Lab testing

Product testing at Which?

Why we test in labs

All the products Which? tests and publishes scores on are expertly lab tested. By hunting down expert, independent labs Which? can ensure that the most qualified and experienced people in their fields test each product. We wouldn't want a washing machine tested by someone who was an expert in computer testing, or vice versa.

Lab testing ensures all our products are tested fairly, impartially and consistently so that Which? can continually offer the best advice to consumers.

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What we test in our labs

There is no product that appears in a full comparative Which? review that has not been through its paces in one of our labs. We may 'first look' a product to give you our initial thoughts as soon as it arrives, but it's then shipped off for full, in-depth testing. If there's a product out there that we want to review, it will be bought anonymously and sent to a lab.

Dedicated Business Researchers carefully scour the market for the latest product releases and the most innovative products. Our Business Researchers aim to cover a very high percentage of the market in any one product area. And, while we do test some premium products, we avoid testing those products which you would need a second mortgage to afford. We take popularity, brand reliability, innovation and price into account when choosing which models to test.

Why is lab testing so important?

Lab testing is the best way of testing products - it ensures rigorous testing procedures are followed time after time. This is essential when it comes to testing TVs, for example. Our approach means we can control our viewing panel for each of the 10 batches of TVs we test per year, so we can be confident that the results gained from the first batch can be directly compared with those gained from the last.

In our labs we often test to existing British and European Standards, but also build in elements that reflect the way people use products and how they value products, which we learn through consumer surveys.

How our test programmes are developed and evolve

Which? test programmes have, in many cases evolved over many years. As technology changes Which? changes its test methods to keep up - there is no point testing a modern digital camera to a test programme designed for film cameras forty years ago. Any new development in a product area will be added to a test programme, such as 3D on TVs and eco spins on washing machines. The process is ongoing and will continually evolve to ensure Which? testing covers all the essential features of a product so that consumers can be sure that they know what features are worth paying extra for, and which aren't.

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