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Water Care Advice

Pool Test Strips vs. WaterGuru Chemical Monitoring

Pool Test Strips vs. WaterGuru

Pool owners have commonly used test trips to check their water's chemical levels. Test strips have been around for a long time, but they pose their own set of problems. More recently, pool owners have been looking for alternatives to make pool testing easier and more effective. 

WaterGuru has created a smart pool chemical monitor that emphasizes convenience and accuracy — and you can see all the results from your phone. This and similar products have changed the pool testing landscape, exposing traditional methods for being time-consuming and frequently inaccurate. If you've always used traditional methods, you might not know about the advantages of newer, innovative testing technology and could be curious as to whether it's more effective.

If you own a pool and are searching for better, more efficient ways to test your pool, it's important to look at how test strips compare to WaterGuru.

Why Is Pool Testing Important?

Testing is an essential part of owning a pool. Without accurate and frequent testing, you won't know the chemical content of your water. The chlorine levels may be too high, calcium content could be too low or there could be an excess of hydrogen in your water. These imbalances will have various consequences, such as the breakdown of the pool's walls and foundation, the growth of bacteria and general cloudiness.

Why Is Pool Testing Important?

The core chemicals that you should test for are:

  • Chlorine: A pool's chlorine levels are probably the most important — that's what kills bacteria and germs in your pool and makes the water a safe, healthy place to swim. Too much chlorine can cause swimmers to get rashes or irritation in their eyes, while not enough chlorine leads to algae and disease growing in your pool. Make sure there's enough free chlorine — or chlorine that hasn't yet been bonded with bacteria — to keep your pool clean.
  • Calcium: The amount of calcium in your pool measures its hardness. If you have too much calcium in your pool, you'll start to see deposits on the bottom that will cloud the water. However, when the water is too soft, it'll search for calcium and take it from wherever it can — primarily the walls and floors of your pool. This erodes the foundation of your pool. It's good to test for calcium to stay in that ideal range of calcium content.
  • pH: A pool's potential hydrogen (pH) level measures the acidity of your water. On a scale of zero to 14, the lower end leans toward acidic whereas the higher end bends toward basic. Overly acidic water will lead to corrosion of pool equipment. Overly basic water will reduce the potency of chlorine and its ability to kill germs. The pH level should hover somewhere around 7.2-7.8 to keep it in a neutral state.
  • Alkalinity: A pool's total alkalinity (TA) is its ability to buffer chemicals. The TA keeps a pool's pH levels neutral, acting as a a guard of the pool to make sure levels don't get too high or low. Be sure to check your pool's alkalinity levels. If the TA falls too low, the chemicals in your pool could take over and make the water more acidic, leading to corrosion and swimmer irritation. TA that's too high prevents proper cleaning, resulting in bacteria and algae growth.

Testing helps prevent dangers, letting you know if you have to add or subtract a substance to keep your pool healthy and clear. Aim to test your pool at least once a week. Other times you should test are after a large number of people have gone for a swim, after you add chemicals or after a storm or rain.

Test Strips

Pool test strips are the traditional method of water testing. A pack usually consists of around 50 strips. Simply dip a strip in the water and get a reading by looking at the color on the test strip. 

Test strips may measure the hardness of the water, chlorine levels, pH and alkalinity. Though it seems like a relatively simple process, test strips have been known to pose many different challenges. Test strips have been shown to be: 

  • Time-consuming: Test strips can take valuable time out of your day. Getting the strips, putting them in the sample and making an effort to read the strip can take some time. In a world where we have digitized data and accessible information at our fingertips, there should be a quicker way to find out if your pool is at the proper levels.
  • Inaccurate: Depending on where you get your sample, the test might only be near the surface of the pool, which isn't an accurate representation of the rest of your pool. More modern tests can sit in your skimmer and be in the flow of your pool, giving you a much more accurate, comprehensive test of your water. 
  • Prone to human error: To determine the reading of a test strip, you must be able to identify certain colors. But the truth is, color isn't a very good indicator, and many people have different variations of color perception or may even be color blind. Someone could read a test wrong because they can't decipher the color. This kind of testing also relies on taking an accurate sample. If you shake the test at all, it could result in a flawed test.
  • Become unusable after expiration and exposure: People will often have to throw numerous or even whole packs of strips away if they've exposed them to sunlight or water. The thin, narrow strips can also easily slip between your fingers. One drop or mistake shouldn't derail your entire testing process — and the pressure doesn't have to be entirely on you to get the sample and make an accurate reading. 

test strips

These are some of the reasons why people have been searching for alternatives to pool testing strips. Luckily, some new testing methods are on the market — primarily products referred to as smart pool testers — that are a quicker, more effective way to test your pool.

