While there may be a simple science behind honey refractometers, choosing the right one for your needs might be a completely different story. The last thing you want is to end up buying a tool you won’t be able to use in the first place. Before splurging in honey refractometers, here are some important things you need to consider.
Different Types of Refractometers
Refractometers have four primary types and these are analog, digital, inline processing, and laboratory. Laboratory refractometers are those used in medicine. These are unsuitable for something as small-scale or simple as honey testing, which means there is no need to bother with them. Meanwhile, inline processing refractometers are the ones used for continuous measurement of moisture in water tanks and pipes.
You might want to go for handheld digital or analog honey refractometers for beekeeping. Even if these two have the same result, the process of testing will be different.
In traditional or analog refractometers, you need to manually insert the sample prism or plate. After everything is put in place, you need to aim the refractometers at the external source of light so that you can see the scale. Manual calibration is necessary for analog refractometers as well.
This manual calibration is eliminated if you are using a digital refractometer. The only thing you need to do is put a drop of the sample on the refractometer. It already has its very own source of light and the meter translates the reading to a refraction index.
Requirements for Honey Refractometers
This might sound a bit confusing yet honey refractometers (more at honigschleudern.eu) have a different function than usual refractometers. Many refractometers using the Brix scale measure the solids percentage in the liquid. These come in handy to measure sugar content, for instance.
It doesn’t happen with honey-specific refractometers. What they do is measure the water amount in the honey, which is the exact opposite of what non-specific refractometers do. When using a Brix refractometer, you can still measure the honey’s moisture but you need to do some math for better accuracy based on the specific form of refractometer you are using.