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Best Water Testing Kits of 2023

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

Testing your water regularly is imperative for providing safe drinking water for your and your family’s well-being. Additionally, if you suspect that hazardous contaminants, such as lead or arsenic, have contaminated your water supply, it’s best to test your water immediately.

The most accurate and comprehensive way to determine what’s inside your water is to send a sample to a professional water testing lab. However, the problem with this approach is that sometimes it may take a couple of weeks to get your results. Plus, it will cost you.

Because of this, in many situations, it’s best to have home water testing kits, as they offer the quickest way to test your water for contaminants.

In this guide, we’ll review the best water testing kits for professional testing and do-it-yourself home kits.

Best Water Testing Kits

If you want to find out what’s the most comprehensive water testing kit and don’t have time for the rest, the Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test Kit is our top recommendation. To read our review and check out other recommendations, keep reading.

Best Professional Water Testing Kits

Professional water testing kits require you to collect a sample from your water supply and send it to a professional lab. In return, you’ll receive a detailed analysis of your water.

In this section, we’ll share and review the best professional water testing kits for both city and well water.

Professional Water Testing Kits
Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test Kit
Best Water Testing Kit Overall
  • The number of tested analytes: 200
  • Turn-around time: 7-10 business days
My Tap Score Advanced City Water Test Kit
  • The number of tested analytes: 109
  • Turn-around time: 5 business days
National Testing Laboratories CityCheck Deluxe
  • The number of tested analytes: 115
  • Turn-around time: 10-12 business days
My Tap Score Extended Well Water Test
Best Well Water Testing Kit
  • The number of tested analytes: 182
  • Turn-around time: 12 business days
SpringWell ETR Laboratories Water Test Kit + Tannins
Best Budget-Friendly Water Testing Kit
  • The number of tested analytes: 53
  • Turn-around time: 1-3 business days

Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test Kit

Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test Kit
  • The number of tested analytes: 200
  • Turn-around time: 7-10 business days
Pros
  • Tests water for 200 contaminants
  • Applicable to both city and well water
  • Features a DIY bacteria kit
  • 7-10 days of turn-around
  • Results come in color codes
Cons
  • Little to no explanation concerning pollutants
  • Expensive

If you’re getting your water tested by professionals, you want a detailed and inclusive report breaking down all the contaminants present in it. The Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Kit is our uncontested favorite since, with this kit, the water is tested for 200 contaminants, the highest number out of all the products on our list and on the market in general.

Those 200 contaminants include the most prominent city and well water impurities. More specifically, the kit gives detailed information regarding:

  • Metals: The category includes heavy metals (lead, chromium, arsenic, copper, mercury, and so on) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and sodium).
  • Physical properties: It informs you on your water’s alkalinity/acidity levels and common well water nuisances such as tannins and water hardness.
  • Inorganic contaminants: This category covers common tap water impurities like fluoride and well water problems like nitrates.
  • Pesticides, herbicides, plasticizers, and carcinogens.
  • Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs): It checks all the possible variations of disinfection byproducts common in city water due to the use of chlorine and chloramines by municipal authorities.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): This category includes 78 volatile organic compounds and 47 volatile tentative identifiable compounds.

The package also features one of the best DIY bacteria test kits. Thanks to it, well owners can check their supply for bacteria without paying extra.

Compared to other water-testing labs, Safe Home is speedy when it comes to turn-around. Once your water sample reaches their labs, you can expect to receive results through email in seven to ten business days.

The results come in color codes, too, which allows you to easily decipher whether a specific pollutant is present in your water at an alarming level. That said, customers complain that the results are hard to read and there’s little explanation regarding contaminants.

Finally, the Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test is among the most expensive products.


My Tap Score Advanced City Water Test Kit

My Tap Score Advanced City Water Test Kit
  • The number of tested analytes: 109
  • Turn-around time: 5 business days
Pros
  • Great range for tap water compounds
  • Detailed analyses
  • Excellent online support
  • 5-day turnaround
Cons
  • The number of tested pollutants is much humbler than the Safe Home kit
  • Unsuitable for well water

The contaminant range of the My Tap Score kit isn’t as comprehensive as the Safe Home one since it only tests for 109 analytes. However, it still tests for all the most prominent contaminants, and the lab shares detailed information about all the analytes. Because of this, it’s our second favorite water testing kit.

