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- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
- Best blood sample test: LetsGetChecked Kidney Test
- Best blood test for detailed results: Verisana Kidney Function Test
- Best urine-based test: Healthy.io Minuteful Kidney
- Best combination kit: Labcorp OnDemand Kidney Health Test Package
With home testing options increasing more than ever, you now also have the ability to test for kidney function within the comfort of your own home. Learn more about our four best picks for at-home kidney tests, what they measure, and when you should consider using them.
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on either side of your spine, below your ribcage.
While small in size, the kidneys are essential to your health, as they’re responsible for filtering and removing waste via the urinary system. In fact, it’s estimated that your kidneys filter a
In addition to removing wastes, your kidneys also balance water, salt, and electrolytes in your blood. Such functions can help create red blood cells and balance your blood pressure.
Due to the important functions of the kidneys, it’s critical to make sure they’re working properly. With regular testing, you can help detect potential kidney problems and seek potential lifesaving treatment.
Kidney function tests are conducted by a primary care doctor at your annual physical exam and sometimes more often if you’re considered at high risk for kidney disease.
If you’re at a higher risk for developing kidney disease, you may consider testing your kidney function at home in between doctor visits. Risk factors for kidney disease development may include:
- a family history of kidney disease or kidney failure
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- heart disease
- taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for extended periods of time
Kidney function may be measured with urine or blood testing. For more comprehensive results, you may consider a combination of both. Below, we discuss what urine and blood tests look for when determining your overall kidney health.
Urine tests can help measure kidney function based on the presence of a protein called “albumin.” Usually, healthy kidneys filter albumin in the bloodstream. If there’s albumin in your urine, this means that your kidneys may not be functioning as they should.
There are two types of urine tests for measuring albumin and related kidney function: a urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) test and a dipstick test.
A UACR test measures how much albumin you have in your urine compared to a waste product called “creatinine.” While a measurement of
A dipstick test can also measure albumin levels in your urine. This involves the use of a color-coded stick or testing paper that’s placed in a sample of your urine. If the stick or testing paper changes color, this could mean you have albumin in your urine and possible kidney disease.
While urine testing offers clues to your kidney health due to the fact that the kidneys produce urine, certain blood tests can also provide insights into your kidney function.
The first test is an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR or GFR), which measures creatinine waste levels in the blood. Your age, sex, race, and body weight are also considered when determining your results.
You’re then provided an eGFR score, with
- Stage 1: An eGFR score of 90 or higher indicates possible kidney damage.
- Stage 2: The eGFR score is 60 to 89. While kidneys may be functioning as expected, the higher end of the scale could mean early kidney damage.
- Stage 3: The eGFR score is 30 to 59, which may indicate moderate kidney damage.
- Stage 4: The eGFR score is 15 to 29, indicating severe kidney damage.
- Stage 5: An eGFR score below 15 means your kidneys are failing.
Other blood tests that measure kidney function include blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine tests. High levels of each could indicate inadequate kidney function because the kidneys are responsible for filtering these waste products out of your body and through the urine.
When researching at-home kidney tests, we read online reviews to determine the best tests on the market.
We also looked for tests that are performed in laboratories certified by the
Price is indicated by a dollar sign as follows:
- $ = under $90
- $$ = $90–$100
- $$$ = over $100
Best blood sample test
LetsGetChecked Kidney Test
- Price: $$
- Type of test: finger-prick blood sample
- Results in: 5 days
- Accepts insurance? no
- What test measures: eGFR, creatinine, BUN
Sold by one of the best-known brands of home test kits, the Kidney Test from LetsGetChecked measures creatinine, BUN, and eGFR to give you an idea of your overall kidney function.
This home kidney test uses a blood sample via the finger-prick method. Once you send your kit back to the company, the lab processes your sample and puts your results in your online portal within 5 days.
For the most accurate results, the company recommends avoiding high-protein meals, shakes, and supplements before taking your test.
While the kit is sold for a one-time $99 fee, LetsGetChecked also offers their Kidney Test at a 30% discount if you subscribe to receive a new kit every 3 months. Such an option may be beneficial if you’re at an increased risk of developing kidney disease.
Best blood test for detailed results
Verisana Kidney Function Test
- Price: $$$
- Type of test: finger-prick blood sample
- Results in: about 3 weeks
- Accepts insurance? no
- What test measures: creatinine, BUN
The Kidney Function Test kit from Verisana measures creatinine and BUN via a blood sample you collect with a finger prick. Once you place a drop of blood on the sample collection card, you send the kit back to the company for processing.
After the lab processes your blood sample, detailed results are shared with you in a patient portal you sign up for after initially registering your test kit. While each report shares possible explanations for your results, it’s important to share it with a doctor, too.
While the Verisana Kidney Function Test has similar features as the LetsGetChecked Kidney Test, keep in mind that Verisana’s test does not measure for eGFR.
Best urine-based test
Healthy.io Minuteful Kidney
- Price: $$-$$$
- Type of test: urine
- Results in: minutes
- Accepts insurance? no
- What test measures: albumin
As the only kidney test on our list that’s officially supported by the National Kidney Foundation, Healthy.io’s Minuteful Kidney kit delivers rapid results in the comfort of your own home.
