Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best pool water test kits 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated July 1, 2020
Best pool water test kits of 2018
I am going to specify each good-to-buy feature as much as possible for your references. Now, let’s get to the gist of the matter: which are the best pool water test kits for the money? I have a variety of material used in the construction of pool water test kits including metal, plastic, and glass. Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this pool water test kits win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days.
Why did this pool water test kits come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.
Why did this pool water test kits take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.
pool water test kits Buyer’s Guide
Pool Water Tests
Chlorine tablets are an expense that can be reduced, by using only as much as you need. Even with Salt Generators, running a level no higher than 1.0 ppm will reduce the workload of your salt cell, and result in more comfortable swimmers.
Testing for Calcium Hardness checks for levels of Calcium in the water. Too little and the water may become aggressive, and seek to pull Calcium from the pool surfaces. Too much Calcium, and deposits may form, or you may have frequent issues with cloudy water.
We put Cyanuric Acid into our chlorine tablets, but most pool owners need to add additional Stabilizer to the water, to build the residual, or level to 40-80 ppm.
Just dip the strip and compare to the color chart on the bottle. Use a test strip that will test all of the water balance parameters, listed above. The 7-way Test Strip is the most complete pool strip. We also have test strips that measure for copper, borates, phosphates, salt and biguanide levels.
Test Kits. With this type of testing, there are certainly more steps involved, and each test is performed individually. Fill the vials with a test sample, and add the colored indicator reagents to compare sample colors for pH and Chlorine.
Alkalinity and Hardness are measured using a titration test. After adding the indicator solution, you add a titrant, dropwise, until a complete color change is observed. Multiply the number of drops by (t x 10) to determine the readings.
Stabilizer tests are performed with a turbidity test. The reagent, mixed with a pool water sample, will turn cloudy in the presence of Cyanuric Acid. Squirt the mixture into the vial with the black dot at the bottom. Stop filling the vial when the dot disappears, or is no longer visible. Read the measurement on the vial, at the point of the water level.
The advantage of Test Kits are more accurate results, for more accurate adjustments. Using a test kit like the Taylor K-200will perform all pool water balance tests perfectly. The Taylor FAS-DPD test kit also tests all parameters, but uses a titration sanitizer test, for more accurate results.
ColorQ PRO test kits, preferred by pool pros and water treatment professionals, uses a digital photometer, and provides a display of test results and adjustment chemicals needed.
Highly accurate photometric scanner precisely determines all water balance tests, over a wider range than most other test kits. Insert the test vial into the photometer, and push one button to obtain test results and recommendations.
Pool Test Strips
The most inexpensive and widely used method of water testing – test strips – is fast, easy, and fairly accurate. Water testing strips like the AquaChek Test Strips can be used to test for individual chemicals or you can buy something like AquaChek Select Way Test Strips or YellowYellow Way chlorine test strips to make multiple tests at the same time.
Liquid Test Kits
Liquid test kits are an excellent way to determine chemical levels in your pool and maintain crystal clear water at all times. Obviously higher in price as compared to testing strips, the liquid kits offer a more reliable and complete testing solution. Liquid testing kits like the LaMotte ColorQ Pro Water Chemistry Liquid Test Kit make use of reagents that are added to sample water and results are read on a user-friendly comparator.
Liquid testing kits like the 4-Way Test Kit Liquid Solution are economical and easy to use, and some like the Taylor Basic Residential DPD Test Kit take maintenance a step further and include a dosage chart for translating test results into treatment.
Digital Pool Testers
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word digital – accurate and fast, right? Well when it comes to digital water testers, accuracy and promptness is what these amazing testers offer. Extremely easy to use, the digital water testers often feature LCD display, water-resistant housing, memory function, and no color matching, so reading results is a snap.
Digital pool testers have electrodes that measure chemical levels in the water with results that have more accuracy and dependability. Of course more on the expensive side, Digital water testers are definitely my favorite for a reliable, complete and fast water testing solution.
