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The Most Accurate Drinking Water Test Kits for Home Tap and Well Water

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26

Models Considered

63

Hours of Research

3

Experts Interviewed

712

Consumer Reviews Analyzed

W ater is essential to our survival when it comes to hydration, a basic human need. Its purpose doesn’t end there though considering its usefulness for plants, certain household appliances and tools, cleaning, washing, cooking, and more. While water scarcity is a prevalent issue in a lot of areas, water quality trumps it in the sense that the impurities we ingest can take quite a rapid toll on our state of health, causing it to deprecate and complications to appear.

Poor water quality is an issue households worldwide are dealing with, tap water woefully abounding in pollutants. The only solution to solve it is to use a filtering system, but before you can decide on a certain product, you must first test the water to see what type of pollutants you are dealing with. For this, we advise that you save time, and instead of sending a water sample to a specialty lab, opt for one of the following products to test the water at home and learn what impurities you are dealing with in minutes.

Learn here more about the common tap water contaminants and their health effects if you want to know the “dirty” secrets of drinking water and how its chemistry affects your well-being.

13. Industrial Test Systems 481199

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Free chlorine, total chlorine, chloride, hydrogen sulfide, sulfate, iron, copper, pH, nitrates, nitrites, bacteria
  • Result waiting time: Instant results
  • Included strips: 23

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





Aside from the fact that it doesn’t cost much, it is simple to utilize and rapid in providing the expected outcome. To use it, dip a strip in the water, wait for it to get colored, and check it against the included chart. This makes it perfect for home use as it doesn’t require you to take samples to a lab, but rather to wait a couple of minutes to find out the information that interests you. It is lab certified, being designed using cutting-edge chemistries that ensure quality. Furthermore, it can be used for finding out important info about the water like the pH, free chlorine, total chlorine, chloride, hydrogen sulfide, sulfate, iron, copper, and nitrate/nitrite nitrogen.

What we like:
  • Instant and accurate results
  • Can assess bacteria contamination
  • Great price
Verdict

While the asking price is one of its main strong points, we cannot overlook the quality and accuracy of the results it provides. Moreover, as it is 100% trustworthy, professional lab assessment is not needed.


12. HealthyWiser 9-Way 100ct

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Alkalinity, pH, hardness, chlorine, nitrites, nitrates, bromine, cyanuric acid, fluoride
  • Result waiting time: 30 seconds
  • Included strips: 100

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





With the 9-Way, you can learn more about the imbalances in your water, as well as what impurities afflict it so that you know what to keep an eye out for and maintain proper water chemistry. Thus, as of using it, you know what filter media you need to acquire to solve water purity issues, and you won’t waste as much time as you would if the tests were performed by a lab.

Testing Efficiency

The results you have so eagerly been waiting for will appear in approximately 30 seconds, the procedure being a short-duration one. It checks pH level, total alkalinity, total hardness, total chlorine, free chlorine, nitrites, nitrates, fluoride, cyanuric acid, and bromine. Seeing how these are the main issues and contaminants that concern us all when it comes to the quality of the water we drink and use, you have a complete kit at your disposal if you go for the 9-Way. Additionally, there is a staggering total of 100 strips put at your disposal, enabling you to repeat the procedure any time you want.

How to Use

The 9-Way is as easy to use as it gets. Just dip a strip into the water sample and wait 30 seconds for coloration to appear. When the strip is colored, just compare it to the included color chart to check the result.

Warranty

For the 9-Way, a 60-day replacement or money-back guarantee is provided, meaning that, during this period, you can either replace or you can return it and receive a full refund if, for any reason, you didn’t like it.

What we like:
  • Shows results in only 30 seconds
  • A 9-in-1 product that checks for multiple contaminants
  • Helps maintain proper water chemistry
What we dislike:
  • Not reliable for aquarium water
  • Some users complained that the color code system is a bit hard to read
Verdict

It will instantly provide you with valuable water quality info that you can use as guidance when purchasing a water filtration system. It provides you with no less than 9 different tests, so variety is one of the strongpoints. Furthermore, it is easy to use and accurate, so lab checking is not required anymore.


