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We found that LetsGetChecked, Everlywell, Verisana, myLAB Box, and HRT ORG offer the best at-home cortisol tests. See which one is right for you.

Stress can be attributed, in part, to cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone responsible for the fight-or-flight response.

According to a 2018 study, high stress levels over long periods of time can result in high cortisol levels, which can negatively affect your health.

One way to manage stress is to test your cortisol production levels through an at-home cortisol test. While you shouldn’t self-diagnose a medical or mental health condition, these types of tests may provide key information you can discuss further with your doctor.

Keep reading for a breakdown of the five best at-home cortisol tests on the market.

At-home cortisol tests are used to check if your cortisol production levels are too high or too low.

Too much or too little cortisol can be a sign of an adrenal gland disorder. These disorders include:

At-home cortisol tests can be a good way to check your cortisol levels and gain insight into what may be causing the symptoms you’re experiencing before visiting your doctor.

The at-home testing market is becoming more popular and there are numerous options available. So, to ensure we chose the best at-home cortisol tests, we considered the following:

  • Cost: We selected at-home tests that span a range of budgets.
  • Ease of use: We included tests that are simple to use and provide clear instructions.
  • Laboratory standards: We prioritized companies that use CLIA certified labs, meaning they meet government guidelines for quality standards.
  • Privacy: We ensured that each brand valued data protection and used privacy measures like discreet packaging.
  • Speed of results: We selected companies offering speedy test results that are easy to access online.
  • Medical support: It’s good to know you’re not alone! So wherever possible, we’ve included companies that offer support when results are out of range, such as phone or telehealth consultation.
  • Reviews: Lastly, we read customer reviews to get a sense of user satisfaction, and only included those with great feedback.

At-home testPriceHormones testedCollection methodResultsWhy we chose it
LetsGetChecked Cortisol Test$99cortisolfinger prick5 daysinstructions are easy to understand, and you receive confidential results via their secure platform
Everlywell Sleep & Stress Test$199cortisol, cortisone, melatonin, and creatinineurine samplea few daysresults are reviewed by an independent, board certified physician in your state
Verisana Cortisol Saliva Test$49.95cortisolsaliva sample3 weeksone of the more affordable options available
myLAB Box Adrenal Stress Test$149cortisol and DHEAsaliva2–5 daysquick turnaround for results and easy sample collection
HRTOrg Cortisol Saliva Test$135cortisolsaliva5–7 dayschoose between receiving your results by email or in the mail

Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. It plays a vital role in the body: Cortisol helps maintain blood pressure and blood sugar. It breaks down carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Cortisol can even help fight infections.

Your adrenal glands — the two small glands that sit above your kidneys — make cortisol.

If your cortisol levels are too high or too low, you may notice some symptoms and a decline in your health. You may also have a disorder in your adrenal glands, which can be serious if left untreated.

Cortisol levels vary throughout the day. They’re typically highest when you wake up in the morning, and they gradually decrease as the day goes on.

Because of this, most at-home cortisol tests require you to collect a sample first thing in the morning. Others may ask that you collect a sample at several points during the day.

Your doctor may also instruct you to take the test at a certain point of the day, depending on if they think you’re making too much or too little cortisol.

The collection methods for at-home cortisol tests vary. Some require a blood sample, while others use saliva or urine. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when taking the test.

After sending back your sample, expect to get the results from an at-home cortisol test in anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

You may want to take an at-home cortisol test depending on the symptoms you’re experiencing. If you have too much cortisol you may experience symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, and if you have too little cortisol you may experience symptoms of Addison’s disease.

Low or high cortisol?

Symptoms that may indicate low or high cortisol levels include:

  • severe fatigue
  • headaches
  • difficulty concentrating
  • weight gain or weight loss
  • muscle weakness
  • irritability
  • high blood pressure
  • low blood sugar
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If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consider testing your cortisol levels.

An at-home cortisol test can also be an insightful way to understand how your body responds to stress.

If you’ve been diagnosed with either Cushing syndrome or Addison disease, your doctor may also recommend testing your cortisol levels regularly.

Common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood sugar
  • muscle weakness
  • obesity

Common symptoms of Addison disease include:

  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • low blood pressure

When choosing an at-home cortisol test, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • your preferred collection method (saliva, urine, or blood)
  • the estimated timeline to get results and whether you want them quickly
  • your budget
  • health savings account (HSA) or flexible savings account (FSA) purchasing options
  • the legitimacy and reputation of the company
  • whether the company use CLIA certified labs
  • customer reviews and feedback

A typical cortisol value in a blood sample taken at 8 a.m. is 5 to 25 mcg/dL or 140 to 690 nmol/L.

Results may depend on a variety of factors, including the time of the test and the clinical context.

A healthcare professional can best explain your unique results and what they mean for your health.

While home testing is a convenient method for checking your cortisol, it may be best to see a doctor first if you’re experiencing severe symptoms of possible low or high cortisol. These may include sudden, unexplained weight changes, darkened areas of your skin, or significant changes in mood.

You should also see a doctor if you decide to take an at-home cortisol test and you receive abnormal results. They may order follow-up tests and determine an appropriate treatment plan. It’s also important to communicate any at-home test results with a doctor if you’re currently being treated for Cushing syndrome or Addison disease.

Finally, if you receive normal at-home cortisol results but still don’t feel right, make an appointment with your doctor to help determine what could be the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Are cortisol tests accurate?

The results of your at-home cortisol test are processed in the same labs that a doctor’s office uses, so they’re generally accurate.

However, the accuracy can depend on the type of test and collection method. If you receive your results and are unsure if they’re accurate, most test providers offer to review your results with you.

It’s also a good idea to talk with a doctor after taking the test if you need more insight or guidance for next steps.

Are at-home cortisol tests better or worse than in-person tests?

When your cortisol is tested at a doctor’s office, it’s typically done using a blood sample. Most at-home cortisol tests are collected through a saliva sample, though a few may use urine or blood samples.

Getting tested at a doctor’s office or hospital is generally more accurate than a self-collected test. However, an at-home cortisol test is efficient and can be used to gather insight before visiting a doctor.

Are cortisol tests covered by insurance?

Most at-home test providers don’t work with insurance companies and aren’t covered by insurance. However, some providers, like Everlywell, accept HSA and FSA payments.

To find out if your health insurance will cover an at-home cortisol test, it’s best to reach out to them directly.

Are there any risks to taking an at-home cortisol test?

At-home cortisol testing generally comes with few risks. If the test uses a blood sample, there is the possibility of bruising or bleeding. These tests are generally very accurate, but there is the chance that you may receive inaccurate results due to the sample collection process or shipping.

Remember, this type of testing isn’t a substitute for a visit with your primary care doctor.

How often should you test your cortisol?

Unless you have a diagnosis of either Cushing syndrome or Addison disease, you don’t need to test your cortisol levels regularly.

A doctor will give you specific instructions on the type of test you should take, what time to take it, and how regularly you need to get tested.

They may recommend testing twice in 1 day or multiple times over several days since cortisol levels vary.

Occasionally checking your cortisol levels can be helpful, especially if you’re experiencing stress.

At-home cortisol tests are a convenient and efficient way to monitor your stress and adjust accordingly. However, if you’re experiencing several symptoms, it’s best to talk with a doctor.