All About Refractometers

Refractometers play a major role in helping you test the sugar and salinity levels in different solutions.

The most common types of refractometers are handheld refractometers. They work on the principle that light entering a prism has a unique characteristic that is represented by a value on a scale. There are two main types of handheld refractometers: analog and digital.

Analog Handheld Refractometers

They are easy to use. They also don’t need an energy source in order to work. Their main flaw is that they tend to give false results when used outside the specified temperature range.

Digital Refractometers

They are the most popular as they are very easy to use. To use them you need to deposit juice in a well that allows a light emitting diode (LED) to reflect light through the prism. Once you deposit your juice you need to wait for only a few seconds and you will see results in the LCD screen.

In addition to giving fast results, they also give accurate results. Their main flaw is that they are quite expensive.

Tips On How To Maintain Refractometers

For refractometers to last for a long time, you need to take good care of them. Here are tips on how to take care of them:

Wet environment: you should never expose the reflactometers to wet environment. Once you are through with the analysis or you want to store them, you should clean and dry the prism. One sign that you have exposed your analog reflactometer to wet environment is cloudiness of the field of view. When this happens you should ask a professional technician to help you out.

Right use: you should never use the reflactometer for the wrong purpose. For example, you should never use a sugar refractometer to measure saline solutions. To be on the safe side you should buy a refractometer that is designed for the solution that you are interested in evaluating.

Storage: in addition to ensuring that you store the reflactometer in a dry place, you also need to ensure that the storage location has constant temperature. Research studies have shown that storing the refractometer in a location whose temperature fluctuates by up to 5 degree Fahrenheit you risk damaging the optics and prism.


This is what you need to know about refractometers. You should always handle the refractometers with great care as dropping them can result to breakage, scratching or displacement of the optics or prism.

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