AncestryDNA vs 23andMe vs MyHeritage: The Clash of the DNA Giants

article by Maria Perinic
August 12, 2019

Here we look at some of the top DNA test providers on the market: Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and 23andMe, and compare them based off of factors we consider important when choosing to help you make the right decision for your DNA testing needs.

The field of DNA testing is fairly new, but there are definitely already some leading players in the market. We’re looking at three of the best today, Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and 23andMe.

All three have a great reputation for providing accurate and interesting results about your history and health using DNA saliva tests which you can do from the comfort of your own home. But which is best for what you’re looking to learn, and why?

We’ve put these three big brands head-to-head and looked at the following criteria:

  • Geographic Regions Covered
  • Ease of Use
  • Price
  • Average Results Time
  • Genetic Markers Checked
  • Features
  • Database Size
  • Countries Available

Quick Comparison:

BrandsPricingDatabase SizeResults Time 
MyHeritage DNA
>>Labor Day Sale<<
$59 Instead of $791,500,0003-4 WeeksGet Now
23andMe$992,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now
Ancestry.com
$997,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now

Geographic Regions Covered

When you take a DNA test to understand your heritage and background better, you want to know that the ethnicities being checked are looking far and wide. If the company only supports searching for a dozen ethnicities, then you may be missing out on a sizeable amount of your history, especially if you know that your family came from all over.

Choosing a company with a wide variety of ethnicities might be important to you for these reasons, but equally, if you’re looking for health information, this might not be a deciding factor.

  • Ancestry.com

Compares the number of regions they support directly with both companies, and boast 2x more regions than 23andMe, and an incredible 5x more than MyHeritage. With 350 regions, they are definitely the most in-depth when it comes to geography.

  • MyHeritage DNA

Looks more at ethnicities than at geographical locations, with the understanding being that ethnicities often come from the same geographic regions. They support 42 ethnicities, which they say is the best in the industry.

  • 23andMe

Looks at geographic locations, and they support more than 150, which is really impressive.

With Ancestry.com, you will get the deepest geographical drill down.

Ease of Use

This category looks at the kind of sample that the companies take. While there is a misconception that blood tests are more accurate, saliva DNA tests are actually an equally good choice for studying DNA, and obviously a lot less invasive for the user.

All three options come with step by step instructions for taking your DNA swab at home using a saliva DNA kit, so for this marker, Ancestry, 23andMe, and MyHeritage are all pretty equal.

Price

  • MyHeritage DNA

MyHeritage DNA is slightly different. The kits are $59 plus another $12 for shipping fees. If you want to be part of the database and be able to search when you want for new family matches and other information, you will also need to pay MyHeritage subscription costs, which are $119.40 per year.

  • 23andMe

The Ancestry test is $99, and the Ancestry and Health test is $199. This is a very clear system, and there are no subscription costs.

  • Ancestry.com

Is the most expensive choice, and it also works on a subscription basis. 6 months of worldwide records are priced at $99 and 12 months is $209. The test is an additional cost of $99 as well.

With MyHeritage DNAyou will get the best bargain, but watch for the additional services costs.

Average Results Time

Are you in a hurry to get your results back? The truth is, none of these in-depth DNA tests are really quick, and you’ll always be looking at a wait time of at least a month if you want all the detail they can bring. Having said that, there is a difference between the slower companies and the fastest labs, and one of our DNA tests here is twice as fast as the others.

  • MyHeritage DNA

Will give your results in 4. This is a really quick turnaround time considering the industry averages, and if speed matters to you, it’s a no-brainer.

  • 23andMe and Ancestry.com

Take up to 8 weeks to provide your results.

With MyHeritage DNAyou will get your results in the shortest time.

Genetic Markers Checked

There is a difference in the kind of information that a DNA test can give you, depending on the sort of testing they do, and on which genes. For example, the X chromosome DNA can tell you about your Neanderthal ancestry, and is available for men and women, while the Y chromosome DNA testing is only available for men, and can tell them about their patrilineal line.

  • MyHeritage DNA and Ancestry.com

Only check Autosomal. While this is the majority of your genome, it cannot tell you everything.

  • 23andMe

The most extensive by far, testing X chromosome, Y chromosome, Autosomal, and Mitochondrial DNA as well. 23andMe offer additional angel on you DNA – DNA testing for health. Those genetic markers are not covered on the DNA Ancestry DNA test. 23andMe health DNA test is one of the leading products in that niche. If you wish to read more about on that topic, we strongly advise you to read our comparison review of the two leading health DNA tests: 23andMe vs Futura Genetica.

With 23andMe, you will probably get the most comprehensive DNA analysis results.

Features

Almost every DNA testing provider offers a simple DNA test, but some of the better ones offer extra features that let you check more than just your genetic ancestry.

  • Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com has an extensive Family Tree tool, complete with hints about your potential ancestors, and the ability to include as much information as you have.

  • MyHeritage

MyHeritage DNA has an excellent Family Tree tool, the company started out doing family trees before they even moved to DNA tests for ancestry.

  • 23andMe

23andMe offers a Neanderthal report in their ancestry data. They also offer a Health and Ancestry package which looks at what you might be a carrier of, what genetic health risks you don’t know about, and other traits to do with health and wellness are hidden in your DNA. The company also offers a maternal and paternal haplogroup report, showing the breakdown of your DNA from both your mother and father’s genetic line.

23andMe easily wins this round, as they have lots of extra features to enjoy along with their standard DNA test.

