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According to a National Diabetes Statistics Report, 34 million people over age 18 had diabetes in the United States in 2018. More concerning: 7.3 million adults who met the criteria for diabetes hadn’t been diagnosed.

When you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar daily, but a health care professional will also want to check your A1C levels in order to understand how your diabetes is being controlled.

Your A1C, or HbA1c as it’s sometimes referred to, is like taking a snapshot of your glucose readings over the last 8 to 12 weeks.

While your blood glucose readings can fluctuate throughout the day, your A1C is an average of these readings. The higher your level is, the more at risk you are of having complications from diabetes. A1C can be used to screen or diagnose prediabetes or diabetes, or just monitor how your diabetes is being controlled.

Your A1C can fluctuate with lifestyle changes, certain medications, or hormonal changes, so it’s important to make sure you’re checking your levels at least twice per year, according to the American Diabetes Association. It’s possible you may want to check more often if it’s recommended by your doctor.

You can take this test at your clinic, but with advances in telehealth, you now have more options for at-home testing.

Some people do at-home tests as a supplement to routine monitoring. But if your aim is to substitute it for a test ordered by your doctor, it’s a good idea to discuss it first with your doctor.

To select the best HbA1c test kits, we considered the following factors:

We reviewed the type of testing offered and whether testing was done at home or by going to a lab. The variety of these test kits allows for options for every person’s unique needs.

Best overall

LetsGetChecked

  • Price: $49 for Diabetes Test and $89 for Diabetes and Heart Test
  • Insurance coverage: accepts FSA and HSA cards, but doesn’t take insurance
  • Results: 2–5 days

LetsGetChecked offers two options for diabetes testing: the Diabetes Test and the Diabetes and Heart Test.

If you only want to know your HbA1c, the Diabetes Test is right for you. The Diabetes and Heart Test offers the HbA1c test, and also cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and HDL percentage of total cholesterol.

People with diabetes or pre-diabetes are at an increased risk for heart conditions, and it’s important to monitor cholesterol levels.

You can choose free delivery for standard shipping, or, for a fee, you can choose express delivery.

You’ll activate your test when you receive the box and answer a short questionnaire. Instructional videos are easily found on the testing page. If any results are out of range, a nurse will call you before your results appear on the platform.

Best for membership

Everlywell

  • Price: $49 or $24.99 per month with membership
  • Insurance Coverage: accepts FSA and HSA cards, but doesn’t take insurance
  • Results: within 5 days

Everlywell began in 2015 and offers a wide range of at-home testing, including the HbA1c test.

If you decide to become a member, you’ll have access to significant discounts on the testing options. For $24.99 per month, you can have one qualifying test shipped to you.

After you order and pay for your test, it will ship to your home in 5 to 10 business days. You’ll register your kit once it’s delivered using an ID number on the box.

Testing is done by pricking your finger, and instruction videos are available on the site.

A physician will review your results, and you’ll get those results delivered to your online account within 5 business days. This report also contains details of how to interpret your results. If the results are positive, or out of normal range, a physician will contact you to go over the results and discuss next steps.

Best price

HealthLabs

  • Price: $29 for the HbA1c test and $69 for the diabetes panel
  • Insurance coverage: accepts FSA and HSA cards, but doesn’t bill insurance (You’ll need to submit your own receipts for reimbursement.)
  • Results: 1–2 days

If you don’t want to take the A1C test yourself, you can choose to have testing done at one of HealthLabs locations. You’ll order and pay for the test and use their website to find a testing location near you. No appointment is needed, and the lab test only takes a few minutes.

HealthLabs offers a wide variety of diabetes tests besides the individual A1C. The diabetes panel also includes the random microalbumin and the comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP).

Random microalbumin is a test that checks kidney function. The CMP panel includes 14 different tests to check the function of your liver and kidneys, as well as diabetes testing. Both of these are an important part of overall diabetes testing that your health care professional would normally order annually.

Best for physician-reviewed testing

imaware

  • Price: $69
  • Insurance coverage: accepts FSA and HSA cards, but doesn’t take insurance (You’ll need to submit your own receipts for reimbursement.)
  • Results: within 7 days

Founded in 2017, imaware provides physician-reviewed testing. Your test is reviewed by the same physician who ordered your test. But you can also order a test online without a doctor’s order.

There are plenty of instructional videos on the site and detailed instructions for administering your specific test.

The Prediabetes/Diabetes Screening Test checks your HbA1c levels and includes a glucose test. This glucose test shows your blood sugar level at the moment of testing. This number will fluctuate, depending on the time of day, the food you’ve eaten, and your overall health status.

You’ll administer your A1C with a finger poke. Five drops of blood are needed for the collection device. After shipping your sample back in confidential packaging, you should receive your results in about 7 days.

