As Christmastime approaches, new coronavirus cases are surging across the U.S. due to the omicron variant. In addition to vaccines and masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at-home self-testing kits are an important tool to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
At-home COVID-19 kits allow you to skirt the lines at on-site testing facilities and get results wherever you are. That is, if you can find them in stock. They're becoming increasingly hard to come by as fears of omicron spread.
In addition to many tests being listed as "out of stock," the shortage is apparently causing some vendors on Amazon to hike the prices for at-home tests to more than $500. Shipping may require patience too: Delivery of some popular at-home tests may not be completed until a few days after new year's at the earliest.
Still, some tests are available online at more modest prices, with quicker delivery. And it is possible to use funds from your health savings account (HSA) or flexible savings account (FSA) to purchase at-home coronavirus tests.
Where to buy at-home COVID-19 tests
Below are some examples of self-testing kits we were able to find in stock online, and when you can expect them to be delivered. Just be aware that tests are selling out quickly, and availability and shipping estimates may vary in different parts of the country.
BD Veritor at-Home COVID-19 Test
BD Veritor’s antigen tests are still available on Amazon, listed at $32.49 when we looked. Results are ready in 15 minutes, but they’re only viewable through the Scanwell smartphone app. (Unfortunately, the app does not work with all models and operating systems.) The earliest delivery estimate is Dec. 24.
- FDA approval: yes
- Estimated delivery: Dec. 24-31
- Where to order: Amazon
BinaxNOW COVID-19 Self-Testing Kit
BinaxNOW’s kit comes with two antigen tests. Results show within 15 minutes. You can find kits for as little as $14 at Walmart. CVS lists the same test for $23.99. Next-day delivery is available through Walmart but only if the kit is in stock at a store near you, whereas delivery through CVS may take up to three days.
(Note that BinaxNOW's test is one of the cheapest and most popular at-home tests. It has gone out of stock periodically as we wrote this article. Check back frequently if you're having trouble with availability.)
Everlywell COVID-19 Home Collection Kit
You can purchase Everlywell’s at-home testing kit directly from the company for a discounted price of $81.75. The same kit is also available at Walgreens for $109. This PCR coronavirus test requires you to collect your sample at home and then immediately ship it to a lab for analysis. Once the lab receives the sample, it may take an additional 48 hours to get your result.
- FDA Approval: yes
- Estimated delivery: two to eight business days
- Where to buy it: Everlywell, Walgreens
iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test
Alongside BinaxNOW’s test, iHealth’s rapid antigen test is one of the cheapest on the market. You can find it listed for as little as $17.98 on Amazon. However, the earliest shipping estimate is not until the new year.
- FDA approval: yes
- Delivery estimate: Jan. 5 or later
- Where to buy: Amazon
On/Go Covid-19 self test
On/Go’s antigen test is one of the fastest. You can see your results in 10 minutes. Walmart’s e-commerce store is one of the few places where this test is still in stock. It’s currently listed for $29.99. If you order now, the estimated delivery time is Dec. 29, though you may be eligible for next-day shipping if a store near you has it in stock.
Note: AccessBio, the manufacturer of this product, has received FDA approval for other at-home tests, but the On/Go version is not one of the 41 tests on the FDA-approved list.
- FDA approval: no
- Delivery estimate: Dec. 29 or later
- Where to buy: Walmart
Pixel COVID-19 Home Collection Kit
Even by PCR test-kit standards, this one by Pixel aka Labcorp is on the expensive side. Even so, an expensive test is better than no test. You can find a kit at CVS for $124.99. To receive your results, you must ship your sample to Labcorp for analysis.
- FDA approval: no
- Estimated delivery: one to four days
- Where to buy: CVS