How We Test

In the interest of transparency, we want to disclose how we select smart home devices and gadgets, and how we test what we test on, and how we accept smart home gadgets for testing. Many review sites don’t actually test the products — they instead relying on customer reviews to form their opinions. We do things a bit differently.

How We Select What to Test

Smart home gadgets selected for testing meet our requirements for a standard feature set that we look for, and often for standout features. We do accept devices offered for testing from manufacturers. We do not accept monetary compensation in exchange for reviews from manufacturers.

Quite often, we own the gadgets we test — or at least own a similar product by the same brand. We feel this is the most honest way to recommend products to you, as we have real-world experience.

How We Select Products for our Roundups

From time to time, it is necessary for us to include products that we have not had personal experience with. These frequently appear in our product roundups. When these products are included, we rely on select reviews posted to retailer websites on Amazon and other sites.

Most sites mark actual customers with a “verified purchase,” which are the reviews we use to judge for selection in a product roundup.

How We Test

Testing smart home devices is far from an exact science. However, we do follow a standard method to test smart home gadgets.

Where possible, we test smart home gadgets in the same environment to ensure comparisons are accurate. We also stress test select devices to ensure they’re durable. A typical test will last between 1-3 weeks, depending on the complexity of the device.

Our rating system is structured on a five star scale, and a station must score three stars or higher in every category to be included in our recommendations. Here’s what the stars mean:

Five StarsSuperior or “best-in-class”
Four StarsAbove Average
Three StarsAverage, may have quirks or minor issues
Two StarsDeficient but useable
One StarSeriously deficient and/or non-functional

The four categories we use to come up with the final star rating are:

  • Reliability
  • Durability/Construction
  • Feature Set
  • Value

Affiliate Disclosure

While Top Smart Home Deals does not solicit or accept monetary contributions for reviews, we may from time to time be compensated for purchases made through links on our site. This may occur either through a relationship with a retailer offering the product or from the manufacturer directly.

How we test or our opinions on a particular product are not influenced by this relationship. For more, read our affiliate link policy.

FTC guidelines require us to disclose this relationship, and where such links are present, we include a disclosure in a prominent location visible to the reader.

The Smart Home Spot participates in Amazon Associates and other affiliate programs and may receive a commission from clicking on links on our site.