Pool Water Testing Kit: Best Kits For Accurate Water Testing 

Pool water testing kit and information on Taylor test kits, pool test strips and spa test strips.

Doctors on T.V. and in the movies can look the patient up and down and tell what's wrong with them.  But that's not real life, is it?  Real doctors use the results of blood work , X-rays, and the like to determine the course of action to take.  And that's why we test our pool chemicals.  We have no idea what's going on with our pools until we get the results from the tests.  The chemicals tests will determine the course of action WE take.  You can test your swimming pool water like an expert whether you have an above ground, inground, or salt water swimming pool.  Choosing the best pool test kit can difficult.  Which one is the best?  What does best actually mean?  Which one offers the most accurate readings?  How easy is it to use?  Does it require knowledge and experience?  If you're having a hard time choosing the best kit for your pool, then look no further.  All the all the answers are right here.

Pool water testing kit and information on Taylor test kits, pool test strips and spa test strips.

Hopefully you can see by now that I'm not going to recommend the "best selling" or "newest and greatest" pool water test kit.  To me, those are meaningless terms.  What I look for in a pool water test kit is simply one thing and that's called "accuracy".  I want the real numbers.  I want the real readings.  Not a color.  Not a range.  Not, "Well, I think it's this".  I want to know exactly what my readings are to make the best decision for my pools.  And, in my opinion, there are only 2 kits that can handle my standards and they are the Taylor K-2006 Kit and the TF-100.  Yes, it does take a couple extra minutes to get it right.  But isn't it worth it?  Regular Yellow OTO kits, 3-Way Kits, and Test Strips simply cannot deliver what is required by today's demanding pool owners who have high expectations and standards.

How To Test Your Pool Chlorine

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Pool Water Testing Kit For Accuracy

Your pool chemical test should be done at least once per week, maybe even more if you have a large bather load or after a heavy rain.  You should test your pool water chemistry in the early evening and after you backwash your filter.  You may read that test strips are a favorite for some due to being "very accurate – much more accurate than using a liquid test kit."  But in the same sentence these people will tell you to, "bring a sample to your local pool store once a month to have it professionally checked".  And guess what most pool store employees use to get the "professional results" that you need?  You guessed it!!  The Taylor K-2005 or K-2006.  Go figure.   Skip the "guess strips" and just do it right the first time.  Watch the video above to see just how easy it really is. 

I'll tell you this.  The Arizona Department of Health uses the Taylor K-2006 kit when the representatives go out to test commercial pools.  And this goes for the Oregon Department of Health as well.  How do I know this?  It's because I had a working relationship with them for years.  I also personally taught over 35 lifeguards at the YMCA, many of whom were no older than 16 years old, to use the Taylor pool water testing kit.  And my daughter was able to use it when she was only 12 years old.  Pool test strips are easy, affordable, and convenient, but they simply cannot compare with the Taylor pool test kit or TF-100 kit.  

Yellow OTO Test Kit 

Good swimming pool water maintenance should include swimming pool test kits and the proper levels of:

  • Pool chlorine 
  • Chloramines (Combined Chlorine)
  • Pool pH
  • Pool alkalinity (TA)
  • Water hardness test
  • Cyanuric Acid/Conditioner/Stabilizer (CYA)

For phosphates, you can get a phosphate test kit.  Phosphate test kits are great if you think there's an issue with your pool.  Normal pool water testing kits don't test for this.  Swimming pool chlorine is the sanitizer of the pool and should be kept between 2 - 4 ppm.  The pool pH should be between 7.2 - 7.8.  Total pool alkalinity (TA) is between 80-120 ppm.  The calcium hardness between 150-250 ppm and the cyanuric acid between 30 - 50 ppm.  CYA is a pool stabilizer for your chlorine and is used for mostly outdoor swimming pools. Some indoor pools may benefit from cyanuric acid use.

Compare Pool Water Test Kits

A good swimming pool water testing kit will have this test.  An excellent source for CYA are chlorine tabs.  Simply place them in your chlorine tablet floater or chemical feeder.  Test the CYA monthly to ensure it's not getting too high.

Any sudden increases or drops in your CYA will cause your chlorine to lose its effectiveness.  Most CYA tests are done by mixing melamine solutions and pool water which causes the water to become cloudy.  A black dot on the bottom of the testing tube will disappear when a mixing stir or rod is added.  You then measure this against a graduated scale to find the exact amount of your CYA.

You'll also need to keep up on your residual chlorine demand testing.  You can learn how, when, where, and what of the best pool tips and swimming pool care for these readings from the above links.

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Metals in your swimming pool water consists of copper, iron, magnesium, etc.  At higher levels they may make the water to turn brown or clear emerald green after shocking.  This can cause swimming pool staining.  They cannot be checked with normal pool test kits.

Copper can also turn a blond-headed little princess into a little green-headed princess.  The maximum level for copper should be 1.0 ppm and iron is 0.3 ppm.  Try to keep those readings under those levels and you should be fine.

Well water is one of the worst places for copper and iron to hide.  A well water test kit may come in handy if you have this issue.  If you do have a high levels of metals in your well water, you may want to look into a metal sequestant.  This keeps metals in solution until they can get filtered and back-washed out.  Sequestrants with the chemical HEDP are the best.  Repeat application when needed.  My recommendations are Jack's Magic and ProTeam Metal Magic.  Both have the ingredient you'll need to keep the metal in solution.  

Having a good pool water testing kit is critical in keeping your swimming pool in great shape all season long.

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