Choosing the right home water test kit depends on what you want to test, your water supply, and how often you want to test it. There is also a wide range in cost and convenience in use.

Best Water Test Kits for Home at a Glance

  1. Overall BestSimpleLab Tap Score
  2. Runner UpNational Testing Laboratories Water Test
  3. Most Comprehensive Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test Kit
  4. Alternate Option for Well WaterQuality Water Treatment Well Water Test
  5. Best for Water HardnessVarify Premium Complete Water Test Kit
  6. Most AffordableSJ Wave Water Test Kit
  7. Best DIY KitHealth Metric Drinking Water Test
  8. Runner Up StripsWatersafe Premium Drinking Water Test Kit
  9. Best Well Water TestHealth Metric Well Water Test
  10. Best Lead TestHealth Metric Heavy Metals Test

Home water test kits are designed to test for all kinds of contaminants and issues with your water. This can range from checking for basic contaminants like chlorine to various forms of bacteria. The product you need is largely determined by where the water is sourced and what contaminants are common in the area.

Testing kits can either be performed at home with simple color test strips or vials sent to labs for thorough testing. For routine testing of basic contaminants, the test strip is better while vials are for determining long-term solutions to something more serious.

Simple test strips are the most affordable while in-depth testing can cost more than a hundred dollars. The ones that require lab testing can also introduce additional costs for shipping.

All the above should be taken into consideration when choosing a water test kit for your home. With this in mind, we examined several products on the market and found some favorites for various reasons.

Top 10 Home Water Test Kits Reviewed

1. SimpleLab Tap Score Home Water Test Kit

Tap Score City Water Test

Check current price at mytapscore.com

This is arguably the best home water test kit all around. It provides a test of over 100 different contaminants, includes the shipping labels, and has a 5-day response time. For those looking to put in a water filter, this is a great test for finding out what you need to get.

Testing Process

The Tap Score home water testing kit is designed to identify the presence of over 100 different contaminants. It detects common issues like pH levels, hardness, chlorine, and other anions. Where this product differs from many of the others is that it tests for many different volatile organic compounds.

It’s not the most comprehensive of the water test kits we reviewed, that goes to the Safe Home product. But it should more than cover most issues found in any household.

The tradeoff for a comprehensive lab test is that each kit only does a single test. Any future tests will require the purchase of another kit. This product is best suited when considering the purchase of a water filter rather than routine checks.

The company claims a five-day response time so most users should have test results within a week. For a lab test, this is one of the faster response times of the best water testing kits we reviewed.

Price & Other Costs

This water quality test kit is the second most expensive option. The only way to save money would be to go with a product that tests for fewer contaminants which may or may not be an option.

This product is unique in that it offers return shipping labels for sending in the water sample. This means there are no additional costs once the drinking water test kit is purchased.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Tests for 100+ contaminants.
  • Has the shortest response time for a lab test.
  • Offers return shipping labels to minimize costs.
Cons
  • Is a single-use testing kit.
  • Is the second most expensive option.

2. SpringWell National Testing Laboratories Water Test

National Testing Laboratories Water Test Kit

Check current price at springwellwater.com

This home water test kit is best for those who don’t want to spend quite as much on the Tap Score. The tradeoff is a slower response time, paying for shipping, and fewer contaminants checked. Still, this is the official product of the national testing laboratories and a good alternative compared to others.

Testing Process

This 30-point water test is designed to check everything from minerals to hard metals. One unique contaminant this product checks for is tannin, an organic contaminant that can be found in well water. So while it doesn’t check for as many volatile organic compounds as say the Tap Score, it may be better suited for well water.

Another benefit of this product is that the water samples will be sent to the National Testing Laboratory. So users can rest assured they are getting accurate test results.

Like all lab-based water testing kits, this is a single-use product. For regular water testing, buyers might need to consider a DIY test kit or something less expensive.

While the National Testing Laboratories provides more accurate results it does take longer. Average response times range from 10 to 15 business days when samples reach the lab. This is by far the longest wait time, nearly double the Tap Score.

