My TF-Pro Test Kit review + Results

bbillingsley1985

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2022
61
Little Rock, AR
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
So I ordered the TF-Pro Test kit and it came in on Saturday. Got around to running all the tests and thought I'd give a thorough review of it with the pros and cons. This is going to probably be a long post, but just thought I'd throw out my details.

Little bit of info about my situation. My pool was built before last summer so this is now my 2nd year maintaining it. It's a vinyl pool, about 22,000 gallons with a cartridge filter, and Hayward vsp and heat pro heat pump that heats and cools. Last year, all I did was put in a few 3" tablets a week in the chlorinator, and maybe added baking soda twice the whole summer. That was basically it. A few shocks with the 1 lb powder stuff. Pool was crystal clear with zero issues.

I then discovered this website and started reading about how the 3" tablets are, in short, the devil, and not recommended. I got super stressed that my cya was through the roof. After 2 pool company testers giving me opposite end of the spectrum results on everything, I decided to get my own top notch test kit and run everything myself. BTW, as many probably know, phin is now dead but I downloaded the iopool app and it will still let you sync the phin with it. I use that as secondary ph/sanitizer monitoring and it surprisingly does very well. 700-750 mv roughly translates to 3-4 FC and the pH has been right on. It doesn't test anything else though which is where the test kit comes in. Ok so to the test kit.

I couldn't decide rather to get the TF-100 or the TF-Pro. The website was not clear on what the differences were between the two. To my naked eye, it looked like it basically had the automatic stirer/magnet included (which I wanted) and a really nice looking box to pack it all in. After searching other posts on this forum, that seemingly matched with what I was understanding. Only thing that made me a little nervous was I found a post a few years back about somebody complaining about the calcium hardness being off on the Pro compared to the TF-100. Hoping it had been resolved since then, and since I really liked the case and wanted the stirer, I went ahead and spent around $20 more for the TF-Pro.

Impressions

I really like the case a lot. It was well thought out, everything was arranged and organized smartly. The bottles for alkalinity, calcium hardness, etc are all color coded and arranged together. Made it very easy to run the tests. The instructions are laminated/water proof which was also very well thought out. They were also very easy to understand and straight to the point details. The magnetic stirrer worked great and was cool to see. Is it worth $50? Probably not honestly but it is really cool and gives you a little more peace of mind that your "extra" tests are accurate.

I ran every test except the powdered chlorine and the CC. I was overall very impressed with the accuracy and the ease of it. Here are a few negatives I can think. The ph meter only read in 0.3's, meaning it was either 7.2, 7.5 or 7.8. The phin read 7.6 and a cheaper liquid test kit I had did 0.2 increments and was also 7.6. Coincidentally, my cheaper knock off test kit had the same looking chlorine and pH dual tubes, but it read the pH in 0.2 increments and chlorine in stricter increments. For a $150 test kit I honestly expected it to at least be 0.2's. It was slightly darker than the 7.5 so I estimated my ph was around 7.6....but wish it had more pH variance. This is also just a rare thing, but when I was running one of the blue bottles for (I think) the calcium hardness test....somehow during shipping a small portion of the liquid in one of the blue bottles was loose so when I opened it, a chunk of liquid dumped in my test tube and all down the sides of my magnetic stirrer, staining the side and it went inside the crack. I'm sure it's all fine but was just a little annoying. Had to dump everything out and rerun it. Only other thing is I wish there was a way to test for metals, particularly cooper.

Here's a little detail on each test.

Chlorine/Ph:. Idiot proof. 5 drops each, mix them up and you have your results. My FC chlorine showed up 3-6 and my pH was a little darker than 7.5 but not as dark as 7.8....so 7.6 estimate.

Alkalinity: Very easy to follow instructions and magnetic stirrer made it much easier. On the 7th drop, it turned a very light pink, then on the 8th it was a solid pink. For kicks, I put a few more drops in but it never turned "red" as the instructions indicated....was more of a dark pink. Assumed that was how it was supposed to be so 70-80 range was alkalinity. Pool store B called it 80 so I felt confident. Pool store A called it a single digit # lol...a 6 I think.

Calcium Hardness:. Same as alkalinity. Magnetic stirrer made it nice. It changed colors on the 5th drop indicating a 125 reading. Pool store A and B also called it a 125 so I felt confident in that result.

