Checking your swimming pool water quality before dipping yourself in is very important if you want to save your skin. Unfortunately, there are different ways to test that can cause a lot of confusion. To answer your query, below are 4 different pool water test kits best suited based to help you get the job done.
The Best 4 Recommendations
- Most Accurate – Taylor Technologies K-2006
- Best for Professionals & Salt Water Testing – Taylor Technologies K-2005
- Best Digital – LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital
- Best on a Budget – Poolmaster Water Chemistry Case (22270) Premiere Collection
Taylor Technologies K-2006 (Best Manual Pool Test Kit)
If accuracy is what you seek, then you can’t go wrong with the Taylor Technologies K-2006 Test Kit. Manual system has always been the most accurate and up until date, it was a challenge for non-pool experts to understand and maintain perfect pool chemical balance without experience or a digital meter.
The K-2006 kit comes with complete instructions on how to test and fix the chemical balance in your swimming pool. This water test kit does not just test free and total chlorine, but it also tests Bromine, pH, Acid, Calcium hardness, Cyanuric Acid & Alkalinity.
It’s a complete kit that many individuals use to even test their hot tubs, spa, and even saltwater pools (Although it doesn’t test for Sodium chloride).
Thousands of pool owners swear by its accuracy and how much time and money it has saved them from trying to fix their pool due to messy maintenance.
If you have cloudy or green pool water, you can use the Taylor K-2006 to find the perfect balance and fix the pool back to perfect water quality.
Unlike other standard water testing kits in the market, the Taylor Technologies K-2006 comes with DPD powder for testing instead of reagents which leads to more accuracy according to most experts.
Although it’s more expensive than the competition, you can be assured that the Taylor K-2006 will help you bring the water quality in your swimming pool to perfectionism or at least near perfectionism without wasting too much on pool experts and extra chemicals.
This complete water test kit can not only give you results in minutes, but the reagents and the powder can last for much longer than other kits out there. This would explain the extra price to pay.
- Tests up-to 50ppm
- Can help to clear cloudy and green pool water.
- DPD powder used for accurate results
- Results can be seen within minutes
- Can be used for saltwater pools but will not read sodium chloride levels
- Detailed instructions can save you trips to the pool store
- More expensive than competitors
- Instructions can be complicated for some
Taylor Technologies K-2005 Test Kit (Best Testing Kit for Professionals & Salt Water Pools)
If you are a pool care professional looking for a complete water test kit for commercial purposes, the Taylor Technologies K-2005 Complete Set is the best choice for you. Being the most trusted brand in the industry, the K-2005 is recommended by most professionals for its comprehensive testing system.
This testing kit comes with precise results for checking the quality of the water in commercial pools, hot tubs, and spas.
This high-grade kit comes with 9 tests. This includes free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, acid demand, base demand, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness & stabilizer.
The K-2005 also comes with six different testing standards for chlorine (1-10 ppm), bromine (2-20 ppm), and pH (7.0 to 8.0). These are evaluated using printed color cards to ensure perfect water quality and safety for the mass public who swim or dip in commercial pools, spas, or hot tubs.
The instruction guide is quite comprehensive and detailed – maybe too comprehensive for the average individual.
You may have noticed two versions of the K-2005 available to purchase – one with the extra word “SALT” in the title. This simply means the K-2005 can read sodium chlorine levels, but if you wish to purchase with the salt testing reagents, you go for the Taylor K-2005 SALT kit instead of the standard kit which is a tad cheaper as well.
The instruction guide explains how to use the SALT reagents to test for sodium chloride. These salt testing reagents can also be purchased separately
- 9 test levels for maximum accuracy
- Recommended for frequent testing of commercial-grade pools, spas, and hot tubs
- The printed color card helps to ensure perfect chemical balance
- Can test for sodium chloride
- A comprehensive instruction guide can make an average person into a pro
- Instruction guide can be complicated for the average person
- Does not use DPD Powder testing like the K-2006
LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital (Best Digital Test Kit)
The LaMotte 2056 is the best-rated DIGITAL pool water test kit in the market to date. It has the ability to test the alkalinity of the pool water within minutes. Its competitive advantage is the photometer which gives accurate results every time.
