A salt water test kit designed specifically for analyzing pool chemistry will help you monitor the salt concentration and chemistry of your pool. A good quality kit will take the guesswork out of maintaining your pool and prevent over treating that can be both costly and dangerous. If your salt water system does not have an automated chemistry controller we recommend testing and balancing on a weekly basis to ensure the health of your pool.
It's important to stay on top of the chemistry and salt concentration of your pool water to ensure the chlorine generator operates at maximum efficiency. The salt cell will create chlorine more efficiently and last significantly longer if the salinity is kept within the manufacturers recommended range between 2500-4500 ppm as often as possible.
In addition to testing regularly for salinity it's important to ensure that the chemistry is within recommended ranges. As you learn how your pool behaves over time it will become easier to monitor but in the beginning we recommend testing weekly for Free Chlorine and pH. If you would like more information about salt water pool chemistry be sure to read our salt water pool maintenance page.
A salt water test kit is comprised of different testing devices and the kit you choose will depend on how much of the balancing you will do on your own. A simple test strip will analyze the salinity of your pool water in seconds while a more complex titration drop testing kit will provide incredibly accurate readings for all of your pools chemistry including calcium hardness and total alkalinity.
We'll go over the different types of testers and kits available starting with the basic and easiest to use options. If you are up for the challenge of balancing your pool yourself we have some great recommendations for complete testing kits that include instructional videos, pool calculator apps and everything required to carry our your own testing.
Whether you are opening your pool in the spring or carrying out regular pool maintenance you or your pool service company will need to monitor the chemistry of your pool. If you have a salt water system you will also need to monitor the salt concentration even though it shouldn't fluctuate very much unless you have excessive splash out or heavy rain.
A basic kit or test strips is all that is required if you only want to test for salt levels in your pool. They are affordable and really easy to use while providing reasonably accurate results. If you are a handy pool owner you will no doubt be able to balance your entire pool's chemistry and a complete kit will help you do this quite easily with a bit of practice.
Salt water test strips are easy to use and will provide reasonably accurate salinity and other chemical readings within seconds. They are handy as a back up device to ensure that your pool water levels are within ideal operating range. Most test strips will measure salinity levels between 500-7000 ppm and will work great as long as you are within that range.
The only disadvantage with test strips is that they do have a range of error of about 200-300 ppm and for that reason they aren't ideal if you want a really accurate reading. If you want a more accurate reading you should consider a drop test or digital tester.
The most basic salt water test kit will measure salinity or NaCl by using silver nitrate in a handy dropper bottle. The simple test will provide accurate results within 100 ppm down to concentrations as low as 200 ppm. This test is a bit more complicated than strips and takes quite a bit longer to carry out and get results.
A good drop test kit will eliminate any doubt about the salinity of your pool water and allow you to make an informed decision about adding salt to increase salinity or adding fresh water to dilute your salt levels.
If you want instant and incredibly accurate results a digital water reader is an excellent option. These handheld units will replace strips and reagent bottles so you won't ever have to use them again when testing for salinity in your pool. If you plan on testing for many years or are a pool professional these are a great investment because you won't need to purchase any more salt strips.
If you find this option appealing there are digital pH testers also available. The upfront cost is higher for electronic devices but in the long run you will save money and be assured of years of fast and accurate results.
A complete salt water test kit will measure everything you need in your pool including; free chlorine, pH, calcium hardness, alkalinity and stabilizer levels. If you have a salt water hot tub they come with a bromine test as well so you don't have to purchase a separate test. An all-in-one kit like the Taylor 2006-C or the Lamotte 2056 ColorQ Pro Digital will help ensure the overall health of your pool and give you confidence that your pool is properly balanced.
Whether you are a salt water pool owner or a professional pool service technician you will find both of these kits to be well worth the money. You can be assured of complete and accurate results that other salt water test kits just can't provide. The value of knowing the free chlorine levels down to the micro parts can't be overstated enough and will give you peace of mind knowing your pool is safe for anyone that enjoys the pool.
It's always important to keep safety in mind not only for yourself but for anyone else around you when working with the chemistry of your pool. If you are using a drop tester or reagents that requires the mixing and adding of chemicals always wear gloves and protective eyewear. It's also a good idea to keep children and pets away from the area you are working.
There is a wide range of salt water test kits available on the market today. The simple test strips are often sufficient for most residential pool owners to keep a good eye on salt levels in between servicing from a professional.
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