Hammacher Schlemmer Institute

Determining the Best

The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization created in 1983 to research, test, and rate consumer products objectively until determining the items that are truly superior in each category.

Through rigorous testing, products are thoroughly vetted until we can declare in confidence that one has earned the designation "Best." We perform this testing without influence from manufacturers, vendors, or merchants.

To peruse our most recent inductees into the ranks of the Best, please follow this link.

Join the Testing Panel

Hammacher customers who share our commitment to ferreting out the Best play a vital role in our testing process. We invite all our more discerning customers to share their expertise by joining the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute Consumer Feedback & Testing Panel. Simply take our Testing Panel Survey to help us determine a fit for our needs in upcoming tests or surveys.

On Our Testing Methods

When the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute sets out to test a specific category, we perform a wide-ranging search to identify the leading products in that category. Even products from Hammacher Schlemmer's competitors are included in tests to ensure that a Best product is truly the best of its kind. We begin with a consumer survey to determine which features and capabilities they deem most important for that category, and most tests are designed to replicate the manner in which consumers use the devices.

Then we seek out professionals or experts whose specialized knowledge and skills provide valuable insight into a product category and help us evaluate products more effectively. For example, a professional chef helped us determine The Best Cast Iron Skillet, while a collegiate chess team provided critical consultation for The Best Electronic Chess Game test.

For certain tests we use sophisticated, calibrated equipment, such as sphygmomanometers to determine The Best Heart Rate Monitor, or a digital sound meter to measure the noise emitted by fans and air cleaners.

When necessary, we commission the services of certified independent laboratories that follow established testing standards and procedures. We worked with a hydrostatic weighing facility for The Best Body Composition Measuring Scale test and commissioned a certified air quality-testing laboratory to determine The Best Tabletop Air Cleaner.

We also rely on consumer testing panels that use the products as they would in a domestic setting and record their experiences. With the brand names hidden, panelists read instruction manuals, assemble devices, and evaluate the different models based on their overall effectiveness, ease of use, safety features, and other relevant categories.