At-Home Testosterone Tests — How to Make and Understand the Results

Testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women. It impacts vital bodily functions ranging from bone and muscle health to reproduction and sexual function. While testosterone is often associated with masculinity, it plays key roles in the health and wellbeing of both sexes. Testing your testosterone levels can reveal vital insights into your overall health. If your levels are abnormal, it may indicate an underlying condition. Fortunately, at home testosterone test kits have made monitoring testosterone convenient and affordable. This article will explore the fundamentals of testosterone, the reasons to test it, and how to check testosterone levels to take control of your health.

At Home Testosterone Test

What is Testosterone, and What Does it Do?

Testosterone is an androgen hormone produced by the testes in men and the ovaries and adrenal glands in women. It serves a variety of key functions in the male hormone cycle, including:

  • Developing male reproductive tissues and regulating fertility
  • Building bone and muscle mass
  • Distributing fat tissue
  • Production of red blood cells
  • Libido and sexual function

While known as the “male” sex hormone, testosterone plays an important role in women as well, though their levels of total testosterone are typically 10-20 times lower.

Healthy testosterone levels contribute to energy, strength, emotion regulation, and an overall sense of wellbeing in both sexes. Levels peak during adolescence and early adulthood, then slowly decline with age.

Free and Bound Testosterone

Testosterone exists in the body in two main forms:

  • Free Testosterone: This is testosterone that is not bound to any proteins in the blood and is considered the active form that can enter cells and activate receptors. Testosterone free levels make up about 2-3% of total testosterone.
  • Bound Testosterone: The majority of circulating testosterone in the body (about 60-80%) is bound to proteins like sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and albumin. This bound testosterone is considered inactive as it cannot leave the blood and enter target tissues. However, it serves as a reserve that can quickly convert to free testosterone when needed.

Measuring both total testosterone and free testosterone can provide a more complete picture of one’s androgen status. Some conditions, like obesity, can increase SHBG levels, binding more testosterone and decreasing the free levels. So while total testosterone appears normal, free testosterone is low, causing symptoms. Testing both forms helps guide treatment decisions.

Reasons to Test Your Testosterone

There are several reasons to monitor your testosterone levels, including:

  • Symptoms of low or high testosterone
  • Routine screening for certain ages
  • Specific health conditions
    Transgender hormone therapy monitoring

Symptoms of abnormal testosterone levels can indicate an underlying issue. In males, low testosterone can cause:

  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depressed mood and difficulty concentrating
  • Reduced muscle mass and strength
  • Increased body fat

Females may experience:

  • Reduced sexual desire
  • Depression, anxiety, and lack of focus
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Thinning hair
  • Growth of facial and body hair

For middle-aged and older males, routine testosterone testing can detect age-related decline. Levels naturally decrease after age 30, but excessively low levels may require treatment.

Underlying health conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and pituitary disorders can also impact testosterone. Testing helps diagnose these conditions.

For transgender men undergoing testosterone therapy, testing determines proper hormone dosage and monitors treatment effectiveness.

Clinical Testing vs. At-Home Test Kits

Traditionally, testosterone testing requires a blood draw at a lab or doctor’s office. The sample then gets sent for analysis to determine concentration. Clinical tests are highly accurate but less convenient.

At-home testosterone test kits provide a sampling alternative that is easy to use and more affordable. No lab or phlebotomist is needed. Most kits test levels using blood from a simple finger prick or saliva. You collect a sample in the privacy of your home and mail it to a lab for analysis.

In general, at-home kits have comparable accuracy if sampling protocols are carefully followed.

How to Test Testosterone Levels

Using an at-home test kit is quick and straightforward:

  1. Order a Test Kit: Reputable home testosterone tests can be purchased online or from pharmacies. Choose whether you prefer saliva or testosterone blood test.
  2. Prepare for Your Test: Avoid eating, drinking, or brushing teeth for 30 minutes before testing, as this can alter results. Some kits recommend gently rubbing the testing area to stimulate blood flow beforehand.
  3. Collect Your Sample: For blood testing, prick your finger tip and let a droplet of blood fall onto the collection card. For saliva, spit into a collection tube until you reach the fill line.
  4. Send to the Lab: Place your sample card in the return mailer and drop in the mailbox. Avoid touching collection areas after sampling.
  5. Receive Your Results: You’ll receive a detailed testosterone test report within a few days. This will include your testosterone levels and an interpretation based on standard health ranges.

Understanding Your Test Results

Test reports present results in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). The table below shows normal reference ranges:

Group Normal Testosterone Range
Males age 19-39 250-827 ng/dL
Males age 40-59 193-761 ng/dL
Females age 19-39 8-48 ng/dL
Females age 40-59 10-54 ng/dL

Ranges can vary slightly between different laboratories. If your result falls outside of normal ranges, it indicates potential high or low testosterone:

  • Low testosterone (below range) may suggest hypogonadism or underlying illness. Symptoms like low libido and fatigue may present.
  • High testosterone (above range) is less common but can indicate a hormone disorder or steroid use if not associated with testosterone therapy. Acne, aggression, and masculine features can occur.

However, temporary lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, sleep, and stress can cause natural fluctuations too. Retesting is often needed to determine if abnormal levels warrant clinical investigation and treatment.

What Impacts Testosterone Levels?

Testosterone levels respond to various internal and external influences. As well as age-related decline, other factors like obesity, chronic disease, and medications can affect production.

Lifestyle and diet choices also play a key role. Excess body fat, inadequate fitness, poor sleep, smoking, and excessive alcohol tend to lower testosterone.

Conversely, weight loss, strength training, zinc-rich foods, and vitamin D can support healthy levels. Stress management is also beneficial.

When to Seek Medical Advice

You should consult a doctor or endocrinologist if:

  • Symptoms are significantly impacting quality of life
  • Test results are highly abnormal
  • Levels don’t improve after lifestyle changes

Further clinical testing may be needed to confirm the at-home test results. Your doctor can then advise on potential treatments if low testosterone or other underlying conditions are diagnosed.

The Pros and Cons of At-Home Testing

At-home testosterone tests provide an affordable and convenient option for monitoring levels. However, they have some limitations to consider:


  • Lower cost than clinical tests
  • Convenient home sampling
  • Quick access to results
  • Easy, regular retesting


  • Potential errors in sample collection
    Generally less accurate than clinical tests
  • Still need doctor to interpret results
  • Measures only total testosterone, not free and bound

Clinical lab testing remains the gold standard and is often needed to confirm at-home results before treatment decisions. However, at-home tests are extremely useful for routine tracking of levels and signaling potential issues.


Monitoring testosterone levels is important for both men and women to maintain energy, sexual health, and general wellbeing. Age-related decline and underlying illnesses can cause low testosterone, while lifestyle choices also play a role.

At-home testing empowers you to conveniently track your levels. While not a replacement for clinical tests, they allow you to spot potential issues early and seek medical advice when needed.