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Best Water Test Kits

By: David Trinh
Last Updated:
water test kit

No matter if it’s well water or city water, a home’s water is at risk for contamination.

It doesn’t matter if the water you use is for bathing, drinking, laundry, or swimming. There’s always a risk of coming into contact with chemicals or contaminants. 

Testing your water quality is easy and very important to determine a proper plan of action for any contaminants in your water. There are several types of kits available, each of which has various features and price points. 

In this guide, we’re outlining the top 8 best water kits to help you learn more about each of them and determine the best water test kit that fits your needs.

Top 3 Water Test Kits Compared

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES  
hd-table__image
Quality Water Treatment Well Water Test Kit
  • Kit includes a water sample collection container.
  • You can send away to receive laboratory results.
  • Kit tests for 22 heavy metals and minerals
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Safe Home Ultimate Test Kit
  • Kit includes collection vials.
  • You can send away to receive laboratory results.
  • Tests for up to 200 contaminants
CHECK PRICE
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Tap Score Professional Lab Kit
  • Kit includes several collection bottles.
  • You receive a detailed lab report after sending it away for results.
  • Produces results for more than 100 contaminants
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Top 8 Best Water Test Kits

The consumer marketplace is full of water testing options. These tests feature designs for testing different things, including the water’s hardness, contaminants, and overall quality. However, some of these tests are better than others. Below, we’re featuring our eight top picks to test a home’s water to ensure it’s safe and the quality you want.

#1: Best for Well Water: Quality Water Treatment Well Water Test Kit

quality water treatment test

Testing the quality of well water is critical because it’s up to the consumer and not the municipality. What that means is, if you are using a municipal water source, then the city is responsible for water testing. Otherwise, water testing is up to the consumer using the best water test kits, like the Quality Water Treatment Well Water Test Kit. 

The Quality Water Treatment Well Water Test Kit is available in three different types: the Lite, Basic, and Standard water test kit. You receive a water sample collection container to send back for lab analysis. Then, after the test is complete, you’ll receive lab analysis results via email.

This water test kit performs the following tests:

  • Testing for 22 minerals and heavy metals
  • Seven inorganic chemicals
  • Five physical elements
  • Tests the water quality for inorganic chemicals and TDS (total dissolved solids)
  • Checks the water’s pH level

If you want to test your home’s water quality for bacteria, they must opt for the Basic Water Test Kit. That includes an e-Coli and coliform bacteria test, in addition to the other testing featured. Choosing the Standard Water Test Kit produces the highest level of results. It includes:

  • E-coli and coliform bacteria testing
  • 22 materials and heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and uranium)
  • Seven inorganic chemicals, including fluoride and nitrates
  • Five physical elements, including hardness and TDS
  • Four trihalomethanes
  • 47 volatile organic chemicals, including MTBE, PCE, and TCE

Pros

  • Tests for 22 heavy metal and mineral water contaminants  
  • Produces results for inorganic chemicals and TDS
  • Can check for the water pH levels
  • Basic and standard tests include a bacteria test.
  • Standard tests include results for volatile organic chemicals and trihalomethanes.

Cons

  • The packaging makes it difficult to understand which test does what
  • It’s more expensive to test for bacteria and volatile organic chemicals, and trihalomethanes.
  • Doesn’t include return shipping

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#2: Best Overall: Safe Home Ultimate Test Kit

Safe Home

Out of each water test kit in this review, the Safe Home Ultimate Test Kit is the most expensive. However, when looking at major retail outlets, this water test kit is also the best selling. Others like the Safe Home water test kit because it delivers value for the money they’re paying. 

Typically, a home water test kit produces results for between 10 and 50 pollutants. That’s one of the main reasons they’re not as expensive as the Safe Home Ultimate Test Kit. This home water test kit produces results for up to 200 pollutants. You’ll also receive free shipping when returning your samples.

Each premium drinking water test kit includes collection vials to make sending samples back to the lab easier. This drinking water test kit produces results for the following:

  • 130 VOCs
  • 32 toxic metals
  • 20 semi-volatile VOCs
  • 12 contaminants with physical properties
  • Six inorganic contaminants 

Not only does this test kit produce accurate results, but it provides you with actual numbers communicating your home’s water issues. You’ll receive pre-screen results and lab-confirmed results. 

Pros

  • Test for up to 200 contaminants 
  • Users receive results via email.
  • The test comes with three sample tubes.
  • Easy to use
  • Can test up to three different water sources

Cons

  • Does not include microbial results
  • It takes a long time to receive your results.
  • Some consumers believe that these home test kits are too pricey

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#3: Best for In-Home Use: Tap Score Professional Lab Kit

Tap Score

When you need to know if you’re having issues with the water in your home, the Tap Score Home Testing Kit is an excellent choice. While Tap Score is an expensive drinking water test kit, it produces reliable results. 

