Best At-Home Paternity Test

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Testing a person’s paternity—finding out whether someone is or is not their parent—can be a delicate and emotional subject. At-home paternity tests allow you to get reliable results in the privacy of your own home so you have time to process the results, whether they are what you expected or not. The best at-home paternity tests are accurate, discreet, fast, straightforward to use, and easy to read. These days, there are a host of affordable and precise DNA tests that you can take right at home. 

To use an at-home paternity test, you collect DNA samples (usually saliva) from the child and the person believed to be the parent. Having the other parent’s saliva can make the tests even more effective, but it’s not necessary. Then, you mail them to a lab, which compares the DNA of the two people to determine whether they are parent and child. The results of at-home paternity tests can usually be viewed online or mailed to you. 

Since paternity is important, you want to be able to have confidence in the results. Here, we compiled a list of the best at-home paternity tests, all of which are 99.99% accurate.

Best At-Home Paternity Test of 2022

Best Overall : DNA Direct Solutions


DNA Direct Solutions

DNA Direct Solutions

Key Specs
  • Price: Roughly $99; additional children tested for roughly $85
  • Availability: Available in all states
  • Results: Within two days
Why We Chose It

DNA Direct provides everything that you need from an at-home paternity test: It's fast, effective, discreet, and affordable.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Low price point

  • Fast results

  • Available in all 50 states

Cons
  • No weekend or evening customer support

  • Additional child testing costs $85, more than some competitors

  • Results only available via email

Overview

DNA Direct Solutions provides an at-home paternity test that checks all the boxes, at a price point that is lower than many competitors. Each test kit, designed to test one possible parent and one child, costs roughly $99, although the kit is sometimes on sale for approximately $79. You can add an additional child for about $85, and another possible parent for a fee. DNA Direct also caters to people who need results in a hurry: The company offers next-day results for $150 and results in under 24 hours for $300. Most competitors do not offer such speedy turnarounds. 

DNA Direct analyzes 22 DNA markers, which is more than many competitors. With that information, the test can rule out a parent with 100% accuracy. The DNA of the mother isn’t needed for the test, but it can be added to the analysis for roughly $25, which makes the testing more accurate in some cases. 

Unlike many competitors, DNA Direct is available in all 50 states. The test ships in a discreet package to protect your privacy. Results are only available via email; you must call to request a hard copy by mail.

Overall, DNA Direct provides affordable, accurate, and easy-to-use test kits that make it our choice for the best at-home paternity test.

Best for Accuracy : My Forever DNA


My Forever DNA

My Forever DNA

Key Specs
  • Price: $139+
  • Availability: All states (except New York) and internationally
  • Results: 1-3 days after samples are received by the lab
Why We Chose It

My Forever DNA tests 24 DNA markers, more than most other brands. This provides even more security in the accuracy of the results.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Compares more DNA markers than other tests

  • Will ship test kits to different addresses, including internationally

  • Options to make your own kit

Cons
  • Not available in New York

  • Shipping can take time

  • Some reviews claim reading results is complicated

Overview

If you want the most peace of mind possible from an at-home paternity test, My Forever DNA is the test for you, as it tests 24 DNA markers, more than many competitors. We also love that My Forever DNA uses an American lab that is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks, giving it an added level of legitimacy. 

To get started with a My Forever DNA Paternity test, simply order a test online or by phone. Test prices start at about $139, although they sometimes go on sale with a starting price of roughly $129. The tests can be shipped to any state (except New York), as well as internationally.

If the child and possible parent live in two different locations, My Forever DNA will send out two kits, which are matched in the lab to complete the test without anyone needing to travel. Simply collect a DNA sample by swabbing the cheek of the parent and child, and send the kit back to My Forever DNA. Once the lab receives the samples, results are posted online within three days. 

My Forever DNA offers a lot of flexible testing via the Make-Your-Own Kit option, which allows you to test multiple children or multiple possible parents. My Forever DNA also has kit options that let you test paternity without the possible parent’s cooperation by using a sample from relatives or by using “discreet DNA” samples like licked stamps, razor shavings, or other genetic material.

The company also provides tests for siblings, grandparents, and other relations, as well as legally binding paternity testing in Omaha, Nebraska.

