Refractometers for brewing – Buying guide & Comparison
If you don’t have the time to consult all the brewing refractometers reviews out there but are still interested in receiving a suggestion for a good product that should fit your sugar measuring needs, then the following paragraph should prove helpful. We found that the Brew Tapper BT-DS-REFRACT received a lot of positive feedback from expert reviewers and satisfied owners alike because of its remarkable ease of use offered by the ample manufacturer’s instructions and specialized tools it comes with, as well as its automatic temperature compensation capabilities. It also shows two scales, both for Brix and Specific Gravity, so you won’t have to bother with online converters. Another thing often noted about this product was its high durability and resilience. If the Brew Tapper product is unavailable, then the Ade Advanced Optics BCBI177 will prove a reliable alternative.
Home brewing of beer, wine, and even mead is becoming more and more widespread hobby by the day. As a result, there is a greater number of available hand held refractometers on the market than ever before and buying one might prove a chore if we are unfamiliar with what to look for. Below, we outlined a few features that specialists seem to believe make the difference when selecting for the best brewing refractometer.
Ease of use and convenience
The main reason people buy refractometers is to replace a wasteful hydrometer, which usually requires a “sample” of a quarter of a gallon of pre-fermenting drink in order to work, which you will have to draw and place in a specialized glass receptacle with a notoriously fragile glass ball floating on top.
Meanwhile, the refractometer only requires a pipette or draw straw, a couple of milliliters or less of your brew as a sample and some natural light, all while being the size of a regular flashlight.
Initial calibrations are almost always required, but these can be done away with in less than a minute by following the manufacturer’s instructions in regards to the test sample necessary (if not a widely available product, then most usually delivered in the package) and turning on a specialized screw with a Philips driver that also usually comes with the package.
A well accessorized initial purchase is somewhat of a mark of quality, so we advise you look for this when buying. Another thing to consider convenience-wise is the automatic temperature calibration feature.
Since they effectively work by measuring density, a the accuracy of a refractometer is affected by changes in outside temperature, for which there is a need to compensate. You can do this manually for maximum precision, but an automatic correction function will spare you a lot of tinkering. In fact, it’s convenient enough that most owners recommend it as the first thing to look for when deciding on a product.
Most good refractometers for brewing will show you values for two scales that are most relevant for the task: Brix and Specific Gravity. These are of course interchangeable and can be calculated from one another via specialized software, but getting a quick result is always preferable to having to use a computer.
Brix basically tells you the sugar content of your wort. The relevant ranges for brewing are usually between 0 and 32% with an accuracy of around 0.20% for good refractometers. Since when the sugar content drops it is generally replaced by alcohol, that has a different density, a the accuracy of the refractometer will drop as the value gets closer to zero, and it is recommended to use online adjustment calculators when this becomes the case.
Same thing goes for Specific Gravity, but room temperature and fermentation aren’t the only factors to affect the accuracy of a refractometer
The casing of a refractometer is meant to serve a dual purpose, to protect the sensitive optics inside and to assure adequate heat transfer to the sample in order to maintain accuracy.
The front part is supposed to be highly conductive so that the prism and the sample are both at the same temperature for optimum adjustment and accuracy. Aluminum or copper are used as materials for this, with both offering similar performance in regards to temperature regulation but copper having a significant advantage when it comes to resilience.
Your hand is a constant source of unwanted heat for the unit, so the part the part that makes contact with it should be appropriately insulated. The “handle” part is usually made of special insulating plastic or rubber, with the last one being a slightly preferable solution since it offers a better, more comfortable grip and natural insulating qualities.
Top brewing refractometers reviews in 2017
Taking all the above factors into account, we consulted dozens and dozens of consumer reports and expert reviews for a top pick of the products we considered to be the most suitable brew refractometers for home use. We hope you’ll find our recommendations useful.
Brew Tapper BT-DS-REFRACT
This Brew Tapper product has everything a modern brewer would expect from a household refractometer, and it all comes in a durable and resilient package. It can take Brix readings from 0 to 32 %, and it also has a scale for Specific Gravity that goes from 1000 all the way to 1130, so you won’t have to use a notepad and calculator to make this value out.
The automatic temperature adjustment will provide great convenience, sparing you from making any other regular calibrations than what is required upon the product arriving. Most owners found these initial adjustments extremely easy to make since the manual offers ample guidance and the product comes with its own dedicated Philips head screwdriver.
Users also appreciated it’s sturdiness, offered by the thick aluminum construction, which also makes good heat conducting properties and light weight, as well as the tough rubber handle, that ensures good grip and insulation.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($28.99)
Ade Advanced Optics BCBI177
A lot of the praise this Ade Advanced Optics model gets from satisfied owners relate to its accuracy. It’s been tested multiple times against hydrometers for specific gravity readings, and it usually came within 0,1% of the reading shown by the former.
This is far better than most of us will need, and the product also offers all the convenience of a dedicated brew refractometer.
If it needs an initial adjustment, you can use something as common as distilled water for the task, since it’s Brix meter goes all the way to zero, and be ready to take accurate measurements in a little more than a minute.
Since it features automatic temperature compensation, this will likely be the last calibration you will have to make, unless dropping it on the ground or exposing it to frost.
It also comes with all regular accessories, meaning a manual, a screwdriver, special wipes for its lenses and a pipette.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.99)
Aqueous Lab COMINHKPR124469
One of the features talked about concerning this US-made product is its focusable lens, which users find to come in handy for minute optic adjustments to increase the clarity of the display. Since the markers tend to be fairly condensed on a refractometer, the precision of your own reading can have an effect on overall accuracy, so good clarity is an important thing to have in such a tool.
