AncestryDNA vs 23andMe

Kaitlyn Short
Kaitlyn Short | Contributor

Grandma’s family history stories will no longer suffice. With new DNA testing, you can now trace your ancestry back for hundreds to thousands of years. Science and technology continue to improve bringing us new information based on our DNA sequencing. You can even find out your Neanderthal ancestry with a DNA test. Two leading companies in the DNA testing market are Ancestry and 23andMe. 

With eight years of industry history, Ancestry has the world’s largest DNA database with over 20 billion genealogical and historical records. Ancestry uses a direct-to-consumer DNA test to accumulate test samples and increase its database. Using preexisting DNA data, Ancestry compares DNA samples to provide consumers information on their family tree, ethnicity estimate, and health. Recently, Ancestry has expanded its testing capabilities to include health testing. 

23andMe offers a similar DNA testing service to Ancestry. Both of these companies offer ancestry, trait, and health testing. However, 23andMe specializes in health testing as the only company to meet FDA health testing standards.

These two well-known DNA testing companies come close in ranking for the best DNA testing company. That’s why we’ve broken down the most important factors to consider when purchasing a DNA test. See how Ancestry and 23andMe stack up when comparing their sample process, DNA testing options, ancestry testing, health and wellness testing, test result quality, additional services provided, and price.

AncestryDNA logo verified_user
#1 AncestryDNA
9.9 Overall Score
4.2
star star star star star_border
(145)
23andMe logo
#2 23andMe
8.2 Overall Score
4.3
star star star star star_half
(80)

Overview

AncestryDNA

Sample Collection Method

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Average Processing Time

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Offers Raw DNA Upload

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Cost of DNA Kit

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Test Purpose

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Time in Business

Undisclosed

23andMe

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Undisclosed

Ratings

AncestryDNA

Overall Score
9.9 of 10
Review Score
4.2
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Value for Money
4.1
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Quality of Product or Service
4.2
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Company Trustworthiness
4.3
star star star star star_half
Likely to Recommend
7.8 of 10

23andMe

8.2 of 10
4.3
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4.4
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4.6
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4.4
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8.6 of 10

Reviews

AncestryDNA

Number of Reviews
145
Review Breakdown
4.2
star star star star star_border
5 star
59%
4 star
23%
3 star
7%
2 star
3%
1 star
8%

23andMe

80
4.3
star star star star star_half
5 star
58%
4 star
29%
3 star
8%
2 star
0%
1 star
6%

Reviews for AncestryDNA

Helpful Favorable Review

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Review Source

star star star star star

Rocio Diaz Tallahassee, FL

This service was great in finding out where I am from. The pricing is fair and results do not take a long time. It was really interesting finding out where I am truly from! Love this and would recommend everyone to do it.

3 weeks ago

Helpful Critical Review

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Review Source

star star star_border star_border star_border

Lucy Salinas Weslaco, TX

Hate hate hate that they charge for everything! My husband was adopted and we don’t even know where to start to look for his father. My daughter and him took this DNA test worse mistake ever! It is not helpful at all!

1 year ago

Reviews for 23andMe

Helpful Favorable Review

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Review Source

star star star star star

roberto arcia Columbia, MO

I sent a sample to 23andMe and I am highly glad I did. The results were sent back to me in only two months! I found various health dispositions and traits that I carry within my genetic code. I will recommend 23andMe to all my friends until they get one for themselves.

1 month ago

Helpful Critical Review

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Review Source

star star_border star_border star_border star_border

Tom M Holmdel, NJ

I was considering having our family send in a sample to see where our family's ancestry origins. I also thought that getting some feed back on possible medical problems we might face later in life. After I did more research I on the security of our personal information we decided not to do it. It was disturbing to find out that we are the product that is being sold and that security of my data is not adequately being protected.

1 year ago

The Final Word

Sample Process (Tie)

Ancestry and 23andMe use an identical sample process. The DNA testing kit requires a saliva sample gained by spitting into a test tube. This method is more difficult than the cheek swab, especially for those who have a hard time producing enough saliva. However, this should not be a huge factor in choosing a DNA testing company. 

DNA Testing Options (Winner: 23andMe)

Ancestry only offers an autosomal DNA test. This test can be used to trace ancestry for both males and females. Autosomal DNA testing can produce accurate results related to health and ancestry. However, additional DNA testing options may improve the variety of results that can be generated from the sample. 

