If you have even mild symptoms of Coronavirus, it’s important that you self-isolate and get tested. This way, you can get any appropriate medical care and you protect your community. If you’ve been in contact with someone who develops Coronavirus soon after your interaction, it’s a good idea to take the test too, just in case. But how do you know which is the best COVID-19 test kit? Which ones are reliable? Accurate? FDA-authorized?
Don’t worry – we’ve done all the research for you. Our pick of the best COVID-19 at-home test kits are easy to use and provide fast, accurate results.
Put your mind at ease or, if you test positive, get the medical help you need, and protect your friends and family by taking an accurate Coronavirus test at the first sign of symptoms. Our number one choice is LetsGetChecked for speed, accuracy, clarity, and availability of support services.
Short On Time? Here are the best COVID-19 test kits
- LetsGetChecked – Gentle nasal swab. Accurate results in as little as 24 hours.
- Vitagene – Saliva collection. Online results and personal recommendations available within 72 hours.
- Everlywell – Nasal swab. Your results are reviewed by a board-certified physician in your state and available within 72 hours.
How We Chose the Best COVID-19 Test Kits
Here are the key criteria we used to help us select the best Coronavirus testing kits.
- FDA authorization – To ensure the tests are as accurate as possible, we prioritized those who have FDA authorization under the Emergency Use Authorization legislation.
- Test accuracy – We selected only those tests with a high degree of accuracy to limit the risk of false-positives and false-negatives.
- Collection Method – We chose those providers with non-invasive but still-effective collection methods so it’s easy and comfortable to take the test.
- Result Clarity – The three test kits that made our top picks all have clear, easily understandable reports. Everlywell also offer a video walkthrough of your results.
- Healthcare Support – A standalone test is not really enough, so we looked for those companies that also offer healthcare advice and personalized recommendations.
LetsGetChecked is our top choice because it’s simple, accurate, and fast. Plus, it offers solid support services and has a competitive, all-inclusive price of $119.
This non-invasive at-home Coronavirus test is just a gentle nasal swab that takes seconds to collect and is basically the same as cleaning your nostril with a cotton swab. Once you complete the online assessment, if you’re deemed eligible for the test, LetsGetChecked ship the FDA-authorized COVID-19 test kit to you. The total cost includes express UPS shipping both ways and includes an itemized receipt so you can easily claim for reimbursement from your insurance or health coverage provider.
I like the real-time test tracking that keeps you up to date on the progress of your sample and lets you know once the results are in. You’ll get your results between 24 and 72 hours after the lab receives your sample, and you’ll receive an official lab report that’s clear and easy to understand.
Getting a video walkthrough of your results is helpful and reassuring, providing extra clarity and peace of mind. Your COVID-19 test kit also includes having your results reviewed by LetsGetChecked’s medical team and any necessary followup support services. I was pleased to see LetsGetChecked offer a phone line so you can talk to a member of their nursing team. You can also access their online self-isolation and social distancing guides.
Vitagene’s Coronavirus test kit costs a little more, at $129. This self-collected coronavirus testing kit is super simple and requires only a sample of your saliva. This is a good choice for testing people who can’t tolerate a nasal swab.
Priority return shipping is included in the cost of the COVID-19 home saliva test kit and you get your results via a secure digital portal within 72 hours of the lab receiving your sample. Your results are evaluated by a physician in your state and, if you wish, you can request a telephone consultation with a doctor to seek guidance about the next steps. You’ll also receive digital recommendations and guidance.
While Vitagene doesn’t have such extensive phone support from medical professionals as LetsGetChecked, they do have an extensive collection of FAQs that to answer most of your COVID-related questions and concerns.
Everlywell has the cheapest COVID-19 home test kit at just $109. However, if you want the kit shipped to you quickly, you’ll need to pay an extra $15, so it’s not necessarily the best deal if you need a test fast. If you can wait for 3 business days to take advantage of the free economy shipping, Everlywell’s Coronavirus test is pretty good value.
