Knowing your DNA makeup is more than just learning your family tree, although family history is certainly a useful asset in determining genetic makeup. Understanding family history can be the key to testing for different medical conditions and figuring out which issues you might need to be screened for.
A DNA kit can help establish the likelihood that you might develop ailments like Parkinson’s disease, Celiac disease, and more, and a quality kit might even help you to predict the potential future qualities of your children, including hair and eye color. These kits can trace back families to certain regions of the world, and some kits have helped consumers to connect with relatives they didn't even know they had.
But for every kit that works out there in this evolving industry, there are a number of companies promoting ineffective or useless DNA kits. Users should conduct due research to stay informed and avoid becoming the victim of another DNA test scam. Read our reviews of the ten best DNA kit brands of 2023 to keep yourself educated on the evolving industry and its top brand names.
Ranking the Top 10 Best DNA Kits of 2023
This section will review and rank some of the top DNA test kit brands presently on the market. This is not a definitive guide, and you should use your own preferences and research to figure out which products are right for you. This list is also in no particular order.
23andME Health+ Ancestry
The top of the list features a brand that has been widely publicized by celebrities and influencers online, as 23andMe established itself as one of the first DNA testing kits to reach the market. The kit has continued to be rather successful, even though there have been many other kits to try and replicate what they’ve done.
It has a high accuracy rate and offers consumer information about their genetic background with substantial detail. There are details regarding the likelihood of ending up with various diseases, like breast cancer and dementia, though consumers are also offered information about their racial background.
As far as privacy goes, 23andMe is one of the most secure, encrypting the user’s data at a private location that is accessible by the user. This kit is available from Amazon for $129.00.
Silverberry DNA Kit
The information found with the Silverberry DNA Kit is unique. Rather than offering details on the user’s medical history or family, Silverberry is about telling consumers about their vitamin and mineral needs. The kit explains any deficiencies that the user may need to fulfill in their diet, along with multiple personality and behavioral tendencies that the user shows with their nutritional history. Though there are obvious concerns that consumers may notice in these findings, finding clarity is the primary goal.
The DNA kit offers fast results, typically arriving within four weeks to help with any work that needs to be done with these results. Consumers can purchase the Silverberry kit for $69.00 from Amazon.
Vitagene Unique Like You
The testing kit from Vitagene offers a look at the well-being of consumers presently, rather than discussing specific health issues that the user may be at risk for in the future. The user will have access to their ancestry from around the world and will be provided with a report that discusses their possible nutritional concerns. The Vitagene kit will make vitamin, supplements, and exercise recommendations, based on the genetics recorded, to address possible problems that could arise.
Unique Like You has a fast turnaround, providing users with their results and recommendations within about six weeks, while some brands take up to eight weeks to detail information to customers. Since this kit focuses on examining the user’s health history, this kit is considered to be highly reliable.
Consumers can purchase Unique Like You from Amazon for $79.00.
Fit iQ DNA Test
The Fit iQ DNA Test examines the user’s genetic information as a way to create a fitness and diet routine that can serve their body. The highly-specialized kit may not be the best product for the average consumer, but it effectively serves athletes with a particular focus on their fitness on a regular basis.
After collecting the DNA sample, Fit iQ can use the data to figure out how likely it is that the user has sugar cravings, how likely they are overweight, and how to best lose excess weight. The company offers exercise routines, based on genetic makeup. However, one of the common elements that seem to be missing from this product is the lack of information about family history.
Still, this kit ranks #4 on the list and is typically available on Amazon. However, it is presently out of stock.
Ancestry DNA comes from the popular family tree website Ancestry.com as one of the more well-known brands on this list. The DNA kit can be paired with a login on the website, and it connects with over 350 regions on the world to give users an idea of where they come from.
This kit’s primary focus is on the ancestry of users, so don’t expect any health-related information. Considering the substantial amount of information found in this kit, users have to wait about eight weeks to gather the data. However, users that are exclusively interested in this perspective of their life can purchase it from Amazon for $59.00.
The DNA testing kit from MyHeritage focuses on genetic ancestry information for users at an affordable price. The kit offers results from 70 regions around the world and offered substantial information. The kit has a high rate of accuracy, despite not offering as many intricate details as some other kits provide.
Much like Ancestry DNA, the user will not be provided with health information. However, the kit still ranks at #6 among these many kits. While typically available through Amazon directly, consumers will need to refer to one of the listed third-party sellers in this case.
