Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

Ancestry Review

Tuesday, October 19th

2021 DNA Testing Kit Reviews

Ancestry Review 4.5 Star Rating

Ancestry

4.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $99 for the first kit, $89 for additional kits

Ancestry is one of the most well-known names in family history research; you've probably seen commercials featuring people who thought their whole lives that they were Irish only to discover through DNA testing that they're actually of German heritage. If your reason for having your DNA tested is to make connections with your family history, both with living relatives and by exploring your heritage, Ancestry offers the widest membership database in the world.

Their DNA test is simple: fill the collection tube with saliva (no neat little buccal swab here), send it in, and wait for your results. Because of the company's popularity, you may wait a month or longer to get your test analyzed, especially if it's during a popular promotion. For example, the test is regularly priced at $99, but we were able to take advantage of a holiday sale price of $79. It took a little over a week to get our kit in the mail, and after Ancestry received it, we got our results in just over a month.

We were able to personally confirm that the DNA tests conducted by Ancestry are accurate: without entering any identifying information, it matched us with our mother with a confidence level of "Extremely High" (thank goodness for no surprises there!). The other more distantly-related relatives were all matched with appropriate levels of confidence as well; the only less-than-accurate match-up we saw was Ancestry's suggestion that a person was related as a possible child, when the confirmed relationship was "child of her half-brother". But, that's exactly why Ancestry gives confidence levels, and not absolute guarantees of a relationship; you have to apply your own research skills at times, to confirm or refute possible genetic connections.

Best DNA Testing Kits

Fortunately, Ancestry is the number one genealogy website currently available to researchers, and by using their DNA testing service, you can choose to have your results connected to other users. After our test was done, we were able to access our "DNA Story", which gave us a much more detailed "ethnicity estimate" than other DNA testing services we had used previously. It accurately tracked our ancestry through Pennsylvania - again, without our having entered any kind of family tree information or other records beforehand - and gave us a breakdown of our roots specific to Great Britain, Eastern and Western Europe, and other areas of lower likelihood.

Even more interesting were the DNA Matches: we could see a grid of pictures of those who were likely relatives at the level of fourth cousins or closer, along with the ability to reach out to any of those users. It's important to understand that these matches don't tell you through which family line you're related; once again, it requires some effort - and probably collaboration - to figure out if it's through your paternal grandmother, your maternal great-great-grandmother, and so on. We were given a list of 458 Ancestry users who were 4th cousins or closer and got responses from many of them.

Another great perk of using Ancestry: if you create a family tree, Ancestry will make suggested connections not only to relatives but also to the billions - yes, billions - of records already available on the site. You'll have to get a paid membership to access all of the records Ancestry provides, but with an average of 2 million new records added daily, it's definitely worth the investment if you're looking for historical records to document a possible family relationship. These memberships are usually priced at $99 to $189 for 6-month and 12-month subscriptions to US records, and $149 to $299 for US plus international records. But, Ancestry offers regular discounts both on their DNA tests and their subscription plans, especially around holidays like Mother's Day and Christmas, so keep a lookout.

For all of these reasons, Ancestry is the hands-down winner for DNA testing if you're looking to explore your family history and connect with people you never knew were your relatives. They earn a five-star rating, only missing the first-place ranking because they do not offer any kind of health assessment/analysis in their test. We highly recommend them for genealogical purposes.

Who Has the Best DNA Tests?

It seems like everywhere you look these days, there are companies offering DNA Testing. The largest consumers of these DNA tests are people who want to connect with their heritage and/or living relatives, or who are hoping to gain insights into medical conditions and inherited medical predispositions that might affect their health.

Other reasons why people might want a DNA Test include establishing paternity of a child, identifying inherited traits, and detection of infidelity. But no matter the reason, one thing's for sure: DNA Testing has exploded in popularity as its reliability and usefulness continues to grow.

The Best DNA Testing Kits Compare DNA Testing Kits Compare DNA Testing Kit Reviews What are the best DNA Testing Kits Best DNA Testing Kit Reviews

DNA Testing Kit FAQ

The two most common reasons for testing DNA are to determine one's ancestry and to identify underlying health conditions or predispositions. DNA testing may also be done to determine a child's paternity or detect infidelity.
Fortunately, no. A simple cheek swab or vial of saliva that can be returned by mail is usually all that's required.
That depends on the testing service you select. Some companies deliver your results in 1-4 weeks, while others have been known to take a month or longer.
Not necessarily. You'll probably pay somewhere between $59 and $649, depending on how comprehensive your selected test is.
Most of the time, no. DNA test kit prices usually include the cost of delivering the test to your home or office, the return shipping fees to the lab, and the cost of analyzing your sample.
DNA testing protocols are constantly evolving, especially with respect to tracking one's ancestry. Many of the companies use the company Helix to sequence your DNA. The individual companies are then responsible for interpreting the DNA results. You will see some differences between the different testing providers. Also, you may also want to share your results with your healthcare provider, so he or she can confirm any of the health-related results and request additional testing as needed.
Possibly, but that will depend on several factors. Not only will your relatives have to choose the same DNA testing platform as you, but both of you will have to set your account permissions to show DNA matches and to allow messages. That being said, thousands of people have connected with previously-unknown family members using many of today's most popular DNA testing providers.
That's an important question. Most DNA testing services promise to maintain your privacy by requiring your consent to share your results for matching or research purposes. You'll have to determine your own risk tolerance when it comes to concerns about data breaches, court subpoenas, and other ways your data could be accessed.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

It's important to point out that, as a consumer industry, these DNA tests and the results that come from them are still an emerging science. This is especially true when it comes to testing for ancestry, where one's results are best considered a probability estimate and not an absolute conclusion. For example, you could have a DNA test done today that shows your heritage as 60% British Isles and 40% Eastern Europe, but re-running the same test in five years could show a slightly different balance as more people are tested and the estimates become more accurate.

Similarly, testing done to determine DNA traits and predispositions for medical conditions should be taken as one piece of the puzzle, not a foregone conclusion. Most experts recommend discussing these results with your doctor or a geneticist before making any drastic changes or coming to any written-in-stone conclusions regarding your future health.

On the other hand, DNA testing has been highly accurate when determining parentage. False positives are rare: if your test shows that Person X is the father of a particular child, those results are very likely to stand up in court.

There are many different companies offering DNA testing today, so it's important to know which ones offer the service you need before you purchase a home test kit. As you consider which company to use, you should keep in mind the following criteria:

  • Focus. Does the company offer DNA tests primarily for genealogy purposes, health testing, or paternity? Can you get a comprehensive test for multiple purposes (like ancestry and health background)?
  • Price. DNA testing fluctuates in price, with fees ranging from less than $50 to well over $500. Because these services have become more popular recently, you may be able to find promotions and discounts at certain times of the year.
  • Results. Have people used this service and been satisfied with the information received? If you're using a DNA test to explore your family history, how well does the company connect people with living relatives? (In other words, how big is their database of users who want to share their information with blood relations?)
  • Reputation. Does the company have a good track record for accurate testing and protection of privacy?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best DNA Testing companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the DNA information you're looking for!

See the Best DNA Testing Kit
The Best Reviews of DNA Testing Kits