Best DNA Testing Services

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 17, 2018
Want to learn more about your heritage and where your family came from? Take a look at our top 5 picks and choose the best DNA test to find out where your roots lie! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Family Tree Building
Health Test
Results Exporting
Data Importing
 
PROS

The company has one of the largest databases of any service of this kind so you're much more likely to find some distant relatives that you might not know about otherwise. Plus, it's one of the more affordable services out there.

CONS

You can't check for disease traces that you might have inherited. Plus, the wait for results is pretty long.

OUR VERDICT

An affordable way to find every single relative you might have on the planet, all thanks to the huge Ancestry DNA database. Although we would've loved for the service to offer health checks, the chance to see your ancestors with incredible precision is one that we just can't refuse. Besides, the company is one of the fastest in bringing the results to you, taking just a few weeks. A well-rounded choice for sure.

detailed parameters
Family Tree Building

Available

Health Test

Not Available

Results Exporting

Available

Data Importing

Not Available

PROS

The service has samples from more than 3 million people and offers genetic health testing, something that could help you catch potential diseases early.

CONS

One of the more expensive services. The health test isn't the most reliable in terms of predictions and could use improvement.

OUR VERDICT

You know you can trust the results provided by 23andMe as the company is FDA approved. They offer excellent health checks with in-depth explanation for the results although you obviously shouldn't take them as gospel and still consult your doctor. Plus, the service has a big database of DNA so you can find relatives all over the world and reconnect. We highly recommend the 23andMe DNA test if you're worried about hereditary ailments.

detailed parameters
Family Tree Building

Not Available

Health Test

Available

Results Exporting

Available

Data Importing

Not Available

PROS

The research done on your ancestors is some of the more in-depth we've seen and goes back thousands of years, tracing the movement of your family all over the globe.

CONS

The current data on your personal DNA such as health issues and potential living relatives won't be too comprehensive though.

OUR VERDICT

No other company goes as far into the past as National Geographic, studying the migration patterns from 200,000 years ago and more. If you feel like other services focus too much on living relatives and don't offer much in the way of ancestry, this is the right pick for you. It's reasonably priced, provides in-depth reports, and we guarantee you'll see some surprising results.

detailed parameters
Family Tree Building

Not Available

Health Test

Not Available

Results Exporting

Available

Data Importing

Not Available

PROS

This service is highly affordable with in-depth results that can rival more expensive choices. Plus, the sample-taking is hygienic and requires no spitting.

CONS

You'll have to wait a long time to get your results, most likely over a month.

OUR VERDICT

As long as you're willing to brave the extended waiting period for your results to come in, the Living DNA is perfect. It's one of the most budget-friendly services out there and yet it offers excellent insight into your roots and uncovers your family tree, tracing back for centuries. It also has a hygienic sampling process that's not going to give any false positives, offering solid data only. Definitely, one to watch out for, especially if you're looking for a good deal.

detailed parameters
Family Tree Building

Available

Health Test

Not Available

Results Exporting

Available

Data Importing

Not Available

PROS

You can import data received at other companies to paint a broader picture using the Home DNA's different algorithms. That way you can find out more without taking extra samples.

CONS

The service is pricier than most and isn't focused on personal current info, opting for a look in the past instead.

OUR VERDICT

If you want to survey your ancestry and find out all about their regional movements, the Home DNA is a great choice. While it does cost more than many other services, it can also use pre-existing data to extrapolate more info about your clan and genes. Plus, you can even send in a sample from your pet to determine whether they're pure-bred or not.

detailed parameters
Family Tree Building

Not Available

Health Test

Available

Results Exporting

Available

Data Importing

Available

Ancestry DNA Tests for Ethnicity

Dig Up Your Roots

Knowing your roots and where your relatives, no matter how distant, live is both enlightening and beneficial. Having a support network and someone close to you all over the States is a precious opportunity. However, you’d spend ages seeking them out on your own. Luckily, the Ancestry DNA test kit can help you find out more about your ethnicity and genealogy.

If you’re familiar with the service’s family tree option (and you likely are since Ancestry is one of the most well-known companies of this kind), you know that they have a huge database of people from all over the world and can help you find your family even with a bit of information. But their DNA tests offer an even deeper look into your past and family.

The process is simple. The company sends you a special kit to collect a saliva sample and, upon doing so, you simply ship it back. After a few weeks of research which, admittedly, can be an excruciating wait, your results are posted to your online profile. Using those, you can expand your family tree and trace your family back several centuries. The company also includes the two-way shipping, something that a few of the competitors forego.

