How Insider Reviews Tests Health, Fitness, and Outdoors Products

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From oral care and nutritional supplements to running shoes, workout apparel, and electric bikes, Insider Reviews tests and reviews all manner of health, fitness, and outdoors products. For close to five years, the team has tested hundreds of products, including items like electric toothbrushes, sex toys, thermometers, glucometers, fitness trackers, massage guns, and teeth whiteners. Our goal is to deliver honest and truthful recommendations for what people use every day to manage their health, wellness, and fitness. 

In addition to research and testing, the Health, Fitness, and Outdoors team’s coverage is backed by insight, advice, and counsel from doctors, dietitians, and other health experts to ensure a high level of trustworthiness and authority. Our writers are subject-matter experts as well. Insider’s medical review board, which comprises medical professionals from a variety of fields, also fact-checks our coverage.

What types of health, fitness, and outdoors products we test

Health

at home covid tests



Dominique Astorino


Nutrition supplements: Our recommendations are based on extensive research and expert consultations. We look at the benefits and drawbacks of supplements like multivitamins, protein powders, workout supplements, and more. Many of these guides include insight from dietitians and nutritionists and are rigorously fact-checked by health experts. 

Oral health: We review a variety of oral health products including electric toothbrushes, whitening toothpaste, floss and floss alternatives, and mouthwash. These articles are thoroughly fact-checked and reviewed by dentists and dental hygienists. 

Sex health: Our sex health coverage is inclusive, diverse, and mindful, and includes testing and research of things like sex toys, condoms, and lube. We also work with sex health experts who serve as advisers as well as writers. These articles are thoroughly fact-checked by our medical review board. 

Home health products: Home health includes everything from using thermometers and pulse oximeters to getting prescriptions delivered, utilizing telehealth services to see a doctor or therapist, and managing other health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. This coverage is deeply researched and tested (where possible) and includes expert insight from doctors, therapists, pharmacists, and others, as well as routine, in-depth fact-checking.

Fitness

Cycling shoes - what else we tested



Jen Gushue/Insider


Workout equipment: From sets of dumbbells and jump ropes to pull-up bars, kettlebells, and resistance bands, our team tests a variety of home gym equipment for every type of user, no matter their skill level or fitness. 

Workout apparel: Whether it’s a workout shirt, pair of shorts, or running shoes, we rigorously test fitness apparel. This includes sweat-testing tops during the humid days of summer, muddying up a pair of trail running shoes, and working with freelancers of all body types and sizes in order to be as inclusive as possible. 

Fitness trackers: Our team puts fitness trackers from brands like Garmin, Fitbit, Suunto, Polar, and so many others through a series of extensive on-wrist tests to determine how useful they are for tracking activity throughout the day. That includes using them to track runs, workouts, bike rides, and even outdoor activities like hiking, snowboarding, and skiing. 

Bikes and bike accessories: As avid cyclists ourselves, we cover popular types of bikes, including commuter bikes, electric bikes, and mountain bikes, to related gear like helmets, pumps, and bike locks

Yoga equipment: From yoga mats and yoga blocks to streaming apps, our team actually practices yoga with everything we test in order to judge things like long-term durability, how well it holds up to sweat and various weights and body sizes, comfort, and portability.

At-home workout machines: This includes treadmills, rowing machines, exercise bikes, and full at-home smart gyms from big names like Peloton and NordicTrack but also up-and-coming brands. We test for everything — from how much space the unit takes up to how effective (and enjoyable) the workout is — and, ultimately, if it’s worth investing your money on.

Outdoors

Person riding a mountain bike



Rachael Schultz/Insider


Hiking gear: Whether it’s for a day hike or a longer backpacking trip, our experienced outdoors writers cover a variety of hiking products. This means stress-testing hiking boots to see how comfortable they are over miles of trekking, carrying backpacks of all sizes, and wearing hiking pants for days. We even make sure to let our adventure dogs spend some time testing hiking gear, too.

Camping equipment: Everyone has a different idea of what the essential camp kit looks like, so we’ve taken to the task of testing it all. We have recommendations from tents and sleeping bags to camp kitchen setups, coffee makers, sleeping pads, and headlamps.

Apparel and gear: Outdoors is an inherently seasonal category, as most people opt to hike and camp in the summer then throw on skis, snowboards, and snowshoes in the winter. That seasonality dictates how and what we test, but we work to stay ahead of the curve by offering proper seasonal recommendations before you actually need them, so you’re well prepared.

How we test the products

Thousand Heritage Bike Helmet



Rick Stella/Insider


Our team spends anywhere from a few weeks to several months testing a product across a variety of use cases. We develop unique testing methodologies for each section of products and create benchmarks by which we’re able to effectively judge what we test. 

This means seeing through the entire lifespan of a running shoe, sweat-testing (and laundry testing) workout apparel for weeks on end, riding an electric bike until its battery runs out, using

telehealth
services as our go-to means of visiting a doctor, following the latest advice from the CDC, doctors, research institutions, and other health experts, or setting out into the backcountry for a few days with nothing but a backpack full of gear in tow. 

We take a product’s price, durability, ease of use, and other factors into consideration to offer quality options across a variety of budgets.

Meet our expert health, fitness, and outdoors team 

Our health, fitness, and outdoors team has many years of combined experience testing, reviewing, and researching products, and are true experts across their beats. Meet the team below:

Meet our team of writers

Read more about our teams

If you want to learn more about how each team tests products and meet the rest of our editors and writers on the following vertical-specific pages, check out these pages: