How We Test, Review, and Recommend Products

Business Insider’s history traces back to 2007 when it was a tech and business blog called Silicon Alley Insider. It has since grown into a major site for news and lifestyle stories. In 2015, the company launched Insider Picks, the precursor to what is now the Reviews team, to help shoppers navigate the complex retail industry and make the best purchasing decisions.

Today, the Reviews team is part of Business Insider’s Service Journalism department and is helmed by group of experienced commerce journalists who test and write about consumer products in a variety of categories, including home and kitchen, tech and electronics, pets, health and fitness, style, and beauty. Our in-depth research and testing are what help inform our recommendations to readers. 

What types of products we test

Two black and white cats on a countertop sitting near several cat water fountains being tested for efficacy

Freelancer Janelle Leeson (and her cats) tests cat water fountains.

Janelle Leeson

Below is a sampling of some of the core products and services the Reviews team tests. All products undergo a rigorous research or testing process and, when applicable, long-term testing.

Home and kitchen: Cookware, small appliances, furniture, home decor, mattresses, bedding, DIY and gardening tools, smart home, and home office. The team also tests foods and drinks, delivery services, and many other home and kitchen-related products.

Pets: Cat and dog food, harnesses, litter boxes, collars, apparel, flea medication for dogs and cats, and many other pet accessories and services. Reporters enlist their cats, dogs, and other pets to help test products, while pet health articles are medically reviewed by veterinarians and supported by expert interviews.

Tech: Smartphones, desktop and laptop computers, smartwatches and wearables, TVs, stereo systems, headphones, home entertainment/streaming, and gaming. 

A picture of a hand holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra phone with a backdrop of green grass and a creek

Antonio Villas-Boas tests the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra phone for our “best phones” buying guide.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Style and beauty: Apparel and shoes for all genders, bags, jewelry, underwear, bras, skincare, cosmetics, and other fashion-related topics. The team also puts health-related personal care products through a medical review to ensure they are safe to use.

Health and fitness: Workout clothes for women and men, thermometers, bikes, tents, outdoor gear, fitness equipment, health supplements, oral care, and more. Insider Reviews’ health articles are medically reviewed by doctors and other health professionals, and supported by expert interviews.

An orange laser heat thermometer testing the temperature of a white cooling baseball hat from the brand Mission. The temperature reads 54.5 degrees.

Sally Kaplan/Business Insider

Travel: Travel gear, backpacks, commuter bags, luggage, travel tech accessories, and travel-related tips and tricks.

Entertainment: Streaming platforms, how-to-watch major sporting or streaming events, concert and sporting tickets, and VPN services.

How we test products

A Breville hand mixer in a bowl of cookie dough, with the mixer's digital timer screen and speed toggle in focus.

Freelancer Molly Allen, a former professional baker, tests hand mixers for our buying guide.

Molly Allen/Insider

The Reviews team tests products the way people would use them in everyday life. Instead of a lab environment, we use products in the real world. That means we’re cooking with kitchen tools and appliances in our own kitchens, installing smart devices in our homes, wearing and washing clothing the way we would in our daily lives, and more. This helps us share real-life insights with our readers about how products integrate into our everyday environments. 

To conduct our tests, we create a methodology for each product category, which is based on research, consultation with experts in the area, and experience from editors and reporters. All tests are tracked and the results are used to determine which products are worth recommending to readers. Our testing process is explained in greater detail within our buying guides, including information on why some products pass the grade and others don’t. 

In addition to our in-house and freelance testers, we also have an internal council of volunteers and freelancers who help us test products and offer additional perspectives. We occasionally make recommendations based on research and expert feedback — for example, asking professional makeup artists what products they recommend for certain skin types.

Why you can trust us

The author takes a temperature reading of the Allswell Mattress’s surface temperature and records it in a notebook.

Reporter James Brains tests heat retention in an Allswell mattress for his review.

Erin Brains

The Reviews team includes a roster of full-time topic-based editors and reporters, plus a huge network of experienced freelancers. Each of our editors and reporters has years of experience testing products and translating the results of those tests into recommendations for readers. Our team is organized based on our core coverage areas mentioned above, with each section focusing on reviewing the products, services, and industries they know best. 

In addition to individual product review stories, we also maintain a vast collection of buying guides. These guides, which are tied to our reviews, recommend the best products for what readers are searching for (for example, the best espresso machines). We thoroughly test or research every product we recommend in both reviews and guides. We apply additional scrutiny by consulting a panel of experts to ensure our information is accurate and offer buying advice. And for topics like health, parenting, and pets, we have a third-party medical review board that fact-checks our reviews and buying guides. 

In all our articles, the reader always comes first. The Reviews team aims to answer every question that readers may have while helping them discover new products and services

Patagonia Synchilla Fleece Anorak

Style editor Amir Ismael testing apparel.

Amir Ismael/Insider

Business Insider earns commissions when products and services are purchased through links in our stories. However, our editorial team has complete independence to write about the products and services we truly deem the best based on our extensive testing and research. We do not make decisions based on affiliate relationships, and we would never write about a product that we didn’t fully stand behind as product journalists. 

Meet our senior team leaders