Between exaggerated marketing claims and unreliable online reviews, it's tough to know if your purchase is going to live up to lofty promises. That's where the Good Housekeeping Institute comes in. Since 1900, our powerhouse team of on-staff scientific experts — including engineers, fiber scientists, data analysts, researchers, registered dietitians, chemists and seasoned product evaluators — have thoroughly assessed the products you use in your daily life so that you can rest assured you're not wasting money on duds or updates you simply don’t need.
Why You Should Trust Us
When the Good Housekeeping Institute opened its “experiment station” to evaluate consumer products in 1900, it was six years ahead of the FDA and 14 years ahead of the FTC in consumer protection. For over a century, we've been ahead of the curve, reporting on the potential dangers of sugar decades before the groundbreaking cover story in the New York Times Magazine, and banning cigarette ads 12 years sooner than the Surgeon General's warning appeared on cigarette packs. In fact, Good Housekeeping and the Good Housekeeping Institute has charged itself with looking out for and advocating for consumer safety and protection and savvy shopping since its earliest incarnation: Our first issue in 1885 stated, “the mission of Good Housekeeping would be equal parts public duty and public enterprise.”
Today, the Good Housekeeping Institute continues to earn the trust of consumers all over the globe, but, with so much new technology and equipment, the modern incarnation of the Good Housekeeping Institute is a far cry from the original “experiment station.” Present day, it’s an 18,000-square-foot state-of-the-art consumer testing facility in the LEED Platinum-certified Hearst Tower set in the heart of Manhattan. Our uncompromising and extensive Lab and consumer testing employs unique, proprietary scientific evaluation, no matter what product is being tested, from the longest-lasting lipsticks and the safest baby gear to top-performing home appliances and the latest electronic gadgets.
In addition to conducting blinded-consumer testing, pros evaluate thousands of products each year in our cutting-edge labs. Each Lab’s exhaustive analysis is key to the unrivaled trust that consumers have in the Good Housekeeping brand and the Good Housekeeping Seal, the most recognized consumer emblem in the U.S. for over 115 years. We continue to meticulously test products so that you can make the best decision for your family.
Affiliate Disclosure: Our website is reader-supported, which means we may earn an affiliate commission when you're clicking through our site to a retailer. But this does not impact the products our editors and analysts choose to feature — we always put the consumer first and only recommend products that we stand behind.
How We Test
Our New York City-based team methodically evaluates all the latest appliances, beauty essentials, clothing and more for safety, quality and value using state-of-the-art consumer testing methods. First, we put products to the test in our Labs by evaluating safety and quality claims to make sure they can stand up to any conditions you and your family might put them through. Then, we send the items out to select readers to understand how they actually work in the real world. Only after all that do we deliver our recommendations of vetted products to you.
Here’s more on just how rigorously we test these products in each of our 10 distinct testing spaces within the Good Housekeeping Institute:
Textiles, Clothing & Bedding
Our textiles experts evaluate all fiber- and paper-based products from bedding to clothing to personal care items and beyond. Fabrics are tested for strength, pilling and abrasion in a climate-controlled room, and are also tested for stretch recovery, absorbency and flammability. We put clothing through colorfastness tests to see if they’ll fade or bleed, and grade them in a special room with standard lighting. Garments and bedding also go through repeated laundering in standardized washers and dryers to review shrinkage, after-wash appearance and wrinkle resistance. Activewear and cooling materials are tested for moisture management, and our unique rain tester simulates downpours to measure water resistance.
We also rely on consumer testing, both in the Lab and at home. Testers rate the softness of things like sheets, towels and toilet paper in a blind comparison. We send samples of bedding, workout gear, bras and more home for testers to try out in their routines to rate aspects like comfort, support, breathability, softness and more. Our tester panel then gives us in-depth reviews on their real life experiences, often resulting in hundreds of thousands of data points.
