Best Water Lead Test Kit: 8 Reviews + Buyer’s Guide 2022

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Lead water test kits are used to detect lead contamination, which occurs in both city water and well water supplies. The main culprit: Old lead plumbing and service lines.

Both send-away test kits and DIY test strips can be used for lead testing. However, depending on the lead test kit you’re choosing, results vary in accuracy and thus reliability – which should not be taken lightly considering there is no safe level of lead in drinking water (even tiny amounts can cause irreversible harm).

So, how to find the most reliable lead water test kit? Don’t worry; you came to the right place! Here is our collection of the best lead water test kits in 2022.

On This Page You Will…

No Time to Read? Check Our List of the Best Lead Water Test Kits!

Lead TestDetails
tap score Essential city Water Test
Best Lead Water Test Kit for City Water

Price: $$
Type: Lab City Water Test
Analytes: Lead + 44 Other
Turnaround Time: 5 Days
Free Shipping: Yes
Read Review: Click
tap score Essential Well Water Test
Best Water Lead Test Kit for Well Water

Price: $$$
Type: Lab Well Water Test
Analytes: Lead + 50 Other
Turnaround Time: 5 Days
Free Shipping: Yes
Read Review: Click
tap score lead water test
Best Lead-Specific Water Test

Price: $
Type: Lab Water Test
Analytes: Lead, Copper, pH
Turnaround Time: 5 Days
Free Shipping: Yes
Read Review: Click
Varify 17 in 1 Complete Water Test Kit
Best DIY Lead Test Kit

Price: $
Type: DIY Test Kit
Analytes: Lead + 15 Other
Turnaround Time:
Free Shipping:
Read Review: Click

Best Lead Water Test Kit Reviews

1. Best Lead Water Test Kit for Tap Water: Tap Score Essential City Water Test

If you are on tap water, the best lead water test kit in 2022 is the Tap Score Essential City Water Test, mainly for the following reasons:

  1. Testing is conducted by a professional and certified laboratory according to industry standards (EPA, ASTM, and other) for the most accurate results.
  2. Aside from lead, Tap Score also tests for hardness, pH, arsenic, fluoride, nitrate, chlorine, iron, and dozens of other water impurities and parameters related to municipal water.
  3. You receive a full water quality report including a detailed analysis of all the test results, potential health effects, and unbiased treatment recommendations.

It’s the complete package! 5 stars!

tap score Essential city Water Test

Tap Score Essential City Water Test

Price:$$
Type:Professional Tap Water Test
Other Analytes Tested:44
TAT:5 Days
Free Shipping:

Our Rating

Pros

  • Basic water quality assessment in residential homes and buildings served by a public water utility.
  • 45 water parameters, impurities, and contaminants analyzed: Heavy metals (lead, copper, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, aluminum…), minerals (fluoride, magnesium, calcium, potassium…), and general water chemistry (alkalinity, hardness, pH, TDS…).
    • Elements found in drinking water with health effects and those that impact taste and odor.
  • DIY test strip for free chlorine and total chlorine included.
  • Testing is performed according to EPA, ASTM, and other industry standards & methods.
  • You can upgrade to:
    • Advanced City Water Test – 108 analytes (additional metals, disinfection byproducts, volatile organic compounds, chloramine and more).
    • Extended City Water Test – 118 analytes (HAAs, radioactive particles, even contaminants currently unregulated by the EPA).
  • You receive a testing package containing all required materials for water sample collection and submitting.
    • Sampling vial(s), instructions, return shipping label + container.
  • Free shipping.
  • Turnaround time is 5 days after the lab has received your water sample.
  • You will receive a detailed water quality report via email. It highlights concentrations of all tested analytes compared to regulatory limits and public health guidelines. Possible health impacts, plumbing and aesthetic issues, and treatment solutions (products) are outlined.

Cons

  • Although not as expensive as you might expect, comprehensive water testing isn’t cheap.
  • No instant results.

Best for

The Tap Score Essential City Water Test is best for people who want to check the lead levels in their tap water.

2. Best for Well Water: Tap Score Essential Well Water Test

For homes on a private well, the best water lead test kit in 2022 is the Tap Score Essential Well Water Test.

Tap Score is a professional, certified water lab that will provide you with complete testing results of the highest accuracy – something you can really rely on which is key when it comes to lead analysis.

What’s more, testing is conducted according to official standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and other institutions.

