If you own a salt water pool you would know how important it is to maintain the salt concentration in your pool. Any imbalance in the salt concentration will lead to insufficient chlorine levels that could cause bacterial and algae growth if the concentration is too low or if it's too high, it will lead to corrosion and damage to your equipment.
There are many ways to test the salt levels in your pool. Some can be simple but have inaccuracies and some are more accurate than others but along with it comes the high price. Based on our experience in pool cleaning here are some of the methods on how to test salt levels in your pool:
Owning a salt-chlorine generator is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to test salt levels in your pool. You can look at the control panel and look for the salt levels. Most salt chlorine generators feature this digital display that measures the salt levels in your pool. Most of them use a sensor to measure the current salt levels, while others use a sensorless conversion algorithm, but the reading is based on the cell amps, volts, and water temperature. We could dive deeper into how this works, but it would be too technical, so the following method is;
Manual Testing With a Salt Test Strip
You don’t have to worry if you don’t have a salt-chlorine generator in your pool to test the salt levels for you. You can do manual testing using salt test strips. There are two ways to do this manual testing. The first is using a dip and read the strip. Dip the test pad of the salt test strip into your pool, then pull it out. After 20 seconds, compare the color of the test strip to the color chart on the bottle. The second method is by using a vial and a test strip. First, you will get a sample from your pool water, fill the vial up to about an inch, and then dip the test strip. Make sure that the lower portion of the strip is in the water for exactly 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, compare the color change of the test strip to the chart on the bottle. This test is cheaper than buying a salt-chlorine generator, it will only cost you around $10 per test, but it can be inaccurate depending on how you did the test.
Manual Testing With a Liquid Reagent Kit
As mentioned before, salt test strips can provide inaccurate results. Still, if you want to have more accurate results, we recommend conducting a salt water test using a liquid reagent kit. This test is $5 higher than a salt test strip so if you have an extra budget, go for this test.
To do this test, you will fill the kit’s vials with your pool water and add the reagents into the vial while following the kit’s instructions. After the water changed its color, compare the water sample's color to the chart on the kit to know your pool’s salt concentration.
Utilizing a Handheld Digital Test Strip Reader
This test uses both test strips and digital technology. These digital test strip readers cost around $60 but this test can give you several measurements, which is pretty convenient and easy to use. To measure your salt water, dip a test strip into your pool, insert the strip into the reader and after 15 seconds, the display will show you the measurements.
Salt Water Testing with Electronic Meters
This testing is the most accurate and fastest method to use. And along with its superior performance among the testing methods, this is also the most expensive. A handheld electronic meter will cost around $50 - $100+. If you have the luxury to spend on this, then we would recommend getting one. This pen-style meter works by dipping the meter tip into the pool then as easy as that, the electronic meter will display your pool’s current salt levels. Aside from pen-style meters, there is another type of electronic meter wherein you will put a small sample of water into a reservoir; then, after pressing the test button, the analog needle will swing to measure the salt levels of your pool. This type of electronic meter is not recommended since they need to test multiple times per day and are more expensive than the pen types.