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Last updated: March 23, 2021
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Poor soil can make growing plants a nightmare! If you’re struggling to get the results you want, your soil could well be the problem. Thus, getting the best soil test kit is the potential solution. Depending on the type, they will test the pH level, moisture content, and a lot more. With many options out there, it can be hard to know what you need. We’re here to give you all the information you need to get the most out of your soil.
What makes the best home soil test kit? There are a few crucial factors, such as what it can test, speed, and accuracy. The instructions and recommendations are also important considerations because they provide more value for the money. By the time you get to the end of our article, you’ll know which of these soil test kits will be the best one for you. Let’s get started!
"An easy-to-use capsule kit that contains components for 40 tests and an eye-dropper for solution transfer.pH, N, P, K tests.Comes with pH preference list and fertilization guidelines.Patented color comparators."
"For those looking for an affordable tester, this 3-in-1 model is highly effective and requires no battery.pH, sunlight intensity, moisture level tests.Compact for indoor and outdoor use.User-friendly design."
"This lab soil test kit comes with simple-to-follow instructions and organic and synthetic fertilizer recommendations.pH, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, B, Cu, Zn, Na tests.Tool set included.Professional guidance."
"Do you need a more detailed analysis? With this kit, you will get the lab results within one week.pH, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, organic matter percentage tests.Easy-to-follow instructions.Professional consultation included."
"This kit offers detailed nutrient test results within 7-10 days along with fertilizer recommendations.pH and 14 nutrient tests.Professional-grade soil test kit.Includes customer card with directions and tools."
This Luster Leaf product is probably the best rapid test kit out there today. You don’t need to send anything off to get your results, and you’ll be able to know the pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash levels of your soil. This can all be worked out by the color reference guide.
You get 10 tests for each one to know exactly what you need. That’s helped by the Rapitest soil test kit giving you a guidebook for the preferred pH levels for over 450 plants along with information on the fertilizer you should be using. The system is quite simple as you can use the eye-dropper included to transfer your solution.
What we liked: This is the best test that you can do completely at home. Also, the instructions are easy to follow, and you can get clear results in no time at all. The 40 tests in total give you great value for money and allow you to monitor your soil until you can make it perfect for whatever you’re growing.
What could be better: While this is generally a very easy kit to use, opening the capsules can be quite difficult, which is a bit of an annoyance. It’s a minor gripe as apart from that, this is a very impressive soil test kit.
This home soil test kit isn’t going to check any mineral content of the soil, but instead, it will check the pH level, moisture, and sunlight. The lawn soil test kit is rapid to use, as all you need to do is stick it into the ground.
Checking the moisture content can seem simple, but often the old finger test can be deceptive. This gadget is excellent at avoiding any overwatering. You can also easily use it inside or outside which ensures you’ll get plenty of use out of it.
What we liked: This may look like a simple device, but it’s brilliant at giving you the results you’re looking for. It’s a low-cost option but can give you crucial details about your soil. There are also three different color options available, which is a nice touch.
What could be better: One of the greatest advantages of this kit is speed, but it does lack a little bit of accuracy. The pH levels might be a little bit out when compared to more professional models.
While the best home soil pH test kit may give you rapid results, sometimes you want to have detailed expert analysis. With this garden soil test kit, you send it off for your results, and what you get back is reports on pH and 12 different minerals.
It’s a more professional way of getting the right information. You can use the nutrient absorbing capsule, water, and scoop, which are all included. Once you’re ready, you can send off your sample in the pre-paid envelope, and you’ll have your results shortly after.
What we liked: What you get here is a high level of accuracy that allows you to make the exact changes you need to get awesome results. That’s helped by the detailed guide that will even show you what type of fertilizer you should be getting. It’s ideal for those who want the fine details.
What could be better: The big downside to sending off a soil test kit is that it’s going to take longer to complete. That patience can pay off if you want to have greater and more accurate information.
This is the best lawn soil test kit for anyone looking for a longer probe that they can place deep into the ground. It helps to make the best soil test kit for grass as well as being ideal for a wide variety of other applications.
This model is going to give you accurate measurements for pH, sunlight, and moisture. It has a good level of reliability, and it won’t require the use of any batteries. The whole unit is very well made, and this should give you great soil feedback for years to come.
What we liked: We loved the length of the needle on this device, which gives you great versatility on how it can be used. Usability is very high here, and it won’t take long until you know exactly how to use it. It needs no batteries, which is also a nice feature.
What could be better: We found that some people reported inaccuracies when they first started using the kit. Sometimes the tips of the needles need cleaning with a wire brush before they can show the results properly.
Here, we see another soil pH test kit that you can send off to get good results. You see some of the best soil test kit reviews on this model, which shows its popularity among those that have used it for their soil.
It’s able to test a wide range of key points that allow you to take direct action on your soil. The instructions are simple to follow, and you can be sent to you by letter or e-mail. With both methods being convenient, you should have your results back within a week.
What we liked: The soil analysis you get back from the company is exceptional and highly detailed. It gives you plenty of information to work with. Also, you’ll know how to take the next steps. This all comes from a simple process that is easy to follow.
