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How To Get The Best Soil Ph Tester (2020 Edition)

Digital Soil Ph Meter

Best Soil PH Tester Reviews On Amazon For 2020

Many are already familiar with soil Ph fundamentals, buying  PH meters and they know what to look for when purchasing a soil tester. Therefore, those familiar with the above likely just want to see a list of the best soil Ph testers available.  As a result, I will first review the best soil testers, and my suggestion on how to choose the best one for you will be listed after my reviews.

Please Note: This review will not cover PH test strips. 

Rating Criteria

All of the reviewed Ph meters have above average ratings and have at least 50 reviews.  Therefore, to an extent, none of these meters are “junk” or they would likely have overall mediocre or unfavorable reviews.  Also, purchaser reviews, by their very nature are flawed. As an example, unreasonable people are more likely to complain, and satisfied customers often will not bother to leave any review.   Therefore, my reviews will be based upon overall comment trends-both good and bad.  Additionally, I will be more critical of the more expensive soil testers because if you spend more on your soil meter, you should expect more.

The Best PH Soil Testers On Amazon

Kelway Ph Soil PHD Meter Review

The Kelway Soil PH Meter is a portable PH meter that can be purchased for around $90. Kelway Ph Meters are expensive. As a result, purchasers are justified in expecting the Kelway meters to be user friendly, durable, and have accurate readings. So, I will be less forgiving in this review.

Purchaser Review Summary

PROS

  • Very User Friendly-Numerous reviews stated that Kelway PH meters are quite easy to use. All that is needed to get the soil PH meter reading is for you to clean it, dampen the soil, and place the probe into the soil.
  • Low Upkeep-To use this meter; all you have to do is wipe it clean before you test the soil.
  • Durability-Durable-Most cheap soil PH tester, even they have accurate meter readings, have durability problems. For example, numerous purchasers complained that the measuring probes broke off easily if you tried to test, rocky soil with their soil Ph tester. Here, out of nearly 90 reviews, I saw zero complaints concerning flimsy probes or any other quality issues.
  • Quick Readings-It only takes around three minutes for the test to be completed.
  • Accurate Readings-First of all, there were few complaints concerning Kelway’s accuracy and reliability. Also, many reviewers praised how Kelways PH. What impressed me was a reviewer who stated that the Kelway’s PH meters accuracy was comparable to the soil PH tests that are sent out for testing.

CONS

Expensive-This is a premium soil PH tester that is quite expensive. As a result, paying the premium price for this may not be justifiable if you have a small garden or just want to test a few potted plants.

Not Amazon Prime Eligible- So, if you need the Kelway tester ASAP, you might be out of luck.

CONCLUSION

The Kelway PH Soil PHD Meter is worth its premium cost. Granted, as stated above, if you have a small garden or just want to test the soil of your potted plants, the premium price for a Kelway soil tester may not be justifiable.

However, Kelway’s accuracy makes the extra cost worthwhile if you are a serious gardener who desires pinpoint soil PH reading accuracy. Also, as this meter is said to be nearly as accurate as soil PH reading that is professionally done, you will save money by not being required to pay for professional lab soil PH testing. In summary, if you can afford the Kelway, and you have a big enough garden, I definitely recommend you buy one.


 

 Sonkir, Soil PH Meter, MS-X1 (Amazon’s Pick)

The Sonkir, MS-X1 is a budget, 3-In-1, soil tester.  The Sonkir is a soil Ph moisture meter that tests PH, sunlight, and also soil moisture. It is a bit over $10.  So, every gardener should be able to afford this tester.  No batteries are needed as it is solar-powered.   But, even it is cheap, the Sonik still needs to get the job done, which will be examined below.

 Sonkir-MS-X1 Review

PROS

  • Accuracy-A few complaints concerning poor accuracy are present. However, based upon overall purchaser reviews, the Sonkir rates well above average.
  • User Friendly-The screen is large (2″) and easy to see.
  • Customer Service-Is rated as quite satisfactory. For example, when a purchaser received a damaged product, they were promptly given a new product. The only complaint concerning their customer service/return policy was when clients stated they waited too long to inspect the product, and it was too late when they attempted to return it to Sonkir.
  • Moisture-Many reviewers praised its ability to measure soil moisture.
  • Great Deal-Readers note that based upon its low price, 3-In-1 capability, it is a great deal.
  • Vetted-Sonikr has overall excellent ratings based upon 1k+ reviews.

CONS

  • Probes Week-A few reviewers noted that the probes tended to bend easily when put into hard soil. However, Sonikir specifically warns purchasers to be careful about forcing the probes hard into the soil. So, it likely could’ve just been an issue of a purchaser being too rough when inserting the probes into the soil.
  • Durability-A couple purchasers stated that the stopped working after it got a bit wet.

Conclusion

Overall, with the vast majority of their reviews (out of 1k+ reviews) being above four, Sonikir’s reviews are excellent. The basic consensus is that considering its low price, and its 3-In-1 functionality, it gets the job done. So, the MS-X1 is an excellent purchase for the hobbyist grower who just needs a ballpark figure when it comes to measuring soil quality.


