How Long Do Hot Tub Test Strips Last?


It is crucial that you always know the water chemistry of your hot tub water. Having it be the perfect pH, the right ppm level of chlorine, and the correct alkalinity ensures your hot tub is in perfect condition to enjoy. It also makes sure that you are avoiding scum lines on your hot tub by knowing when your hot tub water is turning bad. One of the easiest, if not the best, ways to test your hot tub water is using test strips!

But how long do hot tub test strips last? Since you have to buy a box that contains anywhere from 20 to 100 test strips, you might be worried about it expiring before you get to use them all. A hot tub test strip lasts around 12 to 24 months, but its effectiveness might go down with time. So if you want to buy the perfect amount of hot tub test strips, then you have come to the right place!

Key Takeaways

  • Since hot tub test strips last about 2 years, you can gauge how much you need by the amount that you use them.
  • It is very easy to use test strips for your hot tub. All you have to do is dip it in water and then read the strip with the label. But if you use it properly, you will get a more accurate reading.
  • While the expiry date might be 2 years, you can prolong the life of your test strips by storing them properly and making sure it is not contaminated.
  • The cost of test strips can range from $7 to $15 but it will depend on the brand, amount, and things that the strip will test.

Hot Tub Test Strips: Expiry Date and How Much You Need

Hot tub test strips expiry date and how much you need

If you are planning on buying a lot of hot tub test strips, then I will have to warn you that they do indeed have an expiry date. This is because the hot tub strips are made of specific chemical indicators attached to a plastic strip and it tests a specific level that the chemical is intended for.

Expected expiry date of hot tub strips

These hot tub test strips can last around 12 months to 24 months. They vary because of how they are made by the manufacturers and the volatility of the chemicals on the strips. That is also why the effectiveness of the test strips might go down over time that it is stored and it might not be as good when it comes closer to its expiry date.

Gauging how much you need

This is why I would suggest you not buy too many boxes of hot tub test strips if you don’t use your hot tub frequently. Let’s say you use your hot tub once a week. That would mean you are using the hot tub about 52 times a year. If you buy a hot tub test strip box that has 50 and it lasts 12 months, then you can easily use that box for the year. Now if you were to use your hot tub more often than once a week, then obviously need more! So that is when buying test strips that last 24 months would be a good idea.

I would suggest having more test strips available if you live in an area that experiences frequent storms and the area is quite windy. Living situations might cause the water chemistry to change quite quickly so you can always check your hot tub before getting in them.

Testing out the expiry date

Now you might be worried that the test strips are closing in on the expiry date and are losing their effectiveness. Or maybe the label does not have the expiry date properly printed. To understand if they are effective, all you need to do is dip the strip in water and then take it out. Then you leave it aside for about 10 to 15 minutes to change color. If the color has not changed within this time, then you can be sure that the test strip has lost its effectiveness and/or it has reached its expiry date (probably faster than the one printed on the container!).

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Using Hot Tub Test Strips Properly

Using hot tub test strips properly

The reason why hot tub test strips are easy to use is because of how quickly you get the results back! Here is how you can make sure you get the most accurate reading possible for your hot tub:

  1. Dipping in water: take the test strip in your hand and dip it in a running hot tub for one second fully submerged. That means that you get the strip wet enough and then immediately take it out.
  2. Keeping it steady: when you take it out, the last thing that you want to do is flick the water from the strip. So take it out and keep your hands steady for 15 to 20 seconds. This is to ensure that enough water is soaked into the chemical indicator to give an accurate reading.
  3. Match it with the label: after the strip has soaked, you need to match it with the label on the box. So make sure that you are in a well-lit room with white light and put your test strip against the label so you can identify the color change that takes place. Keep both the label and strip at eye level and make sure that you are on the right color.
  4. Keep a record: it is best that you note down the readings that you get from your test strips. That way, you can ensure to check the history of your records to see how the water chemistry has changed over time and can figure out why it might have changed.

That is all there to it! It takes all but one minute to find the reading that you need for your hot tub. Sadly, this also means that once a test strip is used you cannot reuse it again. But since there are so many in one box, you can easily test it and because it lasts at least one year, you can use it within that time period.

Prolonging the Life of Hot Tub Test Strips

Prolonging the life of hot tub test strips

When it comes to test strips, you are dealing with chemicals. They are not harmful to you, but they do lose efficacy over time. That is why it is important to make sure that you are keeping your test strips safe so that you can use them as long as possible, maybe even longer than the expected expiry date! So here is how you can help prolong the life of your hot tub test strips:

Airtight containers

Since chemicals can react with anything over time, it is important to make sure that you don’t allow your test strips to react with the air around them. That is why an airtight container is the perfect place to store your test strips. It keeps it protected from the air and keeps the chemical intact inside.

Away from sunlight

Most indicators have a tendency to react with sunlight causing them to change their chemical composition. This means that if you left your test strips out in sunlight, you are possibly ruining their ability to detect changes in the hot tub water. So make sure you keep your test strips away from sunlight. A container that prevents sunlight from entering is the best way to store your test strips.

Don’t touch the testing pad

The test strips will have pads on them where the indicator is. However, if you touch the pad, chances are you are contaminating it with substances that might ruin it! That is why when you are holding the test strips, you should hold on to the end that has no pad on it.

Cool area

The best place to store your test strip is in a nice and cool area. The chemicals in the testing pad work best around 77oF but you can keep it at a range of 68oF to 86oF is good enough for your test strips. You can opt to store the airtight container in the refrigerator if you want to keep it cooled and help prolong its use.

Last but not least, make sure you are following the manufacturer’s instructions when using the test strip. They are the ones who made the product so they can give you the correct information about how to use and store the test strips for optimal use over a longer period.

Cost of Hot Tub Test Strips

The cost of hot tub test strips can differ due to the various manufacturers that make them and the different types that are available for use. Some test strips can test for many things at once since the testing pads are separated. For example, the EASYTEST 7-Way Pool Test Strips can test for 7 different things at the same time! It can test for water hardness, chlorine level, pH level, alkalinity, bromine level, and even cyanuric acid! These would cost somewhere around 12$ but that is because it is one of the more premium test strips for hot tubs out there. You can easily find boxes of 100 hot tub test strips for around $7 to $15 quite easily.


1. How accurate are hot tub test strips?

While they might give a reading that is within a decimal point, they are accurate within the range that you are going to be testing in, provided that you are testing it properly.

2. How often should I test strip my hot tub?

While some test their hot tub once a week, if you are more of a regular user, you should be testing your hot tub 2 to 3 times a week to make sure that the water chemistry is good.

3. How do I know if my hot tub pH is high?

The first sign of your hot tub having high alkalinity or high pH is when you notice that the water is cloudy instead of clear.

Final Thoughts

The thing about hot tub test strips is that you only need a lot when you are regularly using them. This ensures that the water is good enough to soak in without harming your skin. With test strips, you can easily check the different readings necessary to make that decision for yourself. What is so great about them is that they are easy to use and some can last up to 2 years! If you want to ensure that you can use it for the full two years, make sure to store them properly so you can accurately get the readings you need to enjoy a nice hot tub soak without worrying about your health!

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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.

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