Kitchen Appliances & Innovation
This Lab works with every product that comes into contact with food for storage or preparation, including countertop gadgets, cookware and utensils, large and small appliances (both indoors and outdoors). The product experts here are a mix of professionally trained chefs, nationally published recipe developers, food stylists and kitchen appliance product developers. Our goal? To help readers feel more confident in the kitchen and make educated decisions on what goes on (and in!) their counters. When we test, we keep the home cook top of mind – what will the average use case be, how well does the product work, is it easy to use and clean and — most importantly — is it worth the effort, space and money?
Our scoring process is based on quantitative and qualitative criteria: We take measurements using sophisticated instrumentation like thermocouples to log how quickly water boils, or the temperature a coffee maker brews at, or how consistently a refrigerator holds temperature. We also assess the most important thing when it comes to kitchen appliances: How do the results taste? To be as objective as possible, we back up our taste buds with quantitative measurements, like how much of a blended smoothie is able to pass through a specific sieve or how crisp air fried chicken wings are. We tally up all these data points and use our expertise to make the best recommendations for every type of home cook.
Cleaning Appliances & Products
Responsible for evaluating anything to clean clothing, fabric, flooring or anything around the home, this Lab tests major appliances, small appliances, soaps, disinfectants, detergents, stain removers, cleaning tools and equipment using industry standard procedures and our own methods to test for performance, safety, ease of use and more. We apply our own stains to fabrics, dishes, test flooring, wall panels and carpeting to simulate the cleaning issues and challenges of a real home and to evaluate the cleaning performance and safety of the products we are testing. All cleaning products and formulas are reviewed for ingredient safety and thoroughness, accuracy and clarity of the labeling.
When it comes to major appliances, we use a system to monitor water and energy use and we even produce our own water to test cleaning products at different water hardness conditions. Washing machines and clothes dryers are tested for how well they clean or dry, how gentle they are on fabrics and how easy they are to use. Dishwashers get checked for cleaning and drying performance, capacity, ease of loading and more. Vacuums are evaluated with an automated tester that follows an industry standard procedure to measure the amount of embedded dirt it can remove, testing each vacuum exactly the same way in our temperature- and humidity-controlled chamber. We also evaluate sound, suction, bare floor and pet hair cleaning performance and have consumers road test each vacuum for maneuverability and ease of use. All this cleaning, testing and product knowledge is turned into the most up-to-date, helpful, time-saving and ingenious household cleaning tips and advice, like the below:
Our home improvement and engineering pros test anything and everything you’d need for home updates, build-outs, improvements and maintenance. We vet products from the outside of the home in, evaluating the efficiency, durability and overall performance of windows, siding, roofing and doors using equipment like our standardized drop tester, Taber for abrasion and UV machine to simulate accelerated weathering.
We also test heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems by assessing ease of use and road testing for efficacy while reviewing industry-standard data sets. We evaluate flooring and interior paint with tests around ease of use, quality and durability including fade resistance using an UV accelerated weather machine and scratch resistance using a Taber for measured abrasion. Lastly, we scale these finishes' ability to resist stains — and how easy they are to clean or restore once damage inevitably does happen.
Beauty, Skincare & Haircare
The chemists, scientists and engineers in the Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab carefully evaluate beauty, haircare and skincare products to find the products on the market that actually work. We work with a broad panel of consumer testers for real-life feedback on product performance, and in the Lab, we use state of the art instruments to gauge performance, including a Corneometer, which measures skin's moisture levels to definitively track skincare’s hydration efficacy, and our Visia Complexion Analyzer, a digital imaging device that can track changes in skin, including the intensity of wrinkles, pore size, dark spots and color coverage of cosmetics.
In haircare testing, GH scientists and chemists use an Instron machine that gauges a product's conditioning capacity, and a swatch-wash station to calculate a product’s ability to cleanse or protect against color fade. We also have weathering procedures to mimic hair exposure to UV light and heat styling and an environmental chamber to expose hair to high levels of humidity to test frizz-fighting claims.
Health & Wellness
This Lab is dedicated to testing health and wellbeing innovations, separating the trendy from the useful to make our lives better, healthier and safer. Our chemists thoroughly vet the products we use on our bodies to make sure they’re both safe and effective, including fitness products, grooming tools and health and wellness items. When we test period products, our fiber scientists use cough syrup in a variety of Lab tests to measure absorbency before sending them home to real users for more feedback.
