Top 10 Pool Test Kits Reviews and Buying Guide – 2020
When you think swimming pools, what comes to most people’s minds is fun and lots of it! A swimming pool is an excellent place to spend time with family and friends. With lots of games to play and that awesome weightless feeling, you get while just floating on water.
To continue enjoying the immense pleasures that come with owning a swimming pool, you need to not only clean it regularly but also keep the water healthy. Regular testing is required to achieve this.
You might think that testing your pool is a difficult task that requires professionals, but on the contrary, it is a pretty easy task. Anyone can do it. It takes about half an hour or so; then you’re all done.
To fully appreciate the value of testing your pool, you need to know the advantages that come with doing it and the types of chemicals in your swimming pool that require regular testing and control over.
Chemicals found in swimming pools
In ensuring safety, it is crucial to ensure your swimming pool remains balanced. The following compounds are found in your pool:
The purpose of bromine is to stabilize the PH level and acidic level by ensuring the water does not become too acidic.
II. Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate raises the level of alkalinity in your swimming pool
III. Calcium hardener
It increases the level of hardness of calcium in your pool
Chlorine often comes as a trichlor or dichlor. Their purpose is to chlorinate your swimming pool. Their main difference is that trichlor has to be attached to a chlorinator while dichlor doesn’t
V. Cyanuric acid
Its primary purpose of cyanuric acid is to stabilize the level of chlorine in the pool and to protect it from UV rays.
Advantages of testing your pool
1. It increases the lifespan of your pools equipment
Swimming pool equipment such as hot tubs and the pool itself are expensive investments. Being as expensive as it is, it is essential to make it last as long as possible. After all, you wouldn’t like to see your hard-earned money go down the drain, would you?
After a while of usage and with the frequent addition of chemicals, pool water becomes corrosive. Corrosive water rusts metal (pumps and heaters); it degrades rubber o-rings, causes the plastic to become brittle, and can even cause hits to form in the concrete finish of swimming pools.
Scale forming water may also reduce the efficiency of your heater leading to higher electric bills as it takes more time for water to heat when scaling forms on the surface of water heaters.
2. Leads to more comfortable bathing water
Itchy skin and red, irritated eyes are common indicators of poor water PH balance. The PH of swimming pool water needs to be maintained at 7.5 PH value; this is the PH of the human eye. Keeping it at this level reduces eye irritation.
Excessive amounts of chlorine and bromine cause skin to itch. It is therefore critical to test the water and add a bromine/chlorine neutralizer to bring down the sanitizer level to the recommended level of 1-3 ppm of chlorine and 3-5 ppm of bromine.
3. Makes the water safer to swim in
Untested water is very unsafe as it may result in the development of rashes and other water-borne infections. The health and safety of those close to you are of utmost importance. Regular testing prevents the accumulation of toxins that would harm those swimming in the pool.
4. Regular water testing saves you money
It makes you glad to hear that, right? Everyone loves their money, and every chance to take to keep it ensures you don’t go broke anytime soon. The cost of testing and treating water is greatly outweighed by the expenses associated with unbalanced water.
The extra expenses that could be incurred as a result of unbalanced water are; reduced equipment life and treating problem water, like green water, which could take hundreds of dollars.
5. Maintains water balance
Proper water balance results in zero problems with your pool. Water balance and testing are essential because:
I. It enables the sanitizing chemicals to work effectively
II. Lessens the chance of water problems including cloudiness and algae
III. lengthens the lifespan of your equipment
Ideal chemical levels for your pool
PH: 7.4 to 7.6
Alkalinity: 80 ppm to 140 ppm
Chlorine: 1.0 to 3.0 ppm
Calcium hardness: 200 – 400
Cyanuric acid: 25 – 50 ppm
Types of pool test kits
There are three types of toolkits available. All have advantages and limitations, though. They are:
• Combination meters
Liquid test kits use reagents that come in dropper bottles.
To use Liquid test kits, first, take a vile of pool water to be tested then add the prescribed amount of reagent. All test kits come with instructions on how to take readings. Taking readings is quite simple and takes very little time.
• Easy to use
• Provide accurate results when used properly
• If not handled properly, they can give inaccurate results
• Takes time to test all chemicals
• They can expire
2. Strip tests
These are by far the most accessible tool Kitts to use. To test the water, you simply dip them directly into the pool water hence eliminating the need to take samples. The next step in the testing process is to wait for them to change color then read instructions given on how to take readings.
• Very simple to use
• Faster to use than liquid tests
• Fairly accurate when used correctly
• Can get easily contaminated by moisture
• Can expire
Like the liquid types, they use reagents. They are much easier to read as the electronic device displays the readings on a small screen.
• Easy to use and read
• High level of accuracy when used correctly
• They require regular calibration
• Are more expensive than other testers
4. Combination meters
The use of combination meters is the most accurate way of testing your pool. They use a combination of the test strip and liquid with computerized tests and readout.
