The 8 Best Pregnancy Tests of 2021

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test at Amazon

"Get results up to six days before your missed period thanks to the extra-sensitive hCG detectors."

Best Budget: ClinicalGuard HCG Pregnancy Test Strips at Amazon

"Just as accurate as a stick test, minus the costly price tag, you can stock up on these test strips without breaking the bank."

Fastest Test: Clearblue Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test at Amazon

"Skip the antsy wait with this test that offers faster results with the same high level of accuracy."

Best Digital: Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown at Amazon

"Take the guesswork out of reading lines on a test with this straightforward digital pregnancy test option."

Best Strips: Pregmate Pregnancy Urine Test Strips at Amazon

"These no-frills test strips will get the job done quickly."

Best Assurance: First Response Triple Check Pregnancy Test at Amazon

"When one test isn't enough, this three-pack will help you confirm the right results."

Best Ovulation Test: Pregmate LH Ovulation Test at Amazon

"A positive result means you’ll likely ovulate within 24 to 48 hours, which is good to know for family planning."

Best Kit: Pregmate LH Ovulation and Pregnancy Test Strips at Amazon

"For couples trying to conceive, this pack can be a massive help in their journey."

If you’re wondering whether or not you’re pregnant, an at-home pregnancy test can ease your mind, even days before your missed period. The best pregnancy tests are reliable, easy to take, and won’t break the bank.

When choosing a test, think about the day you’d like to test (early or after a missed period), and how you’d like to read the results. Digital readers can make things more simple by translating your results to text, like Not Pregnant or Pregnant. If you have more experience with pregnancy tests, test strips with line results are typically cheaper and come with more in the package.

Here we discuss the pros and cons of our top picks for at-home pregnancy tests.

Best Overall: First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test

First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Early detection (6 days before missed period)

  • App converts line results into words (not pregnant, pregnant)

  • #1 best selling

Cons
  • Expensive

This bestselling pregnancy test can provide results up to six days before your missed period (and in three minutes time) so you don’t have to sit around wondering. Data shows that the First Response Early Result manual test’s findings are also especially accurate, likely because it can detect all four of the different forms of hCG found in urine. Your result should appear in three minutes. And if you are taking the test the day of your expected period, you can expect to get a 99 percent accurate reading. 

Reviewers say that this brand is the gold standard of pregnancy tests, and many add that they won’t use any other brand. They also liked that you get three individually-wrapped sticks in a pack, so you can try again if need be—or just hold onto the extras for next time you need to take a test.

Number of tests: 3 | Display method: Line test (word option through the app) | Result time: 3 minutes 

Best Budget: ClinicalGuard HCG Pregnancy Test Strips

ClinicalGuard® HCG Pregnancy Test Strips

 Amazon

Pros
  • Individually sealed, easy to carry around

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Not great for early detection

  • Waste

If you’re trying to conceive and think you’ll likely go through a lot of tests, ClinicalGuard’s dip-in strips may be right for you. They come in bulk but are individually sealed, so you’ll always be prepared. You’ll also need a cup for these so you can submerge the strip. If your result is positive, you’ll see two different color bands pop up.

Women love that these strips are just as accurate as a stick test but cost way less. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to test frequently without wasting money.

Number of tests: 25 | Display method: Line test | Result time: 5 minutes 

Fastest Test: Clearblue Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test

Clearblue Rapid Detection Pregnancy test

 Amazon

Pros
  • Fast & accurate

  • Ergonomically curved handle

  • Wide tip + Floodguard prevent errors

  • Color tip tells you the test is working

Cons
  • Less sensitive

If you are pregnant, you could find out as soon as one minute after taking the test using the Rapid Detection Pregnancy test. The wide, color-changing tip on this manual test makes it easy to use (it’ll go from pink to white when used correctly), while the special "FloodGuard" feature helps prevent any user errors. This Clearblue product can be used up to five days before your missed period.

People who tried this test praise its accuracy and speed of results. They also love that it’s easy to read so they don’t have to wonder about the findings. And quite a few mentioned that it only took a small amount of urine for the test to work—a fact that comes in handy if you’re trying out multiple tests!

