Our Top Pick for 2018: First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test
Read our full review.
The development of the home pregnancy test has allowed women everywhere the freedom and confidence of being able to know whether or not she is going to have a baby. These kits are now readily available over the counter and online. Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide which brand to choose. Rather than buying multiple boxes, or putting up with not being confident in the results, consider this narrow list of four recommend pregnancy tests. These tests were evaluated by their price, their reputation, and the reviews of other women who have used them.
#1. First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test
The best pick for consumers is the First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test. The manufacturer claims that it is the #1 best selling pregnancy test brand. This particular product is aimed at women who want to test for a pregnancy as early as possible. The First Response product is designed to test for a pregnancy as early as five days before the first day of a woman’s expected period. Theoretically, a woman can find out that she’s going to have a baby before she even misses her period. However, the manufacturer states that it is only 76% accurate from this earliest test day. At four days before the first day of the period the product is 96% accurate, and from three days before the first day of the expected period and after the product is 99% accurate.
The varying accuracy rates are due to progression of a pregnancy. All pregnancy tests look for the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone which is only released when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine lining. This may occur late, just a few days before a woman’s period. It’s possible that the egg just hasn’t implanted by the fifth day before the woman’s period starts or that it has and there isn’t enough hCH hormone in the bloodstream yet to register on the test. This can mean an increased likelihood of a false negative in the early pregnancy tests. Despite this, First Response is considered one of the more sensitive and accurate tests on the market for women who want to find out early if they are going to have a baby. To reduce the chances of a false result, it is recommended that women take a second test one week after the first test and compare them. This should be done whether the first test was positive or negative.
The First Response kit comes with three tests so women can take them a few days apart for the most accurate result. Each test strip comes inside a plastic holder with a gently curved handle and a plastic cap to cover the strip while waiting for results. The directions are fairly easy to understand. Remove the plastic cap and place the paper strip into the urine stream for five seconds. Women can also place the tip into a cup with a small amount of urine in it for the same amount of time. Replace the cap and lay the test on a flat surface with the clear test results window facing up. Wait a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of ten minutes. Look at the clear test results window. Two pink lines indicate a positive result for pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if the second pink line is faint, it is still a positive result. One pink line is a negative result. If no lines appear, or something else appears, the test is faulty. Try taking another one.
First Response features a wider test strip which makes it easier to take the test. Women who reviewed this product liked that it had multiple tests to take for later confirmation or to rule out false negatives. They also reported that it doesn’t have the ‘evaporation lines’ that can develop on blue line tests which may mislead users into thinking they got a positive result. Some women got a false result on their tests, and reported on it negatively, but it’s possible that the result was due to the body simply not producing enough hCG hormone at the time the test was taken. Consumers should also note that it’s possible to get a false positive before a miscarriage in a very early pregnancy, or due to ovarian or uterine cancer. Even men with testicular cancer can wind up getting a positive on a pregnancy test because of the disease interfering with hormone production in their bodies.
#2. Easy@Home 25 Pregnancy (HCG) Urine Test Strips
Women who are trying to get pregnant may want to pick up a set of Easy@Home 25 Pregnancy Urine Test Strips. These strips are a great low cost option for women who want to test often for a potential pregnancy. Easy@Home can test for pregnancy starting on the first day of an expected period with a 99% accuracy rating. The company website states that women can test before their expected period start date, but accuracy may not be as high. For instance, taking the test on the fourth day before the first day of the period there is a 53% chance of an accurate positive result for a pregnant woman. On the third day before the first day of the period the test there will be an 82% chance of an accurate positive result when pregnant. On the second day before the first day of the period this chance rises to 90% for a positive result when pregnant, and on the day before the expected start date of the period this rises to a 95% chance of an accurate positive result.
Additionally, Easy@Home recommends women testing before their periods take the test when they first wake up in the morning and when they first go to the bathroom to pee. This increases the potential amount of hCG hormone present in the urine sample. Women who are testing on their first period day or afterwards can take the test at any time of the day.
This Easy@Home kit comes with 25 test strips, each one sealed in its own individual pouch. The paper strips do not come with an applicator. This does increase the amount of effort involved in using the strips. However, most women can use a disposable cup to hold a small amount of their urine for the test. The instructions for this product are fairly straightforward too. Remove a test strip from its pouch. Place the white end of the strip into the sample and keep it there for about three seconds. Remove the strip and place it on a clean, dry, non-absorbent surface. Wait between three and five minutes to read the results. A positive result will show as two pink lines, one line may look faint. However, it doesn’t matter how faint the second line is, it still indicates a positive result. A negative test result will show as just one pink line at the “C” mark on the strip. A faulty test result will show as no lines or just one line on the “T” mark of the strip.
Women who have used Easy@Home report that it is effective and convenient to have multiple strips to use. Some women reported that they were able to take the test as early as five days before the start of their periods and saw a positive result. They took the test everyday afterwards and saw the lines gradually darken as their bodies produced more of the hCG hormone. Some who reported negatively on the product felt that it gave uneven results and that the testing method was too involved.
#3. TrueStick Pregnancy Test Quick Result
Another option for multiple testing is the TrueStick Pregnancy Test Quick Result. This product is geared towards women who are trying to get pregnant naturally and want to check early and frequently for pregnancy. This particular test claims an accuracy of 99%, but doesn’t state at what point in the woman’s cycle this rating is established. It is possible this means from the first day of the expected period forward, since other pregnancy tests have the same rating starting at that particular place in a woman’s fertility cycle. The instructions state that women can test as early as five days before the first day of an expected period, but the company doesn’t provide an accuracy rating for each day.
