6 Best Soil pH Testers – 2024 Buyers Guide

This post the ‘best soil pH testers’ follows on from my last few posts on soils, and soil pH.  If you have read my posts, How to find out my soil type (part 1) and pH testing of soil (part 2) you are no doubt eager to set about testing your own soil, to find out the pH and set about knowing how to improve your soil for gardening, which is part 3 and final part of my soil series of posts.

There are 3 main types of soil pH testers on the market that employ various methods to provide you with a visual reading of the soil pH in your garden.

It is difficult to say which soil tester is best there are many, I would suggest the best soil pH tester is the one that suits your own needs, and budget and that provides the accuracy that you require, based on your own growing requirements. This could be a simple test strip carried out at home or a professional soil test and report from a laboratory.

Several Options For pH Testers

Some pH testers are electrical (digital or analogue)  that can also be multi-functional, in that they can measure other criteria like light and moisture in the soil in addition to pH.

Other methods employed are coloured dyes and dip-in indicator strips, all of which are methods employed to provide the user with the soil pH reading.

Below I have provided some of the best soil pH testers currently on the UK market that use these various methods to provide you with visual pH results. I hope you will find this guide useful.

Please Note: We independently selected all the products mentioned in this Buyer’s Guide. The guide includes amongst others, Amazon affiliate links, and we may earn a commission from any purchases made through these links. For more information, please refer to our affiliate’s FAQ page.

In a Hurry?

The Best Soil pH Testers
If you don’t have much time, use the link below to quickly find out my ‘Top Pick’ for the ‘best soil pH testers’ available for you on Amazon. You can be assured we only recommend products based on our research, product quality, usability, and value for money… ‘Best Overall’ Sonkir pH Meter

Best Soil pH Testers: Test Strips Are One of The Easiest Methods Used to Test Soil pH

Soil pH Testers – Our Top 3 Testers

Product Image
Best Overall
Sonkir Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester Gardening Tool Kits for Plant Care, Great for Garden, Lawn, Farm, Indoor & Outdoor Use (Green)
Runner-Up
Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit for Soil pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash, 1 Pack
Highly Recommended
Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Kit (3.5-9 Range) | 100 Soil pH Test Strips
Model/Make
Sonkir
Luster Leaf
Garden Tutor
Digital
Analogue
Functionality
3 in 1
Test Kit
Ph Test Strip
Batteries Required
Best Overall
Product Image
Sonkir Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester Gardening Tool Kits for Plant Care, Great for Garden, Lawn, Farm, Indoor & Outdoor Use (Green)
Model/Make
Sonkir
Digital
Analogue
Functionality
3 in 1
Batteries Required
More Information
Runner-Up
Product Image
Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit for Soil pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash, 1 Pack
Model/Make
Luster Leaf
Digital
Analogue
Functionality
Test Kit
Batteries Required
More Information
Highly Recommended
Product Image
Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Kit (3.5-9 Range) | 100 Soil pH Test Strips
Model/Make
Garden Tutor
Digital
Analogue
Functionality
Ph Test Strip
Batteries Required
More Information

Last update on 2024-05-18

Best Soil pH Testers For Your Garden – A Buyers Guide

Sonkir pH Meter

The Sonkir pH meter MS02 is a 3-1 analogue ‘double probe’ soil tester. 

The meter is capable of measuring not only the pH of the soil in the ranges of 3.5 – 8 but also the soil moisture content from dry 1 – 3, moist 4 – 7, and wet 8 -10.

Light can also be measured in lux from 0 dark – to 2000 light.

The Sonkir pH test meter utilises double-needle detection technology. This technology passes ‘detailed information between the 2x conductors’ to show you accurate metering values. The double sensor probes are 8in (20cm) long and are 1 x copper and 1 x aluminium.  

Sonkir Soil Tester

This technology strongly enhances the speed and accuracy of detecting and analysing soil moisture and pH acidity in both outdoor and indoor soils.

The meter is fairly lightweight, robust, and portable measuring only 29cm (11.5in) long. The letters and numbers are easily legible on the screen. 

