There are many types of soil pH meters available on the market, and choosing the best one depends on your needs and preferences. To help you with this, you need the best soil pH meter.
As long as you have basic chemistry knowledge, you should know what pH is all about. This is simply a measure of the basicity or the level of acidity in the soil. The pH scale runs from 1 – 14, with a neutral at 7. Water is neither basic nor acidic, hence it is neutral at a pH of 7. Anything with a pH level lower than 7 is acidic, while any substance whose pH measures above 7 are basic.
With respect to gardening, the pH value of the soil is really important. The reason for this is that the soil plays an important role in the growth of the plants you desire. These plants will rely a great deal on the nutrients in the soil to thrive, so by testing the pH level of the soil sample, you are simply determining whether the soil is healthy enough for your plants to grow and thrive.
- Why Should You Get A pH Meter?
- Determine The pH Levels
- Micronutrients & Macronutrients
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Why Should You Get A pH Meter?
The one important thing that any gardener needs to do is get a proper soil test to understand the type of soil they have in their garden. Without this, you might not be able to achieve the yields you have been hoping for. You will end up spending so much on nutrients, fertilizer, and so many other stuff, only for your plants to fail.
In case you are planning on gardening soon, the following are the three important reasons why the pH meter will come in handy for you:
Determine The pH Levels
Understanding the pH levels in your soil is the easiest way for you to determine the nutrients that are available in the soil, which the plants will absorb. Your soil sample might actually have the right quantity of nutrients for your plants to thrive, but since the pH is either too low or too high, the plants will not benefit from these nutrients.
A lot of plants generally thrive in soils with a pH level of between 6.0 and 6.5. There are also some unique plants, like blueberries, that thrive in acidic environments, with a pH of between 4.5 and 5.5. Salvia, on the other hand, thrives in an environment with a pH of between 7.0 and 7.5.
Simply put, plants are different in their needs, but most plants survive in the pH region between 6.0 and 6.5 because the nutrients that they require are easier to access at this level.
Most urban plots and gardens usually have a high chance of having some toxic matter. This is particularly so in the event that you are planning on planting your crops on a piece of land that was once a vacant lot. The most common result usually indicates the presence of heavy metals in the soil sample. With the best soil pH meter, it is possible for you to determine what metals or toxic matter is present in the soil.
Should there be heavy metals in your soil sample, but in trace amounts, you would have no cause for worry. This is because the plants would benefit from the presence of things like zinc, copper, manganese, or iron, but in the right quantity. However, at the same time, the soil sample will not be ideal for your plants in case you find things like cadmium, lead, or arsenic.
Besides, the presence of toxic metals and materials in your soil sample would affect your decision, especially if you were to consider the production of edible crops. Perhaps you might be advised to consider remediation before your garden is ready for edible crop production. You might want to replace the soil with clean soil or let the ground lie fallow for a while so that the present toxins can be used up by the non-edible plants before you go ahead with your plans.
Micronutrients & Macronutrients
One of the other reasons why the best soil pH meter will help you a great deal is by determining the number of nutrients present in your soil sample. This is basic knowledge, especially if you understand the important role that different nutrients play in the growth process of plants and their absorption.
Plants generally need potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen in larger quantities than they need nutrients like magnesium, sulfur, and calcium. These are the primary and secondary nutrients respectively.
There are micronutrients that are also needed, but in smaller quantities, like nickel, molybdenum, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, chlorine, and boron. Though the plants will not suffer without them, they are still important to the optimal growth of the plants, and to support different plant functions
.It is important to note that most of the DIY test kits barely test for micronutrient levels. For this reason, you might have to go for a proper lab test to determine their presence. However, most of the soil samples generally have the trace elements in the right quantities, and deficiencies are not as common as that of macronutrients.
This test kit has always been recommended by a lot of people for years. It is a convenient tool to have in the event that you are gardening. It comes with a carrying case that is durable, so you can move around your garden with it, testing different soil sample sets. Alongside the kit, you also have an instruction booklet. This is useful in determining how to use it to get the best results.
In this small tester, you are able to find out the level of light, acidity level, and moisture content in your soil sample. It is very easy to use, and the fact that it does not need batteries to run makes it an incredible option.
To get the results, just plug the meter into the soil sample and you will have the readings in a few seconds. It is ideal for use both indoors and outdoors, and with the results you get, you can easily know whether you need to adjust the soil pH, add more water to the soil, or alter the light in order for the plants to benefit, especially if you are dealing with indoor plants.
