pool test strips

Key Takeaways:

  • Chemical Composition Importance: Various chemicals in the spa and pool water, including pH, alkalinity, and chlorine, play specific roles in maintaining water balance and cleanliness. Regular monitoring and adjustment of these levels are necessary to create a safe and inviting aquatic environment.
  • Potential Setbacks of Unbalanced Pools: Failure to maintain proper chemical levels in spa and pool water can lead to several setbacks, including the growth of disease-causing microbes, skin irritation, eye problems, algae formation, cloudy water, and ineffective sanitization processes. Additionally, unbalanced pools can cause damage to pool equipment.
  • Testing Methods: There are three primary methods for testing spa and pool water balance levels: liquid test kits, digital pool testers, and pool test strips. Each method offers unique features and suitability for different needs, with pool test strips being the most popular choice due to their simplicity, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Importance of Regular Testing: Regular water testing, ideally at least twice a week, is essential for maintaining water quality, safeguarding user health, and protecting spa and pool equipment. Testing after specific events or changes in weather conditions helps ensure proactive maintenance and prevent potential issues.


Indulging in a tranquil hot water spa treatment or immersing oneself in the refreshing embrace of a silky smooth pool are unparalleled experiences. However, amidst the relaxation and enjoyment, have we ever contemplated the meticulous preparation that goes into maintaining the pristine conditions of spa and pool water? For many, the intricacies of water maintenance may remain an unexplored territory.

The water in pools and spas can become a habitat for a diverse range of occupants, ranging from human bathers to various organic and inorganic debris. Consequently, the upkeep of spa and pool water goes beyond mere aesthetics; it is a critical endeavor to uphold hygienic standards. Achieving and maintaining a sparkling clean, well-balanced pool involves careful attention to the chemical composition of the water.

Ensuring that the levels of various chemicals in the spa and pool fall within the desired range is paramount. This not only contributes to the visual appeal of the water but also plays a crucial role in preserving water quality and preventing the proliferation of harmful microorganisms. The maintenance of optimal chemical levels is essential for creating an environment that is both safe and enjoyable for all those who partake in the aquatic pleasures of a spa or pool.

From pH levels to alkalinity and chlorine concentrations, each chemical component plays a specific role in safeguarding the health of the water. Monitoring and adjusting these levels regularly is a responsibility often overlooked by those who revel in the relaxation offered by spa treatments and pool activities. Yet, it is this diligent commitment to water maintenance that ensures a consistently inviting and hygienic aquatic environment.

Regular testing of the water is a fundamental aspect of spa and pool maintenance. This involves employing testing kits to measure the chemical parameters, allowing for timely adjustments to be made. Additionally, the filtration system of the pool plays a vital role in trapping impurities and maintaining water clarity. Regular cleaning and servicing of the filters contribute to the overall effectiveness of the system.

An unbalanced pool can be bad for both users and the quality of the pool itself. These may lead to the following setbacks:

  • Disease-Causing Microbes: An unbalanced pool creates an environment conducive to the growth of disease-causing microbes, such as bacteria and viruses. Insufficient sanitization and improper chemical levels can lead to waterborne illnesses, posing health risks to individuals who come in contact with the contaminated water.
  • Rashes: Skin irritation and rashes are common consequences of swimming in water with imbalanced chemical levels. For instance, low chlorine levels may allow harmful bacteria to thrive, leading to skin discomfort and rashes among pool users.
  • Eye Problems: Unbalanced pool water can cause eye irritation and discomfort. High levels of chlorine or other chemical imbalances may irritate the eyes, leading to redness, itching, and discomfort for swimmers.
  • Formation of Algae on Top of the Pool: Inadequate chemical levels and poor water circulation contribute to the formation of algae on the pool’s surface. Algae not only affect the visual appeal of the pool but also create slippery surfaces and compromise water quality.
  • Cloudy Water: Imbalanced chemical levels and poor filtration can result in cloudy water. This not only diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the pool but also indicates a lack of effective water treatment. Cloudiness may be due to suspended particles, microorganisms, or inadequate chlorine levels.
  • Swimming Discomfort: Users may experience discomfort, including skin irritation and respiratory issues, when swimming in water with imbalanced chemical levels. Unpleasant odors and tastes may also accompany poor water quality, negatively impacting the overall swimming experience.
  • Ineffective Sanitization Processes: Inadequate chemical levels can render sanitization processes ineffective. Insufficient chlorine or other sanitizers may fail to neutralize bacteria and contaminants, compromising the pool’s ability to provide a safe and clean swimming environment.
  • Damage to Pumps, Liners, Filters, and Other Pool Equipment: An unbalanced pool can take a toll on the pool’s infrastructure. Corrosion, scale formation, and other issues can arise, leading to damage to pumps, liners, filters, and other essential equipment. This not only results in costly repairs but also compromises the efficiency and longevity of the pool’s components.

