For aquarists, homebrewers and horticulturalists, knowing the water’s pH level is, by far, essential to getting the results that you are searching for. And, thankfully, the best pH meters can give you readings that are way more precise than strip testers and other pH measurement equipments.
With a wide array of handy applications, the best pH testers even double as electric conductivity gauges and digital thermometers.
And, more importantly, a pH meter lets you determine the acidity or alkalinity in water in a few seconds. That means you can swiftly adjust the chemicals or get expedited professional service if you think it needs particular treatment.
To top off it all, these pH devices are user-friendly and easy to use for the typical homeowners.
Even better, most of the best pH meters have convenient features, like a one-button operation.
So, are you ready to buy a pH meter for your pool, aquarium or horticulture project? Before you start your shopping spree, find out how the best pH meters measure against one another with this very detailed shopping guide.
Table of Contents
Types of pH Meters
There are different types of pH meters available on the market today. To help you select the best one for your project, I have highlighted the different kinds of pH meters to choose from.
Although it requires both your hands to operate it, a handheld meter is still quite portable. For the most part, this pH meter type has greater functionality and features a bigger screen compared to its pen style counterpart.
The electrodes in these pH measurement devices are attached to the cable’s end.
Additionally, most handheld pH meter models are shockproof and waterproof.
Nothing beats the pen style meter when it comes to portability. Not only does it easily fit in your pocket and bag, but also they come with travel cases.
Furthermore, it features a convenient and easy single-hand operation. The pen style meter has an electrode trip, which is waterproof in some models.
These pH meters are mainly used for laboratory use, meaning they are pretty expensive compared to other types. Accuracy-wise, it is also the best among the pH types, especially since it uses a multitude of electrodes with some special functions.
They are, in general, easy to use, and they make it quite simple to record and read pH measurements.
Other pH Meter Designs
When measuring solid materials, you will need other types of pH meters. Soil pH meter units are used to test oil, and surface pH meters test food like cheese.
pH Meters – Comparison Chart 2020
Ready to buy a pH meter for your project, but still do not know where to start? Here is an informative comparison chart that will help you narrow down your choices.
|Product Name||Dimensions||Weight||pH Accuracy||pH Meter Type||Material|
|Apera Instruments AI209 pH Meter - Best Overall||7 by 16 by 1.2 inches||3.84 ounces||±0.1 pH, ±0.5˚C||Handheld||Plastic|
|Risantec Digital pH Meter - Best Budget||6.1 by 0.7 by 1.2 inches||0.3 ounces||+/- .05 pH||Pen style||Plastic|
|Milwaukee Temperature and pH Meter - Best Handheld pH Meter||5 by 10 by 10 inches||1.1 pounds||±0.02||Handheld||Plastic|
|Sonkir pH Meter - Best for Gardening||11.5 by 2 by 1.5 inches||0.64 ounces||±0.01 pH||Handheld||Plastic|
|Bluelab combo pH Meter - Most Versatile||5.7 by 3 by 1.5 inches||5.3 ounces||±0.01 pH||Handheld||Plastic|
|Apera Instruments lab pH Meter - Best Benchtop pH Meter||9.5 by 9.3 by 4 inches||2.2 pounds||±0.01 pH ±1 digit||Benchtop||Plastic|
|Apera Instruments SX620 Meter - Best Portable Option||6 by 1 by 1 inches||7 ounces||± 0.01 pH±1 digit||Pen style||Glass|
|DOY pH Meter Digital - Best for Hydroponics||6.5 by 2.1 by 1.3 inches||4.2 ounces||±0.01 pH||Pen style||Plastic|
|Dr. Meter pH Meter||7.8 by 2.9 by 1.9 inches||8 ounces||±0.01 pH||Pen style||ABS|
|Jellas Digital pH Meter||5.3 by 1.3 by 0.8 inches||1.76 ounces||±0.1 pH||Pen style||Plastic|
|HM Digital pH Meter||6 by 1.3 by 0.7 inches||8 ounces||±0.01 pH||Handheld||Plastic|
|Bluelab Pen pH Meter||8 by 2.2 by 1 inches||4.3 ounces||±0.01 pH||Pen style||Plastic|
|SX610 pH Meter||6 by 1 by 1 inches||1.44 ounces||0.1 pH/1. 0˚C accuracy with 0 to 14. 0 pH measuring range||Pen style||Glass and plastic|
|Oakton EcoTestr||9.5 by 5 by 1.2 inches||5 ounces||±0.01 pH||Handheld||Plastic|
|Hanna Instruments pH Meter||1.6 by 1 by 6.4 inches||3.52 ounces||±0.05 pH||Pen style||Plastic|
What is the Best pH Meter to Buy?
