5 Of The Best Soil pH Tester Choices
The quality of your soil determines the productivity of your plants and the resulting bounty. Soil with the proper nutrients and pH level will yield an overflowing harvest at the end of the season. To ensure your soil has the proper acidity levels, you need the best soil pH tester that can measure the levels without requiring a professional.
Why Is Soil pH Important?
Maintaining the right pH levels is the difference between success and failure. It affects root development, the nutrients available in the ground, fungi growth and plant diseases. Plenty of plants can live in a variety of conditions, but certain ones do require more acidic or more basic soils. Most want a neutral or slightly acidic soil medium.
Keeping your soil from 6.0 to 6.5 pleases most. If you allow your soil to become more acidic, manganese and aluminum levels become toxic to your plants. Levels of 7.0 or higher make essential nutrients, like magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, unavailable to your plants. Many plants, such as tomatoes, require calcium and won’t produce correctly without it.
How Accurate Are Soil PH Meters
You might wonder about the accuracy of a soil pH meter. The accuracy will depend on what type of meter you selected.
Electronic pH Meter
An electronic soil pH meter is an accurate way of reading your level. It is ideal for novices and if you want quick, accurate results. Unfortunately, electronic meters can’t read the pH level well if the soil isn’t wet.
The next choice is a chemical dye meter that comes with three different components. The results are fairly accurate, but you do have a possible range of error. This option is also more inconvenient.
If you have to test regularly, strip tests are a frugal choice. You dip the strip into a mixture of garden soil and water. However, strip tests are the least accurate choice. Reading the colors can be hard, and there is the possibility of cross-contamination. You could also get false results if there is fertilizer in the soil.
The most accurate choice is an electronic meter, giving you results to the nearest decimal point. Unfortunately, these meters are rather expensive.
Best Way To Test pH In Soil
There are several ways to test your soil pH levels. If true accuracy is your goal, the best way to test is with an electronic meter. To test your soil, follow these easy steps.
Maintaining A Digital Soil pH Tester
Digital meters are more sensitive than other varieties, and you have to take certain precautions to guarantee they work properly. If you take extra steps, your investment will last for years to come, making it worth your money.
- The probe should never dry out. You will need to buy special solutions at the store that are designed to take care of the electrodes on your meter. The probe should be submerged in liquid.
- You need to clean the meter regularly. Frequent cleaning is essential for ensuring the meter lasts for years.
- Calibrate the meter according to the schedule. Each meter will tell you the proper scheduling for calibration. Follow it if you want accurate measurements.
5 Best Soil pH Tester/Meter Reviews
Good Option Within Budget
Environmental Concepts created a top-rated soil test kit that comes with 40, 80 or 200 test strips! That makes it a great choice for the gardener who needs to test often. Everything is contained in a sturdy, plastic case, so you can easily bring it out to the garden with you. The manual is detailed and has all the information you need to know about using the kit.
Gardeners love this soil test kit! You can trust the results; they are accurate and help you know how to amend your soil. While it states that it is a professional soil test kit, anyone can use it, whether you are a novice gardener or need a choice for your classroom. The test kit is affordable, so it is ideal for all people.
Environmental Concepts is great for those who want to purchase their soil pH tests in bulk because they like to test often. Anyone from a novice to an expert gardener can figure out how to use these strips! It is important to know some negatives. These tests only check for four different nutrients, so it isn’t for the person who wants additional details of their soil.
- Affordable price that allows everyone to purchase,
- Easy to follow instructions,
- Offers tests for 4 different nutrients in your soil.
- Might have trouble getting consistent results,
Versatile And Budget-Friendly
This Dr. Meter S30 model is also a digital soil tester, and it’s a three-in-one device; it’s capable of measuring not only pH value, but moisture and light level, too. To do this, it uses two 20cm probes and a light sensor. It can measure soil acidity in a 3.5 to 8 pH range; the results are shown on a readout scale because this meter doesn’t have an LCD monitor. A huge advantage of this soil tester is that it doesn't rely on batteries or electricity to work.
One of the main issues with this product is that the moisture readings are often questionable. It’s understandable if that’s a deal-breaker for you, but you should focus on the fact that it’s still an accurate pH meter.
If you’re looking for a tester that will measure not only soil’s acidity but moisture and light exposure, too, or, to put it shortly, if you want a meter that is versatile while still being budget-friendly, then this is the one you should keep in mind. Even though its pH measuring range isn’t as wide as in some other testers, it will still be enough to suit all your gardening needs – indoors, outdoors and in your greenhouse. Finally, if you take environmental problems seriously, you’ll appreciate the fact that this meter is entirely self-powered, so you won’t need to use batteries.