As a pool owner, you know that pool maintenance is not easy and does not come at a flip of a button. Regular pool testing is an important foundation to prevent other pool problems. These water testing solutions mentioned above are perfect to keep water balance easy and make your overall pool maintenance a little lighter.
Water testing frequency
Since some elements change slightly slower and others faster, water testing should be done in different frequencies: pH and chlorine are done daily; temperature and alkalinity are done weekly, and calcium hardness and stabilizer levels are tested monthly.
Knowing your pool’s chemical character in different settings and temperatures will help you monitor changes in scheduling water tests on the pool.
Kinds of pool test kits
The demand for pool testing kits has consistently increased in the past years, and various types and brands fill the market.
The pool test kits that you will find as you shop around will fall under any of these basic types.
Wet chemistry kit – this kit is considered as the most advanced method of pool testing. It comes in two forms – OTO (Orthotolidine) and DPD (Diethyl p-phenylenediamine). With this kit you get the exact outcomes using the color comparing block to filter the water from a plastic vial.
OTO kit – compared to the DPD, this kit is less expensive for the reason that it can only test the amount of total chlorine in the pool, and does not distinguish between the amount of free chlorine and combined chlorine. This can pose an issue in figuring out the amount of sanitizer to be used.
DPD kit – this kit is used to measure the amount of free and total chlorine in the swimming pool by extracting a water sample from the pool and adding more than a few drops of reagent into it. There’s a little waiting involved before the results show. This method is more reliable than other testing strips, with more enhanced details and higher accuracy.
Most liquid test kits use a chemical indicator called DPD to measure free chlorine. If you are testing for free chlorine using a DPD test kit, be aware that high levels of combined chlorine (chloramines) can cause false positives when using a DPD test for free chlorine. Low to moderate levels of combined chlorine is neutralized in most DPD kits.
Levels of combined chlorine will occasionally build up to such a level that the free chlorine test result will show that there is some level of free chlorine when in fact there is none present. A strong, foul chloramine odor may confirm that there is a high level of combined chlorine present.
Pay close attention to the chlorine reaction when adding DPD indicator (usually DPD No. 2). Free Chlorine reacts immediately with DPD to form a pink color, while combined chlorine generally reacts more slowly; therefore, if you do not get an immediate reaction and color develops after a few seconds or minutes, you are likely seeing combined chlorine react with the DPD indicator.
Elevated sanitizer levels can also cause problems for liquid test kits. First, high chlorine (greater than 1ppm) or high bromine (greater than 20 ppm) can cause the pH indicator to form a purple color that does not match the pH color scale. This color is similar to the high pH colors, to 8.ppm. Be careful not to mistake this for a high reading and add acid when it is not necessary.
If chlorine or bromine levels appear on the high side of the scale, and pH is reading a purple color, the best thing to do is wait for the sanitizer level to drop to an acceptable level and test again. If pressed for time, however, you can add a drop of sodium thiosulfate to neutralize the chlorine. This is less than ideal because thiosulfate solutions have a high pH, meaning that you are increasing the pH of the sample and again getting potentially high pH results.
Another problem caused by high sanitizer levels is that the DPD indicator can be “bleached out.” A common indicator that this is happening is a flash of color when the indicator is added that quickly becomes colorless. If you see this happening, dilute the sample and retest. You may, for example, use half sample water to be tested and half fresh water, ideally distilled water, as it contains no chlorine and little or no chlorine demand. Then run the test again using the same procedure. This will provide a result that is half the actual value, so you will need to multiply the result by two to obtain the correct reading. Higher sanitizer levels may require greater dilution in order to get an accurate reading.
Testing for Arsenic
In the past, testing for arsenic in drinking water has been as difficult as removing it. Measuring arsenic concentrations accurately was left to the laboratory and expensive instrumentation such as atomic absorption spectrometers. Time delay and expense are the obvious problems with this approach. A variety of test kits have appeared on the market deriving from the need for easier, cheaper and faster methods. These test kits rival both the accuracy and low detection ability of laboratory instrumentation.
Of the available competing products, the most useful arsenic test kits report quantitatively as well as qualitatively.
