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Best Pool Water Test Kits 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

Last Updated: July 29, 2020

a pool water test kit

Whether you like it or not, you will be testing your pool water a lot. Part of being a responsible pool owner is continually checking the pool water.

In addition to chlorine and pH, there are test kits that check alkalinity and other chemical levels.

Maybe you think all pool test kits are like another, but they are not.

Some test kits can be hard to read, others don’t last long, and some don’t work well at all.

Choosing a quality pool water test kit can make your pool maintenance duty that much easier!


Our 8 Favorite Choices of 2020 Compared

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Taylor Pool Water Test Kit Taylor Pool Water Test Kit
  • Carrying case with informational cards
  • Easy to use and easy to read
  • Will check for more than just chlorine
  • Premium Choice
    Second place
    LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 Pool Test Kit LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 Pool Test Kit
  • Full test kit with all necessary chemical tests included
  • Results put in a digital display
  • Easy to use, high end carrying case
  • Best Value
    Third place
    Poolmaster 5-Way Pool Water Test Kit Poolmaster 5-Way Pool Water Test Kit
  • Very low price
  • Still tests for everything you need every week
  • Small carrying case
  • HTH 6-Way Test Kit for Pool Water HTH 6-Way Test Kit for Pool Water
  • Six-way test kit
  • Can test up to 100 times
  • Blue Devil 6-Way Pool Water Test Kit Blue Devil 6-Way Pool Water Test Kit
  • 6-Way Pool water test kit
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Price is lower than others
  • The 8 Best Pool Water Test Kits

    1. Taylor K-2006 Pool Water Test Kit – Best Overall

    Taylor K-2006 Pool Water Test Kit

    The Taylor K-2006 Pool Water Test Kit will give you all the levels you need, in a nice carry case with plenty of directions and guidelines. This pool water test kit can check total alkalinity, calcium hardness, chlorine, and cyanuric acid. This is a complete kit that will check hot tubs, spas, and saltwater pools.

    Potentially one of the best things about this product is the carrying case and guidelines that it comes with. This pool water test kit has saved some pool owners hundreds of dollars in chemicals by catching issues long before things get ugly.

    The overall price of this product is exceptionally fair for how long this will last.

    Pros
    • Carrying case with informational cards
    • Will check for more than just chlorine
    • Easy to use and easy to read
    Cons
    • Maybe more advanced than some pool owners prefer

    2. LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 Pool Test Kit – Premium Choice

    LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7 Pool Test Kit

    The LaMotte ColorQ Pro is an exceptional pool test kit. The only thing keeping it out of the number one spot is the premium pricing. Where our Taylor K-2006 Pool Test Kit will have you manually reading the results, the LaMotte has a photometer that gives you digital results.

    This Pro 7 Pool Test Kit also comes with water-resistant housing and a carrying case. A carrying case is an essential feature in a pool test kit, something that helps you remain organized is imperative.

    The LaMotte ColorQ Pro will test free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid. These readings will give you an excellent indication of the cleanliness and safety of your pool.

    Pros
    • Full test kit with all necessary chemical tests included
    • Results put in a digital display
    • Easy to use, high end carrying case
    Cons
    • Expensive, almost three times as much as the first case
    • Issues can go wrong with a digital display

    3. Poolmaster 5-Way Pool Water Test Kit – Best Value

    Poolmaster 5-Way Pool Water Test Kit

    If the price of our number two choice the LaMotte ColorQ Pro had you rolling your eyes, the Poolmaster 5-Way Pool Water Test Kit might be more your speed. When you think of a traditional pool water test kit, this is what comes to mind.

    This is a 5-way test kit so that it will test for chlorine, bromine, pH, acid demand, and total alkalinity. This test kit is very easy to read and comes with plenty of test solutions to last you quite some time. If you want a basic and easy to use pool water test kit this is the best Pool Water Test Kit for the money.

    Pros
    • Very low price
    • Still tests for everything you need every week
    • Small carrying case
    Cons
    • Does not check for cyanuric acid or calcium hardness
    • Smaller size test kit that won’t last quite as long as others
    • No digital display

    4. HTH 6-Way Test Kit for Pool Water

    HTH 6-Way Test Kit for Pool Water

    Coming in fourth right in the middle of the pack is the HTH 6-Way Test Kit. This test kit is cheap. It’s less expensive than the Poolmaster-5 Way, but it is not necessarily the best value. This is a very simple pool water test kit that will give you numbers for total chlorine, bromine, pH, total alkalinity, total hardness, and cyanuric acid.

