MyHeritage and 23andMe are both market leaders, and you’ve likely read about them or know someone who has used one of their kits. They promise accurate results, have millions of customers, and have excellent reputations. We outline which kit is better for a variety of purposes, and help you decide which kit is right for you.
Before we compare the 2 kits, here’s a brief rundown of DNA testing and how it works.
Basics of DNA Kits
DNA testing examines the genetic code that each individual carries within their DNA, and can be found in the cells of human material like a drop of saliva or the swab of a cheek. Since everyone’s DNA is slightly different, analyzing it can tell you an incredible amount about yourself.
After receiving your DNA kit, your first step will be to collect your sample of DNA—either with a cheek swab or saliva sample. After providing your sample and registering your kit online, you return the samples to the lab where they’re analyzed. Results can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks, and are available either online or by paper copies delivered to your mailbox.
Rundown of the 2 Kits
Full price of DNA test: $99
Collection method: Cheek swab
- Over 92 million users
- Results ready in 4-6 weeks
- Combines DNA results and family tree analysis
- Affordable pricing
- Results can be difficult to understand
With over 8.8 billion historical records and one of the largest international network of family trees, MyHeritage is one of the most popular providers of DNA testing kits in the market. It differs from other kits in that it offers an all-round solution – DNA testing and family tree services. MyHeritage’s kits are ideal if you want to learn more about yourself, discover and connect with long lost relatives, and build a complete and comprehensive family tree. The kits are easy to open and use, results are detailed, and pricing is competitive. MyHeritage is continuously adding more features to its kits, the company has a ton of positive reviews, and its DNA services are trusted by millions.
Full price of DNA test: $99
Collection method: Saliva sample
- Offers ancestry, health, and trait reports
- FDA authorized
- Ancestry reports lack insight and depth
- Ancestry + health kit is more expensive than others on the market
- No family tree services
23andMe was founded in 2006 by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza and Anne Wojcicki, ex-wife of Google founder Sergey Brin. It offers 2 products in the DNA space – an ancestry kit, and an ancestry + health kit. The DNA kit offers ancestral, ethnic, and regional results, while the ancestry + health kit offers all of this as well as insight into your health and risk of disease. Each test varies in results and the overall process, but they’re both extremely reputable and accurate. 23andMe has over 2 million customers, and is one of the few DNA kits to be FDA registered.
So, which kit wins out? Let the battle begin.
MyHeritage’s top features lie in the simplicity of both the kits themselves and the results. After receiving the kit, you just register it online, swab your cheek, send the sample back to the lab, and you're done. Activation is also straightforward, and it only takes a few seconds to register your kit online. As far as result features, MyHeritage has the ability to match your DNA from over 42 ethnic regions, some of which are exclusive to this provider, and there’s also easy integration with other MyHeritage features like family tree building plans.
23andMe is also extremely simple, and works off of a saliva sample. After receiving your kit or picking it up from a retailer, you simply need to fill a small vial of saliva. You then ship the sample back to the lab in its pre-paid package, and wait for your results report. 23andMe offers 2 kinds of tests – the ancestry test, and an ancestry + health test. Though its “ancestry only” tests’ results lack the detail of other kits on the market, the ancestry + health kit goes above and beyond. It offers tons of information about yourself, your health, your risk for certain genetic diseases, and personalized vitamin recommendations. Not only can you learn about your past, but the kit provides health information that can provide the motivation you need to make lifestyle changes.
Though both kits offer many features, 23andMe’s health information is informative and rare for genealogy companies to offer, making it the winner.
Pricing for MyHeritage’s DNA kits is extremely competitive, and at only $99—not to mention they’re often on sale for $69 per kit—it’s one of the lowest on the market. The plans do get pricey when it comes to family tree services, which is a big part of ancestral mapping. So if you want to get the most out of MyHeritage you will likely have to pay for the kit as well as a family tree plan.
Like MyHeritage, 23andMe’s ancestry kit also costs $99. The kit is basic, but offers incredibly accurate and reliable results. If you want to dig deeper and learn more about yourself than your past, you will be happiest with the ancestry + health kits that tells you about your health risks, genetic strains, and traits.
This one was a close call, as both companies offer pretty similarly priced plan. With that being said, if you choose MyHeritage you will likely have to purchase the DNA kit as well as a family tree plan. For this reason, 23andMe came out the winner.
Speed of Results
After sending in your sample kit to the lab, you can expect to wait at least a few weeks before receiving your results. MyHeritage’s results are ready within 4-6 weeks, and are viewable from within your MyHeritage account online. With 23andMe, you can expect to receive your results online within 6-8 weeks of sending your samples into the lab.
Choosing a winner was easy for the speed of results category. MyHeritage simply has a quicker turnaround time.
Detail of Results
Both MyHeritage and 23andMe offer reliable results, yet the detail of the reports vary.
MyHeritage offers in-depth data and more ethnicity-focused results than other tests on the market. It also uses a percentage-based estimate to tell you how much of you comes from which ethnicity. This paints a clear picture of your past and gives straightforward and clear answers to your questions. The results cover over 42 ethnic regions, some of which are exclusive to MyHeritage. Aside from receiving your DNA breakdown and ethnicity estimate, you also get DNA matching that can help you find and contact long lost relatives. If those relatives are also MyHeritage customers, you can connect with them through the site. MyHeritage’s results are detailed and the company is always adding new features to hold its place as a market leader.
23andMe offers different result reports depending on the type of kit you order. If you choose the “ancestry only” kit, your report will contain 3 main sections – an ancestry composition, ancestry timeline, and ancestry composition chromosome painting. The ancestry composition shows you a percentage-based breakdown of where you come from. The ancestry timeline shows you how many generations ago that location came into your lineage, and your chromosome painting results show you how long they lasted in your lineage for. Results for the ancestry + health test show all of this information, plus reports on your genetic health risk, wellness, traits, and career status. Though 23andMe offers interesting and useful information, its ancestral data isn’t as detailed as other kits on the market.
23andMe offers different results when it comes to health, but MyHeritage’s results are incredibly detailed and in-depth. The results answer pretty much any question you can have on your ancestry or ethnicity, and provide interesting and useful data.
Size of Database
MyHeritage has a massive database of over 8.8 billion historical documents and vital records from 48 countries, 300 million photographs, and 34 million family trees. On top of all that, it also has records from 92 million users that offer you incredible information and insights.
Since 23andMe doesn’t offer family tree services, it lacks the same kind of database and historical records. The company prides itself on helping you learn more about yourself, your past, and your health, rather than connecting you with family members and searching for records.
This winner was clear as 23andMe doesn’t have the same vast database as MyHeritage, while MyHeritage can specifically match records from its database and create a family free for you.
Go With the Best
Though both MyHeritage and 23andMe offer easy-to-use, accurate, and reliable DNA kits, the winner of this battle comes down to the best overall solution, which is MyHeritage. It has earned its name and reputation in the DNA testing space for good reason. MyHeritage offers rich results, with insightful reports of ancestral and ethnic makeup. It combines the power of cutting edge DNA testing, with its market-leading family tree services, making it the clear winner of this battle.