There are hundreds of DNA tests out there. And all claim to be the highest quality, most private, accurate, and informative.
But our research and testing show that most DNA tests are lacking in these areas.
Our group of researchers trialed hundreds of the best at-home DNA tests for ancestry, diet and fitness, health and wellness, and pets – and rated each on its accuracy, functionality, and overall value. After spending months compiling and fact-checking the data, we’re finally able to bring to you this list of the top ten at-home DNA tests.
Overall, we were very surprised. Many of the well-known DNA testing companies were making bold claims that couldn’t be met. And many of the smaller brands were offering substantially better products at substantially better prices than the big brands.
Short on time? Here are the best DNA tests in 2023
- AncestryDNA – Huge historical database for tracking down and connecting to your ancestors.
- Living DNA – Unique number of sub-regions to pinpoint your heritage, plus comprehensive health screening.
- LetsGetChecked – Female and male specific health and wellness testing.
- See 6 more top at-home DNA test kits | Comparison of the best DNA tests | FAQs
The Best DNA Testing Kits (Updated 2023)
- Full ancestry breakdown with accurate ethnicity percentages
- Intuitive family tree builder and access to 20 billion historical records
- Tracks down relative matches from the AncestryDNA database
- Detailed results in 6-8 weeks
AncestryDNA has the largest DNA database in the world – over 18 million samples – with accurate results from over 1,000 geographic sub-regions.
Its DNA test gives you accurate ethnicity percentages, so you can see exactly where in the world your ancestors came from. The heat map is a great tool and it highlights all the regions in your DNA in a way that’s easy to follow and cool to look at!
Using your saliva sample, AncestryDNA finds your relatives by scanning its database and tracking down individuals that share your DNA. You’re notified of potential matches, so you can connect with them.
It shows you all your DNA matches in a categorized list. When we tried it, we could see 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins and exactly how much DNA our researcher shared with their relatives. You can see their names, too.
AncestryDNA also has one of the best family tree builders, containing a massive collection of over 27 billion historical records and 100 million family trees.
It finds DNA matches for you and automatically populates your tree. AncestryDNA does a lot of the hard work for you with help locating more ancestors and records that you can simply review and link to your tree.
- Traces your DNA to sub-regions in Europe, Africa, and the British Isles
- Predicts your ancestry from the last 500 years to the present day
- Screen for health and wellness, including vitamin needs and food metabolism, with the combined kit
- Both reports ready in just 6-8 weeks
Living DNA offers unique insights into Africa, Europe, and the British Isles. It spans over 150 worldwide regions and an exclusive collection of sub-regions to give you more detail about your ancestry and pinpoint exactly where your heritage lies. It told our researcher precisely where in England their ancestors are from.
You can read more about the sub-regions that make up your ancestry, with historical facts, migration maps, and haplogroup information, which shows you where each side of your family comes from. We really liked the interactive maps with color-coded migration lines.
It can trace your ancestry through 80,000 years. You can read in detail about your history and explore your ancestors’ movements all over the world.
Living DNA’s matching tool finds individuals that share your DNA, so you can connect with your relatives, swap stories, and discover more about your heritage. Our researcher could see how much DNA they shared with each ancestor and their relationship status.
Living DNA also has a detailed health and wellness DNA test, which covers vitamin response, food metabolism rates, and even gives personalized exercise recommendations. This is coupled with the ancestry test, so you get tons of information for one great price.
You get free return shipping whichever test you choose, and it takes between 6-8 weeks to get your detailed report.
- Female and male-specific health and wellness tests, plus STD kits
- Screens for fertility, vitamin needs, cancer risk, heart health, and more
- Qualified nurses on-hand to talk you through your results and offer advice
- Results in just 2-5 days
LetsGetChecked has many tests designed specifically for males and females. You can find tests for fertility, ovarian reserve, diabetes, vitamins, and even food allergies. You can also screen for your risk of colon cancer.
LetsGetChecked also has a huge range of budget-friendly, at-home STD tests, that allow you to screen your sexual health, privately, in the comfort of your own home. We like these especially for their discreet packaging and quick results!
It only takes a matter of days to get your results after a simple swab, urine, or finger-prick blood sample. When we tested it, the instructions were really clear and easy to follow for all sample collection methods.