It’s Brix scale goes from 0 to 32%, 0 being the distilled water you’ll be using to make the initial adjustment while 30 will be enough to know that the juniper berry juice you’re looking at is concentrated enough to sign in a contest.
For specific gravity, measurements range between 1000 and 1120, which is all you’ll ever need for testing unfermented wort.
It also offers the usual convenience feature of automatic temperature adjustment, and it comes in a hard box for proper storage.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($21.99)
Most owners were pleased to note that this iTavah product came ready calibrated and fit for use straight out of the box. Its surprisingly good accuracy when testing for Specific Gravity was also very well appreciated, this device consistently coming to the same results as a hydrometer in repeated tests.
The error range when measuring Brix, as specified by the manufacturer, is only 0,2%, which makes the COMINHK121676 on par with the best products on the market. Same value for Specific Gravity measurements is equally good, between 0,001 and 0,002 on a range of 1000 to 1130.
Of course, the automatic temperature compensation is there — so you’ll only have to tweak it in extraordinary circumstances — together with all the usual accessories for your convenience: a precision calibration screwdriver, a 3ml pipette for samples, lens cleaning cloth, a user guide and a rigid carrying box.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($30.95)
The Happybrew RSG-100ATC is yet another well-appreciated refractometer that “works as advertised” and received “no complaints”.
It’s easy to use and maintain, durable enough to handle a fall thanks to its rubber upper part, convenient since it performs corrections for temperature automatically (from 10 to 30 Celsius), and it comes with everything you will require to operate it — a pipette, a Philips head screwdriver, and a protective case.
The only thing lacking is a cleaning cloth, but the task of keeping the lens clear can easily be fulfilled by a fine cloth or even napkin you have lying around the house. A deerskin wipe for reading glasses will work best although it might cost you a couple of dollars at the local store.
Speaking of cost, the RSG-100ATC can usually be purchased a little cheaper than other products that offer the same functionality, which may be a selling point for the more stingy brewer.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($28.99)
Honey refractometers – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’re short on time or just don’t feel like going through this whole and all you’re here for is a quick suggestion for a good honey refractometer, then the following paragraph should tell you everything you need to know. After going through scores of honey refractometer reviews, both from experts and satisfied customers alike, we found that the Vee Gee Scientific BX-3 to be the item that might best suit your needs. Its outstanding feature is the manual temperature control, which allows for a greater temperature range to be adjusted for with a higher degree of precision than in models that do this automatically. Otherwise, it takes accurate Brix measures slightly exceeding the usual ranges — which makes it especially useful for premium honey makers — and its high-quality construction will ensure that it will keep providing you with accurate measures for a long time. If the BX-3 is not available, then the GoerTek Refractometer would be our next best pick.
Whether you want to measure the sugar content in jams, jellies, marmalades, malt, honey or beer a refractometer is an invaluable tool for today’s homebrewer, especially since it can effectively replace a hydrometer for most sugary liquids. It can be however slightly off putting to shop for one since it’s not really an item we are all familiar with. That’s why we compiled the following short guide, which we hope will serve as an adequate introduction.
A refractometer works on the optical principle that light passing through a liquid refracts at a slightly different angle depending on the density of that liquid. Since sugar will always affect the density of fluid it is dissolved in, you can use the angle of refraction to discern the volume occupied by the sugar.
In short, the light passes through a sample, gets refracted at a certain angle dependent on its density (i.e., sugar content) and ends up a scale upon which Brix measurements are printed, Brix effectively being a measurement for sugar content. You look through the eyepiece and determine where the mark is at.
Potentially, a refractometer can measure the sugar content from 0 to 99%, but that’s only practical for lab equipment and will hardly be useful in a product for common use. Furthermore the higher the range, the harder will be for you to take accurate readings since the scale markings will be uncomfortably small.
The most common ranges for honey are around 58% to 90% Brix, with sensitive measurements towards the higher end of that spectrum being more important if you want to ensure that your honey has as little water as possible. That’s why the best refractometers for honey tend to exceed the 90% range, in order to provide more accurate and easy to read information near the area apiculturists care about.
Accuracy and temperature adjustment
Accuracy is as important as you need it to be. If you aim at winning international prizes with your honey, then we suggest you invest in the most accurate unit you can find. Otherwise, most good refractometers specify an accuracy of +/-2% and a resolution of 0,20%, which might as well tell us the thickness of the markings on the measuring scale.
Accuracy is also factored by how easy it is to read the measurement on the other side of the eyepiece. Most commercial refractometers use a contrast line between light blue and white, which is both transparent and comfortable to the eye in order to highlight the value.
Since you’re technically dealing with a difference in pressure, outside temperature and how well the product adjusts for it are the most important factors that can affect accuracy. Most models are advertised to compensate well for temperatures between 10 and 30 degrees C, and they do this both automatically or with user input.
Automatic temperature adjustment is a feature many users might find convenient. But like with any automatic function, it can work less well than advertised, while manual adjustments are always as good as your level of skill. There is a reason, after all, that professional photographers rarely buy auto-focused cameras.
The refractometer’s construction should provide both optimum heat transfer properties for higher accuracy and physical durability for a higher lifespan.
If you’re more interested in the former, know that a good model should employ materials with good heat conducting properties between the prism and the sample palette to ensure a perfect temperature equilibrium (most metals will do, you can find charts on which ones work better online) while insulation should be used on areas where your hand touches the item.