This kit is a mail-in option where laboratory testing screens for over 100 different contaminants. It takes approximately ten days for you to receive results. The report quantifies the results of a home’s tap water to help you understand your water quality.

A notable benefit of using a Tap Score test kit is that you’ll also receive Tap Score support from water experts and engineers in addition to a water quality analysis. Because Tap Score doesn’t have any affiliations with water treatment companies, their support team can provide objective advice for how you can treat your tap water.

Laboratory results also show how much of each compound is in the home’s drinking water, as well as any potential health risks. This test kit produces results for over 100 contaminants, including the following:

  • Arsenic
  • Bacteria
  • Chloroform
  • Lead 
  • Mercury 
  • Nitrates
  • Pesticides

Pros

  • Each water sampling vial has sterilization.
  • This home water testing kit includes over 100 tests.
  • Receive lab results within ten days
  • Includes advice for how to clean water
  • Return shipping is free.

Cons

  • These home water test kits are not ideal for the hardest water conditions.
  • This water quality test can be pricey if you want to test more than one source

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#4: Best for Hardness: JNW Direct Test Strips

JNW

When looking for the best water test for hard water, JNW Direct Water Test Strips are worth considering. This drinking water test kit features a chart with clear ranging markings for easy reading. JNW Direct Water Test Strips also comes with an easy to read e-book for those who need additional guidance. 

Because JNW Direct Test Strips don’t test for bacteria, this isn’t a good option for those who receive their water from a well. These test strips are an excellent choice for those wondering if your water softener is working correctly or if they need to install one. The package contains 100 strips that produce fast and accurate results. 

Another notable feature of JNW Direct Water Total Hardness Test Strips is that they’re easy to use. Not only are the results instantly, but they’re also reliable. You can begin the process by dipping one of the JNW Direct Water Total Hardness Test Strips into the drinking water or well water sample. Then, compare the test strip with the color-coded chart on the outside of the bottle. 

JNW Direct Test Strips produce results for the following:

  • Alkalinity
  • Bromine
  • Chlorine
  • Hardness
  • pH

Pros

  • Contains 150 hardness test strips
  • Easy to use
  • The water test kit comes with a detailed e-book.
  • It isn’t required to send away for results.
  • Receive results nearly instantly.

Cons

  • The results produce rudimentary information.
  • Some consumers have difficulty reading the test results.
  • Others report not seeing any change in their test strips

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#5 Most Affordable: Test Assured Water Analysis Kit

Test Assured

A water test kit doesn’t have to be expensive to produce high-quality results. Test Assured makes a drinking water test kit that is not only affordable but also reliable. Each Test Assured kit comes with ten testing strips to help you determine what contaminants are or are not in your water. 

The Test Assured Complete Water Analysis Test Kit allows you to test for ten different contaminants. Each Test Assured package includes an instruction manual and color chart to help you read results easily. Choosing a Test Assured means you can use it as a city or well water test kit.

The Test Assured home water test kits produce fast results unless you are testing for bacteria. Coliform bacteria test results can take up to 48 hours to receive results. 

  • Alkalinity
  • Bromine
  • Chlorine
  • Hardness
  • pH

Pros

  • It only takes 30 minutes to receive results.
  • Covers ten test types
  • Follows EPA standards
  • Doesn’t require mailing away for results
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Cannot produce results for fluoride
  • Some tests produce false-positive results.
  • Consumers report lead test strips are missing from the package.
  • This test kit can only test one source of water

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#6: Best Drinking Water Test Kit: Health Metric Test Kit

Health Metric

Having clean drinking water is a priority for many, particularly those using well water. Finding a high-quality well water test kit involves understanding what it includes, how it tests the home’s water quality, and if it contains enough water test strips. Health Metric is a simple to use drinking water test kit that produces reliable results. 

The Health Metric drinking water quality tester offers step-by-step instructions for how to use this water test kit.

You can test for nine different water issues, including:

  • pH
  • Total alkalinity
  • Copper
  • Total hardness
  • Total chlorine
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrate
  • Lead
  • Bacteria

The Health Metric drinking water test kit is best for a water tester looking for quick results. While most results appear in as little as two minutes, it can take up to 48 hours to receive coliform bacteria test results. When opening the package, you’ll find that Health Metric includes a color chart to compare the strip’s colors.

Another notable feature of the Health Metric home water test kits is that they meet EPA standards. That feature means results are straightforward and easy to interpret. Because the test strip is sensitive, you must make sure they read the instructions carefully.

