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Understand Different Types of Meters

Out of all refractometers, polarimeterviscometersalt meterpH meter, acidty meter and non-destructive meter, it might be confused and unsure which of our instruments will meet your specific needs? (see below for more meters) 

Use this guide to determine which of our many products will work best for you, or call us!


A refractometer is an instrument used for measuring concentrations of aqueous solutions, also known as a "Brix meter". 

Standard refractometers measure the extent of light refraction (as part of a refractive index "nD") of transparent substances in either a liquid or solid state; this is then used to identify a liquid sample, analyze the sample's purity, and determine the amount or concentration of dissolved substances within the sample. As light passes through the liquid from the air, it will slow down and create a ‘bending’ illusion. The severity of the ‘bend’ will depend on the amount of substance dissolved in the liquid.

For example, the amount of sugar in a glass of water. 

Using these values, you can determine the concentrations of solutions.

ATAGO USA provide extensive selections of benchtop, handheld versions of Abbe, analog, and digital refractometers suitable for various industries! 

Types of refractometers include:

  • Handheld Analog Refractometers are held up to a light source, such as the sun, so light is directed through the sample, a prism, and lenses onto a measurement scale. The angle at which light is internally reflected determines the position of a shadow line on the scale, which can then be viewed through an eyepiece.
  • Handheld Digital Refractometers work in the same way as the traditional analog refractometers, with a shadow line indicating the angle at which total internal reflection occurs. However, a digital refractometer itself includes an LED light source. This can improve accuracy by controlling the wavelength more accurately. The optical glass also replaces the eyepiece and glass scale to prevent scratching, enabling the shadow line to be digitally detected and the relevant measurement result displayed on a screen.
  • Abbe Refractometers are benchtop instruments designed for more accurate measurement of refractive index. They, therefore, typically need some temperature control of the sample. Usually used in the laboratory. 
  • In-line Refractometers continuously measure the refractive index of a fluid as it flows through the sensor. Monitoring and managing whether the processing, blending, and concentration changes are conducted as planned allows for immediate detection of any manufacturing issues and prevents out-of-spec products, resulting in accurate, reliable quality control for the utmost "safety.
  • Digital Benchtop Refractometers are designed to be highly accurate and provide reliable measurements while facilitating a simple measurement method for the operator.

Application of Refractometers

Use 1  Measuring Refractive Index 

A Refractive index is one of the physical constants of a substance, and each substance has its refractive index.

Refractometers measure pharmaceuticals, flavor and fragrance ingredients, chemicals, glass, plastics, etc., for material identification and quality control purposes.

Use 2  Measuring Sugar Concentration

Refractometers can be used to measure Brix values of sugar-rich samples, such as fruit juice, syrup, jam, and honey.

The measurement value correlates to the sugar concentration of the sample measured. As described in the "About the Brix (%) Scale" on the following page, Brix is the number of cane sugar dissolved in 100 grams of water.

The conversion factor between refractive index and Brix values is determined by the lnternational Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA) .

Use 3  Measuring Concentration of Food Items

Sauces, paste, juice, and other liquid food items have multiple ingredients: sugar and salt. Values measured by refractometers are proportional to the total concentration percentage of all dissolved substances.
In this case, the Brix value is interpreted as the concentration of the sample rather than just the sugar content.

Use 4  Measuring Concentration of Other Liquids

Refractometers can be used to determine the concentration of a wide range of liquids, including metal-working fluids, pharmaceuticals, cleaning solutions, coolants, and rust inhibitors.
A correlation between the concentration of a substance dissolved in water and its Brix value may be observed. By plotting the values of the concentrations and corresponding Brix readings, a user scale can be created.
On the other hand, the Brix scale as is is widely used as a relative measure of dissolved solids.

More meters......

 pH Meter 

 Salt Meter

Non-Destructive Brix Meter



Acidity Meter