Someone collecting drinking water in a vial for testing

Someone collecting drinking water in a vial for testing (Photo by luchschenF on Shutterstock)

Is your tap or water safe to drink? Many people are unsure and end up lugging home cases of bottled water or investing in costly water filtration systems. However, your tap water might be fine, and you may be wasting money. A simple home water test can provide the assurance you need. There are plenty of options out there, so which tests do expert reviewers agree are the most accurate to put your mind to rest?

When choosing the best at-home water quality testing kit, you’ll want to ensure it tests formany contaminants like lead, chlorine, and bacteria. That said, what you’ll need also depends on your area and local environmental concerns. Some kits give instant results, while others require sending samples to a lab for analysis. It’s also wise to select a kit with customer support just in case you have trouble interpreting the results.

So, which are the best water quality test kits? We’ve put together this list which include the recommended products by experts across seven websites. Did we miss an option you’ve found works well? Comment below.

The List: Best At-Home Water Quality Test Kits, According To Top Reviews

1. Safe Home

If you want a more in-depth analysis of what contaminants may be in your water, Good Housekeeping recommends the Safe Home Ultimate Water Quality Test Kit. It tops our list not only for its accuracy but also because it has the Environmental Protection Agency’s seal of approval. After you send the kit to the lab, you’ll receive a detailed report within seven to 10 business days.

Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit
Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit

While this test is on the expensive side, The Spruce emphasizes there are no surprise fees. Lab and shipping costs are included in the purchase price. The results are provided digitally and by mail and clearly outline any contaminants or concerns with your water.

You probably can’t name all the 200 contaminants and chemicals the lab will test for. Best of all, there are no litmus strips to mess with. Collect your water samples, send them to the lab, and wait for the experts to do the rest. Family Handyman calls it the best kit to test well water.

2. Health Metric Well Water Test Kit

Health Metric Well Water Test Kit
Health Metric Well Water Test Kit (

If you rely on well water, regular testing is crucial to ensure its safety. The Spruce says this DIY kit equips you with all you need to assess the quality of your water. Most of the included test strips deliver results in just five minutes, although the bacteria test may take up to 48 hours. It’s important to note, however, that this kit does not test for lead, which is a common contaminant in well water.

This Old House agrees this affordable testing kit is the best choice to test well water because it includes comprehensive directions and meets EPA standards. Their reviewers noted that the test strips provide results in under two minutes. The kit assesses water quality based on eight parameters, including bacteria, nitrate, and water hardness.

This kit is popular because you don’t have to wait for days for the results; they are available within minutes. Bob Vila also likes that the kit doesn’t include unnecessary tests for chlorine and other contaminants not typically found in well water. With three strong reviews, you can be sure, your well water is safe to drink.

3. VARIFY Complete Drinking Water Test Kit

VARIFY Complete Drinking Water Test Kit
VARIFY Complete Drinking Water Test Kit (

If you’re on a budget, The Spruce recommends investing in this kit because includes 100 test strips and two bacteria tests. You will find out within minutes if your water contains any of the 17 common contaminants. With so many extra test strips, you can perform the test regularly without having to buy a new kit.
The only drawback? The results can be a little hard to read. But This Old House still calls this the most versatile kit on the market. It comes with an easy-to-follow color-coded chart. Overall, customers appreciated the comprehensive range of contaminants this kit can detect and found the instructions straightforward.

Varify’s drinking water test kit is pretty comprehensive and you can get results from the test strips in just 15 minutes, but the bacteria tests take a bit longer, about 48 hours. Both tests are compatible with all water sources and all EPA testing standards, which is why Bob Vila gives it the thumbs up.

4. Tap Score Advanced Water Test Kit

Tap Score Advanced Water Test Kit
Tap Score Advanced Water Test Kit (

This is the second mail-away kit on our list, which uses a remote lab for analysis. It’s more affordable than the Safe Home kit but costlier than test strip alternatives. It detects over 100 contaminants, fewer than the 200+ identified by the top kit on our list. This kit includes three easy-to-fill vials and a prepaid shipping label for convenience. The manufacturer estimates that results will be available in about five business days, though The Spruce notes that delays can occur.

Bob Vila agreed this test delivered comprehensive results at a lower cost compared to the Safe Home lab test and excelled in explaining the contaminants. Although its testing regimen was not as detailed as Safe Home’s, the clarity and detail in interpreting the results were exceptional.

The quality of the kit report is what stands out for the New York Times. The report is easy to understand and suggests remedies for any concerns. Additionally, Tap Score has amazing online support options if you have additional questions.

5. JNW Direct Water Hardness Test Strips

JNW Direct Water Hardness Test Strips
JNW Direct Water Hardness Test Strips (

Dubbed the best “Hard Water” kit by The Spruce, these test strips are easy to use, compatible with all water sources, and offer quick results. One bonus item included is an eBook with additional water hardness information. While the kit is not as reliable as professional testing for hard water, it is a good starting point.

If you have a water softener and want to test how well it’s working, these test strips are up to the challenge. According to This Old House, the kit is reliable and measures water hardness levels between zero and 425 parts per million. It also includes a downloadable app so you can track results regularly.

You’ll have the kit for a while since it comes with 100 test strips. However, Bob Vila notes it doesn’t test for bacteria. You’ll have to buy a separate kit for that. Conveniently, the ideal EPA standards for each parameter are marked on the bottle.

Sources we used for our list:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Amy Chodroff

Amy Chodroff is a recovering Morning Radio Show Host and award-winning broadcaster who recently retired from DFW’s Morning News on KLIF in Dallas. Fondly known as the “Chief Googler” by her friends, it was a seamless transition for StudyFinds to enlist her expertise for their “Best of the Best” franchise. Amy has an innate curiosity and a penchant for thorough research before any purchase and she’s constantly on the hunt for top-notch products. Outside of her digital explorations, Amy loves to explore the world with her husband and is the proud mother of two adult daughters. You can also find Amy on the pickleball court, perfecting her dink and drop shots.

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