Published on February 24th, 2021 | by Roger Corbinetti0
8 Best Pool Testing Kits 2021: Reviews and Buying Guide
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Shopping for the quickest and easiest way to test your pool’s chemical levels?
You’ve found the right place!
The majority of experts recommend pool owners shock their pool every week. However, that alone is not enough to keep your pool healthy and beautiful. Excessive use, signs of algae, and heavy rainfall might demand extra maintenance and care.
If you want to manage your pool water’s chemistry, then it’s essential that you test it regularly to ensure it’s safe to dive in. That’s where pool testing kits come in. By using a quality test kit, you can determine the quality of your pool water. This will give you an idea about the care and the chemicals your pool water needs.
What’s In This Buying Guide?
It’s important to remember that all swimming pool testing kits are not made equal. To help you make the right choice, this guide includes reviews of some of the best kits on the market, how to use them, and the factors to consider before purchasing them.
Why do you need a pool testing kit?
To ensure that the water in your pool is chemically balanced, safe, and clean enough for swimming, you’re going to have to use a testing kit regularly. Even if the water seems healthy and clear, its chemistry may be off. This might damage the pool equipment and may make the pool unsafe for swimmers.
That’s why a quality pool testing kit is one of the most valuable items owned by a pool owner. It can check your pool’s levels of pH, calcium hardness, free chlorine, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, and much more. If you own a saltwater pool, then it’s advisable to get a kit that tests the salt level as well.
Another reason for purchasing a pool testing kit is that it offers similar instructions for all included chemicals. In simpler words, if you purchase a liquid pool testing kit, all the included chemical tests will work in pretty much the same way, and you’ll understand how to use them properly fairly quickly.
However, if you purchase separate tests for every chemical, you’ll need to learn how to read and use each one.
Best Pool Testing Kits
- Taylor Technologies INC K-2006 Pool Test Kit
- Taylor K2005 Pool Test Kit
- Poolmaster Water Chemistry Case Swimming Pool Test Kit
- LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit
- AquaChek 7-Way Pool Water Test Strips
- AquaChek Trutest Digital Reader
- HTH 6-Way Test Kit Pool Water Tester
- Blue Devil 5-Way OTO Pool Test Kit
|Pool Testing Kit||Price||Type||Number of Tests||Weight||Carrying Case Included?|
|Taylor Technologies INC K-2006 Pool Test Kit ||$$$||Liquid||7||2.31lbs||Yes|
|Taylor K2005 Pool Test Kit||$$$||Liquid||9|
|Poolmaster Water Chemistry Case Swimming Pool Test Kit||$$$||Liquid||5||1.1lbs||Yes|
|LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit ||$$$||Digital||7||1lbs||Yes|
|AquaChek 7-Way Pool Water Test Strips ||$$$||Strip Tests||7||0.00625lbs||Yes|
|AquaChek Trutest Digital Reader||$$$||Digital||4||0.325lbs||No|
|HTH 6-Way Test Kit Pool Water Tester||$$$||Liquid||6||0.09lbs||No|
|Blue Devil 5-Way OTO Pool Test Kit||$$$||Liquid||5||1.05lbs||Yes|
An excellent pool testing kit by Taylor Technologies, the K-20006 performs exactly as advertised. It will test your pool water within minutes and will catch issues before things get out of hand, saving you hundreds of dollars in pool maintenance and chemicals. Plus, you can use the kit for commercial pools as well.
Storage case: Everything in this kit is packed neatly in a storage case with separate compartments for every reagent. The reagents come in large 2-ounce bottles that will last you for more than just a couple of seasons.
Easy to use: This unit comes with a comparator block that’s incredibly easy to use. It’s designed with two chambers where you need to add pool water for testing. The color strips are also clearly visible, so you’ll easily be able to compare the color results with the chart.
The kit also comes with clear-cut instructions on how to perform each test and a booklet that offers recommendations on how to correct and restore your pool water’s chemical balance.
