Top 5 Best pH Meters 2020:
- Penta Beauty pH Meter
- VIVOSUN pH and TDS Meter
- Dr.meter High Accuracy Pocket Size pH Meter
- KoolaMo pH Meter
- HAYI Digital pH Meter
What connects horticulturalists, pool owners, and homebrewers?
One tiny but important device – the pH level tester.
Keep in mind that it is not reserved only for these areas; it’s just that they first come to mind. A pH level meter is also beneficial to those who deal with aquariums, any soil/water quality, and lab research.
For all of these uses, knowing the right pH level of water is vital for positive results. What you need, therefore, is the best pH meter that will ensure you know it.
At RadarLogic, we value your time, and our team reviews and tests out all the products so that you don’t have to!
Here are the five best pH meters for the money, based on criteria we will discuss a bit later.
5 Best pH Meters In 2020: Detailed Reviews
1. Penta Beauty pH Meter – The Best Overall
Make some space for the best pH meter that money can buy as of now.
We were left speechless by its functionality, accuracy, and all the advanced features that it offers.
Let’s break down the details.
Namely, this pH meter has a flawless auto-temperature compensation feature that quickly adjusts to the water temperature. So, no matter whether you want to test cold, lukewarm, or warm water, you will have the pH reading almost instantly.
This feature, known shortly as ATC (Automatic Temperature Compensation), is accessed at a press of a button. As a rule of the thumb, the temperatures that a standard pH meter can compensate for are from 0° to 80°C (32°-176°F), and this one is no different.
As you would expect from the pH meter that we crown “the best,” this device is suitable for all the household needs (such as pool, aquarium, growing plants, etc.), as well as for the professional ones (RO system, spa, lab, drinking water, etc.).
Even better, though it can be classified as a professional-grade pH meter, this gadget is extremely easy to use. You just need to remove the protective cap of this pocket-size meter and insert the electrode in water. Then you press the button, and the results are ready within seconds!
We also appreciate how you get the full package. You get three calibration packets, a carrying case, and a very precise user’s manual.
Oh, and maintenance is a piece of cake! The only part that requires regular cleaning is the electrode, which you should clean with distilled water every time before and after the measurement. This assures that the whole process is carried out correctly.
- Suitable for all purposes
- Has a built-in automatic temperature compensation
- Accurate & fast
- Excellent value for the money
- Easy to use & clean
- Clear instructions for calibrating
- We couldn’t find any!
2. VIVOSUN pH and TDS Meter – The Most Versatile
Up next is one of the best-selling pH meters on the market, and let us tell you, for a good reason.
This meter is peculiar in the fact that it does not just read the pH level, but also a TDS level (Total Dissolved Solids) of a solution (usually water). By measuring the level of these dissolved minerals, we can deduce whether water is “hard” or “soft.”
So, why own just a pH meter, when you can have a 2-in-1 multifunctional tool? Not only that – it comes at a surprisingly low price considering its functionality.
Is there a catch, then?
No – not at all. Both of the functions showed to be great in all of our tests and provided reliable and accurate results.
This meter is mostly for those who want to check whether water is good for drinking, and lab applications, but it is also great for home use, aquariums, and swimming pools.
Manufacturers have calibrated the TDS meter in advance, and there is the lock function so that the reading result stays on the display until you want to remove it at a press of a button.
It measures the full pH range (0-14), and for the TDS value, the range is 0-9990 ppm (you can change units), at temperatures from 0.1-80°C (32,176°F).
We like when manufacturers put attention to detail, and they did that with VIVOSUN 2-in-1 meter. For instance, there is an auto shut-off feature if the meter is idle for nine minutes, which is not an absolute must-have, but it is nice because it prolongs battery life.
- The case is included
- Fast results
- Has the lock & auto shut-off function
- The “off” button sometimes needs a few presses before it turns off the device. Other than that, none here!
3. KoolaMo pH Meter – The Fastest Meter
One of our coworkers has mistaken this meter for a yellow highlighter, and we could tell why. It is compact, pocket-size, and it comes with a black protection cap, similar to that of a highlighter. Besides that, you know… It has a display, and it measures the pH level of water.
Thanks to its top-notch electrode sensor, this meter reads accurate pH levels, with an auto temperature compensation feature.
You must calibrate it manually before use, using buffer powder and distilled water. There are three packages of 3-level buffer powders included in the purchase, and the process is quite easy. Just follow the instructions! The manual is very detailed and precise.
In only around 5 seconds after being immersed, the meter will show you the correct pH value.
We wouldn’t say that this is the most professional pH meter out there, but we consider it one of the best meters for home applications, e.g., an aquarium, a pool, wine, beer, etc. It is basically like the Penta Beauty pH meter, but for home use. See Also: The Best Breathalyzer
Lastly, the fact that this meter is so compact can be seen both as a pro and a con. On the one hand, it fits anywhere, and you can carry it around as you wish, but on the other, it does have a bit of an uncomfortable grip.
This is not a big deal, though, as the whole process takes no longer than a minute!
- Quality & sensitive electrode sensor
- Protected battery compartment
- Easy-to-read display
- Automatic temperature compensation feature
- Wide use
- Be careful not to submerge this pH meter too deep, or it may catch water in the glass sensor (don’t ask us how we learned this)
4. HAYI Digital pH Meter – The Most Durable Pick
Our next pH tester comes in two beautiful variants, orange and blue, and it tests the full (0-14) pH measuring range, trouble-free, and very quickly.
