Published on February 24th, 2021 | by Roger Corbinetti0
5 Best Digital Pool Water Testers – 2021 Reviews & Buying Guide
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You may have heard the phrase ‘testing the waters.’ But the phrase takes an entirely different meaning when it comes to swimming pool water.
It is a common practice to mix various chemicals into pool water for sanitation purposes. The otherwise harmful chemicals kill bacteria and inhibit algae growth. This is an important step in swimming pool maintenance. However, you have to keep their concentration in check. If the water balance levels go over the recommended range, the water becomes unhealthy for you as well.
The easiest way to check these levels is to use a digital pool water tester, such as strips, kits, or meters that determine water balance levels. They produce accurate results in a short time and are generally very easy to use. Depending upon your usage, you should check the water daily or at least once a week.
What’s In This Buying Guide
- What’s In This Buying Guide
- Best digital pool testers
- 1. Best Overall: pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas
- 2. Best for the Money: Apera Instruments Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester
- 3. Best for Accuracy: WaterGuru SENSE
- 4. Best for Multi-purpose Application: APLUSTE Digital PH Meter
- 5. Best for Portability: Hecotrax Water Quality Monitor Tester
- How to choose the best digital pool tester
- Final Verdict: Which are the best digital pool tester
A swimming pool is just a pit in the ground without water. And what fun is swimming when it is done in dirty and unclean water? To enhance the experience, you have to treat and test the water regularly. Maintaining the perfect chemical harmony requires consistency and regularity on your part. But since most people don’t hold a degree in chemistry, you have to rely on pool water testers. Their digital variation is more popular for their speed and ease of use.
In this buying guide, we have rounded up the best digital pool water testers. After looking over the different products and analyzing their features, benefits, and limitations, we have compiled a list of recommendations for you. A detailed review follows each product as well. You can go over these to get all the information you need to choose the right digital pool water tester for yourself.
Best digital pool testers
- Best Overall: pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas
- Best for the Money: Apera Instruments Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester
- Best for Accuracy: WaterGuru SENSE
- Best for Multi-purpose Application: APLUSTE Digital PH Meter
- Best for Portability: Hecotrax Water Quality Monitor Tester
|Model||Water type||Weight||Testing frequency ||Suitable for||Warranty|
|pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas ||Chlorine, bromine, and salt water||9.8 ounces ||Continuous||Pools, Hot Tubs, and Spas ||1 year replacement warranty (extends for one more year with each subscription renewal)|
|Apera Instruments Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester ||General Water Solutions ||1.65 pounds||On-Demand||Hydroponics, aquaculture, pools and spas, water treatment, cooling towers, etc.||6 months warranty|
|WaterGuru SENSE ||Chlorine and salt pools||Not available ||Daily and|
|Swimming Pools||One year warranty|
|APLUSTE Digital PH Meter ||General Water Solutions ||1.83 ounces||On Demand||Drinking water, swimming pool, aquarium, food Project, RO system, Spa, or hydroponics||Not Available|
|Hecotrax Water Quality Monitor Tester ||Tap water, RO system water, aquarium, seawater, and pool water ||98 grams ||On Demand||Swimming pool, aquarium water, hydroponics, and drinking water ||Not Available|
1. Best Overall: pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas
The pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for Pools, Hot Tubs, and Spas takes the guesswork out of the picture and provides you with accurate pool chemical levels. It can also report water temperature and maintain historical charts. You can connect it via a mobile phone app or through voice commands. Although it has a lifespan of two years only, if you pay the annual service fee, you can get yours replaced free of cost as long as you are a subscriber.
Continuous water testing
The best thing about this pool water tester is its continuous testing. It tests your pool water more than 1000 times a week. This way, it can identify the changes in water balance as they occur and even know whether they are temporary or not. It keeps an eye on water temperature, pH, and sanitizer levels. Thus, it helps you maintain well-balanced pool water at any time, that, too, without going through the trouble that traditional testing methods pose.
For a smart water monitor, pHin Smart Water Care Monitor is very easy to set up. It comes as a complete kit consisting of a monitor, a sensor, a wireless bridge, and a compatible mobile application.
First, download the app and set up the device by putting in your email address and scanning the code given on the box. Next, set up the bridge by putting in your address and scanning the code given on the back of the bridge. Now, plug in the bridge and wait for the app to connect with it.
When prompted, enter your Wi-Fi SSID and password. It will then ask you some questions to create a profile of your pool. After this, you will set up your monitor, match a test strip to the calibration card, and send it to pHin for monitor calibration. Although the setup procedure may look long and tedious, it, in fact, is not. The entire process goes without a hitch and does not take a lot of time.
