How Reviewed experts pick products and deals for shoppers (sometimes they set things on fire)


I’m USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll, and this is The Backstory, insights into our biggest stories of the week. If you’d like to get The Backstory in your inbox every week, sign up here. 

David Ellerby sets out nine foil pans and fills each with a different brand of kitty litter. Next he pours five teaspoons of fox urine on each (that’s how much an average cat goes each time it goes). 

Then he wraps each pan in a giant plastic bag and seals it. He’ll come back hours later with an air quality meter and determine which brand does the best job of absorbing odor.

Ellerby is the chief scientist for Reviewed, the arm of the USA TODAY Network that rates and reviews thousands of products each year.

How we find the best products and deals 

After our experts test and pick the best products, our writers search for the best deal on that item. The combination of quality and price leads to our “best of” lists – best blenders, best grills, best air fryers and yes, coming soon, best kitty litter.

Ellerby has a tabby named Pepper at home. “So I may be changing brands based on what I find in a few minutes,” he says laughing. “It’s going to be a mixture of excitement and horror, I think.”



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