If you visit any North American home, you'll most likely find a fish oil supplement in the pantry. Omega-3 essential fatty acids have become a household name, and everyone knows how critical they are for supporting the heart, brain, joints, skin, and more. 

Unfortunately, there are so many Omega-3 fish oils on the market that it's easy to assume a one-size-fits-all mentality and simply grab any brand off the grocery store shelf. Many of these products, however, won't provide the right nutrients, and in some cases, may hurt more than help. 

We created this guide to help you avoid choosing an ineffective and potentially harmful fish oil. We'll show you what to look for, what to avoid, and the top mistakes buyers make when purchasing their omega-3 supplements. 

Choosing the Best Omega-3 Supplement for yOU

The best omega-3 fish oil supplements are always processed and manufactured by reputable companies, using natural sources, and tested thoroughly for harmful or undesirable contaminants within the ingredients. 

Unfortunately, many brands don't live up to these standards, and shoppers don't realize they're buying a substandard product. With that in mind, we listed some common mistakes made when purchasing an omega-3 supplement.

What Not to do when buying a fish oil 

  •  Skip the Research
    •       Many shoppers believe that, since fish oils generally contain similar ingredients, it doesn't matter which brand they choose. This is not the case. Many supplements contain ineffective and potentially harmful additives, so it's critical to do your research before buying. 

    •  Rely on Amazon Reviews
    •       Millions of Americans look to Amazon reviews before purchasing their products, but most don’t realize that up to 60% have been paid for. Some companies compensate individuals for positive reviews, regardless of whether they've tried the product or not. Risking your health with reviews that are likely false is too dangerous a game to play when you’re choosing an ingestible supplement.

    •  Prioritize Price Over Quality
      •       We found that many lower-priced and generic fish oil supplements contain hydrogenated, or poor-quality oils, pesticide residues, mercurial particulates, and in some cases, toxic synthetic ingredients. Try to prioritize finding a fish oil with the qualities listed below, even if that means they cost a little more than your local grocery store's generic brand. 

    Another way to avoid choosing the wrong fish oil is to read its ingredient label. Here's what to look for, and what to stay away from:

    Try To Look For:

    • High amounts of EPA/DHA and at least 500 mg to 1000 mg of fish oil
    •  Variety of omega-3 sources, including high-quality supplementation
    •  Natural fish oil formulas that contain wholesome, potent ingredients

    Try To Avoid:

    •  Mercury, PCBs, or other harmful, unwanted contaminants
    • Artificial colors, flavors, or additives
    •  Synthetic or unnatural ingredients

    Fish oil is so popular that many of us already know some of the information above, so we've included some lesser-known tips for even the most omega-3-savvy:

    3 Secrets For A Quality Fish Oil

    Serving Size Matters

        • The daily recommended fish oil serving size is 500 mg to 1000 mg, but in many cases, taking 1000 mg to 2000 mg of daily fish oil can actually boost and intensify the healthful effects of EPA and DHA. We suggest finding a high-potency, high-concentration formula that packs a powerful punch.

    Purity Is Power

        • Try to make sure that the ingredients in your fish oil are unaltered and free of environmental or other undesired toxic elements, so that you are getting the purest, most potent formula possible. Third-party analyses can certify that the supplement passes these tests with flying colors.

    Maximum EPA & DHA

    Many omega-3 fish oil supplements don't specify the exact levels of EPA and DHA that are contained in the fish oil, and that is a huge red flag. The standard for EPA/DHA levels in fish oil should total a minimum of 500 mg per serving. Always check the label to ensure that EPA/DHA levels are clearly listed.

    Our Unique Ranking System

    At Smarter Reviews, we employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products, by looking at the ingredients, safety, projected effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. This method is known as the Smarter Reviews Ranking System.

    In addition to ranking products, we also collect research from the latest studies and clinical trials. Choosing the best product is easy with Smarter Reviews. We offer a clear-cut system that covers the most important criteria, and takes into account the experienced personal reviews of our valued Smarter Shoppers. We've taken the guesswork out of the process, so you can shop smart, and save time and money.

    The 5 Best Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements on the Market

    Based on our own extensive research, combined with the metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, and consideration of numerous reviews by Smarter Shoppers just like you, we've compiled a list of what we've found to be the top five products in this category, on the market today.