Pregnancy tests can range from $8 to $60 in the grocery store, but did you know that a pregnancy test exists that costs $1 at the dollar store? Although it costs significantly less than the name-brand pregnancy tests, how well do these generic pregnancy tests work, and are they accurate?
How do pregnancy test kits work?
Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in a woman’s urine. This hormone is produced by the cells that form around an embryo and increases rapidly in the days following conception. As a result, it’s most likely for a pregnancy test to be accurate if taken after a missed period.
However, with advances in testing technology, many tests can now give accurate results several days before you would expect your next period to occur. Some claim results can be seen as early as four days before your next expected period—but since there is no standardization for when manufacturers can claim this, it’s best to wait until at least one day after you miss your period to take a test. If you get a negative result but still think you may be pregnant (perhaps because of symptoms or irregular periods), wait another three or four days and retest using morning urine (the best time of day to take these tests). You could also schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider so they can do their own testing and confirm whether or not you are pregnant.
How much do cheap pregnancy tests cost vs. expensive ones?
It’s no secret that pregnancy isn’t cheap, so it’s understandable to try to save as much money as possible wherever you can. If you’re wondering whether the tests from your local dollar store are just as reliable as the expensive ones from drugstores, here is a breakdown of how much each test costs:
- Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests cost $1 each. A box of two or three tests can run between $3 and $4, depending on which brand and type you purchase.
- Drugstore Pregnancy Tests cost between $8 and $12 each. The more popular brands seem to be priced around $10 for a single test, with some less-popular brands being priced at approximately half that amount.
- Hospital Pregnancy Tests cost between $30 and $75 each. Hospitals must charge extra for their tests because they are certified labs, so they have to pay lab technicians who administer them.
- Doctor’s Office Pregnancy Tests can cost anywhere from a few dollars up to hundreds of dollars per test. The price is largely dependent on whether or not you have health insurance coverage, which can cover a portion or all of the costs associated with medical visits and testing procedures performed by doctors in hospitals or clinics.
Are expensive tests more accurate than cheap ones?
Expensive tests are known for having greater accuracy, as they tend to produce fewer false positives and negatives. In 2001, a study was conducted that tested the efficacy of five different brands of dollar store pregnancy tests against two more expensive name brands. The results showed that the cheap pregnancy tests had lower rates of producing accurate results in comparison to the pricier ones. One of the cheaper tests produced no positive results at all, even though all seven women who took it were already known to be pregnant based on other testing methods.
The reason for this is due to a difference in quality between a dollar store and pricier home pregnancy kits. Dollar store pregnancy tests tend to be less sensitive and reliable than their more expensive counterparts, which leads to fewer correct readings overall. They also tend not to provide consistent readings when used multiple times on different urine samples from one person – regardless if she is pregnant or not!
What are the pros of less expensive pregnancy tests?
- The cost of a cheap pregnancy test is the biggest benefit. Even on the higher end, they’re still much less expensive than traditional options, and you can generally find them for as little as $1 each.
- They’re easier to find than similar tests sold at a doctor’s office or pharmacy. You can buy them at the dollar store (obviously) but also online, at gas stations, pharmacies, and even on Amazon.
- Most brands are easy to use. This varies by brand and price point, but generally speaking, it’s not difficult to find tests that are simple to use, with instructions that are clearly laid out in plain English.
- Finally, they’re convenient—both in terms of the places they’re available and how easy they are to use on your own time without having to schedule an appointment or talk through your situation with someone else.
What are the cons of less expensive pregnancy tests?
- Less sensitive. The biggest con of using inexpensive pregnancy tests is that they’re not as sensitive as more expensive options. This means they’re less likely to detect pregnancy early on, sometimes even up to a week after your period was supposed to start.
- Less likely to detect pregnancy hormones. While the cheap tests will still pick up the hCG in your urine, they might not be able to detect it at lower levels compared to pricier versions. Because these less expensive tests are designed for budget-conscious buyers, their manufacturers may have used cheaper and less sensitive materials that don’t pick up on very small amounts of hCG quite as easily.