Water balance calculator wheel: If you want to perform an in-depth analysis of your pool water, you can use the kit’s water balance calculator wheel. You can check the pH, calcium hardness, and alkalinity of the water and determine whether it’s chemically balanced or not.
Accurate testing: You can use this kit to test the pH, alkalinity, combined chlorine, and total chlorine of your pool. It further comes with a FAS DPD bromine test. Along with these five tests, the K-2006 allows users to determine the cyanuric acid levels and calcium hardness in their pool water.
It’s extremely important to test calcium hardness as low levels can absorb the lime from your tile and concrete base, while imbalanced cyanuric acid levels can reduce the effectiveness and potency of chlorine in killing viruses and bacteria in the water. This kit already comes with all the chemicals you must regularly test, so you won’t have to buy anything separately.
- Due to this model’s degree of detail, it might take some time for you to get the hang of these tests.
- It’s costlier than other models.
The Taylor Technologies INC K-2006 is best for you if…
You want a test that provides you with an in-depth analysis and the complete chemistry of your pool.
Providing accurate and precise testing, the K-2005 kit by Taylor Technologies is ideal for maintaining safe and healthy pool water. This high-range model is similar to other units in Taylor’s 2000 series.
Six standards: This kit offers six different standards for chlorine, pH, and bromine. As a whole, you can use it to perform nine tests, making it better than other kits currently available on the market. The model further allows you to calculate your pool’s acid demand, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
Quality chemicals: One of the best features of this kit is that you can use its chemicals even after a year. The package does not have an expiration date, but you can simply get a refill if you have completely used up a chemical.
Accurate testing: Commonly used by public pool service technicians and operators, this unit uses printed color standards to ensure you find an exact color match, which further helps you make quick and frequent test comparisons. The kit further includes a water comparator, 0.75-ounce reagents, and a water balance calculator wheel for a more in-depth analysis.
Easy to use: The Taylor K2005 comes with a waterproof edition spa and pool water chemistry guide. It also includes color-coded instructions, so you’ll know how to properly treat your spa or pool. All tests are extremely accurate and easy to perform as well.
- The kit does not include iron and copper tests.
- It’s a bit more thorough and detailed, so its learning curve is a bit higher.
The Taylor K2005 is best for you if…
You are a professional who regularly tests public pools as it is a high-range kit. However, this does not mean that you can’t use it for the pool in your home.
Designed by one of the most popular and trusted brands in the pool maintenance industry, this kit tests pool water for almost all the necessary chemicals. If you want a traditional test kit, this model is the perfect option.
5-way testing: This easy and straightforward liquid test kit includes five numbered bottles that you need to use in order. It will test your pool for bromine, acid demand, total alkalinity, pH, and chlorine, giving you a simple and chemically-accurate way of determining your pool water’s chemistry.
Color-coded containers: The chemicals in this kit are stored in a color-coded water container that allows you to determine the exact results. It also comes with a clear-view round test block, along with integrated color chips, for precise and accurate color matching. All these features make the test results easy to read for most people.
Durable: If you use this kit correctly, it will last you for approximately one year, which is incredibly reasonable for its price.
Strong polyethylene case: This unit includes a handy polyethylene case to store the different components. This case allows you to arrange all the necessary components in an organized manner for quick and easy readings.
- This Poolmaster model does not test for calcium hardness or cyanuric acid.
- Small in size, so it won’t last as long as other models.
- No digital display
The Poolmaster Water Chemistry Case is best for you if…
You want a basic, easy-to-use test kit that offers excellent value for the money.
With its sleek and easy-to-use design, the LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 is an excellent pool test kit. Developed by LaMotte, it’s perfect for individuals who want to take the management and maintenance of their pool to the next level.
Ease of use: This test kit stands out from the crowd because of its ease of use. Liquid reagents for all the tests are already provided, so you just have to add the reagent to a vial of sampled pool water and put it into the photometer.
