Anura has recently launched a line of handheld pH and water testing pens that are bringing a lab-quality experience at decent price. At first glance they may look like a pH pen you can grab for well under $50, but the comparisons stop right there.
Many of the pH pens and handheld testers are made to be “in the ballpark” and longevity and reliability aren’t what they are known for. They are helpful to get a quick test of pH in your system. Something the average freshwater aquarist may not consider outside of the dropper test system from time-to-time, but for planted aquariums or biotopes where pH is a major factor, being able to dip and read is great — especially if you’re running a store or have plenty of tanks.
Anura is hitting the sweet spot in the market many have ignored — a high-quality, reliable product that is simple to use, reusable and isn’t going to break the bank compared to lab-quality products that can sell for several hundred dollars and up.
The Anura line is waterproof. Most pens only allow the tip to be submerged, but anyone that has owned one has probably experienced dropping it into the water and pretty much having to throw it away. They also have replaceable probe tips (since they do degrade over time) allowing you to easily swap out the sensors while keeping the body and brain of the Anura checkers.
There are three models Anura launched that are relevant to freshwater include the pH50 and EC60. The pH50 is a full-on modern take on the pH Pen with digital readout, temperature compensation, and 1, 2 or 3 point pH calibration for $120. The EC60 is a conductivity meter which is most suitable for testing the total dissolved solids and purity of freshwater. If you have a saltwater or brackish system, you might be interested in the EP70, a do it all checker which measures both pH, Temperature, Conductivity, Salinity and TDS that retails for $200.
For the serious hobbyist, breeder or shop owner, then Anura might be worth checking out.