3 under 500 buck pH meter for an artisanal cosmetic lab

When you start searching for a reasonable pH meter, the number of choices, the differences in price and model are quite overwhelming.

During all these years of formulating, consulting and teaching I have observed novice formulators and wanna be formulators commit one of these three mistakes:

1- Wait till they can afford a fanciful high-end pH meter till they start measuring and recording the pH

2- Purchase a portable crap from amazon that is good for nothing

3- Purchase a fanciful instrument that is so intimidating that they go back to measuring the pH with test papers

Depending on which of these 3 phases you are suspended in at the moment, you may find my humble advice helpful.

Our followers and fans often ask about the instruments we use in our tutorials and videos. Unfortunately the two pH meters that we use most often and the ones that are in use since years are not available anymore. They are discontinued. I don't understand the logic behind that and why manufacturers stop creating an instrument that has been on the market for decades and has proved to be amazing just because it doesn't look sexy and fashionable anymore. Well that's their decision and we have to learn to find a solution around it.

In this post I am introducing 3 affordable and easy to work with instruments covering budgets between 50-500 bucks.

Remember, there is no best solution when it comes to a choice here. There is always a best solution for a special purpose. You will find at least one of these three instruments suitable for your purpose.

I will not mention the exact price because they have different prices in different countries but you can easily go and have a look at the price in your country/region.

I highly recommend that if you want to buy one of these instruments go directly to the manufacturer/supplier or a known supplier for laboratory instruments in your country. Do not purchase the instrument from unknown vendors on amazon even if the price is slightly cheaper. The service you receive from a reasonable supplier or official distributor is worth the slightly higher price.

Disclaimer: This isn't an affiliate post. We do not receive any compensation or discount from the manufacturer. These instruments happen to be all from the same manufacturer because I am working since decades with their instruments and am happy with the products and the service.

This is now a classic among the affordable pH meters. I honestly don't know exactly how long it has been on the market but it is one of the most affordable and easy to work with portable meters. It is battery operated. The electrode is protected in a plastic sleeve and will not break easily. However it is possible that the electrode is somehow damaged or looses its accuracy over time and since it is detachable you can easily replace it.

This instrument costs something around 50 $ including the electrode and this is really a good starter and replacement for pH paper if you are just moving on from the paper to a meter. It is easy to work with and is not intimidating, doesn't need much space and is really low maintenance.

They may sell this under different names in other countries but the product number overall is HI98100.

This link leads you to the pH meter on the website of Hanna Instruments in the US.

This is a modern version of the checker plus and looks much more sexier than that and comes to a slightly higher price. It is still quite affordable and remains under 150 $ which is even suitable for beginners. It is available in different versions for different industries and there is another version available with a pointed electrode but I recommend you purchase the one with the rounded tip. The disadvantage of this pH meter is that the electrode and the meter are the same. This means if you accidentally break the electrode or if it is somehow damaged you need to purchase a new instrument. You can not just replace the electrode. Still by good maintenance it will serve you for a few years.

Just like checker plus it doesn't take much space and it is wireless/battery operated. You can find this one under product number HI9810412

Link to Halo2 on Hanna US.

edge® Dedicated pH/ORP Meter

The edge® has replaced most of the previous benchtop pH meters. This one has the highest price of all 3 pH meters we introduce here but is the most robust and long-lasting of all 3 as well.

The price is still (inclusive the clamp and electrode) under 500$ which is pretty awesome. This is a plug-in instrument. No annoying battery change and auto turn-off that you have when you work with a battery operated instrument. It is a benchtop instrument but is built so that you can disassemble it and put it in the drawer if you can not designate a certain space to it in your lab. If you know that you are going to make water containing products and you are going to measure several pH samples per day then this is the best instrument for you.

You can perhaps remember from our videos that we have a similar instrument. The one we have is a bluetooth instrument with a halo electrode. This means there is no annoying cable between the electrode and the instrument. To be honest, we purchased it mainly for the video shooting. If I were to use this instrument in our everyday lab I would purchase this one which is easier to handle and to work with compared to a bluetooth instrument. You can swap the electrode upfront and before you purchase the instrument or you can go on with the package as it is and later upgrade the electrode or replace it when it is damaged.

This link leads you to the instrument on Hanna US site. You can find this instrument with this number HI2002-01.

If you are currently using another instrument and are satisfied with it and want to generously share your opinio with your peers do not hesitate to send us a mail or a message.

If you have further questions and are still confused with the whole business of pH measurement you can either:

Sign-up in the waiting list for the next launch of our pH measurement and adjustment course


to be a part of our private FB group and to participate in our monthly video Q&As.

Otherwise stay magic and unstoppable

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