Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


The best DNA test kits you can buy

We found the best at-home DNA tests to help you learn more about your family history and health conditions, as well as answer your concerns about privacy.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Kayla Solino
AncestryDNA | Best DNA test overall
Ancestry DNA test kit box
Best DNA test overall
View now View at Amazon
23andMe | Best runner-up DNA test
A 23andMe DNA test kit box
Best runner-up DNA test
View now View at Walmart
FamilyTreeDNA | Best family tree DNA test
Family Tree DNA test kit with a colorful graphic behind it
Best family tree DNA test
View now View at Amazon
Living DNA | Best privacy-focused DNA test
A Living DNA test kit box with a map of the world on it
Living DNA
Best privacy-focused DNA test
View now View at Living DNA
MyHeritage DNA | Best DNA test for finding new relatives
Image of MyHeritage DNA testing kit against a white background
MyHeritage DNA
Best DNA test for finding new relatives
View now View at Amazon
Nebula Genomics | Best DNA test for experts
Image of Nebula Genomics box against a white background
Nebula Genomics
Best DNA test for experts
View now View at Nebula Genomics
Show more (1 item)

DNA tests have become more widely available and affordable in recent years. What was once an intensive scientific process can now be delivered straight to your door -- for less than $100 in some cases. Although these tests were first used as paternity tests or to solve crimes, the tests can now help you discover your heritage, any health risks you might have down the line, and even relatives you may not know about.

Also: The best smart rings you can buy

More than 26 million Americans have taken an at-home DNA test to find out more about their ancestry or health. If you're looking to dive deep into your family tree or find out if you may be predisposed to a health condition, a DNA test is a great place to learn more about yourself. However, it's important to note the privacy issues surrounding at-home DNA test kits, and to keep in mind that these DNA companies' privacy policies can always change.

What is the best DNA test kit right now?

We extensively researched the market and rounded up the best DNA test kit options available. Our pick for the best DNA test is AncestryDNA, thanks to its price point, range results, and ease of use. But keep reading to find out more about the rest of our top picks, and what you should know about DNA test kits and your privacy.

Also: Before taking that DNA test: Six things you need to know

The best DNA test kits of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Helps with family tree research
  • Can download your raw DNA data to use with other sites
  • Health testing isn't as comprehensive
  • Access to Ancestry's historical records costs extra
More Details

AncestryDNA is known for helping people find out where they came from, but it also offers a complete DNA test kit that can aid in your family's historical research. This DNA test kit includes information about your geographic origins across more than 1,500 regions. By far, this test kit has the largest DNA database.

Suppose you're looking into your family's history and hit a roadblock. In that case, your DNA results may give you a clue as to where else you can look further to find more information, making AncestryDNA an excellent option for those digging deep into their family's history and origin. While the company does offer health testing, it is not as robust as competitors but will do the basic job.

Verified Amazon customers mention that the results are quick, accurate, and spot on with what they know of their family. Reddit users agree and say that Ancestry DNA is great for breaking through brick walls in your family tree.

AncestryDNA features: Results in 6-8 weeks | Connect with DNA matches | Locations and origins from over 1,500 regions

Pros & Cons
  • Provides ancestry reports and DNA relative finder
  • Easy to understand results
  • Your DNA goes into a database with five million people
  • Expensive relative to other testing kits
  • No guidance on how to alleviate health risks if you're prone to them
More Details

23andMe's test kits can help you discover how the sequences in your DNA might impact the future of your health. The Health and Ancestry kit examines how your DNA might affect your chances of developing certain health conditions, including diabetes, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, migraines, Alzheimer's disease, and more.

The kit can also look at your lifestyle factors to determine the future of your health with things like lactose intolerance, muscle composition, caffeine consumption, and alcohol flush reaction. In addition, the company was the first DNA test kit approved by the Federal Drug Administration as a screener for potential diseases.

Editor's note: In Dec. 2023, 23andMe reported a data breach impacting about half its customer base -- around 6.9 million individuals. ZDNET remains aware of the privacy and security concerns surrounding this breach and is working to evaluate 23andMe's standing on our best DNA tests list to make a final determination of its status and standing. 

Despite the company's issues, the test kit--especially its insight into health conditions--has helped people find the answers they need. "I don't dispute any of the problems the company has, or its culpability, or the issues of privacy," one Reddit user wrote in a discussion thread. "But my son and I have benefitted so much because of their service, and I'll be forever grateful."

23andMe features: 3-step test | Results in 5-6 weeks | Eligible for FSA/HSA reimbursement 

Pros & Cons
  • Four plans
  • Access to Group Projects so you can further your family tree research
  • Does DNA testing in-house
  • Privacy terms allow law enforcement to use their DNA data
More Details

While AncestryDNA is great if you've already delved into the world of your family research, FamilyTreeDNA is a better place to start if you're just building out your family tree. Some features of this test include providing you with a percentage breakdown of your origin, such as ancient European groups, and the ability to connect with relatives from within the last five generations.

