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Best Antifreeze Tester Review and Buyer’s Guide

So, you’re finally here then! What brought you here this time – the cloud of smoke from your bonnet or the blown-up engine?

But who will you blame for that? The low-end antifreeze tester that couldn’t tell you the right time to change antifreeze due to its inaccurate result, insufficient container capacity, imperfect construction, or yourself for picking it up?

Easily choose the good Antifreeze-Tester
High Quality Antifreeze-Tester

To be honest, we say you better thank god that the tester messed up. Otherwise, you still would’ve missed the best antifreeze tester. After all, this is what can get you the accurate result every single time with superb liquid suction capacity, and of course, a durable construction.

We know it’s kind of tricky to pull the right one out but who said you’ll have to do it alone? We’re here to back you up there with all the finest options, remember?. So, let’s just get started!

How Do Antifreeze Testers Work?

Depending on the type of the tester, the process varies from each other. For the one with the pointers, you need to suck in antifreeze and let the pointer show you the current condition of the liquid in the measurement of Fahrenheit or Celsius.

The reading is pretty much the same when it comes to disc-based testers. But here, the floating discs play the measurement part.

Things are a bit different when it comes to refractometers. Usually, you need to drop a few drops in a certain part of the refractometer, and it’ll show you the reading in a few seconds. In the analog one, you’ll have to see it through an eyepiece, but for the digital one, there’s a monitor to show that.

How to Select the Best Antifreeze Testers?

How to select best antifreeze testers?
Select The Good Antifreeze-Testers

One of the coolest aspects of running antifreeze testing is you can be the cooling system expert of your own car. But we don’t see that happening that easily when you’re missing the best antifreeze tester.

The good news is, finding that out is nothing but a piece of cake if you just know what to look for in a tester like –

Accuracy

If there’s anything you want to count as the top priority while grabbing a tester, then put the accuracy in that position. For ensuring the balance of the liquid, you need to make sure the tester is giving you accurate test results.

So, rather than focusing on the price, focus on the accuracy first. To be sure about the accuracy, you can check out the reviews of other users too.

Scale

Do you know what can get you more confused than anything? It’s the scale. Actually, it happens when the scale is using any one of the Fahrenheit and Celsius readings as not everyone is used to both measurements.

So, it’ll be wiser if you can just go with a tester that has both of them. It’ll save you from the hassle of converting too.

Compatible Antifreeze Type

If you’re thinking that all the testers will be compatible with every type of antifreeze, then you’re simply wrong. Some of them are capable of testing certain fluids only.

So, before you make the jump, check out with which fluids the tester is actually compatible. If you ask us, then we’d say go with the one with all ethylene glycol coolants compatibility.

Temperature

Has anyone ever told you that even the temperature can affect the accuracy of a tester? Well, it’s true. That’s why you need to know the temperature range that makes the tester work more accurately before you swipe the card.

But to be on the safe side, it’s better to go with a tester that can give accurate results regardless of the temperature.

Durability

You’re not planning to buy a tester that you’ll have to throw away after a while, are you? Well, if that’s not the case, put some focus on durability too. So, make sure the material it’s made of can make it last long enough.

Comparison Table

Before we get started with the main list, let us give you some hints through a comparison table about what’s coming ahead.

ImageProductMaterialRequired Testing Time (Max)Price
AF-1420-Antifreeze-TesterPrestone AF-1420Plastic and Rubber5 MinutesCheck Price
ABN-773-Antifreeze-Coolant-TesterABN 773Plastic and Rubber5 MinutesCheck Price
OEMTOOLS-24507-Ethylene-Glycol-TesterOEMTOOLS 24507Plastic, Glass and Rubber5 MinutesCheck Price
SMARTSMITH-Antifreeze-RefractometerSMARTSMITH Antifreeze RefractometerMetal and Plastic2 MinutesCheck Price
Phoenix-Systems-8006-BPhoenix Systems 8006-BPlastic1.5 MinutesCheck Price
Thexton-THE106-TesterThexton THE106Plastic5 MinutesCheck Price
Rhino-Antifreeze-RefractometerRhino Antifreeze RefractometerMetal and Plastic1.5 MinutesCheck Price
AMTAST-AMTAST-Digital-Coolant-RefractometerAMTAST AMR317Metal and Plastic2 SecondsCheck Price

