Scaly residue and soap scum lingering on your dishes? Is your tap water cloudy or frothy or does it taste and smell odd? Purchasing a personal water test kit is a fantastic way to test your home’s water quality. Whether dealing with hard water, well water, tests for your aquarium water, or pool water test kits, we’ve got you covered!
We’ve researched and reviewed the top-rated 10 best water test kits. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between each water testing kit, how water testing strips perform and what important data you can expect when testing your home’s water.
You’ll also learn when to test your home’s water, and why it’s important to test regularly. We hope this article helps with your journey to find the best water test kit on the market today. Here are the top water testing kits.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit for Home and Well Water
“Best home water test for well and tap water calibrated to EPA standards.”
- Best Value: Varify 17-in-1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit
“Best testing coverage at a reasonable price point.”
- Best Professional: SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced Water Test Kit
“Most precise water test kit for accurate results and peace of mind.“
- Best Premium: SafeHome ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit
“Tests over 200 parameters in a certified diagnostics lab.“
- Best Pool Water Test: JNW Pool and Spa Water Test Strips Kit
“JNW is on a mission to deliver the best pool water test kits.“
- Best Digital Pool Test: LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit
“Get your very own home pool water test laboratory.“
- Best Aquarium Water Test: API Aquarium Water Test Master Kit
“Specially formulated kit monitors the four most important parameters.”
- Best Quick Aquarium Test: SJ Wave 6-in-1 Aquarium Water Test Strip Kit
“A convenient 6-in-1 kit for quick aquarium water test monitoring.”
- Best Water Hardness Test Kit: Hach Total Water Hardness Test Kit
“A full solution to reliably test water hardness levels in your home.”
- Best Well Water Test Kit: Watersafe Premium Drinking Water Test Kit
“An EPA level guaranteed well water test kit to ensure clean drinking water.”
Reviews of the 10 Best Water Test Kits
Some water test kits require a trip through the US postal system to a lab; others, like the Health Metric drinking water test kit for home tap and well water, don’t, which will save you money on exorbitant professional water testing fees.
You won’t need a lab in your home or a fancy science degree either; the Health Metric is easy to use, and in just minutes, you see the water test results. You can test professionally as often as you like!
Health Metric is manufactured in the USA and perfectly calibrated to meet EPA water testing standards. A dependable water testing kit with reliable results, each Health Metric kit includes the nine most vital tests for tap water, well water, municipal, or spring water sources.
Test your drinking water as often as you need. Let your faucet run for ten minutes before testing. Dip the included water test strips in a glass full of water. Wait ten minutes. Match the strips to the color-coded chart included in your Health Metric drinking water test kit. Allow 48 hours for the Coliform Bacteria test.
Health Metric is the best overall water testing kits that make it easy to determine if your water source is positive or negative for harmful bacteria, minerals, and metals. And, if needed, Health Metric water experts can offer assistance on demand anytime you have questions while testing your water.
- Test results within 10 minutes.
- Inexpensive and reliable investment
- Maximum EPA accuracy
- Required Municipal intervention and costly lab testing
- Multiple service calls while testing the water
- Hard to match post-test strip colors to guide
Let the ultimate water testing begin! With the purchase of a Varify 17-in-1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit, you can test each element in your water separately and quickly and without spending extra money sending water samples to a lab. The water test kit includes 100 16-parameter test strips, which exponentially increases the savings.
If your water contains contaminants, you can rest easy—the Varify 17-in-1 tests for the most harmful metal and mineral levels and bacteria. Suppose the bad stuff is living in your home’s water system and pool and spa. The Verify 17-in-1 extensive test strips tests for healthy water with the best results, even well water tests!
The comprehensive Varify 17-in-1 premium water test kit includes a test tube, 16 testing strips, two bacteria tests, a complete instruction guide, an EPA water standards chart, and a water testing diary.
Your purchase of a Varify 17-in-1 water testing kit pays it forward. Verify donates a portion of sales to Water for Good, a non-profit tackling global water poverty. A Varify 17-in-1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit guarantees freshness, accuracy, and reliability for the best value. Varify’s mission is to love clean water, and you should too!
To watch the Varify 17-in-1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit YouTube review, Click Here
- High-quality test strips
- Complete instructional booklet and color guide
- Intelligent and responsive 24/7 Customer support
- Bacteria tests gave opposite results
- Lead reads as a false-positive
- High-variance test strips
Water is everywhere, making up 60% of our bodies and 70% of the earth. SimpleWater takes everything about testing your home or well water to a professional level when it comes to water testing.