All of these kits rely on similar chemistry in which inorganic arsenic compounds (As+and As+5) are reduced to arsine gas. This is done in a controlled reaction between an acidified water sample and zinc powder. A volume-specific reaction vessel, usually a plastic bottle supplied in the test kit, is used for this reaction. Different kits typically require different sample sizes and usually employ additional reagents to control interferences from other common elements found in groundwater such as hydrogen sulfide and iron. Once the sample and all of the reagents are combined in the reaction vessel, a test strip is used to measure the arsenic concentration of the water sample. The test strip is not dipped into the sample but rather placed above the sample in a special cap that seals the reaction vessel. As the arsenic converts to arsine gas and comes in contact with the test strip, the mercuric bromide indicator on the test strip changes in color from white to shades of yellow and brown. This chemical reaction varies in time between test kits from to 30 minutes. Once the reaction is completed, the test strip is removed and matched to a color comparator chart to obtain a quantitative measure for arsenic in the tested sample.
When considering options in arsenic testing, people often ask if a test strip-based test kit really is an accurate way to measure arsenic. Answering “yes” in a positive tone does answer the question. Actual test data from a third party is more convincing proof and often is requested. To help in demonstrating arsenic field test kit accuracy, a non-biased third party was used to conduct a study of the major brands of arsenic test kits available in the United States.
In reviewing the results from the chart, it is important to remember that the test kits studied use test strips. Test strips are colorimetric and the results depend on matching colors by eye. One shortcoming of a colorimetric test like this is the limited number of preselected levels present on a color chart. This limited number of levels, which convert to test results, sometimes requires the reader to estimate a reading that is between available colors. For example, of the four test kits studied only one had color levels available on the color chart below ppb. Yet, the individual running these tests was still able to estimate results of ppb. In another instance, with the Low Range Arsenic Check, there was no 50 ppb level (only 40 and 60 ppb), but an accurate result was estimated. In summary, a strong point of this type of arsenic test kit is test result resolution. Between the mercuric bromide indicator on the test strip and carefully printed color charts, the individual running the test is able to obtain a detailed picture of arsenic concentrations in water—even with only a test strip.
A second point to make with reference to the test data is the obvious reproducibility of these test kits from one test to the next. At each level of arsenic concentration, two samples were tested. When the tests for each kit were completed, results were found to be the same for both samples of the same arsenic concentration. Predictable and reproducible results are as important as accurate results when considering test methods.
Important Test Kit Features
Although most arsenic test kits use the same basic method and chemistry, each kit is unique. When considering which test kit you will choose, there are some important factors to consider.
Ease of use. A variety of kits is available with varying levels of complexity. Testing for arsenic may not be as easy as testing for many other ions. However, some manufacturers have done a better job than others at making test procedures easy to perform and understand. Fewer steps, easy-to-read instructions and illustrations are key to reducing confusion and human error.
Time. Three of the four test kits included in the study require a 30-minute incubation time while the arsenic in the water sample is reduced to arsine gas. Compared to other test methods, 30 minutes is a great time saving. However, if you have a large number of samples to test, or just don’t like to wait, a 10-minute test may be more desirable. The addition of arsine gas enhancers in a kit’s reagents runs tests in a third of the time of other kits.
Sensitivity. Detection range or sensitivity is a common question regarding arsenic testing methods. With the current arsenic standard of 50 ppb in debate and most water sources in the United States below 100 ppb, additional sensitivity eventually may win out over other test kit benefits. At the same time, water quality professionals who install arsenic remediation devices ask for tests that detect less than ppb. This low detection sensitivity is important for the calibration and efficiency confirmation of the arsenic removal equipment. With these considerations, a low-range arsenic kit may be your best option with low detection levels at 2, 4, 6, 10, 15, 20 and up to 240 ppb. This is accomplished by a larger sample size (250 ml compared to 50 or 100 ml) and chemical enhancers that produce colors of greater intensity at lower concentrations of arsenic.
Which type of test method is right for your arsenic detection and measurement needs? Improvements in test strip technology make it possible to test water for arsenic easily, quickly, cost effectively, accurately and at useful detection levels. Using the previously stated considerations ease of use, testing time, cost and sensitivity, your arsenic test kit should be easy to select.
