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What Are Buyers Saying About Viscometers?

Find out the frequency of use and more from the latest viscometer survey results

by Jason Kerkhof

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 viscometer83%
U-Tube / Ostwald Viscometer22%
Vibrational Viscometer7%
Falling Ball Viscometer4%
Rectangular Slit Viscometer4%

Frequency of viscometer usage by survey respondents:

Several times each week40%
Several times daily30%
Two to three times a month19%
Less than once a month11%

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

Replacement of aging system
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
First time purchase

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

Durability / Rugged design66%
Simple operation64%
Torque accuracy60%
Available accessories36%
Onsite service / support30%
Extended warranty26%

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