TDS Meters: Purpose, Uses, and Types for Optimal Water Quality Management

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Read more about us

Photo of author
Written By Ethan Oliver Jameson

Several meters can secure your life and living standards. But only a few such devices allow you to operate by yourself.

The TDS meter is such a device that allows you to measure water quality at home. It is considered an underrated device, as more than half of the US population is unaware of the TDS meter and its benefits.

In this article, we will let you know What is a TDS meter and the Purpose of a TDS meter.

What is a TDS Meter?

A TDS meter or a Total Dissolved Solids meter is used to find the number of solids in a solution. It can measure the organic and inorganic matter concentration in a solution after measuring the conductivity of water.

A TDS meter can hint at the dangers of water. But, it can not tell you specifically about the compositions of the solids in water. The more the TDS value, the higher the possibility to have lead or other impurities, which will be the only thing you can know.

What are the uses of a TDS meter?

The most common use of the TDS meter is to measure the TDS of water before consumption. The filter manufacturers such as Zerowater company provides these devices as a part of their filter package. Therefore, it is easy for the customers to know when to replace the filter due to low-quality water.

But, we found several benefits a user may get from a TDS meter.

Water Quality Testing for drinking purposes

One of the most common uses of the TSD meter is to test drinking water. It is easy to use and it requires no technical knowledge.

Also, it does take less than a couple of minutes to do that. The number of impurities in drinking water, such as minerals, salts, and metals, can be sensed using the TDS meter.

Aquarium and Fish Tank Water Testing

The TDS meters are used at household and industrial levels to check water quality.  TDS meters monitor the water quality to ensure that the water is safe for fish and other aquatic creatures.

Hydroponics and Agriculture

TDS meters are used for hydroponic systems and agriculture to measure the number of nutrients in the water. It is implanted to ensure that the plants are receiving the correct balance of nutrients in the water.

After getting an idea, the farmers can add fertilizer elements to water or soil.

Aquaculture is a subpart of agriculture. The farmers also use specifically manufactured TDS meters to get an idea about water quality. As necessary, fertilizations are conducted by the farmers.

Beuaticultural Uses

As one of the most sensitive organs in the body, the skin may react to water more quickly than any other body part. That is why you must also use water with proper TDS value for the body.

Researchers have found that there is a specific TDS value to water that is required by various body parts. That is applied according to the sensitivity of the skin. For example, the desired TDS value of water when hair washing is recommended to be 300.

Therefore, the latest multicultural practitioners use TDS meters to get the best output. You can also follow the basics of such theories at home.

Pool and Spa Water Testing

The most common device to measure water quality is the TDS meter. The user can find the number of dissolved solids in pool and spa water to maintain the proper balance of chemicals for safe and comfortable use.

Industrial Process Water Testing

TDS meters are used to measure the quality and the standard of the various industrial processes. Measuring the quality of water used in cooling towers, boilers, and other applications is important.

Also, the organizations may have to go through various certifications and standardizations. As one of the criteria, the quality of water can be measured using a TDS meter.


TDS meters are used in scientific laboratories to measure the purity of water in various experiments. Although there are devices in the laboratories to measure the elements, they may consume more capital.

Therefore, the TDS meters are used to get a basic idea about the impurities and concentration of water and other solutions.

What are the Types of TDS meters?

Different kinds of TDS meters allow users to fulfil a range of tasks.

Handheld TDS Meters

The handheld TDS meters were designed to make the meter portable. TDS meters can be easily carried in a pocket or toolkit. Handheld TDS meters are suitable for quick and simple TDS measurements, which is why the filter companies send a handheld TDS meter in the package.

Pen-style TDS Meters

Pen-style TDS Meters are almost handheld but contain a more compact design. Also, they have a pen-like design. These TDS meters are ideal for on-the-go TDS measurements.

In-line TDS Meters

In-line TDS Meters are installed directly into the water supply line and can continuously monitor TDS levels. Large-scale water filtering companies use In-line TDS Meters.

Benchtop TDS Meters

Benchtop TDS Meters are designed for laboratory or other stationary use. They often have more advanced features, and accuracy is the top priority. Usually, these TDS meters are manufactured according to the client’s specifications, making them more expensive than other TDS meters.

Analog TDS Meters

Analog TDS meters use a traditional dial and needle, which are used to display TDS readings. They are often less expensive than digital TDS meters as the technology is cheap. But, we discovered that the accuracy or easy-to-read measurements are not higher than the other DS meters.

Multi-parameter TDS Meters

Benchtop TDS Meters can measure multiple parameters in addition to TDS. The pH, conductivity, and temperature of the solution are measured by the TDS meters. Multi-parameter TDS Meters are ideal for applications that require multiple measurements.

The following table will give you a proper idea about the people referring to the TDS devices according to various TDS types.

Type of TDS MeterEstimated Percentage of Use
Digital Pen35%
Pocket Digital25%
Benchtop Digital10%
Handheld Digital20%
In-line Digital10%

Which TDS Meter is Recommended for Monitoring Water Quality in an Aquarium?

When it comes to monitoring water quality in an aquarium, choosing the best tds meter for aquarium is crucial. This device measures total dissolved solids (TDS) and helps maintain a healthy aquatic environment. With accurate readings, you can adjust water parameters accordingly to ensure optimal conditions for your aquatic pets. Reliable TDS meters trusted by aquarium enthusiasts are preferred to ensure accurate and consistent results.

What are the setbacks of using a TDS meter?

We must remind you that a TDS meter is not the ultimate solution for your water safety. The following setbacks will remind you of that.

1.   Limited Accuracy

TDS meters can always provide accurate measurements of the total amount of dissolved solids in water. But they can not provide precise measurements of individual contaminants or impurities. The reading may be less accurate until the calibration is conducted.

Note: Most of the cheap TDS meters in the market don’t have a calibrating option, making them provide much less accurate readings.

2.   Interference from Other Substances

TDS meters’ readings can be affected by other substances in the water. For example, the end reading can be faulty when there is chlorine. Also, electronic devices, temperature, and various factors may affect the TDS readings.

3.   Time Consumption

TDS meters require regular maintenance and other practices to get accurate readings. They may include, cleaning and calibration, part replacements, and repairs. This adds additional time and costs to the owner.

4.   Limitations of Parameter Delivery

TDS meters can only measure the total dissolved solids in water. It can’t provide information about other important parameters such as pH, temperature, and conductivity.

5.   Cost

Users may have to purchase various devices to get various readings. That will be an additional cost. Even if a user can purchase a TDS meter that can deliver all the readings, the device will be more expensive.

5.   Limited Information

TDS meters can’t provide information about the contaminants or impurities in the water. When the user wants more detailed information, additional testing or equipment will have to be purchased.


We hope now you know what a TDS meter is and what its Purpose of use is. As we have emphasized, A TDS meter’s last reading requires further additions through various tests. But, as a basic device to know the quality of water, it will be just fine. 

Was this article heplful?

Yes No

Leave a Comment