Best Refractometer – Expert Picks & Buying Guide

A refractometer is a low-cost optical instrument that may be used to determine the quantity of dissolved chemicals in a liquid or detect new substances.

This is calculated by observing the speed of light’s proportion through the mixture to the velocity of light in a vacuum, which is done by finding the index of refraction of the mix.

Manufacturers frequently use these refractometers to make preserves. Anybody may use this to determine the acidity level or precise ratios.

The focus has been on a few key points while writing this article. The many varieties of refractometers, different reading types, appropriate for different applications, temperature control, specialization in certain areas, budget, and a slew of other factors all played a role in determining the top 7 options in this article. 

These are the considerations a user should make when purchasing a refractometer, and we’ve just made it easy for you by locating not one but seven refractometers.

Although all of the options are among the best on the market, the Salinity Refractometer for Seawater and Marine Fishkeeping Aquarium is likely to be the most popular. 

This device has been recommended as the best refractometer for reef tanks by users.

Four Types of Refractometer

Refractometers are devices that measure RI (refractive index). A refractometer determines a liquid sample’s refractive index by measuring the amount of light that is bent as it travels from the air into the sample. The concept of refraction is used to operate it. Refractometers are divided into four categories:

Traditional Handheld Refractometers

A classic portable refractometer would be an instrument that runs as an analog pattern used to determine a liquid’s refractive index. Handheld refractometers are appropriate for laboratories or industrial area measurements since they are small and convenient to use.

Digital Handheld Refractometers

Digital refractometers have the capacity of providing a resolution that is double that of a standard refractometer, resulting in significantly more precise readings. The present temperature is calculated into the overall conclusion of a digital refractometer that incorporates automated temperature correction depending on sugar.

Laboratory or Abbe Refractometer

An Abbe Refractometers is a traditional instrument that measures Refractive Index and is extremely dependable. Unlike other refractometers, an Abbe refractometer can measure solid and liquid samples like plastic sheets, plate glasses, and many other solid materials.

Incline Process Refractometers

The process refractometers that may be inserted into pipes or vessels are known as inline refractometers. Inline refractometers measure a refraction index-dependent process variable.

Best Refractometer to Buy

1. Salinity Refractometer for measuring Fishkeeping Aquarium

Portable Handheld Refractometer Salinity

With a highly skilled team & factory, Xin Da Cheng has been producing and marketing this line of equipment for approximately ten years. They have been focusing on delivering the best refractometer with consistent, high-quality items to clients all around the world. Following measurement, the debris must be removed as soon as possible. 

Key Features

  • Perfect for both aquariums and coastal surveillance:

Salinity Refractometer for Seawater and Marine Fishkeeping Aquarium is perfect for both aquariums and coastal surveillance; this device measures the acidity of water. This is the best aquariums refractometer.

  • Scales and body:

Specific Gravity, known as D 20/20, and atoms per thousand are the two scales used. Their products have high quality optical and a seamless focusing system. Aluminum alloy is used for its main body.

  • Automated:

The temperature compensation of the Salinity Refractometer for Seawater and Marine Fishkeeping Aquarium is automated. This precision optical framework comprises of internal optical lenses and a higher index of refraction.

  • Additions and resistance:

It has a hard case; screwdriver, dropper, user manual, and cleaning cloth are included. The device is impact and chemical resistant, and you can use this to determine the salinity of any corrosive liquid. However, sampling these drinks for an extended period is not recommended.

  • Durability:

The primary component is constructed of chromium. As a result, the Salinity Refractometer is quite durable and sturdy. The Refractometer will not break easily and will provide a long warranty period. 


  • This refractometer is easy to operate.
  • The money will be well spent.
  • This is simple to read from the refractometer.


  • Before using, you will need to buy a calibration solution then test it.
  • People with poor eyesight may have difficulty comprehending the readings.

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2. Aichose Brix Refractometer

The Aichose refractometer series is built on the concept that liquid measured values fluctuate as concentration changes. It is portable, simple, fast, and requires no batteries; it is easier and more effective than classic hydrometers, and it is less expensive than the digital meters available. It has an aluminum alloy central core.  

