Best pH Meters for Accurate pH Readings

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 31, 2017
If you test the pH level of the water regularly, for instance, you have got an aquarium or want to test your drinking water, you don't need to use litmus test papers anymore. You can use a pH meter, a specialized instrument that will supply you with highly accurate readings on the water pH level. In our review, you will find all information about the five best pH testers. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
pH range
pH resolution
pH accuracy
Operating temperature
Power
Dimensions
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

This meter is water and dust resistant and has IP67 water protection rating. Plus, the transparent cup prevents the sensor from getting dirty. 

CONS

It isn't equipped with calibration standard(s). 

OUR VERDICT

The Oakton EcoTestr is fully reliable and user-friendly device. The LCD display is well designed, so all measurements will always be well readable.

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

pH range

0.0 to 14.0 pH

pH resolution

0.1 pH

pH accuracy

 ±0.1 pH

Operating temperature

32 - 122 °F

Power

4 x 1.5-V alkaline batteries 

Dimensions

1.25" x 1.5" x 6.5"

Weight

3.25 ounces

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The HI98128 pHep delivers accurate data on the pH level and temperature. A dual-line LCD display shows you all current readings.

CONS

The sensor easily gets soiled.

OUR VERDICT

It is a compact and waterproof device that has a battery error alert that signalizes you when the power is low, and a switch off function that turns off the device after 8 minutes. 

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

pH range

-2.00 to 16.00 pH 

pH resolution

0.01 pH

pH accuracy

±0.05 pH

Operating temperature

23 - 140 °F

Power

4 x AA batteries

Dimensions

1.0" x 1.6" x 6.4"

Weight

3.5 ounces

Warranty

1 year

PROS

With AI209 PH20, you get many useful tools for simpler operation and transportation. There is a lanyard in the box, which allows you to keep your meter at hand. 

CONS

The calibration may be a bit challenging. 

OUR VERDICT

This pH meter allows you to get very accurate readings. Whether you need to measure pH of potable water, aquarium, or brewer's wort, the AI209 will assist you!

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

pH range

0.0 to 14.0 pH

pH resolution

0.1 pH

pH accuracy

 ±0.1 pH

Operating temperature

32 - 122 °F

Power

4 x AAA batteries

Dimensions

1.2" x 1.6" x 7"

Weight

3.8 ounces

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Boasting super accurate rate, this tester allows for very precise measurings. Thanks to the ATC function, the temperature fluctuation has been reduced to the minimum.

CONS

It might seem a bit slow. 

OUR VERDICT

The Dr. meter pH100 is an irreplaceable instrument at a laboratory. Thanks to its high accuracy, you will always feel certain of your tests. 

detailed parameters
Type

Portable 

pH range

0.0 to 14.0 pH

pH resolution

0.01 pH

pH accuracy

 ±0.02 pH

Operating temperature

32 - 122 °F

Power

4 x 1.5V LR44 button cell (AG13)

Dimensions

0.83" x 1.42" x 7.2"

Weight

3.1 ounces

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The Jellas JLPH01 is a pocket size meter, thus it is very convenient to carry. Plus, owing to its intuitive control, the device is easy to use.

CONS

It measures only pH balance. 

OUR VERDICT

Should you need an affordable yet accurate tool for taking measurements of your tap or aquarium water, this simple but efficient device may be just the right one. Despite the low price, this tool boasts high precision and provides results in mere seconds.

detailed parameters
Type

Portable

pH range

0.0 to 14.0 pH

pH resolution

0.1 pH

pH accuracy

±0.1 pH

Operating temperature

32 - 122 °F

Power

3 x 1.5V LR button cell

Dimensions

0.79" x 1.22" x 5.94"

Weight

1.76 ounces

Warranty

1 year

What is a pH Meter?

A pH meter is a special device that measures the pH (acidity or alkalinity) of liquids and semi-solid substances. As a rule, it consists of two basic components: electrodes (glass and reference) and a display (usually with a numeric pH reading). When you dip electrodes into the water, the device measures the voltage between them and then convert pH value onto a display. This result is usually measured in the range of 0 to 14, where 0 is acid, 7 is neutral, and 14 is an alkaline solution. If you want to get the most accurate readings possible, you should calibrate your meter by immersing it into a buffer solution. As for the fields of application, this device will be helpful not only for chemists but also for those who are interested in the quality of water and its alkalinity or acidity. Once you're on this page, we'd like to offer you to look through our selection of multimeters and emf meters among which you may find an appropriate model for some other needs.