The Sonkir pH meter operates without batteries. To operate it, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and simply insert the probe into the soil you wish to test, approximately 2 – 4in (5 – 10cm) and toggle the switch to the desired ‘value’ on the meter, based on your metering requirement. Then, simply read off your desired value after about 10 minutes once inserted. After use simply wipe the ‘probes’ clean and store them away safely. 

The manufacturer states that the Sonkir does not need calibration as it has been factory set, and therefore there are no means to calibrate the meter after each use. However, I find this a little strange as by the mere nature of this meter, periodic calibration should be needed.

This is a special note directly from the manufacturer which is worth noting

“Since soil most often is in/close to a neutral state (with a pH value of 7), it is highly likely that you find the needle in the display window stay still (because the default pH value is set at somewhere between 7 and 8) when you use it to test the pH value of soil. Customers sometimes are misled by this appearance and hence regard the tester as a defective unit by mistake”

In this above respect and particularly for pH readings the meter may be slightly inaccurate for some gardeners but for most, it will be fine. 

Finally, it should be stressed that the Sonkir pH meter is a SOIL pH tester, not a water or a liquid pH tester. This tester can ONLY be placed in soil. 

Pro’s

Con’s

Price

Three Gold Pounds Sterling
  • Double Needle Detection
  • 3 in 1
  • Ease of Use
  • Portable
  • Slightly Inaccurate Readings
  • No Means of Calibration

Rapitest pH Soil Tester

If you are looking for a quick uncomplicated simple way to test the pH of your soil as well as other important tests, then look no further than this Rapitest soil test kit, by Luster Leaf.

The Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit is a product designed for testing amongst other things the pH level of the soil. This test kit will provide you with the capsules required for 40 tests – 10 each for pH, Nitrogen, Potash, and Phosphorus.

The Rapitest kit comes complete with a set of capsules containing chemicals that change colour when mixed with soil, indicating the pH level of your soil for example. 

Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Once the capsules are depleted, however, users can purchase an additional ‘soil test kit 1663 which will provide chemical components for 40, 80, or 200 further tests. It therefore may be beneficial to purchase a digital and or analogue pH tester in the long run as additional chemicals are required on an ongoing basis..

Soil tests that can be undertaken with the Luster Leaf Rapitest 1601:

  • pH – Checking alkalinity/acidity of the soil
  • Nitrogen – For checking fertiliser needs for plant nutrition
  • Phosphorus – A phosphorus deficiency in the soil may contribute to stunted plant growth.
  • Potash – Determine if additional potash is needed to aid early plant growth.

Soil pH tests are simply carried out by placing a small amount of soil taken from between 5cm – 10cm (2-4in) below the soil surface you wish to test in the test chamber of the comparators (Rapitest pH tester).

Once the soil sample has been added, add the provided ‘powder’ from one of the 10 pH test capsules to the soil in the soil chamber of the comparator.

Then fill the comparator’s test chamber to the prescribed line with ‘distilled water.  Fit the ‘comparators’ cap and give the water/soil sample a good shake then let it settle for about 1 minute or let the colour develop in the solution.

Then just compare the ‘colour’ of the solution against the pH chart on the side of the pH comparator for a pH reading of your test soil sample. For best results allow daylight (not direct sunlight) to illuminate the solution. That’s it’s quick simple and easy.

The Rapitest is a quick method of pH testing of soils, however, for increased accuracy, I suggest that you take a soil sample as described above, from several parts of the area you wish to test and mix them together in a bowl, removing all the ‘organic’ material. Once mixed then place a ‘small mixed’ sample in the PH comparator and avoid touching the sample directly with your hands as this may skew the results.

The Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit is suitable for both indoor and outdoor plants, and it can be used in a wide range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils.

The Rapitest soil tester is really simple to use, but it does come with detailed instructions if needed, as well as a soil pH preference list for over 450 plants. It’s a tool that is great for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

In conclusion, the Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit for Soil pH is a useful tool for anyone who wants to monitor the pH level and nutrient levels of their soil. By using this kit, you can ensure that your plants have the optimal growing conditions they need to thrive. 

