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  • Also Known As:
  • Rapid At-Home Strep Test
  • At-Home Group A Streptococcus Test
  • At-Home GAS Test
  • Strep Rapid Antigen Detection Test
  • RADT
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Strep A Swab Test Strip Kit

Test Quick Guide

If your throat is so sore that it feels like it’s burning, you might wonder if you have strep – which requires testing for diagnoses.

“There are different presentations of sore throat and some are more consistent with strep throat, a superficial throat infection caused by a bacteria called Group A Streptococcus,” says Joseph Gastaldo, M.D., an infectious disease doctor at OhioHealth.

While strep is the most common type of bacterial throat infection, it accounts for only 5% to 15% of sore throat cases in the United States, Dr. Gastaldo says. “We want people to be thinking about what makes strep throat different from other causes of sore throat, and there is an overlap in symptoms, but with strep, you can have fever and develop enlarged lymph nodes.”

At-home strep throat tests make it easy to find out whether your sore throat is strep, and if a test is positive, you should see a doctor to get antibiotics. “The reason we give people antibiotics for sore throat is to avoid rheumatic fever,” Dr. Gastaldo says of what can occur if strep is not properly treated.

The Best At-Home Strep Tests Compared

Test Price Type Tests for: Results in: Insurance accepted? Who should use it:
Areta – Strep A Swab Test Kitbest overall $39.95 Self-test Strep A 10 minutes No If you have strep symptoms or want to find out if your sore throat is strep, or to confirm whether you are carrying it.
Preview – Strep A Testbest for clear instructions $52.22 Self-test Strep A 10 minutes No The fast results available with this test can be convenient if you need to know about strep right away.
EZ Level – Strep A Test Kitbest for fast results $42.95 Self-test Strep A 5 minutes No If you struggle with other tests, this test could be an easier option for you.

About At-Home Strep Tests

The purpose of at-home strep tests

The purpose of strep throat testing is to check for an infection with strep A bacteria. At-home tests for strep throat are able to detect the presence of strep A antigens, which exist on the surface of the bacteria and trigger an immune response.

Strep throat testing looks for an infection with group A streptococcus (GAS) bacteria, which are also known as strep A. The most common tests available are rapid antigen tests with a sensitivity of 80% to 90%, and rapid antigen detection tests (RADT) with the same sensitivity, meaning they are 80% to 90% accurate, according to Dr. Gastaldo.

In general, strep A testing is done to distinguish strep throat from other causes of a sore throat. This is important because antibiotics are effective for strep A infections but are not helpful for viral infections like the common cold.

And again, testing for strep throat is also important because an untreated strep A infection can lead to more serious symptoms and complications, such as rheumatic fever. Detecting and treating a strep A infection may also help prevent spreading the infection to other people.

At-home testing may help to serve these same goals, but it is important for the test to be used and interpreted correctly. For this reason, it is best to consult with a doctor about how to interpret your at-home test results and what the next step will be after testing.

“There are other bacteria that can cause symptoms that significantly overlap with strep throat and your doctor’s office might want to do a culture,” Dr. Gastaldo says.

What does an at-home strep test measure?

An at-home strep throat test measures whether there are any specific antigens to strep A in a sample taken from a swab of the tonsils and throat. An antigen is a substance that provokes a reaction from the body’s immune system. The presence of strep A antigens generally reflects an active infection with strep A bacteria.

However, a significant percentage of children carry strep bacteria in their throats even when they are not sick. These individuals are called “strep carriers.” They may also test positive on an at-home strep throat test despite not being sick with strep throat.

How do at-home strep tests work?

In general, at-home strep tests include a cotton swab that you’ll use to collect a sample from the back of your throat. First, you’ll mix together “reagents” that are provided in a tube. After brushing the swab on your throat (avoiding the tongue), you’ll swirl the swab in the tube. Then, you dip a test strip from the kit into the tube to see if results are negative or positive. Usually, a test-kit box contains enough materials to conduct an at-home strep test 25 times.