What Features to Compare

Type

The types of pH meters vary; however, we can distinguish the most common of them which are portable and stationary. Portable devices are the most popular since they are accurate, lightweight and space-saving, and you can always keep them at hand. Plus, they are pretty handy for occasional water measurings. Stationary meters can be battery-powered and grid-powered. They usually have an external electrode and allow you to take precise measurements under laboratory conditions.

Accuracy

After you have decided on the type of the meter you need, check its accuracy. Highly precise meters have the 0.01 pH and are ideal for a scientific research in a laboratory, for example. Some models have more than 0.1 pH accuracy and are good for home use. We would like to point out that top pH meters can also measure temperature. If you want to have such option, pay your attention to this feature too.

Max/Min Value

pH range is another important thing to consider. As a rule, most devices have the range from 0 to 14 pH. If you usually deal with liquids that have high pH level, set your eyes on the models which have the range like that.

Features

Last but not least check out the weight and dimensions of the chosen model, as these numbers should tell you about how convenient it will be to use the meter in an application. You may also want to consider buying that meter that doesn't have a learning curve, comes with a display, and has user-friendly controls.

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Oakton EcoTestr

Waterproof and Reliable

The Oakton EcoTestr pH 2 is a durable high-quality tester that will provide you with accurate pH data of the water in your aquarium or water supply system. It is waterproof (IP67 standard), so you may not worry if you accidentally drop or dip it into the liquid for the longer time than required. Plus, it has a transparent protective cup that helps to keep the sensor moist-free when you store this tester upright. Due to the ergonomic design, the model is very simple in use. There are three buttons on its body (on/off, calibration, and hold/ent) as well as a big LCD display. This tester works with four 1.5-V alkaline batteries and can run for 250 hours without battery replacement. Additionally, it features an auto shut-off function that extends the life of batteries drastically. You will also notice a clock-lock battery cover that enables you to quickly replace batteries without additional tools.
Review of Oakton EcoTestr pH Tester

Accuracy

The Oakton EcoTestr pH 2 is a very accurate device that will deliver you precise readings in the range from 0 to 14. For more accurate results, it boasts an automatic temperature compensation (ATC) that allows for measuring correct data in fluctuating temperatures. Moreover, the pH increment makes only 0.1 pH, so all the readings will be extremely precise. 

Oakton EcoTestr pH Tester in the use

Calibrate It With a Single Button

The system of the sensor calibration is a huge advantage of this model. You don't need any additional tools for the calibration of this device, you can just press a single button. The Oakton EcoTestr pH 2 has three-point automatic calibration at three buffer values: 4 pH, 7 pH, and 10 pH. Unfortunately, this model isn't supplied with the solutions for calibration, however, you can purchase them additionally.

Detailed review of Oakton EcoTestr pH Tester

Useful Tip

If you want to prolong the life of your pH meter and to ensure its accurate measurings, you should not only calibrate it regularly but also clean the electrode from time to time. Being very sensitive, it requires very delicate maintenance. 

  • First of all, you will need to take dish soap (mixed with water) and a cotton tampon. 
  • Next, clean the glass electrode very accurately, and thoroughly rinse it with distilled or de-ionized water. 
  • Finally, immerse the electrode into the dish soap solution for at least one hour (for better results - overnight) and check the readings with the buffer.   
Oakton EcoTestr pH Tester application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Oakton EcoTestr
Oakton EcoTestr
 

Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep

It Is Hard to Overestimate

The Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep is a waterproof tester that allows you to measure not only pH but also the temperature of any liquid. Its body is completely protected from moisture and designed to float in case you accidentally drop it into your pool or aquarium. It features a dual-line display that has indicators for ATC, battery life, low battery, and of course pH and temperature readings. Despite a large amount of information it displays, the screen is clear and well-readable. This pH meter is an excellent instrument both for chemical research under laboratory conditions and for home use when you want to measure the acidity or alkalinity of water in your fish tank or pool. But that is not all, for example, if you brew beer, this tester will be useful for you too, since it ensures accurate pH and temperature readings of brewer's wort.

Review of Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep 5pH/Temperature Tester

Wide Range of Readings

Another notable feature of this meter is its extended pH range. It can measure different solutions with the acidity/alkalinity range of -2.00 to 16 pH. Undoubtedly, this allows you to measure even complex and rare acids or liquids. Moreover, the housing of Hanna Instruments pH meter has quite a wide range of working temperatures (23 - 140 °F) and an automatic temperature compensation that simplifies the operation a lot.

Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep 5pH/Temperature Tester in the use

Reliable Data

The accuracy is one of the most important criteria, since it determines the reliability of readings you get. This pocket pH meter from Hanna Instruments has everything you need to get very accurate measurings. Its pH accuracy is ±0.05 pH and pH resolution is 0.01 pH. In addition, its temperature accuracy is just ±1°F with 0.1°F resolution. 

