Testing your pool water is an essential part of pool maintenance. There are many outside factors that can change the chemical balance of your pool, including weather and debris. In order to protect yourself and your family from potentially damaging chemical levels in the water, it is highly advisable to test regularly.
One of the best ways to test your pool water is to use a pool test kit. They come in three different types: strips, liquid, and digital. Whether you are a new pool owner or are using a new pool test kit, it is important to know exactly how to use it and read it. To find out more, visit my articles on the difference between testing strips and liquid drop tests.
There are many different types of pool test kits available on the market, with the leading companies being Taylor, LaMotte, Poolmaster, and AquaChek. I have compiled a list of their most popular pool test kits, along with basic instructions and a link to the manufacturers’ PDFs.
Taylor Water Technologies is a big name in water testing. They have some of the leading products in pool water testing available on the market. They have hundreds of different testing kits to fit a variety of different needs. Their liquid tests like the K-2005 and K-2006 are some of the most popular test kits for pool owners.
The instructions for the Taylor K-2005 are also applicable to K-2000, K-2005, K-2005-SALT, K-2006, K-2006-SALT, K-2007, K-2009, and K-2015 models.
The K-2005 can test for chlorine, bromine, pH, acid, base, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid. To use this kit, obtain water samples from your pool around 18” below the surface. Depending on what you test for, you will need to fill a tube with the right amount of water and then add the applicable drops as required by the manufacturer. Once done, you simply need to match the color to see what your chemical levels are.
For more detailed instructions, Taylor has a detailed PDF that you can find here.
LaMotte is a main manufacturer for water analysis. They have a huge range of reliable products that can test everything from pool water to even soil. With regards to their pool testing kits, they have both strips and digital testers available.
Insta-Test Pool Test Strips
You can choose from four different versions of LaMotte’s Insta-Test pool test strips: 3 Plus, 4 Plus, 5 Plus, or 6 Plus. The numbers in the names refer to how many different types of chemicals these strips test for.
To use these strips, simply dip one strip into your pool water to test it. A single dip can test for free chlorine, alkalinity, and pH at the very least, but can even test for total chlorine, total hardness, and cyanuric acid if you get the 6 Plus.
For more detailed instructions, check out their manual online.
LaMotte ColorQ 2x Pro 7
LaMotte also produces a digital reader, the ColorQ 2x Pro 7. As a general rule, digital readers tend to be more accurate as there is no need to determine the chemical levels by slight variations of color.
To use this digital tester, fill the corresponding tube with the pool water and add the required reagent. Once done, give it a little mix before putting it into the photometer, which will then display the results at the touch of a button.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to accurately test the water with this digital kit.
Poolmaster produces many products for both pools and spas. They are well-known for their inflatable products, but they are also a leading manufacturer of pool testing kits. Most notably, one of their most popular items includes a 4-way test strips kit and a 5-way liquid testing kit.
Poolmaster 4-Way Pool Test Strips
Pool test strips are super easy to use, and this one by Poolmaster is no different. Simply dip a single strip into your pool for two seconds. Then remove it from your pool with the pads facing up. After you give it a little shake to remove the excess pool water, read the results immediately, starting from free chlorine and working your way down to pH.
To read the results, use the container the strips come in to compare the colors.
Check out the manufacturer’s instructions here.
Poolmaster 5-Way Test Kit
Poolmaster’s 5-way test kit can test for chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, and acid demand.
The test kit comes with two different sizes of test tubes that are used for testing the different chemicals. Depending on what you are testing for, use the correct test tube and fill it up with pool water according to the applicable fill line. Then add the correct solution and swirl it to mix it well. Finally, you should be able to read the color and check the chemical levels in your pool water.
Full manufacturer’s instructions can be found at this link.
AquaChek probably produces some of the best and most popular pool water testing kits. Their products can be found all over the world and are renowned for their accuracy and budget-friendly pricing. AquaChek has both testing strips and digital testing kits available.
AquaChek 7-Way Strips
The AquaChek 7-in-1 test strips test for total hardness, total chlorine, total bromine, free chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, and cyanuric acid.
To use an AquaChek strip, stick one in the pool and immediately remove it. Then hold the strip level with the pad side up for 15 seconds. After the wait, read the chemical levels from top to bottom.
This pool test kit comes with a reusable plastic color comparator that can be used to check the pool chemical levels.
To read their detailed instructions and advice on how to use their 7-way strips, check out their manual.
AquaChek TruTest Digital Test Strip Reader
The TruTest digital test strip reader is very easy-to-use and intuitive. Just power on the device, press play and dip a testing strip in the pool water. After shaking off the excess water, insert the strip pad face down over the sensors, taking care not to slide it in. And just like that, you’ll get your results on the screen.
AquaChek has a pretty detailed manual, including a troubleshooting guide that you can find here.
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Although most pool test kits will follow a general set of instructions, there may be slight variations, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the most accurate results. If you want to learn more about testing your pool, feel free to visit my article on how to test your pool water!
If you think testing kits are not your style, feel free to check out my article on how to test your water without a kit!