PoolLab 1.0 Water test kit (product review)

We often fall into a rut of liking what we like. So, when I'm testing water, I like a simple colormetric test kit. For better or for worse, it's what I know - it's what I like. However, I saw a long-time supplier recently. He told me about a new water test kit they are stocking. I rolled my eyes - who really needs a new water test kit? 

It involves no liquid reagents (only tablets), and I was days away from flying out to teach a Certified Pool Operator (CPO) course with only a carry-on bag, so I agreed to give it a spin. 

poollab.org

I am not an early adopter of new technology, at all, but  - within minutes -  I absolutely fell in love with this test kit. Here's why: 

Compact Size: the PoolLab fits easily in my small hand and the hard-shell carrying case has a solid, latch closure that won't spill open or crack if you drop it on a pool deck. 

Waterproof: how many electronic devices have you killed during your aquatics career? The PoolLab is waterproof to 1.5 m for 30 minutes (IP68), plenty of time for you to actually go and find your swim suit.

If you don't want to dip the entire unit in the pool, the plastic vial is easily removed with one hand; the kit also comes with a baby syringe. 

Multi-use: the PoolLab can perform 11 different tests, including cyanuric acid and chlorine dioxide (if approved for use in your area), so you no longer need to stock multiple test kits to get through your open. 

Simple instructions: the instructions are short and to the point with excellent illustrations, making them nearly impossible to ignore, but...  

Accuracy: let's be honest - people ignore instructions. Testing using the PoolLab is supposed to be completed with the cap on the sample chamber. I pretended to be a distracted lifeguard (my boyfriend just broke up with me; I'm devastated) who wasn't paying attention, and I got very similar results. 

Note: I don't recommend regularly disregarding the manufacturer's instructions.

German engineering: this is the first photometric kit I've used that does not require you to repeatedly zero out (tare) each water sample from the same pool.

There are also helpful screen prompts such as TEST, WAIT, ZERO and green (go) and red (stop) lights within the testing chamber to indicate when a test is being performed. The PoolLab is also Bluetooth equipped, automatically uploading your test results to the free data cloud. 

Safety: no toxic liquid reagents ending up on you fingers right before lunch; all tabs come in a blister pack and are mixed using a crushing stick. As with many kits, different tests (pH, alkalinity, calcium) result in different color indicators in the sample water to minimize confusion.  

Negatives
Only two immediately come to mind during the three months I've had (and used) this kit - 

1) Some tests take up to 120 seconds to complete. This is not inherently a negative, just a fact, so - fyi - you are looking at 6-8 mins. to complete a battery of water tests before your facility opens for the day.

2) The bottom of the crushing stem should really be rounded to crush the tab more effectively; this is a very nit picky thing to say, but I do feel it would both save time and absolutely ensure that the entire reagent tablet is dissolved in the testing solution. 

Verdict
The selection of a water test kit is personal and specific to many factors unique to your facility (budget, time constraints, staff skill level, frequency of testing, etc.) There is no one water test kit that is right for everyone.

However, I was excited enough about this product that I wanted to share it with you; it is one of three different test kits I provide for students to try during my Certified Pool Operator (CPO) courses 

Links

Disclosure: I received a free PoolLab 1.0 from a vendor. Thoughts and opinions are entirely my own; I only feature products I endorse and would actually purchase myself. 


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