Lastly, the package not only determines lead levels but also 50 other water contaminants and parameters important for well water, such as general chemistry, minerals, heavy metals, hydrogen sulfide, and coliform bacteria.

tap score Essential Well Water Test

Tap Score Essential Well Water Test

Price:$$$
Type:Professional Well Water Test
Other Analytes Tested:50
TAT:5 Days
Free Shipping:

Our Rating

Pros

  • Basic water quality testing for properties served by private well water.
  • 51 water parameters and contaminants tested: Alkalinity, hardness, LSI, pH, silica, total dissolved solids (TDS), turbidity, aluminum, antimony, arsenic, chromium (total), iron, lead, manganese, mercury, sodium, strontium, thallium, uranium, chloride, fluoride, nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, coliform & E. coli…
    • Covers aesthetic elements and those with potential health effects.
  • DIY test strips for hydrogen sulfide are part of the package.
  • Industry testing standards and methods used.
  • Available upgrades:
    • Advanced Well Water Test – 111 analytes including disinfection byproducts and contaminants that originate from nearby human/industrial activity (industrial waste, agriculture, and more).
    • Extended Well Water Test – 182 analytes like common agricultural and industrial contaminants (pesticides, tannins, radioactive particles, and more).
  • You receive a testing kit with all the required materials for water sampling and submitting.
    • Instructions, vial(s), priority return shipping label, cold pack + container.
  • Free shipping.
  • TAT is 5 days after the lab has received your sample.
  • You will get emailed a detailed report listing all water quality issues.
    • Tested contaminant levels compared to legal limits and health guidelines, recommended water filters and other products for treatment, and additional info.

Cons

  • Costs more than the standard DIY test kit.
  • You need to wait a couple of days for the results.

Best for

The Tap Score Essential Well Water Test is best for people who want to check the lead levels in their well water.

3. Cheapest Send-Away Lead Water Test Kit: Tap Score Lead and Copper Water Test

If all you want to know is how much lead is present in your water supply we recommend this send-away lead test kit.

You receive everything that’s needed to take a proper sample of your water supply, send it in, and wait for the testing to be conducted according to EPA method 200.8. A couple of days later you will receive the results – 100% accurate, 100% reliable.

tap score lead water test

Tap Score Lead and Copper Water Test

Price:$
Type:Professional Lead Water Test
Other Analytes Tested:2
TAT:5 Days
Free Shipping:

Our Rating

Pros

  • Targeted testing for lead in drinking water.
  • EPA testing method: 200.8. Standardized and time-proven for the best results.
  • Test also determines copper concentrations and water pH.
    • Water pH can impact plumbing (corrosion) and serves as an indicator of overall water quality.
  • Tap Score provides everything that’s needed for sample collection and submission.
    • Instructions, vial(s), prepaid shipping label, shipping container.
  • Results come in 5 days after lab has received your water sample.
  • Personalized report (send via email) includes detailed analysis of detected lead and copper levels.
    • It also provides health risk assessment and product recommendations for treatment.

Cons

  • Except for lead and copper, no other water contaminants are tested.

Best for

This water test is best for people who want an affordable send-away test kit for nothing but lead.

4. Best DIY Lead Test Kit: Varify 17 in 1 Complete Water Test Kit

In our opinion, the best DIY lead test kit in 2022 is the Varify 17 in 1.

As a DIY kit it’s pretty affordable and provides very fast results.

That said, the results might not be too accurate (more on this below). Also, they are rather subjective since you need to match the color of the test strip to the chart provided. This is problematic especially in the case of lead which is a highly potent neurotoxin with no safe level in drinking water. In other words, improper testing can make a huge difference and harm the health of your family.

Bottom line: If reliability is your premise you should go with one of the send-away lead test kits reviewed above.

Varify 17 in 1 Complete Water Test Kit

Varify 17 in 1 Complete Water Test Kit

Price:$
Type:DIY Water Test Kit
Other Analytes Tested:16
TAT:
Free Shipping:

Our Rating

Pros

  • The most affordable option of testing for lead in water.
  • Works for city water, well water, and any other source.
  • Tests for some of the most common water contaminants: Lead, iron, copper, nitrate and nitrite, fluoride, manganese, zinc, pH, sulfate, mercury, alkalinity, hardness, total chlorine, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell), sodium chloride, and E. coli.
    • Lead increments are 0, 5, 15, 30, and 50 ppb.
    • Testing for E. coli is EPA compliant.
  • 100 strips for repeated testing. You can stay updated on your water quality.
  • Simple instructions.
  • Results in seconds.
  • Varify has a 24/7 live chat run by water quality experts providing support.