Top honey refractometers reviews of 2017
Despite it being a niche instrument, there are enough brands and models of refractometers available for sale to make finding the right one quite hard. After looking through dozens and dozens of consumer reports and expert reviews, we’ve made a selection of a few good units we are willing to recommend.
Vee Gee Scientific BX-3
This Vee Gee Scientific model might require a little extra tinkering on your part but it’s clearly been made with great love and care, to provide the most accurate readings. Unlike most other refractometers its casing is made out of copper to ensure great heat conductivity between the sample and the prism. A soft rubber line protects the unit from the heat radiating out of your hand and a non-roll stand allows it to sit safely on plane surfaces.
Adjustments for outside temperature are made manually, through a highly sensitive calibration ring, with no extra tool required. This neutralizes one of the potential factors for error present in units that do these calibrations automatically and allows the user to take full advantage of the precision otherwise offered by the BX-3.
As a testament to its quality, the maximum range for sugar content goes up to 92%, and that extra 2 % makes all the difference when you’re trying to obtain the thickest honey or maple syrup.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($87.13)
One of the most popular refractometers out there, this GoerTek model offers a surprising degree of versatility at a very affordable price.
Its Brix scale goes from 0 to 90%, with the base calibration being at 0 which means it allows you to check for the sugar content of basically everything there is to brew at home.
A less obvious benefit to this is that you can easily tell if it skews up towards a higher Brix value and then adjust it accordingly using the calibration screw.
The fact that it has an automatic temperature compensation function also makes for great convenience, since this will allow you to use the item at anywhere between 10 and 30 Celsius without having to compensate for the differences in between through manual input. (While this is indeed a great time saver, it does add to the list of things to go wrong with a refractometer.)
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Aqueous Lab COMINHKPR143478
This Aqueous Lab product was made with the specific needs of the beekeeper in mind. Besides using the Brix scale, it also shows measures as glucose Baume between the ranges of 38 to 43 and honey moisture from 10 to 33%.
This offers all the relevant information a honey producer might need from this type of tool and it can prove especially convenient for those that don’t want to bother with converting units or just don’t have the time to because of the quantity of honey they need to handle.
The automatic temperature adjustment provides a great range, from 0 to 30 Celsius, which doesn’t really add to its functionality (since honey tends to crystallize at those temperatures) but can make it easier to calibrate.
The Aqueous Lab COMIN is bought together with a large set of extra items, besides the firm plastic case, operating instructions and suction tube/pipette that nearly all models come packaged with, you will also get a special cleaning cloth and a screwdriver.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($26.99)
Ade Advanced Optics Brix5890ATC
The Brix5890ATC is your basic beekeeper’s refractometer, which tells you everything you need to know in a timely fashion without needing to resort to conversion scales or specialized apps. It shows Brix (sugar levels) within the ranges of 58% to 90%, honey moisture from 10% to 33% water and Baume Specific Gravity Scale (sgs) taken at 20 Celsius within 38% and 43% margins.
It’s sturdy and easy to use on the go, with only a Phillips head screwdriver, which comes in the same package, required for adjustments and calibration. Like with most other product of its type, initial calibrations are made using readily available extra virgin olive oil of 70 – 71 Brix (only the Vee Gee BX-3 of the products featured is advertised to come with it own test substance, required because of the high accuracy it boasts).
For extra convenience, it has automatic temperature compensation capabilities, and it seems to be a well-appreciated product overall judging by the feedback it received.
Buy from Amazon.com
Like the Vee Gee BX-3, this Hanstronik product has its metal parts made out of high heat conducting copper, to ensure a good temperature balance between the sample and prism, as well as a significantly extended life compared to an aluminum model. This quality, however, comes at a more affordable price than in the case of the product above.
Another nice feature of the Hanstronik is the full array of honey related measuring scales it displays — Brix between 58 to 90%; the Baume sgs between 38 to 43% and honey moisture between 12 and 27%.
Since the glass display can get a little crowded with so many chevrons, it’s accuracy is specified at 0,5%, which is a little less than you will get with a refractometer that only shows Brix, but well within the practical limits for honey testing and we believe that the extra convenience makes up for it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($25)
Soil pH meters – Buying guide & Comparison
This short paragraph should have all the information you need to find the best soil pH meter without reading our buying guide and product suggestions below. After comparing some of the market’s popular products in this sector, we have concluded that the BYFST 3-in-1 makes a logical choice for consumers because of its convenient three-in-one functionality. With this model, you can get a pretty good idea not just of the soil’s pH levels but also its light and moisture content levels. It is quite useful for gardeners and crop growers who need results fast and with reliable accuracy so they can monitor the condition of the soil for growing plants. The sensitive probe is engineered to detect changes in the soil quality and let you view the details on the dial. Should the supplies of the eco-friendly BYFST 3-in-1 run short, you can still check out a good second option, the Elenest 3-in-1 GT110.
If you would want to find the best pH meter for soil to help you with your crop growing needs, there will be quite some research to do. There are plentiful options to choose from, and this complicates the decision-making process. Through this buying guide, we have laid out the critical aspects to look at in this type of tool.
The secret to healthy lawns and gardens lies in the quality of the soil, and whether it provides the exact nutrients that the plants need to grow healthy and strong. Productive gardens, plantations, orchards, and vineyard do not happen overnight. With all the hard work you need to put in, a good pH meter should serve as a dependable partner toward a productive plant growing endeavor.
If you see more of your property turning yellow instead of a healthy, verdant hue, a pH meter designed for soil quality testing allows you to see what is wrong with the quality of the soil. This will enable you to do what is needed to enrich it once more so it can support the healthy growth of plants.
