Best Drug Tests

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best drug tests

For any family who’s struggled with drug addiction, managing the problem is a long-term commitment. If you have a loved one who’s dealing with addiction, you’ll likely want to help them stay focused on sobriety. Doing regular drug tests is often an effective way to help a family member stay on track, but only if you choose the right test.

Fortunately, there are many home drug tests on the market these days, so you’re sure to find one that will work for you. The drawback to having a range of options to choose from, though, is that it can be difficult to make sense of all the tests. You have to be sure to select a kit that can detect the particular drugs that are a concern, as well as the best type of test for your situation. If you don’t know what to look for, the process can be confusing.

At BestReviews, we strive to make shopping simple with our thorough product research. If you’re ready to purchase a home drug test, you’ll find our top recommendations in the product list. If you want to learn more about picking the right drug test for your needs, keep reading our shopping guide.

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Drug tests have expiration dates, so always check the date before collecting a sample. An expired test may not provide accurate results.

What can drug tests detect?

A home drug test can detect a wide range of illegal and prescription drugs that are commonly abused. These include:

  • Opioids

  • Cocaine

  • Methamphetamine

  • Amphetamines

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Barbiturates

  • MDMA

  • PCP

  • Marijuana

  • Tricyclic antidepressants

Not all home drug tests can detect all drugs, though, so it’s important to pay attention to the manufacturer’s specifications to determine what drugs are detectable by each test.

How accurate are drug tests?

No home drug test is 100% accurate. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), home drug tests are very sensitive to drug levels. Due to their sensitivity, home tests can give a false positive if an individual has consumed certain medications, foods, beverages, or supplements. If you get a positive result from a home drug test, you should bring your sample to a professional laboratory to confirm the results. Professional lab tests are more precise, so they can screen more accurately for the drugs you’re concerned about.

If you get a negative result from a home drug test, you can’t be completely sure that the result is accurate either. You may get a false negative if you use a test kit that doesn’t detect the particular drug that you’re worried about. A test can also give a false negative if you don’t test at the right time. It can take some time for drugs to show up in urine, saliva, or hair, so if you test too soon or too long after the drugs are used, the test may give a false negative. Check a drug test’s expiration date before using it, too, to make sure it will be as accurate as possible.

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Did you know?
Marijuana can usually be detected by a drug test within one to three hours of use, and a positive result can occur for up to seven days.

Features to consider

Single-panel drug test vs. multi-drug test

The first decision you have to make when choosing a home drug test is what drugs and substances you want to screen for. Some tests can only detect a single drug, such as marijuana or cocaine. Other tests screen for multiple drugs, detecting as many as 10 different substances in a single test.

If you’re dealing with a specific substance abuse problem or screening a teenager with access to a specific drug, a single-panel drug test may be a good option because you can get a quick result. However, individuals with addiction issues sometimes abuse multiple drugs. If you choose a drug test that screens only for marijuana, the test will come back negative even if the sample contains cocaine, opioids, MDMA, or another drug.

That’s why you’re typically better off choosing a multi-drug test to make sure that you’re aware of any substances that might be in the individual’s system. If you’re using the drug test for pre-employment screening or for a loved one who’s recently finished a rehab program, a multi-drug test is definitely the best option.


Home drug tests use either urine, saliva, or hair to screen for the presence of drugs. Each type of test can be effective, but it’s important to understand how they work and in which situations they work best.

A urine drug test requires a urine sample collected in a small cup. A test strip is then dipped into the cup. As the urine saturates the strip, the result appears. In most cases, a urine test can detect the presence of drugs for several days after use. These tests usually produce a result in a matter of minutes, and they are very affordable, too. A possible problem with a urine test, though, is that it requires giving an individual privacy to use the bathroom. As a result, you sometimes can’t be sure that the sample hasn’t been tampered with.

A saliva drug test requires either spitting into a collection cup and dipping a test strip into the sample or swabbing the inside of the cheek with a special testing swab. Some tests that require collecting saliva in a cup feature built-in test strips for easier testing. Saliva testing is a less invasive process than urine testing, and it is also much more difficult to alter the sample. However, saliva tests usually only detect the presence of drugs within 24 hours of use, so it’s a poor option if you want to test for drug use that occured prior to that. It can also take up to 10 minutes to get results, which may be an issue in some situations.

A hair follicle drug test requires cutting off a section of hair near the scalp and mailing it in a provided envelope to a laboratory for processing. The benefits of a hair follicle test are that it’s very accurate, nearly impossible to tamper with, and can detect the presence of drugs up to 90 days after use. This makes it a good option for pre-employment screening. Hair follicle tests tend to be the most expensive type of home drug test, though. They also aren’t as effective in detecting drug use within three to five days of the test because it takes time for new hair growth to show evidence of drug use. Hair follicle tests also require at least three to seven days to get results from the lab.

FDA approval

To make sure that a home drug test is as accurate as possible, look for a kit with FDA approval. Approved tests are guaranteed to test for the drugs that they claim to, so you can be sure that your results are accurate.

If you opt for a hair follicle test, make sure the laboratory that the manufacturer uses is CLIA-certified, so you can be sure its practices meet clinical laboratory regulatory standards.

Drug test prices

Drug tests typically range in price based on the type, the number of drugs they screen for, and the number of tests that are included in the kit.

Urine drug tests that only screen for one drug are the cheapest, usually ranging from $2 to $5 for a single test and $10 to $30 for a kit with five or more tests. Urine tests that screen for multiple drugs typically cost between $4 and $7 for a single test and $12 and $40 for a kit with five or more tests.

Saliva drug tests that screen for multiple drugs usually cost between $8 and $20 for a single test and $11 and $85 for a kit with two or more tests.

Hair follicle drug tests are the most expensive option, ranging from $50 to $95 for a single test that screens for multiple drugs.

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A drug test may provide a false positive if the individual has eaten certain foods like poppy seeds, consumed a great deal of caffeine, or taken over-the-counter cold or allergy medications.


Q. Does a drug test show how much of a particular drug is present in the system?

A. Most home drug tests are qualitative, meaning that they only indicate the presence of drugs in the sample provided. They don’t provide a quantity, so you won’t know how much of the drug in question has been found.

Q. Will prescription medications give a false positive on a drug test?

A. It depends on the medication and what the drug test that you’re using detects. Make sure that you’re aware of the general classification of any medication that’s been prescribed by a doctor before purchasing a test. If the test screens for that type of drug, you will get a positive result.

Q. What should I do if a drug test provides a positive result?

A. It’s possible for home drug tests to provide a false positive, so you shouldn’t take any action based upon the result. Instead, you should have the sample tested at a professional laboratory to confirm the results before you decide what to do next.

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