11. Watts Premier 173006 All-in-One

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: pH, alkalinity, nitrite, nitrate, chlorine, chloride iron, hydrogen sulfide, sulfate, copper, lead, pesticide, bacteria
  • Result waiting time: A few minutes
  • Included strips: 27

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





You can find out on the spot whether there are issues with the water you drink or not with the help of the Watts Premier as test results are available in minutes. To utilize it, just dip a strip in the water and see what color code it matches. With it, you can check for chlorine, lead, and 10 other drinking water contaminants. It is extremely comprehensive, so you do not have to worry that using it might be too difficult for you. Another aspect that delights is that it contains an EPA-approved free chlorine strip. Therefore, you can rest assured that the results are completely accurate.

What we like:
  • Analyzes 15 different contaminants and parameters
  • Contains an EPA-approved free chlorine strip
  • Provides fast and accurate results
  • Easy to use
What we dislike:
  • Users reported false reports at times – different results for the same sample
  • Some users complained that the directions are a bit unclear
Verdict

An EPA-approved product we trust as it does indeed provide enhanced accuracy, we strongly recommend the Watts Premier to anyone who seeks to be better informed regarding the quality of their tap water. It is easy to use and checks for 12 different contaminants, so it comes as no surprise that it appears on our top.


10. NovoBlue 14-in-1

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: pH, bromine, total hardness, lead, free chlorine, total chlorine, iron, copper, fluoride, total alkalinity, carbonate, cyanuric acid, nitrites, nitrates
  • Result waiting time: 1 minute
  • Included strips: 100

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





Ideal not only for checking drinking water, but the pool, hot tub, spa, aquarium, or any other water body, it provides an easy and fast manner to figure out what problems you are confronted with. As the name suggests, there are 14 quality check parameters it provides, these tests including pH, total chlorine, nitrites, nitrates, fluoride, hardness, free chlorine, cyanuric acid, total alkalinity, carbonate, copper, lead, iron, and bromine. All you have to do is take a strip, dip it into the sample, remove it, shake off any excess water, hold it horizontally for 15 to 60 seconds, and compare the strip to the color chart on the container. It is an FDA approved product that even holds a CE certification for at-home use. There are 100 strips included, so expect the kit to provide you with info regarding water quality for a long amount of time. Furthermore, the asking price for the product is quite cheap, so affording it shouldn’t be an issue.

What we like:
  • 100 strips are included
  • Is FDA approved and CE certified
  • Cheap asking price
  • Easy to use
What we dislike:
  • The lead assessment is difficult to read
  • Some users reported issues with pH reading accuracy
Verdict

Among the most comprehensive products out there, the NovoBlue provides quick results in regards to drinking water quality. Able to check for 14 different factors and coming with no less than 100 strips, it is a purchase worth making if you are interested in learning more about water quality.


9. JNW Direct 15-in-1

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Total hardness, bromine, residual chlorine, iron, copper, lead, nitrate, nitrite, ammonium chloride, total chlorine, fluoride, pH, total alkalinity, carbonate, cyanuric acid
  • Result waiting time: 30 seconds
  • Included strips: 100

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





In the package are included 100 strips, meaning that you can use it to check water quality for a long time. Considering the cheap price it comes at, it’s safe to say that buying it is a smart investment. It examines the water for 15 parameters, which makes it one of the most complex products available, coming in handy especially for testing well water samples. To utilize it, dip a strip in the water sample, wait 30 seconds for the strip to change color, and when this happens, compare it to the color chart on the bottle to find out how water quality fairs at that moment. Best of all, a lifetime money-back guarantee is provided so that you enjoy a full refund in case the product ever becomes unreliable and you want to exchange it.

What we like:
  • 100 strips are included in the package
  • Simple to use – dip the strip and compare colors with the chart on the bottle
  • Can be used on all water sources, including well water
  • Affordable acquisition
Verdict

As it can check for a total of 15 different factors, and it is even usable on well water, with the help of the JNW Direct you will be made aware of exactly what contaminants you are dealing with when you hydrate to take an appropriate course of action and eliminate them.


8. PurTest – 11 Contaminants

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Bacteria, pesticides, lead, copper, iron, pH, hardness, nitrates, nitrites, and alkalinity
  • Result waiting time: Instant results
  • Included strips: 19

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





The PurTest is accurate and quick so that you know for sure what contaminants lurk in the water. You can also use it to assess the performance of the water treatment equipment you have to decide whether it is time for an upgrade or not. What makes it a popular choice is the fact that it checks for no less than 11 different contaminants, helping you do this right from your home, without requiring that you take water samples to a lab for checking purposes. It includes tests for iron, lead, bacteria, and 8 other water quality parameters and contaminants. Moreover, as this is a lab certified product, reliability is a given.

