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Water contamination is a scary thought. Unless your water is severely discolored or has a particular taste, you might assume it’s acceptable to use. However, your water could be contaminated with bacteria, lead, or something else and you wouldn’t know until it began affecting your health. This is why testing your water is so important. You can purchase a home water test kit to get a pretty good idea of what’s in your water. The best water testing kits are relatively inexpensive and will give you the key information about what’s in your water and whether or not you need further investigation. If you’re looking for the best home water test kit, this guide is for you!
A drinking water test kit is just what it sounds like. In the simplest definition it is a test that examines your water. There are a variety of kits, some are more specific and include more contaminants than others. According to the EPA, a person should check their water annually for bacteria, dissolved solids, and nitrates, among other things. While your local water plant will treat and test your drinking water, keep in mind that the testing is done before it leaves the treatment plant. It still has to travel from the plant to your home and could go quite a long way, coming in contact with bacteria, lead piping and other contaminants along the way.
Learn more about water testing through the Water Laboratory Alliance.
Quick Picks for the Best Water Test Kits of 2020
- Top Pick — Safe Home Starter
- Budget Pick — Test Assured
- Luxury Pick — Safe Home Premium
Our Picks for the Best Home Water Test Kits
Top Overall: Safe Home Starter
Key Features: Good for well & city water; easy to use; instant results; affordable; tests for 20 contaminants
Price Range: $$
The Safe Home Starter has sold over 3 million tests, making it the top selling Safe Home drinking water test kit. If you want to test your water, you’ll find this is a great way to test for many contaminants. You can use the Safe Home Starter kit to test a variety of types of water. Not only would this kit work on your home whether you have city or well water, it also can test river water, cisterns, and lakes, as well. This is a water test kit that is perfect for home use, but that can also be used when traveling, as well.
The testing mechanisms used were developed by certified water scientists that offer 150 years of combined experience. The 20 contaminants that the Safe Home Starter tests for include bacteria, copper, dissolved solids, iron, lead, mercury, nitrate, nitrite, pesticides, silver, sulfate, and other contaminants. It can also tell you how hard your water is.
Confirmation testing is available using an EPA certified lab with all Safe Home products. Additionally, if you find danger levels of any contaminants during the screening you will receive additional testing options, so you can determine how serious the problem is. Click here to learn more about the Safe Home Starter water test kit.
Budget-Friendly: Test Assured
Key Features: 10 tests in one; easy-to-use test strips; 100% satisfaction guaranteed; budget-friendly
Price Range: $
The Test Assured home water test kit is actually ten tests rolled into one. All of the results and testing are done from your home. Once you have the sample collected the work is all but done. Your results will appear soon after without having to send your samples anywhere. Like all Test Assured water kits, this kit is calibrated to EPA standards, which allows you to ensure that the EPA recommendations are met within your home.
This and other Test Assured water test kits are made in the USA. This test will examine your water to determine the levels of pH, nitrates and nitrites, hardness, chlorine, copper, iron, bacteria, lead, pesticides, and alkalinity. If readings appear higher, you’ll want to seek additional lab testing to determine the proper method of treatment.
Test Assured is a name you can trust within the brands known for offering the best water testing kits. With that in mind, they offer a 100% guarantee that covers customer satisfaction. If you’re unhappy with your purchase, they will provide a refund without question. Click here to learn more about the Test Assured water testing kit.
Luxury: Safe Home Premium Test Kit
Key Features: Mail-in test to certified laboratories; very accurate; tests for 50 possible contaminants
Price Range: $$$
The Safe Home Premium Test Kit couldn’t provide an easier to use product. As opposed to water test kits that provide instant results, this is one that requires and includes laboratory testing. Inside the package you’ll have two test vials and a return mailer with prepaid postage attached. All testing is included in your price. You’ll just fill up the vials, put them in the mailer, and send them off. Your test results will be emailed to you as soon as they become available.
This test will look for 50 possible contaminants. So, you can rest assured that if something is in your water, it will likely be found with this test. Some of the things the test will look for include inorganics (chloride, bromide, sulfate, and nitrate/nitrite), physical properties (total dissolved solids, bicarbonate, hardness, and pH), metals (aluminum, arsenic, copper, iron, lead, lithium, nickel, selenium, sodium, and zinc), and more.
Despite having to send your test to a lab, you will receive your results within a few days. This might seem like a long time, but lab testing will provide a more accurate answer. Additionally, as all fees are included, you can get your sample, send it, and forget it until you receive the results. Click here to learn more.
Importance of Testing Your Water
It goes without saying that testing your water is a beneficial and necessary task. There are several events that would suggest that you need to find the best water test kit for your situation. For example, the EPA recommends testing your water if someone in your home is pregnant or if you have a new baby. If you’ve had a gastrointestinal illness that was unexplained, or you notice that your water has a scent or taste that it does not normally have are other reasons to seek out a water test kit.
Some other reasons include:
Safety – Most contaminants are noticed until it’s too late and some form of damage is already done. If your water has lead in it, you might not initially know it. However, eventually you would display symptoms of lead poisoning, depending on the levels in your water. By taking the time to determine the best water testing kit for you, you’ll be able to drink and use your water knowing exactly what is in it. Once you know what’s in your water you can take the steps necessary to improve the quality.
Peace of Mind – If you have small children, animals, or even plants you want them to have the best quality water possible. There are far too many contaminants that can harm the development of pregnant women and children. Testing your water ensures that you know it’s safe or that you can work to fix your water if it’s not.
It’s Time – It’s easy to forget about the need for water tests if nothing seems wrong. That’s why it’s good to plan your testing around events. We’ve discussed family growth and the addition of young children already. That’s one important type of event. Another could be when home improvements are done in your home. If construction work has been done, it can affect the plumbing in your home. This could mean nothing, but you could end up with lead or something else in your water that has come from the pipes being affected from the work that has been done. Annual testing is always a great idea, but planning for tests around big life changes is another way to ensure that the testing is done frequently for the safety of everyone in your home.
How We Chose
If you’re curious about how we came up with these picks for best water testing kits, we don’t blame you. Here are the methods we used and some of the things we considered in order to find out the best water testing kits available on the market today.
Hands-On Research – We spent hours looking at and testing a variety of the better-known water testing kits that are available. Some of the things we considered included how easy the testing process is, what contaminants are tested, and how long the actual process takes. We wanted to find something thorough, but easy enough that anyone could complete the test with minimal issues.
Water test kit reviews – While our own research was considered first and foremost, we also wanted to know what other people thought of the various test kits. Looking at water test kit reviews allowed us a better idea of how each kit performs in a variety of settings and situations.
Value and Accuracy – We focused on kits that provided the best value for the money. This means the water test kits that tested for the most contaminants and that offered a proven track record of detecting even the smallest amounts of contaminants. Also, we looked to see if there was any risk-free guarantee to protect you should there be an issue with the test kit you receive.
Looking for tests specifically for well water? See our guide to the best well water testing kits. Don’t like what you see in your test results? You may be interested in a good home water filter.
Ph.D. graduate working as a water quality consultant for many government agencies helping them find solutions to the ever-growing problem of polluted water. Loves a good coffee!