Filtering your water is great—but how do you know whether you’re choosing the right equipment?
The key to selecting the best filter for your water is knowing what’s in your water. For that, you need to find the best water test kit available. From dissolved solids to high levels of potentially harmful chemicals, a water test kit can tell you a lot about what comes out of your tap.
Whether you have well water or your tap is connected to a municipal source, knowing what’s in it can help you pinpoint the right equipment and products to make it drinkable. Here, we’ll cover the top water test kit options and discuss how to find the best one.
In a Rush?
Overall: Baldwin Meadows 14-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit
- Easy to Use
- Accurate Results
- EPA Approved Standards
- Very Safe
- Contains 100 Strips for such an affordable price
- Health Metric
- First Alert
- Heavy Metal
Top Choices on the Market
Coliform Bacteria - Health Metric
Heavy Metal - Health Metric
10 Best Water Test Kits Reviews 2020 (UPDATED)
1. 14-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit by Baldwin Meadows - Water Quality Test for Well Water and Tap Water - IMPROVED SENSITIVITY detects low level ranges for Lead, Fluoride, Iron, Copper & Mercury
- Simple and accurate
- Easy to use, just dip the strip to test water quality
- Test water for alkalinity, pH, Total Hardness, Iron, Copper and etc.
- 100 Count
Features: Displays results in Seconds
Easy Dip Strip Testing
With 100 test strips, you can test your water over and over—and still get excellent results each time.
Just dip the strip in your water source and read the results with the color-coded scale that’s on the back of the package.
Tests for 14 Contaminants
Baldwin Meadows’ 14-in-1 water test kit might be the best option if you want to check for multiple contaminants and mineral levels.
You can check for alkalinity, pH, total hardness, and all manner of contaminants, including:
- Residual Chlorine
Long Shelf Life
You can test as often—or as infrequently—as you’d like, and these test strips will still last two years (when stored correctly).
With plenty on hand, you’ll always know where your water quality stands.
- Check for 14 different measures of water quality and safety
- Easy to use dip test strips
- Tests down to PPB (parts per billion) for some contaminants
- Strips are only accurate within the first few minutes—so it’s tough to preserve the results
- Detection down to PPM—not PPB like some more precise tests
2. AquaVial Water Test Kit- Detect E.Coli & Coliform, Use in Drinking Water, Wells, Pools, Hot Tubs or During Travels
- detects Fecal Coliform Bacteria, including: E coli
- easy to use and cost effective water quality test
- rapid testing with the widest becteria detection range
Features: Provides Bacterial results in 30 Minutes
Tests Down to One Bacterium Per ML
Some bacteria are harmful even in small amounts. The AquaVial test can detect one bacterium per ML of sample within 48 hours, per the manufacturer.
Color-Change Vials Give Quick Results
AquaVial’s kit comes with four tests that offer quick results. Each vial contains proprietary dye that reacts with specific contaminants.
All you need to do is add water to the vial and observe the color change: clean is yellow, contaminated is pink.
Tests for E. Coli and Coliform
E. Coli is the kind of bacteria you’ll often find in the human digestive tract… Coliform is, too, which means that in some cases, the bacteria isn’t dangerous.
But the presence of either could mean your water isn’t safe to drink—especially if it’s coming from a municipal source.
According to the EPA, if water tests positive for either contaminant, it needs to be addressed ASAP.
AquaVial tells you whether your water contains E. Coli and coliform, so you can take the appropriate follow-up steps to stay healthy and safe.
- Checks for coliform and E. Coli
- Easy visual test that’s simple to read
- Four tests per package
- Highly sensitive test
- Doesn’t test for any other bacteria
- Could signal positive when non-threatening coliform is present
3. Water Quality Tester, Accurate and Reliable, HoneForest TDS Meter, EC Meter & Temperature Meter 3 in 1, 0-9990ppm
- Automatic temperature compensation (aTC)
- Auto-Off in 2 Minutes to conserve battery
- Contains colorful TDS chart to explain pPM readings
- 90 Days Money-back Guarantee
- 3 Years Warranty
Type: Digital Meter
Features: Provides Bacterial results in 30 Minutes
Since the water tester has a cap on the end, you can fill the cap with water to test. That way, you don’t need another container to catch a sample in.
