Ph soil tester in a garden Best Of ...

8 Best Soil pH Testers For Home and Garden in 2023

Creating a great garden means understanding the growing conditions in your space. While you may know the importance of sunlight and water, pH is often overlooked as a big factor in soil health. The pH of the soil can indicate nutrient content, which can determine what will grow in your garden. Now that you know finding the best soil pH tester is crucial for optimal growing let’s cover some basics.

The pH scale ranges between 0 to 14, with 0 to 6.9 being acidic and 7.1 to 14 being alkaline. Seven is a neutral pH. Most healthy garden soil should have a pH of or close to 6.5.

At that level, the soil should have all the essential plant nutrients. In addition to plant health, soil pH can affect which chemicals are effective, how to use fertilizer, the health of the soil microbiome, and how soil reacts with metal.

There are several ways to determine the pH of your soil, including with a chemical, digital, analog, or lab test. Many new gardeners ask, “What is the best pH tester for soil?” It can be tough to choose the option you need for your purposes, so keep scrolling to help you choose the best soil pH tester for you. 

Key Takeaways

Many gardeners only need a tester to give them a general idea of their soil pH. The best soil pH meter will vary from garden to garden, which is why the SONKIR pH meter won the best overall spot. 

However, if your garden is having problems with a difficult-to-trace cause, you may want a more specific option like Vivosun 3-in-1 meter. For anything else in between, you’re sure to find it on this, along with helpful tips on how to find the best soil pH meter for your garden.

soil ph tester being used in a garden

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1. Overall Best Soil pH Tester: Sonkir Soil pH Meter MS02

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The Sonkir Soil pH Meter is an affordable and versatile option that’s great if you want to get a general idea of the pH of soil. As a 3-in-1 test, this option measures soil moisture and sunlight levels in addition to pH. Since this tester is analog, it lasts a long time, especially if your soil requires frequent tests. 

To use this tester, simply set your detector to the component you wish to test, insert the probe directly in the soil, and look at the result on the meter after ten minutes. For best results, wipe the probe clean after each use, only using the probe in soil. To preserve its lifespan, don’t force it through rough materials. 

This option is the best all-around option because it offers plenty of different capabilities, is fairly accurate, and lasts a long time. Users love how reliable and easy to use this tester is.  

Type: Analog | Portable: Yes | 3 in 1: Yes

2. Best Budget pH Soil Tester: Kensizer Soil Tester

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The Kensizer Soil Tester kit is a set of digital probes that gives you the most bang for your buck. One probe tells you about pH, while the other senses soil moisture. It works well for indoor and outdoor plants. 

When using this tester, insert the probe into the soil for about a minute (or more depending on the plant). It’s worth noting that slightly moist soil will give you the best results. Overly dry soil may damage the probe or yield inaccurate readings. 

While this tester is cheaper than similar options, it’s not short on quality. The tester provides accurate information as long as you take care of it, just like with any other option. Many users of this test also love that it only has one probe, as it’s easier to insert into the soil. 

Type: Digital | Portable: Yes | 3 in 1: No

3. Best pH Soil Tester on Amazon: MySoil Soil Test Kit

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The MySoil Soil Test Kit is an informative lab-based kit that will tell you about soil pH and nutrient levels you usually can’t get with home pH meters. Send your soil samples to the lab, and you should receive a comprehensive soil analysis in around a week. 

When you send your soil sample to a lab, they will test for the level of nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron, sulfur, magnesium, copper, zinc, and calcium. Based on your results, the lab will also send you suggestions on how you can remedy any nutrient excesses or deficiencies.  

This test is the best option on Amazon based on user satisfaction. Users love how easy it is to send away samples and receive quick, specific results with tailored remedies. So if you have various soil types in your gardens, you will need more than one kit to perform continuous tests. 

Type: Lab | Portable: N/A | 3 in 1: No

4. Best Splurge: SoilKit Soil Test Kit

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This test kit may be pricier than other options, but the information it gives you is worth the cost. In addition to pH testing, you will learn about the nutrient and mineral composition of your lawn. Plus, it even comes with a trowel.  

To get your results, collect four soil samples from your target area, mail in the samples, and receive the analysis in one to two business days. The results will include an analysis of soil pH and nine elements. Similar to the best on Amazon option, the lab will suggest how to fertilize and improve your soil. 

Many users of this test find the higher price tag to be worth it because it’s faster than similar lab tests, with comprehensive and accurate results. The only downside is they will not accept potting soil, so curious houseplant owners will need to find a different pH testing solution. 

Type: Lab | Portable: N/A | 3 in 1: No

5. Best Bulk Buy: Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit

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The Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips are a beloved option for those who need to take frequent inventory of their soil pH. For example, you may need to monitor how hard water affects soil pH. These strips can also be good for tracking your efforts to remedy a specific soil issue. 

To use these strips, add a soil sample to a cup and mix it with distilled water. Next, let the soil and water mixture sit for at least an hour before dipping the strip in the mixture for three seconds. Then compare the color of the strip to the color chart to see the pH. 

Chemical tests will not be as accurate as lab tests. However, these strips are ideal for providing a rough idea of your soil pH. For the most precise results, you should do several tests, and ensure all the results are similar. It’s a great bargain if you’re wanting to get an overall idea of the soil in your garden.

