Suppose you recently installed a water treatment system in your residential home but still experience discoloration, scale flakes, or funny tastes and odors. In that case, you might want to test the quality of your filtered water. The USA maintains one of the most advanced water systems in the world, at municipality levels. Thus, most of the contaminants giving you stress may be secondary pollutants emanating from plumbing systems or well water sources. Home-based water test kits allow you to measure up to 100 parameters without breaking the bank. Most importantly, the results are instant, unlike lab tests.
We tested and reviewed seven top-ranking water test kits in the US market and found the Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit to be the best product overall. Hach 145300 Total Hardness Test Kit ranked as the best runner-up and ideal product for testing water hardness in municipal and private well waters. All the other products on this buying guide guarantee ultimate accuracy with easy use.
We only review top-ranking products as recommended by direct recommendations and reviews from industry experts. We don’t include any product on our list unless we test it first to get a hands-on experience of what you should expect. We also leverage buyer reviews to point us to the most trusted products. Briefly, you can trust this buying review to help you handpick the best water test kit among hundreds of online products.
Our best overall product makes a go-to option if you want a water test kit that gives instant, accurate results for informational purposes and a detailed report for lawsuit and analysis actions. The manufacturer offers extensive lab analysis at an extra cost. The best product for water hardness is suitable for testing total hardness, including carbonate and noncarbonate. Other home water test kits on this review include the best for lead, the best for well water, and the best for municipality water.
Read on to see what we prepared for you regarding the best water test kit for home applications:
Best Water Test Kits
- Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit – Best Overall
- Hach 145300 Total Hardness Test Kit – Best for Water Hardness
- PurTest Home Drinking Water Test Kit – Best for Homes
- Varify 17 in 1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit – Best for Lead
- Health Metric Well Water Test Kit for Drinking Water – Best for Well Water
- JNW Direct Drinking Water Test Stripes 15 in 1 – Best for Municipal Water
Best Water Test Kit Reviews
1. Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit
Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit is the best product overall on this buying review. Even though it comes at a relatively expensive price tag, its performance and specifications guarantee the value of your hard-earned money.
You can use this product to test up to 200 parameters in city water or private well water. Every purchase comes with a DIY bacteria in water test as a bonus enclosure.
The Good Housekeeping Institute ranks it as the best water test kit overall in the USA. Thus, it is pretty forthcoming in quality consistency and reliability.
It eliminates the guesswork in testing drinking water from home. However, the test results given by this product are for informational use only.
You can ship samples to the manufacturer for a detailed report, say for lawsuits. The manufacturer will send the report electronically within 7-10 business days. You don’t have to travel to the lab. Even so, kindly note that detailed report analysis may come at extra laboratory fees and return shipping charges.
Do you want to impact the communities around you or take part in global initiatives for safe drinking water? By buying from this brand, you enable the manufacturer to donate a portion of every test kit scale sold. This water test kit is available in green, white, blue, and grey, giving you various aesthetic preferences.
2. Hach 145300 Total Hardness Test Kit
Hach 145300 Total Hardness Test Kit makes one of the most affordable, go-to options for testing water hardness. It can be for municipal water supplies or private well sources.
Unlike other water test kits on this buying review, this product leverages the drop count titration technique to test the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in your water.
Drop count titration technology is more accurate than comparing color changes on a chart. You don’t have to budget for any extra item once you purchase this water testing kit.
The packaging comes with all the apparatus and a full reagent set to get the job done as quickly as possible. You can refer to the user manual or instruction videos posted on the manufacturer’s website if you’re experiencing any challenges.
This water test kit makes it possible to tell whether you’re experiencing carbonate or non-carbonate hardness. Carbonate or temporary hardness signals magnesium bicarbonate concentration, which often manifests in scale buildup in water heaters and boilers. On the other hand, non-carbonate or permanent hardness comes from calcium and magnesium chlorides, sulfates, and nitrates.