Our Top Picks of Antifreeze Testers 

You’ve already got the list of our top 8 antifreeze testers. Now it’s time to dig a bit deeper into their details. Let’s start with –

1. Prestone AF-1420 : Best for Deposit Detection

Best Prestone AF-1420 Coolant Tester
AF-1420 Antifreeze

Not every brand thinks equally about both professionals and DIYers. But it seems team Prestone has decided to walk a bit out of the box with their AF-1420 Antifreeze/Coolant Tester. After all, no matter what level you’re on, nothing can stop you from running an efficient test once you’ve got this one in your hand.

This tester is probably going to be the most easy-to-handle tester you’ve ever seen. There are not one but three reasons to think of it that way. The first one is the dimension which is 7″ x 5″ x 1″. Clearly, with this size, the entire structure will easily fit in your hand.

Moreover, the next one is its lighter weight. The number there is only 3.06oz. If that doesn’t make it one of the lightest testers in the market, then we don’t know what does.

Last but not the least, it’s a convenient and fast usage process. With a few simple steps, anyone can test their antifreeze, and for that, they don’t need to be a pro. All you need to do is just suck in some antifreeze in there, shake the air bubbles off and get the reading.

By the way, to run all the tests, the container requires having visual clarity too. Well, you’re going to get that to the fullest here. Besides, it doesn’t even contain any harmful chemical for its user too which allows you to measure the coolant concentration along with testing for rust, engine oil, or transmission fluid.

This tester is compatible with any of the ethylene glycol-based coolants out there and can help you prevent both boil-overs and freeze-ups. It can also help you in keeping corrosion out of the picture. On top of that, you can use it on almost any vehicle, from street motor scooters to all-terrain vehicles.

Highlighted Benefits

  • Lightweight structure makes the device portable
  • Clear container makes your visual inspection easier
  • Convenient structure makes the process is fast and easy
  • Compatible with ethylene glycol-based coolants
  • Ability to detect liquid condition helps in preventing the corrosion

Potential Flaws

  • Longer suction hose would’ve been better

Verdict

When you don’t have all the time in the world but need a test ASAP, then picking up the AF-1420 Antifreeze/Coolant Tester will be no mistake for sure.

  • Type of Fit: Universal
  • Accuracy: A
  • Ease of Usage: A
  • Hose Reachability: B+

2. ABN 773 Antifreeze/Coolant Tester : Best for Dual Scale Measurement

ABN Deluxe Antifreeze and Hydrometer Tester
ABN Deluxe Antifreeze Tester

If anyone has ever told you that testing coolant and antifreeze is difficult, then they probably never had the chance to try the 773 Deluxe Antifreeze/Coolant Tester from ABN.

Clearly, you’ll be looking for ease in your next tester, and we bet that’s what you’re going to get in this one. The first feature which will help you to get that is its usage process. All you need to do here is just squeeze the bulb to suck some liquid and let the pointer do the rest.

To maximize durability, team ABN has used premium plastic along with rubber materials. Now you won’t need a new one in a while for sure. The makers have also kept the size of the rubber bulb big enough with a 5.5″ tube here, which makes it easier to suck enough liquid in the reservoir.

By the way, the reservoir itself has been proved impressively useful in the test and the reason is nothing but its clarity. With it, you won’t be having any problem inspecting the color of the liquid or the presence of things like rust, sludge, or any other sediment.

Now the question is, what about the instructions? Aren’t you going to need them too? Well, the easy-to-read stickers on the tester got that part covered. So, rather than looking here and there for instructions, just looking at the tester will be enough.

