Top Test Kits for Soil – Guide & Comparison
Testing your soil is the most efficient way to know whether or not it will be ready to provide all necessary nutrients for your plants to grow strong, which means you’ll have to invest in the best soil test kits on the market. After carefully reviewing many products, we concluded that a good soil tester for you would be the Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Kit for Soil. It is available in various options, allowing you to test all the soil’s common elements (pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash) or only one element, depending on your requirements. It is quick and reliable and features an easy-to-use capsule system as well as patented color comparators to interpret the results. It also comes with a soil pH preference list for more than 450 common plants so you can easily adjust the soil’s composition to help your plants to thrive. If this product is not available for sale right away, a decent alternative would be the Sonkir MS02 Soil pH Tester.
This easy-to-use at-home kit contains everything you need to know about the quality of your soil. It is available in various options and will quickly test your soil for pH, potash, phosphorus, and nitrogen. It contains all the components necessary for 40 tests (10 per each element) and is delivered with detailed instructions.
The testing containers are small for regular soil and are more appropriate for sand or silt. There are better testing methods available.
This is a quick way to know if your soil receives all it needs for your plants to thrive. Included, you’ll also find a soil pH preference list for over 450 plants to help you with your gardening.
This 3-in-1 product will test the soil moisture level, its pH value, and the sunlight level of plants to tell you when you need to water your plants or add more soil nutrients. The double-needle detection technology enhances the speed and accuracy of detecting. The item is easy to use, without needing batteries.
The pH function doesn’t work that great for testing soil pH levels. It might also bend easily if you’re using it in dry soil.
Lightweight and easy to carry with you at all times, this small device could prove a lifesaver for your plants. It is designed for both indoor and outdoor use and provides accurate results instantly.
Also To Consider
The 3-in-1 device offers a comprehensive idea about the soil condition of your lawn or garden. It doesn’t require the use of batteries or electricity to measure the pH value, moisture level, and sunlight level of the soil. It is compact and portable, so you can easily take it with you anywhere you go. It is designed for indoors and outdoors.
It comes with a small dial that’s hard to read. The moisture level may not be very accurate so for this parameter, other models are better.
Compact and very light, this test kit represents a great way to test any type of soil to make sure your favorite plants have enough nutrients to thrive. It is easy to use and delivers results fast.
9 Best Soil Test Kits (Updated Reviews) in 2020
If you’re in the market for the best soil test kit, you’ll be surprised by the large variety of products you’ll find. To help you with the process, we gathered some of the most sought-after models and showcased them below, together with their in-depth reviews. Here are some affordable soil test kits you can count on.
- 1. Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Kit for Soil
- 2. Sonkir MS02 Soil pH Tester
- 3. Yoyomax Soil Test Kit For Garden Plants
- 4. Atree Soil pH Meter Tester Kits
- 5. Besmon Soil Moisture Sensor Kit For Gardening
- 6. Soil Savvy Test Kit Complete Analysis
- 7. Environmental Concepts 1663 Professional Soil Test Kit
- 8. Garden Tutor Soil Test Strips
- 9. Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil-Testing Kit
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Kit for Soil
This product is available in various options, depending on the type of soil analysis you’re looking to perform. You can purchase it for only one element (soil pH, nitrogen, potash or phosphorus) or pick the complete kit for testing at home.
It is innovative and affordable at the same time, allowing for quick testing for the soil in your garden, lawn or even pots. It features an easy-to-use capsule system and patented color comparators to quickly determine the level of these elements and decide what to do next to help your plants thrive.
It contains all necessary components for 40 tests (10 for each- pH, N, P, and K) and comes with detailed instructions on how to use the tests, which makes it suitable for both experienced gardeners and beginners.
After reading each test, you can take a look at the provided soil pH preference list for over 450 plants and see exactly if the soil is nourishing enough for your plants to bloom.
The product can be used in the comfort of your own home, saving time and money as opposed to lab soil tests that can take weeks to get the results.
You can test for all four main soil elements – soil pH, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potash, and interpret the results thanks to the patented color comparators included in the kit.
The kit also contains all necessary accessories for 40 tests, as well as detailed instructions on how to use them, small capsules for soil probes, and a soil pH preference list for hundreds of the most common plants.
Included you’ll also find useful information on all the four elements you will be testing and why it is important to provide your soil with the perfect balance between them.
