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Plenty of cheap DNA tests can help you quickly discover your genetic makeup.
While it’s true that some bargain test kits can give you limited information, other inexpensive DNA test kits are actually pretty trustworthy and reliable. Most companies design these kits for a single purpose, like confirming biological connections or discovering your heritage.
Consumer brands like AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and other larger companies have the resources to provide worthwhile information.
KnowYourDNA is committed to making healthcare more accessible to the public. We’d like to participate in your health goals by featuring products that meet industry standards.
The test kits we picked out have reliable testing methods and science-backed reports aimed at improving your overall wellness.
We pick products based on:
Our in-house medical experts review each piece of content before publication. They help ensure the accuracy of the information we give to our readers.
AncestryDNA is one of the first companies to computerize family history. It has established the most extensive database, leading them to provide more accurate test results.1
The company continually updates your results as they add more profiles or users to its database. It lets you discover something new about your heritage now and then.
You’ll receive complete results about your ethnicity and other DNA matches. The AncestryDNA platform also allows connection between matches through the public family tree feature.
23andme is one of the leaders in the DNA testing industry—and for good reason. Their platform is easier to navigate, as well as their test results.
23andMe offers three types of DNA testing—autosomal, mitochondrial (mtDNA), and Y-DNA. From these, they can help trace your maternal and paternal haplogroups.
Haplogroups are population of people sharing a common ancestor on either their paternal or maternal line. It’s based on similar mtDNA or Y-DNA passed on for many generations.
A female passes the same mtDNA to all her children, while a male passes the same Y-DNA only to his sons.
The kit also include a traits reports. It checks how your DNA affects your appearance and other characteristics you may have.
At KnowYourDNA, we love 23andMe due to its ease and relevant information. Read our review of 23andMe, learn what to do with your health results, or check it out on 23andMe.
MyHeritage offers one of the cheapest DNA self-test kits for determining your ancestry, possible family connections, and ethnicity. It uses cheek swabs for DNA collection.
The company, though, has a smaller DNA database (5.5 million) than more established companies like Ancestry and 23andMe.
Despite that, it still does have an impressive array of 15.7 billion historical records, which you can use to build your family tree.
Unfortunately, MyHeritage DNA only offers autosomal DNA testing. It doesn’t test for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosomes (Y-DNA.) It can’t provide information about your maternal and paternal lines.
You may read our comprehensive MyHeritage DNA review here.
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The 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service offers all the features of 23andMe Ancestry on top of DNA test for health. It's the best in terms of health screening among human DNA tests.
You can quickly get insights into your health and ancestry using a simple spit tube. 23andme is also the only FDA-approved DNA testing company.2
The test results have several categories, including
It can also check the link between your DNA and how your body may process different medications. It falls under the Pharmacogenetics reports.
Living DNA may be a newcomer in the DNA testing scene, having only been founded in 2016. But as an off-shoot of DNA Worldwide—a leading forensic testing company—it has much to offer.
Its features include recent ancestry, migration maps, and patterns, etc.
Living DNA Wellbeing test kit costs $129 plus shipping. They’re one of the cheapest DNA kits on the market. You may read our full review of Living DNA here.
This paternity test is touted for its accuracy. While competitors test for 16 genetic markers, DNA Direct looks for 22 markers.
Genetic markers are specific DNA sequences in a known location in the chromosome. A child and his biological father share genetic markers in every sequence of DNA.
Many U.S. states require AABB accreditation for labs performing DNA and relationship testing. Aside from being AABB-accredited, DNA Direct is also ISO 17025-accredited.
It means they can generate competent and valid results per industry standards.
If you’re looking to determine your paternity (or of someone you know), Paternity Depot’s Paternity Test Kit is all you need.
It’s sold directly from a certified laboratory, making this an incredibly reliable paternity testing kit.
Their results are guaranteed and will be delivered in a week or less. This is a great way to determine paternity.
|Comparison of DNA Ancestry Test Kits||AncestryDNA||23andMe||MyHeritage DNA|
|Cost||$99||$99||$49 for the first year then $79 per year|
|Type of DNA sample used||Saliva or cheek swab||Saliva spit||Saliva or cheek swab|
|Types of DNA Testing||Autosomal DNA||Autosomal DNA|
|Does it feature DNA matching||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|How many regions are covered||Over 1,800 regions||Over 2,000 regions||2,114 regions|
|Does it have family tree builder||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Does it have health upgrade||No||Yes, but for an added cost||Yes, but for an added cost|
|Does it offer traits report||No||Yes||No|
|When will the results come out||Six to eight weeks||Four to six weeks||Three to four weeks|
|Comparison of DNA Paternity Test||DNA Direct||Paternity Depot|
|Type of sample used||Buccal swab||Saliva swab|
|When will the results come out||Around two business days||Approximately seven to 10 business days|
|Comparison of DNA Tests for Health||23andMe Health + Ancestry Service||Living DNA Wellbeing Kit|
|Type of sample used||Saliva||Mouth/cheek swab|
|When will the results come out||3 to 5 weeks||10 to 12 weeks|
You may find it challenging to find a cheap DNA kit with reliable results. Here are a few tips on choosing the best DNA kit:
Our team made a list of criteria for picking the most affordable DNA tests.
Yes. Most at-home DNA tests can give accurate results.
Regarding ancestry testing, the accuracy of your results depends on the size of the database. You will likely get more information about your heritage from companies with many users.
Meanwhile, most DNA paternity tests provide conclusive results. Paternity testing compares a child’s DNA profile with the alleged biological father’s.3
Whether taking an ancestry or relationship DNA test, you must consider the company’s reputation. It’ll help you achieve more precise outcomes.
It’s not difficult to understand why at-home genetic testing is huge nowadays. Ordering a kit is fast and convenient—you can do it in seconds.
How much information a simple cheek swab can tell you is also fascinating. For instance, DNA Direct can confirm paternal relationships for an affordable price.
On the other hand, companies like AncestryDNA and 23andMe can track your ancestry and help you build a family tree.
Your raw DNA data goes into these companies’ databases. Even though most of them have tight security, taking your own privacy measures is still recommended.
After taking a DNA test, you can download a copy of your raw DNA data. Once done, you can delete your DNA data from their database. Most companies like AncestryDNA and 23andMe allow it.
Another thing to remember is the results from at-home DNA test kits should not replace a doctor’s visit.
23andMe has added health tests to your DNA ancestry test. If the results show you are predisposed to a genetic condition, you should talk to a healthcare expert.
They’ll guide you on how to diagnose and manage your health concerns.
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