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Urine VS Saliva Drug Test – the Difference and Similarities Between the Two Types of Tests

Urine VS Saliva Drug Test

Urine VS Saliva Drug Test – the Difference and Similarities Between the Two Types of Tests

Urine VS Saliva Drug Test: The Difference and Similarities Between The Two Types of Tests. Comparison of urine and oral swab drug testing.

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UPDATED: 3/22/23

Does your company conduct drug screens and physical exams for background checking? 

If yes, did you know that more organizations perform urine testing than oral fluid (saliva) testing? 90% of employers are using urine drug testing, while 10% use saliva testing (SHRM).

It might also surprise you to learn that out of the 7 million urine drug tests conducted from January to December 2021, the rate of positive urine tests jumped from 4.4% to 4.6% (

Now, if your organization is updating its drug testing policy, one question to consider is, “How is a urine drug test kit different from one that uses saliva?” “Are urine tests more accurate than saliva drug tests?” 

Let’s talk about the similarities between urine drug tests and saliva drug tests and how they differ so you can choose what’s best for your workplace.

Workplace Drug Testing: Urine VS Saliva Drug Test

Both tests can detect multiple drugs. Another similarity is they’re both immunoassays or procedures that detect/measure specific substances or proteins using antigens or antibodies. 

As for time to results, both urine and saliva testing can provide fast, accurate results in minutes. Keep in mind that both cannot give 100% accurate results. However, test accuracy for the two tests can be as high as 98 to 99% if conducted correctly. 

From their similarities, let’s move on to their differences. First, let’s discuss the tests’ detection period. A urine drug test has a longer window of detection, which you may find helpful if you’re screening longer term drug usage (ie: pre-employment).   

Meanwhile, if you want a better indication of current impairment, you may want to opt for a saliva test.

Differences Between a Urine VS Saliva Drug Test Kit

When choosing between a urine and saliva test kit, it would be helpful to consider the collection method.  

If you go for urine, you need to prepare a controlled collection site. Also, depending on your company’s policy, you may have to assign a gender-specific staff to oversee the collection. Some people may also have difficulty urinating, which creates additional waiting time for sample collection.

The issues mentioned aren’t a problem for saliva drug tests. However, it doesn’t mean oral fluid tests are automatically better than urine drug testing.

Remember, saliva tests have a shorter drug detection window than urine tests. Most of the time, these tests cannot detect drug use beyond 48 hours (in most substances).

We Can Help With Your Drug and Alcohol Screening Needs

If you’re looking for a urine drug test kit or saliva drug screens, feel free to browse our products

Not only do our products detect a wide range of substances, from alcohol to amphetamines to barbiturates, cocaine, and so on, but we also have tests that can detect adulterants. 

You may also get in touch with us if you have specific requests. We can design test formats for you with our custom configuration options. For more information, you may contact us at

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