If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
SPY.com is a discovery and reviews platform, connecting you with the latest tech, style, smart gadgets, and health and grooming staples you can’t find elsewhere. We bring you under-the-radar releases and top-rated picks from across the globe.
We’re passionate about products and discerning when it comes to our recommendations. We know you work hard for your money, and we want to help you spend it wisely.
SPY’s team of expert contributors from around the globe lead our discovery efforts. We spy trends and pride ourselves on being tastemakers.
Our editors attend trade shows — from the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, Nevada to Men’s Fashion Week in New York City — to report on the newest launches.
We’re constantly scouring the web to find the latest product releases and we share the news as quickly as the embargoes lift so you hear it here first.
Some e-commerce websites have a policy of never writing negative reviews so as to protect their relationships with brands. When we test and review products, we are always honest about our findings.
Most importantly, we never recommend a product or service we wouldn’t buy ourselves.
How Do We Select Products to Feature?
The SPY team tests products in-house whenever possible to provide in-depth first-person feedback and reviews. For articles where product testing is still in progress or impractical, we rely on careful research and our own expertise. For instance, in a guide to the best men’s sweaters for fall, it’s simply not possible to personally test the hundreds of sweaters released each season. For our shopping guides, our editors and freelance contributors spend hours researching products and talking to experts to ensure we’re only recommending the top products in a given category. There is no robot or algorithm deciding which products to feature, just humans!
We also analyze reviews and read what consumers are saying about the products they’ve purchased. We interview experts to weigh in on certain topics as well so that we can be sure we’re writing informed, accurate content. Most importantly: We never recommend a product or service we wouldn’t buy ourselves.
Does SPY Test Products?
Yes! We have a team of product testers who objectively review many of the products featured on our site. Brands like to make big promises to shoppers, and we want to verify firsthand that a product lives up to the hype. Sometimes, we are able to test and review a product before it’s released to the public, and we always want to give our readers the best possible information to make informed choices while shopping. When evaluating a product, we measure its performance according to strict criteria, and we also compare it to similar products. We also maintain records of our reviews so that we can compare similar products in an objective manner. (To learn more about your testing process, scroll down beneath our team’s bios.) We will always be honest about any drawbacks or problems we find during the testing process.
How Can I Submit My Product for Testing?
Right now, we are actively testing products for our Grooming, Hacks, Gadgets and Health verticals, but we will consider any product for review if we think it has something to offer our readers. If you would like your product or service to be considered for testing and editorial review, please contact SPY’s Site Director, Managing Editor or Tech Editor. You can also reach fill out a contact form.
Do You Make Money from Affiliate Revenue?
Yes, we make affiliate commissions from select products and retailers. First and foremost though, our editors are making recommendations based on the quality of the products and not the commission structure. If a product is worth covering and the retailer does not offer affiliate commissions, we will still cover it so that we can provide our readers the highest level of service. This is one of the qualities that sets SPY apart from other e-commerce publishers, and we always want to feature the best products in order to secure your trust.
Can Companies Pay to be Featured on Your Site?
Products featured in SPY.com reviews and shopping guides are 100% editorially chosen, and brands cannot pay for a positive review or “Best Overall” status. We do, however, offer sponsorship opportunities, which are created by our editors but always labeled clearly as “Sponsored” to differentiate from our standard editorial coverage.
Why Is SPY Content Featured on Amazon?
Glad you asked! SPY is one of the approved publishers featured in Amazon’s On-Site Publisher Program. Our product-driven editorial content runs natively on Amazon’s platform so if you’re searching for a product like “best beard oil” or “best weight bench” you may see our brand’s product selections populate. Our aim is to help inform your purchase by telling you quickly our editorial choice, the best value option and best contenders in the category.
Can Advertisers Pay to be Featured in Amazon On-Sites Content?
No, these product selections are 100% editorially driven and not available to sponsor.
How Often Do You Update Your Content?
