Best EC Meter for Hydroponics| Top 5 EC Meters

The best EC meter for hydroponics ensures that your plants have adequate nutrients to stay strong and healthy. But what is an EC meter for hydroponics? 

Also known as a CF meter or truncheon meter, an EC meter for hydroponics is a cylindrical device with a sensor to measure your nutrient solution’s robustness. The cylinder’s calibration has scales on the sides, a display screen, and a red light that turns on to allow you to see the readings. 

A hydroponics EC meter lets you determine the total amount of nutrient salts dissolved in the water. However, the device cannot detect the individual nutrient components. Nonetheless, using EC meter hydroponics comes with several benefits. Plants require varying amounts of nutrient solutions to thrive. Regular measurements with the best EC meter for hydroponics allow you to fine-tune your gardening operations and ensure that the solution does not exceed the required levels. 

Almost every EC meter for hydroponics usually includes directions on how to use the device in your garden. However, using it is a basic procedure that every gardener can perform independently. Remove the protective cap and dip the probe tip into the reservoir. Hold it for about two minutes, then take the readings. You will also need a chart of the preferred nutrient concentrations for specific plants to determine the desired levels for your garden. 

The following is a general guide for the desired nutrient concentrations for a hydroponic garden with mixed plants. 

  • Lettuces and herbs (0.5-1.5 EC/ 5-15 CF/ 300-1000 ppm)
  • Other common vegetable varieties (1.4-2.4 EC/ 14-24 CF/ 980-1680 ppm)
  • Tomatoes (2.2-2.8 EC/ 22-28 CF/ 1500-1960 ppm)

DANGER ZONE (Nutrient concentration levels exceeding 3.0 EC/ 30 CF/ 2000 ppm will burn all the plants in your garden)

With the best EC meter and the above information, you can stay many steps ahead of your garden’s nutrient solution and keep your plants healthy. 

Best EC Meter for Hydroponics Reviews 

Today’s technological advancements have seen the proliferation of several brands and models of EC meters. Therefore, it’s easy to find the best PPM Meter for Hydroponics. However, choosing the best EC meter for hydroponics can be challenging, especially for beginners. At Gardenterprise, we have reviewed various products to help you choose the best EC meter for hydroponics for your needs. Read the following reviews to choose the best EC meter for hydroponics to establish an effective hydroponic system. 

1.     Bluelab PENCON Pocket Tester

Bluelab is one of the most renowned brands, offering some of the best PH and EC meter for hydroponics. They are known for high-quality, durable, and easy-to-use hydroponic systems. The Bluelab PENCON Pocket Tester is a handy device that measures temperatures in Degrees and Fahrenheit. The meter offers readings in various formats, including EC, CF, PPM 500, and PPM 700. 

Bluelab’s EC meter ranges from 0 to 10.0 EC and can resolve up to 0.1 EC. That implies it provides results with a difference of 0.1 EC. As the name suggests, the device is of pocket size, has a durable construction, and has a waterproof body for longevity. Besides, it uses innovative technology that enables the probe to adjust the readings for surrounding temperature. The innovative technology also ensures more accurate temperature readings. 

The Bluelab PENCON Pocket Tester also has an LCD output displaying the EC and temperature readings. The unit comes pre-calibrated, and you also get a pack of AAA batteries so you can use it straight out of the box. All these attributes makes it the best EC meter for hydroponics for most garderners.

2.     Apera Instruments, LLC-AI314 Premium EC60

The Apera LLC-AI 314 Premium EC pen is a one-of-a-kind EC meter for hydroponics. The pen uses a platinum sensor probe to deliver accurate results in every instance. Like the Bluelab’s EC meter, it also has an LCD at the top that gives EC and temperature readings. However, the device uses color coding for its display lights. The Blue color is for measurement, while the green is for calibration. The display also shows TDS and salinity levels besides EC and temperature readings. 

This is the best EC meter for hydroponics boasting IPV 67 ratings that protect it from water splash damage. It has a range of 0 to 20 mS/cm. Its auto temperature calibration considers the surrounding temperatures to provide accurate EC readings. The EC pen can measure temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. The unit comes in a safe plastic kit comprising pre-mixed conductivity solutions with an EC of 1413 uS/cm and another with an EC of 12.88 mS/cm. The package includes an instructions guide, calibration bottles, storage solutions, AAA batteries, and a lanyard. 

Many experts describe the Apera EC meter as an excellent choice for beginner gardeners who want to expand their technical hydroponics knowledge and get maximum harvest yields. It is a device worth considering if you need the best EC meter for hydroponic tomatoes. 

3.     Essentials Water-Resistant EC Meter

The Essentials Water-Resistant EC meter is a strong contender in the best EC meter for water category. And that is not only because of the reliability and quality of products associated with the Essentials brand. The EC meter boasts a durable, compact design and unrivaled accuracy. While most people consider it a mid-range EC meter, the device has some exceptional features that make it ideal for testing hydroponic solutions and aquariums. 

The speed at which the device relays information is one of its outstanding features. Unlike most units that usually take several minutes to show readings, the Essentials EC meter provides data in just 20 seconds. Its electrical conductivity has a rugged construction for longevity. The device is water-resistant and absorbs shock, making it quite durable. 

The Essentials EC meter works excellently in both small and large grow rooms. It also features an LCD screen to view the readings in the dark. Besides, the device has a simple press button for turning it on and off. It uses 4 AA batteries and has a battery level indicator to alert you when it is about to run out. However, the device also features an automatic shutdown function to save power and prolong the battery life. 

This Essentials product is an excellent pick for those who need the best EC meter for hydroponics because it is highly durable, easy to use, simple to calibrate, and provides nearly instantaneous readings. It is also very accurate and energy efficient. However, it does not give PH measurements. 