This product allows you to carry both carbonate hardness non-carbonate hardness tests to get the total hardness. You can use the alkalinity parameter to measure these two levels of water hardness. An alkalinity value that is less or equal to the hardness represents carbonate, while greater values represent non-carbonate.
3. PurTest Home Drinking Water Test Kit
Sometimes, we experience heavy pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants that you don’t know whether to trust your water treatment system.
PurTest Home Drinking Water Test Kit could help you clear that by highlighting more than 11 prevalent contaminants. You get to test and analyze everything from the comfort of your home; no mailing or laboratory fees unless you want an extensive scientific analysis.
This test kit comes with a one-year warranty for manufacturing or supply defects. Moreover, it is relatively affordable than most of the test kits on this buying review.
It is fast and reliable, even for amateur users. This water test kit comes with an easy-to-read user manual, available in English and Spanish. You can also access the test guidelines from the official manufacturer’s website.
Precisely, this product can conduct up to 19 independent tests, including bacteria, total chlorine, iron, alkalinity, lead, hardness, and pH level. The packaging comes with a free water knowledge handbook to help you analyze and determine areas that need improvement in your water treatment system.
Besides being user-friendly, this product doesn’t impact the environment. You can dispose of the test strips in your waste bin after use without adding carbon print to the environment. The test strip material is eco-friendly and decomposes quickly, even if it ends in landfills.
4. Varify 17 in 1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit
Varify 17 in 1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit makes it possible to test for lead at a fraction of what it would have cost you in a laboratory. Experts recommend testing your drinking water every six months.
Thus, this product sounds like the best plan for saving money since it comes with 100 test strips, including two bonus bacteria tests.
Besides lead, this product tests up to 16 other parameters prevalent in city water, including free chlorine, total chlorine, total alkalinity, hydrogen sulfide, sodium chloride, and pH level.
It also tests heavy metal parameters such as copper, zinc, iron, manganese, and nitrate. All these tests come with easy-to-follow instructions and a color code to make interpretation easier, even for first-time users.
This water test kit came with separately sealed pouches to guarantee consistency and extended longevity, unlike most brands. Moreover, the color chart is waterproof, preventing smears that would otherwise make it difficult to compare results. Every purchase contributes to a worldwide initiative that supports access to clean water for someone in the Central African Republic. Wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?
You can always verify your results and concerns through a dedicated team of water quality experts available 24/7 throughout the year. In other words, this product guarantees nearly everything you would want in a high-quality water test kit.
5. Health Metric Well Water Test Kit for Drinking Water
Health Metric Well Water Test Kit for Drinking Water is the best product for analyzing well water, especially if you suspect heavy manganese pollution. Remember, you and your loved ones can be at a great risk whether you’re drinking from a shared or private well.
This water test kit gives you unparalleled accuracy to clear the doubts. The main idea behind this product’s performance is to make the complex simple.
You don’t need to be a scientist or have laboratory skills to use this test kit and analyze its results.
Everything is as simple as adding numbers. Like other products, you need to dip the test stripe in your water, compare it against a color chart, and there you have your results in minutes. Moreover, the customer care team gives ongoing support to help you improve the quality of your water in the future.
This test kit gives you comprehensive results and analysis of up to eight well water parameters. These parameters are likely the cause of waterborne illnesses, corrosions, rusting, and hiked energy bills due to appliance inefficiency. They can also be the reason behind extreme water hardness, stains, and limescale buildup.
The packaging includes one strip to test for bacteria or perform the coliform test, two stripes for nitrates and nitrites, two stripes for manganese, and two stripes for hydrogen sulfide. It also contains 2×3-way strips for testing total alkalinity, total hardness, and pH level.
6. JNW Direct Drinking Water Test Stripes 15 in 1
Lastly, you can buy JNW Direct Drinking Water Test Stripes 15 in 1 if you want a product that guarantees accuracy when testing the level of contaminants in your municipal water.
This product is a go-to option for amateurs since it comes with an e-book and free mobile app to enhance your water-testing experience. It comes with 100 stripes that are easy to use, giving consistent results within 60 seconds.