Have you have got into an argument about blue vs green or pink vs red? Some may see green while you see it as blue. This can be quite a mess when you are using a manual water test kit.
Thanks to the digital meter, you don’t have to worry about being unable to notice a difference in colors anymore.
The LaMotte 2056 has the ability to test 7 chemical components of your swimming pool. It’s a complete all-in-one package. It HAS to be especially for the price you have to pay.
Although it’s expensive, thousands of pool owners swear by it. Thanks to this kit, most pool owners have saved a tremendous amount of money on pool chemicals and what’s not.
We found reviews of customers claiming this digital water tester has reduced their frequency of visits to the pool store almost to once in 6 months to a year. Some pool owners even use it to test their saltwater swimming even though it doesn’t specifically test for salt levels.
This all depends on the pool size, weather conditions, the size of the pool, and the surroundings. You can only see firsthand how effective this product is for YOUR swimming pool after you try it yourself.
For those crazy about aesthetic appeal, be it the pool design, pool deck, or whatnot, the LaMotte 2056 carries itself beautifully with its waterproof casing that takes care of the test kit and chemicals inside.
To ensure maximum accuracy, the LaMotte 2056 uses liquid re-agents, in general, to test for Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, PH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness whilst using tablets to test for Cyanuric Acid.
The tablets can last for 3 years while the liquids can last for up to a year.
- Digital Photo Mater for testing within minutes
- Accurate results using liquid re-agents and tablets
- Advanced knowledge not required for pool maintenance
- Liquid testing agents can only last up to a year
- Requires calibration with a sample of clean pool water which can cause misreadings
- Quite expensive
Poolmaster Water Chemistry Case (22270) Premiere Collection (Best on a Budget)
The Poolmaster Water Chemistry Case 22270 Premiere Collection is the most popular pool water testing kit sold in the market. It’s rated as the best by many for its accuracy and reasonable price.
Although not at a higher grade level like the Taylor K-2006, this chemistry case helps you test for free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, pH, Acid Demand and Total Alkalinity using the Drop Test method.. It’s easy to use and get results more accurately with the help of the transparent test block and integrated color chips. You can match the colors more easily.
The Poolmaster Water 5 Way Test Kit 22270 Premiere Collection also comes with a plastic case that takes care of the test block and the chemicals. It’s safer to keep them all in one place to avoid damage and leakage.
You also get 1oz solutions of #1-#3, and 1/2oz solutions of #4-#5. The only risky part here is to avoid the confusion between Phenol Red and #2 Phenol Red solutions. It would have been better if there was a different label for one of the bottles for customers to be better informed when re-ordering the correct Phenol Red bottle for their setup.
We also didn’t like the fact that Pool Master Chemistry Case 22270 does not check for Cyanuric Acid.
If you have a cloudy or green swimming pool, you need more advanced equipment like the Taylor K-2006 recommended above. If your pool is clean enough, then the Poolmaster 22270 is your best choice for routine maintenance of your swimming pool.
- Affordable Price
- Transparent Test Block and Color Chips help to match colors more accurately for a better read
- Shows results in minutes
- Recommended for routine pool maintenance
- Does not test for Cyanuric Acid
- Tests upto 5ppm in Chlorine
- Phenol Red bottles can be confused when re-ordering
- Not recommended when trying to fix cloudy or green pool water
What do You Get in a Test Kit
A quality carrying case
You may want to consider this as an essential component of a pool test kit since a good case will ensure that the test bottles are properly stored. A well-organized compartment to place the test bottles will ensure that the mundane routine task of undertaking the tests can be done faster – especially for professional pool operators.
Although some of the products available in the market ranges from very basic solutions to digitally high tech solutions.
Basic pool water test kits only check for pH and Chlorine levels but for best results in the long term you should be equipped with means to test for Free and Total Chlorine, pH, Alkanit, Acid, Bromine, Cyanuric Acid and Calcium hardness.
The instruction manual!
A very important and crucial component of any water test kit. This manual will show you the guidelines on how to use each component and aid you in indicating the test results to get the perfect pool clarity for a safe and healthy swim.