This is an excellent tool for checking outdoor water sources when you don’t have a glass on hand.
HoneForest’s water quality tester measures three things:
- Total dissolved solids
- Electrical conductivity (EC)
Instead of doing multiple tests or purchasing various kits, you can do it all with one product.
Digital Readout with an LCD Screen
Forget color-matching and guessing on results: the LCD screen on this tester gives you an easy answer.
The backlit LCD shows how many parts per million contaminants are in your water. Just stir gently, and the results pop up within seconds. It even changes color—green for under 40ppm, red for over 40.
Reading the temperature is simple, too, and so is the electrical conductivity (EC) readout.
- No calibration necessary: comes auto calibrated
- Easy visual readings
- Tests temperature, EC, and TDS
- Auto shutoff to conserve battery life
- Doesn’t test water pH
- Not being able to calibrate it can be a problem if you suspect a discrepancy
4. Drinking Water Test Kit For Municipal Tap and Well - Simple Testing Strips For Lead Copper Bacteria, Nitrates, Chlorine and More
- Calibrated to the official EPA standard levels
- Made from USA
- easy to use, low-cost, and accurate water test
- Test for a Wide range of water contaminants
Type: Test Kits/Strips
Features: 9 water Quality test in a box
Meets EPA Limits
Health Metric follows EPA guidelines for turning back positive or negative water testing results. So, you know that a positive would mean it’s positive based on the EPA water safety rules.
Checks for Nine Harmful Elements
Unlike Health Metric’s heavy metal kit, this one covers nine contaminants for tap or well water.
Each kit checks for lead, bacteria, copper, bacteria, chlorine, nitrite and nitrate, and pH, alkalinity, and hardness.
You get a comprehensive water checkup in one kit—plus doubles of the chlorine, nitrite and nitrate, and 3-way tests.
Measures Low Levels of Lead and Copper
Like similarly competitive tests, Health Metric’s measures low-level amounts of lead and copper. This way, you can tell if there are even trace amounts in your drinking water.
- Test results are color-based and easy to read
- Multiple tests for certain elements for repeat checks
- Quick tests—and bacteria test in 48 hours
- The lead test checks for valence metals—so it will come back positive for other metals, too
- Test vial is small and hard to work with
5. First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test Kit
- Tests for bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates/nitrites, and chlorine
- checks the hardness and pH of your water
- Tests to EPA standards for drinking water
Type: Test Kits/Strips
Features: results are provided in 10 minutes
Tests to EPA Standards
This test follows EPA standards for clean drinking water—so you know your H2O is safe to drink.
From the lead indicator to the pH level, all tests are specific to EPA guidelines. If the EPA wouldn’t declare your water safe, neither will this test.
Checks 7 Indicators of Water Safety
First Alert’s water test kit scans for water hardness and pH, plus pesticides, lead, chlorine, nitrites and nitrates, and bacteria (like E. Coli).
With one kit, you can verify your water safety and quality.
Separate Test Components
First Alert’s test is a one-time use type, but some components are separate. For example, the Lead test is separate from the pesticide test strip.
With dual testing options, you can do one test now and save the others for later. A water hardness test kit is useful on its own. But depending on what contaminants you suspect in the water supply, the ability to use whichever test you need at the moment could be helpful.
- Don’t have to do all the tests at the same time
- Follows EPA standards
- Checks for 7 contaminants
- Takes ten minutes for results
- One-time use kit
Tests can be tough to handle and read
6. Test Assured Drinking Water Test Kit - 10 Minute Testing For Lead Bacteria Pesticide Iron Copper and More
- Offers 10 water quality test at the comfort of your home
- 100% Money Back Guarantee
- made here in the USA
- quickly check your water with a complete analysis
- Meets EPA Recommended standards
Type: Test Kits/Strips
Features: provides Accurate Results in 10 minutes
The manufacturer is so sure about their test kit, they’ll refund you with no questions asked if something goes wrong.