Best for Rapid Results : Home DNA Paternity


Home DNA Paternity

Home DNA Paternity

Key Specs
  • Price: $15-$30, plus $139 lab fee
  • Availability: Nationally except in New York 
  • Results: Two days after samples are received by the lab; same-day results available for a fee
Why We Chose It

Unlike competitors that must be ordered online, Home DNA Paternity can also be purchased at retail stores. That, coupled with the optional same-day results, makes it a good choice for people who want their results in a hurry. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Available in stores and online

  • Available same-day results for a fee

  • Convenient

Cons
  • Test covers only one possible parent and one child

  • Shipping time to the lab using the prepaid envelope can take 7-10 business days

  • Not available to New York residents

Overview

HomeDNA Paternity provides an excellent test for people who decide to test spur-of-the-moment and those who want fast results. The test kit is sold in pharmacies and other retailers for about $15-$30. So if you decide to test spur-of-the-moment, you can pick up a kit and send off samples the very same day. 

HomeDNA is fast but reliable. Each sample, which compares 15-17 DNA markers, is tested twice by two different lab teams to guarantee results. The results are then reviewed and signed off on by a PhD trained in paternity testing. 

Once you’ve swabbed the cheeks of the child and possible parent, you can ship the kit to the lab for analysis, along with a payment of roughly $139. That fee can also be paid online at HomeDNA’s website, where you also register your test kit in order to view results digitally.

If you use the prepaid envelope provided in the kit, HomeDNA cautions that it can take seven to 10 days to reach the lab. After that, your results will be posted online in two business days. 

However, if you want faster results, you can pay to ship the sample overnight, and pay a processing fee that will give you same-day results. That means you could know the results of the paternity test the day after you pick it up in the store, making HomeDNA paternity our choice for an at-home paternity test with rapid results.

Best Budget : Paternity Depot


Paternity Depot

Paternity Depot

Key Specs
  • Price: $59, plus $20-$30 shipping-and-handling fee
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Results: Within 7-10 business days
Why We Chose It

At $59, Paternity Depot is cheaper than any other competitors, even when you factor in the additional $20-$30 shipping-and-handling fee. Unlike some competitors that appear to be affordable till lab fees are factored in, Paternity Depot's price includes these fees, meaning the whole test costs roughly $79-$89.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Available in New York, unlike many competitors

  • Staff speak English, Spanish, and French

Cons
  • Slow timeline for results

  • No 24/7 customer service

  • Required shipping and handling fee

Overview

Paternity Depot provides an effective, customizable at-home paternity test option that is perfect for people on a budget. The test costs $59, but customers are also required to pay a $20 shipping-and-handling fee (or $30 for next-day delivery).

For about $109, the company also offers a legally admissible at-home paternity test that will help in custody cases which is something that many competitors do not offer, let alone for such a low price.

Either of these test options can be ordered online or by phone. 

Despite its affordability, Paternity Depot offers many perks. The company claims that its tests are 100% effective at excluding parents (i.e., the person tested is not the parent). Each sample is analyzed twice by a team led by PhDs familiar with training in paternity testing. You can get your results by phone, email, mail, or fax, delivered in English, Spanish, or French.

Many at-home paternity tests are not available to New York residents because of laws in the state, but Paternity Depot is able to serve New Yorkers. In addition, Paternity Depot offers the flexibility that complex family dynamics sometimes require: You can test paternity “discreetly” using DNA from hair clippings, used tissues, or other items that might be easier to obtain when a possible parent won’t consent to a cheek swab.

Paternity Depot also lets you test multiple children or multiple parents, and is able to ship test kits to two or more different locations.

Final Verdict

Being uncertain about the paternity of yourself or your child, can be very stressful, but you can use at-home paternity tests to get accurate answers quickly.

Selecting the best at-home paternity test is about finding one that is affordable and fast. If you or the prospective parent live in different areas, choose a test like My Forever DNA, which will ship kits to two different addresses and match them for analysis in the lab.

If you live in New York, obtain a test like Paternity Depot that is available in that state. For rapid results, choose a test like Home DNA Paternity that can get you results as soon as the next day.

DNA Direct Solutions meets many of these requirements, providing affordable and fast testing available in all 50 states, making it our pick for the best at-home paternity test.

