Keeping your pool clean and inviting takes quite some work, and one of the most crucial things you need to keep doing is testing the pool chemistry. Although there are many ways of doing these tests, few can beat the ease of use and cost-effectiveness of using the best pool test strips.
Test strips only require you to dip them in water and wait for the color to change before comparing it against the provided scale or chart. They can test everything from chlorine to pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness.
There are many suitable pool test strips out there, but to help you find the right ones for your pool, here we review a few top-rated options and explain what to look for when buying.
6 Best Pool Test Strip – Review
1. Best Overall: JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips
- Tests for: Total Hardness, Total Chlorine, Bromine, Free Chlorine, pH, Cyanuric Acid & Total Alkalinity
The JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips are our first and best overall pool test strips. They allow you to test all the crucial parameters, are easy to use, and work for any pool type.
With these test strips, you can test for 7 different parameters, including free chlorine, cyanuric acid and total hardness. Therefore, you can keep track of all the crucial elements you need to understand to ensure your pool chemistry remains in balance.
You do not need to remember any results, as you can record everything on the free app to ensure easy tracking.
These test strips are super easy to use as they come with some straightforward directions and a large color chart on the bottle that makes results interpretation quick. What’s more, you can use them on any pool as they work on both fresh and saltwater.
The short shelf life will be an issue for some pool owners, given you have to use the test strips in 90 days once you open the container. However, this should not be an issue if you have a busy pool and test regularly.
- Allows you to test more parameters
- Easy to use clear directions
- Comes with a free mobile app for tracking results
- Works for both fresh and saltwater pools
- Relatively short shelf life
2. Best for Salt Testing: AquaChek 561140A Salt Water Swimming Pool Test Strips
- Tests for: Salt Level
If your pool uses a salt generator, the AquaChek 561140A Test Strips deserve a spot in the pool maintenance arsenal. The strips test the salt levels in minutes to help you determine whether you have enough to keep the salt generator producing adequate chlorine for your pool.
Also, you will hardly ever miss anything as the test strips have a wide salt test range of between 400 and 7,000 ppm. Better yet, they deliver highly accurate results consistently. The strips include a chart that compensates for human error to ensure you always get reliable results.
Another element of this kit that many pool owners will love is its pool chemistry insert and directions. The insert is handy for keeping your pool chemistry in perfect balance as it helps you understand what to do.
These test strips are pretty pricey, given there are only 10 in the bottle, but saltwater test strips do not come cheap, and so the price for this kit still offers a good deal.
- Delivers results in minutes
- Wide salt range testing
- Yields accurate results consistently
- Comes with a handy water chemistry insert
- A little pricey for 10 strips
3. Poolmaster 22211 Smart 4-Way Swimming Pool Test Strips
- Tests for: Free Chlorine, Bromine, Alkalinity and pH
The Poolmaster 22211 Test Strips are all about giving you accurate readings of free chlorine, bromine, alkalinity and pH levels. The test strips ensure this with a no-bleed pad and a good color chart.
With the no bleeds pads, you can be sure the color remains the same until you can interpret it, while the easy-read color chart ensures accurate and straightforward color interpretation.
Overall, these pads are pretty easy to use as they come with clear step by step directions that explain everything you need to do. Besides instructions, the strips also come with some handy tips to help enhance your overall pool testing experience.
The bottle that comes with these test strips is also another element that pool owners will love. It makes them easy to store and includes a desiccant liner to keep moisture out and a pop-top for a simple one-handed opening.
Although the chart could be a little larger to cater to users that might not have perfect eyesight, it should be the deal-breaker given the clarity of the colors.
- Accurate color reading with no-bleed pad
- Easy read color chart
- Convenient storage container
- Easy to use with provided directions and tips
- Color chart could be bigger
4. AquaChek 7-Way Pool and Spa Water Test Strips
- Tests for: Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Total Bromine, Total Hardness, pH, Total Alkalinity, and Cyanuric Acid
The AquaChek 7-Way Pool and Spa Water Test strips make it easy to keep your pool chemistry in perfect balance by allowing you to test all the critical parameters. These parameters include free chlorine, hardness and cyanuric acid.
What makes them great for your pool is that they will deliver highly accurate and easy to interpret results in just a few seconds. Hence, you can know the levels of all these parameters in under a minute, which is highly convenient.
The test strips have an optimized color vibrancy thanks to the precise engineering with a unique chemistry paper that does not bleed, which ensures more accurate results.
Additionally, you can use the test strips on any pool and spa type as they will work on both fresh and saltwater.
The colors seem to start fading quite fast after the change. However, you should be okay if you interpret the color change within the 15 to 30 seconds window.
