The top DNA test kits, and which is right for you

Noelle Ike, CNN Underscored
Updated Wed November 20, 2019

At-home DNA test kits have become massively popular. Over 26 million people have tried these affordable and easy-to-use tests, and they've changed the way many of us view ourselves and our histories.

While it's important to note that there are limits to what these tests can reveal, they're still an informative and entertaining way to learn more about where you come from, who your ancestors were, and even the ways in which your genes may affect your health.

With all this popularity has come an expansion of test options, and it can be a challenge to figure out which at-home DNA test is the right one for you. Some kits focus on how your genes may affect your health and wellness, while others are geared toward helping you map out a family tree. We've compiled some of the most popular at-home DNA tests that have risen to the top of their categories, so you can decide which is best suited to what you're looking to learn about yourself.

For mapping out your family tree:

AncestryDNA® Kit ($99; ancestry.com)

When it comes to a straightforward yet in-depth look at where you come from, the AncestryDNA® kit is our pick. You'll receive a breakdown of your ethnicity by percentage and see a visualization of your ancestors' migration throughout history. We were able to try it for ourselves and loved the DNA Matches feature, which compares your DNA results against the company's massive database of other users. Not only is there the potential to discover distant relatives, you'll see how they actually fit into your family tree.

Health and wellness DNA test:

Health + Ancestry Service from 23andMe ($199; 23andme.com)

The Health + Ancestry Service from 23andMe covers way more than ancestry. While you'll see a map of where your family has traveled to and from, along with a very cool breakdown of your 23 chromosomes and what each can tell you about yourself, you'll also receive four tests that are unique to 23andMe's health service. These include health predispositions you might have, how your genes affect your overall wellness, carrier status of any inherited conditions, and how your DNA influences your specific traits -- like whether you prefer sweet or salty food. While it's one of the pricier DNA tests, it provides a huge range of information that can be super valuable to your daily life and well-being.

Budget DNA test:

3-in-1 Living DNA Ancestry Test $49; livingdna.com)

For just $49, the 3-in-1 Living DNA Ancestry Test is a comprehensive DNA test at a great price. You'll be able to discover your ancestry up to 15 generations back and to trace both your maternal and paternal lineage. Living DNA also offers to predict how you might be related to other people with similar results and to put those results in context by breaking down the movement of your ancestry throughout different points in history.

Personalized diet DNA test:

Vitagene Premium Health DNA Kit + Ancestry DNA Test ($99, originally $139; store.cnn.com)

Like other DNA tests on this list, the Vitagene Premium Health DNA Kit + Ancestry DNA Test provides you with a breakdown of your lineage across the globe and through time. You'll be able to view an interactive map that shows where your ancestors lived, along with a percentage breakdown of your DNA by region. This is all in addition to a feature that makes this DNA kit unique -- its personalized diet recommendation. You'll receive a list of foods that are good for you, specific meal plans, tailored macronutrient percentages and even an ideal workout frequency, all based on your genetic results. With the surge in popularity of personalized nutrition testing services, the Vitagene Health DNA Kit is a great way to start learning about your genetic predisposition to thrive on certain foods and if there are any to avoid.

For tracking your deep ancestry:

National Geographic's Geno 2.0 ($99.95; nationalgeographic.com)

National Geographic's Geno 2.0 DNA test will take you back 200,000 years in its breakdown of your regional ancestry, a great option for any history buff. You'll receive a rich report that describes where your ancestors lived and how they migrated. You'll even be able to learn about your hominin ancestry, which describes how your ancestors who migrated out of Africa met other hominin species and interbred. The kit's Historical Genius Matches is an entertaining feature that lets you know if there are any famous "geniuses" you may be related to, based on your DNA analysis.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.