When you want to drink and use clean water daily, you would probably go for a water filtration system, depending on your safety requirements. However, you need the best water test kit to show you what types of contaminants you deal with before you make a choice.
We said on previous occasions that water testing with the help of professionals is the best course of action. Nevertheless, the modern water testing kits on the market today can give you a good idea of the issues you need to solve.
After you check out each best drinking water test kit on this review guide and find out how to make sure if you have lead in water, or pesticides, toxins, or other contaminants, stick around to learn more about water pollutants and how to fight them.
How Did We Choose Each Best Water Test Kit for this List?
To offer you the reviews here, we talked to experts in the field, users, and testers about each best home water test kit. We put up a list of criteria and spent days selecting each product. We hope that these water testing kits will help you understand better the water issues you deal with to get the best water filtration system that specifically solves them.
Best Water Testing Kits of 2019
|Product Name||Tests For||Time for Results||Special Feature||Best For|
Culligan Essential Water Test Kit
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|Lead, Pesticide, Bacteria, Nitrate, Nitrite, Hardness, Iron, pH, Chlorine, Copper, and TDS||Around 10 minutes||Detects 2 of the most common pesticides in the U.S.||EDITORS’ CHOICE: Best Overall|
Test Assured Drinking Water Test Kit
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|Lead, Bacteria, Pesticide, Iron, Copper, Alkalinity, pH, Hardness, Chlorine, Nitrates, and Nitrites||Around 10 minutes||Calibrated to the EPA standards||Lead & Bacteria Testing|
WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit
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|Iron, Copper, Lead, Bacteria, Pesticides, Nitrates, Nitrites, Chlorine, pH, and Hardness||About 10 minutes||Made in the U.S.A to E.P.A. standards||Ease of Use|
Health Metric Heavy Metals Water Test Kit
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|Lead, Copper, Iron, and Mercury||Under 15 minutes||Provides individual results for each metal||Speed / Accuracy Ratio|
ON4HOME 16-in-1 Water Test Strips
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|Total hardness, pH, Fluoride, Lead, Iron, Copper, Nitrate, Nitrite, Bromine, Total Chlorine, Free Chlorine, Cyanuric acid, Carbonate, Aluminium, and Total Alkalinity||60 seconds||FDA approved and CE certified for home use||Wide Range of Uses|
1. Culligan Essential Water Test Kit
Best For: BEST OVERALL
CULLIGAN ESSENTIAL WATER TEST KIT
- Easy to use do-it-yourself in-home water lab test kit
- Detects dissolved lead at levels below the EPA recommended level of 15 parts per billion
- Detects Atrazine – 3 ppb and Simazine – 4 ppb
- The bacteria test time is 48 hours
- Best water lab test kit against the Culligan’s Water Quality Report Guide
Why Should You Buy the Culligan Essential Water Lab Test Kit
As we all know, Culligan provides whole house water filtration systems and softening water treatments for all needs and budgets. It only makes sense that Culligan also provides clients with some of the best water testing kits on the market. Let’s see some other interesting facts you might want to factor in your purchase decision:
- For additional information, you can visit the water lab test kit on Culligan’s site – waterlabtestkit.com – and learn more about contaminants and your findings in Culligan’s Water Quality Report Guide by State and through informational videos;
- The bacteria test is designed to detect coliform bacteria;
- If the strips show positive on the lead/pesticide test, you may have lead in water or pesticides at a toxic level.
|Best home water test kit for overall use||Some say that some results are inconclusive|
|Easy to use|
|The waterlabtestkit.com is an excellent resource|
The Culligan Essential water testing kit is our top choice for overall use. The fact that it detects two of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S., as well as dissolved lead at levels below the EPA’s recommended standard, makes it one of the most efficient water testing kits on the market.
2. Test Assured Drinking Water Test Kit
Why Should You Buy the Test Assured Drinking Water Test Kit?
