Personal DNA testing is a thing. Yup, what was once reserved for medical professionals has become a novelty for home and personal use. Growing in popularity, genetic testing can now be done by anyone, anywhere, and for whatsoever reason. From proving who your relatives are to discovering more about your genetics, heritage, and ancestors – home DNA kits can be the answer to some serious soul-searching questions or they can be a fun way to discover more about who you get certain traits and characteristics from, and why. Whether you are looking for a unique gift to purchase someone all in the name of “fun” or if you would like to use a kit with a more solid purpose in mind, we have listed 5 of the best DNA tests on the market. We recommend that you scrutinise the capabilities of each kit before deciding which one will be more suited to the results that you’re after.
The Best DNA Test
Having currently tested the DNA of more than 10 million individuals, the AncestryDNA kit comes with the largest DNA database in comparison with its competitors. This makes it one of the more detailed tests when it comes to tracing your relatives and ethnicity. To get the most out of this ethnicity test, however, you will need to create an online profile and the more family history you can add to the “tree” you create, the more thorough your findings will be. So, while the kit is marketed at an average going-rate, you can expect to pay additional subscription fees if you want the best and most accurate feedback.
Using the autosomal DNA testing approach, the data collected solely from the saliva sample you give is limited to 5-6 generations only – your online profile is therefore very important if you want to receive a more detailed account on your heritage and who your relatives were centuries ago. What’s fun about using the testing kit in conjunction with the online service is that you get to discover the recent migration paths and personally relevant historical details of your ancestors. For a test with basic functionality, Ancestry DNA is an excellent way of getting a picture of who you are and who you are connected to.
Traces roots back to more than 500 global regions
Requires a simple saliva sample
Includes easy-to-follow instructions
Find relatives among 10 million DNA profiles
Results are impressive and refined
- Weight12.8 ounces
If you keep your online subscription then you have access to continually updated results
The purchase price includes the shipping fee to the allocated laboratory
The results are easy to understand and are also detailed
The kit only features autosomal testing, limiting the results to an average of 5 generations only
You cannot get your results without paying the online profile subscription fee
Does not test for genetic health patterns
A bit pricier than other ancestry DNA kits, the 23andME test provides value for money by testing for 5 genetic health risks while also tracking your ancestral lineage. Second only to AncestryDNA in the volume of DNA samples it has collected, this brand has one advantage in that it uses all three types of testing techniques, namely Autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA. So, while our first choice might be more potent in terms of the data it has access to, the 23andME outdoes itself by also tracing DNA through maternal and paternal lines dating back to more than 50 generations.
Using saliva as its sample, the collection and sending of your DNA is as easy as 123. And like most of the brands, sample postage fees are included in the purchase price. While you do receive your results via email and an online report, there are no subscription fees associated with this kit, making it quite economical in the long run. Whether you’re interested in genetics or health screening, 23andME provides clear and detailed feedback that includes fun facts along the way. Looking at moderate to serious health risks, this test could help you to prevent genetic diseases and is the only company that provides both trait and medical reports.
Receive reports via a free online account
Traces family DNA and Neanderthal ancestry
Provides information on hereditary traits and disorders
Connect with others who have the same DNA
Discover your carrier status
- Weight5.6 ounces
Features the most accurate ethnicity estimates
No subscription fees or referral policies are required
It allows you to find potential genetic relatives
The company takes privacy very seriously
The reports often take more than the average waiting period to be compiled
The database does not feature family trees
This type of genetic testing does not guarantee a vision of your future health
If filling a vile with your spit grosses you out, you might find the “cheek swab” sample collection method of the MyHeritage ancestry kit more to your liking. Sticking to the basics of genetic lineages, the autosomal findings of this company are credited for being detailed and thorough despite the fact that their DNA database is on the smaller side. The protocol of MyHeritage’s testing is similar to AncestryDNA in that this kit requires one to create an online profile so that family trees can be matched with the test results. While this only enhances the findings, it does also incur added subscription fees.
Presenting your results with fun animations that are easy to grasp, the reports allow you to see where your ancestors lived across the globe. While the software is certainly exciting to use and is full of pageantry, the ancestral data you’re given is nowhere near as insightful as many other brands. So, while MyHeritage gets a whole-hearted thumbs up for its economical price and entertaining user-experience, it is quite limited to the data is provides. If you’re simply investigating your lineage for the fun of it, then this is a great option. If you are doing some serious digging, however, then you might want to consider some of our other listed brands.
Find relatives on both your maternal and paternal sides
Get a detailed ethnicity breakdown from 42 regions
Simple cheek swab sample kit
Uses the highest technological standards
- BrandMyHeritage DNA
- ModelMyHeritage DNA
- Weight8 ounces
The results and data are easy to understand
Family tree software is fun and easy to use
Allows you to both import and export DNA information
The DNA database is substantially smaller than others
It does not go into extreme detail about how your ancestors lived
Living up to its namesake, the Rapid DNA test kit was built on the principle of delivering fast results. So, if you’re in a rush for answers, then this company works on a testing system that offers a quick turnaround time – often giving feedback after only 3-5 working days from when the lab receives a sample. Rapid DNA also boasts a 99.999% accuracy rating which is attributed to the fact that only quality materials are used and because every test kit is independently tested not only once, but twice! While the results of this test might not be valid for legal submission or won’t hold any worth in court, if you are looking to ease your mind and prove the paternity of a child, then this kit is an excellent choice.
