Soil Care

10 Best Soil pH Testers for Your Garden and Backyard in 2024

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by Gretchen McKenzie

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Home » Soil Care » 10 Best Soil pH Testers for Your Garden and Backyard in 2023
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Bring your gardening game to the next level with the science of soil pH! With an abundance of information available, you’ll be amazed at how simple it can be to grow thriving plants. But, did you know that soil pH plays a crucial role in a plant’s success?

The potential of hydrogen (pH) measures the balance of hydrogen ions in the soil, impacting a plant’s access to essential nutrients. Aim for a pH below 7 for optimal results and keep your plants nourished and flourishing. Don’t let the wrong soil pH lead to a lackluster garden – invest in the best soil pH testers today!

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We will have a look at everything you need to know here with the best-rated pH soil tester review.

Why Do You Need a Soil pH Meter?

A soil pH tester tells you just how acidic or alkaline your soil is so you know what plants you can grow. There are three types of soil pH testers, namely electronic, paper strips, and chemical color dyes. Among these, I have known the automated tests to yield more accurate results, although the other options are high and can give you an idea of what you’re working with.

Unlock the secrets of your soil with the top pH tester! Get instant insight into the current health of your land so you can take action and give your crops the perfect environment to thrive. With a simple and accurate reading, you’ll have the power to adjust the pH levels with fertilizers and pH adjusters for optimal results. Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to bountiful harvests with the best pH tester for soil.

Are pH Testers Accurate?

Are you wondering how accurate are soil pH testers? The accuracy of your results depends on the type of tester you choose. For the most accurate readings, opt for an electronic tester. Chemical dyes come in as a close second, offering easy use with just a simple comparison to the provided chart.

But beware of paper strip testers, as they can be challenging to use and may require additional testing for accuracy. These aren’t your average litmus papers, so be sure to grab lab-grade pH testers for the most precise results. Upgrade your gardening game with confidence by selecting the right soil pH tester for you.

How Do You Read a Soil pH Tester Result?

First, you need to understand the basics of acidity and alkalinity, which runs from zero to fourteen. Seven is the neutral number, and anything above it is alkaline, while below seven is acidic. Many of the testers usually come with a chart to help you in accurately reading the results depending on the examiner that you use.

Julvie Pointer Type Soil

Many of the electronic testers have a probe that allows you to insert it directly into the soil to get a reading. There are cases when it may not work well, and you end up with inaccurate results. The best way that I use for correct results is by making soil and distilled water mixture. Put some soil into a container and add water then stir so that it incorporates well. With this, you can use the electronic or strips to test, and your results should be as accurate as possible. You can do it a few times if you’re not sure as suggested in soil pH testers reviews.

It is usually advisable to use the chart that the tester comes with since some devices have a different reading from the basic one. This ensures that you have a correct read and that you decode it correctly for a good idea of the state of the soil.

10 Best Soil pH Testers Reviewed

  1. Sonkir Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture pH Tester
  2. Hanna Instruments – Ph Tester With Electrode And Batteries
  3. Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest pH Soil Tester
  4. Atree Soil pH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Tester
  5. Sonkir Soil pH Meter, MS09
  6. Luster Leaf 1840 – Easy-to-use Soil Ph Meter
  7. Luster Leaf 1845 – Digital Soil Ph Meter
  8. Kelway Soil pHD Soil Acidity Test
  9. Luster Leaf 1880 Rapitest – Electronic 4-Way Soil Analyzer
  10. iKKEGOL 3 in 1 Water Moisture PH Light Meter

Since I have been gardening for years and testing my soil so often, I have used so many pH soil testers. I have tried all the types, which is why I know for sure that electronic testers are more reliable and they make sense financially since you don’t need to buy one as often as strips. As you will see in the reviews below, many are electronic although they all offer different benefits over others that I will discuss.

1. Best Rated pH Soil Tester – Sonkir Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture pH Tester

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The Sonkir tester uses some of the best pH detection technology to give you results almost as good as lab tests. It is excellent for use anywhere both indoors and outdoors so long as you use it on fine soil. This pH tester is durable, and it is a 3-in-1 tester, so you get value for your money.

SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester in progress

With extra-long probes, you can easily reach deep roots and the double-needle detection helps you find results faster. Switching between modes is a breeze with clearly marked settings.

Not only can you use it directly on soil, but you can also mix soil and water for even more accuracy. The pH meter has a range of 3.5-8 and comes with a helpful chart, plus scientific data monitoring to keep track of your plant’s growth. Get the best for less with this affordable and accurate soil pH tester.