With ten tests in one and EPA calibration, the Test Assured drinking water testing kit is an excellent screener for a wide variety of potential water issues. It works well with city water and offers accurate results in minutes. But here are some other things you should know about it:
- The results are very easy to read by following the test’s color charts and instruction manual;
- The bacterial test is susceptible to false positives if not done correctly;
- Excellent customer service.
|Easy to use||Some users were not happy with the false positive/negative results|
|Compliance with EPA standards|
|Also tests for alkalinity, which many water test kits don’t|
While home water testing kits are screeners for common water contaminants, you can rely on Test Assured to give you a comprehensive idea of what you deal with every day when you drink/use water. The EPA compliance is a huge plus, together with the wide range of detected bacteria.
3. WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit
Why Should You Buy the WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit?
The EPA recommends testing your private well water at least once a year since private wells do not fall under the agency’s regulatory practices and mechanisms. If you never did it before or you just began using it, it is time to begin the tests! This water test kit has been a popular and successful product for years. Keep in mind that the best well water test kit should give you a detailed picture regarding waterborne pathogens, agricultural and industrial runoff, lead in water, heavy metals’ concentrations, PFAS, VOCs, and more.
Even students use it for their science projects. If you rely on well water for your daily needs, you should know more about this test:
- It provides you with quick results regarding the presence of most common well water contaminants: iron, copper, lead, bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, pH and hardness;
- The test is accurate and very easy to use;
- One-time use only;
- Warranty upon manufacturer request;
- Excellent customer service.
|Easy to use||Some users questioned the accuracy of the pH test results|
|Made in the USA|
If you want an affordable and accurate screening tool for your well water, this well water test kit will give you a clear idea of the issues you need to tackle further. The innovations brought to the product and its popularity make it one of the best water test kits for your home or business.
4. Health Metric Heavy Metals Water Test
Best For: SPEED/ACCURACY RATIO
HEALTH METRIC HEAVY METALS WATER TEST KIT
- Detects unsafe levels of 4 of the most common heavy metals in water
- Individual results for each of the heavy metals
- Allows measurements in very fine increments
- Created by EPA experts
- Made in the USA
Why Should You Buy the Health Metrics Heavy Metals Water Test Kit?
We have talked about heavy metals not long ago, explaining why you should keep an eye on them when it comes to drinking water and how you can remove some of them: iron in particular. If you worry about the presence of heavy metals in your water, this Health Metrics water test offers you the chance of learning if you have worrying levels of Lead, Copper, Iron, and Mercury. But let’s see other tech specs and features so you can make the best choice for your needs:
- Detect unsafe levels of 4 common heavy metals in your drinking water in less than 15 minutes;
- The tests comply with EPA standards;
- The test works well with well water, tap or filtered water;
- You can get the results in less than 15 minutes;
- The manufacturers have more than 30 years of expertise in the water quality industry;
- Warranty upon manufacturer request.
|Excellent speed/accuracy ratio||Some customers complained about customer service|
|Made in the USA|
Heavy metals pose plenty of problems, especially when it comes to drinking water. If you want to have a good idea about what type of heavy metal water filter to buy, this test will give you accurate and fast readings. Given the price, the EPA compliance, and the excellent reviews, you cannot go wrong with this water test.
5. ON4HOME Water 16-in-1 Water Test Strips
Why Should You Buy the ON4HOME 16-in-1 Water Test Strips?
This versatile water test kit allows you a great number of uses for a great number of sources. You can test your tap water, groundwater, pool water, and so on. The best part is that it covers a wide range of contaminants with great accuracy: total hardness, pH, fluoride, lead, iron, copper, nitrate, nitrite, bromine, total chlorine, free chlorine, cyanuric acid, carbonate, aluminum, and total alkalinity. The latter is an excellent one, especially if you were already looking for an alkalizing machine for your home. But let’s see other interesting features of this product:
- Test results come back in one minute;
- The kit comes with FDA and CE approval/certifications;
- Easy to use;
- Warranty upon manufacturer request.
|Wide range of uses||Some customers say it is hard to make the difference among the various types of strips|
|FDA and CE certifications|
|Results in 1 minute|
No matter what type of water you want to test, this water test kit is an excellent choice if you want fast and accurate results across a wide range of sources. It comes with 100 strips, tests for a great number of water features and contaminants, and delivers results in an incredible amount of time. This test is one of the best home water test kit options you have for a wide range of issues.
