Pool & Spa
10 Best Pool Test Kits of 2020
One of the most important things about maintaining your pool is to get the right test kit for it.
This is because as you run the filtration systems while adding purification chemicals to keep the water balanced, you can never really know if the quality of the water is improving or is maintained without using a test kit.
With that in mind, there are very many types and varieties of these test kits and this might give you a hard time choosing the best one for your pool. For this reason, this article looks at 10 of the best pool test kits that you should consider buying.
10 Best Pool Test Kits – Review
1. Poolmaster 22260 (Best Overall)
2. Poolmaster 22212 (Best Budget)
3. AquaChek 551236 (Best Test Strips)
4. Taylor Technologies Inc K-1766 (Best for Saltwater)
5. Taylor Technologies Inc K-2005 (Best Taylor Tech Kit)
6. HTH 1173 (Best Compact Wet Chemical Kit)
7. Blue Devil B7448 (Best Blue Devil Kit)
8. LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11 (Best Digital Kit)
9. Taylor Technologies Inc K-2006 (6-Way Wet Chemical Kit)
10. LaMotte 2056 (7-Way Digital Kit)
1. Poolmaster 22260
2. Poolmaster 22212
3. AquaChek 551236
(Best Test Strips)
4. Taylor Technologies Inc K-1766
(Best for Saltwater)
5. Taylor Technologies Inc K-2005
(Best Taylor Tech Kit)
6. HTH 1173
(Best Compact Wet Chemical Kit)
7. Blue Devil B7448
(Best Blue Devil Kit)
8. LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11
(Best Digital Kit)
9. Taylor Technologies Inc K-2006
(6-Way Wet Chemical Kit)
10. LaMotte 2056
(7-Way Digital Kit)
Poolmaster 22260 – Best Overall Pool Test Kit
Poolmaster’s 22260 stands out as the best because it is relatively affordable but still performs a total of 5 different water tests. This includes chlorine, bromine, pH, acid demand and total alkalinity testing, and a wet chemical kit is used.
In terms of quantities, the chlorine/ bromine, pH and acid demand & alkalinity test solutions come in 1-ounce bottles while the chlorine neutralizer and total alkalinity test solutions come in 0.5-ounce containers. This is enough to carry out multiple tests.
For the actual testing, the kit features a clear-view round test block that has integrated color chips.
These chips are also labeled by number, with five of them showing the chlorine level on one side and the other five showing the acid and pH level on the other side (next to their respective testing vials for easy color matching).
On storage, a convenient polyethylene case is used, and this also makes it easier to move the kit to the site for testing.
2. Poolmaster 22212 – Best Budget Pool Test Kit
If you are on a tight budget, then Poolmaster’s smart test strip is certainly a good option to consider. Even though it is affordable, this kit is quite effective, featuring 50, 6-way combo test strips that enable you to test your pool’s water up to 50 times before requiring a new set.
The strips are very easy to use, and only require to be dipped at least 6 inches into the water for about two seconds.
Once removed, the colored pad’s results should be compared to the color graduation scale on the bottle so as to determine the free chlorine, bromine, alkalinity, pH, total chlorine and total hardness levels in your pool’s water.
In terms of storage, these strips are kept inside a desiccant lined bottle that keeps the moisture level inside at an absolute minimum so as not to affect the integrity of the pads. The bottle also has an easy one-handed open and close feature for easy and quick access.
3. AquaChek 551236 – Best Pool Water Test Strips
Aquachek’s pool water test strips are among the best in the market because the kit comes with 100 strips, which is quite a large number, and each strip can test up to 7 different chemical properties in the water.
These tests include checking for the free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, total hardness, total alkalinity, pH and cyanuric acid levels, and only requires the strip to be dipped into your pool for about 15 seconds, then wait for the resulting colors.
Once these color results are ready, the kit’s bottle features a reusable color chart comparator on its side that makes it possible to determine the results so as to make any necessary adjustments to balance your water.
4. Taylor Technologies Inc K-1766 – Best Pool Test Kit for Saltwater
Taylor Tech Inc’s K-1766 is a saltwater pool test kit that is specifically designed to test the level or concentration of sodium chloride in your pool’s water.
To achieve this, the kit comes with a silver nitrate solution and a chromate indicator to carry out the tests, and each of these is packed in a 0.75-ounce bottle. This gives you enough quantity to carry out multiple tests before requiring a refill.
However, for the kit to be useful, you must use it together with a saltwater chlorine generator and thus, you must buy the generator separately if you do not have it installed.