Specifications
  • pH Range: 3.5-8 pH (3.5-6.5 Acid, 7-8 Alkaline)
  • Moisture Range: 1-10 (1-3 Dry, 4-7 Nor, 8-10 Wet)
  • Copper Probe Diameter: 0.2 inch
  • Aluminum Probe Diameter: 0.2 inch
  • Probe Length: 7.9 inches
  • Product Size: 11.5 x 2.0 x 1.5 inches
ADVANTAGES
  • Detects pH, moisture, and sunlight
  • It gives results faster
  • Double-needle assures accuracy
DRAWBACKS
  • Can’t be used on dry or rocky earth

2. Hanna Instruments – Ph Tester With Electrode And Batteries

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Precise pH measurement with this top-of-the-line pH meter. With a full measurement range of 0-14, you’ll enjoy accurate results down to 0.1 resolution. Whether you’re checking the pH level of soil, liquids, or your precious plants, this tester is the perfect solution. Its easy-to-read LCD display makes monitoring pH levels a breeze, making it the ideal choice for gardeners and horticulturists alike. Give your flowers, veggies, fruits, and other landscape plants the best chance to thrive with this premium pH meter.

Hanna Instruments Checker pH Tester

Сonvenience and efficiency of the Hanna Instruments pH tester, powered a long-lasting battery included in the kit. With a remarkable battery life of up to 3000 hours, you can say goodbye to frequent battery changes. To further enhance the meter’s performance and extend its lifespan, simply replace the electrode.

Precision is key when it comes to pH testing and this device delivers just that. It’s designed to easily take readings from small tubes and samples, providing you with accurate results every time. With two-point calibration through trimmers, you can fine-tune your readings for even greater precision. The fast operation and low maintenance requirements make this pH tester the ideal choice for your lab or fieldwork.

Specifications
  • pH Range: 0-14 pH
  • Accuracy : ±0.2 (pH)
  • Product Size: 8.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 inches
ADVANTAGES
  • Remarkable durability
  • Suitable for both soil and liquids testing
  • Easy-to-read display
DRAWBACKS
  • Quite expensive

3. Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest pH Soil Tester: Best Chemical Soil pH Tester

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With four trials that include nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and pH, you’ll have everything you need to ensure precision. Each kit comes with up to 10 tests, and when you run out, simply order more directly from the seller. Experience the unparalleled results of this chemical testing solution.

The Luster Leaf Rapitest Test Kit for Soil pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash is on the table.

The thing that is so great about these tests is that you get a complete look of the nutrients in your soil as well as the pH, so you know what needs some work precisely. I have compared the results for these with lab results, and there is only a point difference or less, so it is quite accurate. I would recommend these when you are starting your garden since the information you get is crucial to the growth of your garden.

It is an easy kit to use with clear directions of what you need to do as well as a detailed results chart. As a bonus, you also get a list of about 400 plants and the pH levels that they require for growth, which adds to why this would be the perfect tester if you are starting.

ADVANTAGES
  • It is almost as accurate as lab results
  • It has easy to understand instructions
  • The plants’ chart gives you ideas of what you can plant
DRAWBACKS
  • You only get up to 10 tests

4. Atree Soil pH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Tester – Helpful Tool for Indoor and Outdoor Use

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The tester offers 3 unique functions at once. You can easily measure the moisture in the soil, its pH level, and the intensity of sunlight. Your flowers will never run out of moisture and get dry with this small device in the pot or in the flower bed. All you need to do is to put its two probes into the soil up to 6 inches deep. It is 2/3 of the probes.

In the pot with the plant Atree Soil pH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kits with Moisture,Light and PH Test

The right probe checks the pH. The red color is up to 7 pH, the green is above 7 up to 8 pH. The left sensor determines the moisture level. The red color indicates dry soil, green is for moisturized soil, and blue is for wet. Above them, there is the sensor of the light that reveals whether the plant gets enough sunlight. You will be able to read all the information from the scale above the probes. You don’t have to take the tool up from the ground to see the important information.

You can’t put this tool in a bowl of water. It does not tolerate too much liquid. The probe is sensitive, so be careful with it. This tool does not require any batteries but still works splendidly for a long time. I use this model both for my indoor flowers and outdoor garden.