Want to make your shopping experience easier and more convenient? Then, make sure to take a look at this quick rundown of the best pH meters in 2020.
Who knows? One of these best pH meters might be the right fit for you!
- Best Overall – Apera Instruments AI209 pH Meter
“With its unparalleled durability, high contrast display, and impressive features, this pH meter is originally one of the best in the market today!.”
- Best Budget – Risantec Digital pH Meter
“Not only is it amazingly affordable, but it also has a straightforward and simple design that even children can use.”
- Best Handheld pH Meter – Milwaukee Temperature and pH Meter
“Incredibly accurate and handy, this handheld pH meter wows users with its reliable measurements and quick readings.”
- Best for Gardening – Sonkir pH Meter
“Combining a plethora of functions into one, this meter is perfect for measuring the pH levels of water and soil.”
- Most Versatile – Bluelab Combo pH Meter
“More than just a pH meter, this excellent model also measures temperature and conductivity, making it an incredible 3-in-1 combo.”
- Best Benchtop pH Meter – Apera Instruments Lab pH Meter
“Functional, precise, and extremely durable, this pH meter is perfect for any agricultural or laboratory setting.”
- Best Portable Option – Apera Instruments SX620 pH Meter
“One of the best and smallest pH meters in today’s market, the amazingly portable SX60 offers outstanding performance and remarkable features.”
- Best for Hydroponics – DOY pH Meter Digital
“Ideal for testing water quality, this versatile digital pH meter also measures temperature, Electrical Conductivity, and Dissolved Solids.”
Top 15 Best pH Meters Reviews 2020
Wise buyers always spend a great deal of time reading reviews before making a decision. Therefore, to help you pick the best pH meter for your hobby or project, I have rounded up some reviews that will come in handy in your search.
1. Apera Instruments AI209 pH Meter
They do not call the AI209 as one of the world’s best pH meters for nothing. In fact, it is arguably the best inch-for-inch and ounce-for-ounce pH meter today.
With this Apera Instruments model, you get everything you need for a versatile and convenient pH meter. The kit includes a lanyard, a couple of batteries, 7pH, and 4 pH buffer solutions as well as a sturdy tester carrying case.
And, its accuracy is quite impressive and is as good as you get from any non-medical equipment. Even better, the AI209 will not be affected by the changes in the water’s temperatures, meaning you get accurate readings whenever you want to use it.
And, did I mention that it has an excellent battery life that can last up to 2,000 hours of continuous operation?
- Can operate continuously up to 2,000 hours
- Easy operation and calibration
- Sturdy design
- Come with an array of tools, like buffer solution carrying case and lanyard
- Stable values system
- Exceptional battery life
- Premium quality pH sensor
- It may be a bit difficult to calibrate
2. Risantec Digital pH Meter
I have been using this digital pH meter for my kid’s pool, and thus far, it has been an absolute blast. The pH meter easily and quickly calibrates, which is a rarity among inexpensive, pen style pH meters.
And, while inexpensive pH meters tend to deliver inaccurate readings, this one is a bit different. After using it for a week, I sent a sample of the water to the pool company, and the accuracy of this meter was spot on. The readings were pretty close to those of the fancy lab equipment of the pool store.
To me, it was a better alternative to strips or drops. At least, you do not need a pair of color-coordinated eyes to measure pH using this ph meter.
- Accurate and fast results
- Ideal for monitoring an aquarium, spa or pool
- Auto calibration
- Readings in a snap using one hand
- Auto calibrated
- Comes with buffer powders
- Portable and convenient
- Not as durable as some other pH meters
3. Milwaukee Temperature and pH Meter
(Best Handheld pH Meter)
When it comes to handheld options, the Milwaukee reader is truly one of the best pH meters. It is the ultimate handheld pH meter for those who want to get reliable and fast readings without spending a fortune.
Although it has a rather simple design, it still can get the job done efficiently and conveniently. Remarkably accurate easy to use, this unit is perfect for the general field, laboratory, and classroom use.
This pH meter is also microprocessor-based with an accuracy range of -2.00 up to 16.00 pH, meaning it is perfect for highly sensitive applications.
