The 6 Best At-Home COVID Tests of 2023

The iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test delivers quick, clear results.

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Primary Home covid Test

Verywell Health/ Jessica Juliao

With experts predicting a particularly nasty flu and RSV season, it’s more important than ever to keep tabs on COVID, which isn’t going away anytime soon. Even though you shouldn’t be out and about spreading any type of germs (seriously, stay home if you’re sick!), there are still quarantine recommendations in place for people who test positive for COVID—and testing yourself at home is one of the quickest and easiest ways to know if you need to lock yourself down and for how long.

Tested & Approved

The iHealth Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test was a favorite in testing thanks to its intuitive, four-step process that barely requires instructions and clear, 15-minute results. The On/Go at-Home COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Self-Test provides results in just 10 minutes—so if you really can’t wait those extra 5 minutes, this test delivers.

“At-home tests should be used when people are having COVID symptoms, have been exposed [to the virus], or are going to come into contact with others who are at high risk from a COVID infection,” says Michael Blaivas, MD, chief medical officer at Anavasi Diagnostics. 

The good news is that, unlike other times during the pandemic, there’s no shortage of at-home COVID tests available to consumers right now. The bad news is that this surplus makes it tougher than ever to know which one to choose. You have to consider what kind you need (antigen versus molecular), how the testing process works, and how quickly you’ll get your results. The reason why you’re testing—like if you don’t have symptoms but are planning to travel—can also affect the choice you make.

Recall Alert: Detect, Inc. COVID Tests

COVID-19 test manufacturer, Detect, Inc. voluntarily recalled more than 11,000 tests that may provide false negative results. According to the FDA announcement on December 12, 2022, no false negatives have been reported by consumers. Detect, Inc. is recalling the products out of an abundance of caution. The recalled batches were shipped to consumers between July 26 and August 26, 2022. According to the company, the reliability of positive test results is not affected. If you are considering using an-at home COVID-19 test from Detect, Inc., be sure to check their website for additional information.

The Verywell Health team tested 16 different at-home COVID testing kits in our Lab to see which ones were the easiest to use and provided the quickest results. We did not test for accuracy because at-home infectious disease testing is fickle at its best. But we ruled out any tests that were unnecessarily complicated, increasing the risk of user error. These are our 6 favorite at-home COVID tests.

A Note from the Editors

While all the tests on our list have been cleared by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization, we recommend consulting with a medical professional to confirm the accuracy of any at-home test result if you're highly suspicious your result is incorrect. Our editors are keeping a close eye on any product recalls to give you the best and most up-to-date information.

Stay up to date on the latest Coronavirus news:

Best Overall

iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test

4.7
 iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test

Amazon

Pros
  • Easy to read

  • Minimal steps

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Solution is not pre-filled

  • Only 2 tests per box

We found the iHealth Antigen Rapid Test to be the best combination of ease and affordability for the average user, which is why it takes our top spot. For under $20, you get two tests that are easy to use and read, plus results in just 15 minutes.

We think part of what makes this test so simple to use is the minimal number of components: with only a swab, the solution and solution vessel, and the test unit, it isn’t hard to figure out the steps in the instructions. In fact, one of our testers called the instructions “intuitive” while noting that they are largely unnecessary; with such straightforward components, you may not even need to follow the instructions super closely to avoid error. 

Finally, the results appeared within the 15-minute time window, as advertised, and were easy for us to read and interpret. Based on the simplicity of our experience using this test and its affordability, we think most people will be able to use it without issue.

Price at time of publication: $17

Type: Rapid | Form: Nasal | Number of Tests Per Kit: 2 | Results Speed: 15 minutes

ihealth covid 19 antigen rapid test

Verywell Health / Jessica Juliao

What Our Testers Say

“This is a great test for your average consumer: it's uncomplicated to use and only takes 15 minutes to reveal the results, [making it one of the] best overall strictly for ease of use and ease of reading results.”

Quickest Results

On/Go COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test

4.8
On/Go COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test

Amazon

Pros
  • Fastest of the at-home antigen tests

  • Illustrated instructions

  • Clear results

Cons
  • Instructions are small print

  • Should not be read after 15 minutes

Most at-home COVID antigen tests require at least 15 minutes or more to provide results, but in testing, the On/Go kit turned around our results in just 10 minutes. This might not seem like a big deal, but if you’re planning to test multiple people in a short period of time (like, for example, at your wedding), those extra five minutes you’re saving can make a big difference.

