10 Home Pregnancy Tests (and How to Use Them)

How Accurate are Home Pregnancy Tests?
Feeling some early pregnancy symptoms? Here's everything you need to know about how to take a pregnancy test, including various pregnancy test costs, when to take one, and how to read the results.

How to Take a Pregnancy Test

The suspense is killing you: Could you be pregnant?! If you're thinking about buying a home pregnancy test, we did the legwork for you. So when should you test? 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.

Keep reading to find the best pregnancy test for you. Whichever test you buy, take it first thing in the morning, pop the stick in your urine midstream, lay it flat, and give it a few minutes to work. If it's negative, try again in a few days if your period's still MIA. If you get a faint line on the pregnancy test, chances are you're indeed pregnant. Wait a day or two and test again. And if it's positive—congrats, mama!

Think you might be pregnant? We'll help you put that theory to the test.

Digital Pregnancy Tests vs. Non-Digital Pregnancy Tests

When it comes to home pregnancy tests, there's one other decision you'll have to make: Should you spring for a digital test, or stick to the traditional two-lines version? Watch the video to get tips on which pregnancy test is best for you!

Courtesy of Church & Dwight Co, Inc.
Courtesy of Church & Dwight Co, Inc.

First Response Gold

What it is: A digital test. It may be more sensitive for early testing because it detects two types of hCG, hormones your body starts producing shortly after you've conceived.

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period

How to take it: Your wait time is 3 minutes. A clock lets you know the test is working until a "yes" or "no" appears. A question mark indicates an error, and there's a 1-800 number to call with questions.

What it costs: $13.59 for 2 tests

Courtesy of Church & Dwight Co, Inc.
Courtesy of Church & Dwight Co, Inc.

First Response Early Result

What it is: A standard stick test that's been shown to be more sensitive than other brands. A 2005 University of New Mexico study found that of seven popular tests, First Response pregnancy tests were best in detecting early pregnancy.

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period

How to take it: Pee on the stick for 5 seconds (no more and no less), and then set it down for 3 minutes. Two lines (even if one is lighter) means your eggo is preggo; one line means it's not.

What it costs: $23.75 for 3 tests

Nervous about taking the test? Not sure how to read it? Follow this step-by-step guide.

Ashley Craiger
Ashley Craiger

Accu-Clear Early Pregnancy Test

What it is: Standard stick test

When it says you can test: The day you expect your period

How to take it: A borderline-TMI illustration shows you exactly how to pee on the stick (um, thanks). The tip will turn pink, then you wait 3 minutes for the results. A line, even a faint one, in the left test window means you're pregnant; the lack of a line means you're not. Bonus: An abbreviated version of the instructions is on the back side of the stick itself, and there's a key on the stick's plastic cap, since the last thing a nervous, possibly pregnant woman needs is a scramble to find out "What does this mean?"

What it costs: $7.69 for 2 tests

Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson
Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson

e.p.t. Certainty

What it is: Digital test

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period

How to take it: It only takes 3 minutes to find out if that bun's in the oven, and you can't misread the results—it says either "pregnant" or "not pregnant." An hourglass symbol means it's still processing. A book symbol appears to refer you to the instructions if you've somehow done it wrong.

What it costs: $18.76 for 2 tests
 

Nervous about taking the test? Not sure how to read it? Follow this step-by-step guide.

Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson
Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson

e.p.t. Pregnancy Test

What it is: Standard stick test

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period

How to take it: After peeing on it, wait 3 minutes for a line to show up in the square control window. A plus sign (even a faint one) means you're pregnant, a minus signs means you're not.

What it costs: $10.18 for 3 tests

Nervous about taking the test? Not sure how to read it? Follow this step-by-step guide.

Ashley Craiger
Ashley Craiger

Clearblue Easy

What it is: Standard stick test

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period

How to take it: The tip of the test turns pink once you pee on it. Wait 2 minutes for the blue line in the control window to appear, then look for the plus sign (you're pg) or the minus sign (you're not). Don't worry if one of the lines of your plus sign is faint—if it's there, congrats!

What it costs: $7.99 for 2 tests

Nervous about taking the test? Not sure how to read it? Follow this step-by-step guide.

Ashley Craiger
Ashley Craiger

Fact Plus One-Step Pregnancy Test

What it is: Standard stick test

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period

How to take it: Remove the cap, pee on it for 5 seconds—and only 5 seconds (the instructions make a big deal about how more or less time can skew the results)—and then wait 2 minutes for the results. A plus sign (dark or light) means you're preg, a minus sign means you're not.

What it costs: $6.99 for 2 tests

Not sure you can trust that at-home pregnancy test? Dr. Obosa Osawe tells you how to know with 100% accuracy that you are pregnant.

Courtesy of CVS
Courtesy of CVS

CVS Digital Pregnancy Test

What it is: A two-step digital test

When they say you can test: The day you expect your period

How to take it: After opening the test stick, pop it into the test holder, line up the purple arrows until it clicks into place, and then take the test. A flashing illustration of the test lets you know it's processing. After three minutes, either a "pregnant" or "not pregnant" reading will appear. A "see leaflet" message lets you know there's an error. Press the eject button to pop out the stick (and save for the baby book), and keep the plastic holder for another use.

What it costs: $14.49 for 2 tests
 

Nervous about taking the test? Not sure how to read it? Follow this step-by-step guide.

Ashley Craiger
Ashley Craiger

Other Drugstore Pregnancy Tests

What it is: Standard stick test

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period

How to take it: Psst! The generic-brand pregnancy tests on the shelves of your local Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite-Aid are made by the same manufacturer as Fact Plus—you get the same technology at a lower cost. Results appear within 3 minutes, after you see the blue stripe in the control window. A plus sign (even a faint one!) in the left result window means you're preg, a minus sign means you're not.

What it costs: Walgreens Early Results Pregnancy Test, $15.99 for 3 tests; Equate One-Step Pregnancy Test, $6 for 2 tests; Rite Aid One-Step Pregnancy Test, $7.99 for 1 test

 

Nervous about taking the test? Not sure how to read it? Follow this step-by-step guide.

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mc

Discount Pregnancy Tests

If you already missed your period, you can save money on a Dollar Tree pregnancy test and still get accurate results. 

The benefit of a pricier pregnancy test is early detection, but the longer you wait to test, the higher your hCG levels are. Discount pregnancy tests can detect high levels of hCG with the same accuracy as expensive early detection pregnancy tests. 

How to take it: The test aks you to collect urine in a plastic cup (not provided), then use the kit's dropper to place 3 drops (no more, no less) in the circular collection well. Get results in 3 minutes. One line to the left is negative, two lines (even if one is faint) is positive, and anything else (blank or line to the right) means the results are invalid. 

What it costs: Dollar Tree VeriQuick Pregnancy Test, $1 for 1 test; Assured Pregnancy Test, $1 for 1 test

Alexandra Sowa, M.D., a doctor of internal medicine and a mom, answers one of her most frequently asked questions: How accurate are pregnancy tests? She also shares when to take them to increase your chances of getting an accurate result.

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