BEST DEALS ON DNA KITS:
tellmeGen DNA Test Kit — $119 (save $80)
Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test — $69.99 (save $15)
Embark Dog DNA Test — $189 (save $10)
DNA test kits like AncestryDNA and 23andMe have become increasingly popular over the past few years — some 26 million people have taken them — and were a big gift item during the holiday season. The possibilities are quite literally endless — from finding your birth mother after 47 years to discovering that you're related to a president.
Though DNA tests are being added to more and more people's bucket lists, the sheer number of kits you can choose from is overwhelming. The result? A lot of interested folks opt out simply because they're not sure which kit to buy. (Even DNA tests for your dog exist. Yeah.)
And that sucks, because finding out the who, what, and where that made you into the person you are is way too awesome to pass up.?
We did some digging to bring you the ultimate DNA test comparison guide. We've looked at seven of the most popular DNA test kits out there: AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, tellmeGen, Living DNA, Family Tree DNA, National Geographic Geno 2.0, and AfricanAncestry to give you the rundown on the differences between each kit so you can decide which one is the best for you.?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of each kit, it's important to understand the fancy terms that will be mentioned frequently so you can get a handle on how DNA testing kits work.
How does DNA testing work?
Autosomal testing is the most basic and most popular means of genetic testing, commonly known as the family finder. Autosomal DNA tests look at 22 pairs of chromosomes not involved in determining a person's sex. It is used for cousin and distant relative matching as well as mixture percentages, or your ethnic mix (as shown in those fancy pie charts from the commercials), plus common genetic traits, like heritable diseases and eye color. Each kit evaluated below does autosomal testing —?with the exception of Nat Geo's, which we'll explain later.
mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) testing traces your mother's lineage. These are the DNA strands passed down from mother to child. There's very little chance that these could be altered, so your direct maternal line can be traced back quite far.?
Y-DNA testing focuses on the Y chromosome, which you probably recognize as the "male" chromosome, and can guess that this test traces your father's lineage. These are the DNA strands passed down from father to son, so your paternal line can be traced. However, it is important to note that only males can use a Y-DNA test directly. Most times, women can connect their DNA profile with a father, brother, or other male relative to get these results.
Note: While autosomal testing shows who your relatives are, remember that this is a mix of both sides — and does not necessarily show you which side of the family they came from. Another thing to note is that mtDNA and Y-DNA tests can trace back anywhere from 20-100 generations, while autosomal tests can only trace back to 5-8 generations.?
Health screenings and traits are the next iteration of DNA tests that are soon to become the norm. These use your genetic markers to discover what illnesses or diseases you may be at risk of inheriting, as well as how your risks compare to other people of your age, race, and gender. Traits like hair and eye color, lactose intolerance, or obesity are also analyzed, diving into the genes that make you unique or if you're likely to pass a gene to your children.
So, what is the best DNA testing kit?
We're so glad you asked. Keep reading to learn more about our picks below. Use the small grey arrow button to expand each card. (Shopping for a Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Prime Day sale? Peep our list of deals at the top of this page.)
1. 23andMeHealth screenings plus a recent addition of over 1,000 regions makes it the most all-encompassing test out there.
- Price: $99-$199
- Tests: Autosomal, mtDNA, Y-DNA, health, traits
- Wait time: 2-4 weeks
The good: One super unique thing about 23andMe is that it does health and wellness screenings — it's even FDA cleared. 23andMe's health tests can give valuable information about genetic illnesses, health risks, carrier status on health conditions, or traits that may run in your family. This can provide you with an important heads up about any checkups you may want to schedule, but obviously can't give a guaranteed view of your future health. Traits like sleep movement, celiac disease, and lactose intolerance are also analyzed.
In January 2019, 23andMe's region count was upped to over 1,000 populations (with major increases in African and East Asian populations) —?causing it to surpass AncestryDNA as the most robust test, which is no small feat. This amazing new testing pool gives each customer a more detailed Ancestry Detail Reports, where you can find maps and more refined breakdowns.
