pH testing frustration


Jul 18, 2013
Walton, KY
I'm hoping for some clarification on pH testing using the Taylor K-1000 kit that came with my TF-100 kit. I know this question is going to be hard to explain but here is the question: am I trying to match the color or the intensity of the color? It looks like the top 3 blocks on the tester are nearly the same color but with different intensities. (Like three different samples of the same berry Kool-Aid but at different dilution levels). The 7.5 does appear to have a hint of orange and the other two are definitely more orange. It seems to me that the color of my test water never seems to fall exactly in the spectrum from pink to orange with the same intensities on the tester and the spectrum seems to end at the 7.8 block with the 8.2 block being a darker version of 7.8 and not necessarily less orange.

I acknowledge that I may be expecting more precision than such a simple test kit can provide, but I'm an engineer by nature (and degree) and a career pilot. Attention to detail and precision are in my DNA.


LifeTime Supporter
Mar 7, 2011
Houston, Texas
I share your frustration. I've always had this problem with the pH test. My test always shows a shade of red, but I rarely get the purplish color of the 8.2 sample. Best I can tell is that my pH stays somewhere between 7.8 and 8.1 until I add about a quart of MA and it falls to around 7.5.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
yellow 6.8 and lower

yellow orange 7.0

orange 7.2

orange red 7.4-7.5

red 7.6-7.8

red violet 8.0

violet 8.2 and higher

The test gets easier with practice.

The next step up is electronic testing. Those that are good enough to depend on start around $200 and require regular calibration.

This OTO test (that you have) is the only pH test that makes economic sense for the average pool owner.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
Midland TX
Welcome to the forum. I hear ya for sure on this one. I try and try to get used to it but I have a hard time too. I usually go to my meter, but I am lucky to have that luxury. You just have to use the "best guess" method, but honestly it really gets easier with practice. Most importantly, it is suffcient to do the job. Not what you wanted to hear I know, but that's the straight scoop.
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