We are constantly creating new content but always going back to our older content to be sure the products are still in stock. We want to create the best service for our readers so every 2-3 months we’ll prioritize updating content based on timeliness, seasonality, product availability and to reflect new products coming to market. Look for an “Updates” section at the bottom of select content to see what, if anything, has been changed recently.
How Can I Reach Your Team?
Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with sales inquiries, reader feedback, pitches, and more. We’ll do our best to get back to you in a timely manner; however, if pitches are not a fit for our SPY audience, we may not be able to reply due to the high quantity of emails being received.
Who Can I Contact for Accolades and Licensing Questions?
Meet the Team
Jamie Miles, Vice President of E-Commerce
Timothy Beck Werth, Site Director
John Velasco, Tech Editor
Taylor Galla, Senior E-Commerce Editor
Tyler Schoeber, E-Commerce & Special Projects Editor
Tyler Schoeber is an E-Commerce & Special Projects Editor at SPY.com where he creates content featuring the most worth-it products to shop for online now. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Tyler’s a proud Jersey native with a passion for good food, good wine and good times. He split his college education between Pratt Institute and Montclair State University where he obtained his degree in fine arts in 2018. How the hell did he land a career in writing, you ask? He’s still unsure. On the weekends, Tyler can be found shopping for new vinyl records to add to his collection, hitting up Brooklyn-based thrift stores for the perfect patterned button-down shirt and likely snagging a killer cocktail at a new bar once the sun goes down. Tyler also has a collection of tees featuring his artwork you can check out here, where a chunk of the money goes directly to Black LGBTQIA+ organizations. | email@example.com
Nina Bradley, E-Commerce Editor
Nina Bradley is an e-commerce editor for SPY.com where she creates shopping guides and roundups on the latest men’s gear, lifestyle and grooming products, and more. Before joining SPY, Nina wrote commerce content for BDG Media, contributing to Bustle, Elite Daily, and other brands within the company. She’s also worked as an entertainment writer for BDG and Wetpaint and as a contributing beauty editor for Jones Magazine. As a lover of all things decor, design, and fashion, Nina can often be found online searching for the best deals on clothing, event decor, and homewares. She additionally loves traveling, going to the beach, happy hour hopping, and spending time with family and friends. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Zavaleta, E-Commerce Writer
Allison Bowsher, Contributor
Alex Bracetti, Contributor
Jake Cappuccino, Contributor
Jake Cappuccino is a freelance contributor to SPY.com specializing in men’s lifestyle topics such as grooming, style, gear and trending products. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., and a current New York City resident, he’s been writing and editing for both traditional print publications and digital news companies for the past 10 years, including stints with Popular Mechanics, Elite Daily and Google. When he’s not working, Jake’s usually browsing his favorite brands for their latest drops, testing out the latest grooming products and gear or carving up city streets on a skateboard. Send him your pitches at email@example.com or message him on Twitter and Instagram @jakecappuccino. Check out his latest coverage here.
PJ Gach, Contributor
Oscar Hartzog, Contributor
William Goodman, Contributor
Sarah Morlock, Contributor
How We Test Products
Here at SPY, we pride ourselves on giving you the best possible product recommendations and advice on where to spend your money when shopping online. Whether it’s a shopping guide for Christmas Gifts, Mother’s Day or Halloween, or a product round-up for categories ranging from gadgets to grooming, our editors hand select almost every product we feature on SPY. For more information on our testing process, we have a page explaining How We Test Products at SPY, and you can also read a summary below.
How do we narrow down which products to recommend to you, our readers, and which aren’t worth a purchase? Reviews, and a lot of them.
The SPY team has rapidly ramped up our product testing efforts in 2021 and 2022, and we’ve fine tuned our process to ensure that every product we recommend has met our highest standards. Frankly, there’s a lot of crap you can buy online, and we’re here to do the heavy lifting for you so you don’t have to stress about whether the package arriving at your doorstep includes what you’re looking for.