The downside: There isn't much bad to say here, but a main theme among negative reviews seems to be janky customer service. It's fine more often than not, but customers need to trust that they'll get answers if their test is too generalized or not back on time.
23andMe references datasets from about 300,000 people, which isn't nearly as robust as AncestryDNA when it comes to building the family tree and being able to connect with found relatives — it's more of a "where" than a "who" here.?
The price: 23andMe is possibly the easiest to find, sold at retailers like Target as well as Amazon and 23andMe.com. Each place offers the same price: $79 for the Ancestry service and $199 for the Health+Ancestry service. 23andMe's official website and Amazon offer sales frequently, while the other retailers offer coupons.
2. AncestryDNAGet a seamless process from start to finish with a massive genealogical pool and the ability to connect with found relatives.
- Price: $99-$119
- Tests: Autosomal, traits
- Wait time: 6-8 weeks
The good: AncestryDNA pulls results from a very large genealogical pool () and from some 700,000 locations in over 350 ethnic regions () around the world (). The regions AncestryDNA pulls from trails decently far behind 23andMe, but they make up for it with the DNA collection they have.
Traits like eye color and earlobe shape are also being tapped into: As of November 2018, AncestryDNA offers a slightly more expensive kit that gives information on 18 inherited traits and attributes that can tell you why one kid has red hair and one doesn't — or who gave you that gene that makes you hate cilantro.
DNA matches can be linked online to create your family tree, and if a family match is also signed up on Ancestry.com, you have the option to reach out and connect. Results also never go away and can be viewed indefinitely, as long as you keep up your subscription. Options to contact database matches are great (surpassing 15 million network members as of May 2019,, making this one of the best tests for adopted individuals to connect with biological relatives.
The downside: It does not offer separate mtDNA or Y-DNA tests, so if you're looking for direct tracing of your mother or father's direct line or results more specific to your maternal or paternal side, AncestryDNA may not be able to give those details. Also, people of East Asian descent may find AncestryDNA frustrating because they haven't sample enough people yet to provide specific enough data for that part of the world. Ancestry.com also requires a subscription for many features, unlike, say, 23andMe, which does not. (You will still get your DNA results without a subscription, though.)
The price: A best seller on Amazon, the AncestryDNA kits normally go for $99 but are frequently on sale both on Amazon and Ancestry.com.
3. tellmeGenTake charge of your health with this detailed test that analyzes medical predispositions and inherited risks. (But don't stop going to the doctor.)
- Price: $199
- Tests: Autosomal, health, traits
- Wait time: 4-6 weeks
- Complex diseases broken down by symptoms and your risk factor compared to the average person of your race, age, and gender
- Inherited conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
- Pharmacological compatibility, or how your body handles certain medication
- Traits like hair color, baldness, or lactose intolerance
The bad: Though it's technically also an ancestry test, the gene pool used to yield ethnicity breakdowns has a lot of growing to do. Less than 3,000 people make up the ethnic database so far, and regions in the Middle East and Asia are particularly limited. Obviously, trying to connect with relatives will be a bust. You will get a few percentages for your ethnic pie chart, but that's about it.?
However, tellmeGen deserves major kudos for being up front about this: They point out which groups aren't represented in an effort to save you time and money, and won't try to convince you that the test is something it's not.
The price: The all-encompassing kit is unsurprisingly pricey at $199, but is frequently on sale at Amazon for as low as $139.
4. MyHeritageIf you don't care about contacting relatives or maternal/paternal tracing, MyHeritage offers the coveted pie chart and quick results for cheap.
- Price: $75
- Tests: Autosomal
- Wait time: 3-4 weeks
The good: MyHeritage is said to be the fastest and cheapest test, usually sending results back to participants in 3-4 weeks and not requiring a monthly-paid subscription to access results. MyHeritage also pulls from 42 graphic regions, which is pretty impressive for what you're paying. DNA can be linked online to create a family tree, and there is an option to upload raw data — so if you've gotten some sort of genealogy tests done before or have outside genetics information that you'd like to use, it can easily be included in results.
