Recent advances in DNA testing make uncovering the mysteries behind our ancestral roots easier than ever before. In fact, a study published in Genome Biology estimates that 60 million Americans will have participated in genetic ancestry testing by 2025. This will create a vast database that can be used to offer significant benefits to consumers, according to the same study.
With so many options, figuring out which DNA kit is best for your specific needs can be a complex process. Every company leverages its own unique algorithms and research databases to determine results. This raises the question, how do you know which kit is most accurate, meets your DNA testing goals, and keeps your data safe?
To find answers to these questions, we researched and compared the top DNA testing kits in 2023, including what we like best about each kit so you can make a smart purchase more easily.
To find the best DNA testing kits, we reviewed several different criteria, including:
These parameters provide a good baseline to use as you do your own analysis, narrow your options, and decide which DNA test to purchase.
We focused on examining DNA test kits that offer excellent value with reasonable pricing. We also considered the overall cost, new subscription plans, renewals, DNA sample results, processing, and shipping costs.
A DNA test's ability to accurately conduct ancestry research depends on the range of information available in the company's databases. The deeper the archives, the more resourceful and accurate the company can be with its results. Most of the DNA testing companies we selected boast millions or billions of records in their archives.
The security and sensitivity of private information are essential to DNA testing. This could be a concern for people purchasing at-home DNA tests, which is why we considered the protocols taken by each company we reviewed. The companies that made our list have protective measures in place that keep data secure. We also took into account reviews from people who've used these particular DNA testing kits and felt they were trustworthy.
Time-sensitive DNA tests should be delivered quickly—so we weighed the rate of delivery heavily in comparison with our other review factors. A good example of optimal turnaround time can be seen with MyHeritage DNA: The company delivers testing results in as little as three to four weeks.
MyHeritage DNA provides tools to help you build a family tree, discover your genetic profile, and explore fun activities like animating family photos. Their test kit gives you access to over 19.4 billion family history archives and offers a detailed breakdown of both your ethnicity and the genetic groups your DNA stems from.
It leverages autosomal DNA information, comparing your chromosomes and genetic traits with people whose genetic material has been tested by the company. This can help you find unknown relatives who've used autosomal DNA test kits as well.
Blaine Bettinger, PhD, a professional genealogist specializing in DNA evidence, explains that MyHeritage DNA also offers "a chromosome browser... that allows test takers to see exactly what segments of DNA they are identified as sharing with another person." In addition, "[this browser permits] users to compare segments of up to seven genetic matches at a time."
Why we chose MyHeritage DNA: The Complete plan, MyHeritage DNA's primary offering, unlocks over 10 genealogy research tools along with ancestry information across the company's website. Plus, the 30-day free trial gives you access to billions of records and a free family tree builder.
Our experience: We found it extremely useful that MyHeritage DNA lets you manage numerous accounts simultaneously. You don't need to log in and out of different profiles to gather information. Plus, we liked that you can link multiple kits to one account and import DNA results from other companies for free.
AncestryDNA offers several genealogical research tools, including family tree-building software, community features, and health, ethnicity, and heritage databases. It also delivers some of the best genetic testing kits on the market today and opens the door to genealogical records for over 30 billion DNA samples.
This DNA testing kit company partners with and is owned by one of the largest genealogy sites in the world Ancestry.com. Users can take advantage of this by integrating their results with their genealogical research on the platform.
If your main goal is to learn more about your family history, AncestryDNA is perfectly suited to help. DNA wellness expert, Magnolia Pretell, PhD, confirms that AncestryDNA "will give you a percentage of where your ethnicity is from." Information within both the Ancestry.com and AncestryDNA platforms spans over 80 countries, with results that paint a uniquely holistic picture of your ancestry.
Why we chose AncestryDNA: AncestryDNA and Ancestry.com offer a rare partnership that gives users access to a double-header of heritage records. Additionally, AncestryDNA uses methods like SideView technology to detect what DNA you share with your parents.
Our experience: AncestryDNA is a breeze to use. Right from the first click, you're presented with different options to help choose the best plan for your needs. When we got stuck during our research, the site allowed us to contact genealogy experts. However, it didn't provide reliable DNA health test results. If that's your main goal for purchasing a DNA test kit, this product might not be the best for you.
