23andMe Review

Top10.com Staff

In a Nutshell

The 23andMe solution is a good all-round package that offers almost everything you need in a DNA testing kit, along with some great extras thrown in.


  • Offers both ancestry and health results
  • Access to DNA Relatives tool


  • Family tree results are not as comprehensive as some competitors
  • More expensive than some other tests on the market

23andMe 23andMe Visit Site

Ideal For

  • Looking for long-lost relatives
  • Finding out more about your ancestry and family tree
  • A comprehensive picture of your health profile

Why Go With 23andMe

The entire 23andMe experience is smooth and each touchpoint seems carefully considered. There are various options throughout the process, allowing you to feel in control. For example, you can choose to take just the “Ancestry Service” (giving you a breakdown of your global ancestry, among other things) or to make use of the “Health + Ancestry Service” which gives you reports on your ancestry, traits, and health. You can choose to keep your information completely private, or you can opt in to the DNA Relatives tool, which enables you to connect with other users and to find any distant or close relatives on the platform. There are even options for the degree of assurance (dubbed “confidence level”) you want to see in results. The user interface is simple and easy-to-use.

It’s important to properly differentiate between the 2 services offered by 23andMe. The combined Ancestry and Health tests offer reports and information that are not available in most of the other commercially available tests; these include everything from genetic diseases you might be susceptible to—such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease—to the chances of having curly hair. The “Ancestry only” test is similar to other ancestry tests on the market, however it lacks the power of ancestry tests that also provide information on family trees, as it does not connect you to more recent relatives; focusing instead on the the ancient past and your origins.

What’s in the Box

  • Ancestry reports including Ancestry Composition
  • Neanderthal ancestry
  • DNA Relative Finder (opt in)
  • Ancestry timeline
  • Haplogroups
  • Copy of raw, uninterpreted genetic data file
  • Health reports (if this package is chosen) including: genetic health risk, carrier status, wellness and traits reports

The kit comes with:

  • Instruction sheet
  • Plastic vial hazard bag
  • Small tube cap
  • Sample collection tube

There are many more reasons to choose 23andMe. The amount that you can learn about yourself and your ancestry is astounding. Anything from lactose intolerance to proclivity to certain diseases – and even physical characteristics. For example (assuming you choose the higher-end Ancestry + Health test), one of your results will be a report on the likelihood of you being lactose intolerant, including an explanation of why some people are more likely to experience lactose intolerance. The 23andMe reports will also indicate what type of muscle composition you’re likely to have (such as “Sprinter/Power muscle type”) and even what eye color you are likely to possess.

23andMe offers some incredible innovations:

•  Inheritance tracing: Trace how certain populations were passed down through different generations

•  Ancestry percentages to the 0.1%: 23andMe provides estimates of your ancestry percentages down to the 0.1%, as well as the option to explore results with different confidence levels

•  Chromosome breakdown of ancestry: See which pieces of your DNA come from 31 populations worldwide

•  Compare DNA Relatives' segments: This one of the best DNA testing to find relatives allows you to see overlapping chromosome segments between you and your matches and compare them with up to 5 other matches at a time to help you triangulate new relatives for your family tree

Sending your sample in is super easy; there are instructions sent with the kit that are also available online. Because 23andMe is so well known, there are tons of videos and blogs about the test itself, what to expect, and how to get the most out of your results.

If you’re in the US, the kit comes shrink-wrapped with the prepaid shipping label under the box, so that all you have to do once you’ve completed your sample, is to to send the box back, free of charge. Processing is quick, around 6-8 weeks, after which you can access a wealth of information on the 23andMe platform.


Ancestry Service

$99 20% off

Ancestry Service + Health

$199 20% off

Shipping & Handling - Standard


Expedited Shipping


Shipping & Handling - Global

Varies per country

*Last updated: March, 2018

Pricing is $99 for the Ancestry Service and $199 for the Health + Ancestry Service, through a secure payment system.

How do I Take the Test?

Your 23andMe test will come in a small kit that includes a sheet of instructions, a plastic bag, and the sample collection tube with funnel cap. First create an account online and register your kit with the company. Then fill the tube with your saliva, after making sure you didn’t eat, smoke, drink, chew gum or brush your teeth 30 minutes before giving your sample. Then put the buffer liquid in, seal the tube, shake it, and ship it back to the company in the enclosed box. 

Speed of Kit Delivery and Results

The kit is usually delivered within a week of ordering and results can take around 6-8 weeks. Don’t worry too much about rushing to get your test returned; the kit includes a buffer solution that is added to your saliva immediately after providing your sample, stabilizing the DNA and preventing bacterial contamination. Buffered samples are stable at a wide range of temperatures (-4ºF to 122ºF or -20ºC to 50ºC) for up to 6 months. Similarly, unused kits also remain stable, even if they’re exposed to temperatures in this range during transit or storage.

You can track the status of your sample as follows:

  • Send sample to lab
  • Sample received at lab (you get an email)
  • DNA analysis – includes quality review
  • Computing (this is especially relevant if you opted in to see any possible relatives on 23andMe)
  • Results ready: data is loaded into your account, and you receive an email once your results are available

The results include not only your personal characteristics and origins, but also simple yet comprehensive explanations of the various reports. When providing information on the what muscle composition you are likely to have, for example, there will be a section that explains what factors contribute to a certain composition type.

