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Best Pool Test Strips in 2020 – Reviewed

There are so many parts to pool maintenance that it can be hard to keep up at first. Still, certain products make life a lot easier, and when it comes to the all-important chemical balance of a pool, few are better than pool test strips. They are fast to provide a reading, and reliable when you pick a p[roduct from a reputable brand.

When you’re not sure what to look for, this can be easier said than done. Because of this, we have hand-picked a selection of the best pool test strip products available. EWach one is going to make taking a reading easier, so you can get on with the best part of pool ownership – getting into the clean water!

Quick Summary of Best Pool Test Strips

 Editor’s Choice 
AquaChek 551236 7-Way 100 Count Pool Water Test Strips  (review)
 Best Affordable 
Aqua Chek Yellow Test Strips Free Chlorine, 50 Strips, 1-Pack  (review)
 Best With App 
JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips – 100 Strip Pack  (review)
 Best For Spas And Hot Tubs 
Leisure Time 45010A Test Strips Chemical Tester for Spas and Hot Tubs  (review)
 Best For Clear Readings 
Poolmaster 22212 Smart Test 6-Way Swimming Pool and Spa Water Chemistry Test Strips  (review)
 Also Consider 
LaMotte 3028 Insta-Test Plus 6-Way Test Strips  (review)

Reviews

Editor’s Choice: AquaChek 551236 7-Way 100 Count Pool Water Test Strips

Arguably the flagship pool test strip on the market, you get great value in the 100 strips and a product that is reliable as they come. A 7-way testing process, this product gives the most important readings including Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Total Alkalinity, Total Hardness, Bromine, pH, and Cyanuric Acid.

One of the main reasons they are so popular is that they only take 15 seconds to reveal the levels which are fast by any standard. As one might expect, they are also easy to use, as any test strip should be. Just dip it into the water for a few seconds before taking it out and waiting for the levels to become clear. On the side of the bottle is a color chart comparator to make sure everything is just as it should be, or make it clear where you will need to make adjustments to the chemical levels in your pool.

PROS:

  • Includes 100 strips
  • Takes 7 readings
  • Level comparator on the side of the bottle
  • Easy to use and reliable
CONS:

(none)

Best Affordable: Aqua Chek Yellow Test Strips Free Chlorine, 50 Strips, 1-Pack

When it comes to value, few are better than this bundle from Aqua Check. With 50 strips in a pack, you get a decent supply for a small outlay and there is no mess when using them. They only take a few seconds to yield the readings of free chlorine, total alkalinity and stabilizer, and pH levels in the water.

After around 30 seconds you should have a clear indication as to what tweaks you need to make so you can add the perfect blend of chemicals to the water so it is safe to swim in. The fact that it includes reading for stabilizer is great for outdoor pools where UV rays can really take their toll. When you can test the water before every use, you can make sure the family is always swimming in clean and safe water.

PROS:

  • Good value
  • 50 strips in a pack
  • Test for free chlorine, total alkalinity, stabilizer, and pH levels
  • Takes 30 seconds for a reading
CONS:

  • Other products check more levels

Best With App: JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips – 100 Strip Pack

A 6-in-1 test strip pack with 100 included, this makes for good value and a reliable product. They can also be used in hot tubs and it even comes with an in-depth e-book that can help any user get to grips with pool care. There is also an app for easy access to some of the key information around readings.

Speaking of which, this pool test strip pack tests for some of the most common chemical balances including total chlorine, total hardness, bromine, free chlorine, pH & total alkalinity. Using them is as simple as dipping them in the water for a few seconds and follow the color chart on the side of the bottle to see what the levels are.

PROS:

  • 100 strips included
  • Includes app and an e-book
  • Can be used in a hot tub
  • Easy to use
CONS:

  • Doesn’t test for stabiliser.

Best For Spas And Hot Tubs: Leisure Time 45010A Test Strips Chemical Tester for Spas and Hot Tubs

These fast and convenient test strips come in a sturdy container and can be used for both spas and hot tubs. As with the reputable products available, it only takes seconds to get a reading and to make the deal even sweeter, they are available in multi-packs to increase the savings. They test 4 different levels including calcium hardness, pH, alkalinity, and chlorine so they may be a little limited for some.

Still, they work fast and make it easy to decide on the chemical levels you need to add. They make it easy to take readings for small pools and hot tubs although they don’t take enough readings for larger pools.

PROS:

  • Ideal for hot tubs and spas
  • Test 4 levels
  • Includes 50 strips
CONS:

  • Not for medium pools and above

Best For Clear Readings: Poolmaster 22212 Smart Test 6-Way Swimming Pool and Spa Water Chemistry Test Strips

A product that takes six readings to help keep pool water and clear and safe as possible, there are 50 in a pack. This means you can check and amend the levels of bromine, free chlorine, alkalinity, pH, total chlorine, and total hardness. The pads don’t bleed so there is no mess and when dipped in the pool they only take a few seconds to provide accurate readings.

The container is slim and convenient and the readings can be compared to the chart on its side, it is as easy as one might hope a pool test strip to be. As easy as they are to use, they are on the pricier side when some of the alternatives fgive you double to the number of strips for not much more.

