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Top 6 Ovulation Tests: Comparing & Testing OPK Brands
For many, trying to conceive can be a huge rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs. We all try to find ways to improve our odds of getting pregnant fast. How about take that one magic supplement? Have sex that one specific day? Or just hope for the best?
There are MANY different things you can do to boost your odds (I go over all of them in TTC School), but I always say that the easiest and best way to increase your chances of getting pregnant is using Ovulation Tests (like this one; they’re also known as Ovulation Predictor Kits or OPK’s).
Before going down this road, there’s two things I want you to know: you want to make sure you use the best ovulation test out there and you want to make sure you use them the right way. This article is all about that first part: finding out which ovulation tests are the best (or at least, which worked best for me). And the second part, making sure you use them the RIGHT way, is what I teach in my free mini-course: OPK Secrets.
First, let’s talk about what OPK’s can do for you. I promise I’ll keep this short because all the nitty-gritty details are in the full OPK Secrets video course.
Then, we’ll get to the main setup of my not-quite scientific OPK-experiment. After which the results will follow! Can’t wait to see the results? Then jump ahead to the results. And if you’re really impatient, jump ahead to see my Top 6 Ovulation Tests.
Picking the Right Ovulation Prediction Test For You
This article will help you identify what I believe to be the best Ovulation Predictor Kits on the market. Because if you’re anything like me, you want to know which brand is the most sensitive and which brand can tell you when you’re in the fertile window. You’ve probably even tried out a bunch of brands yourself already! But what I’m pretty sure you have not done is test more than a dozen brands using the exact same urine sample.
Now before diving in, I want to let you know that I’m a huge fan of ovulation tests. I LOVE OPK’s! They’re simple, effective, cheap and most importantly, accurate. And because I love all OPK’s, going in, I don’t have a favorite OPK brand or any preconceived notions about who should come out on top. What I want is to simply know which is the best in my little test, or if they’re all equally good. That would be just as awesome as well!
How Does an Ovulation Test Work?
Ovulation Predictor Kits do exactly what their name suggests; predict ovulation!
They do this by detecting a hormone called LH (Luteinizing Hormone) in your urine. So what you do is you pee in a cup and stick the LH strip into the urine for a few seconds. Then, you lay it down and wait for the lines to appear!
The LH surge starts 1-2 days before ovulation. This means that the LH hormone starts rising and becomes detectable in urine, and this rapid rise is what causes the egg to break free -you have ovulation-. Just look at this chart right here:
See the dotted line? That’s when ovulation happens! And that red line? That’s how your LH levels change during your cycle!
Once luteinizing hormone starts to really increase (also known as the LH surge), which happens right at the start of the yellow highlight, that’s when an OPK becomes positive too: the test line will be (almost) the same intensity as the control line. Now you’re at peak fertility: go have sex!
Why Your Baseline LH Level Matters
Looking at that chart on the previous page, you may think that everyone has that exact LH surge, with the exact same rise in LH levels. Nope!
We all differ in:
- Baseline LH levels
- How fast the LH level rises
- How high the LH level gets
- How long it takes until you ovulate
In my free mini-course (OPK Secrets), I talk about the importance of starting testing early in your cycle, long before you expect to ovulate.
Because you need to know what your baseline LH test looks like, because that will show you exactly what your personal negative looks like! And your negative may look a lot different than mine.
That’s because if your baseline LH levels are very low, that could mean that even with a 10-fold increase in LH leading up to ovulation, your test line will be lighter than the test line from someone with a very high baseline LH and only a 5-fold increase in LH.
My tests are unique to me and your tests will be unique to you. We’re all different! Having said that, all OPK comparisons shown in this eBook can be compared to each other because they’re done using the same urine sample.
So make sure you pee on a stick early in your cycle so you know what YOUR baseline test looks line!
Testing the Popular OPK Brands
With so many brands out there, how do you know which is best? Does it even matter, or are they all equally good? Which test is most sensitive? And which OPK is the easiest to interpret?
Remember how I promised you this guide will help you identify the best ovulation test? Well, in the next section that’s exactly what I’ll be showing you in great detail. I wrote this article to find out which test is best, but what does “best” even mean? To try to quantify the things I am looking for in a good OPK test, I made this list of questions that an OPK should be able to answer:
- Will baseline urine (with very little LH present) show up as a negative (no line visible)?
