5 Best DNA Testing Kits In 2018: Easy Ancestry Lookup From Home

Best DNA Testing Kits
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If you’ve always wondered about where your roots stem from but never knew how or where to find out, we’re here to tell you that the search is finally over! With DNA testing being easily accessible for all, the answers to your ancestry questions will soon be revealed. A simple DNA test can be completed from the comforts of your own home and will open your eyes to the mysteries of your family tree, once and for all.
In this article

Why Take a DNA Ancestry Test?

There are lots of reasons people choose to go down the path of DNA ancestry testing. Often times, it’s because they are curious to find out where their family comes from. Because of migration patterns changing over the years, it is no longer enough to simply trace back your family tree, as the roots go much deeper than that.

Back in the day, DNA heritage testing would have been an unattainable dream for most of us, but thanks to modern technology, like the internet and social media, some of the best DNA testing kits are now easily available online for everyone. Your DNA holds the key to where you came from, and a DNA testing kit will show you exactly that.

With DNA heritage tests being so easily affordable, you can see why an increasing amount of people are looking for DNA testing in order to put the puzzle pieces of their family tree together. So why not surprise your parents and even your grandparents by shedding some light on this topic?

Check out some of the best DNA testing kits available, and make your life a little bit less of a mystery.

BrandsPricingDatabase SizeResults Time 
Ancestry.com
40% Off For Limited Time
$59 ($99)7,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now
MyHeritage DNA
Hot Summer Sale
$69 ($89)1,500,0003-4 WeeksGet Now
Living DNA
Limit Time Offer
$89 ($99)Small and Growing10-12 WeeksGet Now
23andMe$992,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now
Family Tree DNA$79923,9294-10 weeksGet Now

What Your DNA Testing Kit Can Tell You

Each testing kit provides different end results for you and some are better than others depending on what you’re after.

Here is what you can find out with different testing kits:

  • Ethnic Heritage Analysis
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Genetic Health Issues
  • Predisposition to Diseases
  • Genetic Mutations
  • Risks for Cancers
  • Fertility Issues

DNA Testing Myths Debunked

There are a lot of rumors going around about the so-called dangers of DNA testing. Can you guess which of the following claims are true and which are not?

  • You can use DNA testing to solve a murder in about an hour, CSI style.

False. These tests take at least three to eight weeks to complete, so you might have to wait a little longer, Nancy Drew.

  • You can earn money from your DNA data.

True. Cha-Ching! Some companies offer money in return for your DNA data for research purposes. This is usually related to health studies.

  • Your DNA might one day catch a criminal.

True. Hey, it might not take an hour, but sometimes you can come out on top. One case ended with the arrest of the suspected Golden State Killer after investigators used his DNA from back in the 80s to find matches for relatives online.

  • You can find relatives you didn’t know existed.

True. You might not know this, but a lot of testing services actually allow for customers to see whether they might be related to other users of the same service. Don’t worry, this is only for people who log their information into the system and want it there.

  • You have no privacy once your DNA results are “out there”.

False. This is completely untrue. Your DNA results are yours only and will remain so until you change your mind. In fact, there are numerous laws in place to protect your ownership of your DNA data.

How Do DNA Kits Work?

Interested in finding out where your roots come from? It’s all fairly simple.

When it comes to your DNA testing kit it’s important to do your research and choose the best DNA test company for your needs.

Let’s have a look at some of the common procedures that you will find across the board in all DNA testing kits. They are:

  • A simple questionnaire
  • Instructions for collecting your DNA sample
  • A guide for how to register your DNA kit and return it to the company
  • An explanation of your impending results

After collecting your DNA sample and sending it back to the company, all you have to do is wait for the results to come back and tell you where your ancestors came from.

Possible Restrictions for Users

When comparing these DNA testing kits, it turned out that the biggest difference was in regards to the sample collection process and shipping instructions. This is because some of the testing providers might have limitations imposed by the local government.

It is worth noting that back in the day there were various laws which banned people from sending DNA testing for health and safety reasons. However, this is something that is not relevant in most states. To be on the safe side, check your local laws just to make sure.

After you’ve shipped off your sample, you will get a confirmation email that lets you know it has been received. Then you kick back and wait for your results to come, which can take anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks.  .

Protecting Your Privacy

All of these DNA testing providers look out for their customer’s privacy, which is why it’s mandatory to fill out a registration form which will link it to your identity. When you send your kit back and when the tests arrive in the mail for you, they will not contain your name so as to protect your privacy completely.

