How We Test Products

Our mission is to provide you with rigorous side-by-side reviews of the best kitchen equipment on the market—making it simple to discover, shop, and use a variety of kitchen tools, no matter your budget. We look at equipment from every angle, so you can focus on what’s important: using it.

Why You Should Trust Us

We build our reviews on a solid empirical foundation and always show our work with as much data as possible, so you can see why and how we landed on our winners. We value your trust—and want it for the long haul. We have years of professional culinary and equipment reviewing experience, and know how to focus on what's truly important, without being swayed by marketing pitches and trends.

To be successful, each review must be:

  • Original: Do we look at online reviews and the reviews of competitors? Absolutely. But ultimately our recommendations come down to our own rigorous testing, in combination with the expert opinions of staff members, contributors, and industry leaders.
  • Thorough: No matter how simple or complex a piece of kitchen gear, we've considered all the angles, and put them to the test.
  • Thoughtful: What makes a good stainless-steel skillet good? What about a cast-iron skillet? Is it responsiveness? Evenness of heating? Heat retention? Weight? Nonstick properties? Affordability? These aren't easy questions to answer. We think about them a lot before, during, and after all our testing.
  • Empirical: We design tests that measure both the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the piece of equipment in question. We look at the results and seek insights in the data.
  • Skeptical: We're allergic to marketing pitches and wary of trends. Just because everyone is buying an air-fryer or $300 cast iron pan doesn't mean we think they're a smart investment. (Maybe they are! Only testing will tell.)
  • Authoritative: We write from the perspective of seasoned professional cooks who understand what really matters in the home kitchen.
  • Opinionated: All the research, testing, and analysis in the world won't get you to an informed set of recommendations, because subjective considerations like personal preference and user experience are important factors in making a final decision. Our team knows where the empiricism ends and the subjectivity begins, and is able to weave both together with clarity into every review.

What We Do and How We Test Our Products

For every review we publish, we start with a mission statement that defines our goals for the project, along with a list of questions we want to answer. What qualities actually make a good immersion circulator? Why does a home cook need one? What are its uses? From there, we compile a list of potential products to include. This list is made up of top-rated items, brands we love and use at home, and up-and-comers that are new to the market. We make an effort to not just include what’s expected: We love featuring small businesses whenever possible.

In addition to selecting the candidates for consideration, we also develop a testing plan. Each test is designed to examine a specific characteristic while controlling as many variables as possible. Our tests consider relevant product specs and take account of user experience and build quality. We define critical failures beforehand to help weed out fundamentally flawed products.

Our veteran staff of professional cooks and equipment reviewers knows an awful lot about what is and isn't important in the kitchen, but we don't know everything. So we also interview and consult with outside experts as needed to ensure we're approaching each review with the most informed set of questions and tests possible.

Once we know what we’re testing, we buy the products and/or request testing samples. When we receive samples, there is never promise of coverage, positive or negative.

Then we get to testing. This testing goes beyond typical home use—we put every product through its paces. We have a dedicated testing Lab in Birmingham, Alabama, which features four test kitchens and 10,000+ square feet of space for evaluating products—everything from pellet smokers to blenders—side by side. Products are also sent to our network of expert testers who rigorously test items in their homes.

Here are a few examples of tests we’ve conducted.

The Water Bottle Durability Test: To examine the durability of water bottles, we created a drop test: We filled and sealed each bottle with water so they'd land with their maximum mass. We then dropped each bottle from a measured height of five feet onto a concrete surface, making sure to have it land four times each on the bottom, top, and side (for a total of 12 drops for each bottle).

Stainless Steel Pan Responsiveness Test: To determine how quickly stainless steel skillets in our test could heat and cool, we filled each skillet with one cup of room-temperature (72F degrees) water, set it over a consistent heat source, then timed how long it took to bring that water to a boil. Once boiling, we moved the skillet off the heat and timed how long it took for the water to cool back down to the starting temperature.

Wooden Cutting Board Knife-Dulling Test: To find out how much wear a cutting board surface would inflict on a knife blade, we started with a brand-new chef knife of the same make for each board, to ensure each knife had the very same factory edge. We then slid each knife back and forth on its cutting board, using a consistent five-inch stroke length and 4.5 pounds of downward pressure. After every 50 back-and-forth strokes, we assessed the blade's sharpness by trying to slice through parchment paper with it, noting how many strokes on the board it took before a knife began to show decreased cutting ability (i.e., snagging on the paper and tearing it instead of cleanly slicing it).

Immersion Circulator Heating Test: Some immersion circulators can be frustratingly slow to bring water to the required temperature; a critical flaw, meanwhile, would be a circulator that fails to hold a consistent temperature. To measure heating speed and consistency, we set up a 57F, one-gallon water bath in a six-quart plastic Cambro container fitted with a ThermoWorks thermocouple wire that measures and records temperature readings every five seconds. We then measured how long it took to bring that gallon of water to 190F, a temperature commonly used for cooking vegetables sous vide. Once the circulator reached the target temperature, we ran the circulator for one hour to determine temperature-holding ability.