Number of tests: 3 | Display method: + / - | Result time: 1 minute

Best Digital: Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown

Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown
 Amazon
Pros
  • Shows countdown to result

  • Early detection (up to 5 days before missed period)

  • Wide tip helps reduce testing errors

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Bulky

Waiting for your test result can be nerve-wracking, so Clearblue’s Smart Countdown feature can help calm any anxiety and can be taken five days before your missed period. A little on-screen tracker indicates how much longer you’ll need to wait—generally three minutes but some results appear within one minute—providing reassurance that the test is still working. And once your result is ready, you’ll see either “pregnant” or “not pregnant” clearly on the screen, so there’s no need to interpret any lines, symbols, or colors. Bonus: if you get a positive result, the test will display “pregnant” for six months so you can show it off to excited loved ones.

Those who tried this digital test rave about how easy it is to understand. They also love being able to actually see the word “pregnant” on screen and share it with their partner—it makes the experience feel even more magical.

Number of tests: 3 | Display method: Words (Pregnant/Not Pregnant) | Result time: 1-3 minutes

Best Strips: Pregmate Pregnancy Urine Test Strips

PREGMATE 40 Pregnancy (HCG) Urine Test Strips

 Amazon

Pros
  • Bulk pricing

  • Wider than the average test strip

Cons
  • No plastic applicator

  • No urine cup

If you don’t need lots of bells and whistles on your pregnancy test, these no-frills test strips will get the job done quickly (and are often used in doctors offices). In order to use, you’ll pee into a cup, dip one of the strips in the liquid for three seconds, and then lay it flat. In five minutes, you’ll have your answer. The test can be used up to five days before a missed period.

Users were impressed by the accuracy, high-quality materials, and affordable price of these strips. Plus, they come in discreet packaging with fairly little waste, making them a slightly more eco-friendly choice. These strips are a great option for those who are actively trying to conceive since you might go through a lot of tests over a period of time, which can be costly.

Number of tests: 40 | Display method: Line test | Result time: 5 minutes

Best Assurance: First Response Triple Check Pregnancy Test

First Response Triple Check Pregnancy Test 3 ct.

 Amazon

Pros
  • 3 different types of testing

  • Early detection (up to 6 days before missed period)

  • Detects all forms of pregnancy hormones

Cons
  • Expensive

Sometimes, we need a little extra reassurance in order to be certain. This First Response kit comes with three tests to give you the confirmation you need. You'll get two two-line tests—which can give you results as early as six days before your missed period—and an easy-to-read digital version. Each of the three delivers an answer in three minutes or less.​

Reviewers liked the variety of the pack and the peace of mind it provided. It also worked well for people who weren’t sure if they wanted to go with a manual or digital test since they got to try both kinds.

Number of tests: 3 | Display method: Line, Yes/No | Result time: 3 minutes or less

Best Ovulation Test: Pregmate LH Ovulation Test

PREGMATE 20 Ovulation (LH) Midstream Tests Sticks Strips Combo Pregnancy Predictor Kit Pack

 Amazon

Pros
  • Has both pregnancy and ovulation tests

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • No applicator

If you’re hoping to start a family, it’s helpful to know when your body is ovulating. Many people assume that women ovulate on a particular day of their cycle, but in reality, it often shifts around a little. That’s why plenty of couples rely on the Pregmate LH Ovulation test to be sure. It works just like a regular pregnancy test—you’ll need to pee on it and then wait three minutes. If your result is positive, it means you’ll likely ovulate within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Number of tests: 20 pregnancy / 100 ovulation | Display method: Line | Result time: 5 minutes

Best Kit: Pregmate LH Ovulation and Pregnancy Test Strips

PREGMATE 100 Ovulation LH And 20 Pregnancy HCG Test Strips

 Amazon

Pros
  • Has both pregnancy and ovulation tests

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • No applicator

For couples trying to conceive, this pack of ovulation and pregnancy tests can be a massive help. You can use the much-loved Pregmate ovulation strips to figure out when the ideal time for intercourse is, and afterward, you can easily determine if you were successful with the pregnancy test strips. This product is no-fuss, accurate, and budget-friendly, making it a no-brainer.

People who purchased this kit loved how easy it was to read their results and track their cycle. A few even called it the best item they’d ever purchased!

