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How Does People’s Choice Actually Work?

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Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. That’s 4- and 5-star reviews, and lots of ’em — but what does that mean, exactly?

Here’s how it’s going to work, moving forward: We start by looking at all of the products in a specific category from a specific merchant, be it mattresses on Amazon or face washes at Sephora. From there, the criteria for inclusion is based solely on the number of reviews and the average customer ratings. Every product we feature in a People’s Choice post must have an average rating of at least 4.1 stars after more than 100 reviews, and at least 60 percent of the reviews must be between 4 and 5 stars at the time of publication.

We’re following the wisdom of the crowd, so a higher quantity of reviews is more valuable than a higher average rating. That’s why an under-eye concealer with a 4.3-star rating and over 10,000 reviews would be rated “higher” than one with an average rating of 4.5 stars and 1,500 reviews. Our best-rated pick is the one with the highest total number of reviews that still meets our editors’ standards for inclusion. Our best-rated (less expensive) pick is the product that fits our criteria for inclusion and is one of the lowest priced in the category.

Once those two titles have been determined, we dive into the rest of the products in the category, eliminate those that don’t meet our criteria, read all of the reviews we can for those that do, and categorize the best of them based on what users are looking for and what reviewers are raving about. We will not quote reviews from folks who disclose that they have received a product for free, in exchange for a review. If we’ve written about a product before, we’ll let you know, and add additional insight from our own writers and editors. We are humans, not robots, with over three years of experience reading through thousands of customer reviews, so if a product does not pass our sniff test, we will err on the side of excluding, and we will adjust our categories to make sure you’re able to easily find what you’re looking for — or the best possible thing you didn’t know you needed.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

How Does People’s Choice Actually Work?