- Can the OPK detect an early LH surge (several days before your peak day)?
- Is the test line darker than the control line when testing at peak LH?
- Is the OPK easily readable after only a few minutes?
- Can the test still identify peak LH even when you’re extremely hydrated/after drinking a LOT of water?
If the answer to all these question is a resounding “yes”, then we’re dealing with a good test. If some or all of them are “no”, well, then it’s probably best to avoid.
How The Test Was Set Up
To answer these questions, I collected and tested 5 urine samples.
- A baseline urine sample with very low LH, which should always be negative.
- An early LH surge urine sample. This is perhaps the most important test of all. Ideally, a good OPK would show a test line that is darker than the baseline sample. Depending on how close you are to ovulation, it may be as dark as the control line, or not quite as dark just yet. This experiment is the equivalent of testing right at the start of your fertile window!
- A peak LH urine sample. Here, the test line must be as dark or darker than the control line.
- A 50% water / 50% peak urine sample. The test line should ideally still be very visible. This is to mimic drinking a lot of water. A strong test line means the test is sensitive enough even if you stay hydrated.
- A 75% water / 25% peak urine sample. The test line should ideally still be very visible. This is to mimic testing while being super hydrated. A strong test line here also means the test is very sensitive.
Each urine sample was kept in a sterile plastic cup, and each OPK test was dipped for approximately 5 seconds. Filming and taking photos was done using the same setup each and every time too.
I recorded 5 OPKs at a time (one strip for each urine sample), which looks like this:
I made sure to record each test for a total of 10 minutes. In this example, the 5 urine samples (ranging from no LH to peak LH) were tested using the same brand, 5 minutes after dipping it in urine.
For the purposes of this article, I’ll show you the final result after 10 minutes. If you’re curious about how fast the ovulation tests can show you a result, download the PDF Guide where I show the progression from 1 minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes.
I made sure to record video of each test for a total of 10 minutes, so if you haven’t already, you can view the full test showing all ovulation test strips in this video.
For the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the findings after 10 minutes.
DISCLAIMER: In no way is this a true scientific test, this is me testing OPK brands that I bought (none were provided for free) using my own urine samples. I am reviewing and comparing the different ovulation tests. It is likely you will have different outcomes.
Needless to say, it was a lot of dipping, testing, checking, and recording. Doing the math, that’s 70 tests! 14 tests x 5 urine samples!
These brands were tested (affiliate links):
E.P.T. Digital Ovulation Test (digital, quantitative)
Clearblue Digital Ovulation Predictor Kit (digital)
EZ Level (cheapie)
FIY: It is possible that some of these brands look different than the images below. That’s because I conducted these tests last year and the manufacturer could’ve changed the packaging and stick color.
I think it’s time I stop with all the prefacing, let’s dive headfirst into the results. Shall we?
Test Results: Video and PDF
I’m going to go in great detail below about which ovulation test is the best and which is not. But if you’d rather see the results for yourself, simply view the video. And if you’d rather save a copy for yourself, simply download the printable PDF version of this article.
Test Results: Digital Ovulation Tests
When it comes to OPKs, the most expensive option, and potentially also the best and most accurate option, are so-called quantitative digital OPK tests. These tests give you an actual reading, a number, of the LH hormone.
Generally, if the test tells you you have a level of 30 mIU/ML or higher, it is considered a positive OPK: your surge is happening! And if a test gives a very high score, say 80 mIU/ML or higher, then you’re probably right at your LH peak. But, as was said on the previous page, all of us have different baseline test scores and all of us have different “peak” test scores too. So always establish your own baseline first!
The E.P.T. Quantitative Test
The first OPK I’ll be testing is such a quantitative test: the e.p.t. Digital Ovulation Test. This digital test can tell us a few things that a simple test can’t:
First, we can answer this question: What are the actual LH levels of the 5 urine samples? Is the baseline close to 0? What is the LH level at surge and peak? And does diluting the urine cut down the LH level?
Answering these questions can really help you understand your own body. And knowing actual LH levels can also come in handy when trying to interpret regular old-fashioned OPK tests!
