Testing your pool is an essential part of managing its chemistry and ensuring it’s safe to swim in. However, swimming pool testing kits definitely aren’t created equal. Here are the top testing kits currently on the market, as well as a little information about how I chose them.
Pool Water Testing Kits: Our Top Picks
Poolmaster 5-Way Test Kit
⭐ Best Liquid Testing Kit
Poolmaster’s liquid testing kit is a straightforward and easy liquid test that comes with five numbered bottles to use in order. This provides a simple, chemically-accurate way to check your pool’s chemistry, and it’s part of why I like this kit so much.
Supporting the chemicals themselves is a color-coded water container that visually indicates the exact results. This is easy for most people to read, although some individuals with color blindness may need to get a different product (like the digital checker below) instead. The kit itself comes with a handy polyethylene case for storing the components.
When used correctly, each of these kits lasts for about one year of tests, which is extremely reasonable for the price. Overall, I like what I see here.
- Number Of Different Tests: 5
- Test Categories: Chlorine, Bromine, pH, Acid Demand, and Total Alkalinity
- Testing Style: Liquid Drops
- Simple, easy-to-use test for common chemical needs
- Lasts for at least 1 season unless you need extremely frequent tests
- Outstanding value for the number of tests offered
- A poor choice for people who have difficulty distinguishing colors
- It’s possible to squirt too much of the test chemicals in and waste them
Taylor Technologies INC K-1766 Drop Test
⭐ Best Salt Testing Kit
These drop test kits work well with saltwater chlorine generators to check the exact amount of salt in your pool. Note that this is only for testing salt, not for testing other chemicals.
The main problem with most salt generators is that while they can tell you if the salt in the pool is too high or too low, they can’t tell you how far outside of the ideal range your pool is. This drop test is much more accurate than general indicators and can help you figure out what to do next.
The kit itself includes a chromate indicator and a silver nitrate reagent that need to be used following the exact instructions on the kit. Both of these are potentially dangerous chemicals, so make sure you have steady hands while trying to use these.
- Taylor Technologies K-1766 Salt Water Kit is for use with salt water chlorine generators
- Country of Origin: United States
- Brand Name: TAYLOR TECHNOLOGIES INC
- Model Number: K-1766
- Number of Different Tests: 1
- Test Category: Salt Levels (saltwater chlorine generators only)
- Testing Style: Droplets
- Accurate to within 200 ppm of salt in your pool
- Simple and easy to use once you know how
- Usually lasts 15+ tests unless you have a ton of extra salt in your pool
- Ideal for saltwater pools
- More dangerous to use than most pool tests
- Gives false results if you use it in any way other than exactly how you’re supposed to
LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11 Digital Testing Kit
⭐ Best Digital Testing Kit
This is one of the most comprehensive water test kits currently on the market, and it’s also one of my personal favorites. Digital testing kits are harder to mess up than most others (like the salt testing kit above), and LaMotte’s ColorQ Pro 11 addresses almost every chemical need.
However, the part that really appeals to me is its focus on the digital display. I’ve seen a lot of color-matching tests with other products, but those can be trouble for people who have difficulty distinguishing the colors and results. As far as user-friendliness goes, this product is far and away the winner. Its wide variety of tests helps, too.
The major drawback of this testing kit is the price. It’s noticeably more expensive than many other testing kits, although it also has more tests in it. It’s hard to say the price is unfair since you’re genuinely getting more for your money, but the sticker price can put some people off.
- Digital photometer pool and spa water testing kit
- Tests for free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid, copper, iron, biguanide, and biguanide shock
- Liquid reagents for free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and biguanide
- Tablets for cyanuric acid, iron, copper, and biguanide shock
- Only 5 drops for each liquid reagent
- Number Of Different Tests: 11
- Test Categories: Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, Cyanuric Acid, Iron, Copper, Biguanide, and Biguanide Shock
- Testing Style: Liquid Drops (mostly) with Digital Readout
- An extremely comprehensive testing kit
- Only requires five drops per test (except cyanuric acid, which uses tablets)
- Water-resistant housing
- The auto-off function helps protect batteries
- Ideal for people who have difficulty reading other test results
- Far more expensive than most other testing kits
- Requires batteries
AquaCheck Select 7-in-1 Pool And Spa Test Strips
⭐ Best Test Strips
I love test strips. Just dip them in your water, check each of the color results, and you’re done! This is generally the fastest and easiest way to check your pool’s chemistry, although, like our first options, it does rely on the ability to distinguish colors.
If it sounds like that’s a priority to me, it’s because that’s one of the main issues with most pool water test kits. If a product won’t work for everyone, then it’s my duty to mention that up-front so you know about it.
I particularly appreciate the fact that this test checks for everything at the same time, rather than requiring different strips for each test. Unless you need to test for something that’s only checked by the digital kit, this is my most-recommended product.
- 7-IN-1 TEST STRIPS: Tests the most critical parameters: pH, Total Chlorine, Free Chlorine, Bromine, Alkalinity, Total Hardness, & Cyanuric Acid
- AQUACHEK ACCURACY: Using medical industry technology, our test strips offer comparable accuracy to liquid tests; No measuring & counting drops of...
- FREE MOBILE APP: It uses photo capture technology to interpret results & provides a tailored chemical treatment plan for your pool; No more guesswork...
- EASY TO USE: No more messy drops; Dip the test strip, remove it, wait 15 seconds, & compare with the color chart on the comparator; Test water at...
