Soil Testing Kits – the best soil testing kits of 2017. Top kit reviews, brands, selection tips and more. DIY Soil Testing made easy for Home & Garden use.
Finding the best home soil testing kits is part research, part determination. After first deciding what type of soil you need to test (home, farm, or garden areas), you can then browse the best offerings for digital kits and or vial type kits. Additionally, you can obtain a simple soil test probe kit to quickly measure your soil conditions. Below are the top 15 soil test kits for home and professional use.
Top 15 Soil Testing Kit Reviews of 2016
Providing 4 different comparators for NPK levels as well as pH, the Luster leaf 1601 is an affordable and highly rated test kit for determining soil conditions. Includes highly accurate results and instructions for altering soil conditions to achieve excellent growth.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/LusterLeaf1601TestKit
Including light, moisture, and pH testing, the MoonCity soil tester includes scientific accuracy and a simple, readable meter that comes in both digital and analog versions. Adds a features to tell you when to water or change lighting conditions for soil.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/MoonCity3in1SoilTestKit
Includes 3 in 1 capability for acidity, nPK, and light/moisture levels. Highly affordable and rated well among users, the MacDoDo tester requires no battery or outside power source and includes a simple, compact design.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/MacDoDoSoilTestKit
Providing simple readability and zero need for batteries, the Foneso pH and moisture soil test kit is powerful and compact. Useful for both outdoor and indoor settings.
Includes a sturdy carrying case and up to 200 tests in the most powerful version of this scientifically accurate test kit. Ideal for classroom or lab settings.
Measuring moisture, light, and pH levels quickly and easily, the KKmall meter helps your plants quickly grow to optimal levels using scientific accuracy. Helps promote healthy foliage in any soil settings.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/KKmall3in1SoilTester
Economical and affordable, the Luster Leaf 1612 Rapitest contains 10 tests and is one of the most powerful tests for its price. Includes everything you need to perform several highly accurate soil measurements.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/Rapitest1612SoilTester
Including a testing range of 1 to 10 for soil dryness, the Jellas meter includes a simple plug and play design letting you determine soil conditions on the fly.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/JellasMoisturePHTester
Promotes ideal plant conditions in soil using simple plug and read design. Using a ten scale color reading code scale, the Mudder meter is affordable and effective.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/MudderSoilMeter
Including a 4 in 1 design capability, the Dr. Meter measurement system includes humidity and soil acidity levels as part of its testing device. Comes with a 9 volt battery within its package.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/DrMeterSoilTestKit
Powered by affordable, effective Rapitest technology, the Luster Leaf 1605 soil test kit includes pH scales for more than 450 different types of plants. Helps to provide potash, phosphorus, and nitrogen fertilizer instructions.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/LusterLeaf1605
The original Dr. Meter soil test kit determine readings for soil levels based on red, green, and blue. Portable and compact, this unit is great for both outdoor and indoor gardening needs.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/DrMeterMoistureSensorBasic
Takes the hard part of guessing soil conditions out of your landscaping process. The Kany 3 in 1 soil tester makes it easy to determine soil conditions using a powerful soil probe for depth analysis.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/Kany3in1Meter
Includes one touch automatic testing for measuring soil temperature and pH levels. Makes it easy to quickly take soil readings no matter where you are on your gardening or farming area.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/HMDPHM80DigitalPHTester
Including a digital version that includes capability for determining when plants need to be watered, this test kit measures soil acidity and water at the root level. No batteries needed.
Check it out: http://www.forestsoils.org/Rapitest1820SoilTestKit
Types of Soil Testing Kits
There are a number of different types of soil testing kits. In general, most kits will test soil moisture levels, pH and NPK levels, as well as humidity and light conditions. You can find kits that perform digitally, or use an analog testing kit that measures soil conditions using a set of color coded test tubes.
Soil Testing Kit Brands
The top soil testing kit brands include Lamotte, Luster Leaf Rapitest, and MacDoDo. Additionally, Environmental Concepts offers a number of tests for soil conditions, including soil NPK levels and light, humidity, and moisture content.
Soil Testing Kit Accessories
Some soil testing kit accessories to have on hand include extra probes to replace faulty probes which may occur from overuse. Additionally, you should keep extra batteries on hand as well as extra strips or color coded tubes in case you are using soil testers that require such accessories. The Rapitest soil test kits typically have everything you need to fully perform a functional and comprehensive test.
Soil Testing Kit Selection Tips
Selecting a soil testing kit generally depends on three factors: your home landscaping or farming conditions; your needs for overall amount of testing and what part of the soil you need to test; and your budget. If you are testing home lawn and garden conditions, a home soil test kit is usually adequate. If you have larger testing needs such as for farm soil or a larger area, it may be best to order test kits that provide scientifically accurate results such as the Environmental Concepts kit.
