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Comparing Soil Tests: Which Lab to Choose

Review and Compare Soil Tests from Popular Local Soil Testing Labs

Most farmers know the importance of frequent soil tests, but it can be hard to what lab to send your soil sample to receive an accurate, expedient and clear results at the lowest price.

North Jersey RC&D collected soil from a single field in Northern New Jersey; the soil was thoroughly mixed and divided into four samples. Samples were sent to the following laboratories:

Preparing soil samples for analysis by four separate labs (Rutgers, Penn State, Spectrum, and Waypoint) to compare results


Learn More and Compare Results

See the results generated by each lab and read about turnaround time and analysis cost to determine which lab best suits your needs.


Rutgers University Soil Testing Laboratory

  • COST: The most basic Farm Fertility Test ( Includes soil pH and nutrient availability) is $20.00. Does NOT include measure of soil organic matter or nitrogen.

  • TIME: We received results 6 business days after sample was received (although this required my calling the laboratory and requesting expediting results). The website states at the laboratory emails results 5 to 10 days after samples is received.

  • OTHER NOTES: The Rutgers Soil Laboratory does not provide plant nutrients recommendations; the results are sent to Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Furthermore, this particular soil test (Farm Fertility Test) does not include a measure of soil organic matter - which may or may not be an important parameter for you to consider on your farm.


Penn State Agricultural Analytical Services Lab

  • COST: Standard Individual Soil Test is $9.00. This includes analysis of water pH, buffer lime requirement, and phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, sulfur and calcium. Organic matter analysis an additional $5.00.

  • TIME: We received results 3 business days after sample was received.

  • OTHER NOTES: The final report includes the chemical analysis of the soil along with lime and fertilizer recommendations for the crop specified.


Spectrum Analytic Inc.

  • COST: The S1 Test ( Includes Soil pH, Buffer pH, Organic Matter, Available Phosphorus , Exchangeable Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), Percent Base Saturation of Cation Elements is only $8.00.

  • TIME: We received results 2 business days after sample was received.

  • OTHER NOTES: Results are view-able online through a Spectrum Analytic account. The results also include fertility recommendations for up to three crops.


Waypoint Analytical

  • COST: S1M test included pH, buffer pH, P, K, Mg, Ca, OM, CEC, % cation saturation and cost $11.00.

  • TIME: We received results 1 business day after sample was received.


Compare them all in one place...


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