That’s not all! The tester also got the dual scale, both in Fahrenheit and Celsius. On top of that, the makers have made this tester compatible with all the ethylene-glycol coolants and that includes GM Dex-Cool too.

Highlighted Benefits

  • Made of durable plastic material, so it’s pretty sturdy
  • Sufficiently big bulb sucks enough liquid
  • Reservoir clarity will help you in inspecting the liquid’s condition
  • Easy-to-read stickers come with clear instructions
  • Dual scale shows reading in Fahrenheit and Celsius

Potential Flaws

  • Bulb is non-detachable

Verdict

The ABN 773 Antifreeze/Coolant Tester is a perfect combination of efficiency and accuracy, which makes it nothing less than the finest testers out there.

  • Type of Fit: Universal
  • Accuracy: A
  • Process Convenience: A
  • Hose Reach: B+

3. OEMTOOLS 24507: Best for Testing in All Temperature

OEMTOOLS 24507 Professional  Tester
OEMTOOLS 24507

The world has become so much dependent on digital tools that they’ve kind of lost hope for analog ones. But the truth is even in this era, analog tools can nail the efficiency, and the 24507 Professional Series Antifreeze Tester from OEMTOOLS is the proof.

To keep it on a professional level, the makers had to put their focus on accuracy first. It seems they’ve pulled it off with perfection as this disc-type tester can get you accurate testing results, no matter what kind of temperature it’s in. So, clearly, the temperature won’t be influencing the result here.

But what is the meaning of the test if you find it hard to read the results? Thankfully, that won’t be happening here as the floating disks in this tester show the result not only in Celsius but in Fahrenheit as well.

Now the question is, as it’s not the same as the other options we’ve discussed earlier, will it be hard to use? Well, the answer is absolutely not. Even this one is actually easier. All you need to do is just check how many discs are floating.

To prevent overprotection, team OEMTOOLS has added a 6th special disc. This disc will let you know if the coolant is losing its efficiency due to any bad water-coolant mix or not.

Its bulb is big enough to pull in all the liquids you’d need to complete the test. So, you won’t have to struggle to get the coolant or antifreeze in there for sure. Plus, the long tube eased up reaching deep enough to collect the antifreeze even if the level is a bit down.

And durability? Its powerful yet simple design with glass housing won’t let you fall short on that. Plus, you can try it on almost any vehicle out there.

Highlighted Benefits

  • Any-temperature testing ability eliminates the need for specific temperature
  • Ensures prevention of overprotection with a 6th disc
  • Big bulb helps in sucking enough liquids
  • Comes with a long hose that eases up reaching deeper
  • Simple and durable design ensures lasting longer

Potential Flaws

  • Need to be careful to avoid pulling air bubbles

Verdict

When you don’t have any time to take a headache about the temperature but got one for finishing the test, then OEMTOOLS 24507 will be just perfect for you.

  • Accuracy: A
  • Process Convenience: A
  • Hose Reach: A
  • Test Timing: B+

4. SMARTSMITH Antifreeze Refractometer: Best for Versatility

SMARTSMITH Coolant- Battery Fluid Condition  Checker
SMARTSMITH Antifreeze

What would you do when you need three tools, but you can buy just one? Will you drop the idea or think of something versatile? Well, if your answer is the second one, then we bet you’re going to love the Antifreeze Refractometer from SMARTSMITH.

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to run the test on ethylene glycol-based antifreeze or the propylene glycol-based one, this tester can keep up with both. Not only that, but if you’re asking for a tester that can measure battery acid gravity too, then you better grab this one in the first place.

And don’t even think about calling it complicated just because it doesn’t look like the ‘traditional’ testers you’ve seen so far. It’s still as convenient as them and in some cases, better than them.