The pollutant categories the My Tap Score test examines are:

  • Properties, referring to alkalinity/acidity, pH, and total dissolved solids (TDS)
  • Disinfection byproducts, namely variations of TTHMs
  • Nitrites and nitrates
  • Heavy metals, including lead, aluminum, arsenic, iron, uranium, and titanium
  • Inorganic non-metals, such as fluoride, sulfates, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  • Potentially carcinogenic oils and gasses, like benzene
  • 46 different VOCs
  • Calculated parameters, meaning water hardness and sodium adsorption ratio
  • Chlorine, measuring both free chlorine and total chlorine levels, allowing you to figure chloramine presence on your own

Besides the accuracy of the tests, what we like most about the My Tap Score analyses is that they provide detailed information about the contaminants. The test reports the health risks associated with the identified impurities and recommends methods for eliminating them. Should there be a genuine concern, they also provide online support and guidance.

Additionally, you’ll receive the test results in just five business days – the fastest turnaround in the industry.

Yet, this kit is unsuitable for testing well water as the contaminant range doesn’t cover the most prominent well water problems (tannins, bacteria, and so on).


National Testing Laboratories CityCheck Deluxe

National Testing Laboratories CityCheck Deluxe
  • The number of tested analytes: 115
  • Turn-around time: 10-12 business days
Pros
  • Tests for all the known tap water contaminants
  • 115 analytes in total
  • Only tap water test that covers haloacetic acids
  • Provides comparisons to EPA standards
Cons
  • No solution suggestions
  • Takes longer to receive results
  • Expensive

City water, also referred to as tap water or municipal water, is under strict regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and municipal authorities. However, it doesn’t mean it’s completely safe at all times.

On the contrary, the presence of lead, chlorine, or fluoride in city water may make some people apprehensive. If you’re one of them, the National Testing Laboratories CityCheck Deluxe testing package will lay your fears to rest.

The kit looks at 115 potential contaminants. These analytes are in the following categories:

  • Metals, including both heavy metals and mineral compounds
  • Inorganic and physical factors, referring to parameters such as fluoride, nitrates, alkalinity, acidity, pH, water hardness, and total dissolved solids
  • Disinfectants and disinfection byproducts, meaning free chlorine, total chlorine, chloramines, TTHMs, and most importantly, haloacetic acids that are not covered by other testing kits
  • 47 volatile organic compounds
  • 20 herbicides and pesticides

You can find the complete list of contaminants covered by the National Testing Labs in their comprehensive report sheet.

Like the My Tap Score kit we reviewed earlier, the National Testing Labs sends you a detailed report. They also compare the results with the National Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Regulations set by the EPA under the Safe Water Drinking Act. So, if the tests show a certain impurity exceeding EPA standards, you can immediately start working on a solution.

That being said, unlike My Tap Score, the National Testing Laboratories don’t recommend solutions regarding potential hazards.

In addition, their turnaround is usually ten to twelve business days upon receiving the water sample. Sometimes, they get backlogged due to high demand, increasing the turnaround time.

Finally, the National Testing Laboratories tests are more expensive than the My Tap Score, despite taking longer and being less comprehensive regarding contaminant information.


My Tap Score Extended Well Water Test

My Tap Score Extended Well Water Test
  • The number of tested analytes: 182
  • Turn-around time: 12 business days
Pros
  • The most detailed well water test on the market
  • Ideal for testing newly dug wells
  • Tests for 182 different impurities
  • The report comes with recommended solutions
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Results take twelve days

If you just dug a new private well, you need to evaluate your water with the most comprehensive water test because you still know nothing about the area’s water table.

In that situation, even if you break the bank for a water test, it’ll pay dividends, considering it’s a decision that directly affects your and your family’s well-being. And the My Tap Score Extended Well Water kit is your best choice for that task.

The number of analytes (182) this test covers comes in second when compared to Safe Home. But let us assure you, these 182 contaminants include all the possible well water problems that oil leaks, septic runoffs, improper agricultural or industrial waste, or radon risk zones could cause.

