Proper care is of utmost importance these days. The significance is even higher if you are a gardener. Right watering, sunlight, and nutrition are needed for plants to grow, but people tend to overlook a tiny fact which is called the acidity of the soil.
Not all plants require the same levels of it, and even if acidity is at the proper level, it may change, especially if you are using fertilizers.
The best soil pH tester is luckily easy to buy, but how to choose which one is the best? This article answers the question.
Minilop 4-in-1 Soil Test
What To Look For When Buying A pH Tester?
To decide which one of the offered pH testers is the best, I had to determine the rules upon which the decision will be made. The better the device in particular area, the higher the chances for it to win. So, here are the criteria.
Is It Easy To Handle?
One of the most critical factors in deciding the winner was how much effort I must put into, to get readings. The construction of the device dictates how easy it will be used, so those with more parts, for example, will need more time to set up and get the readings.
Not all people are experts in this field, so the instruction manual which is (usually) provided needs to be as transparent as possible. Too much time wasted on setting up, measuring and reading are considered by me as cons in most of the cases.
Is It Quality-Made?
The more effort manufacturer puts into making a product, the better; it is simple as that. However, some of them are making good products, no doubt about that, but the price remains high. Finding that “golden middle” was one of my primary tasks.
A pH tester which will be made to last for at least a couple of years, without me spending a fortune on it. In 1976 Led Zeppelin said that “The song remains the same.” If the device can keep the song for years to come, it is a great feature.
Of course, from time to time comes in a product for which you are paying a low price, and it remains good, even after years of service. These although the rarest, are the very best.
How Much Will It Cost?
As I said above, the quality of the product dictates the price and vice versa. Still, paying for something way too much is always considered as a minus. Luckily, the Internet made sales explode for the past decade, and prices, in general, are falling, because of the vast competition.
On the other hand, I have come up across several testers which are a bit more expensive, but their quality and reliability are what makes them worth the money.
Is It Versatile?
pH tester needs to test pH value, and that is it. But, some of my competitors show a bit higher criteria and can do a bit more. At the end, why not to have several devices packed in one? If it can work as several of those, great.
Be aware, however, that some manufacturers are putting in as many functions as possible, only to justify the high price. This is not how it should be; the device should implement as many tasks as possible, and do that correctly so that the price will be suitable.
For Whom Is It Intended?
Some of the products listed here are meant for a large fan of users, and as such are featuring more of the functions and ranges included. Others, however, are aiming for people in specific situations, for example, pH testers are measuring acidity only, without the possibility to measure alkalinity.
Depending on your situation, you may choose the one which fits you better.
Popular PH Testers On The Market - My Reviews
Without any further delay, here are the products which I’m considering as worthy of your attention and possible purchase.
Minilop 4-in-1 Soil Test
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
All right, I’ll admit that I love gadgets which look futuristic and have useful additions which no other manufacturer’s feature. Minilop made its tester in black and yellow variety with a quality housing which prevents slipping.
What sets this one aside and makes it a winner, is its detailed display. It can measure temperature, moist, pH value and the temperature of the soil. All of that fits the screen and is seen right away.
What surprised me the most is the illuminated display. Finally, I could get a reading in my garden, without a flashlight and staring for 15 minutes to see the results!
It uses the single 9V battery, and it is spent faster if the lighting of the display is turned on. Those cells can be bought on every corner, so there is not much worry about it.
The price is low for such versatile and quality product. The fact that it also shows the results in decimals, thus improving the accuracy only adds up to its value. Also, the readings are taken fast and without much of a problem.
XLUX T20B Professional Soil Ph Meter – Just A Few Inches Behind
Price on Amazon: $399.99
In case that you couldn’t find my winner, this one might also do the trick.
Another multi-purpose instrument, this one can measure moist and pH, and although measuring sunlight would be nice, what it does, does well.
Slightly different in design, T20B looks a bit rough and sturdy. Reminds me a bit of a stake, so killing count Dracula with it might be possible. Joke aside, it is well-built with a shorter rod than it was desirable, and that is my main objection.
However, on the side of the device are notches with the names of plants, and this means how much it must be thrust into the ground.