Key Features

  • Determine sugar level:

Aichose Brix Refractometer is used to determine the amount of sugar in a beverage and its specific gravity. Aichose Brix allows you to measure the sugar level in any liquid without worrying about getting the wrong results. 

  • Ideal for:

It is ideal for home brewing, winemaking, agriculture, gardening, and education. It is an excellent tool for adults and children and for usage at home and in the workplace.

  • Gravity measurements:

0-32 percent Brix plus specific gravity measurements are consistently accurate. It has high-quality lenses and a seamless focusing system, making Aichose Brix even more accurate. 

  • Automated Temperature:

Automated Temperature Compensation includes finding quick results even easier. This refractometer’s precision optical framework comprises of internal optical lenses with a higher refractive index.

  • Durability:

Durable and simple to use and transport. The major section is constructed of chromium, which is both light and strong. The device is scratch and chemical resistant, and it may be also used for measuring any corrosive liquid. Following measurement, the residue must be removed as soon as possible.


  • The refractometer comes calibrated at 0 with pure water and complies with the measuring devices at all locations.
  • The figures speak for themselves.
  • It is simple to keep track of a brew’s progress and to signal the conclusion of fermentation.


  • When alcohol is present in the solution, they do not reflect the same.
  • You need to know the correction equations

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3. Tiaoyeer Brix Refractometer with ATC

Tiaoyeer Brix Refractometer with ATC is made with ATC for sugar, fruit, food, drinks, and other products. A versatile refractometer along with a 0~32 percent brix scale, ideal for sugar analysis, may help with product quality control, shipment verification, sweetness categorization, and other tasks. 

Key Features

  • Brix Accuracy: 

Brix Accuracy: +/-0.2%,  Brix Refractometer can detect brix between 0-32 percent 0.2 percent

  • Easily adjustable and easy to use:

Easily adjust for temperature, making it much easier to achieve quick results. If there is not any liquid in the primary prism, the round field appears completely blue. The entire blue field transforms into a blue & white field.

  • Saves gallons:

Take a drop of wort with the dropper and place it on the refractometer. Place the refractometer above the light and look at the scale via the eyepiece for a more precise measurement of sugars in fruits and juice.

  • Multipurpose usage:

This Refractometer is one of the top choices because of its multipurpose usage. This Brix Refractometer is useful for measuring sugar levels in home brew, agriculture, gardening, and education.

  • Durability:

It is effortless to use, solid construction, small size, and lightweight make it easy to keep track of and transport. Two to three drops of filtered water after that is enough. 


  • Calibration, precision, and ease of use
  • This is a good refractometer at a reasonable price range.
  • In comparison to a typical brix meter, the viewing scope enables for more precision.
  • Small, portable, and accurate, this instrument is ideal for field-testing on the go.


  • The scale is shaky.
  • You will have to convert to SG on your own.

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4. Beerbrew Brix Refractometer

The aircraft’s anti-corrosive aluminum body of the Beerbrew Brix Refractometer provides great precision and outstanding performance at a low cost. It is the best Beer Refractometer. This brix refractometer should automatically correct for air temperature variations to deliver accurate and reliable observations. 

Key Features

  • Dual scale screen:

Using the dual scale screen, you may measure Brix (0-32 percent) or Specific Gravity: 1.000-1.130 at the same time with a precision of Brix Accuracy: +/-0.2 percent. Brix precision: +/-0.2 percent. There is no need to change units for readings.

  • Only two drops is what you need with ATC:

To have your SG & brix readings, you just need around two drops of beer. Along with the ATC Handheld, the best brewing refractometer, you will not have to worry about changes in temperature affecting the measurement accuracy.

  • Compact:

The non-corrosive, non-staining, and non-reactive metal used in the beer brew refractometer is compact, scratch-resistant, and long lasting. It is designed for ease of use, with no need for a look-up chart, simply two steps, two drops, or even a single glance to determine your SG/BRIX.

  • Added droppers:

The company have provided three droppers for you, as some customers have said that one dropper was not enough for regular applications.


