23andMe vs Ancestry - DNA Tests Compared

23andMe vs Ancestry Quicklinks

Whether you’re trying to find your dad, or learn where your ancestors hail from, uncovering your roots has never been easier with the advent of at-home DNA test kits. DNA kits of today are easily accessible, affordable, and a concentrated guide directly to your ancestral data. 

23andMe vs Ancestry - DNA tests compared

Narrowing down your DNA test options can feel like a hefty challenge due to the variety of tests available. To ensure you obtain the best DNA test for your needs, it is helpful to understand the differences between the genetic tests out there so you can feel confident in the results and in the process of sharing personal information. 

To ensure our clients get access to the most accurate DNA test, Origins Genealogy analyzed two of the best DNA testing kits on the market today, 23andMe vs Ancestry. Read on to discover our findings as we compared these two elite DNA testing services against the following key metrics:

  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Privacy
  • Ease of use
  • And more!


23andMe and Ancestry DNA Tests Compared

23andMe and Ancestry DNA Tests Compared

First, let’s see how the 23andMe DNA test measures up, followed by that of Ancestry. 

23andMe DNA Testing Kit Review

23andMe logo






Ease of Use

Best for health information. Users can receive over 150 personalized reports.

Lacks a strong tool for building your family tree. “Predicted Tree” feature is limited to 23andMe users only.

Ancestry and Traits Service ($99): Ancestry reports, relative finding aids, trait reports, and family tree building tools. 

12 million user profiles.

Asks users to consent or decline storage of DNA samples, participation in research, health reports, and if you want to share your data with others. 

DNA test utilizes a saliva collection tube and cap, a return bag, and a prepaid return label box. Register the kit by downloading an app and scanning the barcode on the side of the collection tube. 

Health screening does have FDA approval for risk screening certain genetic conditions/diseases.


Health reports included: carrier status, disease predispositions, wellness traits (free), and health action plans. 

Does not provide access to genetic or health professionals to discuss DNA test results.

Health and Ancestry Service ($199): 

Ancestry reports, relative finding aids, trait reports, and family tree building tools.

Use mitochondrial DNA (the DNA mothers pass on to their children), autosomal DNA, and sex chromosomes to generate ancestry and health reports. 


User-friendly design makes finding ancestral connections easy.

Displays DNA results in a timeline so you can estimate ancestral roots generation by generation with a visual aid.

No tree trials for new customers.

23andMe Plus Membership ($169 upfront; $29 annually after.)


Includes: ancestry reports, relative finding aids, trait reports, family tree building tools, pharmacogenetic reports, updates to existing reports.


Takes 3-5 weeks to receive results. 

View your DNA results as a “Chromosome Painting” to analyze your chromosomal data and regional matches with more specificity.


Detailed information about country and region matches including migration patterns, culture, and aids to help users visit a region.


Processes your DNA samples twice as fast as Ancestry.


As you can see from the chart above, the DNA testing kit from 23andMe has some specific advantages over Ancestry especially if you are seeking genetic testing to gain better health information for yourself or family. 

Now let us consider what the Ancestry testing kit has to offer in comparison:

Ancestry Testing Kit Review

AncestryDNA logo






Ease of Use

Best for family history information.

Ancestry does not use the standard Y-chromosome and/or mitochondrial DNA methodologies common with other DNA test kits.

Ancestry DNA ($99): DNA test kit that will reveal regions where your ancestors originated.

18 million user profiles.

You can edit what information you choose to keep public or private as well as how you will appear to other users when DNA matches occur. 

DNA test uses a saliva collection tube and cap, a return bag, and a prepaid return label box. Register the kit by downloading the Ancestry app and scanning the barcode on the side of the collection tube. 

Receive health information about cancer risks, carrier status for certain disease, blood health, and vitamin levels. 

Health screening does not have FDA approval.

Ancestry DNA and Family Tree Bundle ($100): DNA Test Kit as well as a 3-month subscription to Ancestry World Explorer

Larger database (than 23andMe) yields improved accuracy and more specific information.

Decline or accept the option to store your sample or participate in on-going research.

Takes 6-8 weeks to receive results. 

Receive an Ethnicity Estimate Report outlining what regions of the world you have ancestral connections to along with a brief history of the region.