When your results are ready, your report is published on your secure online account, which you can access via the online web portal or mobile app. We got an email to let us know.
Some tests (especially STD tests) even include a phone call with a nurse to discuss your results. They give you advice on what steps to take and in some cases, can give you a prescription.
Our researcher’s report was highly detailed, showing exactly what they were at risk of and where to make lifestyle changes. It even gives you easy-to-follow, actionable tips so you can start making changes right away.
LetsGetChecked’s health tests are speedy, too. From your sample arriving in the lab, it typically takes only 2-5 days to deliver your results.
- Tests your stress levels, sleep quality, food intolerances, and environmental allergies
- Offers personalized advice on lifestyle changes to improve your health
- At-home STD testing available with subscription options
- Results take 5 days
Everlywell has a huge variety of at-home wellness tests that screen every aspect of your health. There are tests for sleep, stress, hormones, heart health, fertility, and allergies. In fact, you have over 35 tests to choose from.
You get a highly detailed report that shows every genetic marker screened for and your results. For example, when we took the sleep and stress test, we could see whether cortisol levels are high, low, or medium, with actionable advice on what to change.
Allergy screening can help you understand which intolerances you may have so you can alter your diet and food to improve your health.
And the metabolism test evaluates the three key hormones that your body needs to maintain a healthy metabolism, and how this might affect your energy and weight.
Our researcher found taking the test quick and easy, with just saliva or finger-prick blood samples. And you get free returns to the lab.
Your sample is reviewed by independently-certified physicians, then uploaded to your online dashboard. Usually, this is around 5 days after the lab receives your sample. But we got ours in two days.
You can buy various at-home STD tests, too. There’s the option to buy a subscription, so you can choose which STD tests you want, and they’re delivered to your door every month. It also means they’re cheaper.
- Maps your ethnic origins with accurate percentages and geographical maps
- Deeper ancestry insights that show which DNA you share with ancient European groups
- Family finder finds your DNA paternal and maternal matches
- Results in as little as 2 weeks
FamilyTreeDNA offers specific tests for Y-DNA and mtDNA that enable you to trace your male and female ancestors. Find out where your ancestors came from, discover your heritage all the way back to Africa, and learn about how and why your family migrated around the world. You can even unlock the history of your surname.
The ancestry tests give you your ethnicity percentages based on over 60 populations. During our tests, it identified regions that made up less than 1% of our researcher’s DNA, which is impressive.
We could explore each region using the interactive map. Every location comes with interesting historical facts, too, which is a nice touch.
FamilyTreeDNA also takes your ancestry that bit further with deeper insights that trace your DNA back to ancient times. Our researcher could see whether they carried the autosomal DNA for ancient European groups, including neolithic hunters or gatherers, early farmers, and bronze-age invaders.
The family finder searches through its database to find matches that share your DNA, then lets you manage and sort your family members by parental lines. We also liked the chromosome browser feature which lets you see exactly which (and how much) DNA you share.
If you’ve already taken a test with AncestryDNA or 23andMe, you can upload your raw data to FamilyTreeDNA. We tested it with AncestryDNA and it was really easy.
Results processing times vary between 2-8 weeks, depending on which test you choose.
- Get instant reports by uploading DNA from four popular DNA testing companies
- Subscription service with access to ongoing reports
- Loads of health tests that screen everything from cancer risk to mental wellbeing
- Detailed reports with tailored advice
SelfDecode lets you upload raw DNA data from AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and Courtagen, which saves you the usual waiting time of 6-8 weeks. When we tested it, we got our chosen reports instantly.
With SelfDecode, you pay a subscription on either an annual or lifetime basis, which gives you access to ongoing reports. You get 5 reports included for free with an annual subscription, and all others are offered at a discounted price. If you don’t have existing DNA, you need to purchase the kit at an additional cost, though.
It has loads of health tests available. There are kits that assess your risk of inflammatory conditions, nutritional profile, cancer risk, fitness levels, cardiovascular health, and much more.
We were impressed by the list of kits covering mental wellbeing, too. You can learn about stress, mood, anxiety, and cognitive function.
