SNEWS® Product Review Testing Criteria

SNEWS® offers reviews using real people who have used products as real users in real scenarios. Opinions are just that: Opinions. We don’t claim to be mechanical engineers, biomechanists or statisticians. Nevertheless, our core testing team is very skilled at conducting testing; many have been doing product tests and reviews for several decades. Many of our testers hail from the ranks of former mountain guides, search-and-rescue volunteers, certified fitness instructors or trainers, serious amateur athletes (and sometimes not so amateur), as well as everyday gearheads with closets and garages bursting at the seams. We evaluate in the same way an everyday buyer would: Is it good? Does it work as it should? Does it fit? Does it do what it says it will do? Do you like it? Would you buy it? Would you recommend it to friends?

Most products are analyzed and reviewed by several testers who have different abilities, various levels of experience and, as appropriate, different body types. Sometimes an item will be used by women and men. Often we will scrutinize a product’s claims, standing in the shower to test a waterproof jacket, or wading through streams to gauge the effectiveness of waterproof shoes. We’ll test and measure the maximum length of a cable, weigh a dumbbell, or even drop or sit on (oopsie) an item that claims to be unbreakable to see if it really is. We also never compare one product to another or rate one against another. Each is rated simply on its own merits against itself.

Sometimes we pay for products, but we usually get products sent to us for testing at no charge, sometimes without requesting them. We offer to send the product back to a company or, if it doesn’t want it back (and most don’t) we give them away — if it’s still useable — to various non-profits, schools or programs with little budget to acquire good product. Frankly, because we are one of the few review sites that truly uses a product, many SNEWS®-tested products can’t be passed on to worthy users. We don’t just sit at our desks, open up the box, look at it, say, “cool” and take a pretty picture to print. Real testing means many items are dirty, dented, beat up, scratched, torn or otherwise not worth much to anybody else when we are done with them. We really put a product through its paces. That means a backpack is used for multiple trips; a pair of shoes for any number of adventures; a treadmill for a few months; or a heart rate monitor or GPS for weeks.

If you have any further questions about our procedures, past reviews, or how you can get your products reviewed, do not hesitate to conduct our staff at