Managing a hydroponic system is an interesting task to engage in, however, it can be stressful at times. Ensuring that the hydroponic system receives the best environmental condition required for its sustainability and functionality is very important.
Those who grow plants indoors understand how essential keeping the condition of the hydroponic system is.
Plants require nutrients for proper growth and development and ensuring that the nutrient available to the plant is at the required level is very essential. Nutrients are needed by plants to grow healthily and produce higher yields.
However, there are situations in which nutrients available to plants are too much and ensure that the amount available is at the optimum level as needed by plants, an instrument known as the EC meter is needed.
EC meters are used to essential tools for all greenhouse or hydroponic growers who want their plants to grow well and be productive. Want to learn more about this vital tool for anyone with interest in hydroponics? Read through!
Table of Contents
- 1 What is an EC meter?
- 2 What are the Features to Consider when choosing an EC meter?
- 3 5 Best EC meters for Hydroponics – Reviews
- 4 Conclusion
What is an EC meter?
EC meters are tools used to determine the level of nutrients available to plants grown in a hydroponic system. “EC” from the name is known as electrical conductivity and it is also known as the TDS (Total dissolved salts), CF (conductivity), and PPM (parts per million) meter.
EC meters test the electrical conductivity of nutrient solutions. In a nutshell, this tool is designed to determine the level of nutrients taken up by plants and it helps to check if the amount of nutrients taken up by plants is okay or not.
Even though there are different types of EC meters, the recommended type for hydroponic use is the Hand-held or Pen meters. It ensures that the amount of nutrients available to plants is at the optimum level.
What are the Features to Consider when choosing an EC meter?
For every gardener, ensuring that plants grown are of the best quality possible is very essential to them and the amount of nutrients taken up by plants also has a substantial effect on this.
There are a number of EC meters available in the market that can be chosen from, however, choosing a product that is of the best quality is very essential.
When choosing the EC meter for your hydroponic system, there are certain features you should put into consideration.
As easy as it is to choose from any product available in the market, these features make peculiar products outstanding so you should pay close attention to them if you want a product of good quality. Below are some of the features that make EC meters top-notch:
The most essential part of an EC meter is the reading that and it must be very accurate. The accuracy of the readings will play a crucial role in determining the number of nutrients taken up by the plant. The EC meter must be very accurate and up to standard.
The level of water resistance that the meter can offer when used around water bodies should be put into consideration.
Some products only offer resistance to water while some are waterproof, making them more preferable as they require less care. Choose a tool that is certified waterproof as they last longer and are usually of higher quality.
This function helps to increase the amount of time when readings can be available on screens. This function helps in situations where readings are less visible and it helps to hold it longer until resetting is done.
It is designed as a button on the EC meter and it helps to fix the EC reading on the screen giving growers time to check readings properly.
This feature is essential since most EC meters are battery operated. This feature makes the device shut off automatically once it hasn’t been used for a very long time. This helps to conserve the battery life of the device.
Battery life indicator:
Alongside the display of readings, the device you decide to purchase should also have an indicator for the battery life. This makes it very easy to know the strength of your battery.
If you are someone who checks nutrients levels often you should invest in a device that indicates the battery life so that you don’t lag behind in operation.
Automatic temperature compensation (ATC):
Temperature plays a crucial role in solutions conductivity, therefore, affecting the meter readings.
However, there are tools that are designed with ATC which measures the temperature and electrical conductivity of the solution and compensates for temperature difference while giving an accurate reading.
This feature is important for those who grow in places that experience a change in temperature frequently.
5 Best EC meters for Hydroponics – Reviews
There are different brands and types of EC meters in the market today and choosing the best product is very important.
This device is very essential for anyone who is into hydroponics and we have taken our time to help you research some of the best choices in the market.
We know how important this tool is and we want you to have the best product possible in your beck and core. Here are our recommendations of EC meters for hydroponics:
Bluelab PENCON Conductivity Pen Fully Waterproof Pocket Tester:
This device measures the temperature and conductivity of nutrient solutions at a range of 32 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit and 0 and 10 EC respectively.
It features a backlit LCD display that makes it visible and easy to read. It also has battery level indicators that alert you when the battery gets low.
It is very compact, accurate, and suitable for use even under harsh environmental conditions since it is waterproofed.
What we liked
- It can be used to measure the temperature of the solution.
- It provides accurate results and it is waterproofed.
- It is compact and easy to use.
Apera PC60 Premium Multi-Parameter Pocket Tester:
This device is long-lasting, the 4X AAA batteries can last for 1000 hours. It is well designed and can recognize about five different types of pH buffer solutions.
It features probes that are replaceable and it offers resistance to both water and dust. It also has an auto-hold function and backlit LCD screen that makes it easy to take readings.
What we liked
- The batteries are very durable.
- It offers great resistance to water.
- It is very easy to use and calibrate.
- It features a 2-year limited warranty.
Bluelab MONGUA Guardian Monitor for pH, Temperature, and Conductivity Measures:
This producer is known for their technological capabilities. This product can be placed at any convenience spot when used such as on walls.
It is compatible with the international power supply and it features a large display that makes the readings very visible and convenient to read. It also features a brightness adjustment setting that makes it easy to use during any time of the day.
What we liked
- It features probes that are replaceable.
- It features a push-button that makes reading display long-lasting.
- It is very versatile and durable.
VIVOSUN pH and TDS Meter Combo:
This device is one of the most portable EC meters available on the market. It has an accuracy range of 2 and it is very versatile having the ability to measure temperature and pH levels of nutrient solutions.
It features a lightweight design and it features a lock function as well as 4 display modes that are outstanding.
What we liked
- It is very easy to use with great versatility.
- It is lightweight and waterproof.
- Compact design with great functionality.
- The battery can last over 500 hours at a go.
- It is very cheap and affordable.
Apera PC60-Z Bluetooth Multi-Parameter Smart Tester:
This is a unique device that supports the use of an application that runs on Android and iOS devices. It is a Bluetooth-enabled device that makes it easy to track the nutrient level of your hydroponic system.
The application used for determining the EC, pH, salinity, and temperature trend of the nutrient solution is known as Zen Test. It is well-designed and it makes it much easier to track the progress of your plant.
What we liked
- It is advanced and easy to use.
- It can be used to monitor a number of systems at a time.
- Data recorded are backed up to a cloud-based management system.
Ensuring that plants you grow on hydroponics systems grow healthily and can survive under the available environmental condition can be enhanced with the use of EC meters.
It is important to choose a suitable and appropriate device that will work well for you under all circumstances and with any of the above-reviewed devices you can be assured of the sustainability of your plants.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article !