Test Kit Comparison

Uncle Salty

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2017
223
South Carolina
#1
So I have been using the Lamotte ColorQ Pro 11 since my pool was completed a couple months ago and have been happy with the ease of use and it seems to be consistent but I'm more concerned with accuracy. I needed Borate strips tonight and well shopping at TFT curiosity got the best of me so I bought the TF-100 and the Taylor K-1766 salt kit and Borate strips(already have the speed stir). Looking forward to seeing how the two stack up as I've read virtually every ColorQ user goes to the TF-100.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,328
Sebring, Florida
#7
You can use the speed stir whenever you like.

It is probably most helpful for the CH test, but many folks use it for TA, FC, and CYA.

After using the ColorQ, you will find the methods in the TF-100 a little slower but the precision and repeatability are simply the best.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,509
Tucson, AZ
#8
Your side-by-side comparisons should be done over the long term and with both tests run on the same water sample draw (use a larger draw volume).

Typically what is seen is that ColorQ performs well initially and gives comparable results but then begins to drift with age. Calibration of electronic devices is always an issue. Titration typically offers a larger range to be measured by sacrificing a small amount of accuracy and precision. Photometry typically gives higher accuracy and precision but over a smaller range.

It will be interesting to see your results.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,530
Bedford, TX
#9
Salty,

I also have the ColorQ, and like it a lot, but I think you will find the TF-100 to be more accurate.

The ColorQ uses a pretty small sample size. I believe that this magnifies any small measurement error with either the amount of pool water or the reagent.

The ColorQ reads Total Hardness even though the test is labeled Calcium Hardness (CH). The TF-100 reads true CH.

I use the SpeedStir and sample sizer on every test except the CYA test...

I'm looking forward to your comparison tests myself.

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

bmoreswim

Gold Supporter
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TFP Guide
Jul 16, 2012
4,310
Central MD
#11
And stand on your left foot only for all tests, unless you use the sample sizer, then right foot is mandatory.

Love the user name and active participation. Thanks.
 

Uncle Salty

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2017
223
South Carolina
#12
So I've been running both tests simultaneously for a few weeks now and without question if you want accuracy and repeatability, which I think everyone on here would want then the TF-100 is the champ. I'm not going to post every single test but here's a summary for each test we need to run to keep a happy TFP.

FC- I let my FC go up for a period during the test due to all the tree debris and pollen and knew this already that Lamotte cannot handle over a reading of 10 and just read high unless you dilute the sample but I didn't bother. The TF-100 was bang on each time and as I let the FC drop the test reflected it perfectly. Once the level was below 10 the Lamotte read higher than the TF-100 and not consistent.

CC- The Lamotte tests TC which isn't a problem as long as it matches FC which it never did, it always showed a .5 up to over 2 difference. This was originally why I bought the TF-100 because I was worried something was in my water throwing the Lamotte to read high. Well TF-100 put that all to rest as it remained clear on every test.

PH- This was one where both were consistently the same and match my automation reading bang on, my PH never budges it reads 7.5 every time.

TA- This one wasn't even close, Lamotte was reading 120-130 so relatively consistent but the TF-100 actually told me I was at 170 and this was consistent every single time.(I know I need to lower, more than I originally thought).

CH- Not really that important with vinyl but to some it's very important and again Lamotte read lower and it is actually a total hardness not sure what the difference is but reading about 50. TF-100 was consistent and read more in the 90-100 range.

CYA- Lamotte was quite good on this one and easy to test reading 72-75 consistently. I was worried about the TF-100 and the black dot thing but I must say it was a non issue and read 70-80 consistently. This is something I would only test monthly so not a big deal and the black dot thing works as advertised, not sure why so many have issues with this test.

In summary Lamotte ColorQ is okay and very easy to use but also 2.5X the cost compared to the TF-100. IMO if you want to keep a true TFP go with the TF-100, the tests are a little more involved initially but after a few times it's pretty easy especially with the speed stir and all the support available here. I'll keep the Lamotte for my neighbor to test my water when we go on vacation, how much damage can happen in a week or two ;).

Salty
 
Last edited:

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,509
Tucson, AZ
#15
CH- Not really that important with vinyl but to some it's very important and again Lamotte read lower and it is actually a total hardness not sure what the difference is but reading about 50. TF-100 was consistent and read more in the 90-100 range.
Total Hardness (TH), or sometimes labelled degrees of General Hardness (dGH), is the measure of ALL multivalent ions in solution (Ca2+ and Mg2+ with other multivalent ions like iron, maganese, strontium, zinc, etc, being ignored as they are typically too low). TH tests usually report results in units of calcium carbonate concentration (ppm of [CaCO3]) while degrees of general hardness are usually in units of calcium oxide concentration (1 degree of GH is equal to 10ppm of [CaO]). 1 dGH is equivalent to 17.484ppm of [CaCO3].

The TF-100 and K-2006 can be easily made to read TH; you simply just don't add the R-0010 in the first step. The R-0010 is sodium hydroxide which raises the pH of the test sample above 10 so that magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) precipitates out of solution (you don't see it, but it is there). Then the indicator dye only has calcium ions to react with. The taylor reagents are designed to remove interferences from other multivalent metal ions so that you get the truest calcium test possible. Many TH and dGH tests don't do that and so, if the water has metals in it, you are really seeing a mix of different hardnesses.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#16
Note that when the TF-100 is very fresh, the TA test may read higher than reality as the regent builds up static and the drops may not fully form before jumping off the tip, so you end up counting more smaller drops. This typically goes away after a few tests, but that is why there is the recommendation to wipe the tip after every drop to start with.
 

Uncle Salty

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2017
223
South Carolina
#17
Note that when the TF-100 is very fresh, the TA test may read higher than reality as the regent builds up static and the drops may not fully form before jumping off the tip, so you end up counting more smaller drops. This typically goes away after a few tests, but that is why there is the recommendation to wipe the tip after every drop to start with.
Tip was wiped as directed after each and every drop.
 

MarkTX

Bronze Supporter
Nov 15, 2015
337
Cypress, TX
#18
Total Hardness (TH), or sometimes labelled degrees of General Hardness (dGH), is the measure of ALL multivalent ions in solution (Ca2+ and Mg2+ with other multivalent ions like iron, maganese, strontium, zinc, etc, being ignored as they are typically too low). TH tests usually report results in units of calcium carbonate concentration (ppm of [CaCO3]) while degrees of general hardness are usually in units of calcium oxide concentration (1 degree of GH is equal to 10ppm of [CaO]). 1 dGH is equivalent to 17.484ppm of [CaCO3].

The TF-100 and K-2006 can be easily made to read TH; you simply just don't add the R-0010 in the first step. The R-0010 is sodium hydroxide which raises the pH of the test sample above 10 so that magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) precipitates out of solution (you don't see it, but it is there). Then the indicator dye only has calcium ions to react with. The taylor reagents are designed to remove interferences from other multivalent metal ions so that you get the truest calcium test possible. Many TH and dGH tests don't do that and so, if the water has metals in it, you are really seeing a mix of different hardnesses.
Wow, that is interesting and good to know. Thx
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
#20
One thing that is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, don't obsess over TA, if your pH is stable and in acceptable range and you are not flirting with Calcium saturation issues there really is no reason to obsess on TA.