I like using Hanna checkers. Digital readout makes them nice. I use calcium, ULR for phosphorous, and Alkalinity. As far as nitrate API works fine for me. Red Sea and Salifert are nice kits also and welcome to the forum!
If your looking for budget Jebao powerheads are good. They have many styles at an affordable price. I believe e the CP 90 is a good start. Personally I have Jebao and an Ecotech Mp10. My Jebaos have been flawless and I love the Mp10. Placement will be up to you and how you set up tank.