Pro’s

Con’s

Price

Three Gold Pounds Sterling
  • Quick and Easy to Use
  • Inexpensive
  • Generally Accurate
  • Portable
  • No Experience Required
  • pH Range a Little Limited
  • Expensive Capsules

Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips

These premium multi-purpose soil pH test strips by Garden Tutor provide quick and accurate results over the complete pH range from 3.5 – 9 and are suitable for both professional and amateur gardeners alike.

The manufacturer provides 100 test strips that can be used to analyse soil types for outdoor and indoor plants, gardens, allotments and grass lawns, fruit, flowers, vegetables and shrubs. 

These soil pH test strips provide the gardener with a general overview of the soil condition of their growing area. 

Best Soil pH test strips - Garden Tutor

Very portable and with easy-to-understand user instructions, these test strips offer easy-to-read, calibrated 4 x colour match ‘pads’ which when placed against the manufacturer’s pH colour palette, will provide an instant pH reading of the soil.

Soil pH analysis is undertaken by mixing a small amount of the soil to be tested with distilled water. Wait a short amount of time (30 mins) and then dip a test strip into the ‘water solution’. Remove the strip and match the strip against the manufacturer’s colour table on the side of the test strip pot. (Follow manufacturer instructions for the exact process).

Possibly the only improvement in my view though for these test strips, is that they could be better calibrated to consolidate the pH ranges. 

For example, it’s difficult to distinguish the colour differences and hence the difference between pH 2 and 3 or pH 6 and 7. Check out the (Most Accurate pH Tester) paragraph in the general description at the bottom of this post and the 10x factor to better understand this comment.

Pro’s

Con’s

Price

Three Gold Pounds Sterling
  • Accuracy 
  • Ease of Use
  • Portability
  • Strips Already Calibrated
  • pH Colour Range

Kensizer Soil Tester, Soil Moisture/pH Meter

If you’re a gardener, landscaper, or farmer, you understand the importance of knowing the pH and moisture level of your soil.

Poor soil conditions can result in failed growth or stunted growth, and even plants dying. That’s why a reliable soil tester like the 2 in 1 Kensizer Soil and Moisture Tester is essential.

With two (2) separate sensors suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, the Kensizer is capable of accurately measuring several levels of soil pH, ranging from 3.0 (Acid) – to 10 (Alkaline) The Kensizer can also measure soil moisture, providing dry, moist and wet readings determined over 10 levels, 10 being very wet.

Kensizer Soil Tester Soil Moisture pH Meter - Soil pH Testers

One great feature for me is the fact that the Kensizer soil tester does not require a battery for operation, and of course, this saves you from changing the battery over time and is quite cost-effective, users simply plug and play and you are good to go.

You may be wondering how a pH tester works without batteries. The Kensizer Soil Tester works by using electrical conductivity to measure moisture levels and pH balance in the soil. The two probes, one for moisture and one for pH operate like this.

When you insert the probe into the soil, it completes an electrical circuit that allows it to measure the conductivity of the soil. This information is then displayed on the screen in the form of a numerical reading.

The two separate meters have a large display, suitable for those of you with a little difficulty in reading smaller figures or numbers.

To get pH or moisture readings users simply insert the required probe about 4in – 6in / 10 -15 cm into the soil. To get an accurate soil pH reading you will need to leave the probe in for about 1-2 minutes in the soil.

The ‘Kensizer’ is light and portable and measures a mere 12in or 30cm in length and can be transported around easily. 

Finally, Do not use the moisture meter to test pure water or other liquids. It can only be used to measure ‘soil’ moisture. After use simply wipe clean and store until required again.

Pro’s

Con’s

Price

Three Gold Pounds Sterling
  • Large Screen
  • No Batteries
  • Multi-Purpose
  • Indoor/Outdoor Use
  • Portable
  • No Calibration Facility

Bluelab PENSOILPH Soil Tester pH Pen

Made in New Zealand the Bluelab PENSOILpH soil tester is a high-end pH tester for the professional or serious amateur gardener. This tester is capable of accurately measuring both pH and temperature in soil and other growing solutions.