Selecting kits based on budget is another key factor. Your test kit should include all the basic elements to perform successful tests, such as the tester itself, as well as any added cords, cables, batteries, or testing devices. When selecting kits, be sure to look for those rated highly in terms of affordability. Many test kits can be purchased for less than $30, in which case you will receive everything you need to complete an NPK and light level test.
DIY Soil Testing Guide
Performing a home DIY soil test using a soil test kit is quite simple. The first thing you’ll need to do is obtain your sample. In order to get a good soil sample, remove about the first two inches of surface soil and break it to roughly 5 inches deep. Take away excess debris or stones from your soil, which you should place into a plastic container that is clean and large enough to hold a decent amount of dirt. Next, be sure to thoroughly wet your soil so that it takes on a muddy consistency.
Performing the Test
Doing your home test after you’ve obtained the soil sample will require that you take out your test kit. At this point, if you have test strips, you’ll need to follow the instructions for that select type of kit. If you have obtained a kit that uses color coded tubes, you’ll usually need to fill each one with a sample of soil and add powder, mix, and let the soil sit. Then, once it is completely absorbed, the sample should turn a certain color to tell you its alkalinity.
Vial and Tablet Based Testing Kits
These type of home testing kits for soil conditions should tell you exactly how your home soil conditions will influence plant growth. Certain types of plants such as vegetables and fruits require certain pH levels, which are different from flowering plants and trees. To prepare your soil samples for vial and tablet based soil tests, be sure to first clean any tools you are going to use for soil sample collection. Then take a one half inch slice of soil from a hole about six to eight inches deep. Collect as many different samples as you need across the area you wish to test, especially if you are testing different types of plants. Mix your soil in a bucket and spread some soil onto a piece of newsprint, letting it fully dry out. Collect roughly one pint to complete the sample.
For vial and tablet based kits, it’s best to conduct the sample when soil is dry. You may wish to perform more than one test to ensure best results.
Digital Test Instructions
If you’re using a digital soil pH meter, you’ll need to measure 2 cups of soil from your sample and fill a clean plastic container with two cups of distilled water. Then, add the soil sample to your water and mix until it is fully compact. Drain off any water that is left over.
Once complete, you should then insert the probe into your soil sample and remove any excess oxide areas that have formed on the soil’s surface. Then push the probe straight into the soil to about four or five inches deep, being sure to slide carefully and firmly without forcing it.
Twist your probe clockwise several times until the soil has fully covered the probe’s surface. Then wait about one full minute until your reading is measured. If you see a reading of more than pH7, you will need to adjust your soil’s alkalinity accordingly.
Additional Soil Testing Tips
Be sure not to leave your probe in the soil longer than you absolutely need to. This is because it is easy for the probe to become damaged if the probe isn’t properly treated within soil. Also, keep the probe away form metal areas, as this could interfere with its reading.
Elements to Look For
There are specific factors that come into play when testing soil and improving its conditions. You will need to take a look at pH levels, as well as calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Each of these key elements plays a part in growth conditions, allowing you to adjust as needed to maintain healthy plant life.
Additionally, you should be on the lookout for micronutrients like zinc and iron in your soil. You will need to take a look at organic matter, which should be about 3-7% for most gardens. Adding compost to your soil can help to improve organic matter.
For most soil test kits, you will receive an N, P, K, and pH test tube or container. This allows you to mix in powder and liquid to ensure you can then compare your soil sample with the test color guide. By using the soil test kit, you can quickly determine how best to alter levels of N, P, K, or pH within your soil.
Soil Conditions and Types
There are a variety of soil types that will be better for certain growth situations. Soil types tend to fall into sandy soils, loam soils, and clay soils. Sandy soils are light and course, comprised of alluvial and crumbling debris. Loam soils tend to be a blend of alluvium and coarse, fine material such as clay. Clay soil itself is clinging and heavy, usually comprised of humus and lime particles. This type of soil is generally very waterlogged and can be hard to work with.
Increasing pH Levels
If your test determines you have too little pH in the soil content, you can add lime to your soil. It is best to add hydrated lime during early spring, autumn, or winter as your lime will need some time to take effect. You can add it to potash or a muriate. This will let you alter pH roughly 1 point up or down your regular pH measurement scale.
Reducing pH Levels
If your test determines you need to reduce pH of your soil, add humus slowly to take pH levels down in a gradual way. This will allow you to retain moisture and food in your plants while still lessening alkalinity. Ammonia is a good way to add nitrogen to your soil and should be used in conjunction with humus when needed.
Adding Fertilizer to Your Soil
If your soil needs more growth and fertility, it is best to add soil fertilizer. You can use store bought brands or simply add home methods of fertilization such as wood ash and coffee grounds. Wood ash acts as a natural lime agent, helping to reduce acidity levels while also boosting potassium and calcium content. Coffee grounds are another excellent fertilizer, being high in magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper. Finally, you can start a compost pile of biodegradeable elements such as apple cores and banana peels, or other fruit and vegetable matter. As this organic matter decays, it will help to enrich your soil’s texture, making it moist and crumbly — which is the preferred soil type.