You must pay extra for the Traits Report.

Ancestry + Traits ($119): Everything that the Ancestry kit offers in addition to information about how your genes impact your personal traits.

Larger database also enlarges the possibility of DNA matching with relatives. 


DNA matching tools link users to others in the system with close ties.

Splits family tree and DNA results across two different mobile apps.


Ability to connect with close DNA matches.

Only produces 25 health reports. (Compared to 23andMe’s 150.)


Advanced family tree feature that blends DNA information into tree for easy access/viewing. 

Health test has carrier information but only for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs Disease.


Provides users access to board-certified physicians and genetic counselors to interpret DNA test results.


Allows free access for two weeks to its genealogy services, without requiring a DNA sample. 


Has the highest “Best Company” score of 9.9 out of 10 earned by user reviews, time in business, and product cost. 


Both 23andMe and Ancestry have their selling points. The “right” DNA testing service, 23andMe vs Ancestry, comes down to what your research purpose is.

Consulting with a professional genealogist at Origins can help you determine which kit would support your genetic genealogy and ancestry research the best. 

Another helpful tool in choosing the best DNA testing kit is to consult the DNA testing reviews for each product. 

23AndMe vs Ancestry: What Both DNA Testing Kits Have in Common

When it comes to 23AndMe vs Ancestry, consider what both DNA testing kits have in common. Both share the following attributes: 

  • Ranked as the best at-home genetic testing companies in the industry.
  • Provide health and ancestry reports concerning family heritage and genetic predispositions to disease. 
  • Require a saliva sample and analyze your DNA to ascertain where your family originated from.
  • Use a saliva collection tube and cap in the DNA testing kit, a return bag, and a prepaid return label box for ease of use. 
  • Provide accurate results.
  • Receive positive user reviews and celebrated for company value and quality.

Both 23andMe or Ancestry will help you uncover genetic matches, gain insight into your biological heritage, and make connections all over the globe with state-of-the-art DNA matching tools and technology.

23andMe vs Ancestry: Differences in Testing Focus

Although 23andMe and Ancestry share much in common, the two companies—and their respective DNA tests—have a bit of a different focus.

Ancestry is first and foremost a genealogy company, so their DNA test dovetails with their extensive database with a focus on tracing heritage and identifying biological relatives. Ancestry has the larger database of the two companies, meaning that the likelihood of finding a genetic match is potentially higher.

Where Ancestry as a company is genealogy-focused, 23andMe is above all a biotech company. Accordingly, the 23andMe DNA test has more of a health-related emphasis than that of Ancestry. 23andMe reports on a wider variety of health issues and predispositions, and give far more insight into biological traits.

Bottom line: if you’re taking a DNA test for genealogical reasons, Ancestry is the stronger option. If you’re taking it for health reasons, 23andMe is the way to go.

If you are taking a genealogical DNA test and need help interpreting the results, or you’re searching for your birth mom, dad or other biological relatives, a professional genealogist can help streamline the process, increase matchmaking, and improve accuracy.  

Other DNA Testing Services

While the two services, 23andMe and Ancestry are our top two choices for the best DNA testing services, you do have a couple other genetic testing services to consider such as:


My Heritage—DNA Testing

MyHeritage began as a genealogy software program and added DNA analysis in 2016 along with several databases to support family history and genetics research. MyHeritage’s parent company, Geni.com, has one of the world’s largest, scientifically reviewed family trees out there. You can purchase a basic DNA kit and analysis for $79.

Living DNA

Living DNA is one of the world’s largest personal genomics companies, incorporating DNA testing to re-connect with ourselves and each other. They offer three DNA testing kit options: a full ancestry kit for $79; a wellbeing kit for $129; and a bundle of the two for $179. 

The combo DNA kit offers deep ancestral information, and the well-being kit delivers wellbeing reports to improve one’s quality of life with health-specific goals.

Why Origins Genealogy Uses the Ancestry DNA Test

Origins Genealogy encourages our customers to use the Ancestry DNA test. The reason: Ancestry has the largest genealogical database…and they don’t accept uploading of DNA test results other than the Ancestry test.