 3 Ways To Test Water Balance Levels

There are three distinct methods to assess the balance levels of spa/pool water, each offering unique features and suitability for different needs. Let’s explore these methods in detail:

  • Liquid Test Kits: Liquid test kits utilize chemical reagents to induce reactions with spa/pool water, generating color-coded readings. While they may be more intricate than test strips, their precision is unmatched. The user adds a precise number of drops to the water sample, and the resulting color change is then compared to a chart to determine chemical levels. However, it’s crucial to note that reagent compatibility can be an issue, as formulations vary between brands. Careful attention to detail is essential to prevent inaccuracies in readings.
  • Digital Pool Testers: Equipped with electrodes, digital pool testers measure chemical levels in spa/pool water. This category includes devices such as lightweight and portable digital meters, photometers, and colorimeters. Despite being the most expensive testing method, digital testers provide unparalleled accuracy. They require batteries and periodic calibration. Due to their relatively higher costs, digital testers are often recommended for less frequent use, making them less suitable for businesses that require frequent testing and treatment.
  • Pool Test Strips: Pool test strips emerge as the most economical and widely embraced method for testing spa/pool water. Their popularity stems from their simplicity and accuracy. The user activates the paper or plastic strip by immersing it in the water sample and swirling it around. After a brief waiting period, the reagents on the strip undergo a color change. By comparing these colors to an easy-to-read chart on the container, users can ascertain the water’s chemical concentration. This comparison not only reveals the chemical levels but also guides users in determining the appropriate proportions of chemicals to add to the pool. Test strips are especially favored for their user-friendly nature and cost-effectiveness.

Pool test strips are very reliable in terms of accuracy (provided instructions are followed appropriately). There are a ton of brands when it comes to pool test strips. Knowing which one to use can be a nightmare, especially if it’s your first time. In our experience, you need to get a mix of affordability and effectiveness.

Which Test Strips?

We have gone through many test strips and if you’re not sure where to begin your spa or pool water testing journey, look no further than Bosike Pool Test Strips—a choice that seamlessly combines performance with affordability. Here’s why these test strips stand out:

  • Fast and Accurate: Simply dip one of the 125 strips into your spa or pool water for a few seconds, then lift it out. Hold the strip horizontally for half a minute and quickly compare the resulting color with the chart provided—all within a span of just half a minute. This streamlined process ensures efficient testing without unnecessary delays.
  • Affordable 7-in-1 Pool Testing Kit: Each strip evaluates crucial water conditions, including total hardness, total chlorine, free chlorine, bromine, cyanuric acid, total alkalinity, and pH levels. This all-in-one feature makes Bosike Pool Test Strips an economical choice for addressing various water testing needs.
  • High Precision Results: The absence of color bleeding pads enhances the accuracy of the readings, providing you with confidence in the effectiveness of the testing process.
  • Wide Usage: Bosike Pool Test Strips have found widespread application in various forms of water testing, making them versatile for use in swimming pools, spas, baths, hot tubs, and more. This adaptability is especially relevant considering recommendations for frequent testing—ideally, at least two times per week—to ensure optimal water chemical balance, as advised by experts.
  • Extended Shelf Life: These test strips come in a well-sealed bottle, ensuring safe storage for up to two years. The expiration dates are conveniently provided on the box of each set of test strips, allowing users to keep track of their shelf life without any guesswork.


