The 6 Best At-Home Allergy Tests of 2020

Be aware of your sensitivities

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First Look

Best Overall: Test My Allergy

"It tests 70 substances you might be allergic to and is one of the most affordable options on the market."

Best for Food Sensitivities: Everlywell

"This test does not determine actual food allergies, but is intended to help guide you in an elimination diet."

Best for Seasonal Allergies: HealthLabs.com

"The testing process requires a visit to the lab, but it uses immunoglobulin E (IgE) analysis to screen for allergies by season."

Best for Cat or Dog Allergies: Accesa Labs

"The analysis is performed using ImmunoCAP technology, a method of testing that shows a very low rate of false-positive results."

Best for Mystery Allergy: Allergy Test

"This product wins for the high number and types of substances it checks for by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technology."

Best for Insects: Walk-In Lab

"The test looks for reactions to five common stinging insects: the honeybee, paper wasp, white-faced hornet, yellow jacket, and yellow hornet."

While there are many at-home allergy tests on the market, you should be well-informed before choosing one. These kits should not be a substitute for visiting a qualified physician, preferably one who specializes in detecting and treating allergies, known as an immunologist.

An immunologist often uses multiple forms of analysis, typically skin prick tests and immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood testing, as well as your medical history and symptoms from being exposed to a potential allergy trigger prior to making a diagnosis. To determine food sensitivities, an elimination diet followed by oral tolerance testing is often used in conjunction with blood or skin tests. At-home allergy tests lack this kind of analysis, so it's important to know your facts before selecting one.

Some companies that analyze these tests have been accused of being unable to replicate their results, meaning that when they tested the same blood sample twice, they did not get a match from the laboratory. If possible, it’s wise to choose a company that can replicate the testing.

At-home DNA testing kits that claim to identify food allergies are also available. There is a lack of research on this type of analysis and its accuracy cannot be confirmed. You should also know that tests using hair rather than blood samples are less expensive but are generally considered inaccurate since hair does not contain IgE antibodies.

Many of these tests specify that they are designed to help you recognize which substances you are intolerant to but are not actually allergic to. This is most often in relation to foods. Food intolerance may cause bothersome symptoms, such as stomach pain or diarrhea, while a true allergy may cause life-threatening symptoms including difficulty breathing, swelling of the mouth or tongue, or rashes.

However, despite these limitations when it comes to at-home testing, we understand that you may be in a situation that makes visiting the doctor difficult. To help you decide on an at-home allergy kit, we determined the best options.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Test My Allergy

TestMyAllergy

TestMyAllergy

The Combined Allergy & Intolerance test from Test My Allergy is a standout because it checks for 70 substances you might be allergic to. By looking for both immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies using a method called enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), the test analyzes your blood to determine what could be bothering you.

In addition to its testing capabilities, Test My Allergy's service is one of the most affordable options on the market at around $135. After ordering from the website you will receive the test kit in the mail.

Taking the test is simple: Wash your finger with the included alcohol wipe and then use one of two included lancets to prick your finger. Apply some blood to the blood spot card and return it in the provided envelope to the company’s laboratory located in the United Kingdom. Full instructions are included in the kit.

You will receive your results via email as a PDF file with a comprehensive explanation. According to the website, this particular laboratory claims to be able to reproduce its results approximately 97% of the time.

Best for Food Sensitivities: Everlywell

Everlywell

Everlywell

The Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test looks for intolerances to 96 different foods at an affordable price (about $159). This test does not screen for actual food allergies, which can cause dangerous symptoms such as swelling of the face and lips or difficulty breathing, but is intended to help guide you in an elimination diet. It identifies potential food sensitivities that may be causing symptoms such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea.

Prick your finger with the lancet provided, drop your blood onto the sample card, and return the card in the mail. The company claims that your results will be reviewed by a physician who will be available to steer you through an elimination diet.

At-home kits used to identify food sensitivities typically look for IgG antibodies. There is some debate about how useful the testing is for these types of antibodies, but smaller studies suggest it can help identify food intolerances and aid in elimination diets for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and migraines.

Best for Seasonal Allergies: HealthLabs.com

Healthlabs.com

Healthlabs.com

Healthlabs.com claims to use IgE analysis for its Seasonal Allergy Testing. If you know when your symptoms usually appear, this may help you narrow down potential culprits and give you greater success in identifying your sensitivities.