Review of Ancestry DNA Tests for Ethnicity

Mapping the Ancestry

The sampling process isn’t restricted much. You simply have to not drink, eat, or smoke 30 minutes before you take the sample and the kit includes a funnel to prevent spills. If you’d like to study the DNA of your whole family, including even small kids, you can manage their samples personally to speed things up. You do, however, have to create an account for each adult member of the family in order to activate the sample. That step is required for postal tracking as well as posting results but you don’t have to worry about privacy. The sample is anonymous and you can keep everything private if you so choose.

After you mail in the sample, results usually take about two to three weeks to appear and, once they do, they are presented in a convenient format. You get a pie chart showing your ethnicity and ancestry and a chance to look up those members whose DNA matches yours (no real names are visible, only logins and nicknames). There’s also a map to show where your ancestors used to reside years ago so you can get a sense of how far your family has traveled. Sadly, the service doesn’t let you check for potential hereditary diseases that may be passed down from great grandpas and grandmas, which quite a few of the competitors offer at no additional cost.

Should you decide to cancel your account with the Ancestry service, you can take all of the data with you as the service supports exporting. It doesn’t, however, let you import the info from other services, which might mean additional expenses if you decided to go with another service initially.

Ancestry DNA Tests for Ethnicity in the use

Deep Dive into History

If your goal is simply to do some DNA testing for ethnicity and find as many distant relatives as possible, the Ancestry is a good bet. The service lacks a health test feature and does take its time testing your sample but we’d call the end-result completely worth it. It’s reasonably priced, has the advantage of a truly huge member database, and the sampling kit is pretty comprehensive. While it has its flaws, the Ancestry DNA-testing service is definitely one of the better we’ve seen. If you want a detailed analysis of your ancestors and family, it’s a good choice.

Detailed review of Ancestry DNA Tests for Ethnicity

 

23andMe DNA Genetic Testing & Analysis

Your Regular Check-Up

Worried about some hereditary conditions that might carry over from your ancestors to you? We can’t blame you, what with Parkinson’s, fibrosis, and many other ailments being a potential risk to those whose family once suffered from it. If you want to check up on your health and see what your chances of having a particular disease are, we recommend the 23andMe personal DNA test.

The company offers two service tiers, one for Health and Ancestry and one for Ancestry solely. Though the second option is, of course, cheaper, we’ll focus on the former one as it’s broader and has features that make the company stand out in our eyes.

Although the section of services is called health, it includes much more than simple research into your genetic predispositions. You do get information on the likelihood of different hereditary diseases appearing in your body. But, in addition to that, you can also find out whether you’re predisposed to weight gain or hair loss. That feature gets quite a lot of mileage from male customers, of course. You can also test your food preferences, not too useful in the grand scheme of things but a fun detour. All of the service’s reports are authorized by the FDA after in-depth testing so you can be sure that everything is conducted properly. It does seem like the methodology isn’t flawless as the company itself has a disclaimer to show that their prediction doesn’t guarantee that you will or won’t have the disease. It’s still better to see some warning signs early on so we’d say the tests are worth it.

Review of 23andMe DNA Genetic Testing & Analysis

A Global Reach

Not every family member is going to be someone you want to connect to as there’s a black sheep in every flock. The 23andMe service seems to understand that completely so you can choose to stay completely anonymous and prevent other members of the database from finding you when you submit your sample. We always appreciate it when a service values privacy and commend the 23andMe for doing so. It’s also important to mention that the company ships its kits to all 50 states as well as over 50 other countries in the world and the shipping fees are included in the flat price. This means you can both get a kit for yourself if you’re abroad or even gift one to someone that you know would love to learn more about their roots.

We have to admit that the results take a while to surface, regardless of how far or near you are in relation to the company’s labs. On average, you’d have to wait upwards of three weeks to get your hands on the data. But oh boy is that data worth it. Every piece of information is detailed and the company even splits the genetic results into several sections. For example, you can trace mitochondrial DNA (also known as maternal), which is useful for determining your famous relatives. Who knows, you might be a distant cousin of some movie star!

Lastly, we’d like to mention a fun little addition that might not help out much in searching for long-lost brothers or finding out your genetic predispositions. It is, however, pretty novel and something that we haven’t seen before our experience with the 23andMe DNA testing. The website lets you create a full-blown melody out of your DNA, further proving how unique every human is. It’s not too useful but certainly a fun detour to take on your quest for genetic knowledge.

23andMe DNA Genetic Testing & Analysis in the use

Pass the Health Test

Although you shouldn’t rely solely on the results provided by the 23andMe DNA background test, it’s still a reputable and FDA-certified way to see what you genetic predispositions are. You can really find out a lot about your genes and how likely you are to end up bald, overweight, or healthy as a Greek god. Well, as long as you’re willing to pay the admittedly steep price. We did feel like the huge database of people that you can be genetically matched with and the excellent in-depth health research make the service more than worth it. So if you want to not just explore your ancestry but also check for potential health concerns, do give the 23andMe a try.

