A pool or spa is a superb addition to any home, but to make it safe to use, you will need to use certain chemicals to eliminate bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.
But both undertreating and overtreating the water in a pool can be harmful and even dangerous for your health and wellbeing, which is why every pool owner should consider buying a reliable and easy to use pool test kit.
Since there are so many different types of test kits for swimming pools and spas on the market, choosing the most appropriate one for your needs can be a difficult task.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about choosing the best pool test kit for your needs. We have also picked the best pool test kits for 2020 for you, and have some advice on the best ways to ensure that the water in your pool is clean, safe and in pristine condition at all times.
The different pool test kit types
Pool test kits may sound complicated to people who are not too familiar with chemical testing. Thankfully, most of the kits available for home use are created to be easy to perform and interpret.
The main different test kits types include digital, photometric, turbidimetric, titrimetric, and colorimetric. These may sound complicated, but in simple terms, they mean test kits which use digital sensors, those that use photometers, those which measure the cloudiness of the water, and tests that measure the color changes or use color matching for reading the results.
The most common test kits available for home use usually use color comparison, color changing or cloudiness measurement methods for interpreting the results of the chemical tests.
The different chemicals which can be found in your swimming pool
Of course, when proceeding to test the chemical balance and content in your pool, you will need to know which chemicals you will have to measure.
The chemicals which can be found in a swimming pool are dozens, and you should pick a test kit which tests for the chemicals which affect the quality of the water of your specific swimming pool or spa.
Here are the most common chemicals which are included in the tests of these kits:
Sodium bicarbonate – this compound raises and affects the total alkalinity in the swimming pool.
Bromine – this chemical element is used to stabilize the acidic and pH levels of the pool, to prevent the water from being too acidic.
Calcium hardener – used for boosting the calcium hardness of the water in the pool.
Calcium hypochlorite – a chemical that increases the chlorine levels and thus helps prevent algae growth and other impurities.
Chlorine – commonly called trichlor or dichlor, chorine is used to chlorinate and thus eliminate the bacteria from your pool’s water.
Cyanuric acid – it is used to balance and stabilize the chlorine levels, and also helps protect the pool from UV rays. The acid is usually infused in the dichlor or trichlor.
Features to look for when shopping for the best pool test kit
Here are the main features to consider before buying the most suitable pool test kit for your needs:
The right result measurement type for your needs
You don’t need to be a chemist in order to perform regular testing of the water of your pool, thanks to the ease of use of most commercially available pool test kits.
Still, the different types of kits use different types of testing and result reading.
The more expensive ones include the digital and photometric testing units, which will test the results from your water tests automatically and consistently at all times.
The tests which rely on color comparisons, color-changing, and cloudiness of the water are not as objective and actually depend on your personal visual insight.
These test kits are much cheaper but are more suitable for users who will be using the kit alone, rather than different people using the same kit.
Keep in mind that men and women tend to see colors differently. Also, younger people see colors and hues much clearer than older ones.
With the digital and the photometric measurement types, any guesswork is eliminated, and the results will be precise no matter who is performing the test, and what the lighting is.
So, make sure you pick the right test type for your needs.
Pick the kit which includes the right tests for your need
The best pool test kits include all of the basic tests that need to be performed on a regular basis for any swimming pool. These usually include tests for free chlorine, total chlorine, calcium hardness, pH level, total alkalinity and cyanuric acid.
Some of the more complex test kits can measure the salinity, phosphates, and metals in the water.
You should pick the test kit in accordance with the type of pool you have – salt-water or not, as well as with the types of chemical tests you want to perform to ensure that the water is safe.
Also, choose a test kit which has reagents that you can find and replace easily either by ordering them online or buying them locally because you will need to test for the same chemicals regularly for consistent results.
Another factor to consider when choosing the most appropriate test kit is to check your local authority regulations regarding the local requirements for testing and any specific guidelines which you are required to follow.
