How we test products on Gardeningetc

Find our how we test products for our buying guides and reviews

woman trimming a hedge with the Husqvarna 115iHD45 cordless hedge trimmer
(Image credit: Linda Clayton/Future)

Whether you are a keen gardener looking for tools to maintain your plot, or someone who just wants the best furniture to create a space to catch some rays, we are here to help. Gardeningetc is committed to making sure you never make a poor purchase for your garden, because we know the importance of investing wisely.

To ensure this, we have a rigorous testing process for all of the products you see on the reviews and buying guides on this site. Find out how we test and who tests them.

About our reviews

When we review a product, we like to make sure it is tested as intended – in someone's garden. Brands send us products to test for a period of at least two weeks. If the weather has other ideas, we might test for longer to make sure we get plenty of chance to try all of the product's key functions.

We try to match each product to the right reviewer. If it is a lawn mower for small spaces, we will test on a small lawn. If it is a huge grill for catering a party, we will get a family to test it (hopefully with a few friends). This means we can make sure the product lives up to the manufacturer promises.

When it comes to testing, we have certain tasks each reviewer must carry out to measure how well the product meets user needs. This keeps some uniformity to our testing, even if they are intended for different people. For example, every grill will be used to make sausages and burgers and every lawn mower tested on long and short grass.

The reviewers tests answer the following questions:

  • What do you get in the box?
  • How easy is it to set up the product?
  • How easy is it to use the product?
  • What features and functions does the product have?
  • Is the product easy to maintain/clean and does it take up much storage space?
  • How does it rate against similar products?
  • How do others rate it (either online or peer testing).

The ultimate question, however, is whether the product is worth your money.

At the end of testing, the reviewer is asked to give the product a star rating out of five. We list this rating on our reviews and award badges to the top-rated products (see more below).

We are never paid for our reviews. Products are sent free of charge and on occasion the reviewer may be allowed to keep the product after testing. This means we can update our reviews over time, seeing how durable they are six, 12 or even 36 months after the initial testing.

Greenworks Pro 60V

(Image credit: Alex Temblador)

About our buying guides

Our buying guides are a curation of the top-rated products we have reviewed. In some instances, we haven't reviewed all of the products (just yet), but we are working hard to test everything we include and use third party reviews to justify them being on our guides.

These 'best of' lists are a great place to see all of the top recommendations for a certain product type in one place. If you need a new cordless lawn mower, or wonder which is the best pizza oven for your family, you can see the ones we rate and who they are suited to.

Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii Hot Tub

(Image credit: Alex Temblador)

The Gardeningetc Reviewed & Rated badge

So that you can quickly see which products we love, we have launched the Gardeningetc Reviewed & Rated badge. This grants either a gold, silver or bronze award to the products we rank as being better than average, and thus a worthwhile buy.

The badging criteria is as follows:

  • Gold badge: 4.5 stars or more
  • Silver badge: 4–4.4 stars
  • Bronze badge: 3–3.9 stars

Anything below three stars is a product we consider to be lacking in lots of the required criteria. We would not recommend buying these products unless budget leaves no choice.

If a brand is awarded a badge, the company can license that badge to let everyone know. For logo use opportunities, contact Fiona McIntosh (opens in new tab).

Meet our reviewers

headshot of Linda Clayton
Linda Clayton

Linda fell for the interiors world soon after graduating Cardiff’s School for Journalism and has been happily writing for the likes of Gardeningetc, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Ideal Home and Real Homes for two decades. 

Her current home in Devon was previously a commercial nursery – they grew the plants that garden centres buy. When she arrived in 2016, the half-acre plot boasted three massive polytunnels and a glass greenhouse to rival those at Kew Gardens. They sold the lot, levelled the ground, chucked down some grass seed, then focused on making the inside of the house habitable. This year the garden is back on her radar and she has grand plans to pave and plant out the front garden and around the house (currently resembling a builder’s yard), and possibly 'do something' about the barren field that is her lawn!

headshot of Alex Temblador
Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer that has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications like Real HomesGardeningetcHome & GardensDwellArchitectural DigestArtsyNeighborhoods.comCulture Trip, among many others. 

She recently bought her first home, a green Sears & Roebuck house that's over 100 years old, sits on half an acre of land, and features a stunning wraparound porch, original hardwood floors, pocket doors, and a butler pantry. Alex loves to test products for GardeningetcReal Homes, and Homes & Gardens buying guides and reviews which has helped to expand the richness of her first-time homeowner life – she has tested everything from hedge trimmers to hot tubs. The Mixed Latinx writer can usually be found working or relaxing in her outdoor spaces. 

Bethan Davis author image
Bethan Davis

Bethan works in PR for the tourism industry and lives with her fiancé, sons Danny and Finley and two cats, Jasper and Leo. She loves being in the garden, but prefers to spend her time relaxing there rather than gardening, so is always on the lookout for tools that will keep her space looking its best without take up loads of family time.

