How we test kitchen products at Insider Reviews

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Three KitchenAid stand mixers sit ready for testing as part of our guide to the best stand mixers.
Lauren Savoie/Insider

From the best espresso machines you can buy to level up your home coffee setup to the KitchenAid attachments that will transform your stand mixer, the kitchen team at Insider Reviews rigorously tests hundreds of products every year.
The ones that make the cut have been through an intense hands-on process – we start with hours of comprehensive research where we scour the internet and speak with experts to narrow down our lists of must-try items, then we come up with test plans that solve for real-world problems. For example, is there a blender under $500 that’s powerful enough to flawlessly turn almonds into almond flour? And, does a wooden cutting board exist that won’t retain smells long after you’re done chopping onions and garlic? (Spoilers: Yes, the Vitamix 5200 Blender and Williams Sonoma’s Acacia End-Grain Cutting Board, respectively).
What types of kitchen products we testSmall appliances: Our reporters spend weeks (and often months) living with and testing small appliances, from the essential (microwaves), to the buzzy (Instant Pots, air fryers), to the highly specific (ice cream makers, sous vide machines). Before the hands-on part begins, they make ultra-comprehensive lists of the tasks they expect each appliance to perform, and the standards they expect them to hit, and craft tests based on those criteria.

Cookware: From cast iron skillets to hard-anodized cookware sets, the Insider Reviews team uses product-specific sets of benchmark tests to recommend the best cookware on the market. Our reporters also answer the important questions like, "Is Le Creuset worth the investment?" and "Do Instagram-famous cookware brands live up to the hype?"

Bakeware: Quality bakeware can mean the difference between a perfectly-risen cake and a Pinterest fail. That’s why our reporters put each bread pan, baking sheet, and pizza stone through comprehensive evaluations to make sure they deliver an even bake every time.

Wine, spirits, and barware: We extensively research and compare the best alcohol delivery services, give our honest opinions on which monthly wine subscriptions are worth signing up for (whether you’re an aficionado or just developing your palate), and consult expert mixologists and sommeliers to help us hone in on recommendations for the best wine glasses, wine openers, aerators, and more.

Tools and cutlery: Our reporters know that sometimes the smallest kitchen purchases are the most impactful, which is why they put just as much time, effort, and attention to detail into testing kitchen knives, ice cube trays, can openers, and grill brushes as they do into finding the best toaster ovens.

Food and beverages: From online grocery stores and produce services to meal kits and snack subscription boxes, the Insider Reviews team is committed to testing out – and giving our completely honest, transparent assessments of – the latest in food and beverage e-commerce.
How we test kitchen products

Senior home & kitchen reporter Owen Burke testing a smoker.
Owen Burke/Insider

We test kitchen products by using them every day for weeks – and often months – and, once we’ve finished evaluating them for our initial reviews, we continue using them as needed in order to provide detailed long-term testing notes. Tests are product-specific, and are determined after extensive research and consultations with experts in the food, beverage, and kitchen spaces. We’ve cooked whole chickens in toaster ovens, handled hot coals while wearing grill gloves, tested milk frothers on a lengthy list of milk alternatives, and disassembled several juicers after learning that certain parts between top brands were manufactured in the same few facilities.
Meet our expert kitchen teamOur kitchen 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 kitchen team below:
Our writersBios

Lauren Savoie, senior home & kitchen editor
Lauren Savoie

Lauren is the senior editor for home and kitchen at 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.

Caitlin Petreycik, kitchen editor
Caitlin Petreycik

Caitlin is the kitchen editor at Insider Reviews, where she helps surface the best, most useful things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. She loves a deep dive into an everyday product, and helps oversee Insider’s coverage of small appliances, kitchen tools, cookware, bakeware, and more. She began her career in public radio, and has worked in digital media for a decade, covering food, fashion, design, and pop culture. She has held writing and editing positions at Glamour, Food & Wine, InStyle, Vox, and New York Magazine, and has worked as stylist, prop stylist, and illustrator for various media outlets. Caitlin’s writing has also appeared in Seventeen, Epicurious, and Travel + Leisure.

Connie Chen, senior reporter
Hollis Johnson/Insider

As a specialist in the home textiles and food and drink spaces, Connie is most often found sipping cocktails while wearing a robe and sitting atop a perfectly made bed – all in the name of helping readers shop for and create the most comfortable and relaxing home for themselves. She has tested and written about the best sheets, comforters, down pillows, towels, wine clubs, wine openers, and much more. Connie is an early member of Insider Reviews who helped grow the team’s coverage of everything from style and beauty to travel and personal finance, with a focus on direct-to-consumer startups.

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.

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.

Lily Alig, junior reporter
Lily Alig

Lily is a junior reporter on Insider’s Reviews team, covering all things kitchenware.
She is an avid home cook and baker, so she knows what consumers are looking for in kitchenware products. In her work with the home and kitchen team, Lily has spoken with independent spice houses and professional chefs, as well as tested products by baking multiple cakes in a day and grinding a pound of cumin. Her goal as a reporter is to learn as much as possible and to demystify kitchenware for her readers. After the work day, Lily relaxes by listening to a sports podcast and trying to perfect her meringue recipe. Previously, she worked as a tutor for all ages in the humanities and as a freelance editor and writer for local New York publications.
Read more about our teamsIf 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:
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