Cannabis plants require the right mix of light, air, water, and nutrients to reach their potential, and maintaining a clean and robust soil base is one of the best ways to ensure these needs are met. But unless you have an accurate soil tester, you’ll be relying on your best guess to determine if your plants are set to thrive with the pH and nutrient levels you’ve provided in your soil.

Luckily, you can find soil testing kits with a variety of features capable of providing actionable insights about your soil’s content. To build our final list of soil testing kits, we polled a handful of commercial cannabis growers to find what they use on their farms and recommend to their friends looking for the best soil pH tester for home grow applications.

Soil testing methods

Commercial cultivators and home growers have many options to test their soil. Popular soil testing methods include pH test strips, liquid pH kits, meters like the popular Hanna pH Meter, analog probes, chemical tests, mail-in tests, and even smartphone apps that help analyze soil chemistry with the aid of an iPhone or Android device. Some tests also include moisture meters to help cross-check your soil’s health.

We’ve rounded up a diverse list of eight industry favorites, breaking down what makes each soil tester unique and a potential contender for your farm or grow room. While all the testing kits we’ve listed provide pH results, many higher-priced options work like comprehensive soil kits with detailed information on moisture, temperature, nutrients, pathogens, and insects.

bluelab soil ph pen pen

Bluelab Soil pH Pen

Category: Pen meter and probe
Tests: pH and temperature
Time for results: Immediate

The Bluelab Soil pH Pen is touted by reviewers as reliable, easy to use, and worth the $199 it costs—overall, many voices online regard it as the best pH test for soil. A hydroponics-based tester, the Bluelab is waterproof and consistent in its readings. Built for repeated use, the device will remind you when it’s time to calibrate. It also includes a pH probe cleaner and a special toothbrush designed for cleaning the pH scale probe, which helps ensure accurate readings and prevents residue build-up in the soil’s organic matter.

Garden Tutor soil pH test strips
Garden Tutor

Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit

Category: pH test strips
Tests: pH
Time for results: Immediate

While this route requires a little more time and attention to detail, another affordable pH reading option is the Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit. These strips are calibrated specifically for soil pH testing, which means their reliability factor is higher than universal strips you may find for garden soil. The kit includes 100 pH tests and detailed instructions, all for an affordable price of $14.49.

hanna insturments halo2 groline wireless pH tester for soil

Hanna HALO2 GroLine Wireless pH Tester for Soil

Category: Bluetooth meter
Tests: pH
Time for results: Immediate

The Hanna Instruments HALO2 GroLine Wireless pH Tester is wireless, easy to navigate, water-resistant, and thorough. Well-equipped to test a wide array of growth mediums—including coco fiber, organic soil, rock wool, clay balls, recycled plastic balls, bog, hydroponic systems, and more—this GLP-compliant device also integrates with the Hanna Lab App and current Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

Kensizer soil tester

Kensizer Soil Tester

Category: Battery-free digital plant probe
Tests: pH and moisture
Time for results: Immediate

Those seeking a fast and cheap soil pH tester might prefer the Kensizer Soil Tester, a battery-free solution that tests pH and moisture levels for only $12.99. The device reads pH and moisture with a simple arrow pointer, rendering it easy to interpret and transport. Reviewers regard the Kensizer as simple but less accurate than a more expensive professional soil test kit. If you’re worried about slight inaccuracy, you’ll want to consider a more expensive but more reliable option.

Luster Leaf Electronic Soil Tester
Luster Leaf

Luster Leaf Electronic Soil Test Meter

Category: Pen probe meter
Tests: pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium
Time for results: Immediate 

Another affordable option for testing both your soil’s pH and the important “N-P-K” ratio is the Luster Leaf Electronic Soil Test Meter. This pH measurement device is affordable and simple to use. It provides a quick reading to show which critical nutrients are lacking, letting you know which soil amendments are required to provide your plants with the nutrients they’ll need to flourish.

Luster Leaf Rapitest Mini Soil pH Teter
Luster Leaf

Luster Leaf Rapitest Mini Soil pH Tester

Category: Pen probe soil pH meter
Tests: pH
Time for results: Within minutes

If you’re looking for something quick, easy, and portable, you may want to consider this small Luster Leaf Rapitest. The mini soil tester allows you to determine your soil’s pH within minutes. The display is large, easy to read, and does not require batteries to operate.

SoilScape Solutions hand in soil
Soilscape Solutions

Soilscape Solutions

Category: Comprehensive third-party testing
Tests: pH, pathogens, insects, and overall nutrients
Time for results: Consultation will be scheduled within 48 hours

If you’re looking for the best soil pH test and much more, it’s hard to beat the accuracy of a laboratory option like Soilscape Solutions. The Humboldt-based brand offers cannabis-focused soil and plant tissue nutrient testing, including organic amendments you might need to optimize your soil. After filling out a brief survey, the team will request you to mail in a soil sample for a lab test. After the analysis, they’ll schedule an in-depth consultation within 48 hours. This approach is a bit pricier—and more time-consuming—but if you’re looking for comprehensive data and support, a lab like Soilscape is a great resource to have on hand.

Frequently asked questions about soil testers

Do soil testing kits expire?

Device longevity varies depending on the type of kit you’re using. A soil analyzer with pH strips might expire within a few months, and even sooner if they aren’t kept in an airtight container. On the other hand, chemical kits can stay in working condition for up to five years.

What’s the most accurate way to measure pH?

Invest in a high-quality pH meter. That’s your best bet for accessing accurate and reliable results—necessary intel to help you adjust the alkalinity if needed.

Why is a pH meter more accurate?

A pH meter offers the most reliable measurements for hydrogen ion concentration with accurate results. Meters are also able to measure a wider range of pH, are more sensitive to changes in pH, and their results are a lot easier to record and analyze than testing strips.

How do you use a 3 in 1 soil tester?

To use a 3-in-1 soil tester, all you have to do is collect soil samples—being careful to remove any large debris—and insert the test probe into the soil. A 3-in-1 tester will typically have three probes: one for pH, one for moisture, and one for light.

Which pH tester is best?

Having your soil lab tested is the best way to get the most accurate results, but that could be overkill for many growers who may only need a fast alkalinity soil reading. Every grower will have a different method and preference for testing pH, which is why the best pH tester will have the right mix of price, accuracy, and timing for your requirements. We recommend figuring out what your needs are and where your budget lies, and then reviewing this list to find the best fit for your goals.