Sample collection is a simple nasal swab, but Everlywell specifies that you must ship the sample back the same day you collect it. After the lab gets your sample, within 72 hours, you’ll be able to access your results online.
Your results are reviewed by a board-certified physician, and, if you test positive, you’ll be able eligible for a telehealth consult at no extra cost. Personal support is limited, but there are some useful online resources in the FAQ section.
What’s in the Fine Print?
Not all COVID-19 home test kits are totally transparent at first glance, so here are some important things to note:
- The coronavirus home testing kits on our list are not antibody tests. They can tell you if you currently have COVID-19 but they cannot tell you if you previously had the virus. For that, you’d need a coronavirus antibody test.
- While some companies tell you they offer free shipping, that could just be free shipping from you to the lab. You may have to pay an additional fee for shipping or expedited shipping from the store to your home.
- Some health coverage and insurance providers will only cover the cost of a Coronavirus test if it has been prescribed by a physician, so if reimbursement is a necessity for you, be sure to check this with your provider before you purchase a kit. And some COVID-19 test providers, including LetsGetChecked and Vitagene, accept HSA and FSA cards for test payments.
How Do Our Top Picks Compete On Price?
- The best value, based on its level of support, rapid testing, and ease of use, is LetsGetChecked’s COVID-19 at-home test, which is mid-range on our list, at $119.
- Vitagene’s test is a little on the expensive side at $129, given that you don’t get anything more than LetsGetChecked. The key difference is that Vitagene’s test is a saliva sample rather than a nasal swab.
- Everlywell’s at-home test kit is the cheapest of the three at just $109. Until you factor in expedited to-you shipping, which is an extra $15. If you can wait three business days for the kit to arrive so you get free shipping, and you don’t want the extra personal support, this is a good budget-friendly choice.
The Bottom Line: Which Is the Best COVID-19 Test Kit?
After extensive research, my top choice for the best coronavirus at-home test kit is LetsGetChecked. It’s good value, fast, and simple, and LetsGetChecked offer a lot of personal support as well as online resources. The test is just a basic nasal swab. However, if you need to test someone for whom a nasal swab is not an option, Vitagene offers a highly accurate saliva sample Coronavirus test.
Is an at-home COVID-19 test painful?
No, not at all. In fact, all three of the tests on our list are non-invasive. LetsGetChecked and Everlywell require a simple nasal swab, and the Vitagene test is a saliva sample. Easy, fast, and painless.
What’s the point of getting tested for COVID-19 if there’s no cure?
Knowing if you have the virus helps you manage your symptoms to ensure the best recovery. It also lets you know whether you need to self-isolate to protect your family and the wider community or whether you can go back to work safely, without the risk of infecting others.
Who should take an at-home COVID-19 test?
If you currently have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you might have been exposed, you are a good candidate for a home testing kit. All of the test kits on our list require you to complete an eligibility checker before you purchase a test.
Can I purchase more than one coronavirus test kit per household?
Yes, but you may need to purchase each kit separately and fill out the eligibility questionnaire for each person in your household who requires a test.
Will a coronavirus test kit tell me if I had the virus in the past?
No, the tests on our list test for the presence of the live virus. They do not test for antibodies, which indicate that you previously had and overcame the virus.
Are Coronavirus test kits covered by insurance?
While most insurance companies will cover the cost of a COVID-19 test if it’s been prescribed by a physician, not all do, so it’s vital that you check with your insurance provider for the latest information.
Are COVID-19 at-home tests accurate?
The coronavirus test kits on our list are all highly accurate, as it’s one of our key criteria. LetsGetChecked, Vitagene, and Everlywell all use CLIA-approved testing labs to ensure the highest degree of accuracy and reliability in processing and results. Do note, however, that the tests may not be able to detect the presence of the virus in its very early stages, so no test can guarantee 100% accuracy.
What happens if my test results are positive for COVID-19?
If your test comes back positive, you’ll get the opportunity to speak with an independent medical professional. The company from whom you purchased the kit will also provide you with recommendations and guidance on what to do next.