Best pool test kit? The one that you use all the time of course! All brevity aside, every type of pool testing kit has its own set of advantages and disadvantages and we’re going to go over all of those in this blog post. By the end of this blog post you should be able to make the determination of which pool test kit is the best for you so that you won’t have to rely on strangers over the internet to tell you which one is the best.
What should a pool test kit test for?
At the very least, a pool test kit should have the basic pool chemical indicators like pH, chlorine, and alkalinity. The more indicators a pool test kit has, the better it is in giving you a clearer picture of your pool’s overall balance. Testing is important so you know how much chemicals to all to keep your pool water santised and prevent algae blooms and infestation.
How much do pool test kits cost?
To be really honest, this is probably the number one factor that will affect will affect the buying decisions of many people when it comes to pool test kits. Pool test kits can be anywhere from as low as $30 all the way up to thousands of dollars!
Types of pool test kits
There are three main types of kits available out there and let’s start off with the most popular choice out there, it’s popular not only because of its low price point but because of its ease of use as well!
Pool Test Strips
These are super easy to use, just take a strip out, swirl it in your pool water and wait for a few seconds for the reagents on the test strips to change color. Once the strips have changed colors, compare it with the printed chart on the bottle and that’s it! No wonder many people love using pool test strips.
There is absolutely zero chance for user error when using test strips. Test strips usually come in packs of 50 or 100 so don’t be afraid to test often. Another thing to note when using pool test strips is to be extremely careful when opening and closing the bottle. If your unused test strips get exposed to water (water entering the bottle) or to air (lid not tightly closed) for an extended period of time then they will become useless.
The down side to pool test strips? They’re not as accurate as liquid testing kits or digital pool test kits, but they get the job done if you just need to monitor your pool chemical levels.
Liquid or Reagent Test Kits
These types of test kits will use a reagent that will create a chemical reaction with your pool water to give you color coded readings. This is way more accurate than test strips but require a bit more input on the user’s part. They also come with handy charts that will tell you how much of a certain pool chemical to add to raise or lower a particular value to the recommended levels. We’ve dedicated a whole blog post on how to properly use a liquid test kit and you can check it out via the button below.
The down side to liquid test kits? They will usually require a bit of manual dexterity to accurately measure the reagents drop by drop into the test vials. This step is very prone to errors especially if you don’t have a steady hand or if you get distracted easily and forget the number of drops, in which case you have to start from the start.
Another issue with liquid or reagent pool test kits is the reagent refills, every manufacturer has their own formulations so reagents from different brands will not work properly with each other. We have anticipated this issue and only carry liquid pool test kits on Mr Pool Man that have a guaranteed supply of reagent refills.
Digital Pool Test Kits
These are your top of the line pool test kits. If you need to have the absolute best and absolute accuracy in testing your pool water then this is the way to go. No messy liquid reagents when you’re using a test kit like the Palintest Photometer Pool Test 25 Kit as these use reagent tablets for testing, just pop the required tablet into the test vial, place it into the machine and press the required test button. You’ll get chemical level results down to the last decimal point. Some models even give you an accurate LSI Index reading, saving you from doing all the math!
The downside to these photometer test kits is obviously their cost. But if you’re really adamant about getting professional-level results then these test kits are for you. In fact, these are the same units that many pool shops and pool professionals from around the world use to get readings for pools that they service.
No matter which pool test kit you use, it all boils down to whether you use them or not. A pool test kit is only good if it’s being used. A thousand-dollar digital test kit is no better than a $39 liquid reagent test kit if it’s just there gathering dust on your shelf.
But if you’re really into accurate pool testing and you want the best, then obviously the high-end digital test kits are the best. But for casual pool owners, we recommend getting both test strips and the liquid reagent testing kits. Use the pool test strips for regular weekly/twice a week monitoring, and the liquid reagent test kits for when you need more accurate levels just before you adjust your pool chemical levels.
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Happy swimming :)