With a simple press of a button, you’ll know the precise reading of the selected test, down to one decimal point. This means that if you’re a rookie pool owner, you’ll be able to keep your pool water perfectly balanced.
Digital tester: Since the ColorQ Pro 7 is a digital kit, it doesn’t come with a comparator block or a color chart with two tubes, like those used in conventional kits. Instead, this model comes with a digital tester itself and reagents for all seven tests. So, rather than trying to differentiate colors, you’ll have your results displayed clearly in large, digital numbers.
Long-lasting chemicals: It’s important to remember that while this unit generally uses liquid reagents, you’ll need to use tablets if you want to test cyanuric acid. The benefit is that these tablets have an average life of around three years, while the chemicals for alkalinity can last for a year.
Seven different tests: The ColorQ Pro 7 is quick and easy to use, so you can easily test alkalinity in a matter of minutes. The kit can test bromine, alkalinity, cyanuric acid, pH, calcium hardness, free chlorine, and total chlorine. All these tests will give you an accurate idea of the safety and cleanliness of your pool.
Waterproof housing: The model boasts water-resistant housing and comes with a carrying case. This case is an essential feature and will help you remain organized for faster and easier testing.
- Expensive than other models.
- The digital display can develop issues over time.
- This kit does not come with a guide for understanding the different ranges, so it can be difficult to determine whether your pool needs anything or not.
The LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 is best for you if…
You find it confusing or tedious to match the color on the chart to the color of the water. Thus, this is a great choice for colorblind individuals and for those who want a more comprehensive analysis of their pool.
Developed by AquaChek, this unit is an excellent choice if you want to take the test strip route. Generally, this is the easiest and fastest way to determine your pool’s chemistry, but it relies on your ability to differentiate between colors.
Easy to use: It’s safe to say that there’s nothing easier than pool water test strips. You don’t need to take water samples or mix any solutions. You just need to dip the test strip directly in the pool water, wait for a few seconds, and then simply take it out to read it. One of the major reasons behind these strips’ popularity is that they take around 15 seconds to display your pool water results, which is extremely fast by any standard.
Airtight container: These strips are packed in an airtight container to protect them from contamination. Just make sure you store the strips in the container between each use so that you get fairly precise readings each time.
Seven different tests: This unit can test for bromine, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, total hardness, pH, free chlorine, and total chlorine. Furthermore, these strips simultaneously perform all seven tests, so you won’t need to use a different strip for each test.
Color chart comparator: The bottle in which these strips are packed in has a color chart comparator on its side, so you can easily compare the test strips and determine whether you need to make any adjustments to your pool’s chemical levels or not. This color chart comparator is also reusable.
- Results are small, so you might need a magnifying glass.
- You’ll need to use an app to get the correct chemical calculations.
The AquaChek 7-Way Pool Water Test Strips are best for you if…
You can easily differentiate between colors. Unless you need to test your pool water for something that a digital kit can only check, these strips are the perfect option.
Another option from AquaChek, this digital reader is designed to be used with the company’s TruTest digital test strips. This electronic pool test reader completely eliminates the concept of guessing and calculates the exact level of chemicals in your pool water within 15 seconds.
Easy to use: You just need to dip a test strip in your pool, place it on the Trutest Digital Reader, and wait a few seconds for the results! This model combines the accuracy and ease of the brand’s test strips with modern digital technology, making it extremely easy to use and read. With this unit, you won’t have to try differentiating between colors, as you’ll get an accurate digital reading that completely takes out all the guesswork.
Accurate readings: The Trutest Digital Reader accurately tests for bromine, pH, total alkalinity, and free chlorine in under 15 seconds. It boasts technology specifically developed for spa and pool analysis and has a memory function that can store the last nine test results.
