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Best Pregnancy Tests of 2021

Updated
Which pregnancy tests are accurate and straightforward?

We’ve been there many times. Either you’re trying to get pregnant and desperate to know if this is THE month, or you’re taking the test with your fingers crossed for a negative result. In both cases, you need a pregnancy test you can rely on.

But which test do you choose? What are the differences? When should you use them? Are they accurate? We answer all of these questions, and more, plus share the best pregnancy tests available today.

And yes, we’ve used so many pregnancy tests so often that we have favorites!

Our Top Picks

We love honesty! Mom Loves Best earns a commission through the following hand-picked links at no extra cost to you.
Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Clearblue Clearblue Pregnancy Test Combo Pack, 4ct - 2 Digital with Smart...
Best Digital Pregnancy Test
Clearblue: Pregnancy Test: Combo Pack
  • Easy-to-read digital display
  • Wide testing tip for easy aim
  • Anti-flooding design
Product Image of the First Response Triple Check Pregnancy Test 3 ct.
Best Pregnancy Test Kit
First Response: Triple Check Pregnancy Test Kit
  • Cost-effective pack
  • Extra sensitive early test included
  • Free app will read your test
Product Image of the Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown, 3 count
Best User-Friendly Pregnancy Test
Clearblue: Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown
  • Fast, get result in 1-3 mins
  • Clear digital display
  • Smart countdown timer
Product Image of the First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test, 3 Count (Packaging & Test Design May...
Best Sensitive Pregnancy Test
First Response: Early Result Pregnancy Test
  • The most accurate early test
  • App converts lines result to words
  • 3-pack allows for repeat testing
Product Image of the AccuMed Pregnancy Test Strips, 25-Count Individually Wrapped Pregnancy Strips,...
Best Cheap Pregnancy Test
AccuMed: Pregnancy Test Strips
  • Excellent value for money
  • Easy to use
  • Can be used up to 5 days before period
Product Image of the PREGMATE 10 Pregnancy Midstream Test Kit (10 Count)
Best Pregnancy Test Pack
Pregmate: 10 Pregnancy Midstream Test Kit
  • Exceptionally good value
  • 10 individually wrapped sticks
  • Sensitive enough for early use
Product Image of the Clearblue Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test, 2 Count
Fastest Pregnancy Test
Clearblue: Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test
  • Color changing tip
  • Only takes 3 minutes to show results
  • Accurate, non-digital test

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Pregnancy tests work by detecting hCG in the urine. This hormone is produced during the early stages of pregnancy and rapidly increases as the pregnancy progresses. A certain amount of hCG will be passed in your urine, and this is what a pregnancy test detects.

When to Take a Pregnancy Test

Some early pregnancy tests can be taken five days before the expected day of your next period. However, even the most sensitive early test may give a false negative. Although there is some hCG in the urine, there is not enough for the test to pick up.

Think of it like this:

Imagine your urine is an Olympic size swimming pool full of water. Someone puts a few drops of food coloring in the pool, but you can’t see it because your eyes are not sensitive enough to pick up on such a tiny amount.

Now imagine someone dumps 2,000 gallons of food coloring into the pool. Now there is enough color in the pool for you to see.

Pregnancy tests work the same way. If a home pregnancy test detects hCG in the urine, it will display positive; if not, it will display negative. But there needs to be a high enough hCG level in your urine for the test to “see” it.

This is also why it’s best to take a test first thing in the morning. This is when the concentration of hCG in your urine is highest.

An early pregnancy test has to be performed with the first urine of the day. It’s best to perform a test on the day of your missed period with your first pee, and this becomes less important until six weeks after your last period when you can detect hCG in urine at any time of day.

How Accurate Are Pregnancy Tests?

Pregnancy tests can show a negative result, even though you are pregnant. This happens when:

  • It’s too early in your pregnancy, and the pregnancy test is not sensitive enough to pick up very low levels of hCG.
  • You had a lot to drink before the test, and the amount of hCG in your urine is very dilute.
  • The test has not been performed correctly.

A pregnancy test will not show a positive result without the presence of hCG, but in rare cases, a woman may produce hCG without being pregnant. These include:

  • A “biochemical pregnancy.” An egg is fertilized but does not implant in the uterus. The tiny bundle of cells produces hCG, which, in some cases, can be detected, but the woman doesn’t go onto being pregnant because the cells do not implant and grow into a fetus (1).
  • Pituitary hCG is occasionally produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. Most women with pituitary hCG are over 55, but rarely, individuals as young as 41 may produce it (2).