Database Size

Some DNA companies have huge databases which you can be a part of, to help you find your family. If you are adopted, or you don’t know a lot of about your existing family, this can be the most important element of choosing a DNA test. If you are looking to connect with members of your family that you don’t currently know, or you think your family might be looking for you, this is probably the most important factor to you.

  • Ancestry.com

Their DNA test has more than 7 million people in their database, which is obviously very extensive.

  • MyHeritage

MyHeritage have recently disclosed that they have more than 1 million people in their database.

  • 23andMe

23andMe has a database of 2 million users.

With Ancestry.com  you will benefit from the largest DNA samples database, which means a better chance of finding a genetic affinity and more accurate results.

Countries Available

Before you get too attached to any particular DNA test, make sure it’s offered in your country! For the most part, you can get these DNA tests completed anywhere in the world, but there are a few exceptions.

  • Ancestry.com

They have the fewest countries supported, although that is still 4 continents and 35 countries. Make sure to check the list before you start your free family tree, as MyHeritage may be a smarter choice for you.

  • MyHeritage DNA

Does not support France, Poland, Israel, the state of Alaska, and a few French island territories (due to legal issues). Othrewise, all countries are supported.

  • 23andMe

23andMe supports 54 countries.

MyHeritage offers the most countries available to take their DNA test.

The Overall Winner

It’s clear that 23andMe offers the widest range of information, including specific DNA results for the maternal and paternal line, and health reports, too. MyHeritage DNA and Ancestry.com both offer a longer-term access to data on a subscription basis and give you the ability to build a comprehensive family tree to learn more about your relatives. While Ancestry.com has the largest database, MyHeritage DNA supports the most countries and will get your results back to you fastest. All three are fantastic and accurate options, but it’s all about the most important elements of a DNA test for you.

18 comments
Amy says:

Can someone explain what “uploading raw data” to the other website: is this complex to do (I don’t know coding) and is there a fee for this? Also, the article mentioned the possibility of doing Neanderthal dna, can someone explain the significance of choosing this feature & what it might be listed as?(Will it say that or will it be called something else?) And a question for the editor: if I’m most interested in how both sides of my family (Native American, other side Russian) migrated, would it be more accurate to give my grandmothers dna instead of mine? Thanks!

Maria P. says:

Hi Amy,
When you do a DNA test, the laboratory of the DNA company is extracting raw data out of your sample. In the second phase, the raw data is analyzed by the algorithm of the DNA company and an ancestry/health report is formed. Your raw data file is stored and available for download (at most of the DNA companies).
You can download this report and load it to other DNA services (or to open sources databases like GEDmatch). In this way, you can compare your results and get additional insights.

Regarding the second question, if you wish to check your ancestry, do the DNA test by yourself. All you ancestral data is engulfed in your DNA already. No need to bother your grandparents.

Best regards,
Maria

Dawn Sellers says:

Am I able to submit my heritage DNA results to ancestry DNA for comparison? Whether for family ancestors or more regional selections I would be willing to passt a nominal fee for the extra info.

Bengaly kromah says:

A possible u can recheck ur dna result on immigration cases

Maria P. says:

Hi Kromah,

To the best of my knowledge, those DNA tests types, are good only for recreation purposes, which means it is not legally binding. You cannot use them in immigration cases because of that.

A. Coop says:

Good morning,
I just simply wanted to state the database information is still listed incorrectly.
ancestry has over 7 million in their database. while 23andMe only has 2 million.
in the summary of the database article. it states that the 23andMe has the largest benefit with the largest database. that conclusional summary is apparently incorrect.
* I almost chose the wrong package, until I noticed it was an error

It should state: ancestry has the best benefit, for they have largest database.
with over 7 million users.

Maria P. says:

Hi Coop,
Thank you very much for pointing out the error.
It has been fixed.

Ariel A. says:

7 million of…..DNA records ? Because a database with historical records is nice, but it is not the same as 7 million DNA samples. Please clarify.

Doug says:

MyHeritage showed where my family was from. Ancestry showed where family was 200 years ago but most are not direct ancestors. I now know where most of my family lived in 1500’s MyHeritage was right on.

Maria P. says:

Hi Doug,

Sounds awsome!
Keep Exploring.

Molly says:

Interesting. I came to the opposite conclusion. 23andMe said I was primarily French/German (41.3%), British and Irish (26.6%) and “Broadly Northwestern European” (23.4%). On several family lines I have records going back to the 1600’s that corroborated these results and felt this was pretty accurate.
I uploaded my 23andMe raw data to MyHeritage and got very different results; 64% Irish, Scottish and Welsh, and 29.5% Scandinavian. Hmmm.

Claus Wøbbe says:

Database size…. conclusion… please check your text

Maria P. says:

Hello Claus,
Thank you for your comment.
Please indicate which information is incorrect?
We are more than happy to recheck the issue.

P says:

There is a mistake. It says “With 23andMe you will benefit from the largest DNA samples database”. It should say ancestry…it is correct in the summary at the end.

Deb says:

I think that what Claus was referring to is that you conclude 23andme has the largest database, but the stats above imply that it is Ancestry.com who has largest database. The last line should state “With Ancestry.com you will benefit from the largest DNA samples database.”
I appreciate your review of all 3 – I care most about genetic testing, not finding relatives; your review of all 3 let me make my own decision on which to purchase. Thank you!!

Maria P. says:

Hi Deb,

Thank you for your comment.
We have revised the conclusion paragraph.
I am very glad that my article provided you with added value.
Keep exploring!

P says:

The error was not the conclusion, it is in the Database Size section and it still incorrectly says 23&me has the largest when it should state Ancestry.

Maria P. says:

Hi Patrice,
Thank you for your comment.
We took care of the mistake.