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Old 03-04-2012, 04:49 PM   #1
Scut_Monkey
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Default Best pH meter?

I'm trying to get more involved in monitoring my mash pH. I have used the cheap pH test strips with no luck. I know some recommend the colorPhast pH strips with the understanding that you need to add 0.3 to get the corrected value. I am debating if I should go this route for $20 or go full out and buy a pH meter. Let me know if you have had experience with both or either. I really am not crazy about the idea of buying a pH meter but if it's the only tool that will let me know if I'm at the appropriate pH reading I'll do it. Obviously they are more accurate than the colorphast strips but is this level of accuracy needed when we are shooting for a pH range during the mash?

Here are the potential options I'm looking at.
HM pH-200 (my favorite so far) http://www.amazon.com/HM-Digital-PH-...pr_product_top

Milwaukee MW101 (kai's recommendation at a great price)http://www.katssafety.com/products/m...ure-meter.aspx

Hanna Checker 1 (cheap) http://www.amazon.com/Hanna-Instrume...d_sbs_indust_4

Milwaukee 600 (super cheap) http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-Inst...0883499&sr=8-1

ColorPhast test strips for cheap ($13.17)
http://vwrlabshop.com/colorbphbast-p...als/p/0011566/

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Old 03-04-2012, 04:57 PM   #2
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I went with the Hanna pHep 5 from MoreBeer.com

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Old 03-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #3
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I guess it comes down to accuracy and precision like any testing equipment. With the colorphast strips I would have an accuracy of ~0.3. With a cheap pH meter meter this is reduced to +/- 0.1. With a meter like the Milwaukee MW101 this is reduced to +/- 0.02 or somewhere in that range.

If I'm only concerned with making sure my mash pH is acceptable does it really matter if the mash is 5.4 vs 5.5? I'm leaning toward the cheap Milwaukee pH600 which would let me answer the question above but won't allow me to fine tune the pH like an expensive meter.

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Old 03-04-2012, 07:54 PM   #4
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I use an ISFET type ph meter for both winemaking and beer... Though much more for wine. ISFET is a microchip design, does not need to be kept wet, it's not as temperamental as the usual membrane/bulb types, it's auto-calibrating and temp-correcting, only tales a drop to calibrate or take a reading. Wipe it dry and store it dry when done. Extremely convenient.

Mine is the Hach h-138 http://www.hach.com/h-series-minilab...yId=7640516322

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Old 03-04-2012, 09:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rawlus View Post
I use an ISFET type ph meter for both winemaking and beer... Though much more for wine. ISFET is a microchip design, does not need to be kept wet, it's not as temperamental as the usual membrane/bulb types, it's auto-calibrating and temp-correcting, only tales a drop to calibrate or take a reading. Wipe it dry and store it dry when done. Extremely convenient.

Mine is the Hach h-138 http://www.hach.com/h-series-minilab...yId=7640516322
The link provided shows these pH meters at around $199. They also only seem to carry an accuracy of +/- 0.1pH which the cheap pH meters will give me also. The convenience doesn't seem worth it to me although I didn't know these types of pH meters existed so that's cool to know.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:23 PM   #6
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The 138, which is the model I have, has a ph resolution of 0.01, repeatability of 0.03 and input accuracy of 0.01

The two less expensive models are 0.1, 0.1, 0.1 respecitively.

The main advantage and why I bought mine however was I tend to take a lot of ph readings for winemaking, before crush, after crush, after ferment, after any additions, after MLF, etc. the ISFET design is ar more convenient than the traditional probes, I can take droplet sized samples just as I do with the refractometer.

It's not necessary for everyone, I started with a cheap Milwaukee, but it got to where I couldn't trust the readings and spent more then half the time manually calibrating...

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Old 03-05-2012, 12:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rawlus View Post
The 138, which is the model I have, has a ph resolution of 0.01, repeatability of 0.03 and input accuracy of 0.01

The two less expensive models are 0.1, 0.1, 0.1 respecitively.

The main advantage and why I bought mine however was I tend to take a lot of ph readings for winemaking, before crush, after crush, after ferment, after any additions, after MLF, etc. the ISFET design is ar more convenient than the traditional probes, I can take droplet sized samples just as I do with the refractometer.

It's not necessary for everyone, I started with a cheap Milwaukee, but it got to where I couldn't trust the readings and spent more then half the time manually calibrating...
I see. Yeah that makes sense if you do a lot of measurements. The biggest detractor for me with a pH meter is the fact that the probes have such a limited life span. In my eyes a 2 year life span for a $50 probe is hard to justify. Is this true with a ISFET meter?
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:10 AM   #8
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From the hach FAQ
2. What's the life expectancy of IQ Scientific's stainless steel non-glass pH probe?
The non-glass probe stores dry which increases the expected life however the life of a non-glass ISFET probe is dependent upon the user’s application and reasonable care. With most applications, a user should expect a probe to perform to specifications for about 18 months to two years. In applications with intermittent usage, coupled with appropriate cleaning and storage, probes have lasted over five years.

Since the probe can be stored dry, and doesn't need to stay in buffering or storage solution, it is much easier to maintain..

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Old 03-05-2012, 02:35 PM   #9
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I think I'm going to get this milwaukee ph600. It is super cheap but at the compromise that it has an accuracy of +/- 0.1. Is it necessary to have something more accurate for a mash ph? If so the next step up in meter quality is $50-80 which I can do if needed but not without reason. Thanks.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ce-full-site=1

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Old 03-05-2012, 02:57 PM   #10
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I chose the Hanna pHep5 and so far it's been great. I read some reviews and decided to go with it over the Milwaukee based on the service people received from them.

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