The other good news is that the test doesn’t skimp on ease of use or readability for the time it saves you. We found the results were given clearly after the 10 minutes were up, a speed that Roger Seheult, MD, medical advisor to On/Go, says is one of the reasons why the test was quick to receive the FDA’s approval for use.

“The test is really best for people who think they may be positive, which unfortunately is many of us this winter season,” says Dr. Seheult. 

As for the instructions, they were illustrated, which helped us work through the steps more easily, but we did think the print size was awfully small. (We recommend having your glasses on hand if you’re doing this test for the first time and need to follow the instructions step by step.) Alternatively, you can download the app for easier reading, which Dr. Seheult says includes free support post-results and even coordination of Paxlovid to your home, if you’re eligible. For the quick turnaround time on results, we couldn’t find a better test.

Price at time of publication: $20

Type: Rapid | Form: Nasal | Number of Tests Per Kit: 2 | Results Speed: 10 minutes

In/Go home covid 19 rapid antigen self test

Verywell Health / Jessica Juliao

What Our Testers Say

“I would recommend this test for people who are in a hurry, as it is one of the fastest I've come across. If you are hosting a party, running an athletic event, or going on a trip and want quick results at a good price, I'd recommend this one.”

Easiest to Use

InteliSwab COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test

4.3
Fixed image in Photoshop and fixed Owner section

Amazon

Pros
  • Only three steps

  • Super clear results

  • Good for elderly users

Cons
  • Larger-than-average nasal swab

  • 30-minute result window

If you want the easiest possible testing process, the OraSure InteliSwab test requires you to perform just three simple steps, making it the simplest test we tried in the Lab. There’s no solution mixing or test packet folding involved—we opened the tube, swabbed the nose, stuck the tube in the testing vial, and we were done. 

The ease of use here was notable compared to other tests, and we think it's a good option for the elderly or people who might otherwise have a hard time manipulating all the small components of other tests. We also liked that the device gave us our results in clear, bold print that was easy to read. The only downside we found in testing was that the swab itself is quite a bit larger than the standard swabs in other tests. While this is probably helpful for people who can’t easily handle small pieces, it could make testing more difficult for some (like kids).

Price at time of publication: $18

Type: Rapid | Form: Nasal | Number of Tests Per Kit: 2 | Results Speed: 30 minutes

Orasure Intelisweb hom covid 19 rapid antigen test

Verywell Health/ Jessica Juliao

What Our Testers Say

“I would recommend this for someone who doesn't want a lot of steps in the process of testing…Having a kit that is bold in print and easy to read, while being less complicated to set up, [would be helpful] for an elderly person.”

Best for People Who Have to Test Often

Boson Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Card

4.5
Boson Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Card

Amazon

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • Family size box of 8

  • Easy to read results

Cons
  • Extra step in testing process

  • Smaller units of tests currently unavailable

The Boson test card is primarily available in packs of 8 tests per box, which makes this test a streamlined option for people who need to test themselves regularly (and for 8 tests, the current listing price of $43 is a steal!). There is an extra step in the testing process, which we thought was slightly annoying: you have to leave the swab in the solution for one minute before you can put it in the tester to activate. 

However, this extra step didn’t affect the results window—we still received our results in 15 minutes. So even though we had to spend additional time on the test preparation, it didn’t slow us down overall. We also thought the results were clear, concise, and easy to read within the 15-minute window, so when you combine the test’s ease of use with its savings potential, it becomes a standout option for people who need to test themselves frequently.

Price at time of publication: $43

Type: Rapid | Form: Nasal | Number of Tests Per Kit: 8 | Results Speed: 15 minutes

Bason Rapid Sars Cov 2 antigent

Verywell Health / Jessica Juliao

What Our Testers Say

“This is a good product for a consumer who is on a tight budget and needs to test regularly.”

Best for Families

Clinitest Rapid Covid-19 Antigen Self-Test

4.6
Clinitest Rapid Covid-19 Antigen Self-Test

American Drug Test

Pros
  • Affordable for larger numbers of people

  • Easy to open packaging

  • Convenient, built-in swab holder

Cons
  • Extra step in testing process

  • No longer available on Amazon

Combining cost-effectiveness with a few extra ease-of-use features makes the Clinitest a solid choice for families wanting to streamline the testing process. For $35, you receive 5 tests—enough for a family on a budget to test all at once, even if you have to buy additional boxes. 


Although the Clinitest requires the same extra step as the Boson (leaving the swab in the solution for an additional minute before moving into the test phase), we noted a few other things that made the Clinitest a breeze to use. It was the first kit we tried where the nasal swab opened up easily, without a lot of manipulation. We also liked that the kit has a port on the box that you can punch in and use as a holding slot for the testing vial, with one tester remarking it “made the testing so much easier to do.” We were also happy with the quick and clear results given within 15 minutes.