4.     Proster PH Meter with TDS EC Meter

The Proster PH Meter with TDS EC meter also ranks top among the best EC meter for hydroponics. It is an excellent choice for gardeners who demand the best EC meter for soil because it’s affordable and versatile. Besides EC, the digital pen-styled device also measures PH levels, making it ideal for hydroponics, aquariums, laboratories, and pools. 

The EC/ PH meter has several exceptional features, but its large LCD screen stands out. It displays clear and crisp readings that are even visible in the dark. The meter also boasts highly efficient electrical conductivity and very accurate readings. It features advanced microprocessor technology that ensures ease of use and unrivaled accuracy. 

The Proster PH meter has a simple on-and-off button for checking the salt concentration levels in your hydroponic solution. It also features hold and auto-off functionalities. The hold function lets you read measurements later, while the auto-off feature saves the battery by switching off the device when it remains idle for ten minutes. And this feature makes it the best EC meter for hydroponics.

The device has a compact, pocket-size design for easy portability. It also boasts a wide range of TDS of 0 to 99 ppm. While the Proster PH meter is durable, it is not waterproof. Besides, you can find the best soil EC meter for large rooms. Instead, use it to measure the PH levels for better plant growth and development. 

5.     Hanna Combo Ph/ EC/ TDS/ C/ PPM Tester 

Hanna is also one of the coveted brands, with a reputation for manufacturing the best EC meter for hydroponics. If you already have some tomatoes in your garden or are planning to grow them, then the Hanna Combo PH/ EC tester is undoubtedly the best EC for hydroponic tomatoes. The device boasts quality and accurate electrical conductivity, ideal for indoor gardens, laboratories, and aquariums. 

The Hanna Combo PH/ EC tester is highly reliable with 4x 1.5V batteries. The replaceable electrodes are among its most exceptional features. That feature prolongs the EC meter’s life since you can change them after a few years of usage. The device also provides automatic calibration at one or two points, with two sets of in-built buffer values for ease of use. It also features an automatic temperature compensation for eliminating additional calculations. 

The Hanna Combo PH/ EC tester also provides broader ranges to its users. It has a temperature range of 0.0 to 0.60 degrees Celsius/ 32.0 to 140.0 degrees Fahrenheit, a PH range of 0.0 to 14.0, a TDS rage of 0 to 2000 ppm, and an EC range of 0 to 3999 uS/cm. The tester is straightforward as it has an LCD screen displaying the readings. Like almost every other EC meter for hydroponics, it also features an automatic shut-off function to save battery power. 

You will also like the HannaCombo PH/ EC tester because of its lightweight design and waterproof body. The device can withstand salts and other corrosive elements thanks to its advanced EC electrodes. Overall, the Hanna Combo PH/ EC tester is an excellent pick for those who demand the best EC meter for hydroponic multimeter. However, it is expensive and has a relatively short-lived warranty of about one year and six months. 

Although several other EC meters for hydroponics still exist, the ones discussed above are the most suitable devices you should consider. Nevertheless, choosing the best EC meter for hydroponics also requires you to consider the specific types of plants that you currently have in your garden or plan to grow. For example, selecting a versatile PH/EC meter would be ideal if your hydroponic garden has a mix of unique plants. 

Final Word

The best EC meter for hydroponics is an essential gardening tool that enables you to maintain the desired nutrient levels for healthy plants and bountiful harvests. The above guidelines can help you choose the best EC meter for hydroponics in the current market. 


What is an EC meter for hydroponics?

The best EC meter for hydroponics is a small hand-held device for measuring the concentrations of your garden’s nutrient solution. The best EC meter for hydroponics lets you know the nutrient salts dissolved in the water. That is important in maintaining the desired nutrient levels for your plants to thrive. 

What is the best EC for hydroponics? 

There are several EC meters brands and models for hydroponics from which to choose. The devices have numerous nearly similar features. However, the best EC meter for hydroponics should be easy to use, durable, versatile, and offer accurate readings. You may also want to compare the prices to find an affordable EC meter. 

What happens if EC is too high in hydroponics?

Although different plants require varying amounts of nutrient solutions to stay strong and healthy, extremely high EC levels in hydroponics can easily overwhelm your plants. For instance, nutrient concentration levels that exceed 3.0 EC/ 30 CF/ 2000 ppm are highly toxic and can burn all your plants. Therefore, you need the best EC meter for hydroponics  to ensure a healthy EC level in your system.

What EC is Good for Plants?

Some plants can thrive in different nutrient concentrations, but others require specific EC levels to stay healthy. For example, lettuces are other related herbs need 0.5 to 1.5 EC, while other common vegetable varieties demand 1.4 to 2.4 EC. Tomatoes, on the other hand, require 2.2 to 2.8 EC. The best EC meter for hydroponics usually comes with a general guide or chart for the preferred nutrient concentrations for specific plants. 

Does fertilizer increase EC?

EC is an acronym for the Electrical Conductivity of the solutes in water. Whenever you apply fertilizer, it dissolves in water and separates into positive and negative particles. Nevertheless, the EC increases with the amount of fertilizer dissolved in the water. That implies fertilizer increases EC. Using the best EC meter for hydroponics can help you detect high EC levels and resolve them soon before they impact your plants.

Henry Mugambi

Henry Mugambi

Take a look at this guy. He's almost in his 40s, but he looks like he could be in his 20s. That's because he's a gardener—and a damn good one, too. He's been gardening since he was a little kid, and he loves nothing more than sharing his tips with others. He started blogging a few years ago, and his blog has since become a go-to source for gardening information. His audience trusts him because he knows his stuff, and he always offers sound advice that helps people get the most out of their gardens.

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