If thereʼs one question we get asked most at ToxTests.com, the question of what drug test you should be using is probably the biggest one.
It doesnʼt matter if youʼre a small business owner or a federal agency manager whoʼs already versed in government regulations -- the truth is, finding the right drug and alcohol test for your needs can be a confusing process!
Even if we encountered two businesses with similar processes and similar employees, we wouldnʼt always recommend the same test for both businesses. Thatʼs because each employer is going to have personal preferences as to the drug screening methods that will fit them best.
So when you think about it that way, having a range of options for drug test types is actually a good thing -- helping you choose just what works for you.
Drug Test Configurations and Test Panels
When you see the word “panels” described in relation to a drug test kit, itʼs describing the number of drugs tested for. If a test kit has five panels, for example, itʼs testing for five different drugs or the drugsʼ metabolites. Drug test kits usually have between 1 and 14 panels.
The “configurations,” meanwhile, refer to the combinations of drugs the kit is testing for. Test kits come in standard configurations, as well as customized options.
Drug Testing Formats
When youʼre conducting a drug screen, youʼll usually use either a urine or saliva test.
For urine tests, youʼll use either a dip, cup or cassette format. Dip and cassette formats are typically the cheapest, but their drawback is that thereʼs an additional step involved, since youʼll need a separate cup to collect and draw a sample from. With the cup format, youʼll pay a little more, but theyʼre easier to use and donʼt require an additional step.
For saliva tests, your options include cassette and integrated drug tests. With a cassette option, youʼll squeeze saliva into a dropper and place it on the cassette. The integrated model, meanwhile, is completely self-contained and requires no extra dropping or squeezing.
Alcohol Testing Formats
Alcohol can be screened for using urine, saliva or breath-based testing.
Urine-based alcohol testing is available in dip and cup format (NOTE: All forms of urine-based alcohol tests are only approved for "Forensic Use." They are not available for sale or use within the workplace).
Saliva and Breath-based (breathalyzers) testing are approved for workplace testing. Saliva tests usually involve some form of pad or swab that is saturated with saliva that will change in color in accordance with the Alcohol level detected.
Breath-based alcohol screens are available in disposable formats (one-time use) and as electronic analyzer devices (breathalyzer).
Using the Sidebar Tool for Test Selection
Our website lets you pick and choose between the drug panels, configurations and formats that work best for you (see illustration below).
Please contact us if you need any help choosing the right test or navigating the website. We're happy to help determine just which drug or alcohol test kit you may need.
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