Digital tests are supposed to be the wave of the future for pregnancy testing, but the future isn't here just yet. Digital models aren't as accurate at detecting pregnancy as manual tests, and can't detect pregnancy as early. In addition, the increased technology boosts both the price and the chances of a failed test.
Even so, many people love digital pregnancy tests because they use words -- "pregnant" and "not pregnant," or "yes" or "no" -- that consumers perceive as easier to read than lines and symbols. Users also like the built-in timers that reduce the uncertainty of when to read the test.
The best digital home pregnancy test, First Response Gold Digital (*Est. $18 for two), is 96 percent accurate on the day of a missed period in independent studies. That's not as good as the 99 percent advertised by the manufacturer, but it's much better than the E.P.T. Digital Pregnancy Test (*Est. $14 for two) at 68 percent or Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test (*Est. $13 for two) at 51 percent. First Response is also accurate much earlier in the cycle, correctly detecting hCG levels of 12 mIU/mL 74 percent of the time, which equals out to about three days before an expected period. E.P.T. detected 12 mIU/mL only 18 percent of the time, and Clearblue only 12 percent.
Although none of these tests get rave reviews from users, First Response Gold Digital receives the best scores for being easy to read. It says "yes" for pregnant and "no" for not pregnant. Users are less satisfied with the Clearblue Digital's display, which they say is difficult to read. E.P.T., which also says "pregnant" and "not pregnant," gets better reviews for being clear and easy to read, but many women complain of failed tests and confusing error messages.