a soil moisture meter

Best Soil Moisture Meters 2019: Comprehensive Reviews and Buying Guide

One of the most vital steps you can take in starting your garden is to make sure you have good soil moisture. But you can’t tell what condition your soil by just by having a look at it. That’s where soil testing kits come in.

Technology has made this easier. There are gardening gadgets for measuring various soil factors. For instance, moisture content and the pH. These gadgets can help you save some of your cash that you could have spent on hiring outside help.

What is a Soil Moisture Meter?

A soil moisture content meter is a device for measuring the moisture content in your soil. Different plant species require distinct amounts of water.

Based on its readings, a soil moisture meter will give you a clear idea of what needs to be done to make the soil suitable for the plants you’re planning to grow. Here is a short video showing how a soil moisture meter works.

Top 10 Best Soil Moisture Meters

Reviews of The Best Soil Moisture Meters

1. General Tools MMD4E Moisture Meter

The General Tools MMD4E is a battery powered, pin type moisture meter fitted with two sharp spikes on its top frame. It weighs 6.4 ounces and measures 5.5 x 9.5 x 1.4 inches, small enough to be handheld.

Other than soil, it can be used to measure the moisture content in different materials. For example, concrete drywall, subflooring, and wood.

It is fitted with an easy to read LCD screen for quick and simple reading. Directly below the LCD screen, there are three LEDs (Low, Mid, High), a power button, a mode button, and a hold button.

The MMD4E is pretty simple to operate. All you need to do is power it up and select the material type by pressing the mode button. After that, stick the stainless-steel pins into the surface of what you are measuring. The moisture content reading is shown on the meter’s screen.

Additionally, you’ll get a rating of whether the moisture content is low, mid or high. The reading is accompanied by a beeping sound depending on the material’s wetness.

Pros

  • Lightweight and ergonomic size for easy handling and portability.
  • The stainless-steel sensor pins can be replaced.
  • LCD.
  • Has an a
  • Auto-off feature to save on battery life.

Cons

  • The plastic casing isn’t sturdy, can easily break.

2. FIXKIT Soil Moisture Meter

If you are looking for a cheap and easy to use soil moisture meter, then you’ve got one in FIXKIT. This soil moisture meter weighs 3.2 ounces and measures 13.1 x 3.9 x 1.6 inches. It features a simple build, designed to fits its intended use.

On its top frame is a scale reading ranging from 1-10. Readings from 1-3 denote dryness, 4-7 moist, and lastly, 8-10 will indicate wetness or rather a high moisture content. There is a 7.5” long spike fitted with an inbuilt sensor.

Another impressive feature is that the FIXIT soil moisture meter isn’t electric or battery powered. All you need is dip its prong into the soil, wait for a few seconds, and you’ll have your moisture reading. Ideally, you can also gently tap it on the center stalk of a plant, and you’ll still get its moisture content rates.

However, exercise caution when dipping it in the soil, the prong is brittle and can break if used on dry ground. Moreover, don’t forget to wipe the sensor using a soft cloth or paper towel before storing it away.

Pros

  • Easily readable scale.
  • Simple to use.
  • Works on its own doesn’t require battery power or electricity.

Cons

  • Non-replaceable prong, the device is rendered useless in case its sensor breaks.
  • Brittle prong.
  • Plastic build isn’t sturdy enough.

3. 7Pros Soil Test Kit

7Pros Soil Test Kit is a 3 in 1 soil tester. Other than measuring the soil’s moisture; it also tests the pH levels, and whether your plants are getting adequate sunlight. It features a stunning design and weighs a mere 3.2 ounces.

On its front panel, this 3-way tester is equipped with an easy to read scale and a band selector. At the bottom are two spikes with inbuilt sensors. Each variable has its scale, well-labeled with easy to read font and colors.

This soil testing kit isn’t battery or electricity powered. To use it, use the band selector to pick which soil property you want to measure.

For instance, if you’re going to measure the pH levels, you’ll move the selector to the pH mode. After that, dip the probe of your 7 Pros Soil Test Kit in the soil area you want to assess.

Pros

  • 3-way soil and sunlight tester.
  • Stunning design.
  • Well labeled and easy to read scale.
  • Isn’t battery/electricity powered.

Cons

  • Plastic build isn’t durable.
  • Non-replaceable prongs.

