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No matter what time of year it is, it seems to always be “that time of year” for allergies. And it’s no wonder. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, more than 50 million people in the United States have an allergy.

Whether it’s something in the air or something on your plate, an at-home allergy test can help figure out what’s got you drying your watery eyes. But how do you know which one is right for you? We scratched that itch for you and rounded up the best at-home allergy tests for 2021.

At-home allergy tests use the same basic model: you provide some kind of DNA sample, a lab tests it, and you get the results. But how the sample is collected, what the lab tests for, and how the results are delivered can make all the difference when picking your test.

There are a lot of different kinds of allergy tests out there, so we made sure to include a solid range of the following when Ah-choosing the best at-home allergy tests:

  • Allergens tested. Allergens can be found indoors, outdoors, in our food, and all throughout the year. Some tests focus on a certain category, while others are a great catchall for people who have no idea what’s causing their allergies.
  • Sample collection. Some at-home allergy tests send you a kit that includes a small lancet so you can give a finger-prick blood sample, but others require you to visit a local lab to get blood drawn.
  • The lab. In the United States, CLIA certification is the gold standard for lab quality. But in today’s global economy, some labs are located outside the U.S. where quality accreditations differ.
  • Results. Knowing your results is one thing but understanding them is another. From personalized reports to virtual consultations, there’s a range of educational resources that come along with your results.

Best overall at-home allergy test

imaware IgE Allergy Test

  • Price: $$$
  • Test type: blood sample
  • Tests for: 68 indoor, outdoor, and food allergens
  • Results in: 7 days
  • Insurance: not covered

The winner of best overall at-home allergy test goes to imaware’s IgE Allergy test. This test earned the top spot because it checks all the boxes:

  • easy, three-step process: order the kit, collect your sample, and mail it back
  • tests a wide range of allergens, including indoor, outdoor, and food
  • free shipping
  • accepts FSA/HSA
  • labs are based in the U.S. and are CLIA- and CAP-certified
  • physician reviewed results

The results will show elevated IgE levels (the antibody that triggers allergies) for each of the 68 individual allergens tested. IgE allergy tests can’t diagnose an allergy, but they’re helpful in identifying what allergens could be causing your symptoms. Always speak with a doctor though, preferably an allergist, to better understand your test results.

Reviewers agree the instructions are simple and the whole process is quick and easy. But some customers say the lancet is too weak and it’s tough to get enough blood.

Best at-home allergy test for seasonal allergies

Healthlabs.com Seasonal Allergen Testing

  • Price: $$–$$$
  • Test type: blood sample
  • Tests for: seasonal respiratory allergens
  • Results in: 1–2 days
  • Insurance: not covered

If you notice that your allergies tend to bug you most during different seasons, a season-specific test like this one can help you squash ’em.

Healthlabs.com offers allergy panel tests specific to different seasons — spring, summer, fall — as well as a year-round panel. Each panel tests for the tree, grass, weed, animal, dust, or mold allergens that are most common for that time of year.

A couple benefits to this test:

  • review your results (with one of the company’s certified health specialists on the phone or through live chat)
  • accepts FSA/HSA
  • 110 percent price guarantee (meaning if you find the same test for a lower price, the company will match it and then give you a 10 percent discount)

But here’s the catch: this at-home test isn’t entirely at-home. You’ll have to go to one of the company’s partner labs to get your blood drawn. This may be good news for people not keen on handling their own blood sample, but others may find it less convenient.

Luckily, Healthlabs.com has over 4,500 lab partners nationwide and they are all CLIA-certified. The company claims you don’t need an appointment, but check with the lab you plan to go to — some reviewers say wait times can be a surprisingly long.

Best at-home allergy test for respiratory allergies

EverlyWell Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test

  • Price: $$
  • Test type: blood
  • Tests for: 40 indoor and outdoor allergens
  • Results in: 5 days
  • Insurance: not covered

If you know your symptoms are from what you’re breathing rather than what you’re eating, then this test from Everlywell can help filter out which allergens could be bothering you. It wins best at-home allergy test for respiratory allergies because it tests for 40 specific airborne allergens.

The test uses a finger prick blood sample to analyze your IgE reactivity to common indoor and outdoor allergens, including grasses, trees, weeds, mold, pet allergens, pests, and dust mites. Benefits to this test include:

  • uses CLIA-certified labs
  • accepts FSA/HSA
  • free shipping
  • physician reviewed results
  • access to a group webinar with a healthcare professional to learn how to read your results and ask questions

Reviewers say the results are useful and easy to understand. But some customers complain it takes too long to get them and trying to reach customer service is a nightmare. The company says results are available in 5 days, but the website also mentions they could be delayed due to high demand.