With the purchase of a SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced Water Test Kit, you can test up to 100+ chemicals with guaranteed quantified results that match EPA lab testing methods.
SimpleWater relies on unbiased health and treatment support from Ph.D. Berkeley scientists and professional engineers. The SimpleWater test kit includes sterilized water sampling vials, return shipping labels, and specially-designed insulated packaging. The water arrives at the SimpleWater lab ready for immediate testing.
Collect your preferred water sample. Send your water sample using the included packaging and return label. SimpleWater’s world-class laboratories will test for lead, arsenic, heavy metals, VOCs, bacteria, and other harmful parasites in your tap and well water, rainwater, and spring water.
Your proprietary “tap score” is returned quickly via US mail, or the SimpleWater’s SimpleLab app. SimpleLab uses the latest technology and high lab testing standards to achieve complete water testing results.
With the easy-to-navigate app, you’ll learn about your water’s aesthetics, potential plumbing impacts, unbiased personalized health and water treatment recommendations, and current local water health benchmarks in your city or region. SimpleWater is easily the best professional water test kit.
To watch the SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced Water Test Kit YouTube review, Click Here
- Results within 5-days post-lab test
- Actionable treatment advice
- Professional PhD and engineer customer service agents
- Considerable water testing investment
- Third-party lab delays
- Known water issues returned negative results
Voted “best overall water test kit” by Good Housekeeping Institute New York, the Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit also earned a seal of approval from the New York Times.
If your water” exceeds the Federal maximum contamination limits set by the EPA for human consumption,” Safe Home ULTIMATE accurately tests the water and provides detailed results. Safe Home only tests over 200 water parameters at EPA-certified labs to guarantee the most accurate results.
The Safe Home water testing kit includes seven individually labeled vessels. Fill the vessels, place them in the included packaging, attach the pre-addressed label, and off to the lab your water goes.
Once received at the lab, Safe Home’s scientists test the water for seven non-carbon compounds, hardness, color, density, 31 Metals, and over 50 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – dangerous and unstable chemicals.
Water test results are sent to any of your electronic devices within 7-10 business days post-test. Along with your water test results, you’ll receive Safe Home promo codes, an E-learning center & helpful water treatment options. Your purchase of a Safe Home ULTIMATE water test kit supports a donation to global water initiatives.
Whether you want to test potable drinking water sources, the Home’s water used for bathing and cooking, well water, springs, lakes, streams, or cisterns – even your preferred bottled water, Safe Home ULTIMATE is the best premium water test kit to have peace of mind.
To watch the Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit YouTube review, Click Here
- Over 150 years of combined water testing experience
- Exclusive contaminant database
- Guaranteed on-time results (or it’s free!)
- Delayed customer support responses
- Reports returned with no explanations
Nothing feels more refreshing than taking a dip in crystal clear, refreshing, cool water. But maintaining the pool water can be challenging. And JNW knows a thing or two about the importance of a balanced pH level – the delicate balance between the water’s acidity and alkaline levels.
JNW Direct strives to do one thing well: manufacture the best pool water test strips. The company’s mission is to provide nothing short of perfection, making JNW the best pool water test kit.
You’ll notice immediately that the JNW high-quality test strip saturation and the accompanying bottle color graduations are incredibly precise and easy to compare. You’ll understand your pool’s water quality instantly at a glance. You’ll only see the exact water quality results of every parameter. No confusion, no color bleeding.
When those levels become unbalanced, then the chlorine used to clean the pool water is worthless, turning the pool into a breeding ground for salmonella and E. coli and nasty viruses, leading to diarrhea and swimmer’s ear. To avoid these unhealthy inconveniences, JNW Pool and Spa Test Strips Kit test for seven parameters, including water hardness, pH, acidic stability, overall alkalinity, total chlorine percentage, and bromine; a chlorine alternative and “algae killer.”
PNW test strips provide real-time pool water test results. Dip a test strip in a pool water sample, then compare the strip result to the large color sticker on the strip bottle. That’s it! You can also monitor pool, spa, and hot-tub water using the handy PNW free mobile app for iOS and Android or a free e-book that teaches you how to keep your pool water as healthy as possible year-round.
To watch the JNW Pool and Spa Water Test Strip Kit YouTube review, Click Here
- Company focuses exclusively on test strips
- designed for pool water testing
- Tests 7 parameters
- Can sometimes get false positives
LaMotte puts the test strips and color-matching guide in the junk drawer and invites you to discover the advancements of technology with your very own in-home digital water testing laboratory.
The LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit includes a unique hand-held Bluetooth ColorQ photometer, a battery operated machine which measures the concentration levels of various compounds in your pool water.
