HomeDNA Testing Kit Review

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Richard Hill

Home DNA Packages Start From

Starter Pack
Maternal Lineage
GPS Origins Ancestry Test
GPS Origins Asian Edition
GPS Origins African Edition

Table of contents - H3

    Understanding where we came from is a human need as old as time. Home DNA testing can now empower us with knowledge. Not only can we know where our ancestors came from and details of our ethnic background, but we can make better decisions about our health and family planning.

    Today we'll review the HomeDNA test. We'll discuss the pros and cons, sample collection, and turnaround time. We'll talk about what comes included with the test, and how your privacy is protected. We'll help you understand how you can match and find relatives alongside comparing HomeDNA’s value with competitors.

    HomeDNA has quickly gained market share against competitors, with a massive user base of more than 80 million users. The company's DNA database has a diverse and worldwide reach, giving you more matching possibilities, regardless of where you live. HomeDNA is worth a look if you're interested in learning about your family's ancestry or finding long-lost family members.

    Pros and Cons


    • Much easier sampling method than some competitors
    • Faster results - in as little as four weeks after samples arrive at the lab
    • Upload DNA records from other tests you've taken
    • Competitively priced, plus discounts and bundles make it even better
    • Global database reach extends matching possibilities


    • Autosomal DNA tests only, not mtDNA or Y-DNA
    • Results are focused solely on ethnic composition and ancestry matches
    • Smaller database than more established competitors

    Collecting your DNA Sample

    The HomeDNA test is easier to use than many of its competitors. Other tests collect DNA from saliva, which involves filling the sample tube with spit, and it's not as easy as it sounds. Elderly family members may find this collection method too hard, and it's virtually impossible with babies or infants. HomeDNA uses two simple cheek swabs instead.

    You swab the inside of your cheek for forty-five seconds with each swab, then put the swabs in the vials provided snap each one off at the black line, and place both samples into the sealable bag. When you're done, you ship them off to the lab.

    You should avoid eating, drinking, or smoking for 30 minutes before collecting your sample to ensure accurate results. Make sure to register your test kit using the activation card so that you can access your results when they're ready.

    Here's what the kit includes:

    • Two cotton swabs (sealed) to collect your DNA sample
    • Two vials of preserving liquid for the swab samples
    • Plastic sealable bag
    • A return envelope to the lab (you need to add postage)
    • A registration card to activate your sample
    • Instructions on how to take the test

    How Fast Do Results Come Back?

    Waiting for test results always feels like an eternity, so it's good news that HomeDNA has the shortest turnaround time. You'll usually get your results within four to six weeks after they receive the sample. Competitors 23andMe and AncestryDNA both take roughly six to eight weeks to return results, so quick turnaround is a real benefit.

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    What do The Results Include?

    When you receive your results, you'll see a quick video that gives you a DNA summary, including your estimated ethnicities and significant regions of ancestry. You'll be able to examine a static map that gives you a better idea of where your family originated. There's also a dynamic map available if you want a more in-depth understanding. You can view it in the dashboard under "Ethnicity Estimate".

    Resources for genealogy research abound within the HomeDNA website. Search census records, immigration data, and birth, marriage, and death information. You can even search newspaper articles, family trees, and the site's Collection Catalogue, which has a variety of international public records, yearbooks, and even passenger lists from ships coming through Ellis Island.

    HomeDNA matches you with relatives showing DNA similarities. You'll see relatives by level—close family, extended family, and distant relations. You can view this information in list format or on a map that lays out your data by country and region.

    Wondering about testing? Modern DNA testing has access to 3 types of DNA:

    • mtDNA, which males and females inherit from their mother and can be used to trace a maternal line.
    • Y-DNA, which males inherit from their father and can be used to trace a paternal line, but it's available to men only.
    • Autosomal DNA is what you inherit from both your parents, and it's mixed with DNA they each got from their parents, and all previous generations. We are born with 23 pairs of chromosomes. One of those pairs determines your gender. The other 22 pairs are known as autosomes. This autosomal DNA is the most useful type for genealogy, and it's the kind used by the HomeDNA test.