Cons

  • The biggest issue is lack of accuracy.
    • For one, you need to dip the test strips into water for 2 seconds precisely and then “gently” shake off any excess water. What if you dip 1.5 or 3 seconds?
    • As mentioned, the color matching is highly subjective.
  • Some reviewers said the strips are not working at all.

Best for

The Varify 17 in 1 is best for people who want to test their lead water levels themselves.

5. Most Analytes: SpringWell Water Test Kit + Tannins

SpringWell offers another send-in water test kit including 75 analytes, one of them being lead.

The testing itself is performed by National Testing Laboratories, Ltd. which is a professional and industry-recognized lab.

SpringWell Water Test Kit

SpringWell Water Test Kit

Price:$$$
Type:Professional Water Test
Other Analytes Tested:74
TAT:10-15 Business Days
Free Shipping:

Our Rating

Get 5% Off! Use Code: BOS5OFF

Pros

  • Lead, tannins, and 73 other items are checked: pH, TDS, hardness, turbidity, aluminum, cadmium, calcium and magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, barium, iron, manganese, nickel, mercury, zinc, selenium, total coliform…
    • Testing seems highly competent.
  • All materials are provided.
  • Instructions are detailed and test kit is easy to use and send off.
  • Test results are comprehensive and give you the information you need for selecting the ideal filter system for your water supply.

Cons

  • A few people reported results taking too long to receive (around 3 weeks). According to SpringWell, typical completion time is 10 to 15 business days.
  • The return shipping cost comes extra, and you are required to use overnight postage.

Best for

The SpringWell kit is best for testing as many analytes as possible aside from lead.

6. QWT Water Testing Kit

The Lite Water Test Kit by Quality Water Treatment tests for 5 physical factors, 22 heavy metals – lead among them obviously – and minerals, and 7 inorganic chemicals.

QWT Lite Water Testing Kit

Quality Water Treatment Water Testing Kit

Price:$$$
Type:Professional Water Test
Other Analytes Tested:33
TAT:10-15 Business Days
Free Shipping:

Our Rating

Pros

  • 34 items are tested in total.
    • 5 physical factors including water pH levels, hardness, and TDS.
    • 22 heavy metals.
    • 7 inorganic chemicals.
  • More complete testing kits as optional:
    • Basic Water Test Kit – covers the same 34 analytes + E. coli & coliform bacteria.
    • Standard Water Test Kit – tests for 4 trihalomethanes and 47 VOCs on top.
  • Effortless sampling procedure thanks to solid instructions and packaging.
  • You receive a detailed lab report quickly. It points out what contaminants were found in your water and their concentrations.
    • Based on that information QWT recommends different water treatment systems (filtration and/or softening) to solve any water issues.

Cons

  • Demands you pay for ground return shipping.
  • Exactly which elements are tested for is not specified on the product description page. Only mentioned are lead, arsenic, uranium, mercury, nitrates and fluoride.

Best for

QWT’s test kit is best for customization based on your water conditions.

7. Pelican Rapid 16-Point Water Test

Pelican’s 16-Point Rapid Water Test is the last send-away water lead test kit we are going to review.

As usual, it tests for more than just lead; in this case for 16 items in total. When you consider the price, this test kit seems pricier.

Pelican Rapid Water Test

Pelican Rapid 16-Point Water Test

Price:$$
Type:Professional Water Test
Other Analytes Tested:15
TAT:3-5 Business Days
Free Shipping:

Our Rating

Pros

  • The Pelican 16-Point Rapid Water Test checks for:
    • Basic water parameters – chloride, ph, turbidity, total dissolved solids (TDS), hardness.
    • Metals – Copper, manganese, iron, lead, arsenic.
    • Minerals and salts – Fluoride, chloride, sulfate, nitrate/nitrite.
    • Tannins.
    • Total coliform bacteria.
  • Testing kit will be shipped to your home. You must simply follow the instructions provided gathering a water sample and return it via FedEx Overnight Saver.
    • Return shipping is included.
  • Results come in quickly, within 3-5 business days from the date the sample arrives. They are emailed directly to you.
  • You can get in touch with Pelican Water with your test results for a $109.00 credit toward any Premium Whole House Water System.

