Agricultural production depends on the quality of the fields, and soil testing can provide timely information on any problems in crop growth conditions. Field suitability analysis helps select suitable crops or land use for farming. Regular soil testing is ultimately essential not only to farmers but can provide valuable field insights to all agribusiness players, including agri-coops, crop insurers, banks, input suppliers, or commodity traders.
Right soil testing meter for your garden
What is soil testing?
It analyzes cultivars for various parameters like chemical content, toxicity, pH level, salinity, soil biota, etc. Such tests also provide information on chemical contamination, humic or organic content, electrical conductivity, cation exchange capacity, and other physical and chemical properties.
Soil pH Testers
Soil testing can be done with three different soil pH testers. They are electronic meters, indicator test strips, and chemical dyes. In each case, you mix some of your soil with water or a buffer solution provided by a pH tester. The water is then tested.
Home soil testing kits guide gardeners to the suitable types and amounts of fertilizers to optimize specific plant growth by displaying pH, which indicates acidity or alkalinity. Tests also reveal key potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus levels and can identify soil contaminants.
Why Test Soil pH?
Correct soil pH is essential to ensure optimum plant growth and crop production, as nutrients are freely available to plants. The soil needs supplements such as compost and soil pH adjusters for plants to thrive. Measuring pH can help you figure out what you need and how much.
In case you missed it: How to Add Nitrogen and Calcium to Your Garden Soil: A Must Guide for Gardeners
How to get the soil tested?
When deciding on a soil testing procedure, you can choose any of the options:
- Do it yourself with special kits.
- Send samples to a state or private laboratory for professional analysis. Some local labs offer free soil testing procedures.
- Hire a company that will cover the entire process, from sampling to field improvement recommendations.
When and how often should soil testing be done?
Soil samples for testing can be mainly done at any time of the year. pH and phosphorus levels remain relatively constant throughout the year unless lime, compost, or organic matter has been applied recently. It is best not to sample immediately after applying lime, compost, manure, or compost. If the soil level is too high or too low, you must submit a sample every year to find how much has improved and what additional adjustments should be made. Generally, test sandy soils every two to three years and loamy soils every three to four years.
Types of soil test kits
To get accurate details about soil texture, test kits fall into different categories based on the tests they perform. Generally, these kits are grouped into the following categories.
|Chemical kits||These kits provide vials with different colored caps. You add a soil sample and a little water to each vial. The color of the water matches the color of the cap and tells you how much of that nutrient is in the soil.|
|Digital kits||These kits are easier to use than chemical types and give you more accurate information. The easiest soil testers to use, digital soil testers are perfect for those new to measuring soil pH levels or for those who want a quick reading. As long as you keep them clean and stored correctly, they can be reused over and over again.|
|Professional Testing||As the name suggests, these tests are conducted by professionals. You would typically send them a soil sample, let them test it, and give you the results. The data provided by these tests is the most accurate, although they will cost you much more than the other two.|
Different soil testing methods
When you buy a soil test kit, you use it to understand the chemical composition of the soil in your garden. Depending on the type of kit, you will perform one or more of the following types of soil testing.
In case you missed it: How to Prepare the Soil for Cantaloupe Plants: Best Soil Mix, pH, and Compost
This is the most common type of soil testing you will perform. It tests for three main minerals in the soil. These are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Together they make up the famous NPK ratio you see on all the fertilizer packages you buy at the store. And while a soil test kit will give you somewhat accurate results for phosphorus and potassium, nitrogen is often more restrictive. The amount of nitrogen in the same garden varies from one location to another.
In addition to these three essential elements, the soil contains other minerals that some, but not all, plants need. These include zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium, to name but a few—however, not all soil test kits test for these minerals.
Soil pH levels tell you how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Although most plants prefer neutral or slightly acidic soils, alkaline soils are mostly uncultivable. These tests help you adjust the pH level in the soil to around 6.0, which is neutral or increases the soil’s acidity according to the plants you want to grow.
List of soil testing meters/kits
Hiland Soil pH Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester
This soil pH meter has dual electrodes to measure your soil’s moisture and pH. It measures soil pH levels from 3.5 to 8, meaning it can detect very acidic and highly alkaline soil. It measures light and displays the results in an easy-to-read interface. The meter does not use batteries or a power cord, making it easy to set up and use. You can use the meter for indoor soil.
