Whether you’re an amateur gardener, a flower enthusiast, or you’ve got a yard full of fruits and veggies, a pH meter is a valuable, must-have tool for any gardener. A soil pH tester or pH meter can tell you if your soil is acidic or alkaline, which means you’ll know exactly what you can and cannot grow in your yard or indoor garden before you plant it.
Most plants do best in soil with a pH of 7, but this isn’t true for every plant. Hydrangeas, for example, like a pH of 5 or 6, whereas okra can do well in soil with a pH of up to 7.5. Finding the best pH meter for your outdoor or indoor garden can help you grow healthy, lush plants.
- BEST OVERALL: HiLandy Soil pH Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Atree Soil pH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kits
- BEST POCKET: Luster Leaf Products 716750 1840 Ph Soil Meter
- MOST ACCURATE: Kensizer Soil Tester, 3-in-1 Moisture/Light/pH Meter
What to Consider When Choosing the Best pH Meter
Choosing the best pH meter for your garden depends on a few factors, including where you’ll be using your meter (indoor or outdoor) as well as what you need it to measure. Some pH meters measure more than just pH, making them useful, multifunctional tools. Below we’ve outlined shopping considerations to think about before buying a pH meter.
When it comes to pH levels, accuracy is imperative. Some pH meters have additional features that contribute to their accuracy. For example, a pH meter may use double electrodes to better assess soil pH, or it may suggest leaving the probes in the soil longer for a greater exposure time to get a more accurate reading.
Regardless of the pH meter’s features, it’s important that it gives consistent and accurate readings.
When searching for the best pH meter, don’t forget to check its calibration settings, as a well-calibrated pH meter will give you the most accurate reading. As you shop, you may discover that some ph meters require a specific environment to work properly. For example, some pH meters shouldn’t be used with hydroponic gardens, while others may not work unless the soil is moist, if not wet.
Before purchasing a product, be sure to check the instructions for properly calibrating the device to ensure it’ll work for your plants’ environment.
Most pH soil meters come with electrodes, also called probes, to help properly detect the pH of the soil. These handy devices usually come with two probes: one for moisture and one for the pH. However, some pH meters only have a single probe.
If you want a pH meter that can accurately detect soil moisture, consider looking for a product that has dual probes that stick into the soil. If you only want to measure the soil pH, a single probe is enough to get the job done. It all depends on how much information you’d like to get out of your pH meter.
If you’ll be using your pH meter outside, portability is an important consideration, especially if your garden is far from your home. Fortunately, most pH meters are easy to carry around, even if their electrodes make them a bit lengthy or awkward to hold.
Some pH meters are designed to be portable, so if you need to keep a pH meter in your pocket or are interested in something that’s compact and easy to store when you’re not using it, you may want to consider buying a small pH meter. If you’re using your pH meter solely indoors or in a greenhouse, size may not matter as much to you.
Tips for Buying the Best pH Meter
Finding the best pH meter for your garden will depend on what you’re using it for. If you plan on growing plants that thrive in alkaline soil, your meter should be able to read a higher-than-usual pH number, as most only read up to 7. If you’ll be using your pH meter on the go, a battery or rechargeable device may work better for you than something that relies on a standard electrical power source.
A pH meter can also measure different elements, not just pH. If you’re looking for a meter that exclusively offers a pH measurement, read over the device’s details before making a purchase as many pH meters provide additional functions, such as measuring light, moisture, and even humidity.
- If you’re concerned about your plants getting enough light and moisture, opt for a multifunction pH meter.
- Check if the meter is exclusively for indoor or outdoor use or can accommodate both environments to ensure the utmost accuracy.
Our Top Picks
These pH meters made it on our list of top picks based on their accuracy, ease of use, affordability, and features. Whether you’re looking for a multifunctional pH meter or one that’s easy to transport, this list is sure to help you choose the best pH meter on the market.
This pH meter comes with dual electrodes to measure both the moisture and the pH of your soil. It measures soil pH from 3.5 to 8, meaning it can detect very acidic as well as more alkaline soil. It also measures light and displays the results in an easy-to-read interface.
The meter doesn’t use batteries or a power cord, making it simple to set up and use. Just insert the electrodes in the ground (up to 6 inches) and wait for the needles to stop moving on the interface so you can read its light, moisture, and pH measurements. You can also use the meter for indoor soil. Its size of 8.25 inches by 1.74 inches makes it less cumbersome to use and store than some other pH meter options.
When you’re looking for one of the most cost-effective pH meters for your soil, this is it. This meter also measures light and moisture in addition to pH. It also comes in four color options, a feature you don’t often find in a pH meter, so you can choose from black, green, yellow, and purple, depending on which you like best.
It doesn’t use batteries and measures 10.2 inches by 2.4 inches, making it relatively easy to transport. Simply insert the probes (up to 6 inches) in the soil and wait approximately 10 minutes for the needles to stop moving. Once they’ve stopped, you’ll have your measurements. However, if you’re planning on gardening indoors, this meter may not be the best choice for you, as it’s unable to detect the light intensity of grow lights.
If you’re looking for an ultraportable pH meter, this one by Luster Leaf Products is an excellent choice. It uses a single probe to measure your soil’s pH. The interface is also easy to read. It can measure soil pH ranging from 3.5 to 9, which is a considerable range and can be a beneficial pick if you’re using it for plants that prefer alkaline soil.
This pH meter is quick to measure your soil and is best for outdoor use. It doesn’t use batteries or a standard power source, adding to its portability. As a bonus, it comes with a manual indicating the pH preferences and the watering needs of different plants you may be growing. For the size and simplicity of this meter, it’s a great on-the-go option for measuring your soil pH.
In addition to soil pH, this meter reads both light and moisture and includes a double probe for better accuracy and a fast reading. At 11.5 inches by 2 inches, this meter is a bit larger than some of the other options on this list, but if you’re looking for an accurate meter and aren’t as concerned about portability, this meter could be the perfect pick.
It measures from 3.5 to 8 for your soil pH and doesn’t use a battery or power cord, making it easy and convenient to use. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, this meter has a switch so you can quickly and easily adjust from pH to light to moisture depending on what you’re trying to measure.
FAQs About Your pH Meter
For more information regarding pH meters, here are a few common questions and their answers about pH meters for both indoor and outdoor gardens.
Q: Which is more accurate: pH paper or pH meter?
As long as you use both correctly, each can be equally accurate for measuring your soil pH.
Q:How moist should soil be to get the most accurate pH reading?
Some pH meters shouldn’t be used with hydroponic gardens, while others may not work unless the soil is moist, if not wet. The probes of a ph meter shouldn’t be inserted into standing water. However, if the soil is too hard to insert the probes, you can water the soil and wait 30 minutes before measuring the pH.
Q:How to calibrate your pH meter?
Always read the instructions for properly calibrating your specific pH meter, as every device can be slightly different.
Q:How often do you need to calibrate your pH meter?
You’ll need to calibrate your pH meter every time you use the device to ensure the most accurate reading.