Being a New Jersey State Certified Environmental Laboratory, we're often asked by our customers what is the best pH meter to use for stormwater monitoring and sampling. Most NPDES stormwater permits have regulations regarding the level of pollutants in the water you can discharge, one of which is often pH, so making sure you get a good, reliable, pH meter for stormwater sampling is really important.
First, consider what is pH, and why you're measuring it.
The acidity or alkalinity of a liquid is called its pH, measured by a numerical scale between 1 and 14. Think battery acid towards the lower end and ammonia towards the higher end. We measure pH because it can negatively affect the environment by upsetting the natural pH of waterbodies. Even the slightest variation from natural waters (usually around 7), can be harmful to the environment and our health.
NPDES permits set limits and benchmarks on the pH of water you can discharge, so measuring your pH accurately and efficiently is necessary in order to stay in compliance with your stormwater permits. The way to do this is to use a pH meter. The decision then falls upon you to decide what pH meter meets your specific wants and needs.
The Best pH Meter for Stormwater Monitoring and Sampling
In my opinion, the best pH meter to use for stormwater monitoring is the Oakton pHTestr 30. Here's why we recommend this pH meter.
- Meets regulatory requirements. If you're using the pH meter for compliance related activities, like stormwater monitoring, you need to make sure the meter you're using meets very specific USEPA testing protocols, of which the Oakton pHTestr 30 does. However, always make sure you check with your specific stormwater permits to ensure the unit you're using meets the stated specifications. This may not be the device for everyone!
- Hand-held. The Oakton pHTestr 30 is a battery power, light-weight meter only slightly larger than a cell-phone. For people that might not have a designated lab room, this compact pH meter gives you the availability to measure your pH wherever you have space at your facility or even in the field.
- Easy to use. This pH meter is easy to use, saving you time from learning how to run and operate a new complicated piece of equipment. The meter itself comes with a single sheet of instructions, including step-by-step graphics that show you how to use the device. You can be correctly using the device within minutes of opening it up and powering it on for the first time.
- Reliable and accurate. When taking stormwater samples to measure pH, it is of the utmost importance to get accurate, spot on results. Bad results can mean fines, violations, and being out of compliance. Bad results cost you time and money, so it is important to have a reliable meter. This meter has proven accurate and reliable time and time again.
- Temperature compensation. You may not know, but temperature has a bearing on your pH reading. EPA protocols dictate that pH meters must be able to compensate for the temperature of your sample, which the Oakton pHTestr 30 does. This ensures an even more accurate pH measurement.
- Affordable. pH meters can range drastically in price from extremely simple pH meters starting around $20 to elaborate devices costing well over $1,000. The Oakton pHTestr 30 can be found online starting around $95 and up. Shop around and you'll find a deal on Amazon or other online retailers. Considering this meter has the ability to compensate for temperature, has replaceable parts, and is highly accurate, this meter is well worth the price.
We've tried several pH meters over the years, and we personally recommend this device. We receive no compensation or kickbacks for this review, but we honestly believe that this device delivers the most bang for your buck. When you factor in it's small, reliable, accurate, and very affordable, this is a no brainer. We recommend this device to our clients, and they almost always agree with us.
When you are considering getting a pH meter, the bottom line is you need to figure out what you need from the meter itself. Do you need a large piece of equipment that measures everything? If so, this is not the device for you. Do you just need a mobile, no-nonsense, reliable meter to measure pH quickly and accurately? If so, we strongly recommend the Oakton pHTestr 30. Again, always refer to your specific regulations and double check this meter meets the requirements.
We've seen many models of pH meters over the years and know what sets a good one apart from the rest. If you have any questions, click here to contact us, or call us at 609-693-8301 to discuss your pH needs. If you don't agree with our recommendation, let us know! We're always looking to try out new, easy to use pH meters.