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Pool Test Kit Comparison

Ok, so I was trained testing water with reagents. Especially on a Taylor water test station. I am admittedly a little biased. I have done thousands, I mean THOUSANDS. Over 300 a week in the Summer months. I ran the busiest water testing store in the entire district. At times, the whole company. Pool Test Kit Comparison.

When I converted to Mom & Pop, I was blind-sided by a strange animal called a Lamont Spin Lab. I was like, “Huh?  You mean to tell me I squirt a bit of water into a disc…stand there for 2 min 14 seconds and voila? A water test is born? Cray cray. At first, I was on board, but then I began to suspect something may be off.

Close Enough for Horse Shoes?

Perhaps it was TOO easy. Lo and behold, the machine needed to be calibrated. The rep showed me how, and I was spinning away again. Then a trend of low alkalinity sprung up. I called the rep back, and he ran the calibration disc only to tell me the findings were “in range” of accuracy? Wth? I don’t want it to be almost right.

Domo Arigato Spin Lab vs. Taylor Drop Test ?

So I never know how far off this contraption is going to be. Then I started remembering that I am NOT actually a machine, much to my chagrin. I am sure I am probably only “in range” myself with my reagents. So, just for fun (because I am a huge pool nerd), I did an experiment. Spin Lab versus Watertest Station. Annndddd….fight!

The contestants:

Spin Lab vs. Taylor Drop Test

Taylor Water Test Station

Spin Lab vs. Taylor Drop Test

Lamont Spin Lab

Spin Lab vs. Taylor Drop Test

The spin lab test comes first. I poured out my sample that I had one of the techs bring in from a commercial property.

Spin Lab vs. Taylor Drop Test

Filling the disc, just past the guideline line. Too full or not full enough yields inaccurate results every time.

I threw it in the lab

I secured the lid. Yup…I have TOTALLY run it without by mistake.

I set the proper parameters and ran the test.

While I was waiting, I started my Taylor test. I didn’t want the results of the spin test to sway me.

I checked the TDS on a TDS meter for both tests.

Me wondering why its 2,800, and the pool tech hasn’t suggested draining.

I performed all the necessary tests using reagents.

FAC, PH, TA, Calcium, CYA

For Phosphates, I prefer test strips

Natural Chemistry Phosphate Strips

I noted my water test station results. Then, I fetched my results from the Spin lab.

Much to my suprise (kinda), there were some significant variances. Some, not so much.

What bothered me was the fact that the difference put it in range versus out of range in a couple fields.

I re-checked the large variances, such as calcium hardness.

Similar story Why Test my Pool for Calcium Hardness ❔

Nope. They were different. So, what did my experiment tell me? Just what I already knew. The spin lab is too low reading alkalinity and too high in calcium . Because of failing in these 2 areas, I have no choice but to dub the Taylor Water Test lab the winner in this match anyway.

Did my drops drip?

Could I have misfilled the disc? Sure. Could my droplets have been varying in size? Absolutely. I encourage you to do your own tests and see what ya find.

All I know is that to me, You look like lots of fun. Open up your bottles now, water test here I come.

Spin Lab Results


Water Test Station Results


FAC – .75

TAC- 1.0

Combined – .25

PH- 8.0

Hardness- 380, 370, 380

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Michael Dyer

    Very professionally written.

    1. Jules Johnson

      Thanks for being a loyal reader, Michael!

  2. Debra

    In the 80’s I was given one of those fancy spin lab tests to use in the field for a new portable kit which looked impressive…It also printed out the parameters….I almost wanted to use it on my route just to impress my customers…but like you…after finding the skewed results to be way off on expensive chemicals I would need to replace…I decided to tell the company who loaned it to me, that I would not use it in the field…my thoughts were that retail stores would love it. You could sell a lot of Calcium and “Total Alkalinity Increaser.” I am a Taylor girl from way back.

    1. Richard LaMotte

      We began making the Spin units in 2013 so your comment in reference to the 1980s must be some other device. If you wish to let us know we can likely comment further. I was around then too so can help you try to figure out which you used.

  3. Jules Johnson

    Debra, you are right on the money!

  4. Chris Golden

    Nice comparison. Plus you can adapt for interferences with the liquid kit that you cannot with the SpinLab.

  5. Richard LaMotte

    Good observation on High TDS along with high Cyanuric Acid since the pool should be partially drained, refilled and retested before any treatment chemicals are added. The large difference in the Hardness result needs further investigation so let us have a local rep come help resolve that mystery. In High TDS water one will often find high Ca Hardness if the user has been using only Cal Hypo for a lengthy time. We can send standards for your comparison testing and can have our Rep check the optics for stains or debris in the disk cover; along with software updates since the unit appears to be at least 4 years old. It read well on the chlorine and pH but we did not see results for ALK in your drop test which you claimed was different.
    Lastly, filling is important in that some users stop when they only see a trickle of water pass the Fill line in the disk base, when actually it needs water to Fill UP to the top of that line, not just a trickle.

    1. Jules Johnson

      Wow! That is totally awesome of you to have the rep come out. I’m certain the maintenance you are suggesting will have our tests reading more accurately in no time. I greatly appreciate your tips and dedication to the swimming pool industry. See you pool side!

    2. Chris Fellmer

      Mr. LaMotte,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my coworkers article. I am a big proponent of technology and feel that your company is heading in the right direction.
      My main frustration is with customer service and your tech support. One of your technicians came to our store to replace our WaterLink unit. We received a refurbished unit (which is fine) but now in order for us to use it, we have to unplug and plug it back in every time.
      Also, our GM asked him about the “search” function to locate customers. We have to scroll about 50 blank lines of data to finally find the customer we want. The tech didn’t address this issue.
      I hope this is one-time occurrence and not the norm for your company. What needs to be done to get us resolution? Should I contact customer service on Monday?

      Chris Fellmer
      Retail Mgr
      Mission Pool & Spa Supplies

  6. Jules Johnson

    Thanks to Mr. Lamott for sending Vince, our rep out with a new machine and some great pointers! That is awesome service!

  7. Buck R Mcguire

    Drop size not right on point..
    Not for the wizard of H2O. Never. As many times as I’ve tested water, Its a drop in the bucket compared to Mr. Stankowitz.
    I’m taking the Taylor kit every time, I mean, I can dump water from the vial and nail the halfway line 95 out of 100 times with my eyes closed. And you’re my sensei!

    1. Rudy Stankowitz

      Thank you Buck for reading and for your kind words. ?? You are a water warrior in your own right.?‍? There are several great manufacturers in this sector and I do believe it is important that each operator chooses the tool that best fits their specific protocol of care. Some may not share your comfort level or accuracy with visual determination and/or titration and may find that for them the photometer to be a better match. For others, increments of measure, lighting conditions, or speed may be a concern. As long as the results are accurate, the operator is using the correct tool?

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