  • It just requires three drops of the beer to get accurate readings with the Beerbrew Brix Refractometer.
  • You will never find a better deal.
  • It has a very user-friendly interface.


  • You may need to lift it up toward a bright light to get a clear read.
  • You must completely cover the test plate, including the blue region.

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5. Digital Brix Refractometer

The Digital Brix Refractometer, MILWAUKEE Instruments MA871 with automatic Temperature Control, 0-85% Brix, +/- 0.2 % Accuracy, 0.1% Resolution, Yellow LED, is ideal for a variety of different applications. This instrument determines a fluid’s BRIX, especially the sugar content. 

Key Features

  • LCD:

With a LCD digital dual level readout, you can get quick and precise results. Testing is simple, using only two to three drops of samples and taking less than two seconds.

  • One-point verification: 

Utilizing purified or deionized water, perform a straightforward one-point verification. Because it is so simple and effective, you will discover yourself testing gravity more frequently.

  • Automatic shutdown:

After three minutes of inactivity, it switches off automatically. The MILWAUKEE’S is a well-made instrument that is a joy to play.

  • Multipurpose usage:

The Digital Brix Refractometer, MILWAUKEE’S Instruments MA871, is a multipurpose usage refractometer. Winemakers, brewers, vegetable and fruit growers, syrup makers, and food companies will all benefit from this product.

  • ICUMSA Techniques Book recommendations were followed:

The thermal adjustment and measurement techniques are based on ICUMSA Techniques Book recommendations. When taking a final gravity reading, keep in mind that you will need to utilize a calculating tool to compensate for alcohol present in the solution.

  • Two color options:

Not every refractometer comes with color options. You will find only a few models from which you can pick a color. This product will come in either a black or a green casing, but both of them will be similar.


  • By using deionized or purified water, you can do the simple one-point assessment.
  • It is simple to clean.
  • The sample of stainless steel complements the IP65-rated equipment, which is “dirt proof” and resistant to jets of water.


  • This gadget does not detect the presence of water.
  • With every test, you would have to double-check the calibration.

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6. 0-90% Brix Meter Refractometer

The Brix scale ranges from 0-90 percent. It is widely utilized in manufacturing food, fruit, sugar, and drinks, among other things. A flexible refractometer, ideal for glucose measurement, may help with product quality control, delivery verification, and sweetness categorization, among other things. Because the BRIX Content of filtered water is zero percent, use it to adjust to zero.  

Key Features

  • Find the concentrations of sugars:

The brix scale ranges from 0-90 percent on a hand-held refractometer, which can be used to find the concentrations of sugars in the liquid.

  • Multipurpose usage:

Sugar content in food, fruit, and beverages are all measured using this method.

  • Automated Temperature Control and easy testing:

Hand-Held Refractometer features Automated Temperature Control, 10°C–30°C. Push the switch with a tool and slowly push it open. Put 2 to 3 droplets of samples on the major prism, shut the sunlight plate, and check the best brix refractometer result via the eyepiece.

  • Easy to use:

It is simple to operate. It ensures precise measuring and crisp reading by adjusting the focus. To try and protect the goods within, open the plastic case carefully.  

  • Comes with sturdy construction and Additional:

Compact and lightweight, with one plastic container included, it is convenient to pack and transport. This refractometer comes with additional: Pipette, plastic case, towel, and screwdriver are included in the package.


  • It may be used to check the quality of maple syrup.
  • This is handy for determining the glucose concentration in fruit-infused water.
  • When it is done, you will know exactly when it is done.


  • Basically, any value lower than 30 brix could be accurately interpreted. It is a digital brix refractometer.
  • Its box or container does not really close securely.

7. Antifreeze Refractometer 4-in-1 Anti-Freeze Coolant

This 4-in-1 antifreeze refractometer can be used to determine the freezing end of an automobile antifreeze network built on propylene glycol or ethylene glycol, the specific gravity of the battery acid, the concentration of windshield rinse solution based on isopropyl or ethanol alcohol, and the ability to focus of urea throughout DEF (diesel exhaust fluid). 

