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What Is The Best DNA Test Kit? The Ultimate Guide

Written by Samantha Odake, BS | Last updated:

Getting your DNA tested is a good way to learn more about yourself. Today, many companies can offer you information about your health and ancestry based on your genetics, but what is the best DNA test?

After reviewing over 100 companies, we’ve selected 11 DNA tests for health and ancestry to help you find which one best fits your needs. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what each one has to offer so you can make an informed decision.

How DNA tests work

It’s amazing what you can discover about yourself from a simple saliva sample or cheek swab. Yes, you don’t need to give blood in order to get a DNA test!

There are two options when getting a DNA test. You can either get it through your healthcare provider, or from the comfort of your home.

When it comes to at-home DNA test kits, only the sample collection is actually performed at your home. After you collect your sample, you mail it to the designated lab, where your DNA is analyzed by professionals.

If you purchase a DNA kit from a reputable company, it will likely come with detailed instructions on how to perform the test. Most commonly, they will tell you not to eat or drink beforehand and what is the best time to collect your sample. Read our detailed post to learn more about how DNA tests work.

Now that you understand a bit more about how it works, let’s explore how to choose a DNA test.

How to choose the best DNA test

Choosing the best DNA test for you depends on many factors. If you want to know more about your health, for example, there are some points you should consider.

There are several genetic testing companies out there that focus on one specific topic such as fitness or nutrition. Others choose to take a more holistic approach and give you a variety of tools that can help you optimize your overall well-being.

On the other hand, if your focus is on ancestry, one thing to consider is the size of the database the company uses to give you your ethnicity results. Besides, if your goal is to find DNA relatives through these services, the number of users a company has should also weigh in on your decision.

Regardless of if you want more information on health or ancestry, when making a choice, it’s important to keep in mind some key points:

  • Privacy and data security
  • Science
  • DNA testing reviews
  • Price

Privacy and data security

You may have heard horror stories about companies that share customer data with third parties. Sadly, the same is true for DNA providers. There have been cases of big genetic companies that grant access to user data to pharmaceutical companies.

If privacy is a main concern for you, when looking for the best DNA test kit, you want to look for a company that has top-notch data protection protocols to keep your data secure. There are reputable companies that make a commitment not to sell your data or hand it over to big corporations.

Science

Unfortunately, many DNA companies don’t have many scientists on their teams. This can make you doubt the scientific validity of your DNA reports. Plus, many companies are using extremely outdated methods to analyze your genes, which means your results might not be the most accurate.

Before choosing a DNA kit, take a look at the team behind the product. If you follow the experts, there’s a good chance you’ll find a product that can give you the best results.

DNA testing reviews

Today, you can find customer reviews from any product or service before you make a purchase. If someone believes they found the best DNA test kit, they’re likely to go online and share their experience. Likewise, if they had issues with the company, they might share it online as well.

Scavenging for trustworthy reviews can be hard. Luckily, websites such as Trustpilot make it easier to see what the general feeling is towards a company. This way, you can be secure that you’re choosing the best DNA test kit available.

Price

Prices can vary a lot depending on the services offer. Typically, a standard DNA kit costs around $100. When it comes to whole genome sequencing (WGS), however, this number can go upwards of $1,000. 

Some companies offer continuously updated reports to reflect the latest scientific research, and/or make new reports available periodically. Others, however, will just provide you with the initial report and no updates. This can influence pricing, so it’s important to understand what you’re getting before you make a choice.

Best DNA test for Health & Wellness

Genetic testing for health has been gaining a lot of recognition in the past few years as it becomes more affordable and accessible to the general public. Instead of having to go through your doctor, now you can easily purchase a DNA test by yourself.

In this section, we’ll present the best DNA test kits for Health & Wellness.

SelfDecode

  • Price: Upload your DNA for free. The SelfDecode DNA kit + Health Insights costs $149; DNA kit + Premium Insights for $399.
  • Raw Data Access: Yes.

SelfDecode is a one-for-all stop for your health needs. SelfDecode covers a wide variety of health topics including heart health, anxiety, and blood sugar. This DNA test also provides information about various traits like stress response, sleep habits, and others.

SelfDecode also offers other features to help you get a complete picture of your health, such as SelfDecode Labs, which gives you actionable insights on over 1,500 lab markers and how to optimize them.

By analyzing your genes with SelfDecode, you’ll receive prioritized and personalized health recommendations so you can choose what suits your lifestyle best. You can easily add your recommendations to your regimen, where you can keep track of them and set duration and frequency.

The DNA test includes over 700,000 SNPs to make sure you don’t miss out on your core health SNPs. The SelfDecode chip was carefully created for its highly accurate testing capabilities and wide range of SNP coverage. DNA tests are processed in a secure lab in the US.

