23andMe Logo
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74 User Reviews

8.2

Overall Score

LAST UPDATED: September 9th, 2021

Founded in 2006, 23andMe is a DNA testing company with more than five million users. It offers consumers the opportunity to learn several different types of data from their DNA, including the following: 

  • Ancestry reports
  • Carrier status reports
  • Health reports
  • Traits reports
  • Wellness reports

How does 23andMe work?

To purchase a 23andMe test, you choose a DNA testing service, based on bundled reports with different types of genetic data. 

23andMe has a simple testing process with three main steps: 

  1. Choose from the company’s service options. Each DNA kit includes the same saliva collection, and it takes three to five days to arrive. 
  2. Follow the kit instructions and place (spit) your saliva sample in the tube provided. You then register your saliva collection tube with the included barcode and mail it back to the 23andMe lab with the prepaid mail package they provide. 
  3. Wait three to five weeks and then receive an email when your reports are available to view in your online account. 

Available 23andMe Reports

Ancestry Reports

23andMe's 50+ ancestry-related reports provide several different types of genealogical analysis. Both autosomal and sex chromosomes are tested, offering a wide range of data about your ancestors, including the following: 
  • Ancestry Composition, with over 1,500 possible regions
  • Ancestry Detail Reports (48 reports)
  • Family Tree generator
  • Maternal Haplogroup
  • Paternal Haplogroup
  • Neanderthal Ancestry

Carrier Status Reports

These 40+ reports look for genetic disorders for which you may be a carrier. Tests include looking for gene variants including the following: 

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Phenylketonuria and Related Disorders
  • Salla Disease
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Tay-Sachs Disease

Traits Reports

Several different types of traits reports are available from this testing service. They include data about 30+ genes that affect taste, fears, and physical traits: 

  • Fear of Heights
  • Fear of Public Speaking
  • Bitter Taste
  • Cilantro Taste Aversion
  • Ice Cream Flavor Preference
  • Sweet vs. Salty
  • Asparagus Odor Detection
  • Freckles
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Stretch Marks
  • Bunions
  • Cheek Dimples
  • Cleft Chin
  • Dandruff
  • Earlobe Type
  • Earwax Type
  • Eye Color
  • Finger Length Ratio
  • Flat Feet
  • Back Hair (men only)
  • Bald Spot (men only)
  • Early Hair Loss (men only)
  • Hair Photobleaching 
  • Hair Texture
  • Hair Thickness
  • Light or Dark Hair
  • Newborn Hair
  • Red Hair
  • Unibrow
  • Widow's Peak
  • Misophonia (hatred of the sound of chewing)
  • Mosquito Bite Frequency
  • Motion Sickness
  • Photic Sneeze Reflex
  • Toe Length Ratio
  • Wake-Up Time
  • Ability to Match Musical Pitch

Health Predisposition Reports

23andMe offers 10+ reports on genetic predispositions toward certain health conditions. Tests look for the genetic likelihood of developing certain conditions, including the following: 

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Familial Hypercholesterolemia
  • Celiac Disease
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease
  • 3 Selected BRCA 1/BRCA 2 genes

Consumers should know that most of the gene variants analyzed are only significant for select groups of people, depending on your ethnicity. Consumers that will get the most relevant variants tested are those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. 

Wellness Reports

This testing company offers data about several traits that can affect your overall wellness: 

  • Alcohol Flush Reaction
  • Caffeine Consumption
  • Deep Sleep
  • Genetic Weight
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Muscle Composition
  • Saturated Fat and Weight
  • Sleep Movement

 

23andMe Purchase Options

Currently, there are three different bundled purchase options: 

  • Ancestry + Traits Service ($99)
  • Health + Ancestry Service ($199)
  • VIP Health + Ancestry Service ($499)

Let's break down the differences between 23andMe's DNA test options. 

Ancestry + Traits
($99)

Health + Ancestry
($199)

VIP Health + Ancestry
($499)

  • 1 DNA Testing Kit
  • Ancestry Reports
  • Traits Reports
  • 1 DNA Testing Kit
  • Ancestry Reports
  • Traits Reports
  • Carrier Status Reports
  • Health Predisposition Reports
  • Wellness Reports

 

  • 2 DNA Testing Kits
  • All Ancestry Reports
  • Traits Reports
  • Carrier Status Reports
  • Health Predisposition Reports
  • Wellness Reports
  • Priority Lab Processing — Results are ready in 2–3 weeks
  • 1 Year of access to Premium Customer Support, including a 30-minute phone call to walk through your Ancestry results

Keep reading for pros and cons, plus 23andMe consumer reviews.

