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The Best DNA Tests (for Health, Ancestry, and Ethnicity)
Updated on January 20, 2023
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DNA Testing
The Best DNA Tests (for Health, Ancestry, and Ethnicity)

The offerings from each DNA testing service vary wildly, so it can be difficult to find the perfect testing company.

To do so, you have to consider three important factors:

  • Your needs
  • Budget
  • What the DNA test kit includes

Each genetic testing kit offers very different DNA results depending on the test type. 

The Best DNA Tests (for Health, Ancestry, and Ethnicity) 6

For example, a health test will explain what genetic conditions you may develop or pass on to your children.

An ethnicity estimate or ancestry test will tell you things like how much Irish or neanderthal blood you may have. If you’re trying to add some new branches to the family tree, ancestry tests can also be used to find distant relatives and long-lost family members.

To help you narrow down the best DNA testing kit for your needs, we focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the biggest testing companies on the market.

We looked at DNA testing services like AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and MyHeritage DNA.

After plenty of research and thought, we narrowed down this list of the best DNA testing kits on the market for any budget.

Everything We Recommend

Make the Most of At-Home DNA Testing

If you’re asking what the best DNA kit is, the answer all depends on what you’re looking for.

You may be interested in exploring your genetic makeup, learning more about your family history, looking for a detailed health report, or trying to expand your family tree. In any case, we have some resources to help you make the most of your DNA self-discovery:

If you’re new and interested in DNA testing

If you've already been tested and are looking for more insight

How to protect your privacy after testing your DNA

Once you’ve had your DNA analysis, you might be keen to learn more about the genetic data of those around you. However, others may not be willing to uncover some of the DNA results that genetic testing can reveal.

Luckily, this isn’t at all a problem when it comes to your furry friends. Knowing about your pet's health, ancestry, and potential risks can only be in their best interest.

Know Your DNA Reviews

Best DNA Kit

Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn more about yourself. Read our best DNA test page to find the best one for you.

The Best DNA Test for Health

Assessing your health risks at home can be a double-edged sword. Even though 23andMe is approved by the FDA to provide information about your health, they still make it clear that their health test is not meant to be diagnostic.

Investigating your genetic health is only intended to provide general information to inform future health decisions; for specifics and guarantees, you’ll need to talk to a healthcare professional.

This does mean that at-home DNA kits don't need to be 100% accurate. DNA testing companies aren't forced to medically verify their claims. Because of this, you may receive different answers to the same question from each DNA testing service you try.

This is also mainly due to the proprietary methods and mutations each DNA testing company employs to construct its health risk scores and predispositions.

This caveat can be used to your advantage if you’re willing to download your raw data and get some second and third opinions.

This can take some effort, but many options are cost and risk-free (disregarding inherent privacy concerns). However, for a one-stop at-home DNA kit, you can rely on 23and Me.

23andMe for genetic health

When it comes to doing a DNA analysis for health, it’s mostly a battle fought between AncestryDNA and 23andMe. Here’s a quick run-down of each:

1. 23andMe - Our Top Pick

The Best DNA Tests (for Health, Ancestry, and Ethnicity) 7

23andMe offers the only health test that’s authorized by the FDA. For this reason alone, 23andMe should be your first choice when searching for a DNA test kit to check for health conditions.

Not only do you get health results with this package, but you’ll also receive a full ancestry DNA test, making this an excellent deal for $199!

Key Features:

  • FDA-approved
  • 150+ personalized reports
  • Easy to take swab test for submitting your saliva sample
  • Test for health conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease and Celiac Disease
  • 690,000 genetic locations tested
  • Only consumer test to offer BRCA1 and BRCA2 screening for breast cancer risk
  • Autosomal DNA, mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA (maternal line), and yDNA (paternal line)
  • Health predispositions, carrier status, and wellness suggestions
  • Updates health reports as research and their DNA database grows (Opt-in)
  • No subscription or pay-wall, one-time fee

Best DNA test for health: 23andMe

It’s no surprise that the FDA-approved genetic testing kit would best assess your health-related genetic data and predispositions.

23andMe is miles ahead of any competitor in the market if you’re looking for a one-time DNA test kit with no added effort.

The Best DNA Test for Ancestry

Regardless of their effectiveness or accuracy when it comes to health, at-home DNA tests chiefly excel at exploring ancestry.

While the exact location that your ancestors inhabited may not be revealed, you’ll learn about the origins of your genetics and your ethnic makeup. Further, many services offer to connect you with distant relatives and family members, but this option is often gated behind a monthly subscription.

