At BestBambooGuide, our goal is to provide timely, accurate information and independent reviews without bias. These are based on verified customer purchases and testing on our own purchases of products. In the process of reviewing customer experiences, we've put together more than 250,000 reviews from multiple online sources from customers that actually own the products we review. These form the basis for narrowing down the bamboo sheets, pillows, mattress toppers, etc., that we then purchase and put through further in house testing. Even after our articles are written, we monitor new reviews that come in, and watch how the products perform over time, updating our data about once per year.
We Are Only As Good As Our Data
We use a number of sources to collect data on customer experiences with each product in our reviews. The following are the general types of places we look:
Retail Websites and Product Pages
A large portion of the data we collect before finalizing our list of products to test comes from the product page on various retail websites such as Amazon, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and many more. Basically any major retail outlet that sells these products online and has customer reviews gets a visit from us at some point so that we can see what the aggregate ratings are, but also so we can see what individual reviewers are saying. A product may have great overall reviews, but if 5% of people have an absolutely terrible experience that might indicate a quality control problem or a customer service problem. You don't want to be one of that 5%!
In addition to the sheer number of sources in this category, we take a lot of care to make sure the reviews we are looking at are from legitimate reviewers. Even things such as Amazon's "verified purchase" tag are really not enough in many cases. We take the time to look at the user profile, and the actual words the reviewer wrote. If a product has 100 reviews come in on the same day and they are all a variation of "It's great!" with no meaningful content, then we're skeptical. It's important to make sure the reviews are legitimate and that the reviewers were not paid to leave them.
Product Review Websites (aka, Our Competitors)
We're not the only website out there reviewing bamboo products, bedding products, or other accessories. We definitely go through all of the major review websites we can find to see what everyone else is saying. Of course, we treat these with the same skepticism that we use on customer reviews. Here the major issue is how the review website is getting compensated for their review. If the manufacturers are paying them, or if particular manufacturers are paying them MORE for favorable reviews, then we need to take that into consideration.
The important thing here is site selection. It is quite common for websites to receive compensation to recommend specific models of a product or a particular brand. Since we spend a lot of time looking at these sites we know which ones are authentic and which ones are not. We use that expertise to focus on the authentic review websites that do real testing of products (like we do!) and provide unbiased information.
Discussion Boards and Forums
These can be a great source of information, but are a pain to sift through. There are very high quality discussion boards at places like Reddit and on the Stack Exchange network. Some people with a lot of experience in bamboo or in sleep disorders and sleep products participate and can provide great feedback on various products. The difficulty is in tracking down all of the information since these forums tend to have lots of conversations and discussions that aren't relevant in the bamboo bedding world at all.
The other issue with forums and discussion boards is that almost all of the information is anecdotal. It's particular people talking about a specific experience with a product. While this is great information, it isn't comprehensive at all. Luckily we can go through hundreds of boards to get a better picture of the overall data.
Manufacturer Information and Publicly Available Data
While we would never just rehash the sales copy that a manufacturer provides, they do often release a lot of performance data and product and manufacturing details that give great insight into the research and development at the company, and the types of production facilities and processes they are using to make their bamboo fabric. Since most people buying bamboo products are concerned about the health implications of bamboo and the environmental impact of their bedding purchases, this manufacturer data on production process is vital. Going through all of the technical specifications and chemical data on the production process can be daunting, but that's why we're experts! We know the difference between viscose bamboo, rayon from bamboo, lyocell bamboo, Tencel, you name it.
Often manufacturers provide details such as:
- Exact material composition
- Where the fabric is made
- Where the end product is made
- Sizes, dimensions, types of stitching
- Where to buy the products
- Prices and discounts
- Specific characteristics of the product such as thread count for sheets, thermal weight for duvets, etc.
- Care instructions
- Warranty information
- Customer service history of the company
- Shipping times and policies
- Return policies
In-House Testing of the Products
This is where the great bamboo bedding products get separated from the merely good. After using the above resources to narrow down the list of top products to test (since there are literally hundreds of bamboo products in every category and we simply can't buy and test all of them), we actually purchase the products and test it out. We put the sheets through multiple wash cycles, we dry off with the bamboo towels hundreds of times, we dump all of the bamboo sunglasses in the swimming pool and see how well they float. You name it, we test it. Through the process we take photos (sometimes destroying the product in the process as you can see in our Bamboo Pillow Reviews). This way you can see how well the product holds up, how well it wears, what's inside, and how accurate the care instructions are.
