Testing your DNA is one of the easiest and most interesting things you can do to take control of your health, but that comes with a price tag.
If you’re looking to get into personal DNA testing without a significant investment, you have plenty of options to get started. These DNA testing services don’t have the impressive databases or trustworthiness that come with the more well-known kits - like 23andMe or Ancestry - but that’s often a trade worth making. Especially the options that provide raw DNA data, these cheaper at-home DNA kits rival the best when it comes to value.
We also have an in-depth article on the best DNA test, below are some quick options just in case you aren't looking for the cheapest test:
23andme is one of the leaders in the space, and for good reason. Using a simple spit tube test, anyone is able to quickly get insights in their health and history. They are the only FDA approved provider that provides dna testing kits.
AncestryDNA is one of the other top tests that are available on the market. They recently added a health section to their DNA test kit, which makes it compete a lot more directly with 23andMe.
The largest for-profit genealogy testing company in the world, Ancestry.com has one of the largest databases of historical information, allowing you to easily visualize your family tree. Read our review of Ancestry DNA (updated with Ancestry Health Review) or check it out on Amazon.
Living DNA is a bit cheaper than the other competitors but it includes some great features that help you to visualize your maternal and paternal ancestor lines. It's one of the newer entrants to consumer DNA testing and their powerful DNA results are able to scan 46 locations in your Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA in order to give you information on your ancestry.
Another service that tests hair rather than saliva; 5Strands offers two affordably-priced tests - along with a pricier range of other tests - that may provide insight on your potential nutritional deficiencies.
An assessment of over 115 different vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that you may need to focus on. Optimizing your intake of these substances may lead to improved health and wellbeing.
A complementary test that assesses over 50 different metals and minerals that you may need to avoid. While avoiding heavy metals and environmental contaminants is generally encouraged, having specific targets to dodge may be most beneficial for your health.
Orig3n has a range of ‘mini-tests’ that each focus on a specific subset of genes, rather than scanning your genome entirely. A simple cheek swab powers these DNA tests. While this range is easy on the wallet, it may take some time to receive your results - some reviews mention waiting 6-8 weeks for their reports.
With this DNA test, you’ll learn how your genes affect your metabolism. Through the analysis of eight different genes, the test will tell you about your body’s ability to process fatty acids, your likelihood of having a sweet tooth, and more.
You probably don’t need a DNA test to figure out whether or not you’re beautiful, but this test can tell you whether or not your looks will last. Through the analysis of your skin’s elasticity, UV sensitivity, hydration, and several other factors, you can determine if your looks will hold up in the coming years!
Having healthy joints is incredibly important for your overall health. Things like aerobic exercise are difficult to perform if your joints are giving you problems. For this reason, the Joint Care test looks at three genes that are associated with your joint’s health, strength, and flexibility.
Considering that it’s the top-selling consumer DNA test, AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Test is an excellent deal at only $59. Using this AncestryDNA test, you can delve into your family history and learn more about where you come from.
With the use of a small DNA sample from your saliva, you can pinpoint exactly where your ancestors came from. AncestryDNA also includes the history of the specific areas your ancestors lived in and even a timeline of historical changes for certain regions.
Another great feature you’ll get with the AncestryDNA test is a migration map. This map will show you the paths your ancestors may have trekked while migrating across the globe and the events that may have pushed them to move. Another cool feature is the DNA match. With it, you can see if you have any DNA matches with family members who have also taken the test.
For only $10 more you can also have AncestryDNA check your genetic traits. With the Genetic Ethnicity + Traits Test, available for $69, you can take the Ethnicity Test, as well as check your genetic traits, such as a cleft chin, hair type, and earwax type.
The Insitome DNA test is focused firmly on ancestry, more specifically, the regions where your ancestors called home. This won't be likely to provide discrete details about your lineage - or recent relatives - but it may deliver some insights on your ethnic makeup and history.
Are you looking for some long lost relatives? If so, then you need to check out FamilyTreeDNA’s Family Finder DNA test. This DNA testing kit uses a cheek swab to trace your lineage through time and find any relatives that may be hiding out there.
Additionally, this ancestry test can also give you a glimpse into your past. With your DNA sample, FamilyTreeDNA will tell you if you’re carrying the DNA of certain ancient European groups, including neolithic hunters/gatherers, bronze-age metal invaders, and early farmers.
If your needs are fairly straightforward, and you’re simply looking to determine the paternity of yourself or 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 to you in a week or less. This is a great way to accurately figure out who the biological father of you or someone you know is.
While the other DNA testing services mentioned on this list mostly focus on ancestry and family connections, HomeDNA’s Skin Care Test has one very specific goal - to help you improve your skin. Using a cheek swab, HomeDNA is able to give you personalized recommendations for vitamins, supplements, and skin-care products that will keep you looking good.
Through genetic testing, you’ll receive a personalized analysis of the 7 categories associated with skin aging. These categories include sun protection, collagen quality, fine lines and wrinkles, skin elasticity, skin sensitivity, pigmentation, and skin antioxidants. Additionally, HomeDNA uses genetic markers to build you a customized skin-care regimen and suggest skin-care treatments, all based on your DNA.
EverlyWell is a DNA testing company that you may have heard of. Out of the dozens of tests they offer, their Heart Healthiness test is one of the cheapest. For under $60 you can understand your risk factors for heart disease. The simple blood test measures your total cholesterol, triglycerides, direct LDL, HDL, hs-CRP, and HbA1c.
The DNA testing kit includes everything you’ll need to take and submit your DNA sample, and taking your sample is relatively painless. Return shipping is included as well, saving you even more money. All of EverlyWell’s labs are CLIA-certified, and your results will be reviewed by a board-certified physician who resides in the same state as you,l making this an excellent deal.
If you’re a dog owner and would like to learn more about your furry friend, this is the test for you. From a simple cheek swab, the test will tell you about your dog’s breed composition, predisposition for certain diseases, and personality traits.
We also review other dog tests more in-depth here.
While the above tests are a great way to get started in the world of DNA testing, the information they offer is fairly limited. Most of them don’t analyze too many of your genes and are more suited for a specific purpose. This can still be a lot of fun as well as help you to learn a little more about yourself, but, for the average person, these cheaper tests fall short.
So if your needs are very specific, like if you just want to learn about your metabolism or your dog’s genetics, one of the above tests should cover it. However, if you want a thorough DNA test that will give you loads of novel information, there are better options available.
Not only do larger companies provide better information, but you also have the peace of mind knowing that companies with security budgets are handling your sensitive data. Both 23andMe and Ancestry are superior choices if you want a thorough picture of your genome. Other decent options for DNA analysis include MyHeritage or LivingDNA. While often recommended, we don’t typically suggest Family Tree DNA, due to privacy issues.
Using spit tubes or swab tests and after waiting for the test results, either of these options allows you to learn a lot more about yourself than any of the significantly cheaper options and easily justify the higher price tag. These tests cover ancestry, health, exercise suggestions, and predisposition to diseases just to name a few things. While you will have to invest a bit more, the higher price tag is totally worth it!
Testing your DNA is the one of the easiest and most interesting things you can do to take control of your health, but that comes with a price tag.