How we test

The Ideal Home testing team puts every product through their paces to make sure it's worth buying. Here's how we do it

Ideal Home brings you in-depth reviews of all the latest technology, appliances and key pieces of furniture from our expert panel of testers, enabling you to buy your next food blender, steam iron or mattress with complete confidence. 

Buying new tech or even furniture can feel daunting, especially when there are lots of new developments and features available. The choice is often overwhelming, with every product claiming to be the best at the job it does. 

That’s where our buying guides come to the rescue. Bookmark them, and you’ll always know your UHD from your DAB, which air fryer is the most efficient, and the best cordless vacuum that does the best job at clearing up pet hair. 

100 years of expertise

What qualifies Ideal Home as experts? Let’s start with the fact that Ideal Home has been advising homeowners on the best buys for their kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and more since its launch in 1920. That’s more than 100 years of knowledge, right there.

And then there is our carefully chosen reviews panel. A group of geeks, parents, bakers, eco warriors, sleep obsessives, gardeners, DIYers, and – most importantly – house-proud experts in their fields. Between them, they have decades of testing experience working for the most prestigious titles in the land – not least, Ideal Home.

Our testing process

We believe that any product should be super-simple to use, look good and work brilliantly, stand the test of time and make your life easier in some small (or big) way.

And these are exactly the criteria that our testing team has in mind as they put each product through its paces. Each product featured in our buying guide is tested either at our testing centre or at home (sometimes at both) for several weeks, putting them through their paces and pitting them against the everyday situations we all encounter. 

Lots of products won’t make the cut, but those that make the mark will be awarded a star rating. And the very, very best are awarded our ‘Ideal Home Approved’ recommendation.

To request the Ideal Home Approved winner logo please contact who will be able to provide you with costs and available logo use packages.

How we test products

Each product we test goes through a rigorous process that has been designed specifically by the Ideal Home testing team for that product type. 

How we test mattresses

King sized Panda mattress in a pink bedroom

(Image credit: Future)

All of the mattresses in our guide have been tested in person. That means that each mattress has been sent to the home of our reviewer and then slept on for at least one month. In most cases, the time that our reviewers have with each mattress is much longer, which gives us a chance to adjust to the new surface and get used to any changes in firmness. It also means we can evaluate the performance of a mattress over time. Long term testing also allows us to adequately test for changes in temperature from season to season, and therefore get a real idea of temperature regulation. You can read about the testing process in more detail on our how we test mattresses page.

We aim to test the bestselling mattresses from all of the leading brand names, whilst also covering a good range of material and construction options, and a wide range of price points.

How we test air fryers

Ninja AF100UK Air Fryer unpacked with the drawer fully open and instruction leaflets

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Every air fryer in our best air fryer guide has been tested by a member of the Ideal Home team for a minimum of two weeks, or with four thorough recipes. When it comes to how we test air fryers, we test a huge range of models at our dedicated test centre, including dual-zone and hybrid models (like those that can steam, air fry and bake at the same time) and then take them home to try them out in everyday conditions too.

We use a standard recipe for air fried homemade chips across all air fryers we test. We record details including cooking time, assessing how evenly the chips come out, and how well cooked they are. The second test all of the air fryers go through was cooking bacon. We assess the speed and evenness of cooking to measure how well each air fryer model distributes heat and how fast it circulates hot air. 

We then test green vegetables and a variation of other foods, depending on the tester in each air fryer. Ease of cleaning is also considered, as well as value for money, size and how intuitive each air fryer is to use.

How we test vacuums

person vacuuming a green rug with a cordless Dyson vacuum

(Image credit: Future)

We know that it's crucial we have had hands-on experience with the vacuums we recommend to you, which is why we've tried out every vacuum in both our best vacuums guide and our best cordless vacuums guide. These tests took place either at home, with an Ideal Home member testing a vacuum for up to two months, or at our testing centre in Reading, where we compare different brands side-by-side in test conditions to get a true measure of comparison. 

For our approach to how we test vacuum cleaners, we're looking for suction power, debris pick-up, accessories, ease of use and emptying and value for money, so that we can tell you what you'll be getting if you decide to buy a vacuum from our round-up. 

We've tested a range of vacuums from every price range on the market - from flashy Dyson models to vacs under £100. We've also tested both bagged and bagless models and vacuums suited to allergy sufferers, so there's a review out there for every household.

How we test dehumidifiers

The best dehumidifiers under £100 lined up on a wooden dining table ready for testing

(Image credit: Future / Rachael Phillips)

In order to find the best dehumidifiers and rate them fairly, every model undergoes a set of comparative tests, which looks at factors such as energy usage and performance, to ease of use and noise levels.

Every dehumidifier we review is tested by our expert reviewers in their homes, and we follow a standard testing process so that we compare all the different brands on their performance and value for money. You can read about our review process in more detail on our how we test dehumidifiers page.

How we test BBQs

Testing of the Big Green Egg at home

(Image credit: Future/Helen McCue )

BBQs can be a costly investment, which is why we've gone to lengths to test every BBQ in our guides extensively. That means we've built, grilled on and cleaned a huge range of BBQs, spanning gas, charcoal, electric and hybrid options. 

These reviews were undertaken either at home for a period of up to two months, or during our BBQ testing day, where we built and cooked with six top-rated BBQs in the Somerset countryside. 

