The Best Water Quality Test Kit for Your Home

The Best Water Quality Test Kit for Your Home

Our pick

SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced City Water Test

SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced City Water Test

Comprehensive test, clear results

This send-away kit delivers lab-tested measurements of more than 100 contaminants, and it explains what they mean and what to do if there’s a problem.

Buying Options

$250* from Amazon
$230 from Tap Score

*At the time of publishing, the price was $230.

The SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced City Water Test is a send-away kit: You take samples of your water, put them into a handful of bottles, and ship them off (using an included mailing label) to a certified laboratory. There, your water is tested for more than 100 compounds, including metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic; volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like chloroform; bacteria; and industrial and agricultural compounds like pesticides and nitrates. Tap Score is not the only highly accurate send-away kit, but no other kit we tested delivered nearly as useful a report. Tap Score not only tells you, in plain language, exactly which compounds are in your water (and the amount) but also explains their potential health risks and suggests ways of addressing any concerns. Tap Score also offers unmatched online support. You can chat with a representative, and if your questions go beyond their knowledge, the questions are passed on to experts, who follow up with a detailed email. All of this makes Tap Score by far the most user-friendly and informative home water quality test kit we found.

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Runner-up

WaterCheck CityCheck Deluxe

WaterCheck CityCheck Deluxe

Highly accurate, harder to read

The CityCheck Deluxe kit is just as accurate as the best water test kit, but it produces less-readable results.

Buying Options

$260 from National Testing Laboratories

Runner-up

Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit

Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit

Highly accurate, harder to read

The Safe Home Ultimate kit is just as accurate as the best water test kit, but it produces less-readable results.

Buying Options

$350* from Safe Home

*At the time of publishing, the price was $325.

If for some reason you are unable to use Tap Score, we recommend two runners-up: the WaterCheck CityCheck Deluxe and the Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit. Like Tap Score, these are send-away kits; you put samples into bottles and ship them to a certified lab. We found that the testing was just as accurate as Tap Score’s (and, in fact, National Testing Laboratories, which makes the CityCheck Deluxe kit, is among the more than 60 labs Tap Score partners with). But both of these kits are more expensive than Tap Score, and their reports aren’t as easy to understand. The reports are still much more readable than those of some other send-away kits: They’re color-coded, so you can quickly see contaminant levels of concern. But they lack Tap Score’s clear explanations, actionable advice, and robust online support. The CityCheck kit also lacks an included mailing label, so you’ll have to take a trip to the post office or another shipper.

Budget pick

Safe Home Do-It-Yourself Lead in Drinking Water Test Kit

Safe Home Do-It-Yourself Lead in Drinking Water Test Kit

A simple, inexpensive lead test

This DIY test kit quickly tells you if you have a lead problem—the number-one concern for many people.

Buying Options

$20 from Home Depot

Our budget pick, the Safe Home Do-It-Yourself Lead in Drinking Water Test Kit, doesn’t have to be sent away—you can get the results at home yourself. It tests only for lead, but if that’s your sole concern, this DIY test is a great option. The Safe Home Do-It-Yourself kit is widely available, inexpensive, and fast (the test takes a total of 10 minutes and less than 30 seconds of active work). And it delivers a clear positive or negative result: Your lead levels are either below the EPA standard or above it. You simply dip a strip of test paper into a sample of your water, and the presence or absence of a blue line tells you whether you have a lead problem. If you don’t, you’ll have peace of mind. If you do, you’ll know it’s time to enlist a professional plumber or an environmental service to help you find and address the source of the problem.

We do not recommend any of the more-comprehensive DIY test kits that are available. We tested six of them and found that the tests were so rushed and the results so subjective (you’re asked to match the color of your test sample to a chart by eye, with only seconds to do so) that we didn’t trust our ability to interpret them. If you want a complete picture of what’s in your water, we strongly recommend that you go with one of the send-away kits and let a professional lab do the testing.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced City Water Test

SimpleWater Tap Score Advanced City Water Test

Comprehensive test, clear results

This send-away kit delivers lab-tested measurements of more than 100 contaminants, and it explains what they mean and what to do if there’s a problem.

Buying Options

$250* from Amazon
$230 from Tap Score

*At the time of publishing, the price was $230.

Runner-up

WaterCheck CityCheck Deluxe

WaterCheck CityCheck Deluxe

Highly accurate, harder to read

The CityCheck Deluxe kit is just as accurate as the best water test kit, but it produces less-readable results.

Buying Options

$260 from National Testing Laboratories

Runner-up

Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit

Safe Home Ultimate Drinking Water Test Kit

Highly accurate, harder to read

The Safe Home Ultimate kit is just as accurate as the best water test kit, but it produces less-readable results.

Buying Options

$350* from Safe Home

*At the time of publishing, the price was $325.

Budget pick

Safe Home Do-It-Yourself Lead in Drinking Water Test Kit

Safe Home Do-It-Yourself Lead in Drinking Water Test Kit

A simple, inexpensive lead test

This DIY test kit quickly tells you if you have a lead problem—the number-one concern for many people.

Buying Options

$20 from Home Depot

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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