What we like:
  • Includes tests for 11 different water quality parameters
  • Helps you monitor the performance of your water treatment equipment
  • No mailing or lab fees required to use it
  • Fast and accurate results
Verdict

As it checks for up to 11 different water quality issues, its potential can only be surpassed by its quality and low asking price. You will find it easy to use, and results will appear almost on the spot, so you won’t have to wait too long either.


7. Health Metric Drinking Water Test

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: pH, total alkalinity, copper, total hardness, total chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, lead, bacteria
  • Result waiting time: A few minutes
  • Included strips: 15

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





For peace of mind, we recommend the Health Metric as it is made in line with the official EPA-approved limits. Thus, whether you would assess the water at a professional lab or at home, the outcome would be the same. The kit is simple to use, and the instructions you need to follow are provided in an accompanying booklet so that you won’t have any issues figuring out what the tests show. Speaking of tests, there are 9 different parameters it checks, which include, among others, pH, lead, and bacteria. The waiting time isn’t bad either seeing how you learn the results in only a few minutes. Woefully, there are only 15 strips included, 1 each for lead, copper, and bacteria, and 2 each for the rest of the water purity stats it checks.

Tip: If you suspect that lead contamination is an issue with your water source, this is the product for you as it detects even the smallest amounts of lead.

What we like:
  • Includes the official EPA testing limits
  • Can test tap, well, spring, or municipal water supplies
  • Simple to utilize
  • You are provided expert support by the manufacturing company if needed
What we dislike:
  • Some users complained that the yellow strip is difficult to read
  • The directions are a bit confusing
Verdict

It might include only 15 tests, but it checks for a total of 9 different water quality issues to help you make the right decision when it comes to the actions you take to ensure safe hydration. It is accessible in terms of pricing, and among the easiest products to use, so it makes for a viable choice irrespective of your experience with testing kits.


6. First Alert WT1

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Bacteria, pesticides, pH, hardness, nitrites/nitrates, lead, and chlorine
  • Result waiting time: Instant results
  • Included strips: 7

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





It can assess pH, bacteria, lead, pesticides, chlorine, nitrites, nitrates, and hardness. With the results provided, you can make the right purchase when it comes to the water filtration system that is best suited for your needs. What makes it a great purchase is the fact that it eliminates the need to take water samples to a lab to find out how clean the water is, providing answers in a matter of minutes without requiring you to leave the house. It is easy to use since you only have to dip a strip in the water and check to see where on the color chart the strip falls. Best of all, because it performs to EPA standards, you can rest assured that it provides not only fast results but incredibly accurate ones as well.

What we like:
  • Can test if bacteria is present in the water
  • It checks to EPA standards
  • Comprehensive and easy to use
  • Affordable price
Verdict

The WT1 is one of the products we trust the most and strongly recommend as it delivers unparalleled accuracy, all while maintaining a reasonable, low asking price.


5. Watersafe WS425W

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Hardness, bacteria, lead, iron, copper, nitrates, nitrites, pH, chlorine, pesticides
  • Result waiting time: Instant results
  • Included strips: 10

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





Even though it provides you with a single test for each contaminant or water issue, balancing the asking price and the accuracy it delivers, we strongly recommend it to those who want to find out exactly what quality the water they use and consume boasts. It is perfect for use on municipal and well water, so there are no limitations to circumstantial use. It checks for 10 different factors that include iron, pesticides, lead, bacteria, copper, nitrites, nitrates, pH, hardness, and chlorine. It provides you with results on the spot, so there is no long waiting period as it would have been involved with lab testing. Those who were skeptical about the accuracy of its results were pleasantly surprised when they compared these results with the ones provided by professional laboratories, the results coinciding. Another mention-worthy fact is that it comes with easy to understand and follow instructions.

