Are you facing problems deciding when it’s time to water? You’re not alone. It would help if you had a soil moisture meter at your disposal. Soil moisture meters help you decide when you should be hydrating your plants. You can find all kinds of moisture meter available in the market with prices ranging from a few dollars to thousands. There is a mix of different types. Finding the best soil moisture meter can be a challenge.
Here, we discuss the plant soil moisture meters, their different types, and how to choose the right one for you.
What is a Soil Moisture Meter?
A soil moisture meter or moisture sensor measures the water content in the soil. These meters have proved very helpful for the farmers, guiding them when they should start or stop hydrating their plants. They are available in different price ranges and each of them come with additional features for specific purposes.
The market has numerous garden tools and complex variants, while a farmer can work his way out with a basic one. A few of these variants have been discussed below.
Analog Soil Moisture Meter
These do not require batteries. Although they have an ordinary design, they are outstandingly effective. Most meters still operate on the principles of the natural conduction of electricity in the soil.
A higher electrical charge accounts for a higher concentration of water. Hence analog meters have turned out to be comparatively precise in significant cases.
Batteries are not included because they’re not needed for an analog moisture meter. These devices are straightforward in design and are surprisingly effective. The probe tips will have at least two forms of conductive metal.
Any natural electrical current in the earth will be transmitted to the probe if water is present. Water is a natural conductor of electricity. More water in the soil gets registered as a higher electrical charge on the soil moisture meter.
Digital Soil Moisture Meter
Digital meters are operated by batteries and are featured differently than analog ones. Analog meters are generally installed with probes suspected of erosion, which is not the case with digital ones. Even the hybrid soil moisture sensors are now available as digital meters.
Digital meters have several features which are not present in an analog meter. The probe portion is not subject to corrosion like an analog may be. The batteries in the digital meter provide power to the screen. They also offer a tiny electromagnetic pulse that senses moisture.
Probes are often on long cables instead of directly secured into the device. Both hybrid and basic soil moisture sensors are available as digital devices. You can charge some of them through USB cables. The USB-enabled ones can also be transmitted directly to input data on the moisture to computer software.
Wicking Soil Moisture Meter
A wicking soil moisture reader is an older device, but it is widespread in indoor houseplants. Like a wicking meter, a plant hydrometer absorbs moisture from the soil. The water is wicked upward to the fabric, changing color if the soil is moist. The minor color change is visible when the soil is dryer.
These indoor moisture readers can indicate when it’s watering time. These do not work well outside or in direct sunlight. These classical versions of what we see today were most commonly preferred indoors. The wicking meters operate by drawing moisture from the soil.
The moisture is wicked upwards to the tissue that changes color if the soil is moist. If the color change is light, the soil will be moisture content. The soli moisture meters should be kept in place and not operable outdoors or under uninterrupted sunlight.
Hybrid Soil Moisture Meter
These are the most common types available and are not merely for soil hydration. You may install them with a pH meter which is not very precise but enough to indicate an issue. Hybrid moisture reader types are prevalent. These will provide you with the most information for your money. But they’re not limited to plant hydration solely.
A garden moisture meter is one of the critical components. It may also have a sensor that reacts to light.
You may also include a pH meter. Both analog and digital versions are available in these multi-faceted devices. Digital variations may also record and display the testing time and ambient temperature.
Factors To Note While Buying Best Soil Moisture Meter
It might not seem easy until you go through the basics of crucial points required to judge the best suitable device for the purpose.
One must look for a soil moisture meter based on its functionality. Most meters measure sunlight, moisture, and pH, while others detect moisture. A multi-functional tool is always a better choice.
Ease Of Use
A soil moisture meter that provides a friendly user display without batteries makes it convenient. Although a complicated detector may indicate higher accuracy, it might be challenging to operate. It is always advisable to go for easy ones than unused ones.
The most vital element in soil moisture meters is accuracy. A faulty sensor is nothing but a waste of time and money. A meter displaying exact values with high precision is the one everyone must be on the lookout.
Design And Adaptability
The best will portray the simplest of designs that you can handle easily. It must be convenient so they can be carried around and have uncompromising quality for long-lasting durability. One adaptable to outdoor and indoor conditions is always an advantage to the user.
Price is an essential factor when buying a soil moisture meter. The amount that you are spending for the probe, it must give you value for money.
Few of the inexpensive probes use conductive sensing and resistance. These types of probes quickly develop rust and corrode with time. Consequently, they start giving inaccurate results on soils with different salt levels. False readings lead to actions that are not suitable for the growth of plants. It would help if you avoided this technology probe due to its short life span and inaccurate results.
Really, it does not make sense to buy probes measuring resistance and conductivity. They are not durable, and they will not last for long.
Before buying the soil moisture meter, you must check the probe’s structure, shape, and size. The structure will decide whether you can carry the probe for outdoor purposes or not. Additionally, the meter’s design determines all the purposes that will be served the meter.
It is recommended that moisture meter probes must be long and slender because they are more valuable. You can use them in various applications as compared to short and lightweight probes. They can even monitor the small potted plants with ease.
A suitable quality probe should be considered while buying one. Accurate measurements are essential to taking care of the plants. If the measurements are incorrect or inaccurate, then they are not used.
How to Get Started With A Soil Moisture Meter?
The easiest way to start is by ordering some probes as a sample. and try them on your plants. You can use the soil moisture meters on a variety of plants. Additionally, you can use online portals to order a few samples of the probe.
The prices of the sensing meters are usually low at online portals because no middlemen are involved. This helps cut the extra product cost which would otherwise had to be spent on the distributors. So, it is a win-win situation for both the customers and manufacturers.
The products can be delivered anywhere globally. The products produced from the factory can reach to the doorstep of the customers, with minimum exchange of hands at lowest costs. After buying the soil moisture meter, you need to read the instructions printed on its packaging label. The instructions will guide you properly on how to use the meter.
These meters are practical tools used for gardening and farming. You just need to take it out of the box, plug it in, and start using it in three easy steps. Put the probe inside the soil to check the level of moisture or pH in it. Leave for a few minutes and then check the reading.
There can’t be a better way than this to take care of your houseplants so that they remain in a healthy condition. So, try the product and check out how useful it is for you.
Features Of The Best Soil Moisture Meter
The best soil moisture meter would instantly tell you whether your plants need more water or not. It can accurately detect the moisture content present in the soil. The product is beneficial for taking care of your houseplants. It makes it easy to determine what your plant exactly needs. No more guesswork is required.
Easily to Use
The best meter is the one that is simple and easy to use. It shouldn’t be complex, so the user doesn’t have difficulty using it. Most of the users that buy the meter are not professionals. They barely have much information about gardening tools. So, a simple meter will help them understand their plants’ condition and take action as required.
The meter that displays precise readings is the one you prefer. Accurate readings help you to know the exact requirements of your plants. It makes sure you don’t over or underwater the plants.
The best meter is always portable. It should be lightweight and easy to carry to different places. It should also be suitable for outdoor and indoor uses.
The meter that you are buying must be suitable for a variety of plants. Any person interested in gardening and who owns a garden keeps several types of plants. So, the meter should be helpful to the person by detecting the moisture content of all the plants.
Now that you have gone through all the facts about soil moisture meters, you may still have any doubt about which one to pick. For the best value-for-money product you should consider all the factors. Hopefully, this review helps in making an easy decision.
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