Pass On These PH Testers

The Ph testers, below, are popular on Amazon.  Therefore, you may be thinking about buying them for your cannabis grow. However, all of these below PH testers have numerous bad reviews concerning the accuracy. So, I would recommend that you stay away from them.

IPower 3-In-1 Review

The Chinese manufactured IPower 3-In-1, soil tester that is marketed as being able to be used to test sunlight, and PH and moisture levels of soil. It is very cheap as it can be purchased for less than $10. As I’ve stated before, even if it is cheap, it still should get the job done. So, does it get the job done? The answer is that the IPower partially gets the job done.   I will explain this more fully in my review.

Review Summary

PROS

  • Soil Moisture-Many purchasers praised its moisture measuring ability.
  • Cheap-Cost less than $10.
  • User Friendly-It is very easy to use.
  • Probes-Unlike other soil PH testers, I saw minimal complaints concerning the probe breaking off.

CONS

  • Accuracy-The general complaint concerned poor moisture and sunlight accuracy. Even purchasers who tested it in different soils or different light levels stated that they got the same reading. The overall ratings, concerning the accuracy, were also below-average.
  • Screen-Screen is quite small and tough to read.

Conclusion

The IPower, mainly as it measures soil PH, soil moisture, and sunlight levels, is very cheap. However, based on the reviews, it seems that the IPower only works well in measuring soil moisture. Even some of the positive ratings stated that the Ph and sunlight accuracy was lacking. As a result, of the above, I would not recommend the Ipower.

 

 

  • Bluelab 716441 Combo Meter
  • Bluelab PENSOILPH pH Pen


Rapitest Soil Ph Meter Reviews 

They are known for manufacturing lower-priced gardening products, and their portable, soil Ph testers follow that trend. (Prices range from around $22 for a digital meter to approximately $19 for an analog, 3 in 1, soil Ph tester)

Rapitest initially seems attractive for both beginning cannabis growers and growers on a budget as they are quite cheap.

However, soil tester is useless if it doesn’t perform the job for which it was built-accurately measuring soil Ph. Therefore, this review will help you find out if the Rapitest Ph meter is a good deal, passable product, or whether or not you should consider buying another brand.

 

Rapitest 1817 and 1847

 

 1817 Rapitest Soil Ph-Moisture Tester (Analog) Review

1817 is a  budget analog,  no-thrills, PH tester that you can buy for under $15. Cheap can be attractive. (This is especially so for beginning growers).  But, is the 1817 worth buying?

So, How Is Rapitest’s 1817 Soil Meter?

The 1817’s reviews are quite mixed. Some reviewers praise 1817 as a good buy that gets the job done. However, many reviewers complain that the 1817 measurements are highly inaccurate or even non-existent. I will now summarize the most common complaints and praises of the Rapitest 1817.

PRO

  • Accurate- If you keep the probe tip clean, the measurements will be likely correct. (Otherwise, you are likely to get a false Ph measurement.)

CONS

  • Mixed Ratings:
  • Penetration Issue-Hard to penetrate the three measurement prongs through rock or pumice. A few critical reviewers have noted that the probes tend to break when rocky or rough soil is tested.
  • Stuck at 7.0-multiple reviewers have stated that the 1817’s measurement is either highly inaccurate or doesn’t even work. For example, multiple confirmed purchasers have noted that the Rapitest indicates, no matter what substance is being tested, the Ph level will show around a 7.0.
  • Maintenance-In previous versions the only way that you could get an accurate reading would be if the meter’s probes were very clean and shiny.

Final Thoughts

The 1817 Analog, soil Ph tester, at the time of this review has over 600+, overall positive ratings. However, 1817 has over a third of one to two-star total ratings were the dominant complaint is that the 1817 Ph measurements are highly inaccurate or even non-existent.  According to numerous reviewers, 1817 accuracy problems can be fixed by a thorough cleaning. Personally, though, I feel that any product should work straight out of the box, and a Ph meter should be no exception to the above expectations.

The 1817 model is quite cheap and should be affordable by almost everyone. Also, at least according to a few reviewers, Amazon, with no hassles, allowed for a return if 1817 does perform up to the buyer’s expectation. So, based upon a liberal return policy, if you are hurting for money, you may want to give 1835 a try, and if it doesn’t work for you, it can be returned.  However, as Ph soil testing is quite important, I would consider buying another Ph tester or use other methods of testing soil.

1847 Rapitest Digital Plus, Soil Ph Meter Review

1847 Ph Meter is among the most expensive Rapitest soil meters. However, for most gardeners, it is still affordable as it costs less than $30.  However, based on their ratings, cannabis growers should pass on the 1847 soil Ph Meter.

PROS

  • Cheap-Quite reasonable price for a digital model.
  • Reasonably Accurate-If you strictly follow the instructions, the measurements are, based upon the budget price, moderately accurate.