Amazon Alexa Compatible
Another amazing feature of this digital pool water tester is its compatibility with Amazon Alexa. Sure, it cannot function with Siri or Google Assistant, but it pairs and functions very well with Alexa. Via Alexa, you can learn about the water temperature and chemical balance. You don’t necessarily need the Amazon Echo Speaker; you can directly download the Alexa app on your smartphone to access Alexa control. However, using Alexa requires you to have an active pHin subscription.
The pHin Smart Water Care Monitor tests the pool water over 1000 times a week. It keeps an eye on chemical levels and sends out appropriate recommendations. If it notices the pH varying or the sanitizer levels dropping, the app will ask you to take action.
It will even recommend you a dosage of the chemical you need to treat your pool with. The app also shows color-coded line graphs that display the water balance levels. It can keep up to 90 days of history and give recommendations accordingly.
The best thing about this tester is its unlimited warranty. Though the device initially comes with a one-year replacement warranty, the warranty extends for another year every time you renew your subscription. This means your device is continuously protected under warranty, and even if it stops working after its two-year lifespan, you can have it replaced free of cost. The manufacturer completely owns its product and takes full responsibility if it malfunctions in any way.
- This device is an expensive option.
- Requires annual subscription fee to continue using the service
- Life expectancy is two years only.
The pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for Pools, Hot Tubs, and Spas is best for you if…
You face trouble in keeping your pool water perfectly clean and sanitized.
2. Best for the Money: Apera Instruments Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester
Apera is a manufacturer that specializes in instrument production. For three decades, the company has produced high-quality electrochemical equipment. The Apera Instruments Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester is no different.
This digital pool water tester features a simple pen-shaped design. It features a big, two-color, backlit digital LCD display with the probe on one end. There is a mode button for switching between different modes. There is a separate button for calibration too.
The pocket-sized tester features one-handed operation and displays all the readings on a single screen. There is no need to take separate readings. With its Bluetooth connectivity, you can use it with the compatible app. And if you don’t want to do that, you can continue to use it as a simple tester.
Judging from the manufacturer rating, the device is one of the most accurate devices on the market. It boasts an amazing accuracy rate of ± 0.01 for pH, ± 0.5 mS/cm for conductivity, and ±0.5˚C for temperature. These numbers clearly show how accurate this device is. You can calibrate it according to your unique requirements or use it as-is for optimum results.
Easily replaceable batteries
The machine runs on four AAA batteries. Aptera Instruments has enclosed these high-quality batteries in the package. With recommended usage, the batteries will last as long as two months. In fact, manufacturers promise that the batteries will power the device for 1000 hours before dying. This feature alone makes it a great choice as AAA batteries are readily available, so you won’t need to conduct a scavenger hunt or wait for replacement batteries to arrive.
Ease of operation
In addition to its simple design, the Aptera Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester is very easy to use. Just remove the protection cap, dip the probe in water, and take the readings. The display will show all the measurements at once; you don’t need to conduct individual tests for measuring different chemical levels.
- Bluetooth connection is not the smoothest.
- The compatible app has limited functionality.
- Temperatures above 120°F reduce the platinum coating on the electrode.
The Apera Instruments Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester is best for you if…
You are a beginner at swimming pool maintenance and need a simple and easy-to-use device.
3. Best for Accuracy: WaterGuru SENSE
WaterGuru SENSE is an innovative device available in the market. It is a smart device that connects to your home Wi-Fi and reports your pool water chemistry daily on the cloud.
Simple to use
The device is simple and very easy to use. It comes as a complete kit with all the accessories included. It installs on the skimmer with the sensor dangling underwater in the skimmer basket. The device will conduct daily tests and report the results via the cloud. You can view them on the WaterGuru App installed on your smartphone. The app itself is very easy to set up and use.
The Sense runs on 4 C batteries. The manufacturer-recommended batteries last as long as six months, so you won’t be in a hurry for replacement. But when you do need new ones, they won’t be hard to find.
WaterGuru Sense is a smart device that conducts daily water testing and displays a comprehensive report of pH, chlorine, and temperature levels as well as the flow of your pool. Since it operates through the cloud, it also keeps a record of earlier testing results. Since it is installed in your pool skimmer, it does not get in the way. The self-calibrating device is designed to be accurate. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes for each test to display precise results.
The kit contains a WaterGuru Cassette. Inside each cassette are strips of sensing pads that measure the water balance levels. When it is ready to conduct a test, the device automatically dispenses a sensing pad. It takes about ten minutes of water exposure for the sensing pads to stabilize the color change. It then analyzes the pad and creates a water chemistry report, which is then displayed on your smartphone. Although it does take time, the results are as accurate and reliable as any portable digital meter.