Detailed review of Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep 5pH/Temperature Tester

Removable Electrode

In order to make the control of this meter simpler, the manufacturer has supplied it not only with a big display and highly accurate sensors but also with a replaceable electrode. Due to this, you won't have to buy a new tester when the electrode wears off. You will be able to replace the electrode itself. It is a pretty simple procedure - you will find a special removal tool in the box and be able to replace the electrode in just a few minutes.

Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep 5pH/Temperature Tester application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep
Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep
 

Apera Instruments AI209 PH20

All You Might Need Is in the Box

With the Apera Instruments AI209 PH20 tester, you get everything you might need for the convenient use and transportation. The set includes a durable carrying case for the tester, 4pH and 7pH buffer solutions, two batteries, and a lanyard that you can use to hang your pH meter around your wrist to keep it at hand. Moreover, there is also a soft housing gasket in the package; it's made from mild foam-rubber for safe keeping and transportation of the tester. You will also notice that the AI209 PH20 is supplied with detailed instructions. By the way, the calibration of this model is quite simple and fast. All you need to do is take a buffer, dip your meter into it, and press a button.

Review of Apera Instruments AI209 PH20 Pocket Tester

Reliable in Every Respect

This model is very durable and water resistant. It has a glass sensor with a ceramic junction that will provide precise readings of the water of different temperature. So whether you test cold drinking water or hot water in your jacuzzi, you will get equally accurate results. By the way, the housing is completely water resistant, it fully corresponds to IP67 standard. The meter comes with a special protective cap for the sensor that will protect it from possible damage. On top of that, the manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty on this tester that in combination with a high accuracy range of ±0.1 pH and ±0.5˚C for temperature proves that the AI209 PH20 tester is a high-quality device!

Apera Instruments AI209 PH20 Pocket Tester in the use

Excellent Display

The AI209 has a very easy-to-read 180˚ display that shows not only the information about acidity/alkalinity and temperature of the water but also indications of completed calibrations and stable readings. 

Detailed review of Apera Instruments AI209 PH20 Pocket Tester

Low Energy Consumption

This pH meter works on four AAA batteries that go with the tester, and you will find them in the box. Plus, according to the manufacturer, the device ensures 2000 hours of operation without any battery replacement. Such efficiency is achieved owing to a few functions, namely low power warning and an auto power off feature.

Apera Instruments AI209 PH20 Pocket Tester application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Apera Instruments AI209 PH20
Apera Instruments AI209 PH20
 

Dr. meter pH100 0.01 Resolution

If You Want to Get Precise Data

The Dr. meter pH 100 is one of the best and maximum accurate pH meters on the market. If you maintain it appropriately and calibrate the tester on a regular basis, the index of pH accuracy will be just ±0.02, meaning this sensor is ideal for scientific research in a laboratory. Being highly accurate, this meter has a measurement range of 0 to 14 pH and the resolution of 0.01 pH. As for the time of measuring, it may seem that this meter responds a bit longer than other models. However, this mostly depends on the temperature of the probe and the solution you want to measure. If the difference is significant, you will have to wait for a few minutes. 

Review of Dr. meter pH100 0.01 Resolution Pocket pH Meter

What Is in the Box

With this high-end tester, you will get six calibration packets and a special carrying case for safer and easier storage. The manufacturer has also supplied this device with four LR44 button cells. They are quite small, which makes the Dr. meter pH 100 pretty lightweight (only 3.1 ounces). If you have any questions about its operation and maintenance, you can find answers in a detailed manual.

Dr. meter pH100 0.01 Resolution Pocket pH Meter in the use

Extremely Functional

In spite of the fact that the manufacturer advertises this pH meter as a scientific instrument with highly accurate readings, it is still a user-friendly device with intuitive controls. It has only three buttons: for automatic calibration of the sensor, for holding the readings, and for turning the device on/off. Thanks to these easy intuitive controls, you won't have problems with the operation.

Detailed review of Dr. meter pH100 0.01 Resolution Pocket pH Meter

What Is Calibration?

For the maximum precise measurements, every scientific instrument should be calibrated, and a pH meter is not an exception. You should calibrate it as close as possible to the solution you want to measure. If you are going to test pH level of the water, the pH meter should be calibrated in this range. For example, when you test acid solutions, the sensor must be calibrated with 4.0 pH buffer for the most accurate readings. In average, most of liquids have a range of 6.0 to 8.0 pH, so you should use a 7pH buffer for them. 