23andMe offers all three types of DNA testing: autosomal DNA, y-DNA, and mitochondrial DNA. The last two DNA testing options allow for specific results based on gender. Customers can trace their maternal or paternal haplogroup based on their gender. These tests give customers accurate information about their relation to ancient Neanderthal tribes. This is a unique feature for those who are interested. 

23andMe wins based on the number of DNA testing options it offers. 

Ancestry Testing (Winner: Ancestry)

Ancestry is best known for its ancestry test. With the largest database of over 16 million users, Ancestry seeks to produce accurate DNA reports and summaries. The Ancestry DNA test gives you an ethnicity estimate based on your DNA test results. Ancestry breaks down your DNA sample by region, taking it a step further than 23andMe which only highlights larger countries. This test also allows you to find DNA matches with people who have also taken the AncestryDNA test. You are also more likely to find DNA relatives on Ancestry compared to 23andMe. 

23andMe offers a similar report to ancestry with an ancestry composition analysis. This test can trace your DNA back to your mother or father’s history by testing your y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA. However, 23andMe's ancestry report feature is not as robust and detailed as Ancestry's interface. 

Based on the size of the DNA database, Ancestry has the upper hand in offering ancestry testing and results. 

Health and Wellness Testing (Winner: 23andMe)

Ancestry offers AncestryHealth Core for $149, only $49 more than the basic package. Ancestry’s health report is a new feature recently available to consumers. Consumers must be referred by a physician, over the age of 18, and living in the United States (excluding New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island) to qualify for the genetic test. This can be a major roadblock for individuals curious about their health who do not want to go through a physician to seek pre-approval. Individuals who have already taken a DNA test for the ancestry report can upgrade and receive their results online.

23andMe’s health test is available for $199. This includes both the health and ancestry service. 23andMe is best known for its health and wellness test. Individuals who take this test receive trait reports, health predisposition reports, carrier status reports, and wellness reports. All this information can better inform a healthy and proactive lifestyle. The health predisposition report meets FDA requirements for assessing genetic health risks. Anyone over the age of 18 can take this test without a physician’s recommendation. This is an advantage for individuals looking for an accurate health and wellness test who do not want to go the extra length to be pre-approved. 

When comparing the two companies, 23andMe offers better DNA health tests and results for consumers. 

Additional Services Offered (Winner: Ancestry)

If you sign up for the AncestryHealth Core, you can receive free genetic counseling based on your test results. Ancestry also offers a subscription service that allows you to view your DNA test with ongoing updates to the information and results. As more consumer information is added to the database, your results will become more specific. Get ongoing updates on your ethnicity estimate as the DNA database expands. 

23andMe does not offer a subscription-based model after the initial test. You may notice updates to your test results as more information is added to the database. However, you won’t have access to additional features and notifications offered with an Ancestry subscription. 

Ancestry wins in the additional services category for continuing to supply users with additional options even after they take their DNA tests.  

Quality of Test Results (Winner: Ancestry)

If you order a DNA test for Ancestry, your results will be delivered digitally. The online portal allows for an interactive test result experience. Ancestry has a DNA story element that allows you to trace the migration of your ancestors. The user-friendly interfaces include interactive maps and charts to better visualize your family history. Use color coding and custom labeling to personalize your test results. You can also connect your account to the Family Tree app to build out your family tree and discover close relatives. 

23andMe also provides quality test results through digital delivery. 23andMe offers a sleek digital interface that makes understanding your test results easy. Use the automatic tree builder to visually outline your family tree. You can trace your paternal or maternal heritage and see your ancestry’s migration out of Africa. These features are exclusive to 23andMe. However, 23andMe cannot provide superior results to Ancestry because this company has a smaller database to compare DNA sequences. 

While both companies produce accurate test results, Ancestry comes out on top for the quality of test results. 

Processing/Wait Time for Results (Winner: 23andMe)

23andMe's turn around time is faster compared to Ancestry. 23andMe has an average wait time of about three to five weeks giving VIP health orders priority. If you order a VIP Health report, your results are ready within two to three weeks. In comparison, Ancestry has a six to eight week turn around time. 

23andMe wins this category for the shortest processing and wait time.

Price (Winner: Ancestry)

Both companies offer an affordable basic package to learn about your ancestry for $99. However, 23andMe is more expensive when adding additional features and packages such as health and VIP status. 

Ancestry is the winner in the price category.

Ancestry and 23andMe both offer advanced and accurate DNA testing features. Either of these companies would be a good choice for a standard DNA test. However, when comparing Ancestry vs. 23andMe, Ancestry wins because of its large database, unique results experience, and additional offerings that make it exceptionally useful to users. 

Top Choice

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AncestryDNA

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