Which at-home strep test should you choose? 

At home strep tests are rapid tests also known as rapid antigen detection tests (RADT), and you can get results in five to 10 minutes. Choose a test that includes enough materials for you to perform multiple tests in case you get an invalid result that requires re-testing.

Rapid at-home strep tests work the same way, using a swab, reagents in a tube, and test strips to determine negative or positive results. Be sure the results are easy to read, such as two lines for a positive result and one line for a negative result.

And it’s also helpful to select a test that gives you samples to show what a negative test looks like so you can verify your test result. As with any at-home test, accuracy is based on proper use. Follow directions carefully.

When should I get an at-home strep throat test?

There are no universal guidelines for when to use at-home strep testing. But if you have sore throat symptoms coupled with fever and swollen lymph nodes, those symptoms could indicate a Strep A bacterial throat infection. If you are asymptomatic but have been in close contact with someone who has strep throat, you might want to take an at-home strep test to see if you are a carrier to avoid spreading the illness. There’s no harm in home testing if you have a sore throat.

Strep A is most common in children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 15. For this reason, doctors are more likely to test for strep throat in people of these ages if they have symptoms like a sudden sore throat, a fever, enlarged lymph nodes, or a rash.

However, a strep A test is not always done in people with a sore throat. In many cases, sore throat is caused by a viral infection. Viral infections often trigger additional symptoms like a runny nose or coughing. As a result, doctors may reserve strep A testing for situations when sore throat occurs without other symptoms of a viral infection.

Routine strep A testing is not usually used in adults or in children under three years old. In these groups, it is rare for strep throat to cause complications, so it is less important to detect a strep A infection early. However, a doctor is in the best position to assess the appropriateness of strep testing.

Because of the nuances involved in determining whether strep A testing is appropriate, it is best to talk with a doctor before taking any strep A test.

Benefits and Downsides of At-Home Strep Tests

There are pros and cons to every medical test. Understanding the positives and negatives of at-home strep throat testing can help you make an informed decision about whether to purchase an at-home strep test kit.

Some of the primary potential benefits of at-home strep throat testing include:

  • Convenience: Test kits make it easy to conduct the test in the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule without having to make an appointment.
  • Early detection of a strep A infection: Identifying a strep A infection earlier can help avoid transmission of strep throat to others and speed up the start of antibiotic treatment that can improve symptoms and prevent complications.
  • Reduced doctor visits: Going to the doctor every time that a child has a sore throat or other symptoms can be burdensome. The ability to do a rapid at-home strep throat test may reduce the need for some doctor visits. However, doctors will not always treat a patient solely based on the results of an at-home test and may require confirmation testing in person.
  • Affordability: While at-home strep tests are not usually covered by insurance, their relatively low cost per test is often less than copayments or deductibles.

Possible downsides of at-home strep throat testing include:

  • Risk of test error: Properly taking the throat swab sample and preparing the test materials is essential to accurate testing. Since most people are untrained in collecting a throat swab, there may be more risk of user error for at-home testing.
  • False negative results: A false negative is when a person actually has a strep A infection but the test finds no signs of that infection. This type of misleading result may cause a delay in proper treatment. Unfortunately, false negatives can occur with rapid strep tests and may be more likely if an at-home test is not properly conducted. In a medical office, a negative test is often confirmed with a throat culture test, but this kind of two-tier testing is not offered with at-home kits.
  • Lack of test interpretation: At-home tests provide a straightforward positive or negative result, but this can oversimplify the situation in patients with symptoms. In a medical office, the doctor assesses the specific symptoms and whether they are likely to be caused by strep A or another type of infection. This can directly influence how test results are interpreted and whether treatment is needed.
  • Follow-up may be required: For patients who test positive, receiving the proper antibiotics requires a doctor’s prescription. In most cases, this is likely to mean having to go to the doctor’s office and taking a repeat strep A test.

The Best At-Home Strep Tests

At-home strep tests are a type of rapid strep test that may also be called a rapid antigen detection test (RADT). Similar RADTs are often used in doctor’s offices.

