Properly caring for plants can be a struggle, to say the least. They’re like stoic green children who will die if left in the sun too long, left out of the sun too long, given too much water, given too little water, or put in a pot they simply don’t like anymore. Millennials with their plants have become like generations before them with cars, watches or household appliances — you can seemingly never have too many. Having a ton of plants has become not just socially acceptable, but a sign of a well-decorated apartment, and if you can keep more than two alive at the same time you’re basically vegetative Jesus. Kudos to you.
Being a “plant person” is a label happily donned by individuals of all ages who collect every type of greenery from the infamously impossible-to-kill snake plant all the way up to the picky orchid. There are countless resources out there for these folks on grow lights, keeping plants alive, the best fertilizer for plants and even pruning shears. However, one of the most crucial and simultaneously most tricky parts of plant ownership? Hydration. You can have the most gram-worthy watering can on the market, but if you don’t know how much and how often to water your plant, chances are it won’t last long. Thankfully, there are moisture meters out there that can help.
What Are Moisture Meters?
Moisture meters are essentially tiny thermometers for your plant, except instead of taking its temperature you measure how much water it needs. Moisture meters have long spokes that descend into the soil and reflect all sorts of information via a meter up top. Most of them measure more than just water levels, and look at pH levels as well as sunlight exposure as well. This way, you don’t have to read your plant’s mind or eyeball its growth and prosperity — you can gauge the exact information you need and take action from there. I’ve gathered a bunch of my favorite ones from a few different resources on the web, and highlighted their capabilities so you can choose the one that’s best for you.
1. Sonkir 3-in-1 Soil Moisture Meter
This moisture meter has great ratings on Amazon for its 3-in-1 design that can measure soil moisture, pH value as well as the sunlight levels of your plant. It’s got a double-needle design that elevates the speed and accuracy with which it can take measurements, and it’s designed for indoor and outdoor use. It’s very easy to use, and only takes sticking it about 2-4 inches into the soil to test for key information in keeping your plant healthy.
2. XLUX Soil Moisture Meter
This is another excellent moisture meter that’s got great ratings on Amazon. It’s got a high-power sensing probe that’s accurate and reliable in its readings. The dial up top is large and clear, easy to read and has ten scales. It’s got only a single probe so you’re less likely to damage your plant’s roots, and it won’t dig up as much soil as it does the test. It’s easy to use and only takes a few seconds to work.
3. Moonmini Soil Moisture Meter
This moisture meter costs only $9.00, so if you’re on a strict plant budget and you’ve already splurged on some fancy new planters, this is a great affordable option. It’s got all the same functionality as the other options on this list, including 3-in-1 measurements and a double-needle detection design. It’s super easy to use and can help you adjust how much water you’re giving your plant, how much sunlight it needs, pH levels and more. It’s also small and easy to carry, if you plan to use it inside and outside in your garden.
4. North Smart Plant Tracker
This smart plant tracker has sensors for picking up information about water levels, light levels, fertilizer and even temperature. It connects via Bluetooth to an app on your phone so you can monitor your plants from afar, and it’s got long-term tracking options if you’d rather set it up and leave it. It can also make suggestions for what your plant needs based on the measurements themselves, and it can help you monitor progress or deterioration throughout the day, week or month. It’s a more high-tech option, but if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks you’ll have access to a whole bunch of potentially plant life-saving information.
5. Gouevn Soil Moisture Meter
BEST FOR LARGE PLANTS
This moisture meter is great for taller, larger plants as it’s got a 7.7″ probe that can descend further into the soil so you get a more accurate reading. It’s super simple to read and has a straightforward dial that clearly shows you how wet the soil is. It comes with a watering guide for 200 different types of plants, and works indoors and outdoors as well. There’s no battery necessary for it to work, and it works quickly so you can get on with watering or adjusting your plant’s water schedule fast.
6. Trazon 3-in-1 Soil pH Meter
This is another great moisture meter option from Trazon that measures the amount of water your plant is getting, the strength of the light your plant is soaking in and the in-ground pH in the soil, which is essential to healthy plant growth. This is a double-needle moisture meter, so it’s not recommended you use it on plants with sensitive roots or small plants where you could damage the root structure. The meter also shows nutrient levels of the soil so you can gauge how well your fertilizer is working, and make adjustments from there.
7. Mosser Lee Soil Master
WORKS WITHOUT BATTERIES
This moisture meter from Mosser Lee has a switch you can flip back and forth to measure moisture, light and pH levels in your soil. It’s energy-saving since it works without batteries and gives accurate results so you can ensure your plants’ livelihood. It works quickly and easily, and the separation of modes is designed to make your results more accurate.
8. yoyomax Soil Test Kit
EASY TO USE
This moisture meter is another easy-to-use option that’s available to purchase online. It works quickly, efficiently and gives precise measurements. Insert it about 2-4 inches into your plant’s bed of soil and you’ll be able to view all the standard metrics. These include sunlight levels, moisture levels and pH values as well. No batteries required and you can use it during a variety of gardening practices — from rice planting to greenhouse growing, indoor plants and soil testing.
9. PMALLCITY Soil pH and Moisture Meter
This is another solid option for a moisture meter that’s pretty much on par with the other options on this list. It’s got 3-in-1 functionality for testing humidity moisture levels, pH values as well as light levels. This way, you’ll be able to tell if your plant needs more sunshine, more water or a different soil composition going forward. This one needs to be inserted a bit deeper than other options, about 4-6 inches ideally, and will give you a clear reading immediately. For this reason, we recommend using this one on plants with slightly deeper, bigger pots.
10. The Sill 3-in-1 Soil Moisture Meter
WORKS INDOORS AND OUTDOORS
This moisture meter from The Sill tests for all the standard things — moisture levels, pH value and light levels using two 20cm probes. The meter also has a light sensor built in with three different calibration tables so you know you’re getting a highly accurate reading. This one works both indoors and outdoors, and doesn’t need a battery. It can greatly help prevent over watering your plants, and can help you customize your watering schedule to each individual plant based on its needs. Editor’s Note: This product is currently sold out, but we’re keeping it listed since The Sill is such a great resource for plant lovers, and we expect it’ll be restocked soon.