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Every experienced pool owner knows that when it comes to pool maintenance, there is more to it than skimming the leaves from the pool at the end of the day. The water can only remain crystal clear if the pool water chemistry is tested regularly and the appropriate chemical levels are maintained.
There are several ways to test the water in the pool. One of these is with the use of pool test strips. However, many pool owners jump to the first product they come across and then wonder why they are not getting the test results they hoped for. One reason for this is that not all pool test kits are equally good or equally efficient. So the question is what are the best pool water test strips to buy? Our pool test strips review and purchase guide provide answers to this!
What Do Pool Test Strips Test For?
A good swimming pool test kit tells you how high the pH value is and what the chlorine levels in the water are. The pH value must not be too high to prevent excessive algae growth, which can quickly make pool water appear unsightly green.
High chlorine levels can be harmful because they can irritate the eyes and mucous membranes. A bit of chlorine should be added if you want to prevent germs from multiplying. Below are the various components analyzed by pool test strips:
- pH value
- Free chlorine
- Cyanuric acid
- Carbonate hardness
How Do Pool Test Strips Work?
The principle is very simple: A small paper strip is impregnated with a reagent that will react in contact with a drop of water. The chemical reaction takes place in just a few seconds. A color will then appear on your strip, and thanks to a colorimetric comparator that is normally provided to you (it appears on the leaflet or the label of the vial containing the strips), you will be able to establish a color/value correspondence. After reading the value, you can treat your swimming pool water accordingly.
Good to know: The testing strips are also very widely used in the medical field as they are used in checking blood glucose or alcohol levels for example. They are appreciated in particular for their efficiency and practicality.
How To Read Pool Test Strips Results?
The use of pool test kits is very easy compared to other measurement methods. As earlier explained, a simplified description looks like this:
- Hold the test strip in the pool water
- Wait a moment
- Remove the strips and match the resulting colors with those on the packaging
The exact procedure differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Follow the instructions for use on the packaging. The colors of the individual test strips are also different. You should therefore keep the packaging in a safe place so that the resulting color can be correctly assigned.
In any case, ensure the chemical values stay within the following range:
- pH value: 7.0 to 7.4 ppm
- Free chlorine: 0.3 to 0.6 mg/l
- Bromine: 3.0 to 6.0 ppm
- Alkalinity: 80 to 160 mg/l
- Cyanuric acid: 40 to 80 ppm
- Carbonate hardness: 36 ppm
- Algicide: This preventive measure against algae must be present in the pool
Best Pool Test Strips: Our 9 Top Picks
If you want to measure the swimming pool pH, you can do this with almost all test strips. However, not all pool test kits are suitable for a more detailed analysis of the pool water. The selected products can analyze most of the key chemical values (pH, chlorine, bromine, total hardness, and more) simultaneously. Check out our best test strip kits.
1. AquaCheck 7-Way 100-pack Pool and Spa Test Strips
AquaChek 7-Way Pack includes strips to check for pH, chlorine, calcium hardness, bromine, total alkalinity, and cyanuric acid. You simply insert your test strip directly into the pool water at elbow level, then wait a few seconds, remove it and analyze the result.
These arrive in an airtight container to avoid contamination. Ensure you keep them only in the container between applications and you should be able to get fairly accurate readings. The special thing about it is that the strips work particularly precisely and reliably.
- Airtight packaging ensures a long shelf life
- The test kit gives total and free chlorine analysis
- Accurate total alkaline and cyanuric acid results
- Results come out quick
- You don’t need to have pool water sample
- The pH reading is lower compared to the result from a liquid reagent
2. JNW Direct Pool Test Kit with 100 Strip Pack
Swimming pool test kits from various brands all come with the same offers – check for the most essential pool chemicals. However, the JNW Direct Pool Strip Pack is a completely different product. A bonus mobile application is included in the purchase for free for monitoring the results and keeping records. The app, which is available for Android OS and iOS, helps you monitor, record, and keep track of your pool’s test results.
With 100 strips in the pack and with the ability to check for seven chemicals, there’s almost nothing more you can ask for in a pool test strip. Made in the USA, the JNW strips can test for pH, chlorine, total hardness, total alkalinity, free chlorine, bromine, and cyanuric acid in both saltwater and freshwater pools, as well as hot tubs and spas.