A digital lab report is included and gives you actionable steps to take based on your results. However, it’s still your responsibility to report any positive results with your health care professional.

Best for laboratory testing

Pixel by Labcorp

  • Price: $33 for Diabetes Risk (HbA1c) test
  • Insurance coverage: accepts FSA and HSA cards, but doesn’t take insurance
  • Results: varies

Labcorp was founded in 1969 and has since grown to a wide network of labs that are CAP accredited and CLIA certified.

The company process millions of test samples weekly. Pixel by Labcorp is the at-home testing branch where you can request a test kit shipped to your home. There aren’t additional fees you need to pay when you go to the lab.

The Diabetes Risk (HbA1c) Test is specific to A1C, but there are also diabetes-related tests, including the Diabetes Management Blood Test. This test contains four tests: the A1C, cholesterol and lipid panel, comprehensive metabolic panel, and albumin:creatinine ratio.

You’ll need to create an account with Pixel and pay online for your physician-ordered test. Pixel will email you a requisition number that you’ll take to a Labcorp testing center along with your photo ID.

Your results will come back through the Pixel site. If your results come back out-of-range, a physician will notify you separately.

Best for follow-up care

myLAB Box

  • Price: $69
  • Insurance coverage: none
  • Results: 1–5 days

myLab Box has been providing in-home test services since 2014. The company’s specialty is sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, but there are plenty of other tests.

Unlike other companies, myLAB Box offers testing in all 50 states. Though the A1C test is temporarily unavailable in New York.

Ordering your test online is easy, and it ships to you in discreet packaging.

You’ll activate your A1C test online with the provided ID number, and then you’ll collect your sample using the finger-prick method, which only takes 5 minutes.

The sample will need to be mailed on the day you take the test. If your results come back out-of-range, you have the option of a free telehealth consultation with a physician.

Best for quick results

DTI Laboratories

  • Price: $47.95
  • Insurance coverage: none
  • Results: within 24 hours

Considered a leader in HbA1c testing, the DTI Laboratories test kits have been FDA approved since 1998. The company specializes in diabetes testing.

In addition to the A1C test, DTI Laboratories also offers diabetes education and counseling. There are also kits related to diabetes care, such as monofilaments for testing the loss of sensation on your feet.

Delivery is typically 2 days from the time you pay. You’ll be assigned a secured ID and password for the site. Your test kit comes with a patient ID, a sample collection device, and a capillary device for pricking your finger. Only one drop of blood is needed, and your sample can be mailed back right away — no waiting for it to dry.

The AccuBase A1C Home Test Kit is FDA approved, unlike many other home test kits. The kit uses HPLC-IE, which is a testing method known for more accurate results, because it tests for abnormal hemoglobins that can interfere with A1C results.

Best price for at-home testing

Home Access

  • Price: $40
  • Insurance coverage: none
  • Results: varies

Founded in 1996 in Illinois, Home Access provides lab testing services at home.

The A1C tests meet the standards set by the National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program (NGSP) and are FDA cleared.

You’ll take the test by finger prick and will need to let the sample dry for 15 minutes before mailing the kit back. The company provides a video demonstration of how to perform the test and a detailed PDF instruction guide with pictures.

Unfortunately, online results aren’t available. You’ll need to call a 1-800 number between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT.

According to the site, results are available “within days,” but there isn’t a clear time-frame of what to expect. There also isn’t any support for positive results, so it’s important to follow up with your health care professional as soon as possible to share the results with them.

Are A1C test kits accurate?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), there are factors that can skew results, and your home reading should never be used to diagnose diabetes.

Overall, some A1C test kits have been demonstrated to be as accurate as laboratory testing.

Can you get a false A1C reading?

It’s possible to have a false A1C reading.

Certain conditions, such as hemolytic anemia or splenomegaly, can cause a false low reading. Older age, high blood pressure, or obesity can elevate your A1C levels — even if you don’t have diabetes.

What are symptoms of a high A1C?

If you have a high A1C, it’s a sign your diabetes is uncontrolled and your blood sugar is too high.

You might experience the following symptoms:

  • increased thirst
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • shortness of breath
  • frequent urination
  • fruity odor on your breath

It’s important to use your A1C as part of your diabetes monitoring, but it doesn’t replace daily blood sugar checks.

There are instances when your A1C might not be accurate. You should always make sure you’re informing your medical professional of your results and any symptoms you may be having.


Risa Kerslake is a registered nurse, freelance writer, and mom of two from the Midwest. She specializes in topics related to women’s health, mental health, oncology, postpartum, and fertility content. She enjoys collecting coffee mugs, crocheting, and attempting to write her memoir. Read more about her work at herwebsite.