UPDATED FOR 2018: This guide will help you find the best ph meter. But first, let us cover something. It is becoming important for people to measure the pH level of a solution. This need cuts right across society from the professional chemist testing a new product to the average person wanting to see what type of fish their backyard pond could support. To measure the pH level though you first need a pH meter.
The most important thing to look for in an electric pH meter is to consider what you will be using it to measure as some are more suited to testing certain solutions or hot/cold liquids than others.
You should also bear in mind the ease of set-up particularly the calibration as this is critical to the meter giving correct readings.
Best pH Meters For The Money
BEST PH TESTERS PREFACE
It’s worth thinking about where the best ph tester you pick will be used, also as if you are taking it out on the field, you need to pick one rugged enough for that as opposed to one that would be used in laboratory conditions. While you can buy bench top pH meters that stay in one place, the most popular by far now are the pen style meters that allow you greater flexibility in how you use them. By the same token, if you are traveling with you will want to choose a machine that is portable and light. Whatever meter you go for, it is important to choose one that gives stable readings to ensure the results you get from it are correct.
There are a lot of different pH meters on the market now and it can be hard to tell which is the best electric pH meter to buy. We round up the 13 best pH meters for the money and investigate which is the best electric pH meter:
EXTRA: Measuring the pH level of water at your home is important, is related to that, we have some other buyer’s guides you may enjoy reading. Buyer’s guides on the best shower enclosure kits, best shower head extensions, and best dual shower heads.
pH Meter Reviews for 2018 (Top 13)
13. Istecho Digital pH Meter – Simple, Small, Accurate
This little tool is truly one of the best ph meters under 15 dollars. The Istecho is ideal for more home based use such as testing your home aquarium water. The design is good with the meter looking solid and being an attractive color. The backlight screen is a great bonus and makes it easy to see the pH reading of the solution you are testing. It covers the full pH range and gives quick, stable results.
The main drawback with this meter is that it requires regular (daily) calibration to keep giving stable readings which are time-consuming. User reviews have also reported that the sensor bubble is quite fragile and may be prone to shattering. It would also not be suitable for higher end laboratory work as is more aimed at the home market.
12. Dr Meter pH002 Digital pH Meter
The Dr Meter pH002 Digital PH Meter has a striking yellow design and is a very convenient pocket pH meter to own. There are different types of pH meters but this has the advantage of being easy to carry around and portable. It measures the full range of the pH scale from 0 to 14 and gives quick, accurate readings when used. Included with the meter is the sample solutions you need to calibrate the product which is a nice touch and saves you having to buy them separately. A big positive for this meter is the price which at $14.99 is very reasonable and makes it one of the best meters you can buy under $30.
A drawback with this product is that it can’t be used in hot solutions so may not be suitable if you are a soap-maker wanting to test the pH of your soaps for example. There have also been user reviews suggesting the build quality is not the highest standard and can break after moderate use.
11. Milwaukee BEM802 pH Meter – High Tech + More Accurate
The Milwaukee BEM802 is a pH meter that can also be used to measure electroconductivity and total dissolved solids of a solution. It has an automatic temperature fluctuation control built in and a single line LCD screen for ease of viewing the reading. A separate probe for each use is contained so you can be sure you get an accurate reading when using the pH probe.
You only get 150 hours of continuous use with this meter which is not the longest of the pH meters currently on sale. User reviews have also raised issues with the calibration process being hard and the setup, in general, is problematic. The price of almost $150 is also a little steep. While being a good product still, this makes it hard to recommend as the best electric pH meter.
10. THZY 2011 Plus Digital pH Meter
The THZY 2011 Plus Digital pH Meter has an improved electrode glass design for improved reliability and lifespan. It is lightweight and easy to use making it suitable for the majority of users. This is another meter that offers auto-calibration so may appeal to the user who doesn’t want to bother doing that manually. It also comes with its own carry-case for ease of transport.
This product cannot be used for testing soil pH however so would not be for you if that is what you require. It has also been reported on user reviews that the auto-calibration may not always give the most accurate readings.
9. Just UTile Digital Solution pH Meter
The Just Utile Digital Solution pH meter comes in at a great price at $13.95 which is one of the main advantages with this tool. It is a digital pH meter as per others on this list so no need for looking at color charts to work out the pH number. This is the main benefit of electric or digital pH meters as it just gives you the pH number straight away. This particular meter has a large, backlit screen making it even easier to see the reading it gives. It describes as being suitable for home and laboratory use which makes it good for all users. This manufacturer also offers a one-year warranty and a no-fuss, money back guarantees if you’re not happy which is pretty cool.