The downside: Though MyHeritage uses a good number of geographical regions, it has the out of the kits compared here (aside from Living DNA, which doesn't have a database). It also does not offer separate mtDNA or Y-DNA tests, so if you're looking to trace your mother or father's direct line or results more specific to your maternal or paternal side, MyHeritage may not be able to give those details. You may also have to pay extra to access certain parts of you report.
The price: Prices fluctuate and sales happen often, but MyHeritage can be purchased on Amazon for $75 or MyHeritage.com for $59 to $79. Creating an account and logging back in to see results is free.
5. National Geographic Geno 2.0Instead of the traditional family tree, Nat Geo's whole exome sequencing will tell you how much you have in common with a Neanderthal.
- Price: $99.99
- Tests: Homonin ancestry, mtDNA, Y-DNA
- Wait time: 6-12 weeks
The good: Geno 2.0 users technology that no other kits use, meaning you're getting info that no other kits can offer you. While genotyping looks for specific parts of DNA and pieces them together, next-generation sequencing is a speedier process that looks at the protein-encoding parts of your genome. Whole exome sequencing picks up information that genotyping can't, making Nat Geo's kit able to give you your Hominin ancestry — AKA the percentage of DNA that you have in common with a Neanderthal. How cool is that?
The bad: This kit puts its focus on Neanderthal stuff and not so much on tiny details to fill your pie chart. If you've done a DNA test before, you probably won't mind this as you'll already have those lineage percentages. However, if you're a first-timer and are really looking to see where you hail from, Geno 2.0 may not be the most helpful.
Price: While the Nat Geo kit may not be quite as expansive as the others, you still get cool graphics with your results, as well as a custom video of your ancestry journey. Geno 2.0 goes for $99.99 on National Geographic's website and Amazon, but is frequently on sale for as low as $59 (crazy).
6. Living DNACoining itself as a 3-in-1 DNA test, this is easily your cheapest option to trace both parents' lines as well as the family finder.
- Price: $79
- Tests: Autosomal, mtDNA, Y-DNA
- Wait time: 8-10 weeks
The good: Living DNA offers mtDNA and Y-DNA tests in the basic kit with no extra charge, 'nuff said — many other tests make you pay extra and that's if they even offer it to begin with. It pulls info from more than 80 geographical regions and 650,00 genetic markers going back 80,000 (!!!) years, making them able to provide pretty substantial detail when it comes to your pie chart —especially for the price.?
In February 2019, Living DNA closed a huge gap in the competition by (finally) adding a matching service to connect with found relatives. The free service is called Family Networks, and though it won't yet have the numbers that AncestryDNA does, it's promising to at least have the option. The company is constantly conducting surveys, testing new features, and adding new regions, which you can find in the news section.
The downside: With samples from more than 80 regions, LivingDNA's test coverage is pretty vast for the price — but it still won't be able to pinpoint origins as specifically as test with 300 or more (especially when it comes to coverage of Native Americans). Essentially, it's clean cut way to get that maternal and paternal tracing without paying for frills. Living DNA also has some of the slowest turnaround times, though wait time recently decreased from 10-12 weeks to 8-10 weeks.
The price: Living DNA is $99 (but sometimes on sale for $49) and available on Amazon and the LivingDNA site. If you can catch a sale, that's an extremely fair price for all of the information you're getting. For $168 total, you can add a personalized ancestry book to your order.
7. FamilyTreeDNAPrices are weirdly steep, but FamilyTreeDNA offers detailed maternal and paternal line tracing you can't find anywhere else.
- Price: $79.99-$199.99
- Tests: Autosomal, mtDNA, Y-DNA
- Wait time: 6-8 weeks
The good: Not only is there the option for mtDNA and Y-DNA analysis, it is said to give the most in-depth maternal and paternal results compared to other kits. To justify paying for tests separately, FamilyTreeDNA claims that its comparisons of 500 STR (short tandem repeat) markers, or specific segments of DNA that people share, and 150,000 of SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) make them able to find what ancestors a specific population has in common, as well as identify if a relative is from your mother or father's line. Check out the extremely detailed breakdown of each Haplotree and its regions here.