Second, we can answer this question: is the device reliable? By testing each urine sample twice (a so-called “test-retest”), we hope to see the exact same LH reading on the second go-round as we see on the first try. Alright, enough talk, let’s start comparing!
At Baseline, we get the result I had hoped for: 0 LH is detected.
At the start of the LH surge, the LH level was 15 mIU/mL on the first test, and 18 mIU/mL on the second test. Pretty close and the score is in line with an (very) early LH surge!
Peak LH shows a very high level both times (95+ mIU/mL). In fact, you can’t score any higher than 100 mIU/mL! According to
e.p.t., any score above 30 on this test is a positive OPK.
And finally, diluting the urine does indeed make the LH levels drop, but not by that much. The test is still very positive after using only 25% urine (75% water) (46 mIU/mL and 67 mIU/mL)!
In other words, drinking plenty of fluids is unlikely to be a problem.
E.P.T Conclusion & Score
It’s pretty amazing seeing an actual quantitative value representing LH. I’m impressed by the results. They’re pretty steady and give a good indication of your LH levels. Of course, I don’t have lab equipment to test whether the number it spits out is accurate, but it’s good enough to help you find your optimal fertile window!
Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test
I tested the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test (pink stick), there’s also a purple one that does the same thing that not only measures LH but also the hormone estrogen, but that wouldn’t be a fair comparison to the others in this test.
Here’s what I found when testing the Clearblue on the 5 different urine samples:
As expected, the baseline urine sample was a “no”.
The Clearblue test, however, missed the early LH surge. Although, this in’t very surprising since the e.p.t. digital test estimated the LH level at 15 to 18 mIU/mL, and Clearblue has a sensitivity of 40 mIU/mL. But for many women who want to maximize their fertile window, and therefore need to know early on if they’re in their fertile window, this test simply isn’t sensitive enough!
At peak LH, the smiley face appears.
And diluting with to either 50% peak LH urine, or 25% peak LH urine still gives us that smiley face.
Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test Conclusion & Score
If you known your LH levels tend to rise really high, then the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test can be a good choice. It does miss my early LH phase though, so for women with low LH, or those who want to have an early heads up that the fertile window is fast approaching, this ovulation test isn’t the best choice.
Test Results: Cheapie Ovulation Tests
The most common type of OPK is colloquially named a “cheapie” or “internet cheapie”, but it’s also known under different names such as: paper LH test, simple LH test, or just OPK.
Cheapies are my favorite kind of OPK because you can buy a whole box of them for $20 and there’s a lot less plastic waste than with digital OPK’s. And being cheap does not make them bad in any way. In fact, I like them the most! But there are distinct differences between different brands, and that’s what I’ll compare next.
In any case, the most important thing to remember with cheapies is that a test line that is as dark or darker than the control line is considered a positive. But, if your baseline LH levels are very low (like mine), an early LH surge is unlikely to be quite as dark as the control line just yet -but I’d still count it as positive!-.
One thing to note when it comes to cheapie ovulation tests, is that I have never been able to find them in a brick and mortar store. I get all my ovulation tests from Amazon, and you probably have to do so as well (or another online retailer).
So without further ado, let’s show the cheapie test results!
Wondfo Ovulation Test Predictor
Baseline: test line is barely visible on the baseline test. So far so good!
Early LH surge: the line is somewhat faint, but much darker than the test line of the baseline sample.
Peak LH: The test line is much darker than the control line, as we would expect.
Diluted samples: even when diluting with water the ovulation test remains very positive. That means you don’t have to worry about how much water you drank before testing!
Wondfo Ovulation Test Strips Predictor Conclusion & Score
The Wondfo is affordable, doesn’t feel flimsy and does what it needs to do. This is a very decent choice and one you should consider.
Easy@Home Ovulation Test Predictor
Baseline: there’s only an extremely faint test at baseline (a urine sample early in the cycle (almost) without LH).
Early LH surge: The test line of the surge was not as dark as the control line, but definitely darker than the baseline sample. It’s possible to detect this early hormone surge.
Peak LH: Very clear peak test line. In fact, it’s already visible after a minute.
