Honey Refractometer: use and comparison 2022

Honey Refractometer

The honey refractometer is an essential tool to ensure the correct humidity level of your honey.


  • What is a honey refractometer used for?
  • How to measure the humidity level?
  • How to calibrate a honey refractometer?
  • Influence of temperature
  • Honey refractometer to be calibrated
  • digital honey refractometer
  • A refractometer adapted to his practice

Honey is a product that lasts for years.

For this to be possible, it is essential to harvest it at the right time.

The honey must be harvested and potted with the correct humidity.

The lower the rate, the longer the shelf life.

The middle ground has to be found.

Too low a rate can lead to crystallization problems.

With a rate that is too high , there is a high risk of fermentation.

The European directive CCE 2001/110 sets the legal limit for water in honey at 20%.

The majority of beekeepers prefer a rate around 17 to 17.5%.

What is a honey refractometer used for?

The honey refractometer allows you to know the humidity level of your honey.

It generally transmits the following information:

– Brix degree: the quantity of sugar (in g) contained in 100 g of honey
– Baumé degree: the sugar concentration
– water content: the quantity of water contained in the honey

How to measure the moisture content of honey?

Before harvesting, care must be taken to take a few drops of honey, capped and uncapped, to analyze the humidity level.

Place a drop on the prism of the refractometer.

Analyze the result.

With a value between 17 and 18%, you can harvest your honey serenely.

How to calibrate a honey refractometer?

A very explicit video shows you how to calibrate a refractometer.

If the refractometer does not come with a calibration fluid, it can be purchased online.

Otherwise, extra virgin olive oil can also be used to calibrate its refractometer. It has the same measurements as the standard solutions, ie 71° Brix and 27% HG.

It is recommended to carry out a calibration once a year.

Note that some refractometers are already calibrated.

Normally, all the information is detailed in the instructions for use provided with the purchase.

Influence of temperature

Some refractometers are calibrated at a temperature of 20°C.

When the beekeeper uses his refractometer outdoors, or in his honey house, the temperatures are bound to vary.

It is therefore important to take this factor into account.

Some refractometers have a function to automatically calculate the influence of temperature on the humidity of honey. These are refractometers with automatic temperature compensation, called ATC.

If the refractometer is not equipped with one, a slide rule must be used.

It is described by Cari.Be by: nT = n20 – 0.00023 x (T-20)

n being the refractive index
T the temperature in degrees Celsius.

For example, when the temperature increases by 1°C, there is a difference of 0.091% humidity.

Hence the importance of taking temperature into account in its analysis.

Which refractometer for honey to choose?

There are two types of refractometers: to be calibrated and digital.

An electronic, or digital, honey refractometer is a more elaborate tool.
It transmits more complete, more precise data and it is easier to handle.

Its price is higher.

A refractometer to be calibrated remains a very good alternative.
Once the calibration has been carried out, the results transmitted are completely reliable.
However, they will not be as accurate as a digital refractometer.

HHTEC refractometer

A refractometer adapted to his practice

European regulations require honey to be sold with a moisture content of less than 20%.

Whether you are an amateur or professional beekeeper, it is therefore essential to check the humidity of your honey.

With the 6 refractometers presented above, you will inevitably find one, adapted to your practice.

They are all reliable and at affordable prices.

For ease of use, absolute precision, and regular harvests, digital refractometers are preferred.


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