Although we appreciate this affordable soil test kit, the results of home testing will never be as accurate as of the ones you would get from a professional testing lab.Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.9)
2. Sonkir MS02 Soil pH Tester
This 3-in-1 soil testing kit allows you to test the soil level of moisture, pH level, and sunlight level of the plants to make sure your crops receive all necessary nutrients to grow strong and healthy. The meter allows you to easily realize when you have to water the plants, control the pH value of the soil or find alternatives for them to receive more sunlight.
The product is accurate and reliable thanks to the premium double-needle detection technology that enhances the speed of the results. Why wait for days for professional lab results or spend time adding soil to various containers and then test each of them for a different element? The MS02 product from Sonkir delivers immediate results and is easy to use.
It doesn’t require the use of batteries or electricity and is lightweight and extremely portable. All you have to do is insert the sensor probe into the soil about 2-4 inches and wait for the results to be shown on the display.
It is compact and lightweight, which means you can easily take it with you anywhere you go and test your favorite plants in your garden, lawn or terrace.
It features a strong case, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use that is designed to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions, including rain.
The product allows you to easily test the pH value in the soil, water level, and sunlight level and tells you how to adjust the values so that your plants receive all necessary ingredients to thrive and give rich crops.
The double-needle detection technology is accurate and easy to use so you’ll receive instant results.
Keep in mind that this tester is specifically designed for soil and cannot be applied to test the pH value of any other liquid.
The construction of this soil test seems rather flimsy so we suggest you use it carefully as the needles may bend.Buy from Amazon.com for ($15.99)
3. Yoyomax Soil Test Kit For Garden Plants
This 3-in-1 reliable device is easy to use by both professional gardeners and newbies. It doesn’t require the use of electricity or batteries which makes it incredibly portable and convenient to use at all times. The product is compact and lightweight and will easily fit in your pocket.
All you have to do is plug it in the soil and read it, without having to wait for days to get your results, like in the case of professional lab soil tests. It can rapidly determine the moisture level, pH value, and amount of sunlight of your soil so you can interpret the results and make adjustments according to the needs of your plants.
This way, your plants will remain perfectly watered and will receive all necessary soil nutrients to thrive and provide rich crops. The device also comes with step-by-step instructions on how to use it and how to read and interpret the results.
It is lightweight and portable, which makes it extremely easy to carry with you at all times and test the soil in your garden, lawn or pots.
The device can tell you what type of pH the soil has (acid or alkaline), how moist it is and whether or not it requires more water, as well as the amount of sunlight your plants receive to make sure they won’t dry in time.
It is easy to use – all you have to do is stick it in the soil at a distance of 2-4 inches and wait for a couple of minutes until it reads the results you’re interested in. Moreover, it doesn’t require the use of electricity or batteries.
When ordering the kit, you’ll receive all necessary accessories to perform accurate readings, as well as charts and detailed instructions on how to interpret the results and take the necessary steps to look after your plants.
The screen is small and hard to read in direct sunlight.Buy from Amazon.com for ($9.99)
4. Atree Soil pH Meter Tester Kits
Created both for indoor and outdoor use, this small device is portable, which makes it a convenient solution for those who want to quickly test the soil of their plants and crops. It is made of durable materials to last longer, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking or corroding in time, even when exposed to harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures.
The device is compact and lightweight, so it will easily fit inside your jacket’s pocket. It is delivered with clear, step-by-step instructions to help you run tests and interpret the results to know exactly the requirements of your plants.
The Atree Soil tester is designed to provide accurate results in terms of pH, soil light, and moisture, and will help you grow and enjoy rich crops of fruits and veggies. As with many other similar gadgets, the manufacturer doesn’t recommend using the soil kit to test the pH of any other type of liquid as it may alter the results and even compromise the unit.
It is recommendable for almost all types of soils, both for indoor and outdoor use.
The product is made of durable materials that won’t break, chip or corrode in time, even when exposed to direct sunlight, heavy wind, cold, rain or snow for a longer time.
It is delivered with easy-to-follow instructions on how to use it and read the results, so you can later adjust the number of nutrients in your soil and help your plants grow stronger and bigger.
One of the best features of this soil kit is that it doesn’t require any batteries or electricity, which means you can use it at any moment of the day.