MyHeritage DNA vs. AncestryDNA vs. Living DNA for Ancestry and Heritage

Ancestry.com is one of the oldest and largest consumer DNA testing companies, with vast experience in genealogy and family history network building. They have one of the biggest DNA databases in the industry, increasing your chances of finding a distant relative to add to the family tree.

It has earned the position as the service that all else is compared to.

Two other well-known offerings - MyHeritage DNA and Living DNA - also compete in the ancestry DNA test niche, with slightly different focus targets.

2. AncestryDNA - (For ancestry and family matches)

The Best DNA Tests (for Health, Ancestry, and Ethnicity) 8

With AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Test, you’ll receive a full ethnicity estimate, learn more about your family history, and even have the option to build an online family tree!

You can track your ancestry across generations and map out your ancient relatives' unique migration patterns. Another cool feature is that this test can tell if you carry any neanderthal DNA.

Key Features:

  • Biggest DNA database of DNA samples from over 10 million people
  • Focused on ancestry over health
  • Easy to take swab test for submitting your saliva sample
  • Track your distant relatives’ migration patterns
  • Build an online family tree and find new family members to add to it
  • Autosomal DNA test only
  • Subscription-based model for ancestry, family trees, genealogical databases
  • Facilitates communication with relatives, helping to build a family medical history

3. MyHeritage - You Get What You Pay For

The Best DNA Tests (for Health, Ancestry, and Ethnicity) 9

MyHeritage DNA may not be as large as Ancestry.com, but it’s still a decent option.

Like AncestryDNA, MyHeritage DNA’s ancestry testing kit will help you discover your ethnic origins, expand your family tree, explore migration patterns, and delve into your family history. What sets it apart from AncestryDNA is that the kit only costs $49 with free delivery (from Amazon).

Key Features:

  • Fast and cheaper than other offerings
  • Autosomal test only
  • Easy to take swab test for submitting your saliva sample
  • Find DNA matches to long-lost family members
  • The #1 DNA testing service for finding DNA matches in Europe
  • Ability to upload raw data files of relatives for free
  • No return shipping is included with the kit
  • Small DNA database limits successful genetic connections
  • Some options are behind a monthly subscription pay-wall
  • Free raw DNA data service for family matching

Winter Sale: $49, down from $89

4. Living DNA - Best for Mother- and Father- lines

The Best DNA Tests (for Health, Ancestry, and Ethnicity) 10

MyHeritage DNA may not be as large as Ancestry.com, but it’s still a decent option.

Like AncestryDNA, MyHeritage DNA’s ancestry testing kit will help you discover your ethnic origins, expand your family tree, explore migration patterns, and delve into your family history. What sets it apart from AncestryDNA is that the kit only costs $49 with free delivery (from Amazon).

Key Features:

  • Fast and cheaper than other offerings
  • Autosomal test only
  • Easy to take swab test for submitting your saliva sample
  • Find DNA matches to long-lost family members
  • The #1 DNA testing service for finding DNA matches in Europe
  • Ability to upload raw data files of relatives for free
  • No return shipping is included with the kit
  • Small DNA database limits successful genetic connections
  • Some options are behind a monthly subscription pay-wall
  • Free raw DNA data service for family matching

Winter Sale: Up to 25% off. 

Best DNA Test for ancestry and heritage: AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA comes out on top with its massive DNA database of samples and historical records. MyHeritage DNA has a lower price tag - minimized by a lack of return postage - but doesn’t have a comparable DNA database to power its DNA matching service. 

Living DNA is a close second after AncestryDNA, adding an mtDNA and a yDNA screening on top of the autosomal test; they falter as well at the size of their DNA database, returning minimal DNA matching connections.

Read our Review.

Buy on Amazon.

The best DNA tests

To sum it all up, the main competition in the field still comes down to AncestryDNA vs. 23andMe.

The best test between the two all depends on what your focus is - health or ancestry - with 23andMe being the king when it comes to a health test and AncestryDNA leading the way for ancestry tests.

Living DNA and MyHeritage are also valid options, especially if you’re on a budget.

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The Best DNA Test

Looking for a DNA test that's accurate and can tell you about your health and heritage?

Updated on January 20, 2023
Dr. Dhingra
Dr. Harshi Dhingra
Medical Reviewer
Dr Harshi Dhingra is a licensed medical doctor with a specialization in Pathology. Dr. Dhingra has of over a decade in diagnostic, clinical, research and teaching work, including managing all sections of Pathology laboratory including histopathology, cytology, hematology and clinical Pathology.
Joel Hirsch
Joel Hirsch
Content Contributor
Joel Hirsch is a health enthusiast and gym rat with a degree in Health Sciences. He spends his time writing about products that help people reach their health goals.
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