Specifically for well water
More comprehensive than basic kits
Tests for lead, pesticides, and bacteria
Can only be used once
Prone to human error
Questionable pH reading
We purchased WaterSafe's Well Water Test Kit so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
The WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit is specifically designed for well water. Unlike some of the more basic water testing kits on the market, it also tests for bacteria and pesticides. We normally have our well water collected by a technician and sent to a laboratory, which can be quite expensive. We were eager to see if the WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit would provide comparable results for our well water right from home. We assessed its ease of use, the test design, and its accuracy, read on to see if we think this water testing kit is worth buying.
Ease of Use: A complex kit with clear instructions
The WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit requires you to perform multiple tests, so it is much more time-consuming than those that rely on the one-strip method. This test delivers quick results on common contaminants found in well water like iron, copper, lead, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, pH, and hardness. The bacteria test takes 48 hours to produce results. Despite all the steps involved, the instructions are well-written, straightforward, and easy to follow. Each test has its own section with clearly numbered steps. Included are helpful diagrams to help you easily interpret your results.
Our best advice is to do this test when you don’t have any distractions and give yourself a full 30 minutes to complete the testing. This is a one-time use kit, so there’s no room for mistakes. If you lose one of the test strips or spill the bacterial growth powder, it nullifies the test. The best place to set up the test is on a wide, clean counter or table. This kit contains small pieces that should be kept clean and separate. We have a speckled marble countertop, which is distracting as a background, especially when trying to read the fine print on some of the test strips. To help us interpret the results better, we got a white poster board to cover the countertop, which allowed us to see everything more clearly.
Design: Involves multiple tests and testing methods
Though it’s fairly simple to use, this testing kit is a lot more complex than a one-strip test. It took us about 45 minutes to perform all of the tests. However, we did stop periodically to take notes and photographs to write this review. It would probably take the average user about a half hour to do the testing. Be sure to follow the instructions to the letter, or you may end up with improper results.
There are six tests in all. Some tests screen for multiple contaminates. There are separate strips for copper and iron, one for nitrate and nitrite, and one strip that tests for ph, hardness, and chlorine simultaneously. You immerse each strip into a water sample, but beware that the instructions vary. For example, the reagent pad for copper should be immersed in water for 30 seconds and waved back and forth gently. The nitrate/nitrite pad is only immersed for two seconds and held still before it’s removed. With these four tests, you simply match the color on your strip to the results chart.
All required components come in a separate packet, which includes a vial, a dropper pipette, two test strips, and a desiccant to keep the packaging moisture-free. The lead and pesticide test is more complicated than the others. You use the dropper to collect the exact amount of water needed for the test and place it into the vial. After swirling the vial for a few seconds, place it on a flat surface. Put both test strips in the vile (with the arrows facing down) and wait ten minutes. You can then remove the strips and consult the chart for results. A series of lines should appear, indicating whether the test is negative or positive.
Unlike the other tests that provide almost immediate results, the bacteria test won’t yield results for 48 hours. The kit includes a vial that contains a bacterial growth powder. You add water to the vial, seal it, and shake well. You have to store it in a warm room (70 F to 90 F) for 48 hours. If the solution remains purple, it means no bacteria are present. However, if it turns yellow, it is highly probable that bacteria were detected. Thankfully our liquid remained purple, but we question those results since we had a couple of issues with the testing process.
Convenience: Bacteria test could be improved
The test is convenient since you can do if from home and get those results speedily, but that may not be relevant if the test is inaccurate.
We thought it was difficult to do the bacteria test for two reasons. First, the provided vial is difficult to use. The vial is clear and so are the lines for measurement. It’s the measuring lines that are the problem. You can see the lines just fine when you hold the vial up to the light. However, the vial contains a bacterial growth powder. Once the powder mixes with water, it becomes cloudy and the 5-milliliter line is no longer visible, making it impossible to tell if we had collected the correct amount of water. It would have been a lot easier if the manufacturer put a red line at the fill point to avoid confusion.
The second issue we had with the bacteria test was that it requires the vial to be placed in a warm area between 70 F to 90 F for two full days. We normally maintain cooler temperatures in our house, preferably 68 F. To comply with the test instructions, we turned up the thermostat in our house. However, the house got really warm (it was a warm October), and we had to turn it back down before the test period ended. Depending on the climate where you live and where you intend to store the test while the bacteria test works, the temperature required might be difficult or impossible. If it was summer, we could have left the vial in a hot garage or attic for two days. Now that it’s fall, those spaces are too cold. Unfortunately, we lack confidence in the test results because our house was slightly cooler than the recommended testing temperature.
All of the variables we tested for were either not present at all or fell in the normal range, except for pH. Our pH registered at a surprisingly high level—between 8.5 and 10. The Watersafe kit can only be used once, so we couldn’t double-check our results. However, we had read numerous reviews in which users claim their pH readings were inaccurate. We also had our doubts about accuracy due to the fact that we had tested our water just a few days before with another kit. Using the other kit, our pH fell within the normal range—between 7 and 7.5—based on those results.
Still, the high pH reading from the Watersafe kit left us a little disconcerted. We weren’t sure what it meant or whether it was harmful. After doing some online research, we determined that our well water is likely more alkaline, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some experts say alkaline water can neutralize acids in your bloodstream and help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Because of the significant discrepancy in pH between the two products we used, we don’t have complete faith in at-home water testing kits. We will continue to have our well water collected by a technician and sent to a laboratory for testing. Although we feel somewhat reassured that no toxins were detected in our well water, we’re not 100 percent confident with the results.
Retailing for about $25, the WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit is affordable. The results are provided as a range rather than an exact measurement. We prefer specificity, but for the price, it’s to be expected. At-home testing is also more prone to more human error too. If you are likely going to send your water to the lab anyway, the $25 WaterSafe kit may be overkill.
WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit vs. Essential indicators Water Test
If you’re looking for more comprehensive information or want to clear up any doubts about the quality of your water, a mail-in kit sent to a laboratory is a better—albeit more expensive—choice. At $129, the Essential Indicators Water Test is certainly a splurge, but it offers superior testing capabilities. The mail-in tests rules out more than 170 contaminants, which is far more extensive than any at-home water testing kit.
We would only use this test in conjunction with lab testing.
We recommend the WaterSafe Well Water Test Kit for a basic reading of your water quality. However, we would not use it in lieu of professional testing conducted in a laboratory. The safety of our drinking water is a serious health matter and we prefer to leave it to the experts.
- Product Name Well Water Test Kit
- Product Brand WaterSafe
- Price $34.95
- Weight 2.4 oz.
- Product Dimensions 8 x 4.5 x 1.5 in.
- Included One bacteria test vial, one copper test strip, one iron test strip, one nitrate/nitrite test strip, one pH/hardness/chlorine test, and one lead/pesticide kit (contains a test vial, a dropper pipette, two test strips, and a dessicant)