CYA:. This was the big one I was curious about. Since I used 3" tabs all last summer (about roughly 60 tabs from May 1 to October 15), pool math said that would of raised my cya by 94 so when I read all the horror stories through this website, that honestly was the main reason on why I bought this test kit. After all of that, my CYA turned out to be 30, possibly 40. I maybe saw the smallest hint of the dot at 40, but definitely nothing at 30. I used the light from the magnetic stirrer. Instructions weren't clear on if I should use that as the guide or not, but light or no light it was either 30 or 40 range. So why wasn't my cya higher? Best factors I can think of is I live in central Arkansas where we get plenty of rain in the off-season. I would guestimate that half or more of the water is probably replaced by rain during the year. July and August are hot and realtively dry, but otherwise there is decent rain here and there. I only had to top off my pool rom the water hose maybe a few times last year and it was during those months. So my conclusion at least for now is if you live say in Arizona or somewhere where you don't get the water replaced often, that would probably explain why the cya goes out of whack? Who knows but since I'm on the lower end, I will continue to use the 3" tabs since I have a 40 lb sealed container from last year. Every month, now that I have a nice test kit, I will monitor the cya level. I'm strongly considering going swg next year so way I see it, it would need to rise for a swg anyway.

So that's what I got. I know this was a marathon of a post, but just thought I'd give a detailed analysis of what I thought about it.

Conclusions

I think the $150 pro is overall worth it. The ph and FC was not anything special. My cheap knock off test kit that you can buy for $10 at Walmart gives the same results there. The extra tests is where it's worth it and I really trust the results. The TF-100 case looked unimpressive so for me I was ok to splurge another $20 or so to get what I think is an A+ case since I wanted the magnetic stirrer. If you want the magnetic stirrer, I think it's worth just getting the Pro. Shipping was great. Ordered it I think on a Wednesday afternoon and got it that Saturday. The no sales tax for uncle Samuel was also a nice touch.

What I would do if I ran the TF Test Kit website.

Make it very clear what the differences are between the TF-100 and the Pro. Put it in the Pro description with a statement saying something along the lines of "The difference between the Pro and the TF-100 is ......". If feasible/possible, include something to test for metals.... particularly copper.

Overall, very happy with the purchase and feel great that I now can test for everything.

For anyone that read through this, do all my levels seem ok. Anything I should do?

FC 3-6
Ph 7.6
Alkalinity 70-80
Calcium Hardness 125
CYA 30-40
 
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YippeeSkippy

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Numbers look....try to keep FC up at 6-7, so that when the sun takes its daily "tax" you'll still be above the minimum.

Please go to <Settings> and find <Signature> and fill out a Signature line. Details about the pool, its surface, all the equipment you have, how you chlorinate and test. Thanks.

Maddie 🇺🇦
 
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duraleigh

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For a $150 test kit I honestly expected it to at least be 0.2's.
I can understand that. That said, that phenol Red test is VERY dependable and helps keep the cost of the kit down. A little more practice with it and you will likely become a pro at reading that result. TFTestkits sells a pretty reliable pH meter but I am old school and have gotten accustomed to the Phenol Red. You might give the meter a try but I think you'll get better over the next few weeks.

As a relative newbie, you have a surprisingly good grasp of you pool water chemistry and your analysis of the Pro is pretty much on the money.
So why wasn't my cya higher?
You got it......rain probably contributed. Backwashing a lot will do it, too. CYA has some natural degradation as well......it varies but 10 ppm monthly is a good guide

Thank you for your input about the Pro. A LOT of thought by Rebecca (and me just a tiny bit) has resulted in, we think, a premium Test Kit.
 

Newdude

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Thank you for your extended review. I can tell folks all day long what to expect, but for some reason, it hits harder from another new member. Maybe the experienced members are perceived as biased, I dunno.

Anywho we preach members helping members here. Thanks for pitching in so soon.
 
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Mdragger88

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One note - the OTO test is included mainly because of the comparator. It’s more of a “do i have any chlorine or not” kind of test & by Taylor’s own admission it’s not very accurate as it only tests Total chlorine & doesn’t differentiate between Free chlorine & Cc’s.
The fas/dpd powdered test IS the reason to get the tf100/tfpro or k2006 vs a random store kit - it is the most accurate way to test fc & cc & tests these levels up to 50ppm. The others only test up to 5ppm & most are only testing TC. Most pools - including yours have a target 🎯 fc range higher than that FC/CYA Chart.
You shouldn’t make decisions about dosing based on the yellow oto test alone.
The fas/dpd test is the meat of the kit & one of if not the most important test included. When using that on a daily basis (which is recommended) you can see how the magnetic stirrer would also seem like more of a necessity vs a novelty.
Also the only accurate metals tests (for iron & copper)are offered by Taylor & they run $100+
That would increase the cost of the kit substantially when most people rarely need those tests if they follow TFPC practices.
Another note— many pool stores “adjust” the TA result based on the cya level so it can often be displayed as lower than the actual TA. This can sometimes be further complicated by said pool store’s inaccurate cya test.
I am not a fan of ph testers - they need to be recalibrated often & it adds more complication & variables to something i can do reliably in 2 seconds w/ the drop test. They have their place for the color blind but in any case still need to be confirmed regularly with the phenol red test.
 