As for measurement, it also “suffers” from unmarked decimals, so a bit of a guessing will also be required. After sticking it to the ground, I had to wait about 10-15 minutes to get the readings. Although this is not such a big deal, I felt that it should be way shorter. Also, the switch for function swapping is a bit inconvenient; set on the side of the tester, it can cause slight movement while turned on or off, thus impacting the accuracy.
The price is fair, although I felt that it should be at least $10 less. Still, considering the overall quality, it could be a suitable replacement for the winner. I’d recommend it to whoever needs moist, and pH tested, such as farmers, because in the field, you cannot get more sunlight.
Bluelab PENSOILPH Soil Tester pH Pen – Expensive, But Classy
In case that you need an upgrade from existing device to other, more professional one, this might be the best solution available.
This pH tester from Bluelab comes in the form of a pen. It looks a bit fragile, and it is the truth that requires more careful approach. What sets this one aside, however, is its possibility of calibration. All there is is to put it in a glass with distilled water and press “cal” (calibrate, of course), and it will “remember” pH 7 value, which is neutral. Then, it is ready for further usage.
It also has a probe which is used to poke the hole in the soil, which reduces wearing off of the measuring part. This significantly prolongs years of service. Also, the fact that it is waterproof only adds up to the reduction of possibility to break down.
Still, even if the price is a bit high, it is well worth of the money, since this tester besides pH value can measure and the temperature as well. This will be most useful for people who need to know the exact temperature of the soil, such as inside a greenhouse, or in a pot indoors.
The drawback is that it needs a battery to operate, but those can be bought on every corner.
KHTONE Soil Tester 3-in-1 – Cheap And Reliable
Price on Amazon: $11.00
There are so many varieties of this device available that it is hard to distinguish one from another. But, the quality always stands out, and this case is not an exception.
KHTONE decided to make a device which will measure three factors, pH level, sunlight and moist of the soil. Switching between these three is effortless, all there was for me was to set the switch in proper position, and the reading was shown.
On the bottom side, there are two metal rods which need to be stuck to the ground, to make measurements. I had to be careful not to hit any rock in the soil, so I took it slow and easy. Once set, it only took a few minutes to do readings.
As for the accuracy, I put it in a glass of water, and it showed 7 exact, which means that it does its job nicely. On the other hand, the downside is that there are no notches between numbers, so anything between two numbers is a guessing game. This is good for the open field, but for pot plants, it can be disastrous.
The design is excellent, it is small in size, and can be used everywhere whether that be an open field, a greenhouse or pot in your house, so one more plus for the winner. Also, no batteries are needed, which I superbly done, since there is no chance that you will be left without the same while out in the field.
As for the price, it is very cheap, so this might be one of those cases which I mentioned when I said that from time to time comes excellent product at low cost. This contender should be taken into consideration by beginners and professionals alike since it is lightweight, fast and easy to use.
Bluelab Combo Meter for Plant Germination – Monitor The Most Sensitive Time In Growth Cycle
Price on Amazon: $187.38
Bluelab had made its presence with high-quality products. Almost every one of theirs looks like medical equipment, and this set is no exception. After all, surgical precision is required for seed germination.
The width of data range it offers is stunning, almost laboratory-like. It can tell conductivity (ppm 500 and ppm 700, EC, CF), pH as well as the temperature (°C, °F). All of those gave me laser-sharp image about the condition of the soil, precisely the amount of different salts within so that I could change the terms on an hourly basis! In case that you are growing plants from seeds, this is a must.
Its measurements are accurate and easy to read thanks to the enough big display, and clear numbers. Combo Meter also has a probe attached, so you don’t need to bend over to interpret the results. Since many elder people are doing gardening out of the hobby, they will find this device irreplaceable.
The price is high when compared to others, but since it gives so much, I can freely say that it fits for such appliance.
When everything is taken into consideration, it is clear that the winner is Minilop 4-in-1 Soil Test. The best soil pH tester was finally discovered, and it fairly beat the competition with its usability, price, and reliability.
In any case, I hope that I have managed to answer any questions you may have, and if you still have some doubts, feel free to leave it in the comment section below.