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Testosterone tests measure levels of testosterone in the blood. At-home test kits can be convenient, but they cannot diagnose underlying health conditions that cause high or low testosterone.
Testosterone is an essential hormone in males and females but is the main sex hormone in males. It
Females have much lower amounts of testosterone than males. In females, it helps balance hormones, regulates some bodily functions, and contributes to libido.
This article discusses what testosterone tests are, what they involve, and the symptoms of high and low testosterone. It also provides a Medical News Today Editor’s in-depth review of LetsGetChecked’s at-home testosterone test kit.
A testosterone test may help doctors gauge if a person has too much or too little testosterone in their blood, which could help them diagnose underlying conditions.
There are two types of testosterone in the blood. Bound testosterone binds to different proteins, such as albumin and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the blood, and free testosterone does not attach to proteins.
There are two types of testosterone tests: one that measures total (bound and free) testosterone in the blood and one that measures free testosterone.
A person may have reduced testosterone levels for a variety of reasons. A doctor may order different tests based on what they suspect the issue is.
2022 guidelines indicate that the typical T range for morning total testosterone levels in males is
- existing medical conditions
- time of the draw (a.m. vs. p.m.)
According to the American Urology Association, levels below 300ng/dL indicates a low testosterone level (low T). However, other guidelines specifically for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-certified labs consider low T levels to be below 264 ng/dL.
For more research-backed information and resources for men’s health, please visit our dedicated hub.
Female testosterone levels tend to be lower than in males. A small sample from the
However, these are average ranges. Typically, testosterone levels will fluctuate a little on an individual level.
Testosterone levels also vary with age and major growth events, such as puberty.
Medical News Today Editor Lois Zoppi received a free LetsGetChecked testosterone test to try. Below is their hands-on review, covering the ordering, testing, and results process.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
All quotes are provided by Medical News Today Editor, Lois Zoppi.
Best test for quick results: LetsGetChecked Testosterone Test
- Price: $89
- Results time: 2–5 days
- Recommended to MNT readers: yes
“I haven’t done any at-home tests before, and I chose this one because I experienced a few symptoms of high testosterone. However, being able to get to a doctor’s office to get a test is challenging due to long waiting lists for appointments.
The kit provides instructions on how to activate the test. You can head to the LetsGetChecked website or use the app. For this test, I used the website.
First, you enter the code for your particular test, which you can find on the card supplied with the test or on the sample bag. Then, you enter the date and time you’re taking the test. For most tests, you have to take the sample before 10 a.m. on Monday through Thursday.
There is then a range of health questions to answer, including basic information such as your sex, gender identity (the options for gender identity were varied, which was a real plus), and ethnicity, along with other information, like your smoker status, alcohol consumption, and whether you are currently taking any prescription medication.
Next are questions on your specific symptoms related to the test. This test listed symptoms like low libido, acne, or hirsutism.
Overall, it was a really simple process that only took around 3–5 minutes to complete.”
“Providing a blood sample was simple. LetsGetChecked says the best time to collect samples is before 10 a.m. Monday through Thursday to make sure the labs can test your sample before the weekend.
It is not necessary to fast for the testosterone test, but it does recommend you’re well hydrated. To increase blood flow, the company recommends people wash their hands under warm water.
After then cleaning your finger with the alcohol wipe provided in the kit, it’s time to use a lancet to make a small incision in your fingertip. The company recommends people use the ring finger on their non-dominant hand. I found that my blood clotted quickly and the flow stopped, so I had to also use my middle finger to provide enough blood.
Do finger prick tests hurt?
“For those worried about whether the lancet hurts: the pain was a small pinch followed by a very mild ache. You don’t have to push hard at all to use the lancet, and I found it helpful to rest my hand on a flat surface.
The incisions are very small — around a millimeter — and formed a small bruise a few hours after I took the sample. My fingers were a little tender the next day, but not enough to interfere with my day.
I found the process a little messy, and providing the sample in a very small tube was a little challenging when I was also massaging my hand and finger to increase the blood flow.
Having to take a sample from two fingers also made it less convenient, but this is a factor that will differ from person to person. Additionally, the rounded bandaids included in the kit weren’t a great fit for smaller hands, so I ended up swapping these for regular ones.
Overall, it was quick and relatively painless and took about 5–7 minutes in total.”
“It took just 1 day to get my results. However, I tested this kit in the United Kingdom, and the laboratory that tests the samples is relatively close by.
As a result, this very quick turnaround may not be applicable to those living in the U.S. It is more likely that the 2–5 day window the company provides will be a typical turnaround.
My results were accessible through email. The results page had a very simple graphic showing where my testosterone levels were on a scale of typical to atypical ranges. I could download a PDF of my results, too, which makes it easy to share with doctors.
My results came back as typical, so the report I received was very brief and not particularly detailed. It showed:
- the lab that tested my sample
- the date and time my sample was analyzed
- my results
I could choose to get a follow-up call from a LetsGetChecked nurse during the test activation stage, but this wasn’t necessary for my result.
Although my test didn’t determine what was causing my symptoms, it was useful to be able to rule out atypical testosterone levels.”
“I would recommend this product to MNT readers. It’s an easily-accessible way to gain insight into your health. The ordering and testing process is very easy and relatively pain-free, and results come quickly.
It may be a really good fit for people who need results quickly and those who aren’t used to taking finger-prick tests.
One improvement I would make to the tests is clearer marking on the boxes and inserts stating which test you’re taking. If you order multiple tests, it can be unclear which test you’re taking until you activate it — or you have to search through the codes on the biohazard bags and test tube to work it out.
