The editors here at Genomelink are experts in the DNA testing industry and the human genome. We have been watching the industry expand from its earliest moments, carefully evaluating and analyzing the products and methods of every DNA testing company that has made its way to the consumer market. Our mission is to make it easy to find the perfect DNA test kit based on your needs!
The market has come a long way since the first DNA kits were released to the public. However, there are still two companies that stand head-and-shoulders above the rest when it comes to offering the best DNA test kits:
Here we have compiled the most comprehensive list of DNA tests available on the market today, grouped by category. In each section you can learn about the price and get a brief overview of all the best DNA tests available in 2020 in each category. From this list, you can also read a detailed review by the Genomelink team for each individual test that we have data for.
Even though all DNA testing companies use essentially the same technology, your DNA results from each company may be slightly different. There are two main reasons that DNA testing services can give such varied results:
First, the database size that each home DNA test company uses as a reference for ethnicity estimates is different. A bigger database and more geographic regions covered means the test will be more accurate about your migration patterns and common ancestor estimates. Essentially, the larger the reference populations for each ethnicity (such as Native American), the more accurate the results. Companies with larger databases are statistically more likely to give accurate estimates of your genetic makeup.
Second, each ancestry test reads a different type of DNA. The most common one is autosomal DNA, which is used by all the companies. Some companies read Y-DNA (from the Y Chromosome in males) and mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA passed on only by mothers). Y-DNA tests can trace your paternal line (father's side), while mtDNA does the same for your maternal line. If you use YDNA and mtDNA in addition to the autosomal DNA test, your ancestry DNA results are based on more genetic markers. For example, your maternal haplogroups may show that you have Indian ancestry or Native American ancestors on your mother’s side.
Coming in at #1 is AncestryDNA. The AncestryDNA test has more than 18 million users. That’s what makes it the best for finding as many family members as possible and building your family tree and family history. Ancestry has been in the genealogy game long before the age of DNA tests. This gives them a huge advantage when it comes to exploring your family tree. With the many historical tools on Ancestry.com, you can find detailed records of long-lost family members and add them to a digital family tree.
The Ancestry Historical Records database is one of the largest in the world, with literally billions of digitized historical records - giving you access to some of the same tools genealogists use. The one drawback is that a subscription is required to access the historical records database and genealogical research tools. But, with a subscription, you get regular suggestions from the immense treasure-trove of documents that may contain your relatives. These suggestions can lead you to discoveries you would never find with other services, making Ancestry our #1 suggestion for ancestry-related DNA testing!
$59 Holiday Specials
>18 million users
The report includes:
- Percentages of your ethnicity estimate
- Locations and details from over 2,000 global regions
- A timeline of historical changes with expert-curated content
- Potentially how and why your family moved from place to place around the world
- DNA Matches to living relatives in the largest consumer DNA database.
We recommended this if you’re interested in the genetic health screening in addition to ancestry. 23andMe offers both Y-DNA (Y Chromosome) and mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) testing in addition to Autosomal DNA. With over 12 million users, the company offers DNA matches. If you are African, Asian American, or any ethnicity other than European, you may be eligible to join their Global Genetics Project and get the test for free!
While 23andMe does not give users access to a historical records database, they still have the second largest DNA database in the industry with over 12 million users. As their user database has increased in size, they have also been able to offer some of the most specific ethnic groups in the game. With over 2000 well-defined ethnic regions, you are sure to find some surprises in your reports. Plus, the basic ancestry package also comes with over 80 reports on different genetic traits you have and shows how your genetics influence your body and appearance - like your eye color and other non-medical traits. For those more interested in deep ancestry and less interested in building out a family tree like a genealogist, 23andMe is a perfect choice!
$79 Holiday Specials, $49 for two packs during Christmas campaign
>12 million users
The report includes:
- Ancestry Composition and Detail Reports for over 2,000 ethnic regions
- Maternal & Paternal Haplogroups
- Neanderthal Ancestry
- Your DNA Family / DNA Relative Finder
Headquartered in Israel, the MyHeritageDNA test is most popular in European countries. Like AncestryDNA, MyHeritage also started business before the advent of at-home DNA testing. Starting in the 2010s, MyHeritage offered some of the first software available for building a family tree. With its first DNA test kits, the company was able to integrate DNA results with family trees. With a subscription, you can also get access to MyHeritage’s large database of historical records - including records from European countries that cannot be found in the Ancestry database. While MyHeritage has a slightly smaller userbase than Ancestry or 23andMe, they are typically much better users trying to find recent European relatives.
