Best Soil Test Kit

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Soil is one of the most valuable elements in the world, because all plants rely on the mineral and chemical ingredients found in soil to flourish. Different soils can have different alkaline levels, nutrients, and minerals. When these levels become imbalanced, or if the nutrient level of the soil drops too low, your plants can struggle to survive.

Some plants are pretty rare and very expensive. It is very important to ensure that your expensive plants have all the chemicals and minerals they need for optimal growth, or they can soon start to die out. Figuring out what type of compost, minerals, metals, and nutrients to offer your plants can be tough if you don’t know what key ingredients are missing from your soil.

A soil test kit is an ideal solution to help you solve this problem for good. These kits are designed to help you test the pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in your soil so you can offer the correct minerals to restore your soil balance. With the best soil test kit, you can test your soil mineral levels at home and create garden beds with the exact mineral and nutrient composition to help specific plants grow and flourish.

How Do Soil Test Kits Work?

Home soil test kits won’t give you information on all the nutrient and chemical ingredients of your soil. Laboratory testing is the only way to determine these additional nutrients or ingredients that your soil might have, but home test kits help boost your garden or tailor it to certain plants in your garden.

Home test kits usually allow you to test the levels of the four main nutrients that plants need. This includes the following:

  • Nitrogen– For vegetative growth
  • Phosphorus– For root, flower, and fruit growth
  • Potassium– For vigor and disease resistance
  • Soil pH levels– Determines whether plants can use the nutrients available to it

When taking soil samples, you should use sterilized tools and the equipment.

Collect your soil sample 6 inches below the surface. You should take various soil samples of the same location and mix these.

Before you test the sample, your soil should be properly dried. Place the soil mix on a newspaper sheet and allow drying for twelve hours. You can now filter the soil through a screen to remove rocks and pebbles.

You can now perform the soil test on a little bit of soil from this mixture.

Once you have your soil sample, you will be ready to do your first test. Different tests might have different requirements, but most of these kits involve mixing soil with a specific solution or a specific capsule of product with a little bit of sterile water.

Once the ingredients are mixed, you will need to compare the color of the liquid with the provided chart. Your kit will include a different chart for each nutrient type you are trying to determine. Compare the liquid in your test sample with the chart to see what the current level of those specific nutrients in your soil are. A good example is the chlorine level. If the liquid in your test sample is purple, you likely have a pH range of 8.0 in your soil.

It is very important to carefully follow the instructions included in your kit. Failing to follow your instructions correctly will make it hard for you to take accurate tests. It is also important to be careful when you are administering the correct fertilizers, so you don’t end up adding too much of a certain product.

The Six Best Soil Test Kits to Buy Now

There are quite a few different types of soil test kits available on the market. Some of these kits are simple and ideal for home use, while others are equipped for more advanced soil testing for agricultural use. Here is a quick look at some of the best soil test kits to buy right now.

1. The LaMotte Model El Soil Test Kit

This kit by LaMotte is ideal for landscaping companies, serious gardeners, or even small farmers who want to frequently test the levels of the four common soil properties: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and pH levels.

The kit is ideal for beginners because it includes two handbooks. The LaMotte Soil Handbook teaches you how to test soil levels, and A Study of Soil Science helps you understand different soil properties and their levels. The kit is also ideal for those who want to travel from place to place to take soil samples because it comes with a handy nylon zip bag that keeps everything together in a handy grab-and-go bag.

This kit is quite large. It includes a total of seventy-five tests; thirty pH tests, and fifteen tests for each of the other three soil properties.

The kit is very easy to use once you understand what the different color indicators mean and how to effectively use the kit.

With this kit, you will be able to tell when these soil properties are low, so you can adjust the levels to suit the plants you are trying to grow.

Specifications

  • Weight: 2.7 Pounds
  • Size: 8 x 6.2 x 5.6 Inches
  • Test Quantity: Seventy-five tests (Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and pH tests)
  • Soil Elements: Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and pH
  • Carry Case: Nylon zip case included
  • Application: Soil test kit for serious gardeners
  • Included: Test kit, two soil handbooks, and instruction manual

Pros

Pros
  • You can perform a total of seventy-five tests
  • Test for all four common soil properties
  • Thirty pH tests included
  • Fifteen tests for each of other soil properties included
  • Comes with a convenient carry case
  • Two soil handbooks included
  • Included laminated color charts
  • Included diagram and instructions
  • Very easy to use
  • One kit will last you a very long time

Cons

Cons
  • Liquids only last six months to one year
  • The testing process is a bit complex for some

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2. The Luster Leaf 1663 Professional Soil Test Kit

This is an ideal soil test kit for farmers, hobbyists, scientists, or for classroom use. You can get a small test kit with forty tests, but it also comes in bulk form that includes eighty or 200 tests. The kit allows you to test the levels of four common soil properties: pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, so you can offer the correct fertilizer.

