How I Review Products & Programs

Skip the long article and watch the video instead!

Here at GymCrafter, I regularly review and make product and programming recommendations for your home and garage gym. Because those recommendations affect your health and your wallet, I take that responsibility seriously.

I train at home just like you do, and I understand how important it is to make decisions that positively impact your health goals.

I hold myself to the highest possible standards when evaluating home gym gear and training programs, and I thought you might be interested in exactly what my approach is and how something ends up being recommended here on GymCrafter.

What I Do:

ALL content on GymCrafter is written 100% by me, a real, live human! I NEVER use AI to write any part of my reviews or articles.

✅ I Start By Shopping For Myself

I don’t review products or programs simply for the sake of posting reviews. A large number of the products and programs reviewed here on GymCrafter started as something I purchased for myself.

In that process, I do exactly what any smart consumer does: Lots and lots of research.

If I buy a product, you can be sure that I’ve already evaluated all of the options. I’ve read a ton of customer reviews and watched hours of YouTube.

Only when I am fairly certain I am buying the right product for my goals and budget do I purchase the item or program.

✅ I Buy A Lot Of This Stuff With My Own Money

Not a week goes by where I don’t at least get one manufacturer offering us free products in exchange for a posted review. I decline most of those offers (but not all, see below).

I want to see each product or program through a customer’s eyes. That means that when I can, I buy it in exactly. the same way and at the same price as you do.

None of the big home gym review sites do this. NONE OF THEM!

In my opinion, it is virtually impossible to write an unbiased and honest review if the product was given to you at no charge with the expectation of a positive review.

In the interest of transparency, there are a handful of products that were sent to me at no charge. In those cases, I clearly state this in the review and explain why I decided to review that particular product or program.

✅ I Use Everything For A Minimum Of 6 Months In My Own Gyms Before Writing A Review

90% of the home gym gear reviews online are done without ever owning or using the product reviewed. In my opinion, this is dishonest at best.

How many times have you bought something that you loved at first but, after thorough use, realized it wasn’t nearly as good as you thought it was? It happens all the time, right?

So what good is a review of a barbell, bench, or program if the reviewer hasn’t spent a good amount of time really getting to know it?

None. None at all.

Does this mean I don’t publish reviews on a product’s release date? Yes. Does it also mean my reviews are much more reliable and based on actual facts? It sure does!

✅ I Only Recommend Equipment From Companies With Exceptional Customer Service

Since I buy a lot of this stuff as a customer, I not only get to see the front-end buying experience but the entire process. I see how products are shipped. I call or chat with customer service. And I sometimes return things to see how refunds and returns work.

If any of those things are negative, I call them out in the review.

Over time, I’ve developed a trusted group of manufacturers that I am confident will give our readers and viewers the best possible experience. These are the companies that I make repeat purchases from and. the companies that end up being reviewed here most often.

✅ I Look For Great Gear First and Revenue Second

99% of ALL other home gym websites ONLY review gear and companies for which they are an affiliate. This is a huge problem.

When I buy products for my own gym, I do not care whether or not there is an affiliate program. That has no bearing on whether or not it’s a great product or not. I will write a review and recommendation regardless.

I never make product recommendations or change our opinions based on the potential income of recommending a product.

A great example of this is PowerBlocks dumbbells. PowerBlocks eliminated almost all of their affiliates at the beginning of the pandemic. They didn’t need anyone’s help selling dumbbells at that time.

So, even though I make zero revenue from recommending PowerBlocks dumbbells, I consistently recommend them as the best possible adjustable dumbbell option. That’s because they are. I use PowerBlocks in my gym, so that’s what I recommend.

Most other sites have moved to recommending NuoBells instead of PowerBlocks. Are they better? NO! Do they pay more than zero? Yes, they do. And they are possibly the worst and most unreliable adjustable dumbbells on the market.

GymCrafter will NEVER make a product or program recommendation based on potential income. NEVER.

✅ I Objectively Score Every Item I review

Opinions are great, but you know what they say about opinions… Everyone has one, and most of them stink!

While I think my opinions are a bit different, I still understand that product reviews can be very subjective. That’s why I went to great lengths to develop an objective product scoring system based on repeatable testing.