Other features include a single vial for carrying out the tests and a blue-colored, hard carrying case for easy storage and transportation.
Taylor Technologies Inc K-2005 – Best Taylor Tech Pool Test Kit
These reagents come in 0.75-ounce bottles and are meant to test the levels of total chlorine, free chlorine, bromine, pH, acid demand, base demand, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid in your pool’s water.
Once the chemical test reaction is complete, the kit includes a comparator that uses printed color standards for chlorine (High Range: 0.5-5 ppm, Low Range: 0.25-2.5 ppm), pH (7.0 to 8.0) and bromine (HR: 1-10 ppm, LR: .5-5 ppm) to help you finalize the results.
All these components are safely stored inside a blue-colored, hard carrying case, which also makes it easy to transport the set on site to carry out the tests.
6. HTH 1173 – Best Compact Wet Chemical Pool Test Kit
HTH literally stands for “Here To Help” and this pool test kit is packaged in a compact, soft carrying case for easy storage and transportation.
That said, the kit is designed to help you carry out 6 chemical tests on your pool’s water, which includes total chlorine, bromine, pH, total alkalinity, total hardness, and cyanuric acid testing.
On compatibility, this kit can work well in both chlorine and saltwater pools, making it very versatile.
Other features include a color chart comparator for matching the results so as to determine the quality of your water and a compact,
Blue Devil B7448 – Best Blue Devil Pool Test Kit
Just as the name suggests, Blue Devil’s B7448 5-way pool test kit comes in a compact blue carrying case that makes it easy to store and transport the set.
Inside this case are wet chemical reagents for testing for chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, and acid, and the kit contains easy-to-read, see-through testing vials, and an easy to read color comparator for matching the results.
However, you must ensure that you follow the included testing instructions carefully so as to achieve the highest levels of accuracy when determining the end results.
8. LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11 – Best Digital Pool Test Kit
This pool test kit stands out as the best digital unit because it tests almost every chemical property in your pool’s water. Though very costly, the set is equipped to carry out 11 tests, which is enough to ensure that you monitor your pool from all angles.
These include free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid, iron, copper, biguanide, and biguanide shock tests, and to give better and more accurate results, a photometer is incorporated in the set so as to give you the results in a digital form.
For storage, a large, bulky and rugged carrying case is used to keep all the reagents, tablets, vials and photometer safely, and also makes it much easier to transport them on site for testing.
Combined, these features make this the top-rated pool test kit in this review. On the downside, this product is very expensive.
Taylor Technologies Inc K-2006 – 6-Way Wet Chemical Pool Test Kit
Taylor Technologies Inc is a well-known brand in making pool test kits and this K-2006 lives up to its expectations.
For starters, the product is a 6-way test kit that is designed to test the Total and Combined Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Cyanuric Acid levels in your water, which covers like half of all the tests that are required from time to time.
These tests are done using chemical reagents that are packaged in 0.75-ounce bottles, giving you quite a substantial amount to carry out multiple tests.
The kit also comes with Taylor’s 9058 comparator, which helps in color matching so as to determine the test results on the sampled water.
To help give clearer results, the kit uses FAS-DPD titration to test for free and combined chlorine, and this assists in eliminating color-matching problems and thus, you get a more accurate reading.
10. LaMotte 2056 – 7-Way Digital Pool Test Kit
If you are looking for a slightly more advanced pool test kit, then you should consider LaMotte’s 2056 ColorQ Pro 7. This is because the Pro 7 is a digital kit, featuring a photometer that gives you a digital reading of the test results.
As the name Pro 7 suggests, this product is designed to test for 7 chemical properties, which include free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid testing. This ensures you cover quite a wide array of tests so as to keep your pool healthier.
These tests are actually carried out using large quantities of liquid reagents except for the cyanuric acid test, which is done using tablets.
After mixing these reagents or tablets with water, the photometer makes it quite easy to determine the results because it takes the task of color matching into its own hands, then gives you an exact number of the final results. This makes the kit very easy to use.
On the downside, the Pro 7 is relatively expensive and it has quite a large carrying case so as to fit the photometer and all the reagents inside.
How to Buy the Best Pool Test Kit
1. Test Strip or Wet Chemical Kit
These are the two main types of pool test kits to choose from
Test strips such as AquaChek's 551236 are very easy to use. Very little technique is required to use them and this means that there is a lesser chance of inaccuracy. Test strips are also very affordable, and there are options that can read quite a number of chemical levels.
However, the test areas on the strips (pads) are usually very tiny and this makes it a little bit difficult to compare the result with the color chart on the bottle.