The kit is ideal for agricultural use because it comes in a handy carry case that you can grab and go for testing on the spot. This test comes with a handy user manual and all the tools and apparatus for testing your soil levels. You also get pH preference lists for hundreds of plants, so you can easily see what the recommended levels are for common plant types.

Once you understand how to perform soil tests and know what to look for when it comes to color indicators, you will be able to administer the needed fertilizers and treatments to restore the balance of your soil.

Specifications

  • Weight: One pound
  • Size: 8.25 x 1.25 x 9 Inches
  • Test Quantity: Forty, eighty, or a hundred tests
  • Soil Elements: pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium
  • Carry Case: Plastic case included
  • Application: Commercial soil testing
  • Included: Soil test kit and user manual

Pros

Pros
  • Large kit includes a total of eighty tests
  • You can get a smaller kit with forty tests
  • You can get a larger kit with 200 tests
  • There are twenty tests for each soil property
  • Convenient carrying case included
  • pH preference list for hundreds of plants is included
  • All instructions are included
  • Perfect for agriculture

Cons

Cons
  • The test kit is a bit complex to understand
  • Everything needs to be completely clean before testing
  • Some parts can be hard to clean

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3. The Luster Leaf Rapitest Kit

This soil test kit by Luster Leaf is basically the same as the previous kit, but it is much smaller. The kit includes forty tests — ten for each of the four common soil properties pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It is an ideal kit for homeowners who want to promote healthy plant growth in their garden or for those who wish to restore balance to their soil. The kit might however be a bit small for agricultural use.

This test is very easy to use, and it includes everything you need for performing forty tests. It is a good kit for complete beginners or even professional gardeners. The kit also includes a pH preference list for over 450 plants, so you will know what the recommended levels for certain plants are.

As with other kits, you will need to learn how to perform the soil tests, and all your equipment will need to be cleaned before testing. Once you understand how the different color levels work and how to properly test your soil, you will be able to improve the overall look of your garden by simply adding the right plant foods.

Specifications

  • Weight: Four ounces
  • Size: 9 x 2 x 9 Inches
  • Test qty: Forty tests
  • Soil elements: pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium
  • Carry case: None
  • Application: Home soil test kit
  • Included: Forty tests and detailed instructions with soil pH preference list

Pros

Pros
  • Good small test kit for home use
  • Ten tests for each soil element
  • Test ten different soil elements
  • Fairly easy to use
  • Kit includes everything you need for soil testing
  • You also get all instruction manuals
  • It is a good kit for beginners
  • Soil pH preference list for 450 plants included

Cons

Cons
  • Kit can be too small for agricultural farms
  • No carrying or storage case included
  • Easy to use but complex to fully understand

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4. The LaMotte N-P-K Soil Test Kit

This test kit by LaMotte is ideal for farmers or landscapers who only need to test for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in soil. The kits include all the needed apparatus for taking the tests, plus instructions and diagrams are included. The kit is quite large with a total of fifty tests that can be done with this one simple kit.

The only downside to this kit is that it doesn’t allow you to test pH levels of your soil. Ideally, you should already have a pH level tester when you buy this kit.

The kit also includes laminated color charts, instruction manuals, and some valuable soil advice to help your garden prosper.

Specifications

  • Weight: 0.16 ounces
  • Size: 5.8 x 5.4 x 3.5 inches
  • Test Quantity: Fifty tests
  • Soil elements: Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium
  • Carry Case: None
  • Application: Tests nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium soil properties
  • Included: Fifty test kits and instructions

Pros

Pros
  • Medium-sized kit includes total of fifty tests
  • Tests for nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium
  • The kit includes all needed apparatus
  • Instructions and laminated color chart included
  • Very easy to use
  • A good home kit for gardeners

Cons

Cons
  • No pH tests
  • No carrying or storage case included
  • Equipment needs to be cleaned properly before testing
  • Cleaning the tubes can be challenging
  • It can take some time to fully understand the kit

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5. The Soil Savvy Soil Test Kit

This soil test kit by Soil Savvy isn’t exactly a home kit, but it is an ideal solution for farmers or landscapers who want to know what the exact properties of their soil are. Unlike the other home test kits, this one allows you to take a soil sample and send it away for professional testing. The kit is very easy to use, since you only need to add the soil and mail it.

