After conducting thousands of fluoride tests at Truth About Fluoride, I think I may know a thing or two about answering, how to test for fluoride in water?
An answer definitely worth knowing, since many people waste their time on methods and products that not only are a waste of money but also do not accurately test for fluoride.
So let me explain what you need to know.
How To Test For Fluoride In Water
You’d think since fluoride is in the water millions of people drink, it would be easy to test for.
However, it’s not that easy…
Mainly due to the fact, it’s extremely hard to find information on how to do it properly. As most Google searches will give you inaccurate or straight up, bad advice. Now as it stands, there are 3 ways to test for fluoride in water:
- Official Lab Tests
- Testing Strips
- Fluoride Meters
And realistically, not all these options are worth your time and money.
Top 3 Ways To Test For Fluoride In Water
1) Official Fluoride Lab Test
For the longest time, I was not a fan of this method.
It was hard to find a quality lab, it was pricey, and overall it was not simple to do. Not to mention, many labs would not allow you to just test for fluoride because it’s not worth their time (not enough money).
However, a website called TapScore makes testing for fluoride in your tap or well water very easy.
Let me show you…
So when you buy their Fluoride Water Test (link to their website) or any other water testing kit from their site. They’ll ship a brown box to you for free with everything you need to get started.
Now when you take a look inside the box you’ll notice the following inside:
- Easy to follow instruction card
- A paid for shipping label to return it
- A bottle to put the water in
And all of this is super easy to follow.
All you have to do is fill up the little bottle with water, put it back in the box, and ship it back (shipping is free both ways).
For example, in the picture below I was testing a brand of bottled water called Starkey that is known to contain high levels of fluoride (I wanted to confirm my own testing by sending it to a professional lab).
After this step, you fill out a little card with your information and sign up for an account on their site. Which takes a few minutes to do.
At this point, you’re pretty much done.
You just have to put everything in the box, slap on the paid shipping label they provide and drop it off at the post office.
Then in a couple days, you’ll receive an email telling you your results are ready to view. And all you have to do is click on the link they send you through email and you’ll be able to see the results.
That’s how easy it is…
Now the only other thing I’d consider is getting anyone of their City or Well water testing kits. All of these kits (Essential, Advanced, and Extended) include testing for fluoride and you’ll be able to get more information about your water.
So in general, I’d say this is my favorite way to test for fluoride. It is the most convenient and efficient way of testing water for fluoride. And not only is it reasonably priced but it’s the most accurate way to test since it’s a professional test.
2) Fluoride Testing Strips
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet.
When it comes to testing fluoride with testing strips, it’s a complete waste of your time and money. Testing strips don’t work, even if they say they do.
For example, I bought myself testing strips that said they were able to test fluoride (circled in red, in the picture below).
However, I quickly returned it as it was giving me unreliable test results. As the testing strips were giving me the exact same fluoride levels for everything I tested.
For example, it’s well known where I live (Toronto, Canada) that fluoride levels in tap water are commonly 0.6 ppm and the fluoride water filter I use at home is the most reliable way to produce fluoride-free water.
Yet somehow, the test strips were showing the same fluoride levels for both of them.
So in other words, testing strips don’t work for fluoride and you should avoid them.
3. Fluoride Meters
This is the method I use to test everything on this website. From fluoride water filters to the hundreds of bottled water I’ve tested for fluoride.
Besides getting an official lab test, a fluoride meter is the next best and only other option on how to test water for fluoride. And there are two to choose from: Extech and Apera (link to Amazon). But I’d recommend the one from Extech.
It’s cheaper, easier to use, and just as accurate as the one from Apera. Now let me explain and show you how it works.
How To Test For Fluoride Using A Fluoride Meter
Using a fluoride meter is not as easy or accurate as the first option but it’s still a very good choice. It’s also very easy to use and only takes a few minutes to test your water for fluoride.
The entire process is broken down into 3 steps…
Step 1: Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
In order to start testing fluoride in your water coffee or tea. You’ll need to make sure you have everything you need, 3 things specifically:
- Fluoride Meter
- TISAB Tablets (comes with meter)
- Fluoride Standard Solution (1 ppm)
The reason you need the fluoride standard solution is to calibrate the fluoride meter. This basically tells the fluoride meter what 1 ppm of fluoride looks like, which it then uses to compare against other liquids you test.
However it does not come with the fluoride meter. So you’ll have to buy it separately and the best place to find it is on Amazon. If you can’t find it there, it’ll be difficult to find anywhere else.
Now once you calibrate it by following the instructions provided with the fluoride meter, you can move onto step 2…
Step 2: Dissolve a TISAB Tablet
After you set-up the fluoride meter by following the instructions provided.
Fill up the plastic container with whatever you want to test. Once you have 20 ml of what you want to test, place and dissolve 1 TISAB tablet into the liquid.
To speed up the process you can crush the tablet with some chopsticks and swirl the water around.
Step 3: Place Fluoride Meter Into Solution
Once the tablet is completely dissolved.
All you have to do is place the fluoride meter into the little container and press “ON“. In about 35 seconds, the fluoride level will show on the fluoride meter’s screen.
And that’s how you use a fluoride meter.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, so let me quickly tell you about the cons I’ve experienced using the meter.
Now does it accurately measure fluoride levels? Yes. I’ve doubled checked by getting professional lab tests to confirm this. But through out the years of testing I’ve been through at least 5 or 6 different meters because they oftentimes break. So there is a good chance it’ll break for you too.
Sometimes the meter breaking is not as obvious, like when the electrode malfunctions which leads to “unreliable” results. Which is why I constantly test the meter against things I know contain a certain amount of fluoride (filtered water, standard solution, etc.).
Kind of a headache…
So which option should you choose?
Best Way To Test Water For Fluoride?
I’d keep it simple…
If you’re looking to test your water 1 or 2 times or once year, then I’d recommend you go with TapScore or any other laboratory that offers similar services. That way you don’t have to deal with the headaches that come with the fluoride meter and can be confident in the results.
While if you’d like to test water for fluoride or other liquids more often, then buying a fluoride meter would be the best choice for you.
Now that wraps up the article on how to test for fluoride.
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