10 Best Soil Test Kits Of 2023 [Reviewed & Buyer’s Guide]

Do we even have to state the importance of good soil for gardening?

Now, this may prompt you to buy the most expensive fertilizer or nutrient mix, but that’s not what we want to imply. Even with the best fertilizer, the soil may not be capable of feeding adequate minerals to the roots. The reasons can range from the wrong pH level, watering, low light exposure, or worse – all three of them!

That’s why having a soil testing kit becomes of utmost importance to check on the parameters from time to time. But there’s a small catch- which one is the best?

To answer that, we’ve reviewed the 13 best soil test kits of the year and brought all the necessary information to your disposal. One look at it, and we’re sure you’ll find the right product.

So, let’s dive in!

With so many options available, it can be tough to know which soil test kit is the best fit for your needs. To help you make an informed decision, here’s the list of the 10 best soil test kits available on the market.

1. Atree 3-in-1 Soil Meter – Best for User-Friendly Design

We start things off with the Atree 3-in-1 Soil Meter. This multi-purpose device utilizes a simple yet effective mechanism to give accurate readings. What’s more, its compact design makes storage and maintenance a breeze.

Unsurprisingly, the multi-purpose utility made us want to try the product. The two sensitive probes can quickly detect changes in the soil to take care of moisture and pH readings. Similarly, the plastic light sensor on the top tells you if the plants are receiving adequate light. Although the readout dial integrates all the scales, the black background and clear markings facilitate easy reading.

The testing process is a fairly simple job. After you set the device on the desired testing mode (moisture, light, or pH) via the flip switch, stick the probes into the soil to about 6 inches deep. Next, adjust its position till the pointer on the dial swings slightly, and note the reading after 10 minutes. Make sure to clean the probes of soil after each use.

What also takes the versatility factor a notch higher is that it can be used for both indoor and outdoor plants. Overall, the Atree 3-in-1 Soil Meter is a very cost-effective product that is suitable for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

The probes are not meant for use in hard soil, which limits their utility to some extent. Also, the probes shouldn’t be kept in the soil for longer than 10 minutes, so keep an eye on the time. Other than that, we don’t have any complaints about this excellent unit.

Type: Digital Meter | Measured Attributes: Moisture, pH, Light | Measuring Range: pH: 3.5-8, Moisture: 1-10, Light: 0-2000 Lux | Accuracy: pH: ±0.5, Moisture: ±1%, Light: ±10% | Display Type: Digital

2. Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit – Best for Accurate pH Testing

After the hattrick of multi-purpose soil testing devices, it’s now time to talk about a more dedicated product. The Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit utilizes a super simple procedure that provides effective results.

When a testing kit is meant for a particular analysis, it only makes sense for the design to comply with the requirements, and this product does just that. Simply put, the test strips are specifically calibrated for soil pH testing. Each of the 100 strips has four pads that are indicative of the pH level.

As far as the testing procedure is concerned, it’s similar to that of the Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit, except there’s no capsule to add. Firstly, take about 8 level tablespoons (4 ounces) of soil in a container and mix it with the same amount of water. Stir thoroughly for 30 seconds, if not more. 

As an optional step, allow the mixture to sit for 20 minutes, stir once more, and dip the strip 10 seconds later. Upon taking it out, make sure to shake vigorously to remove any extra particles. 

This is also the time when the strip should change color. You can then match it to the label on the bottle or refer to the 16-page full-color pH testing handbook for better understanding.

We feel that the whole process can become slightly tedious, especially if you’re looking to save time. Furthermore, interpreting the colored strip can become a challenging job for first-time gardeners as flipping through the pages of the guide will again take considerable time.

Type: Test Kit | Measured Attributes: pH | Measuring Range: pH: 3.5-9.0 | Accuracy: ±0.5 | Display Type: Color chart

3. Gouevn Soil Moisture Meter – Best for Budget-Conscious Gardeners

The next entrant in the dedicated use category is the Gouevn Soil Moisture Meter. It boasts of a practical ‘plug and read’ mechanism that’ll appeal to both novice and expert gardeners. If you’re on a tight budget, then this unit is worth considering.

Honestly, we weren’t too convinced about its utility, given the rather ordinary design. But its accuracy got rid of our skepticism in no time. And one of the first things that grabbed our attention was the metallic probe sensor. Unlike a lot of other testing meters, the 7.7-inch long probe is especially suitable for larger potted plants.

