Advice on which pen to get?

Hi friends,

So I think I have everything I need to begin my grow. The only item missing is a pen measurement device. I must plead my ignorance here because I am still not sure what kind of instrument I need to check the water and soil levels. I have had lots of recommendations thrown at me–"buy a PPM pen, or a PH pen, or just buy an Apera PC60, or a TDS testing kit. It’s all a bit overwhelming.

Can someone tell me what Kind of measuring device I need to buy for a first time grower using Wedding Cake autoflower, FFHF, Jack’s 321, Spider Farmer SF1000, and transplanting into 5 gallon grow bags to veg outside in a sunny controlled area?

Thanks and happy growing everyone!


You’re going to want a bigger light. It is only 100w.


Thanks Beachglass,

I appreciate the feedback. So, do I need both instruments? And as far as the light, I am only growing two plants until they are 10"-12" tall and then transplanting to 5 Gallon grobags outside in a sunny secured area. Do you think I will need a more powerful light for the only 2 plants for the first 4 weeks or so?

Thanks again and happy growing.


You will need both meters. But to check runoff outside put something under ladies to catch it. That could be enuf light for a few weeks. I am not an outside grower, but i would get Jack’s dead bug ahead of time for the critters


The Apera pH60 and EC60 are both rock solid. They calibrate fairly easily, they work great, and best of all you can replace the probes in 10 seconds if they ever fail down the road for 40 bucks as opposed to having to replace the whole unit. That being said, mine are 5 years old now, and I’ve never had a problem but I have a spare probe for both in case that day ever comes.

I use a PC60 and love it. It measures both pH and PPM.

1 Like

@MidwestGuy, yeah I really love the Apera pens, and I looked at the combo unit but I already had the individual ones. I had a Bluelab when I started, but it was inconsistent in my opinion, then the probe went bad and the $120 pen was garbage. I love the fact that the higher end Apera models make it so easy to replace the probes if needed.


Having second thoughts / buyer’s remorse, Did I really need to spend the extra cash on a Apera Gro Star GS4 or should I go with a different model pen from Apera? I still have time to return it unused back to Amazon and get something else, Should I and what would y’all recommend I get?

I just checked out the Gro Star, I hadn’t seen it previously. Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong either way.
The pH60 and the EC60 have worked perfectly for me very consistently over the years. I’d assume the new Gro Star would work just as well. So I guess it’s more preference than anything else. Would you prefer all in one, or separate for pH and EC?
I think for me I’d stick with separate, only because it’s worked so well for so long.

The Apera PC60 does both pH and PPM.

After talking to a friend he said the same things either way I ended up with a good pen. Thank you.