Testing your pool is an essential part of maintenance as you cannot balance its chemistry without knowing the actual levels of crucial things like chlorine levels, alkalinity, and pH.
Therefore, every pool owner needs to know how to choose the best pool test kits for this. A good test kit makes the tests easier to do and allows you to get more accurate results that will help keep your pool in great shape.
There are several kinds of pool test kits out there, and they also differ in other aspects, like what they can test for and their accuracy. In this article, we review a few highly accurate and easy-to-use kits and give you a buying guide to help make it easier to pick one.
7 Best Pool Test Kits – Review
1. Best Overall: Poolmaster 22260 5-Way Swimming Pool & Spa Water Test Kit
- Tests for: Chlorine, Bromine, pH, Acid Demand, and Total Alkalinity
The Poolmaster 22260 is our best overall pool test kit thanks to its versatility, accuracy, and ease of use despite being a liquid pool test kit.
You can use the 5-way pool test kit to measure the chlorine and bromine levels, pH, acid demand, and total alkalinity. For most pool types, these measurements are all you need to maintain proper pool chemistry balance.
The results you get will also be more accurate as the kit comes with precise readout scales integrated within the test kit block and will not chip or fade quickly.
Also, there are some clear step-by-step drop-testing directions and some handy tips to ensure easy testing and more accurate results. What’s more, pool owners will have an easy time organizing the different components of the kit as it comes with a nice polyethylene case.
Like most other liquid pool test kits, this one can be harder to use if you are color blind, as the color change is not very drastic. However, you can always take a photo and use an app or other online tools for color determination.
- Versatile with 5-way testing capability
- Easy to follow directions
- More accurate results with good readout scales
- Easy organization with the included case
- The color change is not drastic enough if you are color blind
2. Best Value for Money: HTH 1274 Multipurpose 6-Way Test Strips
- Tests for: Chlorine, Bromine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Cyanuric Acid
The HTH 1274 Multipurpose 6-Way Test Strips come at a good bargain for a multipurpose kit that can test at least 6 different factors. What’s more, the kit includes at least 30 strips to ensure you get even better value for your money.
You can use the test strips to measure all the primary factors such as chlorine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and CYA. Also, they will work well for all pool sanitization systems, including those that use bromine and saltwater systems.
Pool owners also love that you do not have to wait long for results since the color change happens in seconds.
Although the manufacturer provides a helpful color chart, color-blind pool owners can still get accurate results by taking a picture and sending it to the company via text for interpretation.
Like most other test strips, these are not the most accurate, but they should still provide good enough results to give you an idea of the current state of your pool water. Also, chances are you will have used all of them by the end of the season, so no need to worry about the short shelf life.
- Good value for multipurpose test strips
- Works with all pool types
- Provides results in seconds
- Phone result interpretation
- Could be more accurate
- Shorter shelf life
3. Best Digital Kit: LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit
- Tests for: Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, Alkalinity, PH, Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid
With a digital pool water test kit like the LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7, you can be sure of an easy time testing the pool water and some highly accurate results. It displays the results in a digital readout to make them easier to understand.
Hence, you never have to struggle with color matching or figuring out how to use a look-up chart with this kit. What’s more, the kit allows you to quickly transfer the results to an app via Bluetooth for further analysis.
Depending on what you are measuring, you will only need a few drops of the liquid reagents or just one tablet per test. Therefore, the provided reagents will allow you to make several tests, giving you more value for your money.
When you buy the kit, you also get a heavy-duty and waterproof case that will ensure you have a secure way of storing everything that you do not use up.
Although this test kit does not come cheap, the highly accurate and consistent results you get when testing multiple factors make it worth the cost.
- Accurate and easy-to-interpret digital results
- Does not require any color matching
- Waterproof heavy-duty housing
- Only a little of the reagent is required
- Quite expensive
4. Taylor Technologies INC K-2006 Test Kit
- Tests for: Acid/Base Demand, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, Cyanuric Acid, and Chlorine
The Taylor Technologies INC K-2006 Test Kit will make maintaining your pool chemistry balance easier as you can test for all the crucial factors. You can test acid/base demand, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid, and chlorine.
The tests are relatively easy to do and highly accurate. Also, pool owners will love that they can test both the free and total chlorine levels. What’s more, the kit comes with some color-coded instructions to ensure you know which ones to follow depending on the test you are doing.
Each of the reagent bottles contains at least 0.75 fluid ounces, which is enough for multiple tests, given that you will only need a few drops for each test. Therefore, every bottle goes a long way to ensure you get the best value for money.
Storing any leftover reagents and the other things in the kit, such as the water balance calculator wheel, should be easy as you also get a heavy-duty carrying case.
When you compare this kit to others on our pool test kits review, it seems a little pricey. However, it is worth the price, given the many tests you can do and its high accuracy.
- More detailed chlorine testing
- Clear and easy to follow directions
- Easy organization with the high-quality case
- Lots of reagents for each test
- A little pricier
5. WWD POOL Swimming Pool Spa Water Chemical Test Kit
- Tests for: Chlorine and pH
WWD POOL Swimming Pool Test Kit will allow you to check the chlorine, bromine, or pH levels in your pool fast and more accurately. It includes a clear view water testing unit with accurate scale markings to make it easy to see the results.
The color comparator and testing vials are also easy to see, further ensuring accurate results for you. When you buy the kit, you get a detailed user guide and some easy-to-follow instructions to ensure you can quickly figure out what to do.
The kit comes in a compact and heavy-duty plastic casing that will make it easy to organize for storage and easier to carry on the go.