Wet chemical kit
Wet chemical kits such as Taylor's K-2006 are usually more expensive but you get to test for more chemicals using liquid reagents or tablets, and you do it inside a see-through vial, which makes it much easier to do a color comparison on the color chart.
On the downside, with wet kits you must follow the instructions carefully and more specifically, you must use the correct number of drops. If you use more or less, the test will be very inaccurate.
2. Ease of Use
As stated above, test strips are easier to use and therefore, should be considered if this is your primary concern.
For wet chemical kits, there are easy-to-use options that incorporate the use of a photometer, which takes the manual color matching work into its own hands and gives you accurate results.
Though expensive, if you want an easy-to-use wet chemical kit, go for the digital option such as LaMotte's 2056.
Durability is also another thing to consider. Since you will be using the kit weekly or even daily, you should ensure that the delicate parts are waterproof (for instance photometers) for better durability.
Storage plays a big role when it comes to durability. For test strips, the best way to store them should be in moisture-proof containers such as in Poolmaster's 22212.
Its Desiccant-lined bottle absorbs any humidity, which may otherwise affect the integrity of the testing pads.
For wet chemical kits, ensure that you get one with a hard-carrying case like in Blue Devil's B7448. This will protect the components inside and also make it easier for you to transport the set to the site.
Cheap is expensive, but this does not mean that the most affordable pool test kit is not effective. At the same time, the most expensive kit might not be the most effective.
Instead, you should consider kits that perform the tests that you are interested in while delivering consistent results, then buy the most affordable one from your findings.
1. What are the chemicals in my pool?
The most commonly used chemical in swimming pool treatment is chlorine. Not only does it kill bacteria and algae, but it also oxidizes other materials such as dirt and chloramines so as to destroy them.
However, cyanuric acid can also be found in your pool if you have ever used any chlorine stabilizer. Hypochlorous acid is also present as a result of chlorine reacting with water and if you have hard water or plastered walls, expect some calcium salts in there as well.
Basically, it might seem like plain water to you, but your pool’s water actually carries a lot of chemicals in it.
2. What is the balanced water?
Balanced water should basically have a pH of 7.4-7.6, an alkalinity level of 100-150 ppm and a calcium hardness of 200-275 ppm for plastered pools.
3. What do I need to test?
There are 4 basic tests that should be done. These are pH, chlorine, calcium hardness and total alkalinity. If your pool is located outdoors, a cyanuric acid test is also a must.
4. Who will use the kit to test?
As the pool owner, you should use the kit while following the instruction to the letter. You can hire a professional if you don’t think that you are capable of doing the tests correctly, but this is usually a very simple task.
However, ensure that the kit is out of the reach of children because the reagents are very hazardous.
5. Why should I use the pool test kit?
It is important to keep your pool water balanced and safe to swim in. To achieve this, you must carry out tests so that you know when the water is balanced and when it needs some chemical additives so as to keep it balanced and safe to use.
6. How often should I test my pool?
This depends on use. For your personal pool, tests can be done weekly while on heavy use, the best schedule would be 2-3 times a week.
However, for commercial pools, vitals tests such as the one on chlorine should be done every hour. This is because it is important to maintain chlorine at the required level so as to keep to pool sanitized at all times.
There is no doubt that pool test kits are very essential in helping to maintain a clean and healthy pool. However, you must get the best pool test kit so as to achieve that and this pool test kit review will help you to do just that.
That said, Poolmaster's 22260 stands out as the best pool test kit because it is reasonably priced, yet performs the 5 basic tests. However, if money is not a problem, we recommend LaMotte's ColorQ Pro 11 as the best kit.
- 10 Best Pool Test Kits – Review
- 1. Poolmaster 22260 – Best Overall Pool Test Kit
- 2. Poolmaster 22212 – Best Budget Pool Test Kit
- 3. AquaChek 551236 – Best Pool Water Test Strips
- 4. Taylor Technologies Inc K-1766 – Best Pool Test Kit for Saltwater
- 5. Taylor Technologies Inc K-2005 – Best Taylor Tech Pool Test Kit
- 6. HTH 1173 – Best Compact Wet Chemical Pool Test Kit
- 7. Blue Devil B7448 – Best Blue Devil Pool Test Kit
- 8. LaMotte ColorQ Pro 11 – Best Digital Pool Test Kit
- 9. Taylor Technologies Inc K-2006 – 6-Way Wet Chemical Pool Test Kit
- 10. LaMotte 2056 – 7-Way Digital Pool Test Kit
- How to Buy the Best Pool Test Kit