LET’S GET TESTING
So we’re going to need some kind of way to test our water.We need an easy way to look at levels of chlorine / bromine, pH, and total alkalinity. And ideally we want just one kit that is going to test all these main water characteristics at once.
It’s chloramines that produce the chlorine odour that many people find unpleasant. When we complain of too much chlorine, it is normally the chloramines causing the powerful chlorine smell.
One of the downsides when adding chlorine to your hot tub is that it does have a short effective life in hot water. So requires constant monitoring, adjusting and adding. The upside is that it is cheap.
Bromine and chlorine are very closely related in what they are able to achieve for us in our hot tub.
But bromine acts a little differently than chlorine. It is much more stable in hot water, and so is able to maintain it’s residual content in the hot water better. When the bromine content has finished its effective sanitising cycle it remains dormant in the tub. By adding a non-chlorine shock treatment the bromine springs back into life and start sanitising your tub again.
Bromine is generally more expensive than chlorine, but requires less attention and less quantity to keep the tub pristine. It also does not have the unpleasant chlorine odour.
General Hydroponics PH Test Kit
If you’ve got your own pH solutions, then you ought to go for this swimming pool kit. You simply have to put a small amount of water inside its test tube, followed by some drops of pH solutions and it will tell whether the pH level is right. This test kit works efficiently when compared to prolong style meter most people use.
Before water gets into your home, it has to be filtered and treated with chlorine to remove dirt, bacteria, and all other possible contaminants. But as doctors advice, too much chlorine and regular exposure to this chemical can be risky to human health.
It’s almost impossible to approach the water company and to be sure you have gotten truthful answers on the water’s chlorine levels.
Converting from chlorine to salt
Once you have made the decision that you want to convert from a traditional chlorine pool to a salt pool then your first decision will be which salt system to choose. A few considerations you will want to take into account when selecting your salt system are listed below.
Adding the salt
At start up it is best to shock your pool from an outside source like a standard granular pool shock. Then, wait until the chlorine level has returned to between to PPM before turning on the salt system. Now it’s time to kick on your salt system. We suggest setting the system to 50% chlorine production and let the system run for 2hours. After 2hours test your pool water with a good test strip to see if your free chlorine is between 1-PPM. If your chlorine is too high or too low, dial your chlorine product up or down in 10% increments and retest your chlorine in 2hours. Repeat this process until the proper chlorine level is reached. The nice thing is that once the salt system is dialed in it is pretty much a set-it-and-forget system, because it is always there producing natural chlorine for your pool at the desired amount to keep your pool crystal clear. Salt systems also have a superchlorinate feature which shocks your pool. So if you ever run into demanding water conditions then this feature comes in handy to shock your pool and get your pool water looking clear again.
Prolonging the life of your salt cell
Salt cells normally last 3-years. To get longer life out of your cell, you will want to follow certain steps.
As your salt cell is in use, calcium deposits will build up on the blades of your salt cell. To remove this calcium build up, soak your cell in diluted acid solution. To prolong the life of your cell, you will want to clean it at least once a season. On the flip side you want to make sure you do not clean your cell too often or with too highly concentrated acid solution as this can strip the cell of its titanium coating making it useless.
Salt pools tend to make the pH in your pool want to rise so it is important that you are monitoring your pH levels and adding muriatic acid to reduce the pH. High pH levels cause much quicker calcium build up on your salt cell as well as on your pool tiles. I learned this the hard way! If you want to get fancy, many pool owners are coupling their salt systems with an acid feed pump. This is nice as the production of chlorine in your pool is automatically produced by the salt chlorine generator and the pH levels are automated by the feed of acid from the acid pump.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your pool water test kits wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of pool water test kits
- №1 — Drinking Water Test Kit – 10 Minute Testing For Lead Bacteria Pesticide Iron Copper and More
- №2 — JNW Direct 6 in 1 Pool & Spa Test Strips
- №3 — Poolmaster 22260 5-Way Test Kit with Case