Beekeeping is not just a hobby or a commercial business. It is also an art and science by application. Many beekeepers find satisfaction and fulfillment in this field especially when the hive is at the stage of producing honey. We all know that honey is the main product, but there is one important information about honey that a beekeeper should know before extracting it, and that is its water content.
The honey’s water content determines the capability of the honey to stay fresh. In essence, the lower honey water content, the better the honey is. Water causes the honey to ferment making it acidic and less desirable. The advisable water content in honey is less than 20% before extraction, but it is not advisable to have a honey water content that is too low. A very low water content will cause the honey to crystallize. It should be at the right level. Imagine that it’s like chemistry. The success of the formula depends on accurate levels of solutions. Even the slightest mistake can result to a catastrophe. This logic also applies in beekeeping. A slight error in measuring the honey water content and nutrient could ruin the quality of your honey products.
Throughout the years, technology has played a part in upgrading the methodology in beekeeping. In the past, there’s no process or equipment to measure the honey’s quality. Good thing the honey refractometer was invented. This great tool has forever changed the beekeeping industry.
What is a Honey Refractometer?
Beekeepers use refractometers to measure the water content and the nutrient grade of the honey. It is an important tool that determines the quality and grade of honey. Its accuracy has helped millions of beekeepers around the world in producing high-quality honey. It’s easy to use – just a few drops will give you accurate readings. The nutrient grade of the honey is measured in Brix. Higher Brix measurements mean higher nutrient grade. So in food, the higher the Brix percentage, the more nutritious the food is. It also applies in honey-making. So, the higher the Brix percentage in honey, the better the quality is. The Brix and the honey water content percentage works in opposite directions when you use a refractometer. In order to get a high-grade honey product, the honey water content should be low while the Brix percentage should be high.
Just like in the beginning of this article, beekeeping and producing honey is an art that should not be taken lightly. It should be studied, analyzed, and applied to get the best results. There are many honey refractometers available on the market each boasting with delightful features. If you’re searching for one, it might take a while to get the refractometer that would work for your needs. To guide you, this list showcases the best honey refractometers out there. If one of them is on your list, you’re on the right track.
Best Honey Refractometers
10. Vee Gee Scientific BX-3 Handheld Refractometer
The Vee Gee Scientific BX-3 is a portable, handheld and water-resistant refractometer that comes with a Brix scale of 58.0 to 92.0%. It runs on ambient light, so no additional power source is needed. It features manual temperature compensation, a sturdy metal body with rubber grip, and an optical glass prism. The manual temperature compensation of this equipment has an ambient temperature of 10 to 30 degrees Celsius. The BX-3 is pre-calibrated and it is also capable of liquid standard calibration. The outer shell of the BX-3 has a rubber coating for secured and easy gripping, and it protects against hand heat for correct measurements. There’s also a non-roll stand to prevent the tool from rolling. The Brix scale is analog which features clear visibility. Instantaneous readings are viewed through a focusable, monocular, cushioned eyepiece.
The Vee Gee BX-3 measures 140 millimeters in height, 40 millimeters in length, and 40 millimeters in width. It weighs 230 grams.Check Price
9. Azzota Honey Tester Refractometer
The Azzota Honey Tester Refractometer with model number RHH 13-25 is a portable, handheld refractometer that has a honey water content range of 13 to 25%. It runs on ambient light, so no additional power source is needed. It features an Automatic Temperature Compensation or ATC and a sturdy body design made of aluminum. Aside from the Azzota refractometer, the package includes a cleaning cloth, a suction tube for dropping test fluids on the prism, a mini screwdriver for scale calibration, and a user manual.
Many beekeepers enjoy the Azzota Honey Tester Refractometer because of its simple design and user-friendly application.Check Price
8. Aqueous Lab Honey Refractometer for Honey Moisture
The Aqueous Lab Honey Refractometer is designed for testing the honey moisture and nutrient content. It comes with three scales that measures 10 to 33% honey water content, 58 to 90% Glucose Brix, and 38 to 43 Be Glucose Baume. This equipment is one of the most ideal refractometers available on the market for its efficient features. It also features an Automatic Temperature Compensation or ATC for quicker readings. This refractometer is mostly made of chromium making it light and strong. Measuring the liquid is easy with this equipment. Just place a few drops on the optical part, cover the prism, and look through the eyepiece focusing against the light to get the measurements.