There are numerous products available for at-home strep throat testing. Most of these products include enough materials to conduct the tests multiple times.

The following sections detail our picks for the top at-home strep throat tests that you can purchase online.


At-home strep tests were reviewed based on value, convenience, and availability of tests. These overall factors are based on data including price, insurance acceptance, comprehensiveness of tests, and how quickly you can get results and speak to a doctor. Strep test selections have been screened by Testing.com’s Medical Review Board.

Best Overall

Areta — Strep A Swab Test Kit

Strep Throat Test Steps

Price: $39.95
Type: Self-test
Sample: Throat swab
Tests for: Strep throat
Results timeline: Within 10 minutes
Accuracy: The test is CLIA waived and includes a sample test strip to confirm accuracy of your at-home test results
Accepts insurance: No
Physician follow up: No
Prescriptions offered: No

Areta Strep A Swab Test Kit includes enough materials to perform 25 tests, which is convenient because if you make a mistake while testing or get an invalid result, you can easily re-test. The instructions are easy to understand, and they clearly explain what a positive and negative result looks like on the test strip.

Plus, the kit includes a positive and negative control so you can compare your test kit result to the sample. This improves accuracy and also offers some peace of mind as you read your own test results. Though, as with any at-home RADT test like Areta, false positives can occur so you should confirm results with your doctor.

The results are fast in up to 10 minutes, though this is a typical result time frame for at-home strep tests.

The test is CLIA waived for strep throat and pharyngitis and contains tests in individually sealed pouches. The tests are easy to use. You just mix five drops of reagent A and B together in a provided tube. Then you swab your throat and swirl the swab in the tube for five seconds to mix your specimen with the reagents. Finally, you dip a test strip into the tube for exactly five seconds. After 10 minutes, the strip will display a positive, negative, or invalid result if there was an error while preparing the test.

The test kit doesn’t offer support or prescriptions, but it can save you from a doctor’s visit if you test negative and have no symptoms. And if you test positive, you can get timely care. Overall, Areta’s strep test is the best overall for value, it’s a CLIA waived product, and it gets four-star reviews from most users who say they got accurate results.

What’s great about Areta’s strep test? What’s not so great?
  • CLIA waived for accuracy
  • Includes positive and negative control strips
  • 25 individually wrapped tests
  • The tests expire after two years of being manufactured, so check the shelf life
  • Not as accurate as a throat culture in a doctor’s office

Why is Areta’s at-home strep test the best overall?

It includes a control sample so you can compare your results for accuracy, which is not included with EZ Level. It is more cost-effective than EZ Level. People who used and reviewed the test say it is easy and most acknowledge it as accurate.  

Who should use Areta’s at-home strep test?

Use the at-home strep test if you are having symptoms of sore throat and want to verify whether you should get further treatment from a doctor. Or, if you have been in close contact with someone who has strep and want to find out if you are carrying it, you can take the at-home test.

Clearest Instructions

Preview – Strep A Test

Strep Test Kit Contents

Price: $52.22
Type: Self-test
Sample: Throat swab
Tests for: Strep throat
Results timeline: Within 10 minutes
Accuracy: CLIA waived
Accepts insurance: No
Physician follow up: No
Prescriptions offered: No

The Preview Strep A Test Kit is our pick for the clearest instructions. The company’s website includes a helpful how-to video. The step-by-step instructions Preview offers include visuals.

The test kit comes with a tray where you can place the test tube and reagents to keep materials organized while you go through the steps. As with other at-home rapid strep A tests, the one Preview offers includes two reagents you mix into a provided test tube, sterile cotton swabs for collecting a specimen from the back of your throat, and test strips to determine negative or positive results.

The cost is a bit more than other at-home strep tests we reviewed, and the results timeline is average. The kit includes 25 tests that expire two years after manufacture, so keep an eye on shelf life.

