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Best Pool Test Kits in 2020 – Reviewed

For a swimming pool to be safe to use, the pool owner has to use an appropriate blend of chemicals. Some of the most common pool chemicals include TriChlor, DiChlor, Cyanuric Acid, Bromine, Calcium Hypochlorite, Chlorine, Potassium Monopersulfate, as well as an assortment of water balancers and specialty chemicals. And these chemicals have to be present in the appropriate amounts for the pool’s water to be balanced.

How can a person determine if their pool has the right chemical balance? Well, the sure-fire way to find out is by finding and regularly using the best pool test kits available. A kit that allows the pool owner to run the necessary diagnostics on their pool so that they can determine whether a particular component of their pool chemistry needs to be raised or lowered. Let’s look at them, so we can all have the tools we need for a balanced pool.

Quick Summary of Best Pool Test Kits

 Editor’s Choice 
Poolmaster Essential Collection Chemistry Case  (review)
 Also Recommended 
JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips  (review)
 Also Consider 
Runbo 4-In-1 Pool & Spa Testing Strips  (review)

Reviews

Editor’s Choice: Poolmaster Essential Collection Chemistry Case

For pool owners who need a comprehensive pool test kit to help them maintain proper water balance, they couldn’t do better than to use the Pool Master Essential Collection Chemistry Case. In this case, the pool owner will have the tests they need to test their water for the 5-most important parts that make up their pool’s water chemistry. These parts are the Chlorine level, the Bromine level, pH level, Acid Demand, and Total Alkalinity. And these tests are all contained in this kit that’s easy enough for just about anyone to use to maintain proper pool chemistry.How is this test used? The test is used by retrieving water samples from a depth of approximately 12 to 18-inches out of the pool and from an area that’s away from the return lines. Once that water is taken, the test vials are rinsed out and the pool water is added to the vials, and then testing agents are added. The cap is then put on the vials and the water is thoroughly mixed. The pool owner then uses the readout scales to figure out their pool’s chemistry levels, so they can adjust them as they need to adjust them.

This kit comes with testing vials, plus chlorine/bromine, chlorine neutralizer, pH test, total alkalinity, and acid demand indicator solutions. The kit also comes with readout scales that are made from UV protected color chips that are integrated within the test block and not printed on them. This prevents the sun from fading out the numbers on the scale and thereby ruining it. All of these features make this kit one of the best ones for testing pool water, and that’s why we’ve decided to make it our number one choice. There just isn’t a test kit as comprehensive or easy-to-use as this one.

PROS:

  • It’s a comprehensive testing kit.
  • Has a UV-resistant scale.
CONS:

  • none.

Also Recommended: JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips

The next pool test kit on our list is this one from JNW Direct. Although this testing kit doesn’t have the vials or the pizzazz that our number one test has, it still is capable of providing the pool owner with the necessary tools for them to keep on their pool chemistry. This kit is capable of measuring 6-key pool chemistry components and these include Total Hardness, Total Chlorine, Free Chlorine, Total Alkalinity, Bromine, and pH. That means that it’s a great tool for determining pool chemistry, it’s just doesn’t come with the UV-coated scale or vials like our number one pick did.How does this test work? It works by the pool owner taking a sample of pool water from their pool and placing it into a clean glass. They then remove a strip from the Pool & Spa Testing Vial and dip the strip in the water for two seconds. After the two seconds have elapsed, the strip is then removed and then placed on a tissue. When 30-seconds has elapsed, the consumer will then compare the color of the strip against the chart on the side of the testing vial. They can then figure out their pool chemistry quite easily. It’s not an exact view of their pool chemistry, more of an estimate really, but it’s close enough for proper pool chemistry management.

Each kit comes with 100 strips, which gives the pool owner 100-tests to keep up on their pool chemistry throughout the swim season. This kit also comes with the JNW Direct APP, an APP that allows the pool owner to record their testing results, check out their latest results, receive recommendations, and track their results over time. Thanks to this little kit, just about anyone can keep up with their pool’s chemistry.

PROS:

  • This pool testing kit is easy to use.
CONS:

  • These tests present an estimation and not spot-on results.

Also Consider: Runbo 4-In-1 Pool & Spa Testing Strips

For our readers who weren’t impressed by either the 5-in-1 or the 6-in-1 tests, we would like to present to them a test that’s a little bit on the simpler side, the Runbo Pool & Test Strip Kit. This is a 4-in-1 kit that isn’t as comprehensive as some of the other kits we’ve reviewed, but it’s cheaper. This kit is capable of measuring Free Chlorine, Bromine, Total Alkalinity, and pH levels, and that’s it. Anyone who needs a kit that does more than that, then they’re probably going to want to skip over this one.Having said that, there are some things that we like about this test. For one, we like the fact that it’s portable and can easily be put into a pocket or a handbag. We also liked the fact that the strips were easy to use. There was no remixing of reagent materials to get a test result. All the pool owner has to do is follow the directions and dip the strips into the pool water and wait the elapsed amount of time. We also like the fact that each kit comes with 100 kits, so the pool owner can keep track of their pool chemistry all season long. That’s not too bad for a testing kit that doesn’t cost too much to buy.

PROS:

  • This test is portable and inexpensive.
CONS:

  • It’s not as comprehensive as other testing kits.

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

Multiple Readings

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.

Fast Reading

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.

Carry Case

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.

Reading Rage

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.

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