Lab Manager

2016 Viscometer Survey Results

Learn readers’ viscometer purchasing plans and more from our latest survey results.

By Ryan Ackerman

Many industries measure viscosity, though the biggest user is the quality control department utilizing single-point measurement. Research scientists also use viscometers to see how a material reacts to being sheared. The task at hand determines the kind of viscometer to use—different viscometers measure different magnitudes of viscosity and different changes in it. According to one expert, the most important factor to consider when buying a viscometer is robustness, even if users have to give up some sensitivity.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Viscometer

  1. What kind of temperature control and spindle rotational speed control does the instrument offer? Temperature is critical, since viscosity generally rises as a fluid cools. Spindle rotation may also affect viscosity.
  2. What range of accessories (ex. sample holders) does the company offer for the instrument?
  3. How easy to use is the viscometer? Since most users nowadays aren’t experts, an easy-to-use instrument is probably the best fit for most labs.
  4. What are the sizes of the samples you’ll be working with? This may be an issue when analyzing very expensive materials such as drugs or proteins and cost of ownership is also important for high-volume applications.
  5. What is the instrument’s measurement range? If you’re analyzing petroleum, from crude oil to gasoline, do you want to change out the capillary for each measurement, or use something that works all the way through?
  6. What kind of service and support does the company provide?

Viscometer types used by survey respondents:

Rotational viscometer 63%
U-Tube / Ostwald Viscometer 39%
Falling Ball Viscometer 16%
Rectangular Slit Viscometer 8%
Vibrational Viscometer 4%
Falling Piston Viscometer 2%
Other 2%

Frequency of viscometer usage by survey respondents:

Several times daily 38%
Several times each week 27%
Two to three times a month 21%
Less than once a month 13%

Nearly 58% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new viscometer. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of aging systems
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab
First time purchase

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a Viscometer:

Repeatability 85%
Simple operation 79%
Durability / Rugged design 77%
Torque accuracy 69%
Warranty 59%
Price 57%
Onsite service / support 47%
Extended warranty 46%
Training 40%
Compact design 31%

For more information on viscometers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent survey results here

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Moving Your Career Forward

Published: September 8, 2016

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