ADVANTAGES
  • 3-in-1 measurements
  • Simple in use
  • Durable equipment
  • Affordable price
DRAWBACKS
  • Does not tolerate liquid surroundings

5. Sonkir Soil pH Meter, MS09

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This is among my favorite soil pH testers since it gives excellent value for money. It is a 3-in-1 tester design that not only allows you to test the soil pH levels but also whether your plants are getting sufficient sunlight and moisture. It is excellent for use both in your garden and for any indoor plants that you may have.

In the plant pot SONKIR Soil pH Meter Upgraded 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester

The design is pretty simple, with a large screen so you can easily view all the different readings. It is lightweight, and it doesn’t use batteries, so you don’t need to worry about them running out and affecting your readings. The pH tester soil ranges from 3.5 to 8, giving you 3.5 to 6.5 for acidic and 7 and 8 show alkalinity. It is easy to toggle between the different settings for pH, light, and moisture, so you get to test what you need.

You can test the soil directly by inserting pH tester for water and soil about two to four inches into the ground. Leave it for about 10 minutes or until the reading is stable then take your readings using their unique chart. It works surprisingly well this way, but you can still use the soil and water mixture for certainty.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to make the mixture and you’re not sure it has the correct accuracy, you can add some more water into the soil to improve it. However, remember to do this only if you don’t need to measure soil moisture.

ADVANTAGES
  • Highly accurate readings
  • Affordable with three functions
  • Great and durable design
DRAWBACKS
  • It’s not waterproof

6. Luster Leaf 1840 – Easy-to-use Soil Ph Meter

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When purchasing the pH tester, you should choose the one that is safe both for the soil and your plants. This Luster Leaf device doesn’t contain any chemicals or litmus paper. Also, it doesn’t require batteries. So, there is no need to utilize them after use, which is more eco-friendly.

Holds a Luster Leaf Ph Soil Meter in the hand

The meter detects tiny soil currents electronically and shows the results on the easy-to-read display. It has a scale from 3.5 to 9 pH. This is a proper logarithmic scale, which is enough to detect the variation from the norm. The product also includes instructions on what to do when the pH level is too high or too low.

You can use this tester for flowers, fruit, vegetables, trees, shrubs, grasses, lawns, and other solid surfaces. It’s not designed for testing liquids. However, you will get recommendations for more than 400 plants. Not all veggies or flowers require the same pH level, so Luster Leaf gives tips for the most common species.

ADVANTAGES
  • Designed for various plants
  • Eco-friendly
  • Has an easy-to-read scale
DRAWBACKS
  • Not suitable for liquids

7. Luster Leaf 1845 – Digital Soil Ph Meter

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A quality pH meter should show accurate results because some plant types need a particular soil composition. Luster Leaf offers an easy-to-use digital tester. It defines the pH level more precisely, and there is no scale – the device shows the exact number on the display.

Holds a Luster Leaf Digital Soil Ph Meter in the hand

When you get your results, there’s no need to search for a long time for a guide on what to do with them. The provider provides such instructions together with a meter. There are also tips for about 150 plants. You can use this device for lawns, flowers, veggies, and fruits as it is designed to be used in soil.

This tester is compact, and it takes a minute to get an exact result. You should prepare the soil before measuring and wipe the probe in the right way. The more carefully you work with the meter, the more accurate measurements you get.

ADVANTAGES
  • Precise measurements
  • Compact
  • Works quickly
DRAWBACKS
  • The plant list is not so wide

8. Kelway Soil pHD Soil Acidity Test – One of the Most Reliable Soil pH Testers

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Kelway is a great manufacturer and other than providing this excellent pH tester, it has some of the best customer services, so in case of anything you are in great hands. This soil ph tester has excellent accuracy according to soil pH tester reviews since no matter how many times you test it, you will get right about the same reading. I like the fact that the screen is right at the top, so it is quick to view even from a bending position.

Kelway Soil pHD Soil Acidity Test

Remember not to use Kelway soil pH tester in rocky earth since this may lead to an inaccurate reading and the probe may become damaged. Also, don’t leave it in the soil after use since this destroys the probe. Hence, it may start failing.

The Kelway Soil Acidity Test is simple in use. It does not require any water, power source, or chemicals for its work. I like the high accuracy of the data it reveals. It measures the pH of the soil by a simple method of pushing the electricity flow between two plates made of metal. Don’t worry, the electricity flow is almost unnoticeable and 100 percent harmless. I consider this tool as a great alternative to the HB-2 of Kelway. Another thing I like about this tester is that it is almost weightless and simple to hold and carry around. It weighs only 13.9 ounces.

