Last Updated on December 2020
Institutionalized drug tests are a sad reality of the modern world. If you work in corporate then you likely have to put up with drug tests, and the future of your job might well rely on passing those tests. It doesn’t matter how responsible you are with your drug use, if you have anything at all in your system, you’ll be fired on the spot. Losing your job over three joints a week isn’t justified, but there’s no room for error.
Drug tests are no longer the province of expensive laboratories and paranoid employers. The cost has gone all the way down to the point that over-the-counter home drug test kits are available for the average Joe and Jane. With one of these kits, you conduct a drug test on yourself at home and see if any of your naughty behavior shows up. While a home drug test will never be as precise as a test done by a professional; you can get a good idea as to whether you still have drugs detectable in your system.
We’ve looked around the market to search for the best home drug test kits out there, and done extensive testing against their claims to see which ones really worked.
What to Look for in a Home Drug Test?
There are two main factors you need to take into account: Accuracy and Drug Panel.
Accuracy is pretty much the whole reason we’re testing at home. We don’t want false positives or false negatives. The more accurate a test is, the more we can trust it, and thus take action regarding the results. An inaccurate test is worse than useless; it can be harmful because it gives the user bad information. You have to be capable of trusting your test so that it’s even halfway usable.
Drug Panel refers to how many substances the test looks for. You may have heard of 4-panel, 5-panel, 10-panel tests, and so on; this means they look for four, five, or ten drugs, or however many the number specifies. Note that not all panel numbers look for the same drugs; just because two different drug tests are 10-panel does not mean they test for the presence of the same 10 drugs. Read the labels carefully.
This is important to us in two different ways. One, it saves on money. If you can use one test to check for multiple drugs, then there’s no need to go out and get another test in case you’re also taking something that your first test didn’t look for.
Second, it helps prevent false negatives. Unless you’re 100% certain of your source, there’s always the chance that the substances you take may have been laced with other drugs. A drug test that looks only for marijuana is useless if the weed’s been cut with a little something extra that won’t show on your home test. You don’t want to go into your work test all confident, only to test positive for something that you didn’t check for. It’s for this reason that we recommend getting the best home drug test kit with as large a drug panel as you can find. The more substances your home test screens for, the better a picture it gives of what your real test will find.
Here’re the Five Best Home Drug Testing Kits
#1. PreScreen Plus Mini
PreScreen Plus Drug Tests are a division of The Drug Test Consultant Company, and it’s very likely you’ve run into them or their products if you’ve been tested before. However, their Mini cup test is now on your side, and it’s just as effective as the ones you’ve faced.
It’s a pretty standard 12-panel cup test. The Plus Mini does differ slightly in one respect from all other cup tests: Results should be read after five minutes, but must be discarded after ten minutes.
So, for our purposes, how does the PreScreen Plus Mini hold up?
Overall, quite good. A twelve-drug panel is more substances than most urine tests look for; a workplace using a 12-panel test is usually a very strict drug-free one. It’ll last for 18 months on the shelf, so purchasing just one package will take care of your needs for the foreseeable future.
And as you can expect of a company that made its name as the drug testers, its accuracy is unmatched. PreScreen still maintains its high standards even for their home kits, with a 99% accuracy rate in the reading period. Put it this way: Unless you’re using some really rare drugs, your results with the PreScreen Plus Mini will be very close to your results on another drug test, if not identical.
The downside of being so new is that it hasn’t spread wide enough to be available at health stores, so the best way to source the PreScreen Plus Mini is from an Authorized Online Seller.
- From a company well known for great drug testing equipment
- Excellent accuracy
- Wide range of drugs checked
- Long shelf life
- Difficult to source beyond authorized sellers
#2. ITG Labs
ITG works closely with the University of Washington’s Department of Pharmacology, so you can expect they know their way around drugs. They have a line of test kits for home use as well.
The first thing to notice is that while they do have 5-panel and 10-panel strip tests, most of their strip tests look for one drug only. This runs into the problem we outlined earlier: if your substances have been cut with other drugs, it’s highly likely they won’t show up on the test strip you’ve used, and thus may be detected at work. For certainty, make sure you test with the other strips as well, or get their multi-panel tests.
In actual use, their claimed 99% accuracy holds up well enough when detecting the substance they’re screening for. If you’re sure your stuff isn’t cut with anything else, then they’ll serve you well; if you’d rather be sure, get their multi-panel tests or look elsewhere.
The main downside is how much trouble it takes to get their tests. ITG Labs don’t sell on Amazon, so you’ll have to buy straight from the Authorized Dealer. And they’re heavy on the wallet; for the prices they’re being sold at, you can get more tests elsewhere.