A drawback with this meter is that it can be a bit fiddly to calibrate even when following the instructions provided. This obviously can then cause a problem in getting an accurate reading when using it. There have also been issues of the product not working on user review sites – while this is a minority it seems, it does mean it can’t be considered as the best pH meter.
8. Exqline PH-02 pH Meter
This is a great tool although I’m not sure you could say it’s the best pH meter. The main interesting feature of the Exqline PH-02 meter is the auto-calibration function that means you don’t have to set it up manually to use. This could be a great bonus for the casual user or someone who is not technologically minded. As with most other meters, the sample test solutions are included if needed anyway. This is a very accurate meter with a 0.01pH reading accuracy and a high-resolution screen. The size makes it very portable and easy to use on the go.
It has to be said that the glass bulb of the electrode on this meter is very fragile and easy to break so be careful. Some user reviews have reported that the design in terms of looks is not the best either.
7. Extech PH100 Soil pH Meter – More Advanced Soil Measuring
The ExTech PH100 soil ph meter has a flat surface pH electrode that is rugged and designed to withstand being used in harsh environments. It can store up to 15 readings in its memory which is a nice feature you don’t see on all the portable meters. The screen is LCD which makes it very clear and easy to read. The ExTech also has a CAL function that reminds you when it’s time to recalibrate the machine. As with other pocket pH meters, it is light which makes it easy to carry and use.
This product doesn’t come with a sample calibration solution included which is a pain as you then have to buy some separately. At $76.48 it’s not the cheapest meter on sale and for the price some user reviews have been disappointed with the quality of the meter.
6. LearningTech Digital pH2011 Meter – Two Different Testers
The LearningTech PH-2011 meter is a lightweight, pen style tester that has good reports on pH meter reviews. It is durable and portable which makes it ideal for wading through rivers to test water or out in the countryside testing soil. The battery length is a big plus point as you get 700 hours of use out of the meter before needing to change it. This comes bundled with a water testing meter also so may be handy if you need to do both, for your home aquarium for example. The water-testing pen also has great features such as an auto shut off and advanced microprocessor technology.
This isn’t the cheapest pen on the market at $24.99 so that may put some people off buying it but you do get both meters for that money and it is under $30 still. It is also not the fastest of pH meters when returning your reading after testing a solution.
5. Apera Instruments AI209 PH20 pH Tester
The Apera instruments AI209 PH20 pH meter is a compact, portable pocket pH tester. The design is solid and the meter itself looks good. There is a very handy built in smart-self diagnosis tool which will automatically warn you of any problems with the machine or readings being given. This has 2000 hours of operation which is the one of the longest of the products I’ve seen in pH meter reviews for this type of pH meter. You also get a 2-year warranty with the meter in case of any problems when using it. It also comes with a very handy carry-case and clear instruction manual on how to use it.
This is not the cheapest pH meter on the market and you may feel you could get the same features for a lower price. It is probably a meter for the casual user as well more than the serious professional so this needs to be taken into account when choosing it.
4. Sper Scientific Benchtop pH Tester – Expensive and MORE Accurate Than Most
The Sper Scientific Benchtop pH Tester is a bench based pH meter which is ideal for school or laboratory use. It has an automatic buffer recognition feature that makes it easy to set up and get a stable reading. The meter also gives fast and accurate readings whilst being hard wearing which means it will give years of reliable use to the user. There are five different calibration points and an electrode status indicator to let you know if the electrode is working correctly. With being a bench top tester, this product has a lot of memory to store data on for future reference.
The big drawback on this product is the $300 dollar asking price which makes it the most expensive on our list. Whilst professionals looking for a pH meter may be prepared to pay this, it might not be suitable for others.
3. Dr Meter PH100 0.01 High-Resolution pH Meter
The Dr. Meter PH100 High-Resolution meter is one of the best pH meters for the money. It costs $46.99 which is more expensive than some on here but it is a quality product for that money. It is lightweight which makes it great for field trips and gives accurate, fast readings. The build quality is excellent and will last you for a long time. A nice feature with this meter is that it shows the temperature at the same time as the pH value which may be handy for some users. This company also offers lifetime, 24-hour customer support if you need to contact them with any issues. The main recommendation with this product is ease of use – it is very simple to set up and use out of the box.
Although I would say the price is reasonable for the product you get, some people may be put off by it as it is not the cheapest out there. It is also fairly delicate so you might find it breaks if you drop it by accident – this is not because the build quality is bad but because of the nature of the high precision circuits inside. This could be a problem when out in the field where you might need something more robust.
