Mold can grow anywhere it finds moisture and organic nutrients to feed on. "Household mold primarily thrives in damp, humid areas, such as basements, showers, and areas around heating and cooling appliances," says John Balmes, M.D., professor of medicine at UC San Francisco and professor of environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Dr. Balmes adds that it "can also occur in ventilation ducts and crawlspace."
If you come across mold, it's imperative that mold is removed quickly and safely. Mold testing kits can help you detect and identify growing spores in your home through samples collected via the air or from surfaces in question. Some give you results right away, while others ask you to package the samples and send them back to a lab for a professional examination. However, if you have concerns about mold in your home (particularly in areas like insulation, drywall, or flooring) or if the mold source is not immediately apparent to you, we recommend consulting a professional for testing and removal, regardless of at-home mold testing kit results.
We researched the top at-home test kits for mold on the market. Our best overall choice is the LabTech MoldOk Detection Test Kit because it is affordable, can sample multiple areas, and includes an expert consultation. With the resulting information, you can make all of the necessary arrangements to remove harmful fungi.
Here are the best at-home mold tests to help identify the type of mold growth in your home.
LabTech MoldOK Detection Test Kit
Lab fees are only $15 per sample
Includes expert consultation
Can sample multiple areas
No option for self-reporting
Not suitable for air testing
Test multiple samples easily and quickly with the help of the MoldOk Detection Test Kit. We like that this at-home mold test includes the supplies and instructions to collect up to 10 samples. This includes surface samples and bulk samples (for things like carpet fibers or insulation). You can use this mold testing kit to assess various areas of your home, garage, office, or vehicle for the presence of mold. It also means that you have the flexibility to sample as many—or as few—spots as you need to.
This isn’t a self-reporting mold testing kit, so you will need to send samples to the AIHA-accredited lab for analysis, but the $15 testing fee per sample is significantly lower than the fees associated with other testing kits. The mold analysis will indicate the type of mold spores present in a sample, along with their relative concentration (minor, moderate, or heavy). In addition, you can take advantage of the free expert consultation hotline to discuss more details about the results.
A unique feature of this at-home mold testing kit is the option to test samples for an expanded profile that also indicates the presence of pollen, dust mites, fibers, and skin cells present in the sample. The add-on testing incurs an additional $15 fee, but it can be useful when assessing whether or not mold or other allergens may be causing discomfort or health complaints for you or your family.
Price at time of publish: $10
Test Type: Tape, bulk | Result Type: Lab report | Analysis Fees: Yes | Expert Consultation: Yes | Number of Samples: 10
Best for Surface Testing
Seeml Labs DIY Mold 3 Test Kit
Lab fees are included
Includes expert consultation
Can sample multiple areas
Not suitable for air testing
Must pay shipping for lab-testing
The DIY Mold Test Kit from Seeml Labs is an easy-to-use option to assess whether you have mold growing on surface areas in or around your home, with results from an AIHA-accredited lab. This at-home mold test is designed for surface testing, giving you the option to use the included swab and two tape lifts to submit up to three samples. If you have more surfaces to test, the kit includes instructions for submitting additional samples.
Described as a "mold inspector in a box," each DIY Mold Test Kit includes the lab analysis fees for three samples and provides the genus and concentration of any mold spores. You'll receive a testing report, along with the option for a free consultation to better understand the results.
Price at time of publish: $34
Test Type: Tape | Result Type: Lab report | Analysis Fees: No | Expert Consultation: Yes | Number of Samples: 3
Best for Quick Results
Healthful Home 5-Minute Mold Test
Receive results in minutes
Includes expert consultation
Postage-paid for optional laboratory testing
Single-sample test kit
Additional fee for lab testing
Many at-home mold test kits take a minimum of 48 hours to determine if you have mold growth in your sample. In the case of lab testing kits, you may wait a week (or more) to receive results. Looking for a faster answer as to whether or not you have mold growth in your home? The Healthful Home 5-Minute Mold Test Kit uses rapid-testing methods to quickly indicate the presence of more than 32 different types of mold.