We found our reports to be quite detailed, with plenty of actionable recommendations tailored to our researcher’s genes. It tells you which biomarkers were tested and the genetic variant you carry, which is useful if you plan on taking your results to your doctor.
- Decodes more of your DNA than other companies
- Report covers 27 health traits and behaviors
- Genome explorer helps you learn more about your genetic variants
- Bonus ancestry information including haplogroup mapping
Nebula Genomics offers 30 x whole-genome sequencing, which means it decodes all of your DNA to identify every genetic marker you carry. This does come at a price, though. The individual kits are quite expensive, and you also have to pay a regular subscription fee on top of that.
For that fee, you do get comprehensive health testing with some ancestry information thrown in, too. It screens for 27 health traits relating to various aspects of your wellness. We learned about factors like earwax type, freckling, snacking behavior, nicotine response, and muscle strength.
It takes a while to get your reports –we had to wait 13 weeks.
We liked that your health traits are categorized into four buckets: appearance and hormones, behavior and perception, body and athleticism, and nutrition and diet. It makes your report easy to navigate.
Nebula comes with a research library which is a feature we haven’t seen before. This allows you to explore your genetic variants yourself, analyze your genomes, and read articles relating to your DNA. Some of it is quite technical, though.
Alongside health, you get some ancestry information which includes mtDNA and Y-DNA mapping. This means you can see how both sides of your family moved around the globe and where your heritage comes from.
- Traces your ancestry to over 2,000 regions, including Neanderthal
- Maps your maternal and paternal haplogroups all over the world
- Automatic family tree builder creates your heritage
- Explores how your DNA influences your perception of taste, sleep, skin pigmentation, and more
23andMe has a unique DNA ancestry and traits test that not only lets you trace your heritage, but also tells you how your DNA influences your characteristics and personality.
The ancestry test comes with a colorful report that maps your ancestry to over 2,000 regions. When we tested it, we found that we didn’t fit into most of these, but it’s nice to know that the regional breakdowns are granular enough to pinpoint even the most obscure ancestral lineage.
With Y-DNA and mtDNA included in the ancestry testing, you can also track your familial ancestry across both maternal and paternal lines. It even showed our researcher how many Neanderthal variants they have.
You get access to the relative finder that scans the 23andMe database to find your long-lost cousins. We liked the automatic family tree builder because it does a lot of the work for you by creating your ancestry lineage based on your DNA results.
23andMe’s ancestry tests come with an insightful trait analysis, detailing factors like skin pigmentation and aversion to certain tastes, all based on your genetic makeup. It showed our colleague their likelihood of developing a bald spot, their sensitivity to bitter tastes, earlobe type, and much more.
You can also upgrade to the full ancestry with health testing to get a full wellness report about your genetic carrier status of certain diseases, possible food intolerances, sleep quality, and predisposition for health conditions.
- Screens for over 350 breed types to find your dog’s breed mix
- Examines Y-DNA and mtDNA and gives you your dog’s paternal and maternal lineage
- Canine relative finder to locate your dog’s long-lost relatives
- Tests for 190+ health conditions to tell you whether your dog is a carrier or at-risk
- Results in 3-5 weeks
Embark can identify your dog’s exact breed percentages based on its database of over 350 breed types and over 200,000 genetic markers. I learned all about my dog’s genetic makeup and the different breeds in their family tree through four generations – all the way back to their great grandparents.
It can even test your dog’s Y-DNA and mtDNA to determine paternal and maternal ancestral lineages. Using the map, I could see where my dog’s ancestors came from and learn about the history of my dog’s breed mix.
Embark also has a dog health test, which screens for over 190 health conditions known to affect dogs – including adult-onset diseases like glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy. It can tell you whether your dog is at risk of any of these diseases, or whether they’re a carrier of the genetic mutation.
The health test gives you insights into physical traits like coat length and the likeliness of shedding. It actually tests for over 20 physical traits, including how their breed influences their characteristics and what they were initially bred for. This is a great feature because I learned how to tailor my dog’s training.
Embark has a unique relative finder feature, too. This searches the database to find genetic matches and helps you track down your dog’s family members. You can connect with them, message them, and even schedule a meet-up if you want.
