Choosing the right water testing kit for a water filter / purifier, water cooler or a pool, spa & hot tub

Often, customers ask what is the right water test kit for their needs.  Please find below a list of water testing kits to get you started.

  • Water Testing for Purifiers
  • Water Testing for Pools, Spas & Hot Tubs
  • Water Coolers

If you are still unsure after reading this article, then please get in contact with us. We are happy to help.

1. Water Testing for Purifiers

There are many different types of water purification systems around.

  • For newly installed water purifiers: it is recommended testing water before and after the installation process to ensure correct set up.
  • For all water purifiers: water should be checked at regular intervals, to ensure that filters are still performing at their best. Water filters will need replacing at certian intervals, also depending on use and hardness of the water.
  • For private water supplies or water tanks: regular water tests should be standard, especially when seasons change (temperature changes, heavy rain fall & agricultural intensity can affect water quality in ground water and aquifers).

Below is a table listing various water improvement systems and most recommended water testing kits*:

Water Improvement System Main Purpose Recommended Water Testing Kit*
Water Softener Removes ‘hardening’ minerals like magnesium and calcium from water, which are often replaced with sodium ions (usually by increasing the salt content of water). Hardness test kits to test the hardness of water. As a result of the softening process, levels of salt (as sodium chloride) can increase, which can be harmful in drinking water. Carry out a Chloride test to be safe.
Ioniser Ionising may also remove contaminants from water, the main purpose however is to raise the pH as part of an alkaline diet. Some also claim to remove chlorine, chloramines, lead, bacteria, rust, arsenic and traces of pharmaceuticals. pH & Alkalinity, Total Chlorine test, Lead test, Arsenic test.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) for households RO systems usually use one or more filters to remove organic compounds, like salt and natural minerals, and often also bacteria and disease-causing pathogens. Most systems use different steps or filters to remove various dissolved and/or suspended species from water. Total Dissolved Solids to measure the total amount of mobile charged ions, including minerals, salts or metals dissolved in water. A pH & Alkalinity test and/or Total Metals test may also be used.
Biosandfilter A filtering method designed to re-model natural water filter methods using different layers of sand and other sediments. Multi-parameter kit like 12-in-One to test for coliform bacteria, nitrate, nitrite, hydrogen sulfide, total hardness, total alkalinity, total chlorine, free chlorine, copper, sulfate, iron & pH. A Total Dissolved Solids test and/or Total Metals test may also be used.
Gravity Water Filter Designed to mimick the natural flow of water through rocks and hence potentially remove bacteria, nitrates, chlorine, sulphates, heavy metals etc. Multi-parameter kit like 12-in-One to test for coliform bacteria, nitrate, nitrite, hydrogen sulfide, total hardness, total alkalinity, total chlorine, free chlorine, copper, sulfate, iron & pH. A Total Dissolved Solids test and/or Total Metals test may also be used.
Water Filter Jugs Mostly removing impurities from tap water, including calcium carbonate. Hardness test kits or Total Dissolved Solids tests

(*This list is for recommendation purposes only and may not be complete. Each water purifier / filter may vary. Please check with the manufacturer for detailed advice on how to check the performance.)

Please note, that the water testing kits are screening tests only , they cannot be used to declare water as safe for drinking.

Here are some other tests for water filters / purifiers, which you might find useful:

  • Total Chlorine – check the total amount of chlorine, residue from sanitising the water
  • Copper – from copper pipes may leach into water
  • Total amount of Heavy Metals in water – various metals may occur naturally in water or enter the water through plumbing (ie copper or lead pipes)
  • Iron – another heavy metal which may be naturally present in water
  • Lead – from lead pipes or naturally present in water
  • pH – we offer a wide range of pH water tests
Additional Information about Water Softeners: Water softeners often replace the hardening minerals with sodium ions, which can be a problem for pets or people on a sodium-restricted diet. The general rule is, the harder the water is to begin with, the more sodium it may contain after the softening process. To calculate the amount of sodium in your softened water, measure the hardness (in parts per million ppm or milligrams per litre mg/l 1):

Sodium in softened water = 0.109 x hardness

As an example:
If the hardness = 120 parts per million (corresponding to 7.0 grains per gallon),
then the sodium in softened water
= 0.109 X 120 (hardness)
= 13 milligrams sodium per cup2 (rounded to the nearest whole number).