Different Types of DNA Tests

DNA testing can be used for various reasons, so we have broken down the different DNA tests that might suit you:

1. Autosomal DNA

This is the most common DNA test. It will reveal where in the world your family DNA derives from and is known as the DNA ethnicity test. Both males and females can take this test and receive the same type of results.

The autosomal DNA test is only useful to trace back relatives like third or fourth cousins, as it only goes back about four or five generations. You will, however, find out how closely you are related to another person. This is fantastic if you do not know a lot about your parents or grandparents.

It will also tell you where in the world your ancestors lived during the past few hundred (or thousand) years

2. mtDNA:

Also known as the mitochondrial DNA test, this only looks into the DNA data that comes from your mother’s side. It will reveal information to do with everything tracing down your mother’s line, but will not be able to give you information for any males.

It will also reveal how closely you are related to a single common ancestor (or haplogroup).

This means that you can find out where your maternal line originated, sometimes tracing back as far as 10,000 years

3. Y-DNA:

This is what we generally refer to as a paternity test. As we have 23 chromosomes, the last is divided into X for women and Y for men. This test only searches the Y chromosomes.

This will tell you just how close you are related to someone with the same surname. It is very useful for people who have been adopted or are looking into their Jewish ancestry.

What Makes a DNA Test Great?

There are a few factors to take into consideration when taking a DNA test, so we pulled together the elements we thought were the most important.. Here are the top six factors we explored when looking for the best of the best.

1. The Sample

It is important that this part of the process is as hassle-free as possible. Although DNA test kits take saliva or skin samples, some of them are more of a pain than others. Some people prefer to give a spit sample, where others would rather opt for a cheek swab, so it’s important to find out which type your DNA test company offers.

2. Information Needed

Obviously, the more information you can provide, the more results you will receive. But not everyone has access to all of their ancestral information. . Digging up various info about yourself can be time-consuming and downright impossible for some. That’s why it’s important to look for services that are flexible with how much information they’ll require from you.

3. Simplicity of Returns

You have to send your DNA sample back to the company for analysis, and some companies make this process easier than others. Things like a pre-addressed envelope are made returning your sample effortless.

4. The Waiting Game

Depending on how urgently you want your results back, you need to check the time it takes for the DNA test company to get back to you. All companies will give you an expected range of time to receive your results.

5. Extras

We love a service that goes out of their way to provide customers with that something extra. Some DNA testing services provide things like mobile services and family tree builders.

6. The Privacy Policy

There is nothing more important than looking after the privacy of the individuals using a service, especially when we are talking about something as sensitive as DNA. Be sure to check the company’s privacy policy to see exactly what they can and cannot do with your data once they have it.

The Best DNA Testing Kits

#1 Ancestry.com

<< Get 40% Percent Off: $ 99 , Only for $ 59, Ends 08/20 >>

ancestry logo

Possibly the most well-known DNA testing company worldwide, Ancestry.com unites DNA testing with wildly extensive 20 billion historical records, surveying your entire genome with state-of-the-art tools.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 700,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 350 worldwide
  • Database Size: 7,000,000
  • Family Tree Integration: Yes
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Maternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Neanderthal Percentage: No
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • DNA testing kit $99 (Excludes taxes and shipping)
    • US Discovery – access all US records – Monthly membership $19.99, 6-month membership $99
    • World explorer – access all US and international records – Monthly membership $34.99, 6-month membership $149.99
    • All access – full membership to Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com and Fold3.com – Monthly membership $44.99, 6-month membership $199
  • Countries Available: 6
  • Average Results Time: 6-8 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options
    • Free trial of any plan for 14 days.

Reveal All You DNA Secrets Now, With Ancestry.com Testing Kit

Additionally, we have explored their features in-depth, so if you are intrigued make sure to read our Ancestry.com review.

#2 MyHeritage DNA

<< Hot DNA Summer Sale $ 79 , Only for $ 69, Ends 08/20 >>

myheritageDNA Logo

Known as a competitively priced option for DNA testing and with billions of international records, MyHeritage automatically searches for family tree updates in its database, alerting you of these by email.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 690,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 42
  • Database Size: 1,500,000
  • Family Tree Integration: Yes
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: No
  • Maternal Lineage Available: No
  • Neanderthal Percentage: No
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • DNA test kit – $79 (Excludes taxes and shipping)
    • Family Tree Basic plan – Free
    • Family Tree Premium – $82.50 per year
    • Family Tree PremiumPlus – $131.34 per year
    • Data – $119.40 per year
    • Complete – $175.77 per year
  • Countries Available: Worldwide
  • Average Results Time: 3-4 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options:
    • None

Reveal All You DNA Secrets Now, With MyHeritage DNA Testing Kit

We have compiled a more extensive review on MyHeritage so make sure to check out our MyHeritage DNA review.