You’re looking at a relatively budget-friendly product that tests more than 15 parameters prevalent in city water.
These pollutants include total alkalinity, residual chlorine, copper, pH, fluoride, total hardness, total chlorine, lead, cyanuric acid, and many more.
The app lets you record, monitor, and analyze your water test trip results with accuracy. This app is compatible with all the latest Android or IOS devices.
Forget about water test kits that require you to send samples for further laboratory analysis. Each of the 100 test stripes gives you nearly instant results. You only need to dip the stripe in a glass of water, submerge it to ¾ of its length, then compare the color change against the color chart on the bottle. Moreover, the manufacturer includes detailed instructions on how to conduct the test.
Generally, these test strips are ideal for home and school use, especially in scientific experiments where students need fairly accurate results. It also tests the contaminants from private well water. You’ll never have any doubt about the quality of your water. The e-book contains all the EPA standards for each pollutant tested. Thus, you can learn how to improve the quality of your water after testing.
What Should You Look for When Buying the Best Water Test Kit?
Laboratory Fees and Return Shipping Charges
The results obtained from most of these test kits are for informational use only and may note suffice for advanced analysis. In that case, manufacturers may offer extensive sample analysis. Watch out for the costs associated with advanced analysis, such as lab fees and return shipping charges. A brand that provides a waiver of these expenses makes the best go-to option.
Type of Water Hardness
If you are drinking from hard water, you should buy a test kit that measures different water hardness levels, including carbonate and noncarbonate. Getting an accurate measurement of these two levels makes it possible to tell the total water hardness. Be wary of test kits that don’t indicate whether you’re experiencing permanent or temporary water hardness minerals.
You would want a brand that gives you technical support, especially if the test technology is a bit specialized, such as drop titration. The support team should be knowledgeable and ready to answer your concerns, especially if your tests show inconsistent results. In that case, watch out for a brand with 24/7 customer service.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Water Test Kit
All the test kits reviewed on this buying guide come at relatively affordable price ranges. Even so, you may have to pay a higher price for kits that offer nearly 20+ testing parameters. Also, kits that use a meter scale may likely cost more than color-coded options. Either way, settle for an option whose price reflects the quality, accuracy, and performance.
The testing parameters on each product are for varying contaminants. It will help if you get a home-based test kit whose parameters test for up to 20 prevalent contaminants in city and well water sources. Moreover, some parameters such as alkalinity and bacteria should have at least two test strips for counter checking result consistency. Even so, some products are ideal for individual water source applications—for instance, a test kit dedicated to well water only.
Testing the parameters in your water isn’t something that you do daily. Moreover, most people who test their water using home-based kits probably do it for the first time. Watch out for a product that has a simple testing procedure outlined in the user manual or instruction videos. The color code chart should also be easy to use, even for people who sometimes experience color blindness. Most importantly, all the components required for running successful tests should come with the packaging, including chemical reagents.
A home kit that takes more than 10 minutes to show results in color changes will probably give you false information. Go for products that guarantee instant results, whether you’re reading it from a meter scale or color code. The best thing about instant results is that they are often accurate and free from secondary pollution. You should also avoid placing the test strips on any surface before reading the results, as this can cause inconsistencies.
Lastly, what would you do if your test strips don’t show any color change or give inconsistent results for a single parameter? It could be because you’re following the wrong testing procedure or the test kit is defective. Watch out for manufacturers who give up to a one-year warranty to cushion you from quality inconsistencies.
The Bottom Line
Testing your drinking water at least every six months is the surest way of keeping your loved ones safe. Home-based test kits are relatively affordable. Moreover, some brands come with a water knowledge handbook that teaches you how to improve the purification systems according to EPA standards.
Each of the test kits on this buying review is unique and can serve a general or targeted purpose. Leverage the information in our buying guide section to get the best water test kit that guarantees easy use and your money’s value. You can click on individual product links to see the latest prices and discounts from Amazon or place your order.