For many of us, the holidays are all about spending time with loved ones under one roof. But during the pandemic, it also means increasing the risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19. To help prevent this, it’s important to get tested regularly (in addition to getting the vaccine and wearing a face mask, of course). And while there is no shortage of free test sites across the country, those pressed for time can swap the long lines for quick home Covid tests, which can deliver results in 15 minutes or less.
But with hundreds of options available, it’s hard to know which one to buy. Below, we’ve rounded up a few different options — based on FDA clearance and availability — to facilitate research. That way, you can refuel for your travels over the next few weeks. So far, our team members have used some of these tests, but not all. They are all authorized to work on the detection of Covid-19.
Special offer for Gear readers: get a One year subscription to WIRED for $ 5 ($ 25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
Abbot’s BinaxNow Kit provides results within 15 minutes of swabbing your nose and inserting the sample into the included test card. You can then use Navica, the companion app, to report your results yourself. Those who test negative will receive a temporary encrypted digital pass that they can use as official proof of their test result. With two tests in each box, the company recommends doing another over three days, no earlier than 24 hours but no later than 48 hours. A few members of the Gear team have used this test. We cannot verify its accuracy, but we can say that it was relatively easy to use.
With the QuickVue home test, all you need to do is swab both nostrils, swirl it around in the pre-filled solution tube, and immerse the test strip for 10 minutes. If the result is positive, you will see both a blue line and a pink line appear on the strip. If it is negative, you will only see a blue line. This kit also comes with two separate tests, so you can do another one within three days. I have used this test and found it easy to administer and understand.
The On / Go Home Kit comes with a connected app that walks you through the process. Once your account is created, you will use the test cassette, extraction vial, vial cap, and nasal swab included in the box to collect your sample. After 10 minutes, you will be prompted to upload a photo of your results, and the app will confirm if you are positive, negative, or invalid (you can then try again).
FlowFlex is the most affordable test on this list. Unlike most of these kits, you will only get one test per box. But unlike other tests, the The FDA is quite confident in this one that he does not advise you to test yourself again after a few days, unless you experience new symptoms. The process is, however, similar: dab your nose, dip it in the solution, and squeeze a few drops onto the test card. After 15 to 30 minutes, your results will appear.
The iHealth Covid-19 comes with a nasal swab, solution and test card. After collecting your sample and soaking it in the solution, add three drops to the test card. In 15 minutes, your result will appear on the map and then you can upload it to the companion app. If your test is negative, you will have access to an iHealth Pass to use as digital proof.