- SAFE & CLEAN WATER: Each color pad is designed with unique paper to optimize color vibrancy & mitigate color-bleeding to help maintain healthy water...
- Number Of Different Tests: 7
- Test Categories: Total Hardness, Total Chlorine, Total Bromine, Free Chlorine, pH, Total Alkalinity, and Cyanuric Acid
- Testing Style: Strips
- Gives accurate results in seconds
- You only need one testing strip per test (two per session, checking each end of the pool)
- Extremely easy to use
- Highly accurate
- Results are relatively small and may require a magnifying glass
- Requires using an app to get chemical calculations
SJ Wave Water Test Strips
⭐ Best For Testing Heavy Metals
These strips say they’re for testing drinking water on the box, but that’s not quite the whole picture. They’re also useful for testing various heavy metals in pools, and each box comes with 100 strips.
Some pools don’t need to check for concentrations of heavy metals, which is why I don’t recommend these to every pool owner. However, if you do need to test for metals, these strips are a fast and accurate way to look for them. These are particularly useful when refilling your pool because you may not know if your public water supply is different.
This manufacturer also provides additional guidance on what levels you should see, which is a nice touch. Some companies only give the results without context for interpreting those results.
- COMPLETE WATER TEST KIT – Everything you need to test your water; tests for 16 parameters, ensures lead free and pH safe drinking water; testing...
- SEPARATE PACKAGE – 100 testing strips packed in 10 sealable bags with dry agent to ensure long shelf life and reliable results. Strips in an open...
- MULTIPLE USES - Test every water source around your home, including drinking, well and tap water, pool & spa, hot tub and aquarium
- RELIABLE AND FAST RESULTS - CE certified for proven, reliable and quick results in 2 minutes – easy to use and great for school projects
- ENJOY THE PEACE OF MIND – Detects low levels of impurities and foreign substances and keeps your family safe
- Number Of Different Tests: 16
- Test Categories: Total Hardness, Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Iron, Copper, Lead, Nitrate, Nitrite, MPS, Fluoride, Cyanuric Acid, Ammonia Chloride, Bromine, Total Alkalinity, Carbonate, pH
- Testing Style: Strips
- Rapidly tests for several common metals
- More affordable than most other pool testing kits
- Comes with useful information for interpreting the results
- Not necessary for all pool owners
- May be difficult for some users to ensure test pads don’t bleed into each other
Taylor Technologies Complete Test Kit
⭐ Most Accurate For Testing Calcium Levels
I’m impressed by the fact that Taylor Technologies got onto my final list twice; that says a lot of good things about them as a company. Anyway, this product is capable of testing various factors in a pool, but it’s especially useful and accurate for testing calcium levels.
That’s important for pools because calcium is difficult to see in the pool but can still corrode the sides and machinery. Some pools have problems with calcium seeping its way in for one reason or another, so specifically testing for this is important for overall pool maintenance.
- Country Of Origin: USA
- Model Number: K-2006
- Item Package Dimensions: 9.099999990718" L x 5.599999994288" W x 3.899999996022" H
- Item Package Weight: 2.35012771292 lb
- Number Of Different Tests: 5
- Test Categories: Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid
- Testing Style: Drops
- More accurate for testing calcium levels than most other products
- It can perform several other tests as well
- Refilling the reagents is generally cheap
- Useful for both regular and saltwater pools
- A little expensive for the number of tests you get out of it
- Not as accurate on pH levels and Total Alkalinity
Recap: The Best Pool Test Kits
- Poolmaster 5-Way Test Kit: Best Liquid Testing Kit
- Taylor Technologies INC K-1766 Drop Test: Best Salt Testing Kit
- LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11 Digital Testing Kit: Best Digital Testing Kit
- AquaCheck Select 7-in-1 Pool and Spa Test Strips: Best Test Strips
- SJ Wave Water Test Strips: Best for Testing Heavy Metals
- Taylor Technologies Complete Test Kit: Most Accurate for Testing Calcium Levels
Our Research Criteria
When selecting products for this list, I weighed several factors to calculate the final results.
Type of Tests Performed
First, I decided to focus on different types of kits instead of several kits of the same type. You don’t need five different salt testing kits, for example, you just need the best one. There are a bunch of different chemicals in your pool:
- Calcium hardener
- Calcium hypochlorite
- Cyanuric acid (stabilizer)
- Sodium bicarbonate
Each test kit can assess these chemical levels and also test for other elements like heavy metals. We made sure to choose testing kits that hit every single one of these major tests (plus pH levels) and also suggested a few specialty tests.
Test Accuracy and Consistency
There are several kits out there that will give you results that are all over the place. Of course, you have to administer the test properly to get an accurate reading, but often times it can be faulty equipment. The kits we chose are consistently the most accurate on the market today. Accuracy will also differ depending on the type of kit you get. For more on that topic, head over to my guide on pool test strips vs. drops.
Number of Tests in Each Kit
Typically, you’re going to get a better value for your dollar with more tests in the kit. Most of the kits we chose cover all of your basic tests.
Of course, we want to make sure you’re getting good value for what you’re paying. There are a few test kits out there with really unnecessary digital features or extra packaging that allow them to (unfairly) jack up the price. We eliminated all of those products from our consideration.
Make sure to check the local regulations on pool chemical testing kits in your state. Some areas have specific guidelines that you have to follow, others don’t.
Questions? Let us know and good luck with your search!
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