6. AVA Digital Water Quality TDS EC & Temperature Meter
Best For: AQUARIUMS & HYDROPONICS
AVA 6-IN-1 TDS WATER QUALITY METER
- Professional Total Dissolved Solids, EC and Temperature Pen with big backlit LCD for easier reading
- The test results show on LCD in seconds
- 0-9990 ppm TDS reading
- Contains bonus Litmus ph test strips
- Multiple residential & commercial uses
Why Should You Buy the AVA Water Testing Kit?
This hi-tech piece of equipment features a premium quality titanium alloy probe and a reliable Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC). They both ensure that the reading TDS water quality test meter is always accurate. The model received an upgrade in 2019, turning it into a professional TDS, EC and Temperature Pen with big backlit LCD for easier reading, and auto-lock function for easier use. But let’s see other features and specs that you might find interesting:
- The TDS ppm meter will shut off automatically after 2 minutes if you don’t operate it;
- Use it to test: the overall drinking water purity, the proper functioning of your Reverse Osmosis system, whether RO filter needs replacement, etc.;
- In the package, you will find the digital TDS water tester meter, user manual, BONUS pH test strips, and cleaning napkin;
- It is an excellent choice for aquarium maintenance, hydroponics, pool, and spa, etc.
|A hi-tech reliable piece of equipment||The digital pen is not a pH tester|
|Excellent price for the specs|
|An accurate measure for TDS in water|
|Wide range of residential and commercial uses|
When it comes to TDS levels in your water, you need some of the best water test kits on the market. Fortunately, this digital meter checks more than total dissolved solids. You can use it to verify the optimal functioning of your RO system, ensure smooth maintenance of your aquarium & hydroponics projects, and more. The excellent price, bonus pH strips, and fast results make this device one of the best water testing kits on the market.
7. JNW Direct Pool and Spa Test Strips
Why Should You Buy the JNW Pool & Spa Water Test Strips?
This water kit tests for total hardness, total chlorine, bromine, free chlorine, pH & total alkalinity – essential criteria that give you a clear idea about the health and sanitation level of your pool. The use is smooth and straightforward: simply dip and compare your water results with the large color chart on the bottle. In addition to the reliability and accuracy of the results, this water test kit comes with other features you should consider in your purchase decision:
- The upgraded product comes with a new low range for total chlorine in the water, upgraded bromine readings and waterproof labels for a longer-lasting product;
- You can use it for fresh and saltwater pools, spas, and hot-tubs;
- Results come back in 15 seconds;
- The kit also comes with a bonus instructional e-book you can download to understand what your results mean and how you can keep your water in a healthy & clean condition year-round.
|Best water test kit for pools and spas||It seems to have more of a commercial use|
|Excellent price for the specs|
|The bonus instructional book is a huge plus|
|Very fast results|
Your pool water needs careful maintenance and your full attention. While this water testing kit might be a better choice for a business dealing with multiple pool verifications at the same time, you can rely on it for residential use as well. It can help you test your pool, hot tub, spa, etc. Read the bonus manual to understand the results better and take the proper measure to ensure a healthy swim.
8. Test Assured Bulk Water Hardness Test Strips
Why Should You Buy the Test Assured Hard Water Test Strips?
Water hardness test strips make an excellent investment if you want to learn how hard your water is so you can orient yourself towards the best water softener on the market to meet your needs. On the other hand, the same water hardness test can also verify how well your water softener works. All in all, the Test Assured water testing kit offers you a reliable, affordable, and fast instrument to keep hard water and softeners in check. Let’s see, however, other interesting things about this product that you should factor in your purchase decision!
- 5-tier wide scale for water hardness testing;
- Results come back within seconds;
- Excellent for testing the effectiveness of the water softener;
- Good for well water and municipal water;
- Made in the USA.
|Fast and accurate results for water hardness||Packaging is faulty|
|Allows you to check the effectiveness of your water softener|
|Made in the USA|
With its wide scale of water hardness testing – delivering results in both ppm and grains – this water testing kit is a great investment. It can help you decide what water softener to buy and then verify its efficiency. Given the more than affordable price and the enthusiast users’ reviews, you cannot go wrong with Test Assured’s hardness strips.
