Colorimeter: Price, uses, types, characteristics …

November 2, 2021

colorimeter is a laboratory material used by manufacturers and professions to maintain quality control. Colorimeters ensure accurate and consistent color, eliminating color and subjectivity issues in the process. Depending on the model available, these can measure colors in different spaces such as CIE, LAB, XYZ and LUV, which are for liquids and solids.

The most popular models of this tool are easy to use and very inexpensive. It is important that this tool is well calibrated, as it needs to offer high degrees of precision when used for different uses.

In general terms, this is a device that is used for colorimetry. In many fields where science is the main focus of study, the word Colorimeter is associated with the device that is capable of measuring the absorbance of particular wavelengths of light by a specific solution.

This vital laboratory tool determines the concentration of a solute, specifically known in a given solution, applied by the beer-lambert law. This law known to many scientists and students, establishes that the concentration of a solute is proportional to the absorbance of the previous one.

Colorimetry is a worldwide known technique to describe and quantify the perception that humans have of color, focusing on the physical aspects that they have. It is the function of the colorimeter to measure the amount of color in a given medium. There are several types for this, ranging from those used in laboratories to those used in the electronics industry.

Next, we will discuss in detail each of the characteristics and functions of this instrument that, like the laboratory incubator , has been given multiple uses in history. Join us!

What is a Colorimeter?

A colorimeter is a device that works on three stimuli, also known as three filters, which are red, green, and blue. This in view of the fact that they mimic the way humans perceive color. The main function of this laboratory instrument is to illuminate an internal light source on the surface of ours.

As the light reflects off the device, it will pass through the three filters mentioned above. Filters distill these RGB values ​​to quantify how our eyes would see that color. From what can be seen, it is a necessary tool for the field of research, since there are places where it is necessary to study how things that we cannot describe work. Or, at least where the human eye goes.

Most of the people have wondered how colors appear and why there are so many different shades. Well, unfortunately, there are not many answers to the question. But what there is is a lot of tests and controls that are carried out before certain paints, varnishes and similar enamels appear.

The Colorimeter has not only been used for the optical study, but also in the paint, food and publishing industries , where they place special emphasis on the application of this device to detect and measure the concentration of different substances in liquids and solutions. The so-called colored solutions have the ability to absorb the light transmitted through it. It is established that the higher the concentration of the colorant, the greater the absorption.

Colorimeter Construction

A Colorimeter is a vital tool in the optical field study and research industry that is made up of essential parts, including a light source that is often a low-voltage incandescent lamp. They also have an adjustable aperture, a set of colored filters, a cuvette to hold the solution being worked on, and a detector, called a photoresistor, which is used to measure transmitted light.

In the same order of idea, it is normal to see a meter that shows the output of the detector and a voltage regulator that protects it from fluctuations and power outages in the network. Depending on the type, you may find a second light path, cuvette, and detector. This will allow you to make a comparison between the working solution and a ‘blank’, which translates to a pure solvent used to improve the accuracy of the Colorimeter .

In the market there are many commercialized instruments, which have several constructions, but the previous ones described are the essential ones that each one must have. There are also open source versions with construction documentation geared towards the education of many young students and the research of professionals.

Colorimeter Applications

All colorimeters, regardless of their shape or size, are used to calibrate computer monitors. They are also capable of capturing color and performing further basic evaluations for those that do not require strict color control. Because the ones we know today are portable, designers like to use them to specify colors in their designs.

Somewhere in history, the Colorimeter was named as a replacement for spectrophotometers, as both are formulation tools. However, the Colorimeter does not take into account metamerism, which is a phenomenon that occurs when two colors appear to match under a lighting condition, as long as the light does not change.

The instruments named above are more complete in measurement, since they are calibrated to measure and provide color data in the entire spectrum instead of the 3 filters that the Colorimeter works, which are red, green and blue.

Besides being used in the chemical industry field, the Colorimeter has many practical applications. Among these applications of the colorimeter are:

  • Test water quality by detecting chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, cyanide, oxygen, iron, zinc, and hydranzine.
  • It is used to determine the concentrations of plant nutrients such as ammonia, nitrate and phosphorus in the soil.
  • It is common to see it in color printing, textile manufacturing, and paint manufacturing for quality inspection.

Colorimeter Operation

Based on the law that was mentioned, that of Beer-Lambert, in which the absorption of the light transmitted through the medium is directly proportional to the concentration of the medium, the Colorimeter works with a beam of light at a wavelength in specific. For this, the solution is passed through a series of lenses, which transport the colored light to the measuring device.

Subsequently, the color is analyzed against an existing standard. Finally, a microprocessor calculates the absorbance or the percent transmittance. If the concentration of the solution turns out to be higher, more light will be absorbed, which can generally be identified by measuring the difference between the amount of light at its source and that obtained after passing the solution.

Colorimeter Types

Next, the different types of Colorimeter will be classified , highlighting their functions and what differentiates them from the rest. These tools can come in various shapes and sizes, although by law, they must maintain their principle of application.

Colorímetro triestimulos

This measuring instrument is used in the application of digital images. The Colorimeter, also known as tristimuli, is capable of measuring the color of a light source such as a lamp, or computer monitors. By taking multiple spectrum energy readings, which are broadband across the visible spectrum, this Colorimeter can profile and calibrate output devices. The quantities that the values ​​can measure are the three primary colors required to match a test color. It is perhaps one of the most well-known types that is used in the industry.


densitometer is a laboratory tool capable of measuring the density of light flowing through a specific frame. Density can be characterized as the level of darkness that a film or print has. This generally occurs when printing an image, where the ink pigments block out natural light once it is deposited by the printing process. People knowledgeable in the graphics industry use densitometers to support the control of the various steps in the printing process.


Generally speaking, a spectroradiometer is capable of quantifying the spectral power distribution emitted by a light source. This is also known as the measurement of the intensity of the color. A similar process occurs while using the spectrophotometer, which evaluates lighting for sales within manufacturing and used for quality control purposes. Other uses of this type of Colorimeter include confirming the customer’s light source specifications.


spectrophotometer is a laboratory tool that analyzes and measures the reflection properties in a color sample. It has acted as the lengths of a light wave, in which a beam of light passes through the sample to record both absorbance and transmittance. The advantage of this laboratory material is that it does not require human interpretation as the results are remarkably accurate.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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