Types of Water Test Kits
Broadly, there are three types of pool water testing kits – Liquid, Digital and Strips. Each test kit has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Liquid water tests are used as part of routine pool maintenance schedule. This will be mainly to ensure that pH and chlorine levels are in order by using liquid reagents.
This pool water test method is convenient to use which can give in accurate results if followed as per the instruction manual; although results may not be accurate if instructions are not followed properly. The liquid reagents (chemicals) do come with an expiry date.
It is very similar to liquid tests where liquid reagents are used to identify the results except that the readings can be digitally read through the electronic device. Thus, provides faster means to obtain all data reading levels without causing a strain to the naked eye.
However, the digital water test kit comes at a premium price and requires to be frequently calibrated to ensure accuracy of results obtained over time.
Strips are the most easiest ways to test your pool. The strip could be inserted into the pool water and the results could be identified based on the resulting change in color.
The instruction manual guides on you what each color indicates. This is a faster solution to test your results but strips can be easily contaminated and also expire with time. You also need different strips to test for different chemicals in your swimming pool.
Chemicals Found in the Swimming Pool
An appropriate balance of chemicals is a must for every swimming pool for a variety of reasons, stemming from ensuring a
- disease free pool from all sorts of bacteria,
- safeguarding from body & face irritation for the pool users
- and also safeguarding the pool from causing any possible damages.
A major pool disinfectant used across both residential & commercial pool owners is chlorine, which comes both in liquid (sodium hypochlorite) or solid (calcium hypochlorite) chemical compound forms.
The chlorine when added to water forms various other chemicals, most commonly hypochlorous acid, this can be used to kill all pathogens thus helping to keep the pools hygiene and safe for the body.
Having said that, hypochlorous acid can result in some degradation if exposed to UV light rays from the sun therefore requires the use of a new chemical compound to act as stabilizing agents – for instance, Cyanuric acid.
In effect, for all pool disinfectants to be used at their optimal potential the water pH has to remain between 7.2 and 7.8 levels.
Therefore, pool owners and operators will have to ensure the mix of other chemical compounds such as: sodium bi-sulfate, muriatic acid, and sodium carbonate to name a few.
Chlorine can be added to the water across the pool section. Generally they are formed either to be used as powder, liquid or tablets. (Check out this guide on best pool chlorine tablets)
Experts are of the recommendation that Chlorine be added post the completion of the filtering process. This helps to avoid any concentration of chemicals in one section of the pool.
What Do Your Test with these Kits?
Most of us assume that only chlorine is the biggest chemical factor in a swimming pool, not realizing that there are other chemicals which are necessary and requires to be tested as well to ensure healthy chemical balance in your pool.
Generally, basic pool testing kits come with the option of checking both Chlorine and pH levels, although it is highly recommended to check if the product covers at-least six to seven test options before making a purchase decision.
We have listed out a few recommended vital elements which you need to test for along with their recommended results level.
- The prime factor, which in fact is Chlorine should persist in the range between 1-3ppm (Parts per million)
- It is ideal if the pH level resides between 7.2 – 7.8.
- Total Alkalinity should remain between 8-120 ppm (Parts per million)
- Calcium Harness should range in between 180-220 ppm (Parts per million)
- Cyanuric acid should stay between 30-50ppm (This is also known as the Stabilizer)
It is also equally important to know that the results are generally more consistent and accurate when you use either a liquid or digital test; although they can be a little difficult to use and time-consuming.
Why Should You Test Your Swimming Pool Water?
It is always beneficial to understand the different chemicals in the pool to ensure that your pool is well-balanced and most importantly safe for the swimmers. As we now know, that swimmers generally bring in all types of germs. For this reason, chlorine is heavily used as a disinfectant.
Undertaking a prime check on free chlorine levels would indicate the levels at which the chlorine has been used up by breaking down any sort of waste and dirt of swimmers.
High total chlorine in the water would cause irritation for both the eye and the skin. On the other hand, low total chlorine levels would cause algae and be a haven for germs.
