Best mold test kits 2022 (2023)

By Rebecca Spear

published

The best mold test kits ranked on how well they can track down mold spores in your home.

Best mold test kits 2022 (1)

The best mold test kits will take you a step closer to tackling mold spores for good. Whenever damp strikes, a home mold test kit will let you post swabs to a lab so that professionals can help you to get to the root of the problem. Plus, for results pronto, there’s a black mold test kit that can dish out a reading in a few minutes, although it’s worth noting that this method might be slightly less accurate.

With up to four mold testing methods, the best mold test kits use a few tried-and-tested methods to detect mold in your home. A basic, easy-to-use mold detection kit could cost as little as $20. However, if you’re keen to test for mold on a budget, bear in mind not all kits include lab fees upfront. You’ll also want to keep an eye on how long you’ll have to wait for your results. With a typical home mold test kit, a few days should tick by before you receive the results, but others can take up to a week, meaning you’ll miss out on a small headstart.

When you order one of the best mold test kits, you’ll want to weigh up where exactly you’ll be testing for mold too. A home mold test kit might only be cut out for indoor use, so if you’re planning on swabbing around your backyard or garage as well, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for a mold detection kit that’s designed for outdoor use. Overall though, a black mold test kit that has been approved by the American Industrial Hygiene Association should be breezy to use.

For other devices that will help you to keep tabs on your home’s air quality, check out our guides to the best air purifiers (opens in new tab) and the best dehumidifiers (opens in new tab).

1. Pro-Lab Mold Test: Best mold test kit overall

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Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit

Affordable and accurate, this is the best mold test kit overall

Specifications

Mold testing methods: 4

Indoor or outdoor use: Indoor and outdoor

Lab fees included: No ($40)

Results: 5 days

Reasons to buy

+

Very accurate

+

Four mold tests

+

Results in five days

Reasons to avoid

-

Extra fee for lab to analyse results

The Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit is one of the most affordable kits and gives you four different testing methods. The first and easiest is the settling plate method, which has you leave a prepared petri dish on a flat surface for an hour before sealing it up and letting the sample incubate for a minimum of two days.

The second method is called visual sampling. This method has you use a swab to collect a mold sample and place it in a petri dish before sending both the swab and the dish off to the lab for analysis. Pro-Lab does charge an additional fee for laboratory analysis ($40), but the results will be accurate. This company is highly qualified and includes certification from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (opens in new tab). Unfortunately, it doesn't come with specific sample bags for shipping petri dishes to the lab for analysis. It only takes up to five days to receive results back from the lab, which is quicker than most other companies.

The HVAC method is the most difficult option, but is important. This requires that you attach a petri dish to the vent farthest from the AC or heater and close all the other vents in your home before turning on the system for ten minutes. Once that is done, you seal the dish and let the sample incubate for at least two days. This kit can detect black mold and yeast but cannot identify fungus or bacteria.

The company's website features DIY instructions, a FAQs page and video tutorials to assist you. You can also contact a representative via phone or email if you have questions.

  • Read our Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit review (opens in new tab)

2. Home Mold Laboratory Viable Mold Test Kit: Easiest to use

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Home Mold Laboratory Viable Mold Test Kit

Our runner-up best mold testing kit

Specifications

Mold testing methods: 3

Indoor or outdoor use: Indoor

Lab fees included: No ($50)

Results: 8 days

(Video) Top 5 Best Mold Test Kits Review in 2022

Reasons to buy

+

Accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association

+

This kit is very easy to use

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Lots of info included

The Home Mold Laborator Viable Mold Test Kit provides accurate results. It also happens to be one of the easiest test kits to use, since the supplies are ready to use right out of the box and don't require any preparation. However, bear in mind that because the supplies are prepared ahead of time, these mold test kits have expiration dates, which you will want to keep note of.

You can use this kit to detect dangerous growth colonies like black mold, but it cannot detect bacteria or fungus. There are three different testing methods you can use. All three testing methods require that you incubate samples for three to seven days to make sure you give time for slow-growing mold and yeast to appear.

Should you find mold growing within this time frame, you'll want to send a sample to the lab for analysis. This company charges $50 per sample that you submit, which is more than some other companies. Additionally, it can take up to eight days to get a sample back from the lab, which is longer than most other companies.

The easiest sampling method requires that you leave a petri dish in a room for an hour before sealing it up and letting it incubate. The second has you use a swab to determine whether the visible mold that you find in your home is alive or not. The last and most difficult testing method requires that you place a test kit on the air vent farthest away from your central air system.