PROS:

  • 50 packs
  • Takes 6 readings
  • No bleed readings
CONS:

  • Can be a little pricey compared to some of the competition

Also Consider: LaMotte 3028 Insta-Test Plus 6-Way Test Strips

Another product that has the benefit of being simple and easy to use these pool test strips take 6 different readings. Everything from free chlorine, bromine; total chlorine; as well as the pH; alkalinity water hardness and cyanuric acid levels. The bottle is waterproof and easy to flip open and has all the comparable levels on its side so you are never far from being able to see what the levels are.

The 5 color-coded ranges keep things simple but this still allows anyone who is new to pool care to make appropriate changes to the chemical balance to leave the water crystal clear and as hygienic as possible.

PROS:

  • Takes 6 readings
  • Waterproof bottle
  • 50 strips included
CONS:

  • Other 50 strip products are less expensive

Pool Test Strips

With regular testing, there is no reason why your pool water can’t be sparkling and hygienic all year round. This is a job made a lot easier when you buy quality pool test strips. Most of them tend to be easy to use and make balancing the chemical levels in your water simple. However, there are a few things to understand before you purchase.

To help make pool maintenance as easy as possible, we have created the following pool test strip buyer’s guide.

What To Look For In Pool Test Strips

Durable Materials

Because they are thin and designed for one-time use, you might think a pool test strip is delicate. This is not the case with a reputable brand as they are made from durable materials so they are not so easy to damage. When a pool test strip is flimsy, it is not so reliable which can be bad news for your water.

Multiple Readings

This is where you can usually tell if a product is worth purchasing or not. You need to be able to take a reading of all the important levels so make sure the brand you are considering has all of them in one strip. A good design is a product that provides a reading for pH, chlorine, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and bromine.

Value

There is little use in buying a pack of ten test strips as this won’t last you long. Because you should be testing your water regularly, you. need a decent amount of pool test strips available.

Look for a pack of 50 and above as these give you approximately a month’s worth, and tend to offer better value.

Fast Reading

Most products tend to work within seconds, giving you a clear indication as to the chemical balance of your pool. There is no reason for anyone to be stood around the pool waiting for the go-ahead to get on with the next stage of their pool maintenance.

Reading Range

On top of the number of readings a strip can provide, you also need to have a decent range so you can see if there are any dramatic fluctuations in the water.

This will be more important if the water has not been treated for a while. For example, calcium hardness should have a range of around 150 – 400 ppm.

Why Use Pool Test Strips

There are different ways to measure the chemical levels in your pool, but a pool test strip is the most convenient. Being able to dispose of the strip after means you don’t have to look after it for a start.

You can also get lots of readings in one strip, they are easy to use, and produce results in no time.

What Are The Most Important Chemicals Levels To Check For?

There are multiple chemicals you can check for but with four main ones to monitor, make sure your pool test strip will give you a reading for pH, calcium hardness, chlorine, and total alkalinity. 

How Often Should I Check Pool Chemical Balance?

Although some people advise checking it daily, this can be difficult to stay on top of. Let’s face it, a pool cleaner doesn’t go to all their houses every day. 

Because of this, you can do it every other day if it is easier. Whatever you do, make sure you buy a decent-sized pack of pool test strips as you don’t want to go too long between checks.

Are Pool Test Strips Accurate?

Although liquid tests are often popular, a pool test strip is by far the most convenient way of checking the chemical balance of your pool water.

Having said that, they are still known for their accuracy and it is more likely that something will go wrong due to human error when using a liquid testing kit.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Test My Pool Water?

When you neglect the pool water or throw in a random amount of chemicals into the mix, then you are putting yourself at risk of unhygienic water, or a pool that has too many chemicals which can be bad for your skin and eyes.

Testing the water means you get an accurate indication as to the proportion of chemicals to add. If you do not test or add chemicals, then algae will soon form. This is what bacteria clings to and before too long the color of the water will change and it will be unsafe to use.

Also, calcium buildup will be harsh on your poll equipment which can lead to damage. So, testing the pool water is vital if you want to use it for swimming and don’t want costly repairs on your hands.

What Are The Ideal Chemical Levels For A Pool?

Although this can vary slightly depending on who you ask, a general guide to chemical levels for your swimming pool is as follows.

Chlorine: 1.0 – 3.0 ppm

Total Alkalinity: 80 – 140 ppm

pH: 7.4 – 7.6 

Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400

Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm

Keep the levels within this range and you will be enjoying a relaxing swim in clear, hygienic water.

Pool Test Strip Vs Liquid Test 

There are benefits to both and ask different experts and different people will tell you they prefer different options. We like the convenience of a pool test strip as it means you can dispose of it after and there is no mixing involved, they are good to go.

This is also what makes them more accurate when it comes to taking a reading. A liquid test is great if you know what you are doing but there is less margin for error. This means you could be adding the wrong amounts because of a false reading.

You also need to stay on top of having enough reagent that is needed to determine the levels.

Pool test strips can expire so this is something you will need to stay on top of but when you get a product with a lengthy shelf life, you are going to find them easier to use than other options.

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