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Allergies affect a lot of people — more than 50 million in the United States alone, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Understanding what triggers a reaction is the first step in properly managing your allergy. One way to do that is through an at-home test.

It’s important to understand that an at-home allergy test isn’t a substitute for an appointment with a qualified healthcare professional. However, if you can’t see one in person, a home allergy test may be a good short-term option.

To help you decide which one is right for your needs, we have the top tips for what to look for in an at-home allergy test.

When you visit an allergist, dermatologist, or primary care physician to diagnose an allergy, they use several different types of analyses. Typically, this includes skin prick testing and an immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood test. You’ll also go over your medical history and any symptoms.

Most at-home allergy tests use a small blood sample. When you order a kit, you’ll receive everything you need to take the sample.

After pricking your finger with the included lancet, you’ll squeeze drops of blood onto the card or sample tube provided before mailing it back to the test company. Kits include detailed directions and all the materials you need.

Many of the companies partner with labs around the country. In those cases, you’ll purchase the test online, then visit a nearby lab for the blood draw. A doctor’s visit isn’t required and there are no hidden fees. Plus, insurance isn’t required.

After you send in your sample or have your blood drawn, it will be tested at a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified lab. This certification indicates that the lab has met standards for state and federal certification and is regularly inspected to ensure compliance. Tests are also reviewed and approved by board certified physicians.

Companies that provide these at-home allergy tests should also be Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant, so you can be sure your test results are securely stored.

Some at-home allergy tests use hair samples instead of blood. While these tend to be less expensive, they’re largely considered inaccurate. Hair doesn’t have IgE antibodies.

Procedures and methodology for at-home allergy testing kits vary. In compiling our recommendations, we selected companies that use Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified labs when possible. We also considered the following factors:

  • ease of use
  • accuracy
  • follow-up support
  • customer reviews
  • price point

Plus, our team thoroughly vetted each company’s business practices and medical claims. You can learn more about how we vet brands and products here.

Best overall

Everlywell Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test

  • Price: $199

Everlywell’s Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test measures IgE reactivity to 40 common allergens inside and out. It’s a good option if you need help narrowing potential causes of ongoing symptoms, like an itchy throat, watery eyes, postnasal drip, sneezing, rashes, and headaches.

Test results report your IgE reactivity from very low to very high, along with advice about next steps to consider. The kit comes with all the materials needed for the pinprick sample collection, detailed directions, and customer service if you need help.

Lab results come from CLIA certified labs and are physician-reviewed. The test has an overall 5-star rating on Everlywell’s site.

Best price

TestMyAllergy Allergy Test

  • Price: $149

This IgE allergy test from TestMyAllergy tests for 35 key allergens, including wheat, peanuts, egg whites, pollen, rice, and meat, which could be the reason for skin rashes, itchy eyes, or migraines. All samples are analyzed at the TestMyAllergy lab using ELISA technology to test for IgE levels.

The kit includes complete instructions for completing the pin-prick and blood spot sample. All necessary materials are included, along with a return envelope and downloadable report.

The report lists the allergens and rates your reaction. It also includes recommendations based on your results.

Best for food allergies

Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test

  • Price: $159

Everlywell’s Food Sensitivity Test measures IgG reactivity to 96 different foods, including different kinds of fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood, dairy, and even spices. It’s a good starting place if you need help narrowing potential causes of ongoing symptoms, like headaches and migraines, or bloating, stomach aches, and other digestion problems.

Your IgG antibody reactivity to each food is rated on a Class scale from 0 to 3. Your body’s response to Class 0 foods is considered “normal.” Class 3 foods result in a high level of IgG production in your body and could be the culprit of your symptoms, but you’ll likely need to consider an elimination diet to be sure.

The kit comes with all the materials needed for the pinprick sample collection, detailed directions, and customer service if you need help.

Lab results come from CLIA certified labs and are physician reviewed. The test has an overall 4.5-star rating on Everlywell’s site.

An important note: This test is not a true food allergy test, and it can’t tell you if you’re lactose intolerant or have celiac disease,. You’ll need to consult a doctor if you’re concerned about dairy or gluten.