The comprehensive report is available through your online dashboard, which you can easily download to take to your veterinarian if needed. It usually takes up to 5 weeks to get your results, but I got my dog’s report in 3 weeks.
Best DNA Kits: Comparison Table
|Tests Available||Collection Methods||Ships Outside of US||Customer Support||Starting Price|
Health & Wellness
Diet & Fitness
|LetsGetChecked||Health & Wellness
|Finger-prick blood test
|Everlywell||Health & Wellness
Diet & Fitness
|Finger-prick blood test
|SelfDecode||Health & Wellness
Diet & Fitness
|Nebula Genomics||Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness
How We Tested the DNA Kits
To see which companies provide the best service and most accurate information, we engaged with each DNA testing company as customers ourselves. We didn’t receive “free tests” in exchange for positive reviews. We took the tests instead.
Here’s exactly what we looked for in every single test:
- Easy-to-use kits with fast shipping, clear instructions, and simple collection methods
- Accurate results that you can rely on from accredited labs
- Sufficiently quick turnaround to your results so you’re not left waiting too long
- Highly detailed reports with useful insights and all the information you need
- High-quality customer support channels
When Did DNA Testing Start?
Home-based DNA testing started in the late 1990s when a company known as GeneTree (later acquired by AncestryDNA with one of the best ancestry tests available) started to offer genealogical ancestry tests to the general public. These tests were pretty basic, and didn’t go beyond single generations, but it opened up a new field that was rich with opportunities.
The first dedicated direct-to-consumer ancestry testing company was FamilyTreeDNA, when in 2000, it partnered with the University of Arizona to offer Y-DNA and mtDNA tests to help people identify paternal lineages. Again, the tests at the time were nowhere near as detailed or accurate as they are now, testing for only a fraction of genetic markers. But at the time, being able to trace paternal and maternal genetic lineages across generations was revolutionary.
A few years later, in 2007, 23andMe further revolutionized the DNA industry by offering easy-to-access, at-home, saliva-based, ancestry tests. A particularly important distinction was that 23andMe used autosomal testing, which is now the standard test used across the entire genealogical DNA testing industry.
All three of these companies (AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and 23andMe) are still going strong, offering widely available and highly accurate ancestry DNA tests to people around the world.
Since the initial success of these companies, and with the increasing technology of genome mapping, home-based DNA testing has become a major industry. There are now DNA tests for all different kinds of things – food allergies, emotional health, genetic disease risks, and even DNA testing for pets.
What Will You Discover from Your DNA Test?
DNA tests can tell you many things based on a fundamental aspect of your human existence – your genetic code. By decoding your DNA, you can understand how your genetic markers influence your life in many ways.
The three main things you’ll discover from your DNA test are:
- All the ethnicities in your genetic makeup
- What physical and emotional traits your DNA has given you
- How your DNA influences your health, lifestyle factors, and behaviors
Your DNA test will tell you a lot of things about yourself, your ancestry, and your body’s unique biology. From which foods to eat (or not), and which exercise routine you should follow, to ethnicity estimates and tracking down long-lost ancestors, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of things you can learn from your DNA test results.
How to Choose the Best DNA Test for You
With so many DNA tests out there, it can be overwhelming to find the one that’s right for you. Here’s our roundup of the best DNA tests in each category to help you decide.
Many ancestry DNA tests like Ancestry perform an autosomal test, meaning they look for genetic patterns across your chromosomes. This is great for everyone, regardless of biological sex, to identify overall ethnic percentages and even uncover some fun things about your DNA – like how 23andMe tests for what percentage Neanderthal you are.
Some ancestry tests also analyze Y-DNA and mtDNA; if you’re interested, Living DNA is a great option. These look for patterns in your Y and X chromosomes, which help trace your paternal and maternal lineage. With these tests, you can see where in the world your family comes from and even discover migration maps.
If you’re studying your heritage because you want to find DNA matches and perform genealogical research, you should look for an ancestry testing service like AncestryDNA that allow you to contact genetic matches and build a family tree.
2. Family Tree Builders
AncestryDNA has the best family tree builder available.
It performs genetic testing, allows you to contact genetic matches, has an extensive database of historical documents needed for advanced genealogical research, and allows you to easily build and share a family tree. They even send you hints and tips to help you find matches and records.
