Health

How we test health, fitness, and outdoor products at Insider Reviews

  Summary List Placement Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky 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,...

 

Ergatta rowing machine

Summary List Placement
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

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

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

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

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

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:

Our editors Bios
Rick Stella Headshot Rick handles everything from section strategy and planning to editing content and testing whatever kind of gear and apparel he can get his hands on. Rick has more than nine years of experience, with much of that time spent in the fields of fitness, health, and outdoors. Along the way, he’s trained with Olympic athletes, mountain biked through the Yucatan Peninsula, backpacked across the Great Smoky Mountains, hosted his own weekly fitness class, and interviewed countless professional athletes. Since starting at Insider in December 2019, Rick’s had a hand in improving the Reviews team’s authority in the health, fitness, and outdoors space, covering everything from the future of at-home fitness and the best workout apparel to interactive row machines and electric bikes.
Rachael Schultz Writer Rachael Schultz is a health, fitness, and outdoors editor at Insider Reviews with over a decade’s worth of experience on all three beats. She’s long been fascinated with why our brains and bodies work the way they do, and how what we eat and how we move impacts both. After time in Atlanta and New York, Rachael packed up her belongings into her Honda Element to van-life around the country before settling in a small Colorado mountain town in 2017 where she now spends most of her time trying to keep up with her rad adventure lady gang and her dog Crocodile. Here, she learned the art of gear obsession and now rigorously tests for Insider everything from ski bibs and camping gear to cross-training shoes and non-alcoholic drinks for those nights your body needs a break.

Meet our team of writers

Our writers Bios
Dominique Astorino

Dominique Michelle Astorino is a health, wellness, and lifestyle reporter based in La Jolla, California who works to break down complicated and nuanced science for Insider readers on topics like natural cold and flu remedies that actually work and which at-home COVID tests are trustworthy. She holds her PN1 nutrition coach certification and hosts a wellness podcast, “The Space.”

J Malacoff Headshot Julia Malacoff is a freelance health writer and editor based in London. She holds both a European Registry of Exercise Professionals (EREPS) Level 4 certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition Level 1 nutrition coach. She specializes in breaking down complicated science and physiology into digestible, usable information on topics like creatine supplements to improve your workouts, ovulation tests to determine peak fertility, and at-home DNA tests to learn about your genetics, health, and ancestry.
kate sloan Kate Sloan is an editorial writer and soon-to-be-published author who specializes in sex, kink, and relationships. In addition to running her award-winning sex blog, girlyjuice.net, and writing for publications like Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, and Glamour, Kate leans on her long history of researching and testing sex products for Insider to create guides like the best sex toys for couples and the best sex toys to help maintain intimacy in long-distance relationships. She also co-hosts the acclaimed podcasts “The Dildorks” and “Question Box“, and her book, “101 Kinky Things Even You Can Do” is set to release in September 2021.
christabel lobo headshot Christabel Lobo is a freelance writer and illustrator based between Mysore, India, and Washington, DC. In addition to other beats like travel, she leverages her decade-long yoga practice and RYT 200-hour Hatha yoga teacher training to dive deep into guides on the best yoga gear for Insider, including the best yoga mats you can buy and the best accessories to aid your practice.
Jess Daddio Jess Daddio is a freelance writer, photographer, and videographer based in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. She was previously the travel editor for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and has been published in Outdoor Retailer Magazine, the REI Co-op Journal, the Adventure Cyclist, and BikePacking.com. She’s almost always on her bike unless she has to trade in tires for skis, and her love of and experience in the outdoors influences her Insider coverage on worthy shoulder-season cycling gear, ultralight backpacking gear, and proper gear cleaning and maintenance
Kraig Becker headshot Kraig Becker is a freelance writer, journalist, and consultant who covers mountaineering expeditions, polar exploration, adventure travel, and other outdoor pursuits. He is the editor of The Adventure Blog, the founder of The Adventure Podcast, and has contributed to online and print outlets such as National Geographic and Popular Mechanics, as well as Insider. Kraig covers all things outdoor gear and has extensive experience working with doctors, subject matter experts, and specialists in the fields of health & fitness. He is the co-author of the book Reaching Beyond Boundaries and currently has three other books in development.

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:

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