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Best Pool Testing Kit Reviews 2017

Nothing cools the body better in a hot summer afternoon than a swim. For your swimming pool to stay top of its game, you will need to show it some love regularly, even when it is not in use. The only investment you need to keep your pool water safe and balanced is the best pool testing kit on the market.

Why do you need to test your pool regularly? Well, the water in there may be treated, but that does not deter algae and bacteria from forming. Besides, testing ensures the right pH balance to prevent the water from harming your skin and eyes.

What Tests Are You Conducting? 

Basically, you are checking the base and acid levels of the water. pH balance, calcium hardness, total alkalinity, as well as chlorine levels  are what your testing kit will check and let you know. The recommended levels of pH should be between 7.2 and 7.8, while chlorine should be 1.0 - 2.0 ppm (parts per million). Total alkalinity should not exceed 120ppm, while calcium hardness should be between 200 and 400 ppm. If yours is an outdoor pool that utilizes chlorine, you will want to test the levels of Cyanuric Acid, which should be between 20 and 50 ppm.

You can conduct more tests if you want to get to the depth of any foreseeable concerns, but these are the basic ones for your weekly check. While at it, you may want to keep dissolved solids below 5000ppm.

How Often Should You Conduct These Tests? 

It will depend on how often you use the pool. If it is commercial, you may want to test the waters every four hours, especially for chlorine. You can get away with the weekly checks for private pools, especially noting that most of the elements do not fluctuate that often. Cyanuric Acid and calcium hardness levels hardly change, and so you can check them on a monthly basis.

How Long Will The Testing Reagents Last? 

They will usually last one season, but you can push that to two with proper storage. The reagents will need to be stored in a dark part of the house as direct sunlight breaks them down and makes them degenerate.


How We Selected the Best Pool Testing Kits To Review?

We put a lot of thought into this selection. The first thing we did even before we set out to test the product was ask our readers what type of testing kits they preferred.  The majority said they wanted reasonably priced kits that were easy to use, while the rest preferred testing kits that could conduct multiple tests.

Colorimetric kits are the cheapest on the market, and they are also some of the easiest to use. We were concerned with accuracy above anything else. We quizzed users (both commercial and homeowners), and it emerged that strip kits are recommended in every State. We also got positive feedback on accuracy, with some users saying they have been using certain brands for over five years without complaints.

When looking at efficiency we considered the possibility of result misinterpretation, seeing as the results are based on color change. Although the color chart is boldly labeled and it is almost impossible to confuse purple with any other color, colorblind people may see some shades differently. Nothing much can be done in this case, save for the colorblind user asking for a second opinion when reading the results

We considered reagents and their availability. We noted that not all reagents are locally available, and so we wanted test kits that were not too stressful to use. Also, reagents can get messy, and we wanted to remove this possibility. Testing strips eliminate this dilemma from a user as they do not need reagents, and they are completely mess-free. You use it as it is from the package and you will only need to immerse it in water for the recommended period.

As for the number of tests you can conduct at a go, we looked into the four main ones: pH, chlorine (free and total), total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Most of these tests have all these, and they have been proven to be accurate as per hundreds of users. We tested all the brands we reviewed and we found then to be accurate in all the tests. Most of them were not accurate when it came to water temperatures, but then again that was not the main objective.

We did not consider the brand to be an important part of our tests. We chose random names and ran our tests. We tested 18 brands and only narrowed down to these five due to the nature of the review. We based our winners on performance, ease of use, accuracy, and the ability to handle extremities. We have to note here that almost all brands degenerated when exposed to the elements, so we highly recommend that you store them as per the manufacturer’s advice.  

Best Pool Testing Kit Reviews 2017

Name

Features

Price

Editor Rating

Poolmaster Pool Testing Strip

Four-way testing

$

AquaChek Pool Testing Strip

Fast and effective

​$

Leisure Time Bromine Pool Testing Strip

Easy to use and interpret

​$

Leisure Time Chlorine Pool Testing Strip

Cheap

$

Aqua Chek Pool Testing Strip

Packaging protects the constituents

$

1. Poolmaster Pool Testing Strip - four-way testing

Test strips are favorites to pool owners for their simplicity. They are stored in this neat container that keeps them safe from direct sunlight. They are cheap too. This pack of 50 strips is neatly packed, and it analyzes the four main components.

Packaging

The container in which the strips come is desiccant-lined to prevent moisture from interfering with their effectiveness. The lining also keeps direct lighting off seeing as light leads to degeneration. The bottle is pop-featured for easy opening, which makes these strips easy to use for the elderly as well as the young.

Ease of Use

These strips are no-brainers. They do not need reagents, and so all you will do is dip it in water and wait for the results to show. Before immersing it in the water, you want to ensure that the strip is uncompromised by moisture and light. The coloring should be intact if you are to get the correct readings.


Immerse up to 6 inches of the strip into your pool water and wait for about 2 seconds before removing it. Shake off the excess water and look out for changes in color. The container has a color graduation scale for the results. You will compare the results from the test with those on the charts to tell the condition of your pool water.