Every product I review will have a score based on a large number of measurable qualities. This goes way beyond the manufacturer’s specs as I seek to measure the things that will actually matter to the end user.

You can see an in-depth explanation of every product scoring system I’ve developed here.

What I Don’t Do:

There are a few things I NEVER do here on GymCrafter.

❌ Hide Negative reviews

Sometimes, even with my best research, I buy a product or program that turns out to be. a stinker. In those cases, I post honest, yet negative, reviews. In those reviews, I advise our readers either not to buy the product or I share an alternative that is of higher quality.

❌ Write Reviews Based On Rounding Up Other People’s Reviews

Too many websites simply summarize all the reviews on Amazon when reviewing a product. considering the number of fake and paid-for reviews on Amazon and anywhere else that customer reviews are found (Notice how everyone’s products all have 4.5+ out of 5 ratings from thousands of customers without a single bad or critical review? That’s not accurate information.)

I feel that you are perfectly capable of reading through customer reviews on your own. I also feel that my readers deserve better. This is why I insist on only reviewing products that I own and use myself.

What Has Changed As GymCrafter Grows

GymCrafter is my full-time job. Because of that, I have to bring in enough income to cover my bills and expenses. That means I’ve started doing a couple of things I didn’t when I started the site in 2018.

First, I take a lot more free products from manufacturers now. I’ve fully equipped my gym and don’t need to buy anything else. The only way to keep showing you new products is to accept these offers.

Second, I do charge some companies for my time in addition to receiving free products.

But wait a second! Didn’t I just go to great lengths to say how bad those things are? I did, but it’s either do that or go back to corporate America, and I like helping you all too much to do that. So, here’s what I’ve put in place. Hopefully, this puts your mind at ease, and I’ve earned enough trust along the way for you to continue to trust me.

I Say No To All Garbage

You wouldn’t believe the amount of crap out there in the world that companies (both US and non-US) want to give review sites for free. It’s staggering. I say no to all of that right away. There is no need to waste your time or mine on that stuff.

I reply To All Inquiries With This Exact Email

“Thanks for reaching out. I’d love to take a look at your XXX and share it with my readers. It looks like it might be useful for them.

I charge $XXX per product, would need the product shipped to me at no charge, and after our agreement is fulfilled, I get to keep the product and do with it what I wish.

The charge listed above does not influence my review. It pays me for my time. It takes, on average, 30-40 hours per product to unbox, assemble, shoot an assembly video, shoot a first impressions video, create multiple pieces of content for social media, and do a final review. You are paying for my time and nothing else.

The reviews and the content I create will be 100% honest. If I hate your product, I will tell my readers on my site and YouTube channel. Same if I love it. If you do not want 100% honest and authentic reviews and opinions, we would not be a good fit.

I use everything I review for at least 4-6 months prior to a final review. That final review will highlight anything that didn’t last and any opinions that have changed over time in either direction. I do not post a full review until this time. If you need a review posted on the release date of your product, we would not be a good fit.

If this all sounds good to you, I’m happy to discuss things further. Please let me know what you think.”

90-95% of all the companies that reach out never respond to this email. If you see any content on my site, Instagram, or YouTube channel marked as “sponsored,” you can be assured that they not only received this email but that the points laid out are included in my contract with that company.

I Don’t Charge Most Companies

Some companies have been supportive of GymCrafter from the beginning. And larger, more reputable companies simply don’t pay for your time. Instead, they offer an affiliate commission. These companies often send products to me at no charge, but I still buy a good percentage from them with my own money.

My commitment to you is to always point out in my reviews which of these things apply. If I bought it with my own money, I tell you. If it was sent for free, I tell you. If it’s a sponsored block of content, I not only tell you but flag it on whatever platform you see it on as “sponsored.”

I’ve Said All I Can, Now Watch My Actions

Talk is cheap.

Anyone can claim before every review that it’s honest and true and blah, blah, blah. It’s really easy to tell when they are full of it.

So, all I can do from here is follow through on what I’ve said. If you ever think I’m not being 100% honest or authentic, please call me out. If you want to send me an email ( or DM, I answer every single one. If you want to call me out publicly, I also answer every single comment on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. I’m happy to reply to your concern in any matter you’d prefer.