Are you worried about the quality of the water you are drinking, cooking with, bathing with, swimming in, using for your aquarium, hydroponics, plant watering, or using for other needs?
With a good quality home water tester kit, you can find out whether your water is contaminated with certain pollutants, some of them potentially harmful and even toxic, or whether it is too hard, too acidic, or too alkaline.
These tests are the easiest, fastest, and least expensive way to determine whether you need to use a filtering system, a softening system, a water ionizer, or any other home water treatment device.
They can also help you take timely actions in case you find harmful or dangerous contaminants in your water, to prevent the onset of mild to severe health conditions and illnesses.
Since there are so many types and brands of water tester kits on the market, we have reviewed and chosen the top-rated water testers for 2021 for you. We have also added some tips which can help you pick the most suitable and efficient water testing kit for your needs.
Test type: Digital probe
Tests for: TDS
Water type: all types of drinking water, RO, DI systems, hydroponics, pools, hydroponics, fish tanks
- Sold at a very affordable price
- Offers immediate, accurate measurement from 0 to 9990 ppm with 10 ppm increments
- Long battery life of up to 1000 hours of use
- It has a printed TDS results chart on the back for easy reference
- Auto shut off, as well as a “hold” function
- Large digital display
- A strong and sturdy design
- It is calibrated, but you can recalibrate it easily with a screwdriver
Test type: mail-in testing to Environmental Laboratories
Tests for: contaminants in drinking water
Water type: city or well
Contaminants: over 200 contaminants, including 6 in-organic, 12 physical properties, 20 semi-VOCs, 32 toxic heavy metals, 130 VOCs, and coliform bacteria
- One of the most comprehensive home water tests for 2021, it tests for more than 200 contaminants and physical properties
- Includes testing for the most common and harmful primary contaminants, including lead, arsenic, viruses, cyst, coliform bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, fluoride, chloramine, TTHMs, VOCs, PFOA and PFOS, and many others
- The laboratory will also test the water for physical properties and in-organic substances
- The samples are easy to take, and mailing, getting them tested and the results back are all included in the price of the kit
- The samples are tested by an EPA certified laboratory
- Results are sent back by e-mail within 10 days
- The on-time testing is guaranteed, so if you don’t get comprehensive results in time, you will be sent a new free kit
Test type: at home test kit with test strips and a color-coded comparison chart for the results
Tests for: contaminants, pH level, total alkalinity, total hardness
Water type: well water
Contaminants: manganese, coliform, e.coli, nitrate, nitrite, hydrogen sulfide
- One of the finest tests for well water
- Made in the USA in compliance with EPA standards
- Checks for the most common contaminants in private well water
- Easy to perform with test strips and color-coded result charts
- The result is ready in less than 5 minutes
- Each kit includes 1 bacteria (coliform), 2 nitrate and nitrite, 2 manganese, 2 hydrogen sulfide and 2 tests for pH, total hardness and total alkalinity
- You will receive a detailed e-mail user guide for the test, and about the results, and what to do if there are contaminants found
Test type: 48-hour at-home test
Tests for: coliform bacteria
Water type: well and city water
Contaminants: coliform, including e.coli
- Easy to do and affordable test
- You just need to fill the bottle with a water sample, shake it, and wait for 48 hours to see whether you have bacteria present in your water with results which cannot be misinterpreted
- The test is approved by EPA standards
- No need to mail the sample to a lab to get reliable results
- Suitable for testing well as well as city water
Test type: Digital probe
Tests for: TDS, EC, and temperature
Water type: well or city drinking water, aquariums, RO systems, pools, hydroponics
Contaminants: TDS, EC
- Very affordable price
- 3-in-1 functionality – it tests TDS, the temperature and EC at the same time
- It is factory calibrated
- A big backlit LCD display for easy viewing
- Accurate Automatic Temperature Compensation
- Easy and quick use – just stir the water with its tip, and the result will be displayed instantly
- Auto shut off in 2 minutes
- You can store the results by pressing “hold”
- There is a detailed and self-explanatory TDS chart with ppm reassigns on the back
- Suitable for all types of water from all sources, and used for all purposes
- It comes with a leather carry case with a belt clip
- The cap can be used to hold the water sample
- Sold with a 90-day money-back guarantee, and a 3-year warranty
Test type: at home DIY test
Tests for: contaminants, alkalinity, hardness and pH level
Water type: well water, but can be used for any type of water
Contaminants: bacteria, chlorine, copper, nitrates, nitrites, as well as for hardness, alkalinity, and pH
- Very easy to perform and read at home
- All testing (except for bacteria) requires just a few minutes
- The bacterial test takes 48 hours
- The test for bacteria will test for e.coli and other harmful coliforms
- The iron test will provide you with precise iron levels
- Everything is done easily at home, no mailing of samples is required
- The test kit is specially designed to test well water
- The test kit includes detailed instructions for use and color-coded charts for interpreting the results
- The kit is sold with a money-back guarantee
Test type: DIY 24-hour at-home test
Tests for: coliform bacteria
Water type: well or city water
Contaminants: 50 different species of harmful coliform bacteria
- A very easy to use at home test for bacteria