Dr. meter pH100 0.01 Resolution Pocket pH Meter application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Dr. meter pH100 0.01 Resolution
Dr. meter pH100 0.01 Resolution
 

Jellas JLPH01

Low-Cost and Portable

The Jellas JLPH01 is a compact and affordable model. Note that it can measure just pH of the water, not the temperature. However, it always delivers accurate measurings, so this instrument will be good for home use. You will be able to test drinking water, your pool, aquarium, and even Spa. Due to its simple design, the JLPH01 is very easy to use. It has a single button for turning on/off and a small display showing all information. This is a pocket size meter that is only  5.94" long and 0.79" high. 

Review of Jellas JLPH01 Pocket Size PH Meter

Range and Accuracy

This meter from Jellas is almost as good as much more expensive models. It boasts high accuracy level (0.1 pH) and pH range (0 - 14 pH). Plus, its temperature range makes 32- 122 °F, so you can measure pH of cold and hot liquids alike. 

Jellas JLPH01 Pocket Size PH Meter in the use

Calibration Process

The Jellas JLPH01 has manual calibration. Yet, it is not too complex as it may seem. You should follow three simple steps to calibrate your pH meter. 

  1. For starters, take a calibration powder and make a standard buffer (a solution that has constant pH balance when you dilute it, concentrate it, or add acids). 
  2. Then, dip the electrode into this buffer solution (77°F temperature) and wait for a minute. 
  3. Finally, adjust the trimmer with a calibration screwdriver (included in the box). 
Detailed review of Jellas JLPH01 Pocket Size PH Meter

More Tips and Tricks

It may seem obvious, but you should always read the manual before you start using your instrument. Undoubtedly, if you follow care and maintenance instructions, the device will serve you longer. Most instructions include the following points:

1. You should calibrate your pH meter before every use;
2. If there is a storage solution in the protective cap of your meter, it is better to keep the instrument upright for more efficient saturation of the sensor;
3. Never touch the electrode with your bare hands! Your sebum may be the cause of inaccurate readings and even damage of the electrode; 
4. When you calibrate your instrument or measure pH balance of a liquid, slightly stir the electrode in the solution to avoid bubbles. 

Jellas JLPH01 Pocket Size PH Meter application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Jellas JLPH01
Jellas JLPH01
 

FAQ:

Q: What pH buffer should I use?

A: As you know, a buffer is a solution used for calibration of pH meters. This procedure is essential if you want to get accurate measurements. In order to make these readings maximally precise, you need to follow a few simple rules. You should use only fresh buffer solutions and they must be of the same temperature as the samples are. For instance, if all your samples are 50°, you should heat buffers up to the same temperature. 

Q: How can I get reliable pH measurements?

A: Well, first of all, calibrate your tester before every use and try to use only fresh buffers. Then, you can use temperature compensation option or just keep your samples and buffers at the same temperature. Also, always soak new electrodes before use into a 50/50 compound of saturated potassium chloride and pH 4 buffer. 

Q: What is an automatic temperature compensation (ATC)? 

A: ATC is an option on handheld testers. So far as all samples respond to temperature differently, you can hardly to adjust the meter for every pH change. Since temperature influences pH and may cause some errors, ATC allows a pH meter to compensate the temperature variations. In other words, this function guarantees you more accurate readings. For example, if you measure a sample without using the ATC, you will need to enter the temperature of the solution manually.

Q: How should I store an electrode?

A: You should store it in a special storage solution for short-term and between measurings. If you don't have one, you can use pH 4 or pH 7 buffers as an alternative. However, take note that you should never store an electrode in distilled/de-ionized water, since it might leach out electrolytes. As for long-term storage, you should keep an electrode dry. To rehydrate an electrode, dip it into a pH4 buffer for at least 30 minutes. 

Q: What is the lifetime of a pH probe?

A: The lifetime of an electrode will depend on appropriate maintenance, storage conditions, and types of samples you measure. If you use your pH meter with dirty samples, high temperatures and pressures, its lifetime will be reduced significantly. However, with proper and regular maintenance, your pH meter will provide you with accurate data for a good while. 


Sources:

1. How to Buy a pH Meter, wikiHow.

2. pH meter, Wikipedia.

3. The Secret to Well-Functioning pH Meters? (It's the Electrodes!), Cole-Parmer. March 16, 2017.

4. pH, Wikipedia.

5. pH Meter Buying Guide, eBay. March 3, 2016.

6. Chris Woodford pH meters, ExplainThatStuff. May 6, 2016.

7. How do pH probes work? Quora. June 10, 2016.

8. Steffi Magub How to Care for Your pH Meter, BitesizeBio.

9. How to Calibrate and Use a pH Meter, wikiHow.

10. Philip J. Carlson Why Is It Important to Calibrate a pH Meter and Its Electrodes Against a Buffer? Sciencing. April 24, 2017.

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Publish Date: 2017-08-31 14:02:19