Top Ranked Companies

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The Good

  • Well-Known Retailers
  • Signup with Google
  • Ancestry Test Features
  • Upgrade Options
  • Payment Options
  • No Ongoing Subscription
  • Testing Discounts
  • Raw Data Access
  • Privacy Options

Well-Known Retailers

You can buy 23andMe DNA kits online and at a variety of local retailers. This makes it simple for consumers to purchase 23andMe’s products from nearby store locations if they don't want to go through the company’s website and wait for the kit to be shipped.

23andMe retailers include the following: 

  • Best Buy
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

Availability may vary by store location, so be sure to check with the stores beforehand to see if they have the DNA test kit you’re looking for in stock.

Signup with Google

23andMe.com offers users the option to create an account and sign in to the website using your Google credentials. This helps to speed up the process of creating an account, ordering a kit, and signing back into 23andMe later. 

Ancestry Test Features

23andMe's basic Ancestry DNA test results offer several features that make it pretty valuable for people looking to learn about their genealogy. With this company's Ancestry testing service, autosomal DNA and sex chromosome DNA, including Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are examined, as opposed to genetic genealogy competitor, AncestryDNA, which only offers an autosomal test. 

Ancestry Composition

The 23andMe Ancestry Composition report is a major part of your results. This report is generated by testing your autosomal and X-chromosome DNA. It estimates the proportion of your DNA comes from 45 worldwide ethnic groups, referred to as genetic populations. 

It also compares your DNA to people who have known and documented roots in more than 1,500 regions across the world. 

If your parent takes a test, too, this section will be broken down into what regions and percentages you likely inherited from each parent. 

The Ancestry Composition report also includes more than 150 Recent Ancestor Locations. 

Deep Ancestry Tests

Through mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-DNA testing, 23andMe users also get a report of their maternal haplogroups (men and women) and paternal haplogroups (men only). Though, if a woman's father takes the test as well, additional information is generated listing her father's haplogroup data in her results. 

Neanderthal Report 

How much Neanderthal ancestry have you inherited? This test checks for more than 2,000 genetic variants passed down from Neanderthal ancestors. You can compare your results to worldwide 23andMe customers. 

Ancestry Timeline

This portion of your Ancestry results will show how many generations ago your most recent ancestor from each ethnic population lived, going back more than eight generations

Relative Finder

If you are looking to connect with biological relatives, your DNA Relative resorts are the place to look. You will get a list of people that are related to you. Based on the amount of DNA you share, this tool estimates how closely you are related. 

For people who don't want to open Pandora's box, but still want to learn about their roots, this tool requires you to opt-in. It isn't a mandatory part of the test. This is a nice option for people who are concerned about privacy and being connected with other genetic relatives. 

Automatic Family Tree Builder

A new feature available with your Ancestry results is the Family Tree builder. It automatically predicts and displays a family tree based on ages and the amount of shared DNA you have with DNA Relatives (third cousins and closer). To access this feature, you need to opt-in to DNA relatives or create connections with other test-takers from your account settings. 

Keep in mind that unknown family members (not in the 23andMe database), will be unnamed in the family tree. 

Upgrade Options

Ancestry + Traits Upgrade

If you start out with just the Ancestry + Traits test, you can upgrade to include Carrier Status, Health Predisposition, and Wellness reports later for a $125 fee, without purchasing additional testing kits or submitting an additional DNA sample. That way, if you decide later that you would prefer to know whether you carry certain genetic variants with a risk of breast cancer. For example, you can just upgrade to add health screening reports, without going through the process again. 

VIP Services

23andMe now offers an exclusive VIP service level, for people that want faster results and premium customer service.

The top tier VIP Health + Ancestry bundle includes the following perks: 

  • 2 DNA kits
  • Overnight shipping to you
  • Priority lab processing (2–3 weeks for results, instead of 3–5)
  • 1 year of premium customer support with staffed weekdays from Monday to Friday 3 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific)
  • A 30-minute personal phone tutorial explaining your Ancestry DNA reports

Note: Access to the premium support hotline and the 30-minute Ancestry walkthrough are only valid for 1 year from your date of purchase. 

23andMe Health Test Features

FDA-Approved DNA Testing

23andMe is the one and only FDA-approved provider of health-related direct-to-consumer DNA testing. 

Note: The new Type 2 Diabetes genetic predisposition report has not been reviewed by the FDA. 

FSA or HSA Payment

If you purchase one of 23andMe's services that include Health reporting, you may be able to use an FSA or HSA card to make your payment.

Note: Insurance benefits cannot be used to cover a 23andMe test, even if you choose a Health report. 

No Ongoing Subscription

The 23andMe platform doesn't require membership fees or a monthly subscription. This is in comparison to other services that offer subscription-based extras, like Ancestry that opens up extra ancestry features when used with a subscription and the new HealthPlus option that requires an extra ongoing subscription to get more genetic data throughout the year. 

DNA Test Discounts

Health + Ancestry Discount Offer

A 10 percent discount is available if you buy more than one Health + Ancestry kit at a time. 