3. Health and Wellness
Health and wellness tests explore how your DNA impacts your predisposition for certain diseases, as well as whether you might carry the genes for specific health conditions.
Companies like Everlywell and LetsGetChecked use finger-prick blood tests instead of saliva samples to more closely look at a person’s current health, testing for things like hormonal balance, food allergies, and vitamin levels.
4. Diet and Fitness
Diet and fitness DNA tests see how your body processes the nutrients it receives from food and exercise. A DNA test like Living DNA tells you which foods you should be eating for optimal nutrition, based on your body’s specific needs.
It actually gives you a list of over 100 foods. You can also learn which foods to avoid, whether you might have any intolerances, and, depending on which test you choose, get personalized meal plans.
DNA tests like Living DNA give you personalized workout recommendations so you can maximize your body’s performance based on your genetic type. It tells you which exercises to do and when, for how long, and even how your body builds muscle and recovers from exercise.
5. STD Tests
You can test for a number of STDs like HIV, syphilis, and chlamydia with at-home testing kits. Instead of going through the trouble and awkwardness of making a doctor’s appointment, you can screen your sexual health at home.
Both Everlywell and LetsGetChecked are great choices, with a huge list of individual STD tests and bundle kits. They’re both delivered in discreet packaging to your door, with a simple swab, urine, or finger-prick blood sample. And they can give you your results in a matter of days.
6. Pet DNA
Your pets also have unique DNA that can be used to determine their breed type, the likelihood of shedding, coat length, and patterning.
Apart from satisfying your curiosity, knowing the ethnic heritage of your four-legged friend can help you to increase their overall health by giving them the right kind of food, activity, and medical treatment that their breed requires.
DNA tests like Embark and Wisdom Panel can tell you which breeds are in your dog’s genetic makeup over four generations, their breed characteristics and personality type, and even their risk of health conditions.
Are There Any Risks Associated with DNA Tests?
In general, no. There are no physical risks associated with taking a DNA test. That said, for precautionary measures, you should consult with your doctor before taking a DNA test while pregnant.
However, there are some dangers of DNA testing. For example, if you send off your unique genetic code to a fake DNA testing company, it is possible that it could steal your DNA information, your payment information, and maybe even your overall identity.
We’ve tested over 100 DNA kits and all the companies on this list are 100% safe and legitimate.
Please remember that consumer-based health and wellness DNA testing is not a substitute for medical advice. You still need to consult with a medical professional before starting or changing any kind of medical regimen.
DNA Testing and Privacy Issues
In general, when you hand over your DNA to a testing company, you give permission for it to use your DNA sample to further its research and testing capabilities. Your DNA is always anonymized before any kind of research or analysis takes place.
That said, some DNA testing companies also have policies in place that allow law enforcement to access your DNA sample if they have a legitimate and legal reason to do so.
In 2018, police were able to catch a wanted serial killer through DNA samples his distant family members had submitted through the open-source genealogy website GEDmatch. Some people view this kind of thing as an invasion of privacy, and this has sparked a large debate over whether or not consumer DNA testing is actually secure. And there is still no legal consensus on whether or not DNA taken from a DNA test company can legally be used in court to identify a suspect.
That said, almost 100% of the time, your DNA is safe, private, and anonymous. It only has the potential to be used against you if you buy through an untrustworthy company or if you do something illegal.
How to Order and Take a DNA Test
The first step is identifying which DNA test you need to take. After you’ve compared the best DNA tests and found the one you want, you need to do the following:
- Place an order through the website
- Provide a physical address where the testing kit can be mailed
- Perform the test as instructed on the packaging of the testing kit
- Return the testing kit to the testing company (some companies include a pre-paid envelope while others require you to get your own postage)
- Wait for your test to be processed (usually, around 2-4 weeks, though some tests have a waiting period of up to 8 weeks)
- Receive and review your results, either via mail or an online system
Which At-Home DNA Tests Is the Best Value for Money?
Some companies might give out a lot of information for a cheap price, but if that information is not useful to you or is not accurate, it’s irrelevant how much the test costs.
