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How to test the quality of water in the home (4 easy methods)

You cannot tell whether your water at home is safe for human consumption by looking at it with your naked eyes. Water that looks clean might have invisible impurities, and you can prove it by testing the quality of water at home. In this article, you will learn how to test the quality of water at home.

How to test the quality of water at home

Why test the quality of water at home?

Testing the quality of water at home gives you results for common contaminants present in your water. These results you can rely on when making decisions about what type of home water treatment device to invest in, such as filters, reverse osmosis system, UV, and water softener

4 ways on how to test the quality of water at home

  1. Home test kits
  2. Send the water sample to the laboratories.
  3. Observation and smelling
  4. Contact the local water municipality

#1. Home water test kits

Using the test kit is one of the easiest and simplest ways to test your water quality at home.

The test kit allows us to test for lead, pesticide, bacteria, copper, arsenic, cysts, viruses, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, fluoride, water hardness, PH, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and iron.

As you can see, the test kit tests common contaminants found in the water. To get a comprehensive and in-depth result, you need to send water samples to the laboratories.

The test kit includes test strips, color disk kits, and a digital meter.

  • Test strip 

It only takes 15 minutes or less, and your result is ready.

When using a test strip make sure you follow the right procedure instructed by the manufacturer. The procedure can vary from one test kit to another, so make sure you read and follow the instructions well.

The common procedure to follow

  • Fill water in a clean container and let it be at room temperature.
  • Dip the test kit in water for five seconds.
  • Remove kit from water and shake off excess water.
  • Wait for the kit to change color.
  • Compare the color on the chart provided with a testing kit.

The best test strip to rely on

NameImageparametersBuy here
JNW Direct Drinking Water Test Strips  lead, iron, fluoride, copper, pH, total hardness, total alkalinity, nitrite, nitrate & free chlorineAmazon
Baldwin Meadows Total Alkalinity, PH, Total Hardness, Iron, Copper, Lead, Nitrite, Nitrate, Residual Chlorine, FluorideAmazon
PRO-LAB Bacteria In Water Test Kit BA110 bacteriaAmazon
Lamotte water monitoring kitDissolved oxygen, Biochemical oxygen demand, PH, Nitrates, Phosphates, Temperature change, Coliform bacteria, TurbidityAmazon
Watersafe Drinking Water Test Kit  Coliform Bacteria, Iron, Copper, Lead, Pesticides, Nitrates, Nitrites, Chlorine, Hardness and pHAmazon
Test assured Drinking Water Test Kit  Lead, Bacteria, Pesticide, Iron, Copper, Alkalinity, PH, Hardness, Chlorine, Nitrates and NitritesAmazon
ProLab WQ105 WTR Quality Test KitPH (acidity), Total alkalinity, Total chloride, Total hardness, Hydrogen sulfide, Iron, Copper, Nitrates, Nitrites, Iron BacteriaAmazon
Safe Home STARTERAlkalinity, Chloride, Chlorine (Free), Chlorine (Total), Copper, Hardness, Hexavalent Chromium, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Nitrate, Nitrite, Pesticides, PH, Phosphate, Silver, Sulfate, Total Coliform (includes E. coli), Total Dissolved Solids, ZincAmazon
Health metric Drinking water test kitLead, Coliform bacteria, copper, Nitrate, nitrite test, pH, alkalinity, hardness and chlorineAmazon
ON4HOME 18-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit total hardness, pH, fluoride, lead, mercury, copper, nitrate, nitrite, residual chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, carbonate, total alkalinity, zinc, aluminumAmazon
Med lab diagnosticsLead, Fluoride, Iron, Copper, Mercury, Total Chlorine, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, Total Alkalinity, Total Water Hardness, Aluminum, Sulfate, Bromine, Free Chlorine, and Cyanuric AcidAmazon
Crystal water filter  Fluoride, Total Chlorine, Total Hardness, Lead, Iron, Copper, pH, Nitrite and Nitrate, Carbonate, Bromine, Cyanuric Acid, Total Alkalinity, Chloride and AmmoniumAmazon
Hach 2745050 chlorineAmazon
First Alert WT1 Drinking Water Test KitPH, hardness, bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, and chlorine.Amazon
Mosser lee LabTech LT5015total chlorine, total hardness, iron, pH, total alkalinity, copper, iron bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, and hydrogen sulfide. The other kit is for testing lead, total coliform bacteria, and pesticides.Amazon
  • Digital TDS meter

The digital TDS meter is more expensive compared to test strips but provides accurate results, easy to read and use.

The TDS meter tests total dissolved solids (TDS) and PH.

Best digital TDS meter to rely on

 NameImageWhere to buy
1Pancellent Water Quality Test Meter Amazon
2Test assured 3-in-1 TDS MeterAmazon
3Hone forest Water Quality Tester Amazon
4Digital Aid Professional TDSAmazon
5iSpring TDS 3-Button Digital Water Quality Test Meter Amazon
6Lxuemlu TDS Meter Digital Water TesterAmazon
7Hofun TDS Meter Digital Water Test MeterAmazon
8Gro theory TDS MeterAmazon
9NinHappy Water Quality TesterAmazon
10WoEluone TDS Meter Digital Water TesterAmazon
11Health metric TDS Meter Digital Water TesterAmazon
12HM Digital TDS-EZ Water Quality TDS TesterAmazon
13HM Digital DM-1 In-Line Dual TDS Monitor Amazon
  • Color disk kit

Best Hach color disc test kit

#2. Send the water sample in the laboratories

This method can be pricey and take ten days or more to get results. So if you want instant results, sending them to the lab is not for you.

Make sure the test is done by certified laboratories.

Laboratories provide confidence in results you can rely on.

#3. Observation and smelling

You can test the quality of water by smelling and observing it.

The water observation guide

If you observe your water is 

  • Foamy that indicate it has the presence of detergent or bleach
  • Yellow, reddish, orange or brown presence of iron
  • Rotten egg smell presence of hydrogen sulfide/ sulfur
  • White scam on the floor and soap do not lather well your water is hard
  • Black color presence of manganese and bacteria
  • Fish smell presence of organic matter and bacteria
  • Chlorine odor presence of excess chlorine from the water treatment plant
  • Metallic taste presence of low PH level and metal contaminants such as copper and zinc.
#4. Contact local water municipality

Local water municipalities are meant to test the quality of water in your locality. They test the water quality regularly and make the water quality report data available to the public every year.

 You can contact them to provide the report or download it from their website.

This method will provide a water quality report from the treatment plant, but in case your water gets contaminated on its way home or through your home storage, the result will not be appropriate.

How do you test the quality of water at home? Let us know in the comment section below.

Water testing product:

  1. PH test strips for water
  2. Home water quality test kit
  3. Digital PH meter for water
  4. How to test water PH at home
  5. Water hardness test kit
  6. How to test water hardness

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