Number of tests: 20 pregnancy / 100 ovulation | Display method: Line | Result time: 5 minutes

Final Verdict

The right pregnancy test for your needs will mostly depend on your budget, how often you plan to take the tests, and how early you want to know whether or not you are pregnant. Don’t get caught up in accuracy percentages. We like the Clearblue Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test (view at Amazon) because it’s easy to use and available at most drugstores and pharmacies.

What to Look for in a Pregnancy Test

Display Method

Line readings are the most common (and cheapest) way to read a pregnancy test, but if you prefer, you can choose a digital pregnancy test that will give you a simple readout like one that says Not Pregnant or Pregnant. With digital, there’s no guessing—it could save you from doing another test to be sure.

Cost

Cheaper pregnancy tests work just as well as their more expensive counterparts, but might be missing detailed instructions or toll-free numbers to call if you need assistance. If you know you’re going to want to test multiple times, you may want to go with the less expensive option. 

Expiration Date

No matter which brand of test or type of home pregnancy test you chose, be sure that you check the expiration date on the pregnancy test box, especially if you buy online. The biggest error people get when testing for pregnancy is using expired pregnancy tests.

FAQs


How early can I test if I am pregnant?

Hormone levels vary from female to female, but some tests can detect a positive pregnancy as early as six days before a missed period. 

Is it worth spending more money on a pregnancy test?

In short, the difference lies in the test’s ability to detect smaller amounts of hCG. More expensive tests might tell you if you are pregnant earlier, have a digital reader, or a well-designed plastic holder.


What time of day should I take a pregnancy test?

You will probably get better results first thing in the morning or after you have not urinated for several hours. Later in pregnancy, this won't matter as most tests detect very small amounts of hCG.

Could I be pregnant and my test be negative?

Yes, sometimes it’s too early for the test to detect the pregnancy hormones. If the result is negative and you still believe you are pregnant, wait 48 hours to retest as the hCG level will typically double in that time

Why Trust Verywell Family? 

Deanna McCormack is a freelance writer and copywriter who covers lifestyle, parenting content for a variety of platforms. She’s a mom of two kids under the age of 3, and spends time outside her work researching, reviewing and testing products made for modern families.

An Overview of Home Pregnancy Tests

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH

Home pregnancy tests are sold almost everywhere. You can find them in most stores, from your major retailers to your grocery store, convenience store, and even discount stores.

Simply having pregnancy tests readily accessible, however, doesn't help you decide whether or not you should take a pregnancy test, nor does it tell you whether or not you should believe the results. So, how do these things work? And which one should you take to get the most accurate answer? Yes, there are a lot of questions about home pregnancy test kits. Here are some answers.

How Do Home Pregnancy Test Kits Work?

To start by talking about how a home pregnancy test kit works, you need to understand the very basics of early pregnancy. Once a sperm and egg meet, they begin to rapidly transform into a blastocyst, a small cluster of cells. These cells continue to divide and make more cells, though it takes close to two weeks for the body to even know that any of this is happening. When your body senses the pregnancy, your period is canceled and doesn't start.

The pregnancy will begin to produce a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This is the pregnancy hormone, and it is what a pregnancy test is looking for to say whether or not you are pregnant. Home pregnancy tests look for hCG in your urine, as the hormone is excreted or passed when you use the bathroom. At first, this happens in very small quantities, but the further along in pregnancy you are, the more hCG can be detected.1

Most home pregnancy test kits work by having a slip of paper that reacts by changing color when hCG is present. Or in the case of digital pregnancy tests, when hCG is present, the "pregnant" sign lights up, but it's still doing so because the pregnancy test detected hCG.

How Do Home Pregnancy Tests Work Differently From a Pregnancy Test at the Doctor?

The short answer to this question is that for urine tests, the home pregnancy test is not very different than the one you get at your doctor or midwife's office. A test kit that you buy may come with more packaging and more detailed instructions, like how to collect urine, but it is essentially the same kit that you will find in any medical office.

