How to Use & Read Hot Tub Water Test Strips

Easy and Accurate Solution

Water test strips are an essential tool to keeping your hot tub clean and safe. With just a single dip of the test strip into your hot tub water, you can quickly and accurately gauge if your hot tub water is balanced. They are a great way to keep track of your chemicals, make sure your water is constantly ready for use, and stay ahead of any potential issues. 

What Should a Test Strip “Test”?

At the most basic level, your water test strip should indicate the amount of sanitizer in your hot tub. Chlorine and bromine are the most common sanitizers used to keep your hot tub/spa clean and safe for use. Alkalinity and pH are two other chemicals that are often indicated on a water test strip. These levels are critical because the pH and alkalinity allow the sanitizing chemicals to do their job. On a very basic level, your spa or hot tub test strip needs to gauge your sanitizer, pH, and alkalinity. 

Recommendations From an Expert

While most test strips encompass a 5-way testing system, not all test strips are created equal. At Parnell Pool & Spa, we recommend using the BioGuard 5 Way Test Strip. These test strips measure

  • Total bromine
  • Free chlorine
  • pH
  • Alkalinity
  • Total hardness

We recommend that you test your water on a weekly basis for optimum results and also suggest testing your water before adding any chemicals. 

Proper Testing Procedure

  • Allow your spa to circulate for two minutes. 
  • Remove the test strip from the bottle, making sure to touch the side without the test strip pads. 
  • Dip the strip into the water deep enough for the test pads to get wet. (roughly 6 inches)
  • Remove the test strip according to the directions on the bottle. Each test strip is different. 
  • Hold test strip pad side up for 15 seconds. (check your bottles directions)
  • Compare the colors on the test strip to the chart provided on the bottle.
  • Adjust spa water as needed.
  • For best results, retest after chemicals have been added and circulated.

Not sure if you are getting the best results from your test strips? Bring a water sample to Parnell Pool & Spa! We are a BioGuard water-testing center, and our highly trained water care experts are always there to help. 

A Few Things To Remember

  • Store your test strips in a dry, room temperature location that is away from direct sunlight. Cap the bottle tightly after each use. 
  • Use a fresh test strip every time and make sure they are not out of date. The expiration date will be listed on each bottle to make sure you are getting the best readings. 
  • Watch your fingers! Make sure you wash your hands before testing your hot tub water. Or, at least make sure not to touch the part of the test strip that gives you the reading. Residue and water of fingers can skew the test results. 

If you have a question about the proper running of your spa, stop by our Fayetteville or Lumberton location anytime to check out our products, purchase chemicals for your pool/hot tub, or get a specific question answered by one of our experts. Visit us online at www.parnellpoolandspa.com or take a look at our Facebook page.  

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(910) 425-6138

4206 Cumberland Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28306

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed


(910) 738-8110

1380 Linkhaw Rd
Lumberton, NC 28358

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed

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