Innovative design: This water-resistant and lightweight model is designed with a large LCD display for quick and easy reading. The reader is powered by 2 AA alkaline batteries that will last you for an entire pool season. The display window further flashes ‘LO’ when the batteries have less than a specific amount of power required to perform a test. Specifically developed for a pool environment, the meter will last as long as three years with proper storage and cleaning habits.
- Batteries are not included.
- The printed instructions are a bit confusing and might be missing the first couple of steps.
The AquaChek Trutest is best for you if…
You are a spa or pool owner and are not comfortable with distinguishing colors.
The HTH 6-Way Pool Water Tester can be used every week and comes with easy-to-follow instructions to achieve results in seconds. This unit is suitable for all kinds of pools, including bromine, saltwater, and chlorine systems.
Durable Design: This model has an extremely long life and can be used to perform more than 100 tests. You can use it in the summers to ensure a chemically balanced pool, as it can test bromine, alkalinity, calcium hardness, chlorine, and pH levels. You can also use it to test for cyanuric acid, and you still won’t have to get a refill any time soon.
Value for money: If you do run out of any of the reagents, you can easily order refills online. This makes this unit incredibly affordable, compared to Taylor Technologies and other similar test kits.
HTH Test to Swim App: HTH has simplified pool water testing by offering convenient and precise water analysis recommendations and treatments with the touch of a button. You just have to enter your water results to get an immediate analysis of your pool water.
Ease of use: This incredibly convenient kit gives you an easy and quick way to determine what your pool needs to keep clean, healthy, and beautiful.
- The instructions are a bit confusing and could have been clearer.
- Although the colored paper card helps you make comparisons, its quality is not up to par.
- A carrying case is not included, so you’ll be a bit unorganized when you test your pool water.
The HTH 6-Way Test Kit is best for you if…
Although this model from Blue Devil looks like an ordinary pool testing kit, it’s actually different; it can simultaneously perform multiple tests. With the Blue Devil 5-Way OTO, you can easily maintain and control the chemical levels of your pool water.
Easy to use: If you want to test your pool’s total alkalinity, you just have to take the pale blue dye and count the total number of drops of pool water it takes for the dye to turn clear. You can easily determine the results using the easy-to-read color comparator. The unit also comes with instructions, so you don’t have to second-guess your testing.
5-way testing: This kit can test the bromine, alkalinity, chlorine, pH, and acid demand levels of a pool. You can use the Blue Devil every year to determine whether your pool is suffering from a chemical imbalance.
Compact storage: This model comes with a plastic storage case, which allows you to store all your supplies in an organized manner. The case is sturdy, convenient, and designed with compartments, ensuring further ease of use.
- The kit is not designed with a slot, so you don’t have anything to slide the white plastic card into. This can make it a bit difficult to see and match the colors.
- The bottles are a bit difficult to fit into their compartments.
- Although the kit works reasonably well, it would have been better if the total alkalinity dye changed into the color green for quick and easy comparison.
The Blue Devil 5-Way OTO is best for you if…
You need a functional and handy kit for your pool or spa.
How to Select the Best Test Kit For Your Pool
Although it’s not difficult to choose a pool kit that’s suitable for your pool, there are still some factors you should consider before finalizing your purchase:
Type of tests
There are three types of pool testing kits available today: digital, strips, and liquid tests. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so make sure you choose the one that best suits your needs.
A liquid test kit works with reagents, which is basically the liquid that’s filled in the dropper bottles. To perform this type of test, you’ll need to take a water sample from the pool and add the required amount of reagent into the vial of water. Most models come with instructions that tell you how to properly take the readings, but they’re generally very easy and take little time.
These models provide incredibly accurate results if used properly and are very easy to use. However, they can expire and give inaccurate results if they’re not used properly.
Although strip tests are extremely easy to use, they’re not as accurate as other types because they can easily be tainted and don’t work if they expire. With strip tests, you don’t need to take any samples. Instead, you just need to dip them directly into the pool water and wait a couple of seconds for the strip to change color. Typically, each color specifies a different level, so you need to read the included instructions to determine what each color means.