Instead of dipping test strips into a vessel of pool water, the LaMotte pool water test kits works with a ratio of one test tablet per five drops of LaMotte’s liquid reagents (pH, acidity, alkaline, water hardness, chlorine) placed into a vial filled with pool water.
Each vial is placed into the photometer and tested for five minutes. The pool water test results can be viewed on the photometer’s digital display, or sent in English, Spanish or French to your personal electronic device. INcluded with the pool water test results you’ll receive customized chemical and dosage recommendations to keep your pool sparkling and fresh.
Historical pool water testing is stored in the app, and LaMotte even connects you with pool experts in your area if you need some additional assistance.
To watch the The LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit YouTube review, Click Here
- One Year Warranty
- Comprehensive digital pool water test data analysis
- Consistent results
- Testing agents have a 6 month or less shelf life
- Several reagents require multiple tests
Fish will live a longer and healthier life and thank you immensely when the water in the aquarium isn’t hiding invisible problems. API’s motto is to “make a better underwater world.” The specifically formulated API Aquarium Water Test Masket Kit monitors the four most important parameters that keep the fish out of harm’s way.
Reef aquariums require Calcium, water hardness, and Phosphate at superior levels, but it’s the sudden spike in the aquarium’s Nitrate levels that can suddenly upend everyday fish life. You’re suddenly considering adding live plants to freshwater tanks, reducing the fish population, upgrading to a bigger tank, and cutting back on feeding.
Abnormal parameters cause undue stress on the fish and are inconveniently expensive. Avoid those nagging algae blooms and unexpected changes in pH. API Aquarium Water Test Master Kits help fish owners learn to promote healthy bacterial growth and avoid irreversible fish diseases like ich and fin rot.
API test kits include seven testing bottles, two-color guides, and four capped test tubes. Accurately monitor all four parameters weekly, and your fish will be in swimmingly excellent health! The API website offers comprehensive Safety Data PDFs for reference and a helpful and friendly customer support team ready to assist! And that makes the API the best aquarium test kit!
- Research-driven aquarium water testing solutions
- Economically superior to aquarium water test strips
- Affordable investment for first-time aquarium owners
- For reef aquariums only
- Takes practice to understand reagent accuracy
- Nitrate test required a costly professional opinion
Aquarium upkeep demands many responsibilities. If your life runs on the busier side, SJ WAVE has the solution. A convenient and ready-to-use SJ Wave 6-in-1 aquarium water testing kit. Healthy water is critical for your aquarium to thrive and often requires multiple tests per week. Good news! The SJ Wave comes loaded with 100 test strips.
Just pour a touch of aquarium water into the included test tube, then dip a test strip into the water for instant results. You can check for pH, Chlorine, water hardness, two different Nitrates, and a bonus seventh test: temperature.
SJ WAVE’s detailed color chart can help you detect even the lowest levels of impurities, foreign substances, and even those plaguing invisible water issues you can’t see circling your aquatic pets.
Aquarium life is a costly and time-consuming hobby. Keeping the aquarium water healthy shouldn’t be. If you’re looking for the best quick water aquarium test kit, check out the SJ WAVE 6-in-1; it’s fast, efficient, and inexpensive.
- Aquarium water test results within one minute
- 100 test strips per order
- Test salt and betta tanks, ponds and freshwater aquariums
- Test strips have a 3-month shelf life
- Frequent aquarium water changes post-testing
- DIfficult to get an accurate Nitrate test
Hard water does not play fairly. The Hach 145300 Total Water Hardness Test Kit helps you keep hard water at bay, and from interfering with soaps and detergents which cling to your dishes and wreak havoc on your water-powered appliances.
If your clothes look faded, your glassware is cloudy, odds are hard water deposits of calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate and magnesium hydroxide are flowing through your home’s water pipes. Over time, the water moves slower and your water heater ends up working overtime. Less efficient heating means higher energy bills!
Each Hach 145300 Total Water Hardness Test Kit includes a liquid titrate solution, a water hardness reagent, and a dropper and test tube. The concept of testing your home’s water for hardness is easy. Hach works using simple drop-count titration that measures hardness as grains per gallon.
Better for your health, better for your home. Straight-foward water hardness testing makes the Hach 145300 the best water hardness test kit.
- Compare alkalinity to water hardness directly
- Simple, economical titration method
- Consistent and reliable water hardness test results
- International customer support with limited hours
- Additional reagent drops required for accurate results
Watersafe has a question, do you trust your water? If not, you need to understand what is flowing into your home or at the source. If you wonder what chemicals reside in your water source and to what degree, know this: it can be happening with no enforcement or government intervention.
