A complete guide on flow meter and its types - flow meter

A complete guide on flow meter and its types

A flow meter is a very helpful device in any industry. You can always rely on it for accurate flow rate monitoring. Whether you're dealing with steam, natural gas, oil, or water, you'll require a flow meter to enhance effective fluid flow measurement.

Many flow meter devices are available in the market and share a common function. But they have different ways of operation. So, when buying any device, make sure to inquire from the supplier how each works. That will guide you into getting the right flow meter based on a specific application. 

Not all flow meters work perfectly in every situation. That makes it inevitable to take into account vital factors before settling on any choice of a flow meter. Every device has its advantages and capabilities that make it the most suitable for a specific flow metering need.  

What to consider when buying a flow meter

1. Level of accurate measurements required

When looking for a flow meter, never forget to consider the level of accuracy needed. If you want the most accurate flow rate results, you'll have to look for the best device that can guarantee such levels. The accuracy of one flow meter differs from another.

Many flow meters can work in your application which offers multiple options to select from. Since you'll find some flow meters with a higher degree of accuracy than others, ensure to focus on the level of accuracy that a given flowmeter type can deliver.

2. Properties of fluid to be monitored

Do you intend to use the flow meter for measuring steam, gas, or liquid? Is the fluid viscous or less viscous? Does the monitored fluid contain debris or bubbles? These are some of the things you should keep in mind when buying a flow meter since they can help get the right device.

3. Cost-effectiveness of a flow meter

The cost of flow meters differs depending on the type. You can indeed get a flow meter delivering the most accurate flow rate results but very expensive. If you find an alternative flow meter that can give accurate results yet at an affordable cost, it would be better. 

When looking at the cost of a flow meter, don't only focus on the price tag. Some flow meters have moving parts that are prone to tear and wear. That means you'll need regular maintenance, which will cost more.

 Besides, there are complex flow meters and require an expert to install, which adds to the flow meter's cost. So, go for a flow meter option that offers quality and yet durable and affordable.

The most popular flow meter types 

An open channel flow meter

This is a primary device that is a dam-like structure. It can be a fume or a weir. Once you understand the link between flow in your pipes and depth, it helps to note the depth differences, and that information can be applied to calculate the flow rate. All you need to do is place an obstruction in the pipe, and your flow meter will begin noting the difference in depth.

You may use a weir or a fume to determine the flow rate in an open channel. A weir is an opening found on top of a dam. It may be v-shaped or rectangular. When water flows over the dam via the weir, an increase in fluid height will be experienced. If the increase in depth is greater, it implies a high flow rate.

If you're using a fume to determine flow rate, it gives constriction in width instead of height. So, when the fluid flows in the narrow section of the channel, a change in water level will be seen, which correlates to the flow rate.

Mass flowmeters

This is among the best flow meters you can use to measure liquids' mass flow passing through a pipe. Are you looking for a flow meter to use in the gas, power, and chemical industries? You have the right option with a mass flow device. Mass flow meters are also suitable in wastewater management, mining, and pharmaceutical industry.

Positive displacement flow meter

Want a flow meter that measures flow rate directly? The PD flow meter will be the best choice. This device has a rotating component that moves as fluid flows through the meter. It's that rotation that is counted and provides fluid flow rate. PD flow meters are the most accurate devices you'll get in the market.

Differential pressure flow meters

A differential pressure flow meter helps determine fluid flow rate by measuring pressure differences when the fluid flows through a restricted area. The biggest advantage of these flow meters is that you can use a wide range of applications. It's the most suitable flow metering device you can use in oil and gas, food and beverage, and even chemical production.

Velocity flowmeters

These flow meters measure flow rate by determining the velocity of fluid that flows through a pipe. The fluid's flow rate is usually equal to the cross-section of your pipe multiplied by the fluid's velocity. Major types of velocity flow meters include

  • Ultrasonic flowmeter
  • Paddlewheel
  • Turbine flow meter
  • Electromagnetic flowmeters
  • Vortex flow meter.


You need an appropriate flow meter for accurate flow rate measurements. Make sure to understand how each flow meter functions before settling on any specific device. Get a device that offers quality and reliable results at an affordable price.

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