You'll then need to shut all of the other vents and have the system run for a few minutes. Once that is done remove the dish and seal it so the sample can incubate.

  • Read our Home Mold Laborator Viable Mold Test Kit review (opens in new tab)

3. Healthful Home 5-Minute Home Mold Test: Best mold test kit for speed

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Healthful Home 5-Minute Home Mold Test

One of the fastest mold test kits, with results in just five minutes

Specifications

Mold testing methods: 1

Indoor or outdoor use: Indoor

Lab fees included: Yes

Results: 5 minutes

Reasons to buy

+

5 minutes to get results

+

Quickly identifies black mold

+

Lab consultation price included

Reasons to avoid

-

Only one testing method

The Healthful Home 5-Minute Home Mold Test is the perfect test for anyone who needs fast results. As the name states, it only takes five minutes to get results, which is good if you're concerned that you might have black mold growth.

Most other test kits require that you wait two to three days for results. If you want more detailed results, you need to send your sample in to the company's lab. This costs additional money but can give you peace of mind or help you determine what course of action to take. The lab's turnaround time is only five days so you won't have to wait that long for results.

This kit only offers one testing method: Using a swab, you collect samples of mold and place them into two collection trays. Then you release a special liquid onto the sample and your results will show up shortly thereafter. Overall, this testing method is very easy to use and requires little preparation. The kit itself is more expensive than the top three products, but the fee for lab results is average.

While this kit does cost more to use, it can also help you take action quicker. This company is AIHA certified and offers support via phone and email if you have any questions about your testing experience.

  • Read our Healthful Home 5-Minute Home Mold Test review (opens in new tab)

4. EMSL Mold Swab Test Kit: Best lab tests

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EMSL Mold Swab Test Kit

If you want lab accuracy on your tests, we recommend the EMSL kit

(Video) Top 5 Best Mold Test Kits Review in 2022

Reasons to buy

+

Excellent lab tests

+

Free kit upon application

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Postage paid

Reasons to avoid

-

More expensive than some

EMSL has a broad range of testing kits for all kinds of spores, microbes, and other environmental impacts on (and around) your home. The swab mold test kit it makes is among the most accurate you can buy, and we like this one because the emphasis is put squarely on the lab report.

When you commit to a lab report, you're given the test kit for free, and return postage is already paid. The fee here is $75, which is more expensive than some other mold test kits, but we feel you're getting good value here.

The lab results are very accurate, and each of EMSL's labs are accredited by multiple bodies, including the AIHA. There are a good number of EMSL labs throughout the US, so dependant on your location, you can actually get results in 24-hours if you really need them. That is quicker than any other test kit on this list.

The kits themselves are very easy to set-up and they will grow spores within a few hours once placed correctly. They aren't as good for HVAC testing as our top choice, but handle all other rooms with ease. Overall, highly recommended if you need to know exactly what mold you're dealing with.

5. ImmunoLytics Value Test Kit: Best mold test kit for ease of use

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ImmunoLytics Value Test Kit

This one is simple to use, and good value

Specifications

Mold testing methods: 1

Indoor or outdoor use: Indoor

Lab fees included: Yes

Results: 7 days

Reasons to avoid

-

Not certified by the American Industrial Hygiene Association

A basic mold test kit, like the ImmunoLytics Mold Test Kit, can help determine whether your house has a mold problem. With it, you can test indoor air. The best feature of the ImmunoLytics kit is that full laboratory analysis is included at no extra cost; you’ll also get a report that you can present to mold removal and remediation specialists, which can save you money.

By opening up the included petri dish and leaving it exposed for an hour to the air you want to test, you’ll have successfully collected a sample. The petri dish is ready to use, and you won’t have to add a growth medium. You can start testing the sample immediately with the assembled kit.

If you want to get a more detailed report, you can submit your sample to the lab for testing, but keep in mind that ImmunoLytics is not certified by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

  • Read our ImmunoLytics Mold Test Kit review (opens in new tab)

6. Mold Armor Do It Yourself: Best mold test kit from a known brand

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Mold Armor Do It Yourself

A user-friendly mold test kit, but if you want extra lab analysis it'll take three weeks

Specifications

Mold testing methods: 3

Indoor or outdoor use: Indoor and outdoor

Lab fees included: No

Results: 48 hours

Reasons to buy

+

Easy step-by-step instructions

+

Indoor and outdoor

(Video) Top 5 Best Mold Test Kits Review in 2022

Reasons to avoid

-

Extra fee for lab to analyse results

-

Mail-in lab results are slow and costly

The Mold Armor Do It Yourself test kit requires very little setup and tests for mold in the air, HVAC systems and surfaces. The tests take at least two days to incubate and mature, or you can send samples to a certified mycology laboratory to help you identify the exact types of mold in your home.