As the topsoil recedes, so do the nutrients underground. The pH meter should enable you to insert its probes or electrodes at an adequate level beneath the surface, right next to the roots or even deeper. Hydroponics systems also need a dependable pH meter to test the water solution and ensure a balanced pH for the crops to thrive.
If the tool needs calibration at the onset or repeatedly, the process should be easy to do and not overly complicated. Calibration and usage steps should be easy to carry out with the least amount of gear involved.
You can find digital models, but they are more suitable for liquid testing. Soil pH meters are self-powered, with a sensitive pH sensor that should be able to obtain the value quickly.
Some models feature a color-coded system to indicate if the soil needs more attention, such as if it is dry or extremely wet. The ease of operations should be of plug-and-read simplicity, preferably at the push of a button.
The probes should be easy to clean after use.
Reliable accuracy and functionality
When going through the various soil pH meter reviews, look for models that guarantee consistent accuracy with every use. The probes should be truly sensitive to detect any slight variations, especially if the soil is planted to pH-sensitive crops. You wouldn’t want to risk wasting an entire crop of vegetables, for instance, because the soil was slightly more acidic than needed.
Safety is also a vital factor in use since you wouldn’t want a tool that can endanger you in any way. The probes should not be sharp as a knife although the tips should easily slide deep into the soil. Whenever possible, choose a model that has undergone quality and safety testing for the welfare of consumers.
Durable design is also necessary. You should be able to obtain readings quickly so you can measure different locations when needed.
Any soil pH meter for sale can be used to study the level of acidity or alkalinity of the spoil, but there are models that also measure the moisture levels in the soil. Plants that have too much water will not grow healthy, literally ‘drowning,’ just as those living on a dry soil will end up parched and brittle.
It is best to buy a tester that also measures the conductivity levels, moisture, and temperature of the soil to ensure that your plants can grow with enough nutrients taken in through the roots in an efficient manner.
The device should enable use in residential and commercial applications, which include orchards, vineyards, hydroponics systems, planters, gardens, greenhouses, field plantations, or even water reservoirs.
Top soil pH meters reviews in 2017
We are not experts in crop growing, nor are we agriculturists. That said, we are sure the products featured below will serve the needs of landkeepers, gardening enthusiasts, and professional crop growers.
The BYFST 3-in-1 provides a convenient, mess-free means of finding the level of pH of your soil to determine if it can support the proper and healthy growth of plants. You will appreciate how this simple, handheld tool provides the needed information to help you enjoy a beautiful garden or productive crop seasons.
Designed not just for soil pH testing, this option also measures light levels and conveniently serves as a moisture meter as well. You will know with just this single tool if the plants need less or more watering care. Light levels are also assessed so you can determine if your crops are receiving enough sunlight of not. There is no need to bring along other tools for those purposes.
Since the electrodes are self-powered and serve as the sensors, the device needs no batteries to operate. The probes are sensitive enough to detect changes in the soil and show you the details on the dial display, for visible data.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.99)
Elenest 3-in-1 GT-110
Helping you ensure that your soil enables your plants to thrive, the Elenest 3-in-1 GT-110 provides a convenient and simple way of determining the suitability of your soil for planting. Since this is a three-in-one device, you need not take along different devices to measure the relative light range and moisture levels of the soil along with its pH levels.
Gardeners will find this model useful, and it doesn’t even need batteries to do its job. That means no issues with any instability of readings when the battery runs low. You wouldn’t have to do replacements either because this model is self-powered. Its probes just need to be inserted into the ground, and the electrode measures the values.
The readings are delivered fast and you can see the data on the convenient dial. Switching from one value to another is easy. Just shift the indicator to the desired parameter and the device goes on to deliver the reading for that specific value.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.49)
Amado 3 in 1
Tested and proven for its reliable performance and functionality, the Amado 3 in 1 is the busy gardener’s tool and partner in ensuring healthy crop growth and plant health. It supports the productivity of your soil so that robust and strong plants can grow.
The device is made sturdy with its high-quality plastic and alloy construction for lasting durability and functionality. You can do deep soil testing because the probe on this model is long enough to insert down at 21 cm long.
The bright green color makes the device easy to see among the plants, so you can view the readings fast and at a glance. The scale indicator is also easy to read. This model does not require batteries to operate while being engineered to be scientifically accurate.
Offering multiple uses, it can determine not just soil pH, but also the relative light and moisture, so you have data on the critical parameters and whether your soil has good levels of them.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($7.77)
Covery 3 in 1
This multifunctional gardening implement enables gardeners to gauge the suitability of the soil for planting. Designed for soil testing, the Covery 3 in 1 measures pH balance as well as the moisture content and relative light of the soil. When you know those values, you are more able to alter or maintain the composition of the soil to ensure enough support for the crops.
Since this model offers a simple plug-and-read functionality, there are no test strips and the waiting time is brief. This makes it easy to use. Just wait ten minutes after insertion to get a clear reading. You can be sure you know whether the soil is in a healthy range. Geared for scientific accuracy, this option has probes that only need to be inserted deep enough depending on your purpose.
The probes are long and slim enough to be inserted next to the roots of the plant, so you will know if your crops are getting enough nutrients or need enrichment.
This model can be used for both outdoor and indoor plants. It has a durable design that provides lasting use.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.99)
If you need professional-grade testing to determine the pH balance of your garden or lawn soil, the XLUX T20B should provide the help you need. This model is a three-in-one tester that measures the levels acidity and alkalinity as well as the relative light and moisture levels of your soil. This aspect will help you determine what your plants need to thrive.
