Ranking Criteria Explained
The pool of our ranking factors can purposefully be divided into two sets of criteria – test-centric and customer-centric. The most prominent test-centric criteria include the number of genetic markers explored, result segmentation, and the accuracy of the tests, the last of which is closely linked to the sub-criterion of the likelihood of test errors and failures.
With those criteria, we measure the quality, reliability, and scope of the tests and the results they provide. The customer-centric criteria are used to determine the quality of the service provided and predict potential customer satisfaction. These include ease of the sample-collection process, turnaround times, user support quality, and price-to-quality ratio. Now that you are familiar with our ranking process, let’s explore each company on our list in depth.
Our Top Picks
When looking for the best DNA tests to fit your budget, your personal goals, and the overall scope of your genetic exploration, researching all the available options is of paramount importance. Whether you are just interested in satisfying your curiosity or embarking on a serious DNA-related quest, the following mini-reviews will familiarize you with the top at-home testing solutions currently on the market.
MyHeritage is an Israeli DNA testing company launched in 2003 with corporate headquarters in Bnei Atarot. The founder of the company is Gilad Japhet, an entrepreneur and family historian. Apart from its main headquarters, MyHeritage also has company offices in New York and Utah.
Besides providing you with a detailed view of your genetics throughout the ages, MyHeritage also offers 2.6 million user profiles, 8.96 billion historical records, and over 40 million family trees created by its users. The company currently has around 91 million in 196 countries.
MyHeritage ancestry test explores only your autosomal chromosomes, meaning you will not be able to get precise information regarding your direct paternal and maternal ancestral lineages.
MyHeritage test (99$) is performed in Family Tree DNA’s laboratory, which is CLIA certified and holds state-of-the-art processing technology. The team in charge of genetic sequencing is experienced and highly professional, which leaves zero room for potential errors and test failures.
MyHeritage is a subscription-based site, offering additional tools and perks depending on your subscription level. The current subscription plans include Data, MyHeritage Premium, and MyHeritage Premium Plus.
Data subscription (13.27$ per year) provides you with full access to Record Matches and SuperSearch.
The MyHeritage Premium (9.17$ per month, billed annually) subscription comes with priority support, up to 2,500 individuals in your family tree, enhanced Smart Matching, Family Tree Builder Premium, and access to MyHeritage family sites and collections of members. MyHeritage PremiumPlus (10.95$ per month, billed annually) features priority email support, an unlimited number of people in your family tree, enhanced Smart Matching, Family Tree Builder Premium, Tree Consistency Checker, MyHeritage collection, and full access to Instant Discoveries.
One of the best ancestry DNA testing solutions on the market, the all-in-one AncestryDNA test provides you with a myriad of valuable information and features. The company boasts the world’s biggest DNA database, with around 3 million tested individuals, allowing you to easily discover genetic connections and new family lines. You can add relatives to your family tree on your own AncestryDNA page. You will also be provided with an Ethnicity map, which offers an interactive visual interface for exploring your worldwide ethnic roots, DNA Circles, which enables a multitude of DNA matches to pinpoint one common ancestor, and the “Map and locations” tool for locating the birthplaces of your ancestors, ranging 10 generations into the past (only available to Ancestry Magazine subscribers). With AncestryDNA, you can download your raw DNA, which you can later use on several free DNA researching sites but also with different companies – should you decide to tap into their DNA databases. The results also uncover your potential Native American ancestry. The price of the test is 99$.
Since its DNA test encompasses Y and mt tests as well, separate results for direct parental/maternal lineages are no longer available. Women and men can both take this test since they all carry the relevant genetic material.
The company does not only take part in numerous research projects, it offers its users the opportunity to participate in those scientific endeavors. The main goal of the projects is to make advances in understanding the history of human migrations, uncovering more about human health, exploring ties between our genetic makeup and traits, and much more. AncestryDNA database also contains more than 16 billion various historical records and genealogy resources, all made available to their customers.
The basic 23andMe DNA test holds over 74 distinct reports, meaning you get great value for your money with this ancestry DNA test. The report includes your DNA relatives, which can be sorted using any number of criteria, including your surname, mother’s or father’s side of the family tree, common birthplace, and more. You can also establish contact with your DNA matches through this page and click every single one of them separately for more information. You also get your ancestry timeline, which allows you to see the origins of your genetic material. The test should additionally identify the first human carrying your DNA strain, as well as the percentage of Neanderthal variations left
over in your genetic signature.
