Best pH Meters For Hydroponics Systems 2017 Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Is pH level that important in hydroponics? Absolutely! Read our reviews and find out what you need to consider when buying the best pH meters for hydroponics.
As an indoor grower who uses a hydroponics system, one of the challenges you need to deal with is proper pH level. The pH of the area around your plant’s roots will determine their nutrient uptake. A pH level which is either too high or too low will make your plants unable to absorb certain nutrients. This leads to nutrient deficiency despite the presence of nutrients.
To deal with improper pH measuring, pH meters are available for hydroponic gardeners. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to choose the right product and review some of the best pH meters for hydroponics.
Top Best 5 pH Meters For Hydroponics Reviews
There are plenty of pH meters on the market. To help you choose the best product, we have reviewed some of the top-selling meters based on their efficiency, features, durability, and a few others. Here are our top picks for the best pH meters for hydroponics systems:
The Jellas pocket-size hydroponic pH tester is a versatile measuring tool, which is not only suited for your hydroponics systems but for other applications as well. It can be used for testing the household water, aquaponics, swimming pools, and a whole lot more. Its tiny size makes it easy to carry in your pockets and perform pH testing on the go. Despite its size, it ensures reliable accuracy with results shown on its LCD display.
- Its tiny size makes the device quite easy to use. You can simply place in it your pocket and perform pH testing whenever you are.
- It has a good measuring range and provides accurate readings.
- It can be used for a wide range of applications.
- You have to carefully handle the device since it is really fragile.
- It also needs constant recalibration.
The digital pH meter from DILISS is one of the best pH meters for hydroponics out there. It provides accurate reading and can be carried in your pocket, just like the Jellas pH meter. It’s also relatively easy to use. You simply need to remove the protective cap, immerse the meter on your hydroponics solution, and press the switch.
- It has a good accuracy at 0.1 pH resolution with a measuring range of 0-14 pH for accurate readings.
- The calibration process is easy, and the package even comes with an extra calibration mixture.
- It is easy to use and can be carried in your pocket.
- Due to its small size, you need to handle it carefully.
If you’re looking for one of the best pH meters for hydroponics that is relatively cheap, then the Vantakool meter is for you. Its 0.01 pH resolution ensures to provide accurate readings within a full measurement range from 0 to 14 pH. It’s ideally used in hydroponic systems but can also be used for various applications like aquariums and pools.
- The device is cheap, probably the most affordable one on this list.
- It helps you measure pH levels in your hydroponics garden accurately. However, it can be used for other applications too.
- The glass is fragile and will break easily if not handled with care.
- It doesn’t come with a hydroponic pH test kit.
The Risantec pH meter allows you to measure pH readings accurately with just one touch. It has a full measurement range of 0 to 14 pH and has 0.05 pH accuracy. This makes it ideal for use in a hydroponics system and any other applications as well.
- It’s a highly affordable device that provides accurate pH reading.
- Due to its automated calibration feature, you no longer need to adjust anything when testing pH levels.
- It comes with huge LCD display for easy reading.
- It can sometimes give inaccurate and inconsistent readings.
Versatile and accurate, the GlowGeek digital tester is one of the best pH meters for hydroponics out there. It offers a lot of functionality for indoor growers, especially when it comes to measuring pH levels.
- It’s very lightweight and can be carried in your pocket for testings on the go.
- It offers visibility even when used in dark areas, making pH reading clearer.
- It has a 0.01 pH resolution for accurate testings and an extra pH calibration solution mixture.
- Like the other products in this list, the GlowGeek meter is quite fragile and breaks easily if not handled with care.
Why Monitor Your pH Levels
Why is it important to track the pH levels of your hydroponic system? Regardless of your growing environment, be it on soil or hydroponics, pH will always play an important role in ensuring that your plants can get the right amount of nutrients they need. It’s not just about certain plants preferring more acid or alkaline into their system. By measuring pH levels through a pH meter, you can guarantee that you’re giving them enough nutrients. Also, giving the right amount of nutrients can help your plants achieve maximum growth potential.
Keep in mind that even if you make sure your plants get all the nutrients they need, it’s still useless if the pH is off balance. Unless your pH falls in the right range, your plants can’t absorb the nutrients they need. The levels of acid or alkaline in your hydroponics system will determine the availability of nutrients and how much they can absorb. Providing an ideal pH range for your growth medium will help your plants grow quickly and healthily.
The ideal pH range for a majority of plants is around 5.5 to 6.5. Although there are certain plants that have specific requirements, it’s ideal to stick to the range.
When it comes to your garden, there are several pesticides that won’t break down easily in water, thus leading to alkaline hydrolysis. As this can affect insecticides, your plants will suffer later on. To make sure your plants achieve healthy growth, monitoring the pH levels regularly is essential.