Living DNA provides an extensive database to comb through, particularly if you're from the British Isles, Europe, or Africa. This is the best ancestry test to explore your geographic ethnicity.
The company is led by a group of UK-based experts and researchers and has a reputation for well-detailed results, access to resources and research, and good customer service. It also lets you publish an ancestry book featuring your story. This is a personal, visual way to explain your results and share them with friends and family—we didn't see this option with any of the other kits we evaluated.
To top it off, Living DNA can identify rare genetic diseases, providing insights into genes that may help fight cancerous cells. For example, it may track genes like BRCA1, a marker for breast cancer.
Why we chose Living DNA: We like Living DNA's testing options and affordable prices, along with its straightforward and easily accessible services. The exciting part for us is how this test kit combines ancestry research and personalized medical insights through forensic DNA testing.
Our experience: Living DNA's ancestry test offers a subregional analysis for certain areas like Europe, Africa, and the British Isles. The well-being upgrade is an impressive add-on; it breaks down vitamin response and food metabolism, offering nutritional advice, and exercise and recovery tips.
LetsGetChecked isn't a traditional DNA test. Instead, it looks for health-related issues, like hormone level imbalances, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or kidney and liver health. The aim is to provide accurate biological information about your wellness before visiting your doctor.
The company offers several health-focused tests and screenings that can help you double-check for risks, heart problems, vitamin deficiencies, and assorted lifestyle factors that may negatively impact your well-being. These results can guide you in making better lifestyle choices.
As with any at-home health or DNA tests, we recommend you speak with your healthcare provider about your test results. With LetsGetChecked tests, this is even more important. Because the company focuses predominantly on health screening (and not ancestry tracking), seeking proper medical attention and advice before taking action based on your test's final results is essential.
Why we chose LetsGetChecked: LetsGetChecked's virtual one-on-one sessions make testing exceptionally easy. You simply download an app to your Android or iOS device and gain access to the kit's tools and resources (including guidance on when and how to take each test). Because their tests are primarily tied to health screening, your results are 100% encrypted and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Our experience: LetsGetChecked had the fastest turnaround time (2 to 5 days) and returned our results quickly and seamlessly. We were also impressed with the test's accuracy; the company follows the same checks and balances as a standard blood test at your doctor's office.
Futura Genetics offers test kits for DNA profiling and identifying carrier genes. It harnesses the power of advanced technology to analyze your genes and aims to help improve overall health and extend longevity.
To make this happen, the company tests for distinct indicators to determine genetic health risks and 28 of the most common diseases. Although it uses a saliva sample collection method (some people may prefer a cheek swab), it still gets the job done.
After receiving your test samples, Futura Genetics conducts a careful analysis to provide you with an extensive overview of the results. This comprises a 26-page health report, complete with nutritional advice based on the findings.
Why we choose Futura Genetics: Futura Genetics' scientific techniques, paired with a personalized health overview that includes nutritional advice, make their testing process feel more human and personal. We also liked the speedy results delivery and the comprehensive report.
Our experience: Before taking the test, we participated in a Futura Genetics live genetic counseling session with a licensed physician. This provided valuable insights to guide us through the testing process. After receiving our results, we had the opportunity for follow-up discussions, which made the experience feel more like a visit with a traditional doctor.
Compared to other genealogical companies, GPS Origins (owned by HomeDNA) boasts a wide range of geographic research results spread over 900 regions.
With innovative technology, it can dig deeper into the general area from which your ancestors may have come, and identify the precise location—even down to the city. You can even follow your genealogical journey along a map to see the direction your family may have moved, and the villages, cities, countries, and even islands that they likely passed through.
To make this happen, GPS Origins examines thousands of autosomal biomarkers, highlighting their uniqueness. With a heavy focus on location-specific migration, this particular DNA kit also breaks down its reports into gene pools, giving you a close-up view of your genetic makeup and family's ethnic culture.
Why we chose GPS Origins: The mapping features and distinct geographical bells and whistles that GPS Origins offers set it apart from the competition. Its all-in-one tools also check the genes controlling healthy weight, skincare, and paternity.