Atree Soil pH Level Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kits
When you’re looking for the most cost-effective pH meter for your soil, this is it. In addition to pH, this meter also measures light and humidity. It doesn’t use batteries and measures about 10.2 inches by 2.4 inches, making it easy to transport. Insert the probe (up to 6 inches) into the soil and wait about 10 minutes until the needles stop moving. Once they stop, you will have your measurement. The cost of an Atree soil meter is Rs. 1496.
Luster Leaf 716750 1840 pH Soil Meter
If you are looking for an ultra-portable pH meter, this is an excellent choice from Luster Leaf Products. It uses the same probe to measure the pH of your soil. The interface is also easy to read. It can measure soil pH from 3.5 to 9, which is quite a range and can be a beneficial choice if you use it for plants that prefer alkaline soil. This pH meter quickly measures your soil and is perfect for outdoor use. The cost of Luster leaf products soil meter is Rs. 4,789
Sonkir Soil pH Meter, 4-in-1
Sonkir Moisture/Light/pH Tester is easy to use right out of the box. Push its two probes into the ground near your plants (or future plants) in the garden for 10 minutes, and it provides quick and easy-to-understand information about sunlight, soil moisture, and pH levels. This device can measure moisture levels, give pH readings, and tell you the current temperature and the amount of sunlight your soil is getting. The cost of a Sonkir soil meter is Rs. 1,400
SSAWcasa Soil PH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Test Kit
SSAWcasa Soil PH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Test Kit is about sticking the probe into the soil and seeing the accurate readings. This 3-in-1 soil test kit tests your garden’s pH level, moisture, and light intensity. Moreover, you can use it both indoors and outdoors. There are three switches for humidity, pH level, and light intensity. The readings are accurate and give you a good idea of which plants are suitable for that particular location. A moisture tester is essential when plants require specific soil moisture levels.
Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Kit (3.5-9 Range) | 100 Soil pH Test Strips
The Garden Tutor pH Soil Test Strips Kit receives high user grades for accuracy. It provides easy-to-read results in minutes —compares your results to the included color chart. The kit has 100 test strips, so you can often test in different garden areas.
XLUX Soil Moisture Meter, Plant Water Monitor, Hygrometer Sensor for Gardening
This analog device is straightforward to use – you push it into your soil and watch the magic happen. No batteries are required; only a single rod protrudes from the central meter. You must stick the stick into the soil until it reaches the same depth as your plant’s roots (about 2-5 inches) and then move the needle on the dial to get your measurement. The dial is clear, easy to read, and marked with ten moisture levels from dry to wet. This may not sound like the most scientific reading in the world, but it will do just fine for most home gardeners and hobbyists.
Luster Leaf 1847 Rapitest Digital Plus Soil pH Meter
Another digital Luster Leaf meter brings these best soil test kit reviews to a close. The Luster Leaf 1847 Rapitest Digital Plus Soil pH Meter has only one function: to test the soil’s pH level. The kit includes a booklet of over 450 plants and their preferred pH levels. This makes it easy for you to modify the soil to suit the needs of each plant you plan to grow.
In case you missed it: How to Prepare the Soil for Cherry Trees: Best Soil Mix, pH, and Compost
Pusa Soil Test and Fertilizer Recommendation (STFR) Meter
The STFR meter is unique. The grower can determine the available nutrients in the soil on the spot. Unlike other soil test kits, the STFR meter recommends the right fertilizer dose based on the soil’s crop, sulfur, and micronutrients essential. Nutrient deficiency is a major problem in India, and farmers often apply fertilizers without scientific recommendations. This increases production costs, reduces agricultural profits, and deteriorates soil health.
Trazon Soil pH Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester
If you’re an avid gardener and can’t afford to take soil samples to the lab and test them in 3-5 days before taking any action on your plants. Wait for the full report because if you want to know what your plants need to thrive, this soil pH meter is essential for you. The Trazon Soil pH Meter 3-in-1 Soil Tester provides sunlight, moisture, and soil pH readings.
