Are the $1 pregnancy tests accurate? In a nutshell, the answer is “yes.”
When you think of all the money you’ve spent on pregnancy tests through the years, you might feel sick to realize that you could’ve spent just $1 for each one, rather than $10 or more.
Live and learn.
Continue reading to learn five important things you need to know about these products.
Are the $1 pregnancy tests accurate?
First things first: Pregnancy test kits that cost a dollar have the same accuracy ratings as the most expensive national brands.
Practically every over-the-counter pregnancy test is more than 99% accurate from the day of your missed period.
Always read the fine print.
Even pregnancy tests that claim they allow you to test early for pregnancy do not have better accuracy.
If you read the fine print on those packages, you’ll see the disclaimer.
In many cases, you’ll see a chart that reveals that their test becomes less accurate for every day you test early.
Here is the statement from First Response concerning their “Early Result” pregnancy test:
In laboratory testing, the FIRST RESPONSE™ Early Result Pregnancy Test detected the pregnancy hormone levels in 76% of pregnant women, 5 days before their expected period; in 96% of pregnant women, 4 days before their expected period; in >99% of pregnant women, 3 days before their expected period; in >99% of pregnant women, 2 days before their expected period; in >99% of pregnant women, 1 day before their expected period; and in >99% of pregnant women, on the day of their expected period.
You can buy the First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test from CPG Health and Amazon right now!
So, as you test earlier, you sacrifice accuracy.
Of course, the inaccuracy of a pregnancy test early result varies among brands. For example, For the Rexall One Step Pregnancy Test,
4 days early: 56% accurate
3 days early: 74% accurate
2 days early: 84% accurate
1 day early: 87% accurate.
What’s the difference between the above examples? Pregnancy test sensitivity.
The First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test (FRER) has a sensitivity of 6.3 mIU/ml.
Are the $1 pregnancy tests sensitive?
After conception, the amount of hCG pregnancy hormone in your body doubles every two to three days. However, the hCG doesn’t become measurable (or conclusive for a pregnancy test positive) until 12-14 days after conception.
In fact, a positive pregnancy test result isn’t possible until the concentration of hCG in your urine is about 25 milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/ml).
Generally speaking, your hCG level won’t reach 25 mIU/ml until 15 days past ovulation (DPO), when levels are normally between 17 and 147 mIU/ml.
What does this tell you?
For most women, pregnancy test sensitivity doesn’t matter.
If you spend the extra money to get the most sensitive test (FRER), you can trigger a false positive well-below the threshold for it to be meaningful.
In the case of $1 pregnancy tests, they usually have a sensitivity of 25 mIU/ml. This is enough to detect a pregnancy between 15 and 16 DPO.
Should I spend the extra money to get a FRER?
Only you can answer this question. Sure, you can get an earlier positive result, but remember that you lose accuracy the farther you get ahead of the first day of your expected period.
When testing early, always test again on the first day of your expected period to verify your result.
To get a little more insight into the use of $1 pregnancy tests, read an article at Channel 7 in San Francisco. It’s about four years old, though, so remember that the accuracy and sensitivity of dollar store tests have improved since then.
Conclusion: Are the $1 pregnancy tests accurate?
Are the $1 pregnancy tests accurate? Yes they are. Practically ALL over-the-counter pregnancy tests are 99% accurate from the first day of your missed period.
When you test early, even when using an Early Result test, you still will not have a high degree of accuracy until the first day of your missed period.
CPG Health has published reviews and instructions for many popular home pregnancy tests. Here are a few that you might want to try:
You should also read more of our articles on Pregnancy Test info and Home Pregnancy Testing:
- Earliest Detection Pregnancy Test
- How much does a pregnancy test cost at CVS?
- What does a positive pregnancy test look like?