What we like:
  • Great at identifying unsafe levels of chlorine in your drinking water
  • Affordable pricing makes it a viable solution for those who are on a budget
  • Can be used for well water and municipal water
  • Provides lab-quality results without all the hassle usually involved
What we dislike:
  • One time use
  • Insufficient instructions
Verdict

One of the cheaper options to go for, this one-time product is perfect to use on all water sources, well and municipal. The comprehensive use alongside its rapidity in delivering the awaited results, as well as the lab-approved accuracy, make it an offer you will find hard to refuse.


4. Test Assured cwa1000

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Lead, copper, iron, bacteria, pesticides, pH, chlorine, nitrates, nitrites, alkalinity
  • Result waiting time: 10 minutes
  • Included strips: 10

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





There are a total of 10 different factors it helps you check for, more precisely lead, copper, pesticides, bacteria, alkalinity, iron, pH, nitrites, nitrates, and hardness. Thus, regardless of the type of contamination or imbalance you are dealing with, it is sure to reveal the problems at hand. It comes at a rather reasonable price, so it is unlikely to surpass your budget. However, what we like most is that it is easy to use. Moreover, results are provided after an estimated 10 minutes. Therefore, instead of wasting days for the results as you would with lab testing, you receive them almost on the spot, all without having to leave the comfort of your home.

What we like:
  • Calibrated to EPA standards – no need to doubt the truthfulness of the provided results
  • Reasonably priced – it is a purchase you can surely afford making
  • Can be used regardless of the water source
  • You receive a full refund in case you are displeased with it
Verdict

Reasonably priced, easy to use, and quite fast, it is a must-have in any household. With its help, you know what you must focus on, getting a clearer picture of what type of filtration system you need to use.


3. SJ Wave 16 in 1

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Total hardness, free chlorine, total alkalinity, iron, copper, lead, MPS, nitrite, nitrate, total chlorine, ammonia chloride, fluoride, pH, carbonate, bromine, cyanuric acid
  • Result waiting time: 2 minutes
  • Included strips: 100 strips, 2 bacteria tests

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





The best way to define this product is as a long-term investment. This is because the 100 included strips are divided into batches of 10 and put in separate bags. When in the sealed bag, the strips have a shelf life of 2 years, whereas after opening the bag, you have 90 days at your disposal to go through the 10 tests that it contained. It assesses 16 parameters, namely total hardness, free chlorine, total chlorine, total alkalinity, pH, nitrite, nitrate, iron, copper, lead, MPS, fluoride, cyanuric acid, ammonia chloride, bromine, and carbonate. The CE certified product only takes 2 minutes to provide the results to the test you perform, saving you a lot of time as opposed to waiting for lab results for days, even weeks. Moreover, it boasts expanded applicability as it can be used on drinking, well, pool, aquarium, and spa water.

What we like:
  • Detects low levels of impurities, which makes it perfect for well water
  • CE certified product due to the reliable results it provides
  • 2-year shelf life for the strips in the sealable bags
Verdict

Assessing 16 water quality issues with quite a generous range for each, the SJ Wave proves to be an invaluable purchase if you want to check the state of the water before use or consumption. Best of all, it works for well, municipal, pool, spa, and aquarium water.


2. Safe Home STARTER-20

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Total coliform, copper, hexavalent chromium, iron, lead, mercury, silver, zinc, nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, total chlorine, alkalinity, hardness, pH, total dissolved solids
  • Result waiting time: 2 minutes
  • Included strips: 45

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





As the name suggests, there are a total of 20 contaminants that you can check your water for using this product, including total coliform, hexavalent chromium, copper, iron, lead, silver, zinc, mercury, free chlorine, total chlorine, chloride, nitrite, nitrate, sulfate, phosphate, alkalinity, dissolved solids, pH, hardness, and pesticides. What makes it all the more desirable is that it can be used to check samples of city water, well water, lakes, streams, rivers, and even cisterns. Each test is usable only once, so there’s the issue that, if you want to check a different source for the same type of contamination issue, you will have to buy a new one. However, seeing how it comes at a low price and it checks for more water quality issues than most products on its market, this isn’t all that big of an issue. Furthermore, it is EPA certified, which shows that you can trust its results, so no further testing is needed.

What we like:
  • Can be used to check samples from city water, well water, streams, rivers, cisterns, and springs
  • EPA certified product
  • Provides more testing parameters than other products
  • Checks for bacteria, in-organics, organics, metals, and physical properties
  • Simple to use
Verdict

As it checks for a total of 20 different water quality issues and can be used on well water, city water, spring water, and samples from cisterns, lakes, and rivers, all while still maintaining a reasonable asking price, this product was an inevitable addition to our top.