Our engineers also conduct testing on a wide range of wellness tech products, like sleep and fitness trackers, at-home medical testing devices, online workout service and more by evaluating accuracy and precision in testing products on a range of users with different body types and compositions and fitness goals. Our pros also assess efficacy by evaluating ease of use, whether it’s measuring clarity of display, considering user ergonomics or intuitiveness.
The GH Nutrition Lab aims to provide evidence-based nutrition recommendations to help shoppers demystify food labels, make informed nutrition choices and feel confident navigating the aisles of grocery stores. Our food and diet recommendations are centered around health-based, realistic eating advice from our in-house registered dietitian who investigates nutrition trends, news and diets to find the safest, most effective recommendations for most people.
When we test food products, we vet them based on nutritional criteria and taste foremost, but we also consider simplicity, convenience and transparency to make selections and recommendations for the GH Nutritionist Approved Emblem, the Good Housekeeping Seal or the GH Tested Program. This Lab helps to circulate smart, consumer-focused food, fitness and dietary recommendations that meet at the intersection of flavor and nutrition to help people live their healthiest, most balanced lives.
Toys, Parenting & Children’s Products
Our scientists, engineers and parenting editors in our Little Lab team up to evaluate products for caregivers, babies and kids of all ages from toys to cribs to diapers and beyond. First and foremost, our experts review children’s products for safety, which includes using our drop tester to make sure products are durable enough to withstand falls from different heights and won’t pose a hazard with broken pieces.
Our pros also review ease of use and performance in the Lab and we ultimately have parents or children try out the products or toys to make sure they’ll pass the test in real life scenarios. (In fact, each year we have hundreds of kids testing hundreds of the hottest new toys!) That’s because, while everything must pass our check for ease of use, performance, and safety, ultimately it must also meet parent- and kid-approval.
When it comes to all things travel, our product pros have the answers. For luggage and travel bags, we first measure each bag's size, weight and capacity to see if it can actually fit reasonable loads for various trips. We then simulate wear and tear and test durability by conducting abrasion resistance, scratch resistance and water resistance tests — and then we drop test each bag using specialized Lab equipment. We also solicit feedback from consumer testers who wheel loaded luggage through an obstacle course to rate maneuverability, handle comfort and wheel performance in simulated real-life experiences.
When we test travel mugs, we test how well they retain temperature in a temperature-controlled room using thermocouples connected to a data logger; leak-resistance capabilities by knocking them over and assessing spills over a specific time period; and stability by using a protractor at specific angles. Finally, we assess things that fall into ease of use like how easy they are to open, how comfortable they feel in the hand, if they’re dishwasher-safe and more.
This Lab covers the things that really matter to pet parents, from food, health and nutrition to toys, accessories, grooming and cleaning products, and the latest pet technology. We constantly query a vast panel of pet owners to garner greater insights surrounding their interactions with and desires for their pets. Testing consists of durability checks, ergonomics and ease of use, performance and, of course, real life, hands-on assessments by canines, felines and their owners.
Media & Tech
This Lab is responsible for evaluating any electronic gadgets and equipment including TVs, phones and computers, as well as the latest innovations in smart home technology. Our testing is based on a combination of usability and performance criteria, both by our Lab experts and consumer feedback.
We use tools like the Spears and Munsil High-Definition Benchmark to calibrate and benchmark TVs, to assess attributes like speed, picture quality and audio quality. For computers, we similarly use benchmarking software like PCMark 10 benchmark to ensure productivity output. Our tests ensure we deliver product recommendations that are safe, effective and will measure up in the real world just as well as they do in our Lab tests, just as these do:
Meet Our Team of Experts
We’re not your average team of stuffy scientists. Just like you, our pros want a top-of-the-line washer/dryer combo that actually works and doesn't cost a fortune — but they also have the skills and the resources to put it all to the test. Meet some of our experts:
Have a question or looking to offer feedback about our product reviews? You can contact us at [email protected]