Best Paternity Tests

Updated July 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

14 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
10 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best paternity tests

Last Updated July 2019

Paternity tests are a simple way to verify a father’s relationship with his child. They’re usually quick and non-invasive as long as you follow the test’s instructions. Once you’ve collected samples from the father and child, you send them to a lab that tests the samples and reports on their findings. It usually takes several days to receive results.

While most modern paternity tests check a number of genetic markers and are pretty accurate, you don’t want to take any chances. That’s why it’s crucial that you select your paternity test carefully so you know you’re working with a reputable company that will deliver reliable results.

Here’s a short guide to help walk you through all of the key factors you need to think about when choosing a paternity test.

New York has strict laws surrounding DNA testing. Labs will not be able to process your at-home paternity test results if you have a New York address. Residents of other U.S. states do not need a court order or physician’s request to order a paternity test.

Key considerations

The two most important factors to focus on are accuracy and processing time.

Test accuracy

A paternity test is useless if it’s not accurate, so it’s crucial that you choose a test with a proven track record. The most accurate tests evaluate more than 20 genetic markers. By looking at multiple markers, they’re able to better determine whether the possible father and child share the same genes. If a test only looks at a few markers, it becomes harder to say with accuracy whether the adult and child are related. We recommend choosing a test that checks at least 20 genetic markers.

Processing time

Once you’ve collected the samples, you must mail them to a lab for evaluation. It may take anywhere from two to five business days after the lab receives the samples before you receive any results. It’s up to you to decide how quickly you need the answer, but if you’d like to know as soon as possible, we suggest choosing a paternity test with a two- or three-day turnaround time. The manufacturer usually lists this information, so it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out how long it will take to receive results.

Fast and effective

The My Forever DNA Paternity Test Kit evaluates an impressive 24 genetic markers when determining paternity, and it promises results within two to three business days of receiving the samples. Customers are thrilled by the excellent customer service, which you can contact by phone or email at any time before or after you submit your samples. All fees are included in the price of the test kit, so you don’t need to worry about any hidden costs.

Features

There are several other features to consider when selecting the right paternity test for you.

Sample type

Most paternity tests use cheek swabs for samples because they’re simple and non-invasive, which is especially important when you’re trying to sample a young child. The manufacturer should indicate which type of sample is required on the packaging so you know what you’re getting before you buy.

Results delivery

If you want the quickest results possible, choose a paternity test that delivers your results online. When you purchase your test kit, it should include instructions on where to log in to access your results once the testing is complete. If you choose a test that mails results, you will have to wait longer for the results to be delivered to you.

Multiple adult samples

A typical paternity test contains two cheek swabs, one for the suspected father and one for the child. But if you’d like to test multiple men to determine who is the father of the child, some tests give you the option to add an additional cheek swab for an extra charge. Others require you to purchase a whole new test if you’d like to test someone else. This can be expensive, so if you plan to test multiple possible fathers, you’re probably better off going with a test that lets you add an extra sample to your original kit. You may need to contact the testing company directly if you wish to do this.

Separate delivery

Paternity testing can be challenging when the father and child live in different states. Some paternity testing companies will split up the samples, sending one to each party. Both have the same case number, so they will be paired together when they reach the lab, and both parties will have access to the results once they are available online. You may need to contact the company directly to arrange this special delivery.

Legality

Most at-home paternity tests are not admissible in court. They are merely meant to provide the family with information on a child’s paternity. But if you need a test that’s legally admissible, some at-home testing companies can still help. They can send you a different version of the test, which you must take in front of an unbiased third party who can verify that you took the test and submitted it to the lab. Alternatively, some companies may require that you come to one of their labs directly to take the test. However, before you go this route, you should double-check that this evidence is permitted in courts in your area. If you don’t need a legally admissible paternity test, we recommend using an at-home test instead because they’re cheaper.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some paternity tests may use blood drops or saliva for a DNA sample, but most use cheek swabs because they are quick and painless.

DID YOU KNOW?

A parent will need to provide written consent to sample the DNA of a minor child for a paternity test.

DID YOU KNOW?

There is no minimum age for paternity testing. You can test your child as soon as he or she is born.

Paternity test prices

There are three potential costs you can incur with an at-home paternity test.

The first is the cost of the test kit itself. These can range anywhere from $15 to $125, with most costing between $90 and $100.

Next, there is the cost of lab fees. Some of the more expensive tests include these fees in the price of the test kit, while cheaper kits often do not. So before you jump at the $15 test kit, it’s wise to look into the test’s lab fees. It’s not uncommon for these to cost $100 or more, so you end up paying about the same as you would for a more expensive test.

Finally, there’s the cost of shipping the samples to the lab. Again, some test kits may include a postage-paid envelope with the test kit so you don’t need to pay for shipping, while others may nickel-and-dime you. It’s smart to check with the manufacturer to figure out all costs associated with the paternity test before you buy.

Accurate results at an affordable price

The STK Paternity Test Kit includes the cost of all lab and shipping fees in the price of the test kit, and you’ll receive your results within three to five days of the lab receiving your samples. You can check your status online as soon as your results are in, and the company will also mail you a hard copy of the results for your records. If you have any questions, you can contact the company and a representative will walk you through the results.

Tips

  • Always read the instructions thoroughly before taking the paternity test to be sure your results are accurate.

  • Some tests give you the option to include the mother’s DNA as well. This may help you get a more accurate result.

  • If you’re concerned about privacy, make sure that the company you choose does not sell your information to third parties or keep your samples after the testing is complete.

  • Place the swab directly into the provided container and seal it. This will help prevent cross-contamination.

Other products we considered

The Rapid DNA Paternity Test Kit is a great choice for those interested in an affordable test kit with no hidden fees. All lab and shipping costs are included in the price of the kit, which uses cheek swabs to test for over 20 genetic markers. Results are delivered via email or text message as soon as they are available, usually within about two business days of the lab receiving the sample. If you have any questions, you can contact the company’s customer support department at any time. The Genovate DNA Paternity Test is another excellent choice for those who want a quick turnaround. You’ll receive results in as little as two business days after submitting your cheek swab samples to the lab. You can view your report online as soon as the results are available. If need be, the company can send the test components to different locations if the suspected father and child do not live in the same area.

If you’re testing two related alleged fathers, you should notify the lab of this special circumstance so that they can provide you with the most accurate results.

FAQ

Q. Is it safe to use a paternity test with an infant?

A. Yes. Most paternity tests use cheek swabs to obtain their DNA samples, and this should not pose any danger to the child.

Q. Do I need the mother’s DNA in order to do a paternity test?

A. The mother’s DNA is not required, but it can improve the accuracy of the results. Some paternity tests include a third cotton swab so the mother can provide her DNA as well.

Q. Can I perform a paternity test if the alleged father is deceased?

A. A traditional paternity test would not be possible unless you somehow had access to the deceased father’s DNA. However, if the man had other children, you may be able to do a sibling DNA test. Alternatively, the alleged father’s siblings may be able to provide their DNA. However, results from these tests are not as definitive as a traditional paternity test.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Kailey
    Kailey
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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