- Ovulation tests (OPKs) measure hormones in your urine to help determine your fertility window.
- Most often, OPKs are used when trying to optimize intercourse to conceive.
- Our top pick, Clearblue Ovulation Test, is easy to use and read, and provides more forewarning before ovulation.
- This article was medically reviewed by Rhonia Gordon, MD, a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone.
At-home ovulation tests, also known as ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), help determine when your best chances of getting pregnant are. Technically, it helps pinpoint when a female is going to release an egg that could be fertilized, a period known as ovulating.
While you don’t need to use an OPK when you’re trying to conceive, zeroing in on your 24 to 48-hour ovulation window dramatically increases your chances of getting pregnant.
First, a quick bio lesson: During a female’s menstrual cycle, one ovary releases an egg. As the egg develops, it secretes estrogen. As this hormone level rises, that signals to your pituitary gland that the egg is ready to be fertilized, Tia Jackson-Bey, MD, MPH, an OB-GYN, reproductive endocrinologist, and infertility specialist at RMA of New York in Brooklyn told Insider. The pituitary gland then increases the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) it releases.
For most women, this surge in LH marks the one or two days they’re most fertile during their cycle. Anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after the LH surge, ovulation occurs (most often, it’s 36 hours after). Your full fertile window is made up of the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself.
At-home ovulation tests generally work by monitoring the amount of LH in your urine, although some also measure estrogen metabolites in urine. Some tests can be urinated on directly (midstream tests), while others are meant to be dipped in urine (dipsticks or dip strips).
When LH reaches a certain threshold — which indicates you’re ovulating and an egg is ready to be fertilized — your test shows a positive result. This comes as either an objective result — a digital “yes” or “no,” or a smiley face or other symbol indicating a positive result — or subjective results, which usually involves judging if your test line is darker, and how much darker, than the control line.
As someone trying to get pregnant myself, I’ve used at-home ovulation tests for a while. I often turned to the less expensive tests that come in large packs, but after my fertility doctor mentioned it’d be worth investing in some of the higher-end options for quality and ease-of-use, I got curious about how different OPKs stack up against each other. (FWIW, the docs I spoke with for this piece said price doesn’t actually reflect quality.)
For this guide, I tested a variety of OPKs over the course of one menstrual cycle. As part of ongoing fertility testing, I was having ultrasounds during that cycle which confirmed when I was ovulating — so in addition to evaluating how easy the tests were to use and interpret, I also was able to test how accurate the tests were for me individually.
Here are the best ovulation tests:
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