Best at-home allergy test for pet allergies

ACCESALABS Cat & Dog Allergy Test Panel

  • Price: $
  • Test type: blood sample
  • Tests for: cat and dog dander
  • Results in: 4 days
  • Insurance: not covered

Looking at your furry friend as the reason for your sneezin’? This at-home test is budget-friendly and gets right to the point, testing only for reactions to cat and dog dander.

But, like the seasonal allergies test, this one also requires a trip to the lab. Accesa Labs is partnered with Quest Diagnostics to take your blood sample. Quest Diagnostics has around 2,000 locations nationwide so finding a location near you shouldn’t be a problem.

All Quest Diagnostic labs are CLIA-certified so you don’t need to worry about quality. Customers say it’s easy to purchase the test online and schedule your lab appointment, and the results come quickly.

Best budget at-home allergy test

TestMyAllergy Allergy 35 Test

  • Price: $
  • Test type: blood sample
  • Tests for: 35 allergens
  • Results in: 5–7 days
  • Insurance: not covered

If you suspect you could have an allergy but have no clue what it could be, this budget pick from TestMyAllergy is a really good place to start. Not only is it the cheapest option on our list, but it’ll also give you results for 35 common allergens that’ll give you a solid starting point for figuring out what’s causing your symptoms.

The test includes:

  • a sample kit, return envelope, and downloadable report
  • options for individual, couples, and families
  • results for 35 allergens, including pollen, pets, mold, eggs, milk, wheat, and soy
  • a full report with detailed results and recommendations

A downside to this test is the labs are in the United Kingdom and some customers claim the distance causes delays in shipping the kits and receiving results. But most reviewers enjoy their experience and say they’ve seen improvements since changing their diet based on the results.

It depends on what kind of allergy you’re trying to test for and what your goal is. Here’s what to know:

If you’re testing for non-food allergies

Common symptoms of allergies include:

  • itchy, watery, or red eyes
  • sneezing or coughing
  • scratchy throat after exposure to allergen
  • itching, hives, or skin rashes
  • headaches
  • congestion

If you experience any of these symptoms, an at-home allergy test can help you understand why. The more you understand what allergens don’t agree with you, the more you can avoid them.

But results from an at-home test are not a diagnosis. An at-home allergy test can help you identify allergens that might be causing your symptoms, but it’s not the same as going to the doctor. Studies show a diagnostic work-up by a physician remains the only proven method to diagnose allergies.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology you should see a doctor if:

  • Your allergies cause recurring sinus infections, congestion, or difficulty breathing.
  • Your allergy symptoms last for several months out of the year.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicine doesn’t help.
  • Your allergies interfere with your daily quality of life.

If you’re testing for food allergies or intolerances

Unfortunately, at-home allergy tests aren’t a great option for food allergy or food intolerance testing.

Food allergies involve your immune system and can trigger a reaction by touching, inhaling, or ingesting even microscopic amounts of food. They can cause a range of symptoms, like hives, itchy skin, vomiting, diarrhea, and even anaphylaxis.

While at-home tests can help you identify what foods could be causing milder symptoms, you should always work with a doctor to confirm a diagnosis. Your doctor can also prescribe certain medications — like an EpiPen — to use in case of an emergency.

Food intolerances are caused by a reaction of your digestive system and can cause symptoms like gas, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.

While many companies claim to offer food intolerance testing that test IgG4 (a type of antibody) levels in your blood, this type of test has not been scientifically proven to accurately test for food intolerances or sensitivities and the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) recommends against their use. In fact, the AAAI believes that high levels of IgG4 to certain foods might even be associated with a higher tolerance to those foods.

If you suspect you have a food intolerance or sensitivity, you should work with a doctor or nutritionist to do an elimination diet. We know it sucks, but better to save your money and do it the old fashion way instead of potentially cutting out healthy foods that aren’t the true cause of your reaction.

If you’re itching to know what’s causing your eyes to water or giving you hives, an at-home allergy test can help identify some possible suspects. They’re convenient, easy to complete, and relatively inexpensive.

BUT some types of at-home allergy tests aren’t scientifically proven to be accurate and they’re usually not covered by insurance.

If you do decide to do an at-home allergy test, make sure to also schedule an appointment with your doctor or an allergist to follow up about your results. They’ll help create a plan specifically designed for you to manage your symptoms and get that sweet sweet relief.