Pros

  • A Health Metric kit can detect the smallest traces of copper and lead.
  • Covers four test result types
  • The results deliver almost instantly.
  • Easy to use
  • No need to use the mail for results

Cons

  • Some users inaccuracies in the results
  • Health Metric only tests for nine pollutants.
  • A Health Metric kit cannot detect arsenic in the water

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#7: Best TDS Tester: Hone Forest Water Quality Tester

Home Forest

Out of each water test kit in this review, the Hone Forest Water Quality Tester is the most affordable. Featuring a three-in-one design and hardness test strips for tap water and well water, the Hone Forest Water Quality Tester includes an electric conductivity meter, a TDS meter, and a temperature meter.

This water tester involves turning on the TDS meter and is easy to use. You just need to remove the cap from the testing end before using it to stir the water sample. Within a few seconds, the test produces results on the LCD screen. For example, the LCD screen lights up if the TDS reading falls below 40. If the TDS reading goes above 40, then the LCD screen turns red. The screen’s menu menu also features a large and easy to read display.

These home water tests are also versatile. Meaning, you can use the Hone Forest Water Quality Tester to determine if your RO system works appropriately. This water quality test kit also helps you understand if they need to add fertilizer to your hydroponic system’s nutrients tank. 

This system is best for anyone who wants to test their bottled water, distilled water, filtered water, refrigerated water, tap water, well water, and more. The water quality tester produces results for the following:

  • Total dissolved solids
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Temperature

Pros

  • The battery lasts a long time.
  • Includes an LCD screen
  • Auto-lock functioning
  • Receive accurate results fast
  • Comes with a three-year warranty

Cons

  • Some consumers report this test kit isn’t easy to use
  • Others report that these water testing kits break easily.
  • This test is not for bacteria.
  • Does not test for lead or mercury

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#8: Budget Option: Hach Total Hardness Strips

Hach

It isn’t uncommon for you to have difficulties trusting budget options when looking for a premium drinking water test kit. It isn’t unusual for many to believe that test kits featuring a higher price will work better. However, that isn’t the case with this water test kit. For a cost-effective price, Hach Total Hardness Strips are an effective way of determining a home’s water hardness level.

Typically, hard water occurs when calcium and magnesium ions are present. While potable water does contain divalent and trivalent metals, they’re not in high concentrations. When water is hard, it causes scale in boilers, affects the skin and increases soap consumption. So, determining if this is a problem using Hach Total Hardness Strips is a priority.

Depending on the water’s hardness, the test strips change color. These water testing kits feature strips that are optimal for those who want to test their drinking water, industrial process water, pool water, spa water, wastewater, and more.

  • Alkalinity 
  • Ammonia
  • Chloride
  • Chlorine
  • Hardness
  • Nitrate
  • Nitride 

Pros

  • Results produce immediately
  • Includes 50 total hardness test strips 
  • Budget pricing

Cons

  • Can only receive water hardness results
  • Doesn’t test for iron or magnesium
  • Some consumers report test result inaccuracies.

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Home Water Testing Kit Buyers Guide

You can use water testing kits to determine if contaminants are present in your water. In doing so, they can decide if they need to address issues using a water treatment system.

A water test helps to:

  • Identify any problems existing in the home’s water supply.
  • You can make sure the water is safe for home use, especially when using a drinking water test kit.
  • Create a baseline and track the water’s changes and quality over time
  • Determine if the home needs a water treatment system or not

What Does a Water Test Kit Test For?

The best water test kits are essential for determining concentrations and levels of specific chemicals and contaminants.

Examples of these pollutants include:

  • Bacteria
  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Nitrate
  • Pesticides
  • Viruses

How Do Water Test Kits Work?

You might be new to water test kits and may not understand how they work or what’s available. The first step is understanding that chemistry helps you detect chemicals and contaminants in your water. Many of these water test kits can detect the smallest concentrations. There are several affordable options for those who believe it’s expensive to test their water supply. Not only are these options cost-effective, but they’re also easy to use.

Color Disk Kits

You can find color disk kits available for testing a wide variety of chemicals that help them make sure your drinking water is safe. These tests work by adding a few drops or a powder packet to a water sample in reusable test tubes. After that, the test tubes go into a viewing box.

The viewing box contains a plastic disk that includes color gradients. You must rotate that plastic disk until it matches the water sample’s color. After comparing the color, the next step is reading the chemical’s concentration. 

Typically, these water tests occur in several steps and include wait times. Because they have added features, these tests are more expensive and produce more accurate results. 

Test Strips

Using a test strip is an affordable and quick way to receive results and peace of mind. However, some of these tests are not as accurate as others. These tests typically include one single-use test strip. These strips change color according to the different contaminants in the water. That means the strips test for the concentration of a specific chemical or pollutant. 

Some tests require you to activate the strip. Activating the strip involves dipping the strip into the water sample and swishing it around. Other tests require you to keep the strip underneath a steady stream of water. After waiting for a short period, you can compare the strips to the kit’s color chart. 