What could be better: While the results should be sent back to you, this doesn’t happen for everyone. You may need to chase them up and see where they are. This is rare but worth bearing in mind.
Garden Tutor has made this fantastic soil test kit that is ideal for anyone who simply wants to test the pH of their soil. There are 100 strips available that allow you to test your soil and check on its progress repeatedly.
With these being pH strips, your results are going to be extremely quick. All you need to do is check them against the color chart provided. You’ll also get a full testing handbook. It’s a cheap and easy way to get repeated measurements of your pH.
What we liked: We loved the number of strips that you get in the pack here. Despite being a rapid form of test, the results you receive are impressively accurate. The handbook will also walk you through the process, and you’ll soon be feeling like a soil expert.
What could be better: Trying to match up your strip to the color chart can be a little tough at times. This will be especially difficult for anyone that struggles with colors but does get easier with a little practice.
Soil Savvy are experts in giving you the information you need to grow your plants like never before. This is another test kit that you send off where you get that advantage of having precise details about the contents of your soil.
You get everything that you need within the kit, and that includes a pre-paid envelope to send away your soil. Once you send it off, then you should expect to receive your results in 7-10 days. These results are sent by e-mail, which makes them very easy to read.
What we liked: As with any of the kits that you send away, the big advantage is not only the accuracy but also the depth of your results. It provides sensational feedback, and this allows you to make specific changes that are going to be hugely beneficial to your plants.
What could be better: There was a period where their website was down and people couldn’t access their results. The issue seems to be resolved now, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
If you like the Garden Tutor strips that we looked at earlier, then this is another great option. This is able to test on the complete pH range from 0-14, which is useful if you think that your soil is going to be heavily on one side of the scale.
You also get 100 strips here, and that gives you plenty to work with. They are effortlessly simple to use, and they will give you results in a matter of seconds. Given the number of strips, you can also test several parts of your garden.
What we liked: The simplicity of these strips gives them great versatility. Along with the soil, you may even want to test the water or something else. Aside from that, they can also be used with any type of soil, whether inside or outside. You’ll love how easy it is to use.
What could be better: You get the same problems here that you get with the Garden Tutor kit. It can be hard for some people to interpret the colors. This can lead to a bit of confusion, but for most people, it will be fine.
We looked at the Luster Leaf analog tests before that are phenomenally good. These are the digital version for anyone that wanted an even easier kit to use. They test for the same things and have the ability to provide 25 tests.
The usability is exceptionally high here, and many people will appreciate the use of LED lights rather than trying to compare different colors. The push-button process couldn’t be easier, and you’ll soon get the guidance you need from the materials that are provided.
What we liked: Those LED results are probably the key feature here, and it gives you a high level of confidence. The accuracy is very impressive, and the clear instructions give you all the info you need. It all adds up to exceptional value for money.
What could be better: The results here take a little longer than with the strip test, but that’s only going to be an issue if you’re quite impatient. For most people, this is a brilliant kit and allows you to have sureness in your findings.
Here is another quick test that is able to test for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash levels. You get everything you need here for quick results, including a container and the 10 test strips that come with this model.
A great addition to the kit is the 24-page soil treatment guide. It’s highly informative and allows you to get a true depth of knowledge in terms of how to get the most out of your soil. Thus, the whole set-up is easy to use, and you can get fast results to start taking action straight away.
What we liked: The ease of use of these test kits are a great feature, as is the speed at which you can get the results back. The accuracy of these tests is also impressive and allows you to improve your soil quickly and effectively.
What could be better: This is one of the most expensive kits that we’ve seen out there, and you pay quite a high price per test. That may be a little too much for some, but you do get excellent results here.
Things to Consider
You’re most likely looking for a soil test kit as you’re not happy with the growing results you currently have. It’s important to be able to identify issues and make changes. To do that, you not only need a kit you can rely on but one that gives you the information you require to take proper actions. In this guide, we’ll be going through all the key features, so you know what to look for. In the end, we’ll answer some FAQs to clear up any queries you may have.
How to pick the best soil test kit?
The first thing you need to know is what type of kit you’re looking for. We’ll go into that in more detail immediately below, but there are key differences. This includes being able to test different nutrients, moisture, sunlight, and pH. Beyond that, you’ll also want to look at how easy they are to use, what recommendations they give, how accurate the results are, and also how fast the process is. When you take all this into account, you can start to build up a picture of the best soil test kit for you.
There are a few different types of test kits, but they can be mainly put into three categories.
3-in-1 tests – Testers, such as the Sonkir Soil pH Meter 3-in-1 Kit, are generally probes that can measure the pH, moisture content, and sunlight. They offer rapid results but aren’t quite as accurate as other methods. It’s ideal for those wanting quick and easy tests.
Chemical tests – These kits use strips or containers to measure the pH of the soil, which is perhaps the most important measurement. The tests are usually exceptional quick and involve testing the color of the chemical reaction against a chart. For example, the Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit is a great choice here.
Lab tests – Products such as the MySoil Soil Test Kit are going to be the most accurate and detailed method. This is where you take a sample of your soil and send it away for analysis.