A major perk of this at-home testing kit is the fact that you’ll know right away if you have mold growth from some of the most dangerous genera—aspergillus, penicillium, and stachybotrys. Two rapid tests using lateral flow assay technology provide results in five minutes. The testing method has been validated in an EPA-licensed and AIHA-accredited laboratory and eliminates the need to wait days for results from a lab.
Swab a single spot for individual analysis of an area or sample from multiple places in the home to determine if you have a mold problem that needs to be addressed with further testing. As an added value, the Healthful Home 5-Minute Mold Test Kit offers an expert consultation if you do receive a positive test result. Like many other self-evaluated mold test kits, you can opt to send in samples for laboratory testing. The kit includes sealed swabs and a pre-paid return envelope for your convenience, but keep in mind that lab testing will incur an additional fee.
Price at time of publish: $37
Test Type: Swab | Result Type: Self-report | Analysis Fees: Yes (optional) | Expert Consultation: Yes | Number of Samples: 1
Best for Air Testing
My Mold Detective MMD103 Mold Test Kit
Air sampling pump is reusable
Fast, three-day turnaround for lab results
Lab testing fee is $35 per sample
No consultation included
An air pump is considered to be an effective and efficient way to test for the presence of airborne mold spores. However, it usually requires special equipment and professional services. My Mold Detective offers an at-home mold testing kit specifically designed for air testing and includes a small, user-friendly air pump and collection cassettes.
After following the kit’s instructions for use, you’ll need to send in the samples for professional laboratory evaluation. Keep in mind that the testing fee for each sample is $35, and you’ll also pay the cost of shipping the samples to the AIHA-accredited lab. However, many people will find the cost of the kit plus the lab fees to be more economical than a home visit from a professional for a mold evaluation. You’ll receive color-coded lab results indicating which types of mold are present in the samples, along with their relative concentration levels (normal, slightly elevated, or elevated). It’s nice to know that you can reuse the air pump for future at-home mold testing and separate sample cassettes are available for purchase.
Price at time of purchase: $90
Test Type: Air pump | Result Type: Lab report | Analysis Fees: Yes | Expert Consultation: No | Number of Samples: 3
Best for Multiple Rooms
Mold Armor FG500 Do It Yourself Mold Test Kit
Includes petri dish, swab, and growing medium
Results visible within 48 hours
Can test from air or surface samples
Lab testing fees are extra
May need multiple kits to complete testing
The cost of testing samples for mold growth can quickly add up. However, you can use an affordable at-home test kit, like this version from Mold Armor, as a starting point to determine if you have mold present in your home, office, or car. This self-testing kit includes everything you need to sample and test one area of concern. It includes a single petri dish, growing medium, and swab, along with the directions for how to carry out the test. However, to sample several areas of your home or compare indoor and outdoor air quality, you will need to buy multiple testing kits.
One of the advantages of this budget at-home mold test kit is that it can generate results in 48 hours of collecting a sample. If you want a lab analysis to determine the type of mold, you can mail the sample to Mold Armor’s AIHA-accredited facility. Keep in mind that this will give you more detailed results, but will also increase the price of this budget test kit as each sample costs $40 to analyze.
Price at time of publish: $10
Test Type: Petri dish | Result Type: Self-report, lab report (optional) | Analysis Fees: Yes | Expert Consultation: No | Number of Samples: 1
Health Metric Mold Test Kit
Lab and return shipping fees are included
Option to send bulk material samples
Results within five to seven days
Not suitable for air testing
No option for self-reporting
Many at-home mold testing kits include an option for professional lab evaluation. Usually, this will incur an additional charge of $30 or more per sample. However, the Health Metric Mold Test Kit includes testing fees for up to three samples—making it our top recommendation for a lab-tested, at-home mold test kit.
Designed for surface or bulk sampling, you can use the Health Metric Mold Test Kit to evaluate areas of concern. Tape strips are included for sampling just about any flat surface (including walls, fixtures, carpeting, and more), or you can send in a sample of bulk material, such as drywall or fibers. While plenty of surfaces can be tested using this kit, take note that it’s not designed for air sampling. If that is an area of concern, you’ll need to use a different mold testing kit for testing the air.
Once you’ve completed sample collection, send in three samples for professional analysis in an AIHA-accredited laboratory. You won’t pay additional testing fees or return shipping costs—these costs are covered in the initial purchase price of the at-home mold testing kit. However, you won’t have any clues as to whether or not you’re dealing with mold growth until you receive your testing report since there is no self-analysis option with this kit.