Price at time of publication: $37

Type: Rapid | Form: Nasal | Number of Tests Per Kit: 4-5 | Results Speed: 15 minutes

Bason Rapid Sars Cov 2 antigent

Verywell Health / Jessica Juliao

What Our Testers Say

“Considering the bang for the buck, I would recommend this as my favorite test kit. It is easy to use and…if you are looking for an affordable kit for a group or need to test multiple times in one week, this is the test for you.”

Best Eco-Friendly

Indicaid COVID-19 Rapid Antigen At-Home Test

4.8
Indicaid COVID-19 Rapid Antigen At-Home Test

Amazon

Pros
  • Small packaging footprint

  • Comfortable, gentle nasal swab

  • Easy to squeeze dropper

Cons
  • Nasal swab was difficult to open

  • 20-minute results window

In testing, we found the Indicaid test to not only be gentler than most at-home kits but packaged in a way that reduces waste (since most components of a COVID test can’t be recycled except for the outer box). 

But that’s not the only good thing about the Indicaid. We thought it was easy to use, with a soft dropper that was easy to manipulate and clear, precise instructions perfectly suited to people who struggle to follow along with the test steps. We also noticed how much more comfortable it was than standard tests. One tester specifically mentioned that kids and people with sensitive noses might prefer this test since the swab was softer than average and gentle on the nasal cavity.

Price at time of publication: $17

Type: Rapid | Form: Nasal | Number of Tests Per Kit: 2 | Results Speed: 20 minutes

Indicaid covid-19 antigen home test

Verywell / Jessica Juliao

What Our Testers Say

“I’m happy that it was a small kit with a smaller box, which means less waste. These are not things you can recycle fully (except the box), so it's nice to know it produces less waste for the environment.”

How We Tested the At-Home COVID Tests

Under the guidance of medical professionals, we tested 16 at-home COVID test kits in the Verywell Lab. Because of the limitations of rapid antigen tests, we couldn’t evaluate the tests for accuracy. Instead, we focused on the testing process and the results delivered, considering how each test worked, how easy it was to follow the instructions, and how quickly and clearly the results were given.

To start, each tester washed their hands thoroughly and then unpacked everything from the kit being tested. We opened the instructions and considered how easy they were to follow, making note of confusing directions and how often we needed to read them in order to understand the steps. As we performed each test, we evaluated how easy it was to use each individual component, such as solution vials and test cards. After waiting for the time frame recommended by the manufacturer, we then reviewed our test results to see if they were clearly completed and displayed in the amount of time stated. 

We then gave each of the tests a rating across two categories: ease of use and performance. We gave higher ease of use ratings to tests that we felt could be used by anyone, and higher performance ratings to tests that provided clear, precise results within the stated amount of time. We gave lower ease of use ratings if the instructions were confusing or required multiple readings, and lower performance ratings if the test results were hard to interpret or incomplete after the state time frame.

0:26
Testing the Best At-Home Covid Tests for Speed and Accuracy

At-Home COVID Tests We Also Tested

In the Lab, we tested 16 different at-home COVID testing kits, but only 6 made our list of recommendations. The following tests gave us clear, precise results in a short window of time, but included other inconvenient features—like app-based instructions—that made the testing process more frustrating. 

  • Quidel QuickVue At-Home COVID-19 Test: This test had clear instructions and less packaging waste, but a slightly different testing and results-reading process that could be confusing if you’re used to doing most of the other at-home tests on the market now.    
  • Ellume COVID Test Kit: The app-based results are definitive and provide the next steps if you test positive, but both the instructions and the results can only be viewed on the app, limiting the use of this test to people with a smartphone (and savvy enough to use the app). 
  • BD Veritor At-Home COVID-19 Test Kit: Because the test results are displayed as “positive” or “negative” on the app, there’s no mistaking your results with this test, but there are no printed instructions, only a lengthy in-app video—and a lot of unnecessary, wasteful components.

What to Look for in At-Home COVID Tests

Results Speed

A big deciding factor when it comes to COVID-19 test kits is their results speed time. According to a board-certified allergist and immunologist Sanjeev Jain, MD, PhD, PCR tests must be mailed to a lab to test a collected sample, so it can take several days for them to notify you of a positive or negative result.

That may be fine if you’re getting ready to travel, working from home, or self-isolating because of potential exposure, but not if you were exposed several days ago and need to know ASAP if you’re infected. Most antigen tests provide results in anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, making them a better choice for instant results. 