How pH Meters Work
Now that we’ve learned about the importance of measuring pH levels, let’s find out how a pH meter measures pH levels.
pH is basically a measure of hydrogen ions within a solution. A hydroponics pH meter measures that concentration and determines whether it is acidic or alkaline. The device consists of a glass electrode and a reference electrode. By measuring the difference between the two, the meter can tell you the current pH level, thereby allowing you to adjust the pH accordingly.
How To Choose The Best pH Meter for Hydroponics
While measuring pH levels in your hydroponics system is important, it is more important to use a reliable device for measuring. When you buy a pH meter, make sure you consider the following:
1. High Accuracy
Since measuring pH levels accurately is essential for healthy growth of your plants, you need a device that can provide you accurate readings. As much as possible, look for a device that has an accuracy of 0.002 pH units.
With an accurate reading of a pH meter, you can provide the right amount of nutrients to your plants, which is essential for faster and better growth. This is essential as providing inaccurate pH levels for your plants will put their growth and health at risk.
Most of the best pH meters for hydroponics on the market nowadays have a resolution of either 0.01 or 0.01 pH units. As a reference, a device with a 0.1 resolution will display a neutral pH of 7.0 while a meter with 0.01 resolution will display 7.00.
By looking at the resolution of a digital pH meter tester, you can have an overview of its accuracy. If a device has a 0.1 resolution, it means the accuracy is around +/- 0.1 to +/- 0.2 pH units. If the resolution is 0.01 units, the accuracy is somewhere between +/- 0.1 to +/- 0.05 pH units. You can always check the manufacturer's specifications to find out about a device’s accuracy.
Apart from accuracy, it is also equally important to consider the calibration of a pH tester for hydroponics. After all, you can only attain accurate readings once a meter is properly calibrated.
Since you need to calibrate periodically, you have to look for a meter which can be easily calibrated. Most affordable meters will require you to manually calibrate using a screwdriver. You can often find one or two calibration screws, which you need to adjust to calibrate a meter.
However, more expensive digital pH meters often have a much simpler calibration process. Although you still need a predefined buffer solution, you no longer have to use a screwdriver.
3. Electrode Type
A digital pH meter is able to measure hydroponic pH levels with the help of electrodes. It is for this reason why you should consider the type of electrode used when buying a pH meter. Most products you can find on the market have a general purpose glass electrode. However, even though they’re applicable for general use, they’re not recommended for use in dirty conditions.
Depending on your environment and application, you have to purchase a pH tester for soil and water with an electrode that corresponds to the purpose you have in mind. For example, if you want to use a pH meter in a corrosive solution, it’s ideal to go for a standard glass electrode. However, if you’re dealing with a solution that can clog the tips of the electrode, a clog-free option is ideal.
If you’re unsure which electrode type to choose for your hydroponics, you can always ask someone who has his own hydroponics garden for advice. Again, for most applications, a standard glass electrode will do just fine.
4. Data Tracking
An excellent feature that you might want to look for in a pH meter is easy data tracking. Though not really necessary, it does provide you a quick and convenient means of recording numerous entries. This is particularly helpful if you want to gather a number of pH level samples and analyze the results on your laptop or desktop computer.
It does remove the hassle of having to write down pH readings on paper one at a time. The problem is, most pH meters that have this feature are quite expensive.
How To Calibrate A pH Meter
The products I’ve reviewed are some of the best pH meters for hydroponics on the market. This means you need to know how to calibrate the device. Calibration is pretty much like fine-tuning a musical instrument. You need to tune the right keys or else, the performance will be bad.
To calibrate a pH meter, you need a buffer solution. It’s basically a laboratory standard certified reference point for your device. Most buffer solutions are available in liquid form. However, you can also find powdered solutions and mix them with distilled water.
Here are the steps you need to follow to calibrate a pH meter:
- Put your meter in the buffer solution for a reading.
- Adjust the reading in order to match the buffer solution based on the manufacturer’s instruction.
- Repeat whenever necessary. For even better accuracy, you can try using a buffer solution with a different pH.
- Make sure to calibrate your pH meter once a week or a month depending on your usage frequency.
- Calibrate your meter whenever you get inaccurate and inconsistent readings. Also, make sure to calibrate each time you replace a sensor.
The Bottom Line
Monitoring the pH levels in your hydroponics system is really essential for plant growth. Without proper pH monitoring, you’ll end up giving improper pH levels which, in turn, can lead to poor plant growth.
Of the best pH meters for hydroponics above, I choose the GlowGeek Digital pH Meter. While it is an affordable choice for a tester, it also offers the same impressive features that most expensive options have out there. Moreover, it’s highly accurate and can be carried in your pocket, thereby making it a really convenient tool.
Do you use a digital meter? Or are you still using the manual method of using litmus strips? Let us know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to share this with your gardener friends. Thanks for reading!
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