Last Updated: June 18, 2021
Sometimes you simply need a “fast and soiled” check of your swimming pool’s water to see if it’s clear or not. You don’t need one thing fancy or sophisticated. You don’t even essentially want one thing that’s correct to 10 decimal locations. You simply need a common thought of what situation your pool is in.
Good old school testing strips are the reply. They’re simple to make use of and might offer you a ballpark determine with out a variety of fuss.
But which strips are which? If you’re uninterested in wading by way of the swamp to determine which strips are the perfect in your wants, loosen up. We’ve already completed all that for you.
These critiques are the end result of our efforts. We’ve completed the analysis, in contrast the outcomes, and produced this helpful article in your profit. After every assessment is a straightforward “pros and cons” record summarizing our outcomes. It takes all of the guesswork out of the decision-making course of and provides you the data you want with out all of the work to get it.
Comparison Table (up to date in 2021)
The 8 Best Pool Test Strips
1. AquaChek 7-Way Pool Test Strips – Best Overall
These strips measure seven chemical levels: free chlorine, complete chlorine, complete hardness, complete alkalinity, pH, and cyanuric acid. Not unhealthy for one check strip. Dip the strip in some pool water, wait 15 seconds, then examine it to the chart on the facet of the bottle.
Be cautious although. Holding the strip within the water for greater than the beneficial 15 seconds will throw the studying off. When they are saying 15 seconds, they’re severe. Use a stopwatch if you need to.
Because you’re evaluating colours for given ranges, these strips won’t ever be 100% correct. For that, you want a digital meter with a digital readout. However, for each day readings, these strips are fairly good and can save a variety of put on and tear on the digital meter. You’ll solely have to drag out your costly digital meter for precision readings and changes. This actually extends its usable life.
These strips solely take a number of seconds to make use of, whereas the digital meters take for much longer. For fast, ballpark outcomes, these strips are laborious to beat.
Pay shut consideration to the expiration date on the bottle. Old strips aren’t correct.
2. JNW Direct 6-in-1 Spa & Pool Test Strips
These strips check for six issues: complete hardness, complete chlorine, bromine, free chlorine, pH, and complete alkalinity. This isn’t fairly as many as the highest decide above, but it surely’s nonetheless a good vary of outcomes. As regular, you dip the strip within the pool water, time it with a stopwatch (or your telephone), then examine it to the helpful chart on the bottle to get your outcomes.
As all the time, the outcomes rely upon colour comparisons completed by eye. The numbers related to every colour on the chart are a variety of numbers quite than a selected one. Therefore, the accuracy won’t ever be as exact as a digital meter with a digital show. Nonetheless, inside its inherent limitations, it delivers an inexpensive end result, and it’ll save put on and tear in your digital meter when you’ve got one. You can reserve it for the particular instances the place extra exact outcomes are required, utilizing these strips for the traditional each day testing.
However, some check outcomes with two strips don’t agree, so the reliability isn’t pretty much as good as the highest decide. Expired check strips may also be wildly inaccurate because the reagent chemical substances on them don’t age very nicely.
3. Poolmaster 4-Way Pool Test Strips – Best Value
These strips solely verify 4 issues: free chlorine, bromine, alkalinity, and pH ranges. For a fast water check to verify the fundamentals, these do the job. They’re not meant to be fancy.
Dip them within the water and verify them with the colour chart on the bottle. You ought to all the time comply with the directions exactly, so use a stopwatch or the stopwatch operate in your telephone to time them. You’ll get a lot better, extra constant outcomes that manner.
However, there are a few drawbacks. The reagent chemical substances on the check strips don’t reply nicely to the passing of time. Be cautious to verify these expiration dates on the bottle earlier than you open it. If it’s expired or near the expiration date, ship them again instantly.
There are additionally some high quality management points with these strips. They don’t all come out of the manufacturing unit the identical manner. Now after which a foul batch, or a number of unhealthy batches, might be shipped. Unfortunately, the one factor you are able to do in that case is to eat the fee. An area retailer would possibly alternate them, however a web-based supply nearly definitely received’t.
But for the worth, these strips are a reasonably whole lot.
4. LaMotte 3028 6-Way Test Strips
With 50 strips included in every bottle, these pool testing strips from LaMotte are a cheap option to carry on prime of your pool duties. The 6-way testing ensures that you simply received’t miss something and your pool ought to keep in tip-top situation. You can check free chlorine/bromine, complete chlorine, pH, alkalinity, water hardness, and cyanuric acid.
For your comfort, a straightforward to learn colour chart is printed onto the bottle for evaluating your strips and getting a correct studying. We did have a number of strips the place the colour pads fell off and have been left floating across the pool. For this purpose, the LaMotte check strips have been capped off within the fourth place of this record.
5. GLB 4-Way Swimming Pool Test Strips
Although the (*8*) are modestly priced, they solely carry out a 4-way check. These strips will check for bromine, chlorine, alkalinity, and pH. For the identical worth, many manufacturers supply extra full testing comparable to 6-way, or much more. That stated, not everybody feels the necessity to verify for therefore many chemical substances and could also be completely content material with the 4-way capabilities of the GLB strips.
In our testing, these strips labored simply superb. Although, in comparison with different manufacturers, the chlorine colours weren’t fairly as clear or vivid. This made it a bit tougher to gauge the right studying, however total, they did what they have been speculated to. For our cash although, we might quite have the liberty afforded by a extra full testing strip.
6. hth Pool Test Kit 6-Way Test Strips
At first look, the HTH multi-purpose test strips appear to be priced decrease than their rivals. Upon additional investigation, you’ll understand that solely 30 strips are available a pack. These strips carry out a 6-way check that features chlorine, bromine, pH, complete alkalinity, complete hardness, and cyanuric acid.
In our expertise, the chlorine testing was inaccurate. Several strips gave a studying of 0 when there was undoubtedly chlorine current. This might lead to over-chemicalizing your pool which might trigger fairly a headache. The poor reliability of those strips mixed with the smaller package deal dimension of simply 30 strips means we will’t suggest these strips as certainly one of our favorites.
7. Clear Pool Expert 6-Way Test Strips
These check strips from Clear Pool Expert are one of the vital affordably priced choices obtainable. The 6-way check covers complete hardness, chlorine, pH, alkalinity, and stabilizer. An related smartphone app has the colour information for understanding your exams. We choose to have a printout on the bottle to keep away from the trouble of utilizing your worthwhile smartphone subsequent to the pool.
Our greatest drawback with these strips was the colours. While many of the different manufacturers had colours that matched their charts fairly nicely, the Clear Pool testing strips didn’t. We had a really troublesome time making an attempt to find out the place our colours lined up since all the hues gave the impression to be off. This was fairly complicated and left us a bit annoyed. Overall, we’d recommend skipping the smartphone app and selecting a model of strips with an excellent built-in colour chart.
8. TOP LINE Pool Testing Strips
The TOP LINE pool testing strips look like fairly a deal once you first discover them. Although they’re priced equally to most competing manufacturers, you obtain twice as many strips for the worth. Moreover, these strips carry out a 7-way check which incorporates pH, free chlorine, complete chlorine, complete alkalinity, cyanuric acid, complete hardness, and even salt. They solely must be dipped within the pool for two seconds, however the colour change takes 60 seconds.
For the worth, we have been a bit apprehensive. Turns out, we had good purpose. We have been fairly shocked to see the colours working collectively after we pulled the primary strip from the pool. Obviously, this makes it fairly laborious to get a studying. We tried once more, this time eradicating it from the water shortly to put it flat. We nonetheless skilled working, however this time we might make out the person colours a bit higher. Regrettably, they didn’t match shut sufficient to the colour chart to make for straightforward identification. We had a troublesome time determining the place our ranges actually have been. Although at face worth they appear like an excellent selection, you’re higher off spending a bit extra on one other model.
For a very long time, paper test strips were the only way to measure the chemical levels in your swimming pool. Now that digital meters are extensively obtainable, these strips needs to be seen as an adjunct to your digital meter, not a competitor. Electronic gear can break down and be expensive to replace.
These strips can save put on and tear on the digital meter by doing the each day testing with them. Strips and digital meters can work collectively.
Testing strips, old school although they could be, can truly be fairly helpful. They can prolong the lifetime of your digital meter with out compromising the accuracy you need when it’s wanted. They’re moderately priced, and if used as supposed, can present very first rate outcomes.
The selection for the highest decide is the AquaChek 551236 7-Way (100 strips). They measure seven totally different chemical ranges in your swimming pool with accuracy and reliability nicely inside acceptable limits for each day use. You’ll be nicely happy with these testing strips.
The best for the cash selection is the Poolmaster 22211 Smart Test 4-Way (50 Strips). They solely measure 4 chemical ranges in your pool however are the unique “fast and soiled” check outcomes you’re in search of. If you want simply the fundamentals in an affordable package deal, these are the testing strips for you.
Hopefully, we’ve answered all of your questions on testing strips and supplied you with the essential info it is advisable to make an knowledgeable choice about which of them to get.