The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute

Our Mission

The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute is a non-profit organization created in 1983 to research, test, and rate consumer products objectively and determine which products are The Best. Today's marketplace is more accessible and has more competing merchandise than ever before, and it has become increasingly difficult for consumers to decide which products are truly superior. As a consumer advocate, we test products so customers can make informed purchasing decisions. We strive to reassure consumers that when they buy a Best item from Hammacher Schlemmer, they've selected a product that has been thoroughly vetted and is superior to all other models in its field.


The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute performs independent comparative testing of consumer products without influence from manufacturers, vendors, or merchants. A product earns The Best designation only when its cumulative scores in categories such as effectiveness, ease of use, and safety features prove to be superior to its competition. External considerations like a product's cost or profit potential have no bearing on testing methods or results.

Join the Testing Panel

We invite you to join the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute Consumer Feedback & Testing Panel. Simply follow this link to the Testing Panel Survey. Based on the responses provided, you may receive a request to provide product feedback or to participate in an Institute Test.For years Hammacher has been my source for quality gifts with a unique twist. After experiencing a test session for choosing the Best Wine Opener, I have even greater respect for their search for quality products!" - Lynfred Winery "As a satisfied customer of Hammacher Schlemmer for many years, I was honored to be asked to join the official Hammacher Schlemmer test panel. The high quality of the things I buy for my family and friends (and, naturally, for myself) is important to me, and I am pleased to be a part of choosing nothing but the most perfect products to recommend to all the others who feel the same way as I do. Serving on the Hammacher Schlemmer test panel is an exciting adventure with the final reward being the knowledge that I have helped discover nothing but the very best of the best to add to the incredible store of fine products Hammacher Schlemmer has always had to offer!" - Lewis K. (Testing Panelist)

Testing Methods

The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute performs a wide-ranging search to identify the leading products in a specific 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 survey consumers to determine which features and capabilities they deem most important for a given product category, and most tests are designed to replicate the manner in which consumers use the devices.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. A professional chef helped us determine The Best Cast Iron Skillet, the proprietor of an award-winning coffee roaster conducted the tests for The Best Automatic Espresso Machine, and a collegiate chess team assessed chessboards for The Best Electronic Chess Game test.For certain tests we use sophisticated, calibrated equipment. A sphygmomanometer was used to determine The Best Heart Rate Monitor, a digital sound meter measured the noise emitted by fans and air cleaners, and a wind meter calculated the power emitted by leaf blowers.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.