Detailed review of 23andMe DNA Genetic Testing & Analysis

 

National Geographic Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry Kit

Way Way Back

Interested in where your great-grandparents came from and what lands your ancestors might have once ruled? That’s not something an average ancestry kit will tell you as most of them are focused on genetic predispositions and such. However, the National Geographic Geno 2.0 stands out as the most comprehensive DNA test for those looking to delve deep into the family tree.

This kit researches your ancestors and their movement by using historical facts to trace migration and see where your clan might have originated. You can tell that it’s conducted by National Geographic as the company goes as far back as 200,000 years, checking every continent and ancient tribe to see where your roots may lie. We do have to admit that this knowledge alone, while impressive and potentially useful, might not be enough to persuade some to shell out the asking price of this kit. But you also get the added bonus of tracing the family on both your mother’s and father’s sides, which can be important if you’d prefer to connect with one particular side of the family. All data is split into mitochondrial and paternal sections so you can rest assured that it doesn’t get mixed up.

Review of National Geographic Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry Kit

Hygienic and Scientific

If you’re not psyched about the way other services collect their samples, you might give a point in favor of the National Geographic Geno 2.0. While most other companies require you to, well, spit in a tube, the Geno 2.0 kit just lets you swab the inside of your cheek to collect the required sample.

However, though the sampling process is easier, the wait won’t be. Due to how deep the research goes and how thorough all the checks are, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for your Geno 2.0 results than you would for the more basic personal DNA tests. Overall, it might take up to a month and a half. But it’s not like it’s an urgent task, right? Plus, while you wait you can read up on the data you’re going to be seeing as there’s quite a lot of it. In particular, we recommend reading up on Neanderthals and Denisovans and what it means to have their DNA.

We’re a bit disappointed that such thorough research ends up simply telling you which regions your ancestors inhabited, though. Sure, it’s great to have a DNA test kit help in finding your roots but other services even offer health checking to see if you’re predisposed to some illnesses. It’s up to you to make the final choice but if you're really interested in tracing back the history of your clan, there is no service offering a description as detailed as the one you get from the National Geographic Geno 2.0.

National Geographic Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry Kit in the use

Appeal to Masses

We have to admit that the National Geographic Geno 2.0 DNA genetic testing kit has limited appeal and isn’t as universally applicable as some of its competitors. However, if its capabilities of looking deep into the past match your needs, it’s more than worth it. No other genetic testing service delves as far into your ancestry and the history of your clan. It’s an easy way to learn more about your ancestors while you simply sit at home in front of your computer. It does take a while and, as we’ve said, won’t be to everyone’s liking. But we found the National Geographic Geno 2.0 DNA kit a fascinating look into history and we’d argue that it’s worth a try.

Detailed review of National Geographic Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry Kit

 

Living DNA Ancestry DNA Test

Spread Far and Wide

Don’t feel like spending a fortune on a genealogy DNA test? That’s understandable, after all, it’s pretty much just a fun service to help you find out more about your roots, not a life-saving procedure. For an affordable yet effective service offering almost as much as the expensive industry leaders, turn to the Living DNA ancestry test.

This UK-based company tracks the traces of your ancestors in over 80 regions worldwide. By analyzing the movement patterns they can determine where your relatives on your mother’s and father’s side might have once dwelled. The split into maternal and paternal DNA is handy for cases where you know that, for example, your dad’s ancestors lived in the USA all their life but your mom’s great-grandparents might have crossed a whole ocean.

We’d be remiss not to mention the little bonus the Living DNA offers. Like most other companies of its type, this service posts your genetic data to your online profile but it also offers another option that’s kind of exclusive. You can get your family tree information printed into a book with illustrations depicting the data charts and your potential ancestors (not the actual people, of course, just the examples from regions that they lived in).

Review of Living DNA Ancestry DNA Test

No Hit to Your Budget

Much to our joy, the sample-taking process was hygienic and didn't involve any spitting. You simply use the swabs from the kit to scrape your cheek and get a sample. Seal that in a container, send it off to the lab, and wait for the results to come back. Hopefully with some good news!

We did, however, have to wait for more than two months to finally get the results back. It’s unclear whether that long timeline is due to the company being based in the UK or the rigorous research that they do. Either way, don’t expect results right away or, really, even in a month. This may be an issue if you’re rushing to get your DNA tested for some reason but we feel like that problem isn’t too substantial for most potential clients.