9. Health Metric Coliform Bacteria Water Testing Kit
Why Should You Buy the Health Metric Bacteria Water Test Kit?
When it comes to well water, you do not benefit from many EPA regulations. However, this particular well water bacteria test kit allows you to check for bacteria according to official EPA standards, using a testing method they approve. Moreover, this kit tests for E. coli, one of the most common coliform bacteria found in private wells. If you follow the instructions correctly, you will learn in 48 hours what solutions you need to implement to clean and sanitize the well water. But let’s see other interesting things about this product:
- You can set up the test in minutes;
- It comes with clear instructions so you obtain reliable results;
- The water test keeps in line with EPA standards for bacteria in water;
- If you need clarifications regarding the test setup or the results, you can count on the Health Metric experts to answer your questions.
|Best water test kit for coliform bacteria||Some complained about the results’ accuracy|
|In line with EPA standards|
|Works for both city tap and private well water|
E. Coli and the rest of the coliform bacteria pose serious threats to your health. If you rely on well water for your daily needs, you need to make sure the water is clean, safe, and free of any contaminants and bacteria. This test can help you understand better what you deal with and what type of well water filtration system you need to use. This test kit complies with EPA standards and benefits from the backup of trained professionals. It will ease your mind or put you on the right path of proper water filters.
10. Watersafe WS-425B City Water Test Kit
Best For: CITY WATER SCREENING
WATERSAFE CITY TAP WATER TESTING KIT
- Tests for 7 parameters connected to city tap water problems
- Results come back in 10 minutes
- The lead kit detects dissolved lead in water at levels below the EPA’s standard;
- EPA compliant
Why Should You Buy the Watersafe City Tap Water Test Kit?
If you want to screen your city tap water, this kit will give you a very clear idea regarding the problems you need to tackle and the solutions you have to achieve safe, clean water for you and your loved ones. This water kit tests for chlorine, pesticides, nitrates/nitrites, lead, pH, and total hardness. In other words, if you notice issues that require immediate intervention, you will know what type of water filtration system to research further. But let’s see the other features you might like:
- This all-in-one home drinking water test complies with EPA standards;
- You do not need to mix or measure anything;
- The tests come in individual packages;
- It is easy and safe to use;
- 12 months expiration date.
|Affordable city drinking water screening test||Some complained about the lead test’s reliability|
|Very small price|
|In line with EPA standards|
|Extended 12-months expiration dates|
The last product on our list provides users with reliable results regarding the most common issues associated with drinking tap water. Given the price and the EPA compliance, you can use it to gain better knowledge about what you drink every day and what type of water filter you might need. A huge plus is the included test for pesticides, together with the one dealing with chlorine.
What Else Should You Know Before Buying the Best Water Test Kit?
Consider water testing kits as screeners for your city tap water or well water. Many of these new and upgraded water tests provide you with accurate results. Sometimes, some tests may lead to inconclusive results, so you may need to repeat the test or back it up with results coming from a professional laboratory.
However, as you have seen above, even if these best water testing kits may not satisfy every user, they do have great value in putting you onto the right path.
Water testing kits have two main attributes:
- They allow you to understand better what issues you have to solve when it comes to your water and take the right steps in the right direction;
- They also prove very useful in checking the efficiency of your water filtration system or water enhancer. Some work best in keeping in check your Reverse Osmosis filtration device, while others verify the efficiency of your water softener.
Of course, for good health practices, you can also test the filtered water of a filtered water pitcher.
Best Home Water Test Kit: FAQs
Before we finish this guide, let’s answer some pressing questions regarding drinking water contamination, the efficiency of the best water test kit you can find, and a few more issues related to water testing!
Is a home water test kit reliable?
You have four main ways to learn about the contaminants in your drinking water and we recommend you use all three of them in conjunction:
- Use your senses. If your drinking water has an unpleasant smell or taste, if you see particles depositing on the bottom of the glass or floating in the glass, you should take things a step further.
- Ask for a water quality report for your area. As a rule, you should receive an annual report regarding the water contaminants in the area you live in from your local authorities. If they do not send it to you, ask for one to have a general idea of what you must deal with in the future. Upon reading the report, take note of all contaminants that may need further water testing. For instance, if you have lead in water, get the best well water test kit or another water test for lead.
