Gardening requires many different skill-sets and knowledge. Without proper knowledge about the soil type and plants, you cannot succeed in gardening, even as a hobby. One thing that you need to know while gardening is the pH level of the soil. Without knowing this, you will be unable to decide which plants would suitably grow in the soil.
To check the soil’s pH level, you will need the best soil pH tester. This will provide you with results of the soil pH level whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. pH is the potential of hydrogen, and testing the soil will show the number of hydrogen ions present in your soil. Some plants require acidic soil, while some will require alkaline soil.
There are many different options for testing soil pH, but the most accurate way is through soil testers. If you want correct results, then you can choose the best soil pH testers available. The guide contains a list of the different types of soil pH testers that you can choose from.
How Do You Use Soil pH Tester?
The way you will test the soil using your soil pH tester will depend on the type of soil test kits you are using. If the soil pH tester is a probe meter, then it is quite easy to test the soil. With the probe meter, you will just have to insert the probe into the soil and reach the plants root, and you can get the reading.
You can also get a diluted soil sample if your probe length is short. Another way to test your soil pH is by using the soil strips. When using strips, it is better to get a diluted sample since this makes the testing very easy and helps get accurate results.
The soil you take a sample for the test should be properly mixed and not just the soil’s top layer. Agitate the soil properly without harming the plants before you use the probe meter or take a sample for testing.
How Should You Store, Clean, and Calibrate the soil test kits?
To store the pH tester, you can keep the pH moisture intact using any storage solution. If you do not have a storage solution, you can also use tap water or buffers for storing. However, storing pH tester in distilled water should be avoided at any cost. You can use a storage bottle if you want to keep your pH tester safe for reuse. Using distilled water will damage the testing kit.
Once you have used a soil pH tester, you can use it again by enhancing the pH moisture it properly. Depending on the pH tester type you are using, there are many different ways of cleaning. You can use salt deposits, normal cleaning in light detergent solution, or methanol. Make sure there is no soil, grease or clogging in the pH tester after its first use.
To calibrate a pH meter, you must first clean and maintain pH moisture of its electrodes and calibrate with the pH 10 and pH 7 buffers. Ensure that the reading is accurate during these two calibrations, or you need to conduct the step again. Clean the electrode properly after each calibration.
How Should the Soil pH be Increased or Decreased?
The soil pH can be increased and made more acidic by applying any material that would consist of any lime element. A very common material used to do this is ground agricultural limestone. If the particles of the limestone are fine, then the reaction would be more quick and effective.
On the other hand, to decrease the pH level, you would require two main elements: sulfur and aluminium sulfate. You can easily find these two materials in any gardening equipment center. For both these materials’ effectiveness, you need to choose fine particles that would mix easily with the soil.
Are The Results Of pH Testers Accurate?
Many people have doubts regarding the accuracy of soil pH testers. Whether the soil test kit is accurate or not will depend on the quality and type of tester you are buying. Electronic testers are better at providing accurate results than the other types. However, you can also opt for other options if they are from a well-known brand.
If you choose paper strip testers, then the results’ accuracy may vary depending on whether you have done the test right. Moreover, there are many different methods of testing using paper strips. You may have to try out multiple methods to see how accurate are soil pH testers that you have bought.
For a high accuracy level, it is always better to opt for the best soil pH tester that is lab-certified. This will ensure that the test you are conducting will deliver correct results. Accurate ph soil tester is also where the result is easy to read.
Factors to Consider While Buying Soil pH Meter
The soil pH tester is an important piece of equipment that you would require in your gardening toolkit. Without the best soil pH tester, you would not know about your soil’s pH level, which could lead to damage to your plants. If your soil’s pH level is not suitable, then you would need to adjust it accordingly with the right methods.
When you choose the best soil pH tester, you will need to keep certain factors in mind. The tester should be of the best quality and have certain important features. Without these features, you will end up with a tester that provides you with inaccurate results which will be harmful to plants growth.
Whether you are an expert gardener or an amateur, the soil test kit you choose should be very easy to use. If the soil test kit is complicated, then it could take up a lot of your time. Moreover, for amateur gardeners, too much complication in the soil test kit could be a huge hassle.
If your soil tester requires you to go through an extensive process before they can deliver the result, then you should never choose that soil tester. You need to look for a soil tester that delivers results very quickly without you going through much trouble.
Probe style meters are a great option since you only need to put the probe into a soil sample or directly into the soil. However, a chemical dye test kit cannot be used by people who do not have any chemistry knowledge. Moreover, the ph soil tester should also be easy to read.
