Best Pool Test Kits
Owning and maintaining a pool is not a walk in the park. As great as they are to have, a lot of work goes into them. A good practice for pool owners, in fact, is to test the water to see if it needs any work.
Well, let’s just say that is why you are here today. With well-designed pool test kits, you will be able to test your pool water for different chemicals. While the best pool test kits will distance themselves from inferior kits, there are still plenty of great options for maintenance.
But, it is up to you to figure out how to separate the great from the good. Of course, we are also here to help you with just that. As with many other types of kits, there are a lot of decisions that you will need to make along the way.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10.75 hrs of research
It comes with a helpful booklet
It works stupendously
You can also buy this is packs of two or three
- Taylor Technologies Inc K-2006
- LaMotte ColorQ Pro
- HTH Pool Test Kit
- Poolmaster 5-Way Test Kit
- Poolmaster Test Strips
- AquaCheck Test Strips
- Pentair All-in-One Kit
- Blue Devil Test Kit
- Lamotte R-2056 Refill Kit
- Jed Pool Tools Test Kit
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top Picks for the Best Pool Test Kits
1. Taylor Technologies Inc K-2006
It comes with a helpful booklet
It works stupendously
You can also buy this is packs of two or three
Some users have received a colorless comparator
When people reference the most elite pool test kits on the market, this one often always gets mentioned. From top to bottom, good luck finding too many better options out there.Read more
This is one of the best pool water test kits because of its versatility. It can perform tests for alkalinity, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid, pH, and total and combined chlorine.
Ease of Use
Alright, so this kit will take some time to get accustomed to. However, an informative booklet does help quite a bit. Then again, this kit is time-consuming and some buyers have received a colorless comparator.
The main reason this is the best pool water test kit? It is due to its effectiveness. Needless to say, this set is top-notch and is a must-have if you want a clean and fresh pool.
This pool test set should last you a while but you can also buy this in packs of two or three. This is nice if you want to buy in bulk.
As you can see from the photos, a nice little storage box is included with your purchase. It is a nice way to store all the contents that come with your purchase.
Granted you do not receive a colorless comparator, this pool water test kit is just phenomenal. Of all the pool test kits on the market, it is no wonder why this has arguably received the most acclaim.
2. LaMotte ColorQ Pro
It allows you to perform 11 different tests
The results are very accurate
Backed by a six-month warranty
It is a bit pricy
Even though this is a pricier option, it is also one of the best. It allows you to perform 11 different pool tests and is highly accurate. Indeed, the new price is going to be worth it.Read more
Not too many other sets sport the versatility of this one. The long-list of tests you can perform include those for bromine, pH, copper, iron, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, and more.
Ease of Use
This is a digital pool water tester, and you will see the test results on the digital display. As for the operation, it is a bit time-consuming, but you will get the hang of it after a while.
One reviewer noted how this kit was dead on accurate with the results that their pool company came up with. Also, the digital display will shut off after five minutes to preserve battery life.
Each liquid reagent only takes five drops. While this pool testing kit will eventually run out, clearly, the reagents should last you a decent amount of time.
This comes in a toolbox of sorts, and it makes for convenient storage. You could even transport it with you if you wanted to test a friend’s pool.
Yes, this is a bit of a price option, but it is well worth it. The versatility of the testing, combined with the effectiveness of the tests makes this one of the best pool test kits to date.
3. HTH Pool Test Kit
It can be used for saltwater pools
You can test for cyanuric levels
The readings seem to be really accurate
The included “case” is subpar
It lacks some tests
This is simply one of the best affordable options out there. Even though an adequate case is not included with your purchase, the contents of the kit itself make up for it.Read more
All in all, this can perform up to six different tests. While this is not utterly amazing, you can test for cyanuric acid, total hardness, bromine, pH, total chlorine, and alkalinity.
Ease of Use
Overall, this could have been more user-friendly. With that said, after a few tests, you will have a better understanding of how everything works.