- Can be harder or impossible to read depending on how much pee you use. If you overdo it and apply too much urine, this can make reading the results difficult or even impossible if the pad gets saturated with too much liquid. On the other hand, if you use too little pee in your test sample (yes, we know how gross that sounds), this can cause false negatives—which is not what anyone wants when trying to find out if they’re pregnant or not!
What are the pros of expensive pregnancy tests?
There are several reasons you might choose a higher-priced test over a cheapie.
- Higher sensitivity levels. A pregnancy test’s sensitivity is the concentration of hCG it takes to make the test produce a positive result. The more sensitive a test is to hCG, the earlier it can detect pregnancy—and thus, the earlier you can get your answer.
- More reliable results. Of course, if you take an early pregnancy test and get a negative result, that doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t pregnant: It just means there isn’t enough hCG in your sample yet for the test to read it as positive. This is less likely with pricier tests due to their higher sensitivity levels.
- More information about results and how to use the tests. Cheapie tests tend not to have all of this printed on them: They’re usually just a plastic casing containing some paper strips that change color when exposed to urine containing hCG (10 mIU/mL). On pricier tests, though, you’ll often find instructions for use printed right on the packaging or included with them (or both), along with written explanations of what your results mean—which generally are also printed directly on pricier tests’ packaging. This makes understanding and interpreting results easier than trying to understand what they mean based only on one or two squinty little lines (or not) on your cheapie’s stick or strip at arm’s length in bad lighting right after taking it.* More information about what your results mean. If a test has ever said “your pregnancy result is weakly positive,” did that sound good? Or did it sound kinda bad? It depends who you ask! But some brands will include more detailed info about what the different types of positives mean so that users don’t have any doubt as they wait for their doctor’s appointment.* More advanced technology – like smart apps that go with certain brands’ kits – which can help users better interpret their results in real-time
What are the cons of expensive pregnancy tests?
Expensive pregnancy tests have their downsides, too. For example:
- They are more expensive. This is the biggest con—these tests cost a lot more than the cheap ones. Even if you buy an expensive test for $10 and one of these cheaper tests for $1, that’s still more than twice as much money spent on trying to prove the same thing.
- They usually come with fewer test strips. If you want to take two (or three or four) pregnancy tests, buying an expensive brand could be more costly in the end, even though it sounds like it would save you money to buy them all at once!
- They may not be any more accurate than cheaper ones. The accuracy of a pregnancy test is measured by how often it gives a false negative and how often it gives a false-positive result. Expensive brands may claim to have almost no chance of getting either kind of incorrect result, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better than cheaper brands at detecting HCG levels in urine. If your budget allows for it and you want peace of mind about whether or not your significant other is pregnant then these pricier options might work out well—but there’s also another option that could give just as much certainty without breaking the bank…
Do these dollar store pregnancy tests work?
Dollar store pregnancy tests work—but how do they work? The test is designed to detect hCG, the hormone produced by pregnancy. HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is first produced in the body after conception takes place. It’s what allows you to get a positive pregnancy test at all—whether that test is from a brand-name company like Clearblue or your local dollar store.
Before you start down the rabbit hole of internet searches, let’s be clear: not only are they legit (as long as they haven’t expired), but they can even offer advantages over pricier alternatives. For example, drugstore tests usually require you to collect your sample mid-stream within a certain timeframe; otherwise, the results may not be accurate. But if you’re pregnant and hoping for a positive result on an early morning test, it can be hard to stop what you started when there’s no question about why you need to go in the first place.
Dollar store pregnancy tests are also cheaper than their name-brand counterparts—by far! The price difference becomes even more important if you think you might want or need to take multiple tests over time. Of course, once your one line turns into two pink lines (or blue or purple ones), then the money isn’t going to matter much at all anymore!
How do dollar store pregnancy tests work?
