Best Soil pH Meters
If you have grown your own garden or you constantly deal with live plants, a pH meter is almost mandatory for you. What a pH meter allows you to do is monitor the current hydrogen-ion activity in water-based solutions. The device will display for you the current acidity or alkalinity level of the solution you are measuring. This “number” is known as pH. Knowing this number can be crucial as changes in pH can affect the plant’s nutrition and its growth. But, some soil pH meters are designed to measure more than just soil’s pH levels. On top of this, there are some digital and non-digital versions to choose from.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research
It passed safety standard and strict quality tests
On the interface, everything is clearly labeled
The 295mm probe allows for deep penetration
- Gain Express
- Kelway pH
- Covery 3-in-1
- Bluelab Combo
- Dr. Lyn
- Luster Leaf 1612
- HM Digital Hydrotester
- Jellas Soil Moisture
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Gain Express
It passed safety standard and strict quality tests
On the interface, everything is clearly labeled
The 295mm probe allows for deep penetration
The soil must be moist to get an accurate reading
The number one soil pH meter on the market happens to be a fairly basic device. However, that is the brilliance as you do not need to worry about hassling around several nonsensical design features. Instead, place the probe in the soil and await the reading.Read more
Not only are you getting a device that precisely measures the pH level of your soil but it also has the ability to measure the moisture level of the soil. Due to the extra-long probe, you can deeply penetrate the soil.
Per the description, this is advertised as having an accuracy of plus or minus 0.2 pH. As users have pointed out, this seems to be about right making it an accurate meter.
Ease of Use
Truthfully, this device is so simple that you could probably operate it blindfolded. Batteries are not even required and you simply plug the probe into your soil and push the button and await the feedback from the meter.
While the meter is certainly nothing fancy, and it is not digital, you can see the pH level of your soil (from three to eight) via the dial. Due to the font colors, though, it is very easy to see.
Most soil pH meters are going to be portable and this version is certainly no different. With a weight of just under five ounces and a length of 410mm, it is easy to carry around and transport if need be.
In this instance, you really do get what you pay for. If you are seeking a soil pH meter that has dual-functionality, provides precise and accurate measurements, and is pathetically easy to use, then look no further.
2. Kelway pH
Can measure both pH and moisture levels
Comes with full instructions, conditioning film, and a carrying case
Its accuracy is within 0.2 pH
The included leather case is not the best
It needs to be cleaned with special paper that is expensive
Kelway has designed a very similar pH meter like the one that was just presented to you. Yet, as opposed to the last one, theirs is a bit heavier and in the long run may hold up longer than any other model due to its durability.Read more
Two of the most important variables to keep track of with your soil are the pH level and the moisture level. Well, with this device, you can track both of them with the convenience of one meter.
Kelway claims that their pH meter sports an accuracy of plus or minus 0.2, with the moisture having a plus or minus 10 percent precision. These claims appear to be true, per a reviewer who tested the numbers.
Ease of Use
Once you have inserted this device into your soil, go ahead and push the button on the top and you will receive the readings you are looking for. No power source is required.
The interface of this model looks eerily similar to that of the previous pH meter. It looks like a traditional meter and features a dial that will display the current pH level (from 3.5 to 8) and moisture level.
Even though this is a bit heavier than other soil pH meters (still only 12 ounces), it does come with a carrying case for transport. Howbeit, this “leather” carrying case has been criticized by reviewers.
Consider this a bulkier version of the first pH meter. One benefit of this is when you are sticking it into the soil, you do not have to be extra cautious about it breaking; which can be an issue for some probes.
It is incredibly simple to use and operate
Seems to be pretty accurate
Does not take long for the device to register the soil’s levels
The included instructions need to be edited
Does not go very deep into the soil
This is another classic design and one that does not require any batteries for operation. Though several users point out the included instructions could have been more detailed, this is a fantastic pH meter that also allows you to monitor moisture and sunlight levels.Read more
Indeed, this is much more than a soil pH meter. While it still can measure that, it can also alert you of your soil’s current moisture level and its sunlight at the root level.