bbillingsley1985

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2022
61
Little Rock, AR
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Mdragger88,

Those are very good tips and honestly a very good point that I did not realize about the fas/dpd. I was erroneously thinking that I really only needed to worry about that if I needed to slam, super shock, had issues. Also a very good point about the magnetic stirrer in conjunction with that test that I have not done yet. I'll try that test out shortly and check it out.

I left this detail out on this post (but had it in others)....but my reasoning for copper testing was because I listened to the advice of a neighbor last year as a newbie and got PoolRX my first season.....which has copper (I was such a newbie that I had no idea copper turned anything green at that time). Daughter's hair and some white bathing suits turned a little green last year. I will admit, it made it phenomenal to manage the pool with the Poolrx stuff...it did do its job in that regard....but the copper and green hair is a no go. I did get a bioguard polyquart all 60 to try this year, but debating on not even using it since I will make sure my chlorine is good at all times. Have the 3" pucks and can go gallons of liquid chlorine when I need to. That was my reasoning for wanting to test for copper.....self inflicted copper addition. I did take a sample to the pool store and they showed 0 on all metals so I'm hopeful between the pool draining a lot, etc. that I'll be ok on copper, but would of just felt a little better peace of mind if I could test it myself. Agree that $100+ is overkill and for most people not necessary for Copper. Completely get why that's not included now.

Again, I'm overall really impressed with the TF-Pro and really glad I got it. The magnetic stirrer is really cool to watch lol, and now knowing that its better to do the powdered test in more of a daily basis, I definitely see why that's worth it.

To the makers of it.....I really can't say enough about 1 how nice the case is....designed perfectly and 2.....the laminated very easy to follow, straight to the point instructions. Really makes running the tests very easy.
 

bbillingsley1985

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2022
61
Little Rock, AR
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Just an update that over the weekend I got around to running the FAS-DPD test (using the powder). That was the only test I hadn't ran yet.

Impressions

The point Mdragger made about the magnetic stirrer in conjunction with that fas-dpd was a great point.....and spot on that it makes the magnetic stirrer much more of a necessity. I really love that thing....very well designed with the light and all.

Instructions were super simple to follow and again with that stirrer....it made it idiot proof. On drop 9 it turned from pink to a very light pink, and then on drop 10 the water turned clear. Based off instructions, since it officially turned to completely clear at 10, my assumption is to use that which means my FC is 5. I went ahead and did the CC test while I was at it and followed instructions to add the drops for it. Once I added the drops and let it swirl, the water was still clear, but maybe the faintest possible hint of a light light pink. I only knew that from looking at the light from the magnetic stirrer. Without that, I wouldn't of even been able to tell there was any hint of pink. Went ahead and added one drop of the R-0871 and it was definitely completely clear after that. That means my CC was either 0.5 or zero. Need to google after this to figure out if that is a good or a bad thing.

Using the poolmath app (wonderful app btw), I logged my results. I redid everything except the CYA and calcium hardness. I saw somewhere that you only get 15 CYA tests and 36 CH per kit and since I just did it last week, I figured I should probably conserve it.

FC 5.0
pH 7.4-7.5 range
TA 70
CH 125 (2 weeks old)
CYA 30-40 (2 weeks old)

One more thought on the poolmath app. Just a suggestion but not a big deal, but it'd be a nice touch (and maybe nice selling point) if when you bought the TF-100 or Pro Kit, that you automatically can get the premium version of pool math. I figure that would be another nice perk of spending the $150 on the test kit. That said its only something like $7 per year so really a moot point. I have a hot tub too so it'd be nice if I could of added that into my app as well without having to pay a premium. A work around is just using the "Effects of Adding" for the hot tub so not a huge deal, just an observation. The free version still works very well and gives you everything you need.