This pH soil tester measures pH in small increments of 0.1 and is fully temperature compensated, so you can rely on getting accurate readings every single time.

This waterproof versatile pen tester is suitable for soils, coco coir, potting mixes, solutions, and a variety of other growing media.

The soil pen requires 1 x AAA battery (not provided) which normally lasts between 2- 4 months depending on the use or 6 months if in total standby.

Bluelab Pensoilph Soil Tester

The Soil pH probe on your pen is not replaceable! As such, the pH probe that is attached to your current Soil pH pen needs to be taken great care of; this is the only soil pH probe that this pen will use within its lifetime! It is important to clean, store and calibrate your pen correctly and it will provide accurate measurements over its lifetime.

To use the pH soil pen to take a direct soil pH reading make an indent into the soil using the dibber/probe cover. This cover acts as a ‘dibber’, allowing you to first ‘press’ your pen into the soil, remove the cover, and then take a pH reading from the ‘indentation’ you just made in the soil. This ‘dibber’ cover also protects your pen’s probe, reducing the risk of wear and tear.

Alternatively, you can place your probe directly into your soil/water mix as described in my post  pH testing of soil 4 easy ways – Method 1

Cleaning, storing, and calibrating the Bluelab pen is fairly straightforward and easy to undertake. Calibration and re-hydration should be carried out every 30 days as per the manufacturer’s recommendations using the Bluelab probe care kit.

Successful calibration can be confirmed on-screen via a successful pH calibration indicator.

With a great ‘backlit’ display with large legible numbers, this SoilpH pen should you need it carries a 12-month warranty and great after-sales support from Bluelab which should give you total peace of mind.

Pro’s

Con’s

Price

Three Gold Pounds Sterling
  • Auto-off Function to Extend Battery Life
  • Two-Point Calibration 
  • Easy Calibration
  • Hold Reading Function 
  • Waterproof
  • 12-month Warranty
  • Accurate
  • Temperature Compensation
  • Quite Expensive, But Top of the Range

Essentials pH Meter

The Essentials pH meter is an electronic digital soil pH meter, ideal for professional and amateur gardeners alike.

This reasonably priced pH meter has a few features only seen in more expensive electronic digital pH soil meters.

These include ‘easy’ self-calibration, energy-saving ‘shut off ‘after 15 minutes, low battery alert, water-resistant; and a memory function that allows the user to see the past 10  pH readings, so gardeners are able to keep track of their past readings with ease.

 These include ‘easy’ self-calibration, energy-saving ‘shut off ‘after 15 minutes, low battery alert, water-resistant; and a memory function that allows the user to see the past 10  pH readings, so gardeners are able to keep track of their past readings with ease. 

Essentials pH meter

Once switched on, pen calibration is easy using the buffer solutions pH4 & pH7 combined with the ‘calibration’ button on the unit.  Simply dip the probe in the preferred solution and press the CAL button until CAL appears on the screen, it’s as simple as that. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ‘set’ the perfect calibration every time.

There is however, only one calibration point on this pen unfortunately, which is either 1pH, 4pH, or 7pH, with a ‘solution’ temperature of anything between 0 DegC – 50Deg C (32 F –  122 F) being possible to be measured.

Once calibrated though, the Essentials pH meter works by dipping the pen into any solution, waiting 20 seconds for pH ‘stabilisation to take place, then simply taking the pH reading from the pen screen.

In a ‘gardeners’ case, the soil/water solution is as described in my post pH testing of soil 4 easy ways – Method 1, is the ideal solution to use in conjunction with this Essentials pH meter to get an accurate soil pH reading, within the region of +/- 0.2 pH over the full 0-14 pH range.

Using just 4 x 1.5v button batteries (included) the Essentials meter will last for about 150 hours of normal use on one set of batteries, or about 350 tests.

The Essentials pH pen is a very portable pen measuring only 17cm L x 3.2 cm W (6.6in x 1.4in W) so would easily fit in your pocket, so remember it’s there!

Finally, it is essential that you store the pen in a cool place and not allow the ‘cap’ to be removed during storage. The pen’s ‘probe’ needs to be stored in a ‘storage solution’ which fills the ‘cap’. 