Growing plants indoors and outdoors can be equally difficult. This device takes some of the load away by telling you whether the soil has enough levels to support healthy plant growth. You can assess the quality of the soil so you can take the proper steps if any components are missing or should be reduced to a healthier level.
This way, you can restore the soil if it lacks anything such as lessening the frequency of the watering, for instance. You will also know if the area is getting enough sunlight for your plants to grow healthy.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.95)
Gem refractometers – Buying guide & Comparison
If you don’t have the time to go through all the extensive documentation in the field of gemology and are just after a quick suggestion for a good gem refractometer to get you started then the following short paragraph should provide all the information you need. The gemkit3+book package was very well received by both beginner and experienced gemologists alike since it contains the most important tools to practice this hobby all gathered together in a convenient and surprisingly affordable package. The piece de resistance is the refractometer itself, certified to take readings from a 1,30 to 1,81 refraction index. Beginners will love this as a starter kit and experts will find it of great use as a portable, unpretentious unit. If you already have most of the items in the gemkit+ and only need the device itself and some RI fluid, then the Ade Advanced Optics ExtGemRefra will make for a good purchase.
Whether you’re out to buy the best gem refractometer available for sale to equip your geology lab or just a hobbyist or corner store jeweler, there are a few things you to know about the product before making your purchase. We’ve looked through the best gem refractometer reviews online to see what are the most common attributes amateurs and professionals alike take into account when making an evaluation and listed them below.
First, the basics
The refractometer is one of the most important gem testing instruments since it lets you know two very useful parameters for gem identification: the refraction index (RI) and the strength of the gem’s double refraction (birefringence).
The refraction index is usually different for every gem and makes for a pretty straightforward identification method. Only some gems have a double refraction, and by taking two measures from such a gem you can calculate the strength of its birefringence, which offers further data for identification. Of course, the fact that you can separate mono-refracting from bi-refracting gems is very useful as well.
Like any refractometer, the variety used in gemology works by focusing the refracted light from the sample into a scale. The readings are then taken by viewing the scale through a focusing lens. Unlike with portable types, the gem refractometer will need its own light source to function, most commonly a monochromatic LED light on recent models. This gives it a great advantage over a microscope because it allows it to take readings of opaque gems as well as transparent ones.
This is especially important for scientists and jewelers since a good deal of their respective jobs involve taking accurate readings. The best gemological refractometers used in labs generally have a far lower margin for error than it might be reasonably needed by a hobbyist using his or her library books for reference.
Enthusiasts and even most jewelers might want to favor other characteristics over this one, such as how durable, affordable and easy to carry the unit is, since the most common margins of error specified by manufacturers are generally well within the parameters required for them to do their work.
To ensure for the most accurate reading, it’s sometimes required to compensate for room temperature. Certain units do this automatically, which makes for great convenience since the user won’t have to consult various charts and then make the necessary adjustments by hand.
Before buying you should always consider what your needs from the meter are. Hobbyists and gemology beginner won’t need the highest specs model, and even specialists don’t feel too comfortable carrying their best refractometer on location.
Even more “affordable” refractometers can cost a pretty penny, but high-performance ones will really burn a hole in your pocket, so don’t get obsessive over specs when you aren’t in a position to benefit from them anyway.
Speaking of value for the dollar, make sure that you buy a sturdy, durable model, with a casing made out of metal rather than plastic.
In order for the refractometer to work properly, the gem must be placed over a layer of refracting oil, which needs to be rated for the maximum refraction index that the device measure (generally 1,81). Make sure that the manufacturer provides an adequate quantity of fluid with the meter, so you will be able to use it straight out of the box for testing.
A bag for easy carry will be especially important if you plan on using the refractometer on the go. The need for transport in the gemology world arises more often than most of us would expect, so a good bag might well prove its worth.
All models that come with an integrated light will also require batteries, and it’s always nice to have these included as well.
Top gem refractometer reviews in 2017
Containing a Chelsea filter, a dichroscope, a triplet jeweler’s loupe with 10x magnification and a gemological refractometer, this kit has everything to get a regular Joe started in gemology or to provide a highly convenient traveling kit for an expert in the field since it all fits in a discreet black case.
The meter can take accurate measurements of the refraction index between 1 and 1.80 units, enough for any task you might need it for. It also comes with its own LED light and batteries as well as 10 grams of RI 1,80 contact fluid.
The lenses are protected by a strong metal case while in use, and a nylon zip-lock back is provided for easy carriage.
The whole package received good ratings on retail sites for its quality but what impressed people the most was the very good value they received for a price slightly above that of a mid-range refractometer.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Ade Advanced Optics ExtGemRefra
The Nevada based Ade Advanced Optics seems to really have hit upon a gem with this product. It is both accurate, sturdy and contains some features not usually found in refractometers of its category.
The most salient of these is its automatic temperature compensation capability, which allows it to adjust for any climate within its operational range without the need for user input. This is especially convenient for gem hunters that need to carry a measuring tool to outdoors marketplaces or residential homes, where precise air temperature might sometimes be hard to determine.
The item is also easy to carry around, thanks to its low weight of just 0,8-0,9 lb and soft carry case. You won’t have to worry that much about dropping it since its thick glass optics and metal casing gives it good impact resistance.
