8 Best COVID 19 Test Kits to Check If You Have Coronavirus

As of November last year, FDA approved the first COVID-19 test kit, which can be done from the comfort of your home. With so many preventive measures already in place, such as social distancing and stricter hygiene protocols – this is a good step in the right direction.

Being able to carry out a COVID-19 test at home prevents people from contracting the virus at clinics or even while commuting. While there are plenty of websites offering home testing kits, not all of them are FDA-approved.

Today, we’ve compiled a list of the top 8 reliable COVID-19 home test kit websites to help you make a more informed decision.

Best COVID-19 Test Kit: First Look

  1. Best COVID-19 Home Test Kit Overall – EverlyWell
  2. Most Affordable Coronavirus Test Kit – Healthlabs
  3. The Most Convenient COVID-19 Test Kit – Letsgetchecked
  4. The Least Invasive at Home COVID Testing Kit – Hims & Hers
  5. The First FDA Approved COVID Self Test Kit – Vitagene
  6. The Top COVID-19 Test Kit That Accepts Your Health Plan – QuestDirect
  7. Best COVID-19 Home Test Kit That Offers Free Two-Day Shipping – MyLabBox
  8. The Most Informative COVID-19 Test Kit – Pixel by Labcorp

1. EverlyWell – Best COVID-19 Home Test Kit Overall 

Pros

  • Gentle, shallow nasal swab
  • EUA and FDA-approved
  • 24-48 hour wait time
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Reimbursable if you have health insurance

Cons

  • Not available in all states
  • Doesn’t operate on weekends

EverlyWell offers up to 30 different health tests, including food sensitivity, thyroid, and allergy test kits. As of recently, they also produced an at-home, FDA, and EUA-approved COVID-19 testing kit, which promises to provide results in 24-48 hours. However, since they don’t operate on the weekends, users should submit their tests back during a weekday.

The COVID test kit itself comes as a gentle, nasal swab – which is much better than the more invasive, regular swab. The process is straightforward; simply order your coronavirus test kit through the official website, follow the instructions in the kit and send it back to the clinic. You’ll receive your final results digitally, and you’ll also get additional consultation if needed.

2. Healthlabs – Most Affordable Coronavirus Test Kit

Pros

  • FDA-approved
  • Fast results
  • Suitable for minors

Cons

  • Doesn’t accept health insurance
  • The test can’t be taken at home

Healthlabs provides affordable and convenient U.S.-based lab testing services, which can be ordered online, except for the COVID-19 test. While it’s not completely home-based, the results often come back quickly. Currently, Healthlabs offers cholesterol, allergy, vitamin deficiency, and STD test kits, as well.

The COVID-19 test requires a blood draw from your arm at one of their clinics in order to detect the COVID antibodies. After which, it will only take around one to two days to electronically receive your results. Healthlabs is also one of the few companies which test minors as well when accompanied by an adult. The test itself is FDA-approved and reliable.

3. LetsGetChecked – The Most Convenient COVID-19 Test Kit

Pros

  • Free shipping
  • FDA-approved
  • 24/7 care team available
  • Less-invasive, lower nasal-swab
  • Accepts FSA or HSA payments

Cons

  • Results take a little longer
  • Not for minors

LetsGetChecked offers a wide range of 30+ home health tests to choose from, including women’s and men’s health, sexual health, and wellness tests. All their sample collection kits are manufactured at their FDA-approved facility, and they also offer various treatment plans. Unfortunately, only people 18 or older can use their testing service.

LetsGetChecked provides a very convenient coronavirus test kit. You simply need to order it online, follow the instructions in the package and use their free UPS shipping service to mail it back. The test isn’t as painful as hospital nasal swabs, and you’ll receive notifications updating you about the entire process until you get the results back.