For example, it takes less time to get the testing done compared to the regular testers. It probably won’t even take more than a minute. All you need to do is just put a few drops of liquids on the daylight plate and check out the result through the eyepiece. Now, if that’s complicated, then what will you call easy?

But there’s one more thing that we couldn’t help loving about this efficient liquid tester, and that is the amount of liquid it needs for testing. Unlike the other testers, it doesn’t ask for a pile of liquid to run the test as a few drops are enough.

Now comes the construction part. Well, it got a simple yet highly durable and sturdy design made of plastic and metal that is capable of lasting for years with the proper care.

Highlighted Benefits

  • Multi-liquid testing compatibility makes it more versatile
  • Liquid efficiency makes it take less time in doing the test
  • Efficient mechanism requires only a few drops for testing
  • Hassle-free design ease up the testing process
  • Metal-plastic made construction delivers better durability

Potential Flaws

  • Doesn’t show the condition of the coolant

Verdict

When you just love the idea of running several tests just with one tool, we say you better not miss the SMARTSMITH Antifreeze Refractometer as your next tester.

  • Accuracy: A
  • Process Convenience: A
  • Sturdiness: A
  • Multi-Liquid Compatibility: A
  • Test Timing: A+

5. Phoenix Systems 8006-B: Best for Mess-free Usage Process

Phoenix  Double-Ended Coolant  Systems 8006-B
Phoenix 8006-B

It’s time to take the ease to a whole other level this time – no hose, no bulb, no pointer! Just a simple stripe can tell you if you need to go for changing your antifreeze/coolant or not. Do you want to know the name? It’s the 8006-B Coolant Test Strips from Phoenix Systems.

We call it the most unique freeze tester for two reasons; one, it makes zero mess while being used, and two, it’s amazingly fast.

Let’s check out the mess-free usage first. What usually happens in the other testers is you need to suck some coolant in the tester, check out the reading, and do as the reading says.

But the makers of this tester have made it easier than ever where all you need to do is dip the strip in the coolant, and the changing hue will tell you the rest. The best part is you don’t even need to get the coolant out of the tank. Just remove the cap and dip it in there.

The package comes with 15 Double-Ended strips. So you won’t be running short of strips any sooner for sure. But what you’ll simply love is you can use these strips not only to test coolants but Brake fluid as well. On top of that, they don’t even compromise with safety.

What else is amazing about these Quick-testing strips is the amount of time it takes to complete the test. Just give it 1 to 1.5 minutes, and the test will be done within this time. And yes, along with being accurate, they’re inexpensive too.

Highlighted Benefits

  • Strip-design makes the usage process mess-free
  • Dual-ended strips work on both brake fluid and coolant
  • 15 strips are enough to make lots of tests
  • Quick-testing design doesn’t need more than 90 seconds to show the result

Potential Flaws

  • Has 3-year shelf life only

Verdict

Those who believe a tester can’t be mess-free, the Phoenix Systems 8006-B can simply be a game-changer. So, if you too are looking for something like that, we bet you won’t regret getting it. 

  • Accuracy: A
  • Process Convenience: A
  • Expiry Duration: B+
  • Test Timing: B+

6. Thexton THE106: Best for Adequate Liquid Suction

Celsius and Fahrenheit Thexton THE106  Tester
Thexton THE106

Let’s get back to the old school for a while once again. After all, you’ve seen how the manual testers pull the tests off. So, it’s better to add something of a similar category but with higher efficiency this time. Yes, we’re talking about the THE106 Antifreeze Tester from Thexton.

This design is nothing new to you, but that doesn’t mean team Thexton has given any less effort in making this tester accurate. To be honest, they’ve succeeded on that too.

On top of that, no matter which liquid you’re trying to test, if it’s anything from the genre of ethylene-glycol-based coolant, then you surely will get what you want. Even if you’re using Dex-Cool, that’s not going to be a problem.

By the way, don’t worry about the temperature. There’s no need to stick to a certain temperature as the result will always be accurate no matter what the temperature is. Thanks to its temperature-compatible design.

