How We Test Products

People testing out products around the home

At The Spruce, our goal is to make your life easier by offering practical, real-life advice. When it comes to making purchase decisions, we’re here to guide you to the best pick for your home, family, and life.

We do the research, interview industry experts, and test products in our lab and in home settings—all to give you recommendations you can trust. While we do receive an affiliate commission on some of the products you purchase, all of our recommendations are chosen based on performance, test results, and personal experiences with the products. We collect performance data on every product we test and translate that into easy to understand recommendations to help you find the right products to buy.

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How We Test 100s of Products Every Single Month

How Do We Test?

The only way to know if a product is up to our standards is to test it. We research product categories and pour over both manufacturer data and user reviews to select an assortment of products to test in each category. We purchase those products—and occasionally receive press samples—and test them in our own homes and in our Industry City testing facility, The Lab.

We evaluate products using comprehensive and repeatable testing methodologies established to pressure test the key features for each product category. We then grade products on how they stack up in various qualities we know you’ll care about (think comfort, useability, value, design) to help decide which product is the best product 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.

Kenmore 81414 400 Series Bagged Canister Vacuum

The Spruce / Sage McHugh

We also gather qualitative data on the experience while testing these products—what did we like about the product, was it easy to set up, did the instructions make sense, 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.


We are committed to ensuring that our content reflects the diversity of our audience. This means showcasing brands owned or founded by people who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and other minority groups whenever possible. We are also committed to hiring more contributors and staff members on our team which is outlined in Our Diversity and Inclusion Plan.

Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus Robotic Cleaner

The Spruce / Sarah Vanbuskirk

Testing in The Lab

The Lab—our testing space in Industry City, Brooklyn—has over 7,000 square feet and two test kitchens. In The Lab, we test everything from vacuums to mattresses side by side to see how they stack up against each other. While we test, we capture photos, videos, and personal insights from our editors and testers to provide our readers with a behind-the-scenes look at what our tests really look like and how the products perform.

testers assembling artificial christmas tree during lab testing

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

In the lab, we get clever with testing (including hiding kids’ toys under mattress pads to see how much they can cushion and leaving a bowling ball on a pillow overnight to see whether it can really be considered a firm pillow). We pressure test how things perform in a host of different situations so you can see what matches up best with your lifestyle. Whether you’re a dog lover who needs a vacuum to handle tons of pet hair or a parent looking to vacuum up Cheerios in a flash, we’ll find the right product based on your needs...because we get it—they’re our needs, too!

Testing at Home

As fun as stress testing in The Lab is, sometimes we need to test in real-life situations, too. When it comes to home testing, we’re able to vet how delivery, setup, and product features work in a real life setting, as well as monitor how things like appliances, furniture, bedding, and more hold up over time. Home testers don’t just focus on how the products feel out of the box, but how they perform days, weeks, and months later—after 25 washes, 100 charges, and the occasional wine spill. The whole lifecycle of a product is captured here. Like in The Lab, our home testers rate products according to a set methodology and focus on the traits we think readers will care the most about, like durability, ease of use, and long-term value.

Bissell Steam Shot Deluxe Hard-Surface Cleaner

The Spruce / Kaitlyn Wylde

Why Trust Us?

While we do receive 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 are not salesy and 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 love 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. 

While we do occasionally receive press samples for review, we do purchase a majority of the products we test—and we never agree to positively review something, even if we receive a complimentary sample. 

mattress toppers stacked on bed

The Spruce


Before testing products, we make sure to interview experts in the industry to find out the most important things to keep in mind when you’re researching a purchase. We take those expert interviews seriously, and use that feedback to guide our product selections. Once an article is ready to be published, we also have the content fact-checked for accuracy and some articles get vetted by a member of one of our review boards. You can read more about the home improvement and gardening and plant care review board process.

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 at the CPSC website that may be related to the 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 daily to provide you with the best user experience possible.

Meet Our Team

Tory Brangham
Chief Commerce Officer
Tory Brangham

Tory Brangham is Chief Commerce Officer at Dotdash, having assumed the role in May 2017.

Tory initially joined Dotdash as General Manager of The Spruce, overseeing the development and launch of the site, now one of the largest home and food sites on the Internet.

She received her B.A. from Colgate University with a degree in International Relations.

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Dwyer Frame
VP of Commerce
Dwyer Frame

Dwyer is the VP of Commerce at Dotdash. She joined Dotdash in September 2017.

Before joining Dotdash, Dwyer worked as the senior editor at Health, where she covered the latest fitness and wellness trends and products.

Dwyer started her career at Instyle magazine, where she covered celebrity homes and later worked at All You magazine, where she edited cleaning and home decor content and gift guides. Her work has also been featured on Real Simple, People, Woman's Day, Brit + Co., and more. 

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Kate Geraghty
Editorial Director, Commerce
Kate Geraghty

Kate is an Editorial Director for The Spruce, MyDomaine, and Treehugger. She joined the company in August 2019.

Before joining Dotdash, she worked at What to Expect where she covered pregnancy products, baby gear, and toddler gear. Kate has also worked at lifestyle brands All You and Girls' Life. 

She received her B.A. in English literature from Northwestern University.

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Katherine Louie
Senior Commerce Editor
Katherine Louie

Katherine is a Senior Commerce Editor for The Spruce, The Spruce Pets, The Spruce Crafts, and MyDomaine. She joined the company in August 2018. 

Before joining Dotdash, she worked at Men’s Health where she covered liquor, style, and gear. Katherine has also contributed to a variety of online publications including NBC Today, Reader’s Digest, Everyday Health, What to Expect, Brit + Co, and Women’s Health.