- Can be used in saltwater pools
- Checks for up to 7 chemicals
- Comes with app for monitoring results
- Quick and accurate results
- Comes with a downloadable e-book
- Could be easier to read
3. Poolmaster 22211 Swimming Pool and Spa Test Strips
Made in the USA, the Poolmaster Test Strips come in two variants – a 4-way test kit for maintaining four types of pool chemicals and a saltwater test kit for testing sodium chloride with a capacity for analyzing salt levels between 500 to 1500 ppm. Both strips are ideal for pools and spas and contain 50 strips each. The 4-way chlorine test strips can check for pool pH, alkalinity, free chlorine, and bromine. While the strips perform accurately for most chemicals, it doesn’t check the algicide in the pool.
The test strip must be held horizontally underwater for 2 seconds, then taken out of the water and again held horizontally for 15 seconds. Then the result can be read by comparing the colors of the test strips and the color scale printed on the jar.
- Ideal for saltwater and chlorine pools
- Made in the USA
- Great value for money
- Produces accurate results
- Doesn’t require taking water samples
- There could be more in the packs
- Doesn’t check for algaecide
4. Leisure Time 45010A Test Strips for Spas and Tubs
The Leisure Time swimming pool test strips are 4 in 1 product as you can determine four values of the pool water per strip. These values can be measured: total hardness, chlorine content, pH levels, and the alkalinity of the water.
A big advantage that speaks in favor of the swimming pool test strips is the low price. The buyers of the Leisure Time test strips are mostly positive about the test strips. According to the buyers, the strips were much easier to use. A few of the users also say they have continued purchasing the product.
- 5 values measurable.
- Very low price
- Long durability
- Works fine and is easy to read
- The colors match the strip
- Doesn’t check for bromine levels
5. Clorox Pool&Spa 73050CLX My Pool Care Assistant with 50 Test Strips
Have you ever wondered if you could reuse your pool test strips? Well, while the answer is a no for most test strips, with the Clorox Pool&Spa 73050CLX, you can use and reuse each test strip. There are 50 smart pool testing strips in the kits that help you test your swimming pool water like an expert.
What makes the strip product different is not just because it also comes with a free usable app for testing and monitoring your pool chemicals like an expert. Through the app, you’ll also get recommendations on steps to take after each step. Developed both for Android and iOS users, the Clorox Pool Free App for water testing can be downloaded on the Google Play and Apple App Stores.
- Provides recommendation on next line of action
- Includes a free app
- Easy to read
- Results could be more accurate
6. AquaChek 50 Yellow Test Strips for Free Chlorine
The AquaChek pool test strip is a 4-in-1 pool test kit for determining free chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, and cyanuric acid. A minimum of 2 weekly tests (before and after each use if it is a spa) will allow you to maintain quality water.
Then you can record the results for each analysis to monitor progress. No specific knowledge is necessary, a few seconds and the result is there! The pH defines the intensity of the acidic or alkaline components of the water. Too high a value can lead to lime formation, while a low pH level can cause corrosion of metallic elements.
- Can check free chlorine
- It’s a 4-in-1 pool test strip
- Results come out in half a minute
- Highly recommended by pool owners
- Doesn’t accurately detect chlorine level
7. Varify Water Hardness Test Kit with 150 Strips
The best for checking for water hardness, the Varify Test Kit is also quite complete. It contains 3 packs; one which is the ready-to-use bottle with 50 test strips each and two refill pouches, which contain 50 strips each. With the kit, magnesium and calcium total hardness in water can be measured. What this means is you can also use the strips to check for hardness in drinking water, spa, pool, well, dishwasher, and water softener.
The test strip is held in the pool water for 2 seconds and stirred a little. Then take out the test strip, let it rest for 15 seconds, and compare the color pads of the pool test kit with the color scale.
- Produces result in 30 seconds
- Easy to use, easy to read
- There are precise instructions
- Ideal for checking calcium levels in pool and drinking water
- Colors on the strips are not the same as on the color chart
8. BOSIKE 5-in-1 125 Swimming Pool Test Strips for Hot Tubs and Pools
The Bosike Water Test Kit is an accurate 5-in-1 test kit for checking levels of stabilizer, chlorine, pH, bromine, and alkalinity in the pool and spa.
These test strips are ideal for water analysis in swimming pools and private pools. In addition to the pH level, the chlorine, alkalinity, and cyanuric acid values can also be determined. Pool owners who check their pool water with these test strips, therefore, do not need any additional test products. It’s sold in a can that effectively protects against moisture, ensuring an extremely long shelf life of the product.