Hand-Held Digital Devices

Out of these three types of kits, using hand-held digital devices produces the most accurate results. Water testing can occur using colorimeters, digital meters, and photometers. Keep in mind that these tests are also more expensive than their competitors.

You must use batteries and calibration before they begin using these tests. Otherwise, they won’t work. The main reason is that they use an electronic probe that indicates changes in the water to determine which contaminants are present. These devices test the water’s pH levels and various chemicals and pollutants. These contaminants include calcium, chlorides, magnesium, sulfates, and more.

Instant Result Kits vs. Mail-In Lab Kits

  • Contaminants they detect
  • Which is more accurate
  • How quickly you get results

How Do Water Test Kits Work?

You might be new to water test kits and may not understand how they work or what’s available. The first step is understanding that chemistry helps you detect chemicals and contaminants in your water. Many of these water test kits can detect the smallest concentrations. There are several affordable options for those who believe it’s expensive to test their water supply. Not only are these options cost-effective, but they’re also easy to use.

Color Disk Kits

You can find color disk kits available for testing a wide variety of chemicals that help them make sure your drinking water is safe. These tests work by adding a few drops or a powder packet to a water sample in reusable test tubes. After that, the test tubes go into a viewing box.

The viewing box contains a plastic disk that includes color gradients. You must rotate that plastic disk until it matches the water sample’s color. After comparing the color, the next step is reading the chemical’s concentration. 

Typically, these water tests occur in several steps and include wait times. Because they have added features, these tests are more expensive and produce more accurate results. 

Test Strips

Using a test strip is an affordable and quick way to receive results and peace of mind. However, some of these tests are not as accurate as others. These tests typically include one single-use test strip. These strips change color according to the different contaminants in the water. That means the strips test for the concentration of a specific chemical or pollutant. 

Some tests require you to activate the strip. Activating the strip involves dipping the strip into the water sample and swishing it around. Other tests require you to keep the strip underneath a steady stream of water. After waiting for a short period, you can compare the strips to the kit’s color chart. 

Hand-Held Digital Devices

Out of these three types of kits, using hand-held digital devices produces the most accurate results. Water testing can occur using colorimeters, digital meters, and photometers. Keep in mind that these tests are also more expensive than their competitors.

You must use batteries and calibration before they begin using these tests. Otherwise, they won’t work. The main reason is that they use an electronic probe that indicates changes in the water to determine which contaminants are present. These devices test the water’s pH levels and various chemicals and pollutants. These contaminants include calcium, chlorides, magnesium, sulfates, and more.

How to Choose the Right Kit for Your Home

Water source

Before picking out a test, you must determine how water comes into your homes. Is it coming from a well or city water supply? Or are you testing pool water or water from a furnace? You’ll notice that water test kits are typically for a specific water source. That way, it can test the most common contaminants from that source.

Contaminants detected

Many water tests can produce results for various common contaminants, including chlorine, copper, iron, lead, and more. Other cost-effective water test kits feature results for one or two different pollutants. Tests producing a broad range of results is the best way to go if you want to determine if a specific contaminant or if several pollutants are in your water. 

Accuracy

It’s critical that the water kit tests you’re using produce accurate results. Most, if not all, water test kits tout that they produce accurate results. However, the only way you can know for sure if they read blogger or customer reviews. 

Price

While many affordable options produce high-level results, it isn’t a good idea to choose the cheapest test kit. Otherwise, you might find that it has subpar results. You might also find that it doesn’t test for the contaminants for which you need information. It also isn’t necessary to opt for the most expensive professional water test kit. Instead, you should choose one that falls within your budget and tests for the contaminants they need. 

Conclusion

When you need to know what’s in your water, or its hardness, picking out the best water test kit is a priority. It isn’t uncommon for a test kit to require lab testing. However, other kits produce immediate water quality results. Before choosing a home water test kit, you need to know your water source. That way, they can determine if they need well water or another type of home water test kit. 

Our overall best pick is the Safe Home Ultimate Test Kit. We love this pick because it produces results for up to 200 contaminants, and you can also receive free shipping when returning your samples. 

For those who want to test the hardness of their water, we recommend Hach Total Hardness Strips. We love this pick because it tests multiple water sources for a wide variety of contaminants. 

If you are looking for the best water quality test kit for wells, we recommend the Quality Water Treatment test kit

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AUTHOR
David Trinh
David is an expert in all things plumbing, heating, cooling, and water treatment. He got his start in the plumbing business working on fixing all types of home improvement issues including water leaks, broken toilets, appliance installation, and more. Over time, he learned a ton about installing and choosing the correct water treatment products for homeowners. He nows spends part of his time servicing local clients and part of his time educating consumers about water treatment and other household appliances.