After the in-house testing, we arrive at a rating and a ranking of all the products. It's a pretty thorough process!
What Isn't In the Data?
We do not accept user reviews. As much as we appreciate feedback, we do not directly incorporate feedback from readers into our review process. It is just too open to manipulation, and is biased. The customers mostly likely to send us feedback directly are either fake and trying to promote a specific brand, or they are angry at the company and want to tell everyone how bad that company is. Feel free to leave reviews on the retail page where you bought the product, and it will definitely make into our aggregated data.
What Sets BestBambooGuide Apart?
We Love What We Do
We really enjoy testing, reviewing, and writing about bamboo products. We created this website because we thought there was a way for people to sleep healthier while promoting environmental sustainability, and that bamboo products were that way. Please contact us if you want to learn more about bamboo, bedding products, sleep-related health issues, environmental sustainability or just how we got the website up and running. A member of the BestBambooGuide team will respond to any inquiries as quickly as possible. We really are passionate about informing consumers so they can make the best choices with respect to their sleep.
We're Independent and Unbiased
This is a crucial point for us to emphasize. We even have a hole integrity policy on the site that clearly spells out how we generate money to pay for the site, how we collect and use information, and how we communicate with the various brands and companies that produce bamboo products. You'd be surprised how many review websites out there have a hidden agenda to promote particular brands or specific products. Please visit the integrity page to learn about all of the details.
Comprehensive Testing and Review Aggregation
BestBambooGuide offers thorough details for all sorts of bamboo based products, from sheets and bedding to pillows to sunglasses and bicycles. These bamboo products are changing all the time in terms of pricing, quality, availability, features and styles, environmental sustainability, and other key features that are critical to consumers making informed buying decisions. Sometimes we can only rely on consumer reviews that we find on the web since we cannot buy and test every single product that is released all the time. That task would be impossible. However, you can be certain that we strive to make sure that the information you find on BestBambooGuide is significantly more than the information you'll find on any other website out there.
Easy-to-Use Summaries and Tables
Choosing the best bamboo products and accessories, particularly in the bedding segment, is a difficult task considering all of the options available right now. There are big differences in price, quality, and features that can get confusing to the uninitiated. Our comparison charts are a quick way to immediately see which choices are best at each price point. We also have a comprehensive selection of individual product reviews from different brands across the whole array of bamboo bedding and bamboo accessories. We're adding new individual product reviews all the time, as well. We also have our big pillar articles that give a comprehensive overview of what to watch out for, which brands are the best, and a guide to the features and considerations you should have in mind when selecting a product.
Getting our readers accurate information is one of our top priorities. This is especially important with bamboo fabric, an area which has seen some over-the-top claims about its properties. While we agree that it is comfortable, soft and environmentally friendly, there are still downsides, and buying a bamboo pillow is not going to magically cure every health problem you have. Some websites are so intent on getting you to buy these products they make claims that are simply not true. We try to present fair and balanced information covering the upsides as well as the important downsides to bamboo fabrics and bamboo-based products.
In order to generate accurate information from the wealth of data that we sift through, we take the following steps:
- We collect a large list of all of the products available in a specific category. This involves going through hundreds of retail and manufacturer websites to make sure we have a completely up-to-date list of the products in the category. Once we have this we eliminate products that don't have sufficient data. We require the product to be available on at least one retail site (such as Amazon) and <strong>have at least 50 customer reviews</strong> that we feel are legitimate. If there aren't enough trustworthy reviews out there, then we keep the product on our list and revisit it the next time we update the article to see if there is enough to data to include it.
- We carefully check each customer review to make sure that it is a legitimate, quality review. This means that it is not only a "verified purchase" but also has some insight into the product and isn't just a "It's Great!" or "It's the worst!" type of comment. Those don't really give us any information. The review should demonstrate that the reviewer has actually used the product for some length of time, and has put some thought into the pros and cons they have experienced.
- We then purchase the top 10 (or so) products in each category and test them out ourselves. This includes using them, doing maintenance, etc. We see how they hold up to a reasonable amount of use over at least a couple of weeks, sometimes (much) longer.
Explanation of Our Rankings
While we just list a number on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0 so that it is easy to see the rating and relative ranking of each product, here we provide some information on what goes into establishing that single numerical score.
