Test kits

Mar 14, 2017
Charleston, sc
One more question, since finances are tight I need the cheapest test kit that will get the job done for now. In a couple of weeks I can upgrade. What should I be looking for in a basic kit?


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
Time and again on this forum, we see people waste money on an inadequate kit. The problem seems to be that newbies just don't yet understand the requirements for precision that we need.

I would rather see you wait a couple of weeks and get the TF-100 or K-2006..........you'll be glad you did.


Gold Supporter
Apr 25, 2016
I echo Dave's sentiments. Also, keep in mind, the couple of bucks you save on a cheaper kit might end up costing you more in the long run, chemical imbalances needing a lot of potentially expensive chemicals to fix, damage from the result of chemical imbalances, possibly unsanitary conditions (remember, you're putting yourself, family, and friends in your hands - this isn't running water, it needs good quality care to be and stay safe).

TFTestkits has really done all of the hard work for you. Unfortunately, I had to piecemeal my stuff together and it ended up costing me a lot more because I started out on my own before finding TFP. I'd strongly recommend you invest in one of the bundles - it will be worth it!

Good luck!

Take care,


Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 26, 2012
Edmond OK
The one you must have is the FAS/DPD chlorine test to follow the TFP method. You can save a few bucks by getting it with the TF-50, especially if you already have a cheap OTO test kit from Wal Mart. I think that's the only thing different between the TF-50 and the TF-100.
Mar 14, 2017
Charleston, sc
I will def get the one recommended when we get paid. For now I need something so I don't leave the water with no chemicals for 2 weeks so I don't end up with a swamp. So I got some strips that test free chlorine, total chlorine, ph, alkalinity, hardness and stabilizer
Mar 24, 2014
Greenville, SC
Test strips are worthless. (see Dave's comment on people wasting money :( ) That was money that could be spent on a real test kit.

IF you are getting a decent test kit in 2 weeks, you COULD add enough CYA to get to 30 (one time) and then add 2 ppm FC each day and test pH with one of those cheap HTH 5 way kits or whatever they are. Again, this is all wasted money on sub-par kits but it could save you from having to dump the water and refill when you do get your test kit.

Basically treat it as a seasonal or temporary pool as laid out in this article Pool School - Guide for Seasonal/Temporary Pools
Mar 14, 2017
Charleston, sc
Mr. Bruce that is very helpful, I'd love to return the strips and use the money towards the good kit. How do I know how much cya to add? Or should I just add trichlor? I tried using the pool math calculator but it was giving me 0 for cya because it had trichlor selected. And I didn't know what to change the trichlor to, I'm not familiar with the other options listed. Also, how do I know how much to add each day to get to 2 ppm like you recommended?
Mar 24, 2014
Greenville, SC
Make sure you enter your pool volume at the top. Then enter your current levels in the left hand Now column (left) and your target in the Target column (right). The calculator will also tell you how much chlorine to add.

Here is the recommended chemicals article.
Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

I'd just like to reiterate, this is a limp-along "keep the algae away" method until you get your pool kit.

e: I just looked at the Pool Calculator and I think I understand your question better. For FC section, just use the top line, ignore the drop down on the second line with Trichlor, Dichlor, etc.


Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
San Jose, CA
I agree with Mr. Bruce, just make sure you add enough bleach or liquid chlorine so your pool doesn't get any algae in the meantime. Stay away from trichlor or or any granular chlorine. If it'll be a couple of weeks or more until you get the good test kit, you might want to get the basic test kit from Home Depot for $7.99 to at least make sure your ph isn't completely out of whack. I used it for a while until I realized that it doesn't do the required FAS-DPD chlorine test, and that it doesn't have a CYA test, which is probably the most critical, since it is this very test that determines what level to keep you FC (free chlorine) level at.