Our experience: We were impressed with the gene pool profile available to GPS Origins subscribers. The interactive map was a big bonus for our ancestral research, showing detailed information on both our maternal and paternal ancestors and their migration journeys.
23andMe offers DNA-based ethnicity estimates. It uses ancient haplogroups (maternal and paternal lineages that share a common ancestor) and Neanderthal information to track your roots. The service can find your closest living relatives using DNA samples—going back as far as six to eight generations.
The genetic health reports based on the samples you give 23andMe offer a robust snapshot of your ancestry and health. For example, revealing the science behind your eye color and what influences your smell, taste, and facial features. The evidence-backed reports screen for potential risks tied to various diseases, including respiratory and oncology issues.
Although the company's genealogical test is not as precise as others, 23andMe is one of the most accurate DNA kits on the market for ethnicity research.
Why we chose 23andMe: 23andMe provides a superb and comprehensive genetic health report. Through haplogroup data, they're able to dig deep into your ancient roots. They also have a feature that allows you to study different ancestry timelines and connect with DNA-matched relatives by sending them a message.
Our experience: When it comes to customer service, we think 23andMe is a top performer. Interactions with the company were helpful and comfortable. Interestingly, 23andMe allows users to voluntarily participate in genetic research by linking their information to further studies—we like that this is an option and that you can opt out whenever you want.
HomeDNA processes raw data about your genes and is best suited for more specialized testing and DNA research into ancestral origins. Aside from being a go-to for paternity testing, HomeDNA does a good job with DNA origins testing through its subsidiary, GPS Origins.
Kits are affordable and HomeDNA's sample extraction process is easy enough to complete. The company also offers genetic health tests that can identify your sensitivity to some foods, pet dander, and skin care products.
With HomeDNA, you can import reports from other genealogy research websites to help track results. The reverse is also possible—you can export your results from HomeDNA to other websites. You can also track your DNA migration pattern to see the ancestral interaction between your maternal and paternal lines.
Why we chose HomeDNA: HomeDNA boasts the number-one ranked paternity test in the US (according to the product site) and offers accurate results at a budget-friendly price. Plus, the easy-to-use kit is one of the few we reviewed that extends DNA testing services to pets.
Our experience: We found the online platform easy to navigate, and liked that you can shop for health and beauty products based on your sensitivity results, which is a convenient and helpful add-on.
Vitagene puts wellness at the heart of all its services, making it the ideal option if you're looking for personalized health tips based on your genetic makeup. (Although the company offers ancestry test services, they're not as effective as Vitagene's genetic health tests.)
Vitagene testing options include diet, supplementation, fitness, and skin reports. There are also tests for genetic risks, certain skin conditions, endurance abilities, and nutritional deficiency. In addition, the company's collection of products includes a COVID-19 test kit.
Why we chose Vitagene: Vitagene provides several detailed health reports that aren't available in most competitors' kits. We were also drawn to the company by its wellness-focused testing products, which include inflammatory testing, a sleep and stress test, and a thyroid test.
Our experience: Although Vitagene offers several how-to resources and an FAQ section for users to peruse online, there's not much information to read through. Luckily, the test was pretty intuitive to use; it required a basic cheek swab and only took a couple of minutes. We also found customer service reps to be friendly and responsive.
In addition to an oral swab, EasyDNA uses hair samples to perform detailed DNA tests. The company can also confirm the presence of DNA in a relative's ash sample by testing cremated remains.
It offers various test types, such as prenatal and paternity testing. So whether you'd like to know the gender of your child, learn more about your genetic health, or identify the origins of a deceased loved one, EasyDNA has you covered. The company's wide range of services differentiates it from other testing kit providers.
EasyDNA's kits include relationship, drug, and clinical testing options. As its name suggests, this kit focuses on making it easy for you to get specialized and specific DNA tests from a single provider.
Why we chose EasyDNA: EasyDNA provides accurate and fast results. For the number of tests they offer, their speed is outstanding. They also offer a wide range of services and a commendable customer support system. EasyDNA is currently available in 25 countries—we're impressed with how prevalent the kits are, and that customer service can accommodate several languages.
Our experience: We contacted customer support for help through email and WhatsApp, and experienced responsive and helpful exchanges. We also found quality resources on the EasyDNA website to benefit both curious potential customers and first-time or existing users.