According to one specific buyer, this pool water test kit matched the results of the tests they performed with a Taylor Technologies kit (which is a very esteemed brand).
With this one kit, you can perform up to 100 tests. When looking at the incredibly low price, it is hard to go wrong with that value.
The primary area this pool test kit lacks in is its storage. The plastic packaging you see in the photos is what you get. But, it is far from a proper and adequate case to store these contents in.
For the price, many of you will be enthralled by this wonderfully-designed set. It is missing some tests, admittedly, but gets the job done efficiently and effectively.
4. Poolmaster 5-Way Test Kit
There are five testing options
It comes with a polyethylene case
It is ideal for beginners
It can feel clunky to use
Talk about one of the most popular options out there? Thousands of users have left their remarks on the quality of this kit. While popularity is not everything, the hype here is mostly warranted.Read more
There are five testing options provided to you here (acid demand, total alkalinity, pH, bromine, and chlorine). Also, for the record, only one of the solutions is sealed.
Ease of Use
Due to the round vials, somewhat lackluster instructions, and subpar viewing of the color chips, it can be clunky to use this pool test kit. There is just no other way to put it.
According to one user, it is a bit easier to analyze the colors by taking a picture of them with your phone’s camera. Also, from an overall perspective, these tests seem to be pretty accurate.
There are both one-ounce and ½-ounce solutions included (the different solutions test for different chemicals). They are not huge bottles, admittedly, so be aware of that.
As you can see from the photos, this does come with a polyethylene case. This simple storage solution is really nice to have, quite frankly.
Some of you will be off-put by the clunky operation of this pool water test kit. However, it is an inexpensive and highly effective way to ensure your pool water is safe to swim in.
5. Poolmaster Test Strips
Six different chemical factors can be analyzed
The bottle is well-designed
It contains 50 strips
They can be hard to read
The pH levels can be inconsistent
Alright, so this is a different type of “kit”. These are actually pool test strips and they are produced from Poolmaster. They can analyze six different chemical factors which makes them extremely versatile.Read more
There is nothing too out of the ordinary here as this set tests for bromine, total and free chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and total hardness.
Ease of Use
As these are strips, all you need to do is stick them six inches deep in the water for just a few seconds. However, they can be hard to read once you pull them out (especially the pH levels).
Granted you can see colors easily, as you match them up with the colors on the bottle, these strips will yield accurate results. Then again, the pH level readings have been criticized by former users.
There are 50 strips in this kit. For the low price, this is a pretty good value. Plus, you can easily buy two or three of these to double and triple the strips you have to work with.
The included bottle is incredibly well-designed. It allows for easy one-handed opening and closing and will keep the strips dry.
Simple but effective, these pool test strips are quite lovely. Sure, they can be hard to read, but they are so basic and efficient that it is almost hard to believe.
6. AquaCheck Test Strips
A reusable color chart comparator is included
It comes with 100 strips
The strips can perform seven tests
This is not the most accurate option
Though it may be a bit of a stretch to dub this is a pool test kit, it can perform multiple tests. In this regard, this qualifies as a kit just fine.Read more
These test strips remain one of the best pool test kits due to their multiple tests. All in all, these strips offer seven-way testing.
Ease of Use
These are as easy as it gets. All you need to do is grab a strip and immerse it in your pool water for 15 seconds. From there, you need to match the colors with the color chart comparator that is located on the side of the bottle.
The accuracy of these strips could be better. In specific, the cyanuric acid readings have been known to be way off (which is pretty disappointing).
For the price, it is pretty remarkable that you receive 100 strips. On the other hand, if you end up hating these, then you will have a lot of pieces to toss out.
The included storage container easily fits into your hands and contains all the strips for easy access.
The accuracy alone may scare you off. However, keep in mind that most of the tests are at least accurate enough to be effective. Plus, the value is excellent.