In addition, benefits of testing for pH levels can aid in eliminating any corrosion of the pool equipment.
This goes on to show that testing is key for all pool owners and using the best water test kit is crucial in finding the right balance for chemical use.
Overall, consistency is very important and undertaking regular test checks allows to eliminate and ensure in maintaining a healthy swimming pool.
What Happens if You Only Test for Chlorine
Chlorine is the one and only thing you should be worried about, right? You are absolutely wrong!
Chlorine is one of the many chemical substances in your pool, while there are many more which should be kept in mind.
Even if the Chlorine in your pool has no harm, you might be harmed by the Algae in it.
Pool experts say that Algae is a result of poor pH levels, and it is highly recommended to that pH and other chemical compounds in your pool be given the same prominence as Chlorine.
Being a pool owner, the information load here might be getting on your nerves. Some may give up thinking it’s too complicated.
These tasks might take a little more time out of your day, but it is highly recommended you NOT skip over the process of testing your pool water and fixing the imbalances.
Benefits of a Carry Case
It is often said that a habit is formed when you are reminded of that constantly until a certain period of time!
Well, owning a good quality carrying case is absolutely up to your personal choice, but if you shoot that question to us, we would suggest you to consider buying the carrying case as well.
The mere reason why we would propose you to go for a carrying case is solely because we want you to take care of your pool regularly by storing the kit besides your pool which would inculcate the regular habit of testing.
If you purchase without a carrying case, then the components of the kit could be separated and might be stored in different places and lead to a hassle for you in finding all the components of the kit.
To avoid this, we strongly suggest you to get a quality carrying case along with the kit. If you go through our top recommendations above, you may have noticed all our recommended water test kits come with a carry case.
Can You Test Saltwater Pools?
For owners of Saltwater swimming pools – let us enlighten you that yes, you could in fact use all the test kits available in the market applicable for regular pool owners.
An additional level needs to be checked on a salt water pool – salinity (sodium chlorine) – this checks for the level of salt in your pool.
The recommended salt level varies in the range between 2700 – 3300 parts per million (PPM); higher the salt level would mean that the pool would taste salty and also may affect the pool peripherals with corrosion.
Can You Test the Water in Hot Tubs or Inflatable Spa?
The answer is YES! But it depends on the kit – you can usually check with the manufacturer’s description. All water testers recommended above can be used to test the water in your hot tub or spa. (Our recommendations are good eh?)
You only need to test for Free & Total Chlorine, full Bromine, total alkalinity, pH and the total hardness, when it come to hot tubs.
Benefits of a Digital Test Kit
You may be overwhelmed and confused about whether to go ahead with either a digital test kit or a manual – especially with the big price gap
Let us make things clear for you by explaining the whole process of testing the pool water.
It works by matching the Color chart provided to the color results you get from the chemical test.
There will be slight variations in color shades not noticeable to a weak eye. If you think it would be a challenge for you to determine the exact color from the test, then we would suggest you opt for Digital water test kit.
The digital approach provides numerical results which are easier to understand that matching color shades to a color card.
Accuracy is more important than taking chances and making matters only worse (which leads to a more expensive fix)
Importance of Regular Water Tests
Regular testing of your pool water is very important – at least once a week. We understand that taking time out of your busy day to perform the water test might be a hassle.
You may even forget to do it at times or most of the time. This can also cause losses to you and your body – especially when you try to take a dip into an unhealthy and unsafe pool.
There is an alternative option called Smart Water Care Monitor, which is an automated system that continuously keep testing your pool water. (Works on pools, hot tubs and spas)
If an issue turns up in water quality, the monitor will automatically notify you via the mobile app in your phone.
As amazing as all these sounds, there are few downsides of the Smart Water Care Monitor.
- Works on with chemical brands supported by the monitor
- Requires an annual subscription for the app to work
Leaving this product aside, You can simply set a weekly alarm on your phone for a weekly pool water test.
We hope this guide has been helpful for the time you spent reading it. Using a water test kit is very important and saves you a lot of time and money in the long run. Learning to do it by yourself can be slightly complicated if you are not a DIY type of person. You either hire a pool maintenance guy or do it yourself.