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Soil Pocket Penetrometer

Price $73.98
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1 unit

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Soil Pocket Penetrometer

Soil Pocket Penetrometer also called a hand penetrometer is constructed of stainless steel. It is a simple, lightweight, handheld device test made for instant estimates of the unconfined compressive strength of cohesive soil. Although it does not replace laboratory Unconfined Compressive Strength Test Systems for the determination of unconfined shear strengths, the Pocket Penetrometer is valuable for providing approximate values quickly.

It is specified by OSHA for soil strength test estimates when evaluating the stability and safety of trench excavations and mixture proportions sample. Such evaluations can determine the need to modify slope angles slump greater or to reinforce excavations with shoring. The penetrometer can be purchased in the Soil Classification Set which includes various tools and instruments for field evaluation and classification of soil characteristics.

The 0.25in (6.4mm) diameter penetration piston is pushed into the soil surface to a groove machined on the piston at 0.25in (6.4mm) depth. Penetration test resistance from the calibrated spring is registered on an integrated scale engraved on the penetrometer barrel with a cast aluminum base. Scale units are shown in tons per square foot (tsf) or kg/cm², and a sliding indicator ring retains the maximum reading until reset.

Stainless steel heavy-duty construction of the pocket penetrometer ensures a long, corrosion-free service life. The calibrated steel spring is plated for rust penetration resistance. An optional adapter foot attachment increases the piston diameter from 0.25in (6.4mm) to 1in (25mm), increasing the surface area 16 times for testing very soft soils.

See our full line of Soil Penetrometers.


  • Rapid estimates of unconfined compressive strength test of cohesive soils sample
  • The engraved scale reads directly in tsf or kg/cm² units
  • Indicator ring retains maximum reading
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Meets OSHA regulations for soil trench stability evaluations

Included Items:

  • Soil Pocket Penetrometer
  • Carrying Pouch
  • Shipping Weight 1 LB

Range  0–4.5tsf

Product Dimensions   0.75 x 6.6in (19 x 168mm), Dia.x L


  • Adapter Foot Attachment increases the probe diameter to 1in (25mm) for 16 times the piston area for readings in very soft soils.

Comprehensive Overview of a Soil Pocket Penetrometer

A soil pocket penetrometer is a vital tool used extensively in geotechnical engineering to assess the compaction and bearing capacity of soil test sample in situ. This device is particularly valuable because it provides immediate feedback on soil quality, which is crucial for construction projects, agricultural applications, and environmental assessments. This detailed overview explores the design, functionality, and application of the spoil pocket penetrometer in soil testing.

Design and Construction of the Soil Penetrometers

Components and Materials:
A typical soil pocket penetrometer consists of a cast aluminum base and stainless steel penetration needles, designed for durability and corrosion penetration resistance test of sample of soil. It is compact and portable, often featuring a longer gear rack for deeper penetration measurements. The penetrometer, with the longer gear rack, wooden block, and is equipped with a set of six needles that can be used to measure the penetration resistance at different points or under varying soil conditions.

Penetration Needles:
The stainless steel penetration six needles are crucial for determining soil compaction test with a penetrometer with a longer gear rack. These needles are designed to penetrate the soil with minimal friction, providing a reliable measure of soil penetration resistance. The number and sharpness of the needles are critical features that influence the accuracy of the measurements.

Functionality and Operation

Using the Penetrometer:
The operation of a pocket penetrometer is relatively straightforward. The device is manually pushed into the soil, and the penetration resistance is measured by the depth to which the needle can penetrate under a standard force test. This is typically read off a graduated scale on the device, which shows the penetration resistance in terms of pounds per square inch.

Accuracy in penetration resistance is vital for reliable soil testing with mixture proportions. The penetrometer is calibrated to ensure that the readings are consistent and repeatable. Calibration involves setting the device against known penetration resistance, such as a wooden block, and recording values and slump greater values and adjusting as necessary to ensure accuracy.

Applications in Soil Testing

Quality Assessment:
Quality of soil is a paramount concern in both construction and agriculture. The pocket penetrometer is used to quickly assess  and test the compaction of soil on construction sites, farms, and other land areas. Compacted soil can affect the stability of structures and the growth of plants by impeding root penetration and water infiltration.

Consistency and Compaction:
The device is particularly useful in testing the consistency test of soil mixtures and the compaction of subgrades and backfills in construction. It helps determine if the soil has been compacted to the specifications required for adequate support of structures such as buildings and roads.

Agricultural Applications:
In agriculture and food products, the penetrometer can help farmers determine the best times for planting and harvesting by providing data on compaction levels. Compaction can restrict root growth and decrease crop yields and food products, making timely and accuracy essential for optimal crop production.

Advantages of Using a Pocket Penetrometer

Efficiency and Ease of Use:
One of the key benefits of using a pocket penetrometer is its efficiency. It provides immediate feedback, allowing for on-the-spot adjustments to soil handling or compaction processes. The tool is easy to operate and does not require extensive training, making it accessible for use by engineers, construction workers, and farmers alike.

Portability and Durability:
Due to its compact size and robust construction, the penetrometer is highly portable and can be used in diverse field conditions. The stainless steel and cast aluminum base materials ensure that the tool remains functional and reliable even in harsh environments.

Challenges and Limitations

While the pocket penetrometers offer several benefits, they also come with limitations. The accuracy of the measurements can be affected by the moisture content of the soil and the presence of stones or other foreign bodies. Additionally, the device might not provide sufficient penetration depth for some applications, requiring the use of other methods or tools for deeper soil analysis.


The pocket penetrometer is an indispensable tool for professionals involved in geotechnical engineering, construction, and agriculture mixture proportions. Its design, which includes stainless steel penetration needles and a durable frame, allows for quick and reliable assessments of soil compaction and quality. By providing critical data on penetration resistance, this device aids in ensuring that soil conditions meet the necessary standards for various land uses, contributing to safer building practices and more productive agricultural outcomes. The simplicity and efficiency of the soil pocket penetrometer make it an essential instrument in the toolkit of anyone working with soil on a regular basis.

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Other than this design, Certified MTP recommends different types and styles of soil penetrometers for soil density tests:

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Dial Geotester Pocket Penetrometer Kit

Acme Mortar Penetrometer, Bench-Top

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Soil Pocket Penetrometer

Soil Pocket Penetrometer

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