Price & Other Costs

The Springwell Water testing kit is the cheapest lab-based option for the water testing kits we reviewed.

Unlike other options, this product does not include return shipping labels. So while the product might be cheaper users will have to factor in the cost of sending in the water sample.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • The cheapest lab testing kit on the list.
  • Is the only one that checks for tannins.
  • The testing procedure is done by the National Testing Laboratories.
Cons
  • Is a single-use test.
  • Takes 10-15 business days to get results.
  • No return shipping labels are included creating an additional cost.

3. Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test Kit

Safehome Water Test Kit

Check current price on Amazon

This home water test kit is for those who want to test for just about everything in their home water supply. It identifies 200 different contaminants for city or well water. It isn’t cheap, but for those with particular water needs or concerns, this might be the best choice.

Testing Process

This product tests for 200 different parameters in drinking water. It identifies the presence of metals like aluminum and zinc and in-organics like chloride and bromide. Where this product shines is testing for volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds. Nearly 100 of the parameters are dedicated to these contaminants alone. This is nearly twice the amount of contaminants that will be identified by the Tap Score or Springwell.

There is also a DIY test for bacteria. Everything else is identified in an EPA-certified lab when the water vial is sent out.

This is a single-use product with a single-use DIY test for bacteria. It is best suited for identifying problems in the water supply and finding a water filtration system to remove them. Testing multiple times is better done with DIY water test kits.

Once the vial of water reaches the lab it takes about 7 to 10 business days to receive a response. This isn’t the fastest response time, but it certainly isn’t the slowest.

Price & Other Costs

This tap water test kit is by far the most expensive of the lot. On top of that users will have to pay for shipping as it’s not included.

There is a guarantee on the product that if it’s lost in the mail or the user doesn’t receive their results a new kit is provided for free. There is also a promo code provided for other products provided by Safe Home. This could be a good way to save a bit of money on DIY water test kits later.

It should also be noted that a portion of the purchase price will be donated to global clean water initiatives.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Tests for 200 different contaminants, more than any other water testing kit tests.
  • Average response time for lab testing.
  • Guaranteed replacement if the product is lost.
  • Promo codes for the purchase of other products.
  • A portion of sales goes to charity.
Cons
  • Is is an expensive option.
  • Is a single-use product.
  • No return shipping labels are included.

4. Quality Water Treatment Well Water Testing

Quality Water Treatment Well Water Test Kit

Check current price at qualitywatertreatment.com

The advantage of this product over other water test kits is that it offers three versions of the product. Users can get the Lite, Basic, or Standard test kits for their homes. This review was based on the Standard which offers a better testing procedure and comes with great customer service.

Testing Process

This well water test kit will identify the presence of up to 87 contaminants. Things like heavy metals, minerals, and bacteria, and even do a total hardness test.

For those interested in saving a bit of money the Lite and Basic kits will test for fewer things at a reduced cost. Of course, the user will want to make sure they are covering the essentials for their area.

Like other lab-based water test kits, this is a one-time-use product. Another kit must be purchased for follow-up testing or a DIY kit might be a better alternative for more uses.

The company does not provide an estimate for how long testing takes. They do email results so it’s possible it could be faster than other options.

Price & Other Costs

This product is just a bit more expensive than the Springwell, but definitely on the low end of lab tests. No shipping labels are provided so this is an additional cost to be considered.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Tests for 87 different contaminants.
  • Comes in three models for more comprehensive tests or better affordability.
  • Even the Standard is more affordable than other products.
Cons
  • Single-use test.
  • No estimate for response times.
  • Users must pay for shipping.

5. Varify Premium Complete Water Test Kit

Varify Premium Drinking Water Test Kit

 

Check current price on Amazon

This is perhaps the best overall DIY water test kit that we reviewed. Its very affordable can be used 100 times, and a portion of sales will benefit a charity. For those who need to routinely check their water, this is the ideal product for that task.