LetsGetChecked tests could be a great option for people who find it hard to get health tests done due to location or price, although they may be unsuitable for people on a very tight budget.”
A testosterone test is a simple form of blood test. Doctors will first conduct a physical examination, looking for signs of low or high testosterone levels. They may ask about medical history and any medications the person takes before ordering the blood test.
Doctors tend to carry out tests in the morning when testosterone levels are highest. The blood test involves taking a sample of blood from the arm using a small needle. This process typically takes a few minutes.
Some people may have to follow some special instructions before the test. A doctor may ask the person to stop taking prescription drugs that could affect hormone levels, such as androgen or estrogen therapies.
Other prescription or recreational drugs and herbs and supplements may also affect testosterone levels, so people should always let the doctor know about anything they are taking.
Doctors may order more than one test, taken on different days. This may help get a more accurate average of testosterone levels.
Depending on the results, doctors may order further tests to confirm their diagnosis.
People can also buy testosterone tests to take at home. These tests can be a convenient way to gain initial insight into testosterone levels. However, a person should not make any health decisions based on their results before discussing them with a doctor.
At-home testosterone tests can cost between $50–80. They typically involve a finger prick or a saliva test, and a person must send their blood sample to a lab through the mail.
According to a 2020 review, there is a lack of research into the collection methods and effectiveness of saliva tests.
As a study in Human Kinetics Journals notes, saliva tests do not track changes in hormone levels as quickly or accurately as serum tests.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that at-home tests
No test will replace a doctor’s diagnosis, and at-home kits are unable to diagnose any condition that may be causing low T. Anyone who gets any atypical values from a home test or typical values when they have clinical symptoms should speak with a doctor.
Where to find the best home testosterone test kits
There is a wide range of reputable health testing companies offering testosterone test kits. These include:
- LetsGetChecked: This company returns results within 2–5 days and accepts HSA and FSA payments.
- Everlywell: The testosterone test kit from Everlywell is very affordable and does not involve a finger prick test.
- MyLAB Box: This company claims its tests are FDA-registered and CDC-listed. It also accepts HSA and FSA payments.
Learn more about some of the best at-home testosterone tests.
There are several factors a person should consider when buying a testosterone test online. These include:
- Collection method: Many testosterone tests will use a finger prick as the sample collection method. If a person does not want to do a finger prick test themselves, they can opt for a company that offers in-person testing.
- What is tested: A person should check what each kit tests for to ensure it covers the biomarkers they need.
- Results turnaround: Companies can generally return results within a week, and some send results back within 2 days. However, some labs may take up to 2 weeks to return results, which may be unsuitable for people who need results quickly.
- Reputation: People should prioritize companies with a positive reputation with the Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, and online reviews.
- Medical support: Some companies offer follow-up consultations regardless of a person’s results, and some will only offer medical guidance if a person’s results indicate the presence of a health condition or abnormality. If a person would like guidance after taking their test, they should consider companies that have medical teams for this purpose.
- Price: At-home tests can be expensive. Ideally, a person should speak with a doctor before buying an at-home test to ensure the test is necessary and that they are buying the right test for their needs. People can also check with their health insurance provider to see if at-home test kits are covered.
In males, doctors may order a testosterone test if they suspect a person has low T levels.
Symptoms of low T
- low sex drive
- difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
- loss of pubic hair
- hot flashes
- low sperm count
- difficulties with concentration
- loss of muscle mass
- increased body fat
Learn more about the symptoms of low testosterone.
In cases of low T, doctors may prescribe testosterone products, such as patches, topical gels, and injections, to increase testosterone levels.
Those with low T who have testosterone therapy may find improvement in their symptoms. A review in
Learn more about testosterone replacement therapy.
Anyone who thinks they have symptoms of low T should contact a doctor.
Females with high testosterone (high T) levels may experience the following
- growing facial hair
- growing more or thicker body hair
- deepening of the voice
- loss of breast tissue
- acne and oily skin
- skipped periods or no periods
High testosterone in females may indicate conditions in the ovaries, such as ovarian cancer or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Males may experience:
- low sperm counts
- difficulty urinating
- liver disease
- weight gain
- mood swings
Anyone who feels they have high T levels should contact a doctor.
Below, we answer some of the top frequently asked questions about testosterone tests.
How do I test my testosterone level?
People can test their testosterone levels by getting a blood test at a doctor’s office or ordering an at-home test kit online. These kits may be saliva or blood tests, depending on the company a person orders from.
People should always discuss their test results with a doctor before making any health decisions.
Can I check my testosterone levels myself?
Yes. People can check their testosterone levels by ordering an at-home test kit from a reputable health testing company, such as LetsGetChecked or Everlywell. People should follow the test kit instructions carefully and discuss their results with a doctor.
Does masturbating reduce testosterone?
There is no concrete scientific evidence to suggest that masturbation has negative long-term effects on testosterone levels in humans. Most studies on the subject are over 20 years old and involve animals rather than humans.
Testosterone levels that are too high or too low can both cause issues in the body. Testosterone tests help identify levels of total or free testosterone in the body. These levels may be key in helping to diagnose any underlying issues.
Testosterone tests only give a glimpse of the testosterone levels at one moment in time. Doctors may order more than one test to see how the levels vary based on other factors. A single test is not enough to diagnose any underlying condition.
Anyone who suspects their testosterone levels are too high or too low should work closely with their doctor to diagnose the issue.