Type: Chemical | Portable: Yes | 3 in 1: No

6. Best Display: Fivota Soil pH Meter

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For many gardeners, getting a fast and accurate reading is key when determining their soil content, and a difficult-to-read display can make even the most accurate pH tester unusable. A good display is especially key if you have vision issues. 

The Fivota Soil pH Meter has a large, clear display featuring big numbers for pH, moisture, and light. 

To use this tester, set the switch to the type of information you want to read. Next, insert the prongs into the soil at a depth between two and four inches and read the results after ten minutes. The meter measures a pH between 3.5 and 8, and a moisture range between one and ten.

Type: Analog | Portable: Yes | 3 in 1: Yes

7. Best Usability: Luster Leaf 1601 Rapid Test Kit

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The Luster Leaf 1601 Rapid Test Kit allows you to understand your soil deeply without sending it to a lab. The four different chemical tests analyze your soil pH, potash, phosphorus, and nitrogen levels.  

To perform the tests, you only need to mix some soil with water before combining it with the capsule for the test you want to do. Compare the color of the mix to the key to see if your soil needs more or less of anything. The kit comes with color-coded easy-to-understand instructions, so gardeners can get a lot of information with little effort.  

Type: Chemical | Portable: Yes | 3 in 1: No

8. Best Precision: Vivosun Soil Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester

soil pH Tester

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While many tests are sufficient for giving you a general idea of your soil health, precision is essential when trying to fine-tune your soil’s nutrient content. The correct tester should be able to provide you with accurate information. 

Along with precision, the Vivosun Soil Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester provides rapid results, usually in under ten minutes. The test measures the pH, moisture content, and sunlight level of your soil. You can use it on many garden types, including indoor plants and outdoor gardens.  

This reader works like other probing testers in that you insert the probe into the soil for a few minutes after setting it for a specific inquiry. Gardeners who use this tester enjoy the price and usability of the unit. The only big problem is that it can be tricky to properly position the sunlight sensor. 

Type: Analog | Portable: Yes | 3 in 1: Yes

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What To Look For When Buying The Best Soil pH Testers


There are four main types of soil pH testers, and each has benefits and drawbacks. These types include chemical, analog, digital, and lab. You may find that one variety suits your needs more than the others, but one is not generally better than the rest. 

A chemical tester is an at-home way to learn about your soil’s pH using a chemical reaction. The exact mechanism may vary somewhat. In general, you will take at least one soil sample, add it to a vial, combine it with chemicals, and observe the results of the test in comparison to a pH key. This type of test is the most accurate option if you do not want to send samples to a lab. 

The analog soil tester consists of a probe you insert into the soil and a dial displaying the pH detected. These testers last for a long time compared to other types. However, they can be less precise than other options. 

Digital soil testers function by sending electricity into the soil. The sensor picks up on the composition of the soil and lets you know about the pH. While some of these testers work directly with the soil, others require you to mix soil with distilled water before testing it. Digital testing can be less accurate than other types of testing if you are not consistent with calibration.

Testing your soil using a lab is when you send a soil sample to a professional lab where they analyze it and tell you about the pH. A lab can often tell you about the nutrition content of the soil and other essential information like remedy solutions while being more accurate than other options. 


A pH tester may have a wide range of precision. Some will tell you about the pH of your soil within .2 pH, while others offer accuracy within .001 pH. For most hobbyist gardeners, perfect precision is not essential. However, it is a good idea to get as precise a reading as possible. To check your results, try doing multiple tests. 

Lab pH tests are typically the most precise. At-home pH tests and digital readers usually have a lower level of precision, but they can give you a good idea of how to treat your garden. 


Reusability is not always a priority for someone testing their garden, but it’s still good to consider if you need frequent use or just a few readings. Usually, chemical and lab pH tests are single-use, while digital testers can last for a year or more. 

A reusable test is a good idea if you have a large space you want to test or track pH over time. You may get the same result from several chemical tests, but a digital or analog reader is more efficient and often more affordable. 

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Final Verdict

Plenty of effective pH testers on the market can help you achieve the garden of your dreams. The best all-around option is the Sonkir Soil pH Meter. If you need a general idea of large portions of soil, go for a bulk option like the Garden Tutor Test Strips. For a good entry point into lab pH soil testing, try the MySoil Test Kit.  


Are soil pH testers accurate?

Like many tools, a pH tester can have several accuracy levels. Some testers may be able to get more accurate readings than others. Other variables affect accuracy, including user error, testing conditions, and sample sizes. To get the most accurate results possible, do multiple tests and see if you get similar results each time.  

What are the three main types of soil testing?

The three main types of soil testing for pH are chemical, digital, and lab testing. There are also analog tests that are similar to digital meters. A chemical tester is an at-home test you can perform using chemicals that will tell you the pH of your soil. Digital testers use electrical charges to read the pH of soil. Doing a lab test involves you sending soil samples to a lab for analysis. 

Do I need to add water to soil when testing its pH?

Whether or not you need water will depend on the type of tester you use. Some digital tests require a mixture of soil and distilled water. Some testers will give you the best readings if your soil is damp. Always check your test’s requirements to know if you need to add water. 

How long does a pH meter last?

While some pH tests are single-use, some meters last much longer. Most reusable testers last around a year to a year and a half, but after a while, the meter will get less accurate. To check if your pH meter is working, test it in a standard solution from a reputable provider.