#3 Living DNA

<< Limited Time Offer $ 99 , Only for $ 89 (Inc. Fees and Shipping) >>

Living DNA Logo

Offering itself as ‘the most advanced DNA test, with twice the detail’ of their competitors, Living DNA boasts results with a detailed DNA mix across 80 world regions, including 21 in Britain, and free updates.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 650,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 80 worldwide
  • Database Size:  Limited but growing
  • Family Tree Integration: No
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Maternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Neanderthal Percentage: No
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • Ancestry DNA test – $99.00
  • Countries Available: Worldwide
  • Average Results Time: 10-12 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options:
    • Personalised ancestry book – $69.00 one-time addition

Revel All You DNA Secrets Now, With Living DNA Testing Kit

Check out more information on Living DNA by reading our extensive Living DNA review.

#4 23andMe

23andme logo

Offering one of the cheapest DNA testing solutions around, available across over 150 regions worldwide, 23andMe’s search goes deep – the results even indicate your potential Neanderthal lineage!

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 570,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 150 worldwide
  • Database Size: 2,000,000
  • Family Tree Integration: No
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Maternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Neanderthal Percentage: Yes
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • Ancestry testing kit – $99
  • Countries Available: 56
  • Average Results Time: 6-8 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options:
    • Buy one, get 10% off each additional kit

Reveal All You DNA Secrets Now, With 23andMe DNA Testing Kit

If you want some more information about 23andMe DNA features, make sure not to miss out our in-depth 23andMe review.

#5 Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA Logo

With a range of testing kits, Family Tree DNA offers worldwide shipping, webinars and a history of industry expertise. Its ‘Ancient Origins’ function checks your results against DNA found at archaeological digs.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 690,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 22 worldwide
  • Database Size: 923,929
  • Family Tree Integration: Yes
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Maternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Neanderthal Percentage: No
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • Family Finder – $59
    • Family Finder + Y-37 – $228 (males only)
    • Family Finder + Y67 – $327 (males only)
    • Family Finder + mtFull Sequence – $199
    • Family Finder + Y-67 + mtFull Sequence – $467 (males only)
    • Y-37 – $169 (males only)
    • Y67 – $268 (males only)
    • Y-111 – $359 (males only)
    • Big Y-500 – Y-111+Biy Y – $649 (males only)
    • mtDNA Plus – $89
    • mtFull Sequence – $149
  • Countries Available: Worldwide
  • Average Results Time: 4-10 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options:
    • None

Reveal All You DNA Secrets Now, With Family Tree DNA Testing Kit

Check out the extensive Family Tree DNA review. we have on Family Tree DNA and learn more about them.

DNA Testing – Is it Worth the Hype?

In short – yes! It is amazing how far technology has brought us forward in the past few decades. Years ago, we could have only dreamed of getting our hands on this sort of information. Human beings are generally curious creatures so it comes as no surprise that we want to discover everything about ourselves which includes our past and where we come from.

Whether you are adopted, getting married, looking into your native and ethnic heritage or just wanting to know more information about your medical records, DNA testing is the way to go.

37 comments
michael anthony fisette says:

i would love to know my anscestery,i would like to find out any health issues,thank you so much.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Team says:

Hi Michael,
Thanks for your comment.
We advise you to read our piece on the best DNA test for health.

Susan Donnahoe says:

There are two questions I would want answered through DNA testing. I never knew my mother but was told my great grandfather was “full blooded Cherokee Indian” and my six year old grandson is told by father “he is direct descendent of the Zulu nation”. Their words! Which DNA testing company would be able to answer these questions? I’m a little confused with the info presented. Thank you!

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Team says:

Hi Susan,
You got a very interesting family tree…ethnically wise.
We would recommend you to use the services of Ancestry.com.
In your specific case, you would benefit both for their ancestry DNA analysis(that is based on the largest genetic database in the industry) and their family tree builder (based on the DNA analysis).

Good luck.

Grandma says:

I am just starting to research DNA tests. My stepson has passed away and we would like test his children’s paternity, as none were done at their births. Is there a test out there that works best using child/grandfather DNA for this?

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Team says:

Hi Grandma,
That is a tricky situation.
Paternity DNA tests usually work by comparing the samples of the child and the alleged father.
In your case, sadly, you cannot pick a sample from the father.
There is always a possibility that your stepson might have a sample from when he was alive, but the odds are very low.
We can suggest an indirect approach, but you have to take into consideration that the results might be inaccurate.
His children can take MyHeritage or Ancestry.com. Both services have huge databases of samples and family tree builders. Build as detailed a family tree (that includes your stepson’s branches) as possible. Then crosscheck the DNA test results with the family tree.
You might find a genetic connection between the children and other relatives within the bloodline of your stepson. This will shed some light on the genetic affinity of your stepson and his children.

