Why so much hate on pool store's water test?


Bronze Supporter
Dec 24, 2018
Columbus, OH
You have to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He probably meant no harm, but this is what Wal-Mart is famous for. We had an Intex Pool and quite honestly, did not care one bit about what people thought. No one is here to judge on what pools people own, etc. It was probably just conversation. Personally, I would have asked him what he meant by the statement, as I would be confused. And the copper bit, just sheer ignorance.

Pool store employee's know no better. There training is poor at the least.

Picture a mom and pop store with a few items on the shelf:

1) Bleach
2) Baking Soda
3) Borax
4) Muriatic Acid
5) The TF-100 Test Kit + Speed Stir & Accessories

Incidentals that your pool could need (Hardware, that is). Now, remove all the magic potions that you really do not need, and one could operate a mom and pop store in a store front property that is 400 square feet. Now, walk into a Leslie's and you are talking 2,000-4,000 square feet. There is one in Freehold, NJ that is at least 4,000 square feet, with things you really do not need.

The testing may not be off by that much, but they always are recommending products that just are not needed. Take care and good luck!
I get what you’re saying. But why on earth would he recommend I buy a COPPER algaecide for a vinyl Intex pool? That’s crazy talk! The bottle even says do not use in pools with vinyl liners. I don’t care about the Walmart remark lol! Like I said, it’s true. ??‍♀ The copper algaecide is what made me run for my life lol


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
A couple of times in this thread the implication has been that algaecides are PARTICULARLY bad for vinyl pools. I don't know that and I don't think I have heard mention of that on this forum before.

I do know that copper is a very effective algaecide most all the time but it has a POTENTIALLY nasty side effect of precipitation onto pool surfaces.....probably more so on plaster than vinyl but, again, I don't know that for sure.

I also know that polyquat 60 is a non-copper based product that TFP thinks is better than copper based algaecides. I also know that TFP thinks that algaecides are not needed in day to day operation of your pool.

So, copper based algaecides may or may not stain your pool but they are VERY effective at preventing algae.....is it worth the risk?

TFP doesn't think it is and suggests that algaecides are not needed but if you decide you need one, then polyquat 60 eliminates the potential staining problem.

All that said, if you decide to use a copper based algaecide, I don't think copper staining is a guarantee and I don't think it will precipitate on vinyl any worse than on plaster.
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Interesting thread... What I learned today? Kim chemically blew a liner! :) And That Leslie's is evil. And that not all pool stores are not evil. I have to actually agree... E-konomy here in Tucson is perfectly content to sell liquid chlorine (cheap!) to people like me who profess to use TFP. They even say, it's a good technique that works and will talk to you about it if they are not busy. My pool startup guy even claimed that TFP was valid (but he didn't do it), but he did have a valid point that changing out the water every year and a half is probably needed for CH anyway here in Tucson and you can take CYA with it at the time. And since even with some of the most expensive water anywhere, my fill was $165.. it can be a valid doable point to plan water changes anyway. I just want my water to look good for as long as I can. The neighbors who change the water every 18 months have pretty dingy looking water for the last 6 or so....

Now the guys who use $100+ "special chemicals" to "fix their water" are nuts when a exchange or a 1/2 refill is much less than that... but I digress.....


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
Tallahassee, FL
a problem with their test results
Just know most of them don't use the full FC test so can only test FC up to 5. If it is higher you are out of luck. Their CYA test is off quite often as well. Oh and the pH test that is so important to plaster and vinyl life gets changed just by the ride and carting it around.

Best to do your own testing right by the pool and know it is correct.
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Well-known member
Jan 30, 2018
I agree it’s best to do yourself.

I’ve never had grossly incorrect results in the few times I’ve gone to pool store, but their advice has always been wrong. “Ooo, TA 70, that’s WAAY too low. You need 8kg of buffer immediately. You can buy 4x 2kg bags or 1x 10kg bag”
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Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
I don't really hate pool stores or their tests. I've just found they are extremely variable in the test results. The quality of their testing is only as good as their training and maintenance of equipment. Sometimes the testing area is a mess sometimes it's not. It is just so easy to get extremely reliable results with a little advice from here and a good test kit that it doesn't make any sense to take a chance.

And then there's the advice.... ranges from spot on (rare) to completely wrong and usually is on the right end of that scale. Our closest Leslie's has one guy that's very good. He clearly has read up on TFP and can almost tell if it's a TFP customer. But the rest of the crew at that place are hopeless. The BS they use to support their conflicted recommendations is pathetic. And unfortunately it seems like the average pool owner's default take is that it's a pool store so they must know what to do... this changes after hundreds of $ and worse pool looking pool. Eventually a lot of them end up here.

In spite of all this I wouldn't say my feelings rise the hate level. Just a little frustrated and sad for the victims.

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Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
Katy, Texas
I never take water to Leslies unless I've tested it myself first with the TF-100 kit. There is one guy who is there weekday mornings when there is little business. I go there to get liquid chlorine, as theirs is the best price in our area (not to mention way easier than a big box store. I let him know I've just tested the water myself. He takes his time, and when his numbers are different from mine, I ask what he thinks I might have done wrong. wink wink. In fact, though, there is rarely a consequential difference. His testing is reliable enough that in a pinch, I might just use his results--although I haven't done that yet. For anyone here on the west side of Houston, this is the Leslies on Mason Road just south of I-10.