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What is TDS and How to check the TDS level at home?

When you wish to purchase a water purifier one of the terms you encounter frequently is TDS. No, we do not refer to Tax Deduction at Source but Total Dissolved Solids.
Any chemistry student will tell you that the molecular formula for water is H2O. However, groundwater or any other water source in the country does not conform to the formula. Water on this planet contains salts like calcium, magnesium, manganese, fluorides, carbonates, etc. Besides, river water has industrial wastes like arsenic, antimony, lead, and other heavy metals. It also contains human trash, and therefore not ideal for drinking right out of the tap.
Therefore, you need kitchen appliances like water purifiers to eliminate TDS. However, all TDS is not bad for health. Water should contain salts like calcium and magnesium. Therefore, measuring TDS is crucial. We shall discuss how to measure TDS levels at home.

How to measure TDS levels at home? 

You can measure TDS levels in three ways. They are,

  1. a)     Using digital TDS meters
  2. b)     The Electrical Conductivity Meter Method
  3. c)     Using filter paper and weighing scale

The first named method is the easiest of the lot and can be done at home. The other two ways are industrial methods as they require additional apparatus and mathematical calculations.
Using the digital TDS meters – The most straightforward way
You might have seen the water purifier installing mechanics using a small gadget for measuring TDS levels. This device is known as the Digital TDS meter. It is the easiest one to use. This device helps to measure the temperature and TDS levels simultaneously.

  • Measure the water temperature
  1. a)     Switch on the Digital TDS meter and press the TEMP button to get the reading in degrees Celsius.
  2. b)     Press the TEMP option again to return to the TDS mode.


  • Measure TDS levels
  1. a)     Remove the cap and switch on the digital TDS meter.
  2. b)     You have a marking on the meter up to which you should immerse it into the water.
  3. c)     If you find some air bubbles, stir the meter to remove them.
  4. d)     The reading will stabilise after 10 to 15 seconds.
  5. e)     Keep pressing the HOLD button while removing it out from the water.
  6. f)       View the reading. If the meter displays an X10 symbol, you should multiply the reading by 10 to get the accurate TDS levels.
  7. g)     After obtaining the reading, you should shake the meter to remove excess water and put on the protective cap.


Where can you buy these digital TDS meters? 

These digital TDS meters are inexpensive devices available at leading medical and departmental stores for a few hundred rupees. It is also available online on ecommerce websites like Amazon. These TDS meters can measure TDS levels up to 5000 ppm. 

Precautions when using a digital TDS meter 

  • You should ensure not to dip the TDS meter beyond the level indicated on the device. These devices are not waterproof.
  • Exposing the digital TDS meter to sunlight can damage them.
  • Keep the protective cover in its position when not using these meters.
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