Hot tub test strips: how to use, which to choose!
Hot tub test strips play a vital role in keeping your hot tubbing a fun, stress-free and – above all – healthy experience for everyone involved.
Learning how they work is very important to get your head around. Luckily, they’re very easy and simple to use.
Check out the instructions here to see which hot tub water test kits are the cheapest and easiest to use to keep your hot tub water in perfect chemical balance.
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Are There Different Kinds Of Hot Tub Test Strips?
Yes, there are many different kinds of hot tub test strips available. But even the most bargain basement models test all the basic factors you need to know to adjust your hot tub’s chemical balance. These are:
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- Your tub’s Total Alkalinity (sometimes abbreviated as TA).
- Your tub’s pH levels.
- Another very useful factor to measure is Total Hardness (TH), but this isn’t a must.
Most modern test strips of even moderate quality (including the excellent ones recommended below) will test much more than this though. Some measure as many as seven factors.
Two important things that you need to check whether your test strips measures are chlorine and bromine levels. These are the two different options you have for chemicals to use to keep your tub free from bacteria.
Some strips test one or the other. Some test both. So do be sure to match what you use with the strips you’re buying.
How Do You Use Hot Tub Test Strips?
- Check expiry date – make sure your test strips are in-date before you use them.
- Turn off your jets – deactivate your hot tub’s jets or pumps so the water is still.
- Dip your strip – make sure your strip is well submerged in the water (at least the depth of your hand) and swirl it around for about ten seconds.
- Remove and shake – extract your test strip from your hot tub water and shake it free from excess water.
- Compare strip and chart – hold your test strip up against the chart on the packaging or instructions. You usually need to do this within 30 seconds of removing it from the water, so make sure you’re ready before you dip!
How Do You Read A Hot Tub Water Test Strip?
The key factors to check – depending on those your test strip measures – are:
- Total Alkalinity – you want this to be between 80 and 120 parts per million (some manufacturers recommend 125-155, so be sure to confirm this). This measures how stable your pH levels are.
- pH level – aim for a pH between 7.2 and 7.8. Of course, this will be affected by your alkalinity. Don’t adjust alkalinity and expect the pH level to stay the same!
- Total Hardness (TH) – this should be between 175 and 250 parts per million.
- Chlorine levels (if using) – if you use chlorine to control bacteria in your tub, you want the levels to be between 1.5 and 3 parts per million before you climb in (some say between 3 and 5, though the top end of this is getting into danger territory).
- Bromine levels (if using) – if you use bromine for this purpose, aim for between 3 and 5 parts per million (some say between 4 and 6).
Can I Use Hot Tub Chlorine Test Strips To Test For Bromine?
You always want to be able to measure the level of the specific cleansing agent you use in your hot tub. For most people, this will be chlorine. For others, bromine.
Many hot tub test strips are designed to measure both. But do be sure you’ve covered yourself before you buy.
How Often Should I Use A Hot Tub Test Strip?
It’s a good habit to get into testing your hot tub water’s sanitiser and pH levels every day before use. It’s also worth checking TA and TH at least once every week.
Hot Tub Test Strip Recommendations
At Totally Hot Tubs, we recommend these hot tub test strips. We use them to test our own hot tub water because they’re easy to use, give good results, and are reasonably priced too! If you order from Amazon and you have Prime Delivery, they will be with you the next day.
These strips work for both chlorine and bromine, so you’re safe no matter which you use.
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