The Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit is a great place to start if you suspect your home (or part of it) suffers from mold. It's vital to test for mold, if you suspect it, as its growth - and spread via air con units - can cause breathing difficulties and health issues for your family. The Pro-Lab kit is fairly basic compared to others we've considered, but it does a good job of detecting the vast majority of mold types, and the mycology lab associated with this test has impeccable credentials. The test is easy to use, accurate, and comes with a pre-paid envelope to send your sample to the lab. Beware, though, that the initial cost only covers the kit, and Pro-Lab charges an industry standard $40 for the testing and results, which can be emailed or texted to your phone. The Pro-Lab Mold Test is among the best mold test kits you can buy today, and here's why.
Pro-Lab Mold Test review: Ease of use
The Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit is one of the most complete mold detecting kits we used. Each test in the Pro-Lab kit requires you to prepare a petri dish by pouring a mold medium, or a growth hormone, into the dish. After the growth hormone hardens, you can use the petri dish in one of four methods to collect a sample. We found that the settling plate method was the easiest test, in which you place the prepared petri dish on a flat surface and leave it for one hour. After the test is finished, you seal the dish with a lid and allow the sample to incubate for at least two days.
The next method is called the visual sampling method in which you wipe visual mold with a sterile swab, included in the kit. Making sure that mold has adhered to the swab, you transfer the mold to the petri dish. Once the mold has been transferred to the dish, you seal the petri dish and send both the dish and the swab for analysis.
The third method, called the HVAC method, is the technique Pro-Lab recommends to test your air, since most mold problems occur in air conditioning and heating vents. However, this test is a little more complicated than the other methods. First, you attach the petri dish to the furthest vent and shut every other vent. Then, you run the system fan for ten minutes. Much like the settle test, the air settles onto the growth hormone in the petri dish. After the test, you seal and incubate the test plate for at least two days.
There is also a fourth 'air sampling' test, which allows you to collect dust and test for mold and spores on this. All the tests are outlined in the instructions that come with the Pro-Lab Mold Test kit.
The settle and HVAC method tests allow you to identify mold samples growing in your home. If you find mold growing in the petri dish for either of these tests, or if you use the visual method, you'll want to pay the lab fee to have the mold analyzed by the company's lab.
It's worth noting that this test is child friendly, although you should keep children away from the growth hormone and any mold that grows within in. You should also keep it away from pets.
Pro-Lab Mold Test review: Analysis and accuracy
Although Pro-Lab charges an additional $40 for its laboratory analysis, you can expect accurate results. Its mycology lab is among the most qualified of all mold test companies, with a long list of certifications that includes the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
Once the lab gets your sample, you receive a report within two weeks. The report, which is sent to you via email or text message, includes mold identification and information. With this, you can get a mold-removal crew to help you isolate and remove the threat. Pro-Lab backs every report with a lifetime guarantee, and with such high accuracy, it's easy to see why.
The Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit comes with most of the equipment you need to perform every test. Each kit comes with a petri dish, growth medium, sterilized swab, return envelope and detailed test instructions. Test preparation takes about an hour, but once you're ready to take a sample, the step-by-step instructions are easy to follow.
One kit is good for one test, but the instructions state that you should run a parallel test outdoors to help determine if mold is entering your home from your local environment or not. If you follow the kit's advice, you'll have to buy a second mold detector for your yard before you test your room. If you want to test different rooms for different types of mold that means buying more tests, and the cost here can quickly add up.
Unfortunately, the kit is missing dedicated sample bags for safe shipping. If you want to send a bulk sample, you have to reuse the bag holding the packaging supplies. The prepaid envelope feels flimsy, and you may feel some level of concern regarding the integrity of the package. Lastly, the mold detector that we used did not have an expiration date on it. Old growth gels can lose their effectiveness over time, and an expiration date would have been reassuring, especially as this product has been available for over a decade.
Pro-Lab Mold Test: Customer support
Pro-Lab offers a full range of support options, from personalized help to do-it-yourself instructions. The website offers a small FAQs section and detailed video tutorials. You can also download a new instruction manual if you lose the one that comes with your kit.
If you have any questions on how to test for mold, support representatives are available by email and telephone. After your report is finished, you can contact the lab staff with any questions you still have. Pro-Lab offers help during all phases of the testing.
Should you buy the Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit?
The Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit is one of the easiest to use and accurate mold testers we found. It is simple and offers a full range of test methods to suit almost any environment. Although the laboratory costs an extra $40 to investigate, Pro-Labs mycology specialists have a long list of qualifications, and they are always helpful if you need more advice. The test kit is missing a few components, such as a dedicated sample bag or expiration date, but we are impressed by Pro-Lab's Mold Test Kit and would recommend it as a good first-step towards remedying mold or dampness in your home.