4. Hims & Hers – The Least Invasive at Home COVID Testing Kit

Pros

  • Free Coronavirus assessment tool
  • Non-invasive test
  • FDA-approved
  • Offers telehealth services

Cons

  • Only available for people who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms
  • Expensive

Hims & Hers deal with all things pertaining to men’s and women’s health. They offer skin care products, sexual wellness care, depression medication, plenty of informative articles, and as of recently, COVID-19 testing kits. Hims & Hers also provide a free COVID self-assessment tool that’s designed by their clinical team.

For the test, you’ll only need to produce a saliva sample from the comfort of your home. Unfortunately, only people who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms are able to take the test, so it’s not suitable for everyone. Regardless of that, the test is very efficient, and you’ll be able to see your online results in three to five days.

5. Vitagene – The First FDA Approved COVID Self Test Kit

Pros

  • Gentle saliva test
  • Offers FedEx overnight shipping
  • Possible to use for travel
  • HSA and FSA cards are accepted

Cons

  • Takes a little longer
  • Won’t file claims with an insurance company

Vitagine’s mission is to provide customers with certified DNA testing services to help them make better lifestyle decisions and have a deeper understanding of their health. Their DNA testing kits and COVID-19 home test kits are currently approved by FDA’s Manufacturing Practice regulations.

The covid self-test kit is shipped using the FedEx courier, and while it takes a couple of days to arrive, it shouldn’t take more than three. After you receive your kit, you’ll need to follow the instructions outlined and carry out a simple saliva swab test. You should receive your results from the lab in 72 hours or less.

6. QuestDirect – The Top COVID-19 Test Kit That Accepts Your Health Plan

Pros

  • No-cost when billed to your health plan
  • Fast results
  • FDA-approved
  • Users can self-test at home or visit a drive-thru

Cons

  • Only suitable for 18+ patients
  • Travel clearance tests aren’t covered by a health plan

QuestDirect has been providing customers with a variety of effective home tests, some of which include a basic health profile, blood type tests, diabetes management, and much more. Users can access their results through the MyQuest portal, which’s free and secure, and you can easily share your results with your family or doctor. Unfortunately, it’s not offered for minors.

QuestDirect’s COVID-19 test is possible to be either done at home or using the drive-thru collection service. You can do the test by using a gentle, nasal swab and usually, the results are ready in two to five days.

7. MyLabBox – Best COVID-19 Home Test Kit That Offers Free Two-Day Shipping

Pros

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Longer shipping

MyLabBox offers home kit tests for individuals and businesses for a variety of conditions. These include cold and flu tests, STD tests, and some wellness & nutrition test kits. MyLabBox promises total discretion with all of its services and offers free telemedicine consultations. While LadBox is expensive, they only work with higher-grade CLIA and CAP-certified laboratories.

Its mail-in COVID-19 home test comes with a gentle saliva swab that’s quick and painless. Once you’ve completed the simple instructions, you need to mail the test kit back and wait up to five days for your results. MyLabBox also accepts both FSA and HSA cards, and their tests are also FDA-approved.

8. Pixel by Labcorp – The Most Informative COVID-19 Test Kit

Pros

  • Fast results
  • Gentle swab test
  • Offer plenty of informative resources
  • Free for high-risk individuals (criteria dependant)

Cons

  • Not suitable for minors
  • Expensive

Pixel by Labcorp is a minimalistic online site that offers various types of tests, such as a comprehensive wellness blood test, cholesterol, a lipid panel test, as well as COVID-19, to name a few. They then analyze the results at a CAP and CLIA-certified Labcorp lab.

The at-home covid testing kit is pretty straightforward. The user will receive their sample and carry out a quick, simple nasal swab. Once the self-testing process is done, the user needs to mail the kit back and await their results, which can take anywhere from one to two days. This test isn’t suitable for minors, but high-risk individuals can get it done for free on their health plan.

COVID 19 Test Kit: FAQ

Is Coronavirus Testing Covered by Insurance?

That hugely depends on the company. For example, Healthlabs doesn’t accept health insurance plans, but they offer competitive prices for their home tests.

Whereas, QuestDirect only accepts health insurance from high-risk individuals who have completed an online clinical evaluation. If you’re getting tested for travel, work, or university clearance, then most of the time, you won’t be covered by insurance.

