The products we review are tested in person, over a period of at least two weeks, though often longer.  While some of our tests could be described as more scientific, on the whole we like to put the products through their paces against the trials of daily life. We test them in the home to help our readers decide whether they will suit you and if they are worth your investment. We will never take payment for a review. Do note that sometimes we are allowed to keep the products we review, giving us a chance to add to our reviews over time. This way, you know you are getting great quality and value for months, and even years to come. If you are a brand and would like your products reviewed, get in touch with the team at (opens in new tab)

The testing process

The tests we undertake will vary depending on the type of product, but we cover all of the following in our reviews:

What are our first impressions of the product and what do you get in the box?What is the product like to use? (We put the product to the test against most common uses and try every feature)What special features does the product have?How easy is it to clean, store and maintain the product?How does it rate online?How does the product compare to its competitors?Should you buy it?

Oftentimes we are allowed to keep the product we reviewed, meaning we can speak to its durability and update our review over time. How do we test small appliances? Each small appliance is tested against the most common use situations. For example, each blender will be used to make a smoothie and each hand mixer will whip cream. We try to use the same recipes to keep the test fair. We also test any additional features the product has and look at how easy it is to clean. Can it be put in a dishwasher? Will it require lots of extra effort to keep it looking its best? How do we test mattresses? When we test a mattress we make sure the reviewer has slept on it for a minimum of two weeks, but usually a month or longer. They will take into account the overall comfort and support of the mattress, plus how it rates on edge support, spine alignment, breathability, and motion transfer. We’ll often place a weight in the center and at the edge of the mattress to display how much ‘sinkage’ the mattress has.  Our reviewers detail the ease (or hassle) of delivery and setup, warranty and return policies, as well as its construction and materials. As we understand the impact of sleep positions and the subjective nature of mattress testing, we ask our reviewers to be open about their sleep habits and preferences. This means you can relate your own needs to those of our reviewers when choosing a mattress. How do we test grills? There are lots of different types of grill, so we make sure we test it in the setup for which it was designed. Portable grills will get packed up and use in various locations and a large six burner gas grill will be used to help host a family gathering. However, we make sure each grill is tested on its basic cooking abilities too, by grilling the most common barbecued foods such as hot dogs, burgers, a larger joint of meat and veggies. Finally, our tester will see how easy it is to clean the grill and what aftercare it might require. How do we test vacuum cleaners? When we review vacuum cleaners, we test in a home that best suits their design. A pet vacuum will be tested on animal fur and a handheld vac will be used for smaller areas and cars. As well as testing each vaccum for its particulars, we run a series of standard tests for all. They are used on various flooring types they are suited to and given the ‘Pantry Test’. This is where we see how well they can suck up large and small particles on the carpet and hard flooring. To do this, the tester vacuums up a quarter cup of cereal, a quarter cup of rice, and a tablespoon of sugar and judges how easy each was to vacuum up. 

About our buying guides

Our buying guides are compiled using information from our product reviews. We aim to have first hand experience of everything we feature, but in some cases our buying guides will be amalgamated using reviews from different people with different needs to give you the most rounded view. If we do not have a standalone review for the product on this site, we may have tested it on one of our sister brands. Some products are not suited to standalone reviews, so in these cases we will do a mini review within the buying guide. Our aim is to only feature products where we have first-hand experience. However, in some instances (such as with certain furniture and home décor) we may not have reviewed the product in full – in these cases we will only recommend brands that we have had a positive experience with. The team writing these reviews and buying guides have earned consumer advisor status in several product areas, meaning they know what materials, features and companies to look for when suggesting a buy.

About our product badges

Top rated products get a Homes & Gardens Tried & Trusted badge. This means we have tested them for ourselves, and given it four or more stars out of five. The products that have been awarded this most prestigious of titles will show a Gold or Silver version of the badge on buying guides and their reviews Brands cannot pay to be granted these badges, but we do offer them the chance to license the badge to use on their own marketing material. This is always offered after the review has been written and our writers will not be influenced or paid for a good rating.

Our writers and reviewers

Meet our team of ecommerce editors, shopping writers and freelance reviewers.