Given that, it’s important to understand what, exactly, constitutes a positive at-home test. “When using an antigen test, make sure to read the instructions, especially about interpreting faint test result lines,” notes Dr. Blaivas. “A very faint line still means a positive test, and some people make the error of calling a test positive only when a thick and clear positive line is seen [but] this is not correct.”

Type of Test

To find the best at-home COVID-19 tests, we spoke with physicians to identify key features to consider when choosing a test. They recommended accounting for results speed, collection method, and different types of tests depending on needs.

We looked at tests granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA and considered each test based on its type and collection method, while also considering required technology, ease of use, and price tag. We've also updated our list to remove tests no longer being offered by manufacturers and to ensure none of the options have been recalled.

There are two primary types of at-home COVID-19 tests available on the market: antigen tests and PCR tests.

Antigen: An antigen test is “a diagnostic test that detects specific proteins from the virus.” Because of this, antigen tests can provide results quickly, thus are often used for rapid tests. However, these tests are most accurate when there’s a high viral load present. Because of this, people who have COVID-19 and only have a small viral load at the time of the test could potentially receive a false negative result. That being said, if you know you’ve been exposed to the virus, antigen tests can be a good first step to take when trying to prevent the spread of the illness.

Molecular: A molecular test is similar to an antigen test in that they both can detect if you have a current COVID-19 infection. Specifically, a molecular test is diagnostic in detecting “genetic material from the virus." While molecular tests take longer due to lab processing, with a speed of up to seven days depending on your location, you can rest assured that they’re more accurate than antigen tests. The test is considered “highly sensitive,” resulting in minimal false negative results. This type of test is best if you’re planning ahead and can stand to wait a bit longer for results, and are prioritizing test accuracy. 

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is a type of molecular test. It is “a diagnostic test that detects genetic material from the virus.” PCR tests amplify the viral genetic material, which makes them more sensitive and thus more likely to be accurate. However, the added amplification step requires in-lab testing, which takes longer to process results.

“A PCR test may be a good option if you have been recently exposed and are not symptomatic because it can detect the virus at lower levels in the body,” says Dr. Jain. He adds that while antigen tests give quicker results, they require more of the virus to be present in the body for a positive test result. “Antigen tests are an accurate way to test for COVID-19 in symptomatic persons.”

Accuracy and Recalls

It’s important to note that a number of at-home COVID-19 tests have been recalled for false positives or negatives, though this is less likely to occur now that manufacturing processes have become more uniform and regulations have become better understood, says Dr. Seheult. For example, he explains, in some cases, specific lots of the reagents used in the test didn’t function the way they should have and gave false positive results more frequently. 

We are closely monitoring the recalls in this product category and will update this document immediately as needed.

Method of Collection

There are three ways a COVID-19 test sample can be collected: nasal swab, oral swab, and saliva “spit tube.” You should take the user into consideration before choosing a test. Kids, for example, may be more willing participants in a spit test rather than a nasal swab—but it’s important to know that not all collection methods are created equal.

“Studies have shown that nasal tests and saliva tests are more accurate in detecting COVID-19 than throat swabs, and have become the best-practice standard when performing COVID-19 testing,” says Dr. Jain.

In fact, a 2021 study showed saliva and nasal samples to be equally sensitive in detecting the virus across variable stages of illness.

FDA Emergency Use Authorization

Just because your local drugstore is selling it doesn’t mean a certain test is a smart purchase. If it hasn’t been authorized by the FDA, you should pass it over for one that has. Our roundup only includes tests that have been authorized by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization.

“The FDA maintains a list of tests that have authorization, and using an FDA-authorized test ensures that it meets standards for performance and quality control,” explains Dr. Morris. “Many pharmacies sell devices that are authorized, and these are typically not costly. Be cautious of unbranded or very cheap tests, especially those that may come without instructions.”

Some of the previous recalls were due to tests being inappropriately imported into the U.S., says Dr. Seheult, who adds that most of these were unauthorized sister products of approved products by the same company that were mistakenly imported.

Finally, Dr. Blaivas recommends checking the FDA’s medical device recalls website to make sure the test you’re considering hasn’t been pulled from the market because it doesn’t detect newer mutations of COVID, since that affects the test’s accuracy.

FDA Warns About Counterfeit Home COVID-19 Test Kits

You should be aware of counterfeit at-home over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 diagnostic tests, as they are not authorized by the FDA. These tests may increase the risk of false results, and they should not be used or distributed. The FDA has identified counterfeit versions of the authorized iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Home Tests, among others.


