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As human beings, water is a basic requirement for sustenance, I mean, we use it for literally everything, including washing, cooking, drinking, cleaning, recreation, energy production, and more.
For that reason, it is essential that we have access to good quality water, especially for cooking and drinking. One way to ensure that we have good water is to test it regularly. However, large-scale water testing can be both costly and infrequent. Thankfully we have other options, like at-home water test kits or as some people call them, DIY kits.
With at-home water test kits, you can affordably, accurately, conveniently, and regularly check your water quality and ensure the safety of your water supply. In this article, we will explore the seven best at-home water test kits that you can use at home.
What Can I Test For in an At-Home Water Test Kits?
Using an at-home water test kit, you can test for just about anything, including lead, water hardness, volatile organic compounds, chlorine, coliform, nitrite, heavy arsenic, bacteria, and other contaminants that could pose a risk to your health.
Contaminated water can not only lead to the development of several illnesses, but it can also cause property damage, like the staining of your household fixtures or clothes. Some telltale signs that indicate abnormal water quality include the taste, color, and odor of your water.
Additional reasons you may want to get your water quality checked are as follows:
- The age of your building and its plumbing
- The proximity of your water source to structures like septic systems
- The composition of your building’s plumbing materials.
These test kits use patented technology to check for all types of contaminants, which is necessary for helping to preserve your health and wellness. So, while public water treatment facilities may try very hard to provide you with clean and safe water, sometimes the pipes in your homes and offices are just not up-to-date and that’s where the contamination may come into play. Therefore, it is best not to depend solely on the government to conduct testing; your safety is your responsibility and that is one of the primary reasons why many companies are producing these water test strips for you to use at home.
Additionally, private water sources are more prone to contamination, and as such, should most definitely be tested.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), you should test your water every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels, especially if you have a new well or have newly replaced or repaired pipes, pumps, or well casings.
Most water quality test kits are single-use only, so if you plan on testing multiple sources, you will need more than one test strip or powder.
How Do At-Home Water Test Kits Work?
Water testing kits are numerous and how you use them depends on the contaminants you are testing for. At-home water test kits typically use either test strips or test powders to conduct water testing. Some kits may use both methods. Generally, though, a water testing kit follows a predictable sequence of steps.
Determine the Water Source to be Tested
The first thing you will do is identify your water source. If your source of water has no foul color, taste, odor, etc., then the test you use should be determined by whether your water source is public or private.
A private source, such as a well, will require a comprehensive water quality testing kit that includes pesticide screening. If you are testing your city’s drinking water, a basic kit that covers common contaminants is ideal.
Determine Which Water Quality Testing Method to Use
Once you have identified a water source, the next step is to choose a water quality testing method. Are test strips or powders a better fit for you? Here is some additional information to help with that decision
Powder Kits for Bacteria Testing
The water testing kits of the powder variety require mixing a few drops of water to a container with powder. Shake the mixture and compare the sample color with the color indicators on the container to find a match. The match will tell you which substance is likely the source of contamination. Powder-based water quality test kits provide more accurate results for certain types of contaminates than do test strips, and are therefore the recommended option if you need to test for something specific, like lead or bacteria
Water Quality Test Strips.
Test strips can reveal what type of contaminants and their concentration levels (parts per million) are affecting your water source. Water quality test strips are largely popular due to their affordability and accessibility. The vast majority of water test strip kits are user friendly and follow a similar procedure.
Begin by filling the test container with a water sample, then dip the test strip into the sample. Next, make a swirl the water within the container. Your kit will provide you with the exact period of time the strip needs to remain in the water, although it’s usually a few minutes.
Finally, remove the strip from the water and compare the color on the strip to that of the chart included with your kit. Side-by-side comparisons usually prove the most effective.
You can use your test results and the contamination tables from the Environmental Protection Agency to review your results alongside reputable EPA standards for safe drinking water.
If your results are concerning, you can always send your test strip to one of the many environmental laboratories.
- Safe Home Ultimate– comprehensive analysis of city water and well water. This at-home water test kit is supported by certified scientists with over 150 years of combined experience in testing drinking water
- Health Metric – designed to check the quality of residential well and tap water. It offers easy-to-use testing strips for lead, bacteria, pH, copper, nitrate, chlorine, water hardness, and more
- Varify– provides a comprehensive seventeen in one Premium Drinking Water Test Kit that comes with 100 strips and two bacteria tests. This at-home water test kit is made to test the quality of your home water quality from various water sources, including well and tap water.
- Tap Score– professional water test kit manufactured by SimpleWater Labs. This brand uses EPA lab testing methods
- Poolmaster – designed to assist users with maintaining proper water chemistry, as it tests for chlorine, bromine, pH, acid demand, and total alkalinity.
- Test Assured – offers a ten-minute water test kit for iron, copper, and lead, along with other products
- Lab Tech – includes over ten tests in total for alkalinity, copper, iron bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, hydrogen sulfide, and more.
The Safe Home Ultimate Water Test provides a comprehensive analysis of city water and well water. This at-home water test kit is supported by certified scientists with over 150 years of combined experience in testing drinking water. It tests for 200 different parameters (seven in-organics, twelve physical properties, thirty-one metals, twenty semi-volatile organic compounds, 130 Volatile Organic Compounds).
- This brand tests for 200 different parameters
- Test results will advise you of the exact numeric value and condition-of-safety for each contaminant reported
- Includes a Safe Home Do-It-Yourself Bacteria in Water Test
- Your water sample is tested by an EPA Certified Laboratory
- Lab fees and return shipping are included.
The Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit is available on Amazon for $28.99. You may also receive a 10 percent off coupon or free shipping and return with Amazon Prime.