She received her B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Marist College.

 

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Marisa Casciano
Senior Editor for Appliances, Cleaning, and Organizing
Marisa Casciano

Marisa has worked on commerce content for The Spruce since September 2020.

She has a Bachelor of Journalism and Fine Arts from Quinnipiac University.

She has interviewed leaders in finance, sustainability, travel, food, organization, and wellness.

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Shanon Maglente
Senior Editor of Toys, Gifts, & Holiday at The Spruce
Shanon Maglente The Spruce

Shanon joined DotDash as Senior Editor at The Spruce in September 2021.

She studied English and minored in Journalism at Seton Hall University.

Shanon has writing, editing, and video experience in product reviews, which are based on scientific testing, top-rated brands, consumer ratings, and heavy research.

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Lily Sperry
Associate Commerce Editor
Lily Sperry

Lily is an Associate Commerce Editor for The Spruce, The Spruce Pets, and The Spruce Crafts. She joined the company in November 2019. 

Before joining Dotdash, she worked at Modern Luxury where she pitched and wrote stories for their different lifestyle titles. Lily has also contributed to a variety of print and digital publications including BOMB Magazine, INDIE Magazine, Huffington Post, and more.

Lily received a B.A. in English Literature and American Studies from Wesleyan University.

 

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Julia Fields
Assistant Editor
Julia Fields The Spruce

Julia joined DotDash as Assistant Editor at The Spruce in October 2021. 

She studied English and minored in Journalism and Gender and Sexuality Studies at New York University. 

Julia has writing and editing experience from various internships and school publications on topics including entertainment, lifestyle, toys and gifts, and more. 

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Jenica Currie
Associate Commerce Editor
Jenica Currie

Jenica joined The Spruce Home, Pets, and Crafts in October 2020.

Previously, she was a producer for Dotdash for four years on the Quality Team.

She received an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.

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Margaret Badore
Senior Commerce Editor
Margaret Maggie Badore

Maggie Badore is an environmental reporter based in New York City. She started at Treehugger in 2013 and is now the Senior Commerce Editor of Treehugger, The Spruce, The Spruce Crafts, and The Spruce Pets. She previously served as the Web Director for National Geographic’s climate change documentary series Years of Living Dangerously. She’s obsessed with composting and solutions to climate change.

Badore's writing has appeared on Civil Eats, the New Jersey Spotlight, Mother Nature Network, and more.

She has a masters' degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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Nicole Lund
Senior Commerce Editor
Nicole Lund

Nicole Lund is the senior commerce editor for The Spruce, which means she’s your expert on navigating online shopping.

She is committed to helping readers find the best products for their needs, whether that’s a back pain-solving seat cushion or a pet-friendly robot vacuum, and is always looking for new brands.

She enjoys organized spreadsheets, period dramas, and exploring New York City’s many bookshops.

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Jamie Weissman
Commerce Editor
Jamie Weissman

Jamie joined Dotdash in October 2020 as associate commerce editor for The Spruce. She has written for Apartment Therapy, Buzzfeed, TODAY.com, and more.

She received a B.A. from The University of Maryland, College Park.

Jamie's work has also appeared on Cosmopolitan and Martha Stewart Living. Before joining Dotdash she worked as a senior account executive at VP+C, a public relations agency.

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Emily Cieslak
Assistant Commerce Editor
Emily Cieslak

Emily has produced content for Dotdash since November 2020.

Her work has been published in publications such as Byride, Real Simple, The Knot, and New York Moves Magazine.

Emily has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Sara Hines
Director of Product
Sara Hines

Sara joined Dotdash in 2020. Before joining Dotdash, she was Director of Product for New York Times Parenting.

She holds an M.B.A., M.S., and a B.F.A.

She currently works as the Director of Product for the Commerce team at Dotdash and holds over a decade of experience in digital product development and marketing, with a focus on user-growth and engagement.

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Carrie Gavit
Editorial Project Manager
Carrie Gavit

Carrie is an editorial project manager at Dotdash. She joined the team in December 2020. Prior to joining Dotdash, she was a digital editor at Haymarket Media. In previous positions, she covered topics ranging from healthcare to home decor.

Carrie received her B.A. in English from Hanover College and her M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.

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Meg Lappe
Senior Commerce Editor, News and Deals
Meg Lappe

Meg joined Dotdash’s commerce team in November 2020 and is the Senior Commerce Editor for news and deals.

Meg received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Villanova University and began her career working with products at SELF Magazine. Testing products has always been a passion of hers whether identifying the best storage options for her desk and bathroom, or trying out new sheets and pillows.

Her work has appeared in Gear Patrol, SELF, Glamour, Women’s Running, and The Field Mag.

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Perri Kressel
Commerce Editor
Perri Kressel

Perri has written for The Spruce since March 2019. 

Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Refinery29, Swirled, Buzzfeed, Guest of a Guest, The Tab, and The Westside Rag.

Perri received a B.A. in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis from New York University.

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Samantha Aronson
Commerce Production Assistant
Samantha Aronson

Samantha joined the Commerce team at Dotdash in 2020 as a production assistant. Prior to Dotdash she was part of the editorial team at City Guide NY.

She has written for both digital and print publications, including J14 Magazine and Mommybites.com.

She has published work in fields ranging from fashion to food and drink and more.

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Contact Us

If you have questions, comments, or opinions you’d like to share with our team of editors, please feel free to email us at commercefeedback@dotdash.com