What is The Best Way to Test Pool Water?


Regularly test pool water to ensure your water remains healthy. Let’s compare test strips, liquid test kits, and digital smart water monitors; all are effective at helping you get accurate pool and spa water test results.

Follow the instructions for your water test, and always test before adding any chemicals. (You’ll test again 12-24 hours after chemical incorporation)

Whenever you measure chemicals or feel like you’re engaging in something akin to science, the key to accurate results is closely following the instructions. 

Wait an hour after the pool or spa circulation system has been active to sample your water; take the sample from 12- 18” below the surface or approximately the depth of your hand to your elbow. Be patient with the test results; it can take a few moments for the reactions to happen.

Base the amount of added chemicals on your pool or spa size and its average depth. Helpful calculations are included with the tests. After adding your chemicals, let your pool circulate for another 12 – 24 hours, depending on your pump and pool size, and test your water again.

Store your water tests in a cool, dark and dry place and check they haven’t expired, as this can give false results.

Ideal water test results will have these ranges:

  • pH: 7.4 – 7.6
  • Total Available Chlorine: 2.0 – 4.0 parts per million (ppm)
  • Total Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400 ppm
  • Cyanuric Acid: 30 -50 ppm

When the chlorine level reads high, pH and Total Alkalinity readings can be altered. When this happens, add a chlorine neutralizer.

Which is best to test pool water; strips, liquid test kits, or digital smart water monitors/sensors? Let’s compare:

Test strips:

They are easy to use, easy to read, inexpensive (if daily reads are essential), and quickly provide results; for these reasons, test strips will always be the most popular way to test your pool or spa water.

The results can be basic and not as comprehensive as some wish. Some readings take longer to appear than others. 

Liquid test kits:

These are the most accurate tests available, especially for chlorine systems. Liquid test kits allow more diverse chemical results and usually take a little longer to display. Care needs to be taken when using the dropper bottle system, the caps must not be interchanged.

Digital smart water monitors/sensors:

Smart water monitors are relatively new and can benefit absent owners or those needing off-site monitoring. They float in your pool or spa, some attach to the side, and all are easily placed and have a lifespan of approximately two years. The apps are usually free, translating to excellent value for your money. 

Some smart water monitors offer multi-account communication, which is excellent for outside spa or pool delegation.

Spa Marvel®:

Spa Marvel® is a new, uniquely effective, and environmentally friendly spa water treatment. Jonathan of Passion Pool & Pond is proud to offer this exceptional product available only through spa dealers. 

Read all its benefits on our website’s Spa Marvel page.

The finest water quality is essential for your carefree hot tub/spa experience, and it is easy to achieve with our four Spa Marvel® water treatment products.

We are happy to help you with everything about inground pools, ponds, and spas