This at-home water test kit is ideal for anyone moving into a new home or office space, especially one with aging pipes. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line water test kit, this one may be for you.
Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit is designed to check the quality of home well and tap water. It offers user-friendly testing strips for lead, bacteria, pH, copper, nitrate, chlorine, water hardness, and more. This test kit is made in the USA and recognizes EPA-approved contaminate limits.
- Made in the USA, in line with EPA-approved limits
- Detects even the smallest amounts of lead and copper
- Zero expertise or equipment necessary
- This test kit is suitable for ap, well, municipal, or spring water sources.
The Safe Home® ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit goes for $379.95 on Amazon and qualifies for free Prime shipping and returns.
The Health Metric at-home water test kit is ideal for those on a budget who still need to quickly or regularly check their water quality.
Varify Complete Water Test provides a comprehensive seventeen in one Premium Drinking Water Test Kit. It comes with 100 strips and two bacteria tests. This at-home water test kit is made to test the quality of your home water quality from various water sources, including well and tap water. You can use it to test for lead, bacteria, hardness, fluoride, pH, iron, copper, and more.
- Super affordable
- Testing is easy and results are fast
- This seventeen parameter kit covers all the main contaminants, inculding: lead, bacteria (e. coli / water contamination), mercury, fluoride, iron, copper, sulfate, zinc, hydrogen sulfide, total chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, pH, total alkalinity, hardness, sodium chloride, and manganese.
- Fast and effective customer service with 24/7 live chat
- Kit includes material to complete 100 tests
The Varify Complete Water Test is available on Amazon for $27.95.
If you need an affordable at-home water test kit that still tests for a wide range of contaminants, Varify may be for you. It is ideal for those working on a budget who need to get a lot of sources or water samples tested.
The Tap Score water test is a professional water test kit manufactured by SimpleWater Labs. This brand uses EPA lab testing methods and provides quantified results for over one hundred chemicals and contaminants.
- 4.3-star rating on Amazon
- Uses EPA lab testing methods
- Test for over one hundred chemicals and contaminants
- Receive unbiased health and treatment support from scientists with doctorates from Berkley and professionally certified engineers
- Kit includes sterilized and preserved water sampling vials
- Includes return shipping labels and special insulated packaging
- Collecting a sample for testing is as easy as filling a glass with water
- Results come in as little as five days
- Their laboratories use high-precision instrumentation to analyze and quantify an array of contaminants at low concentrations.
The Tap Score Water test kit is available for $249.00 on Amazon. There is also the option to pay $41.50/month for six months (plus S&H, tax) with 0 percent interest, equal monthly payments when you’re approved for an Amazon Prime Store Card.
This at-home water test kit is suitable for anyone who needs to conduct a comprehensive test with highly accurate results provided by a certified lab
Since 1958, Poolmaster has been a leading manufacturer of aftermarket pool and spa products. The Poolmaster Water Chemistry Case is a premiere collection five-way swimming pool and spa test kit. It is designed to assist users with maintaining proper water chemistry, as it tests for chlorine, bromine, pH, acid demand, and total alkalinity.
- Affordable pricing
- Includes a clear-view round test block with integrated color chips for accurate color matching
- #1 sealed solution complies with transportation regulations.
- Includes an all-weather case for easy access and storage
- Testing manual includes detailed information and helpful tips for maintaining perfectly balanced pool or spa water
You can access the Poolmaster Water testing kit for $21.74 on Amazon at a 38 percent off.
The Poolmaster at-home water testing kit is ideal for just about anyone, especially those with young children who need to test their pool water quality regularly. Spas can use this affordable option to ensure they are meeting business regulatory standards.
The Test Assured Water Testing Kit is perfect for home use. This kit allows you to compare water samples from different locations. In just ten minutes, you can quantify the concentration of iron, copper, lead, and more in your water source.
- This water test kit is perfect for all age groups and includes full instructions
- This easy kit contains everything you need to screen your drinking water for unwanted contaminants
- Tests for lead, nitrate, nitrites, chlorine, pH, and more
- This ten-minute test kit has been validated in an EPA-certified laboratory to detect lead in drinking water and more materials at minuscule levels
- This user-friendly kit is fun for experimentation and learning at home, in the classroom, or at home school
- Made in the USA
This Test Assured Water testing kit can be purchased at Water Testing Kits for 34.95.
The Test Assured at-home water testing kit is suitable for anyone who needs to check the quality of their drinking water. It can also be used for fun experiments in your home, classroom, or school.
The Lab Tech Water Analysis includes two tests, each for total chlorine, total hardness, iron, pH, total alkalinity, copper, iron bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, and hydrogen sulfide. It also includes one test each for lead, total choriform bacteria, and pesticides.
- User-friendly instructions with illustrations in both English and Spanish
- Backed by years of research
- Can be used on any potable water source, including wells and streams
- Instantaneous results
This at-home water testing kit is available on Amazon at varying prices, ranging from $25 to $46.62.
The at-home water testing kit supplied by Lab Tech is suitable for anyone looking for an affordable way to test their water supply.
Are At-Home Water Tests Accurate?
Yes, at-home water tests are quite accurate, although each test kit’s accuracy will vary by manufacturer. The best water testing kits are those that are calibrated to EPA testing standards. Some home testing water kits are verified for accuracy by EPA-certified laboratories.
The quality of the water you use is essential, and as such, should be tested regularly for contaminants like lead, nitrate, bacteria, hardness, fluoride, pH, iron, copper, and more. At-home water test kits can help you keep track of what’s in your water without breaking the bank.
These kits are typically easy to use, whether they use powder or strips to analyze the water sample. They can provide accurate results that you can act on if necessary.