I started with the Milwaukee pH600 model (yellow with black cap) It was accurate, but SLOW to settle on a reading. Plus, the display was small and harder for me to read. I purchased a Bluelab pen and am much happier with it. Much faster readings, larger display, 2 calibration settings, etc.
I only use the Milwaukee for a backup, confirmation of weird readings, and such. I can't comment on the higher end Milwaukee pens, but for the price you posted, I am guessing it is the pH600.
I purchased the Bluelab Growers Toolbox from Perfect Gardens, a sponsor here on the forums. It also includes a ppm pen. But the pH pen is available by itself. It can also be purchased at other sites/stores.
ok cool thanks, i've been looking at a ton of different brands and stuff been having trouble deciding lol. i don't think i'd get that whole kit, more likely just the ph pen. but it's something to consider. i just wanted to get something people have used and like rather than just some random brand and have issues lol
Well, I was in the same situation as you earlier this year. I went with the Milwaukee to save some money, and wound up purchasing the more expensive pen later on anyway.
My research here seemed to show the Bluelab was highly regarded, with the Hanna pens also well thought of. I can't say the new pen is more accurate, but having a two point calibration vs one would seem to bear that out. It is definitely quicker to settle on readings, easier to read, and easier to store. Just the time saved alone is worth the extra cost to me.
Whichever you choose, don't measure pure R/O water. Something about the lack of ions in the water leaching the measuring solution out of the probe. Mix some nutes, calmag or something similar in the water first. Tap water is fine to measure directly.
Oh, one other thing. When you purchase a pen, also get some reference solution (pH 7.0 and maybe 4.0 if a two point calibration) You'll need it to calibrate your pen. Bluelab recommends calibrating monthly.
They also make a storage solution to help replenish the ions in the measuring probe at the end of the pen. If you store in tap water this may not be strictly necessary, but I decided not to take any chances.