Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered Nurse (RN)
Amanda is a registered nurse with over a decade of experience in clinical nursing and a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists.
Medical review by
Board-certified Family Physician
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS is a family physician and HIV specialist in California. He takes a holistic approach to healthcare, incorporating principles of functional medicine and using food as medicine when working with patients.
November 11, 2022
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Low levels of testosterone in males can cause a myriad of unpleasant symptoms—and testosterone is equally important for females, too. Even so, testosterone testing is not a standard practice for most healthcare providers, unless you’re showing severe symptoms of low levels. Thankfully, there are now at-home testosterone tests that allow you to check your levels from home.
Like many at-home testing options, testosterone tests are painless, and provide results relatively quickly. Since these tests are becoming more common, we spoke with experts and compared and contrasted each of the options, to provide you with the best at-home testosterone tests available today.
Keep reading to find out picks, and to learn more about why healthy testosterone levels are important in people of all genders.
A quick peek at the best at-home testosterone tests of 2022:
What is testosterone & how is it produced?
Testosterone is a steroid hormone produced in the testes in men, and the ovaries and adrenal glands in women. While males typically produce significantly more testosterone, females also produce a small, but necessary amount.
The pituitary gland, which sits right in the center of your brain, controls the production and regulation of testosterone.
For men, research shows that testosterone regulates the sex drive, sperm production, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and bone density1. It also plays a vital role in mood and cognitive function2. In women, testosterone impacts many of the same factors3, but on a much less prominent level.
According to Alice Williams, M.D. and owner of dralicewilliams.com, low levels of testosterone can cause several problems, including low sex drive, infertility, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, weight gain, muscle loss, fatigue, and depression.
Treatment with testosterone replacement therapy helps to restore normal levels of the hormone and minimize these symptoms.
Normal levels of testosterone hormone:
- Male: 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL)
- Female: 15 to 70 ng/dL
Because the normal range for males is so wide, most healthcare providers take a clinical look at symptoms, as well as lab levels, to determine the appropriate treatment plan.
While there’s a lot of talk about low testosterone, it’s important to address high testosterone levels, too. Increased blood levels of testosterone can lead to a risk of heart and liver problems, along with an increased risk of prostate cancer for men. In women, high testosterone levels can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, PCOS, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer.
How does an at-home test measure your testosterone?
At-home testosterone tests use either a finger-prick blood sample, or a tube of your saliva. There are two types of testosterone tests: total and free.
- Total testosterone includes all the testosterone hormones in your body, including those which are bound to a protein and those which are free-floating (active).
- Free testosterone tests only account for the free-floating or unbound hormone. As with most tests, the more information you can gather about your hormone deficiency, the better.
We recommend testing total testosterone for a more holistic view of your hormone levels.
Who should use an at-home testosterone test?
Like we said, hormone testing is not a standard screening with most healthcare providers, unless you are exhibiting abnormal symptoms. Even then, these tests are often not discussed until other medical diagnoses have been excluded. This is where at-home testing becomes not only convenient, but an essential step in advocacy for your health.
At-home testosterone tests can be used by anyone who wants to check their testosterone levels. Because the list of symptoms of low testosterone is extensive, ruling out a hormone imbalance can be an easy and quick way to determine whether that is the cause of your symptoms.
If you are a male with no symptoms, an at-home test is a great way to determine your baseline testosterone (your body’s normal level of testosterone), which may be helpful information in the future.
Testosterone levels naturally decrease with aging. However, medical diagnoses such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, liver or kidney dysfunction, HIV/AIDS, and sleep apnea can deplete testosterone faster than the normal aging process. In fact, according to the American Urological Association, 30 percent of overweight men had low testosterone compared to only 6.4% of those with normal weight.
Symptoms of low testosterone in men:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Decreased concentration and memory
- Decreased muscle mass
- Increased body fat
Symptoms of low testosterone in women:
- Muscle weakness
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain
- Fertility issues
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Low libido
- Loss of bone density
How we picked:
Every at-home test must meet all CLIA-certified standards, which means it follows the same protocols as a traditional lab.
Serum (blood) and saliva is the preferred method of sample collection. We looked for tests that use this method.
At-home tests should be convenient, especially when it comes to cost. The ability to use an HSA or FSA account is invaluable—and we took this into account with our selections. We always suggest checking with your account carrier to determine the criteria and requirements.
We looked for companies that offer a consultation to discuss your results. Keep in mind, it’s always best to speak with your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan.
Our picks for the best at-home testosterone tests of 2022:
- Option of 3 tests for hormone imbalances in males
- Consultation with a nurse (included in cost)
- The test is marketed toward males only
- Cannot take the sample on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday
Collection Method: BloodFinger prick
Checks Levels Of: Total Testosterone
Result Time: 2 to 5 days
This simple total testosterone test uses a finger prick of blood. Its sleek and discreet packaging is easy to read and understand. The user-friendly app is one of the reasons it is known as one of the most popular at-home testing brands available.