Signs that a test may be counterfeit include:

  • The box label, trade name, or printed instructions for use look different from the authorized labeling found on the FDA website
  • Poor print quality of images or text on the packaging or instructions
  • Missing information on the packaging label (such as the lot number, expiration date, or barcode or QR codes)
  • Grammatical or spelling errors on labels


Visit the FDA's website to learn more about Counterfeit At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do at-home COVID-19 tests work?

    There are two main types of at-home COVID-19 tests: PCR and antigen. Depending on your health priorities, you may want to look for one over the other.

    “A PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, home test [obtains saliva or] a sample of cells from the nasal passages, which is mailed back to a lab to be tested for COVID-19 DNA,” explains Dr. Sanjeev Jain. “If COVID-19 DNA is detected within the sample, the test would be considered positive, and if no DNA is detected, it would be considered negative.”

    But because DNA testing needs to be done in a lab, the rapid antigen tests performed entirely at home use a different metric to determine the presence of the virus.

    “[Rapid tests] are different in that they check for antigens, which are a specific type of protein found on the COVID-19 virus,” says Dr. Jain. “The COVID-19 antigen tests are able to give almost immediate at-home results by telling you whether or not the proteins found on the COVID-19 virus are detected in the sample.”

  • Are at-home COVID-19 tests accurate?

    If you’re not a healthcare professional, can you trust the results you receive from taking samples of your own bodily fluids and testing them for COVID-19? Surprisingly, yes—but with some caveats.

    “The ability to detect COVID-19 in a self-collected sample is very comparable to a sample collected by a healthcare provider,” says Dr. Jain, “[although the accuracy of PCR and antigen] tests can be impacted by the timing of the test and the quality of the specimen collected.” 

    In other words, the person collecting the sample is a less impactful variable than the exposure timeline or your symptom profile—a rapid test performed on an asymptomatic person is less likely to come back positive than a PCR test, even if a doctor collects the sample.

    When taking an antigen test, you may need to test once and then wait a few days (when your viral load could be higher) to test again for the most accurate results. This may be needed if you develop symptoms after the first antigen test.

    “It’s important to follow the specific instructions of each test as written by the manufacturer, including how to collect the sample, how to handle it, and how to interpret the test strip or read-out device,” explains Dr. Morris. “Each one is slightly different, and a patient should not assume that they know how to perform a test based on using one in the past.”

  • Can you use an at-home COVID-19 test to be approved to travel?

    If you’re pressed for time or limiting interaction outside your home, you may be considering using an at-home COVID-19 test for travel purposes. 

    According to CDC guidelines, you can use a self-test, also known as a home test, if it’s a COVID-19 viral test that has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA or relevant national authority in the location where the test is done. 

    While many at-home tests can be done independently, for travel intentions, the testing process needs to include “a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection."

    Additionally, the telehealth provider needs to confirm your identity, observe the sample and testing process, confirm the positive or negative result, and issue documentation that meets the CDC’s Order requirements. 

    Once reaching the airport, you may be requested to present official documentation of your test results—with airlines needing to review and confirm your identity and test results. 

    If you’re traveling internationally, be prepared for some nations to restrict tests that aren’t authorized at the travel destination. Plan ahead by contacting your destination for further information before you embark.

  • How much can I expect to pay for an at-home COVID-19 test?

    Prices vary depending on the type of test. There was a time when people could order free at-home tests through the United States Postal Service. However, Congress didn’t renew funding for the program, so it was suspended on Sept. 2, 2022.

    The at-home COVID-19 tests that we selected range from $16.99 (for the OraSure InteliSwab, At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test) to $43 (for the Boson Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Card X). But the more expensive options, like Boson and the Clinitest Rapid Covid-19 Antigen Self-Test X, include five or more tests per box, making them fairly cost-effective for families or large groups of people.

    Our top overall pick, the iHealth Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test X, is available for $18 at Amazon.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017: everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that help you manage everyday conditions. Although she didn’t personally test the products featured in this list, she has experience testing other personal care products for Verywell Health.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Yale Medicine. Which COVID-19 test should you get?

  3. Butler-Laporte G, Lawandi A, Schiller I, et al. Comparison of saliva and nasopharyngeal swab nucleic acid amplification testing for detection of SARS-CoV-2: a systematic review and meta-analysisJAMA Intern Med. 2021;181(3):353–360. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.8876

  4. Food and Drug Administration. In vitro diagnostics EUSs - antigen diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2.

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  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19.