Real Homes Loves badge helps you find the best products for your home

We review hundreds of home products a year, and now the best of the best are being awarded the Real Homes Loves badge so you can identify them – fast

IQ glass single storey extension with Real Homes loves logo

The team has just started awarding the Real Homes Loves badge to the top pick in every single one of our buyer's guides, and to top-rated products that we review. The aim? To help you see at a glance which products we rate most highly. The award of a badge is totally unbiased – but we thought you might like to find out more about how we award it and, in doing so, curate and recommend the best home products.

As a team, we are, of course, noticeably addicted to all things home- and garden-related and, together, we have many years of experience in everything from renting and buying to renovating and extending. More than that, we've spent collective decades using and reviewing just about anything you could ever imagine being useful in a home – whether simple purchases like air fresheners to more complicated smart home tech buys.

You might already be familiar with our buying guide best buys, all of which are carefully chosen by our journalists based on a combination of our own experience, rigorous in-house testing and in-depth research into expert reviews, user reviews and ratings. So, we don't just rely on our own expert opinions when we're testing – we actively gather opinion on what you think of them, too. 

And while our guides feature many of the retailers you shop with, and include our trusted merchants, the unbiased shortlist we bring you includes the best products on the market at the time of writing. It's worth noting, too, that we rarely write about the products we don't rate highly – our mission is to bring you the best of the best, not to get you bogged down in reading lengthy reviews of products we don't rate well and that you, therefore are unlikely to ever buy.

It's also worth you knowing that we sort through thousands of deals to offer the best prices from the most trustworthy retailers, but that by you clicking these independently selected links, we may earn a commission on any purchase you make. This is at no extra cost to you, but is borne by the retailer.

Our reviews are rated on a system of stars to five stars, based on the criteria of: design desirability – how good does it look, and does it meet our style aspirations; durabililty – likelihood to perform as well; performance – might be comfort (sofas), might be power (pressure washers), might be speed or accuracy (kettles); point of difference – how much does it add to the overall sum of product innovation, is it noticeably pushing things forward, or is it a copyist me-too; value for money – Real Homes is all about making all of the above achievable to everyone (that’s not necessarily a case of the cheaper the better, but products get judged on value). 

Our experienced reviewers give each product a score out of 25 for the criteria leading to an overall percentage which translates to a star rating (products getting over 100 out of 125 get a five-star rating).

Five stars - denotes an outstanding product in all of the above criteria. It is rarely awarded, although we do aim to review the best quality product possible and the various industries' leaders, to ensure you'll be buying the best products for your homes. These 5-star products are awarded a Real Homes Loves badge which you'll see dotted around the site.

Four stars - an excellent product that delivers on all the key criteria and would be a good investment for our audience. 

Three stars - a good score that denotes the product has elements of all of the above criteria. It is the standard rating for products that could be enjoyed by most of our audience.

Two stars - denotes a product that significantly disappoints on one of the key criteria above - perhaps it’s well-made but way overpriced, or looks good but feels uncomfortable.

One star - rarely used, but a one star review denotes a product we feel fails to deliver on several of the key criteria and is best avoided by most of our audience. 

Find out more about the Real Homes team and how we work on our About Us page.

Lucy Searle

Lucy is Global Editor-in-Chief of Homes & Gardens having worked on numerous interiors and property titles. She was founding Editor of Channel 4’s 4Homes magazine, was Associate Editor at Ideal Home, before becoming Editor-in-Chief of in 2018 then moving to Homes & Gardens in 2021. She has also written for Huffington Post, AOL, UKTV, MSN, House Beautiful, Good Homes, and many women’s titles. Find her writing about everything from buying and selling property, self build, DIY, design and consumer issues to gardening.