The Aqueous Lab Honey Refractometer has a reference temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and the ATC has a compensation range of 0 to 30 degrees Celsius. This refractometer is very light weighing only 3.7 ounces. When purchased, the package includes the refractometer, a firm plastic case, a cleaning cloth, a suction tube, a screw driver for calibration, and an operating instructions manual.Check Price Check Price (Australia)
7. TekcoPlus Optics Honey Sugar Moisture Brix Baume Refractometer
The TekcoPlus Optics Honey Sugar Moisture Brix Baume Refractometer ATC is a portable, handled device designed primarily for honey-making. It can measure the sugar content up to 90% Brix, Baume and moisture concentration. It can also be used to measure other high-sugar liquids like jelly, jam, and syrup. Its application can control and monitor concentrations of sugar in food and beverages. It can also know the right time for Maple syrup production. It’s very easy to use. Just place a few drops on the prism, cover the prism, look at the eyepiece, and see the results.
On specifications, the TekcoPlus Refractometer has a measuring range of 58 to 90% Brix, 38 to 43 Be’ Baume, and 12 to 27% water content. The division is set at 0.5% Brix, 0.25 Be’ Baume, and 0.5% water content. The Automatic Temperature Compensation has a range of 10 to 30 degrees Celsius while the reference temperature is 20 degrees Celsius.
This refractometer measures 15.2 centimeters in length and it weighs 98 grams. When purchased, the package includes the refractometer, a manual, a screw driver for calibration, two pipettes, a reference block, a cleaning cloth, 2-milliliter Dioptric Oil for calibration, a portable USB LED light, and a protective case.Check Price
6. Hamh Optics&Tools Beekeeper Honey Refractometer
This product’s name may suggest that it’s a honey refractometer, but it’s application stretches to measure other liquids like condensed milk, sugar syrup, vegetable oils, molasses, and fruit jam. The Hamh Optics&Tools Beekeeper Honey Refractometer is a portable, handheld equipment that has a measuring range of 58 to 90% Brix at a resolution of 0.5%, 38 to 43 degrees Celsius Baume at 0.5% reading, and 12 to 27% water content at 1% reading. It’s easy to use. Just place two drops of liquid on the prism, close the prism cover, and look through the eyepiece to read the measurements. Its precise measurement features a blue-white dividing line which offers clear visibility. The eyepiece adjusts for sharper image.
The refractometer’s body is made of chrome-plated brass material which provides resistance to corrosion and water, and gives a longer lifespan compared to many aluminum counterparts. Aside from the refractometer, the package includes a pipette, a cleaning cloth, a screwdriver for calibration, and a storage box.Check Price
5. Milwaukee MIMA871 MA871 Digital Sugar Refractometer with Automatic Temperature Compensation
Instead of the eyepieces used in traditional honey refractometers, the Milwaukee MIMA871 MA871 Digital Sugar Refractometer with Automatic Temperature Compensation uses a digital display of the measurements. It’s a portable optical device that utilizes the measurement of refractive index to analyze the sugar levels in liquid solutions. This device removes the uncertainty usually associated with its mechanical counterparts. It has a measurement range of 0 to 85% Brix. Its resolution is set at 0.1% Brix. Using this equipment is easy. Just place the drops to the sample well and prism and the LED dual display will do the rest of the job. It takes about a minute and a half to see the results. It will shut off automatically after three minutes of non-use. The Automatic Temperature Compensation or ATC has a range of 10 to 40 degrees Celsius.
The Milwaukee MA871 Digital Sugar Refractometer is powered by a 9-volt battery which will last for around 5,000 readings. This refractometer has a dimension of 192 x 102 x 67 millimeters. It weighs 420 grams.Check Price
4. Ade Advanced Optics Automatic Temperature Compensation 0 to 32% Brix Refractometer
The Ade Advanced Optics Automatic Temperature Compensation 0 to 32% Brix Refractometer is a portable, handheld device designed to measure the sugar content of liquid solutions. It’s an excellent device for testing sugar content in wine, beer, fruits, vegetables, and honey. It has a measurement range of 0 to 32% Brix. It can also read in Specific Gravity. Its Automatic Temperature Compensation or ATC feature provides accuracy. It’s easy to use and easy to calibrate. It only requires two to three drops of liquid sample on the prism. The eyepiece has an adjustable focus feature for a clearer view of the results.