Color Genetic Risk Test
The Color Genetic Risk Test offers some reliable results that examine over 60 genes in the body. Though the kit doesn’t address much about the ancestry of the user, it is helpful in learning a medical genetic history, which allows consumers to know if they are at risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.
Ultimately, while not too invasive, the kit will help consumers that want a general medical history that they can go off of, pushing them to research further. It is available through Amazon for $248.50.
TellMeGen is primarily on this top 10 list for the user reviews, as many customers found the answers they sought through its data. Despite the substantial accuracy of this kit, it remains one of the newest options on the market. There are no ancestral data like some of the other kits, but it offers information about the user’s general health, as well as their risk of eventually developing certain diseases, like high blood pressure or diabetes. The test shows if the genetic data puts the user at risk for becoming a “carrier” of certain mutations, like obesity and even depression. In total, the user will find out data on 390+ different products.
The kit, much like the other products on this list, is available on Amazon, where consumers can purchase it for $119.00.
Geno 2.0 Next Generation
The Geno 2.0 Next Generation DNA kit comes from National Geographic, immediately giving a solid reputation to the brand. The kit traces the genetic heritage of consumers back by up to 500,000 years of genome research, and there are many reviews on how accurate these tests are. While it doesn’t provide information about the user’s health, the evaluation of the genetic history is available through Amazon.
At this time, the website doesn’t have the DNA testing kit in stock.
Family Tree DNA
The Family Tree DNA kit is one of the more basic products on this list, offering a view of the user’s DNA family to trace their lineage back and find further familial connections. It breaks down the user’s geographic origins into a percentage for each. Rather than sending a whole vial of saliva like some of these kits, consumers can use a simple cheek swab to collect their DNA to send it in.
Consumers can purchase the kit for $49.00.
Benefits of Using a DNA Kit
Each of these kits come with a substantial amount of information about the user, depending on the perspective that they need. With the testing kits that offer medical information, users can determine their likelihood of diseases – like diabetes and cancer – to let them make changes to their diet, get screened early, and have conversations with their doctor about the best ways to protect themselves. Plus, consumers can find out what types of conditions that they have a genetic predisposition to, allowing them to prepare for those circumstances.
On a less serious benefit, consumers can learn about their genetic preferences for food, especially for dishes that they may ordinarily not try. Risks like lactose intolerance or certain allergies may also come out with this type of testing, helping consumers to get tested and adjust their diet to avoid digestive discomfort.
Plus, genetic testing costs a lot, when performed through a doctor. By choosing one of the DNA kits that report health information, consumers can create a trustworthy family medical history for their doctor at an affordable rate. Comparatively, while this testing would ordinarily cost over $1,000 with a doctor, these DNA tests range primarily from $100 to $200.
Risks of Buying a DNA Kit
While there are many interesting kits on the market today, the average consumer needs to do their due diligence in making a selection. A recent article from Engadget reported that the Pentagon is advising their military personnel to not use these DNA tests at all, as the Department of Defense warns of “unintended security consequences.”
A memo to military personnel warned that the testing is highly unregulated, and that the missions of these task forces could otherwise be compromised. Commander Sean Robertson spoke with the New York Times about the memo, which was released just before Christmas, stating, “We want to ensure all service members are aware of the risks of Direct to Consumer (DTC) genetic testing.”
Even consumers without ties to the military should be aware of that risk, considering that there could be personal consequences. After all, the release of DNA could expose the users to certain risks of their own, and there could be familial connections that the user did not want to be exposed. Some of the kits contact other users that are connected to inform them of their genetic match, and there are many consumers that do not want that kind of information available to others.
To ensure that consumers are aware of exactly what their company does, a spokesperson of 23andMe released a statement, clarifying that the platform does “not share information with third parties without separate, explicit consent from [its] customer.” Ancestry spoke with the New York Times as well, stating that it doesn’t explicitly target military personnel.
Frequently Asked Questions About DNA Test Kits
This section will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about DNA test kits. As with any FAQ section, we are limited in the types of questions we can answer. Users with specific questions about the science or offerings of a particular test kit should contact the kit's manufacturers and promoters directly.
Q: What is a DNA test kit?
A: A DNA test kit is typically composed of a tool that users can use to collect a sample of the DNA, such as a cotton swab for the inside of the cheek. Once consumers collect their DNA sample, they can send this sample to the company's lab, which then returns results back the user. There are many different types of DNA tests on the market today, and these kits provide consumers with different kinds of information about their family history and DNA makeup. There are kits that can track ancestry, determine potential health issues, or determine the ethnic background of the user.
