Last Updated on September, 20th 2020
It may come as a surprise that you do not actually need soil to grow plants. In fact, if you have a proper system set up to deliver nutrient solution directly to the plants, you do not need to have soil at all. Known as hydroponics, these systems are great for plant growth indoors using grow lights under very specific conditions for a variety of reasons. Of course, within these systems, precision is key, including testing the pH level of the water you use, that’s where a digital pH meter comes in very handy!
Best pH Meter for Hydroponics
- Bluelab PENPH pH Meter Pen
- Bluelab CONTPH pH Controller
- Apera Instruments AI209 pH20
- Apera Instruments PH700 Benchtop Lab
These meters are used for testing the pH level of your hydroponic nutrient solution. The pH level of your water is simply a measurement of how acidic or alkaline the water is. Ideally, you want it at 7, which is right in the middle. Water that is too acidic or too basic can cause harm to plants, especially in hydroponic systems. Beyond plants, testing the pH of water can be a useful tool in a variety of hobbies like homebrews, winemaking, and pool maintenance.
Top 4 Best PH Meters for hydroponics 2020
1. Bluelab PENPH pH Meter Pen for Plant Germination
Looking for a hydroponic digital PH meter that specifically has plant health in mind? When it comes to testing the pH of your hydroponic system, the Bluelab pH Pen is an ideal choice. It measures the pH level of your hydroponic systems with ease, as well as the temperature. The digital display gives a wide range of information, including low battery reading, the temperature in a variety of different units, as well as automatically turning off after non-use to save battery. This test meter is also easy to calibrate and has a “successful” pH calibration indicator light, so you can make sure your plants are getting the right balance of nutrients.
This pH meter includes one AAA battery, lanyard, and buffer solution. The Bluelab PENPH pH Meter Pen also pairs well with any products in the Bluelab family!CHECK CURRENT PRICE
2. Bluelab CONTPH pH Controller with Hands-Free Monitoring and Dosing of Calibration Solution
Running a hydroponic growing system of any kind can be a lot of hands-on work, even with a highly accurate digital pH meter. If you are the “set it and forget it” automatic calibration type of consumer, the Bluelab CONTPH was made just for you. Not only does this one accurately measure the pH level of water, or any solution with a probe, but it also comes with the ability to automatically adjust the pH level to be more acidic or basic, depending on the test results. Incredibly useful in managing a large number of hydroponic growing systems, or if you simply do not have the time to worry and stress over constant monitoring and maintaining your system.
In addition to being fully automatic, this pH meter is ideal to use in large systems. This digital pH meter can be used for testing and managing up to 200 gallons of water or any other solution at a time, keeping it at the exact levels you need for the best results. The included buffer solution helps you to calibrate the pH of your water, and the digital display makes it easy to see current readings, If there is a problem, it can flash alarms on the display to let you know that something needs adjusting.
This is a great automatic product! You should definitely consider this probe pH meter for maintaining the pH of your water.CHECK CURRENT PRICE
3. Apera Instruments AI209 pH20 Value Waterproof Hydroponics pH meter
If you are looking for a digital pH meter that you can use for a variety of different reasons, these Apera Instruments pH test meters are fantastic. They have some of the best meters around, and this model is small and battery-operated, so it’s easy to travel with. Its design is such that it can be used in a variety of different scenarios beyond simply hydroponics, it can be used for testing the pH of drinking water in brewing your own beer, making your own wine, and for regular pool maintenance.
Beyond convenience, this digital pH meter is incredibly accurate (within .1 pH measurement) for up to 2000 hours of continuous use and knows when to test and take a measurement at the optimal time. The digital readout can even tell you when the internal calibration is off and, and will use the ATC to correct the differences. ATC stands for Automatic Temperature Compensation, this means the meter measures the pH value and temperature at the same time, then will automatically make the necessary calculations to correct for differences.
