Which PH meter should you choose?
PH Meters are a necessary tool for any avid Gardener. I know professional experts who swear by the cheaper PH Meters and just buy a new PH meter every year. When I say cheap, I mean the 20.00 dollar PH Meters. Like the Ph meter labeled (Cheap PH Meter).
Ph Meters can range from 20.00 to 200.00 or higher pending how scientific you get. Some Meters are 3 in one, those are nice for the Hydroponic Gardener because you will be able to check your H20’s PH and check the amount of PPM or nutrients in the water as well as temperature of H20. However that is another article, we will stick to going over stand alone or one purpose PH meters for this article.
All in all the 20.00-85.00 dollar PH meters will suffice. Those are the PH meters I tend to choose from. I was at the Indoor Gardening Expo hosted by Maximum Yield and Hydrolife and ran across a manufacturer of meters called HM Meters. The price on their PH Meter is pretty good and so is the change out cost on the Probe or sensor of their PH Meter. You see, the Probes are what go bad, or need to be replaced; they get oxidized and or worn out. PH Meters are sensitive instruments that need to be calibrated, and well taken care of. As do the batteries, need to be changed every year or so. When changing batteries you have to recalibrate the PH meter or instrument with a Balanced calibration PH solution and it does take some patience and time. Trust me! Those steps alone are costly and a BIG reason why some prefer to just buy a new PH Meter yearly.
The recommended way to take care of a PH Meter is to keep damp the probe or tip in storage solution when not in use. Like using a small piece of sponge or soft cloth. Even when taking real good care of a PH meter, one will find themselves changing or replacing the Probe part about once a year. Those who are hard on their stuff, even sooner. Being ‘hard’ on your PH meter would include putting it away without rinsing off the meter’s probe tip with distilled water or not covering up the PH Meters tip, letting the tip be exposed to the elements. Not keeping the tip of the PH meter damp with storage solution.
That is why some of the experts, just use the cheaper PH Meters. Because the cheaper PH Meters are about the same price as a decent PH meters replacement probe or tip. This way, they get a new PH Meter with fresh batteries and the meter is already calibrated for another 9 months or year of service. To check calibration, one must either know their H20 source like distilled H20 or make sure you grab some PH Balanced calibration solution like 7.1 PH or 4.1 PH solution. Or one can measure their storage solution when their PH meter is calibrated, write the PH number on the side of the bottle so one can check it periodically through out the year. Know this, one point, one way or the other on the PH scale is huge to a plant and making nutrients available to the plant. 1 point off is equal to 100% of acid or alkalinity! Pending on which way the scale goes.
I have used the Cheaper PH meters and have used Hanna PH meters too. I ‘dusted’ the cheap PH meter in about 2 months, as I did not have an article like this to refer to and learned the hard way how to treat the instrument.
My Hanna PH Meter lasted about a year, being a good Stewart to it and now needs a new probe tip anyways. The price has come down on PH Meters a lot. You can pick up a PH Meter on eBay or Amazon or the likes of for about 35.00 complete ready to go delivered. So for now, I just buy another new PH Meter, as I think the tips are about as much as the instrument, along with the batteries used in the PH Meters; are those expensive little watch batteries. Then there is the time to calibrate etc…
PH Meters are not just for balancing the water that goes into your potted plants. You will use it to capture the tail end of watering when you let about 10 percent run out the bottom of your potted plant to see what is going on inside your potted plant medium. See my Tips & Tricks page on flushing there.. (Scroll to bottom of page when you click thru). One should do this before things get outta hand or to help figure why your prized begonia is looking droopy. Usually 9 outta 10 times a plant is sickly because the PH is off in it’s Medium. DO NOT WASTE your money on those ‘hokey 3 dollar stab it into your soil PH Meters.
“The dual pronged Green ones?” The PH Meter is a delicate instrument. How accurate do you think a 3 dollar PH Meter will be? Right! Remember every point your PH is off, is equal to 100 points to a plant. So a plant that is needing a 6 PH and is living in a 5Ph is in 100 times the Acidic conditions it desires. Along with the fact a plant needs a certain PH to access all the food and nutrients in the soil or H20. IF the PH is off it could mean the difference between it eating or not eating.
We at Plantstay hope this helps you with overcoming some of the challenges of gardening and choosing a PH Meter. Do not forget to Follow us on Facebook or grab our Twitter feed. We never Spam only give out useful information. Plantstay will train and maintain your plant in an upright position without ever damaging the roots. Ask for us by name at your local retailer. Distributors and Retail outlets wanted.