Beyond that, its compact build means you can carry it everywhere, be it for indoor or outdoor soil testing. Gently poke the probe into the soil and as close to the plant base as possible. However, ensure that you don’t damage the roots. The indicator will start swinging, and users should note the reading when it becomes completely stable.

Last but not least, the battery-less operation cuts down on maintenance time and effort. Just clean the probe after every use to reset the device. But in case of any damage, the 18-month warranty will cover replacement services.

Although we don’t have any issues with accuracy, we feel that the probe could’ve been a little sturdier to get through compact soil particles. Hence, we’d suggest breaking up any soil cluster before using the meter.

Type: Digital Meter | Measured Attributes: Moisture | Measuring Range: Moisture: 1-10 | Accuracy: ±1% | Display Type: Digital

4. Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit – Best for Comprehensive Analysis

The Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit isn’t far behind its predecessor, and as such, this makes it among the top recommendations on our list. Its quick testing method is perfect for soil analysis on the go, making you feel nothing short of a scientist at a lab!

For starters, we were impressed by the positive customer feedback. Apart from testing the pH, this kit can determine the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil. For this, the package comes with 4 dedicated containers and 40 color-coordinated capsules. The patented color comparator system gets the job done in a few minutes.

Coming to the procedure, the first step involves taking a small amount of soil and diluting it with water. Then, pour it into the desired container and add the contents of the related capsule into it. 

Likewise, add the soil and water directly into the pH vial (up to the markings). Shake well, and leave for some time for the color to develop. The corresponding color chart will give you the results.

Not only that, but the kit also contains a complete guide for fertilization and the pH reference list for over 450 plants. Long story short, the periodic testing of soil will help you precisely understand the plants’ requirements at every stage of development.

It may be helpful to know that the results don’t give you an exact number but rather detect the level of alkalinity or nutrients. Also, emptying the small capsules can be a bit challenging, so we suggest twisting them apart carefully, directly over the vial opening.

Type: Test Kit | Measured Attributes: pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium | Measuring Range: pH: 4.0-9.0, Nitrogen: 10-200 ppm, Phosphorus: 10-200 ppm, Potassium: 10-200 ppm | Accuracy: pH: ±0.5, Nitrogen/Phosphorus/Potassium: ±10 ppm | Display Type: Color-coded capsules

5. Sonkir Soil pH Meter – Best for Sturdy Construction

Another one of our top recommendations is the Sonker Soil pH meter. Similar to the Atree 3-in-1 Soil Meter, this multi-utility unit comes in handy for both indoor and outdoor gardens. Plus, the flip switch is located conveniently for facilitating easy mode change.

At first glance, we were really impressed with its sturdy construction and decided to give it a go. Despite being made from a high-quality material with superior-grade manufacturing technology, the design doesn’t compromise compactness. So, that calls for brownie points!

Besides, each probe is equipped with a powerful sensor to carry out a specific test. While the copper probe is meant for moisture testing, the aluminum one measures the pH of the soil. This is a good way to ensure precise readings. And since the unit doesn’t employ batteries, the maintenance is pretty much about keeping the probes clean and safe.

Moreover, the toggle switch is located right below the dial to quickly select the testing mode. On that note, you need to keep the probes in the soil for at least 10 minutes, irrespective of the parameter being tested. 

The instructions mention that the indicator arrow in the display won’t move if the soil is dry, so you need to water it before testing. In hindsight, this may lead to inaccurate moisture readings as the soil will be moist during the test.

Type: Digital Meter | Measured Attributes: pH | Measuring Range: pH: 3.5-9.0 | Accuracy: ±0.5 | Display Type: Digital

6. XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter

The XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Meter is a trusted device that displays reliable and accurate measurements every time it’s used. Plus, the packaging comes with a printed watering guide for added convenience.

The single biggest advantage of specialized meters is that you don’t dig out a lot of soil, and this product is no exception. On top of that, the thin and adequately blunt end of the probe ensures that the plant roots aren’t damaged, even if you get too close to them. So, that’s a bonus!

Furthermore, it can be used to assess the moisture content of the topsoil as well as the layers below. For instance, insert the probe to a depth of about 2 inches to take a reading of the topmost layers. Similarly, insert it deeper (but not more than 5 inches) to see if the other layers have sufficient moisture.

The display dial consists of 3-level marketing, viz., color-coded scale, numbers, and text, making it extremely easy to read the results. And while at it, don’t forget to store the packaging lest you want to let go of a handy watering guide for about 200 plants.

Given that the XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Meter can’t be used for light or moisture testing, the price does appear to be a tad bit higher. That being said, its performance makes up for the lack of versatility.