Pay attention to the fact that this tester does not come with the conditioning film sheets. You have to buy them separately. The package includes only the tester itself, 2 green plastic strips so you can clean the tool (optional), and helpful instructions. If you want, you can always add more products while making the order. The tester is pretty reliable, so you will be able to use it for many years. To prolong its service, you have to clean it after each use and not leave it in the rain or any place with high moisture level.

Specifications
  • pH Range: 3.5-8 pH
  • Accuracy : ±0.2 (pH)
  • Product Size: 8 x 4 x 4 inches
ADVANTAGES
  • High accuracy
  • Doesn’t require power source or distilled water
  • It is built to last
DRAWBACKS
  • On the pricy side

9. Luster Leaf 1880 Rapitest – Electronic 4-Way Soil Analyzer

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Luster Leaf is an American-based manufacturer that provides numerous gadgets for gardeners. This tester is considered to be one of the most reliable and affordable helpers. It measures three of the most vital requirements of the soil and the level of sunlight. You receive data on the pH of your soil so that you know whether it is alkaline or acidic. You also get the measurements of P, N, and K levels to check whether the plants have enough fertilizer and the level of soil moisture. This tool is calibrated according to the standards of the Mean Solar Table of USDA. You can check the sunlight your plants receive while the instrument calculates the correct light using a purple chromatic filter for the color.

In the ground is the Luster Leaf Rapitest Tester Electronic 4-Way Analyzer, Soil

While I have named you versatile measurements you see on the screen of this tester, it is still simple to read. The scale plate is visible, with big letters and numbers around it. The plate is big, and everything is signed on it. However, for those gardeners who have never used such testers before, I recommend reading the detailed instructions that come in the pack.

I have used this tester for different soils in my garden. I even used it in the yard for a gigantic flower bed. This tool is incredibly helpful with growing fruits and veggies too. Check the soil at least once a month to understand what your plants require the most and whether you can feed them with fertilizer or moisture them even more. To extend the life of this device, you have to buy extra scrub pads for cleaning the probes.

ADVANTAGES
  • It provides 4 different measurements
  • No battery required
  • Big screen with visible numbers
  • Durable tool
DRAWBACKS
  • Requires cleaning pads for its probes

10. iKKEGOL 3 in 1 Water Moisture PH Light Meter

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The iKKEGOL is another favorite if you are on a budget. It offers three different tests, which it does with great accuracy. It measures soil moisture, pH, and solar intensity.

In the pot with the plants iKKEGOL 3 in 1 Soil Moisture Meter, Light and PH Acidity Tester

The probes on this pH soil tester are made of bronze and silver that measure moisture and pH, respectively. They are, however, not the strongest, so be careful when inserting it into the soil. For this reason, don’t use this in rocky earth as you risk damaging it and getting inaccurate readings. It has an easy-to-use switch that allows you to toggle between the different settings.

I do not like that the screen is so tiny, so if your eyesight isn’t excellent, you may struggle reading it. However, it gives steady readings with little differences, no matter how many times you take it. It doesn’t use batteries so you can use it as long as you can with no issues.

The pH tester for soil and water ranges from 3.5 to 8, and it has a chart to make sure that you interpret the readings correctly. Another thing that I enjoyed is that it has a plant pH guide at the back. It has some of the most common plants that you may want to try out, so you know that you have the correct pH.

ADVANTAGES
  • Scientifically accurate
  • Affordable for 3-in-1
  • Great for both outdoor and indoor
DRAWBACKS
  • The probes are not sturdy

How Do You Find The Best Soil PH Tester?

Sonkir Soil pH Meter MS02

Your choice of the best pH tester depends on what is most important to you. For example, if you only need to know the pH and not the soil mineral composition, then an electronic device is perfect. However, if you want to know the nutrients in the soil, a chemical test would give you the desired results. You also need to check on:

  • The number of tests that you can perform, for example, pH, moisture, and light.
  • The design of the tester and the way it can be used and read.
  • pH scale range depending on the type of soil.
  • Type of soil, for example, waterlogged, dry, or rocky.
  • Accuracy of the device. Ensure that you check pH testers for soil reviews.

Remember to fully follow the instructions given on every test for the best results. With chemical tests, just like in a chemistry experiment, everything needs to be measured. Without this, you won’t achieve the correct outcome.

More Soil PH Testers

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Frequently Asked Questions about pH Soil Testers

Sonkir Soil pH Meter MS-X1

If you are new to testing the pH of the soil in your garden, then you must have some questions. Here are a few common ones about the best pH soil tester.

How do soil pH testers work?

