Test Strips vs Chemistry Kits

test strips vs chemistry kits

If you’re new to pool ownership or are just in the pool planning stages, you may not know a lot about water testing just yet. Pools require a certain balance of chemicals to keep bacteria and algae growth to a minimum. To keep that optimal balance, the water needs to be tested regularly. This can be done in one of two ways. So, if you need some help making your decision on which method to use, here’s a basic rundown of test strips vs chemistry kits.

Chemistry Kits

Using a chemistry kit is the original way of testing pool water. With this method, a specific amount of pool water is collected in containers. Drops of reagent are then added to the sample. It’s important to note that the number of drops must be very accurate. 

The reagent changes the color of the water samples. The sample colors are then compared to a chart to indicate the chemical levels. The traditional chemistry kit is known as an OTO or orthotolidine kit. This type of kit only shows the total amount of chlorine in the water. 

The newer version of the chemistry kits is known as DPD or Diethyl-p-Phenylenediamine. Rather than showing the total amount of chlorine in the pool water, this type of kit shows the amount of free chlorine. Free chlorine is the amount of chlorine that is still available to be used for sanitization.

A DPD kit is considered more accurate because it singles out the usable chlorine rather than combining it with the chlorine that’s already attached to organic contaminants. That said, when chlorine levels are high, the free chlorine readings might be inaccurate with this type of kit. On the other hand, DPD kits show more chemical readings than can be tested with the OTO kits. 

Probably the most important detail to keep in mind with chemistry kits is accuracy. If you’re not accurate with the measurements, the results won’t be reflective of the real chemical levels in your pool. With proper use, they can be very accurate.

Test Strips

Test strips are newer on the pool sample testing scene, though they’ve been around for several decades now.  Unlike chemistry kits, test strips do not require a series of steps. The process is actually very simple.

The pool owner dips the test strip quickly in the pool water and waits for the strip to change color. Match the color on the strip to the chart provided to read the chemical levels. The strips also typically show several chemical levels all on one reading.

The test strip method has proven to be quite accurate and, with its ease of use, is a favorite among pool owners these days. However, some people still feel that they get better accuracy from the chemistry kits or feel that they are easier to read. 

Test Strips vs Chemistry Kits

Now that you know more about test strips vs chemistry kits you may be leaning more towards one than the other. If you still have questions, we’re always available to help. You can also opt to schedule a water test with us so that our Fronheiser Pools expert can test your chemical levels for you. Don’t forget to stock up on chemicals, too! You’ll find everything you need to test and balance your pool water at our online store, making regular pool maintenance a breeze!

Fronheiser Pools

Fronheiser Pools

Providing quality products for your outdoor living lifestyle since 1965.

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Now offering Curbside Water Testing by Appointment Only!

Visit us online to schedule your 15-minute water testing consultation.

Simply select your store location and choose from the appointment slots available. 

Bring your water test bottle with a sample of your pool or spa water to your scheduled appointment. Please label the test bottle with your name, and drop it off at the water testing counter.


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