• Are very accurate
• Are expensive
10 Best Pool Water Kits Reviewed – 2020
Shocking your pool weekly although a recommended practice, alone won’t keep your pool crystal clear. Other factors like algae, heavy rainfall, and excessive use also damage your pool, and it can’t help with that. That’s where the necessity to have a pool toolkit comes in. Without the necessary knowledge and experience, choosing the best pool kit can be a hustle.
Here is a list that could help you in choosing the best toolkit.
1. Aqua Water Pool Test kit
Aqua Water Pool Test Kit is our number one pick, and there’s a good reason behind it. It is very easy to use- even for a beginner, and it comes at a very affordable price too.
The strips come in an airtight container to protect them from moisture. A bottle comes with 100 strips, which can be used for three consecutive months of testing. Each strip can be used to perform seven tests making it among the most economical kits in the market.
It tests for free chlorine, total chlorine, alkalinity, hardness, cyanuric acid, PH, bromine, and hardness.
To test using this kit, you only need to dip a strip in pool water and hold it there for fifteen seconds, until it changes color. The next step is shaking off the excess water. The color comparator is located on the side of the bottle; you simply need to use the strip to compare if the colors match.
If the color doesn’t match, then that means you need more of a certain chemical.
• Easy to use
• Value for money
• Each strip performs up to seven tests
• Strips can get damaged by moisture
• Inconsistent results
2. Taylor Troubleshooter Spa Pool Test kit
This is a very good kit for troubleshooting any problems with your pool. The kit comes in a great case with clear and detailed instructions included in the case. The case is hard and helps keep everything together safely and securely.
It tests for PH, alkalinity, free chlorine, total chlorine, and bromine. Each color corresponds to a specific chemical; hence it is hard to get instructions mixed up. It also comes with a dosage chart that helps you in translation and choosing the appropriate next steps.
• Can be used in a pool or spa
• Hard case
• Easy to use
• Six tests
• It does not perform all tests
3. Poolmaster 22260 5-Way Test kit
This test kit performs all the necessary tests to ensure your pool is sparkling clean. It helps you conduct tests for chlorine, acid demand, PH, bromine, and total alkalinity.
It comes with a clear-view round test block equipped with color chips. The chips make it easier for you to get accurate information on color matching.
It also comes in a polyethylene case that keeps chemicals well protected.
• Easy to use
• Drop testing mechanism ensuring quick tests
• Very fast in producing results
• A bit hard to understand instructions
• Quite expensive
4. Taylor Technologies INC K-1766 Drop test
This test kit is quite useful in keeping salt level at the desired level all season. This liquid test kit will offer you precise results in minutes. By offering fast and easy maintenance, it will prolong the life of your swimming pool and equipment.
It accurately tests the level of sodium chloride in your salt pool by the use of the chemistry approach. It also comes in a heavy-duty waterproof case.
• Complete detailed instructions
• Heavy duty case
• Silver nitrate reagent
• Only tests sodium chloride
5. Taylor Technologies INC k-2006 Test kit
This test kit tests all your pool water composition. It tests for alkalinity, PH, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, total chlorine, and combined chlorine.
It comes with a comparator to ensure easy and fast reading of results along with a FASDPD bromine test kit. It is very accurate.
• Very accurate
• Tests all major pool elements
• Fast results
6. LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool
It is quick and easy to use. It comes with a photometer that gives you accurate test results using the digital meter.
It tests for calcium hardness, total chlorine, free chlorine, cyanuric acid, PH, and alkalinity. It uses liquid reagents, but you will have to use tablets to test cyanuric acid. Tablets can last up to three years, but chemicals for alkalinity cannot last more than a year.
• Photometer for accurate results
• Water-resistant coating
• Accurate testing for cyanuric acid
• Chemicals don’t last long
7. Taylor Deluxe K-2005 Test Kit
This test kit provides precise testing. It is mainly used by public swimming pool operators and service technicians.
The kit uses printed color standards to help you find an accurate color match, which also helps with frequent test comparisons. It can perform nine tests making it better than most other products available in the market.
It tests for calcium hardness, acid demand, total alkalinity, bromine, chlorine, and bromine. The chemicals last more than a year, and there is no expiry date on the package; hence you can go for a refill.
• Easy to use
• Nine tests
• Suitable for comparison of tests
8. HTH Pool Test Kit 6-Way Test Kit
It is very long-lasting, and you can perform up to one hundred tests using one kit. It tests bromine, PH, chlorine, cyanuric acid, and total hardness.
• A kit is used 100 times
• Precise results for the total chlorine test
• Checks hardness
• Hard to understand instructions
9. Pentair R151246 78DPD Test Kit
It is an all-in-one DPD kit capable of testing combined and total chlorine, acid demand, and much more.
It ensures accurate results and is easy to use. In colder months, using it once a week is enough and in hotter months twice a week.
