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Having a COVID test kit on hand will provide peace of mind when you gather with loved ones to celebrate

Although 2022 will mark the second holiday season that covid has been spreading throughout the country, available vaccines and treatments have made it safer to get together with family during these special times. An additional safeguard when planning to be around those you love are at-home COVID kits that test for the virus. 

Affordable and easy to use, these kits make it possible to see if you are infected with COVID from the comfort of home. Having this knowledge will reduce the risk of spreading the virus so you and your family can get on with safe celebrations throughout the holiday season. 

When should I use a COVID test at home?

Many people are fatigued at thoughts of COVID, which is understandable considering the coronavirus pandemic began all the way back in early 2020. However, it’s still possible to get infected and spread the virus, even among vaccinated individuals. An at-home COVID test is an important tool in preventing unnecessary illness. What’s more, there are a few circumstances that make it even more vital to know whether or not you are COVID-positive or COVID-free. 

  • If you’ve had known exposure to COVID
  • When you are experiencing symptoms that are commonly related to COVID, such as high fever, body aches, cough, fatigue and shortness of breath
  • Before traveling by plane
  • If you plan to be in close contact with others, especially people who have underlying health conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes that puts them at higher risk of COVID-19 complications 
  • To simply feel peace of mind when planning to spend time with family and friends

Types of COVID test kits

COVID test kits that are made to be used at home are called rapid tests. They are suitable for use to detect infection of different variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness. According to the Food and Drug Administration, antigen and molecular are the two main types of at-home COVID test kits. Each one works on different parts of the SARS-CoV-2 to detect infection. 

Antigen is the most common type of at-home test available. Once an antigen test is completed, it takes about 15 minutes to produce results. Although molecular tests tend to be a bit more accurate, they aren’t as readily available and take 30 minutes or longer to deliver results.

Both types of rapid at-home tests typically require using a nasal swab to collect samples from the nostrils. However, saliva test kits are also available. Some users prefer this type of test because it doesn’t require a nasal swab. Saliva tests usually require online registration. Additionally, saliva samples often have to be sent to a lab, which takes extra effort and time to receive results. 

How to use an at-home COVID test

If you’ve been exposed to COVID, you should wait at least five days to take a rapid test. That’s because the virus may not be detectable at first, resulting in a false negative. Each test works somewhat differently but will include clear instructions. Follow them closely to ensure the most accurate results. 

The most important step in taking a COVID test is collecting the sample that may or may not contain the virus. Most rapid tests work with long swabs that are used to capture nasal fluid that contains the COVID-19 virus if it’s present. Saliva tests don’t require swabbing of the nasal passages. 

If your COVID test is negative, the FDA recommends taking another test to avoid a false negative result. It’s also important to keep in mind that no COVID test is 100 percent accurate, however, the FDA also advises that most positive results are accurate. 

Best COVID kits

Best iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test

iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test

This antigen test earns praise for being easy to use. It produces results in just 15 minutes. It’s compatible with an app that comes in handy when testing and monitoring multiple people. The kit includes two tests for a reasonable price. Sold by Amazon 

Best Celltrion DiaTrust COVID-19 AG Home Test

Celltrion DiaTrust COVID-19 AG Home Test

Soft-tip swabs increase the comfort of using this at-home antigen COVID test. Results are available in about 15 minutes. The pack includes two antigen tests. Sold by Amazon 

Best Siemens Healthineers Clinitest Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test

Siemens Healthineers Clinitest Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test

Because you get five antigen tests for a decent price, these antigen tests are a good choice for a group. Results are produced in 15 minutes and are easy to read. Sold by Amazon 

Best DxTerity COVID-19 Saliva At-Home Collection Kit

DxTerity COVID-19 Saliva At-Home Collection Kit

This molecular test works by taking a sample of saliva, so there’s no need to swab the nostrils. It requires sending the sample to a lab to receive test results. A prepaid shipping envelope is included so there are no additional costs involved once the kit is purchased. Sold by Amazon 

Best Lucira Single-Use COVID-19 Rapid PCR Molecular Test

Lucira Single-Use COVID-19 Rapid PCR Molecular Test

Although a molecular test, this kit doesn’t require sending samples to a lab to get results. It’s highly accurate and delivers results in about 30 minutes. The purchase of the kit includes access to telehealth, which is helpful should you have questions after testing. Sold by Amazon 

Best Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test

Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test

This is an affordable option that comes with five test kits per pack. It only takes about 15 minutes to get results. The antigen tests are easy to use too. Sold by Amazon 

Best Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test

Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test

Customers like that this antigen test is fast and shows results in as little as 15 minutes. Each box contains two test kits. The tests are straightforward to use. Sold by Amazon

Best BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test

BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test

Made by a top brand in this category, this pack comes with two COVID antigen tests. They are simple to use and produce results in around 15 minutes. Sold by Amazon 

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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