Last Updated on November 19, 2020
When choosing a water test kit to check the drinking water in your home, it’s natural to have questions about which brand is the best. You may also wonder if you need to send the test to a lab, or if you can perform the tests yourself.
We’ve chosen ten different brands of water testing kits that cover the spectrum of what’s available, and we are going to tell you about each one. We’ll let you know about the pros and cons of each and point out which ones test for more contaminants. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide, where we try to help answer any questions you might have about the tests themselves.
Join us while we take an in-depth look at water testing and discuss sensitivity, accuracy, ease of use, and more to help you make an educated purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Watersafe WS425B Drinking Water Test Kit||
|Best Value||First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit||
|Premium Choice||Safe Home SH-SWT1 SELECT Drinking Water Test Kit||
|Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit||
|Crystal Water Filters 15 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit||
The 10 Best Water Test Kits – Reviews 2020
These are the ten water test kits we are going to review for you.
1. Watersafe WS425B Drinking Water Test Kit – Best Overall
The Watersafe WS425B Drinking Water Test Kit is our pick for the best overall water test kit. This brand checks for a range of contaminants, including chlorine, lead, pesticides, bacteria, and more. It also checks the pH as well as water hardness. Each package contains several tests that you run to learn the condition of your water. Each one is easy to perform and features detailed instructions. There is also a bulk discount. If you buy more than one, the price drops considerably.
The only downside to the Watersafe WS425B Drinking Water Test Kit is that the bacteria test takes 48 hours, and there is no way to tell if it’s working until it’s finished. It’s more of an inconvenience than a problem, but the rest of the tests are completed in less than 10 minutes.
2. First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit – Best Value
The First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit is our pick for the best water test kit for the money. This kit comes with four separate tests that you can perform to learn the quality of your water. These tests look for bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates, and chlorine. It will also check your water’s pH as well as the water hardness.
The downside to the First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit is that it’s hard to read the results on a few of the tests, especially the bacteria test.
3. Safe Home SH-SWT1 SELECT Drinking Water Test Kit – Premium Choice
The Safe Home SH-SWT1 SELECT Drinking Water Test Kit is our premium choice water test kit. This brand of test strip has the certification to check for 15 contaminants. Contaminants it checks for include arsenic, copper, lead, bacteria, fluoride, nitrates, and many more. It also tests your water hardness and pH. The kit includes several vials to place your water samples to send back to the company. All postage is prepaid, and there is no additional cost for the testing or the results. It contains the Good Housekeeping seal, and all samples are easy to collect and prepare for the lab.
The Safe Home SH-SWT1 SELECT Drinking Water Test Kit provides professional-grade results, but you must send it out to the lab, unlike our top choice. It also claims to have the results in 7-10 business days, but ours took a little longer.
4. Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit
The Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit is an at-home test that checks for bacteria, lead, nitrates, and copper. It also checks for pH, hardness, and alkalinity, and you can run several of the tests twice. Most tests are simple test strips that only require dipping them in your water to get the result immediately. The bacteria take 48 hours, like most brands, to allow the bacteria time to grow.
Hile using the Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit we found some of the tests hard to read because the dyes on the test strip bleed together, resulting in colors that blur the result. When we compared tests like pH with ordinary pool test strips, the two numbers were slightly different, raising concerns about the accuracy of this test.
5. Crystal Water Filters 15 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit
The Crystal Water Filters 15 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit contain tests for 15 different contaminants. The contaminates it tests for including fluoride, chlorine, lead, iron, copper, bromine, and more. It also tests pH and water hardness to help you achieve clean drinking water. The test strips are easy to use and only require dipping them in the sample water for five seconds and removing it. The pads change color depending on the level of contaminates, and each kit comes with 100 strips. Enough to keep an eye on your water for years.
It is challenging to dip the strips from the Crystal Water Filters 15 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit without bleeding the colors together and ruining the results. Fifteen pads are a lot to put on a single strip, and they are very close together. It took us multiple tries to work out a system of dipping to get a good reading. Some of the pads also seemed slightly inaccurate, especially the one for nitrates.
6. Baldwin Meadows 10-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit
The Baldwin Meadows 10-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit is another water testing kit that you can do at home. Each kit checks for 10 contaminants, including iron, copper, lead, and chlorine. There are 100 strips per kit, so you can check your water multiple times as you take steps to correct any issues. These strips are improved over the company’s previous models to increase sensitivity.
We felt the Baldwin Meadows 10-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit had some problems with accuracy because we got similar readings from a wide range of water sources. It’s also hard to tell what the readings mean because there is no guide or acceptable range markers, only a chart that tells you how much is in the water. The test is quick, but there is no test checking for bacteria, which is a serious concern when testing drinking water.
7. ON4HOME 16-in-1 Water Test Kit
The ON4HOME 16-in-1 Water Test Kit features many tests on a single test strip. It tests for fluoride, mercury, copper, chlorine, bromine, zinc, and more. It also tests your water hardness and pH. The test includes a small plastic tube that collects the water for easy testing, and you get the results in 60 seconds.
The plastic tube included with the ON4HOME 16-in-1 Water Test Kit does make it a little easier to test the water, but it is unnecessary and feels gimmicky. Any standard small drinking glass will work just as well. The accuracy of some of the tests is also in question after we tested multiple water sources and got similar readings. The strips can also bleed together and become hard to read. The instructions say to read the strip at 60 seconds for best results, but it’s challenging to look at all 16 pads that fast.
