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What's the latest on pH meters?

I have toyed with this for awhile. Realizing that pH is an important measurement in brewing and hearing that ColorpHast strips are not very accurate, I’m looking for an easy-to-use and easy-to-own meter. I have heard that some are self-calibrating (does this mean you don’t need the calibrating solutions?) and the Milwaukee 102 has been mentioned. It’s about $112 which is steep but I equate this to when I couldn’t get a good mash temp with crappy thermos so the Thermapen was my route to solving that problem. Thoughts?

I read Kai’s pH meter buying guide
and tried to get the same one he had, but it was an older model year so I got the slightly newer MW101. It can be had for about $75, and I have been very pleased with it over the last two years. The MW102 is the same meter but it has a temp sensor to auto adjust to your sample (up to 130°F), which I guess is why it’s an extra $35. I’m cheap so I opted for the manual correction model. Because the pH of the solution also changes with temperature, I like to sample everything at 25C so the ATC is not very useful for me.

You’ll appreciate the two-point calibration when the electrode gets old. Old electrodes tend to give the auto-calibration electronics fits, and a two-point is a must unless you want to do some math. It’s also nice having 2-decimal accuracy, in general you like to have one more digit of accuracy than the number you are trying to hit. This is not a necessity for everybody however, if you are just looking for something to get you in the general brewing range of 5.2-5.6. To me, the colorpHast strips already do this, so I wanted a meter that would give me a little more information.

As for probe life, I’ve had mine for about 2 years with the original probe and it still calibrates very consistently.

I’ve been very happy with my Hanna 98127.
I highly recommend picking one up with two point calibration and a replaceable electrode. Rememeber to keep the electrode stored properly, keep it calibrated, and it will serve you well.

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