Testing Process

This product tests for 17 different contaminants ranging from hard metals to bacteria. It isn’t nearly as many as the lab-based water test kits but will serve just fine for sources with decent drinking water.

As stated this drinking water test kit can be used 100 times. Each test strip is color-coded to identify varying contaminants in your tap water. The test strips are not reusable and there are only two test strips for bacteria.

Because the entire process is done at home without a lab the results are almost instantaneous. Once the test strip is placed in water and reveals a color the test is complete.

Price & Other Costs

This is one of the more affordable water test kits among those we reviewed. Compared to the Health Metric test strips this does cost a little more. The tradeoff is that the test strips can identify more things.

It should also be noted that a portion of each sale will also go to the company’s partner brand, Water For Good. Water For Good is a non-profit that is working to solve water poverty in the Central African Republic.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Tests for 17 parameters.
  • Affordable compared to lab-based kit tests.
  • 100 test strips for 100 uses.
  • No waiting time for results.
  • A portion of the sale is donated to Water For Good.
Cons
  • Tests for far less than the lab-based kit tests.
  • Only two test strips for bacteria.
  • Costs more than most test strip kits.

6. SJ Wave Water Test Kit

SJ Wave Water Test Kit

Check current price on Amazon

This water quality test kit is the most affordable option on the list. It shares many similarities with the Varify in that it tests for 16 parameters and contains 100 test strips.

Testing Process

This drinking water test kit can be used for 16 different parameters. There are hardness test strips that will also test for pH levels, hard metals, and chlorine levels among other things. Unlike the Varify product, this does not test for bacteria.

There are 100 testing strips in their resealable bags to ensure they last a long time. These strips can be used on a variety of water sources such as home, well water, aquariums, and even hot tubs. Like other home-based test kits, the results are revealed in a matter of minutes via a color-coded system.

Price & Other Costs

This is the most affordable option of the kits reviewed. Depending on the water quality being tested this product may be sufficient to test for contaminants and save a lot of money.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • The cheapest option of those reviewed.
  • Can be used 100 times.
  • Results are produced within minutes.
Cons
  • Not as comprehensive of testing as lab-based kits.
  • Does not test for bacteria.

7. Health Metric Drinking Water Test

Health Metric Drinking Water Test

Check current price on Amazon

This kit is great for testing a variety of water sources. It tests 9 parameters, including bacteria, and has a digital water test and temperature meter. For those that want to test their house water and several other things, this may be the best choice.

Testing Process

As mentioned it will test for 9 different parameters. These range from pH levels, to the presence of hard metals and bacteria. It is specific in what it tests for so this may not be suitable for every home. This may require another product that tests for more parameters.

There is also a digital water test included with the product. This can be used repeatedly so long as the battery is replaced. This allows users to test for TDS or EC and is great for checking the effectiveness of a hydroponics system.

While the digital water pen can be used multiple times there are only a handful of strips to test for the other things. For example, there are only two hardness test strips and one for lead. Admittedly it’s cheaper to buy more of these than replacement lab kits, but it can get expensive if repeated testing is necessary.

Price & Other Costs

This drinking and well-water test kit is not cheap. However, some of that cost is justified with the digital water pen, but the strips are expensive when compared to others.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Digital Water pen can repeatedly test the water.
  • Can test for water temperature.
  • Good for a variety of water supplies like hydroponic gardens and aquariums.
Cons
  • Most expensive strip-based test on the list.
  • Only tests for 9 parameters.
  • Only comes with one or two strips for each parameter it tests.

8. Watersafe Premium Drinking Well-Water Test

Watersafe Premium Drinking Water Test

Check current price on Amazon

This kit is a great low-cost way to test for contaminants in city water. It doesn’t test for everything, but it does cover a variety of issues. It’s a simple product that is great for testing a handful of things.

Testing Process

This kit tests for six parameters including bacteria and iron which is not common for test strips. There are two strips for each parameter it tests allowing for initial and follow-up testing. This is great for those setting up water filters who want to make sure the new filter does the job properly.

