Tips for Taps Blog

Best water test 2024 - Tap Score

The Best Water Testing Kits of 2024


Getting accurate, lab-certified water testing for your home is easier than you think.

Whether you're buying a new home, planting a garden, or expecting your first child, using the right water testing kit ensures your water is safe and gives you personalized information for finding the best treatment options.

When it comes to finding the best water testing kit, you want to make sure it’s testing the appropriate contaminants for your unique situation—with no gimmicks or pressure to buy sponsored water treatments. This list will help you find the water test that's right for your specific needs:

Best Water Testing Kit for Home Buyers

Recommendation: Advanced City Water Test

Getting the most thorough testing possible is the safest choice for avoiding longer-term water issues in a new home. Local water quality information can only tell you what’s in a public water supply before it reaches the house. But plumbing can also be a source of water contamination—especially lead.

Houses built before the 1986 ban on lead plumbing are more likely to contain lead pipes and solder.[1]

Fixtures and faucets purchased before 1997 can contain up to 8% lead.[2] PVC pipes made before 1977 can leach cancer-causing vinyl chloride. 

You can get the full picture on the baseline water quality of your potential home with the Advanced City Water Test. This test kit covers any metals, minerals, and chemical compounds that can damage your plumbing over time or cause long-term health effects.

Best Water Testing Kit for Private Wells

Recommendation: Groundwater Testing Collection

Annual testing for bacteria and nitrates is a highly recommended practice for all private well owners. Additional testing is strongly encouraged by most state governments because groundwater is exposed to a range of natural and human-made hazards including microbes, organic compounds, inorganic contaminants, and radiological particles

Because the EPA and local health agencies do not regulate or monitor private well water, it’s the owner’s responsibility to test their well’s water quality and maintain any treatment systems to keep their water safe.

Some contaminants should be tested for more often than others, and we have award-winning test kits for every occasion.

Annual Well Testing

Recommendation: Essential Well Water Test

The Essential Well Water Test is an affordable option for yearly, certified lab testing that includes basic chemistry; heavy metals, nitrates and other inorganics; and coliform bacteria.

It’s often also a good idea to test for other local pollutant risks near your property—like contaminants from agriculture, industrial sites, and septic leakage. To check for these contaminants (or after any sudden changes in your water quality) we suggest upgrading to the Advanced Well Water Test.

Well Testing Every 3-5 Years

Recommendation: Advanced Well Water Test

The Advanced Well Water Test kit tests for basic chemistry, metals and other inorganics, coliform, and E. coli bacteria, plus volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—particularly those common to land-use risks like oil and gas related spills and solvents, as well as some pesticides.

Well Testing Every 5-10 Years

Recommendation: Extended Well Water Test

Get a deeper dive into the water quality of your well with the Extended Well Water Test—including everything in the Advanced Well Water test plus more esoteric contaminants like radionuclides and an expanded panel of industrial chemicals (semi-volatile organics, plastics, pesticides, and more).

Water Testing at Home with Tap Score

Best Water Testing Kit for Home Loan Requirements

Recommendation: Certified Home Loan Water Test or Upgraded Home Loan Water Test

If your state or home loan provider requires testing your private well before selling, purchasing a new home, refinancing, or otherwise requiring a mortgage, this is the kit for you. 

This popular, certified home water testing package includes all laboratory analysis required by VA, FHA and USDA Minimum Property Requirements.[3]

Note: We suggest you confirm with your county or loan officer in case there are any additional sample handling requirements or specific local certifications.

Best Water Testing Kit for Homesteaders

Recommendation: Advanced Well Water Test or Advanced Spring Water Test

Water supplies that come from sources like natural springs or surface water are more prone to a range of contaminants than groundwater from a drilled well.[4] Most springs used for drinking water need a continuous disinfection system to make sure that the water is safe. Accurate testing can pinpoint the most cost-effective treatment options for your home and check that these systems are working to keep your drinking water safe. 