The results provided by this test kit are mere suggestions and you will still need someone with more experience to accurately interpret them to adjust the number of nutrients your soil will receive for plants to thrive.Buy from Amazon.com for ($15.99)
5. Besmon Soil Moisture Sensor Kit For Gardening
According to scientists from the University of Florida, using regular soil tests for your plants can reduce water consumption by 50% and help your plants thrive, so you might want to take a look at this Besmon soil test kit review. The item is affordable and easy to use thanks to its provided step-by-step instructions that can be picked up even by newbie farmers and gardeners.
Thanks to the double-needle detection technology, it will accurately read the soil without requiring an additional source of power, be it electricity, solar power or batteries. Therefore, you can use the product any time you want, without waiting for it to recharge or worry that it will run out of energy.
The 3-in-1 design allows you to analyze sunlight, moisture, and soil pH so you can adjust the amount of fertilizer and water used on your plants. In return, they will grow stronger and you will enjoy richer crops.
This particular test kit for soil represents an excellent gardening tool for most types of fruits, flowers, and vegetables, no matter if you’re growing them indoors or outside.
It is delivered with easy-to-read step-by-step instructions to help you start testing right away.
The product is based on a double-needle sensor so it doesn’t need any external power source to function, which means you can use it any time you want, be it day or night, wind or storm, summer or winter.
What we also liked about this particular Besmon soil test kit is its portability and lightweight design, which means you can take it with you anywhere you go and fit it inside your jacket’s pocket.
You might have trouble reading the display given that it is small and not bright enough, no matter if you’re wearing glasses or trying a different reading angle. Its green color also makes it hard to spot in the soil, alongside all other flowers and green plants.Buy from Amazon.com
6. Soil Savvy Test Kit Complete Analysis
This is a ready-to-use professional-grade soil test kit designed for the general public that comes with all necessary instructions on how to use it to get accurate results.
Each kit is equipped with special instruments to receive a full analysis report on 14 of the most important soil nutrients (including K, P, and N), and soil pH. Included in the kit you will receive a laboratory submission and customer card with directions on the back, one soil scoop, one oil jar with the company’s tester inside, as well as a prepaid postage envelope.
The same soil testing is used by leading agricultural producers, landscapers, and turf managers to look after their plants and help them thrive in all environments. Therefore, you should expect professional results and, upon request, you’ll also receive fertilizer recommendations for your soil, based on your plants’ needs.
Keep in mind that this test is only for collecting the samples and won’t let you analyze and interpret the results at home.
If you’re looking for professional results delivered by labs, this kit from Soil Savvy will teach you how to properly collect and label soil samples.
The kit contains a soil jar with a Soil Savvy tester, one soil scoop, a laboratory submission, and a customer card together with directions printed on the back, as well as a prepaid postage envelope to submit your samples fast and easy.
The item allows you to receive complete nutrient analysis and fertilizer recommendations to maintain a healthy yard and garden.
It is suitable for growing organic crops and will also teach you more about the key soil components and their roles in plant health with an informative pamphlet.
Results will take 7-10 days to be complete and, if you opt for the regular mail version, it will take another week or so until you receive them at home. However, you have the choice of consulting the results online once they are ready.Buy from Amazon.com for ($26.95)
7. Environmental Concepts 1663 Professional Soil Test Kit
Rated as one of the best soil tester units on the market by customers, this product is available in three sizes, depending on the number of tests you’re looking to take. If you opt for the 80 packages, you will receive 20 identical tests for each vital soil component, potash, phosphorus, and nitrogen, as well as 20 tests for soil pH.
The kit is delivered in a sturdy plastic case and contains simple and detailed instructions on how to use and interpret the results of your tests. By purchasing it, you’ll also receive tips for gardening and altering soil conditions, as well as a pH preference list for hundreds of plants to help you make the necessary adjustments for your crops to thrive.
However, since you will be handling chemical substances, check for the expiration date to receive cogent and accurate results. If the reactors are expired, the tests conducted shouldn’t be taken into account.
It is delivered in a sturdy plastic case that prevents damage and leaking and is complete with 80 tests, enough to run 20 tests for each key soil element (potash, phosphorus, and nitrogen), as well as soil pH, to find out the specific requirements for your plants to thrive.
Unlike other home kits, the results of this one are accurate and the testing process is done in a professional manner, similar to the method used by specialized labs.
