PH issues are one of most common causes of death for plants and lawns. Therefore, investing in a ph tester is a smart idea even for the inexperienced gardener. These are relatively cheap and accurate and are bound to take your gardening game to the next levels.
Signs of PH deficiency vary from plant to plant but yellow leaves with brown spots are a common indicator. In the case of grass, the formation of algae/fungus is usually related to acidic soil and the yellowing of leaves with alkaline soil. If you spot any of these symptons, then it’s time to invest in a ph testing kit.
In this article, we will show you the best ph oil testers according to their category, since different types of applications require different types of instruments.
We hope that by the end, you will be a bit more educated and ready to buy your ph tester.
If you want to skip all the details, we’ve compiled the best soil testers in the table below:
|Name||Category||Price Range||Check Price||Our Rating|
|Lab Supplies- Litmus Universal PH Test Strips||Universal Test Strip||$||Check Price on Amazon||4.2|
|Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Soil Test Kit||Soil Test Strip||$||Check Price on Amazon||4.5|
|Hanna Instruments HI38080||Diy Chemical Test||$$||Check Price on Amazon||4.2|
|Soil Savy- Soil Test Kit||Lab Chemical Test||$$||Check Price on Amazon||4.7|
|Luster Leaf 1847 Rapitest Tester||Digital Tester||$$||Check Price on Amazon||4.5|
|Dr. Meter 3 in Soil Moisture Meter||Digital Tester||$||Check Price on Amazon||4|
A Note on Accuracy
Despite the vast majority of blogs in the industry recommending a cheap digital soil tester, from our own experience, we have found that these are actually the most unreliable.
In fact, test strips and chemical kits can be bought quite cheap and we have found to be much more reliable. Thus, we leave digital soil tests for last.
Soil Test Strips
1- Universal PH Test Strips- Our Budget Choice
For under 10$, you can purchase universal ph test strips.
These have the advantage of being reusable for other use cases such as pool water testing, blood testing, etc.
Any of the below-listed products work great, in our experience:
2- Soil Specific PH Strips
For a slightly higher price, you can get soil specific testing strips.
In our opinion, the extra cost is not worth the investment, though we are still talking about ridiculously cheap prices.
In any case, if you’re more than just a hobbyist, these are the products we recommend:
Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Soil Test Kit
Chemical PH Test Kits
When it comes to chemical tests, you can go one of two ways: Diy or lab tested.
DIY is the simplest and can yield accurate results, though you have to be precise in your procedures.
It works in the following way: You take a sample of your soil, mix it with distilled water, and add a few chemicals. You then compare the resulting color with a palette to arrive at a PH level.
It’s a pretty efficient solution as it does not need calibration, but can be expensive and wasteful.
Lab tests are increasingly simple to conduct and will yield you more accurate, and usually complete information. Most tests will also include nutrient data as well as PH.
Soil Savy Test Kit
Hanna Instruments HI38080 Soil Kit
Digital Soil PH Testers
Finally, we come to the most commonly used in amateur gardening- the digital soil tester.
Technology varies a bit, but most products in this category work with led technology, analysing the color of the soil and using that as an indicator of ph.
One of the biggest limitations is that it only measures a certain cohort of the soil. For the most accurate readings, you want to sample several areas at several depths and paint a picture of your land/raised bed/pot. The simplicity of this type of devices is thus is also its biggest limitation.
We’ve also found from experience that it is hard to find a durable set of digital testers. As these models usually can’t be calibrated, the meter will often give false readings in a relatively short amount of time.
However, within this category, the best ones we’ve found yet are:
The Luster Leaf 1847 Rapitest Tester
Dr. Meter 3 in 1 Tester (Moisture, Light, and Sun)
The Best Vegetable Garden Soil Tester
We now arrive at our mixed suggestions sections- Let’s start with vegetables.
For vegetables, it’s crucial to measure not only ph but also nutrients, and accuracy is of the utmost importance.
For that reason, we recommend soil savy’s soil test.
If that is out of your budget, Luster Leaf’s 1601 rapitest soil kit comes as a close second:
The Best Grass and Lawn PH Tester
For analysing the acidity level of the lawn, a more rudimentary tester is sufficient.
In fact, our recommendation is that you try to identify the issue visually. If the leaves are yellow, your soil is too alkaline whilst if you can find moss and algae forming in the soil, its most likely an issue with acidity.
In any case, here is our recommendation:
We hope that we haven’t discouraged you from embarking on the road of accurate soil readings.
It’s not an easy task but equipped with one of the kits shown above, you will succeed and your plants will reap the benefits.
If you have any experience or feedback with any of the products mentioned in this article, feel free to drop a comment below!