Q: Which DNA test is best?
A: According to Business Insider, the best overall kit on the market today is the Ancestry DNA Genetic Testing Kit, which costs $99. However, there are many kits on the market that focus on more specific areas of interest. For predicting potential health risks, 23andMe Ancestry + Health Kit ($199.99) is highly recommended. However, individuals that want to spend less on their kit without giving up accuracy may turn to the MyHeritage DNA Test Kit. The best kit for you ultimately depends on what you want to get out of your DNA test kit.
Q: Where can you buy a DNA test kit?
A: The easiest way to purchase a DNA test kit is by searching online for the kit that you want. Companies have their own websites, and users who want a specific brand might get the most out of buying directly. However, these kits are starting to become available in retail stores as well, including Best Buy, Walmart, and Walgreens. Customers should call ahead of time to determine if the product that they are looking for is in stock in large retailers near them.
Q: Is a DNA test 100% accurate?
A: Not necessarily, but accuracy depends largely on the test. DNA tests are used for a multitude of things, like ancestry and medical risk probability. The most that these kits can do is make a prediction or an estimation based on the sample that the user provides. Paternity tests are also not 100% accurate, as some of these tests are used to exclude a man as the father of a child.
Q: How much is an at-home DNA test?
A: The price of an at-home DNA test will vary, based on the particular kit ordered. A DNA test to determine paternity can cost between $300 and $500, while a test to assess health risks ranges from under $100 to $2,000. The most popular DNA tests on the market right now for ancestry and ethnic background typically start around $79, though the total cost will depend on the brand.
Q: How can you get a DNA test without someone knowing?
A: In cases of paternity, it is possible to perform a test without the possible father being involved directly, if the mother tests his parents or close relatives. However, to confirm paternity with certainty for legal benefits, the user will need to test the alleged father directly. Consult laws in your own jurisdiction to navigate this complicated question properly.
Q: How do you do a DNA test in secret?
A: Without legal intervention, a mother can purchase a kit to perform a DNA paternity test at home, often only requiring a swab to be rubbed inside the mother's, donor’s, and child’s cheek each. This information can be sent to a lab. These details only need to become public if the mother wishes to pursue child support as a result of these tests.
Q: How accurate are DNA tests?
A: Even for the most precise DNA tests, whether they are used to test paternity, genealogical background, or health risks, experts say that the tests are 99.9% accurate. While these numbers are fairly positive, users of these tests should remember that there’s always a chance that the test is inaccurate, either due to an anomaly in testing or as the result of user error.
Q: How much is a DNA test kit at Walgreens?
A: While DNA test kits may vary, Walgreens has paternity testing kits for home use for as little as $14.99. However, inventory online may differ from the inventory that consumers find in stores. To find out what products are presently offered by a local Walgreens location, contact the store directly or make a visit.
Q: How to order a DNA test kit?
A: DNA test kits can be ordered at a multitude of websites online, if the user only wants to use one for personal information. To order someone else to take a DNA test, legal documents must be filed with a local court. The type of test you will be able to get depends entirely on if the user wants it for themselves.
Q: How accurate are home DNA testing kits?
A: Home testing kits technically have a 99.9% rate of accuracy. However, unlike lab tests or tests performed in a professional and medical setting, these kits leave room for user error. If the user doesn’t follow the specific instructions provided or the sample doesn’t have enough DNA, consumers may not get the answer they are looking for.
Q: What is the best DNA test kit for African American?
A: According to Top10.com, the most popular DNA test for African Americans comes from AfricanAncestry.com, only requiring a cheek swab. The kit must be ordered over the phone, though the website includes plenty of products that consumers can get as a result. Genealogical testing varies from person to person, and an article just over a year ago in USA Today revealed that African Americans and other minorities could be at a disadvantage.
Much of this history recorded comes from family stories, which means that the records are sorely lacking in documentation. As recently as 2015, Ancestry.com was sorely lacking in samples from individuals that aren’t rooted in European ancestry. Still, considering the widespread interested in genealogy through the last few years, more and more people are submitting their DNA from around the world.
Q: What is the best dog DNA test kit?
A: On Amazon.com, the top-rated DNA testing kit for dogs is Embark. This kit allows consumers to get a sample of DNA from their dog using the provided cotton swab to swipe the inside of their cheek, send it in, and learn about their dog’s breed(s). This kit is especially helpful to consumers that want to confirm their purebred heritage or want to learn more about the traits of their mixed breed pup.
Q: How do you get DNA testing results?