While you get the benefits of accuracy, the lab tests are usually a little more expensive and take more time.
What does it test?
It’s important to know the pH of your soil, as if it’s too acidic or alkaline, it could damage your plants. All the kits we’ve looked at here will test for it. Along with pH, you may want to know that nutrients are within the soil.
The most important are the macronutrients like nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K), and they are vital for plant growth. The Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit is great for measuring all of the above and gives you vital information.
If you want to test the micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc, you’ll probably need a kit that you can send away, such as with the MySoil Soil Test Kit. This will give you a full breakdown of everything within your soil.
Each type of kit will come with different things within the package. For the test kits that you send away, you’ll most likely get a sample jar and a scoop to complete the process. Some will also have a nutrient absorbing capsule that they can then test. Additionally, you should have a pre-paid envelope included so that you don’t have to worry about any postage costs.
If you’re getting a chemical kit, you’ll want to know how many tests you’ll have in total. In this instance, the Garden Tutor gives you an impressive 100 strips, which allow for a lot of testing to be done. The 3-in-1 devices come ready to use, and you don’t need anything else to do the testing.
Not everyone is going to be familiar with how to test soil, so it’s important to have well-written instructions, so you know what you’re doing. We were impressed with all 10 of the kits here, with the Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil Test Kit being a great example with simple and easy-to-follow instructions.
Every test is going to be a little different, and therefore, it’s always wise to follow them. This is especially true of the lab test kits as these are a one-time use product, so you don’t want to waste your money by getting it wrong.
An impressive aspect of many of these kits is the guidance you get. The Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit is a great example of this. Not only does it give you the preferred pH level of 450 plants, but it will also give you fertilizer recommendations depending on your findings.
The MySoil Soil Test Kit is brilliant for giving you a detailed analysis. This includes fertilizer recommendations that allow you to take precise steps for better plant growth. Having this information can be vital, especially if you’re starting out on your plant growth journey.
Each type of kit is going to give you a different level of accuracy. The 3-in-1 kits with the probe are perhaps going to be the least accurate when it comes to pH. The best ones aren’t out by much, but this isn’t the best idea for those wanting absolute precision.
If you want to have the most accurate results, you’ll need to use a kit that you can send away. The downside here is going to be time.
We mentioned it in the above section, as speed has a big correlation with accuracy. In terms of these kits, usually, the faster you get the results, the more inaccurate they’ll be. The 3-in-1 tests are rapid and will be able to give you an instant gauge on that pH level, moisture content, and light.
The chemical tests are going to be a little slower, but not by much, and you shouldn’t have to wait too long. The lab tests obviously need to be posted out and then analyzed. Most companies will promise to have your results back in about 7-10 days.
Along with the price, you should also have a look at what you’re getting for your money. The 3-in-1 kits, such as the Sonkir Soil pH Meter, can be used time and time again and only cost around $15.
You should be looking to pay a similar amount for testing strips such as the Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips. Digital test kits can be a little more expensive at around $30, as you get that extra level of usability.
For those lab kits, you can expect to pay around $30, which has everything included. The MySoil Soil Test Kit is around this figure. It may seem a little more expensive, but you’re getting plenty for your money with detailed analysis.
As you can see, the prices don’t vary by much, so choosing the right one should be much simpler. Just remember to pick the proper type that matches your needs.
It’s best to take a proactive attitude to soil testing. It makes sense to find out if your soil is healthy before you start planting. That way, you can have full confidence that your plants are going to be as healthy as possible before you start growing them. Some may take a more reactive approach as simply try and solve issues where they see them, which is fine. While this can be less exhaustive, it means you can waste time growing plants in unfavorable conditions. Once you have the right levels, then it’s a good idea to check your soil every few years to see if anything has changed.
This will depend on what type of test kit you have, but one important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t presume how to use it. That way, you may skip crucial steps that are required for the process. It’s always the best idea to check the instructions thoroughly. The likes of the test strips and the probes are going to be the simplest to use. Along with checking how they should be used, it’s also a good idea to read up on the results. Not using these tests in the proper way could lead to misreading the results, which, in turn, could lead to you making changes to your soil that aren’t required.
Each device and test have their own waiting time. For the pH tests, you’re going to get these results back almost instantly in most cases. When it comes to other types of tests, you may have to wait for the soil to settle and dry before you get results. The lab kits are going to have by far the longest wait of all, as it will probably take a little over a week. Sometimes it’s best to be a little more patient, so you have the highest levels of accuracy.
We looked at many brilliant testing kits, but our highest rated one was the Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit for Soil. It’s a chemical test that can show accurate results not just for pH but also for the most important macronutrients. It’s the best solution for anyone looking to avoid a long wait.
If you don’t mind a little wait or want in-depth results, perhaps the MySoil Soil Test Kit would be perfect with its excellent accuracy and detail.
All of the 10 options we looked at here are fantastic, and finding the right one will depend on your needs, the importance of accuracy, and how quickly you want the results. All that you need to do now is choose the best soil test kit for you and take the first steps to amazing plant growth.