Difference Between Colorimeter And Spectrophotometer

Reviewed by Anurag Mishra (Sr. Technical Consultant)

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Color measurement tools have different variety throughout the range and has special features accordingly also are made for conducting distinct standard test. It is very important to understand the difference prior purchasing.


Colorimeters imitates the human eye perception. In the color detection process it uses, a light beam is thrown on the surface of specimen. The reflected light is detect by the device and is passed through three layers of Red, green and blue shades. After which the RGB value of that particular color is inspected and details shown in numeric values.

Their major use is to define a particular hue or color shade. They are often used by fashion designers to capture distinct shades and develop inspirational hues. It is highly portable and carried anywhere. Limitation with the device is that they are not capable of detecting metamerism. Therefore the device is not considered for production application and color comparison or testing color consistency under different lighting conditions.


Spectrophotometers are used for more complex color analysis and serious applications which needs detailed color data assessment. It has almost the same working structure except only one major difference. The device has more filters then only RGB and detect complete color spectrum. It detect color wave length at different light source. Due to its ability to check the color quality under wide range of lighting conditions, it is considered to be best for metamerism detection.

Also, there colorimeter can only test solid surfaces while spectrophotometer can test powder and liquid sample as well with universal test component which is a part of color measurement accessory.  

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