The Advanced Well Water Test helps you find the optimal treatments and filters for your homestead’s alternative water. This kit checks for all the general water chemistry, metals, non-metal inorganics, volatile organics, and coliform bacteria.

If your homestead is supplied by groundwater from a drilled well, see the Best Water Testing Kit for Private Wells section above.

The Advanced Spring Water Test analyzes water health concerns related to natural water chemistry. This kit specializes in contaminants such as heavy metals, minerals, coliform and E. coli, hardness, silica—as well as adding on total heterotrophic bacteria (heterotrophic bacteria are broadly defined as microorganisms that require organic carbon for growth; they include bacteria, yeasts, and molds).

Best Water Testing Kit for Radiation

Recommendation: Radiological Testing Collection

Some drinking water sourced from groundwater may contain radon—a radioactive gas—or other radionuclides of uranium or radium. If you live in an area with high uranium levels, radon levels, or other sources of radionuclides in the water then we suggest at least an occasional water test to check these risk levels are low. Our Radiological Testing Collection offers a suite of kits for various types of radioactive elements.

Best Water Testing Kit for Rainwater

Recommendation: Rainwater Testing Collection

Rainwater can be a sustainable alternative water source with proper testing and maintenance. Frequent monitoring is crucial because rainwater is susceptible to contaminants like metals, pesticides, bacteria, viruses, and parasites.[5

States that promote rainwater harvesting, like Texas, advise testing quarterly if the water is used for drinking—especially for bacteria, metals, and pesticides.[6] Our Rainwater Testing Collection offers a variety of great choices for regularly monitoring the safety of your rainwater for safe drinking levels.

The Ultimate Guide to Rainwater Safety—SimpleLab Tap Score

Best Water Testing Kit for Renters

Recommendation: Essential City Water Test

If you live in a home or apartment connected to a municipal water system, you—or your landlord—should receive an annual summary of contaminants reported by your water utility. Our Essential City Water Test is a great tool for comparing this information against the water quality actually coming out of the taps in your home or apartment. These differences can be especially significant in older buildings where the plumbing might be introducing contamination.

Disinfection Byproducts

Recommendation: Advanced City Water Test

If you are concerned about your local utility’s use of chlorine—and resulting disinfection byproducts like trihalomethanes (THMs)—the Advanced City Water Test can help monitor these contaminants in your tap water.

If you have received a notice about haloacetic acids (HAA5) in your local water supply, upgrade to our Extended City Water Test.

Private Wells

Recommendation: Essential Well Water Test

Renters should thoroughly review rental agreements to make sure the responsibilities are outlined for who should be monitoring and testing their well. If you are in charge of your rental’s annual well testing, read more about the Best Water Testing Kit for Private Wells above.

Open Tap Score Box (2)

Best Water Testing Kit for Expecting Parents

When preparing your home to for a new baby, testing your water is key to giving your infant a healthy start. Babies drink more water for their size than older children and adults, and their growing bodies have a hard time getting rid of toxic substances.[7]  Clean and safe drinking water is also critical for keeping parents healthy because some contaminants can be passed on to the baby during pregnancy. Choosing the most accurate test depends on where your water is coming from.

City Water Supplies

Recommendation: Advanced City Water Test

If your drinking water comes from a public water system, our Advanced City Water Test can help ensure the plumbing in your home isn’t adding lead, plastic chemicals, and other pollutants to your water—especially from the taps you use for drinking or preparing formula.

Tap Score Advanced City Water Test
Core Kit
Advanced City Water Test
111 Analytes Tested

Private Wells

Recommendation: Advanced Well Water Test

If your drinking water comes from a private well, our Advanced Well Water Test covers everything that can be harmful to your baby's health and development—including coliform bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, lead, and manganese.

Because nitrates are of particular concern for expecting parents and infants, we also have an in-lab, high-resolution nitrates test.

