Choose the Pregnancy Test Strip or Stick That’s Right for You

Couple is excited for the pregnancy test woman is holding

When you need a pregnancy test to help you know if you are pregnant, there are several convenient and accurate at-home pregnancy test kits you can choose from. But do you want to pee on a stick (POAS) or in a cup? Analog or digital tests? We’ve got a quick primer to help you understand the different types of pregnancy tests – whether you’re looking for something quick, easy-to-use, discreet, or a combination of these features!

So, grab a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable, and let's find the best pregnancy test for you!

Benefits of At Home Urine Pregnancy Test Strips or Sticks

Urine pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy, and excreted in your urine. The test strip or stick contains specific antibodies that bind to the hCG hormone, leading to a positive or negative result. Both pregnancy test sticks and strips provide results in just a few minutes and can be done wherever you choose.

Most pregnancy tests can detect pregnancy around the time of your missed period or shortly thereafter. The sensitivity of different tests may vary, so check the packaging or consult the instructions to determine when a specific test stick or strip can provide accurate results.

Pregnancy Test Sticks or Pregnancy Test Strips? Which Do You Need?

The two popular options for at-home urine pregnancy tests are pregnancy test strips and test sticks. While similar in technology, the main difference between pregnancy strips and test sticks lies in their design, specifically, whether there is a casing surrounding the pregnancy test.

At-home pregnancy tests operate in two ways, either by holding the test in your urine stream or dipping the test into a cup of urine. Unlike test sticks that can be used both ways, pregnancy test strips lack an external plastic casing or similar feature, and are designed to be dipped in a cup of urine only.

Strip tests display results through color changes, with one line for not pregnant and two lines indicating pregnant. In contrast, stick tests offer various displays, including color changes, or digital readouts like “Yes” or “No” and “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.”

Both pregnancy test sticks and strips have their unique advantages, and you may find it helpful to have both on hand for frequent testing.

Pregnancy Test Sticks

Pregnancy test sticks come in a convenient, simple, disposable stick with a cap. Pregnancy test sticks are similar to strips but with a plastic housing that allows you to hold the stick directly under the urine stream. Often referred to as “pee on a stick pregnancy tests” or POAS tests, you simply hold the absorbent tip in your urine stream and the result window will display a positive or a negative in minutes. You can also collect your urine in a cup and dip the test stick into the sample.

Pregnancy test sticks are a popular choice among women trying to conceive or anyone who needs to know if they might be pregnant. You can easily find urine pregnancy test sticks at drug stores, grocery stores, shopping clubs, or online.

Pros of Pregnancy Test Sticks

  1. Ease of use: Pregnancy test sticks are incredibly user-friendly. You simply remove the cap, grip the non-slip handle, then hold the absorbent tip in your urine stream and wait a few minutes for the test to fully develop based on the specific instructions.
  2. Clear results: Pregnancy tests commonly show results through a simple colored line or a digital display indicating "yes" or "no ." Some tests may read “pregnant” or “not pregnant” for a positive result, reducing confusion about the outcome.
  3. Less mess: Pregnancy test sticks feature a plastic design that ensures your hand stays away from the urine stream. After use, you can put the cap back on to develop, reducing the risk of spills and allowing for a clean and convenient disposal process.
  4. Photo opportunity: Capture and share the excitement of your positive pregnancy test. The clear results look great in photos, making this a wonderful way to announce the news to family and friends.
  5. Choices of format: There are several types of pregnancy test sticks available, including ones that show results quickly (as quickly as in one minute!), ones that allow you to test earlier (as soon as 6 days before a missed period), digital tests that are super easy to read, combination packs, and multi-packs that help you test often.

Pregnancy Test Strips

Pregnancy test strips are thin, rectangular strips that you dip into a cup of urine. Unlike test sticks, you cannot pee directly on a pregnancy test strip. Test strips work on the same principle as pregnancy test sticks, detecting the presence of hCG (the pregnancy hormone) in your urine. Pregnancy test strips tend to be less expensive and have similar accuracy when used correctly.

Pros of Pregnancy Test Strips

  1. Available in Bulk Containers: Pregnancy test strips often come in bulk packages, which can be useful if you prefer frequent testing.
  2. Discretion: HCG test strips are compact and can be easily disposed of after use. They’re less obvious in a shared trash can than the more well-known test stick.
  3. Less packaging: HCG test strips are smaller than pregnancy test sticks and do not have electronic parts.

If you're actively trying to conceive (TTC) , keeping both pregnancy test sticks and pregnancy test strips can be advantageous. This allows you to utilize their unique features and conduct frequent testing.

You Have Choices for Pregnancy Test Types

Urine pregnancy tests, whether in the form of sticks or strips, offer convenience, and accuracy. Ultimately, the choice between pregnancy test strips and pregnancy test sticks depends on your personal preferences, budget, and testing needs.

Consider these convenient at-home pregnancy test kits from First Response™ brand, available with test sticks and strips, for an easy way to know if you are pregnant.

Analog Home Pregnancy Tests

Digital Pregnancy Tests

Combo Pack Pregnancy Test Kits

  • First Response™ Test and Confirm Pregnancy Test Kit contains an Early Result pregnancy test stick that you can use as early as 6 days before your missed period. Or opt for the easy-to-read Digital Pregnancy Test Stick to confirm your results.
  • First Response™ Triple Check Pregnancy Test Kit offers three different ways to test for added assurance. The kit contains three pregnancy test sticks: one Early Result test, one Rapid Result test, and one Digital Pregnancy Test — all backed by the First Response™ 99% accuracy.

No matter which type of pregnancy test you choose, remember to consult a healthcare professional if you think you might be pregnant, have any concerns, or need further guidance.

1 FIRST RESPONSE™ detects the pregnancy hormone 6 days sooner than the day of your missed period (5 days before the day of expected period).

2FIRST RESPONSE™ Early Result and Digital Pregnancy Test are 99% accurate at detecting typical pregnancy hormone levels from the day of your expected period. Rapid Result is 99% accurate at detecting typical pregnancy hormones from the day of your missed period. Note that hormone levels vary.

The content provided on this page is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.