The 5 best DNA test kits for 2024


Despite the fact that tons of competitors have sprung up in recent years, 23AndMe still makes the best DNA test on the market. It’s the quickest, it’s very comprehensive, and the way the company presents your genetic data is simple and easy to digest. However, depending on what kind of information you’re looking for, there are other, more specialized DNA tests that might be better suited for you. Whether it’s ancestry, fitness, disease risk, or something else entirely, there’s likely a DNA kit that’ll uncover that data.

With the rising popularity of these tests, we decided to take a closer look and see which ones are worth the investment. To do this, we secured a mail-in kit from as many DNA testing services as we could find, then shipped them a spit tube full of our precious genetic code for analysis. After looking through all the data and personally trying all of these services, there were a few that stood out from the pack. Here are our favorites:

The best DNA test kit in 2024

  • Buy

    if you want the best ancestry results

  • Buy

    if you want speedy but accurate results

  • Buy

    if you want to expand your family tree

  • Buy

    if you’re concerned about privacy

  • Buy FamilyTreeDNA if you want to work together to form your family tree

Ancestry

Best DNA test kit

A AncestryDNA DNA test kit box.
AncestryDNA
Pros Cons
Perfect for Ancestry users No health options
Fairly fast

If you’ve been researching your family tree, you’ve probably already taken a look at Ancestry. It’s great for tracking things down in the traditional way and its tests are even better for enhancing your knowledge.

When using AncestryDNA as it’s known, you get information on fairly specific regions of your origins. Rather than just being told vague locations, it homes in on your results. It’s also able to link you with common genetic ancestors so you can fill the gaps in your family tree. A massive genealogical database all makes it possible although don’t count on AncestryDNA offering any health insight.

Specifications
Region options Fairly specific
Speed About 20 days
Health tracking No

23andMe

Best if you want speedy but accurate results

A 23andMe DNA test kit box.
23andMe
Pros Cons
Fast results Added expense for health risk tests
Easy to follow

23andMe lays out its results well with easy-to-follow guidance on what to expect. It’s not quite as specific with its results as something like Ancestry but it’s certainly simple to figure out. It’s ideal for those who don’t want complex things to figure out. You even gain insight into genetic and wellness traits if that appeals.

It’s also very fast with results taking less time than the competition. It’s possible to pay extra for a health risks test if you choose to, which could be worth it for those worried about genetic risks, but the basic plan for family tree tracking is great too.

Specifications
Region options Fairly broad
Speed About 15 days
Health tracking Yes (optional extra)

MyHeritage

Best for expanding your family tree

A MyHeritage DNA test kit box.
MyHeritage
Pros Cons
Strong privacy options Yearly subscription required for advanced insights
Simple cheek swab test

MyHeritage keeps things simple, merely requiring a swab test to acquire your DNA. Send it off and it takes about four weeks which isn’t too long a delay. The test covers 42 ethnicities across over 2,000 geographic regions so it’s fairly comprehensive.

Once you gain those results, you can then add them to your family tree via MyHeritage, before researching further and accessing any relevant historical records. It’s a reliable way of finding new relatives via shared DNA.

Specifications
Region options Fairly specific
Speed About 28 days
Health tracking No

LivingDNA

Best for privacy-conscious users

A LivingDNA DNA test kit box.
LivingDNA
Pros Cons
Comprehensive privacy policy Not as detailed results
Fairly inexpensive with optional extras Takes a while

LivingDNA is considered to be quite slow, taking between six and eight weeks to provide results. However, in exchange, you get a fantastic privacy policy with the company being very open and in-depth about what personal information it holds about you. That’s instantly reassuring for anyone worried about what happens to their personal data and DNA.

When you do receive your results, LivingDNA provides 21 subregional DNA breakdowns from over 150 worldwide regions so you can precisely see where your genes originate from. It’s also possible to receive health insights such as a look at how your body responds to vitamins, food, and exercise, based on your genetic makeup, proving useful for planning ahead.

Specifications
Region options Quite specific
Speed About 6-8 weeks
Health tracking Yes

FamilyTreeDNA

Best for collaborative research

A FamilyTreeDNA DNA test kit box.
FamilyTreeDNA
Pros Cons
Offers group project plans Law enforcement can use its DNA data
Does DNA testing in-house

If you’re working with other members of your family then FamilyTreeDNA is the perfect solution. Its privacy policy means it’s willing to hand over DNA data to law enforcement but assuming that isn’t a concern, FamilyTreeDNA is great for everything else.

It allows you to work together with other family members working on family tree research with the ability to connect with relatives from within the last five generations. Results offer a percentage breakdown of your origin right down to ancient European groups so there’s plenty of insight here. It also offers paternal and maternal ancestry kits if you’re looking to fill gaps in your family tree in a more specific way.

For health-conscious users, it’s also possible to gain insights into your fitness, nutrition, bone, and heart health, along with even your sleep routine. It then provides meal and workout plans based on your DNA.

Specifications
Region options Fairly specific
Speed About 4-8 weeks
Health tracking Yes

How We Test

Testing these kits out takes a lot of spitting into test tubes, but we feel with the ever-increasing number of DNA tests out there, it’s time that someone took a hard look at these offerings to help you decide if they’re a wise investment. DNA analysis is an evolving science though, and there’s a lot we don’t know about the human genome just yet.

This makes testing a bit of a challenge, however we use a combination of comparison tests matched with our expectations of the end results to select which tests are the best.

Does the test make sense? Is it too overly broad or do the results seem skewed in any way? Is the test easy to perform? Do the results take a long time to process? All these kinds of questions are ones we’re looking to answer.

Of course, usefulness is also a key factor. There’s a plethora of information in your genome, not all of which is particularly useful. Does the DNA test give you any actionable information to better yourself on, or is a particular unique test? It just might make it on this list.

Other Ancestry Tests

There are quite a few ancestry tests out there other than the two we mentioned above. The only one we were able to test that isn’t included here was a British company called Living DNA. While we were big fans of how Living DNA set up its results page – splitting up your maternal and paternal parentage lines – it didn’t work well for us.

It seemed to overestimate our British heritage by a considerable margin, downplaying our primarily Germanic heritage. This may be more of a function of the samples the company has to work with – likely heavily British – so we’d recommend this test only if you have primarily British origins. One cool thing about LivingDNA is that it attempts to also place your British heritage to specific regions of the country, which might be helpful for research.

Editors’ Recommendations








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