For example, understanding if your water is tainted with lead. Contamination means placing your trust in a premium water test kit used by governments, municipalities, and universities. This is especially true for those looking for a well water test kit.
Put your trust in the Watersafe Premium Drinking Water Test Kit. You can count on Watersafe to provide easy-to-read instructions, definitive results, and quick and straightforward testing every time.
Each drinking well water test kit includes a bacteria test vial, Lead and pesticide, Nitrate and Nitrite, pH and hardness, chlorine, Copper, and Iron test strips.
Watersafe guarantees to test your home’s water at the level of actionable EPA level detections, using extensively lab-tested equipment yielding high accuracy results.
Watersafe test kit provides service and results for the most sensitive and accurate tap and well water tests. Your Watersafe Premium Drinking Water test results include all the essential data related to understanding the most dangerous compounds which invisibly live in your home’s water source.
- Tests lead at 3.8 parts per billion
- Foolproof, clearly defined testing strip labels
- Go-to for well water test kit
- Test strip control lines don’t appear in reagent
2022 Buyers Guide to the Best Water Test Kit
Whether your water source arrives at your home by the city or county water department or pumped from a natural well, the domestic water that flows through a home should be clean and healthy to drink, and free of harmful pesticides, iron, and lead.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, over 10 million US homes contain lead pipes. Over time pipes corrode and harmful metals seep into the water. Corrosion is not a flavor, and it’s unhealthy and can sometimes lead to gastrointestinal illnesses.
In addition, from 2017 to the present, on average, 60% of US homeowners searched for information regarding Chlorine water testing kits, 30% searched for a combination of bacteria, lead, VOCs and harmful mineral water test kit options, and another 10% defined their search to hard water testing kits. Clearly, there is a growing need for home water source test kits for homes well water sources and aquariums.
From determining Ph balance to testing water “hardness” – the ratio of dissolved calcium and magnesium – to ensuring the water in swimming pools and aquariums are safe for the kids, and the fish, a water test kit is an essential tool to test against Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
What To Look For When Purchasing a Water Test Kit
Not all water testing kits are made the same, from paper test strips to liquid drops, third-party lab testing to a kit containing a miniature in-home battery-operated centrifuge to spin and test the water. The good news is, no matter the type of water testing kit you ultimately decide to purchase, it will yield the same results. Or will it?
Prices for water testing kits range from twenty dollars for a basic test strip kit to hundreds of dollars for a scientifically designed water testing kit plus extra fees to send the water to be tested in a professional lab. Before shelling out your money on a water testing kit, take these factors into consideration:
Your Water Sources
Are you in an urban area or suburban farm country? The former may contain high levels of lead and fluoride, and the latter includes many types of invisible pesticides and bacteria.
Is your home’s water provided by a municipal water source or a private well in your backyard? Municipal (city) water table information, including the latest water test results, is easy to search for on the internet. Well water is about as close to a mystery as it gets, and most likely, is not treated regularly, if at all. Please educate yourself on your water source related to your geographical location.
Water Flow Speed
Count the number of inlets where water flows into your home. Water moves at different rates depending on its quality. Slower moving water means a greater concentration of chemicals and metals. Pipes bring water to sinks, tubs and showers, toilets, water heaters, dishwashers and washing machines, and ice makers.
Determine the material construction of your pipes. Is your home’s plumbing made of PVC or metal? How old are the pipes? Harmful chemicals also can compromise the integrity of the lines, a sure sign those same chemicals are swirling around in your drinking water and slowly causing damage to your appliances.
Hard Water Testing
Hard water wreaks havoc on everything, and heavy metals can weaken the integrity of clothing and leach permanent rust stains onto the surface of porcelain and tile.
Before you test your water, educate yourself on the hardness of the water in your region by making a call to your water municipality. Then determine if you need a water conditioner (treatment medium crystals) or water softener (reverse osmosis and salt) and the individual operating and installation costs
Type of Water You Are Testing
Consider how many “types” of water you have to test. Are you testing only the water in your home? Your home and a pool? What about home, pool, and aquarium. Water is water, but more water sources mean more water testing. And that means more time, patience, education and a kit that can yield the best results. Ask yourself, are you able to devote yourself to being a DIY water tester, or do you want to trust a lab to test your water? Lab testing comes at an extra cost.
Pool and Aquarium Water Testing
Pools and aquariums are sensitive to numerous diseases, fungi, and bacteria and often require regular testing. It’s essential to have enough testing materials on hand. Build the cost into your monthly budget to pivot quickly in the event you need to treat any of your water sources. Your fish and kids will thank you!