The test costs 99$ and can be expanded to include results regarding health and medical information. For 100$ extra, you can receive a full report of genes carrying potential illnesses and other conditions. This service is not offered by many DNA testing companies, so if you are also interested in learning more about your health through your DNA, 23andMe is the right choice.
The health-related report examines 8+ genetic health risks, 40+ different health condition carriers, 7+ wellness results, and 19+ trait-defining genes. 23andMe is very active when it comes to scientific research, also offering its customers the opportunity to take part in studies performed at various universities.
With Living DNA’s ancestry DNA test, your results will include family ancestry, fatherline ancestry, and motherline ancestry, as well as a map that shows the past development of your ancestral DNA matches. Family ancestry will give you an overview of the world’s regions featuring the highest similarity with your specific autosomal DNA signature. This segment looks at all relatives, regardless of the sides of the family tree.
Fatherline ancestry is exclusively available to male customers. The Y-chromosome is explored, which provides information on your fatherline genealogy. The connection established will pinpoint ancestors tens of thousands of years into the past. You will also see the percentages of highest geographical impact for your haplogroup.
Motherline ancestry will define your assignment in the maternal haplogroup. The results follow the same outline as with fatherline ancestry, only the mitochondrial DNA is tested instead of the Y-chromosome. Mitochondrial DNA passes from mothers to children unchanged, so it allows you to follow your direct maternal heritage down to the first ancestor common to your haplogroup.
Living DNA boasts an impressive geographical coverage, which is one of its main advantages. The test checks 80 regions of the world in search of your DNA matches. It covers 21 regions in the British Isles alone, which makes it perfect for people from the UK.
The price of the test is 159$ and the results are usually ready within 10-12 weeks.
Family Tree DNA
Family Tree DNA’s main (autosomal) test is called “Family Finder.” It is designed to fill your personal FTDNA profile with all kinds of information about your origins and genetic relatives from the past. MyOrigins mapping tool will provide you with a detailed geographic and ethnic breakdown while the AncientOrigins feature provides a map of your ancestral migration routes and establishes the percentage of your DNA connection with ancient European civilizations. You can also segregate your paternal and maternal lineages through Family Matching and even compare chromosomes with Chromosome Browser. The test can locate DNA relatives within the last 16 generations. Family Finder comes with a price tag od 79$.
After placing your order and sending your sample back to the company’s lab, you can expect to get your results within 4-6 weeks. As soon as your report is ready, you can view it online.
Family Tree DNA allows for data transfer from Ancestry DNA and 23andMe, which lets you use 3 different databases while searching for potential matches. As different people choose different DNA testing companies, each has its own unique database, so the more databases you have access to, the more relatives you can find. If you choose to transfer your raw DNA data to Family Tree DNA, you will be happy to learn that you can do it free of charge. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to pay 19$ to unlock all the features available through Family Finder.
Family Tree DNA features an extensive knowledge base and personalized user support. It provides frequent educational webinars, so you can find out more about ancestry DNA testing through the platform.
EasyDNA is a DNA testing company with the widest international presence on the market. It was founded back in 2006 and currently operates 35+ corporate offices spread across the world. The list of represented countries goes from the US and China all the way to Angola and Zimbabwe.
The company has performed more than 300,000 DNA tests since its inception, constantly focusing on providing the best possible service and user experience. It guarantees 99.99% accuracy for all tests. Its customer support is always available in all supported countries via phone, email or live chat.
EasyDNA offers more than 40different testing solutions, including those designed for animals. Its ancestry testing portfolio is, however, comprised of 4 options. Developed by DDC, GPS Origins (229$) is the most advanced ancestry test available. Ancestral Origins Test (229$) provides an accurate representation of your geogenetic links with reference populations all over the world. The Paternal Lineage Test (169$) provides you with the complete origins of your paternal ancestors with their migration patterns over the years. The Maternal Lineage Test (189$) traces the origins of your ancestors from the mother’s side of the family tree. The results will show you the origination point of your maternal DNA and provide details on your ancestral maternal clans.
EasyDNA performs its sequencing in a proprietary laboratory with ISO 17025 certification. It employs the latest testing technologies and features competent and professional staff.
GPS Origins is an ancestry DNA test developed and sold by DDC, one of the most prestigious and state-of-the-art testing providers on the market. The acronym stands for “Geographic Population Structure,” which is one of the main competitive edges of this test. It was designed to provide the most precise and accurate representation of ancestral lineages, pinpointing to exact towns and villages.
