BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Gives results in 15 minutes. Comes with 2 tests. Easy to use the test on yourself or others in your household. Can be used with companion app to check results of family members. FDA authorized.
Has a "use by" date that is sooner than other tests on the market.
Authorized FDA approval. The test results are easy to read and understand. The instructions for gaining the results are very informative and well-written. Gives results in 15 minutes. Includes 5 tests.
Some users wish it had a QR code for online results.
It's an FDA-approved home solution when you worry that you may have Covid-19. There are two nasal tests with fast-acting results. It's the same test that's available at doctor's offices across the world.
Some find the nasal test uncomfortable, though it is quick and proven.
Get your results in 15 minutes. These are great to have around for families on a budget, as the 12-pack is priced at under $7 per test. The test-to-treat app makes testing easier.
Some reports of defective tests.
Covid tests can be expensive, but this one helps you get one without the need to break the bank. There's a customer-service number to call for those who need additional direction.
Some reported broken and defective tests.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Numerous vaccines and effective treatments are now available for Covid-19, but it’s still important to test for the virus if you’re exposed to it or develop symptoms. That’s where an at-home Covid test comes in.
Testing for Covid used to be daunting. Early in the pandemic, tests were still in the development stage. They required a visit to a medical facility, and it took days or weeks for results to arrive. When at-home tests hit the market, the few options available were difficult to find. Multiple Covid at-home tests are now authorized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use.
With a swab of the nostrils or a saliva sample, you can take a Covid test at home and get highly accurate, private results. Some are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests that require samples be sent to a lab. Most are rapid antigen tests that produce results in as little as 15 minutes. The iHealth Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test is easy to use and pairs with an app to let you keep track of multiple users’ results.
This FDA-authorized at-home test is a good choice for groups and families because it comes with access to a user-friendly app that allows you to keep track of the results of several people. This comes in handy when monitoring Covid tests taken before an event or situations where proof of a negative test is required. Each iHealth kit contains two easy-to-use tests. The included instructions are simple to follow, which is helpful for anyone new to taking an at-home Covid test. There’s very little wait time with these popular tests: the results are ready in 15 minutes.
This multipack of five tests is a good choice if you’re looking for several at-home rapid Covid tests for a reasonable price. The quantity makes it a good pick for consumers who need to test for Covid frequently or have several household members requiring testing. In addition to quantity and price, these tests offer other features consumers prefer for hassle-free testing. They’re FDA authorized and come with thorough instructions that are easy to follow and make testing a snap. Results are produced in 15 minutes, so testing can be performed quickly and efficiently.
Made by a trusted name in healthcare products, this rapid antigen at-home test offers identical technology to that used by many professionals when testing for Covid. However, this at-home test delivers results in the comfort and privacy of your home. Just like other at-home Covid tests, this top choice has gained emergency use authorization from the FDA, so you can have peace of mind when you choose it to test yourself and your loved ones. The pack includes two tests that are straightforward to use. The instructions walk you through the steps, and you get results in just 15 minutes.
Whether you need one or a dozen Covid tests, On/Go has you covered with the option of purchasing a single test or a pack of 12. The company offers access to the Test-to-Treat app that guides you through testing and puts you in touch with healthcare professionals who can help you access Covid treatment when a positive test occurs. This FDA-authorized test earns praise for its up to 98% accuracy. It’s easy to use and generates results in 15 minutes. The FDA has extended the shelf life of this test. Check the agency’s website for the revised expiration date.
This is another quality at-home Covid test that makes it easy to get reliable results without sending samples to a lab. The pack includes two FDA-authorized antigen tests and delivers results in 15 minutes. Each test is straightforward, but instructions and access to a customer service number are available if you need extra help during the testing process. Another appealing feature of this test is the cost, at the lower end of the price range compared to similar two-packs. This is a good pick for anyone watching their budget when purchasing at-home Covid tests.
You don’t need to put a dent in your wallet if you’re trying to stock up on several at-home Covid tests for you and your family. This pack includes five tests for a budget-friendly price. Whether or not you have Covid symptoms, you can count on these tests to produce highly accurate results. You’ll also learn your status in just 20 minutes, so you can move on to finding an effective treatment if necessary. The FDA has authorized these tests and extended their shelf life. Check the agency’s website for the revised expiration date.
Some consumers like to stock up on Covid at-home tests to have them on hand if needed. This bundle includes six tests. The rapid tests are easy to use and show results in 20 minutes Whether you only need a few tests, six or a dozen, this manufacturer has you covered. The tests are also authorized by the FDA for your peace of mind.
There are several circumstances in which a self-administered test is preferable to one performed in a medical facility.
Have limited access to healthcare professionals: Some people don’t have easy access to a medical professional, and ordering an at-home test provides an easier way to get fast results.
Work at home: People who work at home can take an at-home Covid test whenever they start to experience any of the common symptoms associated with the virus. Many companies offer rapid-result testing for in-office employees but not necessarily for those working from home.
Need quick results: Some people need to know their current status as quickly as possible to make safer decisions about travel, family gatherings or public events. Having immediate access to a rapid antigen test at home makes this process faster and easier.
