Selecting a Conductivity Meter on Amazon.com
A conductivity meter, sometimes called electrical conductivity meter, water conductivity meter, or EC meter, measures the ability of a solution or liquid to conduct an electrical current. In general, pure solutions, such as distilled water, have low conductivity, while saline- or nutrient-rich solutions, such as seawater or fertilizers, have high conductivity. Water conductivity meters are used to test a variety of samples, including drinking water, wastewater, beverages such as beer and wine, and lake and stream water, to help determine if a solution meets specific requirements or is, for example, contaminated or contains too much saline. Some conductivity meters provide other measurements, including temperature, pH, salinity, and total dissolved solids (TDS). Meters that measure four or more of these parameters are called multiparameter meters and test additional parameters such as resistance, temperature, and dissolved oxygen.
Features to take into consideration when selecting a conductivity meter include the types of measurements taken, measurement ranges, probe type, data logging capability, Ingress Protection ratings, and industry or governmental standards met. Benchtop models are used in laboratory and research applications, while handheld models are used in field testing. Handheld conductivity meters usually have an Ingress Protection (IP) rating that designates the meter's protection against water and other contaminants, such as dust and oil. Occasional calibration, which is performed automatically by the meter or manually using a conductivity standard, is required for most meters. Because conductivity is affected by temperature, some electrical conductivity meters provide automatic temperature compensation (ATC), which compensates for the temperature of the sample. Autoranging conductivity meters automatically determine the correct range setting, reducing the chance of operator error. Industry and governmental standards include EPA standards for water quality testing, and DIN and ASTM standards for testing fuels and other solutions in industrial settings. Conductivity meters are used in research laboratories and a variety of industries, such as water-quality testing, wastewater treatment, hydroponics, agriculture, aquaculture, food and beverage, cosmetics manufacturing, and laboratory research. Manufacturers include Oakton.