The product also comes with its own RI oil rated at 1.80, a polarizing filter and a yellow monochromatic light, which would be difficult to find for sale otherwise.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($140.98)
Ade Advanced Optics GL500
The comparatively affordable GL500 is an even more portable unit than its premium cousin, the ExtGemRefra. While its functionality and features didn’t receive the same praise (but no complaints either) its light weight and sturdiness make it very suitable for a gemologist working out in the field and for gem hunters making their way from stand to stand through crowded marketplaces or conference halls.
Both these qualities are a result of its aluminum construction and built-in LED light, which eliminates the need for a flashlight or any other sort of outside illuminator that would otherwise be required to be carried separately.
The importance Ade Advanced Optics gave to portability when designing this product is further displayed by the available accessories they decided to include in the package: a polarizing filter and two different carrying cases, one soft and comfortable while the other one hard, to offer adequate protection from physical forces.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($89.99)
An overall good quality product, the TTG-181 offers all the functionality needed for the gemology enthusiast and jeweler alike. Its accuracy is specified by the manufacturer to be at 0,01 RI, which makes it sensitive enough to categorize almost every gem on the planet.
The range is equally suitable, between 1,30 and 1,81, covering every reference value you might find in a gemology catalog.
It’s got an integrated LED illuminator with an easy to access on and off switch and a polarizing filter, but you’ll need to shop for a bottle of 1,81 rated RI fluid since this doesn’t come in the package.
Portability is also good, with the item weighing in at only 0,88 lb and having its own carrying pouch. An instruction manual is also supplied by the manufacturer but the button cell batteries it requires to run are not.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($101)
Losco Instrument GML-501
With an accuracy of 0,01 RI between the ranges of 1,30 and 1,81 RI this Losco Instrument product will make a good work aid for any scientist, jeweler and gemology enthusiast. Furthermore, it offers a similar degree of functionality as any other gem refractometer while not affecting your personal budget quite to the same degree.
Its affordability doesn’t take away from convenience either since you’ll go through the same usual motions while using it: Open the upper cover and wash the prism with alcohol.
Place just a drop of refracting oil and even it smoothly, so that the gem makes good contact with the glass. (the gem should be, of course, polished and smoothened out on its contact surface). Turn on the integrated light and adjust the focus on the eyepiece until the light/dark boundary appears clear on the scale. Mind that you
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pH meters for wine making – Buying guide & Comparison
It is but natural for winemakers to be short on time so this short paragraph seeks to help them find the best pH meter for winemaking quickly. In our own search for this kind of product, we evaluated some of the most popular ones on the market based on value and quality. All the hard research led us to what we consider a good choice, the Instecho Digital. This model covers both residential and laboratory applications for testing liquids. It offers sensitivity and accuracy with its full 0 to 14 measurement range, so you have a clear idea of the quality of the liquid being tested. To ensure improved accuracy, it is equipped with an Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC) functionality that ensures it can still take accurate readings regardless of the temperature changes in the solution. Should you encounter instances of the Instecho Digital being out of stock, we encourage you to give the Suramayoo Digital a chance to prove itself as the second best option.
Winemaking is a delicate process and requires patience as well as a good sense of what makes a good brew. In this regard, finding a good tool from those in the various wine pH meter reviews is critical to success. These are the aspects to scrutinize in this kind of investment.
A lousy display could easily mess up an entire batch of ingredients. If you can’t read the displayed value quickly and easily, you probably found a low-quality pH meter for sale. In contrast, a good device enables you to do measurements and read them off the display easily, even when the conditions in your winemaking cellar are not exactly ideal.
Most top notch models have a backlit screen, while a good number include color-coded backlighting as well so you can tell immediately if the brew is of the proper pH level or as you want.
A hold-reading feature enables you to have the reading displayed until you take the device from the liquid and record it. This is essential when you have to leave the meter in the vat for some time until the brew is ready.
If the model you own provides multiple value measurement, it should allow you to shift to the other modes effortlessly with a simple click of a button or a push of the indicator lever.
You can save on battery life with an Auto Shutdown feature. Most models come in a pen style that makes them easy to hold in hand or insert in the pocket. It also enables you to do on-the-go testing minus the messy strips and the color charts, which can sometimes be confusing. Look for models with a handy carry case for problem-free storage and portability.
Check the manual for easy readability. The instructions should facilitate use and not complicate operations. Results should be available fast. Operations should be simple, involving only immersion, some waiting time till the reading stabilizes, and you should have a reading within minutes.
Versatility in use
A good number of models on the market are engineered to do the usual task of measuring the level of alkalinity and acidity of liquid solutions. However, what sets apart the best wine pH meter from the run-of-the-mill types is its ability to deliver more than that.
You will find models that can also give you a picture of the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) levels, the Electrical Conductivity (EC), and the temperature of the test solution. Plenty of models can be used both for residential and professional purposes. You can test drinking water, wine, the water in ponds, aquariums, and pools, along with other liquid-holding facilities. Lab use can include the pH testing of urine and saliva, as well as blood chemistry examination.
Dependable, accurate results
A good pH meter serves its purpose as it should. You want readings to stay consistent in accuracy, which is critical in winemaking. The effects of a botched reading, no matter if it is only slightly off, could have tremendous effects on the quality of the wine.
Values should be read by the device and should remain stable no matter what the condition or setting may be. Look for models that deliver a wide measurement range as this will give you an exact value and not just an approximation.
In spite of the broad measuring range, the accuracy range should be the opposite. If you can, look for a device that offers the smallest accuracy range, such as one that is accurate to +/- 0.01 or 0.02 pH or the smallest percentage. This means you can trust the values to be accurate. Wine is particularly pH-sensitive, so this factor is critical.
An Automatic Temperature Compensation feature ensures that no matter the variations in the temperature of the liquid, the device would still give you one value as if the sample were at its normal temperature state.
Top wine making pH meters reviews in 2017
While we are not winemaking professionals, we believe that any decent pH meter should have the qualities outlined in the buying guide. Furthermore, we also believe that any one of the products we have featured below can make a great option for those in the business.
Useful for liquid testing in both home and laboratory settings, the Instecho Digital serves to help you check and ensure that the levels of acidity and alkalinity in various water and liquid specimens are what they should be. It can be used to read the pH of water solutions in pools, aquariums, tanks, spas, and others.
In the laboratory, this model provides functionality for the pH testing of body fluids such as urine, saliva, and blood. It can also be used to test lab reagents and chemicals utilized in mixtures. Winemakers and those in the brewery business use it to gauge the serviceability or drinkability of their products.
Compared to using test strips and color charts, this device provides a convenient, handy, and mess-free means of measuring pH in an objective, scientific way. It offers a high level of sensitivity and accuracy with its full 0 to 14 pH measurement range.
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Accurate up to ±0.1 pH at 20°C, the Suramayoo Digital offers high accuracy for trustworthy readings. This water and liquid quality tester comes in a nifty pocket size that makes it easily portable. It can be used to test household drinking water, swimming pools, aquariums, and spas.
It can also be used for testing the pH balance of products in wine and beer making. The meter also provides functionality for testing hydroponics systems, reverse osmosis (RO) systems, and others.
Offering smooth operation, this model provides a high level of accuracy as it boasts a broad measuring range of 0.0 to 14.0 pH, with 0.1 pH resolution. It also requires just a few steps to operate, with just a single button to carry out the measuring process. It delivers readings quickly and clearly on the digital display.
The supplied batteries allow you to enjoy continuous use for more than 500 hours.
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LIUMY Portable Digital
The LIUMY Portable Digital comes with a pocket-sized design that enables handy use for on-the-scene applications. It offers serviceability for measuring the pH of the water solution in pools, spas, aquariums, hydroponics systems, and drinking water. It is indispensable in food, wine, and beer making, among many others.
This model can be relied on to provide readings fast, with accuracy as a primary strong point. It can measure levels as low as 0 up to as high as 14, with a 0.1 ph resolution. The measurement is displayed clearly on the LCD screen, enabling you to read and record the results easily.
The protective cap keeps the electrode/sensor from damage and contamination when not in use. This model does the job without the mess and drips that a litmus paper and color chart can make. At just 1.76 oz, this device is easy to hold in hand and is easily portable.
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Ensuring precision up to 0.01 pH, the Bolayu Digital also serves as a temperature sensor so it can give you two values in one device. The replaceable electrode enables reuse for various liquid solutions in a row, eliminating the need to have several devices on hand for a series of testing tasks.
The ring holding the electrode can be extended. It has a waterproof design so you can use it with no worries.
The battery provides a standby time of around 2,000 hours to accommodate infrequent use along with multiple cycles of testing. This model features automatic calibration, so you need not worry about the reliability of readings even after using the device for a long period.
With its operating temperature from 0 to 80°C, this device can be used in a variety of standard conditions and settings. If you need to shift modes, it can be done easily and with push-button simplicity.
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pH meters for water – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’d like nothing more than to find the best pH meter for water and not waste time on anything else, we hope you give us a chance to help you make an intelligent buying decision through this short paragraph. We analyzed some of the popular products on the market based on quality and performance and found the VANTAKOOL Digital a wise option. Offering wide use, this model is suitable for both laboratory and household water testing applications. It can be used to test the pH balance of drinking water, as well as the water solution in aquariums, pools, Reverse Osmosis water systems, hydroponics systems, spas, and a variety of other purposes. Engineered to deliver results fast, this model guarantees accurate results, even with variability in water temperature. This is thanks to the Automatic Temperature Compensation feature. If the VANTAKOOL Digital is constantly out of stock, you can give the Feramox Digital a try as it makes a good second option.
Being able to find the best water pH meter is not going to be an easy task. With so many brands and models that you have to scrutinize and research about, making a purchasing decision will not be a simple thing. We have outlined in our buying guide the exact points of consideration when making this kind of investment.
It won’t do to simply settle for any product in the many water pH meter reviews. You will need to know how easy the digital device will be to use. The instructions in the user manual will help if they are clear and to the point. However, much depends on how the instrument itself is designed to be easy to use.
A large, easy-to read LCD screen facilitates viewing of the measured values. Ideally, you should be able to read the values regardless of the viewing angle. If the device has a data-hold function, it will make reading and recording easier, especially when you are testing for monitoring purposes.
Since plenty of digital pH meters measure not just the acidity and alkalinity of water, toggling from one parameter to another should be easy to do.
You should be able to obtain a reading in minutes, with some high-quality models providing one in just seconds.
A lightweight device will be easy to operate with one hand. Compare that to using conventional test strips and a color chart, and you would quickly shift to digital models too. You should be able to operate the device with just one hand. Just immerse the probe or electrode into the solution or water then wait for the reading to stabilize. It’s that simple!
A backlit LCD screen allows you to do testing even when lighting conditions are not ideal. For easy portability and storage, a carrying case offers convenience.
Reliability of results
A good pH meter ensures repeatable, consistent accuracy. If you can, find a model that has a slim margin of error or accuracy range, such as ±0.01 to ±0.02. This will ensure reduced erroneous values, which is critical especially when the solution is really pH sensitive.