8. Varify 17 in 1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit
The Varify 17 in 1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit features 100 test strips and includes two bacteria tests that you can perform at your home. The test strips contain 16 pads on each to check for contaminants. These strips only take one minute to give a reading and checks for lead, fluoride, copper, iron, and more. It will also let you know the pH and hardness of your water.
We felt that the Varify 17 in 1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit strips were not very accurate after checking several water sources and receiving similar readings. The lead reading was especially troublesome since it always read safe levels, even when we used a control that should have set it off. Like many other brands with this many tests on a single strip, it can be challenging to dip them in the water without blending the colors to achieve an accurate reading. We consistently needed to use two or three strips to get all of the reading it supplies. Due to the inaccuracy of the test strips, we are concerned about the accuracy of the bacteria test.
9. SJ Wave 16 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit
The SJ Wave 16 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit can test for 16 contaminants and lets you know the pH and hardness of your water. It tests for chlorine, copper, lead, nitrates, and more and comes with a100 strips, so you can test your water anytime. The 100 test strips are packaged in sets of 10 to preserve freshness and extend the lifespan well beyond most other brands. It also comes with a collection tube and dropper, so you can put a drop of water on each pad instead of dunking the whole strip and blending the colors.
The downside to the SJ Wave 16 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit is that we found it extremely inaccurate, especially when testing for water hardness, pH, and nitrates. Because we knew these tests were off, we were worried about the accuracy of the others as well.
10. NovoBlue 14-in-1 Home Water Test Kit
The NovoBlue 14-in-1 Home Water Test Kit contains 14 separate tests to alert you to any potential problems with your water. It tests for lead, bacteria, chlorine, copper, and several more. It’s a made-in-the-USA product, and you can perform all tests at home without the need to send anything out to a lab. The instructions are very clear and comprehensive.
The NovoBlue 14-in-1 Home Water Test Kit seemed to be more accurate than the test strip tests, but the entire kit is only good for one use. Also, some tests don’t give a complete reading. For example, this kit only detects iron up to a level of 1 ppm, but many people might have an actual level that reaches up to 5 ppm.
In this section, we’ll look at what makes a good test strip.
How often should I test my water?
Most experts recommend testing your water every six months to make sure nothing has changed. You should also test if you notice a change in taste.
What do I do if my water has a problem?
If you notice your water has high levels of lead, chlorine, copper, or another mineral, you can purchase a water filter that can help remove the contaminants. These filters can attach to a single faucet or to the main water line to deliver cleaner water throughout the house. If the problem has to do with water hardness, you can try installing a water softener.
Home Tests vs Mail-In Tests
There are two kinds of tests you can perform, a home test, or a lab test.
Mail-in tests require you to take one or more samples of your water to send to a laboratory that will perform tests on your water for you. This type of test can be quite expensive, especially if you run them often, and it can take quite a while before you learn the results. However, skilled professionals perform the tests, and the results will be far more accurate and comprehensive than home tests.
Home testing is inexpensive compared to lab testing, and you get the results within minutes. Home testing usually consists of test strips that you dip into the water. These test strips have several pads glued to them that change color depending on what is in the water. You simply need to match the colors produced with a color chart to learn the results.
The downside to test strips is that they are often not very accurate. The accuracy is further compromised if the dyes on the pads run together to create new unintended colors.
When choosing a water test kit for your home, we recommend a home kit that contains more than test strips. Our pick for the best value is a perfect example. The Watersafe WS425B Drinking Water Test Kit tests for a wide range of contaminants, including bacteria, and is accurate in is results. It’s only single use, but you get a bulk discount for purchasing more than one. If your original home test shows a serious problem, like lead or pesticides, we recommend moving on to a lab test. The Safe Home SH-SWT1 SELECT Drinking Water Test Kit is our premium choice and is an example of a great lab test. The purchase of this kit includes all postage and testing.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading over our reviews and have learned something new about testing, as well as the dangers that may be lurking in your drinking water. If we have helped you and your family get closer to a clean, refreshing glass of water, please share this post on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Science History Institute, Wikimedia Commons
David Slone runs the TapIt Water blog. He first learned about water filtration and the impact it has on the world in college. Ever since that day he has worked towards making the world a better place. He writes to inform you about water filtration, the consequences of plastics, bottled water, and how we can do things better.
He loves to spend time with his beloved wife, 3 kids, and dog when he’s not writing.
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The 10 Best Water Test Kits – Reviews 2020
- 2.1 1. Watersafe WS425B Drinking Water Test Kit – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Safe Home SH-SWT1 SELECT Drinking Water Test Kit – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Health Metric Drinking Water Test Kit
- 2.5 5. Crystal Water Filters 15 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit
- 2.6 6. Baldwin Meadows 10-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit
- 2.7 7. ON4HOME 16-in-1 Water Test Kit
- 2.8 8. Varify 17 in 1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit
- 2.9 9. SJ Wave 16 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit
- 2.10 10. NovoBlue 14-in-1 Home Water Test Kit
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Home Tests vs Mail-In Tests
- 5 Conclusion