8 Best Pregnancy Tests and How to Use Them
Noticing some early pregnancy symptoms? It might be time to take a pregnancy test! Here are the best pregnancy test sticks, test strips, digital pregnancy tests, and "early detection" tests on the market today.
The suspense is killing you: Could you be expecting a baby? If you think you might be pregnant, it's time to buy a home pregnancy test! These devices work by testing your urine for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)—a hormone that your body starts producing shortly after conception.
After the embryo attaches to the uterine wall, it can take several days for hCG levels to rise enough to produce a positive test result. You can take most home pregnancy tests three to four days before your missed period—but if you test too early, you're more likely to get a false negative, where the test says you're not pregnant but you really are, says Laurence Cole, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chief of women's health research at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. It's best to wait until after missing your period for the most accurate results.
Whichever pregnancy test you buy, take it first thing in the morning, when hCG levels are most concentrated in your urine. If the results are negative, try again in a few days if your period's still MIA. If you get a positive result—usually indicated by a faint line, a plus sign, or the word "pregnant"—chances are you're indeed expecting a baby. Wait a day or two and test again, just in case you've experienced a rare phenomenon known as a false positive. If the results are positive again, congrats mama!
- RELATED: When to Take a Pregnancy Test
Thinking about buying a home pregnancy test? Check out our round-up of the best options available today, including pregnancy stick tests, pregnancy test strips, digital pregnancy tests, and "early detection" pregnancy tests.
1. First Response Early Result
This bestselling product tops our list as the best pregnancy test for early detection. It’s sensitive enough to give results six days before your missed period (with varying degrees of accuracy, given that hCG levels increase at different rates for each woman). After your missed period, accuracy increases to 99 percent. Results are ready in three minutes, and they’re relatively easy to read: two lines means you’re pregnant, and one line means you’re not pregnant. Women also love the ergonomic curvy handle that’s easy to place in their urine stream.
2. Clearblue Rapid Detection
Clearblue claims to offer “the easiest pregnancy testing experience” with their Rapid Detection test. After missing your period, you can get results in as little as one minute—with 99 percent accuracy! It can also be taken up to five days before your missed period with slightly less precision. The Clearblue pregnancy test is designed to decrease user error with “Floodguard Technology” (which prevents urine from getting inside) and a wide absorbent tip. The plus (+) or minus (-) results are simple to understand.
3. ClinicalGuard HCG Pregnancy Test Strips
These no-frills pregnancy test strips are a budget-friendly choice for couples trying to conceive, because they’re available in handy bulk packs. To use, simply dip the strip into a cup of urine (you can also hold it underneath your urine stream, but this method could get messy). Negative results are characterized by one pink-dyed color band appearing, while positive results have two distinct color bands.
4. Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown
Taking a pregnancy test is certainly nerve-racking, but this product makes it a little more bearable. A flashing on-screen timer counts down to the result, which usually comes within three minutes. What’s more, the results are displayed in words as “pregnant” or “not pregnant,” so there’s little room for confusion. The Clearblue digital test can be taken five days before your missed period with varying degrees of accuracy; the effectiveness increases to 99 percent from the day you expect your period.
5. Easy@Home Pregnancy Test Strips
These test strips couldn’t be easier to use. Just dip a strip in your urine, wait for the dye to rise to the window, and read the results in three to five minutes. Two lines indicates you’re expecting a baby, while one line means you aren’t pregnant. This best home pregnancy test gives accurate results one day before your expected period.
6. First Response Triple Check Pregnancy Test
You want peace of mind when finding out if you’re expecting. That’s why First Response Triple Check includes three separate tests in one box. The Early Result Pregnancy Test can detect pregnancy up to six days before your missed period, with varying levels of accuracy. The Digital Pregnancy Test is easy to read, and the Rapid Result Pregnancy Test shows results in one minute. Each has its advantages, and when paired together in this variety pack, they give you more reassurance.
7. Wondfo Pregnancy Test Strips
This best pregnancy test option comes in a convenient pack of 25 individually-packaged strips—perfect for couples who expect to take plenty of tests when trying to conceive! To use, dip the test in urine for about three seconds, and wait three to five minutes for results. One line means you’re not expecting, and two lines indicates pregnancy. When taken after your missed period, the Wondfo tests have 99 percent accuracy.
8. Natalist Pregnancy Test
This standard stick test can work five days before your expected period—but like other tests, waiting a few more days can give you 99 percent accuracy. After peeing on the stick, lines will show up in the square control window within five minutes. Two lines (even a faint one) means you're pregnant, and one line means you're not. And here’s some added bonuses: the pregnancy test is 100 percent plastic neutral, and the instructions are super clear without technical wording!