Type: Digital Meter | Measured Attributes: Moisture | Measuring Range: Moisture: 1-10 | Accuracy: ±1% | Display Type: Digital

7. Yoyomax Soil Test Meter

At the halfway mark, it’s time to get back to our multi-purpose kits. The Yoyomax Soil Test Meter is equipped to test all three parameters, i.e., moisture, pH, and light. Besides, it’s one of the most affordable units on the market.

Before we get into the deets, here’s a quick appreciation for its appearance that blends seamlessly with the taller plants. And although looks should sit last on the priority list, we don’t mind having a good-looking tool in our gardening arsenal.

Like any other 3-in-1 soil tester, the application process will not make you break a sweat. Even if you don’t have prior experience with a similar tool, the self-explanatory design is enough to get the hang of things. Aside from that, the packaging contains detailed instructions about how to use it the correct way.

Thanks to the integrated lithium polymer battery, the user is saved from the hassle of changing or maintaining the power source, which in turn aids portability. 

Finally, the centrally located sturdy push switch facilitates one-hand operation when the tool is planted in the soil. At this price, there’s hardly anything more that we could’ve asked for!

For everything good, we thought there was room for improvement in the reading dial as the scales appear small and too cluttered. Thus, you may have to put in more effort to read the measurements precisely.

Type: Digital Meter | Measured Attributes: Moisture, pH, Light | Measuring Range: pH: 3.5-8, Moisture: 1-10, Light: 0-2000 Lux | Accuracy: pH: ±0.5, Moisture: ±1%, Light: ±10% | Display Type: Digital

8. General Hydroponics pH Control Kit

Given the rise of hydroponic gardens, it was only fair to include a product that caters to this category. So, here we are with a pH Control Kit from the House of General Hydroponics. Apart from facilitating nutrient testing, it also helps stabilize the nutrients without breaking the bank.

The General Hydroponics pH Control Kit is a complete pH-balancing solution that aids plant development and can be used for all soilless mixtures under hydroponics. Additionally, you may test the pH of water, as well as most hydroponic nutrients requiring water with a certain pH level. 

Whatever the ingredient, fill the testing vial halfway through and add around 3 to 5 drops of the indicator solution. Gently tap the sides for thorough mixing, which will also allow the color to develop. The color-coded label of the pH indicator helps users figure out the pH of the nutrients or water.

But what appealed to us the most is the combination of the basic and acidic solutions, which enhance and lower the pH, respectively. Depending on the quantity of the nutrient and the purity of the water to be applied, both solutions can be added sparingly until the desired pH is achieved. 

Finally, with proper storage, the kit can have a long life span.

Going by the instructions for handling with proper gloves and eye protection on, one can assume that the stabilizing solutions are high in chemicals. Hence, they may have detrimental effects on the plant if not used judiciously.

Type: Test Kit | Measured Attributes: pH | Measuring Range: pH: 4.0-8.5 | Accuracy: ±0.5 | Display Type: Liquid reagents with test vial and color chart

9. Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil Test Kit

If you firmly believe that nothing beats professional laboratory soil testing, our next product might just be your ideal match. The Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil Test Kit is a DIY sample collector that can be used for nutrient analysis.

Again, the Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil Test Kit is a product that stands out in terms of uniqueness. It requires minimal effort as all you have to do is collect some soil and send it to the laboratory for detailed analysis of Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium content.

For this, the soil sample pouch needs to be filled with soil collected from about 10 or 20 spots of the planting bed, down to a depth of 3 to 5 inches. The sample thus collected must be thoroughly mixed and cleaned of any larger particles like rocks or twigs. Once done, pour the mix into the pouch up to the marked line.

At the same time, you need to fill out some details in an included form like the type of field (new or existing), crops to be grown, etc. And if you’ve multiple sample packs, the brand recommends packing them together in a cardboard box so that the results come together. 

Last but not least, users can contact a given helpline for professional consultation regarding fertilization and other concerns.

Since the results don’t come in before at least a week, this kit may not be suitable if you’re looking to get fast results. Besides, the user has to pay for shipping and additional shipping charges. But what we’re really bummed out about is the absence of a tracking system, meaning the wait time can become higher.