Gain Express Soil pH and Moisture Meter 295mm long electrode
This probe measures two things in your soil, pH, and moisture. It does not measure light or nutrients. Given the meter length, 295 mm, it is possible to measure deep into the soil past the root zone. This product is self-powered and does not require batteries. It is waterproof and measures pH from 3-8. It measures soil moisture levels from 1 – 8. The accuracy of this product is +/- 0.2. The set comes with 1 soil pH and moisture meter and an English manual.
Repitest Premium Soil Test Kit (80 Test Kit 1663)
This kit provides materials for 80 tests and measurements for soil pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash levels. There are 80 total tests, with 20 each for all four measures. You can expect a deficient or sufficient result in each nutrient. The product comes with a plastic carrying case for easy transportation and includes instructions for use and soil replacement recommendations based on test results.
Dr.meter S10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter Hygrometer
This sensor measures moisture both inside and outside the plants. This sensor will prevent you from underwatering or overwatering your plants, and it requires no batteries or electricity. Easy-to-read instructions are printed on the back of the pamphlet included with the sensor. The humidity range with this product is 1-10.
Gouevn Soil Moisture Meter
The long probe sensor, about 8 inches, makes it ideal for measuring moisture near or at the root, with a battery-free design that can be used indoors and outdoors. The Gouevn Soil Moisture Meter is the perfect soil moisture meter, thanks to a long sensor probe about eight inches long to get accurate measurements at or near the root. This soil meter offers close-up readings, which drastically cut down on wait times, and the fact that it’s better indoors and outdoors, with various options.
Kelway Soil pH and Moisture Meter
A professional-grade meter that provides highly accurate moisture and pH measurements in a battery-free design and high-quality leather case with an included belt loop. The Kelway Soil pH level and Moisture Meter is the best soil pH tester for lawns, thanks to the inclusion of highly accurate sensors and the fact that it is manufactured using highly durable components. We loved the battery-free design and accurate results, which included conditioning wipes and measuring pH level values from 3.5 to 8. It also ships with a solidly built leather case, complete with a belt loop to hang from the waist while in use.
Yoyomax Soil Test Kit
This product can be used out of the box, and three different conditions can be measured. 3-in-1 design measures pH, light, and humidity. It does not measure any nutrients. This gives you lawn’s condition than products that measure nutrients in your soil. You will know if the pH is off for your plants and if they are getting enough moisture and light. You won’t know the nutrient levels in your soil, so you won’t be able to make adjustments based on nutrients, and you won’t get the proper fertilizer recommendation.
Soilkit Mail-in Soil Test Kit
The Soilkit Soil Test Kit for Lawns will have your report ready within 48 hours of receiving your sample. It is one of the most comprehensive testing plans available. Unlike simple lawn pH test kits, this kit will analyze lawn soil for twelve different nutrients. These include NPK ratio, magnesium, and calcium. The soil sample you send is enough to allow soil analysis of up to 10,000 square feet of lawn. After the analysis is complete, Soilkit will advise you on which nutrients and fertilizers will improve the health of your lawn.
Soil Savvy Soil Test Kit
The Soil Savvy Soil Test Kit for Lawns is more than just a lawn application. Soil Savvy can be used for anything from testing soil in a vegetable plot to testing soil for a flower bed of ornamental plants. It tells you what time of year is best to test the soil. The process is simple, send your sample to the lab using a prepaid envelope, and your results can be available within 48 hours. Soil.
In case you missed it: How to Prepare the Soil for Tulip Plants: Best Soil Mix, pH, and Compost
Soil pH and Moisture Meter with Probe – ICZD06
Easy to use, the ICZD06 Soil pH Meter with Probe is ideal for direct ground measurements.
Soil pH meter with a separate electrode – PH220S
Accurate with a fast-sampling rate, the PH220S is suitable for direct soil measurement or use with a dilution method.
A soil test kit measures the nutrients in your soil. They come in many forms, including digital gadgets, test strips, delivery services, and more, and can be an effective tool to help ensure gardening success. A soil test report will make recommendations for the next season, so test the soil several months before planting or fertilizing. For cool-season lawns, submit samples from the previous summer; For warm-season lawns, submit samples in fall or winter.
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