Another great feature of FamilyTreeDNA is that it offers paternal and maternal ancestry kits if you have gaps in either of those areas that you want to finally discover. Aside from family matters, FamilyTreeDNA looks at your health insights like fitness, nutrition, bone and heart health, and sleep routine, giving you access to meal and workout plans based on your DNA.

While overall, verified customers appreciate FamilyTreeDNA's clear breakdown of DNA results, one customer noted, "FTDNA's recent changes in how they calculate ethnicities has produced strange results because of their reference population choices."

FamilyTreeDNA features: Connect with relatives within the past 5 generations | Results in 4-8 weeks | Prepaid return shipping label included

Pros & Cons
  • Add-on services keep initial costs low, but options open
  • Does an excellent job at protecting all elements of your data
  • Less complete of analysis compared to competitors
  • Customers say results take longer than company claims
More Details

Those who are hesitant about purchasing a DNA test kit due to privacy should consider Living DNA. The company has an extensive privacy statement that goes in-depth about what personal information it holds, why it saves it, what it does with it, and how it protects it. Because Living DNA is based in the UK, it is subject to the strict policies and regulations of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), making its privacy by far the best on this list.

As far as what Living DNA's test kits will tell you, it gives you 21 subregional DNA breakdowns from over 150 worldwide regions to precisely tell your heritage. The company also offers DNA health insights, such as how your body responds to vitamins, food, and exercise, all based on your genetic makeup.

One Reddit user notes that if you know you have family heritage in the UK, Living DNA is very accurate with UK communities, noting that the test also provides YDNA and MTDNA haplogroups too (but not subclades).

Living DNA Features: 3 different kits | Results in 6-8 weeks | Free 7-day email course about DNA

Pros & Cons
  • Privacy settings are available for DNA matching
  • Can request DNA to be deleted at any time
  • Simple cheek swab test
  • Pricey yearly subscription required for advanced DNA insights
More Details

If your purpose for taking a DNA test is to find new relatives, uncover your family tree, and explore your ethnic background, MyHeritage DNA test kit is one of the best DNA tests to discover your past. Simply swab your cheek at home and send the sample back to the lab. After 3 to 4 weeks, you will receive your results. 

The basic MyHeritage DNA kit will reveal your origins across 2,114 regions and help you find new relatives. However, if you are interested in deeply diving into your results, the MyHeritage plan lets you build your family tree, research your family tree, and access their historical records. 

The company often has sales on its website, and also offers a 30-day free trial to their advanced database with the purchase of a testing kit. 

While the DNA testing doesn't match you with many others as its database is smaller, one Reddit user said, "the record matching is far more straightforward and the comparison of your records with others is much easier to use", adding that they prefer the site for keeping records and sourcing records.

MyHeritage DNA features: Cheek swab test | Results in 3-4 weeks | Covers 42 ethnicities and origins among 2,114 geographic regions | Finds new relatives through shared DNA

Pros & Cons
  • Incredibly accurate DNA results
  • Offers three choices/price points
  • Data is available for download
  • The more accurate DNA test kits are expensive
  • Must pay for subscription on top of the test kit, which increases price
  • Longest result time at 12-14 weeks
More Details

The most comprehensive DNA testing kit on this list is the Nebula Genomics Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test. This test kit uses sequencing technology to decode 100% of your DNA, compared to others that interpret only the most essential parts of your DNA, thus providing you with more specified information that only experts or knowledgeable customers might be seeking.

The company says it decodes more than 20,000 genes in the human genome, which can help spot very rare genetic variants that might cause genetic diseases. In addition, Nebula Genomics identifies mutations in your genes and allows you to find out more about your oral microbiome, which is a crucial indicator of disease and maintains the balance of your overall health.

While obviously not the best option for everyone, one Reddit user noted, "You get access to every scientific publication on your specific genes and any for that matter. You get access to professional DNA software and look up any gene you're curious about whether they ranked it or not and be given all their medical significance ever written."

Nebula Genomics Features: Results in 12-14 weeks | Decodes 100% of your DNA | Genome exploration tools

What is the best DNA test?

The best DNA test is AncestryDNA, thanks to its price point, range of results, and ease of use. However, based on what you are trying to find out and your budget, some DNA tests may work better for you than others. Check out the table below to see how our top DNA tests compare. 

DNA test


What results show



Geographic origins, health testings, connect with DNA match tables



Ancestry reports, relative finder, health report



Percentage breakdown of your origins, paternal and maternal results, health insights

Living DNA


21 subregional DNA breakdowns, health insights based on genetic makeup

MyHeritage DNA


Ethnicity estimate, DNA matches

Nebula Genomics


Decodes 100% of your DNA, identifies mutations in your genes

 *Lowest non-discounted price at the time of writing. Please note that prices may vary based on retailer and available promotions, sales, or discounts.

Which DNA test is right for you?