• Easy to compare
• Total chlorine test
• Availability of replacement kit solutions
• Residues in the pool after the tablets dissolve
• Its round sample tubes are hard to use for comparison
10. Blue Devil B7448 5-Way OTO
This is a 5-way testing kit and can perform multiple tests at the same time. When testing total alkalinity, you use the blue dye and count the number of drops it takes to turn it clear. It also comes with an easy to read comparator to determine test results.
It comes housed in a plastic case to help organize and protect chemicals.
• Easy to use
• The dye color may fade
Qualities of a good testing kit
To get the best test kit for your pool, you need to know what you’re looking for. Features of a good testing kit include:
1. Ease of use
You should buy a kit that is easy to use. Get a kit that will not be problematic for the users.
2. Should be complete
Regular – good testing kits come with a PH tester, recommended range of measurements and a sanitizer, and a guideline for tests outlining directions for use and how to read measurements.
A better test kit tests adjustment in PH, total alkalinity, amount of chemical, and also differentiates between the levels of combined and free chlorine.
The best testing kit tests not only all quantities that other kits do but also cyanuric acid, iron, copper, and calcium hardness.
3. Should be accurate
In ensuring the accuracy of your testing kit, it is essential to repeat the test and note any changes in results. Performing the test again ensures you do not make any changes in chemical levels that would otherwise damage your swimming pool. It also assures you of the quality of your test kit.
Test kits that produce different results should be discarded so that they don’t cause any further problems by giving inaccurate results.
4. Suitability of the testing method
You should purchase a test kit that you are sure to understand its mode of operation so that it doesn’t cause you headaches while using it. The style of reading or display of results should also be easily comprehensible.
The best testing kit to purchase is one that is inexpensive, reliable, and durable. Many people opt for a more expensive testing kit on the assumption that they are of the best quality, but on the contrary, the most costly testing kit is not always the most effective.
To avoid endless trips to the store now and then and wasting your money on purchasing the same product over and over, you should choose the most durable test kit to get the full value for your money.
7. Should have an appropriate design
A good test kit should have a plan that not only eases usage but also safe. Kits that contain glass or brittle plastic material can cut swimmers if lest in the pool. It is essential to remain on the safe side and purchase more reliable testing kits.
Reagents get used up and need replacement. You should choose a test kit from a well-known brand for ease of finding these replacement reagents when they get used up.
Features of a complete test kit
A complete test kit contains a casing that houses all other components, color scales made of UV protected color chips, and scales that mix with a water solution to determine chemical levels.
They also come with pool test strips that you use to check the results. You also receive solutions used to check the swimming pool filter’s chemicals and cleaners.
Tips on how to effectively test your pool
1. Integrating technology into your water testing routine
Advance in technology has led to the innovation of many techniques that assist in pool testing, including digital test kits and Smartphone apps that read your testing stripes, provide treatment plans, and track water readings.
Integrating technology into water testing routines is the best option for beginners who need further instructions or for seasoned pool owners who don’t want t waste time.
2. Don’t use strips from a different season
Testing strips generally have a service time of one season as they are damaged by moisture. Continued use of old testing strips leads to false, inaccurate results. Old testing strips should be appropriately disposed of and replaced with new ones.
3. Wait a few seconds before reading the test strip
Although test strips change color almost instantly when placed in pool water, you should wait for at least 20 – 30 seconds before reading your test strip. The extra time allows for levels and colors to properly develop, thus eliminating the possibility of false reading and wrong water treatment.
You should also make sure you correspond the colors to their correct match. If the color is unclear, do the test again and wait for the suggested time before taking your new readings.
4. Test level of chlorine in the morning
During the day, UV light causes chlorine to dissipate, thus altering its levels and affecting results. The chlorine levels should be tested in early morning hours. If that is not possible, adding cyanuric acid will stabilize chlorine and minimize the harmful effects of sunlight.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Question: Which test tool kit offers the most accurate results?
Answer: The most accurate test kits are liquid and digital test kits. Liquid test kits use a titration test, which is more reliable than test strips. Digital test kits are pre-programmed hence eliminates the possibility of human error.
Question: How will I know the amount of chemical to add to my pool after testing?
Answer: Most test kits have booklets with detailed information and charts that you can use to determine the amount of chemical to add to your pool.
Question: At what depth should a test sample be obtained?
Answer: An ideal sample should be obtained from about 12″ to 18″ from the surface. To make it easier, you can fill the test kit from about elbow deep in the water.
Question: How much water do I need for testing?
Answer: When testing, ensure that you use a clean container to avoid contaminating the sample. About 500 ml- 1 liter is enough, depending on the testing kit that you’re using.
Chemicals in our swimming pools are essential in maintaining the pool as well as making them hygienic. However, if they get out of balance, they can result in damage, both to the pool itself and the swimmers in it. Regular testing is required to ensure optimum conditions in the pool.