Hello and welcome to the Rational Kitchen! Read on to discover who we are, what makes us tick, and how we can help you in your kitchen.
Who Are We?
We are primarily a kitchen product review site with some other kitchen- and cooking-related articles. While we rarely stray into recipes, we do write about ways to save money, waste less food, health concerns, and how to be a savvy online shopper. We want to help you make the best possible choices you can make for you and your family.
Mostly, we want to help you make sense of the often confusing array of kitchen products--especially technical kitchen products that require a lot of background to choose wisely--and find the absolute best products for your particular needs.
As a review site, we get a small commission when you click through to a merchant to buy a product. This commission is paid by the merchant, so it costs you nothing. We are grateful for your business and want to help make your buying experience the best it can possibly be.
There are a lot of review sites out there, so you're probably wondering what, if anything, makes us different??
And why should you listen to our advice???
Let's start by telling you how this site got started...
We started this site because we were frustrated with the quality of reviews we found on the Internet. Over and over, we found that after following a reviewer’s recommendation, we ended up with a mediocre (or worse) product. And this was true whether the advice was from a tiny independent site or one of the biggest names in the business.
It just seemed like the majority of reviewers looked up the most popular products on Amazon and recommended those. With so many satisfied customers, the products must be good. Right?
Well, no--not by a long shot. At least, not always. Actually, many of the most popular and highly rated products were just...well, they were just the cheapest ones. (And why do you need reviews if you're just going to get the most popular product, anyway?)
As consumers willing to spend a little more (or, okay, sometimes maybe a lot more), to get better quality, longer-lasting products, this was frustrating.
What if you’re interested in more than just the cheapest product? What if you’re interested in great quality, long-lasting, durable, aesthetically pleasing goods? What if you’re willing to pay more for a superior product?
Where are the reviews for those people?
And the user reviews on Amazon and other sites? Sometimes they're helpful, but you never know where the reviewers are coming from...are they experienced with the product? (Sometimes you can tell, but often you can't.) What have they owned prior to it? And maybe most importantly, are they giving it a top rating because they're still in the honeymoon phase with it, or is it actually a good product? How to tell??
There just didn't seem to be much of a review sector catering to people looking for higher-end, higher quality--and usually more expensive--products. We felt like we were outsiders looking in, and even worse, we had a heck of a time figuring out what products to buy. It got so we didn’t trust any reviews until we’d spent hundreds of hours educating ourselves about a product, because only then could we tell whether or not a reviewer knew what they were talking about.
This was especially true for more technical products, and it all kind of came to a head when one of us was in the market for a portable induction cooktop. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of these units on Amazon. They range in price from under $50 to upwards of $2000. And the marketing jargon did very little to differentiate them from each other, so it was really, really hard to buy with any sort of confidence. It's no wonder that so many people go with a few popular names; how else are you going to decide when you know nothing about PICs (even less about how to pick one out)?
Going with the most popular PIC, which seemed no different than one costing almost 10 times as much, just didn't seem smart--it didn't seem like a rational way to select a product, especially when the one-star reviews were compelling (as they were in this case). But neither did going with the one costing 10 times as much--unless we could truly understand what made it better. So, we decided to dig in, do the research, and really figure out how these little cooktops were different from each other.
After hundreds of hours of research, we did figure it out, and bought a great PIC (we think the best one on the market).
But the real realization after going through this process was that there had to be more people out there like us out there. People looking for high quality products who would appreciate a site that catered to them.
And The Rational Kitchen was born.
What Makes Us Different from Other Review Sites?
So here's what makes us different:
- We do extensive research and testing to deeply understand the products we review. Hundreds of hours of research and testing go into every single product we write about.
- We are not afraid to recommend a higher-priced or less popular product if it's better. (We are also not afraid to recommend the popular product if it's actually good.)
- We cater to buyers who would rather spend more up front to get an excellent product than buy the cheaper stuff all over again in a year or two.
- Within the framework of buying the best quality products you can afford, we also strive to find you the best deals. You rarely have to buy the most expensive item to get the best product for your needs: the sweet spot for most people is usually somewhere in the middle.
In a nutshell: we put quality first and price second.
This doesn't mean we automatically recommend the more expensive products. (That would be stupid.) It just means that we're not swayed by price or popularity. Instead, we dig deeply to figure out the pros and cons of products and make our recommendations based on what we find to be the very best quality. And we'll do this at several different price points so that even if you're on a tight budget, you can still be assured you're getting the best product you can afford.
So if you're looking for the cheapest stuff, or the trendiest and most popular stuff, our site probably isn't going to help you. (And you don't need us, anyway, because those products are easy to find.) But if you want to really understand a product before you buy it, so you can feel confident that you're getting exactly what you want before you buy, then check out our reviews. We guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised at the depth of our research, and you'll almost certainly learn something you didn't know before you got here.
Finally, and it probably goes without saying, but we don't take money from any manufacturer, ever. Our opinions are our own, and they always will be.
For more on our buying philosophy, and how to educate yourself about how to make smart buying decisions, check out these articles:
Okay. So quality is our number one factor. But how can you be sure that we know quality when we see it? How can you be sure we know what we're doing? Why should you trust us?
Every member of our staff has a background in either the sciences, in engineering, or in the culinary arts. Collectively, we bring about eight decades of this experience to the testing table (as it were). Every one of us is also passionate about this project. We love the work and the challenge of finding the best products to recommend to frustrated consumers. We really want to help.
Most of all, we don't recommend any product that we don't love or wouldn't use ourselves.
If we tell you it's good, then it's good. And we will explain why it's good in excruciating detail, so you know you can trust us. (And, if for some reason you don't like our recommendation, we've also given you enough information so you can go out and find something you do like. We teach you about the products we review, we don't just tell you which is "best.")
Every article we write reflects our respect for knowledge and critical thinking, and our love for the culinary arts. So you can be sure that when you take our advice, you're taking the advice of real experts--experts who have your best interests at heart and truly want to help you choose wisely and well.
Because rational thinking is the most important ingredient in every one of our reviews, and because it will result (we hope) in you making the best (smartest) choices for your kitchen. (Although this doesn't mean ignoring aesthetics, which we take into account for every product we review--it shouldn't be an either/or! A pretty kitchen is a happy kitchen is a functional kitchen!)
We hope you enjoy our reviews, as well as the smattering of other cooking, kitchen, and food-related info you’ll find here. But most of all, we hope you trust us to help you find high quality kitchen products at the best prices available.
Thank you for joining us!