A: Once the DNA sample is sent directly in to the company that analyzes it, users will receive the results of their analysis in a conclusive report. Some companies make this information available online through an account set up by the user. Each company displays their information privately to the user.
Q: Are DNA test kits safe?
A: Yes. Collecting the samples may be a little daunting for anyone that hasn’t used one of these kits before, but everything is sterile before it even arrives on the user’s door step. Unless otherwise stated, this information is kept private. It is up to the user to decide what they do with their information.
Q: Do DNA test kits work?
The answer to this question isn’t exactly clear cut. The entire goal of DNA kits is to get as accurate of an answer as possible, but there are many factors that can contribute to how well they work. Everything from an error in following instructions to damage of that kit during shipment can play a role in how correct the outcome is.
Q: Does CVS sell DNA test kits?
A: As of April 2023, CVS Pharmacy carries several DNA tests. For $24.99, consumers can purchase the HomeDNA Ancestry Test or the HomeDNA Food & Pet Sensitivity Test. While the former tests DNA to show the user more information about their genetic background, the latter is used to help determine if the user has any sensitivities to the most common allergens. The store also carries the Orig3n Metabolism DNA Test Collection Kit for $48.99, which is used to show consumers more about their metabolism and any deficiencies that it may have.
Q: How accurate is the Ancestry DNA test kit?
A: According to the AncestryDNA Learning Hub, their technology makes it possible for their test to have a minimum of 99% accuracy in each of the markers of the customer’s DNA. In the testing, the sample will also be analyzed to determine where their ancestors may have lived long ago. This part of the analysis is an ethnicity estimate, approximating how much of the user’s DNA has come from different regions in the world.
Q: Can you buy a DNA test kit at Walmart?
A: Yes. As of April 2023 on Walmart.com, the retailer carries six different 23andMe DNA kits, the AncestryDNA test, 3 HomeDNA kits, 9 5Strands DNA test kits for food intolerance and related issues, and several generic or lesser-known DNA tests for specific data, like a DNA testing kit for infidelity. Most of these products can be ordered directly from the Walmart website. However, some of the products are specifically found in the physical stores. For full availability, contact the local Walmart location.
Q: Do DNA test kits expire?
A: The majority of DNA test kits are good for a full year from the date of purchase. The box and directions should indicate if there is an expiration on the kit. If not, the user will need to contact the customer service team of the specific kit that they’ve purchased.
Q: How accurate are dog DNA test kits?
A: Dog DNA tests are fairly accurate, though there are many factors that can contribute this accuracy. Based on information from multiple leaders in this sector, the typical accuracy of these tests are typically 95% to 99%. The main reasons that these tests aren’t 100% accurate is because issues like the limits of the breed database of the testing company or simply user error.
Q: How do DNA test kits work?
A: With most testing kits, the user is asked to take a sample of their own DNA with a swab along their cheek or a tube of saliva. Then, the testing company analyzes the sample to learn about the different genetic traits of the individual. The results that users get depends on the type of kit that they’ve ordered.
Q: How much is an ancestry DNA test kit?
A: The cost of a DNA test kit for ancestry will depend on the brand that the user is purchasing from. For AncestryDNA, their testing kits begin at $99. 23andMe starts at $99, plus the cost of shipping. Other brands price their kits around the same amount, though some kits have upgrades and additional information that adds to the overall cost.
Q: How much is a dog DNA test kit?
A: The cost of a DNA test kit for a dog will depend on the source. With a test ordered from an accredited laboratory, the cost can range from $60 to $170. However, price can vary significantly, based on how much information the user wants to collect. Always shop around to maximize your savings and research.
Q: How to use a DNA test kit?
A: Though most DNA kits use a cheek swab to test for DNA, each kit is different. Always refer to the specific instructions for the purchased kit to get the best results.
Q: What is the best DNA test kit for ethnicity?
A: According to an article with Business Insider in February 2023, users of the AncestryDNA Genetic Testing Kit got the best results for their ethnic makeup. However, 23andMe also has a fairly comprehensive view of this information as well. The individuals that get the most accurate results tend to be individuals with a European background, simply due to the widespread documentation of these genetic lines.
DNA kits are a relatively affordable for consumers to learn more about their genetic profile, family history, and potential predispositions to disease. While these kits do not come with direct side effects, there’s always a chance of this information getting into the wrong hands and can put the user at risk for denial of certain types of insurance.
For consumers that are interested in seeing what these kits can offer, check out one of the Top 10 listed here as a starting point. Always conduct research before giving your DNA swab to any company.