4. Sonkir 3 in 1 Soil pH Meter

The Sonkir 3 in 1 soil testing kit features a simplistic design completed with two 7.9-inch-long copper and aluminum probes attached to its end. It weighs 2.4 ounces and measures 11.5 x 2 x 1.5 inches.

It is equipped with a three-way scale to measure soil moisture content, sunlight, and pH level. The pH and moisture content scales are color coded for easy reading.

Besides that, the Sonkir MS02 features a Premium Double-needle Detection Technology. This technology boosts the rate and precision of detecting and evaluating soil moisture and pH levels readings.

No batteries/electricity needed, dip the sensor spikes 2-4 inches deep into the soil, move the switch to the variable you would like to measure. Pause for few minutes until the pointer stops swinging to get an accurate reading on the scale.

The MS02 isn’t limited for indoor use only it can also be used for testing the soil in your lawn or farm. A few points to note, if the plant/soil is parched the soil pointer will not move. Don’t force it into tough soil or hard surfaces as it will be easy to damage the probes.

Lastly, don’t leave the tester in the soil for extended periods and remember to clean the probes after each use to enhance the kit’s durability.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Premium Double-needle Detection Technology to improve accuracy.
  • 3-way soil and sunlight tester.
  • It doesn’t need electricity/battery power.

Cons

  • Its probes are nonreplaceable.

5. THZY Indoor/Outdoor Moisture Meter

The THZY indoor/outdoor moisture meter offers a combination of precision, accuracy, and durability. It weighs a paltry 2.08 ounces and measures 7.9 x 3.9 x 1.2 inches to boost its portability as an outdoor soil testing kit.

Using this moisture meter is simple. Just insert the probe into the soil about 3-5 inches deep to test the moisture content. It’s fitted with a color-coded scale for easy to read and accurate results.

No batteries are required to power this device.

Always ensure that the soil you are about to test is soft to avoid damaging its sensitive probes. Additionally, make sure you wipe the probes clean after each use.

You will also find detailed instructions and watering tips printed on the back of an included pamphlet.

Pros

  • Simplistic and lightweight build.
  • East to read scale.
  • No batteries required.
  • Long enough probe.

Cons

  • It lacks a pH and sunlight meter.

6. New Resources Group Indoor/Outdoor Moisture Meter

The New Resources Group moisture meter carries a simple design coupled with a lightweight build for easy portability. It weighs slightly under 2 ounces and measures 10 x 4 x 2 inches, capable of fitting in one hand.

The device is fitted with an 8-inch metal stem -long enough for penetrating to root level-. An easy to read graduated dial shows if the soil is dry, moist or wet so that the garden or lawn can be watered as required.

The New Resources Group moisture meter doesn’t require battery or electricity to work. To test a soil sample, carefully dip the metal stick into the soil wait for a few minutes, and you’ll get the readings. A word of caution, do not use excessive force when plugging the probe in the soil.

Additionally, do use it on a hard surface.

It is vital that you clean the metal stem after each use to extend the lifespan of your moisture meter.

Pros

  • It features a simplistic and lightweight design for portability.
  • It is fitted with a well calibrated and easy to read scale.
  • Sturdy plastic build for durability.
  • It doesn’t use electricity/battery.

Cons

  • Its metal stem isn’t replaceable.

7. Veezy 3-Way Soil Moisture Analyzer

The Veezy 3-way soil moisture analyzer is an all in one soil testing gadget. It is capable of measuring the soil humidity, pH levels, and sunlight availability.

Tipping the scales at 4.8 ounces and measuring 1 x 2 x 11 inches, this soil testing kit is portable and can be used both indoors and outdoors.

It is fitted with two probes for accurate testing. Next on, is a meter scale calibrated to the Mean Solar Table developed by USDA, to boost its precision. The meter also uses an elite purple chromatic filter to color correct light for plants.

Using this 3-way soil moisture analyzer is straightforward. Plug the probes into the soil, toggle the switch to the desired measuring variable (pH, light, moisture), and read the scale.

Unplug it from the earth as soon you’re done using it and wipe it down to avoid corroding the prongs.

Well, aside from two Veezy 3-way soil moisture analyzers, you will also get a comprehensive plant watering guide for every purchase.

Pros

  • Measures 3 crucial plant requirements.
  • Lightweight for easy portability.
  • No are batteries/electricity required for operation.
  • Sturdy plastic build.