Quick review of poolmath app

Love how the home screen clearly shows everything and what your last levels were. Effects of adding is an awesome feature, and the fact that right within the interface it will tell you exactly what you should add to adjust various levels is also wonderful. What I didn't like was, if I click say the FC tab and change my current free chlorine from say a 4 to a 5, I change it to 5 and it says "congratulations it matches your target", but it doesn't save the 5 that I put in. It reverts back to the old reading (or a blank reading if you've never entered one). So what you have to do is click the + button and do log test results. Once I figured that out, that's fine and it works out. However, when I went to log my 2nd weeks tests results, I get the buy premium message. Workaround is, I have to go to logs and select my latest logs and change the data there and date. I get it that historical logs are for premium only, but I wish there was an option when you click + then "Log Test Results" saying something along the lines of "Note, this will override your previous log. Upgrade to premium to see past logs". That way you can always add your new logs straight from that......or just let you change the number straight from the specific category (such as, I click pH, it was 7.4 but I just ran a new test and its now say 7.6.....I can click, pH, and within that box it opens, actually change current pH to 7.6). In that example, nothing I do within that interface will change it to 7.6....it always keeps 7.4. Only way I can change it is now go to the logs, tab, edit the last log to the new value and change the date to today's date. It works.....but just a little annoying having to switch between that. Again, I'm not criticizing anything.....this is a free app that works really well and is very helpful. Just thought I'd throw out my thoughts about it.
 

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Mdragger88

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Intex Krystal Clear
Tftestkits & trouble free pool are two different entities so not sure about how a 1yr subscription could be implemented (also there’s the question of which App Store the end user would be using - ios, Amazon, microsoft, or google play) but its a good thought.
U can always use the old Poolmath webpage as well
When I change my “current” & “target” parameter in the individual card it sticks & shows what I need to add - so long as I don’t navigate away from that page. This doesn’t change the previous log though- if you proceed to click “log addition” It will log that addition.
Always start with logging test results- then things show up automatically.
This is definitely where the subscription is worth it.
I used the free version for years just to calculate additions & logged everything in a notebook, it became tedious & I often didn’t write everything down so i had to retest things like ta more often than i do now.
Being able to have multiple pool’s logs (pool & hot tub) is definitely worth the price of admission alone in my opinion.
 

bbillingsley1985

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2022
61
Little Rock, AR
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Tftestkits & trouble free pool are two different entities so not sure about how a 1yr subscription could be implemented (also there’s the question of which App Store the end user would be using - ios, Amazon, microsoft, or google play) but its a good thought.
U can always use the old Poolmath webpage as well
When I change my “current” & “target” parameter in the individual card it sticks & shows what I need to add - so long as I don’t navigate away from that page. This doesn’t change the previous log though- if you proceed to click “log addition” It will log that addition.
Always start with logging test results- then things show up automatically.
This is definitely where the subscription is worth it.
I used the free version for years just to calculate additions & logged everything in a notebook, it became tedious & I often didn’t write everything down so i had to retest things like ta more often than i do now.
Being able to have multiple pool’s logs (pool & hot tub) is definitely worth the price of admission alone in my opinion.

Ah didn't realize they were two different entities. Agreed that its probably near impossible and tedius to do with trying to implement that even if they wanted to between all the apps. Regardless, no doubt its definitely worth the $7 per year. I just refilled my hot tub so I'm going to try to dose the granule chlorine until the cya hits the mark as a post in the hot tub forum describes.....using the app for that alone and managing pool + hot tub makes it worth the very negligible $7.
 

bbillingsley1985

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2022
61
Little Rock, AR
Pool Size
22000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
One other interesting observation, and you guys can tell me to shut up anytime, but just thought I'd note everything I noticed lol. So I referred to the "Test Kits Compared" page ( Test Kits Compared ) when deciding between the taylor 2006c and the TFT Test Kits. I decided to go with TFT Test Kits for 2 main reasons.....1. it appears that it does somewhat support this site and 2. I liked the pro box and magnetic stirrer.

This may be posted somewhere else, but I couldn't easily find it anywhere. So the only thing I didn't love about the TF-100 compared to 2006c was the 15 cya tests and 70 alkalinity/CH tests compared to approximately double those on the 2006c. On the 70 for alk/CH I thought, well the reagents will be expired before I use all of those up anyway so no big deal, but I thought it was conceivable between the hot tub and pool that I could burn through those 15 cya tests before the season was over and need to buy more. My current plan is to go swg next year, but the fact that my cya wasn't out of whack from using 3" tabs all of last year (its 30/40ish at the moment) really prompted me to study it up this year while I use up my last 40 lb box of 3" tabs that I bought at the end of last year (for $99) and see if my climate/rain/conditions will stop the cya from blowing up as compared to other parts of the US. If it does start to creep too high I know I can resort to liquid chlorine the rest of the year. So probably more so than the typical user, I'm very interested in cya for this year.