Laboratory tests cost extra, and it takes three weeks for you to receive a custom report – the longest wait time of all the test kits we reviewed. Mold Armor’s lab is certified monthly by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), so you can rest assured that the results are accurate and thorough.

This kit costs less than $8 and comes with all of the supplies for conducting the three available tests. You get a petri dish, a growth agar and a cotton swab. The instructions suggest testing both indoor and outdoor air, but because the kit comes with only one dish and one growth agar, testing both indoor and outdoor air requires two kits.

The Mold Armor kit doesn’t identify fungus, yeast or pollen, and you don’t have the option to send a carpet, fabric or wall sample to the lab for analysis.

  • Read our Mold Armor Test Kit (opens in new tab)

7. DIY Mold Test: Best mold test kit for affordability

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DIY Mold Test

An affordable mold testing product that includes lab analysis

Specifications

Mold testing methods: One

Indoor or outdoor use: Indoor and outdoor

Lab fees included: Yes

Results: 7 days

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable

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Lab fees included

Reasons to avoid

-

Not accredited by AIHA

-

Can’t test air in your home

The DIY Mold Test kit from Mold Inspection Network allows you to test for all different types of mold. Priced at around $30, you’ll find three surface sample tests, a quick start guide (so you know how to use it), and a mold inspection booklet.

The latter is what the company says sets it apart from the rest of the competition, as it’s like having an inspection in your house without paying the large upfront price. The booklet shows you how to inspect your home properly for any signs of mold or water damage.

Once you have used the surface sample tests, you simply send them off to a lab to be processed. It will then analyze your samples and produce an illustrated report that you will receive through email within 7 days, so it’s pretty speedy. The DIY Mold Test kit has received brilliant reviews on Amazon.

From just under 2,000 reviews, it’s scored 4.2 out of 5 stars. Buyers rated the product for the quick turnaround, they said it was easy to use and was a product that they highly recommend. However we marked this test kit down because it’s not accredited by AIHA and it can only be used to test the surfaces in your home. You will have to invest into a different mold test kit if you wish to check the air.

8. First Alert MT1 Mold Detection Kit: Best mold test kit for first step testing

First Alert MT1 Mold Detection Kit

Detects mold on the surfaces of your home or workplace

Specifications

Mold testing methods: One

Indoor or outdoor use: Indoor and outdoor

Lab fees included: No

Results: 5-7 days

Reasons to buy

+

Well-known brand

+

NIOSH certified lab

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Quick turnaround

(Video) Best Mold Test Kits [Updated: Sep-22]

Reasons to avoid

-

Extra $15 for lab analysis

First Alert is a well-known brand that has been providing safety products for your home for around 60 years. So it’s a brand you can trust. And it’s MT1 Mold Detection Kit is no different.

If you purchase this simple, no-fuss testing kit, you get six test taps to use on your surfaces, three polybags, a manual and a preprinted return envelope. Although this kit won’t test whether there is mold in the air, it will get to the bottom of whether there is mold growing on your surfaces.

Costing under $20, this is on the affordable side of test kits. However, you do have to pay an extra $15 per sample you send to the lab for analysis. But despite the additional price, if you do decide to opt for this testing, you can rest assured it will be accurate as it’s conducted by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified lab and you’ll receive your results within 5 – 7 working days.

Do at-home mold testing kits really work?

At-home mold testing kits really do work, you just have to ensure you’re investing in the best ones. We’re not saying an at-home mold testing kits should replace a professional mold inspector from coming to your home, but they are a brilliant first-step tool in detecting the presence of black mold and other harmful colonies.

They are also much more affordable than calling in a professional, especially if the initial results show that no mold is present. Another benefit of at-home mold test kits is that you should get your results pretty quickly, usually within a couple of weeks.

Plus, the most highly ranked test kits in our guide are certified by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and are tested by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-certified labs.

So you can trust the results. Before using your mold test kit, always read the user's guide. Human error can occur and collection methods differ with each kit – so to get the most reliable results, you need to make sure you use each kit correctly.