This refractometer is made from aircraft-grade aluminum making it one of the most durable refractometers on the market. It has a dimension of 8 x 3.3 x 2.3 inches and it weighs 4.9 ounces. When purchased, the Ade Advanced Optics Automatic Temperature Compensation 0 to 32% Brix Refractometer comes with a plastic pipette, a mini screwdriver, a user manual, a cleaning cloth, and a carrying case.Check Price
3. Atago 4422 PAL-22S Digital Hand-Held Pocket Honey Refractometer
Here’s another must-have for beekeepers. The Atago 4422 PAL-22S Digital Hand-Held Pocket Honey Refractometer is a portable, handheld device that can measure the water content in honey. It has a measurement range of 12 to 30%. It features an Automatic Temperature Compensation or ATC for precision with ambient temperature range of 10 to 40 degrees Celsius, an LED display with ELI technology, and a sturdy resin body for durability. This refractometer is factory-calibrated. If calibration is required, all you need is clean water. For accurate measurements, the sample well metal sides allow the liquid sample to quickly and evenly conform to the prism temperature. The device’s sloping design allows easy pouring and prevents slips and spills while measuring samples. The LED displays honey water content percentage and temperature in around three seconds.
The Atago 4422 PAL-22S Honey Refractometer has a dimension of 109 x 55 x 31 millimeters. It weighs 100 grams and comes with a two-year warranty. When purchased, the package includes the refractometer, an instructions manual, two AAA batteries, and a durable plastic storage case.Check Price
2. MISCO BKPR-1 Palm Abbe Digital Handheld Refractometer
The MISCO BKPR-1 Palm Abbe Digital Handheld Refractometer is a portable, handheld refractometer designed for professional beekeepers, government honey inspectors, honey mixers, honey producers, honey brokers, or any person who needs the most precise honey water content readings. Its measurement range is 13 to 30%. Despite being originally and specifically designed for government inspectors, the MISCO BKPR-1 is also beneficial to beekeepers and honey producers alike.
This outstanding device raises the benchmark in accurate honey water content readings. It even exceeds the requirements for refractometers used for inspecting and grading honey by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the USFDA.
The MISCO BKPR-1 uses an Automatic Temperature Compensation feature to provide accurate measurements. This device also features the MISCO Optical-Engine Technology that provides high-definition displays, a stainless steel sample well, a protective evaporation cover, a large LCD that can display up to 24 characters, a display backlight, and a protective rubber armor jacket.
This refractometer is easy to use. It has a single button to read the samples and another button to navigate the menu options.Check Price
1. V-Resourcing 0-90% Brix Meter Refractometer
The V-Resourcing 0-90% Brix Meter is a portable, handheld refractometer used in the production or manufacture of honey, beverages, fruits, food, sugar, and more. It’s a very versatile equipment for sugar measurement, sweetness classification, delivery inspection, and so on. It has a Brix scale range of 0 to 90%. The refractometer features an Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC) with a range of 10 to 30 degrees Celsius. It is very easy to use. Simply place two to three drops of liquid sample on the prism, cover the prism with the daylight plate, and view the results at the eyepiece.
The V-Resourcing 0-90% Brix Meter Refractometer has a packaging dimension of 8.07 x 3.29 x 2.17 inches. It weighs 7.83 ounces. When purchased, this equipment includes a mini screwdriver for calibration, a pipette, a wiping cloth, an instructions manual, and a durable plastic case.
Consumers must be aware that this product is not water-resistant. Some cleaning solutions and solvents should not be used to clean the plastic lens.Check Price
A Final Word
It is really exciting if your beehive is already producing honey. It only takes the right moment to know if your honey is ready for extraction. That’s where the honey refractometer comes in. These refractometers provide beekeepers and people from the food industry with accurate devices to help them sustain and grow their businesses. Even if you’re a beginner, you should consider your options ahead of time to prepare you for the future. You don’t even have to be a professional to read the refractometer results. The refractometers on this list are portable and easy-to-use equipment. You don’t even have to break you bank because these items come at reasonable prices. It’s a guarantee that you’ll get the best value for your money.
For sure, technology will improve the functionality of refractometers and the best devices on the market will change soon. Design and application upgrades should be expected. But for now, every beekeeper should enjoy the amazing features provided by these 10 outstanding honey refractometers. Whether you’re a fan of the analog and mechanical refractometers or an advocate of the digital ones, there’s something ideal for your preferences.
This list showcases the best honey refractometers. These devices were designed to bring the best and the most accurate measurements. If you’re a beginner, these will help you on your first honey production. It’s also the same for veteran beekeepers producing large-scale honey. Simplicity, portability, and accuracy. These are the words the perfectly describe the best honey refractometers that should be considered by any beekeeper.
Do you own any of the honey refractometers on this list? Which refractometer(s) do you think should be added to this list? Leave a comment below and let us know.