1. Varify 17 in 1

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Specifications:
  • Performed tests: Bacteria, lead, pH, fluoride, copper, total chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, iron, mercury, total alkalinity, hardness, aluminum, zinc, sulfate, manganese, free chlorine
  • Result waiting time: 60-90 seconds
  • Included strips: 100 strips, 2 bacteria tests

  • Included instructions:
  • Easy to use:
  • Tests to EPA standards





What makes Varify the best option at the moment is its accuracy. This EPA compliant model is widely regarded as a reliable kit for at-home testing that is equal in quality to lab testing. Everything is precisely calibrated to be able to read even low levels of contaminants with precision. It includes 2 bacteria tests that take 48 hours to show the expected results, as well as 100 strips to test for 16 other parameters, including free chlorine, total chlorine, and bacteria. The results are color-coded so that you have an easy time interpreting them even if you are a first-timer. The color chart is waterproof, which prevents smears so that you won’t have a hard time comparing results. Best of all, the 100 strips are divided into five 20-piece batches that are sealed in separate pouches to extend their shelf life, ensuring you make a long-lasting investment if you pick Varify.

What we like:
  • It includes 2 tests for bacteria
  • EPA compliant product
  • Waterproof color chart prevents smears
  • Calibrated to read even low levels of contamination
Verdict

A kit that saves you time and money seeing how it shows the results in less than 90 seconds and comes at a cheap price, it is our top recommendation for these reasons and more. Moreover, it checks for 17 different parameters, including bacteria, covering all main contaminants that generally afflict drinking water.


Top 13 Home Water Test Kits Compared

PhotoProductsPrice
Varify 17 in 1 Image
Best Overall
1. Varify 17 in 1
  • How many types of tests it performs: 17
  • What it checks for: Bacteria, lead, pH, fluoride, copper, total chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, iron, mercury, total alkalinity, hardness, aluminum, zinc, sulfate, manganese, free chlorine
  • Result waiting time: 60-90 seconds
  • Included strips: 100 strips, 2 bacteria tests
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
Safe Home DIY Well Water Test Kit Image
Best for Well Water
2. Safe Home DIY Well Water Test Kit
  • How many types of tests it performs: 16
  • What it checks for: Total coliform, copper, hexavalent chromium, iron, lead, mercury, silver, zinc, nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, total chlorine, alkalinity, hardness, pH, total dissolved solids
  • Result waiting time: 2 minutes
  • Included strips: 45
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
SJ Wave 16 in 1 Image
Best for Bacteria
3. SJ Wave 16 in 1
  • How many types of tests it performs: 16
  • What it checks for: Total hardness, free chlorine, total alkalinity, iron, copper, lead, MPS, nitrite, nitrate, total chlorine, ammonia chloride, fluoride, pH, carbonate, bromine, cyanuric acid
  • Result waiting time: 2 minutes
  • Included strips: 100 strips, 2 bacteria tests
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
Test Assured cwa1000 Image
Editor’s Choice
4. Test Assured cwa1000
  • How many types of tests it performs: 10
  • What it checks for: Lead, copper, iron, bacteria, pesticides, pH, chlorine, nitrates, nitrites, alkalinity
  • Result waiting time: 10 minutes
  • Included strips: 10
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
Watersafe WS425W Image
5. Watersafe WS425W
  • How many types of tests it performs: 10
  • What it checks for: Hardness, bacteria, lead, iron, copper, nitrates, nitrites, pH, chlorine, pesticides
  • Result waiting time: Instant results
  • Included strips: 10
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
First Alert WT1 Image
Best for the Money
6. First Alert WT1
  • How many types of tests it performs: 7
  • What it checks for: Bacteria, pesticides, pH, hardness, nitrites/nitrates, lead, and chlorine
  • Result waiting time: Instant results
  • Included strips: 7
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
Health Metric Drinking Water Test Image
Best for Lead
7. Health Metric Drinking Water Test
  • How many types of tests it performs: 9
  • What it checks for: pH, total alkalinity, copper, total hardness, total chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, lead, bacteria
  • Result waiting time: A few minutes
  • Included strips: 15
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
PurTest - 11 Contaminants Image
8. PurTest – 11 Contaminants
  • How many types of tests it performs: 11
  • What it checks for: Bacteria, pesticides, lead, copper, iron, pH, hardness, nitrates, nitrites, and alkalinity
  • Result waiting time: Instant results
  • Included strips: 19
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
JNW Direct 10-in-1 Image
9. JNW Direct 15-in-1
  • How many types of tests it performs: 15
  • What it checks for: Total hardness, bromine, residual chlorine, iron, copper, lead, nitrate, nitrite, ammonium chloride, total chlorine, fluoride, pH, total alkalinity, carbonate, cyanuric acid
  • Result waiting time: 30 seconds
  • Included strips: 100
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
NovoBlue 14-in-1 Image
10. NovoBlue 14-in-1
  • How many types of tests it performs: 14
  • What it checks for: pH, bromine, total hardness, lead, free chlorine, total chlorine, iron, copper, fluoride, total alkalinity, carbonate, cyanuric acid, nitrites, nitrates
  • Result waiting time: 1 minute
  • Included strips: 100
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
Watts Premier 173006 All-in-One Image
11. Watts Premier 173006 All-in-One
  • How many types of tests it performs: 12
  • What it checks for: pH, alkalinity, nitrite, nitrate, chlorine, chloride iron, hydrogen sulfide, sulfate, copper, lead, pesticide, bacteria
  • Result waiting time: A few minutes
  • Included strips: 27
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
HealthyWiser 9-Way 100ct Image
12. HealthyWiser 9-Way 100ct
  • How many types of tests it performs: 8
  • What it checks for: Alkalinity, pH, hardness, chlorine, nitrites, nitrates, bromine, cyanuric acid, fluoride
  • Result waiting time: 30 seconds
  • Included strips: 100
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon
Industrial Test Systems 481199 Image
13. Industrial Test Systems 481199
  • How many types of tests it performs: 10
  • What it checks for: Free chlorine, total chlorine, chloride, hydrogen sulfide, sulfate, iron, copper, pH, nitrates, nitrites, bacteria
  • Result waiting time: Instant results
  • Included strips: 23
  • Instruction booklet:
Check Price at Amazon