7. Pentair All-in-One Kit
It comes in a red storage bucket
A water test booklet comes with your purchase
It is an all-in-one kit
The round sample tubes make things more difficult
This is indeed an all-in-one pool test kit and even though it is not one of the most popular options out there, it is still a nice little hidden gem of sorts.Read more
This is dubbed an all-in-one pool water test kit, and it allows you to perform several tests. This includes tests for total and combined chlorine, total alkalinity, acid demand, and pH.
Ease of Use
While this is not hard to use, in theory, the round sample tubes can make things trickier. It is a bit hard to distinguish the color shade, which can be somewhat troublesome.
Based on the experiences of previous buyers, it seems that this kit succeeds in this area. The tests are not going to be wildly inaccurate, and that is an excellent thing.
There are two, once-ounce bottles and two, ½-ounce bottles that you get to work with. For the most part, this is pretty standard stuff.
While the red storage box that is included is not vintage or anything like that, it is well-designed for its purpose. It safely and securely holds all the components of this kit.
It is a bit of a shame that this pool test kit can be hard to decipher at times as it truly is good at what it does. You need to live with this, and you will be fine.
8. Blue Devil Test Kit
It supports five-way testing
It comes with testing vials
It will last year after year
The alkalinity dye can be hard to see
The instructions could be better
This is yet another really good affordable option but it is also a kit that is not perfect. But, for the money, you really can’t beat the value of this set.Read more
Overall, this is pretty basic in its versatility. With that said, it can test your pool’s water for pH, bromine, alkalinity, and acid demand levels.
Ease of Use
What is nice is a color comparator and easy-to-use testing vials come with your purchase (along with instructions). However, the concentration of the chemical was neglected.
It does not seem like too many buyers have been appalled by the results provided by this pool test kit. That said, one reviewer did make mention of the fact that the total alkalinity dye is pale blue (which makes things more difficult than it needs to be).
Depending on the frequency of when you run tests, this kit should last you for quite a while. The pool test kit description even notes you will be able to use it year after year.
The case that is included is fairly cheap and difficult to secure. Still, it is nice that something was included as it can still properly hold all these contents.
Some changes and additions to this pool water test kit would have been nice, admittedly. For what it is, though, you really can’t go wrong with it as the value is just through the roof.
9. Lamotte R-2056 Refill Kit
Six test tubes are included
They are pretty effective
It can perform seven tests
The expiration dates can be controversial
The calcium test can be hard to get right
What makes this option really good is the fact that you can perform seven different tests. Then again, this kit has been known to come with tests that expire sooner than you would expect.Read more
As noted, this is one of the best pool test kits due to the seven different tests that can be performed. This includes calcium hardness, cyanuric acid, pH, and alkalinity.
Ease of Use
For whatever reason, several buyers have noted that testing for calcium hardness can be hard to get right with this set. Everything else seems to be pretty straight forward, though.
As so many other buyers have noted, be prepared for quick expiration dates with some of these solutions. They work well before this time, though, but this should have been accounted for.
The quantity is pretty good here. But, if one of the solutions expires before you can use all of it, then you will be forced to throw it out regardless.
It is not made clear if a storage box is included with your purchase or not. If one is, the manufacturer should have advertised it better.
It is fair to say that this is a somewhat controversial pool testing kit. It is also fair to say, however, that it does work well.
10. Jed Pool Tools Test Kit
It should last a while
A carrying case is included
It does its job well
It is cheaply made
Not a ton of versatility
Simple and effective would be the best way to describe this next option. It is not loaded with different pool water tests, though, so you do need to be aware of that.Read more
All this does is measure total chlorine and pH levels, nothing more and nothing less. As such, this is not the most versatile option out there, clearly.
Ease of Use
The round sample tubes do make things a bit trickier. But, overall, this is pretty easy to use and while be a breeze when you get the hang of it.
Some users have noted that the pH readings can be somewhat inaccurate.
