What’s the Difference Between a 5 and 10 Panel Drug Test?

Employers conduct drug tests at the workplace to maintain the sanctity and ensure the safety of their organization. Drug tests are carried out by collecting samples from the employees and running them to check for the trace of any prohibited substance. This procedure can be easily carried out by using the 5-panel and 10-panel drug tests.

What is a 5-Panel Drug Test?

For every drug test, there are panels used to conduct the test. For example, the 5-panel is a drug testing kit used to screen for five of the most commonly used prohibited substances. The 5-panel drug test is the most common drug test for employment in the USA, and the reason for its popularity is not far-fetched – it is cheap and it easily detects the presence of illicit drugs in the body.

Here is the list of the five drugs a 5-panel drug test is capable of identifying:

  • Amphetamines: these products are primarily crushed for the sole purpose of snorting. Examples of these prohibited substances include methamphetamine (also called meth, ice, crank, crystal), dexamphetamine, narcolepsy (you can find them in prescription pills such as Focalin, Ritalin, Vyvanse), Amphetamine sulfate.
  • Opioids: This includes substances such as codeine, morphine, heroin, and opium. For morphine, a mop on a drug test can be carried out using this kit.
  • Cocaine: The 5-panel drug test can easily detect either cocaine or crack cocaine once found in the body during the screening.
  • Phencyclidine: this is also called PCP. They are synthetic products that come in both powder and liquid forms.
  • Cannabis: Marijuana or THC also falls under the category of products the 5-panel drug test can be used to detect.

The 5-panel drug test is the typical drug test used for screening an employee. It is usually carried out through saliva drug tests, mouth swab drug tests, or urine drug tests. In recent times, both private sectors and government parastatals have adopted this drug testing method to examine their employees to prevent the situation of an employee working under influence. However, you should note that the drug testing process must be carried out following the guidelines put in place by the Federal government.

It is not only in the workplace that the 5-panel drug test has been adopted; the United States Department of Transportation is also using it. It is used to place drivers under check and determine whether a bus driver has recently been exposed to the use of prohibited substances.

Before a bus or truck driver is issued his vehicle license, the driver is first tested by the transport authority using the 5- panel kit. This test is also conducted from time to time.

What are the Advantages of 5-Panel Drug Testing?

This drug testing kit has a number of benefits, making it the go-to drug testing kit at the workplace. Here are some of its benefits:

  • It can detect the use of several banned substances at a time. This attribute makes it easier for the person carrying out the test to know the type of drug present in the employee’s body on time.
  • The 5-panel drug test is cheap to conduct as drug testing using this kit costs less than $5.
  • It relieves you of the stress of searching for a drug test near me. You necessarily don’t need to contact an expert to help you carry out the test or visit a lab testing to interpret the result.
  • You will get the drug test result almost immediately. You will only have to wait for 10-20 minutes before you get your drug test.

What is the 10- Panel Drug Test?

The 10-panel drug test, like the name connotes, can screen for ten prohibited substances at a go. Although employers do not commonly use it because it is not of best standard practice, it is common among law enforcement, medical practitioners, local and federal government workers, and among those who ensure the safety of others.

Any individual who falls into class might be asked to carry out the drug test screening based on reasonable suspicion that such individual is being exposed to the use of substances. For example, this would arise when the employer notices certain kinds of behavior that suggest that you are under the influence. The employee would be asked to carry out a drug test, and the 10-panel kit can be employed. This kit is also used during disa drug test.

Here are some of the drugs the 10- Panel Drug can detect

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax)
  • Cannabis (Marijuana)
  • Barbiturates
  • Methadone
  • Methaqualone (Quaaludes)
  • PCP (Phencyclidine)
  • Propoxyphene
  • Opiates

It should be mentioned that the 10-panel drug test can detect alcohol and other street drugs. The 10-panel kit is the perfect fit for testing prescribed drugs that are commonly abused.

Benefits of the 10-Panel Drug Test

  • It is time-saving because it can screen ten drugs at a time.
  • It can easily detect illicit street drugs.
  • You can quickly get the kit and carry out the test on the grounds of reasonable suspicion.
  • It is cost-effective.

The Difference Between 5-Panel and 10-Panel Drug Test

Though these two panels perform the same testing functions for drug use, they have several differences.

Here are some of the differences.

  • While the 5-panel drug test kit is the most widely used, the 10-panel drug test can test for larger amounts of drug use.
  • The 10-panel drug test can be used to screen illicit street substances and alcohol, while the 5-panel drug test is limited to testing for just five of the common prohibited drugs such as Cocaine, Cannabis, Opioid, Meth, and PCP.
  • If you want to screen for abuse of prescription drugs, the 10-panel drug test kit is capable of carrying out the drug screening.
  • The 10-panel drug test is not allowed in workplaces because it is not standard practice. Its use is limited to those in particular sectors.

The Outcome of The Drug Test

You might get the result immediately, depending on the situation at hand. However, it is best to wait for one to two working days to get the result because of the various analyses that ought to be carried out.

It is possible that a drug test screening done with either the 5-panel or 10- panel comes out positive. When a drug test is positive, the illicit substance being tested is highly present in the sample provided for the test in the panel.

If a drug test result is positive, there is a need for a confirmation phase which usually lasts 2 -5 days. However, in rare cases, the drug test result might be invalid/inconclusive, which implies that the panel could not successfully check for the presence of prohibited substances in the sample provided.


Finally, with the panel drug test, there is no need to search for ‘’drug screening near me’’ because with these kits, you can easily carry out your test. However, the 10-panel can test for more drugs than the 5-panel. A urine sample is also advisable to be used when conducting the test. The panel test cannot be used for detect DNA or to carry out a DNA test

There have been several questions on whether the result obtained from the panel can be positive. The answer is yes! And such a positive result is subjected to a confirmation phase which would take a couple of days. So the test result can either be positive, negative, or inconclusive.

There is no doubt that the 5-panel and 10-panel drug test kits have made drug testing easier to conduct; however, the Federal government guidelines should be strictly adhered to.