    Although this is a 6-way test and will give that total hardness measurement that other kits do not, it does not come with a carrying case. A carrying case will keep you organized when it comes to pool water testing, and that is one of the most significant downsides to the HTH 6-Way test.

    You can perform about one hundred tests using just this one kit. If you are tired of spending money on your pool and just want to keep an eye on the chemical levels, take a look at the HTH 6-Way.

    Pros
    • Six-way test kit
    • Can test up to 100 times
    Cons
    • No carrying case
    • No digital display
    • CYA can only be tested about three times
    • Can be hard to read display and color match

    5. Blue Devil 6-Way Pool Water Test Kit

    Blue Devil 6-Way Pool Water Test Kit

    Next is the Blue Devil 6-Way Pool Water Test Kit. This option will give you measurements for chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, and chlorine stabilizer levels in your pool water. This kit is offered at a very fair price and does come with a carrying case.

    The issue we have with the Blue Devil 6 way is the quality of the product. The case is a bit too small, and all the testing solutions just get thrown in. The color card that you will need to compare your pool water to is made from paper. After a few times using this, if the card gets wet, you will be stuck trying to find a replacement. The cart should have been laminated, or a plastic card should have been included.

    Pros
    • 6-Way Pool water test kit
    • Comes with carrying case
    • Price is lower than others
    Cons
    • Case is not well designed
    • Card to compare water levels to is paper
    • Cheaply made

    6. Taylor K1001 Basic Pool or Spa Test Kit

    Taylor K1001 Basic Pool or Spa Test Kit

    The Taylor K1001 is another lower-priced model perfect for a new pool owner trying to keep a close eye on things. This K1001 will test for free chlorine, bromine, and pH. If you need to test cyanuric acid, calcium hardness, or even alkalinity, you will need a more advanced set.

    The Taylor K1001 does come with a hardshell case and an easy to read chart to compare your results to. If you don’t know what to do once you have your pool test results, the Taylor K1001 tries to help with a diagnostic card included. The card will help you get your pool levels back to where they need to be.

    Pros
    • Easy to use and simple
    • Small carrying case
    Cons
    • Basic set
    • Does not test for everything
    • Alkalinity should be tested reasonably often so you will need additional kits

    7. Pentair pH & Chlorine Pool Water Test-Kit

    Pentair pH & Chlorine Pool Water Test-Kit

    Very, very basic pool test kit. Will check for both pH and chlorine. If you need bromine levels or anything else, you will need another option. This is a small kit and will not last as long as some others. Although the Pentair pH and Chlorine Pool Water Test-Kit comes with a small carrying case, it is not considered to be a higher-end product. For the pricing of this set compared to some of the other options available, this Pentair doesn’t make the most sense.

    Pros
    • Test Chlorine and pH
    • Easy to use
    Cons
    • Not a high-quality set
    • Will need additional pool test kits
    • Other options priced the same that are a better value

    8. Jed Standard Dual Pool Water Test Kit

    Jed Standard Dual Pool Water Test Kit

    At the bottom of the list is the Jed Standard Dual Pool Water Test Kit. This is a simple kit that will only give you total chlorine and pH. Although it comes in a small case that makes it easy to carry around, it is challenging to read.

    There is almost no color variation between the chlorine levels. Depending on the lighting available at the time, you may be misdiagnosing an issue with your pool. The amount of testing solution you get with this kit is quite a bit smaller than some other options available.

    If you need to know your chlorine today and you have this pool kit lying around, it is undoubtedly adequate and ok to use. However, if you are looking to purchase a pool test kit that will help you continue to maintain and diagnosis your pool, consider spending a few dollars more for a better-quality product.


    Buyer’s Guide

    Although buying a pool test kit is not rocket science, there are a few things that are worth considering before purchasing.

    What Does It Test For?

    A pool kit can be priced very low and seem like a great value, but if it only tests for chlorine, this is truly not enough. Purchasing a five, six, or seven-way pool test kit is much more highly recommended. Only when you keep an eye on all the levels in your pool will you be able to keep it sparkling. If you are going to spend any money on a kit, make sure that it at least covers everything that you may need to know to diagnosis an issue. Here are the most important things you will need to keep an eye on in your pool.

