clock menu more-arrow no yes

The 5 Best Water Test Kit (2022 Review)

Having safe, clean water is essential for any home. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best water test kits on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various local home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

water test kit, water test strips This Old House Production and Workshop Media

Water testing kits use test strips or drops to quickly and easily test your water for potential contaminants. The This Old House Reviews Team has researched the best water test kits on Amazon to help customers who are worried about the cleanliness of their water. Here are our top five kit recommendations.

Top 5 Water Test Kits


Best For Pools: AquaChek Salt Water Swimming Pool Test Strips

Designed with saltwater swimming pools in mind, this testing kit measures sodium chloride to ensure your pool has the proper salinity level. The kit comes with 10 test strips and clear instructions. The instructions include useful tips, such as testing both ends of the pool twice a week.

Key Features

  • Comes with 10 test strips
  • Tests for sodium chloride
  • Measures levels between 400 and 7,000 parts per million (ppm)

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who liked this product said that it had easy-to-understand directions and produced fast, easy-to-read results. However, those who didn’t like this testing kit claimed that it sometimes gave inaccurate readings, with multiple strips giving different results for the same pool.


Best Digital Tester: HoneForest Water Quality Tester

This water tester produces results in seconds and displays them on a backlit LCD screen for easy interpretation. This kit uses Automatic Temperature Compensation technology to ensure accurate readings every time.

Key Features

  • Comes with one digital tester
  • Tests for total dissolved solids, electrical current, and temperature
  • Measures levels between zero and 9,990 ppm

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers said that this testing kit was simple to use. They also liked that it was able to keep track of their reverse osmosis systems. However, those who were unsatisfied with the product said that the instructions were difficult to understand and that the screen sometimes displayed inaccurate readings.


Best For Hard Water: JNW Direct Total Water Hardness Test Strips

If you struggle with hard water and want to see if your softener is working properly, this kit is a reliable testing option. The kit comes with 150 easy-to-use strips that can measure water hardness levels between zero and 425 parts per million with a color-coded chart.

Key Features

  • Comes with 150 test strips
  • Tests for hard water
  • Measures levels between zero and 425 ppm

What Customers Are Saying

Pleased customers said that this kit was easy to use and produced accurate results. However, some reviewers claimed that the strips stopped working despite not having a listed expiration date.


Most Versatile: VARIFY Premium Drinking Water Test Kit

With the ability to test for 17 contaminants, this kit gives you complete peace of mind that your water is safe to drink, bathe in, and cook with. It includes 100 test strips as well as two bacteria tests.

Key Features

  • Comes with 100 test strips and two bacteria tests
  • Tests for lead, bacteria, fluoride, iron, pH, copper, and more
  • Measures levels between zero and 2,000 ppm

What Customers Are Saying

Customers were pleased with the number of contaminants that this kit tested for and the easy-to-follow instructions that were included with their purchase. However, some customers claimed that the bacteria tests often produced false negatives and that the strips sometimes gave the exact or similar results for multiple unique water sources.


Best For Well Water: Health Metric Well Water Test Kit

Using well water is not regulated under the Safe Drinking Act, so it requires dedicated testing to ensure safety. This kit tests well water for eight parameters, including nitrate, nitrite, water hardness, and bacteria. The strips produce results in just two minutes.

Key Features

  • Comes with eight test strips and one bacteria test
  • Tests for nitrite, nitrate, bacteria, manganese, and more
  • Measures levels between zero and 1,000 ppm

What Customers Are Saying

Those who left positive reviews for this product said that it worked quickly. They also liked that the kit came with multiple tests for most parameters. However, those who left negative reviews claimed that it was sometimes difficult to read and understand the results. Others said that the kit sometimes arrived with missing parts.


Buyer’s Guide

Read our guide below to ensure you’re purchasing the right test for the type of contaminant you’re worried about and the type of water source you’re testing.

Type

Water test kits typically come in one of the following types.

Strips

Strips are dipped into the water. They change color to indicate what contaminants and how much of those contaminants are present. Test strips are the most common type of at-home water testing kit because they’re convenient, but they don’t always produce accurate results.

Discs

Discs are usually more accurate than strips, but they can be more expensive. The discs run a series of tests at once. You drop water into each reagent-filled compartment. The reagent changes colors to indicate the presence of a contaminant.

Digital Readers

A digital reader displays results on an LCD screen. These devices can typically measure temperature, total dissolved solids, and electrical conductivity. Though they can’t test for specific contaminants, they can be reused.

Water Source

Choose a kit that specifically tests for the elements pertaining to your water source. For example, if you’re testing tap water, you may want a testing kit that catches elevated chlorine levels. However, if you’re testing well water, you may be more focused on catching iron and bacteria. Some kits test for multiple types of contaminants in many water sources.

Contaminants

Common contaminants that kits test for include lead, bacteria, pesticides, chlorine, copper, nitrates, nitrites, and iron. Make sure that the kit you choose can test the contaminants you’re looking for, especially if the contaminants are highly specific. A multipurpose kit that can test several parameters is always a safe bet because it can look for contaminants that you may not know you should be worried about.

Frequently Asked Questions

How accurate are at-home water test kits?

The accuracy of water testing kits varies widely depending on the brand, test type, and water source. To ensure your testing kit is as accurate as possible, read the instructions closely, and check that the kit has been verified for accuracy by the EPA.

What should I test my water for?

Check to see what contaminants or issues are most common where you live. For instance, choose a hard water testing kit if you live in an area with a hardness problem. You can also choose a kit based on the water source you’re testing. For example, if you’re testing pool water, look for a kit that measures chlorine, salinity, and pH levels.

How often should my water be tested?

Test your water at least once a year for common contaminants, such as iron, bacteria, and lead. If you’re concerned about the safety of your water, consider testing it more frequently or getting certified lab results instead of a home test. Finally, if there has been a recent change to your environment, such as nearby land development, it may be a good time to get your water tested.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.