Women who are too anxious or embarrassed to go for a swab test could provide a urine sample to be screened for cervical cancer, the survey suggests.
A test found in urine was so good at detecting a virus called HPV that is a major risk factor for cancer.
Bigger trials are still needed, but experts say self-testing can be a watershed for women.
The number of people going for smear tests is lower than ever in the UK.
NHS figures show that participation has dropped to 71%, which means that several million women throughout England have not taken a defamation examination for at least three and a half years.
Smear tests prevent 75% of cervical cancers, so although they are not pleasant, they are important.
A smear test can detect early and early cellular changes before the cancer develops.
The NHS invites women between the ages of 25 and 64 to participate in smears.
Celebrities and activists have tried to encourage more women to attend, but scientists are also looking for other ways to track the condition to improve the absorption of exams.
- Michelle Keegan vlogs about her cervical cancer screening
- Cervical screening: Millions of bacilloscopy tests
Some pilot studies are already asking women to try to self-test at home with a vaginal swab.
Now researchers at the University of Manchester say that urine testing would be another option.
They asked 104 women attending a colposcopy clinic to try urine testing and performed as well as conventional smears for the detection of high-risk HPV, reports the BMJ Open.
Lead researcher Emma Crosbie said: "We are very excited about this study, which we believe has the potential to significantly increase participation rates for screening for cervical cancer.
"Campaigns to encourage women to attend cervical screening helped." The brilliant campaign of the late Jade Goody increased the frequency of numbers to about 400,000 women.
"But unfortunately, the effects are not long-lasting and participation rates tend to recede after a while. We clearly need a more sustainable solution."
She said that larger urine tests are still needed before they can be recommended to the NHS.
Athena Lamnisos, of Eve Appeal, said: "Finding sorting ways that will avoid the need for a physical test and the use of a speculum is important."
"For women living with the impact of FGM [female genital mutilation] or those who have been sexually abused or live with conditions such as vaginismus, noninvasive screening may be a shifting factor for screening screening.
"This research seems like a promising initial step, but it is far from being implemented by the NHS.
"Meanwhile, women should continue to schedule their screening appointment when called. It's a life-saving test."