Hope this works for you and you get your answers. Update us on how this ends up.
Good luck.

carmen argudin says:

I am a Cuban lady. My two daughters born in USA with a Cuban dad. One daughter wants to know more of her heritage. Can you find the information even if the family came from Cuba.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Carmen,
Ancestry.com has a huge database, which includes data for people with Cuban heritage! Try building your family tree with Ancestry.com, and you might even find some potential relatives you didn’t even know existed.

Melissa Dooley says:

Looking to find out exactly what percentage of Native American I am and where the native American bloodline comes from in the family tree which kit do I get?

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Melissa,
I recommend using Ancestry.com, they’ve got an enormous database with tons of information. They also have a great family tree feature which could potentially find you some relatives you didn’t even know about!

Sandra Palmer says:

If you’re already using a specific geneology program, use their DNA test. I used My Heritage while I was using Ancestry for my family tree. I got called by a high pressure salesman to sign up for the My Heritage geneology program. (I had uploaded my gedcom to the My Heritage site.) I told him that I couldn’t afford two geneology sites. The guy was snotty and condescending. We figure we just wasted our money with My Heritage and will do the Ancestry DNA as soon as we can afford it.

Roberta says:

What test would be the best to use if you wanted to find the ethnic background of your mothers father. I am the granddaughter.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Roberta,
Thanks for your question.
We can suggest the following two solutions:
First, if you wish to inspect your maternal lineage, look into LivingDNA DNA testing service. They got a specific “motherline” ancestry analysis.
Your second bet would be Ancestry.com. Despite they don’t have that specific analysis, their database is the biggest in the industry. Biggest database equal to more accurate and detailed results.

Good luck and update us what have you choose and if it has satisfied your expectation.

Celeste says:

I have never met my father and know nothing about him or his family.
What would be the best test for me to find out a little about that side of my heritage?

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Celeste,
In this case, I would recommend two options:

1. Ancestry.com – If you choose to take their DNA test, you can also take advantage of their family tree feature. Your DNA test results would be compared to other samples in the database. Combining this, with a manual lookup you can do, you might trace relatives on your father’s lineage.

2.LivingDNA – LivingDNA provides a separate unique analysis of the paternal lineage. This analysis will give you an in-depth picture of your father’s heritage. The only drawback is that LivingDNA database is relatively small (compared to ancestery.com and other big competitors). You can bridge that gap using GEDMatch service, by uploading your raw DNA data (acquired by LivingDNA). You can read more about GEDMatch here.

Good luck and I hope you would find what you are looking for!

Dianne says:

Your review of the various testing companies is misleading and incomplete. The only test that can give information about recent relatives ( 5 generations back only) is the autosomal test. The others only give our ‘deep’ roots out of Africa migration thousands of years ago. But for the autosomal test to provide us names with whom we can contact, we have to give permission to have our email and name listed (and of course so do others). The tests that say we are such-and-such % of this or that ethnicity isn’t very accurate because, keep in mind, the wars and the spoils of wars that humans have been engaged in forever, mean we all have a mixture of genetic material from around the world. I can tell that the author(s) of this review did not really understand what these tests are about.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Dianne,

First thing first, thanks for your comment.

“he only test that can give information about recent relatives ( 5 generations back only) is the autosomal test” – autosomal test is indeed a DNA test that gives you the info regarding your relatives, both from the paternal and maternal lineage. We clearly specified it in the article. Ancestry.com, our best-rated provider, offer this test in their Ancestry DNA test. Regarding the accuracy of the time frame you specified, there is indeed a diminishing marginal utility of accuracy as you go back deeper into the past (generation wise). According to one of our most trusted sources (University College of London), the accuracy is 10 generations back and not 5 as you specified (Please provide a source to your number, so we would be able to check it and revise if needed). 10 generation back is a quite long time span – 300 years (more or less).

“The tests that say we are such-and-such % of this or that ethnicity isn’t very accurate because keep in mind, the wars and the spoils of wars that humans have been engaged in forever, mean we all have a mixture of genetic material from around the world” – Indeed, most of our ancestors were mixed due to historical events (wars, migration and etc.), but I don’t find how your statement is connected to the fact that this test is not accurate. DNA test is objective and gives you the naked facts.

