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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Looking for good, reliable, not cheap refractometer
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
ImperialStout
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Default Looking for good, reliable, not cheap refractometer

Anyone have experience with this refractometer? Made by Extech and sells for $109 shipped. I know refractometers are available from eBay and other web sites from $15 to $60 and they all seem to be about the same. From the posts here they all work but my concern is how well and for how long. My concern is getting a plastic tool that is poorly assembled with parts that don't quite fit together well.

Have worked as an auto mechanic and carpenter. Prefer tools made by Milwaukee, Mack Tools, DeWalt or Bosch. Would never buy a tool made by Craftsman, (except for their hand tools and bar clamps) Ryobe or anything from Harbor Freight. I know theses tools work and some people swear by them. For me, they just don't have the fit and finish I expect from a quality tool that make it a pleasure to use.

What has your experience been with the $20 variety refractometer? Beside that they work, are they mostly plastic that will break if dropped? What about accuracy time after time? Some reviews say a reading has to be taken at least 3 times, all being different, and then averaged. The Extech user reviews say accuracy is dead on the first time and every time. The Extech web site says their RF-15 ATC refractometer is tested by dropping it from 3 feet and tested to see if the calibration has changed.


http://www.amazon.com/Extech-RF15-32...ref=pd_sbs_k_8

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Old 12-07-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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Have worked as an auto mechanic and carpenter. Prefer tools made by Milwaukee, Mack Tools, DeWalt or Bosch. Would never buy a tool made by Craftsman, (except for their hand tools and bar clamps) Ryobe or anything from Harbor Freight. I know theses tools work and some people swear by them. For me, they just don't have the fit and finish I expect from a quality tool that make it a pleasure to use.
I know, I'm off topic here, but you should know that most of Craftsman tools are manufactured by Stanley Black & Decker Co... who also manufactures DeWalt, Mac, and Porter Cable... but I get what you mean, Craftsman power tools (non industrial series) is just the low-quality line of products for Stanley.

Ok, now back on topic, I don't own a low cost refractometer - mine is mid quality. I don't have any real complaints. It appears to be built well enough and doesn't require recalibration too often. I'm at work so not sure of the manufacturer... bought the $59 one from MoreBeer.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:57 AM   #3
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Thanks,

Went with the Vee Gee Scientific BTX-1 Handheld Refractometer, with Brix Scale, 0-32%, +/-0.2% Accuracy, 0.2% Resolution, 10 to 30 degree C ATC for $93.84, shipped. A little on the pricey side but then I know what I am getting.

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Old 12-08-2012, 03:44 AM   #4
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Off topic: harbor freight sells a lot of good stuff. Just have to selectively shop. The earthquake impacts are awesome, among other things. They do sell a decent amount of USA made items.

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Old 12-09-2012, 01:21 AM   #5
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I use the cheap $20 amazon one. Works fine. And dead on accurate when compated to my hydrometer. Just because something is expensive doesn't always mean it's better. Hasn't let me down yet!

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Old 12-10-2012, 02:26 PM   #6
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The $59 MoreBeer dual scale (Brix & Wort SG) is the same as the RSG-100ATC found at www.RSG-100ATC.com for $23.00. Save $36 plus S&H...

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Old 12-10-2012, 03:52 PM   #7
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The $59 MoreBeer dual scale (Brix & Wort SG) is the same as the RSG-100ATC found at www.RSG-100ATC.com for $23.00. Save $36 plus S&H...
HAHAHA! That explains it! I bought mine when it was on sale for like $20 off! I got roped into the whole "huge markdown" marketing scheme! Now I didn't overpay too much especially since I got free shipping, but it explains how they could mark it down so low. At first I assumed it was a loss leader item... but no!
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:38 PM   #8
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BOught mine of amazon couple months ago for somewhere around $45 it has ATC (temp correction) with an adjustment screw (in over 20 batchs testing mash runoff, preboil gravity and post gravity boil being accurate within .001 against a hydrometer) i havent had a single problem let alone have to use the adjustment screw. The body of mine is made of metal and houses a glass lens that is the medium with a plastic hinge laying over it. No complaints at all!

This was is comes with the adjustment screwdriver and cleaning cloth and a protective case. There are cheaper ones on amazon that look the same but do not come with the padded case which in my case was a huge plus for storage and long term use.

EDIT: after looking at your link i believe that its the same exact one...same grips and all with the ATC. Make sure you aint getting ripped!

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:12 AM   #9
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yeh, my $60-ish refractometer from the boys at Midwest Supplies has served me quite well.

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:21 AM   #10
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Thanks,

Went with the Vee Gee Scientific BTX-1 Handheld Refractometer, with Brix Scale, 0-32%, +/-0.2% Accuracy, 0.2% Resolution, 10 to 30 degree C ATC for $93.84, shipped. A little on the pricey side but then I know what I am getting.
I've been using that one, plus the BTX-20 with great results. IME, both are SOLID refractometers that will serve you well.
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