Home Water Test Kit Image

Indicators that Your Water Needs Testing


Let’s face it, it is unlikely for anyone to ever test their water without any apparent reason as, after all, especially when it comes to water from the municipality, it is already filtered so chances are that contamination of any nature isn’t serious with it. But there are some clear indicators that you have to be aware of as they show the time has come to dig a bit deeper and test your water to see for sure whether or not it is safe for consumption to prevent serious health issues from arising.

Conditions/Activities which Serve as IndicatorsRecommended Tests to Perform
Off-putting taste or smellMetals, hydrogen sulfide, corrosion
Salty taste or the existence of a heavily salted roadway nearbyTDS, chloride, sodium
Corroded pipes or plumbingpH, lead, corrosion
Intensive agriculture in the proximityColiform bacteria, nitrate, pesticides
Gas drilling operation in the proximityStrontium, barium, chloride, sodium
Cloudy, colored, or frothy waterDetergents, color
Gasoline or fuel oil smell, or the existence of a gas station or buried fuel tanks in the proximityVOCs
Recurrent gastrointestinal health issuesColiform bacteria
Radon in the air indoorsRadon
Scaly residuesHardness
Coal or mining operation in the proximitypH, metals, corrosion
Lead in household plumbingpH, lead, copper
Stained laundry or plumbing fixturesManganese, copper, iron
Water treatment equipment deteriorates rapidlypH, corrosion

Home Water Test Kit Image

The Importance of Checking Water Quality


People use water every day whether it is for drinking, cooking, bathing, doing laundry, or cleaning the house. Given the intense use of water and its connection to the health and well-being of people, it is essential to enjoy a clean and safe water supply. Regrettably, the water we drink is treated with all sorts of chemicals, like chlorine, which is effective when it comes to destroying bacteria but alters water quality in the process. Furthermore, water comes through very dirty pipes that fill it with a multitude of impurities.

Water filters can take care of all the contaminants in the water but for them to be 100% efficient, it is best to choose depending on the impurities found in the water. This is where home water test kits come in handy to help you determine drinking water chemistry and figure out the right filtration means to use.