We concluded that the results we obtained when we were using this pH meter varied only 0.01, so we can testify that it measures the pH level accurately.
There is a handy immersion line that shows you up to which level you can submerge the electrode. This sensor is enhanced with the automatic temperature compensation technology that works at any temperature from 0-80°C (32-176°F).
Don’t forget to clean it with distilled water after every use so that the future readings are accurate.
It accounts for many uses. For instance, you can use it to test your soil for gardening or agriculture purposes. Just make sure to isolate an amount of soil into a perfectly clean plastic bag, and have a few samples to confirm the readings, as sometimes the presence of stones or debris can influence the results.
Just like with most of the pH meters, the calibration is required, but it is a pretty simple procedure. Just follow the manual that you get in the package, and you will easily calibrate the device with the three kinds of the buffer powder.
The manufacturers claim that it can be calibrated with purified water, but our recommendation is that you always use distilled water.
A quick reminder here: if the meter hasn’t been used for a long period, it might need recalibration!
Lastly, everything you need is included in the purchase, including a plastic case for easy storage and protection, and we awarded bonus points for that.
- You get a carrying case with the purchase
- Wide range of application
- Lightweight (4 ounces)
- Simple operation
- Auto compensates for the temperature
- Compared to other picks, it requires more maintenance
5. Dr.meter High Accuracy Pocket Size pH Meter – Premium Pick
Interested in a premium and advanced pH meter? Dr.meter might be the one for you!
While it comes at a higher price than some other picks, it offers a lot in return.
At first glance, it looks different than most of the other pH meters – it has a roundish shape and a slightly narrower body, but it performed just as good as other competing meters that made it to this top list.
The sensitive electrode reacts to the pH in no more than 10 seconds! After you measure the pH, take it out, and wait until the value stabilizes. You can read both the temperature of the solution and its pH value once it is done.
Another highlight is the automatic calibration at a press of a button (it is a three-point one, just like with other meters), which enables a faster preparation of the device. The electrode needs to be calibrated to solutions of pH 4.00, 6.86, and 9.18, which is pretty much the standard.
With the full measurement range (0-14pH), and minimum resolution (no more than 0.01pH), this pH meter is incredibly versatile. You can use it for determining water quality, crop production improvement, food processing, cosmetics evaluation, etc.
All about this simple process is explained in the handy user manual that is included in the purchase. Besides the manual, you will get a handy carrying case, six calibration packets (mind you, that’s more than with any other product), a warranty card, and four button cells.
- Easy calibration
- Suitable both for professional & home usage
- Reliable and precise
- Shows temperature & pH level
- You get six calibration packets
- A case is included
- A bit pricey
What Is A pH Meter And Why Do You Need It?
pH meter is not the only way of measuring the pH level of a solution. But once you learn more about it, it becomes clear that a pH meter is the best device for this purpose.
Why do we claim so?
Well, first of all, it is the most accurate – and accuracy is what matters the most here, doesn’t it? Once you calibrate it, it gives you a three or four-digit precise reading that leaves no room for any doubts.
The best models (like those on our list) have a resolution as low as 0.01pH. That means that the result can vary only 0.01 from the actual pH, which basically means, it does not vary.
It can be directly compared and contrasted with the other most popular way of establishing the pH value, a strip tester so that you can see why it is better:
- more objective (there is a precise number that you cannot mistake for any other)
- reusable (you just need to clean it and put the protective cap on)
- cheaper in the long run
pH strip tester
- color is more difficult to detect; it changes from manufacturer to manufacturer; less precise
- most of the strip testers need to be thrown away after a single-use
- cheap, but inconvenient
Factors To Consider Before Buying A pH Meter
The market is crowded with different pH meters that more or less promise the same – precise measurement and reliability.
To distinguish those that are true to the description and those that are not, we performed dozens of tests for your convenience.
We also wanted to point out a few things you ought to know for an informed purchase.
At our lab, we didn’t accept higher resolution (the difference between the actual value and the result) than 0.01, and you shouldn’t, too!
We are looking only for the most precise meters that show highly accurate results and accept the full pH range (0-14pH).
Depending on the type of calibration, pH meters can be classified into two groups:
- Automatically pre-calibrated
While the latter may sound better in theory, in practice, we liked the former more.
When you perform the calibration process with buffer powder and distilled water (it has three steps, and it is always explained in the user’s manual), you can be certain that you will get the right pH values each time.
Automatic calibration means that you need not go through this process, but that the results might not be so reliable. Only one pick with automatic pre-calibration made it to our top list, and it was for the TDS level.
3. Correction Of The Temperature
When you see “ATC” (Automatic Temperature Compensation), it means that the meter (and its readings) aren’t affected by the temperature of the sample that you’re testing.
We truly like it and consider it a must, and that’s why all of our picks have it.
However, a little note here: although the meter adjusts automatically to the temperature, and most of the time, you’ll be able to see the temperature on display, the pH level might change at different temperatures, depending on what you’re measuring.
Therefore, we advise you to measure pH at the same temperature each time!
Based on the aforementioned criteria, the PentaBeauty pH meter is the top pick for most of the uses. This reasonably priced tester outperformed other pH meters with its leading precision, compactness, and high-quality sensor.
For those of you on a tighter budget, the VIVOSUN pH meter is worth considering. It is similar to the previous one, and it even can measure the TDS level!
If you seek a pH meter for home uses, and you don’t mind the higher price tag, the Dr.meter pH meter is the best choice for you. It sports the automatic temperature compensation, convenient display, and accounts for all purposes, from beer brewing to your aquarium.