The Apera pH meter includes a lanyard, two buffer solutions, and a carrying case. These meters are easy to use, accurate, and long-lasting, exactly what you want in a pH meter for hydroponics.CHECK CURRENT PRICE
4. Apera Instruments PH700 Benchtop Lab pH Meter, 0.01 pH Accuracy
Last on our list, another great pH testing solution from Apera. If accuracy and convenience are both on your needs in a digital pH meter for hydroponics, then this product is a must-have. This meter has some of the best reading pH reading accuracy on our list (within .01 pH units), making it ideal for making sure you have ideal, optimal conditions within your hydroponic system. This meter is easy to calibrate, and it also the ability to be set up with automatic pH balancing features, making it ideal for those who have been frustrated with maintaining a buffer solution for hydroponic systems in the past.
Just like the other Apera model on this list, this one comes with a digital display for easy reading and a self-diagnosis function if it detects that calibration is off. This meter also has a built-in microprocessor chip for automatic calibration, automatic temperature compensation, and parameter setup. Another good thing about this product is that there is also room for storage of up to 50 different data sets, making it an ideal choice for complex hydroponic systems. To top it off, it is waterproof, dust-proof, and otherwise extremely durable.
The PH700 is an amazing high-end, highly reliable, and highly accurate choice for maintaining ideal pH levels in your hydroponic system. It’s one of the best pH meters on the market, and it should definitely be on your shortlist of choices.CHECK CURRENT PRICE
Find the Ideal pH Meters for Hydroponics – Buying Guide
Though all of these hydroponic pH meters strive for similar goals (properly detecting and displaying pH levels), they offer different functions and conveniences. We have a list of questions to ask yourself to help narrow down your choices to help you find the ideal pH meter to care for your hydroponic systems:
- Are you looking for a meter that just measures the pH of your water, or are you also in the market for a meter that can maintain your system and automatically adjust the temperature in addition to a pH check? – Every single one of the digital pH meters on our list as the ability to accurately check pH levels, but only two have the option to manage a system that can help maintain temperature and pH levels. If you are looking to create a self-maintaining system of pH (1) management, this is a feature to consider.
- How mobile does your pH meter need to be? – You could have the most accurate pH system in the world, but if you need to take it to different sites regularly, it may be frustrating to have to uninstall and reinstall a complicated system. Likewise, if you are only going to be measuring the pH level of one specific system, a simple, handheld unit might not quite do the job you need it to. Consider convenience and mobility before purchasing a pH meter.
- How accurate would you like your pH meter to be? – All of the pH meters on our list are accurate, but not all have the same level of precision as the others. Some are able to be as accurate down to the 1/100th unit of pH, whereas others only down to a 1/10th unit. Depending on your preferred level of accuracy, this can easily narrow down your choices to a final one a bit faster.
- What’s your price range? – A simple question can quickly narrow down your options. The range of choices on our list can be hundreds of dollars apart so the top meter for hydroponics might end up being out of your price range. Consider how much you can or want to spend before getting your heart set on a pH meter.
- Do you already have a certain family of products that may be compatible with one specific pH meter brands- If you otherwise can’t narrow down your options for the ideal pH meter (2), consider if you’ve already invested in a line of products from a certain brand. If you’ve begun constructing a hydroponic system with a particular brand, considering buying a compatible pH meter to complement it.
- If you are wanting to test the dissolved solids in solutions you will need to look at something like an EC tester.
Running a hydroponic system can be a complicated, tedious task, and there are so many factors to consider when building and maintaining the ideal system. The perfect pH meter can help you care for your system by determining if the plant is in need of more water, an adjustment in your nutrient solution or temperature. We’ve done a chunk of the work for you to help narrow down your choices for the top hydroponic pH meters around, but the final choice is up to you. Any of the meters on our list will last a lifetime if you take proper care of them. Make sure you consider your specific needs so that you end up with an optimal product, and always handle the probe with care. The last thing you want is to struggle with properly maintaining your hydroponic system.