Best Soil Moisture Meters 2019 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

a soil moisture meter

Measuring the moisture levels of soil isn’t exactly exciting work, but for a surprising chunk of the population, it is important. You don’t have to be a farmer to need a soil moisture meter. Gardeners, scientists, and a variety of other professionals may regularly need to use one of these tools.

Not only do they need one, but they also need a good one. Moisture meters are precision tools. If yours isn’t giving the most accurate reading possible, there really isn’t any point in having it.

The problem is that unless your moisture meter starts giving you radically bizarre numbers, it can be hard to identify if one is inaccurate.

The best way to ensure you get accurate readings is to buy a solid product from the get-go. But then you bump into another problem. Namely, how can you know if a moisture meter is reliable if you haven’t used it before?

The answer? By reading a guide like this one.

We’ve studied the market and put together these soil moisture meters reviews to help you make your decision. Read on!

Comparison of our Favorite Products

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Gain Express Soil Ph & Moisture Meter 295mm
Gain Express Soil Ph & Moisture Meter 295mm(Top Pick)

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1 lb4.7/5
VIVOSUN Soil Tester, 3-in-1 Plant Moisture Meter
VIVOSUN Soil Tester, 3-in-1 Plant Moisture Meter(Best for the Money)

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1 lb4.5/5
Sonkir Soil pH Meter
Sonkir Soil pH Meter

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1 lb4.3/5
XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter
XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter

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1 lb4.2/5
Jellas Soil Moisture Meter - 3 in 1 Soil Tester Kit
Jellas Soil Moisture Meter - 3 in 1 Soil Tester Kit

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1 lb3.9/5

5 Best Soil Moisture Meters 2019 – Our Reviews

1. Gain Express Soil Ph & Moisture Meter 295mm – Top Pick

Gain Express Soil Ph & Moisture Meter 295mm

This Gain Express Soil pH moisture meter takes the cake. It produces high-quality results in a variety of applications.

One of the first things that really drew us in with this option is that it’s incredibly simple to use. There is no setup—it doesn’t even require batteries. Simply introduce the needle into the soil, and let the product do what it was made for.

We also appreciate the quality of the unit itself. Its easy-to-read meter allows you to detect pH levels in the soil at a range of 3-8. And it also detects moisture.

Of course, like any product, it also has its share of flaws. The big issue we noticed here was that, while the results themselves are reliable, they take a significant amount of time to appear. Digital moisture meters sometimes give results instantaneously; this unit keeps you waiting for a while.

That said, many buyers may appreciate the simplicity of the unit enough to make the compromise.

Pros
  • Easy to Use
  • Easy to read interface
  • Reads for pH between 3-8
Cons
  • Slow to produce results

2. VIVOSUN Soil Tester, 3-in-1 Plant Moisture Meter – Best for the Money

VIVOSUN Soil Tester, 3-in-1 Plant Moisture Meter

The Vivosun Soil Tester has the distinction of being both our runner-up and our “best for the money.” Not only did we find it to be the second best option we encountered, but we also recognized that it possesses a great combination of quality and value.

One of the things we appreciate about this unit is its versatility. In addition to reading moisture, it’s also able to detect pH levels and determine how much sunlight a particular spot is getting.

The readable scales are also very easy to understand. PH is measured at a range of 3.5-8. Sunlight is measured at a range of 0-2,000 (going from low to high), and moisture is measured at a range of 1-10.

It’s also durable, portable, and of course, very affordable.

That said, not everything about this handy tool is rosy.

For one thing, like our first pick, this unit can take quite a bit of time to respond. We also found that it’s very fragile, which means it may not stand up so well to the harsh outdoor climate.

Deal breakers? For some, maybe. However, others may find that the bargain is good enough to overlook these drawbacks.

Pros
  • Best for the Money
  • Easy to Use
  • Three in One Application
Cons
  • Fragile
  • Slow to Respond

3. Sonkir Soil pH Meter

Sonkir Soil pH Meter

With the Sonkir, we have an option that looks almost identical to our runner-up. It tests for sunlight, pH, and moisture. It’s affordable, and it’s also very easy to use, requiring no batteries to get started. It even features two reading needles rather than one which might (potentially) increase the accuracy of the readings.

So, why didn’t this unit find itself in our top two? While this reader is quite similar to our “best for the money” pick, there are a few reasons we feel it isn’t quite as good.