1 Parts per million is essentially the same value as milligrams per litre (used interchangeably).

2. Water Testing for Pools, Spas & Hot Tubs

It is vital to ensure safe water quality in your pool, spa or hot tub. Test water regularly to ensure adequate pH & alkalinity levels, to make sure that the correct amount of sanitiser is present and there are no bacteria. It is generally recommended to test your pool 2-3 times a week in the summer and once a week in the winter. Some sanitisers may have no effect if the pH & alkalinity levels are not balanced.

Fore more detailed information for your hot tub, please read: How to look after your hot tub safely and test the water regularly.

The list below is for recommendation purposes only and may not be complete. The amount of sunlight on the pool or hot tub/how-to-look-after-your-hot-tub-safely-and-test-the-water-regular, extent of use, sanitiser used, type of pool plumbing and other external factors will also influence water quality.

Main Purpose Recommended Water Testing Kit*
As a minimum, regular monitoring of pH, alkalinity, hardness, free & total chlorine / bromine ensures safe use. Additional tests for total dissolved solids (TDS), metals and cyanuric acid can be useful. Quick Pool Check 5-in-One testing for free chlorine, total chlorine, pH, total alkalinity and total hardness. Pool Check 4-in-One testing for free chlorine, total chlorine, pH, and total alkalinity. Easy Pool 3-in-One testing for free chlorine / bromine, pH, total alkalinity. Other test strips include Bromine, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) or pH tests.

Photometer: these handy devices are ideal for customers who test their pool & Spa water regularly and want accurate results instantly. There are 3 types available:  eXact® EZ Photometer Pool, eXact® EZ Photometer Spa as well as iDip for Pool & Spa. To view the full range click here and to compare the photometers click here.

coliform Bacteria Bacteria testing in pools or hot tubs is easy with the Bacteria test strips, test results are available within 15 minutes. To check for bacteria with a higher accuracy (usually used for drinking water) try this water bacteria test. For our full range of bacteria tests click here.
Legionella It is also recommended to test for Legionella bacteria, either by testing the water or surfaces. For our full range of Legionella tests click here.
Laboratory tests For very detailed test results and a laboratory test report, please view our range of laboratory tests here.
Open Water Swimming We have a special range of water tests for Open Water swimming. For more information, please click here.
View our full range of Pool Water Test Kits.

What is the difference between chlorine and bromine treatment of pools?
Some of our customers prefer bromine treatment, as an alternative to chlorine, because it is more cost-effective. The main difference is that once chlorine combines with bacteria  or harmful organics, it is used up and will no longer sanitise the water. This combined chlorine will be burnt off by the next shock treatment and removed from the pool by the water filter. When bromine combines with bacteria in pool water, the bromine is still active but combines with the bacteria and organic matter to neutralise these harmful contaminants. When you shock a bromine pool, the shock treatment only burns off the harmful contaminants, and leaves a good portion of the bromine behind in the pool water. The bromine left behind is available to sanitise the pool again. The result is that the volume of bromine tablets needed to sanitise a swimming pool is noticeably less than the volume of chlorine needed to do the same job.

3. Water Coolers

Water Coolers can now be found in most offices. It is important to check the water dispenser regularly for bacteria as this can build up around the tap.
Main Purpose Recommended Water Testing Kit
Water coolers are a convenient way to offer fresh water in public places. They should be checked regularly for bacteria built-up around the tap. Bacteria test kit for water coolers

Further Free Resources:

Got a question about water testing? Try our complete list of Free Water Testing Resources. Here are the most frequently read guides:

If you can’t find what you are looking for then please contact us, as we can source many other test kits. Discounts for bulk purchase available, please contact us to find out more.


Disclaimer: Only opinions based upon our own personal experience or information detailed in academic journals or other publications is cited. This has been done exclusively for anyone who is interested in this subject but is not intended to replace proper analysis. We cannot accept responsibility and liability of any kind which may result from the application of this information. We always recommend to consult an expert to discuss any test results or get a full recommendation on the specific subject and specific to your situation by an expert.

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There are strict standards for the quality of drinking water within Europe mainly laid down in the EU Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC). These are based on advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO).