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Thread: Refractommeters

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Urbana, IA
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    294

    Default Refractommeters

    I've been thinking about buying one. The prices seem to be all over the map. What is a good one? anything I should avoid? What about e-bay?
    Just looking for some advise and opinions.

    Thanks, Phil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Urbana, IA
    Posts
    294

    Default

    Anyone?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
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    676

    Default

    A problem with commenting on refractometers is that most people only have experience with one of them.

    My personal refractometer is one made by Atago. It has ATC (automatic temperature compensation), which I find to be unnecessary by the way, but seems to work just fine. And it should; it sells for over $250 dollars. I've also used one of those cheapie $79 dollar refractometers without ATC and it worked just fine also. But, therein lies the problem! Where is the breaking point to where quality falls below the price you've paid?

    Think of it like a wrist watch. A $2500 dollar timepiece is going to be beautiful and is EXPECTED to function flawlessly. But, does it keep time better than a $45 dollar Timex watch? Absolutely not. Will it keep time better than a $7.95 no-name watch? Maybe... but for sure, the materials used, the durability, and maybe the ability to maintain accuracy, will be of lower quality than the $2500 dollar model.

    Then again, I've had some $7.95 watches that have kept great time for years.

    What I'm getting at is that when you pay your money, what you're buying is CONFIDENCE in a product. I KNOW that everytime I look through my refractometer, the value given is correct. When I use someone elses $79 dollar refractometer, it feels lighter, it's oculus (eye window) isn't as bright, and hence, my confidence in it's reading isn't as strong. Conversely, the guy who owns the $79 refractometer has used it for several years and KNOWS it's a good instrument. He's got a track record with it, and the refractometer has BUILT UP a record of reliability with him. You get the point...

    I mentioned the feature of ATC. I feel that it's unnecessary, unless you're checking % moisture in the bitter cold, or in the blazing sun. For the most part, you're checking moisture content in a climate somewhere between 60 and 80-degrees F., in which you're readings aren't going to be too far off the mark. Unless you need labratory accurate readings, I don't feel that ATC is a feature that you absolutely MUST have. But, to each his own...

    DS

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Chittenango,Ny (upstate)
    Posts
    309

    Default

    I bought one off ebay. I think it came from Hong Kong or Singapore. It was much cheaper than ones offered in bee catalogs. I think it was 39 or 49 dollars. At our club meeting I compared it to others some friends had. They were identical down to the cases and pipetes. I have used mine for two years with no problems. If you look online you can compare features and prices.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Default

    I also had an Atago... bought back when they were $300 and up.
    It took a one-way trip down a flight of stairs without me, so I
    had to buy a new one.

    I got one of the $60 models (not the cheapest, the second from
    the cheapest) from Dadant, and found it to be just as good as
    the Atago. Yes, there is more plastic than metal in the body
    of the thing, but the metal case of the Atago did not make it
    much more sturdy in my personal expereince.

    I find "ATC" to be a very very important feature, as a refractometer
    starts to pay for itself out in the beeyard under the blazing heat of
    a June or July afternoon. One can find a partly capped super,
    test a few of the uncapped cells, and know if one can harvest that
    super or not. The first super harvested earlier and put back on the
    hive to be refilled will pay for such a refractometer in terms of
    extra harvestable honey.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    37

    Default

    also - I dont consider a built in light source to be neccessary for honey testing, just point towards the daylight... but I would have liked to have bought some calibration solution with my package just to reassure myself that it is accurate occasionally.
    I would like to hear if it is possible to mix your own using glycerine and water?
    Gordon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,736

    Default

    I bought a $50 model last year....mostly plastic and without a light source. It seemed to work just fine but, of course, I can't compare it to anything.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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