Accurate Water Treatment advice
The device keeps a record of your pool water chemistry. Based on this, it offers precise and effective treatment advice. Whenever your pool water goes out of balance, it not only notifies you but also suggests the steps you can take to restore its chemistry. It tells you what to add and how much to improve the quality of water.
It also saves you from a last-minute trip to the store. Just enter the supplies you need with its one-click ordering feature. You can also sign up for automatic reordering, so you won’t run out of treatment supplies again.
- It cannot conduct tests when the WaterGuru Cassette runs out.
- It takes up to 15 minutes to show the results.
- Testing time can extend up to 90 minutes when requested outside the Bluetooth range of the device.
The WaterGuru SENSE is best for you if…
You want a smart way to take care of your pool. It not only provides safe, hassle-free, and effective pool water testing but also gives treatment advice with precision.
4. Best for Multi-purpose Application: APLUSTE Digital PH Meter
You will eventually grow tired of the guesswork that accompanies conventional colorimetric kits. Luckily, there is a unit to put an end to it. The APLUSTE Digital PH Meter is a convenient and simple way of testing your pool water chemistry.
Portable and easy to use
We really like this digital pool tester for its portability. With dimensions of 6 x 1.1 x 0.5 inches, it weighs only 1.83 pounds. This means it is a pocket-sized device that you can take with you anywhere without a worry.
Although the device itself is very durable, the glass probe for testing is quite fragile. That’s why it comes with a protective cover to keep it safe. Just remove the cover and dip it into the solution you want to test. The device will display the results almost instantly. Afterward, carefully clean it and put the cover back on for storage.
The Apluste pH meter is a versatile device that can detect the chemical levels of almost any liquid. Use it for measuring the chemical composition of your swimming pool or for laboratory or food testing purposes; the meter will perform satisfactorily. It has a measuring range of 0.00-14.00 pH with 0.01 pH resolution and ± 0.01 pH accuracy. Hence, no matter what you test with it, the APLUSTE Digital PH Meter will display accurate results without wasting any time.
As mentioned earlier, the device boasts an accuracy of ± 0.01 pH, so the results it displays are almost always accurate. Some users reported that when they were using it a lot, the tester started giving wrong results. However, a calibration resolved the issue. Otherwise, the device is spot-on with its results.
Easy to calibrate
Another noteworthy feature of this digital meter is that it comes as a complete kit consisting of not just the meter and its carrying case but also contains three packets of buffer powder for calibration purposes. Calibrating it is also very easy. Just mix the buffering powder with a premeasured amount of distilled water. Now dip the meter in this solution, and the device will auto-calibrate itself.
Swimming pool maintenance is not an easy task, nor are swimming pools cheap to have. From high energy bills of running the pump to the cleaning and sanitizing expenses, you have to spend a lot of money to keep your pool safe and sparkly. The good news is that this digital pool water tester is not a burden on your pocket at all. It comes at an affordable price and does not entail any subscription charges for you to continue availing of its service. It is a one-time purchase that will serve you for a long time.
- You have to be very careful while handling the glass probe
- It needs a distilled water rinse before use for optimal results.
- It needs calibration when used a lot.
The APLUSTE Digital PH Meter is best for you if…
You need a high-quality, durable, and reliable unit to keep the chemical levels of your swimming pool in check.
5. Best for Portability: Hecotrax Water Quality Monitor Tester
This digital pool water tester is a 4-in-1 device that can measure pH, TDS, EC, and temperature conveniently. Say goodbye to the troubles of visual color comparison to learn whether your pool water is good for swimming or not.
Using the Hecotrax Water Quality Monitor Tester is way easier than using test strips or liquid kits. Say goodbye to titration experiments and embrace the convenience of taking a dip with this simple-to-use pool water tester. It not only shows the results within a few seconds, but it also eliminates guesswork by displaying accurate measurements on the digital display. Hence, even users who suffer from color blindness can read it without any difficulty.
Using it is very simple. You just need to remove the protective cap and dip the probe in the water. It will display the results almost instantly. You can also use the mode button to switch between the four different modes for different parameters.
This device allows you to recalibrate itself. It is an important step because if the testing device is not accurate, it will display inaccurate results. Hecotrax Water Quality Monitor Tester supports two-point calibration. All you need to do is dip it in a buffering solution and press the CAL button given beneath the display. The device will calibrate itself automatically and give you accurate and precise results every time you use it. This also means that you can use it for a long time as regular calibration means the device continues to function properly.
The device measures 188mm x 35mm x 35mm in size and weighs 9.8 grams only, so unlike conventional pool testing kits, it is very compact and portable. The handy pocket size is easy to carry around with you or store in your pool maintenance kit. It is completely waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about it falling into the water as well.