Options to contact database matches are great, making this one of the best tests for adopted individuals to connect with biological relatives — as long as you can deal with a website that looks like it's from 2002.
The downside: Though FamilyTreeDNA does offer the mtDNA and Y-DNA tests as well as autosomal, all three tests must be conducted separately. This means that you'll need three different swabs and three different payments, making this the most expensive kit if you want all three tests done. And, while most serious family finders would be down to pay extra for more detailed results, Family Tree DNA's reviews on Amazon are slightly worrisome and tell us that first-timers could definitely manage to opt for a cheaper kit.
The price: Prices start at $79.99 for the autosomal Family Finder on FamilyTreeDNA.com or Amazon. Adding the Y-DNA test brings it up to $169, while adding the mtDNA will be $199. I mean, at least you're not paying for anything you don't want.
8. AfricanAncestryWhile not as advanced as other kits, AfricanAncestry is the extensive reporting on African tribes that we've been waiting for.
- Tests: Autosomal, mtDNA, Y-DNA
- Price: $299
- Wait time: 6-8 weeks
The good: ?AfricanAncestry takes the cake when it comes to deep-diving into African heritage —?up to 2,000 years of it. The company tests over 200 African ethnicities and 33,000 indigenous DNA samples from 40 African countries, offering the potential to trace back to individual tribes like Fulani, Tikar, or Hasa. Both men and women can trace their maternal roots and men can trace paternal as well.
It's essentially a big celebration of African heritage, which has gotten it a lot of love from customers on social media singing praises about long-awaited details on ancestors' tribes. It's owned by black people for black people, which is a breath of fresh air in a world of DNA tests that can mostly lean Eurocentric.
The downside: For starters, you'll be shelling out $300 for a single test. That's a hefty price to ask for using a sample pool this sparse, as it gives a lot of leeway for results to be inconclusive and requiring a do-over. Some reviews mention that their results were extremely generalized, but like any DNA test, satisfaction is on a person by person basis. The site does let you know that accuracy plateaus at 85%, and though 33,000 DNA samples isn't huge, it's much better than what competitors can offer.?
The price: Yikes. There's a MatriClan Test for everyone and a PatriClan Test just for men both going for $299, and a Family Celebration Kit that includes two kits, a few gifts, and the option to analyze a deceased person's DNA for $680. For now, it's only available on .
Yep, that's a thing. Just like humans use DNA tests to piece together their family tree, get an ethnicity breakdown, or learn about medical predispositions, doggie DNA tests can present info about your dog's family history, breed mix, and risk of disease in the future. They're an especially handy tool for pup parents of rescues and super-mixed mutts.
9. EmbarkSpending as much as 23andMe's test costs gets you a full look at your dog's familial and medical history.
- Breed tests: 200+
- Wait time: 3-7 weeks
- Health screening: Yes
- Wolf and coyote test: Yes
The good: They'll test for a crazy 256 quadrillion genes and , and are even able to tell you if your dog has any wolf or coyote in his or her blood. As for the health test, Embark screens for over 175 diseases and known medical issues for dogs, which is the highest number we've seen (AKA next to nothing will get past this test).?
Let's also discuss the stellar customer service: Unlike when you take your pet to a giant vet office and they want you to get in and out as fast as possible, Embark makes it obvious that they want the best for your pet. If something worrisome shows up in the health screening, they won't just send an envelope to your house that says "Surprise, your dog is dying" —?they'll call you and break the news like a doctor would, and then talk you through the options. Amazing.
The downside: 3-7 weeks is much quicker wait time than a lot of the human DNA tests, but it could feel like forever when you're waiting to hear back about your new rescue or need the info for medical purposes. ?
The price: Forking over $199 (just as much as 23andMe's most in-depth test) could be a downside —?but you truly get what you pay for. If you need a bit more convincing, just read a few more . Seriously, people are excited about this.
