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Best Home Water Quality Test Kits

Home testing kits for tap water are a convenient and easy way to gain insight into the quality of the water you use for various activities such as drinking, cooking, bathing, laundry and more. These testing kits usually come in two types: those that use test strips submerged into a water sample and those that use powders that react with various contaminants if present. However, there are also testing kits that require you to mail a water sample to a laboratory for testing. These tests are usually the most comprehensive, but they are also the most expensive.
Whether or not to test your water depends on several factors. Indications of possible water quality problems include taste, color, odor, and staining of clothes or fixtures. In addition, water quality problems may also cause illnesses. Other factors to consider when deciding to test your water include the proximity of your water well to septic systems and the composition and age of your home's plumbing materials. Additionally, if you live in an area with known water quality problems, testing your water is especially important.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a guideline of when and what to test in your drinking water:
guidelines for water testing of home drinking water
This information will help you to choose the best water filter for your needs.
We have compared and analyzed a dozen websites – from Amazon to Wirecutter – for their recommendations and ratings for home water filters and compiled the results into this guide for you.
Consumers have a choice of many different types of water quality tests. Determining which type is most appropriate for you depends on what you are concerned about. It is important to understand that no test covers every pollutant, so understanding what filters do and don’t do is important.
Your water source determines the kind of testing kit you want. A basic kit that covers common contaminants like lead and chlorine will get the job done for your municipal tap water. If you have well water, you’ll need a water quality testing kit that’s more comprehensive and includes screening for pesticides.
A word of caution from other testers: Although they think do-it-yourself (DIY) lead tests are worthwhile, they recommend against the more comprehensive (and more expensive) DIY kits. For best results, use a send-away test where you will receive a detailed report from a certified lab. Unfortunately, these tests tend to be much more expensive.
The reason for this is not that they are difficult to use but rather that they are almost impossible to read. And they don’t provide actual contaminant levels but rather a rough range estimate of their concentration.
The biggest drawback of most DIY water quality test kits is that their readings are subjective: You have to use your judgement to match the subtle range of a single color that appears on a test strip (or a series of test strips) after use against printed color charts that come with the kits. Ambient conditions like the quality of outdoor or indoor light or, even worse, color blindness, can make the task even harder.
colored test strips
The reading of test strips must be as accurate as possible to be effective, as even subtle color inconsistencies between the strip and the color-coded test package can lead to an inaccurate assessment of water quality.
Another problematic issue is that the tests are rushed. When you remove a test strip from the water sample you only have 20-30 seconds to compare the color result with the chart, because the color continues to change and thereby distorts an accurate reading. Complicating matters are test kits that contain multiple different tests on a single strip – then you have to color match several results within the same narrow time span.

The best home kits to thest the quality of the water in your home

ProductDescriptionBest forPrice
Professional Water Test by SimpleWater Labs, Certified Tap Score Home Kit EPA Lab Testing Methods and Quantified Results for 100+ Chemicals including Lead, Arsenic, Heavy Metals, VOCs, Nitrates, Chlorine(s), THMs, E.coli bacteria. Within 5 days of your sample arriving at the lab, you'll receive a comprehensive report, along with analysis and treatment advice. Includes sterilized and preserved water sampling vials, return shipping labels, and special insulated packaging.Overall∼$249
Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test KitEPA Lab Testing Methods and Quantified Results for 200 different parameters (7 In-Organics, 12 Physical Properties, 31 Metals, 20 Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds, 130 Volatile Organic Compounds). Lab fees and return shipping are included. Detailed report available on any electronic device in 7-10 business days after the lab receives your water sample.Overall∼$380
Safe Home DIY Lead in Drinking Water Test KitAt home testing for lead in city water or well water. Test results within 10 minues. Single pack.Budget pick∼$22
17 in 1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit 100 Strips plus 2 bacteria tests. This 17 parameter kit covers all the main contaminants you need to worry about: Lead, Bacteria (E. Coli / Water Contamination), Mercury, Fluoride, Iron, Copper, Sulfate, Zinc, Hydrogen Sulfide, Total chlorine, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, Total Alkalinity, Hardness, Sodium Chloride, and Manganese. You need to compare a strip with 17 color indications against a color chart.Strip testing∼$22
Watersafe Premium Drinking Water Test Kit for Well Water (and tap water)This drinking water test kit contains 2 test strips per contaminant – for lead, bacteria, nitrate, nitrite, pH, hardness, chlorine, and more. Each test detects contaminants down to the EPA Action Level.Well water testing∼$28
JNW Direct Water Hardness Test Kit150 Test strips for accurate water quality testing to determine soft or hard water. Simply dip and compare with large color chart on bottle for 6 levels of water hardness. Water hardness∼$10
Poolmaster 22212 Smart Test 6-Way 50 test strips for pool water testing analyze six chemical factors: Free Chlorine, Bromine, Alkalinity, pH, Total Chlorine and Total Hardness.Pools∼$12-15
API Water Test KitThe kit includes 7 bottles of testing solutions, 1 color card and 4 glass tubes with cap (good for about 100 tests). Monitors the 5 most vital water parameters levels in freshwater aquariums: pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. Aquariums∼$25-30