Obviously the criteria vary from category to category since the things we test for in bamboo sunglasses are quite different from those we test for in bamboo sheets. But the following guideline is a general outline:
- 1.0 to 1.9: Poor
- 2.0 to 2.9: Fair
- 3.0 to 3.9: Good
- 4.0 to 4.9: Very Good
- 5.0: Outstanding and Excellent and Amazing
Some things to keep in mind. Our ratings are based on a general experience with the product. You might have particular needs or opinions that differ from a "typical" consumer, so keep that in mind. If you know your needs are a bit different, read the individual product reviews to see what we have to say. We might indicate that an item is 4.5 overall, but is great for back sleepers.
The following list of particular factors for our bedding reviews (our most popular category of bamboo products) may have a big impact on which item you should choose:
The performance of any mattress, pillow, or other bedding product is going to depend on the position in which you sleep. We try to take into account the following sleeping positions when evaluating products:
- Stomach sleepers
- Back sleepers
- Side sleepers
- Combination sleepers
Body Type and Weight
This is a particularly big factor in mattress comfort, as the firmness makes a big difference based on your weight. We try to account for three different weight groups in our evaluations:
- Feather: Less than 125 pounds
- Average: 125 pounds to 225 pounds
- Heavy: More than 225 pounds
These two categories are some of the biggest reasons in variations in product performance from one consumer to another. We've tried to account for these in our aggregated data, but you definitely need to take the time to read the reviews to see which products are ideal for your size and sleeping position.
Other Factors We Consider
These are some general factors that we look at to arrive at our rankings. Not all of them are relevant to every product, and some are a little more focused on bedding than accessories since that is the where the majority of our testing goes (since spending $900 on a mattress demands a lot more research than a $20 sunglasses purchase).
- Price. People often follow the mantra, "you get what you pay for." Sometimes, however, a really expensive product can be terrible, or a cheap product can be excellent. We definitely factor in a value for your money component in our reviews. If a set of sheets is $250, then the baseline expectation is higher than for a $50 set of sheets, so we're a little stingier with the rating. Basically, if something gets a 5.0 rating it should always exceed your expectations, and your expectations are higher if the price is higher.
- Durability. It goes without saying that any product you buy should last a reasonable amount of time. We've definitely had bamboo products fall apart on us after 30 days, or even after the first wash. The amount of time a product should last and the amount of abuse it should take without getting damaged will vary from product to product, but make sure that a reasonable person would be happy with the durability and performance over time.
- Odor. This is mainly related to bamboo pillows and mattresses, since they are composed mostly of memory foam. This has a strong chemical odor that a lot of people find objectionable. We test to see how bad the odor is and how quickly it fades. If it is completely gone in a day or two or after a single wash, then we think that is fine. However, if the odor keeps lingering on for a week or more, then we take notice.
- Temperature regulation. This is a critically important factor in almost all bedding products, and is particularly important for bamboo bedding since the "thermoregulating" properties of bamboo are one of the primary reasons people buy bamboo bedding.
- Firmness. Primarily important for pillows and mattresses, the firmness is important for comfort. Even more important than the actual firmness level is that it stays consistent over time. If you buy a very firm mattress, you want it to stay firm even after years of use. The absolute level of firmness you like will vary from person to person, but you want it to stay the same over time. We really rely heavily on user experiences here since we cannot test mattresses over a 10-year time frame.
- Ease of Care. We consider any product that is machine washable and dry-able to be quite easy to care for. Products that require dry clean only or other special treatment, are a bit more challenging. This varies a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer and category to category.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Don't You List Some Products?
We get a lot of inquiries asking us why we haven't included a particular product in our lists. There are several possible reasons:
- Not enough reliable user data online. Our rankings rely on a comprehensive review of credible consumer experiences. If a product doesn't have enough reviews available we won't include it.
- The reviews weren't good enough to include it. We generally only include the top products in our lists. Unfortunately, to make the "best of" lists manageable we usually limit ourselves to 10 or so products. So not every product makes it onto the list.
Where Should I Start?
We think the most useful place to start is with our comprehensive buying guides. These provide a lot of information about the category of products, a list of the top 8 or 10 products in the category, quick bullet point reviews of the products, a summary table of features and ratings, as well as links to more in depth individual product reviews.
Once you know what features you are looking for, and have an idea of the differences in the top products, you can check the individual reviews for a more in depth look at each product.
Have More Questions?