SelfDecode DNA test

SelfDecode is also the only direct-to-consumer company that uses AI in genomics to accurately predict and analyze up to 83 million variants from a typical DNA file and gives personalized recommendations based on your results.

Each report from SelfDecode focuses on a particular health topic and analyzes up to 1M+ genetic variants. For comparison, other DNA companies look at only a dozen variants for a health issue. With SelfDecode, you will also receive access to lifestyle assessment tools for free for a complete picture of your health.

What’s more, with SelfDecode, you own your DNA data and can download your raw genetic file at any time.

Already have your DNA file? You can upload it for free to SelfDecode to get insights into your genetic predispositions and personalized health recommendations.

23andMe

  • Price: $199 for the Health + Ancestry DNA test.
  • Raw Data Access: Yes.

23andMe offers health reports in addition to an ancestry test. You’ll get an analysis of 14 health conditions, plus a carrier status report. Recently, 23andMe released a membership program, 23andMe+, which gives you access to a dozen more health reports.

This comapany does offer a good variety of health reports, and you can get access to new ones as a member. However, the health recommendations provided, if any, are very generic and could be applied to anyone. They provide little to no guidance on how you can combat your genetic risks.

23andMe’s DNA kit tests around 640,000 SNPs. Keep in mind that you cannot upload a preexisting raw genetic file to get access to the reports, as they require customers to get their DNA tested with them.

For those concerned about privacy, it should be noted that 23andMe has notoriously partnered with GlaxoSmithKline and monetizes your anonymized health data. Read our comprehensive 23andMe review for more information.

Orig3n

  • Price: $49 for a Vitamins DNA test and $59 – $79 per month for the vitamin subscription.
  • Raw Data Access: No.

Orig3n offers a DNA test to help you determine your vitamin needs. As it is, they only analyze a few genes related to how well your body is able to absorb and process vitamins and minerals.

Best DNA test kit Orig3n

The main offering from Orig3n includes a personalized vitamin plan. You can choose whether you would like to subscribe to receive your vitamins from Orig3n, but this service can cost up to $1,000 per year.

For those who choose to have their DNA tested with Orig3n, you will not have access to your raw genetic file and cannot upload a preexisting DNA file to get access to the reports. This can be limiting to those who already had their DNA tested or wish to use their raw data with other services.

To see if this company presents the best genetic testing option for you, read our Orig3n review.

Invitae

  • Price: $250 to $350. Some tests can be covered by insurance.
  • Raw Data Access: No.

Another option for those who seek health information based on their genetics is to go through a healthcare professional. One company that takes this approach is Invitae, by offering tests to help your doctor diagnose you, in addition to three direct-to-consumer DNA tests for health.

Keep in mind that Invitae doesn’t give you access to your raw genetic data, and they don’t allow you to use a preexisting DNA file to get your reports. For more information on this company, check out this Invitae review.

Best DNA test for Health & Wellness comparison

SelfDecode

23andMe Orig3n

Invitae

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes

No No

Variable with genetic counseling

Genes & gene variants analyzed

Up to 83 million genetic variants

~640,000 SNPs 20+ genes

Depends on the test

Products

Free DNA analysis, DNA testing, wellness reports, personalized health recommendations, lab test analyzer, patient and provider options

DNA testing, ancestry, health, and traits reports DNA testing, traits, health and fitness recommendations, personalized vitamin delivery service

DNA testing, genetic counseling, client support system, health-focused reports

Raw data access

Yes

Yes No

No

Cost (USD)

Free DNA upload

$149 for a DNA kit + health insights

$299 for DNA kit + premium insights

$99 – $199+ $49

$250-$350 if not covered by insurance

Best DNA test for Ancestry & Genealogy

A popular and entertaining use of your DNA is to discover more about your ancestry and genealogy. In this section, we’ll present the best DNA test kits for Ancestry & Genealogy.

AncestryDNA

  • Price: $99 to $119.
  • Raw Data Access: Yes.

Ancestry is a good option for those who wish to further explore their past. With over 15 million users worldwide, they can help you find many family members to help you grow your family tree.

Ancestry’s DNA test includes nearly 670,000 SNPs. What’s more, you can get access to their extensive historical records database containing billions of entries that are available on their platform.

Best DNA test kit Ancestry

Unfortunately, they announced the discontinuation of AncestryHealth in January 2021, so if you’re also interested in health, you’ll need to look elsewhere. To see if this company offers the best ancestry DNA test for you, read our comprehensive AncestryDNA review.

Living DNA

  • Price: $119.
  • Raw Data Access: Yes.

Living DNA offers a good alternative to those wanting to explore their British roots, and you can also get access to a few basic health reports. Because they focus on ancestry, Living DNA only analyzes a few health conditions and presents a limited option if you also want information on your health.

You can upload your preexisting raw DNA file to get access to a limited number of ancestry reports, but some services require you to get tested with Living DNA.