The company offers the biggest discounts on DNA services during the holiday seasons when you can get an ancestry DNA test for as little as $49! They offer DNA matches of living relatives, ethnicity estimates, and use a simple cheek swab for sample collection - much easier than the spit tubes some companies provide. Plus, if you are just curious about finding any living relatives in the MyHeritage database, you can simply upload your raw data from 23andMe or Ancestry for free!
$49 Holiday Specials, Free for DNA upload
>4 million users
The report includes:
- Ethnic groups and geographic regions you originate from
- Find new relatives you never knew existed through your shared DNA
This company is best for those who are serious about genealogy and want a DNA analysis specific to one side of their family. With FTDNA, you can purchase the Y-DNA or mtDNA tests, allowing you to get test results specific to your maternal and paternal lineage. While these specific tests come with an additional cost, FTDNA is the only company to offer comprehensive DNA tests on these parts of your DNA. Essentially, this allows you to determine your father or mother’s genetic makeup, specifically. For instance, if you need info on your paternal great-grandparents, this is an excellent choice. They offer DNA matches and use a cheek swab. FTDNA also allows new users to upload data from 23andMe or Ancestry for free and showing if you have any living relatives in their database.
$79 - $199
Up to 30% OFF for holiday campaigns, Free for DNA upload
>1 million users
The report includes:
- Percentage breakdown of your origins
- Connection with ancient groups - Discover new DNA relatives
- Paternal & Maternal Ancestry reports
This is best for people with roots in the British Isles (Irish). Both YDNA and mtDNA are tested. They accept DNA data uploads for free. They offer DNA matching and use a cheek swab. You can also search LivingDNA’s user database for family matches simply by uploading your raw DNA data from another site. This is an easy and free way to search for distant relatives!
$79 for holiday campaigns, Free for DNA upload
User number not reported
The report includes:
- Digital & printable results of your family ancestry
- Discover your Motherline and Fatherline
The reports from 23andMe cover 150+ personalized health reports - including the highest number of FDA-approved health tests. These include reports on diabetes risk, the BRCA genes related to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease risks, Parkinson’s risk, Celiac disease, as well as over 40 reports on genetic diseases that you may be a carrier of including cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, and many others!
AncestryDNA has also started venturing into the health sector with its Health + Ancestry offering. In fact, Ancestry offers a genetic health test based on your genetic data that is almost as rigorous as 23andMe’s health test. Given that you can order these tests on Amazon, they are much easier to get than the tests below that require a physician.
That being said, 23andMe and Ancestry only offer a basic single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) test. SNPs are single variations within DNA that have been correlated with various diseases and traits. While there are over 700,000 SNPs measured, this only covers about 0.03% of your DNA. Many mutations can exist outside of these SNPs that can drastically affect your genetic risk for various diseases. Therefore, 23andMe (and many other companies that only use SNPs) cannot detect a number of mutations that may be important to your health or wellbeing.
In fact, most genetic counselors recommend that users seriously concerned about their genetic health should seek much more specific results. Many of these tests must be ordered through your primary physician because the results are very complicated and your doctor can help you understand exactly what your various mutations mean. Many of the companies below provide either genotyping (SNP analysis) or whole-exome sequencing, depending on your needs and your family history. These tests can make you aware of much less common risk factors for things like heart disease and other conditions, and all of the companies below offer genetic counseling to help you understand your results.
Here are our top picks for DNA health testing services that cover your DNA with much higher specificity:
Invitae is a health-based genetics platform that focuses on advanced medical genetics. Invitae offers multiple comprehensive tests focused on areas like cancer, cardio health, and your carrier status for known genetic diseases. However, unlike the simple tests performed by 23andMe for a handful of the most common mutations in a gene, Invitae screens many genes in full to completely understand how your genetics may affect your health. In fact, the tests are so comprehensive that a genetic counselor is assigned to you to help decipher your results. Invitae also offers specific tests for individuals with a known family history of certain diseases - giving you a comprehensive, medical-grade look into your genome!
