IceCap Digital Pocket Tester Review

Kentech5

New member
IceCap Test

Well I got my new Icecap digital pocket tester and so far I've got to say I'm pretty impressed. I couldn't find my manual refractometer to compare so I was only able to compare my Milwaukee Digital Refractometer with the IceCap Digital Pocket Tester . I was however, able to test the two on three different tanks.

First a picture of the device itself.:

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Test 1: my newly rebooted and cycling display tank:

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Matching results on this one. Here's the rest of the results from the IceCap:

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The temperature reading on the IceCap is a bit concerning. Apex and a cheap thermometer are showing my tank at 77.6 right now but the IceCap is reading 76.1. I had just brought it inside and it's about 32 degrees outside so maybe that's related? I test temperature again later.


Test 2: Holding Tank

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The IceCap is reading a little bit higher on this one. The reading is still well within the stated accuracy of both devices.

Test 3: Neglected tank about to be rebooted. No fish in it anymore. I already knew the salinity of this tank was high and figured it would be a good test of some less normal levels for one of our tanks.

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A match once again.

After the three rounds of testing I tested the first tank again and got a temperature of 76.4 which is 1.3 degrees off the other values I'm seeing but within the stated 1.5 degree accuracy range.

I also tested the IceCap by inserting he probe directly into tank water instead of using the probe cup. The results were about 0.003 higher so the cup is definitely important.

Summary:
OK, let's break things down.

Accuracy: Results are within 0.001 SG of the Milwaukee. Temperature results appear to be off a bit more than a degree. I don't know how this could potentially affect salinity results if at all.

Size: The IceCap itself is much smaller than the Milwaukee and even the case is much smaller. For portability and storage I think this is great plus but it's still big enough to be hard to lose.

Durability: TBD. Only time will tell how long the device will continue to function.

Ease of Use: I bought the Milwaukee in part because of its ease of use however it still needs to be zeroed out for each use (manufacturer recommendation) and there is a lot of cleaning the glass before, between, and after testing. The IceCap turns on and is ready almost instantly. There doesn't seem to be a way to zero or calibrate the device which could be taken either way. A quick scoop of water and you have a result. Cleaning consists of a wipe down with some fresh water. I keep a spray bottle of RODI so this is a cinch.


Overall I'm pretty excited about this product. I'm not going to stop using the Milwaukee yet as I will need to use both for a while before I'm confident in the IceCap. Would I recommend buying it? Based on what I've seen so far, yes.



Disclaimer: I purchased both these products for personal use and have no relation to their manufacturers or distributors.
 

MarksReef

New member
Awesome

Awesome

Glad your happy as I did order it from Premium Aquatics and got a notice of a back order, but they were going to try to drop ship from supplier and I havent heard back in a few days. Where did you order yours?

From CoralVue:
The probe does not need calibration. Since the probe tests conductivity, the probe zeros itself out when you turn it off. You can always test the accuracy by testing RODI water which should have a SG of 1.
Now I really cant wait to get my excepically since I believe something is off on my refractometer. I did order the 35ppt solution but that isn't hear yet either.
Also from CoralVue:
In terms of the Milwaukee tester you are comparing two different technologies here. The Milwaukee tester is a refractometer while the IceCap tester is a conductivity probe. The IceCap test the conductivity in the water to find out what the SG, PPT, PSU and Temp of the water is. The IceCap is accurate to 0.0001 SG while the Milwaukee one is accurate to 0.0002 SG.
 

Kentech5

New member
Glad your happy as I did order it from Premium Aquatics and got a notice of a back order, but they were going to try to drop ship from supplier and I havent heard back in a few days. Where did you order yours?



From CoralVue:

The probe does not need calibration. Since the probe tests conductivity, the probe zeros itself out when you turn it off. You can always test the accuracy by testing RODI water which should have a SG of 1.

Now I really cant wait to get my excepically since I believe something is off on my refractometer. I did order the 35ppt solution but that isn't hear yet either.

Also from CoralVue:

In terms of the Milwaukee tester you are comparing two different technologies here. The Milwaukee tester is a refractometer while the IceCap tester is a conductivity probe. The IceCap test the conductivity in the water to find out what the SG, PPT, PSU and Temp of the water is. The IceCap is accurate to 0.0001 SG while the Milwaukee one is accurate to 0.0002 SG.