The categories of the My Tap Score Extended Well Water Test analytes are:

  • Properties: Alkalinity, conductivity, TDS, turbidity, and pH
  • Bacteria: Total coliform count, E. coli count, and total bacteria count through heterotrophic plate
  • Disinfection byproducts
  • Fertilizers, meaning nitrites and nitrates
  • Heavy metals
  • Herbicides
  • Inorganic non-metals
  • Oil, gas, and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene)
  • 109 different volatile organic and industrial compounds
  • Pesticides
  • Radionuclides
  • Tannins
  • Calculated parameters,including water hardness
  • Hydrogen sulfide, which is a common problem in well water, gives the water a rotten eggs smell

In short, the My Tap Score Extended Well Water test covers all the potential contaminants that could be present in your newly dug well. What’s more, the lab offers solutions to each possible issue.

Of course, such a comprehensive analysis does come at a high price. This extended well water kit is the most expensive item on our list at $755.

Lastly, it takes much longer than the My Tap Score tap water tests. Once the lab receives your water sample, you should expect an email in your inbox in twelve business days.


SpringWell ETR Laboratories Water Test Kit + Tannins

SpringWell ETR Laboratories Water Test Kit + Tannins
  • The number of tested analytes: 53
  • Turn-around time: 1-3 business days
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Covers the most prominent and dangerous impurities
  • Ideal for routine checks
  • Results feature comparisons to EPA standards
  • One of the quickest professional water tests
Cons
  • It doesn’t cover VOCs
  • No info on chlorine, chloramine, or disinfection byproducts

As you may have noticed, almost all professional water testing kits are pricey. But if you have a specific contaminant in mind or want a routine private well check, you don’t need to overburden your budget by picking the priciest option.

The SpringWell ETR Laboratories Water Test Kit + Tannins is what you’re looking for in those situations.

SpringWell is one of the most popular and trusted brands in the well water treatment niche for iron filtration, whole house units, and water softening. There’s no reason not to trust their water test kit

This specific test kit covers only 53 impurities. Despite that low number, especially compared to the other kits we reviewed above, the testing includes all the most prominent well and tap water contaminants, including:

  • Bacteria: Total coliform, E. coli, and total bacteria counts
  • Heavy metals: Lead, arsenic, chromium, copper, mercury
  • Minerals: Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium
  • Nitrites and nitrates
  • Alkalinity, acidity, water hardness, pH
  • Sediment
  • Silica, tannins, iron
  • Total dissolved solids
  • Turbidity

The results you get are a data sheet listing the impurities in your water. This list also provides descriptions of the pollutants and comparisons to EPA standards, which helps you understand whether you need to implement a water treatment solution or not.

What we liked most about this SpringWell kit is that it’s one of the quickest tests on the market. After the lab receives your sample, they send the results in one to three business days, which is remarkably fast.

However, we need to note that this kit doesn’t cover volatile organic compounds. Nor does it inform you of the chlorine, chloramine, or disinfection byproduct levels in your water. It means you must ensure the pollutants you’re worried about are included in the test range before you decide to get it.

The Best DIY Water Testing Kits

Professional test results take some time, but if you’re worried about a leak in your private well or the effects of a natural disaster occurring in your area, you’ll probably want a quicker turnaround. Having DIY water testing strips ready at home is helpful in such cases.

Although these kits, which mostly come in strips with a color scale, aren’t as accurate or as comprehensive as professional tests, they’ll still inform you whether your water is safe to drink.

The best DIY water testing kits are:

DIY Water Testing Kits
Health Metric Drinking Water Test
Best Overall DIY Water Test Kit
  • The number of tested analytes: 9
  • Turn-around time: 10 minutes
Tespert Water Testing Kits
Runner-Up DIY Water Test Kit
  • The number of tested analytes: 16
  • Turn-around time: 10 minutes
Safe Home DIY Lead in Water Test
Best DIY Test Kit for Lead
  • The number of tested analytes: 1
  • Turn-around time: 10 minutes
Safe Home DIY Bacteria in Water Test
Best DIY Test Kit for Bacteria
  • The number of tested analytes: 1
  • Turn-around time: 24 hours
JNW Direct Water Hardness Test Strips
Best DIY Test Kit for Water Hardness
  • Contaminants tested: 1
  • Turn-around time: 1 minute

Health Metric Drinking Water Test

Health Metric Drinking Water Test
  • The number of tested analytes: 9
  • Turn-around time: 10 minutes
  • Price: $32.99
Pros
  • Tests for the most prominent parameters
  • Features an excellent guide
  • Results in about ten minutes
Cons
  • Prone to inaccurate results

The affordable and easy-to-use Health Metric kit provides information regarding nine parameters. However modest, these nine parameters are the most important ones for drinking water, and that’s why we think it’s a must-have for anyone.