- For ancestry DNA tests, Ancestry is our top choice for its detailed ancestry analysis and family tree builder software.
- Choose Living DNA for diet recommendations, because it tells you which foods to eat and avoid, tests for any intolerances, and gives you personalized vitamin ideas.
- For health and wellness DNA tests, Everlywell is a great option, with its discreet medical tests that offer precise information about your physical health.
- For pet DNA tests, Embark is our favorite as it identifies your dog’s ethnic makeup and maximizes its health based on its unique genetic factors.
Our Top Picks – The Best DNA Kits in 2023
How does DNA testing work?
DNA testing works in a number of ways depending on which type of DNA test you’re taking.
In its simplest form, DNA testing works like this:
- If you’re taking an ancestry test, the laboratory compares your DNA sample against another DNA sample that is known to have certain qualities (like belonging to a certain ethnicity).
- If you’re taking a health and wellness test, the laboratory looks for certain genetic signatures that are medically known to produce a certain kind of effect (like predisposing you to a certain disease).
How accurate is DNA testing?
Most genetic testing companies advertise a 99% accuracy rate. Depending on the type of test you take, this could be even as high as 99.9%. Remember, it’s impossible to get a test that’s 100% accurate.
How much does a DNA test cost?
The cost of a DNA test is dependent on a lot of different things, like what type of test it is, what information you’re getting, and whether or not the company is reputable.
In general, for a basic ancestry DNA test, you shouldn’t spend more than a couple of hundred dollars. Some companies bundle ancestry testing with health and wellness testing, and this can raise the price substantially.
Overall, for a detailed ancestry test coupled with a pretty detailed health and wellness test, you won’t need to pay more than $300.
We’re always searching for the latest and best deals to help you save money. Check out our coupons page to grab a great offer.
Which DNA test has the largest database?
Right now, AncestryDNA has the largest ancestry DNA database in the world with over 18 million samples. It also has over 20 billion historical records.
What is an ethnicity estimate?
Your DNA contains unique genetic markers that, when compared with other DNA samples, can be used to identify common patterns in ethnic heritage.
The ethnicity estimates you receive from a DNA test are based on similarities with other DNA tests from a known geographic and ethnic lineage. This provides a controlled and correlated estimate of which part of the world and which ethnic group your DNA originated from.
Can I take my DNA health test results to a doctor?
Absolutely! Not only can you, but you should also take your DNA results to a doctor.
You and your doctor can review the DNA test results and come up with a proper treatment for you based on your specific genetic makeup. Any information you can provide about your body’s biological makeup will be extremely useful for a doctor when treating you, especially when it comes to your risk of health conditions.
How long does an ancestry DNA test take?
There are many different DNA tests available for ancestry, and their turnaround times vary widely. For instance, 23andMe is one of the fastest, typically giving you your results in 2-4 weeks. You can expect to wait as long as 8 weeks for some other ancestry tests, though.
What do my DNA ancestry results mean?
After you take an ancestry DNA test and send in your sample, the testing company analyzes and interprets your DNA, then sends you a report – either posted on its website, via a mobile app, or through a PDF or even a printed book.
At a minimum, an ancestry DNA test estimates what percentage of your ancestry comes from various ethnicities and where in the world those ancestors probably originated. It tells you that you’re 38% one ethnicity and 15% another ethnicity, for example.
Most ancestry tests go a little further by also giving you a list of your genetic matches, based on people’s DNA they hold in their database. Essentially, these people are your relatives, such as your 3rd cousin, great uncle, 2nd aunt, or something else.
More comprehensive ancestry reports can cover additional things – like what maternal and paternal haplogroups you’re descended from, going back hundreds of thousands of years.
What do ancestry DNA test results look like?
Ancestry tests always deliver some sort of report that summarizes and explains findings. Usually, this is a PDF report through an online dashboard, but it might be a combination. For example, you can get interactive maps to trace heritage and haplogroup lineage with a service like AncestryDNA. Some even have mobile apps.
Your report usually includes a breakdown of all the ethnicities in your DNA with percentages. These are typically reflected on a heat map so you can visualize your heritage around the world and learn more about each location.
Most ancestry DNA test reports also show you which biomarkers were tested and the exact genetic variant you carry.