The test was created by Dr. Eran Elhaik, the multidisciplinary team leader at the University of Sheffield. DDC, on the other hand, was founded back in 1995 and has since provided its users with all kinds of high-quality DNA testing solutions. The main idea behind the company has always been to translate the latest scientific breakthroughs into actionable and widely available services.
The GPS Origins ancestry test (199$) checks 800,000 genetic markers, covers 41 regions of the world (gene pools), and takes 1,000 reference populations (or study bases) into account. Your genetic ancestry lines are traced up to 1,000 years in the past and the results also show the migration patterns of your maternal and paternal ancestors throughout the ages. Your DNA code is compared with the entire DDC database, which holds more than 10,000 genetic signatures. You can also transfer your raw data from Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, National Geographic, and AncestryDNA absolutely free of charge.
iGenea is a European DNA testing company founded in 2006 with corporate headquarters in Switzerland. The company was launched out of Joelle Apter’s passion for discovering the Jewish/Polish origins of her ancestors. Apart from iGENEA, she founded GenePartner and Websheep, where she also acts as CEO.
Like AncestryDNA, iGENEA combines genetic scientific achievements with genealogical research. It uses this interdisciplinary approach to provide us with knowledge about our ancestral roots, as well as about our origins as a species. iGENEA collaborates with Family Tree DNA and uses its testing facility and database.
iGENEA offers 3 testing iterations, including iGENEA Basic, iGENEA Premium, and iGENEA Expert.
iGENEA Basic (179EUR), which is also called “DNA Explorer,” is the company’s basic autosomal ancestry test. The results will show you a world map with a detailed representation of your mixed origins determined by regions and percentages. This means the results will reveal the regions of the world your particular DNA signature originated from. iGENEA Premium (499EUR) is an upgraded version of the previous testing option, adding the results concerning your paternal and maternal ancestral lineages. It is a more personalized DNA analysis. iGENEA Expert (1279EUR) is the best DNA test iGENEA has to offer. The results provide a high-resolution DNA analysis, alongside a more detailed interpretation guide. The test checks around 710,000 SNPs on the autosomes and the X-chromosome and 111 STR and SNP markers on the Y-chromosome.
iGENEA tests focus on European origins and ancestry and also provide results regarding potential Jewish heritage. Downloading raw data is also available.
With DDC, you can opt for 3 tests offering ancestral insight, including the Family Reconstruction test, Male Lineage test, and Female Lineage Test. The Family Reconstruction test is a cutting-edge tool for determining your DNA genetic pool without the father available. The test needs at least 3 paternal relatives for a successful analysis. If 3 relatives are unavailable, the mother’s participation is required. The male lineage test is a classic Y-chromosome test which will determine your direct paternal lineage. It is unavailable for females due to their XX gender chromosome composition. The female lineage test is a mitochondrial examination, which uncovers relatives in the direct maternal line.
The prices of these tests are not listed on the official website due to the number of elements that can shape the final cost. Maternal/paternal lineage results are typically ready after 2-3 weeks and the family reconstruction turnaround time depends on numerous factors. An adequate estimate will be given during consultations.
The results feature a Ph.D. revision straight out of the laboratory and you will have a knowledgeable user-support team available at all times to assist you and answer any questions you may have. The tests come in legal and non-legal iterations, depending on whether you need the results for legal matters.
National Geographic Ancestry Test
National Geographic is a well-known company that has been researching the genealogy of the human species for over a century now. With all the latest scientific breakthroughs in the field of genetics, Nat Geo realized that genealogy provides the best results when paired with DNA exploration. In 2005, it partnered with Helix in order to bring us the National Geographic ancestry DNA test.
Nat Geo has already tested more than 900,000 individuals from all corners of the world, providing them with detailed insight into their ancestral origins 200,000 years in the past.
The Nat Geo ancestry test features a next-generation sequencing protocol for a more detailed and precise ancestral outline. It checks 200,000 genetic markers, the Y-chromosome portion explores 10,000, and the mitochondrial segment covers 3,000. 60 reference populations are taken into account for a precise regional representation. Other highlights of this test include the Historical Genius match, which is now a free add-on, full access to a wide range of Helix apps and interactive maps with the most important genetic points of impact and ancestral migration patterns, and reports dedicated to your Neanderthal DNA percentages.
The test currently costs 149.95$ plus shipping costs, which depend on your location. The average turnaround time is between 6 and 12 weeks.