Are at-Home COVID-19 Tests Authorized by the FDA?

As of recently, over 50 diagnostic tests have received emergency use authorization by the FDA. However, before getting a test done by such a company, it’s important to first do your research and ensure that it’s authorized by the FDA for full accuracy. Usually, the site will have a disclaimer informing the user if that’s the case.

Fortunately, every company on this list has been FDA approved.

How Does an at-Home COVID Test Work?

There are several ways at-home covid testing kits work. However, the standard procedure involves the user registering at their chosen site, for example, EverlyWell. Then, after providing the specified swab – you’ll send the kit back to their lab and wait for a few business days for the final result.

The test itself is generally simple, usually taking you five minutes or less. Thankfully, home tests use gentler methods – like a nasal or a saliva swab. Then, the result of your sample is closely analyzed at the lab for testing the presence or absence of RNA from SARS-CoV-2. 

What Happens in the Lab?

At the laboratory, a team of experts checks for antibodies in your sample that show the patient had previous exposure to COVID-19, or they look for the presence of the RNA from SARS-CoV-2. The testing process depends on the lab and whether you’ve provided a blood sample or a nasal / saliva swab.

How Accurate Are the at-Home Tests?

The accuracy is measured by the test sensitivity and its ability to identify the antibodies or the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 correctly. Most of the FDA-approved COVID-19 tests provide a specificity of 99.6%. While nothing can truly be 100% – it’s still very reliable.

Are There Any at-Home Tests That Don’t Need to Be Sent to a Lab?

Recently, the FDA had also approved home COVID-19 tests which can show the results in minutes, otherwise known as COVID-19 rapid tests. These tests offer above 90% accuracy, but experts suspect that this method may not be the most feasible one, mainly due to users’ own error.

How Long Does It Take to Receive Results?

This hugely depends on the company. For example, providers like EverlyWell promise a 24-48 hour wait time, while Vitagene can take up to 72 hours to provide your results. This is mostly based on the lab testing methods as well as the courier service used.

How Do I Know if I Should Need a COVID Test?

If you’re exhibiting any of these symptoms, or you’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed case, you should consider taking a test. Many of these types of circumstances are often covered by your health insurance plan. However, for travel or work reasons, the test might be more expensive.

Is an at-Home Test Safer Than Going to a Clinic?

A home test can protect the individual from contracting the virus while waiting around in a clinical or hospital. Additionally, depending on the social distancing policy, it’s also a lot more convenient, as well.

Best Coronavirus Testing Kit: The Takeaway

Opting for a COVID-19 home test is a convenient way of finding out if you’ve contracted the virus. It’s also a better way to practice social distancing and prevent you from getting it at the clinic or hospital. Currently, more and more home-testing companies are getting FDA approved and are recognized as a viable method for getting tested.

If you’re still on the fence about where to get an at-home COVID test from, our top picks, particularly EverlyWell and Healthlabs, are a good place to start. Moreover, all of the companies mentioned in this article have FDA approval and offer high-standard testing procedures to ensure the most accurate results.

Whatever you decide, we hope you found this helpful, and thanks for reading.

 

Sources

cdc.gov. (2020). How COVID-19 Spreads.USA.gov. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html (Accessed 26 February 2021).

cdc.gov. (2021). Symptoms of Coronavirus. USA.gov. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html (Accessed 26 February 2021).

Who.int. (2020). Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: implications for infection prevention precautions. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/transmission-of-sars-cov-2-implications-for-infection-prevention-precautions (Accessed 26 February 2021).

Nicole Jawerth. (2020). How is the COVID-19 Virus Detected using Real Time RT-PCR?. Available at: https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/how-is-the-covid-19-virus-detected-using-real-time-rt-pcr (Accessed: 26 February 2021).

Lauren-Jei McCarthy. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First COVID-19 Test for Self-Testing at Home. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-first-covid-19-test-self-testing-home (Accessed: 26 February 2021).

 

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