I did read before that the probe zeroes itself when turned off but I figured I would mention that there's no way to do so manually. I know they are two different technologies and in some ways it's like comparing a hydrometer to a refractometer. It was the best thing I had on hand for comparison.

I also ordered from Premium Aquatics so I must have got one of the last ones?
 

MarksReef

New member
I did read before that the probe zeroes itself when turned off but I figured I would mention that there's no way to do so manually. I know they are two different technologies and in some ways it's like comparing a hydrometer to a refractometer. It was the best thing I had on hand for comparison.

I also ordered from Premium Aquatics so I must have got one of the last ones?

Yep, most likely did get the last one. Ya beat me to it.
Can you put some rodi water on it and post a read ? Should, according to CoralVue be 1 but there is a +- 1 tolerance :spin2:
 

Kentech5

New member
This thing is just so easy to use and seems quite accurate. Looks like I'll be selling a Milwaukee refractometer soon.


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BrettDS

New member
I just bit the bullet and ordered one from saltwateraquarium.com. I know nothing about them, but they had stock and premium aquatics did not. You can also get $5 off with the coupon code SALT5 and add a small freebie to your cart. Ironically I literally just bought the Milwaukee digital refractometer last week, but I'm still within my return period on that one, so I may return it after this one arrives.
 

Kentech5

New member
I just bit the bullet and ordered one from saltwateraquarium.com. I know nothing about them, but they had stock and premium aquatics did not. You can also get $5 off with the coupon code SALT5 and add a small freebie to your cart. Ironically I literally just bought the Milwaukee digital refractometer last week, but I'm still within my return period on that one, so I may return it after this one arrives.



I'd say they're both good products so keep the one you like more. I know the first site I checked was sold out so I guess they're selling fast.
 

BrettDS

New member
Thank you for the review. I am thinking about ordering one too mainly for salinity.


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Isn't that the reason that everyone orders one? I'd be really concerned if you were ordering it mainly to have something else to put on your shelf. ;)
 

outssider

New member
with an accuracy of +/- 1.5 on temperature and 0.001 for sg I think it's practically useless. I can get way better accuracy with a cheap refractometer that is calibrated immediately before every use....
 

BrettDS

New member
with an accuracy of +/- 1.5 on temperature and 0.001 for sg I think it's practically useless. I can get way better accuracy with a cheap refractometer that is calibrated immediately before every use....



I'm not sure anyone would use it for temp... there are much easier ways to take the temperature of your tank, so I'm not worried about temp accuracy at all. And .001 for SG seems pretty good to me. Frankly even on my cheap refractometer I'm not sure I can get much better accuracy than that. The line isn't defined enough to get closer than about .001 anyway.

It's a luxury for sure, but it's certainly accurate enough for my needs and much easier than reading a standard refractometer.
 

Kentech5

New member
I'm not sure anyone would use it for temp... there are much easier ways to take the temperature of your tank, so I'm not worried about temp accuracy at all. And .001 for SG seems pretty good to me. Frankly even on my cheap refractometer I'm not sure I can get much better accuracy than that. The line isn't defined enough to get closer than about .001 anyway.

It's a luxury for sure, but it's certainly accurate enough for my needs and much easier than reading a standard refractometer.



It's definitely a luxury but if something is easy and quick to test I am more likely to do it more often. I've had tank issues before from not keeping a close enough eye on salinity.
 

BrettDS

New member
Well, I got my unit today and I've gotta say that so far I'm really not impressed.

First, it seems to read way low. Testing my DT and QT water the icecap is reading about 32ppt while my Milwaukee digital refractometer, my cheap regular refractometer and my apex salinity probe all put the tanks around 35-36ppt.

Second, and this is a minor one, but there are too many button presses. It has only one button, which you push to turn it on, then take a sample of water and it will give you the reading in SG. If you want to see PPT, as I do, you need to push the button again. There is no way to get it to default to anything but SG. Then to turn it off you need to push the button three more times. Once to show the useless PSU reading, again to show the temp, then finally once more to turn it off.

The last issue I had is that it takes a pretty large sample of water, at least compared to a refractometer. You can just dip the scoop into the water, but I get nervous sharing anything between my QT and DT, so I don't want to be dipping the same scoop into both tanks. But it takes more water than you can get out with a single pipette.

The second two issues I could live with and I suspect that eventually they wouldn't bother me much, but the low reading that isn't even close to any of the three other instruments I have and no way to calibrate it is probably enough to get me to return it and stick with the Milwaukee.
 
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