Key Features

  • Built on propylene glycol:

Freezing of automobile antifreeze built on propylene glycol or ethylene glycol at temperatures ranging from -60°F to 32°F. Battery acid-specific gravity is measured in kilograms per liter. Windshield washer liquid is measured at -40°F to 32°F using isopropyl or ethanol alcohol. Measuring the concentration of urea in DFE (diesel exhaust fluid) in automobiles (30% to 35%)

  • Allows to receive accurate results and ATC:

Refractometer for coolant when the air temperature fluctuates, Fahrenheit can instantly correct for it, eliminating the discrepancy and allowing you to receive accurate results quickly and easily. It has a temperature compensation system that works automatically (ATC)

  • Two to three droplets is all you need:

You only need two or three droplets of the solution and a few seconds to achieve accurate results. These antifreeze testers require less standard solutions and are less costly than traditional hydrometers.

  • Built out of ABS rubber and aluminum:

The antifreeze fluid tester is constructed of ABS rubber and aluminum, and it is anti-rust, non-staining, and durable for extended use. It arrives in a sturdy plastic box that is portable and simple to transport.


  • This Testing Unit is simple to understand.
  • With distillation or freshwater, they are simple to calibrate.
  • It is simple to modify and see the scale easily.


  • This will need to be cleaned after each usage.

Refractometer Buying Guide

Understanding what you want and, according to your requirement, which one would be acceptable is the toughest job while selecting a refractometer. Thus, we have supplied you with a purchase guide that will alleviate the difficulty.

Range and Measurement

Firstly, ask yourself what degree of precision is required? While selecting the right refractometer is to understand the application’s accuracy and range requirements. Depending on the sorts of substances to be measured, the value is expressed either in the Refractive Index or the percent Brix. The precision requirements are determined by the quality standards and the importance of the detection and quantification.

Temperature Control and Range

Because the refractive index changes with the temperature, it is crucial to think about a refractometer’s temperature monitoring range. To match manufacturing circumstances, some items require tests at increased temperatures. A lower-cost variant may be useful if the temperature requirements are less rigorous.

Type of Sample

What kind of sample are you measuring? Is it a liquid sample or a solid one? If it is a liquid one, is the sample clear, opaque, or translucent, if that’s the case? When purchasing a refractive, keep the following information in mind.

Comparing Automatically or Manually Using a Refractometer

Which instrument do you like, a manual or an automatic? A specimen is loaded between the measuring prism as well as the user aligns the Shadowline with the crossing hair goal by rotating a control knob in the transmission mode. The operator sets the item and presses the Measure button in a reflection style (automatic). Find which one would you prefer. 

Prism Material 

What sort of prism are you using? Reichert has 3 optical prisms that you can choose from. The most cost-effective ones are the glass prisms, but their endurance is restricted. Sapphire prisms seem to be 4 times tougher than glass and 4 times more durable. Sapphire ones are appropriate for high-demand applications since they are less prone to damage. The Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (YAG)prism has a wide refractive index variation and is the hardest.

Computer Software

Is the time it takes to get up and running a factor? When choosing a refractometer, make sure that the software characteristics are appropriate for your requirements. Reichert refractometers provide an easy-to-use interface that allows for rapid and precise measurements. The program is adaptable, with unique scales and procedures available, and it complies with 21 CFR Part 11.

How to Use a Refractometer?

As you know by now, there are three different kinds of refractometers. Traditional, digital, and Abbe refractometers.

For an Analog Refractometer on a Handheld Scale, the sample will be put on a plate and a prism that is of an analog refractometer, which will then be held up to the light to observe the scale within the meter.

For a Digital Refractometer on a Handheld, put a  drop of the previously tested solution in the well on the digital refractometers. A source of light, generally an LED one, illuminates the well.

The meter quickly converts the transmission of light into the index of refraction or whichever unit of measurement the device is designed to read. Finally, Abbe Refractometers, known as bench-top meters, resemble microscopes and produce exact refractive index readings.