The good news is you won’t have to wait long for testing results. Health Metric promises to return results in five to seven days after receiving samples at the laboratory. If mold growth is present in a sample, the testing report will include the type of mold present, along with an indicator of its relative quantity (the report uses minor, moderate, or heavy growth indicators).
Price at time of publish: $65
Test Type: Tape, bulk | Result Type: Lab report | Analysis Fees: No | Expert Consultation: Yes | Number of Samples: 3
Best for Monitoring
Airthings 4200 House Kit
Provides alert for mold-conducive conditions
Access air quality data in the app
Doesn’t test for the presence of mold
One of the best defenses against the development of mold and mildew is preventing the conditions that are conducive to the growth of fungus, such as warm, damp environments. The Airthings Indoor Air Quality Monitoring System includes the Airthings Wave, Wave Mini, and Hub to keep tabs on your home’s humidity, temperature, radon levels, and VOCs. Using the Airthings app, you’ll have this information readily available.
The mold risk indication alerts you if conditions put your home at risk for mold growth. Even when you’re away from home, like at the office or on vacation, this system can provide you with the insight you need to be on guard against rising levels of humidity and warm air. "When moisture levels become too high, it creates a ripe environment for mold infestation," says Elías Rodríguez, M.P.A. Deputy Director of Public Affairs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2. "The key to mold control is moisture control. Moisture can be controlled indoors by reducing humidity, increasing ventilation, and fixing any water leaks or other sources of moisture."
With the help of the Airthings Hub, you can also use smart home assistants like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or IFTTT technology to adjust your home’s thermostat, humidifier, and other appliances to minimize the chances of mold growth.
Price at time of publish: $265
Test Type: Not applicable | Result Type: Not applicable | Analysis Fees: No | Expert Consultation: No | Number of Samples: Not applicable
We recommend the LabTech MoldOK Detection Test Kit as a good starting point in assessing mold growth. This at-home test kit includes materials to sample up to 10 surfaces. While you will pay a fee to have each sample evaluated in an AIHA-accredited lab, the $15 charge per sample is lower than most and gives you the flexibility to test as many or as few samples as needed. For a single at-home mold test at a budget price, consider using the Mold Armor Do It Yourself Mold Test Kit which provides self-read results in as little as 48 hours after sampling.
What to Look for in At-Home Mold Tests
No matter the type of test you use, you should keep in mind that at-home mold tests are most effective for identifying the type of mold, once you are sure of its source. The type of test you choose will depend on the surface you are testing. You’ll likely use a mold test kit with tape strips to lift a sample for surface testing. Or, you might use a swab to send a sample into a lab or spread a sample on a petri dish for evaluation.
When testing the air for mold, the best option is typically an air pump that collects samples for evaluation in a laboratory. Keep in mind that testing your air for mold requires your test sample to be taken close to the original growth, so you may receive a negative mold result if you're not testing close enough to the source.
Some mold test kits use collection film or petri dishes exposed to the air as a means of testing for mold. If you want to test materials like drywall or carpet fibers for mold, then a test kit with a pouch for including samples to send to a lab is your best choice.
Choosing an accredited at-home mold test kit can help you have more confidence in the results you receive. For lab-tested mold kits, check to see if the laboratory you’re submitting samples to has received accreditation from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and other professional organizations, as noted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
There are two ways of receiving results from an at-home mold test: self-analysis or lab reporting. If you choose a test kit that requires lab reporting, you’ll submit samples (typically collected by a tape strip, swab, or petri dish) to a laboratory for analysis by an expert. Usually, this involves waiting a week or more for results and may incur additional fees for each sample submitted. However, you’ll typically receive a report that identifies the genus of mold growing, along with its relative concentration.
For self-report mold test kits, you can often read results from your test kit within about 48 hours, although a rapid test can provide results in just a few minutes. These rapid tests often simply confirm or deny that mold growth does exist in an area of your home, rather than identifying the genus of mold. If you’re on the fence about which type of test is right for you, keep in mind that some self-report mold kits can also be submitted to a laboratory once you see evidence of growth. The laboratory analysis will confirm the type of mold present in your sample.