BOSIKE Pool Test Strips parameters and their ranges

Parameters Test range Ideal range
Total Hardness  0~1000ppm (parts-per-million) 250~500ppm
Free Chlorine 0~10ppm 1~3ppm
Bromine 0~20ppm 2~6ppm
Total Chlorine 0~10ppm 1~3ppm
Cyanuric Acid 0~240ppm 30~100ppm

For best results, pH must be between 7.0~8.4

Total Alkalinity 0~240ppm 80~120ppm
Ph 6.2~9.0 7.2~7.8


Total hardness

Total Hardness is a measure of the levels of calcium and other minerals in spa/pool (or any other) water. If the hardness is too low, it can result in the degradation of metal components and unwanted foam. A hardness that is too high can equally lead to cloudiness in the water and the formation of scales on the surface.

Total chlorine

Chlorine sanitizes the water through the chemical process of oxidation. Through this process, the microbes in the water are destroyed and problems like algae are avoided. Low chlorine levels can be a problem if you are trying to maintain a standard level of Ph and alkalinity. Total chlorine refers to the quantity of chlorine in the water to be tested and treated, including both free (unused) chlorine.

Free chlorine

Free Chlorine is the quantity of unused or available chlorine to sanitize a spa or pool water. Chlorine levels can be raised by using chlorine tablets or shocking the pool. It can be lowered by simply not adding any chlorine to the spa/pool for some time.

For bromine, the other sanitiser, Bosike recommends a range of 2 to 6ppm.


pH measures how acidic or basic spa/pool water is. A pH measurement scale ranges from 0 to 14. 7 is the neutral level on the scale. Numbers lower than 7 denote acidity while numbers higher than 7 denote alkalinity levels. pH measurement is very important to the health of spa/pool water.  An imbalanced pH can impact negatively on pool equipment, make bathers uncomfortable, and lead to inefficient sanitisers. As indicated by the table above, Bosike recommends a Ph range of between 7.2 and 7.8.

Total alkalinity

The total alkalinity test may seem similar to a pH test but is a bit different. For instance, while the latter is a scale measurement with no units, the unit for measuring the former is ppm. Alkalinity helps to neutralize the acid content of water and bring about stability in the pH level. Low alkalinity (below 80ppm) can result in problems like pH bounce, etching, corrosion, and others. High alkalinity (above 120ppm) can also lead to malfunctioning equipment such as pipes and pumps.


The Stabilizer is a measure of the level of cyanuric acid in spa/pool water. When chlorine is stabilized, it lasts longer under the impact of direct sunlight.

How to use Pool Test Strips

  • Dip the strip into the sample water for a couple of seconds and then bring it out from the water
  • Do not attempt to shake off the excess water on the strip. Just hold the strip in a horizontal position for half a minute
  • Compare the colour on the strip with the colour on the chart and read the results within half a minute so as to ensure accuracy.

When to test a spa/pool

  • After a rainstorm
  • After the spa/pool has been used by a large number of people
  • After weather changes
  • After the water has been added to the spa/pool
  • If there are cloudiness or color changes in the spa/pool water


Despite the constant evolution of technology in water testing, test strips continue to maintain their enduring popularity. This enduring preference can be attributed to their unmatched simplicity of use and reliable accuracy. Unlike liquid test kits that demand precise measurement of reagent quantities or the higher costs associated with digital testers, test strips offer a hassle-free and cost-effective alternative.

It’s important to underscore the significance of regular water testing for spa and pool owners. Testing the water at least twice a week is not merely a recommended practice; it is essential. This routine ensures that the spa or pool water remains hygienic and user-friendly, creating an environment that is safe and enjoyable for all. Moreover, consistent testing serves as a preventative measure against potential damage to spa and pool equipment.

In essence, while technology advances, the enduring appeal of test strips lies in their user-friendly nature, cost-effectiveness, and the peace of mind they offer to spa and pool enthusiasts. Regular testing is a proactive step towards maintaining water quality, safeguarding user health, and protecting the longevity of valuable spa and pool equipment.

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