It’s important to note that not all pregnancy tests are identical. You’ll find different numbers of tests at dollar stores and online retailers. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, so it’s up to you to figure out which is right for you. If a test tells you that you’re pregnant but your period is late, you could opt for the cheaper alternative to see if the results change after a few days or weeks. On the other hand, if nothing changes after two or three days, chances are high that your hCG levels are still too low to detect on any type of test—especially one that costs less than $10 online.
Are dollar store pregnancy tests accurate?
It’s a common question among women who want to find out if they are pregnant: can you trust a dollar store pregnancy test? The answer, according to many experts and research, is yes. These budget tests can be just as accurate as of the expensive ones.
The accuracy of dollar store pregnancy tests has been proven in studies conducted by several labs and organizations — including Consumer Reports and the Cleveland Clinic. But it’s important to note that these studies used dollar store pregnancy tests from top brands like First Response and Clearblue Easy. This means that we don’t know how other cheaper brands will perform. It’s possible that some of the off-brand pregnancy tests you see at the dollar stores could be less accurate — but there haven’t been any formal studies on this yet.
Dollar store pregnancy test sensitivity
Because of their lower price, these tests are often more sensitive than the early detection pregnancy tests you’ll find at a pharmacy or grocery store. A test is considered sensitive if it can detect hCG in your urine at a low concentration. How much hCG is needed to get a positive result? According to The American Pregnancy Association, 10-25 mIU/ml are typical numbers for levels of hCG in the urine. However, tests with sensitivity levels as low as 20-40 mIU/ml have proven to be very accurate at detecting early pregnancies (source).
If your test says “early detection” on the package but gives no information on sensitivity, then it’s probably somewhere between 20 and 40 mIU/ml. If you’re looking for a true early detection test (and willing to pay extra), buy one that has this sensitivity level listed on the box.
To ensure accuracy, read all directions carefully before purchasing and performing your pregnancy test. Keep in mind that each brand’s instructions may vary slightly from those listed above. It’s also important to remember that some situations are unique and may require different instructions (such as taking fertility drugs).
Can you trust cheap, dollar store pregnancy tests?
To understand the answer to this question, you’ll need to have a basic knowledge of how ovulation works. Ovulation is the release of an egg from one of your ovaries. The egg then travels down one of your fallopian tubes and into your uterus. During ovulation, fertile eggs live inside a woman’s body for 12-24 hours. If an egg is fertilized by sperm during this time, it will travel further through the fallopian tube and begin to attach itself to the uterus lining, where it will grow into a baby. A chemical called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) starts being produced within days after fertilization occurs.
When you take a pregnancy test, you’re looking for hCG in your urine or blood because that means that there was fertilization and implantation within about two weeks before taking the test (which is when most people begin testing). Pregnancy tests can be performed manually with blood from a lab or at home with urine in test strips or on sticks found at drugstores or dollar stores. The home urine tests are easier to perform but also less sensitive than lab testing so they can only detect pregnancy earlier if they are more sensitive as well as accurate which is where things get tricky!
When to take a dollar store pregnancy test
There are some telltale signs that it might be time to take a dollar store pregnancy test. If your period is late and you think you may be pregnant, taking a low-cost pregnancy test can confirm or eliminate your suspicions. In addition to a late period, there are other possible symptoms of pregnancy, including nausea with or without vomiting—sometimes referred to as “morning sickness,” although it can occur at any time of day; frequent urination; food cravings; tender breasts; fatigue and tiredness; increased sense of smell and sensitivity to odors; and mood swings such as irritability. Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine, which is produced by the placenta shortly after conception.
False Negative On Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests
A false negative on a dollar store pregnancy test happens when your urine does not contain the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This means that either you aren’t pregnant, or you are pregnant but your body has not yet produced enough HCG for the test to detect it. You may also get a false negative if you take the test incorrectly by using diluted urine, waiting too long to read the results, using an expired pregnancy test, or not following instructions correctly.