Ancestry has tested more than 18 million people compared to 23andMe’s 12 million profiles. Selecting a database with more profiles increases your chances of matching with a relative and filling out your family tree. 

As the largest DNA database, Ancestry allows us to download a copy of your DNA and upload the raw DNA data to other available databases–MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA, Genomelink, and GEDMatch–for improved accuracy and comprehensive results.

By uploading DNA data to other databases, the professional genealogists at Origins Genealogy acquire a wider pool of possible DNA matches to support the data-analysis process.

Our mission is to connect you to your present, past, and future in meaningful ways. When it comes to 23andMe vs Ancestry, the DNA testing service that allows us to do that best is Ancestry.

Need Help Interpreting Test Results or Locating Family Members?

If you’re taking a genealogical DNA test, or have already taken a DNA test with an unexpected DNA match, and need help interpreting the results, Origins Genealogy can save you tremendous time Need Help Interpreting Test Results or Locating Family Members?and effort. Our professional genealogists are experienced in making sense of test results.

We can help with locating birth parents or finding an adopted sibling, identifying ancestors, and building your family tree.

What if your DNA doesn’t match your father?  Read the recent Origins article that addresses long-held family secrets!

23andMe vs Ancestry FAQ

In addition to the autosomal DNA test, 23andMe is the only firm that offers a genetic health conditions test. The health exam comes at an additional cost, but it could be well worth it. So, if you are taking a DNA test for health reasons, such as to look for specific health biomarkers, then 23andMe can be a great investment.

AncestryDNA and 23andMe tests are both 99% accurate. They hold the world’s most comprehensive genetic genealogy databases, and provide the migration paths for maternal and paternal lineages.

You can consult a professional genealogist, such as Origins Genealogy, if you’re having trouble deciphering your DNA test findings. We have a lot of expertise interpreting DNA test results and can even assist you figure out what to do next to identify your biological family and ancestors.

According to AncestryDNA, they can go as far as 1,000 years back in time and show you where your ancestors originated from, revealing your ethnic roots.

A person’s DNA findings may not include a specific genetic heritage that we are aware of because our DNA does not completely match our family tree. Our genome simply isn’t large enough to share DNA with every single one of our ancestors. So, it’s possible that a person’s Native American DNA did not persist in their genome due to random recombination over generations. There are other potential explanations as well. Consulting a professional genetic genealogy company can help you get the answers you need.

Genetic testing can help discover inherited problems like obesity, psoriasis, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, G6PD deficiency, celiac disease, breast and ovarian cancer, and more, in addition to identifying your biological parents.

DNA tests come in a variety of forms such Autosomal, Y-chromosome, and mitochondrial DNA. Origins Genealogy uses Ancestry’s autosomal DNA test to identify birth parents and other biological family members. The AncestryDNA test does show both maternal and paternal genetic lines, but not separated out. So the answer is…it depends.

Whether we are born male or female, we inherit the same amount DNA from both parents. The half we get are made up of random DNA combinations, which are built up of random DNA combinations from their ancestors. As a result, 50% of your DNA comes from your biological father and 50% from your biological mother.

Yes, you can find your biological father or birth mother, whether you’re male or female, through DNA. You can take an autosomal DNA test, and it can reveal DNA matches on both your biological mother’s and father’s sides of the family within 5 to 6 generations. Contact Origins Genealogy to learn more.

Yes, you can take a paternity test at home without the mother’s DNA. Even though 23andMe and Ancestry’s typical home paternity test kits include DNA swabs for the mother, father, and child, the mother’s DNA is not necessary for a paternity test.

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Liaison For Adoptee and Birth Family

As an adoptee, it is not always easy to reach out to your birth parent. It can be quite a shock for those receiving the call. After Origins has identified who the birth parents/family are, we can make the initial contact for you. As a neutral party, we can smooth the way for the first contact by crafting introduction letters, gathering photos to send, providing the research, and answering questions to assure the information is accurate. This provides a comfortable and safe environment for all parties that generally leads to a much smoother transition to getting to know each other.

Origins Travel Tour

There’s no place like home. Now that you know your heritage, why not go home for a visit. Origins offers both personalized ancestral tours for those who want a more custom trip and heritage tours for those who enjoy a planned itinerary.