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Best Overall: Ancestry Health at Amazon
"Provides everything you get with the regular kit—ethnicity information, geographic information, and potential DNA matches—plus, you can get access to personalized health reports."
Best Budget: Myheritage DNA at Amazon
"If you integrate your DNA results with online family trees, you can track your genealogical history."
Best for Health: 23andMe Health and Ancestry at Amazon
"Trait reporting can indicate things like hair type, proneness to motion sickness, and even your earwax type."
Best At Home: Everlywell at Amazon
"If you’re looking to test for a specific condition, Everlywell offers around 30 different tests for conditions ranging from food sensitivities to Lyme disease to STDs."
Best Paternity: STK Paternity Test at Amazon
"Includes everything you need to find out if a suspected father is in fact a child’s biological father."
Best for Dogs: Embark Breed + Health at Amazon
"Will let you know your dog’s specific genetics."
Best for Cats: Basepaws Breed and Health at Amazon
"Will tell you specific information about your cat’s heritage."
With just a small sample of your saliva, DNA test kits can determine loads of information about you. If you want to learn more about your family history, an ancestry kit can tell you detailed information about your ethnicity, give you insight into your historical and geographic background, or even help you find relatives you never knew you had.
Health DNA kits, while not as reliable as a clinical test performed at a doctors office, can still tell you potentially valuable information about your health and wellbeing. These tests can reveal all sorts of information, including your risk factors for certain diseases. You can even find DNA test kits for pets, which provide data about your pet’s breed, ancestry, and health.
While these kits used to be reserved for a few research buffs who enjoyed genealogy and extensive health research, DNA kits have now become commonplace, and more and more test kits continue to hit the market. But, which DNA test kit should you choose? We’ve rounded up the best options currently available.
Provides ancestry and health info
Extra features may require a subscription
Ancestry offers two different test kits: AncestryDNA and Ancestry Health. The Ancestry Health kit earns our top spot because it provides everything you get with the regular kit—ethnicity information, geographic information, and potential DNA matches—plus, you can get access to personalized health reports.Your health reports can let you know if you're a carrier for genes that can put you at a greater risk for certain diseases like breast cancer or sickle cell anemia. They can also let you know of potential sensitivities or intolerances to things like caffeine or lactose.The DNA kit comes with everything you need to get your sample ready. After you create an Ancestry account and activate your kit, you get your sample ready to send to the lab per the instructions. Basically, you fill the tube up to the line with saliva, screw on the cap, and a blue liquid preservative will come out of the cap and enter into the tube. You shake up the tube, and send your sample off (postage is included). You can expect your results within six to eight weeks, but you can check the status of your test on your Ancestry account under your DNA homepage. Ancestry reports their accuracy rate is more than 99% for each marker tested.
Emphasis on privacy and security
Postage not included
Paid membership required to access advanced features
The Myheritage DNA kit is one of the more affordable options available. You can usually find the ancestry DNA kit for around $50. It lets you know your ethnicity percentages, broken down into 42 potential ethnicity categories. It can also find relatives you never knew you had.If you integrate your DNA results with online family trees, you can track your genealogical history. There are both free and paid subscription options available.Once you order the kit, it takes a few days to arrive. You then activate your kit, swab your check, and place your samples in a ziplock bag. Postage is at your expense, and the cost varies depending on where you live. Once you send off your samples, they take about three to four weeks to process. However, some customers say their samples took as long as six weeks to process.
May be HSA or FSA eligible
23andMe offers different tiers of testing, including an ancestry and traits service, a health and ancestry service, and a VIP health and ancestry service. Many people opt for the middle-tier service, which provides reports about your ancestry and family tree, your characteristics, health dispositions and carrier genes, and wellness information.The test provides a wealth of information. Trait reporting can indicate things like hair type, proneness to motion sickness, and even your earwax type. Health reports can tell you if you have the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes (for breast cancer), and a variety of other genes that put you at risk for certain diseases. The genetic risk and carrier status reports meet FDA criteria, and the kit is FDA cleared for use with these reports. 23andMe also emphasizes privacy, allowing you to choose how your information is shared.After you obtain a kit, which takes three to five days to arrive, you register your kit using the barcode. Then, complete the test instructions, and mail off the kit using the prepaid packaging. You’ll receive an email in three to five weeks indicating your results are ready.