Tests like these help us eliminate products to determine our winners. Once the writer submits the review, our culinary editors review the document carefully for accuracy, clarity, and concision. This may lead to additional testing or revisions. Once the review is fully edited and complete, we publish it.

An important note: If you decide to click through to a retailer site and make a purchase from one of our links, we may receive affiliate commission. This fact does not impact any of our decision-making when selecting items to review and deciding upon winners.

Publishing a review isn’t the end. Our team works hard to keep our reviews up-to-date and accurate. That means new side-by-side tests with newer models and frequently checking to ensure items aren’t out of stock. We also pay attention to special deal days and will alert you to price drops on our winners.

Meet Our Team

Our team is composed of writers and editors who have expertise in both professional and home cooking. We are passionate about finding the best tool for any job, whether it’s an immersion circulator for sous vide salmon, poultry shears for spatchcocked chicken, or a wok for better stir-fries. We’re food nerds to the extreme: We love data. We’re dedicated to discovering the hows and whys of cooking, and are passionate about sharing it with our readers.

Taysha Murtaugh Serious Eats

Her work has been featured in many publications including Martha Stewart, Country Living, Diabetic Living (now LivingWell with Diabetes, a part of EatingWell), Better Homes and Gardens, and Woman's Day.

She was a finalist for a Hearst Editorial Excellence Award and received a nod from The New York Times for her original reporting.

Taysha Murtaugh
Editorial Director, Commerce
Mary Kate Hoban

Mary Kate is an Associate Editorial Director for The Spruce Eats. She joined the company in December 2018.

She has contributed to a variety of publications including Life & Style, In Touch Weekly, Closer, First for Women, Atlanta Parent, and Elite Daily.

She received her B.A. in Journalism from The University of Georgia.

Mary Kate Hoban
Associate Editorial Director
Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm Serious Eats

Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the Commerce Editor for Serious Eats. She joined the team in November of 2021, bringing with her years of experience testing and writing about kitchen equipment. Prior to joining Dotdash Meredith, she worked as the Tools Editor for The Kitchn and an Associate Editor for ATK Reviews. She's also held staff positions at EatingWell and Food52.

Riddley’s work has appeared online for Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Food52, and in print for Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country. Riddley received her BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University.

Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
Commerce Editor
Grace Kelly headshot against a black background

Grace Kelly has been writing for various media outlets since 2015. She joined Serious Eats in 2022. 

Grace has written for the likes of Taste Magazine, Bon Appetit, and America’s Test Kitchen, among others.

Prior to joining Serious Eats, Grace was an assistant editor on the America’s Test Kitchen Reviews Team where she tested a variety of products.

Grace Kelly
Associate Commerce Editor
headshot of Jesse Raub against a black background

Jesse has been featured in a variety of music publications, like Alternative Press and Lambgoat, as well as Vulture.

He earned a B.A. in Fiction Writing from Colombia College Chicago in 2006.

Jesse Raub
Commerce Writer

Our Culinary Experts

Daniel Gritzer

Daniel joined the Serious Eats culinary team in 2014 and has been writing recipes, equipment reviews, articles on cooking techniques, and more ever since. Prior to that he was a food editor at Food & Wine magazine, and the staff writer for Time Out New York's restaurant and bars section. He has been nominated twice for an IACP award in instructional food writing.

Prior to working in food media, Daniel cooked for several years at a variety of New York City restaurants, with a focus on American, Italian, and French cuisine—a career that technically started at the age of 13, when he began staging at the legendary restaurant Chanterelle. He also spent nearly a year working on organic farms in Europe, where he harvested almonds and Padrón peppers in Spain, shepherded a flock of more than 200 sheep in Italy, and made charcuterie in France.

Daniel Gritzer
Senior Culinary Director
Kristina Razon

Kristina is an Editor at Serious Eats. She has over 10 years of culinary experience, cooking, baking, and managing food and beverage operations in professional kitchens in Washington, DC, Boston, and New York City. Her writing for Serious Eats began in 2020 and focuses, although not exclusively, on all things sweet.

Prior to Serious Eats, Kristina worked as a line cook, baker, culinary teaching assistant, pastry chef, and kitchen manager. Most recently, she was the Assistant Kitchen Manager at Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, NY for over 4 years, where she oversaw production, developed and tested new recipes, and baked pies. Kristina has a Culinary Arts Certificate and an MS in Sustainable Food Systems. She is the author of A Guide to Northeast Grains, an introductory guide to baking with regional flours, specifically buckwheat, einkorn, emmer, rye, spelt, and triticale. Her two loves are bagels and caesar salad.

Contact Us

If you have questions, comments, or opinions you’d like to share with our team of editors, please feel free to email us at