What Is a 5-Panel, 8-Panel, 10-Panel, or 12-Panel Drug Test?

In addition to the type of test administered, drug testing companies can test for different classes of substances. Here we detail the differences between the common 5-panel, 8-panel, 10-panel, and 12-panel tests.

Read more about 5 8 10 12 panel drug tests...

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What Is a 5-Panel, 8-Panel, 10-Panel, or 12-Panel Drug Test?

In addition to the type of test administered, drug testing companies can test for different classes of substances. Here we detail the differences between the common 5-panel, 8-panel, 10-panel, and 12-panel tests.


You’re about to be given a drug test. But what kind is it? You heard someone mention something about panels, but you’re not sure what it means. There are all different types of tests, not just in terms of the method they use, but in terms of what they test for. Different panel tests are used in different situations and can detect different drugs. Here’s what you need to know.

5-Panel Drug Test

The simplest and most common type of drug test, it tests for five different types of substances: THC, opiates, PCP, cocaine, and amphetamines. This is what employers generally use when screening job applicants or randomly testing employees. It’s also what the federal government uses for most drug tests. Unless the tester suspects the subject may be using a drug not covered by the five-panel test, or the situation calls for a more comprehensive test than usual, this is the one they’ll almost always give.

8-Panel Drug Test

If a company suspects that its employees are abusing prescription drugs, then they might administer a 7-panel or 8-panel drug test instead of the standard 5-panel. In addition to THC, cocaine, PCP, opiates, and amphetamines, a 7-panel test will also detect barbiturates, and benzodiazepines. An 8-panel test will detect all of that, plus methaqualone (Quaaludes).

10-Panel Drug Test

10-panel tests are typically given to people who work dangerous jobs and could cause harm, injury, or even death to themselves or others if they’re under the influence of drugs while working. Many law enforcement professionals need to pass a periodic 10-panel drug screening. Additionally, people on parole or probation are often given 10-panel tests to ensure they’re not in violation of the terms of their release. In addition to all the other usual suspects, a 10-panel test will also test for methadone, a morphine substitute, and propoxythene, a common opioid painkiller.

12-Panel Drug Test

The 12-panel drug test is similar to the 10-panel, and generally used in the same situations, only it takes things a step further. If someone drives for a living, or operates heavy machinery, or carries a weapon with them while at work, they may have to undergo a 12-panel drug screening. Additionally, if someone is responsible for other people’s health and safety, such as workers in the medical field, a 12-panel test may be required.

The 12-panel drug test will detect THC, cocaine, opioids, PCP, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methaqualone, propoxyphene, and methadone, as well as MDMA (also known as Ecstasy), and Oxycodone/Percocet.

After the 12-panel test, there are 13 and even 15-panel options available. However, they’re unlikely to come up in most circumstances. The vast majority of people being drug tested will be given a simple, 5-panel urine test. If an employer is being particularly cautious, or there’s a history of prescription drug abuse in the company, they may administer the 8-panel test.

Understanding these tests and what they’re used for will help you better understand what you’re in for when someone tests you, and whether or not you’ll be able to pass. To learn more about different drug tests and what they entail, contact us!