Cons

  • Priced relatively high for 16 analytes only.

Best for

The Pelican Rapid 16-Point test is ideal if you want to check your water for lead, metals, salts and minerals, tannins, coliform bacteria, and basic parameters such as pH.

8. Best Budget Option: SJ WAVE 16-in-1 Water Test Kit

Last but not least, the 16-in-1 water test kit by SJ WAVE. It’s an alternative to the Varify DIY test kit reviewed further above.

And although it’s among the best selling products in its category on Amazon, we have mixed feelings to say the least…

SJ WAVE 16-in-1 Water Test Kit

SJ WAVE 16-in-1 Water Test Kit

Price:$
Type:DIY Water Test Kit
Other Analytes Tested:15
TAT:
Free Shipping:

Our Rating

Pros

  • You can test for a total of 16 substances:
    • Water pH: 6-9
    • Total hardness: 0-425 ppm
    • Carbonate: 0-240 ppm
    • Total alkalinity: 0-240 ppm
    • Total chlorine: 0-10 ppm
    • Free chlorine: 0-10 ppm
    • Ammonia chloride: 0-500 ppm
    • MPS: 0-20 ppm
    • Iron: 0-500 ppm
    • Copper: 0-10 ppm
    • Lead: 0-500 ppm
    • Nitrate: 0-500 ppm
    • Nitrite: 0-80 ppm
    • Fluoride: 0-100 ppm
    • Cyanuric acid: 0-250 ppm
    • Bromine: 0-20 ppm
  • Works with every water source (e.g. well, pool, aquarium, drinking water).
  • Tests to EPA standards, says seller.
  • 100 strips in sealable bags for long shelf life of up to 2 years.
  • Very easy to use.
  • You can use a water glass or the provided tube as a container.
  • If you only want to test for a certain substance you can use the dropper included in the package.
  • Live chat support.

Cons

  • Since this is a DIY lead test kit, we question the reliability of the results.
    • You need to dip a strip into water for 2 seconds, take it out, and hold it horizontally for 30 seconds before comparing the results within 30-50 seconds. Seems highly prone to error. In addition, the color matching is subjective.
  • People who tested this kit said nothing really happened. They even tested multiple types of water like distilled, tap, pool, and filtered, and all results came out exactly the same or were inconsistent.
  • As for lead, the detection range is 0 to 500 ppm. However, lead is usually only present in parts per billion, not parts per million which is a difference of factor 1,000. So even if the test worked, results would not be very useful.

Best for

The SJ WAVE 16-in-1 lead test kit is the best option for people on a really tight budget.

Lead Testing Kits – Comparison List

How do the best lead water test kits perform when directly compared?

(Mobile Hint: Swipe to Scroll)

KitPriceTypeTotal Analytes TestedTATFree ShippingAdditional Info
Essential City Water Test$$Professional Lab Test455 DaysYes
Essential Well Water Test$$$Professional Lab Test515 DaysYes
Lead and Copper Water Test$Professional Lab Test35 DaysYes
Varify Complete Water Test Kit$DIY Test17
SpringWell Water Test Kit$$$Lab Test752-3 WeeksNo
Quality Water Treatment Lite Water Testing Kit$$Lab Test342-3 WeeksNo
Pelican 16-Point Water Test$$Lab Test163-5 Business DaysYes
SJ WAVE Water Test Kit$DIY Test Kit16

Buyer’s Guide: How We Picked the Best Water Test Kits for Lead

The following are things worth considering before you go out and hunt for the best lead water test kit. These are also the very same criteria we focused on when picking our top products for this guide.

Water Source

Water tests are often formulated specifically for a specific type of water source. For instance, there are tests specifically for well water. Others are designed for municipal water testing, pool water, aquariums – you name it.

Thus, you want to make sure you’re buying a lead test kit for your type of source water.

Send-Away Kits vs DIY Test Strips

The above reviews feature both send-away lead water tests and DIY test kits i.e. test strips. We clearly prefer the former for several reasons:

  1. Accuracy – The results you get when sending a water sample to a certified laboratory are much more accurate and therefore reliable than if you do your own testing using strips.
  2. Broad contaminant detection – Many send-away test kits analyze a whole plethora of items, including physical water parameters, contaminants like chemicals and heavy metals, and impurities including minerals. With DIY testing you’re often limited to between 1 and about a dozen analytes.
  3. Send-away water samples are handled by professionals. Their testing procedures are standardized. On the contrary, DIY tests are highly prone to errors. You could dip in the water test strip half a second too long or not wait long enough to compare the results to the color chart which also is not an exact science.

