Five portable Brinell tester improvements can be retrofitted to any new or existing tester to upgrade the quality, consistency and reliability of the original. These improvements include: purge valve – allows for air removal without performing a complete oil change to substantially increase testing ease of use and operator friendliness; external calibration – provides both ease of calibration and a significant reduction in the potential for oil contamination from dirt, dust and grime; carry handle – provides additional protection to reduce the risk of damage to the gauge; 360-degree swivel gauge – provides the ability to place the gauge in any orientation so that it is more readily seen during the test process; stroke limiter – eliminates overly aggressive pumping and encourages even stroking to reduce the risk of damage to the pump rack.