 Although these strips are cheap, the primary complaint is in how long they last. Most people say the color fades quite fast.

PROS

  • This test is four-way and quite economical.
  • The graduation chart is easy to read.
  • Easy to use for any person of any age.
  • The packaging keeps the strips in excellent shape.

CONS

  • The strips are not accurate when reading temperatures.
  • The color on the strips fades quickly.

2. AquaChek Pool Testing Strip - fast and effective

The package contains 100 strips to test pool water. You can use trios to test your hot tub as well as your pool water. The kit is not accurate for drinking water, but it does a good job. These strips are packed in a 1 x 1 x 1 inches container weighing 0.3oz.

There are 100 testing strips in this package, and they test water 7-ways. Each strip tests for pH, Free and Total Chlorine, Total Alkalinity, Bromine, Total Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid. On one side of the container is a complete color chart, but you will also get another separate one on the side.

They are quite easy to use, as all you will need to do is immerse the strip in water and wait for 15 seconds. During this time, the strip will absorb the pool water and start analyzing the findings before displaying them for you to interpret.

After you shake off the water, you can now interpret your findings as per the color chart. The results will let you know what to add balance the water in your pool.

Packaging

Although some people complain that the color on the strips fades fast, the consensus is that the packaging keeps them effective for longer. The inner lining prevents lighting from damaging them while the plastic material keeps water off completely.


Fast and Cheap

One pack of strips will last as long as a month, even if you test your pool every day. They are one of the most affordable ways to test your pool, and the results are generated in less than a minute. They use no reagents.

PROS

  • They are cheap.
  • These strips are fast and effective.
  • Conduct seven tests at once.
  • The chart is easy to read and comprehensive.

CONS

  • The color fades fast.
  • Exposure to sunlight affects their effectiveness.

3. Leisure Time Bromine Pool Testing Strip - easy to use and interpret

A package of this test contains 50 testing strips. The package is blue, but the strips are white with colored indentations. The container measures 7.25" H x 1.25" W x 3.75" L, and it is lined to protect the strips from the elements.

The packaging is desiccant-lined to prevent both moisture and light from ruining the test strips. Still, they should be kept in the dark and dry part of the store to avoid potential exposure. Each test is only used once, and so the entire package could last longer than a month depending on the regularity of your tests.

Usage and Tests

This kit tests bromine, pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. The results are relayed through the strip after you have immersed it in water for about 15 seconds. You have a colorful and legible color chart on one side of the container to help you interpret results. It is easy to use for anyone at any age, seeing as the colors are indicated in the chart to match what you have on the strip.

This method of testing is quite cheap, seeing as a package of 50 strips goes for less than $12. They need no reagents, and so you only need to replace them when they lose effectiveness.

The majority of reviewers like the strips for their fast and effective testing, but they also wish they could conduct more tests. There is also a small group that complains about the effectiveness of the strips, although that could boil down to the method of testing. You are to leave the trip in water for up to 15 seconds or longer; less time than that and you will get conflicting results.

PROS

  • Cheap, e​​​​asy to use and interpret.
  • Decent packaging.
  • They even test hot tubs.

CONS

  • You only get four results.
  • Color-blind people may misinterpret the results.

One pack contains 50 strips. The kit is easy to use, and the results are generated within seconds of testing. Reviewers commend this package for being effective in testing pH of spa water, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness, which are recommended at levels of 7.2-7.8, 80-120 ppm, and 150-400ppm respectively.

This test kit is used in swimming pools as well as spas and tubs to test the said properties. It is a bit limited in test options, but these three are the primary tests for public facilities. The strip has four chemically treated pads that react quickly to water and light. For that reason, they have to be stored in a dry and cool place, or the results will be compromised. The manufacturer takes care of this by packing them in a lined bottle that is water-resistant and airtight.

Each testing strip is to be used once. When you dip it in water, give it not less than 18 seconds to collect the status of the water. After shaking the excess water off, watch out for the change in color on the pads so that you can interpret the balance of your pool water.

The color chart that comes with the package will help break down the results. Colorblind people may misinterpret the results, even though the boldness of the colors and the legible lettering reduces that possibility. A few reviewers have complained of the treated pads coming off when dipped in water, but it turns out those strips were just faulty from exposure to the elements.

PROS

  • These strips are cheap.
  • The 50 pieces will go a long way.
  • The results are easy to interpret.

CONS

  • The chemically-treated pads have limited effectiveness when exposed to the elements.
  • The package does not include a stabilizer pad.

5. Aqua Chek Pool Testing Strip - packaging protects the constituents

These strips will test for free chlorine, total alkalinity, pH, and stabilizer. They are quick and easy to use, and because the user does not have to do much than dipping them in the water, they leave no mess behind. As is with strip tests, you will have the results in less than a minute.

Testing

For accurate test results, you will need to store this bottle indoors where it is safe from direct sunlight. Moisture compromises the effectiveness of the strips too, and so you want to keep them away from that too.  Although the packaging is excellent and it will prevent ruin, you should store the strips in a dry and dark place.

