Best pH Meter for Hydroponics

When mixing hydroponic nutrients, you’re most likely going to need to adjust the pH of your solution. So, the question of the day is… what is the best pH meter for hydroponics? Below you’ll read about our personal experiences with the budget type of pH meters and why we opted to splurge on a better-quality model.


Low-Cost pH Meters

If you’re on a tight budget then you could definitely consider one of the many low-cost pH meters that can be found on sites like Amazon. Most of them can be purchased for about $12 which is very reasonable. These are the types we used when we started out with hydroponics. We didn’t want to invest a lot of money since we weren’t even sure if we’d want to grow hydroponically in the long term.

The problem with these low-cost pH meters is that they don’t last long before the reading starts jumping around or the meter stops working all together. Our experience with these meters is that they last about a year. When I say the reading is jumping around, I mean the pH reading displayed fluctuates up and down. Stir it around a bit and the reading changes. Because of this you can never be sure you’re getting an accurate pH reading. However, I can say that before the issues start the meters do seem to give an accurate measurement.

Best pH Meter for Hydroponics

After spending $12 multiple times on several of the low-cost meters we finally did our research. This led us to the wonderful world of pH meters from Apera Instruments. There are several models of Apera pH meters to choose from depending on your needs. After asking for opinions on various hydroponic forums we decided on the Apera AI209 Value Series PH20 model. I can tell you that even as their budget model we have had zero issues with this meter and have full confidence in the accuracy.

best ph meter for hydroponics

Apera AI209 pH Meter

Very accurate

Calibration solutions included

Protective storage case

To ensure accurate pH measurements, Apera provides two vials of test solution. These solutions allow you to check the accuracy and calibrate the meter if necessary (see photos below). Simply dip the meter into each of the solutions and the meter reading should coincide with the label, if not calibrate. It’s that simple to ensure accuracy. On the display you’ll also notice that the meter has a temperature reading, needed for calibration. We also love that the Apera meters include a nice sturdy, padded storage case. This houses the meter, test solutions, and instruction pamphlets.


If you’re just starting out or only dabbling in hydroponics you could definitely consider using one of the low-cost pH meters. However, if you’re pretty certain that you’re going to dive into hydroponics then we’d highly recommend that you go ahead and just spend a little extra money and purchase a better-quality instrument such as the Apera AI 209 pH meter shown above. After more than a year of use this meter has never gone out of calibration and the reading holds nice and stable when inserted into the nutrient solution. We even use it for measuring the pH of our hot sauces. Highly recommended!!

If you’re just starting out with hydroponics, check out our post about the different types of hydroponics systems. We also have a post showing the best outdoor hydroponics system.

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