Accuracy & Testing Procedure

Testing conducted by a state or EPA-certified water lab is accurate and so are the results. As long as you don’t make a mistake collecting the water sample you can rely on them 100 percent.

The same cannot be said for testing using DIY strips, although there are often detailed and clear instructions provided that are easy to follow. However, you are supposed to submerge the reagent pads for a certain amount of time, usually 2-3 seconds, remove any excess water afterwards, and then wait another 30 seconds or so before you can check the results for the next 30-50 seconds until the strip becomes unusable. This just doesn’t seem very reliable.

On top of that, some do-it-yourself lead test kits are pretty useless due to the fact that they only detect lead without indicating its concentration or because increments are too big. Remember: Lead in water usually occurs in parts per billion (ppb) which is a tiny amount. Testing in parts per million doesn’t make sense here.

Speaking of, reliability is highly important when it comes to testing a water source for lead. That’s because there is no safe level for lead in drinking water. Why? It’s highly toxic when ingested!

In other words, inaccurate testing can pose a threat to your health – something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Other Contaminants Tested

We consider this very important: Testing for contaminants other than lead. Because even if your water is lead-free, it doesn’t mean there can’t be other dangerous heavy metals, microorganisms, or chemicals present.

Thus, we recommend you consider conducting a complete water analysis covering all the common tap or well water contaminants.

Water Testing Report

Reporting

A good lab will send you a detailed water quality analysis via email.

Detected contaminant concentrations are automatically compared to state or federal limits as well as public health goals.

Aesthetic water issues, problems with the plumbing system, and possible health effects are outlined, too, together with available treatment solutions and products.

How Fast You Get the Results

This is where DIY lead test kits shine. They provide immediate results. On the other hand, ordering a water test that you need to send in can take up to 3 weeks, depending on the provider.

Cost

Lead test strips are super affordable. They range from $10-30 for 100 pieces.

Paying for lab testing can easily go into the hundreds of dollars.

More on Water Lead Test Kits

Who Should Test Their Water for Lead?

Do you remember the last time you tested your home water supply for contaminants? Don’t fret if it was long ago; you are not alone.

Most of us do not bother to check our drinking water unless we experience a change in its smell and taste. This happens because we assume it is being perfectly treated at the municipal board – in the case of tap water. Nonetheless, we fail to realize that this treatment and filtration process doesn’t purify the water to 100 percent.

Besides, when water flows to your house from the treatment utility, it is exposed to downstream contamination.

So even if you trust your city’s water board, the water passes through several other pipes and your home’s plumbing system before you can actually utilize it.

And let’s not even start about well water, which is often subject to severe contamination due to nearby agricultural or industrial plants among other factors.

So, if you haven’t tested your water for lead in long, now is the right time.

Here’s who should test their water for lead.

Old Houses

If you live in an old house constructed before 1986, you are at risk of lead contamination. During this year, lead pipes were banned. Later in 2014, new regulations reduced the legal limit for lead in domestic pipes to 0.25%, from 8% permitted previously.

Lead Service Lines

When the government banned lead pipes in 1986, it didn’t restrict those in the ground. Consequently, today, more than nine million US homes still get their water from lead pipes – also known as lead service lines.

A rough estimate shows that around 15-22 million US citizens drink lead-contaminated water every day.

So it would be wrong to conclude that your home water is not lead-contaminated, just because you live in a house built after the 1980s. Long story short, we recommend you take action and test your water for lead – it’s neither very costly nor difficult.

Other Ways Lead May Enter a Residential Water Supply

Here are a few other ways lead may enter your home water supply.

  • Faucets: Your house fixtures and faucets may contain lead.
  • Copper pipes: Houses built before 1986 often utilized lead solder containing high toxic metal levels.
  • Galvanized pipes: These pipes were used as an alternative for lead pipelines after they were banned. These steel pipes are dipped into zinc coating to avoid rust and corrosion.
  • Lead Goosenecks: Small pipes that connect your water line to the main service line can contain lead, too.
  • Old well pump: Old well pumps can also be lead sources. Time to inspect!

Note that galvanized pipes become as toxic as lead pipes when the zinc coating wears away. The lead particles stick to their rusty surfaces and ultimately make their way into your water system.

