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I know this is a situational/subjective question..... but I am trying to figure out a site architecture for a drupal site.

I have multiple products with different attributes/properties. I could either make one content type called 'products' with multiple fields for all possible attributes ..... or I could could make multiple content types; one for each type of product.

I am just looking for a 'best practice' kind of answer.

should I make one content type with more fields (that may go unused more often)

....

or should I make more content types.

Thanks in advance.

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My personal preference is to limit the amount of content types, for user friendly reasons. Clients can get confused when you throw a whole list of content types at them. Unless your products are very different to each other (car, washing machine, house), I'd go for the fields.

Maybe the Field Group module can help to keep things tidy in the backend part of a product node.

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I also tend to prefer using less content types, assumed products have not a dramatically distinct set of fields.

I agree that the module @cptstarling suggested should be useful, but at the same time seems it may be a bit heavy for your need.
So in the other hand you could also look at Conditional field module, which is quite simpler.

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