The pH test measures the number of hydrogen ions in the soil, so the testers use electrodes that attract the ions to it. The concept is the same for both chemical and electronic test kits. So the hydrogen ions get attracted to the electrodes on the tester, which then sends a reading to the pointer that shows the level of ions.

Will soil pH meters work water?

No, soil pH tester won’t work water since the sensors are specially made to test the hydrogen ions in the soil and not water. However, some soil pH testing strips may work on the water. The biggest problem is that you won’t get an accurate reading. Many soil sensors have a limited pH range, so if the acidity of your water is beyond that, you won’t know.

How to test soil pH with a liquid tester?

If you’re using a liquid tester then you only need to put some soil into a container, add the chemical liquid, shake and wait for the color change. Remember to use the chart provided for an accurate reading based on manufacturing.

How to use a digital soil pH tester?

With a digital tester, it is easy to dig it directly into the soil and wait for the reading. Alternatively, make a mixture using distilled water and soil then leave the probe in it until you get a reading.

How to use the Rapitest pH soil tester?

Put soil into the test tube up to the level indicated, add the chemical in the capsule and water up to the required standard. Shake properly then leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Put in the tube in the detector and compare the results to the chart.

Do cheap soil pH testers work?

Yes, they do. The important thing is to check the accuracy level and some of the reviews from buyers. Not all cheap testers may work, but many of them do.

Can you test pH in soil with a pool tester?

No, a pool testing kit will likely give you a wrong reading since it is designed for a different task. Hence, the pH range will also be varied. You may get a result, but the accuracy is not one you should rely on.

Best Soil PH Tester Review – Conclusion

It may take some time before you can fully grasp everything you need to know about an accurate soil pH tester. However, understand that the basic rule is that the pH of your garden soil will affect the type of plants that you can and can’t grow. In some cases, the plants may grow but don’t get enough nutrients to produce, so if you have fruits, vegetables, or herbs, you may not get the outcome you expected.

If you are starting your garden, checking only the pH, so you also need to do a chemical test to get details on the nutritional content of the soil. Fixing any deficiencies when you start your garden usually leads to better yields throughout so the earth doesn’t need too much from you. Check the different options you have for testing pH and best-rated pH soil tester review.

Which method of testing soil pH levels do you trust most? What is the best pH soil tester for you?

About
Gretchen McKenzie
Hi! My name is Gretchen. I used to work as an accountant at a small Jacksonville real estate firm. I was always involved with some kind of gardening. I’ve always been learning something new and searching for effective tools to help keep down the weeds, enhance the quality of plants and generally improve the efficiency of my garden. Read more about me and my husband.
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4 thoughts on “10 Best Soil pH Testers for Your Garden and Backyard in 2024”

    • Thanks for your comment, Pat! I had my hands on the Oakton EcoTests Pocket pH Meter after I saw your comment. It’s actually a high-quality pH meter with a very convenient set of controls and it provides precise results. The only problem is that it’s not a soil pH tester. It doesn’t feature the right nozzle to test soil pH, which means you can use it only to measure the pH of various liquids. If you are a gardener, you may need to measure the pH of liquid fertilizing solutions.

      However, it seems an excess step to me as you won’t achieve the wrong pH if you follow the right mixing proportions of liquid fertilizer. I checked the Oakton website, but they don’t mention any soil pH meters in their product listing, so I suggest you consider one of the tools covered in my reviews above. If you are sure that you need to measure the pH of liquids, then, yes, Oakton makes some of the best tools for that. They are affordable, convenient, precise, and waterproof (IP67).

      BTW thanks for reading my blog!

      Reply
  1. Hey, great reviews, thank you! Quick question. Before I read your review, I was about to buy the Sonkir tester (listed third in this blog) but decided to do some more research when the instructions noted that it cannot be used in dry soil. I thought, “Wait, that doesn’t make sense. I want to use it to know if I need to water my plants under the mulch. It obviously would defeat the purpose if I had to water the soil before using it.” So I did some research and sure enough, your review mentions it can’t be used in dry soil either. I hope that is only for the PH testing capabilities? I can insert it in dry soil to find out if the plants need to be watered, correct?

    Reply
    • Thanks for your question! According to the manufacturer, it’s not that using the meter in dry soil is bad for it. When the soil is extremely dry, the pointer just won’t move. This applies to pH as well as moisture and light. It doesn’t quite defeat the purpose, though, since if you stick in it and the indicator isn’t moving, it’s a sure sign your plants need watering. For you to properly measure light and pH, there should be at least some water.

      Reply

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