Here are some of our most popular recent reviews:
- These Are the Absolute Best Smartphones To Buy in 2022
- The Top 6 Bald Head Shavers, Tested and Reviewed by a Bald Man
- We Put the Best Fitness Mirrors of 2022 to the Test: Should You Spend Thousands on One?
- Review: 6 Months Later, Was the Hydrow Luxury Rowing Machine Worth the Investment?
Our testing process includes a few key steps:
1. Research — A first step in any review or shopping guide is researching the top products in the category, since they’re the top priority when it comes to testing. We’ll usually compile a list of 10-15 products from the top brands. We also try to include a wide range of price points, product types, and uses. For example, for our hands-on testing of bike locks, we wanted to include products with a variety of price points as well as U-locks, chain locks, combination locks and cable locks.
2. Calling in Sample Units — The next step in our review process is calling in all the sample units we need. Many of the products we test are sample units, meaning we do not pay for them. If a brand is unable to send a sample unit, we’ll purchase a unit for review. We will always be transparent when brands have provided a sample unit for testing, and this does not influence our overall rankings and reviews.
3. Creating Judgement Criteria — Next, we’ll compile the judgment criteria we’re going to use to assess the products in a given criteria. When we test additional products in this same category, we’ll use these same criteria so that the products can be compared objectively. This list will include both objective criteria, such as battery wattage, size dimensions and screen brightness, as well as subjective criteria, such as how the grip feels, how user-friendly the interface is, and how simple (or complicated) the setup was. We’ll also test manufacturers’ claims against actual real-world performance. For instance, a brand might promise that their cordless stick vacuum provides two hours of battery life, but we want to determine that for ourselves.
4. Testing and Retesting — Lastly, we test! This process can take a few days up to a few weeks or even months depending on the type of product. The more expensive and high-ticket the product, the more time we want to spend with it to make sure it’s worth your money. For each of the testing criteria we identified, our product testers will give the product a numeric rating. We use a formula to weight each of these scores based on the product category, and when the process is complete, we have an objective numerical rating we can factor into our reviews. This also allows us to objectively compare similar products.
How We Test Products FAQ
1. How Do We Get Products For Testing?
We use a number of different channels to acquire products for testing. The most common is requesting sample units from brands, who, more often than not, are more than willing to send them. If a product isn’t available as a sample unit, we’ll purchase it ourselves using a designated section of our site’s budget.
2. How Long Do We Test Products?
The amount of time we test a product largely depends on the nature of the product itself. More expensive, high-ticket items require longer testing because we want to make sure they’re worth the investment. We test large pieces of fitness equipment, like spin bikes and fitness mirrors, for a month before we write our reviews.
Sometimes, we only have a limited amount of time with a product, if we’re at a launch party or press event. This means we occasionally have to form our opinions in just a few minutes or hours, but this is rarer.
Most of the time, we spend 1-3 weeks with a product, testing all of the features and compiling our data into a spreadsheet.
3. What Do We Do With Products After We’re Done Testing?
When we coordinate with a brand about sending the sample unit, we also ask them if they’d include a return label with the product, so we can return it promptly after we’re done testing. Some brands request the unit be returned within a certain window, or after we’re done testing, while others encourage us to keep or donate the products after we’re done.
Some of our editors have kept sample units, and continue to test them. We frequently upgrade reviews after 3, 6, 9 and even 12 months of use, to give our readers an even more in-depth view of a product.
4. Do You Use a Number Scale?
Yes, we have an internal scoring system that enables us to compare products to one another as objectively as possible and informs our rankings.
5. What Do You Do If You Don’t Like a Product, Or Have a Bad Experience?
If we have a truly terrible experience with a product, we either don’t feature it on the side, or we include a watered down version of our thoughts. We try to be as honest with our readers as possible, but we also don’t want to trash a certain product or brand if it’s unnecessary.
Instead, we’ll find alternatives to the product, or move on and review something else. We’re more about promoting products we fully believe in and love, than picking apart everything we try.