Once mailed, professionals will do the soil testing for you using advanced software. You will then receive a full report that indicates all nutrient levels including pH, peat, coco, nitrate, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, iron, magnesia, zinc, copper, and many other nutrients. The company also provides you with a detailed list of recommended fertilizers and nutrients that you can add to restore your soil to the correct balance based on the type of plants you would like to optimize.

This detailed kit gives you a lot more information on the nutrient levels of your soil, but it does take a few days before you will get your results back. Another downside is that your kit is only suitable for one single soil sample. Gardeners or farmers that need samples of various locations might need to invest in multiple kits.

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.58 ounces
  • Size: 5.1 x 2.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Test Quantity: One test
  • Soil Elements: Any
  • Carrying Case: None
  • Application: One laboratory test
  • Included: One test kit with shipping envelope

Pros

Pros
  • The kit is very easy to use
  • A pre-paid postage envelope is included
  • Perfect for those who want to do laboratory soil testing
  • You get a full nutrient analysis of your soil
  • You get a full fertilizer recommendation for your soil
  • Report is done in three to five days
  • You get results for all sorts of nutrients in your soil

Cons

Cons
  • No home-testing kits included
  • It will take a few days before you get the full report
  • Tests only one soil sample

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6. The Luster Leaf Rapitest 1609 Soil Tester

One soil tester kit won’t last you a lifetime, because many of the ingredients do eventually expire. If you are a homeowner who wants to improve your garden, then you should consider this small test kit by Luster Leaf.

The kit includes a total of ten tests, and it has two tests for each nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium soil properties and four pH tests. You also get a full set of instructions as well as pH level recommendations for up to twenty-five plants.

The kit is very easy to use, but you will need to understand how the kit works as well as the correct color indicators for different soil property levels. When you know what the soil property levels are, you will know what type of fertilizer or nutrients to add to restore your soils levels.

Specifications

  • Weight: 0.353 ounces
  • Size: 6.3 x 3.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Test Quantity: Ten tests
  • Soil Elements: pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium
  • Carrying Case: None
  • Application: Home soil test kit
  • Included: Test kit with instructions

Pros

Pros
  • A good, small test for home use
  • Ten tests included
  • Test pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium properties
  • Instructions included
  • Very fast test
  • Includes recommendations for over 25 plants
  • A simple test to help establish a new garden

Cons

Cons
  • Only ten tests in the kit
  • No carrying or storage case included
  • It can be tough to understand how these tests work

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Buying Guide

We are quite sure that any of these kits will help improve the soil quality in your garden, so your plants can grow better. If you’re having a tough time choosing between these fantastic soil testing kits, then perhaps you should consider this guide.

The Best For Agricultural Use

If you have a farm or love to grow vegetables, then it might be best to invest in a larger kit that includes a higher quantity of tests. Farmers should look for something with a carrying bag, so they can travel with ease while collecting soil samples from different areas.

The biggest kit on our list is the 1663 Professional Set by Luster Leaf. You can get this kit in a smaller size of forty tests, but it is better to invest in a large kit with eighty or 200 tests for farming. This kit allows you to test the four common soil properties.

Alternatively, you can also consider the LaMotte Model El Soil Test Kit. This one includes a total of seventy-five tests, and you get instructions and fluids to help you test for all four common soil properties. The set is very compact, since it comes with a carrying case, and you get clear instructions when you buy this kit.

The LaMotte N-P-K soil test kit is ideal for farmers who already have a pH soil test kit and only need to test for the other three soil properties. This kit includes fifty tests, but it doesn’t come with a handy storage bag.

The Best for Home Gardens

The fluids of most home soil test kits only last about one year. If you have a small home garden to tend to, then you shouldn’t opt for a huge kit, since your product will expire before you can use it all. A smaller kit like the Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest is more equipped for landscaping, because it includes forty tests, and you can test the levels of all four common soil properties.

The Best for Individual Tests

If you only do soil tests now and then or only want to test the soil levels of specific beds, then you should consider the Luster Leaf Rapitest 1609CS kit. This small kit only includes ten tests and can be used to test for all four common soil properties. The kit is very simple, easy to use, and ideal for those who don’t do a lot of gardening.

The Best for Laboratory Testing

In agriculture, it is important to determine the total nutrient value of your soil. If you want a more conclusive test, you should consider the Soil Savvy test kit. This test kit allows you to send a soil sample for professional testing. When the results return, you will get a full summary of the levels for important soil properties in addition to recommendations for needed fertilizers based on the type of crops you would like to grow.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this review has helped you find the best soil test kit for your garden. If you are also in the market for other good gardening equipment and products like electric kitchen composters, worm composters, or fungicide, then you should hop over to our other reviews where we compare more great quality products.