BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.
After over a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, at-home COVID-19 antigen tests are now available to the public. Insurers will soon be able to cover the cost of an at-home test, but as the number of cases continues to climb, it is getting harder and harder to find these antigen tests in stores. The demand is simply too high. Luckily, it is possible to order a COVID-19 rapid test through Amazon right now.
When should I test for COVID-19?
If you have been in close contact with an individual who has COVID-19, an at-home test will help you determine if the virus has been passed on to you. However, it is important to understand there is a window of time when the virus is undetectable. For that reason, according to the CDC, if you have no symptoms, you should wait 3-5 days after known exposure before administering an at-home COVID-19 test. If you develop any symptoms, you can administer the test right away.
For peace of mind, if you plan on traveling or you will be partaking in an indoor event, you may opt to take an at-home test before the event or 3-5 days after, even if you have no symptoms or you have been vaccinated.
Are at-home COVID-19 rapid tests accurate?
While most companies list the accuracy rate of an at-home COVID-19 test on the packaging or in the product’s description, ultimately, achieving success depends largely on how well an individual can follow directions, says the CDC. Before administering a self-test at home, it is important to thoroughly read and understand all instructions. This includes storing the unit at the proper temperature, taking a sample from the right location for the right amount of time and waiting the designated amount of time for results.
How soon will my COVID-19 rapid test arrive?
Unfortunately, while you can purchase an at-home COVID-19 test on Amazon right now, it doesn’t mean the test will arrive in 2 days, even if you subscribe to Amazon Prime. Currently, the average shipping time is 2 weeks. Because of this, it is important to plan ahead and order tests before you need them. However, it is also important to realize that at-home COVID-19 tests do not have a long shelf life. If you order more than can be used by the expiration date — which may be anywhere from 6-8 months after you receive the kit — results will be less reliable.
COVID-19 tests currently available on Amazon
iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (two-pack)
This FDA-authorized rapid test is currently the most affordable option. The sample collection method only requires a half-inch to three-quarter-inch insertion, so there is no discomfort, and results are available in about 15 minutes. The company has a free app that offers instructions and tracking, making it useful in work and school environments.
Sold by Amazon
On/Go at-Home COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Self-Test (two-pack)
This FDA-authorized at-home test will work whether or not you have symptoms, and it delivers results with 95% accuracy. It is suitable for individuals as young as 2 years old (when administered by an adult), and the results are available in about 10 minutes. Each box has an expiration date, and the free On/Go app can be used to track the results of individuals and small groups.
Sold by Amazon
Lucira Check It Single-Use COVID-19 Rapid Test
The Lucira test is significantly more expensive than the other two options. However, it is a molecular single-use test, not an antigen test, so it has a 98% degree of accuracy. There is only one test included in the kit, and results are available in about 30 minutes.
Sold by Amazon
Amazon COVID-19 Test Collection Kit
This reasonably priced option from Amazon is not a rapid test. It is a sample collection kit that you must mail to a lab for results. This collection kit is currently in stock. Results are available within 24 hours of the sample arriving at the lab, making this option potentially faster than waiting for an at-home rapid test to be shipped.
Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.