- Use a water testing kit as instructed. Our recommendation is to repeat the test – in case you have spare strips – to eliminate any human or technical error. You can trust water testing kits coming from reputable manufacturers. To answer the question, yes, most are reliable if you use them correctly.
- The fourth method – and the most expensive one – is to send a water sample to an independent water testing laboratory. If you do so, make sure you request testing for the most prevalent contaminants you discovered in your water after you cross-referenced the water quality report with the water testing kit’s results.
Does boiling water remove lead?
Since the Flint water crisis, lead in water became a national problem and concern. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on boiling your water. In fact, boiling does not remove chlorine in water, lead, iron, or other heavy metals and contaminants. Moreover, hot water may actually dissolve more lead than cold water, so do not cook or drink water that comes through the hot water tap.
One of the best methods to remove lead in water you drink is to consider an under-sink reverse osmosis water filter. If you do not want to come in contact with any particle of lead when you use water for bathing, cooking, cleaning, and so on, we recommend you to consider a whole house water filter with activated carbon technology.
What are the most common drinking water contaminants?
When we discussed the water quality in the U.S., we mentioned chlorine, waterborne pathogens, nitrate, arsenic, lead, fluoride, mercury, copper, and other water toxins and contaminants. While water testing and water treatments improved in the past years, we still ingest and use a high number of chemicals, radiological elements, heavy metals, pesticides, antibiotics, and more. Even if you live in a state/area with relatively clean water, you should still get a water test kit to make sure. If you are among the approximately 43 million Americans relying on private wells for their drinking water, you should get the best well water test kit right now!
Can your drinking tap water kill you?
Yes. If the Flint water crisis taught us anything, it was that sometimes, our drinking water can kill us. Lead in water and water laced with other contaminants like bacteria and protozoa can lead to the onset of severe illnesses and even death. Brain damage, liver and kidney problems, red blood cells’ disruptions, and more correlate with drinking water with lead and other heavy metals.
What are the symptoms of drinking contaminated water?
Some of the most obvious symptoms of drinking contaminated water are gastrointestinal problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach/intestinal pains, dehydration, and more. If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Afterward, test your water and invest in the best water filter for your needs!
Should I filter the tap water I drink?
Yes, you should. However, we recommend you do your homework first. Water testing is the first step in learning what water contaminants you should remove from your drinking water. Next, learn how water filters work. Armed with these results and information, pick the best water filters for your needs. Make the difference between carbon-based water filters, reverse osmosis filtration, water distillers, and so on.
What water filters should I buy to remove water contaminants?
Here is an updated table showing you what type of filtration technology you need and what types of water filters to consider depending on the water quality of your home and the contaminants present in your drinking water!
|Contaminated city/well water (big house/family)||Whole house water filters with adsorption (activated carbon filters)/reverse osmosis|
|Contaminated city/well water (medium/small house or family)||Under sink water filter with reverse osmosis/countertop water filters with activated carbon filtration/water distillers|
|Hard water/stains on dishes/dry skin/funny water smell||A water softener/water descalers|
|Really bad taste and odor on tap water||Faucet water filters with activated carbon or under-sink RO water filters|
|Medium bad taste and odor on tap water||Water filter pitchers with activated carbon filtration|
|Bacteria/viruses/microorganisms in the water||RO whole house water filters/under sink RO water filters & mandatory additional UV filter|
|RV travel and living||On the go whole house water filters for RVs/water filter pitchers|
|Moving around, renting, changing location often||Faucet water filters with activated carbon technology or water filter pitchers|
|Contaminated water outdoors/hiking/survival & preparedness
||Water filter bottles|
Water test kits are helpful and reliable for you to get actionable results without having to send mails to private laboratories, wait weeks for results, and spend a lot of money. You can go for general screeners, covering a wide range of water problems and contaminants, or for specific issues that are concerning for you (heavy metals, bacteria, TDS, etc.). Water testing kits allow you to choose the best filtration system for your needs but also check out its efficiency.
If you ever used one or more of the water testing kits on this list, let us know what you think! Did they work according to your expectations? Did they help you make the best decisions regarding water filters? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments section!