TrueStick is a simple plastic testing stick with the paper strip inside, similar to the First Response kit. This particular product comes with five tests for women to use all on the same day or on different days. The timing of the tests are entirely up to those taking them. These strips are super sensitive and can register hCG hormone levels as low as 25 mIU/ml, which is the FDA standard. Each TrueStick comes in its own foil pouch. Strips are very narrow and measure about six inches long.
Taking the test is simple. Women remove a TrueStick from its foil pouch. Remove the purple plastic cap. Either, place the absorbent tip into the urine stream over the toilet or dip the stick into a in a cup with the urine sample for five seconds. Place the applicator on a flat surface. Wait four minutes before reading the results. This stick has two separate windows for the results to show inside. A positive pregnancy test will show two pink lines, one line in each window. Again, it won’t matter how faint the second line is on the applicator strip, it is still a positive test result. A negative pregnancy test will show only one pink line.
Women who use this test reported that it was accurate and easy to use in general. Being able to avoid using a sample cup of urine made the test more convenient and less messy. They also appreciated the affordable price for multiple testing sticks, especially considering that these were plastic applicators rather than simple paper strips. They also felt that it was nice to be able to take multiple tests when they wanted too. TrueStick has a long shelf life, which appealed to some consumers. A few women felt that the tip of the stick needed to be held in the urine stream for longer than five seconds to get an accurate result. There is a clear film over the test results windows, presumably to keep it dry, which some women felt made it hard to read the results. The film was reflective enough that when light shines on it, faint lines are difficult to see. Some women who took the test before their expected period did report a false negative on the test.
#4. ClinicalGuard HCG Pregnancy Test Strips
Women who are on a budget may want to consider the ClinicalGuard HCG Pregnancy Test Strips. This option gives women multiple test strips, so they don’t have to keep going out to buy more pregnancy tests. This brand is geared towards women who want the ability to test often without the cost of some pricier products. In exchange for the affordability, ClinicalGuard strips are a no-frills product that don’t have a protective plastic applicator and may be made with cheaper paper. The manufacturer doesn’t provide any accuracy information. However, the packaging does indicate that these test strips are FDA approved. This means they should be able to detect levels of hCG as low as 25 mIU/ml.
This particular product comes with 20 test strips, each in their own foil pouch. The strips are similar to the Easy@Home product, as they are just paper strips with blue plastic covered end to keep women from coming into contact with urine. Taking the test is similar to Easy@Home’s process. It is recommended that women take the test in the morning when they first pee. Remove the test strip from the pouch. Dip the white absorbent tip into a sample of urine. Hold it in the sample for three seconds. Remove the strip from the urine and lay on a flat, dry, non-absorbent surface. Wait a minimum of 40 seconds and a maximum of 5 minutes for the results to appear. A positive pregnancy test result is indicated by two pink lines, one not as dark as the other. A negative pregnancy test result is indicated by one pink line. The manufacturer also recommends testing a second time a few days later to confirm the results.
Women who have used these test strips usually report positively on them. They found that the test provided very fast results. A few women reported that they got a positive pregnancy result very early, such as ten days before the expected start date of their period. However, this may not be everyone’s experience. Women who didn’t like the tests reported that they were too narrow to read easily and that some tests had an indent line that looked like a very faint second pink line. Others noticed that a lot of dye wicked up the strip, which can interfere with the appearance of the results lines.
One of the most important aspects of shopping for a pregnancy test is the accuracy of that product. Nearly all tests claim a 99% accuracy rate. This is usually dependent on the day women take the test, such as the first day of an expected period. Early detection pregnancy tests are also accurate, but not with the same percentage level. For instance, First Response claims an accuracy of 76% when taken on the fifth day before the first day of a period. Other tests vary in their early detection rates as well. Women should definitely make certain to read the fine print on these product, especially if they want to test as early as possible for a pregnancy.
Ease of Use
There are two main ways of using an at home pregnancy test, peeing on an applicator stick or dipping the stick in a cup of water. Most products are flexible and work well with either technique. However, there are products specifically designed for one or the other. The First Response test stick is ergonomically designed to make holding the handle more comfortable when peeing. The ClinicalGuard and Easy@Home strips are more hygienic when dipping them into a urine sample cup. Women may want take the ease of use of these products into consideration when planning on taking multiple tests.
Number of Testers
These products are available with differing numbers of tests in them. Some more expensive brands may only offer three tests, while inexpensive or bulk packages can have twenty or more tests. The ability to validate a result with multiple tests can be very helpful. Most women will want to take at least two tests, just to be certain of a positive or negative result. Plus, the manufacturers even recommend waiting a few days to a week and taking another test to confirm the results of the previous one. Women who are trying to conceive and will want to take a test every cycle, may prefer those products that have several testers.
A home pregnancy test can be surprisingly expensive, especially if it is from one of the well-known brands and offers a lot of features. Women on a budget or those who plan on taking a lot of pregnancy tests may not want to pay those higher prices for one package. Luckily, there are also a number of inexpensive kits on the market, such as ClinicalGuard. Women may even find these more convenient because they are likely to have several test strips in them. Although, a low priced pregnancy test may not have those extra features and could require more effort for testing.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
All pregnancy tests use the same process to determine if a woman is pregnant. They look for the hormone hCG, which will start showing up in a woman’s urine about three to four days after implantation. Most tests use a simple display with two pink lines to indicate a positive result and give the result within a few minutes. The differences come in the number of available tests, whether they are sticks or strips, and the accuracy of early detection. Some kits may also be made with better quality products than others, which could have an impact on the accuracy or appearance of a result.