Number of Samples
Mold tests will include the supplies for collecting one or more samples. If you have a number of surfaces to test, choose a testing kit that includes enough supplies to collect all of the required samples. Keep in mind that some kits for lab testing only include the analysis fee for a specified number of samples. If you submit additional samples, you’ll need to pay a fee for each one.
If you're unsure of the original source of mold, a test that provides supplies for many samples is your best option in order to accurately cover a room or your home. This is especially true for air sampling, where proximity to the source is key to identifying the mold type.
What are the most common types of mold found in homes?
"Common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium, and stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold). That said, there are many different types of mold," says John Balmes, M.D., professor of medicine at UC San Francisco and professor of environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley.
He adds that most mold growth is visible but can also occur under carpets or inside walls—making it important to consult a mold removal professional if you're in doubt about how to proceed with testing or removal.
Are at-home mold tests accurate?
While at-home mold test kits can provide you with some insights into the presence of mold that may be growing in your home, there are also a variety of factors that can undermine the accuracy of these tests—including collection errors, inability to properly read the test results, and improper storage or handling of the sample. For this reason, you might choose to use a mold professional for the assessment of any areas of concern in your home or property.
When using an at-home mold test kit for basic evaluation, be sure to follow all of the manufacturer's instructions for testing for the best results. If you choose a test kit that includes lab evaluation, ensure that the lab has been accredited by the AIHA.
Can you test for mold yourself in your home?
At-home mold test kits may provide you with an indicator of whether or not there is mold present. Keep in mind that since there are no federal or regulatory guidelines specifying a "safe" level of mold, any visible mold growth requires attention for cleaning and removal, regardless of what type it may be according to test results.
It should be noted that the EPA’s stance on mold sampling is that it should be conducted by professionals with experience in the collection and interpretation of results related to mold testing.
How do you know your home is free of mold after repairs have been made?
According to the EPA, “visible mold and moldy odors should not be present.” In addition, you should be able to occupy the area without any health complaints or physical symptoms connected to mold exposure.
"Mold growth can give off an uncomfortable odor, but more importantly can trigger allergic responses in someone who is sensitized to spores of a specific mold," says Dr. Balmes. "Aspergillus is a mold that can cause allergic or hypersensitivity reactions, including asthma exacerbations and a serious lung disease called hypersensitivity pneumonitis."
While not required by federal or state regulations, you may choose to use an at-home mold testing kit to evaluate a previously contaminated surface for the presence of mold.
How do you know if mold is behind drywall?
After a leak, various types of mold can begin growing within 24 hours. Signs of visible damage on the outside of the wall, such as obvious water stains, discoloration, or a change in the surface texture could be cause for concern. You may also be able to sniff out signs of mold, which has a damp and musty smell. You can use a mold test kit to send a test sample of your drywall for lab evaluation, but the EPA recommends that sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals.
Should mold be removed immediately?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends removing every type of mold as soon as it's spotted since you don't know how it'll affect you or anyone else in your household. There is no acceptable amount of any type of mold, and you should prioritize cleaning up spores—whether it be with the proper cleaning products or help from a mold remediation company if there's 10 square feet or more of the affected area.
Are there certain standards a home mold test must meet?
Yes. Check that the testing follows methods from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and other professional organizations, as noted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). After the fact, the results of at-home mold testing can help you create a prevention plan and recognize a mold-free area.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Erica Puisis, who has been researching strategies to improve everyday life and health for The Spruce since 2017. To find the best options for at-home mold testing kits, she considered a wide range of products that include both self-monitored and lab-evaluated options. When comparing options, she considered the type of test, the number of samples for each kit, how long it takes to receive results, the cost of any necessary lab fees, and whether or not additional help is available from an expert. All of the at-home mold testing kits on this list that are lab-evaluated are handled by an AIHA-accredited facility.
In the research process, we also interviewed John Balmes, M.D., a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco and professor of environmental health sciences at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. He shared insights on the most common types of residential mold, as well as the conditions that are most favorable for its growth. In addition, we spoke to Elías Rodríguez, the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for Region 2 of the EPA, regarding testing guidance and the role that moisture plays in the development of mold growth.