Liquid Test Kits 

Another option for pool users is liquid test kits. Like test strips, these are more of a traditional method and carry many of the common problems that test strips have. The process involves many aspects that could go wrong, putting a lot of responsibility on the tester to get a reliable sample and test it themselves. 

Some key challenges of liquid test kits are:

  • Location of sample: The sample must be taken away from the skimmers and any jets, and you should usually grab it from a good depth below your water's surface. This means you'll probably have to be in your pool to get the most accurate reading. That isn't very convenient if you're trying to complete a test within a specific time window. If you take the sample from the wrong spot, the entire test could become flawed. There's not a very reliable way to tell if the sample is good, which makes liquid test kits an unfavorable method of testing. 
  • Testing process: The testing process itself is drawn-out and time-consuming. You'll have to make multiple tests, following the precise directions to take an accurate reading. The process can be done correctly and accurately, but there are more efficient ways to test your pool and be more confident about the results.


WaterGuru has developed a new way to test your pool without the fear of human error and the hassle of manual testing. WaterGuru has created SENSE — a wireless pool chemical monitoring system. Unlike other products on the market, the tester goes right in your skimmer, so it's easily accessible. The device connects to your home Wi-Fi and gives you a digital overview of chemical readings as well as temperature.

Why WaterGuru Is Easier

WaterGuru SENSE makes the water testing process far more manageable than using test strips. 

Why WaterGuru Is Easier

Here are some reasons why you should switch over to a smart pool monitoring system:

  • Efficiency: SENSE eliminates the wasted time of getting out your test strips, taking the sample and doing a reading. That's all taken care of for you with SENSE — you just have to check your phone to see the levels. There's never been a more efficient, more accurate way to test your pool water.
  • Accuracy: SENSE sits in your pool's skimmer, meaning it won't just get the water on the surface like other tests. It'll sit right in the flow of your pool, picking up an excellent, comprehensive sample that will be an accurate representation of your entire pool. SENSE will also make the reading for you, so you have access to the data without having to worry about deciphering the right color. It takes the confusion and human error out of the picture so you can be confident in the information at your disposal. 
  • Digital layout: A digital layout shows you all the various chemical levels of your pool in a clear, modern format. This allows you to take the data and make immediate, actionable steps to correct your water quality. SENSE connects you to an app that gives you precise readings and directions on how to get your pool to a quality level. Additionally, the app provides more general advice and information about supplies and terms that will prove helpful.
  • Convenience: Other smart monitors float aimlessly around your pool, straying out of reach. SENSE sits right in your skimmer, so you always know where it is and can easily retrieve it. SENSE data is sent directly to the cloud so you can access it wherever is most convenient. With traditional test strips, you could be trying to do a reading for a long time. If you're unsure about a reading, you may even have to drive to the closest pool store just to ensure you've made the right call. SENSE takes all that time out of the equation. This is a trusted, reliable product that makes you confident in your testing decisions.

Ultimately, a smart electronic pool chemical tester is the newer, more effective way of testing your pool water. It's faster, efficient and gives you all the information you need to keep up with pool maintenance.

Get WaterGuru SENSE

WaterGuru SENSE is your new way to test your pool water, all from the convenience of your phone. Pool care has never been easier. Simply connect your WaterGuru SENSE to your Wi-Fi, download the app and examine the data your SENSE gives you. You can install SENSE in seconds, and it'll fit right over any 8-inch round skimmer, acting as a cover. If you have a square skimmer, you can also purchase an adapter to fit.

Every SENSE comes with a skimmer cover plate, batteries, communication connectivity, a connected lab unit for chemical measurements, a lab measurement cartridge and a quick-start guide to lead you through the process as smoothly as possible. Your SENSE will also come with a free WaterGuru TEST. This is another innovation to test your water and get reliable results. 

Simply take the TEST vial, take a sample from your pool, put it in an envelope and send it back to us. We'll send you the TEST data on your phone with professional, lab-tested results you can be completely confident in. The TEST information will give you precise readings of:

  • Calcium hardness (CH)
  • Total alkalinity (TA) 
  • Cyanuric acid (CYA)
  • Copper
  • Phosphate 
  • Salt
  • Iron

TEST will also send you personalized reports of your pool and suggestions about how to bring your pool water to a healthy, stable chemical level. This process gives you all the professionalism and reliability of a pool store without forcing you to make the drive.

Shop WaterGuru Today

Shop WaterGuru Today

You don't have to keep facing the challenges of traditional pool test strips. The testing process can be long and take precious time out of your day you could use in other, more important areas of your life. Liquid kits are similar — sometimes even relying on more time and effort on the part of the tester.

WaterGuru SENSE will make your testing process so much easier. All you have to do is install your tester and download the app, then watch your data stack up in the digital overview. You'll never go back to the traditional methods again, and you'll gain more confidence and trust in your pool testing process than ever before. 

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