When we sit down to write up our thoughts on those BBQs, we go into detail on the assembly process, how each BBQ cooks both large and small cuts of meat, veggies and even vegan alternatives, and put a huge emphasis on what the user experience is like, so you know what you're signing up for if you do decide to buy one. Value for money with BBQs is also critical for us, so we always take time to evaluate if a BBQ is worth its RRP.  

How we test pizza ovens

Image of Ooni Fyra during testing at home

(Image credit: Future)

We've extensively reviewed every single product in our extensive guide to the best pizza ovens, and now have up-to-date reviews of the majority of ovens on the market. We test each pizza oven for a number of weeks, which involves building them and trying out every fuel option for ourselves.

While we start each test with making and cooking a simple Margherita, we test the versatility of each oven by trying other pizza variations too, as well as testing the oven's capability as an outdoor cooking station. Tests include steak, potato dishes and veggies depending on the tester, so that you can see the array of foods it's possible to cook with a pizza oven. 

How we test air purifiers

DH Lifelabs Aaira Mini air purifier review

(Image credit: Future/ Jack Phillips)

We’ve tested every air purifier featured in our best air purifiers buying guide, with at-home reviewers taking on the task of evaluating the size, price, controls, features, noise levels, and the all-important air purification performance of each buy. The at-home setting allows us to get a true feel of what it would be like if you purchased one of these air purifiers for yourself, especially when dealing with issues of pollution and allergies.

Meet our Ideal Home experts

Amy Lockwood
Amy Lockwood

Amy is the Ideal Home team's Ecommerce Editor, putting all manner of products through their paces to find the top recommendations for our readers, whether that's testing the best air purifiers or best dehumidifiers on the market, or sourcing the best sofa beds for small-space living. 

She has tested a range of air-quality appliances in her home, as well as sleep essentials, from mattresses to pillows. She's a Consumer Expert after passing a five-stage certification process where sleep and air quality products are concerned, and often in her tests, she tries a range of products at different price points to evaluate value for money.

Molly Cleary
Molly Cleary

Molly is the Ecommerce Editor for Ideal Home and covers all sorts of appliances (big and small), as well as all things cleaning on the website. Her focus areas include air fryers, BBQs, pizza ovens, vacuums, home fragrances and more. 

She loves nothing more than testing out a new buy for your home, and can often be found at the Ideal Home testing facility in Reading, either trying out a new kitchen appliance or evaluating cordless vacuums. 

She joined the Ideal Home team in 2022, after previously working at Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and LivingEtc as an Ecommerce Writer. 

After passing five rounds of evaluation, she's a certified Consumer Expert covering vacuums and kitchen appliances, from air fryers to juicers. 

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie is Head of Reviews for Ideal Home and was previously the Small Appliances and Cookware Editor on the site. She tests all the latest and greatest product launches and oversees new review content on the website, spanning all product categories - from sleep to cookware and appliances. She's also been testing air fryers, one of Ideal Home's priority products, for two years now, meaning she was well ahead of the curve when it comes to product recommendations. 

She's familiar with a huge range of products on the market from well-loved brands and newer ones and always has one eye on new releases to see the kind of things we should be putting to the test both at our dedicated test facility and at home.

Image of Helen McCue, Freelance Contirbutor
Helen McCue

Helen is a freelance contributor who trained as a Home Economist. After starting her career in the food industry, she moved into home appliance reviews, utilising her cooking skills and experience to put all kinds of products to the test, and over the years has reviewed hundreds of home and kitchen appliances for a variety of publications.

Helen reviews kitchen appliances for Ideal Home from her open plan kitchen at home in a beautiful Berkshire village. She's our go-to expert for all sorts of small and large appliances - from air fryers to air conditioning units. 

Linda Clayton
Linda Clayton

Linda is a freelance interiors journalist and product reviewer and has tested many products over the past 20+ years, including home tech, gym equipment, garden tools and even mattresses. Literally, paid to sleep! 

For Ideal Home, she has tested everything from mattresses to pressure washers, with a particular expertise in cleaning products for the home. She uses her wealth of experience to rate products and give you her verdict on value for money. 

Rachel Ogden
Rachel Ogden

While loving every area of the home, interiors journalist and freelance reviewer for Ideal Home Rachel specialises in all things kitchen and has a passion for any gadget that makes life easier. 

She risks life and limb in her endeavours, having survived 1000 cuts from food processor blades and a minor electric shock in her mission to bring you the best and latest small appliances. She also gets to eat a lot of cake, all in the name of work, so don’t feel too sorry for her.

Our shopping links

We work hard to give an honest, independent view of whether a product is worth having, rooted in the expertise of our writers.

We feature a wide range of products on our pages, and we select them because you want to know about them, or because our experts believe they are worth reading about.

Some of the products we write about are shoppable, which means you can buy them straight after reading about them. We do this either by offering a comparison of various prices from a range of retailers – most often in reviews articles – or by providing a single link alongside a product.

When you buy from one of these affiliate links, we sometimes get paid a small amount of money via the company you bought from. This isn’t an extra fee and is included in the normal purchase price that everyone sees. Nor does the pricing information we show depend on the fees we get.

Often we produce round-ups of deals and discounted products, which might be themed around specific retailers or product categories. We base these on the likelihood that someone is searching for them, and is looking for information on how to save money. We don’t generally promote specific deals based on the fees we get, but if we do, we label them as ‘Advertising feature’ so you can tell.

Our editorial integrity is important to us – please contact us and let us know how we are doing. You can email us at

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.