The 6 Best Soil Test Kits to Identify Problems and Get Your Garden Blooming
The composition of soil is just as important as the quality of the seed that's planted. Analyze yours with these soil test kits.
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A soil test kit measures the nutrient content of your soil. They come in many forms, including digital gadgets and test strips, and can be an effective tool to help ensure gardening success.
“Soil test strips are an easy and affordable way to test your soil’s pH level, as well as its levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium,” says Lina Cowley, an avid outdoor expert and editor at TrimmedRoots.com. “But not all soil test strips are created equal. Look for soil test strips that have been independently verified for accuracy. You want to make sure that your soil test strips are giving you accurate readings so that you can make informed decisions about how to improve your soil.”
Home soil test kits guide gardeners to the right types and quantities of fertilizers to optimize specific plant growth by revealing pH, which indicates acidity or alkalinity. The tests can identify soil contaminants, too.
Identify challenges and start your soil in the right direction with these best soil test kits.
Soil Test Kit
Here’s how the My Soil test kit works: Dig up some soil from the area you want to plant, and send it off for a professional laboratory test. The kit provides all you need, including a scoop to ensure the right amount of soil is collected. Test results are prompt and easy to understand, allowing you to make the recommended changes to your soil. (MySoil sends along personalized information to help.)
“I thought I was taking good care of my lawn, water two times per week, fertilize two times per summer, mow weekly,” writes five-star reviewer, Rick Crouch. “Tests results showed my lawn was below the acceptable range in all nutrients except calcium, which was three times what it should be (due to excessive amounts of limestone) and high pH. I am now taking an aggressive action to amend the compacted clay soil with core aeration, applying compost top dressing and following the recommended guidelines for fertilizer applications at the rate to get my stressed lawn healthy. I should have done this 15 years ago. Lawn is looking much better after eight weeks.”
Soil pH Meter
This soil meter is easy to use right out of the box. Push its two probes into the ground in your garden near the plants (or future plants) for 10 minutes, and it provides quick and easy-to-decipher information on sunlight, soil moisture and pH level. This basic information can point a gardener in the right direction if plants aren’t thriving, even those in containers, indoors or outside. The meter is inexpensive, doesn’t require batteries and can be used again and again.
Verified purchaser, Tamara S. Tamblyn, says she loves the functionality of this handy device. “I am so pleased with my purchase,” she writes. “I have been repotting a ton of plants due to overwatering, well never again! I also love the soil pH tester. What an incredible bonus!”
Soil pH Test Strips
These soil pH test strips gets high grades from shoppers for accuracy. They deliver easy-to-read results in a few minutes—just compare your results against the included color chart. The kit comes with 100 test strips, so you can test often in different areas of your garden. Distilled water is recommended as a mixing agent so results aren’t skewed by minerals in tap water. The included instruction booklet relays helpful information on applying fertilizers to neutralize soil for an optimal growing environment.
“I have used the strips several times. A simple solution in determining soil acidity. Easy to use. Not messy. Reminds me of strips to test a hot tub,” writes verified buyer, Frank Fortino.
Digital Soil Kit
10-Count Soil Tester
When you want a comprehensive test at a budget-friendly price, these test strips are another smart option from Luster Leaf that offer quick and accurate results. The kit tests for pH levels, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, and includes simple instructions that even beginners will find easy to follow for adjusting soil conditions.
“I used this to test the soil in my soil plot. The results are accurate and it’s easy to use. Just read the instructions carefully. I will continue to use this test kit in the future,” says Chris Shipman, a verified purchaser.
Multi-Parameter Tester Kit
Precision is the name of the game in hydroponics, making a finely tuned pH meter crucial. This multi-parameter tester is a five-in-one handheld meter that helps growers stay on top of their liquid medium’s pH, salinity, temperature and more. Shoppers like the reliable functions and various necessary adjustment fluids (included).
Five-star reviewer, Bill Bourcier, finds that the Apera Instruments pocket tester has a pH probe that equilibrates quickly. “The sensor glass in this probe (that contains lithium) equilibrates faster than any other pH electrode I have used. It is also easy to calibrate and comes with pH and conductivity buffers,” he writes.