The kit includes a set of step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow and help you perform accurate testing, even if you’re an amateur gardener or farmer.
All the powders and liquids contained in this kit are safe to use and will not pose a treat to your health or a hazard to the environment.
There are no replacements for this kit so, once you run out of reactors and tests, you’ll have to purchase a new one.Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.47)
8. Garden Tutor Soil Test Strips
If you’re looking for an easy method to find the exact pH of your soil, this kit from Garden Tutor represents an affordable and convenient option. It is calibrated specifically for soil pH testing and delivers fast and accurate results. The kit contains 100 test strips and will help you optimize soil pH to meet the needs of specific plants.
There is also a useful handbook containing 16 pages of full-color pH testing with sulfur and lime application charts to help you understand and interpret the results of your tests. This is important especially if you’re looking to change the color of certain flowers using soil pH (the more alkaline the soil is, the brighter the color of the flower).
However, keep in mind that the pH of the water can affect the overall pH of the soil, so you need to determine what type of water you are using for your crops and then adjust the pH of the soil taking into account the results.
There are 100 test strips in the kit, enough to perform no less than 100 soil pH tests for all your plants to ensure proper nourishment.
The kit promises to deliver fast and accurate results as it is calibrated for soil pH testing only and will help you optimize the soil pH according to the specific needs of your plants.
It includes a useful handbook completed with 16 pages of full-color pH testing to better read and interpret the results, even if you’re a newbie in the field.
The results provided are close to the ones you’ll get from professional testing labs, only at a fraction of the cost and the time.
The tests are designed for soil only and won’t test accurately to determine the pH of water. However, the water pH may influence the results of your soil test so you should first determine the type of water that is used for the crops and plants before making any adjustments to the soil pH.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.98)
9. Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil-Testing Kit
If you’re looking for a cheap soil test kit with accurate results, this product from Whitetail Institute could prove a good option. It promises to deliver high-standard results for almost all types of soils so you can adjust the ratios of fertilizer and water to enhance the growth cycle of all your plants.
You can use it to test both indoor and outdoor plants and one kit contains all necessary accessories to gather your soil samples. There is a scoop and a container for your soil sample, as well as detailed instructions on how to properly collect the sample and package it for testing.
Once all steps are followed, all you have to do is put the received envelope in the mailbox and wait for the results. You should expect your results in 7-10 days but it may take a little longer if you choose to have them sent by mail.
The kit includes all necessary accessories to take quality soil samples that you’ll later send for testing.
The company promises to deliver accurate and professional results since it uses similar technologies to the ones you will find in specialized labs.
You won’t have to invest any money in other agricultural devices, accessories, chemicals or reactive to test your soil.
The results guarantee better food plot performance by eliminating excess lime and fertilizer purchases and second guesses.
Unlike testing units that take as little as 60 seconds for a soil reading, you will have to wait up to 10 days to receive your lab results, which might slow down your gardening process.
The option seems feasible only for growing one type of plant as different plants thrive in different soil pHs so what may be good for your blueberries won’t be as good for your lettuce or tomato crops.Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.95)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Soil tests are essential for gardeners and farmers who want to know more about their plants and adjust the soil pH to grow stronger, healthier plants, and enjoy richer crops. If you’re looking for efficient yet cheap soil test kits, here are some features you should take into account to make sure you picked the right option for your gardens and lawns.
What type of soil test is the best option for you?
There are three main types of soil tests you can use to measure the micro and macronutrients, as well as the pH in your soil so you know how much water and fertilizer to add to your crops.
Most of the chemical testing kits are easy to use and are specifically designed for newbie gardeners and farmers. All you have to do is add a small sample of soil from your vegetable garden or lawn to a vial and then drop in a colored capsule corresponding to the vial lid.
Shake and wait for the chemical reaction to take place. Most kits provide a reference chart so you can easily read the results of your test by comparing them to the charts. This first step should give you a rough idea of the nutrient value and pH of the soil but further investigations must be taken if you want to take action.
Depending on the kit, you can also find recommendations on how to interpret the results, as well as what measures you should take to feed your fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
On the not so bright side, each chemical soil testing kit comes with a limited set of tests and reagents, which means that you will have to restock the reagents after they are finished. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide this option, you’ll have to buy an entirely new kit.