How to Test City or Well Water for Lead?

Fortunately, lead is rarely found natural in water. Thus, if you’re on well water, and you are not a part of a public water system, typically you are not connected to any lead pipes. Therefore, your water is at low risk of getting contaminated by lead.

That said, your home solders, faucets, or pipelines itself may contain lead that can easily leak into your well water, too.

So, whether you’re on city water or well water, it’s best to test your water for lead contamination either way – just to be safe.

diy water test strips

Luckily, the process of testing is pretty easy. You can perform DIY testing using a kit or send your water sample to a lab to get it tested professionally.

  • For DIY testing, follow the instructions on the manual. Generally, you’re required to take a clean glass and fill it with water from any faucet in your home. Then, dip the test strip into the water and wait for the results.
  • For send-away kits, you need to fill the included containers, seal them, and send them away.

When Should You Test Your Water at Home?

When you continuously utilize your home water during daytime, you may not get accurate results for lead contamination because running water does not display the exact amount of lead.

When the water stays in the pipes – unused – for at least several hours, this is the best time for testing. For instance, ideally you test your water early in the morning when your home water hasn’t been used for at least six hours.

This should also be explained in your test kit.

How Often Should You Test Your Water?

Testing your water once via a single source may not give you the best, meaning the most accurate, results.

Therefore, it’s best to test your water for lead multiple times and through different water outlets. In other words, do not just test your water through your kitchen faucet. Instead, draw water samples from multiple rooms like the bathroom, kitchen, and basement.

Also, note that lead does not distribute evenly in water. Simply put, your first water sample may not show any lead contamination, but the next one tests positive.

Ideally, it’s best to carry out multiple tests throughout your home.

Why We Don’t Recommend DIY Testing

DIY testing is the most straightforward, cost-effective, and easiest way to test your water for lead at home.

A simple lead test kit would cost you around $20-$50. All you need to do is pour some water into a glass and dip the test paper strip in to know the results.

However, generally we do not recommend DIY testing for a couple of reasons:

  1. We tested five water samples for lead, and the results were so rushed that we couldn’t calculate their accuracy. Generally, you are asked to match the color of your water sample with a color chart which is highly subjective.
  2. On top of that, you only have a few seconds to do so. Therefore, we couldn’t trust our ability to determine accurate results.
  3. A few kits only determine whether or not you have lead, but do not indicate the exact levels.

Therefore, we recommend you go for a send-away kit and let a lab professional test your water. It may cost you a bit more, and the process can be time-consuming. However, the results will be much more reliable than the ones you gained at home.

Other Ways to Learn About Local Water Quality

Here are some other ways to learn about your local water quality and check your water for lead contamination.

Asking the Supplier

You can get in touch with your local water supplier and ask them to provide you with a Consumer Confidence Report (Water Quality Report).

Apart from that, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) makes it mandatory for every water utility to test their water and share the results with the customers. Therefore, you can access these reports online, too.

These reports highlight your source of water, its quality, the type of contaminants, and their detected level.

If you find that the report shows any amount of lead, above or below the action level of the Environmental Protection Agency – 15 parts per billion (ppb) – you’re at risk.

In our opinion, you need to take immediate action; no amount of lead in water is considered safe.

Have Your Water Tested By a Local Water Expert or Water Treatment Company

You can also get your water tested by a local water treatment company. Several water filter brands offer free water testing to determine the level of contaminants in your water.

Besides, you can also check Lowe and Home Depot’s websites to know about retailers offering free tests. All you need to do is fill out a form and schedule an appointment. These water experts can best guide you about the type and level of contaminants in your water.

professional lab water test

Check Your Plumbing

If you live in a home built before 1986, you’re more prone to finding lead in your water. Remember: Old solders and pipes are at a higher risk of lead contamination.

Therefore, it’s best to check your house’s plumbing system and, if possible, the main pipe that connects the city line to your home’s water supply. If these pipes are made of plastic or copper, you’ll figure it out in a fraction of a second.

On the flip side, if the pipes are black or grey, you can determine they’re made of steel or lead through a simple test.

  1. If the pipe is covered, peel off the wrapping to reveal a small part.
  2. Use a screwdriver, a coin, or a key to scratch the surface of the pipe.
  3. If the scratched surface appears shiny and silver, it’s probably a lead pipe.
  4. You can also take a magnet and see if it sticks to the pipe. If it does, the pipe isn’t made of lead because lead does not attract magnets.

