If you’re looking to get into personal DNA testing without a significant investment, you have plenty of options to get started. These 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.
DNA Test Kits under $50
Orig3n Mini Tests – $10 to $25
|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.|
Skin Health and Appearance – <$10
Assesses seven genes known to be associated with aspects of skin health. While it isn’t classic fare, it is technically the cheapest DNA test kit.
Vitamins – $25
Assesses six genes that are associated with how your body absorbs and regulates vitamins. This DNA test should never replace a consultation with a medical professional.
Recovery & Renewal – <$15
Assesses three genes that are integral to cellular health and repair. These results will likely have little actionability but may be novel.
Alcohol Tolerance – <$20
Assesses four genes that are associated with your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. These genes correlate with a risk for alcohol abuse, but the results should be evaluated in the context of lifestyle factors.
Vinome – $33
An oddly specific DNA test, this kit attempts to evaluate your preferences for wine based on ten genetic markers related to taste and scent. While this information may have dubious relevance, the DNA kit provides access to an exclusive wine curation service and store.
Powered by Helix*
National Geographic Geno 2.0 Next Generation – $40
From a familiar brand, this DNA test kit focuses on your ancestry rather than physiological traits. It claims to track your heritage for 500,000 years and has a cute feature of suggesting what famous relatives you may have.
This surprisingly comprehensive test covers over 200 000 autosomal markers, along with Y and mitochondrial DNA analysis. This is then compared against 60 geographic and ethnic groups to create estimates of your ancestry. Geno 2.0 also offers an option for raw DNA data that can be used on other platforms like Promethease.
Powered by Helix*
HumanCode DNA Passport – $30
Explore 40 traits confidently based on your genetics, a perfect introduction to the world of personalized DNA testing. This test kit also offers access to “The Lab” – where you can find more information on your genetic traits – that is based on less-reliable research that didn’t meet the rigor of the main 40.
Powered by Helix*
|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.|
Powered by Helix*
*A note on “Powered by Helix” testing
Helix provides the behind-the-scenes DNA testing that powers all these kits; analysis, branding, and marketing is provided by their partners, with the results and output to match. However, a primary allure is that once you’ve had the initial Helix test, you have access to all the others – for a fee, of course. This also means that the cheapest “Helix-powered” test may net you easy and affordable access to your raw DNA data.
A rare test based on hair samples rather than saliva. This kit claims to assess for over 300 different food and non-food allergies and intolerances. Essentials is one of the few services that can return your results within 14 days. However, this is not a genetic test, and likely tracks biomarkers found in hair. Regardless, this can be as informative as a DNA-based test kit. The Allergy Test service also provides discounts for couples and families.
5Strands Nutritional Tests – $46
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.
Cheap DNA tests: are they worth it?
These affordable tests are an easy way to enter the sphere of personalized medicine. However, most of these services only scan small segments of your DNA or avoid genetics entirely by analyzing hair samples. However, the Helix-based tests seem to provide an option to retrieve your raw DNA data and may be the cheapest way to access this priceless information. As always, ensure you understand the Pros and Cons of DNA Testing before diving down this rabbit hole.