Author Topic: pH Meter on a Budget  (Read 977 times)

Offline a10t2

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pH Meter on a Budget
« on: May 14, 2019, 08:00:07 PM »
After a not-so-good experience with a really cheap pH meter years ago, I went back to the ColorpHast strips and have to say I haven't had any regrets, but I'm starting to do some kettle sours and the 4-7 range doesn't cut it for that. Looking through some old threads it seems like the recommended models run about $120, which is hard to justify for home use.

Anyone have any experience with the Beverage Doctor? From what I've seen it's pretty new on the market: https://www.morebeer.com/view_product/43778

At $50 for ±0.01 readout and a replaceable electrode, it seems like a bargain.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 09:16:28 PM »
I did not have good luck with the pen style pH meter though it was a different brand. Even on the hit-and-miss chance it worked I was suspicious.

I went with a $96 MW101 that I have been very pleased with and recommend to anyone in the pH meter market. https://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-MW101-PH-Meter/dp/B0009YH06Y


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Online Robert

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 09:17:06 PM »
OTOH I might find it hard to justify not having a meter for home use.  I've always been extremely pleased with the Hanna pHep5, a pocket type meter at ~$100.  With proper use and maintenance,  the electrode can last well over 2 years, at which point it's another ~$50.  Annually, I probably spend around $50 on maintenance solutions, not sure exactly.  Anyway, given the number of samples I  check (probably >200/year,) and assuming I'd pay around $38 plus tax and shipping for 100  ColorpHast strips, I figure I come out ahead.  And the precision is much greater, which matters to me, though not to everyone.  It all depends on what your requirements for precision are and how often you use it, but a reasonably priced meter -- not a cheap one, mind you -- may be a prudent choice, once you get past the initial investment.  If your use is infrequent and casual, strips may be ok.  I'll believe Sean's experience suggesting that a cheap meter is just throwing away money.


EDIT here's a link, I really do recommend this

https://hannainst.com/hi98128-phep-ph-tester.html
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 11:29:55 PM by Robert »
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Offline narcout

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2019, 10:45:55 PM »
I have an MW101 that I am not using if you want it (free of charge).  It doesn't have a probe, so you'd have to get a new one.  I think they run about $35.

Disclaimer: I don't like it.  I seem to be in the minority, but I want to be up front about it because I'd feel bad if you spent money on a new probe and weren't happy with the meter.

Here's a picture:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=32945.0
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 12:25:27 PM »
Anyone have any experience with the Beverage Doctor? From what I've seen it's pretty new on the market: https://www.morebeer.com/view_product/43778


I began my all-grain brewing experience with a pH meter from Hanna Instruments.  I like it, seemed to work fine.  But then, after about two years, it began giving me erroneous readings.  So I bought an Extech; it was cheap!  Never heard if it?  Probably because they really suck!  The first one they sent was way off right out of the box.  So, I called and they sent me another...no questions asked. (That tells you how cheap the meter was). The second meter came and it too was way off.  Why am I telling this story?  Because the Extech is exactly the same meter you linked to at MoreBeer, however, with a different name.

My solution was to simply replace the sensing element for about $50 and my Hanna was working again.  In fact, that’s been well over 2 years ago.  So, from my perspective, I’ll repeat a saying I have seen many times on this forum: “buy once, cry once”.
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Online Robert

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 01:04:36 PM »
Anyone have any experience with the Beverage Doctor? From what I've seen it's pretty new on the market: https://www.morebeer.com/view_product/43778


I began my all-grain brewing experience with a pH meter from Hanna Instruments.  I like it, seemed to work fine.  But then, after about two years, it began giving me erroneous readings.  So I bought an Extech; it was cheap!  Never heard if it?  Probably because they really suck!  The first one they sent was way off right out of the box.  So, I called and they sent me another...no questions asked. (That tells you how cheap the meter was). The second meter came and it too was way off.  Why am I telling this story?  Because the Extech is exactly the same meter you linked to at MoreBeer, however, with a different name.

