Spending Top Dollar, Or One Dollar?
Ah, time to go pick up a pregnancy test. Well… wait. These are pretty expensive. Do I want to buy the three pack for $20 or just buy one for $8? What about these dollar store tests? If they’re just $1, do they really work?
The good news is — yes, they work. The technology that allows women to test at home is the same no matter what packaging it comes it. However, there are a few differences.
All pregnancy tests come with an absorbent test strip. Each test strip basically works by checking your urine for the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Many tests will have a control line that shows up to let you know you did the test right (and will show up no matter if you’re pregnant or not). And they will also have a test line, that only shows up if you’re indeed expecting a baby.
There are quite a few different varieties, from those that show basic lines to those that show a plus sign — and there are even fancy ones that flash a digital message, such as “Pregnant” or “Yes.” Most of these tests require that you hold the stick in your stream of urine, or alternatively, you can collect your sample in a clean cup and dip the test that way.
The really cheap tests, however, usually work a bit differently, but the results are the same. Many are in a cartridge container, and not only do you do the “pee in a cup” thing, you then are supposed to transfer a certain number of drops (with an included dropper) to the designated area on the cartridge in order for the test to work.
The science behind each test is the same, however. More expensive tests often claim to be able to detect a pregnancy earlier than a less expensive one, but eventually all pregnancies will come up positive on a test. And moms report that the cheap ones are often just as sensitive as their more expensive counterparts.
You can even buy just the test strips themselves online (Amazon.com $12 for 20), which require a separate cup to collect urine, but can be dipped.
So, if you anticipate needing to take more than a few pregnancy tests, you can rest assured that the cheapos usually work just as well as the more expensive types.