False positives on cheap tests can also be a concern because they occur when HCG is detected in your urine even though you’re not pregnant. Although rare, false positives might happen when there is blood or protein in your urine that reacts with the pregnancy test and produces a positive result. Medications containing HCG may also cause you to get a positive result even though you aren’t pregnant. If this happens, consult your doctor as soon as possible for further evaluation and assistance in determining why you got a false positive result on your pregnancy test.
False Positive On Dollar Store Pregnancy Test
False positives on dollar store pregnancy tests, although rare, can happen. But why?
Well, if you’ve recently been pregnant and miscarried or terminated, certain protein fragments can stay in your system and register as a positive result. These fragments can be detected days to months after the pregnancy ends.
If you take multiple cheap dollar store pregnancy tests (as many do), this can cause an unusual number of false positives because of human error when taking these tests. One way to avoid this is by reading the instructions carefully so there’s no room for error.
If you think you are experiencing a false positive result but want to confirm whether or not you are pregnant, then consider going for additional testing like an ultrasound or blood test at your doctor’s office.
What kind of pregnancy test is right for me?
There are several types of pregnancy tests on the market, and which one is right for you depends on your needs.
- Digital tests are more expensive than non-digital ones. However, they give you a clear answer rather than lines that can be difficult to interpret. They also notify you of how far along the pregnancy likely is (early or late). If you get a negative result from a digital test, it’s advisable to use another test after several days.
- Non-digital tests require reading two lines to obtain results—one line for “negative” and one for “positive.” This can make them harder to read accurately and increase your chance of getting an incorrect result (false positive or negative), so they should be used in conjunction with other tests if possible.
If you get what appears to be a positive result on your test, regardless of whether the test was digital or non-digital, it’s wise to pay a visit to your doctor as soon as possible so that they can confirm the results. Often this involves checking your bloodwork for hCG levels and ultrasound imaging. If there’s no fetus present by ultrasound despite the bloodwork showing hCG levels indicative of early pregnancy, this shows that an ectopic pregnancy has occurred (a rare condition in which implantation takes place outside of the uterus). Though very rare, ectopic pregnancies can lead to permanent damage if left untreated. Additionally, if medical professionals determine that there is indeed a baby growing inside you but that its heartbeat has stopped, this indicates miscarriage and could require emergency treatment depending on circumstances like whether or not there is excessive bleeding present.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The FDA has approved all of the cheap dollar store pregnancy tests.
- Cheap dollar store pregnancy tests are safe and effective. They work by detecting the presence of hCG in your urine, just like their more expensive counterparts.
- Pregnancy tests use a chemical reaction to detect the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in a woman’s urine. This hormone is produced by the placenta when a woman is pregnant, so her levels of hCG will increase rapidly during early pregnancy. It starts being produced about 10 days after ovulation, but it may be detected as early as 7-10 days after conception (when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall).
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, Pregnancy Tests, January 2019.
- Planned Parenthood, Pregnancy Tests, 2022.
- Food & Drug Administration, Home Use Tests: Pregnancy, April 2019.
- Mayo Clinic, Home Pregnancy Kits: Can You Trust the Results?, February 2021.
- National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Strips of Hope: Accuracy of Home Pregnancy Tests and New Developments, July 2014.
- National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Comparison of Volunteers’ Experience of Using, and Accuracy of Reading, Different Types of Home Pregnancy Test Formats, September 2013.
- Jessica Shepherd, M.D., OB/GYN, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX.
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- Wilcox AJ et al.; Time of implantation of the conceptus and loss of pregnancy; National Center For Biotechnology Information
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- How accurate are home pregnancy tests?; NHS
- Ovarian Cysts; UT Southwestern
- Courtney A. Schreiber et al.; A Little Bit Pregnant: Modeling How the Accurate Detection of Pregnancy Can Improve HIV Prevention Trials; National Center For Biotechnology Information
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- H. Muppala et al.; Morbidly Obese Woman Unaware of Pregnancy until Full-Term and Complicated by Intraamniotic Sepsis with Pseudomonas; National Center For Biotechnology Information