Of course, you do need to follow the directions to ensure you can take advantage of the guarantee. That means reading the instructions carefully—and pulling your water sample from the cold tap, instead of the hot (as this can skew the bacteria result).
10 Tests in One
With Test Assured’s kit, you can scan for ten types of contaminants with one package. Lead, bacteria, iron, pesticides, copper, alkalinity, pH, chlorine, nitrates, and nitrites are all checked.
This test also checks for a range of coliform, the bacteria that can make humans ill.
The testing components are separate, however, so you could pick and choose which ones you do.
Calibrated to EPA Standards
Like similarly competitive tests, Test Assured’s works within EPA standards. Plus, the tests are made in the USA and the manufacturer promises high quality.
Color-matching test results are simple to read, and a test vial is included.
- Tests for ten components
- Made in the USA
- Calibrated to EPA standards
- One-time kit
- Not the most budget-friendly option
7. ProLabTW120 Total Drinking Water Test Kit for Home Tap and Well - Easy to Use Test Strips for Lead Pesticides Bacteria pH Copper Nitrate Chlorine Hardness and More - Made in The USA in Line with EPA Approved Limi
- Meets EPA recommended standards
- simple and safe to use
- made here in the USA
- Certified EPA Approved standards
Type: Test Kits/Strips
Features: complete and accurate instant water test
Compatible App for Understanding Your Results
ProLab’s water quality kit is compatible with their app, which explains your results in-depth.
Your results come back quickly, and the app has further information on what to look for and consider when running your tests.
Checks for Multiple Contaminants
The test checks for bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates and nitrite, iron, chlorine, pH, total hardness, total alkalinity, and copper.
You get a full panel on your well water with one kit, which can tell you whether your water is safe to consume or not.
The bacteria test checks for coliform, which can be harmful to humans, as well as common pesticides that can leach into your well.
Targeted for Private Wells
While most water test kits work for all applications, ProLab intends their kit as a well water test kit.
If you get a positive result for contaminants, they note, you should follow up with a professional to find a safe and healthy solution.
- The compatible app is a helpful and informational touch
- The test checks scans for multiple contaminants
- Aimed at well water screening, specifically
- One-time testing only
- Mixed reliability with some test kits
8. Health Metric Coliform Bacteria Test Kit for Drinking Water - Easy to Use 48-Hour for Home Tap & Well, EPA Approved Testing Method
- 48 Hour quality test
- simple and safe to use
- EPA approved quality standards
- cost-effective way rather than laboratory testings
Type: Test Kits/Strips
Features: For Bacterial Contamination Test
Simple Visual Test Results
Like other water test kits, this one is a visual test. After 48 hours, the vial will either turn purple or orange.
Orange means there is coliform in your water. Purple means it’s safe.
Tests for Coliform
If there’s coliform in your water, the Coliform Bacteria Test Kit will signal it. Then, you can take the necessary steps to clean your water so it’s safe.
The test measures total coliform—not E. Coli separately.
Large Test Vial Makes Reading Results Easier
The “test vials” are actually small jars with the Health Metric test. That Means you fill them up, shake, and can easily tell what the result is.
Larger jars mean there’s less confusion over what color the water is or how to interpret your water test results.
Just check the jars after 48 hours to see if the bacteria (if any) have consumed the “food” dye.
- Large test jars
- Simple color-change results
- Two tests per package
- Tests for total coliform
- Not the most economic choice for frequent testing
- Doesn’t measure E. Coli specifically
9. WaterSafe Drinking Water Test Kit - World's Most Sensitive Lead Test - 10-Parameters Detected in Tap & Well - Easy Test Strips for Lead, Pesticides, Bacteria, Hardness, and More
- Detects levels of Nitrates/Nitrites which are dangerous
- only takes 10 minutes to complete
- Made in the USA to EPA standards
- Detects Harmful levels of chlorine
Type: Test Kits/Strips
Features: Tests for 10 harmful contaminants
WaterSafe has been around for a while, and they’ve learned that customers want a foolproof product.
