With so many DIY home mold test kits available on the market, how will you know which one to trust? We removed the guesswork by reviewing the top contenders – the DIY Easy Mold Test, Healthful Home, Mold Armor, Immunolytics, My Mold Detective, and the Pro-Lab kit.
- Commonly asked questions
- Are home mold test kits reliable?
- Should I get one?
- The best home mold test kits
- DIY Easy Mold Test
- Pro Lab
- Mold armor FG500
- Healthful home inspection pack
- My mold detective MMD103
- Comparison table
Before starting with the reviews, we will first answer two commonly asked questions.. how reliable are home mold test kits, and do you need one?
Are home mold test kits reliable?
The truth is that not all are 100% reliable. You can minimize the risk of buying the wrong product by considering the following.
Pricing: Cheap ones are often unreliable and usually give false positives or negatives. So it pays to spend a little bit more for a quality product to get an accurate reading.
Type of tests: The second thing to consider is the testing method. Most, including the ones we reviewed, allow you to take an air and surface sample.
Just keep in mind that air sample tests will almost always give a positive reading. The reason being that mold spores are around us all of the time, and the only way of drastically reducing them is by running a HEPA air purifier. What they can do, however, is tell you your indoor mold spore count, i.e., the species and whether or not your indoor mold spore count is higher than average.
With swab tests, you take samples from various surface areas with cotton swabs, place them in a sealed tube and send it for analysis. Tape kits work similarly, but instead of cotton swabs, you stick special tape strips onto surface areas, apply them to a test board and send it to a lab for analysis.
The final, and most common testing method is petri-dishes. You simply leave the petri-dish somewhere undisturbed while it collects mold spores and other contaminants (if present). Then you add a microbial liquid to the dish and seal it to see if any mold grows inside of it. These petri-dishes can be sent to a lab to determine the species.
Instant results vs. laboratory tests: Many products promise instant results. Be wary of them because they can give inaccurate results. Always look for a mold test kit where you send the samples to an approved laboratory for professional analysis. The good news is that envelopes and postage come included with quality kits, and the laboratory turnaround time is five days on average.
Should I get one?
If dealing with a substantial mold infestation, then it’s strongly recommended that you not remove it yourself. A testing kit would be of no use in such a situation because a professional remediation company will take care of both testing and removal.
If the infestation is minor and you feel comfortable removing it yourself, then use a home testing kit only if you want to know the species. Knowing this is not particularly important unless someone in your household has become ill and you suspect a toxic type of mold to be responsible. What’s important is having the mold removed and determining how the infestation came about in the first place (i.e., water leaks, high humidity, etc.), and taking the necessary steps to prevent it from occurring again.
DIY home mold test kit reviews
Do you still feel like you need a test kit? If so, we reviewed the best ones available right here.
The DIY Easy Mold Test
Doing a mold test for the first time can be confusing. Fortunately, the DIY Easy Mold Test will guide you through the entire process with their easy to follow step by step instructional guide. With this product, you will be able to carry out three tape lift samples (surface tests). Once your samples are collected, you will post them to the laboratory for a thorough analysis.
What is included? Three surface area tape strips with clear step-by-step instructions and an informative booklet on how and where to inspect your property for water leaks and mold. Also, free phone consultations with the laboratory to discuss your results.
Pros: Most kits on the market only test for a handful of species, but they are all tested for with this particular product. Also, you will receive informative booklets on where to search for mold and water damage and also simple to follow instructions on how to take samples. A detailed report is emailed back to you once the lab has completed the analysis. You may even call the laboratory at any time to talk to experienced staff about your results.
Cons: The cost of shipping your samples for the lab tests is excluded from the price.
Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit
The Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit is by far one of the most thorough detection kits for its price. The product allows you to perform three different types of tests.
There’s the HVAC test, which tests indoor air for not only mold spores but also pollen and dust mites.
The second test is a settling plate test where you place a sample onto a prepared petri dish and wait two days for the incubation period to complete.
The third and final available test is the visual sampling method. It requires taking a sample with a sterilized swab, which gets placed into a petri dish. You send the sample to the Pro-Lab laboratory for professional and thorough analysis.
What is included? The Pro-lab mold test kit consists of a swab, one petri dish, clear instructions, a growth medium, and return envelopes for your samples.
