How We Pick Products and Services

People testing out products around the home

At The Spruce, our goal is to provide you with the best products and services to suit your home and needs. That is why our team of editors and experts test and curate over 10,000 products a year to bring you recommendations you can trust. We have over 14 million people visiting our site each year to get the best how-to and shopping advice. 

Why You Should Trust Us

Product and service recommendations from The Spruce are purely editorial and independent. Occasionally, brands and PR agencies will send us items for editorial consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are our own. We never accept a product in exchange for positive coverage. Once we have the items, we treat them just as we do the ones we bought ourselves, and we’ll only recommend them if we think they’re really great. 

We feature brands owned or founded by people who identify as Black, Indigenous, other people of color, and other minority groups whenever possible. We are also committed to hiring a diverse group of contributors and staff members on our team, which is outlined in Our Diversity and Inclusion Plan.

A group of humidifiers in various shapes and sizes

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

What We Do

Need a new washing machine? We’ve got you covered. Our team of seasoned editors and writers reaches out to experts to get advice on what you really need to consider when you’re shopping. We test products (like pillows or patio umbrellas) ourselves in our labs or at home to get hands-on experience.

We also know not everyone’s looking for the same things when shopping (some people might want soft sheets while others prefer crisp) so we like to offer a few recommendations. We always consider value when making recommendations, providing options along various price points that we think are worth their price. 

Our jobs require us to spend a lot of time online shopping, and we want to pass along some of that expert knowledge to you. In addition to lists of the best products for your home, we share new launches and can’t-miss sales, and personal stories about items we all love. 

How We Test Our Products

We think hands-on experience is critical to helping you make the right decision. Since you can’t test drive 60 different sheet sets before buying them, we do the work for you. We test products in one of our three testing labs around the country and in the homes of our team members and freelance writers to determine whether they live up to their claims—and if they are worth your money. Articles with the Spruce Approved seal of approval have undergone thorough, hands-on vetting to earn a spot on our list. 


How We Test 100s of Products Every Single Month

How We Review Services

Unlike many products, certain services—such as long-distance moving and termite control—are more difficult for our editors and writers to try at home. When this is the case, our in-house research team collects extensive data and, in some instances, conducts consumer surveys to gather as much information as possible on each company being considered for inclusion in one of our buying guides. Some of the ways they obtain data are through customer service calls, online or over-the-phone quotes, and discussions with subject matter experts. 

Together with the editorial team, our researchers compile a specific set of criteria to work off of for every category we cover, from home improvement to green energy solutions. Once the data has been filled in, each criteria point is assigned a weight as a means of scoring each company. Our “Best of” lists are then compiled using those scores.

How We Find Deals

In today’s world, it’s hard to know what a true deal is. That’s why we scour the internet to provide you with the biggest deals we see in our research, as well as alert you when some of your favorite brands are having their yearly sales. We get up at the crack of dawn on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day to make sure you know what to buy on the big sale days. 

We also constantly monitor shopping trends so we can tell you where to buy the coolest decorations for your living room or if the newest vacuum on the market is worth upgrading to. We are your go-to source for the latest and greatest out there, from your bedroom to your patio and everything in between. 

Review Board and Fact Checking

Our team of seasoned editors fact checks our content to make sure statistics are up to date and we are providing accurate information on the products and services we recommend. For our technical content, a member of our review board (who is vetted in their area of expertise, be it home improvement, cleaning, or gardening) makes sure everything we are writing about is accurate, safe, and helpful. Read more about this program in our Editorial Policy

It's frustrating to do the research and make your final selection only to find that a product is out of stock. We try to mitigate this by having dedicated editors check availability daily to provide you with the best user experience possible. While our primary focus is on the products, we also evaluate customer service, warranty information, and the delivery experience for hundreds of online merchants to give you a complete picture of the buying experience. We regularly re-test products awarded The Spruce Approved seal and update our findings to ensure you have access to the most up-to-date offerings and information.

Our goal is to help you make an informed buying decision, so you'll know what you're getting before you click the buy button. We spell everything out for you in an easy-to-understand way, sharing in-depth information about why we know these products deserve to carry The Spruce Approved seal.

Person testing Adirondack chair durability by throwing balls at it

The Spruce / Rachel Marek

How We Make Money

We receive an affiliate commission on some, but not all, of the products we recommend—but only if you decide to click through to the retailer's site and make a purchase. We only recommend retailers that we trust and have a proven track record for service and dependability. 

