Pool Test Kit Guide
Unless you are using the expertise of a professional, you need to use quality products to ensure you are maintaining the chemical balance of your pool. This is why a pool test kit is such an important purchase. Without the right product, you could be adding the wrong amount of chemicals into your pool water which could be causing irritation and make the pool unsafe.
To help you find the ideal pool test kit and to understand them better, we have created the following buyer’s guide.
What To Look For In A Pool Test Kit
Whichever type of pool test kit you opt for, it must be able to provide readings of different chemical levels. There are four main types but if it can give you more, you can ensure the water is even more hygienic and clean.
Look for pH, chlorine, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
Easy To Read
No one wants to conduct the test and not be able to understand what the reading means. This is why better products give you a clear indication as to what adjustments you need to make. A pool test strip is good for this, as is a digital pool test kit.
Because you might be eager to put in the chemicals and get on with your day, it is important to be able to take a fast reading. Some products are better than this than others but never settle for anything that doesn’t work within seconds.
When buying a liquid pool test kit, you need somewhere to keep all the reagents and other small parts. A carry case usually has specialist places to keep bottles separate and makes it easy to store everything safely and in one place.
Some products are better at this than others and whilst most pool water tends to sit within certain levels, extremes are not uncommon if left for a long time. This is why it is important to find a product that provides a decent reading range.
What Are The Most Important Chemical Levels For A Pool Test Kit?
Most brands tend to give you the same four readings which are the most important. Anything beyond these four is a bonus. Look for a combination of pH, chlorine, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
Why Use A Pool Test Kit?
If you aren’t already using a pool test kit then you are either new to the world of cleaning a pool, using a random amount of chemicals, or have left the pool and now need to stay on top of the chemical levels.
There are various benefits to using them, if you do not know the level of chemicals you should be using then you could be adding too many. This could cause irritation to your skin, eyes, and is definitely not safe to use, especially for kids.
If you are not adding enough, the pool will soon turn a different color, housing algae that is a favorite place for bacteria to bunch together. This again makes the water unsafe.
Using a pool test kit makes it easy to get an accurate reading so you can see exactly how many of each chemical you need to add.
Different Types of Pool Test Kits
There are a handful of options here and all of them are easy to get to grips with.
Pool Test Strips
These are great because they are disposable and usually come in large packs. You only have to swipe the strip into the water and wait for it to reveal the color changes that indicate what you need to do next.
They are reliable but do have an expiry date so stay on top of this and make sure you have a decent supply.
Liquid Pool Test Kit
Using dropper bottles to release reagent into a sample from the water, it changes the color revealing the amount of each chemical that is in your pool. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer to make sure you add the right amount of chemicals.
These are popular with professionals although there is more room for human error involved. When used correctly, they are just as accurate as any other type.
Digital Pool Test Kit
These types still use a reagent to create a reading but everything is made clear on a digital display. This makes these types the easiest pool test kits to use but expect to have to pay more for a decent product.
The product does all the hard work for you which means there is less room for error.
How Often Should I check Pool Chemical Balance?
Some people will say it is a good idea to check your chemical levels every day but this can be difficult. This is particularly the case for pool test strips which can go fast.
There is nothing wrong with checking the pool chemicals every couple of days and consider the fact that a professional doesn’t visit a pool every day unless there is an issue.
What Are The Optimal Chemical Levels In A Pool?
This will vary slightly depending on who you ask but a rough indication as to the best chemical levels for a swimming pool are as follows:
Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm
Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400
Total Alkalinity: 80 – 140 ppm
pH: 7.4 – 7.6
Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm
Anything within this range should ensure you can enjoy crystal clear water that is hygienic.
What Is The Best Type of Pool Test Kit?
It all depends on your level of expertise and preference. Some people like pool test strips because they are easy to use. If you know how to use them, liquid pool test kits are highly accurate and can be more affordable.
A digital pool test kit is good for a beginner as it takes away a lot of the guesswork although you should expect to have to pay a fair bit more. Each of these will be accurate and make it easier for you to keep your pool in pristine condition all year round.