Individuals who are immunocompromised should also test for Covid if they’re exposed to an active infection or begin experiencing symptoms. Because they’re at higher risk for developing serious complications from the virus, it’s important that they seek medical advice as quickly as possible if they have a positive Covid test. Diabetes, asthma, dementia, heart disease and cancer are some conditions that put individuals at high risk for serious illness from Covid. The CDC provides a comprehensive list on the agency’s website.
There are currently two methods for determining a Covid infection: detect the viral presence (antigen test) or search for Covid DNA (PCR test). Each method has advantages and disadvantages, but both should fairly accurately assess the tester’s current status.
Antigen test: This is the more rapid form, giving you results in 30 minutes or less. It’s also the most popular type of Covid at-home test. The swab from the patient’s nasal cavity is placed in a special cartridge containing a reactant fluid. The reactant measures the presence of the Covid virus (viral load) in the specimen. However, accuracy with a rapid antigen test can vary, so a second test at least 24 hours later is recommended.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test: The second form of at-home test examines a nasal swab or saliva for fragments of viral DNA. The PCR test is considered more accurate than the rapid antigen test, but the specimen must be sent to a laboratory for proper analysis, and the results can take several days to get. At-home PCR Covid tests are notably more expensive than antigen tests.
One important consideration when comparing at-home Covid tests is how the samples are collected. There are two common methods: nasal swab and saliva.
Nasal swab: While professional testing centers tend to swab deep inside the nasal cavity, most at-home tests only require a shallow nasal swab. The user places a sterile cotton swab into each nostril and turns it several times to obtain a sufficient sample. The swab is then placed in a cartridge for antigen testing or sealed in a bag for PCR testing.
Saliva: The other collection method is far less invasive, but it has its own instructions to ensure the sample is of good quality. The user must refrain from smoking, eating, drinking or chewing gum for 30 minutes before depositing saliva in a sterile collection tube. This is done for the more accurate PCR test because the laboratory requires a DNA sample. (The rapid antigen test does not work with saliva.)
At-home Covid tests come in singles, doubles and multipacks. They are most commonly found in kits with two tests per box.
Whether it’s a rapid antigen test or a lab-analyzed PCR test, every at-home Covid test should contain all the items needed to complete the process. Users should not have to purchase any additional items to perform the test, such as swabs or sanitizers. Many test kits include a second set of collection tools to perform a retest, but not all of them do, so it pays to read the contents on the packaging or product information page.
Because a PCR test must be shipped to a lab for analysis, manufacturers include a special shipping container and postage to simplify the delivery process. The samples should be protected from the elements and any potential source of contamination. Users should not need to purchase additional postage or packaging material. The prepaid postage covers the cost of express or priority mail.
The purchase and use of an at-home Covid test can be a very private issue for many users, and manufacturers take steps to maintain confidentiality. While the results of a rapid antigen test might be challenging to keep private, the results of a PCR test are often coded before release, and only the intended recipient should have access to them. If security and privacy are issues, choose an at-home Covid test that maintains confidentiality.
While you might wait for a few days and up to more than a week for results from a PCR Covid test sent to a lab, the fast results of rapid antigen tests are the main reason they’re the most popular options on the market. The results are typically ready in 30 minutes or less, and most quality rapid antigen at-home tests are done processing in only 15 minutes.
Some Covid at-home tests can be paired with an app to further simplify testing. Apps vary by manufacturer and may be used to monitor group tests, guide users through the testing process and help them find a healthcare provider who can prescribe medication when results are positive.
The shelf life of Covid at-home tests varies depending on the manufacturer. However, most tests typically last about 12 months. Each test has the shelf life printed on the packaging. You can also find information on the FDA website about shelf life and recent updates extending the shelf life of tests from some manufacturers.
A. There are inexpensive at-home Covid test kits available that range in cost from less than $20 to around $25. These are antigen tests that provide rapid results after a shallow nasal swab. A second test is usually included to confirm or recheck the original results. Single tests cost between $8 and $10. Purchasing multipacks with 12 tests or more can decrease the cost to $6 to $10 per test. Some sample collection kits, not necessarily rapid-response antigen tests, fall in the $30 to $65 range. The specimen must be sent to a professional lab for analysis, and a confidential report is delivered within a few days. Some advanced PCR testing is available, but the initial test will most likely be for antigens.
A. The goal of many at-home tests is to provide users with a rapid positive/negative result, and the accuracy rate is comparable to other forms of at-home testing. While PCR tests are generally more accurate and detect Covid about 95% of the time when it’s present, most people don’t have time to wait for lab results. Although rapid antigen tests aren’t quite as reliable, according to the FDA they are usually accurate. The agency reports that they typically detect the virus around 80% of the time when a Covid-19 infection is present.
A. Both forms of sample collection yield fairly accurate results, so it’s often a matter of personal preference. Many find the saliva collection process less invasive than the nasal swab method, but the specimen could be more easily contaminated if it isn’t handled correctly. An at-home nasal swab collection doesn’t require the deep tissue contact of a standard laboratory test.
A. If you’re showing symptoms of a Covid-19 infection, you might want to get a more accurate PCR test performed by a medical professional. If you have a second at-home Covid test available (many test kits include two), you should wait 24 hours after the first test before performing the second test.
A. For the most accurate results, it’s best to use a Covid-19 test that hasn’t expired. However, according to the FDA, the shelf life of some Covid tests has been extended by the manufacturers and approved by the agency. You can find more information about shelf life and extended expiration dates on the FDA website.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.