The other features to look for
Apart from the main ones, there are other features to consider when picking the right pool test kit for your needs. They include:
- The ease of use – always opt for a kit which you will feel comfortable using, rather than being confused and intimidated by its complexity
- Its completeness – it is a good idea to choose a test kit which includes as many of the chemicals in the water as possible, as well as instructions, guidelines, pool strips, reagents, tablets, and all the tools you will need to perform the tests and to read the results
- The accuracy – obviously, you will want to invest in a test kit which will provide you with accurate results so that you can ensure that your pool water is safe and that your chemical treatment is adequately balanced and performed
- The consistency – it is essential to get a kit which will ensure that you get consistent results, to make sure that you are treating the water properly continuously
- Easy to read results – opt for a test kit which will provide you with results which are easy for you to interpret
- Durable casing and design – since you will be using the kit around water, and for longer periods of time, you should opt for one which has waterproof charts without any brittle or glass materials which can cause injuries if broken near the swimming pool. Also, the case should be sturdy, and possibly waterproof as well
- The price and value – cheap doesn’t always mean unreliable, just like expensive is not always a guarantee for a good quality kit. Make sure you buy a reliable kit which offers the best value for the budget range you have set
- Choose an independent manufacturer – to ensure that the manufacturer will not offer biased results and interpretations of the tests in the kit, choose one who does not offer swimming pool treatment chemicals
- Pick a kit which includes a detailed guideline with charts for determining the right amounts of chemicals you need to add to the water of your pool to adjust the chemical balance, the alkalinity, the pH and others, as a result of the tests performed and the results from them
Related – Best Above Ground Pools
The best pool test kits for 2020
The bestselling Poolmaster 22260 5-way swimming pool kit is affordable and yet highly efficient and useful for ensuring that your pool or spa is healthy, and the water is sanitized and safe to use.
The kit offers proven accurate readings of all the chemical components which are essential for the safety and balance of the water in your pool.
The kit is very easy to use, even by newbies, and the results are easy to read and interpret.
It includes all the essentials for testing for Chlorine, pH, Bromine, Acid Demand, as well as Total Alkalinity.
It also comes with clear round test blocks with matching colored caps and a color scale for accurate color matching and result reading.
All components in the kit come in a useful and easy to store polyethylene box, which helps keep the components safe.
- Sold at a very affordable price
- Very easy to read and interpret results
- The kit is elementary to use, you just need to add a few drops of each of the tests to a sample of the water in a test vial, and compare the color results to the readily available color scale
- The kit includes 5 testing options
- The kit also includes a quick reference guide
- The components are organized in a sturdy and safe polyethylene case
- One kit is sufficient for an average swimming or spa season
- The color charts are not waterproof and can be damaged if they become wet over time
It includes tests for chlorine, calcium hardness, combined chlorine, cyanuric acid, alkalinity, and pH levels.
There is a precise and easy to use comparator for easy reading of the results of each test without having to worry about accurately matching the colors of each test to a chart.
This kit is slightly more expensive than some of the other pool test kits on the market, but it is also one of the easiest to use.
Plus, it will allow you to test the FASDPD Bromine in the water, as well as the total chlorine as compared to the free chlorine in the water.
- It is very easy to use and read the results
- The included reagents are in large 75-oz bottles
- It is a great option for saltwater pools
- Can distinguish between free and total chlorine in the pool water
- It comes in a sturdy and secure case
- The kit is more expensive than many of the others on our list
If you have a saltwater pool, you may want to opt for this pool test kit by Taylor Technologies.
The K-1766 Drop test kit will ensure that you maintain the salt level in the pool water at the desired level throughout the entire swimming season.
This liquid drop test will provide you with accurate results that are easy to read in a matter of minutes.
Thanks to this affordable saltwater pool test kit you will be able to maintain your pool and the equipment for it in a timely manner and will ensure the longevity of your pool equipment and the saltwater pool itself.
The test kit will allow you to test the sodium chloride in the water. It comes with everything you need to perform the tests – all conveniently organized in a waterproof, sturdy case.
- The set includes detailed testing instructions and guidelines
- Perfect for prolonging the life of your pool and equipment by maintaining the desires salt levels
- Includes a silver nitrate reagent as well
- The kit is sold in a heavy-duty, waterproof case for storage and transport
- The reagents in the package are sufficient for taking 17 to 22 tests for each
- The test results are easy to read and available in a matter of minutes
- It does not include tests for all chemical components in the water like other test kits
The Taylor Tech K-2005 is a complete pool test kit that can be used both for home and for commercial pools and spas.
It is designed for routine testing and maintenance and will provide you with detailed results of the chemical composition of your pool water.
This is a professional range pool test kit with 0.75-oz reagent bottles and easy to read color charts and comparators.