How to choose the best mold test kit

There are a few key things to consider when selecting a mold test kit. These include the types of supplies that are included and the customer support that's available. Here are the main factors to think about to make sure you choose the best mold test kit for your situation.

Test supplies

It is important to find a mold test kit that includes all of the equipment necessary to collect complete samples. If a test kit can collect surface samples but does not include swabs or adhesive strips, you’ll have to look elsewhere to buy these items at an added cost. Usually, you can determine the types of tests the kit can perform by looking at the included supplies.

Help and support

Reputable mold test companies include their telephone numbers and email addresses on their websites. In addition to contact information, you might want to select a company that has strong support options, including FAQs and video tutorials. Aside from our top two products, the Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit and the Home Mold Laboratory Viable Mold Test Kit, you can find full customer support withHealthful Home's 5-Minute Mold Testand theMold Check Whole House Mold Test.

It also is handy if either the kit itself or the website offers a guidebook to tell you how to test for mold and identify what you find.

If you suspect that your home is infested with some form of mold, it is important to identify and deal with the problem as quickly as possible. Home mold test kits give you an excellent tool in the battle against mold and other harmful invaders.

How much do at-home mold test kits cost?

The cost of mold test kits ranges from about $10 up to $395, with costlier kits typically including more tests and supplies like swabs, test plates and adhesive strips. Other services, such as lab analysis, can add as much as $40 to the total cost.

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Why trust us on mold test kits

We have been reviewing mold test kits for over 11 years. For our most recent evaluation, we spent over 30 hours comparing each kit's testing methods, included supplies, ease of use, prices and certifications. We wanted the number one option to detect black mold and other dangerous growth colonies while still being easy to use.

Additionally, we wanted our best overall pick to offer fast results and fast lab turnaround times so you could respond quickly to any threats to you and your family's health. The most highly ranked test kits in our lineup are AIHA certified and offer professional staff to help you get support via phone and email.

How we evaluated the best mold test kits for home use

While we didn't test these kits ourselves, we did compare their supplies, testing methods and support features to determine which were the easiest to use. Since mold can greatly impact you and your loved ones' health, we gave more points to kits that require shorter incubation times and have faster lab turnaround.

We also checked to see what kinds of testing methods each kit offers. Typically, kits that offer more testing methods scored higher in our comparison since they give you more options to work with.

We gave more points to kits that could detect a larger number of growths, including yeast, mold, fungus and bacteria. Kits that let you take HVAC samples and outdoor tests and that allow you to submit physical samples scored higher since they were more inclusive. Scores were also higher for kits that provide professional supplies like petri dishes, swabs, sample bags and adhesive strips.

Similarly, the amount of support offered by the company influenced our rankings. If there are multiple customer contact options and multiple ways to find answers to questions, including a FAQs page and video tutorials, companies scored higher.

While we didn't score testing kits based on their prices, we did determine whether or not a product's price was warranted. The total cost of a mold testing experience includes the initial price of the kit and the price of the lab analysis. Some products cost very little initially but are expensive if a lab test is needed.

How common is mold in homes?

Unfortunately, mold is very common in homes because it grows in areas with lots of moisture or where there has been flooding. According to advice (opens in new tab) from the CDC, most building materials are ‘particularly conducive’ for the growth of some molds especially on wet materials like paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood. But other common household materials like paint, wallpaper, carpet, clothes and upholstery also support mold growth.

Mold is particularly prominent around leaks in roofs, pipes or windows. You will most likely spot this nuisance problem in bathrooms, toilets, kitchens and basements. Mold can enter your home in many different ways. Whether this is through cracks and crevices, windows, open doors or via heating and air conditioning systems. It can also attach itself to clothing, shoes and pets and be brought into your home this way.

What are the most common symptoms of black mold exposure?

Usually dark green or black in appearance, black mold is a type of fungus and refers to several species of mold. Whenever you spot mold, it should be removed as soon as possible. That’s because mold can multiply rapidly and cause a range of different health problems.

It can cause stronger symptoms in those that have weakened immune systems or those with mold allergies or asthma. That being said, mold affects each of us in different ways, but some of the most common symptoms reported include:

  • Coughing
  • A sore throat
  • Skin rash/s
  • Red or itchy eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma attacks (in those who suffer from asthma)
  • Difficulty breathing (in those who have a chronic respiratory disease)
  • Lung infections (in those with weakened immune system)

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Rebecca Spear

Rebecca is a writer who has covered everything from photo books to graphic design and small kitchen appliances for Top Ten Reviews. Now a gaming writer for Future Labs, she's also contributed to big publications like TechRadar, Windows Central, Android Central, Reuters Legal Solutions Blog, iMore, and more. She no longer works for TTR.