This test works like others. You swab the back of your throat, avoiding your tongue. This kit includes a special extraction tube so you can get the maximum amount of material from the swab. Others ask you to swirl the swab in the test tube with reagents. After you add the sample to the tube, dip a test strip for exactly five seconds. You can validate your test by comparing it with the provided negative and positive control samples.

As for accuracy, those control samples are a help and give you peace of mind that you are reading your results correctly. Also, the test is CLIA waived so it adheres to laboratory best practices.

What’s great about Preview’s strep test? What’s not so great?
  • Instructions are simple to understand and include visuals
  • Kit includes a special extraction tube to collect the most specimen material possible from the swab
  • CLIA waived for accuracy
  • The 25-test kit expires two years after being manufactured
  • It cost more than other test kits

Why is Preview’s at-home strep test the best for clearest instructions?

The visuals make it easy to follow step-by-step instructions, and a provided tray where you place the reagents and test tubes keeps the testing process organized. This kit includes a special extraction tube for collecting the specimen from the cotton swab.

Who should use Preview’s at-home strep test?

If you are experiencing strep A symptoms or want to be sure your sore throat is not strep, you can take the Preview at-home test to find out. While at-home tests are not 100% accurate and false negatives are a possibility, taking the at-home test can be a convenient first step to determine if further testing from a doctor is necessary, or if you need treatment.

Fastest Results

EZ Level – Strep A Test Kit

ezlevel Strep A Test Kit

Price: $42.95
Type: Self-test
Sample: Throat swab
Tests for: Strep A
Results timeline: 5 minutes
Accuracy: CLIA waived
Accepts insurance: No
Physician follow up: No
Prescriptions offered: No

EZ Level Strep A Test kit includes 25 tests and delivers the fastest results among other at-home strep tests we reviewed. You can get a negative or positive result in five minutes. The instructions are easy to follow and the steps are typical among home tests for strep A.

You mix two reagents into a test tube, then rub a sterile cotton swab against the back of your throat. This test asks you to place the entire swab into the test tube and agitate it for one minute. Other tests we rated include a special extraction tube for removing the specimen or say to swirl the swab in the test tube.

After the test tube and specimen are mixed up, dip a test strip into the tube for exactly 10 seconds. It’s important to read instructions carefully because other tests say to dip the strip for five seconds. Lay the test strip flat and read the results in five minutes.

This is a cost-effective at-home strep test kit, and if you want the fastest results, we recommend EZ Level. However, the kit does not include a negative and positive control sample like others, and this can be helpful for comparing and verifying your results for accuracy. That said, the simple one line (positive) or two line (negative) indicator is simple to interpret.

What’s great about EZ Level’s strep test? What’s not so great?
  • Fastest results in 5 minutes
  • Contains 25 tests
  • CLIA waived
  • Does not include a negative and positive control sample
  • Tests expire within two years of manufacture date

Why is EZ Level’s test best for fast results?

You can get a negative or positive strep A test result in five minutes with the EZ Level kit, which is quicker than other tests we reviewed that require you to wait 10 minutes before reading the test strip.

Who should use EZ Level’s at-home strep A test?

If you want faster results, EZ Level is the kit to choose. On the other hand, it does not include a negative and positive control sample that you can use to compare your test results for accuracy.

Interpreting At-Home Strep Test Results

Rapid at-home strep tests provide results within minutes. The results are displayed visually and indicate whether the test was positive or negative.

A positive test means that there is a strep A infection because antigens to strep A bacteria were found on the throat swab. If the test result is positive, you should contact your doctor, or, if you performed the test on a child, you should contact your child’s pediatrician.

In most cases, a strep A infection is treated with antibiotics that can decrease symptoms and prevent more serious complications. It is important to note that the doctor may want to repeat strep throat testing before prescribing antibiotics.

A negative result on an at-home strep throat test means that no strep A antigens were found on the swab. However, this does not guarantee that there is no strep A infection. Rapid testing is not perfectly accurate and does not always detect the infection. This can be influenced by errors in sample collection and a certain percentage of error in the test itself.