Compare the Best At-Home Paternity Test

Company Approximate Cost  Availability  Time for Results (after arrival in lab) Noteworthy Features
DNA Direct Solutions Best Overall $99 All states 2 days Fast and affordable
My Forever DNA Best for Accuracy $139+ All states except New York and internationally 1-3 days Compares more DNA markers than competitors
Home DNA Paternity Best for Rapid Results $15-30 for kit and $139 lab fee Nationally except in New York 2 days; next-day results for a fee Available to purchase at drug stores
Paternity Depot Best Budget $59 plus $20 shipping and handling All state and internationally 7-10 business days Customer support and results in English, Spanish, and French

Guide for Choosing the Best At-Home Paternity Test

Should You Take an At-Home Paternity Test?

If you have any doubt about the paternity of your child, or yourself, at-home paternity tests provide a quick and affordable way to get reassurance. But before taking a paternity test, consider how you would feel if the result is not what you expected. 

If you are looking to verify paternity for legal reasons, including custody or child support, it’s important to find a test that is legally admissible in court, like the legally admissible test sold by Paternity Depot.

Comparing At-Home Paternity Tests

Choosing an at-home paternity test can feel like a big decision. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Accuracy: Knowing that you can trust the result is the most important part of paternity testing. Look for a test that promises at least 99.9% accuracy.  
  • Legal admissibility: Many people use paternity testing for court cases that involve custody or child support. Many at-home paternity tests are not legally admissible, but Paternity Depot offers a legally-admissible test that requires you to take extra steps like having a witness sign paperwork. 
  • Timing: If you need results quickly, choose a test option that offers rapid testing for a rush fee. 
  • Genetic material: Most at-home DNA tests require a cheek swab from the possible parent and the child. However, sometimes, the possible parent doesn’t want to consent to that, so some at-home test providers allow you to use “discreet” DNA samples like hair clippings or used tissues. 
  • Testing options: If you want to test more than one child or more than one possible parent, look for a company that allows you to build a kit to meet your needs. 
  • Location: New York tightly regulates at-home paternity tests. If you live there, you’ll have to find a test that is approved for sale in that state. 
  • Price: The prices of at-home paternity tests vary widely, but there are cheaper options that are as fast and accurate as more expensive tests. 
  • Discretion: Look for an at-home paternity test that is shipped in an unmarked package to protect your privacy. 
  • Simplicity: Choose a test that is simple to take and read the results of. If you have barriers to understanding written English, look for a test that will give results by phone or in another language.

Ordering Your At-Home Paternity Test

Most at-home paternity tests can be ordered online. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can order some tests by phone, or pick up a Home DNA Paternity test at a local retailer. After you order a test, you'll collect DNA samples at home, typically by swabbing the cheek of the possible parent and the child. Then, register your test kit, ship the samples to the lab, and look for your results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an At-Home Paternity Test Accurate? 

At-home paternity tests are very accurate. Tests that are used after a child is born are nearly 100% effective at determining whether a certain person is their parent. Tests that are used during pregnancy are slightly less effective, but still 99.9% accurate.

How Much Does an At-Home Paternity Test Cost?

Test kits begin as low as about $59 and run up to about $200 for testing one possible parent and one child. Testing additional potential parents or children adds to the cost. When you’re comparing the price, be sure to include any lab fees and shipping and handling.

Can You Take an At-Home Paternity Test During Pregnancy?

There are paternity tests that can be taken during pregnancy. These tests require a blood sample from the pregnant person, so they can’t be done entirely at home. The blood must be collected in a lab. The DNA of the fetus is then isolated and compared to the DNA from the possible parent. These tests carry no risk of miscarriage, but they’re very expensive, costing about $900-$2,000. The tests cannot be used if a pregnant person is carrying twins or other multiples.

Methodology

To compile this list, we compared the websites of 10 at-home paternity test providers. We also looked at consumer reviews to help us evaluate each test kit's affordability, accuracy, timeliness of results, discretion, and ease of use. We focused on tests that can be performed entirely at home, without needing to have specimens collected by a doctor (as is the case for blood DNA tests).

Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Library of Medicine. How is genetic testing done?

  2. DNA Diagnostics Center. Non-invasive prenatal paternity testing.

Edited by
Ray Finch
Ray Finch

Ray is a special projects editor on the performance marketing team.

Learn about our editorial process