Best Water Testing Kit on a Budget

Recommendation: Essential City Water Test or Essential Well Water Test

Our Essential Test Kits for both city and well water are great budget-friendly options for checking in on your baseline water quality and include shipping BOTH ways.

The Essential City Water Test kits cover our minimum recommended safety standards for utility-supplied drinking water and come with a detailed Tap Score Report of the heavy metals and physical properties of your household tap water. The Essential Well Water Kit is designed to target the most harmful and common contaminants found in groundwater. 

Both Essential water testing kits include analysis for lead, copper, arsenic, hardness, and much more. 

If You Only Need to Test for One Contaminant

Recommendation: Specialized Testing Collection, or request a custom quote on our contact page.

We offer affordable laboratory testing options for virtually all contaminants. If you’re on a budget and need a very specific contaminant only, then reach out to our team and they can provide a scaled-down custom quote. 

Best Water Testing Kit for Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs

Recommendation: Extended Well Water Test

Even if you test your pool or spa at home on a regular basis, it's a good idea to have your pool professionally tested on occasion to make sure all aspects of your water are properly balanced.

If your pool water is sourced from a private well, it may contain more minerals and metals like copper and iron. If your city has hard water, you may have high calcium levels. These contaminants can make it more difficult to maintain the proper chemical balance in your pool, and they can stain or damage pool surfaces overtime if left unnoticed.

For a comprehensive test, we suggest the Extended Well Water Test—which will cover an array of metals and minerals, as well as volatile organic compounds (including chlorine and  chloramine related byproducts), as well as pesticides and radioactive particles. 

While the Extended Well Test is the “gold standard” for pool and spa testing, if you are looking for a smaller, less expensive panel the Advanced Well Water Test or Essential Well Water Test may also be suitable options.

Best Water Testing Kit for Vegetable Gardens

Recommendation: Essential City Water Test or Essential Well Water Test

Just as water carries vital elements throughout a plant, it may also carry contaminants that lurk in the water supply. These contaminants range from biological (microbes) to chemical (heavy metals).

Increasing evidence suggests that contaminated water causes not only nutritional imbalance within plants, but also increased links to food-borne illnesses from microbes, parasites, and viruses in humans.[8][9][10] The concern is greatest in leafy vegetables that tend to be eaten without cooking.

Additionally, certain general properties of water, like water's sodium adsorption ratio, can negatively impact soil and plant. Depending on your source water, either of our Essential tests will cover many contaminants and physical properties that may affect the health of your vegetable garden.


Not Sure Which Water Test You Need? Ask Us!

The New York Times’ Wirecutter named our Advanced City Water Test the “best water quality test kit for your home.” 

When compared with other highly-rated kits, SimpleLab’s Tap Score tests offer not only accurate results for over 1000 different contaminants and parameters, but they also include:

  • An easy-to-understand report of everything tested and detected in your water
  • Explanations of all potential health risks
  • Unbiased recommendations you can put into action for treating your water 
  • Online support from professionally certified engineers and PhDs

    Example Tap Score Report

    We have tests available for almost any contaminant situation you might find yourself in—from slimy fixtures and mysterious smells to failing appliances and water-related illnesses. If you want to know more about your water quality, we’re your one-stop shop. 

    There are literally infinite things to test for and we have many esoteric contaminant testing options on our Specialized Testing Collection page. 

    Our mission is to help empower you with information to safely treat at the tap and enjoy the health benefits of clean drinking water in your home.

    author portrait
    About The Author


    Johnny Pujol, CEO of SimpleLab, is devoted to advancing environmental laboratory logistics, ensuring each stage—from sample collection to results—is clear, easy, and insightful. Holding a Master's in Engineering from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor's in Economics from Boston University, Johnny brings a unique blend of technical expertise and business insight to his role. Outside of SimpleLab, you can find him training for Pentathlons or writing spy fiction.
    back to top