Review Guidelines

The purpose of LinkdHOME is to provide helpful, candid, and accurate advice to those wanting to build out their smart home. We understand that review recommendations can have a real financial impact on our readers, both in time and money. To that end, we have established a number of guidelines that ensure those recommendations give you everything you need to make an informed choice, good or bad.

The goal here at LinkdHOME.com is to provide recommendations that we would be comfortable giving to our closest friends, and we absolutely do just that on a regular basis using the same content we provide to you.

What WE Do

Hands On Reviews

We will only publish the results of hands-on testing. Whenever possible this will involve usage of the product for an extended period of time in our own homes. We’ve found that it is often the case that issues with smart devices won’t be immediately apparent. Software bugs, reliability issues, and even short lifespans are some of the things that crop up only sometime after starting to use a product day-to-day. We don’t just test a product out for a week and write it up, we look at real usage to get a good handle on what it can and can’t do and how it performs.

We also recognize that no product is perfect, so even if we like it and recommend it, we’ll be sure to look for the downsides and call those out. We all have different priorities, and some of those issues may be a deal breaker for you. No matter how small, our reviews will make sure you know about it up front so you can make the call.

Community Experience

We may not encounter every issue with a product first-hand. Different network set ups, different smart home platforms, different smart phones, these can all impact your experience with a smart device. To cover this variation, we take in broad feedback from multiple sources to get a feel for what other issues may be out there.

Once we assess what problems are showing a trend, we’ll assess those to determine if they are related to the product or are simply user error and include them if necessary. Even if it’s not a product issue, it could be a problem with the documentation of set up process, and we’ll call that out if it’s discovered.

Brand Awareness

We won’t recommend products from brands that have not proven themselves in the market. There are a lot of cheaper products out there now, often copy-cats of successful brands from low-cost countries. In some cases, these might be worth a mention, but we would need to have some confidence based on real world usage reports before we do.

Where a particular product segment is dominated by these, we will find the best possible options and note their deficiencies so you can decide if it’s worth the risk, but generally we’ll refer you to better alternatives that we can trust. In these rare cases we’ll make it clear where we don’t believe these products are particularly good.

Price and Value

Almost every smart product category now includes a wide range of price points, and we respect that affordability is the primary concern for many people looking for solutions to their smart home needs. While we strongly believe that you get what you pay for in this industry, we will always endeavor to include good product options for value and budget categories.

These low-cost products will rarely be our best overall recommendation as they won’t have the performance or features of the more expensive offerings, but we’ll give you everything you need to make an informed choice within your budget.

Security and Privacy

Putting technology in your home, particularly of the mass-market variety comes with some degree of risk. Many device makers don’t have the time or money to engineer their hardware and firmware correctly, and often don’t have enough skin in the game to care about supporting their products for the long term.

For this reason, we keep a close eye on data security issues in general, and with brands we review in particular, so you will be aware of any risks or issues that might impact your purchasing decisions. We also back up our reviews and buying guides with other technical content to help you run your smart home securely.

Availability

There’s nothing more frustrating when researching a purchasing decision than having settled on your best choice only to find that you can’t even buy it when you are ready to pull the trigger.

Outside of individual product reviews where a specific device is the main focus, we won’t recommend products in buying guides that are not broadly available, and we regularly review these guides to keep them current. If a product becomes temporarily unavailable for an extended period, or is discontinued, we will locate the best alternative options to take its place.

Controversy

We won’t hide from controversy. From time to time, a brand will come under fire for anti-consumer behavior, a security breach, or some other issue that would affect your use of the product in the long term.

In many cases this won’t change our recommendation, but if these issues are present, we will call them out in our reviews so you can decide if it’s an issue for you. On the other hand, if we think it’s a showstopper, we’ll certainly say so.

What We Won’t Do

Commission Bias

While we do make the majority of our revenue from affiliate arrangements, those commissions are individually small and average out across the breadth of the products we cover. As such, no affiliate arrangement will influence our recommendations, and we don’t require such a commission arrangement to cover a product in the first place. We will always be thorough in our product research and testing and call it how it is. Our recommendations will reflect the best of the best, even if it makes us nothing.

Paid Promotions

Along the same lines, we won’t shill for a brand. We won’t accept payment in exchange for favorable reviews. Sometimes brands will send us product samples for review. These are often new products coming to market that may fill a specific niche or offer a useful alternative to the status quo. By getting these samples ahead of the product release, we can spend the time with it to surface any issues as with any other product review, prior to it becoming available for sale.

We will always disclose when our review sample was provided by the brand, or any other third-party agency, right at the top of the article. Our normal review guidelines apply, and the review will call out the good and the bad regardless, without fear or favor.

Data-Driven Testing

For some product categories we have been able to create an objective set of tests that give us clear, unambiguous comparisons between products on key performance criteria that matter to that category. These criteria and the tests we use are explained in detail for each relevant product.

Further Information

We value our audience and welcome any engagement with you, the reader. If you have any questions about LinkdHOME.com or how we operate, please reach out to us at info@linkdhome.com and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.