Type: Test Kit | Measured Attributes: pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium | Measuring Range: pH: 4.5-8.5, Nitrogen: 0-40 lb/acre, Phosphorus: 0-100 lb/acre, Potassium: 0-200 lb/acre, Calcium: 0-4000 lb/acre, Magnesium: 0-1000 lb/acre | Accuracy: pH: ±0.2, Nutrients: ±10% | Display Type: Lab analysis report

10. Kelway – HB-2 Soil pH and Moisture Meter

Designed with a scientific outlook, the Kelway HB-2 Soil pH and Moisture Meter is a premium dual-use tool with high accuracy. Be it for indoor or outdoor use; this one can do it all.

The Kelway HB-2 Soil pH and Moisture Meter isn’t the most modern-looking tool but is effective nonetheless. It has a thick testing probe that can directly be poked into the soil. The metal end then transfers the soil information to the reading dial above. 

While the initial reading is that of the pH level, pressing the white button for about 3 minutes will give you the moisture level. Hence, the tool can also be used as a single parameter tester.

In the absence of chemicals, batteries, or outside electric power sources, it makes for use anywhere product. Numerous readings can be taken over a large area with a single unit, but you can also opt for a pack of 2,3,4,5, or 6 meters.

The accuracy and ease of use come at a considerably high price, making it the most expensive soil testing meter on our list. Apart from that, the sharp probe ending may damage the roots.

Type: Analog Meter | Measured Attributes: pH, Moisture | Measuring Range: pH: 3.5-8.0, Moisture: 1-10 | Accuracy: pH: ±0.5, Moisture: ±1% | Display Type: Analog needle

What is the Best Soil Test Kit?

Presented below is a comparison table, constructed to shed light on the paramount soil test kits available in the market. It delivers a comprehensive breakdown, studying their type, the attributes they measure, their measuring range, the accuracy rate they ensure, and the nature of the display they provide.

Product Type Measured Attributes Measuring Range Accuracy Display Type
Atree 3-in-1 Soil Meter Digital Meter Moisture, pH, Light pH: 3.5-8, Moisture: 1-10, Light: 0-2000 Lux pH: ±0.5, Moisture: ±1%, Light: ±10% Digital
Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit Test Kit pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium pH: 4.0-9.0, Nitrogen: 10-200 ppm, Phosphorus: 10-200 ppm, Potassium: 10-200 ppm pH: ±0.5, Nitrogen/Phosphorus/Potassium: ±10 ppm Color-coded capsules
Sonkir Soil pH Meter Digital Meter pH pH: 3.5-9.0 ±0.5 Digital
Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit Test Kit pH pH: 3.5-9.0 ±0.5 Color chart
Gouevn Soil Moisture Meter Digital Meter Moisture Moisture: 1-10 ±1% Digital
XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter Digital Meter Moisture Moisture: 1-10 ±1% Digital
Yoyomax Soil Test Meter Digital Meter Moisture, pH, Light pH: 3.5-8, Moisture: 1-10, Light: 0-2000 Lux pH: ±0.5, Moisture: ±1%, Light: ±10% Digital
General Hydroponics pH Control Kit Test Kit pH pH: 4.0-8.5 ±0.5 Liquid reagents with test vial and color chart
Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil Test Kit Test Kit pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium pH: 4.5-8.5, Nitrogen: 0-40 lb/acre, Phosphorus: 0-100 lb/acre, Potassium: 0-200 lb/acre, Calcium: 0-4000 lb/acre, Magnesium: 0-1000 lb/acre pH: ±0.2, Nutrients: ±10% Lab analysis report
Kelway – HB-2 Soil pH and Moisture Meter Analog Meter pH, Moisture pH: 3.5-8.0, Moisture: 1-10 pH: ±0.5, Moisture: ±1% Analog needle

Buying Guide For The Best Soil Test Kit

Having the best soil test kit needs more than just knowing the top names. Unless you’re fully aware of your requirements, there’s a high chance that you’ll end up with the wrong product. So, we take it upon ourselves to jot down some important factors worth considering before purchasing.

Types Of Testers

Soil test kits can broadly be classified into the following types:

  • Chemical Soil Testers

Most chemical soil testers come with one or more colored testing vials and corresponding capsules. Users must fill the vial with soil and water according to the markings and then drop the contents of the related capsule. 

The instructions will specify how the mixture should be rested for the color to form, which can be compared to a color chart for deciphering the result. Alternatively, some advanced versions may require you to mix a few drops of a chemical reagent into the diluted soil. 

The results aren’t necessarily exact but give a decent idea about what the soil needs. If you don’t grow a lot of delicate plants, then a chemical soil tester may be a good idea.

  • Analog Soil Testers

Analog soil testers usually consist of two or three metal probes for analyzing various aspects of the soil. These essentially operate without a battery or external power source. When the probes are inserted into the soil, there’s a flow of natural electrical energy that facilitates the device to register the readings. Plus, a lot of multi-purpose analog testers also come with light sensors. 