Step by Step Using Guide:

  • Firstly, cover the stopper after transferring 1/2 drops of ambient temperature water in the prism of your refractometer with a dropper. The samples must be evenly distributed around the prism’s top.
  • Now, look through the eyepiece at the meter and measure where the demarcation line intersects it.
  • Use the adjustable wrench for calibration, set your demarcation line to zero.
  • Using a lint-free cloth and clean the prism.
  • Close the lid plate after transferring 1 or 2 two droplets of the main cooling liquid to your refractometer’s clear glass (prism) with a dropper. The sampling must be evenly distributed around the prism’s top. The refractometer should not be dipped through the water sump. Do not expose your refractometer to something like a stream of coolant. 
  • Look through the lens now at scale then read it wherever the demarcation line intersects it.
  • Again, use a fresh lint-free paper and water for cleaning the prism.
  • Fail to comply these instructions may actually be harmful to your refractometer’s both calibration and prism.

How to Calibrate Refractometer?

For Calibrating a Refractometer:

  • Inspect the refractometer if dusty, rinse with water and wipe with a clean, soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Place a few drops of pure water on the prism surface. For an analog refractometer, once the bubbles form, gently pressing the cover will remove the bubbles and help disperse the water over the entire surface. For digital refractometers, make sure that bubbles in the well are eliminated prior to making a reading.
  • Hold the refractometer up to natural light or an incandescent bulb to obtain the reading. Looking into the eyepiece, if the contrast line is not directly at zero, then adjust by turning the screw on the top of the refractometer until it reads zero. Replace the plastic cap after adjusting the calibration screw to prevent water from entering the refractometer. refractometers should be calibrated by pressing the zero button with water in the well. 
  • Place some of the solution on the prism and close the cover, making sure that the entire surface is filled and void of bubbles. Note the value and write it in Table 1 under Your Value. For digital refractometers, place the solution in the well and press the start button. Record the value. The value will remain on the LED display until the next sample is read. 
  • Record the values in the table below. Compare your values with those in the table. If your values are outside the expected range, follow the calibration steps a second time. If they are still outside the range, read the guide that comes with the refractometer thoroughly. 
UsageTypicalStandard deviationAssortmentYour value
Packets-5 2.990.1082.8-3.4
packets -10 5.720.2625.0-6.0
packets -15 11.040.26010.6-11.8


What Is a Refractometer Used for?

Refractometers are well-known equipment for determining the amount of water in liquids. It determines the liquid’s refractive index, which varies depending on the moisture level.

What Fluids Can Be Checked With a Refractometer?

Machine instrument coolants, heat treatment fluids, plating baths, hydraulic fluids, detergents, battery acid, antifreeze, and other liquid dissolving fluids are measured with refractometers, which are lightweight, handheld, portable equipment.

What Is the Principle of Refractometer?

Refractometers are tools that are used to determine the concentration of compounds mixed with water and some oils. The concept of light refraction via liquids is used to operate the refractometer. Light slows down when it travels from air to liquid.

How Does a Refractometer Measure Sugar Content?

Refractometers use refraction to determine the amount of sugar in a solution. The index of refraction of a sample increases as the quantity of mixed or suspended sugar increases. The Brix Ratio, which would be the mass proportion of sugar content of the samples, is directly related to the index of refraction.

Is a Refractometer Better Than a Hydrometer?

None of them is better than the other one; yet, they operate in quite different ways. As light “refracts” as it travels through the sample, a refractometer detects the amount of glucose in your mixture. On the contrary, a hydrometer is used to determine your beer or wine’s specific gravity.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Refractometer?

A refractometer has numerous advantages as an analytical technique: equipment is quick and relatively affordable, measurement is quick, and quantification is very accurate.

Refractometer Conclusion

If you are a lost soul in search of the best refractometer which will suit your needs and will serve the purpose, then by now, you know just the perfect one for you. After considering all the aspects of a good refractometer, we carefully chose each product in this article. Before committing to any of these items, go through the buying guide and see which one fulfills all your requirements. If you are worried about how to use it or how to calibrate your refractometer, then now you know how to handle that. We hope that you found our article useful.

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