Best paternity test

Pregnancy

Some companies keep your samples and sell your information to third parties, so if you’re concerned about your privacy, double-check the test maker’s policies before sending anything in.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which paternity test is best?

You don’t have to go to the doctor to receive an accurate paternity test, with many options available for home use. They are quick, easy, safe and non-invasive though the accuracy of results can significantly depend on the specific test used. 

So how do you know if your paternity test is a quality test that will deliver a court of law recognized result? You use the My Forever DNA paternity testing kit. This is the premium choice with 24 markers for the most accurate results. They also have fast and discrete results with onboard customer service you can call to help walk you through the admittedly complex instructions.

What to know before you buy a paternity test

Accuracy

A paternity test looks at markers to determine how similar the potential father and child’s DNA are to each other. The more markers they examine, the higher the accuracy of the test. For the best accuracy, be sure to use a paternity test with at least 20 markers.

Processing times

Unfortunately, paternity tests don’t give at-home results like pregnancy tests do as they are more complex, so you’ll have to ship out your samples to a lab for results. This can take anywhere from two to five business days once the lab receives the samples to process. If time is critical, you can find tests that guarantee results in as soon as two days.

What to look for in a quality paternity test

Sample type

Most paternity tests use cheek swabs to collect DNA samples since they’re fast, easy and non-invasive, which is essential for collecting a young child’s sample that may struggle to hold still. Each test kit will say what sample it requires.

Multiple adult samples

Typically, a paternity test will only include a cheek swab for the alleged father and the child. Should you wish to test multiple men’s DNA against the child’s, you have a few options. Some tests offer the option to add additional swabs for processing for an additional cost, while others require purchasing an entirely new test kit. Others also allow you to include the mother’s DNA to aid in achieving accurate results.

Delivery of results

Paternity test results usually arrive either physically mailed or in digital forms, which you can determine before purchasing the paternity test. If you need results fast, try and find an option with online results. They are also frequently bundled with status updates of your processing that you can locate by logging into the test kit manufacturer’s website using in-box instructions.

Legality

Most paternity tests are not admissible in court, meaning the courts won’t recognize them as proof or disproof of paternity at a legally binding level. For your paternity test to be considered admissible or factually relevant, you’ll need to take a specific version of the test in the lab directly or in front of an unbiased third party. For more information on legality, visit the paternity test buying guide from BestReviews.

How much you can expect to spend on a paternity test

Paternity tests aren’t just one expense, but three different possible rounds of cost to you. The test kit itself can cost anywhere $15-$150, followed by the lab fees, which can either be included with the test kit or can cost an additional fee that’s often $100 or more. Finally, the shipping and handling can also be included or an additional cost.

Paternity test FAQ

Is the DNA of the mother required for paternity testing?

A. No, a sample of the mother’s DNA is not required though some testing kits offer to process the mother’s DNA as well, which could improve the accuracy of the result should you include it.

Is it safe to collect samples from an infant for use in a paternity test? 

A. Absolutely. Paternity tests collect samples using cheek swabs, which are not dangerous to the infant or the possible parents.

If the alleged father is deceased, is there still a way to perform a paternity test?

A. Traditional paternity tests require a sample of the alleged father’s DNA. If you happen to have such a sample, you can find a test that can use it, whatever form it may be. If you don’t have a direct sample, you could also perform a sibling DNA test if the alleged father had other children. However, these results are not as accurate or definitive as traditional paternity tests.

What’s the best paternity test to buy?

Top paternity test 

My Forever DNA

My Forever DNA

What you need to know: Fast results with discrete service add to the already exemplary nature of the test itself.

What you’ll love: If you need any help, the service provides free customer support to walk you through the testing process.

What you should consider: The instructions can be challenging to follow and understand due to their complex testing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top paternity test for the money

STK’s Paternity Test Kit

STK’s Paternity Test Kit

What you need to know: This is an affordable and quick paternity test for those in need.

What you’ll love: The status and results of this test are both easily found on the manufacturer’s website.

What you should consider: There is no legal system that recognizes the results of this specific test, so you cannot use it in a court of law.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

DNA Direct Paternity Test

DNA Direct Paternity Test

What you need to know: This is the paternity test for those who require fast-as-possible results.

What you’ll love: Shipping is included, and the test provides results within only 2 days.

What you should consider: This test only has 22 markers, a lower number than other test options. This means the results are less accurate than options with more markers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Jordan C. Woika  writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.