While this test is on the pricier side—ranging from approximately $159 to $299, depending on the exact testing panel you choose—it examines a wide range of sensitivities. The most expensive options are for perennial allergies such as mold and pet dander, while the lower-priced tests are catered toward individuals who experience year-round symptoms.

Because Healthlab.com's tests require you to have blood drawn in a lab, these analyses are slightly different than a completely at-home kit. The website claims that this takes approximately 10 minutes once you arrive at the lab. You should get the results of your test back in one to three days via a secure online account that you create through the website. It’s also worth noting that actual blood draws (as opposed to blood spot tests) that look for IgE antibodies may have the potential to be more accurate.

Best for Cat or Dog Allergies: Accesa Labs

Accesalabs

Accesalabs

Accesa Labs' Cat and Dog Allergy Panel test wins big for its potential to provide accurate results at an affordable price despite its requirement to visit a lab. For around $79, you can skip the doctor’s visit and have your blood drawn at a Quest Diagnostics lab, where the sample is tested for immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in response to cat and dog dander.

After you have purchased the test online, an order is sent to the lab. You can then visit the lab to have your blood drawn, and they will submit your blood for testing. Potential drawbacks include a lack of interpretation of the results and the narrow scope of the test—If you’re allergic to something other than a dog or cat, this screening won't help you much.

The analysis is performed using ImmunoCAP technology, a method of testing that shows a very low rate of false-positive results. In less than four days, you should get your test results via email or mobile device in a PDF, and customer service is available to assist you with any questions.

Best for Mystery Allergy: Allergy Test

Allergy Test

Allergy Test

If you don’t have a specific, suspected allergy in mind and are just wondering about some bothersome symptoms, the Prime 110 Allergy and Intolerance Test offered by Allergy Test might be just what you're looking for.

This product wins for the high number (110) and types of substances it checks for by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technology to analyze IgG and IgE antibodies. And with a price around $180, the cost of this kit falls within the same range of other at-home tests.

You should receive the test within about 10 days of ordering it on the company's website. Like most other at-home allergy kits, this test comes with a lancet to prick your finger and a blood sample card that you'll need to mail in for analysis.

Results will be delivered via email in a PDF with an explanation of the items tested and intolerance levels, as well as which allergies were identified.

Best for Insects: Walk-In Lab

Walk-In Lab

Walk-In-Lab

Walk-In Lab's Allergy Stinging Insect Profile Blood Test looks for reactions to five common stinging insects: the honeybee, paper wasp, white-faced hornet, yellow jacket, and yellow hornet. Like some of the other products featured on this list, you will need to visit a LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics location for the blood draw.

The test is easily ordered online for around $149 if you plan to use a Quest Diagnostics lab or about $209 for LabCorp. (Quest Diagnostics uses immunoassay (IA) technology, while LabCorp uses ImmunoCAP technology for analysis.) You print out a lab order and bring it to a location of your choice. The lab will draw your blood and submit it for testing.

Expect to receive the test results electronically in five to seven days. Even with this test, however, it still might be beneficial to speak with your doctor for a more comprehensive analysis to help you understand the results.

Insect sting allergies can lead to a serious life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. While you may not experience life-threatening symptoms after the first time you are stung, these symptoms can become more severe the next time you are exposed to insect venom. It's recommended that you visit a qualified doctor (an immunologist) for further guidance if you receive a positive result for the Walk-in Lab test.

How We Chose the Best At-Home Allergy Test Kits

At-home allergy testing kits vary greatly in how samples are taken and which antibodies are being tested. We consulted research on these antibodies to provide you with information about which ones may be the most accurate.

We also took into consideration customer reviews, the ease of performing the test at home, affordability, and company support provided (follow-up or instructions about what to do with results). For instance, TestMyAllergy's product received a "Best Overall" rating because of its pricing, testing capabilities, and comprehensive data. Allergy Test's offering, on the other hand, is one of our top picks because it screens for a response to 110 different substances.

A Word From VeryWell

At-home allergy tests are considered unreliable by medical professionals, and without a doctor to help you interpret the result you may wind up more confused than you were beforehand. The tests can also be pricey and are not likely to be covered by health insurance (if you have it). 

Without proper interpretation and guidance, you may take steps to mitigate a suspected allergy that may be unnecessary, such as getting rid of a pet or changing your diet. If possible after using at-home allergy tests, we recommend you consult a medical professional for interpretation, confirmation of results, and advice regarding best allergy treatments.

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Article Sources
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