Reichert claims its Phoropter is the “Original and the Best,” and at least on its website, goes into flying details about how smooth and luxurious it is to feel and use. It is a rather strange claim for something made out of crude stainless steel that hasn’t truly been updated for about 45 years now. Although the names on the original and best Phoropter have changed, the device itself hasn’t really. In fact, since the Phoropter’s inception back in the early 1920’s, only minor modifications have been made. We have, although seen the invention of the digital phoropter (which might save you time, maybe), and the concept of portable Phoropters (which are mostly awful by the way), but the classic manual refractor still holds appeal and is still the most widely used refracting device on Earth. So intuition would tell us that the Reichert (being the original patented device) should be the best- and for the most part it is. The dials are without doubt the smoothest on the market, and if you’re prone to arthritis you’ll appreciate the easy-turn of dials and knobs. The lenses also appear to have the highest quality AR coating, and when it comes to throwing one off a three-story building, the Reichert breaks but seems to break-less-severe than other models. So we wish we could stop the review there, but the price (especially for a new one) is of concern to us. With the availability to order a generic instrument of similar quality, or even the lesser Topcon, we have a hard time understanding why you would spend $4,200 on a new one. I guess that’s why we exist.
OUR TAKE: The best and the original, without doubt.
#1. The Smoothest
Reichert knows they have good company in the Phoropter market, and thus they claim their device is by far the smoothest-easiest-poshest refracting instrument around. They’re not wrong. Even if it’s a marginal difference, it’s a difference that you may notice if your hand is cramping by 3:30pm on a Friday with your old device. In our in-house tests, we conclude that the spherical dial and knob, along with the axis-control dial, outdoes competitors with similar or exact instruments. It’s a marginal difference, that’s noted in the price of our refurbished device.