Independent testing of home pregnancy tests shows they are not necessarily as accurate as the “99% accurate on the first day of your missed period” as they claim. However, for the majority of users, most tests will detect between 80 and 95 pregnancies out of every 100 pregnant women (3).

How to Choose the Best Pregnancy Test

If you are trying to decide between the myriad of tests available, here’s what to consider when choosing a pregnancy test.

Type

Does the test have a digital display or one in which you look at how many stripes there are? Some strip tests can show very faint lines in the early days of pregnancy, leaving you unsure about the result, but digital will say pregnant or not pregnant on the display.

Sensitivity

Early pregnancy tests may give you a positive result up to five days sooner because they are more sensitive and will pick up lower hCG levels in your urine. However, they are not as accurate as standard tests and are more likely to give a false negative.

Also worth thinking about is this:

The American Pregnancy Association states that between 50% & 75% of pregnancies end before the first day of your expected period (4). This means that if you do get a positive on an early home pregnancy test, the chances are high that the pregnancy is not viable.

If you are trying hard to become pregnant or excited by the prospect, it is worth considering that an early test that gives a positive result may lead to joy which can turn to sorrow a few days later.

Consider whether you would rather wait a few days and not experience the rollercoaster.

Speed

While most tests take between three and five minutes to give a result, rapid tests will provide a result in one minute.

Test Accuracy

Independent testing shows all brands have roughly the same level of accuracy when used on the day you expect your period or later.

So we didn’t simply trust the packaging claims; we only considered independently tested results. These results showed all of the tests were close to 100% accurate the day after you expect your period. Before that, accuracy for all was in the following range:

Standard Test Early Test
The day you expect your period 99% 99%
One day before 95% 99%
Two days before 90% 98%
Three days before 82% 89%
Four days before 51% 78%
Five days before 62%

User Friendly

The plastic stick tests are just the same as strip tests, except they are in a nice holder that can be easier to use. Some plastic stick tests allow you to hold the test in your urine stream while you pee, while others tests require you to pee in a cup or and dunk the test.

Also, digital tests can be easier to read, removing some of the “is that a second line or not?” issues we often face.

Value for Money

Some brands produce a mixed pack of early, rapid, and regular tests, which can be cost-effective for an early test with a later follow-up. Multipacks also offer more value and are a good choice when you’re trying to get pregnant and may go through several tests over several months.

Budget

A single, standard plastic stick test costs around $7 while a two-pack comes in at around $10. Early detection tests usually come in packs of three and cost between $10-$15. Meanwhile, you can pick up a 25 pack of reliable test strips for under $10.


The Best Pregnancy Tests of 2021

Having done a pregnancy test or two — think in the hundreds — we have plenty of experience. Considering that experience, the buying criteria above, and feedback from hundreds of other home pregnancy test users, these are our picks for the seven best pregnancy tests.

1. Clearblue: Pregnancy Test: Combo Pack

Best Digital Pregnancy Test

This combo pack from Clearblue contains two rapid tests and two digital tests. Although only two tests in the kit are digital, Clearblue is the winner in this category because their digital test is the best, and this combo pack offers excellent value for money.

The packaging states they recommend testing on the day of your missed period. They also say you can use the test up to four days earlier. However, that would mean a reduction in accuracy.

Pros

  • Easy-to-read digital display.
  • Wide testing tip for “easy aim.”
  • Anti-flooding design prevents too much urine from entering the test.

Cons

  • Only 51% of pregnancies give a positive four days before your missed period.

Additional Specs

Test type Plastic stick
Result display 2 digital, 2 line readers
When to use Day of missed period
Time for results Rapid 1 min, Digital 1-3 mins
FSA & HSA eligible? Yes

2. First Response: Triple Check Pregnancy Test Kit

Best Pregnancy Test Kit

The First Response triple check pregnancy test kit contains one extra sensitive early test, one rapid response test, and one digital test.

The early test can be used up to five days before the first day of your expected period, at which point it will be roughly 76% accurate. However, wait another day, and the accuracy jumps to 89%.

This three-pack allows you to test early, test again the day you expect your period, and again the date after.

Pros

  • Cost-effective pack.
  • Extra sensitive early test included.
  • Free app will “read” your test.

Cons

  • The digital tests occasionally malfunction.