This test uses a urine sample, and the kit comes with a dipstick and color board for processing your results. You’re also required to use the accompanying app, which identifies your results after you take a photo on your smartphone.
While Healthy.io delivers the quickest results in our kidney test roundup, one downside is that you may not see the detailed reports you might receive from other test kits. In either case, though, it’s important to share any unusual results with a doctor right away.
Also, while you can complete the entire testing process in the comfort of your own home, you cannot order the Healthy.io test kit without a doctor’s authorization. The exact price will also vary by provider.
Best combination kit
Labcorp OnDemand Kidney Health Test Package
- Price: $
- Type of test: blood and urine
- Results in: 1-2 days from when samples arrive at the lab
- Accepts insurance? insurance may cover the costs but they don’t bill insurance directly
- What test measures: eGFR, creatinine, albumin, UACR
Known for their walk-in labs across the country, Labcorp has also increased their test kit offerings in recent years. One such example is Labcorp OnDemand’s Kidney Health Test Package. This is a blood and urine combination collection kit that measures creatinine, albumin, and eGFR levels.
To obtain this test kit, you must purchase and register online, and then pick it up at your nearest Labcorp location. You can collect your sample at home, and then drop it back off at the lab. Once they process your results, you can view them online in your patient portal.
When you’re shopping for an at-home kidney testing kit, you might want to consider the following before making a purchase:
- Input from a medical professional: Does the test come with a virtual consultation? Is someone available to go over your results with you? If you’re feeling anxious about your kidney health, it might be a good idea to select a service with a virtual consultation option for peace of mind.
- Laboratory certification: Look for companies that work with
CLIA-certifiedlabs. This certification means the lab meets certain federally outlined testing standards.
- Collection kit contents: What’s in the kit? Does it come with instructions? Some companies might only provide video instructions.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): A reputable company will be compliant with HIPAA and have measures in place to protect your sensitive information and privacy.
- Timing: If you’re in a rush, a quick turnaround might be important to you. Some at-home testing companies take longer to process your samples than others.
- Insurance: Many at-home testing services don’t work directly with insurance companies. That means you have to pay up-front costs for testing kits. Your insurance may reimburse you, though. To find out if your insurance plan covers at-home testing kits, get in touch with your provider.
- Pricing: Testing kits vary widely in price but beware of services that seem too good to be true or overly pricey.
As you’re thinking about if an at-home kidney test is right for you, consider the following in your thought process:
|Price||Type of Test||Results in||Accepts insurance?|
|LetsGetChecked||$$||finger-prick blood sample||5 days||no|
|Verisana||$$$||finger-prick blood sample||about 3 weeks||no|
|Labcorp OnDemand||$||blood and urine||1-2 days from when samples arrive at the lab||no|
Next, here’s a breakdown of the components each test measures:
Different brands might have varying instructions on how to interpret your results. They may even provide insights for you or connect you with a healthcare professional who can answer your questions.
Remember that your results are based on a single sample.
Ultimately, it’s a good idea to consult a medical professional about your results. They’re equipped to interpret your results based on various factors and previous testing.
Kidney disease often doesn’t cause symptoms early on. So if you’re noticing things like dark-colored urine or frequent lower back pain, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a doctor.
The same goes if your at-home test results show abnormal readings.
The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can receive treatment and avoid potential complications.
Symptoms of major kidney issues
Early kidney disease may not cause obvious symptoms, but as your kidney function declines you might notice:
- changes to urine color or consistency, your pee might look foamier or darker than usual
- increase or decrease in urine output
- swelling of your hands, feet, ankles, or hands
- feeling more tired than usual
- skin changes, including itching
- nausea and vomiting
- shortness of breath
- trouble staying warm
How can I check my kidneys at home?
Our roundup of kidney tests can help you measure key markers for kidney function within the comfort of your own home. You will need to order each of these tests ahead of time.
Depending on the exact test, you may need to drop off your urine or blood samples at a lab or send it back for processing.
Are at-home kidney tests accurate?
Depending on the selected test, you may get results for eGFR, creatinine, and BUN levels in your blood, or UACR and albumin levels in your urine.
While the test kit manufacturer will provide information to help you interpret these results, it’s important to report any atypical test numbers to your doctor right away.
Home kidney test kits can help you monitor kidney function on a regular basis, but these should not replace regular testing at a doctor’s office. Your doctor may also recommend follow-up tests, such as additional blood work or a kidney ultrasound.
How do you know if something is wrong with your kidneys?
Possible signs of moderate, or stage 3, kidney damage may include back pain as well as swelling in your hands or feet (edema). Other health issues, such as high blood pressure and anemia, may also be associated with more severe kidney damage.
Other symptoms associated with kidney disease may include:
- fatigue and insomnia
- blood or foam in your urine
- the need to urinate more often
- dry, itchy skin
- decreased appetite
- muscle aches
- chronic eye puffiness
If you’re experiencing possible symptoms of kidney disease, skip at-home testing and contact a doctor right away.
If you have a family history of kidney disease or have other risk factors for possibly developing it, you may consider at-home kidney test kits. When used on a regular basis, these kits may help you monitor overall kidney function.
As with other types of home health test kits, at-home kidney tests should not replace regular testing or physical exams with a doctor. Report any atypical test results to your doctor. If you’re experiencing possible symptoms of kidney disease, contact a doctor immediately.