(Video) How To Test For TOXIC Mold In Your Home - Best Mold Test Kit to Use - Twin Plumbing

FAQs

What is the most accurate mold test? ›

Air sampling is the most accurate method for determining exposure. While a tape lift may accurately determine if mold growth is present on a particular surface, it will not tell you whether that mold growth has actually affected the indoor air quality. Only an air sample can accomplish this.

Are home mold test kits accurate? ›

But home-test kit results are unreliable. Here's why: – Mold is naturally occurring and present in almost every environment. Home mold test kits that use 'settle plate applications' (set the dish out for 24 – 48 hours and spores are supposed to fall into the dish) generally do not measure airborne particles accurately.

Is there a device to detect mold in your home? ›

To test for mold spores in the air you're breathing, you'll need to purchase a viable mold detection kit such as Seeml Labs' Mold Inspector in a Box. Most quality mold tests cost between $20 and $45. The entire testing process will take a few days.

What is the best way to test for mold? ›

Most mold is unmistakable, but sometimes small or largely hidden growths just make a surface look dirty. A quick test for mold can be done when you dip a swab in diluted bleach (1 part bleach, 16 parts water) and dab it on the wall. If the spot quickly lightens (or keeps coming back after cleaning), assume it's mold.

How do you check for mold behind walls? ›

How Can Consumers Detect Mold Inside Their Walls - YouTube

What are signs of mold sickness? ›

Signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by a mold allergy can include:
  • Sneezing.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Cough and postnasal drip.
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Dry, scaly skin.
21 Jun 2021

Do store bought mold tests work? ›

The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results. Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four different brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing the following: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit.

Do air purifiers help with mold? ›

Do air purifiers help with mold? Air purifiers help capture mold spores from the air, preventing them from reproducing and spreading throughout your home. While air purifiers won't help treat active mold that's already present on surfaces, they are a great way to control the spread of airborne mold particles.

Do mold kits always grow mold? ›

It is normal for the mold in the air to start growing in the petri dish. So finding a petri dish full of mold of a rainbow of colors does not necessarily mean you have a mold problem in your home. Even homes with good Indoor Air Quality, will grow mold in these petri dishes.

How do you clean mold out of air ducts? ›

For non-porous surfaces (such as steel ductwork and vent covers), you can use 1 part bleach with 16 parts water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle for ease of application. Alternatively, you can purchase an EPA-approved mold killing product. Also, purchase an EPA-approved mold inhibitor to apply after the cleaning.

What device can detect mold? ›

The General Tools MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter is a handy tool to detect the moisture content and mold growth on different surfaces of your house. This detector has strong metal pins that go inside the surface material and check the amount of moisture inside.

How do you detox mold? ›

Sweating. Some people recommend sweating, or using a sauna, to support the process of mold detoxification. No research confirms that sweating can specifically help address the effects of mold. But a 2020 review suggests sweating does play an important role in your body's natural detoxification process.

What is difference between mold and mildew? ›

Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus. The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat growth habit. Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae.

How do you know if your house is toxic? ›

What Are the Signs of Toxic House Syndrome?
  1. Mold growth.
  2. Condensation around windows and in high humidity areas such as bathrooms.
  3. Lingering condensation.
  4. Dampness that doesn't seem to go away.
  5. Dust build up in your ventilation system.

Is there a blood test for mold exposure? ›

Blood test.

A blood test, sometimes called the radioallergosorbent test, can measure your immune system's response to mold by measuring the amount of certain antibodies in your bloodstream known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.

How do you test for mold in your lungs? ›

Imaging tests: A chest X-ray or computerized tomography scan (CT/CAT scan) may be performed to examine the lungs. Sputum culture: A sample of sputum might be stained (dyed) and tested to see if aspergillus fungus is present.

What symptoms does mold in your house cause? ›

Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions.

Do air purifiers help with mold? ›

Do air purifiers help with mold? Air purifiers help capture mold spores from the air, preventing them from reproducing and spreading throughout your home. While air purifiers won't help treat active mold that's already present on surfaces, they are a great way to control the spread of airborne mold particles.

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