Cannabis has long been proven to have some degree of medicinal value. Although not every country has legalized its medical use, it has slowly gained the trust and confidence of other states. In fact, medical marijuana users now have their own supporters who continue to advocate for finally making the plant accessible to anyone who needs it for medical purposes.
The increasing need for marijuana, may it be for recreational or medical use, has put so much pressure on cannabis growers to ensure a high-quality harvest. It is not a secret to any cannabis enthusiast that the entire process of its cultivation greatly affects the taste and effects of the plant, including its level of potency in alleviating various health conditions.
However, growing cannabis is not as easy as planting succulents. Different strains require different types of environment, growing techniques, and feeding patterns. To be more specific, some strains are ideally cultivated using a specific type of growing method called a hydroponic system.
Hydroponics involves growing plants directly in nutrient-rich water. This means that the chemicals necessary for the plants’ optimum growth are mixed directly into the water system. However, the problem comes in when growers are unable to monitor the chemical levels in the water.
For that, we need a device accurate enough to measure the nutrient concentration in our plants’ reservoir. Digital Aid’s Professional Quality Water Test Meter is a good example of such instrument. It has the ability to measure the electrical conductivity in water which further reflects the water’s overall nutrient level.
Basically, such device can be a determining factor in a grower’s success in cultivating high-quality cannabis strains.
Digital Aid’s website does not give any background information about their company. However, their contact person appears to be based in Clearwater, Florida while their Amazon listing states that their product originates from China.
As confusing as that sounds, it is a good thing that the company website provides downloadable manuals for some of their products, including a TDS PPM chart, instructional videos, and a really helpful FAQs section.
Key Features of the Digital Aid Professional Quality Water Test
Testing the overall quality of water involves a couple of procedures. In hydroponics, growers test for either of the water’s EC, TDS or both. These two values reflect the nutrient concentration in water.
However, EC represents how well your water-based solution can conduct electricity while TDS is more about the total dissolved solids in a solution regardless if these are EC-generating particles or not.
TDS is calculated from EC readings. While EC has a more stable value, TDS can sometimes fluctuate depending on how the EC is converted to TDS. In hydroponics, the two most commonly used conversions are the 442 and NaCl conversions.
Based on that fact, it becomes apparent that water meters with an EC functionality are more convenient and less likely to have inaccuracies because EC measurements need not be converted and it reads the same from one water meter to the other. Basically, as long as a water meter’s EC function is properly calibrated, there should be no problem when it comes to its accuracy.
Speaking of accuracy, let us see if Digital Aid’s Professional Quality Water Test Meter would be a great addition to our farming tools.
This particular model, according to the vendor, has an accuracy of +/- 2% with a measurement range of 0-9990 µs/cm for the EC and 0-5000 ppm for the TDS.
While the majority of consumers over at Amazon seem to be satisfied with the meter’s overall accuracy, there were quite a few who were not very impressed with it. Apparently, when compared to different water meters and other measuring devices, there appears to be an obvious difference in the readings and some growers consider that as a huge disappointment.
However, this brings us back to the point about the different TDS conversions which may explain the variation in the readings of water meters from different manufacturers. This is also one reason why most seasoned growers prefer to read the EC of water instead of its TDS.
No water meter stays accurate for a long time without the need to re-calibrate from time to time. That being said, it is quite unfortunate that there is no easy way of re-calibrating this device than to drill a hole directly into the actual plastic case to access the supposed calibration button. This is particularly very disappointing in terms of maintenance.
This TDS/EC pen runs on Alkaline batteries with an average battery life of 500 days, at least according to the product description on Amazon. Digital Aid’s website and the actual user manual do not specifically state its battery type, how to replace them and any other related information.
At any rate, it has a 5-minute Auto Shut Off feature to prevent the battery from draining while not in use. Also, it is equipped with an easy-to-read LCD and an option to record your readings.
Digital Aid Professional Quality Water Test Meter
As expected, this meter has received some major criticisms from consumers. Apparently, it is almost impossible for any product to gain a perfect score in customer satisfaction. However, we need to keep in mind that we have our own individual needs and expectations. So, we don’t always have to depend on what others think.
It is not to say though that the negative reviews about this product are to be disregarded. It is just a matter of looking into the benefits that you can get out of it and decide from there whether those are worth the possibility of experiencing some issues later on.
The problem about the battery is quite minimal, but the lack of a calibration option is definitely a serious drawback. Even with proper maintenance, these meters may need to be re-calibrated at some point in time and that fact that you can’t do that without breaking through the actual meter is very disappointing.
On more positive note, the fact that Digital Aid has added a separate EC functionality in their meter is definitely worth commending as not all manufacturers include this option in their own meters.
Pass or Buy The Digital Professional Quality Water Test Meter
If you are lucky enough (and you should) to receive a meter that has been properly calibrated, equipped with a pair of functioning batteries and you don’t mind doing a tedious re-calibration process later on, then this meter could be a great help to your hydroponic system.
Anyhow, the company offers a lifetime warranty that consumers can take advantage of whenever necessary. So, that’s one thing to look forward to about this product. Otherwise, you can spend a few more bucks on a little more expensive meter with lesser issues than this one.