The next thing worth mentioning about the THE106 is its easy-to-read discs. To ease up the reading, these disks have been magnified. Thanks to its convex design backed by a SAN-plastic barrel with maximum clarity.

In order to make things more convenient for you, the makers have put in 6 discs in total. The protection level depends on how many discs are floating in there. But that’s the job of the five discs. The 6th one there is to show overprotection and of course, loss of cooling efficiency.

Using this tester is nothing but a piece of cake. Like any other finest testers, you can get the test done just in minutes with quicker liquid suction. Thanks to its neoprene dip tube and the one-piece bulb for taking it there. One more thing! It comes with both Celsius and Fahrenheit scales.

Highlighted Benefits

  • Temperature compatible design delivers accurate result in any temperature
  • Magnified discs help in making the reading easier
  • One-piece bulb ensures quick liquid suction
  • Neoprene-dip tube allows you to reach deeper into the reservoir
  • 6th disc shows overprotection

Potential Flaws

  • Has a chance of getting air bubbles

Verdict

When you love the old school just because they’re still efficient, you can rely on the Thexton THE106 as the ideal choice every time.

  • Accuracy: A
  • Sturdiness: B+
  • Process Convenience: A
  • Test Timing: B+

7. Rhino Antifreeze Refractometer: Best for Variety in Liquid Testing

Rhino Antifreeze Ethylene Glycol Liquid Tester
Rhino Antifreeze Tester

There’s no doubt that Refractometers can be really amazing when it comes to testing antifreeze/coolants. But do you know the finest ones come with the capability to test not just one but a bunch of liquids? Thankfully, the next one on our list, the Antifreeze Refractometer from Rhino is one of them.

This tool probably will change your definition of versatility as there are tons of tests you can do with it. If you’ve got an automobile antifreeze system, it can test that along with the Diesel Exhaust Fluid of course. But that doesn’t mean it can’t do the same for battery acid or windshield washer fluid.

To get you your desired result, it doesn’t need more than two minutes. Actually, it can do that in just 1.5. And the process? Just put a few drops on the daylight plate and check out the readings through the eyepiece. Could you expect anything easier than this? We don’t think so. 

By the way, this tester is made to be with you for years and the Teflon-sprayed coating will ensure that. Plus, it’s wear and corrosion-resistant. It also got features covered like anti-adhesion and anti-static.

Its Automatic Temperature Compensation will help you out with differences in the temperature. On top of that, the package comes with everything you might need for the tests, including a plastic pipette, water bottle, portable holster, user manual, mini screwdriver, cleaning cloth, and a case.

Highlighted Benefits

  • Two-step usage process takes a few minutes for testing only
  • Plastic/metal construction is anti-adhesion and anti-static
  • Teflon coating enhances the durability
  • Accessories like a plastic pipette, water bottle help with easier testing

Potential Flaws

  • Reads in Celsius only

Verdict

It’s tough to see versatility and external toughness together in a tester. But you’ve got something like the Rhino Antifreeze Refractometer, we say don’t miss it as it got both.

  • Accuracy: A
  • Sturdiness: A+
  • Process Convenience: A
  • Test Timing: A+

8. AMTAST AMR317: Best for Fastest Testing

AMTAST Digital Coolant  for Car Antifreeze Tester
AMTAST AMR317

The one we’ve chosen to wrap up our review part with is probably one of the most high-tech testers you’ll be seeing of recent days. From speed to accuracy, it has taken them all to a whole other level. Yup! It’s the AMR317 Digital Coolant Refractometer from AMTAST.

It doesn’t matter if you’re asking for a tester to test the propylene glycol or ethylene glycol-based coolant and antifreeze, this Multi-liquid calibration capable tester can measure both. And accuracy? Well, count that at the peak.

