The Truth About Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests

The dollar store may be your destination for items like cleaning supplies, candy, a quick snack, or a random gift, but what about a pregnancy test? Since tests can cost up to $15, it can be tempting to purchase one at a discounted price (like, $1).  Depending on what you're buying, though, it's no secret that going to a dollar store can mean you're purchasing cheap, poor quality items (via Today). So do dollar store pregnancy test strips really work? 

The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Those cheap test strips work just as well as the more expensive grocery or convenience store tests. But if the $15 test produces the same outcome as the $1 test, why aren't all pregnancy tests a buck? 

What's the difference between expensive tests and dollar store pregnancy tests?

The most necessary part of a pregnancy test is the chemically-treated paper that changes color when you urinate on it. According to Likehackerthat paper is cheap to produce, and it's really just the packaging and branding that hikes up the prices. All the plastic housing that comes along with the more expensive tests — which provides convenience from a user standpoint — costs money, and that's another reason discount stores can sell them for $1. Those cheaper pregnancy test strips can also be a bit more annoying to use, as you must dip the test strip into a cup rather than the arguably easier method of just sticking the plastic-encased test strip in a stream of urine.

Are dollar store pregnancy tests accurate?

When pregnant, your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is higher in your urine. All tests, cheap or expensive, look for this increased value, but some are simply more sensitive. Some tests can detect early pregnancy easier than others, whereas other tests would take a few days to register a pregnancy. According to Today's Parent, dollar store tests are accurate, but may not pick up a low amount of hCG. If you look at the packaging of your test, it will tell you how many units of hCG it will detect. If it has a lower number, it is more sensitive (via Motherly). 

Rest assured, buying a cheap pregnancy test can be a positive or negative experience, just like a more costly test from Target, but at least your three-minute wait just got a whole lot cheaper.