The next thing that you need to check in your pH tester is the accuracy level of the results. This is a major issue with some testers where the device does not always deliver accurate results. However, the accuracy is dependent on the quality of the device you are using. If you go for a low branded cheap soil tester, then the results may be inaccurate.
The accuracy also varies according to the type of ph soil tester that you are using. In electronic testers, the accuracy level is higher than litmus paper testers. When using probe meters, you can test more than once to see if the results vary or are accurate.
If you have a nearby test lab, you could take the soil sample to see if the meter readings are correct. Without accurate results, you would not be able to successfully continue with your gardening work.
One essential thing to remember while checking the soil’s pH level is that the measurement has to be done at the root level. For accurate depth, you will have to first device which plant you are willing to grow in your garden. The depth can be anywhere between 2 and 10 inches. However, the probe should reach the root depth of the plant you will be growing.
It is better to choose probes that are long and can reach lower depths of the soil in your garden. These probes will be versatile and suitable for any kind of plant that you may be growing. Shorter probes may restrict testing if the root depth is more than where your probe can reach.
If you do choose a shorter probe, make sure that your device can test soil samples. This way, you can dilute the soil sample and check its pH level without opting for a longer probe.
The range of each pH tester is different, and you have to see what kind of range would be more suitable for you. Analog probe testers have a pH range between 3 and 8. Though this is perfect for matured plants, this range may not be suitable for seedlings. When testing soil pH for seedlings, you will need to have a more diverse and accurate range.
For seedlings, you can choose digital meters with the whole pH spectrum ranging from 1 to 14. This would help you get more accurate results, which are necessary for seedlings. No matter which tester you choose, the range should be so that it can give quick and accurate results.
You can also choose chemical dye kits if you are an experienced gardener with chemistry knowledge. These kits provide accurate results as well since they also have the whole pH spectrum range.
The soil tester’s power source is very important as you need to know how the tester will work. Probe meters and chemical dye meters both do not require any power source. This makes it very easy to use the meters since you do not have to plug them anywhere to run them. Moreover, some meters would require you to use batteries to run.
Batteries are required in digital meters without which the meter cannot be operated. You need to check the battery types that the meter can use. You need to ensure that the batteries required by the meter are available in the market.
Most of the batteries used by digital meters are AAA alkaline or CR2. You will find these batteries very easily in the market. Paper test strips are completely easy to use and also easy to read.
Some pH testers have more features than just testing the pH level of the soil. You will find that some testers have features to test the nutrient level of the soil. Some more features are testing the light and moisture that the plants receive.
For a better gardening experience, it is better to choose testing kits that come with these additional features. You can test more areas of your soil, which will help you balance the soil’s pH level if needed and determine the nutrients necessary for proper growth.
You can easily find different pH kits that consist of additional features. These kits can be customized according to your requirements. Make sure that you choose features that would help you grow plants in a better manner.
No purchase can happen without knowing the price of the product. Though price does not determine the quality of the product, it is a very strong indicator. When you are buying a tester, you need to check the price range that it falls in.
Most testers that fall in the lower price range may work well, but not always. Many cheap testers will not provide you with proper readings. However, it does not mean that expensive testers may not always be successful in providing correct readings. paper test strips are a very budget-friendly option for soil testing.
You need to see that the pH meters you are buying are worth what you are paying, no matter the price range. The testers listed in the guide fall in a budget-friendly price range with exceptional performance and easy to read results.
The brand of soil pH tester is very important since this impacts the performance of the product. Many different new brands and local tester brands have emerged in the market due to intense competition. However, these local or new brands may always not function the way you want.
That is why you need to choose brands that are well-known for supplying lawn-care and gardening products. Soil testing is not similar to liquid testing and needs equipment that is specially designed for testing soil.
If you are looking for well-branded soil testers at an affordable price, then you find many options in the guide. Make sure that the tester kit you buy is perfect for your landscaping and gardening purposes. You also need to see that kit you are buying has the necessary testing features that you require.
Checking the reviews of the product, you are going to buy something that everyone does. The company can make hundreds of promises, but not all of them may be true. Soil pH tester reviews help you understand whether the product works exactly as promised by the company.
Before you opt for any tester, no matter the brand, make sure you read the soil pH tester reviews. Check out reviews that are written in detail about the good and bad of the product. With these ratings, you can determine the tester’s quality.
Do not just read one or two, but try to read as many as possible to better understand the product. Choose only that pH tester that has been appreciated for its accuracy, quality, and reliability.
The Luster Leaf 1847 Rapitest Digital Plus Soil pH Meter is one of the best soil pH testers available in the market. Luster Leaf is a great analog-type tester that provides you with all the necessary information about the quality of the soil and the moisture and sunlight levels.
