How Do I Choose the Best Gold Tester?

Patti Kate

Gold testing equipment is useful for valuing gold, although some gold testers have more features and better accuracy than others. You may prefer a testing kit over an electronic gold tester. Alternately, an electronic pen is small and lightweight to use, but may not offer all the features of a larger device. Decide whether you prefer a gold tester for testing gold content only, or if you require a device that is capable of testing all metals. An electronic gold tester should also have an easy to read digital backlit display.

A gold tester can help a person value gold jewelry.
A gold tester can help a person value gold jewelry.

Depending upon the gold you have to appraise, you may purchase a gold tester that tests up to to 24 karat gold. Most electronic gold testers also measure and test platinum as well as yellow, rose, or white gold. It should be noted however, that some devices are not designed for valuating sterling silver and other metals.

White gold rings.
White gold rings.

Many types of gold testing equipment come with gel cartridges and testing plates. Choose a safe device that does not require handling caustic materials. If you've never used a gold tester before, choose something uncomplicated and easy to use. Your gold tester should also come with a comprehensible user manual.

Gold testers should be able to identify solid gold and gold-plated materials. If the device or kit does not offer this feature, you could be wasting your money. Some gold testers offer fast results in as little as one or two minutes. You should note that gold testers often use replaceable probes, and some may last longer than others. A probe that must be replaced every three or four months can become an expense. For a more cost-efficient solution, choose gold testing equipment that uses long-lasting probes.

You may prefer using a gold testing kit that comes complete with several testing solutions. Some gold testers that use acid for valuing gold may not be as precise as electronic testers, however. Keep in mind that acid is a caustic substance and must be used with extreme caution. Some acid testers may also be harmful to jewelry. For testing miscellaneous items such as scrap metal or coins, you should use an electronic device with readout.

If you prefer, you can buy a gold testing package. This package might include a gold scale for weighing your gold, as well as a jeweler's magnification loupe. When buying any electronic gold tester, choose one that comes with a manufacturer's warranty.

Most electronic testers will identify rose gold.
Most electronic testers will identify rose gold.

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