Additional Specs

Test type Plastic stick
Result display 1 digital, 2 line readers
When to use Day period is due -5 days
Time for results Rapid – 1 min, Digital 1-3 mins
FSA & HSA eligible? Yes

3. Clearblue: Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown

Best User-Friendly Pregnancy Test

My favorite feature on this test is the smart countdown. It consists of four blocks on the digital screen, the first of which starts flashing to let you know the test is working. The other blocks light up as the test progresses until your result is ready and displayed on the screen.

The digital display says either Pregnant or Not Pregnant, meaning you don’t have to spend time squinting at a window trying to work out whether there is a faint line or not.

Pros

  • Fast, get result in 1-3 mins.
  • Clear digital display.
  • Smart countdown timer reassures users that the test is working.

Cons

  • Not sensitive enough for early use.

Additional Specs

Test type Plastic strip
Result display Digital
When to use Day of missed period
Time for results 1-3 mins
FSA & HSA eligible? Yes

4. First Response: Early Result Pregnancy Test

Best Sensitive Pregnancy Test

The early pregnancy test from First Response has “six days sooner” written on the packaging, but this is a little deceptive. This means six days, including the day your period is due. So, effectively this is five days before your period, and not six.

This test has been shown, by independent research, to be the most reliable early pregnancy test available for home use. That said, it was not quite as reliable as the packaging claims. Independent testing suggests this test is 62% accurate five days before your period is due.

Pros

  • The most accurate early test.
  • App converts lines result to words.
  • Three-pack allows for repeat testing.

Cons

  • Only 62% accurate at period -5 days.

Additional Specs

Test type Plastic stick
Result display Line reader
When to use Up to five days before period is due
Time for results 3 mins
FSA & HSA eligible? Yes

5. AccuMed: Pregnancy Test Strips

Best Cheap Pregnancy Test

This multi-pack from AccuMed contains 25 individually wrapped test strips.

To use, you have to pee in a shallow cup or bowl and dunk the strip in the urine for a full three seconds. Then, lay the strip on a flat, dry surface for five minutes before reading the results. One line shows the test has worked but is negative, two lines are positive.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money.
  • Easy to use — just dunk and wait.
  • Can be used up to five days before period.

Cons

  • Positive line may be too faint.

Additional Specs

Test type Strip
Result display Line reader
When to use 5 days before period is due
Time for results 5 mins
FSA & HSA eligible? No

6. Pregmate: 10 Pregnancy Midstream Test Kit

Best Pregnancy Test Pack

These are the cheapest, made in the USA, plastic stick mutli-pack we found! This Pregmate kit is as reliable as it is affordable. While Pregmate also produces a series of multi-packs for their strip tests, I like this version because of its ease of use.

Ditch the hassle of peeing in a cup, dunking the strip, and laying it flat. With these, you can simply hold the tip in your urine stream for three seconds and you’re done.

Pros

  • 10 tests for the same cost as two tests of other brands is exceptionally good value.
  • 10 individually wrapped sticks.
  • Sensitive enough for early use.

Cons

  • Some users feel the result is not clear because of a faint second line.

Additional Specs

Test type Plastic stick
Result display Line reader
When to use Up to period -5 days
Time for results Five mins
FSA & HSA eligible? No

7. Clearblue: Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test

Fastest Pregnancy Test

Okay, the “Rapid Detection” labelling on this from Clearblue is a little deceptive. You can use this no earlier than other tests and you have to wait 3 minutes for the result, which is the same amount of time as the Clearblue digital test.

So, if you’re buying this for speed, there’s no advantage over the digital, but if you’re buying it as a fast, accurate, non-digital pregnancy test, this is the one for you.

Pros

  • Color-changing tip to confirm you have enough pee.
  • Only takes three minutes to show results.

Cons

  • No faster than many other tests.

