7 Best Water Test Kit Reviews: Check Water Quality and Hardness at Home (2023)

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Best Water Test Kit For Home City And Well Water Review

Scaly residue and soap scum lingering on your dishes? Is your tap water discolored 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, or general water safety concerns, we’ve got you covered! 

We’ve reviewed the top water test kits for your home based on price, specific contaminants, and accuracy. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between each water testing kit, if water testing strips actually 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.

🏆Best Water Test Kit For Home

⭐Water Test Kits Reviews For 2023


Freshnss Labs City Water Test Kit

Best Overall For City Water

Get professional grade laboratory testing right at your door step. An unbiased and thorough lab test is the only way to know exactly what is in your water.  Simply collect a tap water sample and send it to a certified lab to be analyzed for dozens of harmful contaminants. Overall we were impressed with the speed and customer service for the Freshnss Test Kits.

Key Features

Fast Turnaround Time: You will get your results back within 3 business days of receiving the sample.  The report includes a thorough breakdown of all detected contaminants, health risks, plumbing concerns, and tailored treatment solutions for your specific situation.  They offer a follow up call with an expert to review everything for free too!

Free Shipping: The standard shipping is free for the kit to be delivered to your home. But the test kit then comes with prepaid shipping to send your sample back. So it is free shipping both ways!

Certified Lab: Freshnss Labs testing partner facilities are certified, including ISO 17025, NELAC, and more. Your report will include EPA benchmarking and testing method used for each contaminants. If you require certain certification, they are able take care of it!

Two Testing Kit Options:  The city water comes in two options. Either the Foundation Test Kit that analyses 49 substances, or the Ultimate Test Kit that analyses 109 substances including nasty VOCs, Heavy Metals, and Disinfection By Products.

Everything Included: The Freshnss test kit includes everything to collect a water sample using industry best practices and send it to a certified laboratory to be analysed. 

Who It’s Best For

This kit is ideal if you get your water supply from a municipal water supply or city water utility Or if you have concerns with the water distribution infrastructure or your home’s plumbing.

  • Results within 3-days post-lab test
  • Personalized report including best treatment options based on your data
  • In person call with water scientists and treatment specialists
  • Free shipping both ways
  • Lab testing takes longer than DIY tests, but way more accurate 
  • More expensive than DIY test strips

Freshnss Labs Well Water Test Kit

Best Overall For Well Water

This test kit is specifically designed for well water testing. It examines common issues like bacteria, iron, manganese, sulfur, hardness, and more. Simply collect a water sample from your home and send it to a certified lab to be analyzed. Overall we were impressed with the customer support, speed, and reporting with the Freshnss Well Water Test Kits.

Key Features

Fast Turnaround Time: Get your results back within 3 business days of the lab receiving the water sample. Then your report will include a thorough analysis of all detected contaminants, health alerts, and custom treatment solutions based on your specific data.  They also offer a follow up call with an expert to review all the info too!

Free Shipping: The shipping for the kit is free to be delivered to your home. And the test kit includes prepaid shipping to send the sample back back to the lab. So the shipping is free both ways!

Certified Lab: Freshnss Labs uses facilities that are certified, including ISO 17025, NELAC, and more. Your report will include the testing method used for each contaminant and EPA benchmarking. You can let them know if If you require certain certification.

Two Testing Kit Options:  The well water kit comes in two options. Either the Foundation Test Kit that analyses 54 substances, or the Ultimate Test Kit that analyses 114 substances including Heavy Metals, nasty VOCs, and Bacteria.

Everything Included: The well test kits includes everything you need (sterilized vials and instructions) properly collect a water sample and send it to a certified laboratory to be analysed. 

Who It’s Best For

This kit is ideal if you get your water supply from a private well or shared groundwater supply. Or if you
have heavy staining, discoloration or bad odors from your well water.

  • Results within 3-days post-lab test
  • Personalized report including best treatment options based on your data
  • In person call with water scientists and treatment specialists
  • Free shipping both ways
  • Lab testing takes longer than DIY tests, but way more accurate 
  • More expensive than DIY test strips

Varify 17-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit

Best DIY Test Strips

With the Varify 17-in-1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit, you can test 17 elements 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.

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.

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 drinking water test kit. Allow 48 hours for the Coliform Bacteria test.

  • Get fast water quality test results at home
  • tests for 17 different substances in your tap water
  • Less expensive than lab tests
  • Not very accurate results
  • Only tests for common contaminants

Hatch Total Water Hardness Test Kit

Best For Water Hardness

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-forward water hardness testing makes the Hach 145300 the best water hardness test kit.

  • Compare alkalinity to water hardness directly
  • Simple, economical titration method to test hardness
  • Less expensive than lab tests
  • Only tests for water hardness
  • Additional reagent drops required for accurate results
  • Does not provide exact hardness levels

JNW Spa And Pool Water Test Strips Kit

Best For Pool And Spa

Nothing feels more refreshing than taking a dip in crystal clear, refreshing, cool water.  But maintaining the pool water can be challenging.

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.

  • Designed specifically for pool water testing
  • Economical way to test your pool’s water very frequently
  • Tests for 7 different parameters
  • Can sometimes get false positives
  • Not as accurate as the digital pool testing options

LaMotte Digital Pool Water Test Kit

Best Digital Pool Test Kit

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.

  • One year money back warranty
  • Comprehensive digital pool water test data analysis
  • Consistent test results
  • Testing agents have a 6 month or less shelf life
  • Several reagents require multiple tests
  • More expensive than test strips

API Aquarium Water Test Master Kit

Best Aquarium Test Kit

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
  • Economical aquarium water test strips
  • Affordable investment for first-time aquarium owners
  • Takes practice to understand reagent accuracy
  • Nitrate test required a costly professional opinion

2023 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. 

A good water test is the best first step! If you want to a doctor, the first thing they would do is run tests and diagnostics before prescribing anything. Your home’s water is no different! You need to know what the issues are before treating them.

Why Test Your Home’s Water?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 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 city water

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. 

Key Considerations When Choosing 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.

Plumbing Material

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.

Testing Process

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.

The Competition

We previously included the Health Metric drinking water test kit for home tap and well water, but it was edged off the list this year for the best DIY test strip option.

For laboratory testing options, we had previously reviewed the Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit and the Tap Score Water Test Kits. However, the high price relative to the slow speed and tepid customer service made them not worth it.

FAQs For Water Testing Kits

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?

Laboratory 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 Freshnss Labs Water Test Kits use EPA lab testing methods to quantify over 100 contaminants 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 and less accurate, but are ok 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. 

Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Water Test Kit

Clean water is an essential community resource. Have a quality water test is the first step to understanding your home’s water quality. Just like going to a doctor, you want to have the best data to analyze your water chemistry.

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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