Your site looks crazy!
Well, thanks. The Sweethome is the sister site of The Wirecutter, our electronics leaderboard. It’s a list of the best home gear, each item chosen mindfully and in accordance with many hours of research and interviews with the world’s most knowledgable experts and testers, all in service of backing up our own testing and opinions. It’s not a blog. We don’t do news and we don’t post multiple times a day—we just want to help you pick out great gear and get on with your life.
How do I use your site?
See that big list of stuff on the front page? Pick the category you want and read the descriptions of our handful of choices. Each one is special, but I bet there’s one that fits you in our narrow list of choice(s).
How do you choose what you recommend?
We take all the data we can find from existing reviews and literature, interview the world’s best experts, research all the different choices we can find, and, after winnowing our list to a few finalists, we often perform tests if they feel they’ll help us make a better call. That usually takes between 10 and 50 hours per piece. And then we make up our minds. Sometimes we agree with the people who have tested things. But sometimes we recommend a lower- or higher-tier item depending on what we think most people will need.
Why should I listen to you?
We’ve been writing about gear for a long time. Founder Brian Lam ran Gizmodo for half a decade. Joel Johnson ran Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and Consumerist. Brian worked at WIRED magazine before that where he wrote the Fetish section, helped edit the Test section and special gear issues and helped found Gadgetlab. Joel founded Consumerist and Boing Boing Gadgets, as well as writing about household products at Dethroner, Popular Mechanics, and WIRED. We know how to choose the right equipment.
Why only the best? What if I don’t want to spend a lot of money on the top of the line?
When we say best, we don’t mean the one that costs the most or has the most features. In many cases, top of the line models are unnecessary for most people. Because we live in an age where most products are good enough, we generally like to find the sweet spot of cost as balanced out by the features we think most humans need. We often pick a model above and below that exact point to give some context. Another belief we have, which helps us make decisions, is that you can argue styles but you can’t argue quality or value. Those things are self-evident.
What if I want something different than your choice?
That could happen. Take our choices under consideration and read what we’ve written. Read why we’ve selected it, check out the best reviews we’ve linked to, and go up or down a few models to get the one that will work for you. We think that might be easier than sorting through and comparing a few dozen gadgets from scratch.
Why do you so infrequently update your site?
Since the leaderboard is a list of things that are awesome, not things that are new, we don’t have to update that frequently. That’s because the things that are really worth buying don’t come along that often. When they do, we’ll write. In other words, we don’t write just to write.
We are also of the mind that the world needs fewer think pieces and more actionable advice. We’ll say something when we have something to say or see something we can’t resist writing up.
What’s with those buy buttons and those Amazon links?
Doesn’t getting affiliate fees create a conflict of interest and bias?
Brian here. I think it does create a bias to write about a lot of things with affiliate codes threaded in them. But I think it’s less of a conflict of interest than traditional advertising. Affiliate pay does not, in my opinion, create a worse situation than running a site based on pageviews, because publishers still get paid for ads on stories that are hyped up, unnecessarily controversial or broken into multiple pages. Even stories that are flat out incorrect. I know; I used to run a site in that situation.
All I can say is that the most important thing to the health of this site is its reputation and its relationship with readers.
Here’s why: We are going to recommend gear, no matter what. But if we recommend something because we are biased or lazy and the pick sucks, you can return the piece of gear and we will make zero dollars. Lastly, I invite you to fact check any of our pieces, which outline the time, logic and energy spent researching, interviewing experts and testing gear, often over dozens of hours. All the evidence on why our picks are the correct ones are outlined right there for you to believe or not believe. And the two times we got it wrong on our sister site Wirecutter in the last year, we’ve written apologies on the front page of the site. It’s humiliating and I hate doing it. So there’s always pride to keep me in check.
But even pride is less important than our ultimate priority of making sure we’re recommending good gear, and to do the right thing for all our readers, who are the ones who pay for this research.
What if the kind of thing I want isn’t on your site?
Email us and let us know if you need some help figuring out a particular buying problem.