Three things to look for when buying a Brix Refractometer

Three things to look for when buying a Brix Refractometer

Brix Refractometers are used to measure sugar within a substance. Used most commonly in the food and beverage industry, they give a wealth of information at the touch of a button.

There is a huge variety of Brix Refractometers on the market. This article steps out a process you can apply to find the perfect Brix Refractometer for your needs. We also provide some product examples to help guide you on the way.

About Brix Refractometers

A Brix Refractometer measures the level of sucrose within a sample through refraction. The higher the amount of dissolved or suspended sugar (sucrose) within a sample, the higher the refractive index will be. The refractive index directly correlates to a Brix Percentage, which is the weight percentage of sucrose present in the sample.

(For a deep dive into how Brix Refractometers work read our article What is a Brix Refractometer, and how do they work?)

Why use a Brix Refractometer?

From the farm gate to the supermarket or bottleshop, Brix Refractometers play an important role. Using the food and beverage industries as prime examples, the sucrose level of food or drink gives a good indication of the taste, quality, and nutritional density of the food. It can even provide a guide to the potential of ingredients to produce alcohol in wine and beer.

So how do you select the best meter for your application(s)?

Three key criteria to help you select a Brix Refractometer

1. Automatic Temperature Compensation

Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC) is a key feature you must have in a Brix Refractometer if you need quick and accurate results. The measurement of the Brix Percentage is affected by temperature. For example; in a 10°Brix sucrose solution, ±1°c of change can cause the Brix reading to shift by ±0.06°Bx!

Without ATC, you need to wait for both your sample and your meter to reach 20 degrees Celsius to obtain an accurate reading. Alternatively, you need to calculate a temperature adjustment manually. Any way you look at it, it will take more time, a luxury you might not have in a fast-moving manufacturing environment, or you could make costly mistakes that you could easily avoid with the right equipment.

The bottom-line? A Brix Refractometer with ATC will automatically compensate for the temperature to give you fast, accurate results - too easy!

2. Measurement Range

Before selecting your Brix Refractometer, you need to know the Brix measurement range of the food or beverage you will be measuring. Manufacturers design these instruments either for specific applications, or a wide variety of applications. If your application is very specialised, a narrow range may suffice. If your products vary significantly, and you want a single meter to do the work, invest in a refractometer with a wide Brix measurement range.

What’s the take-home? Filtering your selection by the Brix measurement range will save you time and can also save you money.

3. Accuracy

Having narrowed down your selection to devices with ATC, that comfortably covers your Brix measurement range, the last specification you need to match is accuracy. In situations where Brix is vital to your product quality control, you will need a highly accurate meter. In less critical circumstances, a broader accuracy range may be acceptable.

Examples of Brix Refractometers

The Instrument Choice Scientists have put together a snapshot of Brix Refractometers to illustrate how specifications can vary between products. Should you need help finding the best for you or have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Sugar Refractometer with ATC - IC300010 three%20things%20to%20look%20for%20when%20buying%20a%20brix%20thumbnail.jpg?Action=thumbnail&algorithm=fill_proportional&width=215 

The IC300010 is one of the most popular Brix Refractometers available from Instrument Choice. The device has the simplicity of an optical style refractometer with the benefit of automatic temperature compensation.

Applications: the IC300010 has excellent accuracy but a narrow Brix Measurement range, which makes it ideal for specific applications for measuring fruit, fruit juices, wine, milk, and soft drinks.

ATC: Yes

Brix Measurement range: 0.0 to 32%

Measurement Accuracy: ±0.2%

Digital Hand-held Pocket Refractometer - IC-PAL-1 three%20things%20to%20look%20for%20when%20buying%20a%20brix%20pic%202%20.jpg?Action=thumbnail&algorithm=fill_proportional&width=103 

The IC-PAL-1 is an impressive general-use Brix Refractometer. It features a relatively wide measurement range with the advantage of a compact, pocket-sized design.

Applications: The IC-PAL-1 is perfect for measuring many products that fall within its Brix measurement range, including fruit juice, soup, condiments, and some jams.

ATC: Yes

Brix Measurement range: 0.0 to 53%

Measurement Accuracy: ±0.2%

Pocket Digital Refractometer - IC-300053 three%20things%20to%20look%20for%20when%20buying%20a%20brix%20pic%203%20.jpg?Action=thumbnail&algorithm=fill_proportional&width=189 

The IC-300053 measures the full Brix range and can handle a sample as small as 1mL. It’s quick and easy to use!

Applications: The IC-300053 is a top performer in environments with many products and varying ingredients - from juices to jams.

ATC: Yes

Brix Measurement range: 0 to 95%

Measurement Accuracy: ±0.2%

Digital Refractometer For Sugar Analysis, Sucrose - HI96801 three%20things%20to%20look%20for%20when%20buying%20a%20brix%20pic%204%20.jpg?Action=thumbnail&algorithm=fill_proportional&width=227 

Highly accurate with only a small sample size required, this meter makes measuring Brix simple with its two-button operation. Its IP65 rating means it will perform well in the harsh field or laboratory environments.

Applications: Instrument Choice scientists recommended this model for measuring such products as honey, fruit, soft drink, tofu, jelly, and condiments.

ATC: Yes

Brix Measurement range: 0 to 85%

Measurement Accuracy: ±0.2%


The wide variety of Brix refractometers available poses a challenge when it comes to selecting the right product for your needs. The three things to remember are; look for a device with ATC to make your job easier, check the instrument’s Brix measurement range, and determine that it’s right for your application(s), and finally, ensure the device's accuracy matches your quality requirements.

Instrument Choice offers a comprehensive range of Brix Refractometers. Try applying the selection criteria we have provided in this article to browse products here.

Need a hand selecting the best Brix Refractometer for your needs? Contact us. No question is too big or small. Phone 1300 737 871 or email [email protected].

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