    • pH should stay between 7.2 and 7.8
    • Total alkalinity should be between 8-120 parts per million (ppm)
    • Calcium Harness idea levels are 180-220ppm
    • Cyanuric acid also known as stabilizer should be between 30-50ppm
    • Chlorine should remain in the 1-3 ppm range

    What Happens If I Don’t Test for Anything Other Than Chlorine?

    Even if your chlorine is perfect at all times, you can still get algae growing. Many algae related issues are caused by pH. Pool experts will tell you that pH is just as important to test as chlorine, and it should be tested often. We know that pool testing gets time-consuming and annoying, but do not skip this part of being a pool owner.

    Does A Carrying Case Matter?

    Having your test kit in a carrying case is ultimately a personal decision. If it is up to us, we highly suggest getting a quality carrying case. When the test bottles can be stored properly instead of on their side or mixed up in the case or on a shelf in your garage, you will get more out of them.

    The other thing we like about the carrying case is the routine and order it inspires. Testing your pool should be a routine for you, something that is done every few days. If your method is made fast, simple, and organized, it will ultimately be more natural to repeat. Keep that in mind when deciding if a carrying case makes a difference.

    What If I Have A Saltwater Pool?

    A common question from pool owners is if a pool water test kit will work on saltwater pools. Saltwater pools need to test for many of the same things that non-saltwater pools need to check. The one additional level that should be tested is the salinity. Most standard pool water test kits do not come with a salinity test.

    If you need a complete saltwater test kit, there are many options out there. This one by Taylor has everything you would need and comes in a nice carrying case. It is not the cheapest option, but saltwater pool owners should be able to afford it with all the money they save on pool chemicals! ()

    Will These Kits Work for A Hot Tub or Spa?

    If you are a proud owner of both a pool and a hot tub, you may be wondering if you can use the same test kit on both. The good news is that most times you can. Depending on which pool water test kit you purchase, you will also be able to test your spa water with it.

    The most important things to test for in a hot tub are total chlorine, total bromine, free chlorine, total alkalinity, pH, and total hardness. Most of the test kits that we mentioned had these included.

    Swimming Pool Test Kit-Poolmaster-Amazon

    Image: Swimming Pool Test Kit/Poolmaster, Amazon

    Is a Digital Display Necessary?

    As you may have noticed with our second option the LaMotte ColorQ Pro 7, there are pool water test kits that have a digital display. The digital display is often effortless to read and will give you quick and accurate results. The question becomes, is this digital display necessary?

    For the average pool owner, a digital display is not going to make that much difference or be worth the money when it comes to pool water test kits. However, if you are someone that struggles with being able to see colors and match them, the digital display is vital.

    When you use a pool water test kit, you put a few drops of a chemical in, and it will change the color of your test water. Then you will have to match that water up to a chart to determine if the chemicals need to be adjusted. If you can’t tell light yellow from dark yellow, get the digital display. The last thing you want to do is wind up changing pool chemicals that didn’t need to be replaced.

    See also: our comparison of pool test strips

    What If I Don’t Want to Test My Pool Water Constantly?

    If the thought of manually testing your pool water every few days has you less than thrilled, there is a high-tech digital solution for those of you that need it. This option comes at a cost, but if you go by the famous time is money, then it may help you to justify the price on this a bit.

    The pH In Smart Water Care monitor will check your pool’s chemical levels continuously. If you thought you were good about staying on top of pool checks, this machine is better. When an issue comes up, you will get an alert via a convenient app.

    This machine cannot check things like alkalinity and hardness, but the theory behind it is that staying on top of chlorine and pH should keep all other pool issues at bay. The pH In Smart Water Care monitor is by far the most expensive water test kit available, but there is a price to be paid for convenience.

    Also, here are some other posts about this topic you may also find interesting:


    Conclusion

    Choosing a pool water test kit should not be a difficult decision. You can purchase a kit within almost any price range. Keep in mind that you don’t want to end up buying two kits because you didn’t get everything you needed with the first. Sometimes it can make more sense to spend a little more initially and have a great kit that will last you for many years. The Taylor K-2006 Pool Water Test Kit is our best overall choice because of its price point, ease of use, and convenient and effective carrying case. If you don’t want to spend much time deciding on which pool test kit to buy, you will be safe going with the Taylor.