What Our Star Ratings Mean

We use star ratings to give you a quick snapshot of how strongly we feel about a product’s quality. We combine expert advice, testing results, personal experience, and editorial knowledge to pull together a single score that you can look at to get a sense of the quality of the item we’re recommending. While we may use retailer reviews to help inform our recommendations and our star ratings, we always consider the context of the ratings alongside other factors, like brand reputation, material quality, and price. 

No product is perfect—and no single pick is the perfect fit for every person—so when we give something a five-star rating, it doesn’t mean there are no downsides or trade-offs. Five-star ratings mean we think a product performs its job well, is fairly priced for its features, and is the best in its category. 

Product tester using cordless stick vacuum navigates around furniture

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong


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 from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that may be related to products you purchase and it is always best to register your purchases with the manufacturer so you can get alerted if a recall is issued.

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

Meet Our Team

Dwyer Frame

SVP of Commerce
Dwyer Frame

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

Before joining Dotdash Meredith, 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 Meredith, 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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Meg Lappe

Senior Editorial Director, The Spruce
Meg Lappe

Meg joined Dotdash Meredith’s commerce team in November 2020 and is the Senior Editorial Director for The Spruce.

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, 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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Marisa Viglione

Senior Editor for Appliances, Cleaning, Organizing, and Home Tech
Marisa Viglione

Marisa is a Senior Commerce Editor for The Spruce, covering appliances, cleaning, organization, and home tech. She joined the company in September 2020.

She has contributed 1,500+ articles across The Spruce, Elite Daily, InStyle, and Real Simple, and has tested and led the testing for 100+ products on The Spruce.

She has a Bachelor of Journalism and Fine Arts from Quinnipiac University, and has interviewed leaders in finance, sustainability, travel, food, organization, and wellness.

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Daniela Galvez

Senior Commerce Editor, The Spruce
 Daniela Galvez The Spruce

She joined Dotdash Meredith in September 2021.

She has written for Latina Magazine and more.

She has experience covering all shopping categories including beauty, fashion, health and wellness, and home.

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Joe Morales

Senior Commerce Editor
Joe Morales

Joe joined The Spruce in September 2022 as a senior commerce editor focusing on the assignment process.

Prior to joining the team, he covered men’s lifestyle content, LGBTQ+ lifestyle content, travel, and food and drink topics for several publications which include OUTvoices, Saveur, Men’s Health, Good Housekeeping, and The Manual.

Joe received a degree in Culinary Arts from The Chef’s Academy and graduated summa cum laude in the winter of 2015

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Michelle Lau

Commerce Editor for Appliances, Cleaning, Organizing, and Home Tech
Michelle Lau

Michelle Lau joined Dotdash Meredith as Commerce Editor for The Spruce in October 2022, bringing with her years of experience researching and editing for lifestyle publications.

Her work has appeared across national digital outlets, including at The Kitchn and Yummly, as well as for regional magazines, including Sunset and Via.

Michelle has a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology at San Jose State University. She also has a Master of Arts degree in ethnic studies from San Francisco State University.

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Jenica Currie

Commerce Editor
Jenica Currie

Jenica joined The Spruce in October 2020.

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

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

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Lily Sperry

Commerce Editor
Lily Sperry

Lily is a Commerce Editor for The Spruce. She joined the company in November 2019. 

Before joining Dotdash Meredith, 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 Byrdie, Bomb 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

Associate Editor
Julia Fields

Julia joined Dotdash Meredith 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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Emma Phelps

Associate Commerce Editor
Emma Phelps

Emma has spoken to experts in laundry care, home cleaning and organization, beauty, home maintenance, and gardening and agriculture.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Leadership Studies from University of Richmond.

She has five years of experience working on both sides of publishing from a public relations and journalistic perspective.

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Dena Ogden

Commerce Writer for Appliances, Cleaning, Organizing, and Home Tech
Dena Ogden

Dena Ogden has been writing professionally since 2015, and has published over 200 pieces with numerous digital outlets.

Her specialities include lifestyle, commerce, and culture topics, and she always has a novel in process, too. Prior to joining Dotdash Meredith in August 2022, she was a women’s lifestyle commerce writer with Bustle Digital Group.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English & Communication from the University of Washington, and is a proud first-generation college graduate.

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Bianca Pineda

Commerce Writer
Bianca Pineda

Bianca Pineda has contributed articles to CNN Underscored, where she also helped write and build the publication’s newsletter, assisted the social media team, and performed headline tests across homepages to drive page views.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Magazine, News, and Digital Journalism from Syracuse University and a Fashion and Beauty Communications Milestone.

Bianca has written content regarding a diverse range of topics, including local news, fashion and beauty, lifestyle, culture, sustainability, activism, and commerce.

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