Cons

  • Its sensor fitted probes cannot be replaced.

8. AKEfit 3 in 1 Soil pH Meter

AKEfit is a 3 in 1 soil moisture meter. It comes with a pH and sunlight tester design to provide you with data on the soil condition of your lawn or garden. It weighs a paltry 1.76 ounces and measures 11.5 x 2.1 x 0.8 inches for mobility.

There are three calibration scales on this multipurpose soil meter tool. Color-coded with blue, green, and red colors for visibility and easy reading.

No batteries are required for this gardening device. Dip it a few inches in the soil, adjust the switch to the particular property, and immediately get an accurate and precise reading. The readings will help you make the needed alterations to have healthy crops.

Always remember to clean the prongs after each use. Also, to extend the soil tester’s lifetime, avoid leaving it plugged in the soil for long periods.

Pros

  • Compact and portable design, suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
  • No batteries required.
  • It measures three vital plant needs, pH, humidity and sunlight.

Cons

  • Non-replaceable probes

9. Niagara Conservation Indoor/Outdoor Moisture Meter

Niagara is a modest moisture meter designed with the required features to get you needed results without too much hassle.

It features a compact design and an 8-inch copper probe for testing the soil’s moisture levels.

You don’t need any batteries or electricity. Dip the probes into the soil, and the analog scale will automatically show whether the soil is dry, moist or wet.

The manufacturer doesn’t recommend for permanent outdoor use. Ensure you clean up the probe as soon as you’re done using the moisture meter. Additionally, do not leave it dipped in the soil for long periods.

Pros

  • Compact and simple design.
  • Simple and easy to read analog scale.
  • It does not require electric/battery power.
  • A long copper probe capable of reaching the plants’ root level.

Cons

  • The manufacturer doesn’t recommend for permanent outdoor use.
  • The probe cannot be replaced.

10. Dr. Meter [Soil Moisture Meter] Hygrometer Moisture Sensor for Garden

With the Dr. Meter, you probably have the best and easy to use soil moisture meter available.

It is built from sturdy plastic completed off with portable and compact design for indoor and outdoor use. It weighs 3.2 ounces and measures 3 x 3 x 3 inches.

It is equipped with a color-coded scale that ranges from red for dry, green for moist, and blue for wet. To get started, dip the meter’s probe 2-4 inches into the soil, wait for a few seconds and you’ll have your results.

This device isn’t battery/electricity powered. Avoid using this device on a hard block of soil to avoid damaging its prongs. Additionally, don’t leave it plugged in the ground for long periods.

Pros

  • Portable and compact build for indoor and outdoor use.
  • It does not require batteries.
  • Color-coded and easy to read analog scale.
  • Simple to use.

Cons

  • The probe cannot be replaced.

Importance of Measuring Soil Moisture

Soil moisture is a measure of the water content present in the soil. Each plant species needs a different amount of soil moisture to absorb water, minerals salts, and nutrients efficiently.

Here are some of the critical reason why you should measure the soil moisture content regularly.

  • Water is an essential compound for photosynthesis.
  • Moisture content does have an effect on the chemical process and biological life within the soil.
  • Soil moisture helps keep the soil temperature in check.
  • Soil water often acts as a medium for the absorption of nutrients and other minerals necessary for healthy plant growth.

Tips on How to Get the Best Readings from A Soil Moisture Meter

Before moving on to how to get the best and most accurate reading from a soil moisture meter, it is essential you understand how it works.

First off, most moisture meters aren’t cell/electric powered, the reason for this is because the meter itself acts as a battery. How so? A meter’s probe/probes are made out of copper/aluminum with a lead tip.

Copper and aluminum are both conductors of electricity thus forming the anode, lead isn’t, and it acts as the cathode. The soil’s moisture works as the electrolyte, completing up the circuit.

Since you’ve now got a rough idea on how the soil moisture meter works, here are some vital tips to help you get the best readings.

  • Clean the meter’ probes using something like steel wool or soft piece of cloth before plugging it into the soil.
  • Ensure there are no magnetic materials or metallic objects within proximity.
  • Avoid holding the meter’s probes with your hands. Oils and sweat on your palm and fingertips will affect the accuracy of the results.
  • Always ensure the metallic tip is tight before use. If it isn’t, ensure you tighten it up first (but not too much).