- You only need to add a water sample in the included vial and inspect its color in 24 hours
- It is accurate for detecting 50 types of coliform bacteria including e. coli
- It comes with detailed instructions in 3 languages
- The test is EPA certified
- It can be used for all types of water, well and city included
- It is one of the least expensive water testing kits on the market
Test type: home testing kit with test strips
Tests for: harmful heavy metals
Water type: well or city drinking water
Contaminants: mercury, lead, copper, and iron
- The test is easy and safe to perform with strips
- Each test kit includes 1 lead test, 2 mercury tests, 2 copper tests, and 2 iron tests
- The results are ready in 15 minutes
- Tests for unsafe levels of lead, mercury, iron or copper
- It can be used on all types of drinking water from all sources
- It is calibrated in compliance with EPA standards
- The test has high sensitivity and will detect the heavy metal contamination in very small increments, so it is very accurate
- The test will let you know exactly which heavy metals are present in your water
Test type: DIY at home test kit
Tests for: the most common contaminants, TDS, hardness and pH levels
Water type: well and city water
Contaminants: lead, bacteria, pesticides, iron, nitrate, nitrite, copper, TDS
- The kit includes a digital TDS meter, 1 nitrate, 1 nitrite, 1 pH, 1 hardness, 1 free chlorine, 1 copper, 1 iron and 1 bacteria tests
- There is no need to mail-in or wait for days to get accurate, reliable results, except for the bacteria test which needs to sit 48 hours for accurate results
- The kit is very easy to use and has comprehensive instructions about interpreting the results
- The manufacturer offers detailed video guides and information about what to do if you find abnormal levels of contaminants, hardness or pH levels on its website
- The kit is suitable for testing well and city water
- It is perfect for people with no experience with home water tester too
Test type: mail-in to EPA certified lab, as well as a home bacteria test
Tests for: toxic metal, and in-organics contaminants, bacteria, as well as the hardness, pH, and TDS
Water type: drinking water from all sources – well or city
Contaminants: 4 in-organics (chloride, fluoride, nitrates, nitrites), 8 toxic metals (arsenic, calcium, chromium, iron, copper, lead, manganese, magnesium), 3 physical properties (hardness, TDS, pH) and bacteria
- You just need to take a sample of your water in the bottle and drop it in your mailbox to the EPA certified lab
- The kit includes a sample bottle for your water sample, as well as a DIY bacteria test for coliform, including e.coli
- The bacteria test requires 24-48 hours to show accurate results, which cannot be misinterpreted
- The mailing, testing and return shipping is included in the price of the kit
- The laboratory will return comprehensive results within 7-10 business days after it is received
- The company will send you a new free kit if your results are delayed or fail to be delivered
- Suitable for water from all sources
Test type: mail to lab
Tests for: lead in drinking water
Water type: well, city or any other
- It tests for the presence of total lead in water from wells, city or from old pipes, including the dissolved and solid lead in the water
- It is one of the most comprehensive home water tests for the lead on the market, as other DIY tests will detect and measure the dissolved lead only
- All you need to do is mail a sample of your water, and the EPA certified laboratory will return accurate results within 7 to 10 business days
- The mailing and testing is incorporated in the price of the water tester kit
- The company guarantees that the results will be e-mailed to you on time, or else will send you a free new kit
Test type: digital probe
Tests for: pH level
Water type: well, city, drinking, aquarium, hydroponics, pools and even for wine and beer
Contaminants: pH level – alkalinity or acidity
- A highly accurate and easy to use digital probe test
- It provides an instant reading
- Measures the pH level in fine 0.1 increments
- It comes with 3 packs of calibration powder
- The digital pH meter costs less than $15
- You can use it for all kinds of water, and for all uses, including for measuring pH in wine and beer
- The probe works with water which is 32 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit
- The results appear on the large LCD display almost immediately
- The result is locked on the screen
- The cap of the probe can be used for taking a sample of the water
- The probe is portable and can be carried in a pocket
What are water testers, and how do they work?
Home water testers are the easiest and cheapest way to perform an analysis of the water running from your taps, the water from your reverse osmosis system, the water in your pool, your fish tanks, or any other water.
A good water test kit will be able to detect any harmful or potentially dangerous contamination of your water.
Depending on the tester you choose, you can test your water for different chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, as well as its alkalinity, hardness, TDS, and its pH level.
Using a test kit is a much more reasonably priced option than hiring a professional to come in and test your water.
Water testers are very easy to use. Most of them require that you take a sample from your water and use the added test strips, digital meters, or included chemicals to detect the presence of contaminants or measure one or more of the physical properties of the water.
The results are usually a change of color of the water, or of the test strip, but they are all easy to read, as the best quality test kits come with comprehensive instructions for using them and reading and interpreting the results.
Other home water test kits require that you take a sample of the water and mail it to a laboratory for professional analysis. The laboratory will send you the results via e-mail or post.