Powered by a battery set, this kit also includes an electrode and a 20-ml sachet for each pH 7.01 and pH 4.01.
- Fast and accurate results
- Includes calibration solutions
- Ideal for hydroponics, aquarium, and pool
- Easy to use
- Accurate and practical
- You need to keep holding down the button
- Only reads in Celsius
4. Sonkir pH Meter
(Best for Gardening)
Looking for the perfect pH meter for your gardening hobby? Then, make sure to consider buying a Sonkir pH meter!
Combining a handful functions into one solid unit, this meter lets you measure both the water and soil’s pH levels. As a result, you can, with ease, get the ideal levels of alkalinity and acidity for your beloved plants.
Additionally, the meter allows you to know the condition of your soil. In fact, it evenly tells users if their plants need more water or sunlight.
The Sonkir pH meter also comes with a 1-year warranty. Ideal for both outdoor and indoor use, the unit is easy to use and does not need any batteries.
- Easy to use
- Reliable and accurate
- 3-in-1 features
- Outdoor and indoor use
- No need to use batteries
- Has a carrier case
- Easy to carry and compact
- Blends three functions into one reading
- The readings are sometimes inaccurate
5. Bluelab Combo pH Meter
Designed for plant germination, this combo pH meter can be a terrific addition to your arsenal if you are into gardening. Like Sonkir, this Bluelab is also a combo device, engineered to make gardening a breeze.
Of course Certainly, the meter can be used for brewing, hydroponics as well as maintaining the pH level of pools and drinking water.
This extraordinary combo meter has a pretty large display, meaning the measurements are easy to read for everyone.
Made to perfection in New Zealand, this pH meter is durable and comes with a limited 5-year warranty. Other features of this tool include low battery indicator, auto-off function, and temperature units.
On the low side, though, it is not as durable as some other pH meters.
- Made by one leading manufacturers of hydroponic equipment
- Has a variety of features
- Easily monitors your plant’s nutrient levels
- Warns users when the battery is low and needs replacements
- Accurate readings
- Has a large display that makes it easy for the users to read and look
- The probe is prone to damage
- Design is delicate
6. Apera Instruments Lab pH Meter
(Best Benchtop pH Meter)
Searching for a precise and functional pH meter for an agricultural or laboratory setting? Why not invest in an Aper Instruments lab pH meter?
Versatile and multi-functional, this bench top comes with a variety of features and purposes. For one, it has a pH electrode with compensation and sensor temperature.
That means this cool piece of equipment can measure both the pH levels and temperature at the same time.
Furthermore, it boasts a sophisticated calibration mode. With this bench top, you may use its auto-calibration tool or do it manually to get your specific requirements or needs.
And, did I mention that this device has a self-diagnosis feature?
To top it all off, the results are easy to see and read thanks to its digital readout.
- Innovative calibration mode
- Dustproof and spill proof
- Stable and quick readings
- Includes a holder
- Readings are consistent
- Using it is reasonably easy
- Manual has a few misspellings
- Not enough liquid for calibration
7. Apera Instruments SX620 pH Meter
(Best Portable Option)
Do not let its small size and slim look deceive you! Sure, it looks different from the typical plain and bulky pH meter. But, trust me, the SX620 pH meter is nothing short of incredible.
Known as one of the smallest and best pH meters on the current market, this portable tool offers reliable performance.
You can use this instrument to test body fluids, cooling towers, and pools. Plus, you can use this wondrous pH meter when making a variety of beverages.
Accuracy-wise, it is one of the best pH meters you have ever found, especially since it has an accuracy of around 0.01 pH.
The probe is also replaceable, meaning you can conveniently find a replacement if it wears out.
- Small and portable
- Accuracy is 0.01 pH
- 3-point automatic calibration
- Sophisticated functions
- Complete set
- Test tubes fit
- Functions are advanced and intelligent
- Kit includes a pen tester, compact case and calibration solutions
- Often requires calibration
- The display has no backlighting
8. DOY pH Meter Digital
(Best for Hydroponics)
Suitable for testing the quality of water, this digital meter offers a handy and convenient way of monitoring the pH levels. Whether you are using the water for commercial or residential applications, this pH meter is also effective and safe to use.
With its versatile features, the unit is also applicable for measuring temperature, electrical conductivity, and dissolved solids.
And, unlike other pH meters, this unit notices any changes in the water’s temperature, thanks to its unique features that automatically detect temperature compensation.