When she is not writing press releases for the safari park she works at, she is reviewing lawn mowers, patio heaters and barbecues for Real Homes and Gardeningetc (plus cleaning tools to try and make tidying up after the kids a breeze).

Steve Bradley
Steve Bradley

Steve has written (or co-written) over 40 practical gardening books, including Propagation Basics, The Pruner’s Bible, and What’s Wrong With My Plant?. Steve and wife Val (also a qualified horticulturist) were commissioned to update some of the world’s best-selling gardening books, The Expert series, originally written by Dr David Hessayon. 

Steve and Val have worked for the Sun newspaper since 2002, writing the Gardening page with the late Peter Seabrook and answering hundreds of readers’ letters every year. Over the years, Steve has also written for most of the popular UK gardening magazines.

He has a vast knowledge of gardening and enjoys sharing it with listeners to BBC local radio. He is resident gardening expert on both BBC Radio Kent on alternate Sunday mornings, answering listeners’ questions during the live gardening phone-in show and he regularly guests on BBC Sussex / BBC Surrey.

Steve has acted as researcher, adviser and (on occasion) presenter for various production companies at events such as the Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace Flower Shows. His experience building medal winning gardens at some of Britain’s leading horticultural shows, including both Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace, give him a unique insight into the workings of these events. It also provides much humorous entertainment on the occasions he is asked to be a garden tour guide.

Headshot of Beth Murton
Beth Murton

Beth's first journalism job was working for Real Homes magazine more than 18 years ago. It cemented her love of all things homes- and garden-related and she's never looked back since. She's worked for  and contributed to a number of leading magazines in the UK, including Ideal Home magazine, Period Living magazine, Grand Designs magazine and Good Homes magazine amongst others, before returning to Real Homes magazine as editor. Now the editor of Gardeningetc.com, Beth's attention is firmly outdoors, and she's constantly inspired by how people make use of their outdoor space. 

Her own garden is a really important part of her family's home, and they were lucky enough to inherit a space with lots of lovely mature planting when they bought their 1930s property. 

Since then, they've built several raised beds for a veg patch, increased the size of the flowerbeds to find room for yet more of her favourite David Austin roses and her husband's collection of hostas, created an outdoor living room complete with comfy sofas and festoon lights, and not forgetting the biggest challenge of all – trying to fit in the ever changing assortment of trampolines, climbing frames and outdoor toys that are inevitable when you have two young kids! 

Ginevra-headshot
Ginevra Benedetti

Ginevra is Deputy Editor of Ideal Home. She has worked for the majority of Britain’s monthly interiors titles, such as Country Homes & Interiors and Livingetc, as well as for websites HomesandGardens.com and Gardeningetc.com. She has written about every area of the home, indoors and out, from shopping and decorating, appliances and home tech, wallpaper and fabric, kitchens and bathrooms, even extensions and conversions.

Lindsey Davis author image
Lindsey Davis

Lindsey is Editor in Chief for Homes Ecommerce, working on GardeningetcLivingetcReal HomesIdeal Home and Homes & Gardens. She is also Editor of Realhomes.com producing content for a like-minded audience on the virtues of DIY and house plants. 

She loves helping readers (and friends) find all the information they need to make purchases for their property. When she isn't offering product recommendations, she is busy renovating her Victorian cottage and window shopping for the perfect garden furniture. She is in a never-ending battle with the weeds, but loves creating a space for wildlife and is aiming to give her garden a look that she describes as 'cottage garden for the 21st century'. This year, she hopes to add some covered spaces to her garden and finally sort out the veg patches, but is currently rewilding (partly by accident) with a more hands-off approach.

She has tested everything from lawn mowers to patio cleaners, but is always super enthusiastic if given a pizza oven to review.

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie is the Small Appliances & Cooking Editor on the Future Homes Ecommerce team. She has been writing for Gardeningetc since the beginning of 2021, covering all things barbecues, patio heaters, and fire pits. A lover of al fresco dining, Millie is always on the hunt for the best barbecues and pizza ovens for entertaining friends and family. She is a firm believer that everyone should have their own herb garden, even if it's just on their kitchen windowsill. 

Jennifer Oksien
Jennifer Oksien

Jennifer is Homes Editor at Tech Radar, having previously been Appliances Editor on the Future Homes titles, including Gardeningetc. In her role on the homes titles, she tested not just large appliances and floorcare, but their outside counterparts – barbecues, lawn mowers and strimmers. 

When she is not scouting out the best offers and products for your outside cooking stations, Jennifer enjoys growing vegetables, flowers and herbs from seed. Up until recently she had an allotment, too, where she grew a bumper crop of rainbow carrots, sweetcorn and marrows – the crop was so successful in fact, she ended up giving it away to neighbouring gardeners.