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Is it Effective to Use TDS to Measure Water Quality?

TDS is an aggregate measurement of all the organic and inorganic material present in a sample of water. This includes dissolved organic compounds, inorganic compounds, salts, minerals, and ions.
 TDS meters measure the conductivity of the water in parts-per-million (abbreviated as ppm), which is equivalent to measuring the mass of contaminants present per liter of water (abbreviated as mg/L). 
 If your TDS levels are above 600, or even in the 1,000s, it is a huge indicator that there is a wildly problematic level of dissolved material present in your water. But if your water’s TDS measures between 300-500, it is considered acceptable and it’s difficult to isolate if any of those dissolved materials are potentially harmful or damaging from a TDS reading alone. 
Is it effective to use TDS to measure water quality?
TDS is a popular water quality measurement because it’s simple, accessible, and does provide the reader with a general understanding of their water’s make-up. If the TDS meter returns a 2,000ppm reading, your water is brimming with dissolved solids, many of which are likely to be undesirable contaminants. If the TDS meter shows a reading of 100, you know your tap water is generally low in organic and inorganic compounds and lacking high mineral content.
However, a TDS reading is also a common water salesman trick. If a homeowner is shown a 300ppm TDS reading and told their water is full of dangerous and unknown dissolved substances, this can be used to leverage the sale of an unnecessary and expensive water filtration system. The truth is, a TDS meter alone cannot provide the salesman or the homeowner a complete picture of the water’s quality. A more in-depth water test kit can provide a much more complete picture of what is present in your water. Some specialized tests can be performed at home, and give you estimated ranges of specific contaminants like copper or arsenic. A lab test kit will give you a complete assessment of the contaminant levels present in your water. 

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