Price per kit - $79
Results in - 4-6 weeks
Best for - Checking your ancestry
MyHeritage DNA has become one of the most popular DNA kits and it’s easy to see why. MyHeritage’s DNA test kit is affordable, highly-informative, and can be combined with one of the most extensive family tree builders out there. Simply put, it’s an all-in-one platform for learning about the ethnic makeup of your DNA and the twists and turns of your family history.
With MyHeritage you get an easy to use DNA testing kit that will trace your ethnicity across 42+ regions across the world. You can also pay to access billions of historical records kept on file by MyHeritage, allowing you to really go deep on your genealogy research.
Part of what makes MyHeritage work so well is the sheer size of its user database. This database of tens of millions of users powers the company’s “DNA Matching” tool, which allows you to plug in your DNA sample and see if it matches anyone in the MyHeritage database. It’s a great way to learn more about yourself, and maybe even reach out and connect with a relative.
How to do the test: When your MyHeritage kit arrives you’ll receive a number you will use to activate the DNA kit online so that you can receive the results when they’re ready. Inside you’ll find 2 cotton swabs. Rub one on the inside of your cheeks for 30-60 seconds and then place it inside the enclosed vial, seal it, and do the same with the second swab and vial. Ship it back inside the enclosed envelope and a few weeks later you should be able to see your results online.
Reading your results: You will receive an ethnicity estimate, a comprehensive breakdown of your DNA compositions analyzed by percentage across 42 ethnicities across the world. The results are superimposed across a map of the world for easy viewing. You will also receive a series of DNA matches, in the event that there are other users online that you are related to.
Price per kit - $99
Results in - 6-8 weeks
Best for - Access to huge worldwide database
AncestryDNA is the DNA testing service of genealogical juggernaut Ancestry.com, and since its opening in 2012 it has already become one of the biggest names in DNA testing.
A big plus with AncestryDNA is its massive database of more than 10 million users, meaning that with AncestryDNA you have a better chance of finding a long lost relative that you match with genetically.
The DNA reports cover more than 350 regions around the world, giving you your ethnic makeup estimate, a look at your family’s migration routes from the ancient world to the modern era, and can even tell you how much Neanderthal DNA you have.
With AncestryDNA you can also make use of the resources of the world’s most popular genealogy website. By purchasing a membership for the archival records, you can potentially access billions of records from across the world.
How to do the test: AncestryDNA will send you a package that includes a vial that you fill with your saliva, and then add a blue stabilizing liquid. Place it in the collection bag and ship it back to the company. Make sure not to eat, drink, smoke or chew gum for 30 minutes before providing your sample. Make sure to activate your account online beforehand.
Reading your results: You can view your DNA matches online as well as receive an ethnicity estimate broken down across all types of ethnicity regions. On the “map and locations” map you'll see different colored pins that may show the locations of where your ancestors came from.
Price per kit - $79
Results in - 4-6 weeks
Best for - Next-level accuracy
Every DNA testing company makes use of sophisticated modern technology and scientific know-how, but LivingDNA takes it to another level.
The company goes beyond the industry standard family-line ancestry, known as autosomal DNA, and also provides you results of your maternal line. If you are male the test can also check your paternal family line. This is a more extensive sort of testing that is not provided by most competitors, and can provide you with an extra layer of insight. That said, this does make the test more expensive than the industry norm, and the results can take longer to arrive—up to around 12 weeks.
LivingDNA test results go back 10 generations and cover 80 different regions around the world, so you can get very accurate and specific results about your family history. In addition, the results come with a map called, “Your Ancestry Through History,” which is a sort of timeline that you can use to trace your family's migration over thousands of years.
How to do the test: Your LivingDNA kit will come in a box that includes instructions for activating it online. You then use the cotton swab to scrape inside your cheek, and put the swab back into the enclosed bag to ship back to the company. Within 12 weeks the test results will be ready to view online.
Reading your results: Your DNA report will be posted on your account with an easy-to-read, interactive and color-coded map that breaks down your ancestry across different ethnicities worldwide. It will also show your ancestors’ ancient origins and the results can also be printed if needed