If you want a more in-depth look at other hormones as well, there is an option for up to six male hormones. However, this company does not include testosterone testing in its women’s hormone test.
While LetsGetChecked does offer a follow-up consultation with a nurse, you will still need to discuss further testing and treatment with your healthcare provider. And one important factor to keep in mind is that the results need to be sent in and evaluated right away, and you cannot take your sample on the weekend (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday).
Want to give it a go? Check out our full review of LetsGetChecked’s at-home kits.
Community Perk: Save 25% with promo code MBG25.
- Less expensive
- Results come with a pre-recorded educational video
- Only measures free testosterone, not total
- Saliva samples use a different unit of measurement so it can be difficult to compare to previous serum results
Collection Method: Saliva
Checks Levels Of: Free TestosteroneDHEA-SEstradiolCortisol
Result Time: 5 to 7 days
EverlyWell has two options for testing, and both are geared toward males only. The brand says the saliva test results will be available in a secure app within a week, however, some reviews claim it took up to 3 weeks for their results.
Because this is a saliva test, it will only test your free testosterone and does not include total testosterone.
- Test includes free testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, and estradiol for males
- Separate test offered for women
- Not available in New York
Collection Method: Saliva
Checks Levels Of: EstradiolTestosteroneCortisolDHEA
Result Time: 2 to 5 days
MyLAB Box is one of the only brands to offer separate men’s and women’s testosterone tests. Because normal ranges vary greatly from males to females, it’s important to be using the right test. This test does include other hormones as well, hence the higher price tag. The quick turnaround time makes this saliva test a convenient option.
All that in mind, MyLAB Box only tests for free testosterone rather than total testosterone.
- The test is made for both males and females
- Results will be sent in an email rather than an app
- No follow-up consultation
- Results can take 3 weeks
Collection Method: Saliva
Checks Levels Of: Free Testosterone
Result Time: 3 weeks
There is also no follow-up consultation, so you will need to discuss your results further with your healthcare provider.
- Offers prescriptions
- Tests testosterone, estradiol, DHEA-S, Free T3, PSA
- Normal ranges are adjusted for age and any supplements taken
- It can be difficult to obtain 12 drops of blood
- No test for women
Collection Method: BloodBlood spot
Checks Levels Of: DHEA-SEstradiolTestosteroneFree T3 (thyroid)PSA (prostate cancer screening)
Result Time: 5 to 7 days
Male Excel tests are focused strictly on males and their hormone levels. The company offers affordable testing for total testosterone, estradiol, DHEA-S, Free T3, and PSA. This comprehensive test uses a blood spot sample, which is when you prick your finger and have to drop 12 drops of blood onto a special paper. Keep in mind, if you are not a heavy bleeder, you may need to prick your finger multiple times.
Another convenience of this company is that it offers testosterone medications prescribed by U.S.-based medical providers. You can decrease the cost by signing up for a membership, but it will not bill your insurance as a traditional healthcare provider would for testosterone medication. HSA and FSA payments are accepted, but recommends checking with your account carrier first to make sure it will be accepted.
When is the best time to test for hormone imbalance?
Your levels will decrease during the day, and research shows that testing during the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 a.m4. will give you the most accurate result. This time is subjective, though, and would be different for someone who works night shifts or wakes up at 4 a.m. Dr. Sherpa explains that testing within the first two to three hours of waking up (whatever that time may be for you) is best.
Can you test testosterone levels at home?
Yes! At-home testing brands offer easy, convenient, and reliable lab tests- straight from the comfort of your home. Dr. Sony Sherpa, a holistic physician, and author at Nature’s Rise, explains that an at-home testosterone test is a great first step to recognizing what is going on with your testosterone levels. She encourages anyone to have an at-home test especially if you would like to test discreetly.
Are home testosterone tests accurate?
All of the brands we looked at are CLIA-certified, meaning they are held to the same standards as any lab your healthcare provider would use—so the results will be just as accurate, as long as the test is performed correctly. However, as with any do-it-yourself test, there is always room for user error. Failing to perform the sample at the correct time, or faulty collection practices can occur which can alter your results.
Are saliva testosterone tests accurate?
Differing thoughts prevail when it comes to serum (blood) versus saliva tests for testosterone. The general consensus is that hormone levels fluctuate, and testing both serum and saliva gives you the best overall picture of your testosterone levels.
Saliva identifies the level of hormones at the cellular level, also known as the bioavailable (amount of testosterone active in organs and tissues), while serum measures the level of hormones circulating in the bloodstream. Both sample means are considered accurate, but the more information you can gather by using both serum and saliva is ideal.
Testosterone levels can fluctuate throughout your life, decreasing as you age. Some men and women may not feel any different as their levels drop, but others may become very aware of their symptoms. The best way to get a quick answer to your testosterone level is to choose from one of these best at-home testosterone tests. There are many ways to boost your testosterone naturally, but it’s encouraged to discuss any results, even normal ones, with your healthcare provider.
To dive further into your health, find out what other tests functional medicine doctors recommend.