Read our full Living DNA review if you want to learn more about this company to see if it’s the best DNA test for you.

Family Tree DNA

  • Price: $79 to $159 for ancestry tests.
  • Raw Data Access: Yes.

Family Tree DNA offers you three different options for DNA tests to help you learn more about your ancestry. If you have a preexisting raw genetic file, you can upload it to FTDNA for free to get access to ancestry reports and tools. For information about your health, the company offers the Tovana Health Report for $899.

It should be noted that this company started working with the FBI in 2018 to help solve violent crimes. Read this full FTDNA review for more information about this company.

MyHeritage

  • Price: $79.
  • Raw Data Access: Yes.

MyHeritage’s main offering is their family tree builder, which allows you to assemble your family tree by combining your genetic results with their extensive records database. Similar to FTDNA, you can also upload your DNA file to MyHeritage, which will give you access to your DNA Matches. To unlock other features, you’ll need to pay extra.

For more information on this company, you can read our comprehensive MyHeritage review.

Best DNA test for Ancestry comparison

Ancestry

Living DNA Family Tree DNA

MyHeritage

Family tree builder

Yes

No Yes

Yes

Family DNA matching

Yes

Yes Yes

Yes

Products

DNA testing, ancestry, and traits reports

DNA testing, ancestry tracing, DNA matching, basic health reports DNA testing, ancestry reports, health reports

DNA testing and ancestry reports

Raw data access

Yes

Yes Yes

Yes

Cost (USD)

$99 – $119

$119 – $199 $79 – $159

$79

Best DNA test for Drug Response

Another application of DNA tests is to assess one’s response to medications. In this section, we’ll outline the best DNA tests for drug response.

Genesight

  • Price: $330, but it can vary depending on insurance coverage.
  • Raw Data Access: No.

Genesight offers psychotropic testing, or a test to assess how you might be affected by certain antidepressant medications based on your DNA. If you want to purchase a test with this company, you’ll need to go through a healthcare provider to do so.

Keep in mind that if you get your DNA tested with Genesight, you will not have access to your raw genetic data. To see if this company offers the best DNA test for drug response, you can read our comprehensive Genesight review.

Genomind

  • Price: Up to $2,000.
  • Raw Data Access: No.

Another company that offers psychotropic testing is Genomind. Similar to Genesight, one can only purchase a drug response DNA test from Genomind if they consult with a healthcare provider, as it is not available directly to the consumer.

Again, you will not be able to download your raw DNA data if you choose to take a Genomind DNA test. Find out more about this company in this full Genomind review.

Pillcheck

  • Price: $380.
  • Raw Data Access: Yes.

The Canadian company Pillcheck can tell you how your body will react to commonly prescribed drugs based on your DNA. You’ll also get a pharmacist letter detailing your results, with recommendations on drug dosage and medication alterations.

See if this company offers the best DNA test for your needs by reading our complete Pillcheck review.

Best DNA test for Drug Reaction comparison

Genesight

Genomind

Pillcheck

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

No

No

No

Available directly to consumers

No

No

Yes

Products

DNA testing, psychotropic and diagnostic reports

DNA testing, psychotropic and mental health reports

DNA testing for drug response

Raw data access

No

No

Yes

Cost (USD)

Depends on insurance coverage

Up to $2,000

$380

Whole Genome Sequencing: Is it worth it?

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) means that almost every gene within your genome will be tested. Some companies such as Nebula Genomics and Dante Labs offer WGS, which can cost up to $999 with Nebula, a far cry from SelfDecode’s DNA test at $150.

At the moment, the difference in actionable information you’ll get from a standard SNP chip test and WGS is negligible, and you’d get very little for the significant extra cost required to have your whole genome sequenced. Only a portion of the WGS results will provide you with meaningful information.

On top of that, some companies, like SelfDecode, are now using imputation models to predict SNPs that are not included in the chip so that you can essentially get the same data that whole genome sequencing provides at a fraction of the cost. SelfDecode uses AI and machine learning to accurately predict and analyze up to 83 million genetic variants from a typical DNA file for a fraction of the cost of WGS.

Takeaway: What is the best DNA test?

Buying a DNA test comes with a lot of questions. After all, you want to choose the best DNA test kit out there. But with so many options available, it can be difficult narrowing it down.

When choosing the best DNA test, there are many things you need to consider. This article reviewed 11 DNA testing companies that can help you know more about yourself through your genetics, and what each of them has to offer you.

If your focus is health, SelfDecode will give you access to personalized diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations based on your DNA, all aimed at helping you optimize your overall well-being. What’s more, with SelfDecode you own your genetic data – it will never be sold or shared with anyone!

Already have your DNA file? You can upload it for free to SelfDecode to get insights into your genetic predispositions and personalized health recommendations.

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About the Author

Samantha Odake

Samantha Odake

BS
Samantha is an engineer turned writer with a passion for helping people.

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