I've been looking over the digital PH meters that are available for soil
analysis and perhaps for use in an aqua culture setting as well (double
duty) -- however soil is prime use. Anyway, I see models from Hanna,
Oakton, LaMotte and perhaps a few others. I'm skipping the cheapie color
chart versions since I gather they're difficult to interpret the results
-- particularly if you're a bit colorblind (which I am). Anyway I just
thought I'd ping you all to see if any of you have tried any of these
portable models and see what you thought of them and if there's any pitfalls
I should be aware of.. I gather they've got some interesting cleaning/care
requirements which is fine..
If you know of a meter that works as good as the >$100 models but is a fraction
of the cost, I'd like to hear about it as well.. I also know that I could send
out samples to my local AG extension but I've got a lot of samples to check
and don't think it would be cost effective..
Comparing retail products in an international forum is very hard as we
don't necessarily see the same brands or models. FWIW the cheap
electronic probe pH meters that I have seen or heard about are not
very reliable. The problem seems to be related to inconsistency due
to variation in moisture content. The accurate ones have a "glass
electrode" but these models are quite expensive and somewhat fragile.
OTOH the dye indicator system I have used and that are used by
experienced gardeners of my acquaintance are quite accurate enough and
Like some 4% of the male population I suffer from a degree of colour
blindness but I don't find it a problem in this case. [Matching socks
on dark winter mornings is another matter] The usual male colour
blindness is red/green, we confuse shades of green/orange/brown/red
especially of low intensity.
The dye system that I have does not require you to separate those
colours as they are not adjacent in the spread and you are comparing
to a reference card in bright light. I may not see what you see (or
my wife sees) but we will probably agree on which colour on the card
matches the sample. These systems are cheap (here) for a few dollars
you get enough reagent to do hundreds of tests. As always YMMV.
Seems reasonable-- I figured the $10 meters were likely crap -- especially the
ones that don't take any batteries and appear to work off of microvoltage in
Ok.. Can you point me to a respectable brand you've been able to get good
results with? Our local home centers carry one brand that's like this and
I'm not sure if it's any good or not -- it's only about $5 or so.. If my
memory serves me, it's the RapidTest PH Soil Tester which can be seen at
the following site :
Yup.. That's me more or less.. Been that way all my life although I never
knew it until I looked at one of those DMV hidden number books when I was
in high school and couldn't see the hidden numbers on the green pages..
The one that I have is by Manutec, an Australian company, I have no
idea if it is only available in Oz or not, it cost about $12 AU ($9
US). It contains:
- laminated comparison card
- white plastic test plate and stiring stick
- liquid dye reagent
- neutral white powder for colour display
The way it works is:
- you put a sample (about 1/4 teaspoon) of soil on the plate
- moisten with reagent, stir with the stick
- compare the colour to the card which is graduated to the 1/2 pH unit
- if the colour is not obvious puff a little white powder on to make
it show up
I am about 1/5 down the reagent bottle and I have done dozens of
I was wrong about the order of the colours on the card (had to get it
out and check) but red/green colour confusion still gives me no
I note the one in your link only does 10 tests and works in solution,
I have no experience of that.
Cool.. I did poke around on Ebay and Google and nobody appears to sell Manutec
products outside Australia.. I did find one of these and it sounds pretty much
like the same sort of test kit :
It's a bit pricey but looks like it would be just about as accurate..
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