The battle of the pH meter!

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crushday

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I’m going to replace my $13 pH meter this week. I wonder about accuracy with my current unit even though I have test indicating solutions I use to calibrate before use. The two I’m looking at are both at Amazon.

Hanna instruments HI98103 - $29 and a recognizable name: Hanna Instruments HI98103 Checker pH Tester with Ph Electrode and Batteries, 0.00 to 14.00 pH, +/-0.2 pH Accuracy, 0.1 pH Resolution: Lab Electrodes: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

Milwaukee PH600 - $28 and a recognizable name: Milwaukee Instruments PH600BOX pH600 Economic Pocket Sized pH Temperature Meter with Protective Case and 7.01 Ca: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

I’m not opposed to paying more for accuracy and longevity but also don’t want to waste precious resources.

Anyone have or have used either of these units?
Suggest something else?

I’m open…and grateful for your time.
 

David Violante

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I have a Milwaukee ph55, mostly because that’s what my local wine shop had on the shelf. They have since been stocking the Hanna. I think either would be a good choice.

When I first purchased the Milwaukee, the sensor wouldn’t read / showed an error. I called the company and spoke with a very nice gentleman who happily shipped out a new sensor and several packets of each calibration fluid for free. I’m pretty happy with the unit and with the customer service. Just my experience. I’m sure the Hanna folks are equally as responsive.
 

Rice_Guy

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* Crush, both pH meters are on the cheap side, there won’t be a lot of difference between a $13 and a $29 meter.
* a low effort meter starts with a gel filled electrode, the ones from last century which are liquid filled are a pain on maintenance
* the meter should have a replaceable electrode, the glass bulb can get dirty and give slow readings, the electronics shouldn’t crap out unless you have a leaky battery. All that said my electrode cost more than either of your choices (and it has ORP plus other probes), it is a shame to toss the electronics when it works forever
* automatic temperature compensation, ,,, pH is temp dependent
* the electrode should be kept moist at all times/ a dry glass bulb needs to be reconditioned, does the protective cap have a sponge or hold storage solution. If you are looking at this as a tool to give good readings buy some storage solution (KCl) so it lasts for years.
* the electrode should be kept clean (dirty electrodes give slow readings), it is more efficient having a wash bottle for distilled water for cleaning/ otherwise every sample should get a fresh beaker of distilled water for cleaning, ,,, do not clean with tap water!
* never get a meter with a resolution on 0.1 (ie the Hanna) there basically isn’t any cost difference between that and 0.01 resolution and you will have a better read on how stable the signal is.
. . . . . . .
* finally if you are really, really price sensitive consider buying during a Christmas or Black Friday or Easter sale.
* the meter I am using is an Extech, the main selling point is it has a flat electrode so I can do a reading on a drop of liquid, this is helpful if using the meter for running TA since the sample never needs to be mixed with distilled water to submerge the head.
 
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Cap Puncher

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Apera pH60 is awesome, I bought a handful of cheap ones prior. This is $80 but would have been cheaper last week for sure. You’ll appreciate the upgrade. It does have a replaceable probe for $30. It maintains is calibration really well.

You can get a flat sensor head for it too (I have never tried the flat sensor)

Apera Instruments AI311 Premium Series PH60 Waterproof pH Pocket Tester Kit, Replaceable Probe, ±0.01 pH Accuracy https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ENFOIQ...abc_1FAFV7XQF17JHE4ZV7JH?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
 

CDrew

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Extech PH220-c has been great. Data logging, temperature compensated, waterproof, easy to calibrate, and replaceable cabled electrode. It feels like a real meter and not a toy. I have DVM's from the same company that are excellent for the $.

It's a bit more expensive, but it really is a nice meter.
 

rustbucket

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Apera pH60 is awesome

After having several cheap PH meters fail after several month periods of non-use, I bought the Apera PH20. It has a cap that contains electrode storage solution, seals over the sensing unit, and keeps the sensor moistened. It has maintained precise accuracy based on calibration tests performed over the past three years.

The Apera cost more than the cheap units I'd previously bought, $50 on Amazon when purchased January 1, 2019, but based on my positive experience, it represents good value to me.
 

ChuckD

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Ditto on the Apera pH60. I bought mine after my new $25 meter failed within a month. No number to call, no address listed, no website to contact so I tossed it in the trash :mad:... lesson learned. The Apera also has a nice case and laminated instructions for calibration.
 

M.E.N.

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I’m going to replace my $13 pH meter this week. I wonder about accuracy with my current unit even though I have test indicating solutions I use to calibrate before use. The two I’m looking at are both at Amazon.

Hanna instruments HI98103 - $29 and a recognizable name: Hanna Instruments HI98103 Checker pH Tester with Ph Electrode and Batteries, 0.00 to 14.00 pH, +/-0.2 pH Accuracy, 0.1 pH Resolution: Lab Electrodes: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

Milwaukee PH600 - $28 and a recognizable name: Milwaukee Instruments PH600BOX pH600 Economic Pocket Sized pH Temperature Meter with Protective Case and 7.01 Ca: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

I’m not opposed to paying more for accuracy and longevity but also don’t want to waste precious resources.

