We often mention our extensive vetting process and how we carefully evaluate each product and brand before it gets included in our articles. Here, we break down the process when it comes to vetting at-home health tests and discuss the criteria behind our scoring system.

Every product, service, or brand that we recommend has gone through numerous considerations before it makes the cut. To start, Healthline’s rigorous vetting process makes sure that you’ll see only recommendations that we stand behind.

Every product we recommend and every brand we work with is thoroughly vetted by our team for:

  • medical credibility
  • product quality
  • company reputation
  • good business practices

If a test passes vetting, then we put it through our scoring rubric. This means that we rate it based on a range of factors, then average those individual scores to generate the overall Healthline Score that you see displayed in the article. We believe that the higher the overall score is, the greater value the product has for users.

The factors we consider include:

  • the cost of the test
  • the ease of sample collection
  • how long it takes to get results
  • whether the brand accepts insurance
  • what type of guidance is included with test results
  • the shipping cost

Cost of test

The price of at-home tests can range from less than $20 to more than $600. Some testing companies offer subscriptions that allow you to receive credits toward the purchase of additional tests.

Ease of testing

We calculate how easy the test is to use by considering whether you can collect your test sample at home or if you must go to a lab to have a sample taken by a technician. Plus, we check whether the test requires one sample (saliva or blood or urine, etc.) or more than one sample.

Result window

This refers to how long it takes to get your test results back. The length of time — which can be minutes, days, or weeks — is determined by a couple of factors.

First, it depends on whether the test provides immediate results, as in pregnancy tests or some COVID tests. These are called specimen-and-result tests or rapid tests.

For specimen-only tests, the result window is longer. This is because a laboratory must receive the test sample, analyze it, and then return a result. These results are typically measured in business days.

Insurance accepted

Major insurance policies do not cover most at-home tests. That said, you may be able to pay for the tests with funds from a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). In some cases, at-home test companies will give you a receipt that you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement.

Guidance provided

Many test companies offer some level of guidance for a positive test result. This may come in the form of a follow-up call or message from a health professional, such as a nurse or physician. For an additional fee, some companies allow you to make an appointment with a healthcare professional who can help you plan your next steps.

Other guidance may include educational materials or the option to connect with a health professional about your test result on an online communication platform.


The cost of shipping can be a deciding factor in whether a test kit feels affordable. We score tests on whether shipping is free or if you need to pay extra.

Direct-to-consumer at-home health tests are not typically reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This may be changing, though. The fast growth of this field has led to calls for greater oversight.

In addition to federal CLIA certification, which laboratories that handle human specimens are required to have, many companies also seek CAP accreditation for their labs.

While at-home health tests are designed for information only and are not meant to be diagnostic, they still come with risks. For example, direct-to-consumer tests have varying levels of evidence that support their claims.

Other concerns range from the potential for human error in taking the test to privacy protections.

There’s also the risk of potential self-diagnosis and action based on an at-home test result. All results should be interpreted in conjunction with a history and physical by a healthcare professional.

Only at-home health tests that pass our strict vetting process are eligible to receive a Healthline Score. From there, we rate the tests based on specific criteria, which then generates the overall score displayed.

We share this information to help you determine the best at-home health test for your needs, priorities, and budget.