Performing a home test of your water will allow you to take the necessary measures if your water is contaminated, or otherwise doesn’t comply with health requirements or your preferences for hardness, alkalinity, or pH level.
The water tester types
Water test kits come in different forms and types. Each has a specific accuracy level, and its instructions for use and result interpretation.
The main types of water testers for home use which you can find on the market are:
Color disk water testers
The color disk tests are used for testing for the presence of various chemicals in the water. Usually, you will have to add several drops of the provided compound in a tube with a sample. Then the tube is placed in a dedicated viewing box that has an included color disk, with different color gradients on it. As you rotate the disk, you can identify the presence or level of contamination of a particular chemical by finding the color on the disk which matches the color of the sample in your test tube.
These are usually more accurate than other tests, but they require more steps and waiting time than some of the other home water test kits.
Test strip water testers
These are affordable and easy to use. The kit includes test strips for performing quick testing of a water sample.
The small strips will change their color, in accordance with the contaminant being tested, depending on whether or not it is present in the water sample.
This water tester method requires that you dip the strip in a sample of the water, swish it around, or hold it in the water for a required amount of time.
After waiting for the time recommended by the manufacturer, you can compare the resulting color on the test strip to the provided color chart in the kit, or look for another indication, according to the instructions.
Digital measurement water testers
These are the most accurate of all home water testers. These light and compact digital meters, colorimeters, or photometers are usually more expensive than the other home test types. They require batteries as well as calibration to operate properly and accurately.
They work by dipping the instrument’s probe into the water sample, and the results are easy to read and more objective than with other test kits where the results can be misinterpreted depending on your ability and view of different colors, hues, and tints.
Mail-in laboratory water testers
These are more expensive than simpler home tests, but they are the easiest to perform, and the most accurate. You will need to mail a sample of your water to an accredited lab and will receive the comprehensive results in a week or two. The price for the testing, as well as the postal fees, is commonly included in the price of the test kit.
The advantages of using a home water tester
There are multiple advantages of buying and using a home water tester, including:
They are much less expensive than hiring a professional
The water testers offered on the market cost a tiny fraction of the price, which you would have to pay to hire a professional water testing expert, or contacting the authorities in charge of the water quality.
They are easy to use in the comfort of your home
The majority of the home testing kits are very easy to use and require just a few simple steps. You can do the test in the comfort of your home, and in many cases, the results will be ready in a matter of minutes.
You will know whether your water is safe for drinking or other use
A simple test can help you determine whether the water is safe to drink, swim in, or use for other needs. Drinking or getting into contact with contaminated water can have a serious negative effect on your health, and in some cases, maybe dangerous.
With a home water tester, you will find out whether there is something wrong with your water, so you can stop drinking it or using it for other needs immediately, and proceed to take actions to resolve the contamination. This means you can prevent any harmful effects and illnesses in a timely manner.
You can find out what the hidden contaminants in the water are
In many cases, the harmful and toxic pollutants do not have a color or smell, so you may not be aware of having contaminants in your water. A water tester kit will quickly pinpoint any impurities so that you can take action to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
You can test existing or install new water filtering devices
With the help of these simple tests, you can find out whether your whole house water filtering system, your reverse osmosis system, your water softening system, under sink water filter or your countertop, your water ionizer, or even whether your water filtering pitcher is working properly.
Also, you can identify the need of installing or using one or more of these devices, in order to improve the quality of your water and make it safe to drink, and use for cooking, cleaning, washing vegetables, giving it to your pets, watering your plants, and so on.
You will find out exactly what kinds of contaminants there are in the water
Most water test kits are designed for testing for specific contaminants, so you will be able to identify precisely what type of chemical, heavy metal, or another pollutant is present in your water. This will allow you to take the necessary actions to resolve the problem.
A water test can save you money for costly repairs and replacements
Water hardness or other impurity tests can help detect whether your piping has a scale build-up and whether your appliances like boilers, washing machines, dishwashers, and others may be affected by this build-up too.
Features to look for when buying water tester
There are various types of water testing kits and instruments available on the market, so buying the most suitable one for your needs can be a bit confusing.
In order to make sure that you are buying the most appropriate test for your needs, you should keep in mind the following factors and features:
The water source
You should opt for a water tester, which is made for the type of water you want to test. If you are testing your tap water, then choose a test for city or for well water, depending on your water source.
Please note that there are specific tests for pool water, aquariums, and other types of water.
The contaminants you are worried about
Since the water testers are not universal, they will not test your water for absolutely every possible pollutant. You should consider what types of contaminants or physical properties of the water you are worried about or want to check out in order to pick a test that includes these specific contaminants.
As you can see from our list, some tests are specialized for only one or a few contaminants, while others will allow you to test your water for a larger range of potential pollutants and problems.
The type of test
As mentioned above, there are different types of water tests on the market. Some are easier to use than others, some are more accurate than others, and some require that you mail in a sample for laboratory testing.
So, consider the pros and cons of each type, as well as your particular concerns regarding potential contamination or other problems with your water before choosing the perfect water tester for your needs.
Last update on 2022-06-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API