CONS

  • Stuck on Seven-Like, the 1835 numerous reviewers mentioned the Ph measurement stays at seven unless you strictly follow the instructions, which some reviewers noted are quite complicated.
  • Display-Reviewers have mentioned that the display is tough to read.
  • Soil Only-Not a problem if you use this meter just for gardening. However, 1835 specifically states that it only works for soil. So, if you want to use this for other purposes (beer, wine, soap making, water, etc.), you should not buy 1847.
  • Poor Ratings-Very low ratings for a vetted product that was rated almost 70 times.  So, the poor ratings likely have some basis

Conclusion

The Rapitest  Ph Tester is said to only work well if you strictly follow instructions. First of all, especially for a beginning grower, these instructions could be quite confusing, which can result in a sub-par harvest. Also, experienced or professional growers, as time is money, should spend the extra money and buy a more user-friendly Ph meter.

Here, even reviewers who gave the 1847 and 1835 positive ratings have stated that getting accurate readings isn’t easy. Therefore, because of numerous common complaints concerning the 1847 and 1835 model’s accuracy and meager ratings, I cannot recommend any of the Rapitest lines of soil Ph meters. First of all, this is a shame because, due to it’s low price, a Rapitest soil meter would be the right fit for beginning cannabis growers. Also, as an American Citizen, I like the fact that the Rapitest supplies are made in the USA.

Final Recommendation

Because of poor ratings and inaccurate Ph measurements, both Rapitest 1847 and 1817, Soil Ph Meters are a “No Buy.”

 


What You Should Know Before You Buy A PH Tester

Soil Ph testers ( AKA as Ph Meters),  measure the soil PH level,  and measuring your soil PH is essential for all cannabis growers. Testing soil, and the water PH levels are vital because having the proper Ph level is crucial for cannabis growers wanting to maximize their yields.  For example, Ph levels that are either too high or too low means that your marijuana plants will either not be able to either absorb vital nutrients properly, or they will be more susceptible to diseases. So, test your soil  Ph levels!!

First, before I go any further, I would like to give a brief introduction to Ph and why it is crucial to test the soil PH.

What Is Ph?

The PH acronym means “potential of Hydrogen,” and Ph is the measurement of the levels of hydrogen ion concentration in either soil or water that is used to measure whether the soil is acidic or alkaline. It’s okay if you find this confusing because all you need to know is that too high a PH  level or too small of a  PH level is damaging to cannabis plants.

However, the following background information is helpful as you should have at least a basic understanding of Ph.

The Ph level of soil depends on the ratio of hydronium ion to hydroxide and is measured via a scale ranged from zero to 14. A Ph level below would be classified as acidic soil.  A seven PH level is considered to be like pure water, and eight to 14 Ph level is basic or alkaline soil. Please see the chart (Fig 1) for a more in-depth description of all of the PH levels. For cannabis, you should strive for PH levels between  6 and 7.  The chart below shows the exact PH range.

PH Range

What Happens If You Have Too Little or Too Much PH?

If you have PH levels that are more than 7, your cannabis plants roots will be unable to take in vital nutrients like iron, zinc, manganese, and boron. If your PH levels fall to below six, your cannabis plants will be unable to absorb phosphoric acid, magnesium, and calcium. Also, marijuana plants are more likely to be subject to diseases when the PH level drops between three to five.

How Do PH Meters/Testers Work?

The two most essential parts of a PH meter are the following:

  • Measuring Probe: The measuring probe has two electrodes, which test the levels of hydrogen ion activity in either soil or water. These electrodes are either separated or placed together in a single probe.
  • Electronic Voltmeter: A voltmeter is simply the mechanism, which visually displays the PH level. The readings, for the voltmeter, are either digital or are shown via a moving coil that closely resembles a traditional bathroom weight scale.

To use the PH meter, you simply bury the probes into either water or soil, and the probes will then will measure the PH levels.

What Should You Look For In a PH Tester?

For an optimum cannabis harvest, you need to ensure that your soil has the proper Ph level. That’s why it is so essential to make sure that your garden soil has the right acidic levels.  Therefore,  a Ph meter should work reasonably well without much effort, which is especially true for portable devices.

  • Accuracy Levels: It is not surprising that the more accurate your PH Tester is, the more you will pay. Generally, the more precise, the better.  However, if you are only growing one or two plants, you don’t need pinpoint accuracy, and a PH test strip will likely be sufficient. However, if you are a commercial grower, you should invest in a high-end (they generally cost $100 to $200) commercial-grade PH test kit. Also, if you are growing commercially outdoors or in a greenhouse, it is wise for you to send out soil to an outside lab for testing.
  • Usability: Your PH tester should be as easy to use as possible. That is why, if you are not mechanically inclined, you should consider a basic PH meter at first with few bells and whistles, and if you desire, you may then want to upgrade at a later time. Also, make sure that your meter has a decent instruction manual.
  • Multi-Functional: Many PH testers are multi-functional as they measure not only PH levels; but also moisture and other factors, which are vital for a good yield for your cannabis plants.  So, to save the need to buy extra equipment, you may want to consider purchasing a multi-functional PH meter.

Click the following link to find out what other Marijuana grow room equipment checklist you should purchase.