- It is self-powered, which makes it eco-friendly,
- Instead of a monitor, it has a readout scale,
- Measures pH degree in a range from 3.5 to 8,
- Possible issues with moisture readings.
Compact And Eco-Friendly
The T20B soil tester is a product from XLUX, and it is a dual meter, equipped with sensors for both pH value and moisture level. The design of the meter makes it look like a camera lens, with a short, thick probe, which allows for a large contact area. That feature will give you more accurate pH and moisture readings, and the three rings visible on it will help the user get a clear picture of how deep they dig it into the soil.
The length of the probe could count as a disadvantage, as it doesn’t allow you to check the pH and moisture levels in the deeper areas of the soil in your outdoor plants.
This meter is not only simple to use (it operates using a single button), but also self-powered – there’s no need for using electricity or batteries. That makes it eco-friendly, which is an enormous advantage for users that care about the environment. Another thing you will appreciate is the compact design of this tester – it will fit comfortably in your hand or pocket as you go around your garden. The short probe also makes it ideal for indoor plants kept in pots. All in all, it will give you the necessary information about the environment in which your plants are growing.
- Design for more accurate result,
- Attractive and compact design,
- It's self-powered and eco-friendly,
- Solid and well-made.
- The length of the probe doesn’t allow access to deeper levels of soil
Getting Below The Root Zone
This product, made by Gain Express, is a dual meter, meaning it not only provides accurate pH level readings but can also measure the moisture of the soil. Even though the price is a bit higher, you’ll get a sturdy, two-in-one meter that will help you keep your plants healthy.
When it comes to precision, this meter has a 0.2 pH accuracy within a 3 to 8 pH measuring range, which has proven to be enough not only for gardeners but for educational purposes, too. The soil moisture, on the other hand, is measured on a 1 to 8 scale.
If budget-friendly is something you look for in a product, this might not be the one for you; there are certainly less expensive meters on the market.
Even though the price of this tester is a bit higher, you’ll get a sturdy, two-in-one meter that will help you keep your plants healthy. By using this tester, you’ll be able to detect changes at the exact ground depth in which they occur. Another good thing about this product is the fact that it doesn’t need batteries; it is entirely self-powered, so if you care about the environment, keep it in mind when you make your decision.
- It has a 295mm long probe,
- It’s capable of measuring moisture and acidity below the root zone,
- Doesn't need batteries, it’s self-powered
- It has a 0.2 pH accuracy.
- High price one compared with others in my list
Not For Those With A Limited Budget
The Kelway PHD Soil pH meter is the most expensive on the list, but the quality justifies the price.
It’s not a full range pH monitor, though; it’s capable of giving you readings with a 0.2 pH accuracy, but only in a 3 to 8 pH value range. However, that shouldn’t be an issue because most gardeners have a problem with elevated acidity, which Kelway PHD can detect. This meter doesn't require any chemicals or batteries to work; it’s powered by a flow of electricity between two metal plates that give you pH readings.
It only measures pH values; additional sensors for moisture, light or temperature are not included. That could count as a serious disadvantage when you compare it to other products on the list.
This Kelway soil pH meter will indeed step up your gardening game; it does fall into the higher price range, but durability, precision, and simplicity of use entirely justify the price. The fact that it’s often the pH tester that professional gardeners opt for says a lot about its quality. Also, it’s compact enough to fit in your hand, which makes it ideal for outdoor gardening jobs where you need to carry it around.
- High accurate result,
- Compact, hand-held size,
- It has a 0.2 pH accuracy
- Doesn't require batteries or other power sources; it’s self-powered.
- It falls in the higher price range,
- The length of the probe doesn’t allow access to deeper levels of soil,
- Doesn't have any additional sensors besides the pH one.
The Best Combo Soil pH Tester
Without a doubt, the best combo soil pH tester is by Bluelab. It allows gardeners to test pH levels, temperature, and conductivity (EC, CF, ppm 500 and ppm 700). The meter is lightweight, with a large, easy to read display. To calibrate the meter, it requires just a simple push of the button. You don’t need to calibrate it for conductivity and temperature.
It is easy to use! All you need to do is put both probes into the solution and read the display! Both probes need to be submerged sin the solution. You can take it anywhere because it doesn’t require a power supply. So, you can take it to the garden or do it inside of your home.
There are so many great choices for the best ph soil testers, but one stands out amongst the rest. The GAIN EXPRESS features an impressive design and accurate result with acceptable price range, which is more than enough to tackle most soil testing activities.
AMAZON Best Sellers: Best Soil pH Meters
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