It includes 6 reagents for testing the levels of bromine, pH, and chlorine, as well as 9 other tests for free chlorine, total chlorine, total alkalinity, acid demand, bromine, base demand, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid.
All of this, along with the detailed instructions, is conveniently offered in an easy to carry and store box.
- A complete set made for professional and home use
- It includes 9 sets for a comprehensive test of the water chemical composition
- Suitable for pools and spas
- Designed for routine regular testing procedures
- Offers precise results
- Includes ¾-oz reagent bottles
- It can be slightly more complicated than the simpler pool test kits for home pool use
The Taylor Service K-2006C test kit is another complete set of reagents and tests for getting precise and comprehensive results of the chemical composition and the safety of the water in your pool.
It can be used both for commercial as well as for home pools and spas.
The kit includes large-sized 2-oz reagent bottles sufficient for running tests of the water throughout the season on a regular basis.
The kit includes tests for chlorine levels, base and acid demand, calcium hardness, stabilizer, alkalinity, and pH levels.
The testing process is super simple and fast, and the results are available in a few minutes.
With this kit, you will know whether or not you are overtreating your pool with chemicals.
It comes with an easy to use color comparator for straightforward result interpretations.
The kit includes a detailed guide on pool and spa testing, as well as DPD powder, sulfuric acid 12N, reagents, calculators, comparators, and indicators.
It is well packaged in an easy to organize box and is one of the best complete pool test kits on the market for 2020.
- It includes large 2-oz reagent bottles
- The kit also includes all the test analysis tools you will ever need for a comprehensive chemical testing of your pool or spa water
- It also includes a detailed manual for testing and all the indicators, comparators and other tools you need for accurate readings
- All the tools for reading and analyzing the results are waterproof
- It is one of the most comprehensive pool testing kits on the market
- It is better suited for professionals and health department officials
It includes a photometer which will provide you with a precise digital reading of each of the test results. This will eliminate the guesswork and the effort of trying to compare colors with charts and comparators.
The kit comes in an easy to carry and store water-resistant case with a handle.
It includes reagents for testing the free chlorine, the total chlorine, the calcium hardness, the alkalinity, the cyanuric acid and the pH levels of the water in the pool.
All of the reagents used are liquid, except for the tablets included for the cyanuric acid tests.
This is one of the most accurate and easy to use pool test kits on the market for 2020.
- The kit includes a digital photometer to eliminate the guesswork and the need to perform visual comparisons of the colors of the tests
- It contains reagents for testing all of the water chemistry in liquid form and tablets for the cyanuric acid
- The components of the test are all neatly stored in a water-resistant carry case
- The kit is more expensive than the others which do not have a digital test reading photometer
The LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11 Digital Liquid Pool test kit is the most expensive one on our list, but it is also one of the most accurate and easy to use ones on the market.
The kit includes a digital testing unit which will interpret the results of each test with absolute precision, and without the need of having to compare the test colors with charts.
The kit has reagents for testing DPD, free chlorine, total chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and calcium. It also includes tablets for cyanuric acid tests of the water.
The pool testing kit includes the vials and other tools you need to perform the tests and a cleaning brush for the digital photometer, and detailed instructions for testing and use.
All of these components are arranged in a sturdy, waterproof case.
- The digital testing unit is precise and eliminates the guesswork
- It has an auto-off feature
- The test kit includes large reagent bottles for all chemical tests with only 5 drops required per test
- It comes in a sturdy, waterproof storage and carry box
- It is the priciest of all the pool tests kits on this list
Having a swimming pool is superb, but it does come with the need for maintenance. Unless you have an expert you have hired to maintain your pool and keep its water clean and safe, you will need to perform regular tests and adjust the pH levels, the chemical balance and the alkalinity of the water yourself.
Thankfully, there are many excellent pool test kits on the market, which are easy to use, affordable, and which will help ensure that the water in your pool is safe for you and for anybody else using it, at all times.
You will need to follow the testing guidelines, and test the water regularly, for peace of mind, and to prolong the longevity of your swimming pool, keep it free from harmful microorganisms and dirt, and also make sure you are not overtreating it with chemicals which can be harmful to people.
With any one of the kits from our list, you can ensure that your pool is clean, healthy and can be enjoyed safely by all members of the family at all times.
Last update on 2020-10-01 at 01:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API