Back to Top A white circle with a black border surrounding a chevron pointing up. It indicates 'click here to go back to the top of the page.' Back to Top

How we test home products at Insider Reviews

The author holds a sound meter with a window air conditioner running in the background for our guide to the best air conditioners in 2022.
As part of testing for the best air conditioners, home reporter James Brains tests how loud a window AC unit is during operation using a decibel meter.
James Brains/Insider

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

From soft-yet-durable sheets to powerful vacuums, the Insider Reviews team rigorously tests and reviews a wide variety of items for the home. For nearly five years, the team has tested hundreds of products, including mattresses, sheets, vacuums, home-office furniture, cleaning products, and many more.

What types of home products we test

Mattresses: We test mattresses for all types of sleepers from a wide range of brands, including Casper, Helix, Leesa, Tempur-Pedic, and more. And yes, our sleep reporter sleeps on every single mattress he tests for at least two weeks.

Bedroom furniture and bedding: Our reporters review and test bedroom products, including bed frames and linens, all price points and climates. They've tested practically every fabric and have tried sheetsduvet coverspillows, and comforters from Brooklinen, The Company Store, Crane & Canopy, L.L.Bean, and more.

Vacuums: From robot vacs to cordless to upright, we use benchmark and objective tests for vacuums and recommend products from Bissell, Dyson, Roborock, Shark, and more.

Bath linens and laundry care: It's important to keep your bathroom free of mold and mildew, so we test bath mats and towels to make sure they dry quickly. We've developed tests for clothes steamers, hangers, and drying racks, and have also evaluated laundry detergent for efficacy.  

Air conditioners, fans, and heaters: We've tested space heaters, air conditioners, and fans to ensure they provide great climate control without being too noisy or difficult to use.

Furniture and large appliances: These are some of the biggest investments you'll make for your home. We use expert sources, in-depth research, and hands-on testing to review sofas, dishwashers, bathtubs, and more.

Home office: From office chairs to standing desks, we put home-office furniture through the paces to ensure it's sturdy and easy to use, while still being stylish and affordable. 

Home improvement tools: We methodically research the tools and equipment you need to care for and repair your home. We interview industry experts and do extensive research and testing to review lawn mowers, paint, drills, and more.

Home accessories, decor, and services: We believe your home should be a safe and comfortable place to be. To help you find the best smoke detector, trash can, compost bin and more, we extensively research and test a wide variety of home accessories, decor, and home services. 

james laying on the 11 inch nolah natural mattress
Our sleep reporter, James Brains in his testing room where he's slept on more than 60 mattresses.
James Brains/Insider

How we test home products

We test home products by using them every day for weeks and months. We develop original testing methods and use benchmarks to evaluate home products and objectively compare them. We wear bathrobes for weeks, wash and rewash sheets, run cordless vacuums until their batteries run out, and assemble office chairs and standing desks. We take price, durability, style, and other factors into consideration to offer quality options for all budgets.

Meet our expert home team

Our home team has years of experience testing and reviewing products. Each editor and reporter is an expert in their beat, having reviewed dozens of products from their categories. Meet the home team below:

Our writersBios
Lauren Savoie Headshot
Lauren Savoie, deputy editor
Lauren Savoie

Lauren is deputy editor for Insider Reviews, where she leads a team of seven reporters and editors covering everything from spatulas to lawn mowers, with a focus on creating in-depth, thoroughly tested and researched buying guides. Lauren has been reviewing home and kitchen products professionally for almost a decade, and her work has appeared in Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines, in dozens of cookbooks, on two Emmy-nominated TV shows, and on, Fodor's, Yahoo, LifeHacker, the Splendid Table, and more.

Lisa Sabatini headshot
Business Insider

Lisa Sabatini is the senior editor of home and pets for Insider Reviews. She works with reporters to narrow down the best products from new and emerging brands to tried-and-true favorites. As a new homeowner, Lisa has covered simple but impactful DIY upgrades and clever, affordable home maintenance solutions. Previously, Lisa oversaw Insider Reviews parenting coverage of kids furniture, playpens, swing sets, and more. With a 15-year editorial career that took her from the Wall Street Journal to Scary Mommy, she has also covered all manner of business and parenting news. 

Jenny McGrath, senior reporter
Jenny McGrath
Jenny is a senior home reporter for Insider Reviews. She has over six years of experience covering smart-home technology and home appliances. She's tested and reviewed almost any home product you can describe as smart, from thermostats to light bulbs to ovens to locks. Her home is filled with smart speakers, connected light switches, and smart appliances.
Owen Burke headshot
Owen Burke, senior reporter
Hollis Johnson/Insider
Ever in search of the perfect pour of espresso, Owen is a founding member of our Home & Kitchen team, where he focuses on consumer-level espresso machines and their associated accouterments, direct-to-consumer meat and seafood purveyors, kitchen knives, and other kitchen tools and appliances. Previously, he was a contributor at The Atlantic, Men's Journal, Outside, SURFER Magazine, and a founding contributor at Wirecutter. He has also been a commercial fisherman and raw-bar tender, and he's just completed contributions to The Ocean, a forthcoming compendium of nautical how-to's including how to clean and prepare seafood, for Chronicle Books.
JamesBrains_10 12 2019_Final 2
James Brains, reporter
James Brains
As a reporter on our Home & Kitchen team, James specializes in sleep products, air conditioners, air purifiers, robot vacuums, and kitchen appliances. He has four years of experience as a full-time product reviewer and draws on his background in experimental psychology to develop objective tests to evaluate products. His mission is to help people get the most value for their money by guiding them in making informed buying decisions. This includes evaluating the corporate social responsibility practices of companies whose products we test. When not testing and researching products, James enjoys running and relaxing with a book on one of the many mattresses he's testing.

Read more about our teams

If you want to learn more about how each team tests products and meet the rest of our editors and writers on the following vertical-specific pages, check out these pages:

Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.

You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.

Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at

Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification.