Probe theories are only applicable in the regime where the probe’s perturbation of the plasma can be neglected. However, it is not always possible to know, a priori, that a particular probe theory can be successfully applied, especially in low density plasmas. This is especially difficult in the case of transient, low density plasmas. Here, we applied probe diagnostics in combination with a 2D particle-in-cell model, to an experiment with a pulsed low density hydrogen plasma. The calculations took into account the full chamber geometry, including the plasma probe as an electrode in the chamber. It was found that the simulations reproduce the time evolution of the probe IV characteristics with good accuracy. The disagreement between the simulated and probe measured plasma density is attributed to the limited applicability of probe theory to measurements of low density pulsed plasmas on a similarly short time scale as investigated here. Indeed, in the case studied here, probe measurements would lead to, either a large overestimate, or underestimate of the plasma density, depending on the chosen probe theory. In contrast, the simulations of the plasma evolution and the probe characteristics do not suffer from such strict applicability limits. These studies show that probe theory cannot be justified through probe measurements. However, limiting cases of probe theories can be used to estimate upper and lower bounds on plasma densities. These theories include and neglect orbital motion, respectively, with different collisional terms leading to intermediate estimates.