Best for general allergies and intolerances

TestMyAllergy Combined Allergy & Intolerance

  • Price: $239

The Combined Allergy & Intolerance test from TestMyAllergy is a good way to identify whether allergy symptoms are related to a true allergy or an intolerance. The test checks for 70 allergies and intolerances with both IgE and IgG4 blood analyses.

The at-home testing kit is designed to be quick and easy, with full instructions for taking a sample and a return envelope. Results include a comprehensive explanation of your reaction, plus recommendations for next steps.

In addition to food-specific intolerances and allergies, this at-home test also screens for environmental and pet allergies.

Best for unknown allergies

Allergy Test Allergy & Intolerance Test Plus

  • Price: $279

If you aren’t sure what could be causing your allergy symptoms, the Allergy & Intolerance Test Plus is a good way to cast a wide net. With 110 common triggers included, it’s the most comprehensive test offered at Allergy Test.

You’ll receive a blood collection kit to take a blood spot sample. After mailing your sample in the included submission envelope, you can expect PDF results emailed with 7 days of receipt.

Results are also available on the Allergy Test app. A guide with tips on beginning an elimination diet is also included.

Allergy Test uses ELISA testing for raised IgE antibodies to check 35 allergies and 75 IgG4 antibodies to screen for intolerances.

There’s a difference between being allergic to a food and being intolerant to it.

True food allergies trigger the immune system, which causes the body’s reaction.

With a food sensitivity (or food intolerance), which is more common than a food allergy, the digestive system causes the body’s reaction. Food sensitivities are caused by the body’s inability to properly process a food.

While food sensitivities aren’t typically life threatening, food allergies can be.

Symptoms

The body will react differently to a food allergy than it will to a food sensitivity.

Symptoms of an allergy include:

Symptoms of a food sensitivity include:

Common culprits

The most common food allergies include:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts
  • wheat
  • soybeans

Common food intolerances include:

  • dairy
  • gluten
  • caffeine

Testing differences

While food allergy blood tests measure IgE, many food sensitivity home tests measure immunoglobulin G, or IgG, antibodies. These antibodies develop in response to certain foods, but their presence doesn’t necessarily indicate an intolerance. That can be misleading to anyone testing at home.

There are advantages and drawbacks to completing an IgE allergy blood test at home.

Pros

  • convenient
  • help identify possible or suspected allergens
  • offer a good short-term answer in preparation for a doctor’s appointment

Cons

  • results can be misleading or inaccurate
  • can be expensive
  • some tests still involve a visit to a lab

There’s a lot of variation in at-home allergy tests, particularly in terms of how samples are taken and which antibodies are tested, as well as the business model of the company offering the tests.

For allergen testing, consider:

  • kits that require a blood sample for IgE testing
  • accredited labs and results reviewed by a physician
  • companies that offer some kind of service that helps people interpret their results
  • the range of allergies tested for
  • customer reviews
  • pricing

If you decide to move forward with an at-home test, it’s important to look for one from a reputable company that works with CLIA certified labs and offers guidance on results.

Check reviews on third-party platforms, if available, and remember that results shouldn’t be considered a diagnosis. Instead, it’s information that can help you make decisions about next steps. Ideally, you’ll share results with a doctor for guidance on what to do next.

Many healthcare professionals consider at-home allergy tests unreliable. The worst-case scenario is interpreting the results on your own and then taking steps to address an allergy that may not be warranted.

It’s always best to consult a healthcare professional, and that’s still true if you decide that an at-home allergy test is your best option.

Ask a doctor for advice on any tests you may be considering, and discuss results with a healthcare professional who knows your health history.

A severe allergic reaction may cause these symptoms:

If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away.

If your symptoms are milder but still persistent, you may want to visit a specialist. For example, a dermatologist may be the best option if your reaction is affecting your skin. An allergist is a good choice if your symptoms include nasal congestion or ongoing sinus infections, or if you notice allergy symptoms during certain times of the year.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, visit your primary care physician for an initial diagnosis.

At-home allergy tests can provide information that may be useful in highlighting how your body reacts to certain allergens. However, it’s always best to talk with a doctor about any allergy concerns.

If you choose to move forward with a test kit, research your options carefully.