For one thing, the Sonkir seems very flimsy. The prongs bend a little bit as you insert them into the soil. Over time, they may become completely unusable.

There’s also a concern with accuracy. The unit we used actually worked fine, and that seems to be the general consensus among other users as well. However, some people appear to have a difficult time getting accurate readings on all three of the things that the reader is supposed to test for.

This is a defect, rather than something that all users will encounter. Even so, it’s not encouraging to see.

Still, if you want an affordable moisture meter, and weren’t blown away by our runner-up, this might be a good alternative.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Three in One
  • Easy to Use
Cons
  • Very Flimsy
  • Some people experience trouble with accuracy of readings

4. XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter

XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter

For our penultimate listing, we have the XLUX T10 Soil Moisture Sensor Meter. This is probably the simplest option on our list, which incidentally, is part of the reason it landed second to last in the rankings.

This tool will only test for moisture, which is fine if that’s all that you need. However, having pH and sunlight readings can provide additional helpful data.

Like most of the options on this list, this unit is also easy to use and affordable.

Our major concern with this instrument, however, is its accuracy problem. The unit measures on a scale of 1-10, but seems to register virtually all soil, regardless of how wet the ground is.

In other words, you aren’t getting the best information available with this tool. We also found that it’s somewhat fragile.

For the money, most buyers will probably prefer something that is more accurate.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy to Use
Cons
  • Fragile
  • Not very accurate

5. Jellas Soil Moisture Meter – 3 in 1 Soil Tester Kit

Jellas Soil Moisture Meter - 3 in 1 Soil Tester Kit

Finally, we have the Jellas Soil Moisture Meter. You’ll find a lot of familiar features here. It offers a three in one reading (sunlight, pH, and of course, moisture) and an easy-to-use interface.

So, why did the Jellas come in dead last? There are a lot of reasons, but they can all be summed up in one word: reliability. The prongs on this unit are not at all durable. This is obviously a problem because the prongs are the most important part of any moisture meter. We also found that they corrode very easily.

And again, we have the problem of accuracy. The meter will give readings for moisture or sunlight that clearly contradict your own observations. Calling wet soil dry, for example.

If you need a moisture meter that’s extremely cheap, this might be the one for you. However, your money will probably be better spent on our “best for the money” pick.

Pros
  • Three in One
  • Easy to Use
Cons
  • Inaccurate
  • Prongs Corrode Easily

Buyer’s Guide

If the reviews above left you with some questions, that’s ok. We’ll attempt to answer some of them now with our buyer’s guide on moisture meters. Read on!

Batteries?

None of the units today require batteries to operate. There are pros and cons to going with battery operated units. On the one hand, they’re pricier to buy and maintain. On the other hand, they’re usually more responsive and give quick results.

If you’re a gardener on the go, you may find value in a battery operated unit. Just be prepared to pay more for the convenience.

Features

You probably noticed that virtually all of our choices on this list measure more than moisture. Some also check for pH and sunlight.

Consider what sort of features you need going in. Most people who need to measure moisture may also find it handy to know the levels of pH in their soil, as it is a critical component of agriculture and gardening.

Ease Of Use

As data recording instruments, there’s a scientific element to moisture meters. However, they don’t have to be inaccessible.

If you don’t have a master’s in agricultural science, you’re probably going to want to go with an instrument that doesn’t require a graduate degree to understand.

Fortunately, all of the options in this list distill information into very easy-to-read measurements.

Price

Last but not least, we have the consideration of price. Soil moisture meters can run less than $10, or well over $100. Naturally, the difference in quality will more or less correspond with the differences in price.

You don’t have to break the bank to get a decent option here. Our “best for the money pick,” for instance, gives good readings at an affordable price.

However, if you’re buying this tool for professional purposes, you may find it worthwhile to spend more money.

When your livelihood depends on an accurate understanding of moisture and pH levels, you want to arm yourself with the best tools you can get.


We also have a buyer’s guide for wood moisture meters found here. <–

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read our soil moisture meter reviews it’s time to pick an option that will be right for you.

While choosing can be hard, we do have two recommendations for you that might simplify the decision a little bit.

If you value quality over everything else (including price), you’ll probably appreciate the Gain Express Soil Ph & Moisture Meter.

But if you have to factor the budget into your decision, you may be more comfortable with our “best for the money” pick, the VIVOSUN Soil Tester.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the product that is right for your needs. The good news is that after reading this guide, you are now armed with enough information to confidently make that decision for yourself.