Water quality checking patches are very easy to use as they do not require additional lab research. The strips contain everything needed to assess the water and detect impurities. Their accuracy is very high and you can rely on the results when looking for the best water filtering methods. There are various types of products that can detect a wide range of impurities, as follows:

For chlorine detection

Chlorine is the main contaminant found in water, giving it a strong odor and bad taste. Although chlorine is used to kill bacteria in the water, it also affects its quality and must be eliminated. They can detect chlorine levels to help you determine whether or not you need a chlorine water filter.

For measuring pH

The pH of the water is very important in determining its alkalinity. When the pH level of the water changes drastically, there are changes in your body due to acidic imbalance as well. The only way to find out the pH of the water you drink or bathe in is to use strips that turn to a certain color when the pH level is either too high or too low.

For detecting heavy metals

Very often, water is contaminated with heavy metals that are highly dangerous to your health, like lead, copper, iron, zinc, or mercury. These metals can cause severe brain damage and many other health issues if ingested for a long amount of time. If chlorine can be sensed in taste and smell, heavy metals are harder to detect as they do not affect the color, taste, or smell of the water. This is why it is so important to check the water with a product that can detect these dangerous metals.

For pesticides and nitrates

Well water, in particular, but also tap water contains pesticides, herbicides, and dangerous nitrites and nitrates that pose a serious risk to your health. Since you cannot discover them by yourself, you must use kits that can detect these harmful contaminants in the water. Many of the products available contain strips that can detect these substances but be aware that not all of them can.


Home Water Test Kit Image

Most Reliable Methods to Check Water Quality


If you are afraid of all the dangerous pollutants that lurk in drinking water, you can rest assured because there are many ways of detecting them. It is important to find out exactly what chemicals you need to remove to find the most efficient method for solving the problem at hand. As such, here is how you can determine the water impurities.

Professional testing

Every city has water authorities that handle the pollution issue and cooperate with labs that check the water to find the best way of filtering it. If you suspect that your tap water is not as clean as it should, you can always contact the lab and ask for water testing. The local authorities should be willing to guide you toward an independent local lab that has all the necessary equipment for performing all the check-ups.

Personal testing

The second way of finding the water impurities is to perform your checks at home by using various kits. These products are certified and proved to be highly efficient in detecting a wide array of water pollutants. They are simple to use and provide the convenience of home testing. Worry not as the results are 100% accurate and no further checks are required to confirm them. They come in different types, as follows:

  • strips that include strips you need to soak in water to allow the components to react
  • color discs that use a visual comparison method of color matching to detect the existing impurities
  • digital titrator with titrant cartridges
  • drop count titration consisting of dropping a reactant into the water
  • portable colorimeters that instantly analyze a water sample

What to Choose


Home testing is the easiest and most comfortable way to check drinking water quality, and it is fairly accurate compared to professional checkups. From all the options available, two of them are the most common because they are easy to use and affordable. Before buying, it is best to know your options and make a comparison between the commonly used methods.

The first one is the drop-count that consists of a solution that you must put into the water. As the reactants detect water impurities, they change the color to inform you that the water contains a certain pollutant. Various types of drops are used to detect various impurities like chlorine or nitrates. Carefully read the instructions because the results rely on several multiplications and divisions. The accuracy of water drops is the highest and the results are worth taking into account.

The second one is the home kit that includes strips for various impurities, and parameters including water acidity. To obtain a result, simply dip the strip in the water and allow it a few minutes until it changes color. These strips are the easiest to use and the cheapest but their accuracy is lower than in the case of drop testing. However, they remain a convenient way of detecting dangerous substances in your tap water.


Frequently Asked Questions



Are home water test kits accurate?
All water tests that are certified and lab-tested in advance are trustworthy, so their readings are just as precise as those from a professional lab. Check for the product you take an interest in to be certified, and you won’t ever have to doubt the accuracy of its results.

What sets a high-quality product apart from a poor quality one?
Regardless of the source and purpose of the purchase, you should opt for a product that checks for as many potential issues and contaminants as possible. To put it in simpler words, the bigger its checking span, the better as more testing factors are put to your disposal and the odds of uncovering real issues with water quality enhancement.