Wait a minute! When did we say you can use it for coolant/antifreeze only? If you’re making a list of testable liquids, then don’t forget to put the name of the battery fluid along with the screen wash antifreeze. On top of that, if you’re in the mood to check urea concentration in AdBlue, you can go for that too.

But how long will it take to complete the test? Well, if we could name it the flash, we definitely would’ve. That’s because this machine needs just 2 seconds to get you the result.

Plus, it’s super easy to use. Just open up the flap, drop 4-5 drops, click the button and see the result. Now you say, could it be any simpler than this? But what we found as an innovative move here is, if you leave the meter unattended for just a bit more than a minute, it’ll shut itself off automatically.

There’s one more thing we couldn’t help loving about this portable Refractometer, and that is its low power consumption. But with that, something was equally disappointing as well. The battery has to be purchased separately, which was the only thing we couldn’t like about this whole package.

Highlighted Benefits

  • Multi-liquid calibration ability allows testing antifreeze and other liquids
  • AdBlue compatibility Allows you to check urea concentration
  • Automatic shut-off system triggers shutting off after 1 minute
  • A high-tech mechanism need only 2 seconds to complete the measurement

Potential Flaws

  • Battery comes separately

Verdict

When you like things getting done within the seconds, even if it’s testing your car’s antifreeze, the AMTAST AMR317 can simply be the worthy tech to grab.

  • Accuracy: A
  • Versatility: A
  • Test Timing: A+
  • Power Consumption: A+

Final Verdict

If you want your next tester to be handy and lightweight, then you can go for Prestone AF-1420 even with closed eyes. On top of that, its clear container makes the visual inspection a piece of cake. And the usage process? It’s not only convenient but fast as well.

But when you’re more into durability without spending too much, we’d say pick the ABN 773. Its plastic material delivers more than enough strength. Plus, its adequate liquid suction ability is also superb. But what you’d love the most, we guess, is its Reservoir clarity which helps inspect the liquid’s condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s pretty obvious that you can have tons of questions flying inside your mind right now. Well, we have gathered all the frequently asked questions you’re possible to come up with, and here are all the answers.

  • What if the coolant level gets lower in 2-4 days after testing?

It’s a clear indication of a leak in the reservoir. If you’re not an expert yourself, then you better take it to the mechanic as soon as possible.

  • What if there’s too much water in the cooling system?

If the water ratio is too high than the required one, then there’s a high chance of the liquid getting frozen. So, you better always keep it balanced.

  • How often should you check antifreeze?

It’s better to check out the antifreeze twice a year; once in summer and once in winter. But if you’re having any problems related to coolants, then you’re always free to give it a recheck.

  • What if the coolant stays for too long in the car’s reservoir?

Any coolant can simply become acidic if it stays in the reservoir for too long. So, it’ll be better if you change it according to the recommended time.

  • What can be the worst-case scenario if the coolant ratio is more than the water?

Having too much coolant might lead to engine damage. So keep it balanced too.

  • How much time does it usually take to test the antifreeze with a tester?

It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes usually. If you’re used to the process, it might take less.

  • How often should you change the coolant whether it’s tested or not?

It’s better to change the coolant once a year to avoid unfavorable circumstances. But if there can be an exception too under unfortunate incidents.

  • How to make the tester last long?

Along with taking proper care, flush the tester with water every time you use it. This way, you can reduce the chance of it going bad.

  • What is the ideal mixture ratio of water and antifreeze?

The ideal ratio of mixture here is 50:50. More or less than that will bring in negative outcomes.

  • Can antifreeze ensure protection against electrolysis? 

Antifreeze protects against a lot of things, and yes, it can protect against electrolysis along with other issues like corrosion.

Wrapping Up

Now there’s almost nothing you’ve got left to know about the best antifreeze tester. No matter which one you choose, just don’t forget to check out its higher accuracy level and compatibility with major antifreeze types.

And yes, you better keep the durability on that list too. Once you get all of these, we bet nothing can stop you from reaching the right test results each and every single time.

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