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2013 Guide to Refractometers

A refractometer is an optical instrument that is used to determine a concentration of a particular substance within a given solution.

by Other Author

A refractometer is an optical instrument that is used to determine a concentration of a particular substance within a given solution. The measure of how much the speed of light is reduced when traveling through a substance such as a gas, solid, or solution is referred to as the refractive index (RI). On obtaining the index, you can calculate different properties of the element, such as the concentration of blood protein, sugar content or salinity.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Refractometer

1. What is the range of readings (highest to lowest) the instrument can make? This will help you make sure it will suit your purpose.

2. How easy can the refractometer be read and understood? This is especially important if non-experts will be the main users.

3. What is the calibration temperature of the refractometer?

4. How easy it is to calibrate? Must you purchase a calibration liquid, or can you calibrate with distilled water? Does it calibrate with a set screw or a dial or knob?

5. How easy it is to clean the instrument?

Respondents’ primary applications for refractometers, based on our latest survey results:

Pharmacy, Medicine, Biotechnology 21%
Food and Beverage 20%
Chemical Industry 13%
Education, Research 13%
Environmental 5%
Fragrance, Cosmetics, Personal Care 3%
Petroleum 3%
Minerals, Mining, Raw Materials 2%
Other 19%

Types of refractometers respondents are using:

Manual Portable 39%
Digital Benchtop 26%
Manual Benchtop 22%
Digital Portable 11%
Other 2%

Product performance was selected by 100% of the respondents as an important feature in the decision-making process when purchasing a new refractometer.
The following were also important:

Calibration Solutions 44%
Printer 28%
Automation 19%
Other 9%

Recently Released Refractometers

LiquiPhysics™ Excellence
• Simple to operate, sophisticated and secure
• One Click™ user interface allows quick, simple and direct access to all routine tasks and provides clear user information
• Supports the simple expansion of measuring systems when additional needs arise
• Lab™ PC software provides complete and secure traceability


Abbemat Series
• Sophisticated measuring principle guarantees maximum accuracy
• Low sample volume, highest efficiency
• Simple to adjust
• User-friendly, quick and easy
• Performance, Performance Plus, Heavy Duty, and WR-MW models available

Anton Paar

HI 96801
• Suited to the analysis of fruits, energy drinks, puddings, soy milk juices, jam, marmalade, honey, soups, jelly, tofu and condiments
• Dual-level LCD displays measurement and temperature readings simultaneously
• Includes Automatic Temperature Compensation for accurate measurements
• Provides easy measurement; place a few drops of the sample in the well and press the READ key

Hanna Instruments

• Features a brighter field of view than its predecessor, the DR-A1, making it easier to measure inhomogeneous and/or dark samples
• Refractive index (nD) 1.3000 to 1.7100
• Brix 0.0 to 95.0%
• Measurement temperature range: 5 to 50°C (at unit of 0.1°C)
• Provides measurement accuracy of (nD) ±0.0002 (refractive index) and Brix ±0.1%


Bellingham + Stanley RFM700 Series
• Are robust, low cost, and fully automatic
• Four models to choose from depending on the application requirement and the budget available
• Features a sapphire prism mounted in an easy clean stainless steel dish and an outer casing that is sealed and shaped to withstand sample spillage and moisture ingress



Refractometer Manufacturers

Anton Paar
Hanna Instruments
Index Instruments
Rudolph Research Analytical