2. Dr Lyn Hi-Tech Digital pH Meter – Liquid Tester
When you look at the products on sale currently and pH meter reviews, the Dr Lyn Hi-Tech Digital pH meter always rates well. This meter can be used in a wide variety of applications from water purification to cheese making. This type of versatility makes it suitable for the majority of people and contender as best electric pH meter. The electrodes are very good quality as they are made from titanium which means they will be stronger and last longer. It also comes with a warranty in case of any problems and its own carry case for when you’re on the move. The price is around $20 which is superb for a meter of this quality and build.
This isn’t a professional pH meter however so may not be suitable if that is what you need it for. There has also been an issue reported from a user review site of a loose on/off connection which makes the meter display flash rapidly when in use. I would imagine this is just one faulty meter though and nothing to take away from what is a great product.
1. 7Pros Pocket Size – Best PH Tester
When looking at the best pH tester for the money, the 7Pros Pocket Size PH Meter really stands out. It is compact and portable making it ideal for using out and about but rugged with it. This is great as it means it won’t break when bumped or knocked by accident. The digital reading it gives is clear and accurate also while being fast. It covers the full pH range as do the other meters on this list and is suitable for all users from testing your swimming pool water to lab work. The meter is very easy to use and you can get going with it as soon as you unpack it. This combination of mass appeal and features at a low price of $17.95 is what makes it number one in this list. You can’t argue with a meter for this quality under $30.
There are no major drawbacks to this product which is why it is top spot. The only thing you could say is that the calibration is done by adjusting the meter with the included screwdriver after testing the electrode in the sample solution which may be a little tricky.
EXTRA: Some of the other buyer’s guides we forgot to mention you may enjoy, the best rain shower heads to buy, the best kids shower heads, and lastly the best handheld shower heads.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What does pH measure?
The pH of a solution simply measures a number of hydrogen ions that are present in it. This measurement is then used to describe how acidic or alkaline a solution is.
Q2. What measures the hydrogen ion levels of a solution?
A pH meter is used to measure the hydrogen ion levels of a solution. The meter measures the voltage between two electrodes placed in the solution and then display the result as a pH value.
Q3. How does the pH scale work and how is ph measured?
The pH scale works by testing how acid or alkaline a solution. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14 and a pH meter will give you the number your solution sits on the scale when you use it. 0 to 6 on the scale is acidic (0 is the most acidic) whereas 7 is neutral (i.e neither acidic nor alkaline). 8 to 14 is alkaline with 14 being most alkaline.
Q4. How to calibrate a pH meter?
For a benchtop meter, the first step is to turn it and let it warm up for around 30 minutes so it will give an accurate reading. You will also need to clean the electrode you will use the meter with distilled water, remembering to be gentle so you don’t damage it.
You will then need to have some sample solutions at hand to test and help calibrate your meter. One should be a neutral sample solution of pH 7 and one should be close to the solution you will be testing. For example, if you were testing something you thought to be acidic you would have sample solution around 4 on the pH scale.
Firstly place your electrode in the neutral pH7 sample solution, press the measure button on your machine and let it sit there for a minute or two to get an accurate reading. Once you have a stable reading, press the measure button on your machine again to set the pH value of the meter.
Next, you should rinse the electrode with distilled water and a lint free tissues to clean it. Place the cleaned electrode in the other sample solution you have read that is either acidic or alkaline. Press the measure button and wait for it to settle to a stable reading on the machine. Once it has pressed the measure button again to set the pH value. As before, clean your electrode with distilled water and a lint free tissue.
Your pH meter is now calibrated and ready to test your actual solution by placing the electrode in and pressing the measure button on the meter.
The process for pen style or portable meters is the same although you may have to use the calibration screwdriver included with the product to adjust accordingly as well as following the above. These don’t generally take as long to warm up either although it is worth letting them for a few minutes before starting the calibration process.
Q5. What types of uses are there for pH meters?
There are a variety of different pH meter applications. The most obvious use is in chemical laboratory work but can also be vital in agriculture to know if a soil can grow certain crops. It is also very useful in environmental work to see if rivers have a suitable pH level to supply water to humans or to support wildlife.
They are used in the healthcare industry also to test if a medicine is safe for humans and to test the pH or sterile solutions which ensure they will do the job they are needed too properly.
A good quality electric pH meter is absolutely critical as the readings it gives you could be used to make crucial decisions that could affect large numbers of people. Even if you are not using it for that professional type purpose, you still want to buy the best pH meter you can so whatever you use it for, you know the data is reliable. The ones we have included in this list fall into this category and, used properly, should give accurate pH readings every time for years to come.