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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 half cup of blood every minute. They also produce water that helps create urine.

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 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:

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 testing

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 30 milligrams per gram is considered typical, a higher level may indicate kidney disease.

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.

Blood testing

While urine testing offers clues into 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 60 or above considered typical. If the score is well above or below typical, you may have kidney disease. An eGFR score may indicate the following stages:

  • 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 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).

Pricing guide

Price is indicated by a dollar sign as follows:

  • $ = under $90
  • $$ = $90–$100
  • $$$ = over $100

Best blood sample test

LetsGetChecked Kidney Test

Price: $$

Sold by one of the best-known brands of home test kits, this 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 finger-prick method in the comfort of your own home. Once you send your kit back to the company, the lab processes your sample and puts your results in your preregistered 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-percent-off subscription rate, where you 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: $$$

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: $$-$$$

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 and your insurance.

Best combination kit

Labcorp OnDemand Kidney Health Test Package

Price: $

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.

As you consider our roundup of at-home kidney tests, think about how each compares.

Breakdowns of each kit tested with pros and cons

First, let’s consider the types of tests and how each one compares in terms of sample collection and submission, as well as how you obtain your results:

Blood test onlyUrine test onlyUses both blood and urine samplesSamples collected at homeSamples submitted by deliverySamples dropped off in person at labInstant, rapid results at homeDoctor authorization requiredResults provided electronically
LetsGetChecked X X X X
Verisana X X X X
Healthy.io X X X X X
Labcorp OnDemand X X X X

Next, here’s a breakdown of the components each test measures:

eGFRCreatinineBUNAlbuminUACR
LetsGetCheckedXXX
VerisanaX X
Healthy.ioX
Labcorp OnDemandXXX X

Conclusion

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.

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.

These at-home kidney function tests are a great way to check on the functionality of your kidneys from the comfort of your home. If you are having symptoms you are concerned about related to your kidneys, it’s important to see a doctor right away.