Red Sea Test Kits versus Salifert Test Kits

Disclosure Statement:  I am not employed in the aquarium industry, am not paid or receive “kickbacks” for my reviews, and I am not involved in any sort of sketchy deal. These reviews are purely my honest assessments, and I apologize for any personal bias that may arise during these reviews.

I made the jump to the Red Sea test kit after finally exhausting my supply of Salifert test kits.  As mentioned in the product review, cost was one of my main decision factors since the Red Sea kit was only $49.99 and Salifert test kits added up to almost $70.

Red Sea beat out Salifert by leaps and bounds on packaging.  The external box can be thrown away, and the internal box is plastic.  My Salifert boxes are flat-out disgusting from being in a saltwater environment.  Along that line, the test direction/result cards are laminated to help prevent water damage which is a huge improvement over Salifert’s printer paper directions.

Red Sea’s box is more compact and durable than Salifert’s boxes
These cardboard boxes have not withstood the effects of time/saltwater well

The vials are glass compared to Salifert’s plastic vials.  With Salifert, the syringes dose one drop at a time, but the Red Sea syringes tended to squirt faster than properly usable.

The Red Sea kit is very compact

In order to get the chemical level result with Salifert, the user simply has to read the level on the syringe and read across the sheet to get the alkalinity level.  Red Sea requires math to reach the level (see the product review for more details).

Red Sea’s alkalinity result was 14% below Salifert’s result.  Red Sea claims their calcium test kit is within 5ppm accuracy, the alkalinity is within 0.05 meq/l , and their magnesium is within 20 ppm (I do not have equipment to validate Red Sea’s accuracy claim, so I will just say Red Sea and Salifert vary.)  I will continue to test the differences and see if the variance occurs with different chemical levels or if it is consistent.

Red Sea’s alkalinity test
Salifter’s alkalinity test
Red Sea’s result was 13% above Salifert’s result, but this could’ve been due to a bit of an accidental squirt at the end rather than single drops (see comments above.)  I’ll repeat the test to determine if this was a fluke.
Red Sea’s calcium test
Salifert’s calcium test

Testing magnesium was a bit more of a pain than Salifert as Red Sea’s kit requires much more swirling.  Red Sea’s result was about 6% higher than Salifert’s result.

Red Sea’s magnesium test
Salifert’s magnesium test
Overall, I’m much more satisified with Red Sea’s test kit than Salifert’s for calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium.  The cost is lower for better equipment that will withstand a saltwater environment.  Sorry Salifert, but you’ve lost a customer.


  1. Karen Preston

    So its been almost a year since you did this comparison. Do you still prefer Red Sea over Salifert?

    1. admin

      I do! My opinion hasn’t changed on this one since I first used it. Plus, Salifert products are now very difficult to find locally. I also have Red Sea’s Iodine/Potassium/Iron test kit. Those tests are rather time/labor intensive, but they still work well too.

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