Now, there are also blood pregnancy tests. A blood pregnancy test is also looking for the hormone hCG, though it is screening your blood. These are ordered by your doctor or midwife. It can be ordered in two varieties: quantitative (measures how much hCG) or qualitative (measures existing hCG, if any). A qualitative blood test is basically the same as a urine test—it determines whether or not there is hCG. Though a blood test can usually find slightly smaller levels of hCG, so it can usually help you find out a day or two sooner.

quantitative blood pregnancy test will actually give a number, a measurement of how much hCG is found. This number is given typically in mIU/ml (milli-international units per milliliter). This number can be used in a number of ways. One way is that a certain number can correlate to the length of your pregnancy. This may be helpful in dating a pregnancy.

A serial hCG test, meaning more than one, taken a couple of days apart, can not only give an estimated length of pregnancy but often tell a bit about the health of a pregnancy. For example, if your hCG numbers are nearly doubling after two days, this indicates that the pregnancy is healthy for the time being. An hCG that is not rising quickly enough or is actually falling, may indicate a miscarriage, early pregnancy loss, or even an ectopic pregnancy.

Blood pregnancy tests are generally only done for women who are having problems in their pregnancy or require special testing.1 Even if you go to your doctor's office for a pregnancy test, the vast majority of them will offer you a urine test.

What Should I Look for in a Home Pregnancy Test?

So, when you want to buy a pregnancy test, you will have many options. You will need to decide what you want out of the pregnancy test and when you want it. The questions you need to ask before deciding which home pregnancy test you should buy will be:

  • When is/was my period due?
  • How confident am I in my ability to read a pregnancy test?
  • How confident am I in my ability to perform a pregnancy test?
  • Have I ever taken a pregnancy test before?
  • Will I need more than one pregnancy test? (Be honest with yourself!)
  • Am I taking any medications containing hCG? (Usually only if you are in treatment for fertility issues.)

If your period is not yet due, there are pregnancy tests on the market that say they will tell you if you are pregnant or not. They usually cost a bit more than your standard home pregnancy test kit, but they can only tell you that hCG is present. If it is, you are pregnant. If it is not found, it may be that you are not pregnant, or it may be that it is simply too early to test.

If you are worried about your ability to read a pregnancy test, you may wish to consider a digital pregnancy test. This is a simple readout that says Not Pregnant or Pregnant. There is no guessing as to whether or not you see a line, or if a line you see is an evaporation line.

If you are worried about your ability to take a pregnancy test, you may wish to spend a bit more on a pregnancy test that comes with great instructions and a toll-free number that you can call with questions. The box will tell you what is inside the kit, including instructions, and information on the collection of your urine. (Some tests have you urinate in a cup and test with that urine, while others have you "pee on a stick" to catch the urine.) How you collect the urine can alter how you feel about your ability to take the test. (Though you can always use the catch method, even if it instructs you to use a stream of urine.) Having the toll-free number might encourage you.

If you have taken a pregnancy test before or you're really confident in your abilities, the cheaper pregnancy tests are very accurate and work just as well as their more expensive counterparts. Some people are leery of spending a dollar on a pregnancy test, or less in bulk, but what you're missing is detailed instructions and the bulk of the packaging. You may also not have access to a toll-free number. If you want to test multiple times, you may also want to go with the less expensive option. This is great if you are testing before your period is due.

No matter which brand of test or type of home pregnancy test you chose, be sure that you check the expiration date on the pregnancy test box. The biggest error people get when testing for pregnancy is using expired pregnancy tests. If you are buying your pregnancy tests online, be sure that you know the tests you're purchasing are not expired or about to expire (for bulk purchases).

How Much Will a Pregnancy Test Cost?

Pregnancy test kits vary from just under a dollar for bulk purchases without lots of packaging to over $25 for a single pregnancy test, typically a digital, early pregnancy test with lots of packaging and a toll-free number. How much you pay for your test is not typically correlated with how well it works. Even if you decide to go for a test with more instructions and support, you can still save a lot of money by purchasing test kits that have multiple pregnancy tests included. Even if you don't take both this pregnancy, you can usually save the other test for a couple of years. (Check the expiration date!)

If you can't spend the money on a home pregnancy test, there are places to get a free pregnancy test as well. Be sure you know who is doing the test and what their credentials and motives are for testing.

When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?