I’ve Found Lead in My Water Supply – What’s Next?

If your home water tests positive for lead contamination, here are a few steps you can take.

Replacing the Lead Source

The best thing you can do is replace the lead source entirely. Is it the old well pump, a lead faucet, or old pipelines? Whatever the culprit is, make sure you get rid of it right away.

If that feels too difficult, here’s what else you can do.

Lead Removal Using a Lead Water Filter

Several water filters on the market can effectively remove lead from water. You just need to make sure you get one using the right filter media or treatment method respectively. These include:

  • KDF
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Catalytic or activated carbon (not all)
  • Cation exchange resin

Luckily, a few water filters can remove more than 99% lead from drinking water. You can even find whole house water filters that eliminate lead from all water sources in your home.

That said, it’s best to go with an NSF-certified lead filter. Because most filters that have undergone testing through NSF standard 53 are certified to remove lead.

A few carbon filters, for instance, are perfect for removing lead. Nonetheless, the effectiveness can be restricted by one or more factors:

  • Other contaminants: If your water supply holds various other contaminants, they’ll be competing with lead to be absorbed in the filter media.
  • Levels of lead in your water: A carbon filter will exhaust soon if the lead level is too high in your water. You’d need to replace your filter regularly or utilize a different filter media for that purpose.

Other Ways to Reduce Lead Exposure

If you’re still unsure how to remove lead from your water, here are some other ways.

  • Avoid using hot water: Hot water typically contains more lead than cold water. Therefore, it’s best to avoid flaming hot water straight from the tap when drinking or cooking.
  • Use bottled water: The legal limit for lead in bottled water is 5 ppb, as per the FDA. So, you’re less exposed to lead compared to your home water that may contain more. But, on the contrary, bottled water may have other, plastic toxins like microplastics that could harm your health. And it’s expensive, too.
  • Flush before using water: Flushing taps and faucets helps reduce the amount of lead you are being exposed to. You need to follow this practice particularly early in the morning when water has not been utilized the whole night. You can water your plants or do the dishes to avoid wasting the water.

Health Effects of Lead in Drinking Water

Lead is extremely harmful, particularly for children. Here’s how it may harm your little one’s health:

  • Behavioral problems
  • Learning issues
  • Speech and hearing problems
  • Brain and nervous system damage
  • Lower IQ
  • Poor growth

two children drinking filtered water

Adults alike are vulnerable to several health issues due to lead contamination:

  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Reproductive problems
  • High blood pressure

A Safe Level?

A study indicates that lead exposure results in 412,000 deaths in the US annually.

Simply put, there is no safe level of lead in drinking water.

What’s more, lead is a cumulative toxin. In other words, it is stored in your body even if you’re only exposed to a tiny bit of it. Over time, this exposure can lead to several health issues as listed above.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • How accurate are home water lead test kits?
    This varies from test kit to test kit. We found that DIY test kits/strips usually receive a good amount of negative customer feedback due to lack of accuracy and similar issues. Honestly, we wouldn’t rely too much on them. Professional lab water testing conducted in a lab according to EPA standards should be 100 percent accurate.
  • Can you test your own water for lead?
    Yes, you can. You can use a DIY lead test strip or a professional lab test kit.
  • How do you perform tests for lead in water?
    That’s pretty simple. Test strips need to be dipped into water for a few seconds before comparing them to the color chart provided. All you need to do for send-away kits is collect a water sample as instructed.
  • What are the symptoms of lead in drinking water?
    You cannot detect lead in water using your senses, because lead in water is tasteless, odorless, and colorless. The only symptoms that might occur are health-related – think high blood pressure.
  • How do you get rid of lead in water?
    There are 2 ways primarily: Either you replace the lead source itself, such as an outdated plumbing system. But this is not always possible. The second option is to use a lead water filter.
  • What is the acceptable level of lead in drinking water?
    The EPA has set the lead action level to 15 parts per billion. 5 ppb is the legal limit for lead in bottled water. Still, there simply is no safe level of lead in drinking water. It’s just too toxic.
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Questions? Ask away!

And keep in mind: We’ll add a new lead water test kit review occasionally. So come back for more!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald has been with BOS since the very beginning. She is head of content creation and has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
Learn more about Gene and the rest of the BOS Team.

Gene

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