We liked the fact that privacy was really important at 23andMe. Results can only be accessed security on the 23andMe site—rather than being sent in the mail, or even via email. There are parts of the results set that you can choose to share if you feel comfortable with this.

The results include your ethnic mix, indicating what percentage of your genes match those of different populations, shedding more light on your origins. For example you might see “90% European”, with British, Irish, French and German genes being major contributors, along with other trace regions that contribute the minority of your likely ancestors, such as as sub-Saharan Africa or even Native American.

There is also a report on the percentage DNA you share with Neanderthals. While interesting, this does not necessarily tell you much more about yourself, or others with varying degrees of Neanderthal DNA.

How 23andMe Compares

MyHeritage DNA
Ancestry DNA
Price Per Kit
Collection Type
Cheek Swab
Results In
3-5 weeks
4-6 weeks 
6-8 weeks
DNA Test Type
Health, Genealogy, atDNA, Y-DNA, mtDNA

DNA Collection Kit

The 23andMe kit uses saliva testing.

DNA Test Type

  • Autosomal (family DNA)
  • mtDNA

If you choose the Health + Ancestry option, the 23andMe Genetic Health Risk Reports tell you if you have genetic variants associated with an increased risk of developing certain health conditions. It does not report on your entire genetic profile. The variants include:

  • Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency- 2 variants in the SERPINA1 gene; Hereditary Thrombophilia- 2 variants in the F5 and F2 genes
  • Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease- 1 variant in the APOE gene; variant found and studied in many ethnicities
  • Parkinson's Disease- 2 variants in the LRRK2 and GBA genes

Report Features

  • Ethnic makeup estimate, simple (chart with broad categories)
  • Deep ancestry (migration paths from Africa to modern era)
  • Neanderthal DNA
  • DNA relative matching
  • Health information (traits, disease markers, etc.)
  • Downloadable DNA data that can be used on other web sites such as gedmatch.com

Ease of Use

23andMe has gone out of its way to make it as easy as possible to receive the kit, complete the test, and return it.

•  First, you register on the 23andMe website

•  Before taking the test itself, ensure that you don’t brush your teeth, eat, smoke, chew gum, or use mouthwash 30 minutes before

•  Once completed, mail the test back and wait for your results

The application process is simple too, consisting of an online form that’s quick and simple to fill out, with no additional documentation.

Customer Support

There are quite a few customer support options available. There is an email form through the website itself, and inquiries are answered promptly. 23andMe is also active on social media, responding almost immediately to questions and concerns. They are also constantly putting out tips, tricks, answers, and other interesting content through their blog and YouTube channel.

Contact Details

Phone: 1 800-239-5230

Physical Address

23andMe, Inc.

899 West Evelyn Ave

Mountain View, CA

United States, 94041


In short, 23andMe is known as a leader in the DNA testing space, and for good reason. The test offers value for money, a smooth and reliable experience, and plenty of help along the way.

About 23andMe

23andMe was founded in 2006 by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza and Anne Wojcicki, ex-wife of Google founder Sergey Brin, to “help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome.” The company has more than 2 million genotyped customers around the world, and in 2015 was granted authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market the first direct-to-consumer genetic test. It has raised over $200 million, with investors such as Google buying equity in the company.

23andMe 23andMe Visit Site

 *The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan. 

Top10.com's editorial staff is a professional team of editors, writers and experts with dozens of years of experience covering consumer, financial and business products and services.

23andMe customer reviews

Based on 13 reviews

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Top Reviews

Claudia, GA
8 months ago

Ease of use

Brand satisfaction

Value for money

Service quality

Found out about my ancestry and learned about my medical history. Gave me important health information

Joyce, OH
7 months ago

I had lost my first kit and the expiration date was approaching, I called and they replaced the kit at no expense to me. Great service! And they give a detailed report.

Carol, TX
9 months ago

It gave me a lot of information on the origin of my ancestors and current relatives.

Stephanie, IN
9 months ago

It helped me find out about a specific genetic issue that lead to a needed surgery.

Jennifer, AR
10 months ago

I like the explanations for the health tests as well as being able to see my ancestry. I also enjoy connecting with family I never knew I had.

Dan, FL
8 months ago

It was fun to see what regions of the world my DNA came from and to see what diseases I may get.

Leesa, FL
a year ago

Easy to perform and submit the test. Fast response of results after submission of saliva test.

Andrew, NJ
10 months ago

Quick results. I found the report interesting and useful for my personal knowledge.

Diego, WA
10 months ago

It was easy to use and was worth the money to find out about my heritage. I am glad I purchased the service.

Honey, NJ
a year ago

I did it because I found out my parents were not my birth parents. I wanted medical information and I did get most of what I wanted.

Jesse, NC
a year ago

It gives you information you did not have or know before but you have to use other DNA sites to get the most information you need

Katie, KY
8 months ago

Easy to use and submit the testing. I feel they are money hungry when it comes to trying to get you to upgrade to the health DNA service was $100 now $125 extra

Judy, NM
10 months ago

I expected to learn something. They told me nothing. All they told me was that I'm Jewish. I already knew that. I wanted to know where my ancestors from Russia came from

13 customer reviews