How We Test Products
It is our mission at The Spruce Eats to help busy but curious home cooks make the best purchase decisions, whether they're just getting started or are looking to pick up a new skill. We obsessively research products, interview industry pros and experts, and evaluate items at home and in the test kitchens of our Lab, then compile our recommendations into informative lists for every kind of cook.
How We Test, Evaluate, and Rate Hundreds of Products Every Month
Our Testing Process
The only way to know if a product can stand up to everyday kitchen use is to test it. Knowing that different home cooks are looking for specific types of products (for a small space, for example, or for a beginner), we research product categories that meet you where you are. After devouring both manufacturer data and user reviews, we churn out an assortment of products to test in each category. We then acquire those products and evaluate them in our own homes and in the test kitchens of our Lab in Birmingham, Alabama.
Using comprehensive and repeatable testing methodologies, we evaluate the items, grading them on various qualities we know you’ll care about (think ease of use, durability, and noise level). These ratings help us determine which product is the best overall (the product we think will be a good fit in most households) and which products might be a good fit across a range of other circumstances, like a low-price, high-value budget pick or a feature-filled splurge pick with all of the bells and whistles.
We also gather qualitative data on our experience while testing these products: What did we like and not like? Was it easy to set up? Did the product work as expected? Was it easy to clean? We editorialize our experience and infuse our insights along with the data to provide you with easy-to-understand reasons why we think these products are great—and what flaws you may expect, as well.
Testing in The Lab
Our testing center in Birmingham, Alabama, consists of more than 10,000 square feet and includes four test kitchens, which we use to test everything from vacuum sealers to carbon steel pans side by side to see how they stack up against each other.
Our Review Editor, Test Kitchen Assistant, and other staff members use standardized methodologies to plan and conduct tests in The Lab. We get creative, using an infrared thermometer to measure hot spots in a pan, for example, or taste-testing ice cream made in a dozen different ice cream machines. All the while, we capture photos, videos, and personal insights from editors and testers to give you a behind-the-scenes look.
Testing at Home
Of course, we also need to see how well the products fare in real-life situations. Enter our home testers—a combination of experienced food writers and our own editors. We send products directly to their home kitchens, where they take them through the same steps as in The Lab. Then, the testers fill out a survey rating the items on the same established attributes, while also offering personal takeaways and capturing photos of the products in use.
This real-life testing is especially valuable because we are able to vet how delivery, setup, and product features work in a home setting, as well as monitor how things like small appliances, cookware, and more hold up over time. Home testers don’t just focus on how the products feel out of the box, but also the entire lifespan of the product—days, weeks, and even months later.
Why Trust Us?
As editors, not only are we experts in our fields, having worked for brands like Real Simple, Martha Stewart, and Food & Wine, but we're also consumers and home cooks ourselves. As such, we are passionate about products and services that make cooking and eating at home easier and more fun.
While we do receive an affiliate commission on some of the products you purchase, we only recommend what our experts, writers, and test results show to be worth the money. Not every product will serve every consumer, but we hope to give you insights that go above and beyond what you will find on the product page of a brand or retailer. We will always tell you what we like and what we don’t like about the products we recommend. We want our tests to provide an unbiased layer of information you can trust, so you can shop with confidence.
Occasionally, brands will send us products for editorial consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are our own, and we are transparent about any samples received. Our team never promises coverage nor lets retailers, public relations firms, or salespeople dictate our content.
In addition to testing products themselves, our writers and editors also interview experts in the food industry. Our fact-checkers and medical review board help us verify that the information presented is both accurate and up-to-date. Look for these badges next to the author's byline. We also have an Anti-Bias Review Board, which advises us on language, images, themes, and tone.
Please note that all products, including those we review and recommend, may from time to time be subject to recalls or revised use recommendations. We, therefore, urge you to monitor any official announcements here that may be related to products you purchase.
We also know how frustrating it can be to do your research on a product only to add it to your cart and see that it’s out of stock, so we try to mitigate this by having dedicated editors check availability as often as we can to provide you with the best user experience possible.
We are committed to making a lasting difference through the brands we feature and the people we work with. This means showcasing brands and services owned by people who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and other minority groups whenever possible. Click here to read our full commitment to anti-racism.
Meet Our Team
Mark Prigg is a VP on the Commerce team overseeing the Food and Travel verticals. Before joining Dotdash Meredith, Mark spent 25 years as a science and technology reporter and editor, working on newspapers including The Sunday Times, London Evening Standard, and Daily Mail in London, and later Dailymail.com and Red Ventures' tech brands. A lifelong foodie, Mark is fascinated by the science of cooking, creating the perfect shot of espresso, and Neapolitan pizza.
Taysha Murtaugh is the Commerce Director for the Food Group at Dotdash Meredith.
She has nearly a decade of experience and has penned profile pieces, trend roundups, and gift guides, and is committed to informing and inspiring readers.
Taysha received her BS in Journalism at Iowa State University.
Mary Kate is an Associate Editorial Director for The Spruce Eats. She joined the company in December 2018.
She has contributed to a variety of publications including Life & Style, In Touch Weekly, Closer, First for Women, Atlanta Parent, and Elite Daily.
She received her B.A. in Journalism from The University of Georgia.
Taylor joined Dotdash Meredith in November 2020 and is an editor on the commerce team
Taylor gravitated toward food writing during her time on staff at her university's in-flight travel magazine, and has continued to grow in the space throughout the span of her professional career.
Taylor received a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Siobhan has written for Spruce Eats since July 2020.
Her work has appeared on Wine Enthusiast, Serious Eats, Men’s Journal, and Food & Wine. She has also written two cookbooks.
Siobhan has a Master's degree in Food Studies from New York University.
Prairie joined Dotdash Meredith as Commerce Editor in October 2020.
She is the founder and editor of Bit By a Fox, which won Saveur Magazine's Readers' Choice Award for Best Drinks Blog.
Her work has appeared in The Whiskey Wash, Forbes, Men's Health, Self Magazine, Design Sponge and others.
Amanda McDonald has a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University Chicago and a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University.
When she’s not covering the latest food trends, Amanda enjoys perfecting her own banana bread muffin recipe, juicing fresh fruits and vegetables, and grocery shopping.
She is also a vegetarian determined to find the best plant-based chicken nuggets on the market.
Rachel has worked in both editorial and public relations.
She has written about fashion, food, drink, and more.
Rachel started working at Dotdash Meredith in 2021.
Jason Horn has been writing about food and drinks for more than 15 years.
He holds a BA in English from Tulane University and an MS in journalism from Northwestern University.
He once convinced Matthew McConaughey that a hot dog is indeed a sandwich.
Allison has been featured in several publications including Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.
She earned a degree from the specialized Creative Writing undergraduate track at the University of Iowa.
If you have questions, comments, or opinions you’d like to share with our team of editors, please feel free to email us at email@example.com