This is to ensure optimal life expectancy and pH accuracy.  It is recommended that ‘calibration’ and the ‘storage solution’ are checked every 30 days and or after each use.

Pro’s

Con’s

Price

Three Gold Pounds Sterling
  • Memory For 10 Readings
  • Water-Resistant
  • Low Battery Alert
  • Simple Calibration
  • Energy Saving
  • No Direct Soil Reading
  • Single Calibration Point

Are Soil pH Testers Accurate?

In terms of accuracy, this can be a complicated question, let’s see what we can discover.

With the digital/analogue probe devices, many of the cheaper meters suggest that the probe is placed directly in the soil. While this may be an easier option I would advise that this method will not provide accurate results.

My advice, and to give any of your soil pH testers the best chance of getting the best ‘accurate’ results is to provide a ‘solution’ of the soil sample/water mix as described in my post (pH testing of soils – Method 1).

This ‘solution’ can and should be used for all pH testing methods irrespective of the tester used in your garden or allotment.

Now that is out the way let’s try and see if any type of ‘tester’ is more accurate than others. To understand accuracy we should perhaps understand the pH scale a little deeper.

The pH scale measures acidity on a logarithmic scale. Each whole number on the scale is 10 times more acidic than the next highest number. For example, 5 is 10 times more acidic than 6. Therefore understanding this, let’s look at the actual tester’s accuracy.

The Most Accurate pH Tester

Electrical meters (digital/analogue) with a calibration feature that can be calibrated within a known solution (buffer solution) should provide accuracy within +/- 0.1 pH unit. Besides a laboratory report, this will be the most accurate way of testing pH at home.

If you consider the 10 x statement above, the next best accuracy tester will be those that provide figures between the whole numbers, for example,  4.5 or 6.5.  these perhaps should be considered next based on your budget and needs for accuracy.

Lastly, testers that provide ‘whole’ number ranges 1,2,3,4, etc… would prove to be the least accurate due to the fact you have a 10x factor of ‘inaccuracy’ between ‘whole’ numbers as mentioned above.

The question are soil pH testers accurate, comes down to the individual and the degree of pH accuracy required for you and your garden. One thing is for sure though, for all gardeners, you MUST have some knowledge and indication as to the pH of your soil, irrespective of being ‘exact’ in the degree of accuracy.

FAQs

What is a Soil pH Tester?

A soil pH tester is a device that measures the acidity or alkalinity of the soil.

It helps gardeners and farmers determine the pH level of the soil so that they can select appropriate plants, apply the correct fertilizers, and control pests effectively.

Soil pH testers can come in different types, including electronic meters, test strips, and liquid indicators.

Why is it important to test soil pH?

Testing soil pH is essential because it directly affects the growth and health of plants.

Different plants have different pH requirements for optimal growth. When the soil pH is too acidic or alkaline, plants may not be able to absorb the nutrients they need, leading to poor growth, weak stems, and yellow leaves.

Testing soil pH helps gardeners to adjust the soil’s pH level to meet the needs of specific plants.

How Do You Use An Electronic Soil pH Meter?

Using an electronic soil pH meter is easy. First, ensure that the soil is moist, but not too wet.

Insert the probe into the soil, making sure it reaches the root zone. Wait for a few seconds for the reading to stabilise.

The digital display will show the pH level. Rinse the probe with clean water after use and store the meter in a dry place.

When Should I Test My Soil pH?

Soil pH should be tested before planting a new crop or adding new plants to the garden.

It’s recommended to test soil pH at least once a year to monitor changes.

Conclusion

As you can see from the reviews above, finding the best soil pH tester is not as straightforward as it may seem on the surface.

Much depends on your own requirements and the degree of pH accuracy you require in your own garden, of course, your budget also has its part to play.

All the product guides above will provide a gardener with some knowledge of your soil pH level, just how much is up to you.

For soil queries and questions take a look at our FAQ page which may assist you with further information about soils and other garden-related queries.

Our buyer’s guides are also a wealth of information on a variety of subjects related to gardens, outdoor living and much more.