- Excellent accuracy for the substance they’re testing
- Good quality
- Hard to source
#3. Care Check
Just like Easy@Home, Care Check is about home health care. They offer two different home drug test kits: a marijuana-only strip test and a 12-panel cup test. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Unless you’re absolutely certain in the purity of the marijuana you’re using, go with the multi-panel.
Notably, Care Check don’t say anything like ‘99%’ accuracy; they simply claim ‘easily determined, accurate results’. Of course, their tests are just as sensitive as the others. In actual use, they were accurate enough for all practical purposes.
They’re of comparable cost to Easy@Home, and just as readily available on Amazon. Honestly, if you have to choose between Care Check and Easy@Home, you can just as easily flip a coin, or check to see who’s closer, or who’s got better availability, as they’re largely similar, even down to the issue of a faint T line. Again, our FAQ below covers that issue. It can still be an annoyance, though.
- Readily available on Amazon
- Sold in a good pack size
- Good accuracy, excellent panel size
- Potential confusion in case of a faint second line
Easy@Home’s catalog is all about healthcare at home, whether it’s TENS units, pregnancy tests, or drug test kits. They offer a variety of home drug tests of varying panel sizes in cup and strip forms. We’ll be looking at their 12-panel strip test.
In use, it’s a pretty easy and accurate test, let down just a little by how the second line appears. Easy@Home’s tests sometimes throw out faint second lines, but this is a known thing; we address this in an FAQ below.
They’re readily available on Amazon, along with the rest of their catalog. A look at their other drug tests on Amazon is also warranted if you feel you don’t need the full range of 12 (though again, for reasons we outlined previously, we still recommend the 12-panel test to be certain). They offer a marijuana-only strip test, 5-panel in cup and strip form, and 12- and 14-panel cup tests.
- Available on Amazon
- Comes in boxes of multiple tests
- Good accuracy, easy to use
- Potentially confusing if second line is faint
#5. Identify Diagnostics
Of all the manufacturers on this list, Identify Diagnostics has the widest product range. Their cup tests alone go from 5-panel to 16-panel, so it’s up to you as to how wide a net you want to cast.
Identify claims 99% accuracy, which we found a reasonable claim during testing. There’s nothing wrong with the tests themselves, as they’re calibrated to the same sensitivity as the others.
Their main disadvantage is package size and pricing. Purchasing off their official site, their cup tests are sold in packs of ten at the smallest, and their dip tests come in no smaller than a fifteen-pack. It’s better to buy them off Amazon, as they come in five-packs. Even so, their tests are slightly heavier on the wallet compared to the others, so consider if your budget is up to the expense.
Their larger panels, of course, are more expensive, so it’s possible that their 12-panel tests (our preference for best panel size) may be out of your reach. Again, if you trust your source, you’ll be fine; if you’d rather be sure, you may want to look elsewhere.
- Large package size
- Excellent product range
- Large package size also means heavy on the wallet
- Larger panel sizes are more expensive
Editor’s Choice : Best at Home Drug Test Kit
With five perfectly good manufacturers available, it took us a bit of thinking to choose the best option, but with a lot of discussion, everyone settled on the PreScreen Plus Mini. It’s good and accurate, it lasts a while on the shelf, and it’s affordable. Its only real downside is sourcing, and even then, it wasn’t a major enough con to affect its place. For your home test needs, the PreScreen Plus Mini is your best bet. This time, the manufacturer is on your side.
The second line is showing up really faint, does that mean a positive or a negative?
Multiple labs have clarified. The presence of a second line, no matter how faint, is a negative. It generally means that you do have some of the substance in your system, but not nearly enough of it to trigger a positive result, depending on how sensitive the test is. Alternatively, it could mean you’ve got something else in your sample. It might be the wrong pH level, or it might have too much protein, or you could have over-hydrated, or just medication. Plus the test could just be expired.
Most users generally report faint T lines a few days after they’ve stopped, so if there’s still some time between your home test with a faint line and your real drug test, you should be fine, provided that you stay off the substances in the meantime.
Do I really need a 12-panel home drug test kit?
The real question here is, how much do you trust your source? If you make your own, or you’re absolutely certain in the purity of the stuff you purchase, then you can get by with a smaller drug panel or even a one-panel test. However, if you don’t trust your source that much, or you want to be absolutely sure that you don’t test positive, then get the widest possible panel you can get your hands on. Better to be sure.
And of course, if you’re using multiple drugs, then you want at the very least a test that can cover all the ones you use.
Does a pass on a home test mean I can pass a test at work?
Yes…provided that they also use a urine test that looks for the same drugs as your home test did. We can’t guarantee a pass with other types of test. Saliva tests look for different compounds than urine tests, while hair and blood tests can see back much further than the few days of a urine test. In all cases, be careful.