How to Use Hot Tub Test Strips? (With Images)

When you purchase a hot tub, you automatically accept a set of hot tub maintenance tasks. One task that you will need to do more times than others is testing the water in the hot tub.

You will frequently need to test the pH levels of the water, the calcium hardness, the chlorine levels, and so much more. There are different ways to test the water in your hot tub but by far the easiest method is to use hot tub test strips.

Hot tub test strips are a cheap and convenient way to test the water in your hot tub but how do you use hot tub test strips? Let’s find out. First, let’s check out why you need to test the water in the hot tub.

Are Hot Tub Test Strips Accurate?

Most of the time test strips are very accurate, they are even more accurate than liquid testing kits. The reason why test strips are so accurate is that they don’t have a reagent measurement.

Plus, hot tub test strips test for different chemicals at the same time. You get a pH, chlorine or bromine, alkalinity, and total hardness result at the same time.

But, there are other ways you can get a more accurate result. Sending a water sample to your local spa store is one of the best ways to get an accurate water chemistry result.

Why Should You Use Hot Tub Test Strips?

Hot tub test strips are the most common method of testing hot tub water and for good reasons.

1. Hot Tub Test Strips Are Cheap

For starters, hot tub test strips are cheap. They are by far the cheapest option available to test the water in your hot tub. I purchased my Pool and Spa test strips for just $11 and it has 7 strips in the bottle.

Most test strips have a price tag between $10 and $15. Most liquid testing kits will cost you more than that and don’t even get me started on the cost of digital testing kits.

2. They Are Easy to Use

Hot tub test strips aren’t only cheap, they are also easy to use. I just have to dip a test strip in a sample of water and compare the color I got on the strip to the color guide. It’s as simple as that.

3. Hot Tub Test Strips Give Quick Results

With hot tub test strips, you can test the water and get the reading in less than a minute. Most other methods will take you longer.

4. Hot Tub Test Strips Are Accurate

What’s better than getting a quick test result? Getting an accurate result. Though hot tub test strips are not the most accurate water testing kits, they can still give a very accurate reading if used correctly.

How to Use Hot Tub Test Strips? (Made Easy)

Using hot tub test strips is a very simple process. All you need is to identify colors and you are good to go. Don’t believe me? Let’s dive deeper.

To use hot tub test strips, the first thing to do is to:

1. Collect a Sample of Water

You need to use a clean bowl to collect a sample of the water in the hot tub. Most people just go ahead and dip the test strip into the large hot tub water and use that as an accurate reading.

Don't dip the test strip into the hot tub water. Instead, collect the water and put it in a bowl.

While there is nothing wrong with dipping the test strip in the hot tub water directly, you wouldn’t be guaranteed the best result. This is because when you dip the test strip into the hot tub water, you will most likely do so by dipping the test strip in the water around the shell of the hot tub.

The water around the shell and the jets wouldn’t give you the most accurate reading. This is because the water there is usually unbalanced, to say the least. The best part of your hot tub to take a sample from is the middle of the hot tub.

2. Dip the Test Strip in the Sample Collected

The next thing to do is to dip a test strip in the sample of water collected. You need to do this quickly so the test strip doesn’t get soaked. Hot tub test strips usually have directions on each strip that indicate where to hold and where to dip into the water.

Now, dip the test strip into the bucket of water.

When you dip the test strip in the water, do not swirl it around. This will only damage the test strip. Not to mention that you would not even get any reading close to being accurate. Also, don’t flick the test strip when you take it out of the water. That might mix the colors.

3. Hold Still

When you take out the test strip, do not shake it or move about with it. Just hold still for about 20 seconds for the test strip to get an accurate reading.

Hold the test strip into the water for 20 seconds.

After about 20 seconds, you will notice a color pop on the test strip. The color is the result of your water test but you need to interpret what the color means.

4. Compare the Test Strip to the Color Guide

All test strips usually come with a color guide. The color guide is usually on the container of the test strip. The color guide has several different colors like green, yellow, and red.

Compare the Test Strip to the Color Guide
Note: The color may vary depending on your test strip model.

Each color has its meaning. So compare the color you got on your test strip to get a match on the color guide. The color match tells you what the color you got means.

For instance, if you were testing for total chlorine levels and the test strip shows a green color, it means that the total chlorine in your hot tub is very high. If it’s yellow, then it’s very low. So just compare the color you got to the color guide. It’s as easy as that.

Here are the number of how your hot tub chemistry levels should be:

  • Hardness: 80-200
  • Chlorine: 1.5-3.0 ppm
  • Bromine: 3.0-5.0 ppm
  • pH: 7.2-7.8
  • Alkalinity:  80-120 ppm.

5. Dispose of the Test Strip and Adjust the Water Chemistry Accordingly

After you have tested the water, use the results of the reading to adjust the water chemistry accordingly. Then you can dispose of the test strip.

How Long Do Hot Tub Test Strips Last?

Hot tub test strips are good for about 18 months. But, this also depends on how you store the tests. If you keep them in a cool, dry, and out of direct sunlight then they will last longer.

If you expose the test strips to moisture, direct sunlight and in a warm ambient then they won’t last more than 1 year. Different brands have different expiration dates, so it’s best to check the product container to know for sure.

You should also know that you can’t re-use a hot tub test strip. The dip strips are for a single-use only. Once you are done, you have to throw it away. Luckily, they are very cheap.

Related Read; Do Hot Tub Test Strips Expire?

Can I Use The Same Test Strip To Measure Chlorine And Bromine?

No, chlorine and bromine are two different sanitizers and require different test strips. However, there are a few hot tub tests that can measure both, chlorine and bromine at the same time.

But, if you have test strips that can measure chlorine levels, then you can use the same to measure bromine levels. You just have to convert the chlorine reading by multiplying x2.5 and you get the bromine levels. 

Sometimes, when you add bromine the test will also show some chlorine. That’s because hot tub bromine products always have a small amount of chlorine inside.

What Are Salt Water Test Strips?

Saltwater tests strips are the same as other test strips. But, they only measure the salt levels in your hot tub. Dip the test into the water for a few seconds, get the test out, and wait at least 20 seconds before checking the results.  Then, compare the results with the container chart. The ideal salt levels are between 1500-2000 ppm.

Final Words

Overall, hot tub test strips are very easy to use. Like I stated earlier, all you need to know is how to match colors and you are good to go. The test strips will do the rest.

Now you know how to use hot tub test strips, you can go ahead to test the water in your hot tub. As an expert tip, always test the water in the hot tub at least once every week. This will help you keep track of your water chemistry and be on top of the situation at all times.

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