There are probably more than 100 drops per bottle and each test only requires four drops. So, if you do the math, you will find that you can perform several tests with these bottles.
Let’s just get this out of the way, the included case is pretty cheap and it shows. The tabs that are used to secure this are easy to break.
No, this is not the best option but we wanted to include it because it will be ideal for some of you. It is also a cheap purchase so even if it proves worthless to you, it will not be that big of a deal.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
You need to pick the kits that test for the chemicals you want.
If you could look at your pool’s water and immediately identify what chemicals were present and their potencies, then there would be no reason to buy a specialized kit. Though this is not possible, so you need a piece of dedicated equipment to get the job done. But, not all pool test kits will be able to test for the same chemicals.
While some will be more versatile than others, you probably want to buy at least kits that test for your water’s pH balance, total alkalinity, and chlorine levels. Consider these the necessary three tests. Of course, why are these so important to test for?
For starters, the pH balance is crucial to see how acidic the water currently is. The same concept applies for total alkalinity except that you are looking for how much alkaline substances are in the water. As for the chlorine levels, too much chlorine can be quite problematic and can cause skin irritation.
Of course, there are also plenty of other chemicals that some pool test kits can test for. For example, some options may be able to test salinity, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, iron, copper, and bromine. To get the most versatile pool test kit possible, look for all these types of tests.
Ease of Use
Most pool test kits are not going to be too tricky to use so that is the good news.
Pool water testing is not supposed to be a laborious process. After all, maintaining a pool is hard enough, so the last thing you want to do is make the process even harder. Thankfully, most pool test kits will not be too cumbersome to use or anything like that.
However, the style you pick will often dictate how easy it will be to use. For example, colorimetric test kits (or pool test strips) involve you placing a piece into your water. From there, you compare the colors with the included color chart comparator.
You also have digital pool testers, though, and these are just as simple. While these can be a bit more time-consuming, a lot of the guesswork is taken out of the equation. The reason for this is you will never need to compare colors together.
And, lastly, you have titrimetric pool test kits. As you will need to add the reagents one by one, these can also be time-consuming. However, much like with the digital testers, these are straight forward and pretty simple to use.
Do you really want to waste your money on a pool test kit that is not accurate?
It is worth noting that specific pool test kits will be more accurate and precise than others, no matter what you do. As with their ease of use, however, a lot of what dictates their accuracy is their style. And, as noted, there are three primary styles that you can choose from and all work a bit differently.
The most premium choice is digital pool testers. While they can be quite expensive, their accuracy tends to be the best. These pool test kits will use metallic probes (or reagents) to measure your pool’s water for specific chemicals.
Once you complete the tests, the results will appear on the dedicated digital displays.
Not too far off from digital testers are titrimetric test kits. With these, you take a sample of your pool’s water and add the included reagents to create a reaction. Due to this system, these kits tend to be incredibly accurate. All in the meanwhile, they are also cost-effective.
Lastly, you have test strips, and these are the least accurate of them all. The main reason for this is you will be required to interpret the colors that you see. Leaving guesswork involved is not the best idea for ultimate accuracy. Then again, test strips still work just fine and are incredibly affordable.
Look, these are not going to last forever but you still want to buy pool water test kits that allow you to perform a good number of tests.
Because you will need to test your pool’s water on a somewhat frequent basis (more on that later), you will probably want to get good value out of your pool test kit. In other words, you will probably want to buy one that allows you to perform several tests. But can you?
Once again, it will depend on the style of the kit that you buy. If you want to go with test strips, you will know right away how many tests you can perform. The number of pieces that are included will dictate how many tests you can perform. For example, 100 strips can conduct 100 tests.
But, if you are dealing with kits that come with different reagents, then it will work a little differently. Most pool test kits will provide you with ½ to 1-ounce bottles of various reagents.
And, typically, one test will require around four to five drops of the reagents. So, while these will not last forever, you will still be able to conduct quite a few tests.