Factors to Consider When Buying a Soil Moisture Meter

Both over-watering and under-watering your plants can have very adverse effects on your plants’ health.

A decent soil moisture meter will help you do away with speculations on how best and regularly you should water your plants.

Here are some of the essential factors you should keep in check when you go shopping for a new soil moisture meter.

Digital vs. Analog

Analog moisture content meters in the market don’t require battery power. Aside from being cheap, this is a huge plus as you won’t worry about the extra costs of purchasing batteries.

The digital types are battery powered, so you’ll probably need to buy AA or AAA to get it up and running. However, digital meters are more sensitive and provide more accurate results.

Outdoor/Indoor Use

Most indoor/outdoor soil moisture meters feature a characteristic compact and lightweight design for easy portability.

Nonetheless, the manufacturers don’t recommend for permanent outdoor use since this may affect the meter’s durability.

If you are looking for one for permanent outdoor use, always go for one with a sturdy build capable of withstanding different climatic conditions.

Probes

Probes are like the central nervous system of the soil meter. Probes found on cheap soil meters are non replaceable in case they get damaged which always renders the moisture tester useless.

You can opt for a soil moisture meter with replaceable probes, albeit at a higher price.

One significant advantage of this is that if the pins get corroded or broken you can easily replace them and your gadget will work just fine.

3-Way Soil Moisture Meters

Aside from the moisture content, they also measure the soil pH levels and sunlight availability.

They are a little bit expensive than the average moisture meters (that measure moisture content alone). If you are looking for a device that’ll give you more detailed info about your soil then go for it.

Maintaining Your Soil Moisture Meter

You have to ensure you take maximum care of your soil moisture meter to boost its durability.

In the long run, you’ll be able to save a lot of money while getting the most out of your gardening kit.

Here are a few essential tips to extend your meter’s lifespan.

  • Always remember to clean the prongs after each use.
  • Avoid leaving it plugged in the soil for long periods.
  • Don’t attempt dipping or forcing the meter’s probes into hard soil blocks/rocky surfaces.
  • If your soil moisture meter is battery powered, ensure you detach the cells if you
  • won’t be using any time soon. This prevents corrosion that can destroy the meter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can it be used for all plant species?

Yes. You can use the soil moisture meter to test the soil moisture content of your vegetable garden, flower pots or the shrubs and grass in your lawn.

The bottom line is, as long as the probes can penetrate the soil deep enough to the roots level, you’ll get helpful results.

Can the 3-way meter be used to test the pH of water?

No, it cannot. All the brands we have reviewed are designed for testing soil pH only.

Will it work in dry soil?

A battery powered digital soil meter will work. However, for those that aren’t battery powered, there won’t be any needle movement.

Can the meter be left plugged in a flower pot?

No, the reason being if the probes are stuck in the soil for long duration, they will start corroding leading to permanent damage.

It’s always best to unplug the meter from the soil, immediately you get the readings. Also, don’t forget to clean the probes before storing the meter.

How long does the meter take to gauge the soil moisture content?

Probably within a few seconds, you’ll have your results. However, to get the most precise an accurate results it is best you wait for close to ten minutes.

4 thoughts on “Best Soil Moisture Meters 2019: Comprehensive Reviews and Buying Guide”

  1. My pots are wooden: 24 inch diameter by 16 inches high. I have 8 of them. Don’t want to put too much water into them and rot the wood; the pots seem damp on their lower ends. 3 of the pots have trees; other 5 bushes and flowers. What kind of meter should I get?

  2. Hi Shari, I would advice that you water the plants on a daily basis, this will allow you to use little amounts of water that the soil in the pots can comfortably hold without draining to the bottom.

    Also, waterproofing the pots floor using non toxic, plant safe waterproofing liquid, then drilling a few holes to drain excess water from the pots will offer a permanent solution.

    As for my recommendation, the FIXKIT Soil Moisture Meter sounds like a good fit for you, check out it’s pros and cones in the review.

  3. I interfaced soil moisture sensor to know the humidity at soil I interfaced the sensor with Arduino nano I want to push the data with thingspeak but the humidity of soil to crop the agriculture purpose project any body provide the code plss.

    1. Hi Sravya, thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, the project you are undertaking is beyond my scope, therefore, I am unable to provide you with any advice. I wish you success, looks like an interesting project 🙂

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