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A Floating Laboratory

Product Tested: Sutro Smart Monitor makes water care easier

The overall concept of the Sutro Smart Monitor water system for pools and spas is quite simple: The monitor automatically tests the water three times a day and gives exact instructions on how homeowners should treat the pool. Customers purchase the Sutro, drop it into their pool and get readings on an app.

Ravi Kurani, founder and CEO of Sutro, says Sutro isn’t intended to replace pool technicians, but to enable pool/spa owners to be proactive versus reactive in their water treatment duties.

 “You don’t leave your pool to the destiny of what’s happening around you, but rather you’re guided on what you should do and when to do it,” he says.

Kevin Jones of Goldsby, Oklahoma, is one such homeowner who’s found the Sutro water system to be a game changer. Sutro provided PoolPro with a free unit to test, which was used at the Joneses’ pool.

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The Sutro unit PoolPro tested on an Oklahoma swimming pool.

He and his wife started using the system in June 2021; neither of them had any experience maintaining a pool. They were interested in a device that could look at their specific system and make recommendations to keep its chemicals in the right range.

Inside the device — which Kurani describes as a floating laboratory — are the same reagents found in a Taylor test kit or LaMotte kit: pH, free chlorine and alkalinity. In fact, the Sutro is powered by LaMotte.

“We basically have ‘Honey, I shrunk the test kit,’ and instead of using five drops of the pH indicator, we take 1/50th of a drop,” Kurani says. “Inside the device, we run titration chemistry, look at the colors, then stream that data back through the hub, through Wi-Fi and into the Sutro Cloud, which then gives the customer a super simple display on what their chemistry is and what they should do about it.”

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Jones says the hardware and app interface for Sutro are user friendly. He appreciates how it provides a trend chart to show how their pool levels change over time, which he sees as more valuable than getting a daily snapshot.

The system also takes water care a step further. “Instead of just what to do about it,” Kurani says, “we allow you to scan the barcodes of the chemicals you use so you see the picture of the exact chemical that you should be putting in your water.”

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The Sutro cartridge uses reagents at 1/50th of a drop compared to a test kit.

For Jones, the biggest benefit of having Sutro is the specific recommendations based on the size of his pool and the chemicals he has on hand. He also feels the test results are much more consistent than another product he briefly used.

While there are a variety of test kits on the market, Kurani says the Sutro system stands out by saving pool owners time and headaches.

“[With other systems] they go to their pool, pull out their test kit, measure the chemistry,” Kurani says, “and then they calculate the needed chemicals that they should put in. They’re busy, they’re tired and they work other jobs. Which is why we hire pool guys, right?”

“Since we are inexperienced owners, we still use a weekly pool service,” Jones says. “I noticed the readings from the Sutro system matched the numbers the pool tech was reading, and it was also able to alert me to falling chlorine levels between visits, so I was able to maintain safe and clean water for my kids to swim in.”

While he hasn’t noticed any major cons with the system, Jones points out there was one issue with a test cartridge, but that Sutro was prompt in remedying the situation by giving him suggestions and diagnosing remotely. “I would definitely recommend this product to others,” Jones says. “Especially during the very hot months where levels can fall rapidly from day to day. It’s great to pick up my phone, and check the levels and temperature any time I want.”

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