The best kits will come with storage cases that will make things easier for you.
Whenever you go to buy any kit, you may want to make sure that you have the storage aspect figured out. After all, regarding pool test kits, most of them will come with quite a few accessories and tools. And, keeping them stored nicely and adequately will be helpful.
For the pool test kits that come with reagents, test tubes, and other such accessories, sellers will typically include a toolbox of sorts. While this does not need to be something heavy-duty, it should still be component enough to store all the accessories inside in an organized fashion.
As for pool test strips, these will typically just come in a small little container. Usually, the size of your palm will effectively hold the test strips. These will also often come with a color chart comparator for quick access.
Another note about why this section is essential, what if you want to test your friend’s or family member’s pool water. With a kit that can easily be stored, it can then be easily transported. Though, this will only pertain to some of you.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
It all depends on what you want to test for when you go to buy one of these kits, quite honestly. After all, if you want ultimate versatility, then you will want to opt for the options that can test up to 10 or 11 different chemicals and such. Then again, other kits will be limited to five or six. Either way, choose the sets that test for the substances you want to test.
For the most part, these are not going to be too tricky to use. With that said, some options will be easier to use than others. Outside of included directions, the different kit styles offer different levels of simplicity. And, quite honestly, all the different styles perform in various manners, which affects their ease of use.
Do you want to buy a kit that is incredibly inaccurate at testing certain chemicals in your pool? Again, the different styles will all yield you mixed results (with some offering more precision and accuracy). Outside of the form, however, an excellent way to assess the accuracy of any given kit is to see what other buyers have had to say. This can be an excellent reference for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can pool test strips go bad?
Let’s say that you buy some test strips, but you do not use them very often. After a while, are they ever going to go bad? Well, it all depends on the brand and if you store them properly (more on that later). As for the brand, some may expire in a year or two. It merely depends on the manufacturer.
If you use the pool strips consistently, however, you should never reach the point where they go “bad.”
q: How long will the reagents last?
Okay, so what about if you buy a pool water test kit that comes with reagents? How long are they going to last? Once again, it will depend on the brand and how you store them (sound familiar). But, the reagents will typically only be suitable for one or two years regardless.
With that said, much like with pool strips, you need to store them in a cold and dark location. Sunlight and extreme temperatures are your worst enemies in this case. Avoid storing the reagents in these types of environments, and you should be good.
q: What happens if your test yields no chlorine?
What happens if you know your pool has chlorine, but the chlorine test kit yields none of it? There are two possible reasons why this is happening. Firstly, it may be because your chlorine level is too high. While it seems odd that it would go undetected, the potency of the chlorine can bleach out the reagent.
Of course, it may also be because there is an excessively high amount of cyanuric acid in your pool. This has been known to “lock” chlorine and prevent it from being active.
q: How often should you test your pool’s water?
The more times you test your pool, the better. With that said, it is also not necessary to waste the contents of your kit by checking it every hour. That is not necessary. And, quite frankly, different chemicals should be tested for at different frequencies.
For your chlorine and pH levels, you should check them at least twice a week (maybe even three times). As for the total alkalinity, get in the habit of doing this once a week. Other chemicals you will not need to worry about as much as frequently, for the most part.
q: Can you use reagents in other kits with yours?
It seems convenient to take what you need out of different kits and compile one large one, right? Well, perhaps, but this is not recommended as the accuracy could end up suffering. This is because the concentration, color variation, and drop sizes will affect accuracy.
So, do yourself a favor and stick with your reagents in one kit and do not mix and match.
q: How do you clean digital meters?
There may come a time where you want to clean off your digital meter (if you go with a digital pool tester). You can do this just fine, but you need to keep it simple. All you should do is take a non-abrasive cloth with some fresh water to get the job done.
Of course, do not expose the digital screen itself to water (at least directly). You could lightly dampen the non-abrasive cloth with fresh water to clean the screen itself (do not use very much water at all).