Educational Discounts

Educators and college students located in the United States may be eligible for the 23andMe Education Discount on a DNA kit and service bundle. Discounts are as follows: 

  • Ancestry + Traits — $79 ($20 Discount)
  • Health + Ancestry — $99 ($100 Discount)

Eligible students and teachers at an accredited college or university can validate their discount by providing an email address from one of the following top level domains (TLDs): 

  • .edu
  • .org
  • .us
  • .gov

However, if you don't have an official email address from your institution with one of the TLDs listed, you can contact 23andMe's Education team for assistance. 

Raw Data Access

No matter which 23andMe test you take, users have access to view their raw DNA data from their account, or download the file. This lets you upload to third party websites to learn additional data from just one sample. 

Privacy Options

23andMe offers a few different privacy and testing features that consumers should be aware of, including the following: 

  • Research participation — You have the option to provide explicit consent to have your de-identified DNA data used for research. This is optional. One of the newest opportunities is the company's new COVID-19 study
  • Sample destruction — After your sample has been processed, you can choose whether it is stored on file or destroyed. You also have the ability to delete your account and data, if you want. 
  • Health report options — Test takers have the option to exclude certain health risks from their results, if they would rather not know the results. This includes the ability to exclude health risk results for conditions for which there isn't a known cure, like analysis for cancer risk like BRCA mutations, as well as Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and more. 
  • Relative Finder — Users can opt-in to the Relative Finder feature. This portion of your Ancestry results shows people that share DNA in common with you. You will also show up in other test-takers' list of DNA matches and be able to compare your results and message relatives. There are multiple privacy options you can choose from in your account.
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The Bad

  • Spit Kit Sample
  • Cap on Relative Matches
  • Digital Results Only
  • DNA Kit Price
  • Return Policy
  • Genetic Counseling Not Included
  • No Raw DNA Upload

Spit Kit Sample

23andMe DNA kits require a saliva sample. While some other kit providers offer an easy cheek swab sample, this testing company uses a spit kit sample. Test takers have to spit saliva into a tube and then seal it off before returning. Some people find this type of sample a little harder to do. However, based on 23andMe's prices, it won't be a dealbreaker for most shoppers. 

Cap on Relative Matches

When using 23andMe's Ancestry testing kit, you are only able to see approximately 2,100 matches at a time; however, these will be your closest DNA relatives, that you share the most DNA in common with. 

As more and more people take the test, your matches will be updated. Those that are closely related to you will be added to your list and more distant relatives are bumped out of the list, once you reach the 2,100 limit. 

Not everyone will have over 2,000 matches. This depends on the number of people you have DNA in common with that have taken the test and are available as a match in 23andMe's database and your DNA matches who choose not to opt-in to the relative matching feature. 

Additionally, once you establish DNA sharing with your matches, that user will no longer be counted toward your 2,100 limit. Establishing sharing connections is one way to accrue more matches. They won't be phased-out if closer DNA relatives push you over the limit. 

Digital Results Only

If you are looking for a service that will send your DNA results in the mail, or that offers a printed book of your results, 23andMe is not a good option. All DNA testing results are digital and are only accessed through your account either through an internet browser or the downloadable mobile apps. 

DNA Kit Price

23andMe’s testing kit is more expensive than many others in the industry. If you want Ancestry and Health reports, you will have to pay $199. Although this isn’t the most expensive genetic testing kit out there, it is still pricey compared to other DNA testing companies.

However, the 23andMe Ancestry service combines results that would normally require you to take two different types of tests: an autosomal DNA test and a Y-DNA or mtDNA test. Additionally, the company is the only one that has gone through the FDA approval process for its health-related tests. 

Note: 23andMe’s website, as well as its retailers, will often hold sales and the tests will go down in price for a certain amount of time.

Return Policy

Refunds can be requested for any unused DNA kit within 30 days of ordering (directly through 23andMe). You will be refunded the full purchase price less shipping and handling. 

If you purchased your DNA kit at a third-party retailer, any return depends on where you bought it. However, 23andMe will refund the lab fee paid directly to the company. 

Genetic Counseling Not Included

While 23andMe does refer customers to genetic counseling services, these services are not included in your purchase price. Testers will have to pursue any genetic or medical consultation on their own after they receive results. 

This is in comparison to the new AncestryHealth product line that, starting at $149 for the Core product, includes access to a genetic counselor, through PWN health. However, AncestryHealth is not approved by the FDA and the majority of 23andMe health reports are. 

No Raw DNA Upload

While some consumers may be looking to take advantage of this company's extensive DNA testing algorithms and huge database of possible genetic relatives by uploading third-party data from another testing service, it's not possible. 23andMe does not support third-party data uploads from outside genetic testing companies. 

This policy isn't unique. In fact, raw DNA uploads are not accepted by one of 23andMe's major competitors, AncestryDNA. 