Even though something is marketed as being accurate, does not always make it so. However, this claim seems to be appropriate as not too many users have griped about the precision.
Ease of Use
These types of soil pH meters are ridiculously user-friendly because they do not require batteries and only require you to insert the probe into your soil. It is cliché, but it is so simple a child could do it.
The display is not the largest in the world that is for sure. While you can view the measurement readings with the color-coded system (which is a nice touch), you may have to squint to do so.
Whether you need to test plants that are outside, those that are inside, or even if your friend wants to use it, the portability and ultra-compactness of this meter easily allows it to be done.
It is only a guess but due to this product’s accuracy, functionality, and simplicity, this may be a lot of reader’s number one choice. Due to how high it is, that is certainly not a negative, is it?
4. Covery 3-in-1
Is backed by an 18-month warranty
Ideal for both outdoor and indoor use
Very simple to operate
Accuracy has been noted as a potential concern
The pH reading is a bit difficult to see
Speaking of simplicity and functionality, that essentially personifies the next pH meter. But, what is nice about this model is that the interface is a bit clearer and larger than the previous (yet still not the best).Read more
If you were to own one tool in your garden, this may be it. This tool will allow you to determine if the soil needs more water if it is getting enough light and its current pH level.
Despite the claims of this being scientifically accurate, users have questioned the overall accuracy of this device.
Ease of Use
About four inches into the soil, insert the probe and then from there, reference the meter to see the current levels that are being measured. Once again, no batteries are necessary.
Though the interface is probably an improvement over the last meter, it can still be difficult to view the meter. But, it does feature a convenient slider to switch between modes.
Imagine hauling around a ruler that is made from premium wood. That is essentially the size and shape that you are looking at here and indeed, portability and maneuverability are not a concern.
The accuracy issues may draw a red flag and the interface (while improved from the previous meter on this list) is still not the most sufficient. All in all, though, this will get the job done nine times out of ten.
5. Bluelab Combo
It is portable and can be used virtually anywhere
Comes with two different probes (an additional one is needed for soil)
Calibration is very simple thanks to the push-button operation
You must buy Bluelab’s soil pH probe alongside with this
An on/off switch should have been added
Only true plant enthusiasts will be interested in this next meter and it is not just because of the price. It actually comes with multiple probes and if you want to use it to measure your soil, you will need to buy Bluelab’s compatible soil pH probe along with this.Read more
Straight from the package, two separate probes are included that are designed to measure conductivity, pH, and temperature within a solution. As just mentioned, Bluelab’s soil pH probe is required to use it for soil.
One of the shining features of these probes is their unparalleled accuracy. Several reviewers have raved and if precision means everything to you, this is the device for you.
Ease of Use
Instructions are on the back of the meter when calibration is required. Thankfully, it is a pretty easy process and one that can be done with the push of a button.
Instead of utilizing a traditional meter, this meter is digital. The result is an easy-to-read readout of the current pH level (with one decimal point) of what you are measuring. It is not too flashy, but it gets the job done.
Due to the multiple probes and the digital handheld, while not cumbersome or difficult to carry, a separate bag may be needed when you want to transport this pH meter.
Notwithstanding that you must order a separate pH probe to create a soil pH meter, this truly is a unique design. Being fully digitalized and coming with multiple probes, gurus of pH levels will be thrilled with this design.
6. Dr. Lyn
Four batteries are included and provide 1000 hours of use
A storage case is included
Backed by a money-back guarantee
Needs additional steps to be used as a soil meter
The on/off connection is a bit loose
Once again, a bit of work is required to make this device work as a soil pH meter. Instead of being able to insert it into a plant, you must make a sample of soil solution to determine the pH level. It is a bit more work but it may end up being worth it.Read more
The main function of this meter is to measure pH levels. While it is primarily designed to do so with solutions, the method above has sufficed for customers looking for a soil pH meter.
As the manufacturer claims, accuracy is their main goal. In fact, you can let them know if you are dissatisfied with the accuracy with no risk involved. Overall, a plus or minus of 0.1 pH is the advertised accuracy.
Ease of Use
Within mere seconds after inserting the probe into your solution, you will receive the current pH level. That really is all that is required on your end.
