There are many things to worry about daily (we lay in bed every night and count them), but the safety of your drinking water should not be one of them. If you’re concerned that your drinking water may be unsafe, put your mind at ease with an affordable and comprehensive water test kit.
Using a filter system in your home helps to remove harmful agents, but it is still likely that a small number of contaminants may remain in the water. At low levels, these chemicals may not be harmful. But at high levels, things like copper, bleach, hydrogen sulfide, lead and pH can erode pipes and cause sickness that, in cases of prolonged or heightened exposure, can lead to critical illnesses.
In areas with waterborne pathogen outbreaks, boil-water advisories may be put into effect until the source of the contamination is located and resolved. Once it’s safe to drink, it’s a good idea to use a water test kit to ensure that all the bacteria are gone.
When To Use a Water Test Kit
- Test your home or office’s water if you notice a distinct smell or color change.
- Test annually to ensure that your pipes and filter systems are working correctly.
- If you have a new baby or young children in the home, they are more sensitive to contaminants in the water, so check more frequently than annually.
- If you or someone in your home has chronic health issues, have your water checked to ensure it’s not a source of the health issues.
- If you have a home with older plumbing or get your water from a well, test regularly throughout the year.
How To Use a Water Test Kit
Testing water in your home has never been easier. Thanks to several user-friendly tests available for purchase, homeowners can regularly test their water supply for issues and inconsistencies. The Environmental Protection Agency also has a list of labs where homeowners can send their water for a more high-tech and professional testing experience if you think your drinking water has major issues.
There are two different kinds of kits included on this list. Some will mail a collection kit to you. Simply collect the water and mail it back; a lab will test it for you. This helps reduce the risk of user error and gives more accurate in-depth results. However, these kits are considerably more expensive. Another option is to pick up an economical at-home kit, which comes with color-coded test strips for fast results.
If you’re concerned that your drinking water may be compromised, get an answer with one of the best drinking water test kits available. Check out our top picks below.
1. HoneForest TDS Meter
For fast and easy water testing, we recommend the HoneForest TDS Meter. The digital PPM meter pen features a large backlit screen that lets users know the TDS Meter (Total Dissolved Solids), EC Meter (Electrical Conductivity) and temperature of the water being tested. Fully calibrated and ready to use as soon as it’s turned on, the HoneForest comes with a chart that helps users understand their PPM readings. The battery on the HoneForest will automatically shut off after two minutes of inactivity. The meter pen can also remember the most recent reading when the user presses the HOLD button. Ideal for drinking water as well as aquariums and pools, the HoneForest is compact and portable and comes with a carrying case.
2. Health Metric Home Drinking Water Test Kit
For a comprehensive kit that can test for just about anything you don’t want in your drinking water, try the Health Metric Home Drinking Water Test Kit. The kit comes with a legend that shows users the EPA-approved guidelines for each of the 15 contaminants being tested. The kit includes a single test each for lead, copper and bacteria and two tests each for nitrate and nitrite, chlorine, alkalinity, pH and hardness. Results will be displayed on the test strips within minutes. The Health Metric kit can be used on well, spring, municipal and tap water.
3. Varify 17-in-1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit
GOOD FOR FREQUENT TESTING
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to regularly test your drinking water, the Varify 17-in-1 Premium Drinking Water Test Kit is a great option. The kit comes with 100 test strips, which means 100 chances to accurately test your water. Each strip tests for the main contaminants found in water, including lead, bacteria (E. Coli / Water Contamination), fluoride, iron, copper, sulfate, zinc, hydrogen sulfide, chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alkalinity and manganese. The strips are packaged in sealed sets to ensure freshness and accuracy and the Varify kit works with tap, well and filtered water.
4. Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit
MOST PROFESSIONAL RESULTS
If you have concerns about your water supply and want highly accurate and professional results, the Safe Home ULTIMATE Water Quality Test Kit is the way to go. Customers collect water samples and send them to an EPA-approved lab using the shipping box and label included with each purchase. Customers will receive an in-depth report on their home’s water supply, with information on the volatile organic compounds, metals, physical properties and bacteria levels of their water.
5. Watersafe Drinking Water Test Kit
BEST FOR WELL WATER
Well water is especially susceptible to contamination, which is why it’s important to regularly test if your home is on a well system. The Watersafe Drinking Water Test Kit tests for pesticides, bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, chlorine and other contaminants. Everything users need to test their water is included, including test strips and a legend to explain the results. The Watersafe kit is approved for use by the EPA and provides accurate results quickly.
6. Hofun TDS Meter
Want to test the safety of your drinking water, as well as your pool and spa water, aquariums and ROI machines? The Hofun TDS Meter is a fast and easy way to digitally test your water as often as you wish. Using Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC) to ensure measurement accuracy, the TDS Meter can be operated with a single button and provides a digital readout on the color LCD screen in seconds. There are three modes for the meter, including TDS, EC and temperature. The meter auto-calibrates for a user-friendly experience and will shut off after two minutes to help save battery.
7. Varify Premium Water Hardness Test Kit
BEST FOR HARD WATER
Water hardness can have a big impact on your home, from streaking and discoloring showers and bathtubs to prematurely aging pipes and taps. Hard water can dry out skin and nails and increase energy costs. The Varify Premium Water Hardness Test Kit tests the hardness of your home’s water supply in seconds, with easy-to-read test strips that indicate through a color legend the level of hardness of your water. The test strips provide fast and accurate results and are safe for use with well and municipal water, pool and spa water, water softeners and aquariums.
8. Health Metric Water Hardness Kit
If you’re only interested in testing your water hardness, it’s easy to do so without spending too much. This kit from Health Metric is simple and easy to use. Simply dip the strip in the water for one second, give it a shake and wait 30 seconds, and then match the strip’s color to the colors on the tube. Fifty strips are included in the kit, allowing you to regularly test your water or to test different water sources.
9. SimpleWater Labs Test Kit
Getting your water tested by a pro greatly reduces the risk of user error. This kit from SimpleWater Labs makes it easy to do a comprehensive test for potential contaminants. Once you buy the kit, simply fill the water sampling vials and mail them back. The kit is more expensive but does include the cost of shipping.
10. Safe Home Test Kit
Best for Bacteria
Safe Home is a great option because it offers both professional and DIY test kits, depending on your level of concern and budget. This kit is a good, economical DIY option if you’re just looking to test for harmful bacteria that could be in your water. The test provides a simple negative or positive result, rather than complex results you must interpret.