The parameters include pH, alkalinity, copper, water hardness, total chlorine, nitrites, nitrates, lead, and bacteria. Dipping the strips into a glass of water will show you whether these contaminants are present in your water.

Of course, the strips won’t give exact numbers, unlike lab results. Instead, they come in color codes. The package also features a guide on the color codes and EPA standards, so you can easily compare what’s inside your water with EPA guidelines.

Getting results from the test takes about ten minutes. So, if you’re thirsty and testing an unregistered spring, you won’t need to wait too long to get a reasonable estimation of the safety of your water.

However, DIY test strips are prone to inaccurate results in general, and the Health Metric one is no exception.

Finally, this item is expensive for a water testing strip.


Tespert Water Testing Kits

Tespert Water Testing Kits
  • The number of tested analytes: 16
  • Turn-around time: 10 minutes
  • Price: $22.99
Pros
  • Tests for sixteen contaminants
  • Provides results on microplastics
  • Easy to read
  • Quick
Cons
  • Less accurate than the Health Metric test

Tespert has been producing test strips for more than thirty years. Although its products are not as accurate as the Health Metric ones, they are still popular. If you’re in a hurry to measure the safety of your water, they’re a worthy alternative to professional tests.

What’s even better is the Tespert Kits test water for sixteen different parameters: heavy metals (lead, copper, iron, nickel), free chlorine and total chlorine, microplastics, chemicals (bromine, cyanuric acid), sulfite, carbonate, pH, total alkalinity, and total water hardness.

Similarly to the Health Metric kit, the results come in color codes. The package also includes indicators of EPA standards, so it’s easy to read and compare.

The manufacturer specifies that you’ll be able to see results in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.

However, as mentioned earlier, customers find it less accurate than the Health Metric strips.


Safe Home DIY Lead in Water Test

Safe Home DIY Lead in Water Test
  • The number of tested analytes: 1
  • Turn-around time: 10 minutes
Pros
  • The most accurate lead test on the market
  • Provides results in ten minutes
Cons
  • Features just one strip

If lead is a common concern in your area, or if you have a private well dug in a lead-rich area, you must always have a lead test nearby. And the best DIY lead test on the market is the Safe Home one.

Lead is quite a common problem in the United States since most houses built before 1986 (meaning before the EPA started regulating lead strictly) have lead in their piping systems.

The lead is dissolved and mixed into the water supply as water passes through these systems. That’s why even the cities with the cleanest and safest water, like Portland, Oregon, suffer from lead in the water.

So, having a reliable lead test on hand is helpful, especially if you’re moving into a new place or already reside in a building built before 1986. In that sense, the Safe Home lead test will inform you of the lead presence in your water in ten minutes.

Unlike the two test strips we reviewed above, the Safe Home lead test is accurate.

However, the package includes only one test, costing almost as much as Tespert’s more comprehensive kit.


Safe Home DIY Bacteria in Water Test

Safe Home DIY Bacteria in Water Test
  • The number of tested analytes: 1
  • Turn-around time: 24 hours
  • Price: $23.99
Pros
  • The most accurate bacteria test on the market
Cons
  • It takes 24 hours to produce results

Coliform bacteria is another contaminant that, like lead, has health implications and yet is fairly common. Having a bacteria test ready can definitely put your concerns to rest regarding this contaminant, and the answer is, once again, Safe Home.

Coliform bacteria are widespread, but most of them rarely present a health risk. However, the presence of coliform also indicates the possible presence of its pathogenic strains, such as E. coli, which are very dangerous. You should immediately address any suspicion regarding coliform presence.

The Safe Home bacteria test just does that. It’s able to recognize 50 different coliform species and inform you of their presence in 24 hours with excellent accuracy.

That said, 24 hours may be too much time for some. It also means you’ll need to stop drinking water from your home supply and stick to bottled water until you get the results.


JNW Direct Water Hardness Test Strips

JNW Direct Water Hardness Test Strips
  • Contaminants tested: 1
  • Turn-around time: 1 minute
  • Price: $9.99
Pros
  • Allows you to keep an eye on water hardness
  • Features 150 strips
  • Comes with an ebook on water hardness
  • Results in under a minute
Cons
  • Results are not always reliable

Water hardness is a real concern for those who depend on well water for household chores like dishwashing, laundry, and cleaning. The JNW Direct Water Hardness Test Strips help monitor the water hardness levels.