    There is some variation between the company's results and other companies’ tests, but this may be due to different methodologies and changes in the sample processing chemicals.

    How does HomeDNA Protect Your Privacy?

    HomeDNA encrypts all your DNA and personal data stored on their servers. HomeDNA has no jurisdiction over your DNA and data. This means that you have total control over who can see it and how it's used.

    HomeDNA will not share your DNA or data, and you can set your privacy level on the company's website. You can customize your privacy settings manually if you prefer not to show up on any DNA match. Alternatively, you can share your results with potential relatives, and they can share it with you. You don't have to do all the research yourself; you can benefit from what they've learned too. Privacy is not an issue since all that is shared with relatives is your email address. You're in control of where the conversation goes from there.

    DNA matching on HomeDNA is on an opt-in basis. If you choose to participate, you'll be notified via email when others match with your DNA profile. You'll also be able to see those who have c opted in to compare and see how you match up.

    Matching with Relatives

    Finding relatives is half the fun when researching genealogy, and HomeDNA has powerful relative matching tools. The HomeDNA user base is more geographically spread out than some competitors, which is just what you need if you're searching for a long-lost family member. Search your ancestral homeland, your current country, or anywhere across the world.

    There's nothing more satisfying than understanding who you came from and where you came from, especially if you're adopted. Many adoptees have little to no information about their birth parents or family of origin. DNA testing can be the key they've been searching for to figure out their ethnic background, inherited health risks, and ultimately, their own identity.

    Your sample may match you with thousands of relatives, but you'll see significantly fewer immediate or extended family. On the relations map, you can see a breakdown of your relatives across the globe, and highlighting regions where you have DNA matches.

    HomeDNA's Prices and Details

    HomeDNA is a winner when it comes to value. You're getting information from both sides of your family tree with Autosomal DNA testing.

    HomeDNA™ Starter Ancestry Test

    The standard price of the test is $69, and it includes the following.

    • Instructions and cheek swabs for the test
    • Free prepaid postage envelope for returning the test
    • Can check your history across Europe, Indigenous American, East-Asia, and Sub-Saharan African
    • View present population groups where similar DNA to yours is prevalent

    This test is ideal for you if you want to find out the history of your ethnicity and find out where most people live that share similar DNA to you.

    HomeDNA™ Advanced Ancestry Test

    The Advanced test costs more at $124 but gives you a much better bang for your buck. The analysis includes everything you get with the HomeDNA™ Starter Ancestry Test and some extras.

    • Shows you an average of 1000 years history and can go further
    • Latest technology and uses a next-generation autosomal DNA test
    • 80,000 genetic markers, 1,000+ reference populations, and 41 analyzed gene pools
    • Precise to village or town level and shows the last three significant DNA changes
    • Results can be shared with friends and family on Facebook, text, and email

    This test is for those who want one of the most in-depth views of their DNA history. It gives you some of the most specific details available around your genetics and is much more detailed than the HomeDNA™ Starter Ancestry Test.

    GPS Origins® Ancestry Test

    If pinpoint accuracy of your history is your desire, then this test priced at $199 is the one you should choose. Let’s look at what this test offers:

    • The best accuracy showing you specific towns and villages from your family history
    • View of the impact wars, famines, and migrations had on your DNA
    • Developed by a leading DNA population expert from a top UK university
    • Traces of both maternal and paternal lineages

    This test has everything you could ever need when it comes to your DNA and family history. It’s designed for people who want a detailed picture of their genetics and the potential of finding long lost relatives.

    GPS Origins® Algorithm - Upload Your Raw Data

    Another option available from HomeDNA’s corporate partner, this test is cheaper as it needs you to provide the data. The benefit is that you get everything from the above analysis, but at a lower price of $39.