So, they offer a money-back guarantee if you’re dissatisfied with the test quality. The product is also made in the USA by a company that’s been in business for 25+ years.
While other tests can scan for lead, WaterSafe’s test promises to be the most sensitive for detecting lead.
If you suspect high levels of lead in your drinking water, this might be the best test for your needs. It’s even been validated in an EPA-certified lab—so this is clearly the real deal.
This test also checks for pesticides, bacteria, water hardness, and chlorine.
Quick Results—with Longer Bacteria Test, too
Initial results for lead and other contaminants come back in a snap.
For bacteria, you do have to wait for the growth to show up. But for peace of mind when it comes to lead and other particles in the water, this test is quick.
- Quick lead test
- Super-sensitive to lead particles
- Test for ten different safety parameters
- One-time use kit only
- The test vial is very small
10. Health Metric Lead Iron Copper and Mercury - Home Water Test Kit for Well Tap and Drinking
- provides accurate results with low-cost tests
- Made in the USA and calibrated to the EPA standards
- quick analysis and Provides results in less than 3 minutes
- detect heavy metals in water
Type: Test Kits/Strips
Features: 4 types of Heavy Metal Water Quality test
Multiple Tests for Certain Elements
This kit includes a one-time lead test, but two tests for copper, mercury, and iron. That means you can pre- and post-test when using filters or check multiple water sources with one kit.
While a lot of tests measure higher-level results, Health Metric’s test aims for measurements in “very fine increments.”
What does that mean?
In short, the results measure down to PPB for lead and other contaminants. That means a super-sensitive test to ensure your water is safe.
Your results will come back at either less than 15 PPB or more than 15 PPB—that’s parts per billion.
Testing only takes about 15 minutes with these simple tests. Color-matching makes it easy to read your results, and lead includes a pass/fail rating.
- Multiple tests included heavy metals: copper, mercury, and iron
- Testing is quick
- Conforms to EPA standards
- Lead test is only positive/negative for above or below 15PPB
- Can be tough to handle since the test vial is small
Baldwin Meadows 14-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit
Figuring out how to test water quality can be tough. You want a professional water test kit—but at a price that isn’t prohibitive.
When it comes to ensuring safe and drinkable water, our favorite water testing kit is the 14-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit by Baldwin Meadows. It checks for 14 contaminants in an easy to use test kit.Plus, it has low-level testing down to PPB for some contaminants—meaning you can find out if there are even trace amounts of harmful things in your H2O. Of course, having a supply of 100 test strips on hand—at an affordable price—is another perk with our best home water test kit pick.
You can check our homepage www.64oz.org for more reviews.
What Are the Types
Water test kits for consumers are easy to use and usually offer quick results. Different types are available, however, so it’s essential to know what your options are.
Some water test kits involve dip strips. You capture water in a small container, then dip the strip in to obtain a sample. Reading the results often involves color-matching to a key, which indicates either parts per million (PPM) or parts per billion (PPB).
Bacteria test kits involve a solution which you mix with your water sample. You must use cold water for these tests—and wait 48 hours to check results—to see whether there’s bacteria in your water.
Other tests are digital, checking the water with a thermometer-like device. Many digital options include thermometers, too.
Still other kits require you to obtain water with a dropper or pipette. Then, you place water droplets on a paper or card. These tests work the same as dip strips, in that you must read the color results afterward.
Some types of tests are positive or negative, such as lead tests. These will turn back either a “clean” or “contaminated” result. If you want to know specific PPB or PPM, then laboratory testing will probably be necessary.
How to Pick the Perfect One for Your Needs
Not sure what type of water test kit is right for you? Here’s how to determine what the best water test kit is for your water supply.
Features of a Good Water Test Kit
You want a water test kit that’s reliable, of course. But the more precise, the better, in most cases. After all, one bacterium is different than millions of bacteria.
Looking for precision in your water test kit is a good idea. Check whether it’s PPM or PPB for the results—and whether the results are on a scale or just a simple yes/no reading.