These strips are accurate, easy to use, and come in color codes that are extremely easy to read. The package features 150 strips, so you can test how hard your water is for years with just one package.

These strips prove extra handy for houses with water softening systems, as they allow you to quickly identify whether your device is working as it should.

The package also includes an ebook on hard water that details what water hardness is, what its adverse effects are, and what you can do to eliminate it.

Lastly, the strips provide results in under a minute, which is as fast as possible.

However, as with other test strips, the results aren’t always the most reliable.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions regarding water testing.

How frequently should I test my water?

Whether you rely on well or tap water, you should test the water in your household at least once a year.
For well owners, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual testing for coliform bacteria, pH, nitrites and nitrates, and volatile organic compounds.
Additionally, if you’re reviving an old well or digging a new well, you should conduct a comprehensive test, like you get with the My Tap Score Extended Well Water Test we recommended above.
Those relying on tap water have less things to worry about — the EPA obligates water suppliers to send citizens annual consumer confidence reports. Yet, these reports show the water quality before the water is distributed to citizen households.
As mentioned, lead and similar heavy metals might sneak into the water supply from old piping systems. To ensure such contaminants present no problems, those who use tap water should also conduct their tests yearly.

How do I know whether a pollutant is at an alarming level?

Water testing labs usually check whether your water quality complies with EPA standards and let you know. Or, even better, they can also send results in color codes, accompanied with guidelines, so it’s easy for you to understand whether a contaminant is present at an alarming level.
However, if there are no such indicators, you could compare the numbers of your test results against EPA guidelines.
The EPA has two different policies when it comes to drinking water:
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations include health hazards like lead, arsenic, and volatile organic compounds.
National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations pertain to potential aesthetic nuisances, such as chlorine, that might change the water’s color, odor, and taste.
If a particular element in your water exceeds the limits set by the EPA, you may start working on a solution.

How do I get rid of a certain impurity?

Water testing labs, like My Tap Score, advise on eliminating specific problems from your water supply. But if the lab you picked doesn’t do that, you may check out our contaminant guides, where we offer different solutions depending on the contaminant type.
Additionally, we have product guides that lists the water filtration devices most suitable for removing:
Fluoride
Iron
PFAS
Acidity
Calcium and lime
Bacteria and viruses
TTHMs
Chlorine
Chloramines
Arsenic
Hexavalent chromium
Sulfur
Coliform bacteria
Sediment

Which water testing kit tests for the highest number of contaminants?

The Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test Kit tests for the highest number of contaminants at 200.
However, if you want a test kit specific to well water, we recommend the My Tap Score Extended Well Water Test. Its analytes range covers 182 well water contaminants.

Which kit provides the most comprehensive analysis?

My Tap Score kits, the Advanced City Water Kit, or the Extended Well Water Kit give the most thorough analyses. The lab informs you about the levels of impurities in your water, provides detailed descriptions, lists associated health risks, and offers solutions.

What’s the average price of a water testing kit?

Depending on the contaminants you want to test for, the number of overall contaminants tested, and the thoroughness of the analysis, you can expect to pay anywhere between $25 to $800 for a water test.
For instance, demanding a test only for one impurity, say chromium, costs only $30. However, if you want a comprehensive well water test, like the My Tap Score one, you should expect to spill at least $500.
DIY testing strips, on the other hand, are much more budget-friendly. But, again, depending on what you want to test, you might pay between $10 and $35.

Conclusion

Having your water tested by a professional lab or testing it yourself with DIY kits is crucial to ensure your drinking water is safe for consumption.

The Safe Home Pro test is the best option overall, thanks to the 200 analytes it looks at. The My Tap Score Advanced City Water kit is a worthy alternative.

While the National Testing Laboratories CityCheck Deluxe is the best item for testing tap water, the My Tap Score Extended Well Water Test is the most comprehensive kit for testing well water. If you’re on a budget, the SpringWell ETR Labs kit is a great way to ascertain what’s inside your water.

The Health Metric strips are the apparent choice for DIYers, and the Tespert kit presents a decent, albeit less accurate, substitute for them. However, Safe Home has the best DIY kits if you’re only interested in testing for only lead or bacteria.

Lastly, if you want to track the hardness levels of your water supply, the JNW Direct Water Hardness Strips are the best choice.


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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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