Pros: Pro-lab is one of the highest quality products for its price on the market, and is analyzed at one of the best laboratories in the United States. The product even comes with a return envelope to help simplify the posting process.
Cons: There are two downsides. The first downside is that the cost of the analysis is an additional $40. And secondly, although providing three different testing options only allows you to do 1 test per kit. So, for example, if you want to do a swab and an air sample test, then you will have to purchase 2 of these kits.
ImmunoLytics Test Kit
The Immunolytics mold test kit checks for mold spores in your home and works by placing petri-dishes in the rooms you want to be tested. Mail the dishes to the ImmunoLytics lab for analysis, and a detailed report is sent back to you.
Each plate is suitable for an area of up to 200 sq. Ft and these kits are available in packages of 1 to 10 dishes.
Keep in mind that the laboratory which analyzes the samples are unaccredited, but they do have a reputation for providing quality services over the last 40 years.
Pros: The ImmunoLytics Kit includes the price of sending your samples to the lab, and there are no additional costs for analyzing. Included is a step-by-step booklet, and you can watch instructional videos on how to use the product.
Cons: Kits from ImmunoLytics are expensive and only allow you to do mold spore tests.
Mold Armor FG500 Test Kit
Mold armor is the most well-known and most popular mold testing kit on the market. The FG500 kit, as featured here, allows you to analyze either the indoor air quality, air vents, or surface areas.
Add the growth medium to the petri dish and leave it for a couple of days and see whether or not there is any growth inside of it. If there is, the presence of mold is confirmed. For an additional $40, you can send your sample to the Mold Armor laboratory to analyze the species. The approximate waiting time is two to three weeks.
Pros: Trusted by millions of people for its accuracy and reliability. It’s also one of the few mold test kits that allows you to reliably confirm the presence of mold in your home without having to send the sample away for analysis.
Cons: While the Mold Armor FG500 does a great job at confirming mold in the home, knowing the exact species will require an additional $40 for lab analysis.
Healthful Home Whole Home Mold Inspection Pack
The healthful home whole mold inspection pack costs more than the standard mold test kit but allows you to conduct three tests. It is the most sensitive kit available and is renowned for its accuracy.
In the pack, you will find three rapid tests which specifically test for the dreaded an highly toxic Stachybotrys chartarum species, three ASP/PEN tests, and another three swabs for collecting samples.
Pros: Highly accurate and explicitly tests for toxic black mold. If you have samples you want to be sent to the lab, then use the pre-paid envelope for your free lab analysis.
Cons: The kit can be a little trickier to use than any of the other mentioned products, but it does include an easy-to-follow instructional video.
My Mold Detective MMD103
The My Mold Detective MMD103 works in a very different way from other kits. Instead of petri dishes, it uses a reusable 4-gallon air sampling pump, which captures mold spores (if any exist in the testing environment) onto cassettes.
With the MMD103, you get the pump and four cassettes – one for outside and three for inside measurements. To use, you place the pump a few feet above the ground in whichever room you want to be tested, insert a cassette, and run the pump for 5 minutes. Air gets sucked into the machine, and if any mold spores are present, they will get stuck onto the cassette.
For the results, you send these cassettes to the My Mold Detective laboratory for analysis. Each cassette costs $35 to analyze, so this kit, with analyzing all five cassettes, is the most expensive on the list. Keep in mind that this testing method is the same way most professional mold remediation companies do it. And despite the $175 needed to analyze all five cassettes, it will still work out a lot cheaper than if you had to call out a company to do the testing.
Results take approximately five days, and you will receive a detailed breakdown of the mold spore count and the species.
Pros: Probably the most accurate mold test kit featured on the list.
Cons: Testing more than one sample will cost more than any of the other kits mentioned on this list. Also, it’s limited to only testing air samples.
Here we review the various mold test kits under instant or lab analysis results and lab turnaround time.
|Product||Instant Results||Send to Laboratory||Laboratory Turnaround time|
|DIY Easy Mold Test||No||Yes||Approximately 5 days|
|Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit||No||Yes||Approximately 5 days|
|ImmunoLytics||No||Yes||Approximately 5 days|
|Mold Armor FG500||No||Yes||Approximately 2 to 3 weeks|
|Healthful Home||Yes, but you can send the samples in for further analysis.||Yes||Approximately 5 days|
|Mold Detective MMD103||No||Yes||Approximately 5 days|