When you’re trying to conceive (TTC), accurately pinpointing your fertile window is very important. One of the ways to do this is with an ovulation test kit or OPK (ovulation prediction kit).
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Ovulation tests are an at home urine test to measure the levels of LH hormone in your body. The luteinizing hormone is always in our bodies, but around 12-48 hours before ovulation there is a surge which triggers the follicle to release an egg causing ovulation to occur.
By testing the levels of LH in our system, we’re able to fairly accurately predict when ovulation is imminent and time sex for conception.
It’s also a really great idea to find out if your body is ovulating (whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not) as it can help identify any potential underlying conditions or hormone imbalances. Using an ovulation test kit alongside measuring your body’s natural fertility biomarkers is the most accurate way to find your fertile window – check out my post on how to accurately track ovulation using all these methods here!
So which is the best ovulation test kit to buy and how exactly do you use them?
How To Use Ovulation Tests
Ovulation tests aren’t a one day thing. In order to pinpoint your surge in LH you need to take an ovulation test every day in the run up to your suspected ovulation date until they turn positive.
Watch the colour of your test line in comparison to the control line. When the two lines are the same colour, thickness and darkness (or your test line is thicker and darker than the control) that signifies an LH surge and a positive test. (Take a look at my ovulation test chart photo at the bottom of this post to see that process in action.)
Unlike pregnancy tests that are ideally meant to be taken with your first urine of the day, ovulation tests are best to be taken after around 11am as apparently it’s easier for them to pick up your LH levels as the day goes on. Try to take them after at least a 2 hour hold (not weeing for 2 hours or more) to make sure your urine isn’t too diluted but don’t dehydrate yourself in the process!
Because the LH surge can disappear as quickly as it happens, some people like to test twice a day when they feel like the surge is imminent and their lines start to get darker to make sure they don’t miss the surge completely. For example one month, I got my surge at around 5pm but by the next morning at midday it had already started to go back down so testing twice helped me catch it!
As the fertile window can be quite short, if you’re trying to conceive it’s ideal to have sex just before your test turns positive and every day for a few days after a positive test for the best chance of a successful month.
Which Are The Best Ovulation Tests To Buy?
For those who prefer to watch things, take a look at my Best Ovulation Kit Review & Comparison video HERE on Youtube! For an easy read and photos of the tests in action, here we go…
Supermarket Own Brand Ovulation Test Kits
I started with a pack of ovulation tests that I picked up in Sainsburys when I was doing the weekly shop. They were around £11 for 7 tests and all plastic which immediately made me feel a little uncomfortable. But as I was new to the whole ovulation tracking thing and didn’t know any better, I just went with it.
The problem with tests that come in packs of 7, is if you’re new to ovulation testing and you really have no idea when your fertile window might be, you might run out of tests and miss your surge completely.
MY FIRST TESTING EXPERIENCE:
Armed with my Sainsburys ovulation tests I took a look at my Flo app to tell me when I was due to ovulate. (See my post on how to track ovulation as to why this was my first mistake!). I started testing in the 6 days leading up to my predicted ovulation but by the time it came to day 7 – when the app told me I was ovulating – there was still no surge and I’d run out of tests. I was quite upset thinking we’d missed our chance when in reality, my app was 5 days out and it just hadn’t happened yet!
For me, having such limited a pack of tests didn’t work as I needed double the amount which of course was double the price and double the plastic. I also found them really tricky to read as you can see from the photo above – very confusing indeed!
Digital Ovulation Tests
So I thought I would try a digital test instead for a bit more clarity…
One of the pros of digital ovulation tests is that they are A LOT easier to read as there’s no comparing lines. They will show a blank circle if you’re not fertile (no LH surge) and a reassuring smiley face if you are fertile (LH surge). It’s as simple as that.
However I ran into similar problems to the supermarket versions with cost. Digital tests come in a pack of about 10 for around £20 which again, for me, was unsustainable as my sole testing option. On average it takes a couple around 1 year to conceive…so that’s a lot of tests and a lot of money!
Again, there are limited tests per box and a lot of plastic with this option too, so while they do make the whole process a LOT easier with the digital ‘yes or no’ reading, for me as my sole testing method they’re not the one.
In the end because I already had them, I used my pack of digital tests over the space of a few months to confirm my positive analogue tests and see that reassuring happy little smiley face so they didn’t go to waste!
The Best Ovulation Test Kit (for me!)
For me the best ovulation test kit I found was this Easy at Home Ovulation Kit. They were £18 for 50 ovulation tests and they came with 20 (pretty sensitive) pregnancy tests too which are handy for early-ish detection.
They’re not covered in plastic like the mid stream ones, they’re just your standard urine dip test strips. Just pee in a cup and then dip it in! So although they’re a little fiddlier to use in that regard, they work out SO much better in all other areas.
They also come with a free app that allows you to scan in a photo of your test each day and it plots them next to one another with strength ratings so you can see the difference of your lines. The app also helps you to confirm a positive test by highlighting your LH surge when it happens.
With 50 tests per pack you’re not limited on how many you can use per month which if you’re using them correctly it makes it nearly impossible to miss your fertile window. Because there was so many tests I started testing with these every day from about four days after my period finished until I got a positive test. This helped me pinpoint that on average I ovulated a fair bit later than a) ‘the textbook norm’ and b) when my tracking app was predicting. Once I knew this information I was able to adjust my testing window each month and get pretty accurate with when it might occur using less tests and less effort.
I personally think the easy at home ovulation test kit is the best value for money. The price is good and there’s no hefty plastic casing per test. They’re fairly easy to use once you get in the habit of daily testing and they’re accurate too. The app is so useful to help you record your tests – no sellotaping them to a piece of paper each day to keep track! And with the amount you get per box there’s no way you’re missing that surge, even if your ovulation is delayed for any reason that cycle.
Please remember that your ovulation date can change from cycle to cycle so utilising ovulation tests alongside learning how to read your body’s natural cues and fertile signs is the best way to approach things for as much information as possible. Take a look at this post here for more help on that.
Other Premium Ovulation Kits
There are also other kits on the market – like this one – that come with a hefty price tag to help pinpoint your LH surge and other fertility hormones too. I personally haven’t tried them so I can’t comment on their validity or value for money. However if money isn’t an object or if you’re looking to delve deeper into the science (either due to underlying conditions or pure fascination) then they are another option to investigate.
WATCH: My Best Ovulation Test Kit Review over on Youtube:
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