This digital soil tester successfully measures macronutrient levels in the soil, pH levels of the soil, and the moisture levels. Additionally, Luster Leaf also measures the sunlight levels reaching the soil. The sunlight measurement feature is a rare one to be found in any other machine.
The macronutrient testing of this Luster Leaf rapitest digital soil model can be a bit disappointing. It does not give detailed information about the macronutrient contents. Instead, it just measures soil fertility of your garden. The machine sensor can only give an average estimate of the NPK levels in the soil. This feature works well with most of the plants. But the information received can be quite insufficient for the plants that feed heavily on nitrogen.
The most amazing feature of this Luster Leaf rapitest digital soil model is the soil moisture content. It does a phenomenal job in sensing the moisture content with supreme accuracy.
• Great in detecting soil moisture
• Easy and understandable analog setup
• pH levels detected with accuracy
• Soil fertility testing can be improved
The Bearbro 3-in-1 soil tester is yet another great soil pH tester to rely on for ensuring healthy plant growth. As the name suggests, this is a 3-in-1 soil moisture meter that tests the soil for humidity, pH levels, and the amount of sunlight reaching the plants. It also helps in determining the water content of 3-in-1 soil moisture levels.
This model analyses the condition of the garden soil and tells you if there is a need for watering or not. The Bearbro 3-in-1 soil tester comes with a superior quality double-needle detection technology. This adds to the accuracy of soil testing and also fastens the analysis procedure. It can be put to use for both indoor and outdoor plants moisture and sunlight check, and it is very lightweight and portable.
The model does not require any batteries to run. All you need to do is insert the sensor about 4 inches into the soil and let it do the job. You get the analysis in a jiffy. If you see the pointer is not showing any movement, then it is an indication that the garden plant has gone too dry, and you need to water it.
• No battery model
• Accurate in testing
• Difficult to read
The MORITIA Soil pH Meter is a great soil pH monitor for getting precise results. This is a four in one model that measure soil pH levels, sunlight content, soil pH moisture levels as well as the temperature of the soil. It is a great model for those who pay great attention to soil conservation and determine the pH of your soil.
The machine comes with a large LED display screen with high-definition imaging and is one of the most qualifying purchases. It also has a backlight that makes reading the monitor quite convenient, even in low light. Though it runs on a battery, you don’t have to be extra cautious about switching it off after every use. It has an auto-shutdown mechanism that switches the machine off after five minutes of no activity.
It is a very simplistic model that comes with a single key switch for all four operations. All you need to do is insert the key into the soil you want to test and let the sensor get in action. Within a few seconds, you will get the results for the pH of your soil and all the other variables being tested. Investing in the MORITA soil pH Meter won’t leave you disappointed as it is great in performance and highly durable as well.
• 4-in-1 functioning
• Single key for all measurements
• Battery not included in the pack
The Sonkir Soil pH Meter is popularly known for using one of the best detection technologies that are available for testing. It gives results with immense accuracy, and you can trust those to be as good as lab results. This particular meter can be used for checking moisture and sunlight for both indoor and garden plants.
The Sonkir soil pH Meter is a three in one meter that can test soil pH levels, sunlight levels, and soil moisture content. The accuracy offered by Sonkir soil pH Meter monitor is pretty outstanding. It comes with probes that are quite long in length. This allows you to penetrate deeper into the soil and reach the level of the roots of all plants in your garden.
It also has a double-needle detection system that increases the speed of the detection process. The fast pace testing is made possible because of the different probes in use, which measure different things at the same time. The monitor has clear markings and demarcation, which makes it quite convenient to switch from one mode to another.
• Faster and precise results
• Double-needle probe
• It can only be used for fine soil
The Kensizer Soil Tester is yet another great three in one meter that you can invest in. This model produces accurate data for the pH levels of the soil. It also tests the soil moisture levels and the sunlight levels reaching the plants in the garden. It provides results with great accuracy, so you can be pretty confident about what is being displayed.
This soil tester does not require a battery to run. You have to simply plug it, and it will run without any inconvenience. This saves you from the trouble of changing batteries all the time. It uses two probes to detect the various variables in the soil without harming the plants. The two probes measure two different things at the same time, making the entire procedure pretty quick.
The machine is light in weight and easy to carry. It can be used for plants inside as well outside the house. The clear display screen makes it easy to check the readings with accuracy.