- Delivers accurate results in seconds
- Allows you to test all critical parameters
- Vibrant paper colors for accurate results
- Works for saltwater pools
- Colors start fading fast
5. LaMotte 3028 Insta-Test Plus 6-Way Test Strips
- Tests for: Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Alkalinity, pH, Total Hardness and Cyanuric Acid
LaMotte 3028 Insta-Test Plus 6-Way Test Strips are fast-acting dip and read test strips that give you almost instant results. Once you take the strip from the water, the color should be ready for interpretation.
When it comes to interpreting the results, the manufacturer ensures you will have an easy time and more accurate readings. The test strips come with an easy read color comparator that makes matching the color change you get a breeze.
Storing the remaining test strips for later use should be stress-free as you get a waterproof bottle with a stay-dry liner. Also, the bottle includes a hinged cap to allow you to access the strips quickly.
These test strips seem a little pricier for a pack of 50, but you still get a good deal given they are 6-way. Also, the pH tests could be more accurate, but what you get will still be highly useful for maintaining proper pool chemistry.
- Clear and easy ready color chart
- Storage bottle is waterproof and includes a stay-dry liner
- Delivers results instantly
- Tests all the crucial parameters
- Pricier for a pack of 50 test strips
- pH test could be more accurate
- Tests for: Free Chlorine, pH, Total Alkalinity, & Cyanuric Acid
Speed is always a crucial element when picking test strips, but it should never be a problem for you with the AquaChek Yellow Test Strips Free Chlorine. These test strips will change color in as little as 15 seconds to ensure you get fast enough results.
Testing is more hassle-free with these test strips, and you will never make a mess as there are no reagents to mix or add. Also, they include plenty of room for holding them for even easier usage as you can dip the strip in the pool without getting your fingers wet.
The includes chart provides clear and distinct enough colors to make it easy to interpret your results. Many users will also love the storage bottle because, besides being waterproof, it includes a flip cap for easy test strip dispensing.
These pool test strips seem a little too sensitive to the elements and temperature, meaning storage can be hectic. That said, just making sure you keep them in a cool and dry spot will ensure they maintain their high accuracy.
- Provides results super-fast
- Hassle and mess-free testing
- Easy test strip dispensing with the flip cap
- Simple usage with plenty of room to hold
- A little too sensitive to the elements
Guide to Buy the Best Pool Test Strip
1. What They Test For
You need to know what you want to test for when choosing pool test strips, as different types will test for different things.
Some pool test strips will test for only total chlorine and pH. However, others like the AquaChek 7-Way Pool and Spa Water Test Strips can test for almost all the crucial pool chemistry parameters, including free chlorine and total hardness.
Therefore, the specific parameter you want to test should guide you when deciding on the test strips to buy. Remember that there is no value in purchasing a 7-way test strip kit when you only want to know your pH level.
2. Testing Speed
A good test strip should give you results within a short time to ensure you spend your time fixing the pool chemistry if need be instead of trying to figure out chemical levels.
The good news is that most will change colors in just a few seconds, meaning you can have the results ready in under a minute.
It takes around 15 to 30 seconds for the paper to change color, but it is essential to check the results immediately as the color can fade quickly, leading to inaccurate interpretations.
3. Accuracy & Consistency
Accuracy and consistency are perhaps the most crucial characteristics of a good pool test strip, as they ensure the results you get are actionable.
No matter how fast a test strip changes color or the number of elements it can test, it will be of no use to you if it cannot deliver accurate results consistently.
Here accuracy means the color change should reflect the actual level of what you are testing. On the other hand, consistency means that the results will be the same when you test again using a different strip.
It is crucial to know that test strips are quite subjective as people interpret colors differently, and some are color blind. However, some companies solve this problem by providing an app that allows you to upload an image of the color you get for accurate interpretation.
4. Ease of Use
Overall, pool test strips are pretty straightforward to use as you only need to dip them in water and interpret the color change you get. However, things are not always that exact as some can be easier to understand than others.
Pool test strips that use a color chart with a scale that includes light to dark colors to indicate saturation levels will give you an easier time. It is easier to match the color with the right one on the chart with such test strips.
Some manufacturers will go a step further and provide clear directions on how to hold the strip over the chart, making the job even easier for you.
With the best pool test strips, you have a quick and inexpensive way of testing important parameters like pH, chlorine, alkalinity and water hardness. Regardless of what parameter you plan to check, there is something that will work for you on our list.
That said, the JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips are our top recommendation. These test strips can test up to 7 parameters, and they are easy to use thanks to the clear directions and come with a free mobile app.
However, for those that just want to know the salt levels in their pool to ensure their salt generator is working well, the AquaChek 561140A Salt Water Test Stripsare ideal.