10. Wisdom Panel 3.0A massive pool of breeds to test for makes it possible to discover the makeup of even the most confusingly mixed mutts.
- Breed tests: 350
- Wait time: 2-3 weeks
- Health screening: Optional
- Wolf and coyote test: Yes
The good: This Amazon's Choice kit claims to have the largest breed database in the dog DNA market, testing for over 350 canine breeds —?that's accounting for 50 more breeds than most other tests. Remember, if your dog is a mutt and both of his parents were mutts, the chance of finding the exact percentages of each breed can be slightly limited, and something like "51% mixed breed" may come back if some older grandparent genes can't be untangled. (Same for dogs imported from dogs imported from outside the U.S.) Worth a shot, though.
Wisdom Panel also offers a kit that combines the classic DNA test with a Disease Detection test, which will screen your dog's DNA for over 150 genetic health conditions common in dogs. (Even if you only do the DNA kit, Wisdom Panel will test for the potentially life-saving mdr1 drug sensitivity at no extra cost. Sweet.)?
The downside: Compared to Embark, Wisdom Panel tests for less genetic markers. Breakdowns of your dog's familial line (like whether the mom or dad dog was which breed) or what traits or diseases they may inherit likely won't have a lot of depth.
The price: The flexibility here is nice as you only have to pay for what info you want. The basic test of your dog's breed breakdown goes for $49.99, and opting for Wisdom Panel's Disease Detection Kit ups the price to $149.99. The health screening tests for about 75 less diseases than Embark, but it's a great value either way.
11. HomeDNA Orivet Dog DNA Test and Life PlanThe life plan gives your dog a customized diet, exercise, and play routine to maximize lifespan and happiness.
- Breed tests: 220
- Wait time: 3 weeks
- Health screening: Yes
- Wolf and coyote test: No
The good: After comparing your dog's genes to over 220 breeds, HomeDNA testing takes things to the next level by transforming the info into a "life plan" for your dog to live the longest, happiest life possible. They'll give personalized (er, doggo-ized) information about the best food to feed your dog, how big that specific mix should grow to be, and even the best way to play and interact with your dog's breed. (This also makes for an A+ bonding experience.) There's also a DNA test for cats, and we stan HomeDNA for that reason alone.
HomeDNA offers a package with a health screening (instead of the breed finder) and life plan package, testing your dog for over 100 genetic diseases and traits that pose health risks.?
The downside: The value of the mixed breed and personalized lifestyle guide is fantastic, but a health screening for $125 just isn't as good of a deal as other kits (especially when Home DNA only tests for 100 medical issues vs. upwards of 175 with competitors). Results also have a tendency to be vague and not send in a timely manner.
The price: Both the Mixed Breed Dog Identification and Life Plan test and the Health Screen and Life Plan test are $125 a pop.
12. Find My PetThis budget-friendly test does a breed breakdown and health screening for less than a bag of fancy dog food.
- Breed tests: 200
- Wait time: 3-4 weeks
- Health screening: Yes
- Wolf and coyote test: No
The good: It's rare to find an affordable dog DNA test that gives a worthwhile breakdown at all, so Find My Pet deserves kudos for this in-depth of results for the price point. But keep your expectations in check —?the idea is slightly "you get what you pay for" here, so your dog's ancestry percentages probably won't be as detailed as they would be with a more expensive kit, as Find My Pet doesn't incorporate quite as many breeds or genetic markers. However, you may not even care to get that specific, and Find My Pet will at least satisfy your curiosity about what breed of pup you have on your hands.
The bad: This test is kind of hit or miss. Some reviews say that the results were way too inconclusive despite only being out $70, but others insist that Find My Pet's results were more specific than results received by one of the top kits. (Note: Find My Pet will not confirm if your dog is a purebred or not.)
The price: Again, most decent tests won't come under $100, let alone under $70. Find My Pet offers the breed breakdown plus a health screening at no additional cost, and for a database with over 200 breeds, it's a bang for your buck.