It’s my opinion that most of the economy, non lab grade refractometers are probably manufactured by a handful of makers. Or at the very least, the manufacturers are producing units of similar quality. You could easily pay $60 at one retailer and $20 for the same unit via another retailer.
For under $30, do not expect a lab or commercial grade unit. However, I have purchased three different economy model refractometers and have been happy with each of them.
This is also a nice find for our international readers as it seems that many offerings include free or reasonable shipping to non-US addresses.
For me, getting a refractometer was one of those upgrades that made a lot of difference. With a refractometer you need a sample size of two drops. I figured that this would pay for itself in beer savings alone. I also had just broken my hydrometer and came to the realization that hydrometers are made of breakable glass that can break! 🙂
With the aid of calculators – get a Free Non-Expiring Brewfather Trial Account – Refractometers can be used to measure gravity throughout the brewing process.
eBay is, generally speaking, a good source for low cost refractometers.
Look for… Dual Scale (both brix and gravity), ATC (automatic temperature correction) and a good seller rating. Carrying cases are also nice, but not 100% necessary.
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