Keep in mind that chemicals and reagents also have an expiration date so you shouldn’t use them if they are past that date as the results are no longer reliable.
Digital soil testing devices
Digital testing kits are more complex than chemical tests and require some basic gardening and farming knowledge to read and interpret the results.
On the other hand, there are no parts that require replacement, so you’ll only pay for the initial investment. In other words, they are a more affordable solution in the long term, especially if you grow different types of plants that require specific soil needs to thrive.
Most kits in the digital category come with a probe that you have to stick directly into the soil. After waiting for a few seconds, you’ll be able to read the most important results that test for soil pH, water, and sunshine.
One of the main advantages of these products is that they are lightweight and compact, meaning you can easily carry them with you in your jacket’s pocket and perform quick soil testing at all times. Most of them rely on a battery to charge the screen while others will charge using solar energy. Either way, there is no use for outlets.
In addition, you can perform soil testing at any hour of the day, temperature or weather conditions as the soil test results won’t be corrupted by external factors. Thus, they can be successfully used for both indoor and outdoor plants.
However, most digital testing kits mainly focus on the testing of the pH and only a few will also tell the nutrient value. This means they are less effective than chemical testing kits and their result accuracy varies depending on the manufacturer and your gardening skills.
It is important to mention that they are specifically designed for soil and cannot be used to find the pH value of other liquids.
Professional lab testing
This is the most accurate method to test the nutrient quantity and pH of your soil. There are several kits you can use at home that teach you how to take a good soil sample for the best results. The kits are complete with scoops and sealed containers to place the soil but you’ll have to wait for it to fully dry before sending it for lab analysis.
Depending on the lab, the test results will be ready after 7-10 days and you can choose to get them online or by mail. The lab testing method is pricey and takes more time by comparison to all other soil testing methods but it is the most accurate.
Unfortunately, it is not sustainable if you’re growing different types of crops. On the bright side, you will receive a full chemical analysis of the soil, and will also provide you useful information on how much sand, silt, clay or organic material is present in your mix to make the right adjustments to the growing substrate.
You also have the option to receive the full interpretation of the lab results and professional recommendations on how to adjust the soil’s ratio of water and fertilizers to get the best results for your plants.
And, if you’re still not sure which method will work best for you, we suggest you read some online soil test kit reviews and see the opinions of other customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you test your own soil?
As you have probably seen from the previously described products, many soil kits allow testing in the comfort of your own home, without having to wait for days until lab results are ready.
Depending on your budget and proficiency in gardening, you can choose from various types of home testing soil kits. Some of them will test for all four main elements (soil pH and the level of nitrogen, potash, and phosphorus), while others will also tell you the moisture level and the amount of sunlight your plants are receiving.
Individual soil test kits will require you to take samples of soil and add them in small recipients and then test each sample for an individual element. They take more time but, based on the results, will tell you exactly how to balance these elements so your plants can thrive.
Sensor meters are compact, lightweight, and portable, which makes them more convenient to use on a larger scale.
Q: Do soil test kits expire?
This depends on the type of soil test kit you are using. Soil fertility and pH tests done at home are more affordable than professional lab testing but they won’t last forever. If you’re opting for a home kit, you’ll have to replace the chemicals or reagents after a while as they will expire.
3-in-1 devices give you results on the spot and use different technologies that don’t require reagents. They test moisture and pH in the soil, similar to other home kits but won’t expire, which means you can use them any time you want. However, they are a bit more complicated to read and interpret, and they might not represent the best solution for beginner gardeners.
Constant soil testing is the best way to make sure your crops thrive and have all the necessary nutrients at all times, which is why 3-in-1 devices are more efficient money-wise.
Q: Are soil test kits reliable?
Soil testing represents an important component of a plant nutrient management for gardeners and farmers, as well as agricultural service personnel. However, the accuracy of home soil test kits differs depending on the brand you’re opting for.
Given that numerous brands provide similar test kits to use in the comfort of your own home, the accuracy of testing differs between 33% and 94%, according to professional studies in the field.
The same studies revealed that nitrogen testing was the most accurate amongst all testings from all brands, while pH level scored great differences. That being said, the accuracy of a home pH soil tester depends on various factors, including the knowledge of the gardener or farmer.
If you’re looking for more accurate results, the only solution is to choose a professional testing lab that handles soil samples. They are more expensive and might take a few days until you will get the results.