Ancestry DNA Test vs 23andMe vs MyHeritage: The Clash of the DNA Giants

Ancestry vs 23andMe vs MyHeritage
article by Maria P. author
This article looks at Ancestry DNA test, MyHeritage, and 23andMe DNA test, and compares them on factors like sample collection type, price, health reports and more, to help you make the right decision for your DNA testing needs.
In this article

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, 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?

Sample Collection Type

This first 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.

BrandsPricingDatabase SizeResults Time 
MyHeritage DNA
Labor Day Sale
$59 ($79)1,500,0003-4 WeeksGet Now
Ancestry.com$997,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now
23andMe$992,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now

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.

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.

Ancestral Makeup Report

An Ancestral Makeup Report makes it really clear to see where you come from, usually given in a pie chart. The percentages will show likely places and ethnicities that your ancestors could have come from, especially before modern transport like airplanes made it easy for people to travel. It’s a fascinating way to understand more about your genetic roots, and you can see why so many people look forward to this feature.

  • Ancestry.com

Gives you an ancestral population chart, which marks clearly the percentages they estimate your family coming from, with up to 31 populations included.

  • MyHeritage DNA

Results are less clear, although they do have a good amount of ethnicities, so the raw data might give you more information if you’re happy to take time to find it.

  • 23andMe

Offers the same feature, and both have detailed reports you can use.

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

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

  • MyHeritage DNA

Also offers it’s DNA Matching service, which is a targeted system that finds other people who have the same DNA as you do. They also are working on something called DNA Quest, which is specifically for anyone who has hit a wall with their genetic research. They have recently disclosed that they have more than 1 million people in their database.

  • 23andMe

Has an opt-in feature for its DNA relative matching service, that lets you know if someone that has matching DNA joins the website.

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.

When it comes to the amount of time it will take to get your results, things are not equal. While

  • MyHeritage

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.

Family Tree Integration

The good thing about family tree integration is that you can see how far and wide your family stretch at a glance, and keep track of new relatives you might not have ever known otherwise. It can be a great tool for meeting new cousins or even closer relatives, and give you a clear overview of the new family you are learning about, and where they came from.

MyHeritage is the ultimate Family Tree website, even offering this service before it moved into DNA testing! 23andMe has a DNA relatives tool which helps you connect with family members, but it isn’t exactly a family tree. Ancestry, on the other hand, has an extensive Family Tree tool, complete with hints about your potential ancestors, and the ability to include as much information as you have. It’s really easy to use and intuitive tool, and it’s free to get started. Ancestry and MyHeritage are tied for this factor.

Health Report Available

As well as looking up your history, many people use DNA testing to learn more about their health and fitness. Some DNA tests offer information on genetic diseases, likelihood of developing conditions in the future, or even traits like baldness or bad breath! It can be a fascinating look at many parts of you that you didn’t know about, and give you a heads up about where to be careful in future to stay healthy.

  • 23andMe

This is where 23andMe shine. Their Health and Ancestry package gives you everything that the other companies do, as well as looking in depth 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. If you’re interested in the health side of things, 23andMe is the best choice. 

  • MyHeritage DNA

It is all about the history and ancestry, so this isn’t the right choice if you’re looking to find out about your health and wellness.

  • Ancestry.com

Unsurprisingly is also dedicated to uncovering genealogy about your past, and ethnic and geographic background.

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

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

  • 23andMe

Has a full list of the countries they support on their website, which is less extensive than MyHeritage.

Price

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 DNA subscription costs, which are $119.40 per year.

Maternal and Paternal Lineage

  • 23andMe

You can easily see at a glance your maternal and paternal haplogroup, showing the breakdown of your DNA from both your mother and father’s genetic line.

  • MyHeritage DNA and Ancestry.com

Does not offer this feature, as they do an autosomal DNA test. If you wanted to know what came from which parent, you would need to get a DNA test for each of them.

Neanderthal Percentage

Neanderthals genetic footprint, this could be a refreshing surprise. Neanderthals were ancient humans who interbred with modern humans before becoming extinct 40,000 years ago. Some people may be interested in knowing if they have Neanderthals in their genetic history.

  • 23andMe

Offers a Neanderthal report in their ancestry data.

  • MyHeritage DNA and Ancestry.com

Do not offer this report, but this result may come up on your raw DNA.

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.