That means it is a terrific option for outdoor aquariums and ponds.
Shifting between the unit’s mode is hassle-free and painless. The huge LCD screen of the unit makes it easy to view the readings. And, readings are rather easy to record as well.
- Accurate and portable
- Easy calibration
- Portable and pocket-sized
- Automatic calibration for temperature
- Not as sturdy as the other best pH meters
- Not easy to calibrate
9. Dr. Meter pH Meter
Whether at laboratories or at home, this pH meter measures the water’s pH level pretty rapidly and accurately. The measurement range of this pH meter is between 0 and 14 pH.
Additionally, it is so easy to use compared to other pH meters. To use this pH meter, you just have to rinse the electrode with some distilled water.
Then, you can put its electrode into any kind of liquid for pH measurement.
With one push of the button, the unit will shortly display the liquid’s pH level. Aside from the pH level, the LCD screen can also show the temperature.
Calibration is a breeze as well, and you will just have to submerge it into pH 9.18, 6.86 or 4.00 solutions.
- Calibration is automatic
- Wide application
- High accuracy
- Convenient reading of pH level
- Premium quality
- Calibrates quickly
- Ease of use
- Accurate readings
- The unit it no waterproof
- Not as durable as other top pH meters
- The LCD screen is often difficult to read
10. Jellas Digital pH Meter
The Jellas digital pH meter is a godsend for both novice and aspiring aquarists. With a pH level range of 0 to 14, this pH meter is ideal for swimming pools, aquariums, and a variety of other applications.
And, it is reliable and accurate too, thanks to its 0.1 pH resolution.
Aquarists aside, brewers will also love this digital pH meter. With its portable pen style design, this meter goes easily in your pocket for quick and on-the-go testing in beer and winemaking.
Even better, the model is incredibly easy to use and has an LCD screen that clearly shows the readings.
All in all, this digital pH meter is a fantastic choice if you are looking for something portable and dynamic.
- Wide use
- Pocket size
- Calibration is easy
- Premium quality
- Suitable for an array of applications
- Wide measuring range
- The glass probe of the model has to be carefully handled since it is fragile
11. HM Digital pH Meter
Still looking for more handheld options? You might want to check out the HM digital temperature/pH meter.
With its slim and sleek design, you can effortlessly store this unit in your pocket and hold it in your hand.
In addition to its wondrous design, the unit comes with some cool features that can make pH measuring a lot simpler and easier on your end.
For one, it has an automatic shutoff feature that helps you save battery energy.
And, it also has an auto-calibration tool that lets you select the right setting based on your requirements. The auto-calibration tool enables you to choose 10, 4 or 7 pH.
- Lightweight and sleek design
- Automatic one-touch calibration
- Measures temperature and pH
- Includes 3 calibrations for pH level
- Easy calibration
- Solution for calibration and testing is not enough
- You need to read the manual to get exact readings
12. Bluelab Pen pH Meter
I totally love the Bluelab pen pH meter! It is versatile and can measure temperature as well as pH levels for acid and alkaline conditions.
In my book, it is a must-have accessory if you want to be successful in creating a thriving garden. Moreover, this pH meter allows you to find out how many nutrients are needed to create the right results.
The waterproof feature is also a nice touch, especially since you put this unit in soil, which may contain some water.
I also like the easy readouts of this unit, thanks to its backlighting and transparent displays. In fact, you will not have a hard time reading pH measurements, even in sunny conditions.
- Easy calibration
- Precise readings
- Automatic off/on feature
- Clear display with backlight
- Can quickly switch Celsius and Fahrenheit readings
- Readings are a bit slow
- A couple of decimal points
13. SX610 pH Meter
Featuring a convenient one-button operation, this pH meter is truly a reliable pH measuring model that fits easily into slim containers like a test tube.
Moreover, it is a cost-effective alternative if you are planning to perform regular tests on pH levels.
You can use it for hydroponics, aquaculture as well as water treatment for a variety of locations, like brewing facilities, spas, and pools.
The pH meter comes with a complete set of storage and calibration solutions. Plus, it comes with Lithium batteries, packed along with the other items, in one portable and convenient carrying case.
To top off it all, the pH meter is waterproof and amazingly durable.
