How We Review

How We Review

To achieve a high recommendation, a product needs to excel in the following categories:

Look and Feel

The best products are beautiful, thoughtfully designed, and intuitive. I want products that enhance our home without drawing attention to themselves.

Performance and User Experience

Simply put, a great product needs to nail the basics. Does it do what it claims to do? Does it function as well as its “dumb” equivalent? Is it sufficiently easy-to-use, or more trouble than it’s worth? Do I have to change my behavior to use it?

Installation is another consideration… Is the inconvenience worth the payoff?

Integration with Other Platforms

Products are ranked not only on their ability to perform, but on how well they integrate with other devices in a home. Extra marks are given to devices and systems that integrate with a variety of platforms in addition to functioning well on their own.

Build Quality and Reliability

Great products are built-to-last. Cheap materials, flimsy casing, and sloppy construction are unexceptable compromises for a smart home product.

No matter the “cool factor,” no one wants to pay exponentially more for a product that falls apart with normal use.

In addition, nothing sinks a product rating faster than a lack of reliability. If I can’t trust a product to work with reasonable frequency, it doesn’t make it into our home.


Some purchases are indulgences, and some are investments; the best gadgets fall into the second category.

Products are evaluated on both their initial value, and in light of additional or recurring fees.

The Final Verdict

Each product receives a final verdict based on a five star system:

  • 1 Star – Stay Away
  • 2 Stars – Not Recommended
  • 3 Stars – Try it Out
  • 4 Stars – Recommended
  • 5 Stars – Buy it Now