Price & Other Costs

A single packet comes with two tests for each parameter. Users wanting to do more tests can buy two packets and save a little money. It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s a solid option to be sure.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Great for city water testing.
  • Tests for a variety of contaminants, not all strip-tests search for.
  • Is very affordable compared to other products.
Cons
  • Only tests for six parameters.

9. Health Metric Well Water Test

Well Water Test for Drinking Water

Check current price on Amazon

This is perhaps the most affordable option for testing well water. Others can test well water, but this product was designed for this purpose in mind. If you’re looking for city water testing this probably isn’t the ideal product.

Testing Process

This product tests for 9 parameters that are common in well water. Everything from pH levels to volatile organic compounds will be tested. This isn’t as thorough as a lab-based test, but it should cover the basics. Users should also keep in mind there is only one strip for bacteria and two for everything else.

Price & Other Costs

This kit is on the lower end of most products reviewed. This is ideally suited for users that need to know what filter to buy for their well water. Then after the filter is installed test again.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Is designed for well water testing.
  • Two strips for most tests.
  • Very affordable compared to lab-based alternatives.
Cons
  • Only one strip test for bacteria.
  • Only tests for 9 parameters.
  • Not suited for city water testing.

10. Health Metric Heavy Metals Test

Health Metric Heavy Metals Test

Check current price on Amazon

This product was designed to solely test for hard metals. It’s also one of the more affordable options. It only tests for four parameters, but if that’s all you’re worried about then this is a great product.

Testing Process

As stated earlier this product tests water quality for four parameters; lead, copper, iron, and mercury. This is ideally suited for areas with high hard metal concentrations but little else. This is most common with well water but can be found in city water. There are two test strips for each parameter except lead which has only one. This is handy before and after setting up a water filter.

Price & Other Costs

This kit is on the low end of the options that were reviewed. As a result, this can be a cost-effective way of testing hard metals compared to other products.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Tests for the major hard metals.
  • The second cheapest product reviewed.
  • Two tests for most parameters.
Cons
  • Only one lead test.
  • Does not test for contaminants other than hard metals.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Water Test Kit

It’s important to know exactly what needs to be tested to ensure you purchase the right test for the situation. If your water supply may have hard metals you need a test that will identify the presence of those hard metals. Contacting the city or local municipality is the best way to identify which test you might need.

The frequency of testing is also an important factor. If you’re installing a filter and simply need to know which kind to get then a single-use kit is going to be sufficient. A kit that can test before and after the filter is installed would be more useful. Then if routine testing is necessary or if there are multiple water sources testing strips might be more useful.

Lab vs At Home Water Test Kit: Which Is Better?

Largely, drinking water testing kits are broken down into two types; lab-based and test strips. Lab tests require the user to send vials of their water into labs while test strips can be done at home by the user.

Lab tests are best when you need to test for a wide range of parameters and need them to be as accurate as possible. Home tests are better when you only need to know the basics or have to do frequent testing or test multiple water supplies.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Test My Home Water?

There are no hard and fast rules, some experts say once a month while others will say every six months is sufficient. In reality, it depends on where your water is sourced. If your tap water comes from the city then less frequent testing should be sufficient. Well water on the other hand may need more frequent testing.

Do I Even Need to Test My Water?

Most city water in the US has already passed through several filtration processes to be safe to drink. But it’s never perfect and contaminants can make it through. It should also be noted that while the water is clean from the source, there could be contaminants introduced along the line to your house. Then the other thing to consider is that sometimes chemicals are introduced by the city. Some places will intentionally add fluoride or chlorine as part of the process.

About the Author

Diana Masson

Diana works as a saleswoman in a hardware store. She knows the smallest differences between the various water filter brands and knows exactly what her customers want. Diana is a mother of 3 children and has been a homeowner for 2 years. Her family can rely on having the purest drinking water because she had a water filter installed herself last summer. Which one? Ask her yourself :)

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