The problem we had with this pH meter is that it is very easy for it to break, so you would have to take extra precautions when using it.
This has become another popular soil pH tester in the industry of late, and for a good reason. It makes use of LED technology to show the test results using colors. One reason why it is so popular is its ease of use. To use it, just mix the soil sample with the indicated amount of water, then pour this into each of the vials. Once you load the sample and push the test button, you have the results in a matter of seconds.
Assuming you do not have the right information to get a good description of your garden, this is a good pH meter to consider. This soil tester is available with 4 different vials. One of these is used in testing the soil pH, while the rest are used for testing the level of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen in the soil.
One thing we liked about it, is that you are able to choose from 450 different plants to test. Other than that, you also have the appropriate pH levels for these plants set, so that after you get the soil sample results, you will know how to make adjustments in the soil so that it can suit the pH of the plants you want to grow.
Depending on the results you get, especially for potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus, there is a booklet that comes with this kit, which you can use to learn how to fertilize the soil for your plants. It is this versatility that makes it an ideal runner-up for our best soil pH meter.
This test kit features a test range of 1 – 10. Within this range, you are able to know whether you are in a wet area (blue zone 8 - 10), a moist area (4 – 8 green zone), or a dry area (1 – 3 red zone). It has an indicator that reads the moisture level, the readings of which will help you promote the healthy growth of your plants.
What we like about it, is that you do not need batteries to use it, neither do you need electricity to run it. You simply plug it into the soil sample and you will get the readings on a scale. In case you need to check water levels, this is a good option.
Perhaps the challenge we have with it is that it does not really tell you what you are looking at. You might not even know what the measurements are about. Another issue we have with it is that it is very easy for the tip to break.
One of the reasons why we selected this soil pH meter is because you get accurate results, very fast. It has also been recommended for use in class lessons, by professionals, or for the average gardener. It is, therefore, an effective kit for all your soil sample needs, and you can even teach your kids how to use it.
We, however, noticed a few challenges with this kit. For all its effectiveness in operation, it is a pity that the plastic filtration device seemed to split right at the seam. Other than that, we also struggled a bit to learn how to use the plunger system. The kit has a chemical test, which we realized most gardeners would not really need.
In order to make sure you have a higher chance of getting impressive results all the time, this pH meter has a dual probe system. By giving you accurate readings for the pH in your soil, it is easier for you to know what you are working with all the time.
To make work easier for you, this test kit also comes with instructions on how you can test different soil samples, and you will also know the best way to balance the pH levels in your soil or the best way to keep it in control.
One of the reasons why this kit features in our review is because of the great price. You are getting some good quality performance at an impressive price. Compared with other budget pH meters, it is one of the easiest to use and will provide simpler and clear results.
What we find unpleasant about it, is the fact that it seemed to break easily, and depending on the temperature, at times it is not as sensitive as you would expect.
What To Look Forward To With A New pH Meter
What should you look forward to when you are purchasing the best soil pH meter? It is important to know this so that you are fully aware of what services you can expect from the pH meter you have purchased. The following are some features that you can look forward to:
- Accurate results – One thing that you will realize about pH meters is that they are, mostly accurate. Compared with pH test strips, pH meters provide you with a better perspective of the soil. You can then make the right decision regarding your soil or plants based on the readings.
- Ease of use – While there are a number of methods through which you can get the pH readings for your soil sample. pH meters are simply the best option because they are easy to use. You do not need specialized knowledge to read or interpret what the readings mean.
- Proper calibration – Should your pH meter not be calibrated properly you will end up with wrong readings. Because of this reason, most of the best soil pH meters are usually designed with calibration controls. With these controls, you are able to check the meter from time to time and calibrate it effectively for accurate readings.
- Portable – The other benefit of using pH meters is that they are small in size and portable. You can use it from one part of the farm to another and take sample results without going back and forth.
- Temperature precaution –While the pH meters will give you the best results, it is also important for you to realize that they are affected by extreme temperatures. Therefore, for you to get optimal results, make sure that you have the best soil pH meter kept away from extremely cold or hot areas.
- Proper care – Every time you use the pH meters, make sure you wipe the metal probe and keep it dry. If you do not do this, you will soon have a major rusting concern to worry about.