If you are taste-obsessed enough to want every cup of coffee to have the perfect strength and extraction, then you will need a quality control refractometer. This is even more true for coffee shop owners.
Refractometers are tools that measure the angle of light refraction through a liquid. They’re used in medical labs and agricultural uses regularly, but you can also measure the extraction yields and concentration of your brew, whether at home or at your cafe.
There are many refractometers on the market, and you’ll find some of the best available on Amazon.com.
All of the refractometers reviewed here use the Brix scale. Now, the Brix scale may not be quite as accurate as the VST system, but tools based on this scale are more readily available; online calculators can help you do the calculations.
For those of you who are looking to buy a coffee refractometer so that you can achieve the ideal coffee temperature and hence taste, here is a comparison of the top models currently available online.
1. The Vee Gee Scientific BTX-1 Handheld Refractometer
Average Price Range: $$
This refractometer measures sugar content in coffee and a variety of other drinks, irrespective of the temperature of the environment in which you’re working.
It is handheld, and easy to use. It also has automatic temperature compensation, so you get results immediately and accurately, no matter how hot your coffee is.
This refractometer doesn’t need a power source – it is powered by ambient light.
The rubber grip ensures ease of use.
The glass prism is mounted in a metal housing so that temperature equilibrium is reached quickly.
Overall, the Vee Gee BTX-1 has a Brix/temperature graph which is larger and easier to read than most other models you will find at home-brew stores.
You can check the current unit price here:
2. The Vee Gee Scientific BX-1 Handheld Refractometer
Average Price Range: $
This model is similar to the BTX-1 by Vee Gee, the only difference being that it doesn’t have the 10 to 30 degree automatic temperature compensation feature of the BTX-1. Instead, it has a manual temperature compensation system which uses distilled water for calibration. You don’t need any extra tools for the calibration – a ring feature lets you do this on the unit itself.
Because of the manual temperature calibration feature, you can usually expect to find the BX-1 for a lower price than the BTX-1
However, this model has the same sturdy build, and like the other model, it has Brix (0-32%) /temperature scales, 0.2 percent resolution and a +/-0.2 percent accuracy.
You can find the Vee Gee BX-1 at Amazon.com, often offered at discount, here:
3. The Atago 2382 MASTER-20T Hand-Held Refractometer
Average Price Range: $$$
The Atago 2382 Master 20T refractometer is a little longer than the Vee Gee models and slightly slimmer as well.
It is designed for Brix measurements between 0.0 to 0.20 percent, and comes with automatic temperature compensation.
Like the Vee Gee models, it uses ambient light for power.
The shape is streamlined with a ridged body for easy gripping. In addition, the tip is spoon-shaped for automatic sample distribution for easy sampling.
Many users online have found the streamlined design very easy to work with.
Usually priced a little more than the first 2 reviewed, this model is meant for serious users. You can find out if it is currently on special here:
4. The Refractometer RF15 with Automatic Temperature Compensation
Average Price Range: $
This very popular (and very attractively priced) refractometer by Ade Advanced Optics is meant for 0 to 32 percent Brix measurements, with a reasonable accuracy of +/-0.20 percent.
Overall, this model is very suitable for the home brewer, with a sturdy aluminum body and automatic temperature compensation. Another attraction is the manufacturer’s warranty that the buyer receives with the RF 15.
Priced very economically, this is a model worth considering if you’re looking for a tool to make your daily cup of coffee perfect.
5. The Atago 3452 PR-201a Palette Series Portable Digital Refractometer
Average Price Range: $$$$
With Brix 0.0 to 60.0%, this high-accuracy (+/- 0.1%) refractometer by Atago is more suitable for coffee houses, mostly because of its high-end price.
At 17 centimeters, the unit has a wider Brix range of 0.0 to 60.0% and a temperature range of 10/40 degrees C. The Atago 3452 PR-201a has a digital screen to display readings. It also comes with automatic temperature compensation, boasting results in 3 seconds. In addition, you can also input coefficients into a formula and calculate concentrations right on the unit itself.
An External light interference technology promises more accurate measurements when you’re outdoors or near windows. The tool also uses an Ingress Protection of IP 64 against liquids and dust, so your tool will last longer. The price of the product is reflective of its top quality features; you can check here for possible discounts:
In Summary …
Overall, this list includes quality control refractometers for the home brewer as well as for the coffee house that you run. Available at a wide range of prices and with various features, a number of models are on offer at Amazon. Now you too can choose from the best coffee refractometers on the market and make that perfect cuppa.
So if you have been wondering where to buy a refractometer, then I can highly recommend Amazon because you can read endless reviews from customers and get a good overall feel for the quality of your purchase. In fact, if the above reviews didn’t cover what you are looking for, you can find the full range available here: Coffee Refractometers from Amazon
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