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    Swimming Pool Test Kit Buyer's Guide

    July 31, 2014
    debbiefarnan

    test--kits-at-spp

    Testing pool water several times per week is important to prevent bacteria and algae formation, and also to prevent stains and surface deposits on your pool. It's also more comfortable for swimmers eyes and skin when the water is balanced.

    Today I'll show you a variety of test kits and test strips for pool water testing, and rank them from Fair to Best. But before I do that, let me answer a few common questions about water testing and water balance.

    What is Water Balance? Balanced Water essentially means that your pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness are all within proper ranges. These three pool water tests are the crux of water balance, although many people also consider chlorine levels, stabilizer level and water temperature to be part of water balance.

    How often should one Test the Water? Some of the five water balance tests are more stable, and change more slowly than others. Here's when I test the water in my own pool...

    • Daily: Chlorine and pH
    • Weekly: Alkalinity and Temperature
    • Monthly: Calcium Hardness and Stabilizer

    testing-pool-water-with-stripsI keep a fairly regular schedule, but often I miss the daily chlorine and pH test - that's OK if you know the filter is running and the chlorinator (or salt system) is working. Once you really get to know your pool's chemical personality, you could reduce chlorine and pH tests to weekly - as long as everything is running smoothly, and the weather is calm and cool. Test more often in hot weather, if the pool is used heavily, after storms or rain, or if the pool water doesn't look quite right.

    Best Pool Test Kit? Well, I'm glad you asked, because that's our theme for the day. Below are 4 test kits and 4 test strips, in order of Fair, Good, Better and Best. The main difference between them is the number of tests they perform. The best test kits also test the water more accurately. And speaking of accuracy, drop style pool test kits are always more accurate than test strips. But test strips are faster and easier to use. I have a Taylor DPD kit, but if I'm in a hurry, sometimes I'll just use a test strip for a quick chlorine and  pH test.

    BEST TEST KITS

    FAIR: 2-WAY TEST KIT

    TWO-WAY-TEST-KIT
    • Made by PoolMaster
    • Tests Chlorine with OTO
    • Tests pH with Phenol Red

    GOOD: 4-WAY TEST KITtaylor-troubleshooter-test-kits

    • Tests Free  Chlorine and Total Chlorine with DPD
    • Tests pH with Phenol Red
    • Tests for Acid Demand
    • Tests for Total Alkalinity

    BETTER: TAYLOR DELUXE DPD TEST KITtaylor-deluxe-dpd-test-kit

    • Tests Free  Chlorine and Total Chlorine with DPD
    • Tests pH with Phenol Red
    • Tests for Acid Demand
    • Tests for Base Demand
    • Tests for Total Alkalinity
    • Tests for Calcium Hardness
    • Tests for Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer)

    BEST: TAYLOR FAS-DPD TEST KITtaylor-fas-dpd-test-kits-k2006

    • Tests Free and Total Chlorine with Titration DPD
    • Tests pH with Phenol Red
    • Tests for Acid Demand
    • Tests for Base Demand
    • Tests for Total Alkalinity
    • Tests for Calcium Hardness
    • Tests for Cyanuric Acid (Stabilizer)

     

    BEST TEST STRIPS

    GOOD: AQUACHEK 4-WAY YELLOWaquacheck-yellow-test-strips

    • Free Chlorine test
    • pH  test
    • Alkalinity test
    • Cyanuric Acid test

    BETTER: AQUACHEK 7-WAY SILVERaquachek-7-test-strips-silver

    • Free Chlorine and Total Chlorine test
    • Total Bromine test
    • pH  test
    • Alkalinity test
    • Calcium Hardness test
    • Cyanuric Acid test

    BEST: AQUACHEK 7-WAY SELECTaquachek-select-test-strip

    • Free Chlorine and Total Chlorine test
    • Total Bromine test
    • pH  test
    • Alkalinity test
    • Calcium Hardness test
    • Cyanuric Acid test
    • Includes flat comparator, log book and treatment guide

     

    The best pool test kits will have the ability to test all five water balance levels - pH, Alkalinity, Calcium, Cyanuric and Chlorine. Again, liquid test kits are more accurate than test strips, but if you want to use test strips - go ahead. I suppose the best test kit is the one that you will use!

    tip- start early~If you are a test strip user, here's a Tip: use the cheaper 4-way strips for your daily/weekly checks, and save your more expensive 7-way strips for a monthly test of everything.

    Enjoy your summer!

    Debbie Farnan
    SPP Pool Expert  

    Blog Author
    debbiefarnan
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