Do I need a test kit?


New member
Aug 12, 2015
Elkton MD
Hi This is our third year with our in-ground pool. The pool store in our town is wonderful, as in any pool store they will test our water, for free, and advise what needs to be added. This always works. My question is, since I have been reading this forum and pouring over this website, I see a lot of people testing their own water with home test kits. Some seem so fancy. Is this necessary? If the test strips show me my chlorine level, isn't it ok to just bring a sample to the pool store occasionally to see if it needs tweaking? :cool:


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
Midland TX
Welcome to the forum Helenamac,

The kits we use are actually as good as money can buy for the type of testing they accomplish. So yes, some may seem rather fancy, but if you want to be in full control of your pool a good drop based kit is needed. There are lots of reasons we do it, but by far the most common reason people start is because of the recurring problems they have. Most if not all, of them have been relying on a Pool Store (often a large chain) and have miserable results, sometimes spending hundreds, and hundreds on products every season.

What we really offer here is knowledge, which most pool stores don't, and don't have any incentive too. Educated pool owners learn that most store products are repackaged common items at vastly increased prices. Things like Baking Soda, or Soda ash, and even Chlorine itself. What they also learn is exactly how, and why they need to add the things they do, and never anything more. The result is a crystal clear, sanitary pool that is extremely easy to keep with zero mystery involved. Although it's the least important facet of what we do, the nice bonus is nearly always a greatly reduced cost as opposed to doing it the pool store way.

So, you have to couple knowledge with some testing results, and the only way to get them is with your own kit. It's really very simple, but don't take my word for it. If you look around much on the forum, you'll find hundreds of recent posts from pool owners testifying here on the forum. In the ten years TFP has been around they add up to the many thousands of individuals who love their pools instead of wondering about how to fix them, or downright hating them before they joined. I'm going to link one of my recent favorites below, but I hope you'll stick around and see what we are all about. There are plenty of us around should you decide to try it and need any help at all. Enjoy your stay on the forum.

14 years of pool stores and failure...


New member
Aug 12, 2015
Elkton MD
Hi Patrick!
Thanks for your reply! You've sold me.
This year I am taking on the pool chemistry mystery head on!
With this sites help I believe I can do it.
Wish me luck LOL


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
Tallahassee, FL
HI Helen! I am going to start you with this link:

Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

It will start you on the way to learning our "language" and show you what we use to work on our pools. Please do NOT go out and buy anything yet. Some of it you might not need.

I do want you to look around your area and see if anyone has chlorine that will be easy for you pick up when needed. Some pool stores will sell chlorine. You will "rent" their jugs from them. So there is that small upfront cost but you will get the money back if you ever want to return the jugs. Most Pool stores has chlorine at around 11% in strength.

I get my chlorine from my Ace Hardware just up the road from me.

Some people do not have a chlorine source that is convenient so they get their chlorine in the form of bleach :shock: LOL Yes bleach as in laundry cleaner. It is the plain ole' bleach. No pretty smells or non splashless kinds. Most of them come in at 8.25%. Walmart or Target house brands work just fine!

:hug: I would LOVE for you to take a picture of your pool looking down at the main drain and share it. THEN take the same picture after you get your test kit and have balanced your water the TFP way to show us how different it looks.



Silver Supporter
Aug 17, 2016
Warminster, PA
Yes, you need a test kit. Get one of the ones recommended in "pool school" and you should be set for the season. Post up your numbers once you start testing and the friendly folks here will help guide you along the learning process. It's really not that hard...