While all of these DNA test kits are great options, it ultimately comes down to what you are looking to find out from your DNA, how quickly you want the results, and what amount you're willing to spend. Here's a chart to help you find the best DNA test for you based on what you want to uncover. 

Choose this DNA test...

If you want...


The best overall DNA results test.


An easy yet effective alternative to the best overall DNA test


To start building out your family tree.

Living DNA

A privacy-focused DNA test under strict privacy regulations.

MyHeritage DNA

To take a deep dive into your ancestry, explore your ethnicities, and find new relatives.

Nebula Genomics

A comprehensive DNA test kit for knowledgeable experts.

Factors to consider when choosing the best DNA test kit:

We looked at the most well-known DNA test kit companies for this list. Ultimately, it's important to weigh the following factors before buying a DNA test kit. 

  • Accuracy: When selecting the best DNA kits, ensure the DNA tests provided reliable and precise results. Consider testing methods, scientific validity, reputation, certifications, and customer satisfaction ratings of the testing laboratories, as well as user satisfaction. 
  • Test types and applications:  There are various DNA test types to cater to different needs and interests, including tests to uncover ancestral heritage and ethnic background, find new relatives, or ensure your utmost privacy. 
  • Price: Uncovering your past and discovering where you come from shouldn't cost a fortune. There are DNA tests that offer good value for money and cover a variety of budgets.
  • User experience: A DNA test that is complicated to use and difficult to understand doesn't help anyone. Be sure to prioritize tests that provide user-friendly interfaces, detailed explanations and comprehensive analysis of results, and responsive customer support.
  • Privacy and data security: Ensure that whatever DNA test you select has strong privacy measures in place to protect the sensitive genetic information of individuals.

How did we choose these DNA tests?

ZDNET does extensive research into different products and brands, taking into consideration user reviews (both good and bad), competitor analysis, and more. We read through each company's privacy policies to ensure basic privacy protections of your DNA if you choose to use one of these brands. We also considered low to mid-tier pricing to compare each kit rather than looking at the most expensive options since many of these brands offer kits at various price points. 

How do DNA tests work?

DNA tests are relatively simple, and all work the same way. After choosing which brand you want to use and buying one of their kits, the company will mail you a saliva collection kit. You simply spit into a tube and mail it back to their lab. After several weeks, you receive your results and learn about your health or family tree in detail.

Most DNA tests (including 23andMe) use genotyping to look at specific locations in your DNA and identify the variations that make you unique. Focusing on any specific variation can lead to clues about your ancestry, health conditions, and other traits.

Other tests, such as AncestryDNA, use autosomal DNA testing, which measures your autosomal chromosomes and matches them across a database of people who share DNA with you to find relatives. 

Why should you take a DNA test?

DNA tests can provide you with a variety of information. For example, most kits on the market can break down your lineage and tell you a percentage of your heritage (i.e., 25% German heritage or 40% Irish heritage). In addition, DNA tests can cross-reference your DNA with others in a company's database so you can even find long-lost relatives.

Aside from domestic purposes, DNA tests can give insight into your health and if you are predisposed to certain diseases or conditions. Especially if you are looking to proactively take charge of your health, taking a DNA test kit could be worth it. 

Do DNA tests compromise your privacy?

Many people might be hesitant to order a DNA test kit because of reports about compromised security and privacy. If you are concerned about your privacy, be sure to read through the DNA test company's privacy policies. In addition, it's important to note that companies do not share your DNA info with third parties (such as public databases or an employer) but may provide information to law enforcement if required by a valid court order or search warrant.

However, according to an investigation from Consumer Reports, these direct-to-consumer DNA testing companies unnecessarily compromise consumers' privacy regarding your non-DNA data like facts about your address, name, email, etc. As a result, CR recommends opting out of DNA research from your testing service or considering deleting your data once you are done using it.

Its also important to remember that your information can be subject to data breaches, hackings, or data leaks as a result of attacks on these platforms, as is with any company that utilizes information provided to them from their users. In Dec. 2023, 23andMe admitted to a data breach which involved about half of their customer base (6.9 million users). 

How can I protect my privacy with DNA test kits?

If you are still interested in delving into the world of DNA but are hesitant about the privacy and security issues it poses, here are some suggestions: 

  • Opt for an anonymous test: Some of the DNA test companies offer anonymous genetic tests, which forgoes the use of your name.
  • Never share your DNA results on social media.
  • Delete your data: After you have your results, you can delete your DNA data. Here's a handy guide on how. 
  • Opt out of research: If you're worried about your privacy, never consent to have your DNA data used for research purposes. Even if you delete your data, if you opted into DNA research, your genetic information cannot be removed from active or completed studies.

Are there alternative DNA tests worth considering?

We chose a range of the best DNA tests based on accuracy, price points, and ease of accessing information. However, if these don't work for you, here are some alternatives to consider. 

View at AmazonView at HomeDNAView at Walmart
Editorial standards