Diluted samples: even after diluting with 50% water the ovulation test remains positive. The final sample where the urine is diluted even more (for example, after drinking lots of water) loses some color in the test line. I’d say the control might be slightly darker, but it’s close.
Easy@Home Ovulation Test Predictor Conclusion & Score
The Easy@Home strips are relatively big and chunky, which I like. Results also show up very quickly. Any haziness disappears after 5 minutes or so. Overall, a solid choice.
“Generic” Ovulation Test Predictor
These were the cheapest OPK’s I could find, they’re no-name generic ones that I bought from eBay. I wanted to see whether the “worst” would still offer satisfactory outcomes. So let’s try it out!
Baseline: Test line is completely absent, which is good. But this could indicate that the test isn’t sensitive enough.
Early LH surge: Surge test line barely visible. It’s hard to know if this is the start of the surge or just a more concentrated baseline sample.
Peak LH: We can clearly see the peak LH test line, but test line is definitely not darker than control line.
Diluted samples: I’d say this result is mediocre at best. Diluting the sample results in the test line being much less positive.
Generic Ovulation Test Predictor Conclusion & Score
The Generic LH strips are very thin and flimsy. There’s some streaky and haziness even after 5 minutes, but it eventually dissipates. Clearly going the cheap route has some disadvantages: only at the absolute LH peak does the test line become very visible.
Femometer Ovulation Test Strips
Baseline: 5 stars for baseline, there’s a very very slight hint of a test line.
Early LH surge: Surge test line is not even close to the control line darkness, but with a little squinting you can make out the start of a positive.
Peak LH: The test line is darker than the control line, just the way we like seeing it.
Diluted samples: The 50% diluted sample still has a test line that is darker than the control line. Test and control line are about the same with the 25% peak sample.
Femometer Ovulation Test Strips Conclusion & Score
The Femometer are slightly thinner than some of the others, but they’re easy to use and develop very fast. I’d like see slightly darker “early LH surge” test line, but overall, the results are as I would expect them to be.
Smilereader Ovulation Test Strips
Baseline: the test line is not visible at all, which may indicate that the test isn’t sensitive enough with low LH levels.
Early LH surge: Surge test line extremely faint, which shows that the test may not be sensitive enough to give you an early heads up.
Peak LH: Even the peak LH test line is still not as dark as the control line.
Diluted samples: The 50% peak sample looks similar to peak in test line intensity, but the 25% sample is far from positive. This could present itself as a a false negative if you’re well hydrated.
Smilereader Ovulation Test Strips Conclusion & Score
The Smilereader test strips are very thin, but they are quick to develop and haziness dissipates after 5 minutes. Overall, Smilereader seems less sensitive than most others. It could be a good option if your LH levels are naturally high.
Pregmate Ovulation Test Strips
Baseline: The test is very light (negative), but there’s still a slight hint of a line. This is exactly what I like to see, as it means it’s probably sensitive enough to detect an early LH surge, but not too sensitive to give you false positives.
Early LH surge: The surge test line is darker than the baseline test line, but not as dark as the control.
Peak LH: At the time of peak LH surge, the test line is extremely dark, even darker than the control line. It’s also very fast to develop which means you don’t have to wait around before checking the test.
Diluted samples: The 50% test line sample is about as dark as the control line, but 25% peak urine is somewhat lighter.
Pregmate Ovulation Test Strips Conclusion & Score
I like the Pregmate ovulation test a lot. It’s chunky and simple to use, develops fast, and can detect small changes. Since I’ve tested these it looks like Pregmate has switched to a blue test strip (mine were pink). Let’s hope the new ones are equally impressive!
iProven Ovulation Test Strips
Baseline: The test is barely visible. So far so good.
Early LH surge: The early surge sample shows a decent test line and can give you a heads up that your levels are rising.
Peak LH: The test line is darker than the control line, but test lines are both a bit patchy.
Diluted samples: The test line of the 50% sample is just a tad bit darker than the control line. At 75% water, the control line is darker though.
iProven Ovulation Test Strips Conclusion & Score
The iProven are pretty thin and flimsy, but they did the trick. It was sensitive and fast to develop too.
Checkurate Ovulation Test Strips
Baseline: There’s a very faint line, as one would expect.