Oftentimes, any slight variances in pH affect the quality of the liquid being tested. It could influence the taste, usability for making mixtures, and even safety for drinking. That is why the margin of error should be very narrow.
You will want a wide measuring range despite a limited accuracy range. This aspect will enable you to ensure that readings are not limited to a low value. It will also ensure greater measuring potential for various liquids.
Check out units offering Automatic Temperature Compensation. This detail ensures the tool can read values effectively even when the temperature of the test liquid is not constant or standard. The feature enables the tool to compensate for any temperature change and proceed to deliver a precise reading. This point ensures stability.
You might even find devices that remind you when it’s due for re-calibration. This is vital since you wouldn’t want to be getting errors in values.
The tool should also operate on batteries for extended periods, giving you countless hours of use.
Versatility and functionality
Any pH meter for sale should be ready to do its job right out of the package. While many models need to be calibrated at the onset, the process is usually easy. After that, it’s ready to go before the next re-calibration. A lot of ph meters measure not only the acidity and alkalinity of liquids but also their temperature, electrical conductivity (EC), and even total dispersed solids (TDS), which is essential for testing purity or concentration.
You should be able to switch from one mode to another with push-button simplicity. Some units are equipped with an auto calibration feature with buffer recognition. Calibration solutions simplify the initialization process.
You would want the device to enable you to use it for a variety of applications.
Top water pH meters reviews in 2017
Finding a good-quality pH meter can be tedious. Faced with countless options on the market, the buyer will have to do their own research and evaluation of which would be a suitable product to address their needs. We have featured what we believe are top notch performers in the field.
The VANTAKOOL Digital can be used for both laboratory and household purposes. It is suitable for testing the pH balance of the water in pools, aquariums, spas, Reverse Osmosis (RO) water systems, hydroponics, and in the drinking supply. Versatile enough for a wide variety of applications, this model helps ensure that water quality is of consistent levels regardless of its purpose.
Able to read values and deliver them quickly, this pH meter also offers consistent accuracy. It is equipped with a revolutionary Automatic Temperature Compensation feature.
This component makes it possible for the pH meter to counterbalance automatically any change in temperature when performing readings. This means stability in values.
Another thing to love about this model is how it eliminates the need to use litmus strips and color charts. In the first place, comparing a dipped test strip to a color chart is prone to errors and can often be subjective. Thanks to this pH meter, you have a safe and convenient yet effective way of determining the water quality.
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The Feramox Digital comes with all you need to get started on the task of monitoring the quality of water sources. It ships with a pH solution buffer powder to facilitate the calibration process. This will ensure that the device is able to read values accurately.
Suitable for testing the water quality in aquariums, hydroponics, swimming pools, and more, this model helps ensure your family’s safety. It can be used in winemaking, brewery, drinking water monitoring, fish tanks and aquariums, pools, and spas.
For the industrial sector, this model also serves for testing raw and finished products in the manufacture of cosmetics and food, as well as in the processing of industrial wastewater, among others. It is also a widely used instrument in the laboratory.
This portable, pocket-sized pH meter also comes with an Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC) feature, which enables it to offset automatically any temperature variation in the solution being tested.
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Plantz Shoppe Digital
If you need a pocket-sized tester to check the quality of water in any residential or commercial setting, the Plantz Shoppe Digital provides the solution.
Its diminutive size enables on-the-go convenient testing of drinking water as well as the water solution in swimming pools, aquariums, spas, Reverse Osmosis (RO) water systems, water tank and reservoirs, and hydroponics systems, just to name a few.
With its broad measuring range of 0 to 14, this model is able to handle more demanding applications. The large, backlit display makes it easy to read measured values in difficult conditions. The provided pH buffer powder enables calibration to keep the meter working as it should. This handheld device beats using test strips and color charts that are quite messy and prone to errors.
The auto calibration button provides a hassle-free way of ensuring the meter provides consistently accurate readings via simple calibration with the three free pH buffer sets.
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Providing a pocket-sized means of testing the quality of water in homes and commercial establishments, the HealthyWiser Digital carries a convenient pen style that enables the user to insert it in the pocket for on-the-scene checking. It offers a wide measuring range of 0 to 14, which enables it to accommodate more demanding testing conditions.
This model provides results instantly without compromising on the much-needed accuracy. It even boasts an Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC) feature. This functionality serves to ensure that the tool automatically factors in any changes in the temperature of the liquid solution being tested when measuring the pH.
With this implement, the need for messy testing with litmus strips and confusing color charts is eliminated, so there’s less guesswork involved.
As a bonus, buyers of this kit are emailed a PDF of an alkaline food chart and 21 alkaline recipes, which are helpful for those observing a healthy lifestyle. This tool offers a hassle-free way of ensuring health in the home.
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Dr. Lyn Premium WB-003
Your convenient, portable partner in ensuring the safety of pH levels in liquid solutions, the Dr. Lyn Premium WB-003 is helpful in both commercial and household applications.
The handheld meter ships with four batteries that deliver up to 1,000 hours of continued use. The batteries provide enough life to handle countless testing processes.
A carry case also comes in the kit, which enables you to store the device and prevent damage to it during transport. Free packets of buffer powder are also in the kit to enable the user to do the initial calibration and periodic recalibration. This will ensure that the device delivers accurate results consistently.
The buyer will not have to do troublesome guesswork on how to enjoy optimal use of the device because it ships with instructions in the provided user manual. Re-calibration is not a complicated process at all using the supplied borax and phosphate that serve as standard buffers.
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