Even in the league of digital meters, this machine is very precise. It delivers accuracy up to ± 0.02 for pH, 2% for EC, 2% for TDS, and 0.5° for temperature. Its pH testing ranges from 0 to 14. The testing strips available on the market may cover ranges smaller than this, but they are certainly not as precise.
A noteworthy feature is its pocket-friendly price. This device is a one-time investment that does not entail extra expenses. It is not a disposable device, so you can use it as many times as you like. Aside from needing occasional calibration equipment and batteries, you don’t need to make any extra purchases to continue using it.
- Unstable impurities can cause inconsistent results.
- You must clean it regularly to avoid contamination.
- Corrosive chemicals can damage the glass probe.
The Hecotrax Water Quality Monitor Tester is best for you if…
You want a convenient solution to your pool water maintenance issue. It is a convenient way of keeping the pool chemical levels in check.
How to choose the best digital pool tester
A digital pool water tester is the key to the clean and safe pool water. However, figuring out the right tester for yourself is a problem. Like we mentioned earlier, not everyone is a chemist, so the task is difficult, to say the least. But don’t you worry. Here is a list of features that you should look for:
For a well-balanced pool, the chemical levels should stay in the following ranges:
- pH: 7.2-7.6
- Free available chlorine: 1-3 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 180-220 ppm
- Cyanuric Acid: 30-50 ppm
- Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
- Bromine: 3-5 ppm
A good digital pool water tester can determine the levels of all these chemicals. That’s why digital pool water testers should have a wide testing ability.
Ease of Usage
The primary feature of any digital pool water tester is its ease of usage. Earlier, pool testing kits used chemical reagents that you had to mix to obtain results. But their digital counterparts are both very convenient and time-saving. When choosing one for yourself, look for a unit that is easy to set up and use.
Although digital pool water testers are known for their pinpoint accuracy, some units are not as accurate as they claim. Be sure to sieve out the accurate ones. One way to do so is to purchase from a reputable brand. You can also try asking friends and family who also own swimming pools for recommendations. Also, read the reviews of the products you have shortlisted to get an idea of their accuracy.
Consistent results are as important as accuracy. A device that keeps altering its results is not a reliable one. Inconsistent results raise questions on the device’s accuracy. Therefore, look for a pool tester that not only gives you accurate results but also stays consistent in its reading.
A digital pool water cleaner is an electronic device. Yet, it has to come in contact with water for operation. So high-quality construction is a must. It should be waterproof. And since it will come in regular use, it should also be durable and long-lasting, so you don’t need to replace it very often.
Just like a digital thermometer, a digital pool water tester should also give results almost instantly. Old pool water testing kits are not that fast. That’s why you should also look for a device that shows results speedily and accurately.
The digital readout in digital pool water testers eliminates the need to visually compare your results to a color chart for determining the various chemical levels. That’s why the display is an important consideration in a digital pool water tester. It should be big and easy to read.
Are digital pool testers accurate?
Yes, digital pool water testers are quite accurate. Most of the devices boast accuracy from 0.01% to 3%. This means that they are more accurate than testing strips or liquid kits. That’s why they are a popular choice among pool cleaners as they take the guesswork out of the picture. Just like robotic pool cleaners, digital pool water testers also simplify the life of pool owners.
How to read a pool tester?
Different pool testers are read differently. A strip test is visually compared to the color chart given on the bottle. A liquid kit utilizes different reagents that you mix in sample water. The results are then read on a user-friendly comparator. Meanwhile, a digital pool water tester shows the reading on its display. Some models also make use of Bluetooth and display the results on your smartphone via a compatible app.
What is the most accurate pool test kit?
Amongst the three types of pool test kits – liquid pool testing kits, pool testing strips, and digital pool water testers – the most accurate are the digital ones. They show the exact levels on a digital display, so there is no guesswork involved. On the other hand, liquid pool testing kits and strips require you to visibly compare the results, so there is a chance of errors.
How often should I test my pool water?
The answer to this question lies in how often you use your pool and the weather conditions. If you are a regular swimmer, testing your pool daily is ideal. And if you don’t use it very often, you can test it once or twice a week. Here is a list of chemical levels you should check and how often to check them.
- Chlorine – 2 or 3 times a week
- pH – 2 to 3 times a week
- Total Alkalinity – once a week
- Salt levels – as your salt chlorination system manufacturer recommends
- Calcium Hardness – once a month
- Total dissolved salts – once a month
- Metals – once every 3 to 4 months
Final Verdict: Which are the best digital pool tester
After carefully analyzing the different models, we can easily declare the pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas as the best digital pool water tester.
This is closely followed by Apera Instruments, LLC-AI3719 PC60-Z Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester for its accuracy.
And if you want something portable, go for Hecotrax Water Quality Monitor Tester.