To conclude,
Your comment didn’t manage to provide a solid explanation to why “Your review of the various testing companies is misleading” or “I can tell that the author(s) of this review did not really understand what these tests are about”. Following that, I don’t see what can be revised.
Yes, this is not an academic-scientific article – and frankly, it wasn’t the purpose of this article in the first place. I find it quite comprehensive, accurate and helpful.

Thank you for expressing your doubts, it is always challenging for us. Keep reading and participating! because “doubt is the fuel of progress”

Scott says:

You mentioned some local restrictions are possible with DNA tests. What kind of restrictions are you talking about? You can’t name them all, but example what they could be would be helpful.

Gill says:

Wow. I never thought about having DNA testing to screen health risks. How accurate is this? I know my Dad’s side of the family is prone to heart disease and diabetes but I don’t know as much about my mom’s side. That would be great to find out as I am getting to the age where health issues can start to be a major part of life.

Gabriella says:

Didn’t know I could be related to Neanderthals. Crazy.

jihyiopyhpyh says:

I’m really tempted to try one of these but i’m always worried its a scam? have you got any proof that they actually work?

Jane Leavell says:

I’ve been working on my family tree for decades. When I took the AncestryDNA autosomal test, the ethnic results matched my expectations, with mild variations. I knew my mother was of completely Irish heritage, but I came up 58% Irish, so apparently some of Dad’s British ancestors were Irish, not English, for instance.

The section that matched me to other DNA test-takers was also accurate. I recognized a couple of my second cousins listed there. Other people had taken the test but hadn’t created a family tree, so there was no point in contacting them to figure out which ancestors we had in common.

Be sure you’ve done some research on your own family–these kits do NOT tell you where you grandparents came from, or their occupations, or their names. They tell you how much of your DNA is common with certain nations or areas. I know I have some Germanic ancestors, so when my kit said “14% West Europe” and that turned out to include Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Lichtenstein, it made sense.

Allison says:

Family Tree DNA sounds amazing. Do you know anyone that has been able to find birth parents through this service? I was put up for adoption as a baby and I would love to find my birth mother and/or father. I wonder if this service could help me or if what I want is just a pipe dream at this point. I just turned 24 last month.

Cindy says:

Allison,
There is a TV show called Long Lost Family on TLC that uses Ancestry DNA and records to identify and locate families. I am not an adoptee but have taken tests with Ancestry and Family Tree DNA. I think using the Ancestry test would be better to help identify your birth parents since you could view your close matches and their family trees (if public). You can also download the raw data from Ancestry, FamilyTree, or 23&Me and upload them to gedmatch. Gedmatch is a free site where test-takers from different companies can compare results/matches without having to test with all three companies.
Good luck in your search!

Sandy says:

Family Tree DNA – Missed an entire side of my family (Russia) of which I have documented proof that I have ancestors that lived there. Wrote a letter to the owners telling them that they screwed up and NEVER received a response from any of their management. Customer service also was of now help.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Sandy,
Sorry to hear that.
I suggest you a rule of thumb when dealing with DNA testing accuracy.
The Key feature is the database size of the DNA testing supplier.
As you can see in the summary table, in the article, the database of LivingDNA is quite small in comparison to the other companies.
Small database, will increase the probability of a disinformation.
We can suggest you take a test with one of the big companies, like Ancestry.com. With a database of 7,000,000 samples, you bet you will get much more accurate results.

Jane Leavell says:

The only way to identify your parents would be if they (or someone closely related to them) also used the same DNA site and marked it to show close relationships. It definitely has happened. Not only have people found biological parents, they have found illegitimate half-siblings that they never knew existed.

Natasha S. says:

As a genealogy nut, I have really enjoyed My Heritage’s family tree features. Learning so much, thanks.

Alicia says:

Had an interesting thing happen when I took one of these tests. Ended up finding out my dad actually isn’t my bio dad. When my background didn’t include most of his, they ended up coming clean. That was awkward…

Lisa says:

I can’t imagine engaged couples are going to be using these services after reading this. Maybe it’s a good point, but I’d be scared away!

Kate Smith says:

I used one of these kits and was absolutely blown away. It confirmed what we already knew about the family but also came with some surprises!! Apparently I have Native American blood and would never have known without this! Amazing! Would definitely recommend to friends.

Anna says:

Some of these services are way less expensive than I expected. Good to know!

Hannah says:

The family tree builder with MyHeritage sounds pretty awesome. How do they do the research? Is it through computer programs or do they have people that physically help you search? Just interested in the process is all.

Mora M. says:

Will people know if I have one of these tests since its sent to my home?

joe says:

Never knew this existed. thanks for sharing!

Yvonne says:

Do you know if these are legal to use in the UK?

Scaredy Cat says:

Was really glad to learn there are no needles involved. That would have been a deal breaker!