Additional Specs

Test type Plastic stick
Result display Line reader
When to use Expected day of period -4
Time for results 3 mins
FSA & HSA eligible? Yes

Pregnancy Test Comparison Chart

Product Best Test type Result display When to use Time for results FSA & HSA eligible?
Clearblue: Pregnancy Test: Combo Pack Best Digital Pregnancy Test Plastic stick 2 digital, 2 line readers Day of missed period Rapid 1 min, Digital 1-3 mins Yes
First Response: Triple Check Pregnancy Test Kit Best Pregnancy Test Kit Plastic stick 1 digital, 2 line readers Day period is due -5 days Rapid – 1 min, Digital 1-3 mins Yes
Clearblue: Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown Best User-Friendly Test Plastic strip Digital Day of missed period 1-3 mins Yes
First Response: Early Result Pregnancy Test Best Sensitive Pregnancy Test Plastic stick Line reader Up – 5 days before period is due 3 mins Yes
AccuMed: Pregnancy Test Strips Best Cheap Pregnancy Test Strip Line reader 5 days before period is due 5 mins No
Pregmate: 10 Pregnancy Midstream Test Kit Best Pregnancy Test Pack Plastic stick Line reader Up – period -5 days Five mins No
Clearblue: Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test Fastest Pregnancy Test Plastic stick Line reader Expected day of period -4 3 mins Yes

FAQs About Pregnancy Tests

These are the questions we hear most often about pregnancy tests.

How Many Pregnancy Tests Should I Take?

Unless you made a mistake and didn’t follow the test instructions correctly, don’t take multiple tests on the same day, or the next. The results will be the same.

If your pregnancy test is positive, there is little value in taking additional tests in the hope they will be negative. Instead, make an appointment with a medical practitioner and discuss what happens next.

If your result is negative, wait a week before taking another test. This is especially true if you take the first test before the day your period is due. At this stage, there’s still a good chance these tests will provide a false negative.

If you can’t wait that long — and I’ve been there — do wait at the very least two days, preferably four. On average your hCG levels double every two days, so even waiting one day is unlikely to change the result.

If you continue to get negative results and you are still late, visit a doctor as there are many other medical reasons why your period can be late.

How Long Does It Take for Hcg to Show Up in Urine?

Levels of hCG will show up in urine between 11 to 14 days after conception. However, hCG levels vary from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy so there are no hard and fast rules about the exact amount of hCG in the urine at a specific point in pregnancy.

Weeks since the last menstrual period Days since conception Typical hCG levels in mIU/ml
3 7 5 – 50
4 14 5 – 426
5 21 18 – 7,340
6 28 1,080 – 56,500
7-8 35 – 42 7, 650 – 229,000
9-12 49 – 70 25,700 – 288,000
13-16 77 – 100 13,300 – 254,000
17-24 101-168 4,060 – 165,400
25-40 168+ 3,640 – 117,000

Which Urine Is Best for a Pregnancy Test?

The first urine of the morning is best for a pregnancy test because it has the highest concentration of hCG in your pee. The only exception to this is, if you are working nights, then the first urine after you have woken up from your longest block of sleep is best.

Are Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests Accurate?

Dollar store pregnancy tests are as accurate as any other test.

How Do You Tell If You’re Pregnant Without a Test?

In the early stages, the only reliable way to tell whether or not you are pregnant is a test or an ultrasound.

There are early physical signs that you may be pregnant. However, some people do not experience any of these signs, others have them come and go, and some have all of the symptoms hit them hard.

In addition to a missed period, early symptoms of pregnancy can include:

  • A light or spotty period: This is not a period but bleeding is caused by the egg implanting into the wall of your uterus and breaking a few of the delicate blood vessels.
  • An increase in your temperature: Your basal body temperature, or BBT, is your temperature when resting. If you wake up feeling hotter than usual, without any other reason, it could be a sign of pregnancy.
  • Breast tenderness: The early symptom most women experience is tender breasts. Pregnancy causes a surge in hormones which tend to result in sore boobs.
  • Frequent urination: The sudden need to pee more frequently and more urgently can be a sign of pregnancy.
  • Morning sickness: Not everyone experiences morning sickness, and it is more common for morning sickness to begin at around eight weeks of pregnancy. However, it’s not unknown for it to occur earlier. Morning sickness or nausea can happen any time of the day and can range from feeling a little nauseous to severe vomiting.
  • Other symptoms have an extensive range of causes, so you shouldn’t take any one of them alone as a sign of pregnancy. However, you might notice:

The Best Pregnancy Tests

To get an accurate result from a pregnancy test, you have to follow the instructions carefully and perform the test simultaneously.

Ideally, you should wait until the day after your period is due and use the first urine of the day. Doing so will give you as close to a 100% accurate result as you’ll get.

No matter what the result, follow up with a healthcare practitioner as soon as practical because early prenatal care is critical, and there are plenty of other reasons for a late period.

Headshot of Patricia Barnes

About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.

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