Despite the fact that the digital display only takes up a minuscule amount of the total meter, it provides the pH level to two decimal points. In addition, the backlit green screen makes reading the number easier.
Its net weight of 1.6 ounces and length of 161.9 millimeters would be enough to suffice for portability. Yet, a storage case is included to only further enhance the convenience.
No, it is not impossible for this to be a soil pH meter; it then would not be on this list. It may not have been intended that way but if other users are any point of reference, it is possible.
7. Luster Leaf 1612
Going back to the basics is not always a bad thing and this is the case with this soil pH meter. Much like others of its kind, this three-way meter is as simple as it gets and delivers precise readings; even if it takes a long time to do so at times.Read more
With this contraption, the current pH level of your soil will be at your finger tips in seconds.
Precision and accuracy can be achieved with this design. The 1612 model brings you the results faster than most other testers.
Ease of Use
No need for batteries or an additional power source; as you simply insert the probe into the soil.
Again, this is another non-digital pH meter that can be difficult to read. However, to switch between readings, there is a slider directly underneath the meter.
More or less, all pH meters of this design are portable. The length is the only aspect that could present itself as an issue but as for the weight, 2.4 ounces is as light as a feather.
It does not seem like it does it all the time, per user feedback, but sometimes several minutes will pass before an accurate reading is gauged. Yes, this is an unnecessary nuisance but this may or may not happen to you.
8. HM Digital Hydrotester
Measures both pH levels and the temperature
It is factory calibrated
The digital interface is clear and easy to see
It is not very durable and you must baby it when using it
We come to another pH meter that can be used as a soil pH meter, with a bit of preparation. Doing so is worth it if you truly treasure a digital display and design.Read more
Measuring pH levels is what this bad boy was made for; and with a little work, it can do so in your soil. First water your plants lightly and let them sit until the soil is moist. Then, add water until you achieve a runoff and then measure that.
While there are issues with this meter, the accuracy of its pH readings is not one of them. Users seem to agree that the measurements were close to other device readouts.
Ease of Use
Utilizing this device is about as simple as it gets. Yet, you will have to recalibrate it on occasions. It comes factory calibrated but thanks to the one-touch process, recalibrating it when necessary is a breeze.
As basic as the digital display is, it gets the job done and shows you the pH reading and temperature of your solution.
Weighing just less than four ounces and possessing a sleek design, this can be transported in virtually any way you can think of. It is compact enough to even slide into your pants pocket.
A small note that needs to be assessed is that when you are operating this device, you need to handle it with caution. Indeed, the build quality is a bit of a concern but if you are careful, it should not be too much of a caveat.
9. Jellas Soil Moisture
3-in-1 Soil Tester
Easy to set up
Not suitable for testing solution
The Jellas Soil Moisture Meter is a great option that has 3-in-1 capabilities to measure moisture, pH, and sunlight. This makes it a versatile and valuable tool for any garden lover.Read more
So far, you have seen some soil pH meters with the ability to gauge three different measurements. However, Gabion designed their meter to test a soil’s moisture, pH level, temperature, and sunlight.
Users have found that all three measurements being tested are very accurate. Designed with a double needle, the Jellas provides an added form of accuracy.
Ease of Use
All you have to do insert the pH meter 2-4 inches and wait a few minutes. The results will show quickly.
Per the usual for soil pH meters, portability will not be an issue here with the lightweight nature and compact body.
It does not appear that too many know about Jellas Soil Moisture meter and that is a shame. While not without its flaws, it delivers four separate readouts on its rather impressive digital display.
- Can measure moisture, light and pH levels of your soil
- No chemicals or testing strips are required
- Based on user feedback, appears to be accurate
- Some users have had issues with durability
Like the ones that have preceded it on this list, the Elenest soil pH meter is what you would expect from a basic probe meter. It offers multiple measurements, does so without the need for a battery and only requires you to push it into the soil.Read more
Elenest’s three-way meter is much like the others of its kind in that it measures the pH level, moisture level and light level of the soil.
