is a common technique among some review theme developers, in part because a review site, especially a movie review site, is often also a magazine site offering news and blogs.
Puzzles theme is a creation of ThemeRex, an upcoming theme developer that sells its themes through Theme Forest. The theme incorporates some Theme Forests files and is newish – it was first released in September 2014 – and has already been updated once. Theme forest is possibly the largest WordPress theme market in the world with an incredible choice of themes – which gives Puzzles the credibility and support that is so crucial to a good theme.
As review themes go, Puzzles theme covers most of the angles of a premium theme. It is fully responsive, WooCommerce ready and can integrate SEO plugins although it does not have any as a standard feature. On the review side, it comes with three rating systems – percentages, 5-star and 10 star ratings – plus a large slider that allows you to choose five different highlight criteria. You can choose to highlight the most popular post or the latest, or the best user rated or the most commented. Or you make up your own criteria.
Other notable features of Puzzles magazine and review theme are:
- 8 display options
- 2 theme menus that may be used simultaneously,
- 8 custom widgets and unlimited widgetized sidebars,
- 3 blog layouts options – right sidebar, left side bar and full width,
- Threaded comments
- Enable/disable options for responsiveness, retina, gallery, video and audio tags and shortcodes,
7. Smart Reviewer Premium Theme
Smart Reviewer is a WordPress theme available at Mojo themes, one of the big and highly regarded themes marketers – and therefore comes with the Mojo vote of confidence. It is a premium and evidently well supported 2013 creation of a Russian theme developer, Meshkovst. Like all Mojo themes, it comes with free lifetime upgrades and support.
The Smart Reviewer is not strikingly sophisticated but it is pretty smart. It is a products review theme with two rating systems – reviewer ratings and user ratings – and multiple label options. You get to set your own label for selected products such as best deal, best seller, best buys and best choice.
The theme also allows previews of items on the homepage and in products categories in pinterest style. That is useful because pinterest is a popular product and services comparison social media outlet.
Other features of the Smart Review premium theme include:
- It is fully responsive,
- 2 skin options,
- 3 custom widgets – for similar products, latest reviewed products and best rate products
- Easy installation with comprehensive documentation
- Multilingual translation
8. WP Review Plugin
The WP Review Plugin is a rarity among premium review plugins: it is free. That’s a big deal because it is also a creation of MyThemeShop, a big developer with over 80 themes and plugins. That easily gives this plugin the credibility among major online retailers – an important plus for any affiliate marketing theme – and comes with excellent support. It in fact comes with free lifetime updates and support.
The WP Review plugin is an easy to install plugin that add all the key review features into a normal site. It has three ratings systems – stars, percentages and points – and widgets to highlight recent and popular reviews. The plugin is also compatible with the all important schema standards and is fully responsive.
Other features of the WP Review plugin include:
- Highly customizable. The plugin allows you to choose fields and add your own custom fields.
- Supports Shortcode to show review anywhere in post.
- >Has one click installation and one click updating
- It is SEO ready
9. My Review Plugin
My Review plugin is easily one of the best loaded review plugins in the market today. For eaxample, it has a rating system that includes letter grades, percentage, pass/fail and 10-star ratings – which, moreover, allow different rating sections for each post or mass ratings for categories.
My Review plugin also comes with a comment box that allows users to easily rate products as well as thumbs up/down the comments and reviews in the same way they do on Amazon.
Best of all, the plugin is one of the most secure anywhere. Unlike most other plugins, My Review is designed with un-encoded script which means it does not send any information back to its creators and is easily fixed in case of any problem. Most other plugins remain linked to their creators and are only easily fixed by their creators. My Review plugin has the added advantage of a Bayesian weighting system – a mathematical ratings balancing system that ensures items with few but high ratings scores – for example, a product with two reviews of 4.5 – do not register as being better than items with more reviews but less scores – such as an item with six reviews that average to an overall score of 4.2.
Other features of My Review plugin include:
- One-click integration, one-click theme integration and one-click set up,
- Free lifetime updates.
- Multiple post ordering options – chronologically, by most or least popular, highest or lowest rated.
- Custom data table to compare information such as price, technical requirements and file size
10. ReviewAZON Pro Plugin
As the name suggests, the ReviewAZON Pro is a premium plugin that is designed with Amazon in mind. It is, in fact, a plugin specifically designed to turn normal themes into Amazon affiliate sites. And it does an impressive job of it.
The ReviewAZON Pro is super-loaded with Amazon affiliate marketing features. That includes search and import features to trawl and import images from Amazon, a feature to attach Amazon products to a new post or turn any keyword into a link to such a product – besides making it a highlight that pops when a user hovers over it.
The ReviewAZON Pro plugin also has the customary star rating system – in two different sizes – plus the really big Amazon features such as:
- Amazon Shopping Cart Integration,
- Multiple Product Display Options,
- Embed Amazon Customer Reviews in Pages or Posts,
- YouTube Video Review Integration,
- Affiliate Click Track Reporting