How long does it usually take until it provides results?
Answers are provided in a matter of minutes. Thus, not a lot of time will be wasted until you know for sure what solutions you must use to fix the existing water issues. This makes them a perfect solution for speed answers as the other option you could take up is lab testing, which can take a few days or even weeks until results are provided.

Can it show if bacteria is present?
Some do include tests that specialize in determining whether or not bacteria are present in the water. Thus, you must look into the types of tests provided by the kit to figure out if the product you are interested in will serve you with this information or not.

Do they differ from each other?
Yes, seeing how there are multiple types of tests for water quality and contamination, you have plenty of options to choose between. More precisely, there are 5 different types of tests you can choose from – test strips, portable colorimeters, digital titrators, color discs, and drop count titrators. Details about each type of water test can be found in this article, so check it out if you want to learn more.



Conclusion

Without testing, you cannot know the truth regarding the purity of the water you consume and whether or not a filtering system is a necessity to ensure healthy hydration. The kits we presented here are all reliable, hands down, but there are a few entries that stand out more as their reliability in specific situations outweighs that of competitors. Before we end, let’s take one more look at these products to freshen up your memory a bit before you decide what the best solution for your situation is.

Best Overall:Varify 17 in 1

Including 100 strips, which means that you get to test water samples 100 times, the Varify is a sought-after product not only for the fact that long-term use is a given, but because it checks for 17 different water quality concerns. There are even 2 tests provided to check bacteria to know whether there are any health-threatening microorganisms in the water you drink. The use instructions are quite comprehensive so that even first-timers won’t have trouble following them. Moreover, the kit has been praised by most users for its accuracy and reliability, so you can rest assured knowing that the results it shows are trustworthy.

Editor’s Choice:Test Assured cwa1000

Widely regarded as one of the best kits for home testing, it provides accurate results for 10 parameters, including lead and bacteria, two common and dangerous water pollutants. It is standardized to EPA guidelines, so you can compare the results regarding your drinking water quality to that of EPA guidelines. Best of all, instead of waiting for weeks to learn the truth about what is in your water as you would if you were to send the sample to a lab, you find out everything you need to know in roughly 10 minutes.

Best Home Water Test Kit for Well Water:Safe Home DIY Well Water Test Kit

This Safe Home kit is thought up from its inception for use on untreated well water samples, so if you source the water in your home from the well, this is your go-to. It isn’t a costly investment, so it is accessible to a wide range of customers. It doesn’t take long to provide the expected outcome, and it isn’t difficult to use either as the instructions are quite comprehensive. Furthermore, it is renowned for the accuracy of the results it indicates.

Best Home Water Test Kit for Bacteria:SJ Wave 16 in 1

It checks for 16 different pollutants and quality issues. The fact that it is the most reliable product for bacteria testing only adds to the product’s appeal. It is surprisingly cheap considering its use range, and as it takes only 2 minutes to provide the indicators you seek, rapidity is one of its strong points.

Best Home Water Test Kit for the Money:First Alert WT1

Cheap and reliable, the WT1 is made by a reputable brand and it tests to EPA standards, so it’s easy to see why the product has quite an impressive following. As it checks bacteria and chlorine content, among other parameters, it is suited for municipal and well water supplies alike. It includes everything you need to get the tests done at home without specialized assistance, and as you wait moments rather than days for the outcome, it makes for a valuable ally in solving water purity issues.

Best Home Water Test Kit for Lead:Health Metric Drinking Water Test

Like the Flint incident has shown us in recent history, lead is among the most dangerous water pollutants that we could enter into contact with. Rather than naively believe that you could not be a victim of lead poisoning via your drinking water, better use the Health Metric kit to test a sample and see if your water source is safe or if you need to urgently install a filter system to eliminate the health-threatening contaminant. Aside from lead, the product tests for 8 other factors, so you benefit from using it in more ways than one.

Tobey Hunter
Tobey Hunter
Tobey is the editor-in-chief at P2Rx™, his experience both in the field of journalism and a keen interest in the topic of pollution, a subject he previously covered in his career in multiple pieces, making him the expert of our team. What Tobey learned from his background is that researching each topic thoroughly is the only guarantee that an article will depict a truthful picture, a policy that he strictly follows. In his off time, he indulges in reading modern literature and binging on the latest TV shows.