Water Test Strips: Checking Water Quality

Updated: June 12, 2024.

There is a load of contaminants in your water supplies. The original water sources such as underground, lakes, rivers, streams are full of many harmful chemicals and living organisms. A short list of common water contaminants includes Arsenic, Chlorine, Trihalomethanes (THM), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), metals, nitrates, and bacteria. All of these contaminants must be filtered out before water can be used. Otherwise, unfiltered water is a recipe for serious health problems.

Water Test Strips - Chlorine, PH, Hardness, Metals & More...

Municipalities treat and filter water supplies before it is delivered for residential use. However, there are still small amounts of harmful contaminants in pre-treated water. Private waters supplies (such as wells) must be filtered by the owners, rather than municipalities. Users of municipal and private water supplies could both use water filtering systems.

Water Test Strips

Before, buying a water filter, you need to first determine the quality of your water. Different water filters are designed to remove specific contaminants. It’s important to first determine the exact contaminants that you want to remove from your water supply. For example, Ultraviolet Water Filters are designed specifically to kill only bacteria and viruses. While Reverse Osmosis Water Filters are designed to filter out a wide range of contaminants.

Water Test Strips, Hardness Alkalinity and pH

Water Testing Strips

That’s where water test kits come into play. Water Test Kits are simple products used to the test the quality of water. These kits are very helpful before buying a water filter, and then checking for the effectiveness of the water filter. There is a large variety of these test kits available on the market. Some Water Test Kits check water may check only for a single parameter, such as Chlorine or total water hardness. Other test kits check for more than a dozen different water contaminants/parameters including bacteria, Iron, Lead, Hydrogen Sulfide, pesticides and nitrates.

ITS Water Test Strips IT-TK01

It is really easy to test water, with results given instantly or after a few minutes. Some common parts of Water Test Kits include vials, solutions, and strips. Simply pour a sample of water into a vial, add solution, and wait for a few minutes. The results are color coded. For example, if water turns red, then there is a low level of contaminants. If water turns yellow, then there is a high level of contaminants. Water Test Strips are even easier ways to examine quality of water. Simply dip the water test strips into a sample of water, and look for color changes on the strips, using the reference manual. Results are also color coded.

The prices of Water Test Kits vary between a few dollars to more than $50.00. Water test kits that test for one or two chemicals are usually the cheapest. While, kits that test for multiple water contaminants are more expensive. Nevertheless, it is a good investment to spend a few dozen dollars for a comprehensive test of your water quality. The more you know about your water quality, the better the decision you can make about buying a water filter. Or simply having the satisfaction that your existing water filter works properly.

Water Test Kit WS-425B

The All-In-One Water Test Kit WS-425B from Watersafe is a great choice. This kit tests one sample of water for a total of eight parameters including Bacteria, Lead, Pesticides, Nitrates, Nitrites, Chlorine, pH, and water hardness. These are very common and important water parameters that should be checked. This water test kit comes with vials, solutions, dropper, and strips. Results are color coded. The All-In-One Water Test Kit WS-425B from Watersafe is available for only $19.95!

If you want to check water for even more contaminants, then get the Water Quality Test Kit from ITS. This water test kit checks for a total of 15 different contaminants or parameters including Chlorine, Alkalinity, PH, Hardness, Nitrate, Iron, Sulphate, Hydrogen Sulphide, Lead, Bacteria, and more. You can get this comprehensive water test kit for only $39.99!

Photometers and Water Testing

Next level of water testing comes from the devices called Photometers. They measure reflection of certain light waves inside a water sample to detect very small amounts of contaminants. They are often very precise in measuring. Two types of photometers exists:

  1. With it's own microchip
  2. Photometers that use other chips such as in smartphones or other mobile devices

Drinking Water Testing Photometers

Photometers such as eXact Micro (versions 7, 8 , 10 and 20) cost $300-$600, and can measure up to 40 different parameters. New breakthrough on the market is iDip photometer. It has no its own chip and uses smartphone application to detect and store different tests. This allows to keep cost down for iDip that costs around $200.

Water Test Strips

There are advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Photometers with chips are more powerful and can be used as standalone testing devices. But they can't be updated easily (the new eXact Micro 20 has a Bluetooth built in so you can also update it remotely). Newer iDip photometers use an application (app) installed on your phone for updates - new versions can be easily downloaded from an app store such as Apple App Store or Google Play.

Lab Water Testing

Sometimes it is very hard to detect a particular contaminant with a strip or a photometer. In those cases, you can collect water sample and send it to a lab. Well known laboratories such as NTL , National Testing Laboratory , provide tests that can span hundreds of parameters and can also test for hard-to-detect contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and fluoride.

Water Test Strips

Fun Stuff

Cats like drinking pool water , especially if it isn't well disinfected with chlorine. Can you spot a mouse here?

Cat drinking out of pool