Monitoring chemical levels is an important part of pool maintenance as it’ll help you make sure the water is safe to use. It’s essential you get the chlorine, pH and alkaline levels right before going for a dip – although many pool test strips measure extra elements like bromine, salt and iron.
While pool test strips are a quick, easy and inexpensive solution, you could use more costly liquid test kits for more accuracy, or choose a digital tool with an easy-to-read screen.
What is the best way to test pool water?
Start by measuring the chemicals at least once a week – and be sure to take readings from both ends of the pool. You may want to test the water up to three times per week during spells of hot weather and after storms.
Most pool test strips give you results in seconds after you submerge them, and you can compare the coloured markings to the ‘ideal’ results provided on the bottle. Then, adjust the level of chemicals in the water accordingly.
It’s worth keeping track of your test results in a log book or mobile app, as it’ll help you get to grips with the chemical fluctuations and better predict future changes.
Best pool test strips to buy online
LaMotte Insta-Test Strips
LaMotte is a popular brand when it comes to pool test strips, and it’s been around for over a century. The company sells a range of different chemical measuring kits, so you can choose the number of elements you’d like to track. The Insta-Test 3+ will detect free chlorine, as well as bromine, alkalinity and pH, while the 4+ also measures the water’s total hardness.
For an even more detailed water test, try the Insta-Test 5+ or 6+. You’ll get 50 strips per pack, which provide instant results. According to LaMotte, there’s no chance of cross-contamination between the color pads, so you’re guaranteed stable results.
Clearwater Dip Test Strips
Another customer favorite are the Clearwater dip tests. Providing three measurement results, these strips keep things simple; you’ll get pH, chlorine and total alkalinity ratings.
Once you’ve dipped a test strip into the water, just hold it horizontally and check the colour-coded results against the chart on the bottle.
AquaChek Pool and Spa Test Strips
AquaChek’s pool test strips come with a few extra features, including an app for customized treatment plans and an easy-grip bottle with a flip-up strip dispenser cap. Plus, the testers don’t compromise on speed, as you can dip and get your results in a matter of seconds.
Unlike many pool test strip kits, AquaChek also measures the level of cyanuric acid (stabiliser) in the water – an important factor for outdoor pools, where UV rays affect chlorine dissipation. It also measures the main three elements: free chlorine, pH and total alkalinity.
Blue Horizons 3-Way Chlorine Test Strips
For a simple bulk pack, you can’t go wrong with these Blue Horizon strips. This multi-pack includes six containers of 50 test strips, so you’ll get 300 in total when you buy the set. It’s a great option if you want to save a bit of money by stocking up.
These pool test strips only measure three different values - chlorine, pH and total alkalinity – but they take a mere 10 seconds to reveal the readings.
4-Way Aqua Sparkle Test Strips
Another inexpensive option, this pack from Aqua Sparkle is a good choice if you want to restock your tester supply. These strips are designed for hot tubs and spa products, but they’ll work well with all chlorine and bromine sanitisers.
Use this pack to test for chlorine, bromine, pH and total alkalinity. You’ll get 50 strips in each pot, so this set should last you a while.