What is the best test kit

I am wanting to take care of my own pool. Everyone says stay clear of Leslies as they are expensive etc

I did buy some chlorine 3 gallon liquid bottles at lowes along with 2 gallons of muratic.

I was wondering what all chemicals do I need to have on deck besides chlorine and muratic acid I have a DE filter
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
The best value for a test kit is the TF100. Add a Speedstir for easier and more accurate testing.

How are you testing now?

For now, you have the chemicals you need. Once you run your tests with your new kit, post up the results and we can provide more guidance.
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
Is buying chemicals at lowes and home depot the cheapest route?
Might be. Or might not. Biggest issue in buying liquid chlorine from those big box stores is the freshness of it. Check the Julian date. Look for a printed number on the bottle that starts with 18 or 19. That is the year. The next three numbers are the day of year it was bottled. Best to get it within 60 days of bottling.
Other issue is storage. Those stores tend to store it outside. OK in the winter, detrimental in the summer. Walmart carries Pool Essentials 10% and normally stores it inside. Still check the dates.

Best is finding a janitorial or chemical supply house that will sell it to you in refillable bottles. I think someone has posted about one in Spring, TX. No idea if that is close.

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter


LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015

I've now been using the TF 100 since I took over my pool 3 1/2 years ago. At first I wanted to test all the time just to understand my pool as recommended by experts on here. Now I only do full tests once per quarter or so. I do still test FC/CC/PH about 3 times per week. Each pool most definitely is a little different. So I got the XL option - good choice since you get a lot more of the most expensive reagents. Also, once or twice per year they sell refill sets a nice discount. I've found the reagents seem to last at least two years if stored in dark cool dry place so I've only replaced mine once. At two years there was no obvious deterioration but I figured it was a good idea to replace them.

You can get liquid chlorine at places already mentioned but it's worth looking into this also. In Florida Leslie's is the best price usually. They sell refillable 2 1/2 gal jugs that they refill at the store for you. I usually buy it with a coupon at $7.98 for 2 jugs (5 gal). I have friends in Houston that get a similar arrangement from their HASA dealer. When you compare prices be sure to adjust for chlorine content.

Acid is available at hardware stores and big box stores. The best price for me is at Home Depot (2 gal of 31.45% for $11.98). Acid consumption varies mostly on how much aeration I do. Wife likes the spill-over look and sound so we run it a lot and I use 10-20 oz per week. Also, check for strength of the acid. More and more stores are adding/replacing 31.45% with "green" MA which is just lower strength. This is preferred by some because it doesn't fume as much but it takes proportionately more chemical to make the same adjustment. I prefer to handle carefully to make sure I'm clear of fumes and deal with less jugs of MA.

Only other product I kept on-hand is stabilizer (cyanuric acid or CYA) When I used liquid chlorine I kept a small bucket of trichlor tablets on hand for when I would go out of town. You can use this for travel if you do not get too high on the CYA test. CYA lasts so long that I've never had to add any after the initial dose and I keep it in the low end of range so I can use tablets for travel.

Another handy tool you can get is the Pool Math app. It will track everything for you and make it easy to do the calculations for chemical addition.

My 3+ year history for my TFP pool and chems have cost me about $10 per month with this method. Pool has been fantastically sparkling 100% of the time. Wife was very concerned I'd mess the pool up but results spoke for themselves and she quickly gained confidence plus liked the budget benefit.. One neighbor copied me, the others just moan about how much their pool service costs and their pool doesn't look as good as mine.

Along the way I added a LOT of goodies. NG heater, RS 12 w iAqualink pool automation, Solar heat, pool cleaner, and most recently converted to salt water generator. I'm now jug-free and loving it! Got great advice and help from the experts here all along the way. TFP is my pool expert online and it's made pool ownership much more enjoyable for me.

Good luck and please ask any questions you have. There's no reason to wonder if you're doing the right thing or to wait for an obvious problem. People here like to help and love to give you tidbits to avoid problems before they happen.

Last edited:


Bronze Supporter
Nov 12, 2016
Plano, Texas
In DFW area Home Depot for muriatic, liquid chlorine at Lowes or Walmart (plain, no additive bleach or they carry Pool Essentials Chlorinating Liquid $3.64). Agree with checking pool supply stores for refillable jugs. Checking freshness date is key. Just saw some of the Pool Essentials at my local Walmart that was almost 7 months old, so make it a habit to look on the bottle.