The Cheap Refractometer

Our last purchase costed us almost 100k pesos. One device equivalent of three. Can read from zero sugar concentration up to strength of honey. Operation and calibration are tedious but it works well once the user get used to it.

There are three sugar refractometer sets. One for each, light, medium and heavy syrup. The branded for the first group was about 25k pesos. The other two cost more. Heavy syrup refractometer being the most expensive. We thought we could save if we buy the 3-in-1 tool. We realized the drawback immediately the day of its arrival. We were too noob. It took us several days to figure out the proper usage. We got used to it eventually but it is nothing like the single range device. Clean, drop, read and repeat. Elementary grade student can use after a short and simple demonstration.

For electronic devices, without particular to brand, its first gauge of quality is weight. If it’s too light in reference to size, it is probably inferior. It was made to run on bare minimum. With few parts possible, just to do its basic task. Nothing more. Things such as surge suppression, short circuit protection, line conditioner and other things that may add to functionality and doing its job better were not considered. Adding extra steel for the sake of weight is ridiculous. It will make the shipment cost shoot up for nothing.

This costed me less than 1 k. It was unbelievably cheap. I placed the order with my fingers crossed. I had very little faith on it working.

cheap refractometer

I received the item. It was very light. Nothing compared to what I used back in the laboratory. I wondered what material it was made of. Perhaps plastic with metal like coating. The alignment of prism assembly was probably poor. Low quality prism and glass which may scratch easily. Little or no calibration. All are speculations until I prove myself wrong.

It has a sleek dropper for placing sample onto prism. Screw driver for adjustment and a protective case.

It is working though. Tap water reading is zero Brix. I am going to find out the performance once the project ahead is on-going.

There are refractometers for reading other liquid properties. I gonna buy for alcohol and salt next.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.