Checking for multiple measures of water safety is also helpful. Regardless of what you suspect might be in your water, scanning for a handful of heavy metals, bacteria, and other particles can give you a better idea of what you’re drinking.
And finally, the kit should be easy to use. That will depend on how familiar you are with tap water test kits and reading results. In general, the larger the containers and the simple the directions, the better.
Considerations Before You Buy
Here’s what to think about before buying your home water testing kits for drinking water:
- What contaminants you want to check for.
- How much you want to spend.
- How often you plan to test your water.
- What type of water you have—whether well, municipal, or some kind of science project.
- Whether a yes/no result or a more specific reading will be most useful.
- What follow-up testing will be necessary if you get an undesirable result.
- If it’s necessary to check for certain things—like chlorine—if you already have evidence they’re there.
- What you plan to do with the results—filter your water, hire an expert, drill a new well?
As far as where to buy water test kits, you can find them online. Also, many hardware and plumbing stores carry testing kits, too.
How Does It Work?
Water test kits use the same technology that laboratories use to get accurate water quality and safety results.
Test strips or powders react when they come into contact with a certain contaminant. The chemicals change color—or activate a digital result on your device’s screen—to show the element is present.
The process goes like this:
- The water saturates the strip or test powder.
- The chemicals in the test detect a contaminant—like lead or chlorine.
- The chemical reaction changes the color of the test paper, strip, or container.
- You check the color of the paper or liquid against the manufacturer-supplied results panel.
What are the perks of using a water test kit? We’re glad you asked.
There are tons of reasons it’s a good idea to use a water test kit—so here are a few:
- You know whether your water has anything harmful in it.
- A test kit can show whether the water is safe to drink.
- Testing the water tells you what types of filtration will be best.
- Testing before and after filtering your water shows you how effective your filter is.
- You can determine whether the city is adding chemicals to your water—like fluoride.
- You can figure out whether your H2O source is “hard”—with lots of minerals floating in it.
- Test kits can tell you the pH of your water.
- Knowing the pH helps you determine whether to adjust it up or down.
- You’ll figure out the source of any weird flavors or smells (like chlorine).
- A water test kit is a cheap way to see if the water is safe (compared to drinking it and getting sick).
- Testing the water regularly can indicate if there’s a problem, like contamination in city sources or in your well.
- When you test the water, you can see if your filter needs changing based on how “clean” the water is.
- Figuring out if the H2O has healthy (or unhealthy) minerals is possible with many water tests.
- You don’t need to ship your water sample off for most tests!
- You can DIY the test in the comfort of your home—and read the results without a degree in water science.
- Testing and re-testing is possible anytime if you order enough supplies.
You can use trial and error to figure out what filters or products produce the safest, cleanest, tastiest water.
How to Use It
How you use your water test kit will depend on the specific manufacturer instructions.
It’s essential that you follow the directions carefully, including things like only using cold water for bacteria tests—and waiting 48 hours to read the results.
But in general, you should submerge the test in the water for only a few seconds. Then, you should read the results within the timeframe the directions indicate.
Some tests need to be read immediately—if the water starts to evaporate, the results won’t be accurate anymore. Some tests take ten minutes to generate a reliable result. Others—like the bacteria test—take longer.
Overall, though—just take the manufacturer’s advice and read the instructions they provide for the most specific information.
a. How Frequently Do I Need to Test My Water?
Many experts recommend testing your water every six months. Of course, you can check more frequently if you suspect a problem, such as if your water quality or taste has changed.
b. How Accurate Are the Water Test Kits?
In general, water test kits are accurate for measuring down to PPM or PPB. Since most tests follow EPA standards, you can generally trust the accuracy.
That said, if you get a suspicious—or dangerous—result, it’s best to consult a professional for help.
c. What Kind of Kit Can I Use to Test Water Contamination?
Well, it depends on what type of contaminant you want to check for!
You can check for heavy metals like lead and copper, bacteria like E. Coli, additives like chlorine and fluoride, and just about anything else you want to investigate.