• Double probe technology
• No battery required for the functioning
• Quick reading and analysis
• Soil moisture content analysis can be made better
The Atree 3-in-1 soil tester Kit is another basic yet efficient pH level monitor. It can measure three variables at a time, the pH levels, the amount of sunlight reaching the plants, and the soil moisture content at the testing area.
The Atree soil unit comes with no fancy qualities, but it is good for testing pH levels regularly. It can only be used in soil and fails to function in any liquids. This Atree soil pH test meter is quite easy to use. You just have to insert it in the soil from the probe side, and you will get the analysis in no time.
This meter does not require a battery to test your soil. The probe is quite sensitive in its functioning so, you can expect maximum accuracy in the results. This meter is great in detecting any change in soil and will deliver the result accordingly.
• No battery model
• Sensitive to function
• Reading the screen can be difficult for some users
The Bluelab PENSOILPH Meter is a unique pH meter with a compact and chic design. It can be used to test the acidity or alkaline nature of the soil with great precision. It has a pen-like structure that allows you to carry it around anywhere with ease.
The probe of this meter is of quite the superior quality. It is made with glass, similar to the ones used in lab testing. This meter can be used for testing the pH levels in the pool, drinking water, soil, as well as for hydroponic farming.
It comes with a two-point calibration system along with a temperature compensation mechanism. The monitor has an LCD display, which makes the reading of the analysis quite simple. You don’t have to worry about remembering to switch off the tester every time after use. It senses a no-work situation and turns off on its own. For storing you need to maintain the pH moisture and avoid cleaning with distilled water.
This monitor runs on a battery and comes with a low battery indicator. The packaging comes with a calibration solution, AAA batteries, and a storage cap for safekeeping.
• Stylish pen-style design
• LCD display screen
• The machine needs to be supplemented with other testers
The Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit is a no-fuss pH tester kit for every gardener. This kit is an old fashioned way of testing the acidity and alkaline levels of soil. This kit comes in a jar, which has about 100 test strips, which means with one purchase, you can get 100 tests.
This test is custom made and calibrated for testing soil pH levels only. The soil test kit jar comes with the entire pH indicator chart that helps you match the test strip color for better analysis. This test kit is pretty fast and accurate, and very easy to use. All you need to do is touch it in a wet soil ground and wait for the color change.
The kit also comes with a user booklet with a lime and sulfur application chart. This makes understanding the analysis even easier.
• Simple and accurate reading
• Fast results
• Easy to analyze
• Can only test soil pH
• It can only be used for 100 tests
The MySoil Soil Test Kit guides you towards growing a healthy and fine garden in your house. It is a very easy to use and highly accurate soil testing kit, made for domestic use with professional standards. This pH testing kit has an amazing DIY style that lets you enjoy the gardening experience and learn better as you go.
This kit comes with a combination of organic and synthetic fertilizers that are custom-made for your soil type. The pH testing kit can be put to good use for multiple growing fields like the lawn, turfs, gardens, or pots. It is also perfect for different gardening setups like compost, ornamental plants, as well as tress.
After purchasing this kit, you don’t have to worry about any external supplies to complete the package. The test kit comes with all the required essentials to carry out the pH tests with ease and convenience. Instructions to clean the test kit would also be mentioned and avoid using distilled water for the process.
• DIY kit for gardening lovers
• It can only be used for pH maintenance
The Bluelab METCOM Combo Meter for pH is a tester kit that provides lab-quality results with accuracy and precision. It is used for measuring the accurate soil pH level along with the temperature and moisture level. It can also measure EC, ppm, CF for a more detailed analysis of the soil.
This Bluelab tester comes with a two-point calibration and an auto temperature compensation mode. It has a digital meter that displays results on an LCD display. The LCD is backed by a backlight so you can read the meter even in dim light.
The monitor displays quick and accurate reading about the nutrient levels in the soil. It helps you maintain the quality of your plant soil and keep it enriched proper amount of nutrients. This can help in enhancing and maximizing the growth of the plant without a lot of effort.
Just like the other Bluelab meters, this one also comes with an auto turnoff feature and a low battery indicator. You will get AAA batteries and a storage cap along with the kit contents.
• Very accurate and lab-grade results
• LCD display with backlight
• Only tests pH and temperature
If you are a gardening enthusiast, then you would know the importance of maintaining the pH levels in the soil for better and fast growth of your plants. Investing in soil testers is never a waste. You can monitor the essential variables that impact the plant’s growth and maintain them for better growth potential.
Just like the human body, plants need proper nutrients, water, and temperature levels to ensure healthy and prominent growth. You can only be sure about these conditions if you monitor them on a regular basis. This detailed read will help you narrow down the best soil pH meter that is suited for your need.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.