When it is working, which will be addressed in a minute, users seem to be pleased with the consistency of the pH levels that this meter measures.
Ease of Use
Again, three-way meters are pathetically simple in that you only need to insert the probe into your soil.
While the display does nothing for the visually impaired, there is a slider that can switch between pH, moisture, and light. But, everything is clearly labeled.
Because some customers have experienced durability concerns, it is best to take caution if you plan on transporting this meter anywhere. It can easily be taken anywhere but do not toss it in a random location without any care.
Per user feedback, when this meter is operating it does so admirably and holds up to people’s expectations. Yet, the problem here is many users have commented on its lack of durability. As such, patience and proper care are more than required.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One can never assume, but, most likely, you came here today only interested in finding a meter to measure the pH level of your soil. As you read through this guide, you got a clear understanding that these devices offer more functionality than just pH readings. But, this is their main functionality; there is no doubt about that. Yet, what on earth is a pH level and why do you need to know it? As mentioned earlier, pH is a measurement to find out the relative alkalinity or acidity of a substance. In this case, this would be the soil beneath your plants. It generally runs from 0 to 14 and the lower the number, the more acidic it is.
This becomes important because, for some plants that require acidic soil (pH levels around 4.5 to 5.5), you want them to have the correct pH level. The same goes for plants that need a higher pH level and a soil pH meter allows you to determine that. However, sometimes they offer further functionality. For example, they may also measure the current moisture level and if the soil is getting enough sunlight. Both of these metrics are vital to a plant’s growth, as well.
The entire purpose of owning a soil pH meter is to better gauge the health of your plants and if they will survive. You do this by knowing the pH level (among other measurements) and reacting accordingly. But, what good is this is the pH readings your device is outputting are inaccurate. If it is off by maybe 0.3 or 0.4 that is not too big of a deal but when it plus or minus one or two pH, that is major. When glancing over a pH meter, you may see a manufacturer rating in the specifications. Typically, this will indicate the plus or minus accuracy guaranteed from the meter. Can you trust that number or should you take it with a grain of salt?
That question is hard to answer and the best precaution you can take is to judge user feedback. See what actual customers have claimed about their real-life experiences with the pH meter. If the general consensus is that the meter is precise with others, chances are the pH reading is going to be almost spot-on with the actual level.
Ease of Use
You will fall in love with your soil pH meter for many reasons but one of the main reasons may be due to the simplicity. A lot of times with these devices, it is as simple as inserting the probe into the soil. From there, some devices will require you to press a button while others will automatically begin measuring. About the only task that will require a bit of effort on your part is the calibration, and it is still not that much.
If you are using a soil pH meter that is specifically designed to be inserted in soil and nothing else, try letting it sit in the soil for a while to allow for a more accurate reading (if it seems to be inaccurate). But, most of the soil pH meters on this list will not need to be calibrated. However, for other pH meters, you can dip them in a solution of pH value seven and allow them to stabilize. Either way, the process should not be too difficult.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest questions you need to ask yourself is whether or not you require a digital display. Part of the reason why there are a few pH meters on this list that require a bit of work to measure soil (even though still feasible), is because they have a digital interface. Sure, this brings along with it the need for batteries but some will enjoy the luxuries of an LCD display. On the other hand, most basic soil pH meters will have a meter that displays the readings.
This is not necessarily a bad design aspect but at the same time, sometimes the meter display can be painfully small. Oftentimes, you will find yourself squinting to see the measurement especially when they, typically, measure more than just the pH level. Though, do not assume that all non-digital displays are horrid. As long as you can view a clear image of what you are trying to read, it should suffice.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Studies have found that you are likely to get a truer reading from the soil if you take the sample from 2 or more inches deep from the top. The mineralized topsoil is what we want to measure and the soil on top of the garden can give an inaccurate reading.
An often overlooked piece of advice is to also check the pH of the water you are using to moisten the garden soil. If the water has an acided pH level, this is bad for the plants. Ideally, the soil and the water will have the same pH level.