The limited testing capability of this test kit is its main drawback, given that it only tests chlorine, bromine, and pH levels. However, the manufacturer makes this clear in the description, and it is also more affordable.
- Easy to see color comparator
- Accurate test results
- Straightforward to use
- Simple kit organization and storage
- Limited testing capability
6. AquaChek 561140A Salt Water Swimming Pool Test Strips
- Tests for: Salt
If your primary concern is to measure the salt level in your pool, the AquaChek 561140A are the perfect test strips for you. They measure salt levels from 400 to 7,000 ppm, which is a wide enough range to ensure they work for any pool.
Besides the wide measuring range, these test strips are also highly accurate, and you do not have to wait around to wait for results as they work in just a few minutes.
These strips come with a handy water chemistry insert that will be highly useful when trying to keep your water in perfect balance. What’s more, they are compatible with both saltwater and chlorine pools to allow you to use them for most pools.
One gripe that some pool owners might have with the strips is that they measure salt levels only. However, this should not be a deal-breaker for their price, as you can still buy separate test strips for measuring other pool chemistry factors.
- Wide salt measurement range
- Delivers accurate results fast
- Comes with a handy water chemistry insert
- Works for both saltwater and chlorine pools
- Measures salt level only
7. AquaChek 7-Way Pool and Spa Water Test Strips
- Test for: Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, Hardness, pH, Total Alkalinity, and Cyanuric Acid
With the AquaChek 7-Way Pool and Spa Water Test Strips, you can be sure of getting accurate results in seconds, so you can dedicate more time to working on your pool chemistry.
These test strips will measure all the essential parameters from free and total chlorine to others like pH, total alkalinity, and cyanuric acid levels. Hence, they will be handy for keeping your pool chemistry in perfect balance.
Each strip has optimized color vibrancy thanks to a unique chemistry paper to ensure the color never bleeds, so you always get accurate results consistently. Also, each bottle contains lots of test strips to last the entire season and give you great value for money.
One complaint pool owners often have with these, and most other test strips is the short shelf life. However, most test strips are for use in one season, so this should not be a big concern.
- Fast and accurate tests
- Measures all the critical parameters
- More vibrant paper color for increased accuracy
- Lots of strips in the bottle to last a long time
- Shorter shelf life
Guide to Buy the Best Pool Test Kit
1. Test Kit Type
You will need first to decide the test kit type you prefer as there are several options. The type you choose will determine everything from the ease of use to the accuracy and what you can test for, and it is hence crucial.
You can classify most test kits into three main categories: test strips, digital, and liquid test kits.
Test strips are a colorimetric test kit meaning they work by changing color when testing the pool water. They are the easiest to use and also the cheapest way of testing your pool water.
Using them only requires you to dip the strip into the pool water and then allow it to change color before comparing the color with the provided chart.
Although this method of testing pool water is not always very accurate, it is still quite versatile. With some good test strips like the AquaChek 7-Way Pool and Spa Water Test Strips, you can test up to 7 different factors.
Digital Test Kits
Digital test kits work using metallic probes or digital sensors. When you insert the probes or sensors into the water, they will display reading on an electronic screen, allowing you to check things like pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels in just a few seconds.
With a digital test kit like the LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit, you can be sure of getting quick and highly accurate results.
However, these kits cannot measure as many factors as test strips. Most will only test two or three elements. Also, digital test kits tend to be more expensive.
Liquid Test Kits
A liquid test kit like the Poolmaster 22260 5-Way Swimming Pool Test Kit is a titrimetric kit, meaning it uses color-changing reagents to give you results.
What makes these kits some of the most popular out there is that they are more affordable and provide highly accurate results.
That said, liquid pool test kits can be pretty complicated to use for beginners. They require you to take water samples from the pool and add a precise amount of the reagent to the water when testing.
2. Tests Performed
There are several things you need to measure to keep your pool chemistry in balance. Therefore, when deciding on the kit to buy, you must check the elements it can test for in the water.
Kits that can test several parameters are better, as they will eliminate the need to buy several kit types for your pool.
Test strips are the most versatile as they can measure at least 7 factors: pH, alkalinity, total bromine, total chlorine, free chlorine, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid. All in all, the right kit for you depends on what you want to measure.
3. Accuracy and Consistency
Any kit you choose needs to be accurate enough and should also deliver reliable results consistently.
If your test kit is not accurate and consistent, you cannot track pool chemistry problems and will easily miss them at their onset, which is when they are easy and quick to fix.
For example, if you have an imbalance in the alkalinity or pH, you need to pick it up early before the problem worsens as it will take more effort and cost more to fix later on.
4. Ease of Use
You do not want to spend a lot of time figuring out how to use something as simple as a pool test kit. Therefore, whatever you choose needs to be simple to use.
Test strips are the easiest to use since there is nothing much to do besides dipping them in water and checking the color change. However, if you are color-blind, it will be hard to interpret the results.
Digital pool test kits are also straightforward, while liquid test kits are a little more complicated and come with a steeper learning curve.
As a pool owner, you need the best pool test kit to keep track of your pool chemistry to ensure the water remains clean and safe to use. With our guide and review above, finding the ideal pool test kit for you should now be a breeze.
That said, the Poolmaster 22260 5-Way Swimming Pool Test Kit is our top overall recommendation, thanks to the highly accurate results, ability to test all essential parameters, and ease of use.
However, if you are looking for something that will give you good value for money, the more affordable and multipurpose HTH 1274 Multipurpose 6-Way Test Strips will be perfect.