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What to Look for When Purchasing a Viscometer

Posted by Mike Bonner

Dec 3, 2017 1:03:00 PM

Viscometers are essential when it comes to managing the viscosity of fluidsChart showing the viscosity of liquids at different temperatures in your industrial processes. Without managing viscosity, you may run into any number of problems with your product, ranging from inconsistent color and various finish and/or texture imperfections to too much ink or solvent usage.Fortunately, these problems can be prevented by simply monitoring and controlling your viscosity. But in order to track your viscosity, you need the right viscometer for your particular application — which begs the question of what you need to look for in a viscometer when purchasing one.

We’ve compiled a list of criteria below that you may want to consider.


The first thing you should think about when looking to purchase a viscometer is your application. What type of fluid are you working with? Make sure that the unit you’re considering is designed to handle it.


How often will you be using your viscometer? Consider how easy it is to set up and use. How long does a measurement take?


Whether you should purchase a manual or automated viscometer is wholly dependent on your unique needs. If you only require occasional, simple viscosity measurements, a manual viscometer may be fine. However, if you’re managing large-scale industrial processes requiring frequent viscosity measurements, you may need an automated viscometer.


If you’re dealing with harsh processes, you’ll need a viscometer that incorporates rugged construction with a long-lasting sensor. Call the manufacturer and ask how long you can expect the viscometer to last under your application conditions.


How sensitive of measurements can the viscometer you’re considering make? How sensitive do you need? An orifice viscometer (such as a Zahn cup), for example, is not very sensitive and will not provide incredibly accurate readings — in fact, the readings can differ from operator to operator based on their training and other factors. Vibrational (including resonant frequency) viscometers are much more accurate.


Price varies between viscometer type, features included, and manufacturer. What are you willing to spend? If you want one with all the bells and whistles, you could easily spend up to $5,000 or more. A decent mid-range viscometer often costs between $300 and $500, depending on type. On the lower end of the spectrum, a manual glass capillary viscometer or a Zahn cup can be purchased for under $150.


Check the warranty on any viscometer that you’re considering — how long does it cover? One to two years is standard.


Manufactured properly, a viscometer should last about 10 to 15 years. During that time, however, you will likely need to perform maintenance and upkeep to ensure your viscometer continues to function as expected. Capillary viscometers, for example, require cleaning in between uses. Ask the manufacturer of the viscometer you’re considering how much maintenance is required.

If you have questions about purchasing a viscometer or which type is right for your application, contact Saint Clair Systems.

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Topics: Viscosity, viscometers, Viscometer Series, buying a viscometer

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