The testing process is quite easy. You only need to dip the entire piece in water for 30 seconds and then watch for color changes. The back of the bottle has a full list of possible colors for each of the tests, and so you will compare what you have on the strip to know what your pool needs. Each pack contains 50 testing strips.

PROS

  • You get the results within 30 seconds of testing.
  • They are easy to use.
  • The packaging is easy to pop open, and it protects the constituents from ruin.
  • The kit is cheap.

CONS

  • A few users complained about not getting the correct color reading.
  • Exposure to the elements reduces their effectiveness.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Pool Testing Kit

Just like with every other consumer item, the market offers several brands of pool testing kits. The cost may vary, but they are all geared towards the same results. What do you want in that kit? Is it one that combines several tests in one, or do you want one that measures individual properties of the water?

The Basics

The test kits are either colorimetric (color matching), titrimetric (color changing), and turbidimetric (water cloudiness). Photometric kits use photometers to test samples, while the digital kits have digital sensors in them.

What do you do to test?

Most people want to check pH levels, amount of chlorine in the water, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and total hardness of the water. A straightforward and small testing kit will conduct these basic tests, while a larger and more expensive one will go the extra mile. Other tests that you could perform with a high-end kit include the level of dissolved solids, phosphates, and temperature.

What is your budget?

The three top types of water testing kits are colorimetric, titrimetric, and turbidimetric. Most of these tests will be combined in the same device, and all you will need to add is a reagent to the test. They are much cheaper as compared to their digital counterparts that you simply dip in water and wait for the outcome.

Are The Reagents Locally Available?

Having a testing kit and no reagents will be of no use to you. You want the reagents for your test kit to be locally available and easy to access whenever you run out.

Is There Any Regulation?

Every state has a governing rule regulating as per the parameters of a test kit. What does the law in your state stipulate? For most commercial pools, a digital test kit is required as it is more accurate and incorporates several different tests, but homeowners have less strict conditions

Who Uses That Test?

Different people will see different results, especially when using a colorimetric kit. Most of us can hardly agree on color shades, and so the person checking may fail to see the true picture. Colorimetric kits are okay if only one person is conducting the tests, but a photometric one may be a better investment where different testers are concerned. The margin of error will be significantly reduced.

Ease of Use

Most of these kits are easy to use, and they come with comprehensive guides for further explanation. The simplest of them all (colorimetric kits) are also the easiest to use as one will only need to add a reagent and water sample from the pool. Aged people may have a diminished distinction of colors, though.

Does The Brand Matter?

Not in our opinion. As long as the kit meets your budget and the needs you have for it, we recommend you ignore the big name.


Conclusion

We cannot overemphasize the importance of a pool testing kit. If the water in your pool or tub is to remain safe from all that algae and bacteria, then you have to test it regularly. The tests we have reviewed are the easiest to read as they are colorimetric, and they are also some of the cheapest on the market.

Of course, you will find the instructions on testing at the back of each bottle, and you will also see the color chart that will help you interpret the results. The key thing to getting accurate results is by immersing the entire strip for as long as the manufacturer recommends (mostly 30 seconds).

Our preference is Poolmaster Pool Testing Kit, due to its user-friendliness and accuracy. The testing kit is not only cheap, but it also comes in a desiccant-lined container that keeps away moisture and light. Each strip has a chemically treated pad that absorbs water and shows the results in only 30 seconds. The color chart at the back is explanatory and so anyone, regardless of age, can use it. 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Pool Testing Kit
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

Gia Zavala Damon

Completely getting immersed in outdoor activities, I learned to discover the nature in many aspects, namely, in the countryside, at the seaside or in the mountains. He wants to inspire any backpacker the climate, fishing, abundant wildlife and natural beauty.

3 comments

Leave a Reply to Darrell Cancel reply

  • I bought Poolmaster Smart 4-Way pool testing last week, tend to put a one star review but decided to take it back. Just go online and browse a pool calculator analysis page and input your chlorine, you will know how much chlorine you have to add. The strips work better than I expect. I did the test by adding more baking soda. As a result, the alkalinity and ph changed almost immediately. Unfortunately, half the strips remains in the tube and I have 3 days of frustration to figure this out.

  • The 4-way combo testing strips is easy to use and help me to keep my pool water chemistry properly. To get it work, just dip it in the water about 6 inches for 3 seconds then remove the excess water by shaking. Finally, compare the result with diagram of the acceptable range on the bottle. I recommend this product for any buyer if you want a simple way to test your water chemistry.

  • To compare it with the liquid testing kit, this AquaChek water test strip is useful for keeping chlorine level in check. One thing that I concern is the Ph seems about 0.2 higher than local store test kit. However, the Alkalinity works just fine. Regarding my water, the hardness and cyan uric acid are just way too high. Therefore, twice a week, I use these strips then also use the testing liquid every two to three weeks for ph and alkalinity.

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