Water Contaminant Testing
Determine what specifically you would like to test for. Is it for something specific? Or do you need a more comprehensive test to uncover what potential toxins and chemicals may be lingering in your drinking water? Some water test kits provide only for specific minerals, while others can test for hundreds of water contaminants. If this is your first water test, the more robust test may be the way to go.
The water test kits range from results in 5 minutes to results in 5 days. Depending on what type of test you use, it may only require placing the test strip in your water to see the results right away. Other more comprehensive test kits require filling a vial with the water to be testing, sending it to a lab to do the diagnostics, and returning the results to you in approximately 5 days. Other specific testing kits, like a digital pool test kit, will return data to you instantly.
How safe is my water to drink right Now?
Seems like a rudimentary question to be asking yourself. But it is the first and most important question you should be asking yourself before you even start your homework and research on water testing kits.
Determine how old your home is, what the plumbing is made of, where your water originates from – an underground well or city reservoir – and look online to get an overview of the last 5-10 years of water testing results from your local municipality.
Knowing how safe your home’s water is before starting the process helps you decide what type of water testing kit to purchase, understand what parameters to test for and more importantly estimate the potential costs should you need to purchase a filtering system, a new water heater, replace plumbing or ultimately have the water tested and treated professionally.
What do water testing kits test for?
The more comprehensive water test kits will test for over 100 chemicals in your water. Common tests include: Lead, Arsenic, Heavy Metals, Iron, VOCs, Nitrates, Chlorine, THMs, E. Coli bacteria and more. The more budget friendly at-home options can sometimes focus on just a few specific toxins to be tested for. We recommend starting with a comprehensive water test to uncover all possible impurities. Then you can refine your tests down to more cost effective water tests to spot check and ensure your treatment course of action is working.
How do water testing kits work?
It depends on the type of kit and what you are testing for. If you are using a water test kit for your home’s water, there are instant water test kits or kits that you mail in to be analyzed. For the at-home instant kits, they typically include testing strips that can render results in as little as 15 minutes. The higher end mail-in kits require you to fill vials of water and ship them to the company’s lab (typically pre-paid shipping) where they analyze the water results. In both cases, the water test kits will come with detailed instructions to guide you through the process.
How accurate are water test kits?
Mail-in water test kits can be extremely accurate. They cost a little more, but you come away with a much more comprehensive set of lab results – which is the purpose of testing home water to begin with. For example, the SimpleWater Tap Score professional water test kit uses EPA lab testing methods to quantify over 100 chemicals in your water. They then provide treatment support by professional engineers on the best way to resolve any water purity issues. Conversely, instant home water tests are less comprehensive than lab testing, but they do an excellent job for testing specific chemicals and minerals, or for quick spot checks.
Should I have my water tested first before I buy a water test kit?
Yes and No. If you are able to get a complete water table test from your local municipality or in a tapwater database, you’re probably okay to get started deciding what type of water testing kit you’d like to purchase, and how often you want to test your home’s water, and pool and aquarium too!
If you’ve never had your home’s water tested, inquire about a test from your local municipality or shop online for a service that fits within your budget. If you go this route, ask the technician questions about formulating a treatment plan, and ask to see the results so you can understand what to look for when you start your own DIY water testing.
How often should I test my water?
The suggested water testing schedule is every six months. If you live in a more rural area, test more frequently. If the pool, spa and aquarium water need to be tested, you’re adding additional days or weeks to your schedule.
Create a water testing plan so that you’re able to test regularly as well as seasonally. This requires that you have enough test strips or drops, so stock up or purchase a water testing kit with plenty of supplies and get into the habit of testing your water sources at the same intervals so you can get them to the lab and get the results back on a consistent basis.
Best Water Test Kit Video Review 2022
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Water Test Kit
Clean water is an essential community resource. Water test kits support greener living environments, preserve water-powered appliances, help properly hydrate the body, prevent the spread of disease, and provide an overall sense of wellbeing.
Our final verdict for the top three water testing kits are:
- The Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit for Home Tap and Well Water because you’ll receive EPA standard test results in 10 minutes or less.
- The LaMotte 2056 ColorQ Pro 7 Digital Pool Water Test Kit because you get a professional grade laboratory testing experience without the expensive lab costs.
- The Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit with compatible app, 150 years of water testing experience, and digital e-learning center.
Keep a clean and healthy supply of water flowing year-round into your home. Testing your water for life is a refreshing idea!
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Image credit: SafeHome