A big plus lies in the service’s price, which is far below what most competitors ask. Despite the lower cost, the company does its due diligence and if we were to compare it directly to some of the biggest names on the market the Living DNA tests would not be far behind the leaders. It is a shame, of course, that the company doesn’t offer a health testing service as well but maybe that’s how they keep the cost affordable enough.

Living DNA Ancestry DNA Test in the use

A Diamond in the Rough

Even though we were annoyed by the long wait, it’s tough to deny that the Living DNA test kit delivered more than we expected. For a price far below most services, the company dug deep and uncovered the tiniest heritage details. You can recreate not just a family tree but a whole family forest using the data provided by the company. Plus, it’s compatible with other services as it exports your information readily, should you wish to switch over later. As long as you’re willing to wait for a month or two, the Living DNA is definitely worth it. It’s informative, affordable, and the sample-taking is hygienic. Despite a few gaps in the data here and there, we’re genuinely impressed and expect the Living DNA to end up a leader in the genetic analysis industry.

Detailed review of Living DNA Ancestry DNA Test

 

HomeDNA GPS Origins Ancestry Test

A High-Class Service

Want deep insight into your ancestry and ready to spare no cost? If you said yes, we can point you in the direction of the Home DNA GPS Origins. The service is pricey for sure but the information you can get on the location of your ancestral homes and clans is nearly unmatched. In fact, the company even offers a special service: the same kind of genealogic check for your pet. Very useful for owners of supposed pure breeds that want to prove their dog’s heritage.

Even if you’d like to save just a bit of money, the company does offer some cheaper options that come with some limitations on the info you get. Still, if you don’t need a ton of scientific data, there’s no shame in paying for a lower tier.

If you need the test done as soon as possible (for paternity checks and such) you can pay an additional fee to receive your kit overnight. Otherwise, the company pays for shipment and posts you the kit in a relatively short time (a week or so).

The sampling process is quite simple with no restrictions on whether you can eat, drink, or smoke before the procedure. You also get 4 swabs in one kit just in case something goes wrong and you have to use a backup one. The sample should simply be put into the prepaid envelope and sent back to the company, no sterilizing required.

Review of HomeDNA GPS Origins Ancestry Test

Imports and Migrations

Once you’ve done your part, allow about a month for the results to arrive. You’ll be notified via email and get access to the data by inputting a special code. The test is, of course, anonymous and your sample is discerned from others via a barcode so you can rest assured that the info is yours and nobody but you knows about it.

Unlike most other services, the Home DNA test doesn’t display data by country or geographical region. Instead, you can see how much genes you share with one of several gene pool regions. While the research doesn’t go all the way back to the first migration movements, the data is still traced for centuries so you will find out if you have, for example, German blood in you even if it was a single relative 2000 years ago.

If you’ve already used a different service and got some data but didn’t feel like it was up to par, you can still turn to the Home DNA GPS Origins. The service can import information from other companies and process it via their own methods so you end up with a more in-depth look. You do still have to pay a fee but it’s actually cheaper than using the service outright and some may find it a more useful choice since you combine data on ancestry with results that you might get on genetic predisposition to illnesses and such.

HomeDNA GPS Origins Ancestry Test in the use

Take a Deep Look

While the higher-than-average price might initially put some people off, there’s no denying that the Home DNA GPS Origins is worth it. The service offers a deep look at your ancestry and family tree, can synergize with other companies of this kind by importing their data, and actually has several flexible pricing tiers that might fit the needs of people working on a budget. Though there is some wait for the results, it’s not nearly as long as from some other companies and, once you see the information in front of you, it’s easy to understand why the research took that long. In the end, if you don’t mind paying a bit more, the Home DNA GPS Origins is indisputably great and is sure to offer up some surprising insight into your roots.

Detailed review of HomeDNA GPS Origins Ancestry Test

 

What Is DNA Testing?

Always wanted to know where your ancestors lived and who they were? We can’t fault you, after all, there’s a large chance that your great great great great grandpa may have been a lord of some kind! Sure, it’s not going to get you much power nowadays but learning about your family is a great way to connect with your past and find out more about the world around you. In order to really explore your heritage, you should turn to DNA testing. This tried and true method goes deep into your genes to see whether your ancestors may have once ruled a city or sailed the high seas as pirates. It’s also a great way to find distant relatives and explore your ethnicity. Some of the services can really delve deep into your past, figuring out the smallest details about the place you came from and the family that preceded you in the previous centuries. You could always go for a cheaper option, of course, but that would likely limit the amount of knowledge you gain about your ancestors. The most accurate tests are admittedly quite pricey. Either way, our top 5 picks should all be quite helpful in unearthing your past and bringing light to your family tree via a DNA test.

You can also combine these powerful services with family tree software to really explore your heritage.

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Publish Date: 2018-08-17 11:16:08