My solution was to simply replace the sensing element for about $50 and my Hanna was working again.  In fact, that’s been well over 2 years ago.  So, from my perspective, I’ll repeat a saying I have seen many times on this forum: “buy once, cry once”.
Yep, they guarantee the replaceable electrode on the Hanna for 6 months, but if you're good to it you'll easily get two years.   And the cherry on top with Hanna electrodes is the renewable junction. When the meter starts to get a little slower in reading or calibrating, despite regular cleaning, it's because the junction is getting clogged.  You can just pull it out a little bit to expose a fresh section.  This will even further extend the service life of the electrode. 
Rob Stein
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Offline narcout

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 02:08:24 PM »
The Extechs aren't all bad.  I have the version with the refillable electrode (I think it was around $90 on Amazon), and I've been very happy with it.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2019, 03:39:01 AM »
Disclaimer: I don't like it.  I seem to be in the minority, but I want to be up front about it because I'd feel bad if you spent money on a new probe and weren't happy with the meter.

I appreciate the offer, but I feel like I should ask: what don't you like about it?
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Offline Silver_Is_Money

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2019, 12:36:39 PM »
I have an Apera pH60 and I find it to be a decent pH meter for the price.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 10:02:42 PM by Silver_Is_Money »

Offline Visor

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2019, 04:20:32 PM »
   I also have a less than positive opinion of the MW 101, I bought one about 3 years ago and it gave me problems from the very start. For one thing it took at least 5 minutes to lock in on a reading, which is unacceptable. It also would sometimes give wildly different readings of the same sample. I eventually found out that it probably had a faulty probe, but by then the warranty had expired and I was stuck with a worthless $120 POS. In the end I took DM Taylor's advice and got an inexpensive pen type meter from Amazon which has proven to be surprisingly accurate and reliable, probably paid $20-$30.
I spent most of my money on beer, tools and guns, the rest I foolishly squandered on stupid stuff!

Offline narcout

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2019, 06:44:55 PM »
Disclaimer: I don't like it.  I seem to be in the minority, but I want to be up front about it because I'd feel bad if you spent money on a new probe and weren't happy with the meter.

I appreciate the offer, but I feel like I should ask: what don't you like about it?

I found the manual calibration to be virtually impossible due to the inevitable drift.  It also takes forever.

Compare that to a meter with automatic calibration where all you have to do is press a button and wait 15 seconds.  I much prefer the latter.

My advice to anyone in the market for a pH meter is that manual calibration sucks.

There are, however, a number of people that are happy with the MW101.  Maybe I'm just an idiot.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 06:47:33 PM by narcout »
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Offline Megary

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2019, 04:35:20 PM »
Same pH meter on-line at 2 places.
It has an Oatey/Hercules name (a plumbing/heating/chemical equipment company), but if you zoom in you can see that the meter is made by Hanna.  Unfortunately, I know very little about pH meters so I can't say if this one is any good.  But maybe someone has experience with either Hanna or this pH meter in particular to say whether or not it would be worth the $25. That price from Amazon seems like a mistake.

On Amazon for either $25 or $181 (??)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00DZV47NM/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new

Being sold at AFR Supply for $195.00
https://www.afsupply.com/oatey-35272-hercules-ph-test-meter.html

Offline Megary

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2019, 04:50:08 PM »
Upon further investigation, this seems to be the same meter as the Hanna pHep5:

On Hanna's website for $99
https://hannainst.com/hi98128-phep-ph-tester.html

So if this unit is any good (even if its decent) the $25.00 price on Amazon seems to be quite a deal. 

Online Robert

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2019, 04:54:24 PM »
Upon further investigation, this seems to be the same meter as the Hanna pHep5:

On Hanna's website for $99
https://hannainst.com/hi98128-phep-ph-tester.html

So if this unit is any good (even if its decent) the $25.00 price on Amazon seems to be quite a deal.
As per my posts above, I highly recommend that Hanna meter.  If there's no catch to the $25 price (how can they do that?!) snap it up.
Rob Stein
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Offline Megary

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Re: pH Meter on a Budget
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2019, 05:17:54 PM »
I'll definitely pick one up and hope its legit.  My only fear is that, just like at the big box home improvement centers, anything that seems to be a great bargain has only been cheapened to get it there.

To get the free shipping, I'll have to add a bag of bottle caps!