- Auto reminder and recognition
- Auto temperature compensation
- Displays in Celsius or Fahrenheit
- Accurate even in variable temperatures
- User friendly
- Automatic power off
- Full kit
- Portable and compact
- Needs a special electrode to measure deionized or distilled water accurately
14. Oakton EcoTestr pH Meter
This high-quality, durable tester provides accurate and reliable pH data of your aquarium’s water or water supply system.
Also, this device is waterproof, meaning you do not have to worry if, in case you accidentally dip or drop it into the liquid. Furthermore, it has a protective transparent cup that keeps the sensor of the unit moist-free if you store it upright.
And, it is so simple to use, thanks to its ergonomic design. The pH meter works with a quartet of 1.5-volt alkaline batteries and might operate for over 200 hours without any battery replacement.
On top of it all, its accuracy is second to none, and you can instantly calibrate it with one button.
- Automatic temperature compensation
- Clear display
- Waterproof and dustproof
- Resistant to dust and water
- Accurate readings
- Comes with a transparent cup that protects its sensor from dirt
- Readable measurements
- It is not equipped with a calibration standard
15. Hanna Instruments pH Meter
The Hanna Instruments pH meter is one of my favorite tools same as an aquarist. It is a waterproof pH tester that not only gathers pH data but also measures the temperature of my tank water.
Plus, its body is totally protected from moisture as well as engineered to float if you accidentally drop the unit into the aquarium or pool.
The meter boasts a dual-line display that serves as an indicator for low battery, ATC, and battery life. Of course, it also displays the temperature and pH readings.
In spite of the numerous information it shows, the screen is still pretty readable and clear.
With a variety of cool features, the pH meter is, to me, an exceptional instrument for both home use and laboratory experiments.
- Dual LCD screen
- Automatic Temperature Compensation
- Delivers accurate date
- Sturdy design
- Shows all the current readings in one display
- Sensor gets soiled easily
Considerations When Buying a pH Meter
Need more pH meter buying tips? Here are some important notes and things to consider as you buy a pH meter for your project.
Type of pH Meter
Do you prefer a portable pH meter? Want to use a pH meter that has laboratory-quality readings?
Whether you are maintaining a fish aquarium, pool, or embarking on an aquaponic project, look for the pH meter style that best fits your needs and preferences.
Accuracy and Range
Accuracy is, no doubt, the most crucial consideration when looking for the best pH meter. High accuracy means better, although it definitely drives up its price.
Average pH meter models have an accuracy of around +/-0.01 up to +/-0.2. High-performing pH meter models, meanwhile, have an accuracy of about +/-0.001.
Most pH meters today measure within the pH level between 0 and +114, even though particular models have extended ranges, like from -2 up to +20.
Price is clearly an important consideration when searching for the best pH meters. High-end meters have lab-quality readings and have advanced functionality but they certainly cost a whole lot more.
Spend some time analyzing the features of the best pH meters. Likewise, look for more additional features that might come in handy for you.
For instance, a backlit LCD screen will come in handy because you can use the pH measurement tool in low-light conditions without having to use a flashlight.
Also, some of the best pH meters are multi-mode and can measure total dissolved solids, oxidation-reduction potential, conductivity, temperature, and salinity.
A pH meter’s calibration can be done either automatically or manually. Manual calibrated meters normally have adjustable knobs. Even though manual options are great, it might take you a while to learn it.
Automatic calibration is handled typically with a touch or press of a button.
Temperature fundamentally affects pH level reading. That is why you consider pH meters with a temperature correction tool or feature. Simple pH meter models are not equipped with this feature, but it is quite common in sophisticated units.
Temperature correction is present mostly with automatic or manual correction, with the former as a more desirable yet expensive option.
Electrodes in these devices need replacement because they are filled with some solution that dries out ultimately. Sealed electrodes in pH meters are more affordable but can be used once only.
On the other hand, refillable electrodes cost more initially, but in the long run, they probably help you save money.
FAQs About pH Meters
My Top Pick
Apera Instruments AI209 pH Meter is arguably the king of pH testers. With its innovative features, the AI209 will surely make it easier for you to measure pH levels. Readings are amazingly accurate and it is way more energy efficient, even when compared to the other best pH meters in the market today.
With its intelligent functions and portable design, this pH meter is suitable for a wide range of applications, including fishkeeping, water treatment, winemaking, spas, and pools. Furthermore, you can use it for homebrewing and hydroponics.
Plus, it has a large and bright LCD screen and is water-resistant. On top of it all, it can operate up to 2,000 hours with one set of AAA batteries.