- Five values are measurable.
- Quick and easy to use
- Ideal for salt water pool
- Bottle protects against moisture.
- Can be stored for up to 2 years
- Doesn’t check for total bromine
- Reports of inaccurate readings
9. Health Metric 5 Way Spa and Hot Tub Water Test Strips for Chlorine & Bromine
Inaccuracies are an issue with test strips. What Health Metric has done to correct the problem is by making strips which you can easily maximize their accuracy by calibrating them in warm water up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you would be able to precisely monitor the levels of free and total chlorine, total bromine, total alkalinity, pH, and water hardness in your pool or hot tub.
The product comes in two versions – a 50-count strip pack and a 100-count strip pack. For ease of use, handling, and reading, the strips are 20 percent wider than strips from other brands.
- Wider strips for ease of handling and reading
- Can be easily calibrated for more accurate readings
- 5-in-1 chemical tester
- Color chart same as reading on strips
- Not for saltwater pools or tubs
Buying guide: Features to Choose Best Pool Test Kits
With regular testing, there is no reason why your pool water cannot be clean and hygienic all year round. This is a task that becomes much easier when you buy high-quality test strips for your pool.
Most of them are easy to use and make it easy for you to balance the chemical levels in your water. However, there are a few things that you should understand before buying test strips. In this guide, we’ll see how to choose the best pool test strips.
Chemical values captured
The most important water parameters are the pH value, the content of free and bound chlorine as well as alkalinity and salt content. The first two parameters are the minimum that a water tester should display. If you want more certainty about the water in your pool, you should bet on 5 in 1 to 9 in 1 water tests.
They check all important parameters and can therefore also be used to determine the water quality. In any case, a good product should be able to provide a reading for pH, chlorine, total alkalinity, total hardness, and bromine.
The accuracy and speed
Swimming pool test strips should be as accurate as possible so that incorrect amounts of a chemical are not added to the water after a measurement. Avoid test strips that are too cheap as they often don’t make accurate reading. Products that can be calibrated in warm water however tend to be more accurate.
However, the accuracy of the various test strips available is very similar. It can still be helpful to read customer reviews before making a purchase. The individual opinions partly contain important information about the respective product and thus lead to a better purchase decision. Most products work within seconds and give you a clear indication of the chemical balance of your pool.
The number in the pack
There is little point in buying a pack of ten test strips as it won’t last long before you’re back on the market. Since you should test your water regularly, you’ll need a decent amount of swimming pool test strips available. Look out for a pack of 50 to 150 test strips, as these will give you roughly a month’s worth and tend to be of better value.
In addition to the number of strips in the pack, you also need to have a decent range so you can see if there are any dramatic swings in the water. This is especially important if the water has not been treated in a while. For example, the calcium hardness should have a range of around 150 – 400 ppm.
Commonly Asked Questions
How long do pool test strips last?
Swimming pool test strips should be able to last for 24 to 36 months, especially if you have a pack with more than 100 strips and you only check your pools about once a month or fortnightly. The product must come in a sealable and airtight bottle for keeping the strips from humidity to last long up to the expiration date
How accurate are pool test strips?
For private use, test strips indicate the pH value very precisely, barring any human error. However, anyone who attaches great importance to very precise values at home is dependent on special values due to health restrictions or operates a pool professionally, should opt for a strip product that can be calibrated or a permanent meter with digital display.
Very precise values can be determined here with reagent tablets and also documented and saved. When assessing the accuracy of a pool water tester, customer reviews are often helpful. They have tested the different variants live, can report on their experiences, and recommend accurate test trips.
Can you reuse pool test strips?
While some test strips are designed to be reusable, most cannot be reused. However, if you’re looking for test strips you can use and reuse, a product such as the Clorox Pool & Spa 73050CLX has strips that can be reused.
For a crystal-clear, algae-free, and cloud-free pool, you not only need to kill microorganisms and disinfect the water. To optimally adjust and maintain the pool chemistry, you have to regularly check the most important water values and correct them accordingly with the use of the right pool chemical composition.
The products in our review have been carefully selected to give you a good overview of the best pool water test strips and to make your purchase decision easier. Inexpensive and easy-to-use, with these test strips, the most important chemical values in your pool water can be recorded at the same time.