Relying on autosomal testing to connect the DNA of close relatives, the Rapid DNA kit doesn’t provide much information on one’s ancestral history and has been designed for more practical uses that for gathering info for a family tree. Since the kit uses a cheek swab as its sample, this test is perfect for collecting DNA from young children who might not be capable of filling a vile with saliva. Easy on the pocket with no frills attached, the purpose of Rapid DNA is to give you direct results fast.
routinely checks 20+ DNA markers
Privacy is guaranteed
Superbly fast turnaround time
Sample collection is child-friendly
Certified labs use Dual Process technology
- BrandRapid DNA Testing
- Weight3.2 ounces
A painless and easy process from start to finish
If you don’t get your results within 5 days then you get your money back
Results are extremely accurate
This test cannot be used to track one’s ancestral data
The National Geographic DNA heritage test is not only popular because of its affordability, but it also has a great reputation for delivering accurate results that are linked to interesting titbits and detailed information on relatives dating back to many MANY generations. But, while the data is anthropologically fascinating, the info you are given does often fall short on more personal genetic data. This simply means that this kit leans more towards your ancient ancestors and their journey than about who you get certain traits and characteristics from.
Using a toothbrush to scrape your inner cheeks, the sample collection process is quick and easy. Once you’ve got your DNA ready, you simply ship it off in the pre-addressed envelope that’s supplied (this incurs an additional cost). If you need your results back ASAP, however, then you might want to look at some other options. The Geno 2.0 Next Generation test does a comprehensive analysis of DNA which takes some time and you can expect feedback after a two month wait. While the results are not instantaneous, this ethnicity test uses both mtDNA and Y-DNA to gather its data, this simply means that it can do an accurate investigation that can be further followed up with online research and findings that the company supplies.
Receive info dating back as far as 500,000 years
Gain a unique view of your DNA results in a custom video
Discover which historical geniuses you could be related to
Uses state-of-the-art Exome+ technology
- Weight13.6 ounces
Impressively tracks ancestral migration patterns back 200,000 years
Your online report includes interactive features that are easy to understand
One of the more affordable kits with no additional “surprise” fees
Focuses more on your ancestors’ genetic makeup than your personal genetics
You can wait months before you receive your results
DNA Test Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of DNA Tests
Reviews – There’s no better way to collect honest feedback on a product than to search for what reviewers have to say. This is why our collection of DNA tests fall into the category of “best of the bunch”. During our decision-making process, we gathered feedback from consumers who have tried and tested the kits and then came to a substantial and unbiased conclusion.
Price – One might expect DNA testing to be somewhat expensive but with the “at home” kits, it’s more affordable than you might think. While some of the tests are quite economical, the premium ranges are slightly more expensive. The good news is that no matter the pricing, each of the kits featured on our list offers quality collection process with the deliverability of coherent and accurate results.
Accuracy - Discovering more about who you are, where you come from, and what your genes have in store for you is not something that should be taken lightly. The results and the information you are left with could leave you with a completely different perspective on life. This is why it is extremely important that the data you are given is 100% accurate and is as detailed as possible. We made sure that the kits on our list are renowned for their reliability and clear accuracy.
Features To Look For In DNA Tests
Collection - Your home will be covered from top to bottom with samples of your DNA, but the method you use to collect the one you send in for testing should be a little more scientific. This, however, does not mean that the collection process needs to be difficult or overly complicated. When we narrowed down our list to the best 5 DNA testing kits, a priority was to take into consideration how user-friendly the tests are - some of the kits require that you gather your samples by mouth swab and others request a collection of saliva. We also took the clarity of the user manual and how detailed the packaging to the return mailer is into account.
Results - One of the obvious outcomes of the results is that they need to be accurate. Detail is extremely important when it comes to DNA testing, but so is the coherence of how the results are presented. The testing kit you choose should give a detailed and clear description of your results and findings and the more information, the better.
When it comes to the findings, speed is also important, although you do not want to rush the process either. Some kits promise to deliver feedback after only four weeks while other services request a waiting period of no less than 2 months. This means that if you require the data urgently, then you will have to opt for a kit that has a speedy delivery of results.
Types Of DNA Kits
Autosomal DNA - Autosomal testing kits work with the first 22 pairs of chromosomes, stopping just before the gender-defining 23rd. This means that both men and women can use this type of DNA kit.
Examining an average of 700,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms to determine how closely related you are to someone; this test is handy for identifying living relatives (usually up to the last 4 or 5 generations). Because you inherit half of your DNA from each of your parents, the results of from this kit become less reliable the further back you go. For example, parents pass down 50% each, grandparents 25% each, great grandparents 12.5% and so on. This is why accurate findings are limited to 4th and 5th generations only.
MtDNA - Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) kits are focused on exploring genetic material found in the DNA strands of mitochondria. These kits are advantageous in that mtDNA changes are very slow, providing extremely accurate results that can often date back to more than 50 generations.
The catch with mtDNA tests, however, is that these DNA strands are passed down through the mother. This means that you can only roll back through a line of female relatives. So, your mom, your grandmother, your great grandmother, your great great grandmother and so on. So, while this test is great for tracking your ancestry, its use is limited when it comes to giving a detailed account of who your relatives are.
Y-DNA - A Y-DNA home DNA test tracks your lineage using the Y on the 23rd chromosome – a chromosome that women don’t have. This means that this kit is only available for men and rolls back through a line of male relatives; son, father, grandfather, great grandfather and so on.
Much like the mtDNA test which works through a female lineage, the Y-DNA process gathers accurate results dating back as far as 10 000 years – but again, this information will have missing relatives because of the 23rd chromosome limitation. Although women can’t use the kit themselves, they can still benefit from the data by asking a close and confirmed male relative to use it on their behalf.
- Different Types Of DNA Testing Kits - Expert Reviews
- Collecting DNA Samples And How To Expect Results - PC World