Early LH surge: The early surge sample was slightly darker than the baseline sample, but lines were patchy, making it harder to read.
Peak LH: The test line of peak sample about as dark as the control line. Lines again seem a bit patchy.
Diluted samples: Both the test line of the 50:50 urine:water and the 25% sample are quite a bit lighter than the control line. Not really what I like to see.
Checkurate Ovulation Test Strips Conclusion & Score
The Checkurate test strips are very thin and flimsy, they also weren’t fast to develop. I had to wait 10 minutes to be able to interpret them. The lines of the tests were harder to read than most other brands. It also seems less sensitive.
EZ Level Ovulation Test Strips
Baseline: A shadow of a test line visible which means that some LH was detected
Early LH surge: This test result would give you an early heads up that the surge is starting. The test line is much more visible than the test line of the baseline sample.
Peak LH: The test line of the peak sample looks clear and is darker than the control line.
Diluted samples: The 50% sample is still positive but 25% sample is a bit lighter than the control line.
EZ Level Ovulation Test Strips Conclusion & Score
The EZ Level test strips are thick and sturdy and are weren’t fast to develop. Overall, I found them to be great.
Clinical Guard Ovulation Test Strips
Baseline: There’s just a little bit of a hint of a test line.
Early LH surge: The test may give you a heads up if you compare it to the baseline test sample, but it’s really faint.
Peak LH: Test line much darker than the control line, with results already visible after just 1 minute.
Diluted samples: The 50% peak sample still looks positive but the 25% test is somewhat more faint, but still visible.
ClinicalGuard Ovulation Test Strips Conclusion & Score
Overall, the Clinical Guard test strips are somewhat thin but they do the job and are sensitive.
Healva Ovulation Predictor Kit
Baseline: There’s just a little bit of a hint of a test line.
Early LH surge: There’s a very faint test line and it would be very hard to tell if your LH levels are rising based on these lines.
Peak LH: Peak test line darker than the control line but test looks very faded making it harder to read.
Diluted samples: The 50% diluted sample looks good (but faded), the 25% peak urine sample is very faint, both lines are hard to read.
Healva Ovulation Predictor Kit Conclusion & Score
The Healva test strips are thin and lines faded, like it’s missing pigment. I did not like these and it would just stress me out having to interpret such faint lines when I’m trying to get pregnant.
MomMed Ovulation Test Strips
Baseline: There’s a is very faint test line.
Early LH surge: The early surge test line is lighter than the control line, but definitely darker than the baseline sample. With a bit of squinting, you can catch the early surge.
Peak LH: The test line of the peak sample is much darker than the control line.
Diluted samples: The 50% diluted sample is a clear positive but the sample with 75% water isn’t positive anymore, but still visible.
MomMed Ovulation Predictor Kit Conclusion & Score
These MomMed test strips are somewhat thin, but develop fast and clear. They’re easy to read because of the clear lines and appear pretty sensitive
The Winners: Which Ovulation Test is the Best?
That was a lot of testing (and a lot of reading on your part!), so I’ll keep the final results short and sweet: to me, 6 ovulation tests out of the 14 tested really stood out. These 6 are the ones I’d recommend over the others because they provided clear results and were sensitive to an early LH surge -which is really important to give you a heads up about your fertile window-. They were also unfazed by dilution/hydration level, and test lines were clear and easy to see.
The top 6 tests from my OPK Labs test are (in no particular order):
These earned high marks in all of my test categories. I’d say it’s an affordable option you should definitely consider.
This one provides an actual estimate of the LH level found in your urine sample, which I found really cool and informative. In my test – retest analysis it also proved to be pretty reliable. The only downside is, they’re pretty expensive.
These are a bit thinner than the other top choices, but the test itself worked really well (clear, beautiful test and control lines).
These did an excellent job of detecting the peak LH surge and didn’t fade much with dilution.
These tests are very chunky which inspires confidence. They also give clear results and even provide a very obvious early LH warning signal.
These tests look exactly the same to me as EZ Level, and they also gave me identical (but good) results. My tests were conducted a year ago, and it appears that Pregmate may have switched to blue tests since then and I have no reason to believe the updates ones aren’t equally as good as these pink ones.