In many medical offices, testing for strep throat involves both a rapid test as well as a throat culture test, which usually provides results in a couple of days. Doing both tests can help assure that any active strep A infection is found. Guidelines from medical organizations for confirmatory testing depend on the patient’s age:

  • In children, it is recommended that any negative rapid strep A test be confirmed with a throat culture test. recommend that any negative rapid strep A test in children be confirmed with a throat culture test.
  • In adults, routine confirmatory testing is not recommended, but it may be used according to the judgment of the health care provider.

Unfortunately, this combination of rapid test and throat culture is not provided with at-home test kits. As a result, any person concerned about a possible strep throat infection should talk with a doctor.

Are test results accurate?

Rapid strep throat tests are a commonly used and important tool for detecting strep A infections. However, like all medical tests, they are not perfectly accurate.

One concern with rapid tests like those used for at-home strep testing is the possibility of a false negative result. In as many as 30% of cases, a rapid test may come back negative in someone who actually has a strep A infection. This is why many doctors prescribe a throat culture test along with a rapid test when the rapid test is negative.

Another factor that affects the accuracy of an at-home strep test is the preparation of the test sample. It is important to vigorously swab the correct parts of the tonsils and throat while avoiding contact with the tongue or other parts of the mouth. If this is done improperly, the test is less accurate in detecting a strep A infection.

Positive test results are rarely inaccurate. This means that a positive test usually accurately reflects a current strep A infection. That said, sore throat and other symptoms may be caused by a viral infection that occurs alongside an asymptomatic presence of strep bacteria in the throat. In these patients, antibiotics are unlikely to improve their symptoms. Tests alone typically cannot determine the cause of symptoms in these cases, which makes it important to be evaluated by a physician.

Do I need follow-up tests?

Follow-up testing is often necessary after an at-home strep throat test.

If an at-home strep A test is positive, it is important to contact a doctor who is likely to suggest a repeat test to confirm the results of the at-home test. This could include both a rapid strep test and a throat culture.

Although throat culture tests are considered to be the gold standard for detecting strep A infections, they are not always used in adults because strep A rarely causes major complications in adults.

If an at-home strep test is negative, follow-up testing may still be recommended by a doctor in order to confirm the results of the at-home test, especially if you have symptoms that are consistent with strep throat and not a viral infection due to the high rate of false negative result on rapid strep tests.

Questions for your doctor after at-home testing

If you’ve taken an at-home strep throat test, you can talk with a doctor about the test results. Some of these questions may be helpful in that conversation:

  • Is my at-home test result reliable?
  • Do I need any follow-up testing based on my at-home test result?
  • Are my symptoms consistent with strep throat?

Related Tests

At-home tests are not the only way to detect a strep A infection. The following section describes some main differences between strep throat testing at home and at a medical office.

How does laboratory and at-home strep throat testing compare?

At-home strep throat tests use rapid antigen detection tests that are similar to those used in many medical offices. However, there are important differences between at-home and in-office strep A testing:

  • Types of tests available: In a medical office, the doctor has the option of rapid strep testing and/or throat culture, which is generally considered to be more accurate in detecting strep A infections. For at-home tests, only rapid testing is available.
  • Experience in sample collection: Doctors and nurses are trained to take a throat swab properly. This can help make sure that there are no errors that cause test inaccuracies.
  • Training in test interpretation: Understanding the results of a strep throat test isn’t always as simple as seeing whether it is positive or negative. When taken by your doctor, test results can be most effectively interpreted within the context of your symptoms and overall health.

At-home strep throat tests are designed to analyze a throat swab to see if strep A bacteria are present. These rapid self-tests can be fully conducted at home, but positive test results should be discussed with a doctor. And if you test negative and symptoms continue, pursue testing with a doctor. The gold standard is a strep culture test.

Dr. Gastaldo says, “I’m a big advocate of people having access to home testing, however people need to understand the limitations and if you do have a positive test, what is your pathway to get an antibiotic?”


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