Physician Required / Genetic Counselors Available
Myriad is a company that has specialized in genetic and molecular diagnostics for over 30 years. With the power of advanced genetic testing technology at their disposal, the company has some of the best technology in the industry to assess whether or not you are at risk for certain genetic conditions. Of their tests, one of their best is the Hereditary Breast Cancer test. Hereditary breast cancers are most commonly caused by mutations in the BRCA gene. While 23andMe does have an FDA-approved test for these genes, they look only at common mutations. Myriad Genetics Laboratories can work with your primary physician to assess your risk for breast cancer and analyze all of the mutations in your BRCA genes. If you think you may be at risk for breast cancer based on your family history, you can even take this test from Myriad to see if you are a good candidate for medical-grade genetic testing.
Cost Varies - Works with Insurance
PerkinElmer Genetics is one of the best companies for screening a newborn - allowing you to take control of your child’s health from Day 1! Plus, the company also offers specific panels for genetic diseases you may be at a higher risk for. They also have Whole Exome and Whole Genome testing if your doctor thinks you may have some unique mutations leading to health conditions. Like other medical grade companies, PerkinElmer Genomics can also connect you with a genetic counselor if you have concerns about your child’s genetic health - now available through online web consultations!
Cost Depends on Test Taken
If you are like most people, you may not even be aware of what parts of your family’s medical history are relevant to YOUR genetic health. That’s where Genome Medical comes in. Genome Medical operates a full-service genetic counseling business to explain your genetic health risks, conducted entirely online! They can help you find a genetic counselor with the expertise you need. The counselors will help you determine which tests may be useful, and which tests would be a waste of money. You should definitely start here if you have concerns about your genetic health but you aren’t sure where to start!
Starting at $50 per consult with qualified Insurance
No Physician Required - Genetic Counselor Assigned
When it comes to Nutrition, Fitness, and Weight Loss traits, there is a lot of science out there. Learning about different genetic mutations that influence your ability to digest nutrients, regrow muscle, and overcome injury can be extremely important! However, there are currently no companies that we can recommend specifically for this purpose - mostly because the science of genetic traits is still in its infancy. So, instead of paying for a DNA test kit that covers only these traits, most people find it is much more beneficial to use raw DNA data!
The editors here at Genomelink recommend that people interested in Nutrition or Fitness first get a standard DNA ancestry or health test through one of the leading providers like 23andMe, Ancestry, or MyHeritage. All of these companies allow users to download their raw DNA data, which is packed full of information that these companies do not report on. This data contains many genetic variants that can help you create a “DNA diet” and exercise plans that may be much more effective than one-size-fits-all fad diets like Atkins or non-specific strength training programs.
Then, select a company that interests you from our “Best DNA Upload Sites” page. Sites like DNAFit, Orig3n, Vitagene, and Helix can help you create a personalized diet with meal plans containing the right amount of saturated fat, carbs, and protein to get to a healthy weight. Some companies can give you information on food sensitivities suggested by gene variants. Other sites can help with genetic predispositions related to dieting, overall health, BMI, blood pressure, and weight management (including weight gain!). Many of these sites offer a much less expensive service - while giving you all the tools of a nutritionist!
While Whole Genome Sequencing is definitely the future of genetic testing, your whole genome simply contains more information that we currently know what to do with. If you are just curious about what genetics has to offer, don’t waste your time or money on a whole-genome or whole-exome test. You can get most of the same results with a much cheaper DNA test.
However, if you are an expert or just a DNA geek, you might think the $1000 price tag of most whole-genome tests is justifiable. In this case, we have rounded up the best-of-the-best when it comes to whole-genome testing so you can join the wild frontier of DNA testing and personalized medicine.
Don’t stop there! DNA tests can give you an almost unlimited amount of information that is directly related to how your body functions. After you get a DNA test, download the raw DNA data and give Genomelink a try. With Genomelink you can get access to over 180 unique traits in several different categories - one of the most comprehensive trait reports on the market. You can explore Food & Nutrition, Personality, Intelligence, Fitness, and Physical Traits. Plus, with Genomelink you can get the first 25 traits for free - simply by uploading your raw DNA sample to our database!