Pool Water Test Kits
The most important thing that you can do for your swimming pool is to maintain proper water chemistry levels. There really is no way to accomplish this without a quality test kit that can accurately check what is in your water.
The two test kits recommended here are the Taylor K-2006C, and Leslie’s Chlorine FAS-DPD Service Test Kit. Both kits test Free Chlorine and Combined Chlorine, using the FAS-DPD titration test, as well as pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid.
The FAS-DPD chlorine test is especially important, since it is the only commonly available chlorine test that can measure FC levels above 10 reliably. It is precise enough to measure overnight FC loss, which is critical when you have an algae bloom and need to shock your pool to kill it.
Which one should you get? The Leslie’s kit is just a private label Taylor K-2006C, so we are really talking about the same product. The Taylor K-2006C is available at a discount at pstpoolsupplies.com if you do not wish to pay retail, although if you just can’t wait for your kit to be delivered, you may have to go to Leslie’s and pay the retail price! No matter which kit you buy, reagents can also be purchased at a discount at pstpoolsupplies.com when you are running low.
Two other test kits are worth mentioning, although we do not recommend them. WalMart sells a very inexpensive 6 way drop based Swimming Pool & Spa Test Kit. This kit, while drastically inferior to the kits mentioned above, is available locally in most areas. This may be your only reasonable choice when you can’t wait for mail order and must have something to test with today.
The other test kit is the LaMotte ColorQ series, and it offers a choice for people who are either color blind or can not read the standard color comparison based pH test. The ColorQ series does suffer from a few limitations, notably that none of the test results are reliable when the FC level is above 10, or when the CH level is above 400. Additionally, the CYA test is a little finicky and has less precision than you really need.
If you really want to take care of your swimming pool and not rely on others interpretation of your water (especially when they just might be trying to sell you something!), purchasing your own test kit and learning to use it is a great investment. You will quickly learn how to use it accurately, and will then be in charge of your pool, and able to provide a safe environment for your family and friends.