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What test mechanism (e.g. strips, probes, etc..) that can be purchased online for self testing soil pH is the most accurate? Any recommendations on specific products/brands?

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  • I'd use the Extension's testing service, myself. You'll not only get a very accurate pH reading but also information on other nutrients. In Wisc, it's not very expensive.
    – Jurp
    Feb 8, 2023 at 16:55
  • It can take two months to get the result, so I need a quick fallback
    – Paul W
    Feb 8, 2023 at 17:09
  • That makes sense; you can always try the Extension later.
    – Jurp
    Feb 8, 2023 at 21:55
  • Chances are very strong that your soil pH is the same as the area where you live. Governments or universities usually have maps of soil types with pH available
    – kevinskio
    Feb 9, 2023 at 12:36
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    @kevinskio You unfortunately over-estimate the University of Wisconsin. Budget cuts have not been kind... And yes, I'm an alumnus. We have soil maps, but not with pH. I recommended in a previous answer that the OP use soil maps indicating pre-settlement vegetation - oak forests are acidic.
    – Jurp
    Feb 9, 2023 at 22:25

2 Answers 2

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There are sites galore showing you how to test the soil with pool testing strips. But I am not sure if the test will be valid.

HOW DO YOU TEST SOIL PH? To test your soil pH, you’ll need distilled water, a coffee filter, and some pH test strips for soil from TestSure. Place a small amount of soil in a clean glass or plastic container, then pour in an equal amount of water. Stir the sample and let it sit for at least a half hour. Pour the whole solution into a second container through a coffee filter, separating out the liquid from the soil. Then, dip a pH test strip into the water.

Remember to use distilled water when checking your soil pH. If you use tap water, you’ll be testing the pH of the water, not your soil. You can find distilled water at most grocery stores, or buy it online.

From HOW TO USE PH TEST STRIPS TO TEST YOUR SOIL

But I am not convinced this will work. Even if you are using distilled water with a pH of 7, will it change the pH of the soil sample? I don't know. My Chemistry lessons were too long ago.

So, I would recommend that either you send in a sample for a test or use one of these kits. This one is on sale in our local hardware store (New Zealand), so equivalent ones should be available in your country.

Test Kit

The Best Soil Test Kits Tested in 2023 recommends these three

  • MySoil - Soil Test Kit
  • Soil Savvy Soil Test Kit
  • Atree Soil pH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kit
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I prefer liquid ( methylene blue? ) , at any pet shop for aquarium water tests. Small glass test tube, add your sample, add distilled or rainwater. add few drops of indicator, shake . Usually soil settles fast enough to see water color in minutes. Range I remember is 6.2 to 7.4.

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