Mother and Baby

How accurate are cheap pregnancy tests?

Section: Getting Pregnant
cheap-pregnancy-tests

If you’ve been trying to conceive and you think you might be pregnant, the best way of finding out if you’re expecting is by taking a home pregnancy test. Once you get to a shop, you might be surprised to find that there are a lot of different ones to choose from.

From well known brands like Clear Blue to supermarket own brands, you can sometimes be looking at paying over £10 for a pack of two tests. But really, what are you paying extra for? 

Is it worth spending a few more pennies on an expensive pregnancy test? Or do you get exactly the same result by spending just a couple of pounds on one? 

What is the difference between cheap pregnancy tests and expensive pregnancy tests? 

All pregnancy tests work the same, by measuring the levels of human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG in your urine. This pregnancy hormone is produced by the placenta and it can show up in a pregnant woman’s urine and blood as soon as an embryo has implanted in the uterus. 

This implantation takes place around 6-12 days after the egg has been fertilised and a pregnancy test can pick up the levels of hCG around 19 days after fertilisation to detect early pregnancy.  

All tests that claim so should give you at least a 99 per cent accurate result if used correctly, so there should be no difference in the accuracy of cheaper tests and more expensive tests. 

Tests such as the First Response claim to give you results as early as 6 days before your period due date. It is worth however reading the small print - ‘The First Response kit is over 99 per cent accurate when used on the day of your missed period, your due date and the day prior to your due date. The Kit is 62 per cent accurate when used 6 days before the day of your missed period.’

Other tests like the Clear Blue tester can tell you how far along you are, clearly showing how many weeks it’s been since conception. It does this by measuring the hCG levels in your urine as the further along you get, the more of this hormone you produce. It is worth keeping in mind however that this is just an estimate of how far along you are. 

You’ll likely pay more for a digital test too which is understandable. And obviously, the more tests you want, the more you should expect to pay. For example, the Clear Blue can be bought in a 6 pack for mums who want to take multiple tests to be sure. 

Are expensive tests more accurate than cheaper pregnancy tests? 

All pregnancy tests are 99 per cent accurate, whether you’re spending £1 or £10. The accuracy of the test however does depend on when you take it. 

For example, if you take it after the first day of your missed period, it will be more accurate. If you take it the day before your expected period or the day of your expected period, it may be less accurate and you could get a false positive result (though these are rare) or a false positive. 

That’s why it’s always best to take the test on the day or days following the day you were due on your period for the most accurate result, as testing too early could result in a false negative result. 

Pros and cons of a cheap pregnancy test

Pros

  • It’s cheaper
  • It’s just as accurate as the more expensive ones if used correctly 
  • Just as easy to use

Cons 

  • They won’t have as many features such as telling you the number of weeks 
  • They may be more basic in design and not be a digital pregnancy test
  • The result may be harder to read, especially if you get a faint line

What pregnancy test should I buy? 

It really depends on your personal preference. We’ve put together a list of the best pregnancy tests available to buy in the UK here to help you decide which one is best for you. 

 

 
  • Author: Lorna White Lorna White
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!

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