’s Methodology

How we come up with our ratings

Here at, our biggest goal is to help you find the product or service that works for you. Sure, that also means finding the best products and services on the market, as well as reviewing the ones you’re most likely to come across in your research. But ultimately, which product or service you should choose depends on your individual needs.

That’s why we take a neighborly approach to reviews. We’re like that friend who knows both the fanciest restaurant in town and the best diner for 2:00 a.m. French toast. Whether you’re looking for a new internet provider, a home security system, or a streaming device, we’ll help you find the one that fits you best.

Why we don’t always number our rankings

We’re on a quest to find the product or service that’s right for you. So we recognize when something is flat-out the best of the best, but we don’t want to declare it number one when we know it may not be right for everyone.

We give our “best of” rankings designations to help you find what you’re looking for. For example, if you rent an apartment and don’t want to pay a lot for home security, our Best Overall home security provider might not be your first choice, but our Best for Renters provider will guide you in the right direction.

In our individual reviews, you’ll see an overall star rating for a service or product, which will give you a broad idea of how well it works, how it’s priced, and how it stacks up to the competition.

However, you may still find something to love about products that we give lower star ratings. We make a point in our reviews to let you know what kind of people will like which products—even if we weren’t super impressed overall.

What organizations we trust

We don’t want to rely on product ratings from organizations that base them only on money or influence. We try to steer clear of prejudiced reviews and grades when we quote outside organizations in our own reviews.

When we do quote grades or reviews from other organizations, we strive to quote the most reliable sources. Some of our favorites include the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

How we research what we write about

We’re all tech geeks around here, and we love to test things ourselves. If we can personally test a product, you can bet we will. When, for whatever reason, we can’t get our hands on an actual device or system, we rely on extensive research, interviews with actual customers, and reliable customer reviews to form our opinions and rankings.

We never promise companies a positive review in exchange for free products. If we ever do receive a product or service for free for testing, we will still give you our honest opinions and recommendations.

What methodology we use for reviews

Exactly what methodology we follow to write reviews and come up with ratings depends on which product or service we’re looking at.

Internet services

We want to help you find the best internet plan for the lowest price in your area. But most areas have only a couple of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) available, and it can be tough to choose between them.

In our ISP reviews, we examine top competitors in the space and pit them against each other in our versus and “best of” comparisons so you know which ISP will let you watch Netflix on your laptop without making you want to throw it across the room.

Factors we consider for ISP reviews:

  • Price
  • Customer service experience
  • Speed
  • Contracts (lengths, fees, etc.)
  • Availability
  • Technology
  • Data caps

TV providers

TV providers and ISPs often overlap and bundle their products. If you’re going to get both internet and TV from the same company, it better be the best of each—or at least the best one for your needs.

Factors we consider for TV provider reviews:

  • Price
  • User experience
  • Customer service experience
  • Contracts (lengths, fees, etc.)
  • Availability
  • Channel selection (premium channels, sports, add-ons, etc.)
  • Technology (DVRs, simultaneous streams, mobile access, etc.)

Streaming providers

More and more people are cutting the cord and stepping away from traditional TV providers. But can you still get the channels you want through a streaming provider? In our streaming provider reviews, we’ll tell you which providers are as good as cable and which ones still leave a lot of channels to be desired.

Factors we consider for streaming provider reviews:

  • Price
  • Availability
  • Channel selection (premium channels, local channels, sports channels, add-ons, etc.)
  • Technology (DVR, simultaneous streams, mobile access, etc.)
  • Compatible devices
  • User experience (including ads and sign-up process)
  • On-demand content

Home security providers

The home security sphere has expanded to include not only home protection but also home automation. If you already use Amazon’s Alexa to tell you the weather or play your favorite songs, why not also use it to lock your doors and turn on the lights?

Our home security reviews cover the best protection for your home and family, as well as the best technology to turn your regular home into a full-fledged smart home.

Factors we consider for home security reviews:

  • Price
  • Customer service experience
  • Contracts (lengths, fees, warranties, return policies, etc.)
  • Technology (including connection type)
  • User experience
  • Installation type (professional or DIY)
  • Monitoring type (professional or DIY)
  • Home automation

Individual products

Aside from our larger provider reviews, we write individual reviews for products like security cameras, streaming devices, and TVs.

Exactly what criteria we use to rate products will depend on what type of product we’re looking at.

We’ll usually consider these main categories:

  • Tech specs (resolution, dimensions, accessories, etc.)
  • Special features (night vision, motion detection, z-wave/zigbee capability, etc.)
  • Price
  • User experience (both ours and others’)
  • Product design (aesthetic, function, installation process, etc.)
  • Integrations (with other devices, providers, etc.)
  • Return policies (including warranties, rebates, etc.)

We want to maintain a wide array of product reviews so anytime you’re thinking of buying a new gadget, you can trust that has already tested it and given it our stamp of approval (or not).