Along with being simple to use, strip tests are also fairly accurate if used correctly and faster than liquid tests. However, they can expire, and you can easily contaminate them with moisture or by touching them.
Similar to the liquid pool testers, digital types also use reagents, but they’re easier and quicker to read as the electronic device does all the work for you. While they’re extremely accurate if used correctly, they can be costly and need to be calibrated after every few uses.
Test Consistency and Accuracy
Several models in the market will give you inaccurate results. To get a precise and accurate reading, the test needs to be administered properly, but sometimes the problem can be faulty or defective equipment. All the kits mentioned above are extremely accurate, so feel free to choose one of them.
Number of tests
Generally, a kit with more tests will give you better value for money. Most units mentioned above cover all the basic tests.
Ease of use
Maintaining a pool can feel like an extremely tiring chore, so it’s important you choose a pool testing kit that’s easy and simple to use. Basic pool test strips are incredibly easy, as you just need to dip them in water, wait for them to change color, and compare them to the included color spectrum.
Digital readers are simpler than test strips, as you don’t even have to compare colors. If you don’t want to fiddle around with numerous different reactions, both these options are perfect for you.
If you like staying organized, then it’s advisable to choose a unit that comes with a case, so you can quickly pack your stuff up once you’re done. If you’re leaning towards a liquid test kit, make sure that the included vials are sturdy and strong, so they don’t break while you’re collecting samples.
A quality design also means that the kit should be straightforward and intuitive to use. Therefore, choose a unit that doesn’t have you spreading a thousand things in front of you while you’re sitting next to your pool.
What are the ideal pool chemical levels?
The best way to calculate specific chemical levels in your pool water is to use a pool testing kit. By checking the pH balance and the chlorine levels of your pool, you can ensure that the pool is healthy and safe for use.
But what exactly are the appropriate chemical levels that make a pool safe? There is a bit of difference of opinion among pool experts on some of the chemical levels, but most of them agree that the ranges you should aim for are:
- Chlorine: 1-3 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 200-400
- pH: 7.4-7.6
- Total Alkalinity: 80-140 ppm
- Cyanuric acid: 25-50 ppm
Why it’s important to test your pool water regularly
If you don’t use a test kit, you’ll have no choice but to guess the number of chemicals that need to be added to the pool water. If you begin guessing, it’s highly likely that you’re going to add the wrong amount.
One of the most important responsibilities of a pool owner is to regularly test their pool’s water quality. You need to check whether the water is safe to dive into and whether the pH levels are within the recommended range.
If your pool water has unbalanced chemistry, it will damage both the swimmers and the swimming pool.
Balanced water chemistry stops the growth and spread of slimy algae on the pool sides, keeps your hair from changing color, and prevents calcium buildup from damaging your equipment.
If your pool water has a low level of chlorine, it will lead to the growth and spread of algae blooms and other bacteria. On the other hand, high chlorine levels can result in eye and skin irritations. Similarly, unbalanced pH levels can erode your pool liner and pool equipment, while high calcium levels can lead to scaling and the clogging of your filters and pipes. It’s also important to remember that unbalanced total alkalinity levels can affect pH levels, which can, in turn, affect the calcium hardness levels.
Since everything goes hand in hand, you must test your pool water for all these chemicals regularly. It’s advisable to perform tests weekly unless you have certain problems, like algae growth. In that case, you need to test your pool water regularly until all chemical levels are within the right ranges.
Final Verdict: What is The Best Pool Kit?
Choosing the right pool testing kit is not a difficult decision. These kits are available in almost every price range, so you don’t need to worry about your budget. However, it’s advisable to spend a bit more initially, so you have a high-quality kit that lasts you more than a few years.
We find the LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit to be the best overall option because of its ease of use, long-lasting chemicals, and digital tester. If you can’t decide which pool testing kit to purchase, the LaMotte is a relatively safe option.