As I look at the pro kit....and correct me if I'm wrong....it appears I have more reagent for cya in that one as compared to the regular TF-100. My math is they gave me 3 2 oz bottles of the R-0013....so 6 total ounces. I only need to use 7.5 ml per test. There are ~177 ml in 6 ounces, so 177/7.5 = 23.6.....so approximately 23 tests. The regular TF-100 you have to use 15 ml per test and they give you an 8 ounce bottle. 236/15 = 15.7 which matches the 15 tests given on the "Test Kits Compared" link. My question/observation is.....without really dissecting it, another advantage of Pro is you get more CYA tests just based on the fact that you have the smaller tube to do half sized samples.

I'd suggest updating the "Test Kits Compared" page to include dosages for the Pro. My assumption is all of the other dosages match the TF-100, but I haven't researched bottle by bottle to see if I got more or less on the pro compared to the TF-100. I think its an important note to know that you get ~50% more CYA tests on pro compared to TF-100. I could of missed it on the TFT website, but I didn't notice anywhere in the description knowing how many tests you get for each category (basically the chart thats in the "Test Kits Compared" page). Might be helpful for end customer to see in the description on the website the approximate amount of tests you get for each category. For example, the one I bought has 7 categories. First one is chlorine OTO. At the end of that description saying something along the lines of "The reagents provide approximately 70 tests" I think would be extremely helpful to the end customer.

My question is am I right to assume that the rest of the approximate numbers in the TF-100 chart on "Test Kits Compared" are right for the pro......and am I correct in the fact that we do get about 23 cya tests for the pro compared to 15 for the non pro? When it's time to buy a refill for R-0013 for cya, I could buy the 8 oz bottle if I wanted to right for $13.50 and thus get about 31 more tests out of that (236/7.5=31.5)? I know the negative of that is it wouldn't fit in my case but I figure I could use it to refill the existing 3 bottles. Anyway, just making sure my understanding is correct in all of that and wanted to throw out what I noticed.
 

Newdude

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One other interesting observation, and you guys can tell me to shut up anytime, but just thought I'd note
Please do, anytime. It's how we got the fancy case, after many folks found the old version less than desirable. The K2006 always had one.

I'm sorry I can't help with your questions yet. I haven't ordered my new pro kit yet and I haven't had a pool for almost 2 years, so I'm a tad rusty on the TF-100 details. Hang tight for these questions.

What I can answer, is that once you are at one with your pool or hot tub, the TFP way, the TA and CYA test bottles will last a loooooong time. Neither value moves much and you'll go a month or more between tests. You will test a few times to start the season, make some adjustments, and be mostly on autopilot from there.
 

Mdragger88

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The reason the pro has more tests is that the view tube is different so u use less regeant per test - I think it may be the same tube as the k2006c but not sure. Also dunno why they don’t just use that tube in the tf100 & change the instructions but I’m sure they have their reasons & maybe they will possibly transition to this in the future.
I know in the tf pro the cya regeant is in multiple little bottles so they fit neatly in the case vs the 1 big bottle of the tf100.
The chart hasn’t been updated to include the tfpro yet because it’s a fairly new option but I believe that’s in the works as well since there are some differences.
They are outlined here 👇
Post in thread 'Why choose TF-100 or Taylor K2006? And, preview of the new TF-Pro and TF-Pro SALT'
Why choose TF-100 or Taylor K2006? And, preview of the new TF-Pro and TF-Pro SALT
 
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YippeeSkippy

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Please do, anytime. It's how we got the fancy case, after many folks found it less than desirable. The K2006 always had one.
Ha! Far from it....the TF-Pro case is so superior to the Taylor case. So much so that I have no qualms about keeping it inside next to the back door.

@bbillingsley1985 - keep your eyes open, especially for emails in Spring/Fall, as TFP often advertise special prices on reagent sets.

Maddie :flower:
 

ddoggphx

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One note - the OTO test is included mainly because of the comparator. It’s more of a “do i have any chlorine or not” kind of test & by Taylor’s own admission it’s not very accurate as it only tests Total chlorine & doesn’t differentiate between Free chlorine & Cc’s.
The fas/dpd powdered test IS the reason to get the tf100/tfpro or k2006 vs a random store kit - it is the most accurate way to test fc & cc & tests these levels up to 50ppm. The others only test up to 5ppm & most are only testing TC. Most pools - including yours have a target 🎯 fc range higher than that
So in poolmath do I add FC and CC together from that test and put that in the FC line, or just the FC result?
 

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