    • Maps of your family’s two most significant migration journeys
    • Shows your top 3 ancestral origins and percentages from each
    • Summary page and links to extra information
    • 23andMe Version 5 data, or FamilyTree DNA versions after October 2018 are excluded

    This is a fantastic option for those who want the same level of depth at the more expensive GPS Origins® Ancestry Test, but have already got data about their DNA from another provider.

    GPS Origins® Ancestry Test African Edition or Asian Edition

    Two separate packages priced at $199, the African and Asian Ancestry tests give similar information to the GPS Origins® Ancestry Test. They’re specifically for those of African or Asian descent.

    • Access to Asia-specific or Africa-specific gene pools
    • Migration routes explained back to 2000+ years
    • Education about historical events that impacted your gene pool

    These packs are ideal for those with an African or Asian background and give you one of the most comprehensive views of your genetic history. You should choose this over the GPS Origins® Ancestry Test if your ethnicity is African or Asian.

    DNA Origins® Maternal Lineage or Paternal Lineage

    Priced at $69 each, these tests give you a chance to focus in on your mother or father’s lineage, or both if you decide to invest in the two. This is what you’ll get in each package.

    • Personalized certificate showing your haplogroup designation and ancestral journey
    • PDF results manual containing detailed reports on your results
    • Please note, females must use DNA from their biological brother or father

    HomeDNA™ Healthy Weight

    Less about your history of family and more about your weight and health, this pack is priced at $119.

      Detailed view of the genetics that affect your weightThe foods you should eat and the ones you should avoid to maintain a balanced dietNutrients needed to be healthy and recommended supplements based on DNAWorkouts and exercise ideas to suit your genetic makeup

    This pack is perfect for those looking to boost their health and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

    HomeDNA™ Skin Care

    Another health option, but this time it’s all about your skin. This test will set you back $99 but will save you money on buying ineffective skincare that doesn’t suit your DNA.

    • In-depth view of the factors that influence your skin
    • Detailed findings on seven different skin concerns
    • Personal recommendations for supplements including topical and supplement ingredients, and professional treatments

    If you have skin problems or are concerned about the quality of your skin, then this test could be what you have been searching for to improve your life.

    HomeDNA™ Paternity

    This test is only available in retail stores and can tell users about their biological father. The test is priced at $164.

    • 100% accurate results
    • Trained PhD approval of results
    • Two day turnaround time
    • Legally binding if the sampling process is witnessed

    This test isn’t about your distant ancestors or health and well-being, but it’s for people who want peace of mind over who their biological father is.

    Animal Options

    HomeDNA doesn’t leave animals out of the picture and has several tests you can use on your fur baby. Here are the details of those in brief:

    • Mixed-Breed Dog Identification DNA Test and Life Plan™ $89 - Breed percentages, weight predictions, breed-specific games and more
    • HomeDNA™ Food & Pet Sensitivity $99 - Check your pet’s sensitivity to Lactose, Gluten, Histamine, Egg, Peanuts and more with health advice included
    • Dog DNA Health Screen and Life Plan™ $125 - 150 genetic diseases and traits, prevention and early identification of issues, and more.
    • Cat DNA Health Screen and Life Plan™ $125 - 40 genetic diseases and traits, and life plan for your cat.


    Before home DNA testing, we had to rely on stories from our parents and grandparents about our roots and family history. What we learned may have been accurate, or some facts may have gotten lost in translation. HomeDNA eliminates guesswork and is gaining market share with families that want rapid results at an affordable price. Expect HomeDNA to continue to gain ground on industry leaders such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe.

    HomeDNA test offers high-quality, cost-effective ancestry and genetics information in an easy to use testing kit. It connects you with potential family members all over the globe and helps you fill in the missing pieces as you find and understand your place in the world. The HomeDNA database has 2 million users, and it's growing market share rapidly as families discover it's benefits. It offers a wealth of historical records to aid in your research, a broad geographic reach, and excellent value for your money.

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