Are Hot Tub Water Test Strips Accurate?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published May 15, 2024

Are Hot Tub Water Test Strips Accurate?

  

When it comes to testing the water chemistry in your hot tub, most spa owners are very familiar with testing strips.  These tiny strips of paper are a quick and easy way to find out what chemicals need to be added to the pool to keep the water fresh, clean and healthy.  Although there are other ways of testing your pool water, test strips remain one of the most popular methods.  But are hot tub test strips accurate?  In this article we’ll go over the process of testing hot tubwater and reveal how accurate test strips really are.

  

Pros of Pool Water Test Strips

  

One of the biggest advantages of hot tub test strips is their ease of use.  Within 15 seconds you’ll be able to ascertain what needs to be done with your pool water to get it back into balance.  You don’t have to worry about measuring reagents or taking your water sample down to the local spa dealer.  Test strips are perfect for DIY enthusiasts.  Test strips are also very cheap.  You can get a pack of 50 for around $10.  But just because they’re cheap doesn’t mean they’re inaccurate.  Although they might not be as accurate as the tests your spa dealer will perform, many people think their results are often more accurate than liquid testing kits.  Because there’s no reagent measurement required, the test strips are relatively foolproof.  You’ll also find that test strips are able to test several different levels at the same time.  Many test strips offer several separate tests on the same piece of paper.  You’ll typically get results for pH balance, total alkalinity, chlorine, bromine and total hardness.  You can also get test strips that measure for cyanuric acid, total dissolved solids, phosphates and more.

  

Cons of Water Test Strips

 

Although considered quite accurate, hot tub test strips can be unstable if not stored properly.  Exposure to moisture or prolonged periods of direct sunlight can render them useless.  They also have an expiry date.  For this reason, it usually doesn’t make sense to stock up if they go on sale.  And because test strips require the user to compare the colours on the strip to a chart of colours on the packaging, there is some subjective calculation taking place.  If the lighting conditions aren’t great or the tester is colour blind, you may get some inaccurate results.

  

How to Use Water Test Strips?

  

Test strips are actually very simple to use.  After collecting a water sample, you basically dip a test strip into the water, remove it without shaking off the excess moisture and wait for about 15 seconds.  You then compare the colours on the test strip with the colour chart on the back of the test strip packaging.  This comparison will tell you levels of the various things you’re testing for and let you know how the water should be adjusted.

To learn more about maintaining a hot tub,download a free buyer’s guide.

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