COVID-19Human InterestInfectious DiseasesPreventive MedicineProcedures


Testing oneself for COVID-19 has become commonplace. At least it sure seems that way because more and more people ask me about at-home tests, or say they bought one to test themselves. At-home tests are not new. Pregnancy tests have been available since the 1970’s, and I had simple, “at-home” tests for strep, influenza, and mononucleosis that I used in the office. The big thing, now, of course, is at-home testing for COVID-19. These tests enable us to know, with fair certainty, if those annoying symptoms you’ve had for a week are COVID. 

Medical Economics online edition recently posted an article discussing the pros and cons of  seven currently available at-home tests for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The seven tests ranked by ease of use are:

  1. on/go by AccesBio 
  2. CareStart by AccesBio
  3. Flowflex by Acon Laboratories
  4. QuickVue by Quidel
  5. BinaxNOW by Abbott laboratories
  6. Intelliswab by OraSure Technologies
  7. Veritor by BecktonDickinson

The upside and downside of these tests were listed in the article in a painfully boring format. So I have chosen to share this information by using the answers to questions asked in the survey. The answers will make it easier to decide which test is best for you. Those questions are:

Which tests were the easiest to use?

     on/go, CareStart, Flowflex,

Which tests did users find hardest to use? (%age of users who said it was hard)

     BD Veritor (67%), BinaxNOW (22%), Intelliswab (11%)

What was hard about these tests?

     BD Veritor—it’s very time-consuming to perform, no written instructions, no example of a

                         positive result is shown

     BinaxNOW—has many steps and some are hard to complete

     Intelliswab—the swab is odd-shaped and uncomfortable in the nose

Which tests left you uncertain of the results? 

     BD Veritor—patient must use app to get results

     Quick Vue—results lines were hard to see on the readout

If you have poor vision, which test should you not use?

     QuickVue—readout lines are difficult to see

     Flowflex—printed instructions are a bit busy

     BD Veritor, QuickVue—instructions printed in small font

If you have a tremor or other hand movement limitation, which test should you not use?

     Flowflex, CareStart, on/go, Intelliswab—test requires removal of vial cap, difficult to do

     BinaxNOW, BD Veritor—required to place drops in a vial, can be difficult

Dr. G’s Opinion: I have neither used, nor even seen, any of the tests in this list. There probably are more brands, but those mentioned are the major players. If I were choosing, I would choose the one that’s easiest to use and gives clear, understandable results. For me, the choice would be either “on/go” or “CareStart.” They both are touted as “simple,” have “good instructions, have a timer in the accompanying app,” are easy to handle, and provide clear results. I would avoid using Intelliswab because the test takes 30 minutes to perform, and Veritor because of all the negative user reviews. BinaxNOW claims to detect the Omicron variant, a plus for this product, but with “results being difficult to see,” I would only use it if I suspected I had Omicron.

This information came from Medical Economics Online, and much of it is word-for-word from the article. This information hopefully will help you make the right decision in your attempt to test for COVID-19 at home. At-home tests are a great idea as long as the consumer can be certain of the accuracy of the test results. That’s the most important of all questions. 

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