10 Features to Look for in a Test Kit
Deciding which test kit has the right features for your specific needs may be best determined by talking with an expert at your local retailer about these top ten features to consider when deciding which test kit is right for you!
1. EASE OF USE
Consider test kits that you feel comfortable using, one that doesn’t intimidate you. After all, a test kit that sits on a shelf — no matter how good its chemistry — is a waste of money. For example, having reagent caps color-coded to the instructions is a big help!
A good test kit should contain tests for the following parameters:
- Sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) for health reasons
- pH for maintenance reasons
- Complete and easy-to-understand instructions
- Recommendations for each parameter tested
Better test kits have the above features PLUS:
- Can distinguish between “free chlorine” and “combined chlorine”
- Total alkalinity
- pH adjustment (acid and base demand tests)
- Treatment dosage table for determining the correct amount of product
The best, most complete test kits also have tests for:
- Calcium Hardness (for water balance determinations)
- Cyanuric acid (chlorine stabilizer)
- Room in the case to add additional reagents for other tests (e.g., sodium chloride)
True and trusted test kit readings are a must for each parameter. Your best defenses against buying an inaccurate test kit are a reputable manufacturer whose testing systems have proven reliable over many years and a conscientious dealer/retailer who rotates his stock and trains the staff to sell the appropriate refill reagents. Test kits made by companies that manufacture other products than test kits may not be as dependable.
4. CONSISTENCY OF RESULTS
The primary purpose in testing is to catch changes in your pool or spa’s water chemistry before problems develop. So it is absolutely essential to be able to repeat tests accurately over periods or days, weeks, and even months.
5. TESTING METHOD SUITABLILTY
For any test kit to be trustworthy, you have to be able to easily translate the results to an effective treatment or maintenance action. All of which makes calculating treatment dosages easier and more accurate, so there are no more wasted treatment chemicals. Wasted treatment chemicals = less money in your pocket!
6. APPROPRIATE DESIGN
Liquid reagents should leave no waste or other materials to dispose of afterwards. Color standards are protected from bleaching and scratching. Fill marks are molded on and not painted. Cases should have ergonomic handles for easy transport.
Can the test kit you have withstand repeated use in a wet environment? Two important indicators of a durable test kits are waterproof instructions and vinyl reagent labels.
Although test kits and reagents can be purchased via the Internet, your best bet, from a cost perspective and a service perspective, is to purchase these products from a local reputable pool/spa retailer in your area. Most reputable pool/spa retailers only sell test kits and testing supplies from trusted manufacturers like Taylor Technologies, Inc.
9. RELIABLE MANUFACTURER
Select an appropriate test kit from a reliable manufacturer that has a proven history of producing quality, testing-related products. Taylor Technologies, Inc. has been manufacturing testing supplies and test kits, and nothing else, since 1930.
As with any type of purchase, it pays to comparison shop using price as one (but not the only one) of several determining factors. The kit with the best value for your needs may not necessarily be the least expensive. Remember, when compared to your overall investment, the right test kit is indispensable, regardless of the cost.