One thing to keep in mind is that since the probes are the main component, they need to be kept clean and safe. Hence, gently clean them after every use. 

  • Digital Soil Testers

Digital soil testers are exactly similar to analog ones, except that they have a digital screen, which is easier to read.

  • pH Strips

pH strips are perhaps one of the simplest testers out there. After all, dipping a paper strip in a soil solution will not strain your nerves! But it may be good to know that matching the resultant color to the complete pH color chart may be difficult, especially for first-timers.

  • Professional Kits

Since professional soil testing is conducted in a lab setting, these kits fetch a more accurate analysis of the condition and ingredients of the soil. Users can buy the sample collector and send the sample to the respective lab. 

Generally, these tests have a high accuracy level for analyzing micronutrients like phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, manganese, zinc, copper, calcium, etc., something that commercial test kits don’t usually cover.

However,  users are required to bear the expenses of shipping and packing charges, if any. The results can be called in via mail or over the phone. You may also get in touch with professionals for fertilizer consultation.

Ideal Time For Testing

Experts stress testing the soil just before planting the seeds. However, since different plants have different growing seasons, the time will differ from one gardener to another. Besides, the winter months take a heavy toll on nutrient and moisture retention, so we’d advise testing when the planting bed is prepared during fall.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to conduct a quick test whenever the quality of soil appears low, especially after drastic environmental changes. In ideal conditions, we suggest a test every four months. 

Can I use a soil test kit for all types of soil?

Most soil test kits can be used for a variety of soil types, including garden soil, potting soil, and soil used for crops. However, it’s important to check the specific instructions for the kit to ensure that it is suitable for the type of soil you are testing.

How often should I test my soil?

The frequency with which you should test your soil will depend on factors such as the type of plants you are growing, the type of soil you have, and the weather conditions in your area. In general, it’s a good idea to test your soil at least once per year to ensure that it is healthy and suitable for plant growth.

Can soil test kits be used for commercial farming?

Yes, soil test kits can be used for commercial farming, but it’s important to choose a kit that is suitable for the specific needs of your operation. Some commercial farmers may prefer to use more advanced testing methods, such as laboratory analysis, to ensure that their soil is healthy and fertile.

Why do I need a soil test kit?

A soil test kit can help you determine the pH level, nutrient content, and moisture level of your soil. Knowing this information can help you make informed decisions about which plants to grow, how much fertilizer to use, and how often to water your plants.

How do I use a soil test kit?

The specific instructions for using a soil test kit will vary depending on the kit, but most kits will involve taking a soil sample, mixing it with a testing solution or strip, and then comparing the color of the solution or strip to a color chart.

How accurate are soil test kits?

The accuracy of soil test kits can vary depending on the specific kit and the conditions in which they are used. However, many modern soil test kits are highly accurate and can provide accurate readings for pH level, nutrient content, and moisture level.

After putting these 10 best soil test kits through rigorous testing, it is evident that investing in an efficient soil test kit can greatly improve the overall health of plants in both indoor and outdoor gardens. The use of these kits helps gardeners accurately determine the levels of pH, moisture, and other vital nutrients in the soil, thus allowing them to take appropriate measures to rectify existing deficiencies.

Out of these 10 best soil test kits, here are the top five expert recommendations:

  • The Atree 3-in-1 Soil Meter is an ideal option with its multi-purpose utility and simple testing process, suitable for both beginners and experienced gardeners.
  • Best for dedicated pH testing, the Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit is a good option as it includes a detailed color chart and instructions guide for easy interpretation of results.
  • For measuring soil moisture accurately, the Gouevn Soil Moisture Meter is the right choice, as it offers a compact and effective design that can cater to larger potted plants without requiring batteries.
  • The Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit stands out due to its quick testing method, which provides efficient results across four essential soil parameters, helping users understand their plants’ needs every step of the way.
  • Lastly, the Sonkir Soil pH Meter is another top recommendation, as it offers both sturdiness and compactness in a multi-utility unit with powerful sensors specifically designed for different results.

In order to maintain and enhance the garden’s growth, acquiring the ideal soil test kit as per your requirements is of paramount importance. With any of these aforementioned kits, gardeners are sure to make informed decisions about their plants’ needs, ensuring optimal growth and thriving greenery to bring life to any space. Take charge of your garden, and unlock the secrets hidden beneath the soil with these topsoil test kits!

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