Reviewed Awards Programs Explained
A brief walkthrough of the Editors' Choice, Best of Year, and CES Editors' Choice awards programs.
In order to help you, the readers, make the most informed decision about what to buy, Reviewed has created the Editors’ Choice, the Best of Year, and the CES Editors' Choice awards programs.
The purpose of these programs is to identify and promote those products that we feel stand out from the pack. We understand that there is no such thing as a “perfect product” for everyone, so we select winners across a wide spectrum of prices and types.
It’s important to note that the score that a product receives is separate from the Editors’ Choice and Best of Year awards. There is no threshold score that must be met. Our scoring methodology is a complex and exacting process, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Some lower scoring products might still be considered great values – or even “best in class” – and therefore deserve an award.
Both the Editors’ Choice and Best of Year awards can be identified by little blue badges bearing the name of the award. You’ll see these badges in various places on the Reviewed website, in the USA TODAY newspaper, on usatoday.com, and even in retail stores.
Editors’ Choice Awards
The Reviewed Editors’ Choice badges are usually awarded as soon as a review is published. Roughly 20-25% of all products we review will win an Editors' Choice badge – however, there is no specific quota for award counts. Because Reviewed leans towards reviewing higher-end products, and because we can only review a portion of all products on the market, only 5-10% of products available to consumers in a given category will win an award.
We think of Editors’ Choice winners as the products we would happily recommend to friends and family. Products are awarded across the price spectrum, so you may see Editors’ Choice badges on very expensive and high-scoring products, as well as medium- and lower-priced products with lower scores.
In order to win an Editors’ Choice award, the product must first be nominated by the editor of the product category, based on the recommendations of the staff writer who tested the product and wrote the review. The nomination is then presented to the Reviewed Editorial Board, which debates the merits of the product. A two-thirds majority vote from the board is required to clinch an award.
Best of Year Awards
The Reviewed Best of Year badges are awarded annually in the beginning of November to help guide you through a busy holiday shopping season. The Reviewed Editorial Board, along with senior editorial staff, gathers to debate long and hard about the all the reviews published in that calendar year.
In order to generate great picks for every type of consumer, we create a number of sub-categories. For example, there’s a “Best Washing Machine of the Year” award, but there’s also a “Best Top Load Washer” and “Best Front Load Washer,” a “Best High End Washer” and a “Best Value.” This ensures that we are providing consumers with a number of recommendations in every category so that you can find not only the best of the best, but the best product for your needs.
CES Editors’ Choice Awards
In January 2014, Reviewed created the CES Editors’ Choice program, which identifies the best products that premiere at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. The program was created in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the organizing body of the CES show. Any product making its US debut at CES is eligible to be nominated. Products that were particularly innovative or striking in their technology, design, or value are given strong consideration.
These awards differ from the Editors’ Choice awards and Best of Year awards because they are chosen from the CES show floor and are not based on lab testing. As such, we employ the same exacting ethical standards that guide all of our editorial processes. The voting process takes place in a closed-room session involving the entire editorial team at Reviewed. No one from the CEA, or from our parent company, Gannett, or even our publisher, are permitted to be involved in the decision making. The awards are announced during the show.
The CES Editors’ Choice awards are heavily featured across the Gannett network of television stations, as well as in the USA TODAY newspaper and on usatoday.com.
How Are the Awards Used?
First and foremost, all of these awards programs are designed to help you find the best products. To that end, we make a big deal about them and promote them everywhere we can. They pop up all over the pages of Reviewed, as well as the USA TODAY newspaper and usatoday.com.
We license the use of these badges to manufacturers for their own marketing purposes. You may encounter these in print, online, or as stickers on products in retail spaces. The licensing program has absolutely no impact on the selection of winners. All decisions for awards are made solely by the Reviewed Editorial Board in Cambridge, MA. The licensing is handled by our sales office in New York, NY. As in all other matters, the editorial and sales divisions of Reviewed have zero contact with each other, per the Reviewed ethics policy.