Figuring out what COVID tests you need for travel is a complex business, especially with the guidelines constantly changing. The latest set of rules (as of 4 October) contain some changes, so be sure to get familiar with them before you start booking tests.
ExpressTest is on the government’s list of private test providers and in this review we explore whether its tests could be worth your time and money.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
What is ExpressTest?
ExpressTest was set up specifically to provide COVID tests during the pandemic as the consumer-facing arm of Cignpost Diagnostics. It’s on the UK government’s list of COVID test providers, which means its tests meet the minimum standards for safety and performance and it is undergoing a 3-stage accreditation process with the United Kingdom Assessment Service (UKAS).
Note that some countries like Singapore only accept proof of tests from providers fully accredited by UKAS – companies are only “fully accredited” once they have passed the 3-stage accreditation process and have been confirmed as accredited, so remember to check with your country of travel for what is required before you book your tests.
What types of COVID tests can I get from ExpressTest?
ExpressTest offers all types of COVID tests for travel, including pre-departure PCR, LAMP and rapid antigen tests, day 2 and day 8 tests and Test to Release tests (for quarantine in England).
What sets ExpressTest apart from other private COVID test providers is that all pre-departure tests must be carried out in person, rather than at home. You have to book a slot at one of ExpressTest’s testing centres across the country.
Tests you take on your return home (day 2 and day 8 and, in England, Test to Release) can all be done at home and are then collected from your address by a courier.
What is ExpressTest’s refund policy?
If cancel and your test is more than 72 hours away, ExpressTest will issue you a voucher that’s valid for 12 months. If you need to cancel less than 72 hours before your test, you will not get a voucher unless you can prove that airline or government guidelines have changed. Refunds can take up to 21 days to process.
ExpressTest customer reviews
ExpressTest has an excellent Trustpilot rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Customers praised the ease of getting tested at the testing centres and the great customer experience.
The few negative ratings came from customers who either didn’t receive their results before they were due to travel, had problems with the ExpressTest website, or had trouble receiving refunds for cancelled tests (last updated: October 2021).
Are ExpressTest tests accurate?
ExpressTest is on the government’s list of COVID test providers, which means its tests meet the minimum safety requirements and you can be confident that they offer a high level of accuracy. But remember, no COVID test is 100% reliable.
The certificate we received when we road-tested the lateral flow product boasted a sensitivity of 97.1% and a specificity of 95%.
How long does it take to get results from ExpressTest?
Results for PCR tests done at a test centre should be with you by 10pm the following day, but could take up to 48 hours. Antigen lateral flow test results are ready within 30 minutes and LAMP test results within 2 hours.
At home PCR test results will be ready 24 hours after your sample arrives at the laboratory and remote lateral flow test results will be ready within an hour, once you’ve uploaded all the relevant information online.
How much do ExpressTest tests cost?
PCR fit to fly tests cost £59 and lateral flow tests for travel are £35. A LAMP fit to fly test costs £85. Tests for arriving back in the UK from low-risk countries start from £69, and Test to Release is also £69.
Pros and cons of ExpressTest
- Government-listed COVID test provider
- Currently being assessed by UKAS
- 4.5 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot
- Nationwide test centres, including airports
- Good customer service
- Possible delays in receiving results
- Slow in processing refunds
- Some customers experienced difficulties ordering tests online
Our verdict: Is ExpressTest any good?
ExpressTest is certainly worth considering based on decent customer feedback (overall) and the fact it’s on the government’s list. A big bonus is the number of test centres it has nationwide, particularly at airports. This means you can book an appointment and get your results usually within the next 24 hours without worrying about tests going missing in the post. The website is also really informative, with a useful “frequently asked questions” page talking you through each step of the testing process.
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