Taking a pregnancy test is a personal choice. Some people want to put it off as long as they can, meaning their period is two weeks late before they even think about it. Other people are charting ovulation and want to take a pregnancy test about 12 hours after they think they got pregnant. In reality, a blood test, at the earliest, will detect miniscule amounts of hCG about seven to 10 days after conception (not ovulation), and a urine or home pregnancy test kit will begin to see some positives 12 to 14 days after conception.1

The real question is why do you need to know? If you need to know because of an issue with a medication you need or a medication you need to stop taking, talking to your doctor or midwife would be the most helpful in determining how and when to take a pregnancy test. A home pregnancy test may not be your best option in this case.

If you are just really anxious and want to know, you can use an early home pregnancy test kit, though I would not start until at least 12 days post-ovulation, though that may also not be helpful because a negative pregnancy test may simply mean it's a bit too early and multiple tests may be needed. In this case, I always tell people to assume a positive is a positive and that a negative is an "I don't know yet" until your period starts or you have a positive. Act pregnant until you know you're not.

How Do I Take a Home Pregnancy Test?

The instructions for taking a home pregnancy test are all pretty similar. You will want to follow any instructions as far as timing the test that come with your pregnancy test kit.

You will probably get better results from using first morning urine (fmu), or urine after you have not urinated for several hours, in the case of shift workers. This allows you to have more urine built up to better aid in detection. Later in pregnancy, this won't matter as most tests detect very small amounts of hCG, around 20-25 mIU.

Start by gathering up everything you will need. Your test kit, something with which to keep time (phone or watch), instructions, and a cup, if you are collecting the urine. Wash your hands and either collect the urine in a clean cup, which may be provided or you can use small disposable cups, or open the test kit and remove any shields and urinate on the place where indicated on the test (sometimes you have to move your hand around to catch the stream). If you didn't do the stream method, place the appropriate number of drops on the test or dip the test stick/strip into the cup for five seconds or other time, if indicated.

Lay the test kit flat and note the time. Most test run in about two minutes. It can be dangerous to read the test prior to this because some will look positive as the test is being performed. I usually encourage you to set a timer and walk off or otherwise occupy yourself for 2-5 minutes, depending on the test. Digital tests can be read easily. A strip test will have two lines, either parallel or in the form of a plus for pregnant, or one line vertical (instead of two lines) or a negative sign instead of a plus sign (check the instructions on how to read the test).

Do not read the test later than instructed, particularly the next day as it is not accurate. Typically any color change in the area of the second line would indicate the presence of hCG and therefore a positive test. The two lines do not need to be the same shade for the test to be positive.

When Should I Repeat a Pregnancy Test?

You should repeat a test that is negative prior to the start of your period. It is best to wait at least two days to test to give your body a chance to build up to the hCG needed to turn the test positive. You should also repeat it if your period does not start after a couple of days to a week.

Some people simply enjoy the pregnancy testing process. It can be hard to believe that you are pregnant. It's a life-changing event. All you have is a little piece of color changing paper telling you that a baby is growing. You want to see that again—maybe it was wrong the first time. Sometimes this provides you with comfort. Sometimes it only scares you. Know which camp you fall into before you test again.

If you have a positive test and test later that day to prove it to yourself and the test is negative, you will panic. Sure, you could have had a chemical pregnancy, or it could just be later in the day and your hCG levels in your urine are down. How will you cope?

What Should I Do With the Results of a Pregnancy Test?

If you have a positive pregnancy test, you will want to schedule an appointment with the doctor or midwife of your choice. They will guide you further in how to care for your pregnancy. They will also be the person with whom you can share concerns or ask questions, even prior to your appointment.

Many women are surprised at how long it seems to take to get in to see a doctor or midwife in early pregnancy. This is not uncommon. It can be normal to not be seen until after you would normally be eight weeks pregnant or have missed a second period. If this concerns you, speak up. Perhaps you have a medical concern that needs to be addressed sooner. Don't hesitate to ask for something different. If you aren't being heard, consider looking elsewhere for your care. Most offices offer, at the very least, a nurse call line.

If your pregnancy test was negative, you will want to wait and repeat it. Most pregnancy test kit instructions recommend waiting at least a week to repeat the test. If the test is still negative, you will want to schedule an appointment for a physical exam. There may be any number of reasons why your pregnancy test is negative and you haven't started your period.

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