Wide variety of available tests
Results reviewed by an independent board-certified physician
Accepts HSA/FSA payments
Not a substitute for medical care
Some tests are more costly than insurance copays
If you’re looking to test for a specific condition, Everlywell offers around 30 different tests for conditions ranging from food sensitivities to Lyme disease to STDs. The company even has a COVID-19 test, but it’s currently “available for qualifying hospitals and healthcare companies only.”The tests range in cost from $39 up to $399, and most of them involve a finger prick of blood. After you order a test and it arrives at your door, you register the test on the website using the barcode. Complete the collection process using the instructions, and the results are usually available within days.Their labs are certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and many of their labs have other accreditations as well. Although these tests are slightly outside of the realm of traditional DNA test kits, the variety of available tests and the ease of testing made Everlywell a contender on our list.
Customer service available
Some users say it’s tough to swab a child’s cheek
STK’s paternity test includes everything you need to find out if a suspected father is in fact a child’s biological father. The kit covers all lab fees, testing equipment, and a return mailer with postage included.To perform the test, you order the kit (which typically arrives within a few days), swab the cheeks of the child and suspected father according to the instructions, and send off the kit. The lab uses 16 DNA loci to determine paternity, and the results are 99.999% accurate. Within three to five business days of receiving the samples, SterlingTek (STK) will give you your results online. You’ll also receive a hard copy of the results in the mail.
Generally considered accurate
More expensive than some human tests
Wondering if your dog is a pit bull or boxer mix? The Embark Breed + Health Kit will let you know your dog’s specific genetics. Using more than 200,000 genetic markers, the test determines your dog’s exact breed breakdown by analyzing 250 different potential breeds. You’ll get a report that indicates your dog’s lineage, and information about your dog’s ancestors.The Embark health kit also screens for more than 175 different potential health risks across 16 different areas. The kit may even be able to predict traits like how big your puppy will grow, tail length, muzzle length, appetite, and more.The testing process is similar to the DNA test kits for humans—activate your kit online, collect a sample from inside of your dog’s cheek, and send your pup’s samples off to the lab using the included prepaid shipping envelope. You’ll receive your pet’s results in around two to four weeks after the lab receives the sample.
Provides health and breed information
Easy to use
Long turnaround time
Basepaws can determine your cat’s breed breakdown out of four different breed groups — Western, Eastern, Exotic, and Persian. The report further breaks down those breed groups into 18 specific breed types, like Oriental Shorthair, Maine Coon, Bengal, and Persian. So, your report will tell you specific information about your cat’s heritage. As the Basepaw’s database expands, they plan to add more breeds to their reporting.The health report looks at your cat’s risk factor for 17 different genetic diseases, and the report indicates whether your cat is in the clear, a carrier, at risk, or at high risk for diseases like Polycystic Kidney Disease, Cardiomyopathy, and others.The test involves a cheek swab, much like a test for humans. You activate the kit, send it off using the included prepaid postage, and you’ll receive your cat’s results within six to nine weeks.
Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate DNA test kits based on type, accuracy, reporting, and more. Our testers also consider each unit as a value proposition—whether or not a kit justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All review models are purchased by Lifewire; none are furnished by the manufacturer or retailer.
As a columnist and commerce writer with more than a decade of experience, Erika Rawes has tested hundreds of consumer technology products, from computers to speakers to smart scales. Erika tested or extensively researched 14 different DNA and home health test kits including test kits for heritage, health, and pet DNA test kits.
Test type: A heritage DNA test determines your ethnicity and genetic background. Some may help you find relatives, like second or third cousins. A health DNA test looks for genes and mutations that put you at a higher risk for diseases, like the BRCA (breast cancer) gene. Many health DNA tests also include heritage DNA reports as well. Most DNA tests use a cheek swab as the collection specimen. At home medical testing, like the tests from companies like Everlywell, often take blood and use the blood specimen to look for a specific disease or condition.
Test method and accuracy: The testing method indicates how the company analyzes DNA. Autosomal DNA tests, y-DNA tests, and mtDNA tests look at different types of DNA. Look under the testing process to see how they test your DNA, and any published accuracy percentages.
Lab Certification: Most reputable DNA test kit companies, paternity testing companies, and at-home health test companies will indicate lab certifications (like CLIA certification).
Reporting: If the website has a sample report available, take a look. See what information the report provides. How much information are you getting in the report? Is it just a basic ethnicity breakdown? Or, does it provide a detailed analysis?
Additional fees: See if the company covers return shipping for the sample. If so, they’ll indicate the kit includes a prepaid postage envelope or package for you to send back your specimen. Also, find out if there are any additional subscriptions costs or other fees associated with the features you want. Sometimes, you’ll need a subscription to access the full family tree database features.
Privacy: Privacy is essential with these types of tests because you are sending your genetic material off to a company, and you need to know how exactly they plan on using your highly personal information. Many DNA kit manufacturer websites have an entire section dedicated to privacy. Make sure you're comfortable with the privacy policies before sending off your sample.