Other Factors to Consider
In many ways, all soil pH meters share something in common. Yet, this may not be truer than when addressing their compactness and portability. You would be hard-pressed to find a model that is cumbersome and annoying to carry around, in fact. Still, there is an area that you need to be cautious with and that is the durability. Wait, what does that have to do with this section? It is possible you just asked yourself this question and it has everything to do with it. Unfortunately, some pH meters are not built to withstand much abuse. In fact, some require ultimate delicacy when you are handling them.
If this happens to be the case, you should not merely toss your meter in a storage bag or your vehicle. Instead, find a dedicated spot for your pH meter and when you travel with it, pack it safely.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do you test pH soil with a solution-based meter?
A few times throughout this guide it has been explained (in a few different ways) how to measure the pH level of your soil with a solution-based meter. However, now it is time to go in-depth and inform you exactly how to perform it. Firstly, go ahead and get roughly 15 samples of the soil that you are looking to measure. Once you have obtained these, place them in a clean plastic container. Now that you have your testing data, so to speak, take a small amount of the soil and mix it with the same amount of distilled water (one to one ratio).
Make sure you do this in a closed container as you will need to thoroughly shake the soil and water together. Once it seems they are adequately mixed, let the new solution sit for around five minutes. Now, you can insert the probe into the solution for your results. Again, this is only necessary if you invest in a pH meter that is not designed to go directly into the soil.
q: Can you leave the probes in the plant?
For pH meters that are specifically designed to be inserted into the soil, this is a question that frequently gets brought up by customers on Amazon. The only issue is from one user to the next, the answer tends to differ. For example, one customer claims that when they left the probe in the soil, the sensor tip deteriorated over time. But, then you have others who report that they have left them inside with little to no issue.
However, in order for you to get a correct pH reading each time, you will want to remove it. To ensure the most accurate reading possible, you should wipe the dirt off of the probes with a dry cloth before each use. So while leaving it inside the soil may not damage it, there really is not a point as this will not provide you with an accurate reading.
q: Can you pull soil pH meters out of the soil to get a reading?
It can be a little difficult to answer questions such as these as all it takes is one device to change the answer. However, speaking from a general sense, more times than not a soil pH meter is going to automatically reset as soon as you remove the probe from the soil. Yet, if it is a digital version and it is programmed to leave the reading on the screen for a certain amount of time, this may not end up being the case.
For the most part, assume the former; especially when you are talking about pH meters need to be directly inserted into the soil. Logically, it makes sense as when you pull the probe out of the soil, it technically is now reading the pH level of the air. Sure, it would be nice if the reading would stay for several seconds but just bank on it resetting.
q: Does the soil need to be moist to measure the pH?
Sometimes, soil pH meters will not register any measurements when you stick them into your soil. It can vary but some will provide more accurate readings when the soil is moist. But, the soil may not “need” to be moist to achieve an accurate reading. With some pH meters, some different variables will affect the accuracy. Not only the moisture but also the current humidity outdoors could lead to an incorrect reading of the actual pH level. Say the humidity outdoors is 100 percent; it may not be wise to test your plant’s soil at that time as the reading could be ineffective.
q: Could you use a soil pH meter for compost?
Most people will probably use a soil pH meter for their plants or garden. While most of the soil has been alluding to that of plants, how about compost that is used for gardens? Compost, as disgusting as it is, is beneficial in gardens because of its richness of nutrients. If one wanted to test the pH level of compost, though, could they with a soil pH meter? One specific manufacturer commented on an Amazon’s user question and said it may not be accurate due to the moisture.
Thankfully, another user gave some clarification on what you would need to do. It can be used to in this manner but you will first need to get the pile of the compost moist. After which, inserting a soil pH meter inside should give you a fairly accurate reading of the pH level.
q: How to store soil pH meters?
When you are talking about regular pH meters, ones that measure pH levels in liquid solutions, they need to be stored wet in the appropriate solution. However, that is not going to be necessary with pH meters that need to be inserted into the ground. But, how do you store these types? Probably the best way to go is to always wipe off the current soil from the probes with a dry cloth. Once they are cleaned, store them in a safe place where you know they will not become damaged. As mentioned earlier, some soil pH meters are not exactly as durable as a tactical flashlight.
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