Do you trust Leslie's testing?


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2008
Ran out of #13 so I went to Leslie's for a CYA test. Guy put some in the test cylinder and proclaimed it "okay". I asked what the reading was and he looked down the tube again, lifting some slider, and said 30-40. What is your opinion on the trustworthiness of pool supply store testing?

I ask because I added CYA as if I was at 0 to get it up to 40ish. For some reason I equated it with chlorine as being "used up" over the winter. Then I read here again and was reminded it is not. I have a hard time believing it really was 0 to begin with.

I am opening up the pool for the season and it was pea soup with waterbugs and leaves. I cleaned all the leaves and dead bugs out, shocked for several days until CC was 0 in the morning, and am not checking overnight-falling FC. But the water is very cloudy. I have a slime bag on and broke down and added a "Natural" clarifier (made from chitin so I can feel better about myself even though it is probably no better for the environment than the synthetic stuff).

Opinions on the reliability of Pool Store testing?

I will have complete results tomorrow other than CYA.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 15, 2007
Eastern Pennsylvania
Not reliable. Not consistent. You can take three samples to three different stores and get three different results. Been there.

Leslie's gets closest in my town because they use the Taylor drop kit. Unfortunately, they rush through the test way too fast. Maybe that's because they do so many each day, maybe it's because other customers are waiting in line, maybe it's because they've fallen into a rut from sheer boredom. The 'why' doesn't matter. Results do, and I don't trust them.

The only one I would go with is a CYA test of 'between this and that number' because CYA is the least critical if it's low. If it's high, well, you can live with that for a week or so until your #13 refill arrives.


Well-known member
Feb 18, 2010
Houston, TX
I agree with AnnaK. It will work, until you get your refill.

AnnaK said:
Not reliable. Not consistent. You can take three samples to three different stores and get three different results.
To add to this, you could take three samples to the same store and get three different results! As long as they don't know the samples are from the same source, that is.


LifeTime Supporter
Apr 29, 2010
Buckeye, AZ 85326
The Leslies by my house has been pretty good. When I first got my pool I would test then take a sample to Leslies to compare. The results have been comparable. I wont take a sample there if they are busy though. I've seen the line 6 - 7 people deep with one person behind the counter, those are probably not good days to be there.


Well-known member
May 28, 2010
Recently, I actually did the 3 store thing recently and got 3 completely different results. They were pretty way off from eachother too.

The first store (a large pool supply chain store) had this whole big sophisticated 'looking' testing station with all kinds of vials, tubes, bottles, beakers, and all this electronic equipment. It almost made you feel like you were in some government lab. The second place (another one of the chain's stores) used a typical looking blue box test kit. The third and last place (a vert small independant owner operated store) just used test strips.

Not surprisingly, the amount of 'stuff' each place tried to sell me was directly proportional to the complexity of the show they put on while testing my water. The 3rd and last guy (with the test strips) was the one who's been maintaining my pool perfectly for the last 8 months. After he gave me his assessment, I told him about the other two places I had just come from and what they were trying to sell me. After he stopped laughing, he explained to me that he spend over 10 years working at one of those places and that they must sell each person that walks through the door $40 worth of stuff just to break even. I trust this guy b/c even though he only uses test strips, my pool has been perfect for 8 months (since we bought this house with existing pool) under his care.

It was this situation though that ultimately led me to this website and to the point where I decided I wanted to take complete control of my pool care. My test kit is due to arrive tomorrow by UPS :goodjob:


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
San Dimas, CA (LA County)

I bought a house. It came with a pool. The pool came with pump, filter, heater, a tablet floater, and a leaf skimmer. I took a sample down to Leslies. They tested it with strips. The stabilizer was good, they said - it was over 100. pH was high, TA was high. They recommended adding acid - in huge slugs to force TA down.

I'll stop my litany here, since you only asked about testing.


Well-known member
Feb 18, 2010
Houston, TX
I've actually taken three separate samples (from the same pool, at the same time, and at the same spot) to a pool store before (NOT Leslies). I told them one was from the pool, and the other two were from two different fill sources, and I wanted to see which I should use to top off the pool. I got vastly different results! The one I said was from the pool had CYA through the roof, one of the 'source' samples had none, and the other was somewhere in between. And that's not the only one - TA, CH, pH, CL, none of them were remotely close to the other two!

So do I trust pool store testing? Sure...:roll:

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
SouthWest Alabama
poolgirl22 said:
I hear (read) on this board some people take tap water in just for fun. I haven't tried it yet, but I've been tempted. :twisted:
Guilty! :mrgreen: I've taken plain tap water in a few times to different stores. I know what's in the tap water but you'd be surprised what the PS says it has.
The funny thing is (funny strange not funny, ha-ha), they all said it had some amount of CYA in it.
Some said it had metals, some said it didn't (it doesn't).
The one thing they all had in common was that they all had a big ole list of things I should buy and put in it to fix it and even some of the ones that said it didn't have metals had sequestrant on the list.

And for you curious people, here's what it really has in it.
pH = 7.9
FC = 1.2
CC = 0.0
TA = 20
CH = 110
CYA = 0
Copper = .0012
Iron = .003

These numbers are a combination of my own testing and the last three public water assays.

Do I trust the PS numbers?? hmmmm.... let me think about it!


Well-known member
Mar 17, 2010
Spring, TX
Another thing to do is get a few friends and all of you take samples up there from the same pool. Three different people and three different pools. In reality all from the same one.


May 28, 2010
Fabulous Las Vegas
For posterity, let me just add NO, although they're not as bad as other places around here (North Las Vegas).

Before Memorial Day I took my pool water to two different places, Leslie's and Nationwide Pool Supply. NPS told me my PH was 6.3 (my Taylor kit put it at 7.4), my CYA was 130, and that I need some absolutely obnoxious amount of shock.

The Leslie's guy was using a similar kit to what have, but he couldn't even be bothered to use the right amount of water, he just filled it to the top and ran the test. Obviously, again, the results were different, but at least he tested my CYA at 50, which was much closer to correct.

The Taylor CYA test used a lot of fluid and is way too subjective for me (or I must stink at using it), so I try to use the store tests to test it, but if I listened to them my pool would be emptied every other week.


Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 15, 2010
San Antonio, Texas
NO. Absolutely NO. Now they offer a pre-printed direction sheet that explains what you need to do to correct the results of the tests - they can hustle more people in a shorter period of time this way - and guess what? You will spend $$ in their store on those corrections.
I have had near head-bangers with management over my test results vs theirs. One man told me that we were seeing different colors - just come behind the counter and look at the readings, he said...
I can't comment on their other stores but the one in Selma, TX will give just enough genuine service to reel you in and then when you're ripe with trust and drop your guard - you get the 'ole KO punch and OH! it can cost you...that'll be $195 please
No more pool supply store abuse - my name is watermaverick and I was a pool supply store addict.

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