Anyone have or have used either of these units?
Suggest something else?

I’m open…and grateful for your time.
I second the Apera PH60. I bought mine 3 years ago & it's the most reliable PH meter I've ever owned (and I've owned several over the years). All the features previously mentioned plus comes in a nice hard side case for storage. Definitely well worth the $$$.
 
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I would suggest against that Ph meter that is +/-0.2 pH Accuracy. Let's say you have a sample at Ph of 3.6, the real Ph could be any where from 3.8-3.4. As most of us remember from Chemistry class Ph is a logarithmic measurement. If we have forgotten what that means the difference between a ph of 3 and 4 is 10 times. Likewise the difference between 3.4 and 3.8 is nearly 5 times. The SO2 that is required to keep a wine of 3.4 is significantly less than the amount needed to protect a 3.8 Ph wine. You really should spend the extra money and get the one with a +/- 0.01 Accuracy.
 

crushday

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I would suggest against that Ph meter that is +/-0.2 pH Accuracy. Let's say you have a sample at Ph of 3.6, the real Ph could be any where from 3.8-3.4. As most of us remember from Chemistry class Ph is a logarithmic measurement. If we have forgotten what that means the difference between a ph of 3 and 4 is 10 times. Likewise the difference between 3.4 and 3.8 is nearly 5 times. The SO2 that is required to keep a wine of 3.4 is significantly less than the amount needed to protect a 3.8 Ph wine. You really should spend the extra money and get the one with a +/- 0.01 Accuracy.
Craig! Thanks for the direction in your response. Incredibly helpful!!
 

wineview

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Apera pH60 is awesome, I bought a handful of cheap ones prior. This is $80 but would have been cheaper last week for sure. You’ll appreciate the upgrade. It does have a replaceable probe for $30. It maintains is calibration really well.

You can get a flat sensor head for it too (I have never tried the flat sensor)

Apera Instruments AI311 Premium Series PH60 Waterproof pH Pocket Tester Kit, Replaceable Probe, ±0.01 pH Accuracy https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ENFOIQ...abc_1FAFV7XQF17JHE4ZV7JH?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
I’ve got this one. It’s a nice tool to own.
 

ibglowin

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A reliable pH meter is worth its weight in Gold IMHO. The Apera looks pretty good for the money but I would spend a little more and get either a Hanna or Milwaukee meter, Many of us "old timers" have used Hanna for years and stand by them. I bought mine 11 years ago and its still going strong. Two decimal places and a replaceable probe. I would always go with one that has two decimal places over a singe decimal.

 
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I'm going to go off tangent on this one. I get different responses when asking or researching this. I was always told to keep the probe moving while taking the reading. The issue is while moving the probe the pH keeps dropping. Then when I stop moving it the pH raises. At what point is the accurate reading. For what its worth I use a Vinmetrica.
 

crushday

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I'm going to go off tangent on this one. I get different responses when asking or researching this. I was always told to keep the probe moving while taking the reading. The issue is while moving the probe the pH keeps dropping. Then when I stop moving it the pH raises. At what point is the accurate reading. For what its worth I use a Vinmetrica.
Fred, it's a logically solid question. What is the best way to take a reading? Of the readings I've taken - including all the calibrations performed - none have seen the probe moving.

I keep forgetting the SC300 is also a pH meter...

For me winemaking is both science and art. I naturally tilt heavy to the art side as demonstrated in other areas of my life. The science side I find is an necessary albatross...
 

balatonwine

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The issue is while moving the probe the pH keeps dropping. Then when I stop moving it the pH raises. At what point is the accurate reading. For what its worth I use a Vinmetrica.

From the Vinmetrica manual:

Allow the pH reading to stabilize, stirring or gently agitating continously [sic]. Typically this takes about 10-15 seconds. Read the pH value on the display.

That is, an accurate reading occurs when the pH shown on the meter is stable for a little while. Every pH meter I ever owned goes down during stirring, and can fluctuate. You wait till the reading is stable (it should eventually become stable, and if not, maybe test your meter and re-calibrate, and also stir the re-calibration solution). And, yes keep agitating to keep fresh solution around the probe for an accurate reading and estimate of the entire solution (not just a solution micro-climate around a probe).

My meter actually has a little indicator, when the change in pH is stable enough to "call it good", which helps get an accurate reading. I say "helps" as sometimes, even after that indicator goes off, the pH may go up or down... but only by maybe 0.02 which is trivial and well within tolerance. I typically use the reading that the meter considered stable.

Hope this helps.
 
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David Violante

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@crushday thank you for asking this question… I’ve learned a lot from this thread. While my Milwaukee has a replaceable probe, it only goes to one decimal and I don’t believe is temperature compensating. Good first start when I was asking “sooo… pH?”. It sounds like it’s time to upgrade, which will also much improve my winemaking process too... kindly accept only my comments about customer service… all the rest of this makes so much more sense!
 

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