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The Bottom Line

23andMe is a well-known company that offers genetic testing services. The company has been in business since 2006 and currently offers multiple bundled genetic tests, for consumers to learn about their ancestors, genetic health, and wellness. Its DNA kits are at-home tests that you take yourself by sending in a sample of your saliva. The results are typically available within three to five weeks and can be accessed immediately through your 23andMe online account.

Still not sure about taking a 23andMe DNA test? Scroll down to read 23andMe reviews and complaints from consumers. 

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Star Rating

4.3

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74 Reviews

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John Anthony Delgado The Bronx, NY

I was very curious about my genetic heritage, as i am an individual of mixed descent. I got the Health + Ancestry testing kit on sale. While the health section was interesting, it didnt reveal anything i didnt know already - however the ancestry component is really on point! It even connected me to distant cousins!

4 weeks ago

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Morgan Tennant Rexburg, ID

23andMe is super cool! This was the first ever at home genetic testing kit I used and I was very thrilled to get my results! They provide so much information, and they send quizzes to help me further understand my results and genetics!

1 month ago

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Mona-Lissa Tallahassee, FL

Great Service! I only wish they would process everything a little faster.

3 weeks ago

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Malia Barnes Salt Lake City, UT

I purchased the 23 and me plus health. While I enjoyed all the background information they gave on my ancestors and their location the health portion of it I don’t think it’s quite there yet. I’m sure more people need to put their DNA into the pool and to take the surveys. Most of my results came back as you may or may not have these various traits. The test was very easy to take and the results came back fast. I love how it showed you the steps being taken with your sample and gave you a time line. I will definitely get this for my parents

1 year ago

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Austin Stelmach Boulder, CO

I'm not sure how accurate the results of this test are, but it was still really interesting to see how my DNA compares to that of other people around the world! I have a lot more Spanish in me than I expected!

1 year ago

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Zabsanti Slidell, LA

The Kitsap that this company provides was simple to use and easy to mail and ship. My sister and I had fun seeing how our background links up to one a other. However the price for the kit is expensive for what it's worth.

1 year ago

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DeeDee G. Norcross, GA

I waited until the ancestry kit went on sale. Came in on time and when expected. The only thing was after I had sent in my DNA sample i had to wait a good bit of time for my results to come back. Overall positive experience.

1 year ago

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marco Munford, TN

Was really neat to see all the graphs and maps of where my ancestors came from. User interface was incredibly easy to navigate. Was also very informative as far as health goes.

1 year ago

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Nazjah Yates Jacksonville, FL

23andme took a long period to send me my results, however, the detail of the results was amazing! I enjoyed all the information I received and was excited and got more kits for other members of my family.

1 year ago

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Vincent Leuzze San Jose, CA

Expensive service but they gave me more information about my ancestry and heritage than I ever thought they could. Not only that but they also know and tell you a lot about your health and likely ailments and tendencies.

1 year ago

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Holly Brown Baton Rouge, LA

Worried about sending in my dna, but what I found out about myself gave me a sense of clarity. The information is easy to read and a gift if you have been adopted.

1 year ago

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Amanda Warrendale, PA

Getting my results from 23andMe was a really awesome experience! I learned so much about my family history I would have never have known about otherwise.

1 year ago

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Pauline Swanson

A kit was given to me as a gift; I have had notifications whenever someone related in any degree has become a 'member'.

2 years ago

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Haley Nemmers Boulder, CO

I got my mom a 23 and me kit for christmas and she loved it! It's super cool to be able to get health results back as well.

1 year ago

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Christyan Bennett New Orleans, LA

23 and Me is a very efficient and affordable system that works like any other genetic testing company. I would recommend to anyone!!

1 year ago

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Bryndie Managua, MN

Super cool to get details about your heritage and where you came from. Easy kit to use, takes a while to get results however

1 year ago

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bailey jo Orem, UT

Really cool how it works. Love how it showed me how where I'm from and even more about my family line and what I'm made of.

1 year ago

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Don Chambers San Jose, CA

From the DNA side, they seem to do a good job. Really dependant upon members for geneology data

2 years ago

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Amanda Montebello, CA

I used 23andMe an it was a great and easy experience. The kit was easy to use as well as shipping it back to the lab.

1 year ago

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Madison Scott Pleasant Grove, UT

It was amazing to see my results. I felt it was accurate. I liked that it combined my ancestry and my health.

2 years ago

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Rylie Crandall Draper, UT

I like 23andMe because I thought it was a unique and interesting concept. It was a very easy process.

2 years ago

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Linda Ontario, CA

Seem to be pretty knowledgeable on their site. They know their stuff.

2 years ago

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Clay Magee Dallas, TX

23 and me gave fast and accurate results, but the service can be out of many people’s price ranges

1 year ago

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