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The flow meter types are becoming popular because of the estimated increase in the flow meter market size to USD 20 billion by 2035.

The forecast period i.e. 2023- 2025 experienced a growth rate at a CAGR of 8%. Talking about flow meters, all flow meter types have their applicability and limitations depending on various principles like measurement, thermal, mechanical, acoustic, electrical, optical, atomic physics and so on. 

The most popular classification method of flow meter types divides them into some commonly used flow meters like differential flow meter, volumetric flowmeter, turbine flowmeter, float flowmeter, pressure flowmeter, electromagnetic flowmeter, ultrasonic flowmeter, vortex flowmeter, mass flowmeter, etc. 

What is a Flow Meter?

Flow Meter
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Measuring the amount of liquid, gas or vapor through a conduit or pipe happens with the help of a device called flow meter.

Popularly called a flow instrument or a flow sensor, it is used for measuring the non-linear, linear or volumetric flow rates, critical for most industrial applications. Flow meter types are used depending on the nature of their application. 

The objective of a flow meter is to enhance the accuracy, precision and resolution of the fluid measurement. These flow meters are installed because they are easy to use, enhance efficiency, improve durability and are versatile. 

Simply put, flow meters are instruments used to measure the velocity, volume or mass of gas or liquid. With the usage of varied calculations, they report absolute pressure, mass flow, viscosity, differential pressure and temperature data to identify the flow rate.

Before you select a flow meter, don’t forget to consider intangible considerations like spare parts availability, familiarity of plant personnel, their expertise and maintenance, failure history and other such factors. Try calculating the cost of installation before you choose any flow meter types for your use.

Now that we are clear on what a flow meter is, let’s unveil the importance of flow meters

What is the Importance of a Flow Meter?

The need for flow meters depends on flow meter types and principles along with their applications in various industries. Flow meters are responsible for delivering accurate and consistent visibility into flow rates so that companies have the right information in hand. This leads to meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining smooth operations. Water flow meters track the flow of water by using a variety of applications. 

Explore the various flow meter uses to understand clearly why industries use flow meters. 

Regulatory Compliances

Most companies are subject to regulations governing the use of resources and discharge of fluids into the environment. Flow meters make sure to accurately measure and record fluid flow rates with proper facilitation of documentation and reporting.  

Resource Management

Flow meters are required to help manage and monitor the consumption of resources like energy, water, and gas in industrial, residential and commercial settings. The apt measurement of flow rates enables optimum utilization of resources leading to environmental sustainability and cost effectiveness. 

Process Control

Flow meters allow precise measurement and control of fluid flow rates. They also ensure optimal operation of the industrial processes by monitoring the flow rates in real-time. The ones who operate flow meters can adjust the parameters to ensure product quality and maintain desired levels of accuracy. 

Billing and Metering

Flow meters are used in accurate water, gas, and electricity billing and enable fair and transparent billing practices by charging based on actual usage.


For the safe operations of processes involving volatile fluids or hazardous chemicals, flow meters help in the early detection of leaks, blockages, etc and allow operators to take corrective measures and prevent damage.

Therefore, you can say that the need for flow meters arises for tracking sewage flow, helping factory operators assess the amount of water being used and measuring usage by individuals or communities.

What are the Types of Flow Meters?

Now that you know the definition of flow meter and the need for it, let’s understand different types of flow meters, their applications, advantages and limitations. 

Electromagnetic Flowmeter

Based on the concept of Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction, these flow meters are considered to have the best flow meter technology because of their ability to solve problems of corrosive flows, mud, dirty flows that are difficult to solve with other flow meter types.

Application of Flow Meter



Drainage projects and water supply (large diameters)

Smooth measurement channel

Liquids with low conductivity cannot be measured

Steel industry, papermaking industry, chemical industry, non ferrous metallurgical industry (small diameters)

Minimum pressure loss 

Does not have the ability to measure gas, liquids or steam with large bubbles

Food industry, pharmaceutical industry, biochemistry (micro diameters)

Has a large flow range with a wide caliber range

Can’t be used at high temperatures

Used for partially filled pipe flow measurement 

Corrosive fluids can be used 

Sensitive to changes in fluid properties or environmental conditions

Learn More:
Still Curious? Click here to find out more about Electromagnetic Flow Meters

Turbine Type Flowmeter:

Being the major type of velocity flowmeter, this is known as a multi-blade rotor which is used to sense the average flow velocity to derive the flow rate. It has two parts: display and sensor. 




Can be used in Water and wastewater treatment

Considered as an accurate flow meter 

Can't maintain calibration for a longer duration / Higher headloss, difficulty in maintenance

Chemical processing, petroleum refining, HVAC

Compact structure and a wide range

Physical fluid properties greatly influence the flow characteristics 

Food and beverage production, pharmaceutical manufacturing

Good anti-interference ability with a zero-point drift 

Not suitable for all fluid types

Oil and gas industry, agriculture and irrigation 

Good repeatability with high precision 

Susceptible to damage because of certain moving parts 

Vortex-Type Flow Meter:

Also called a non-streamlined vortex generator, it is placed in the fluid that separates and releases two series of staggered vortexes on both sides of the generator. These flowmeters are categorized on the basis of types of flow measurements, frequency detection methods, stress type, capacitive type, vibration type, ultrasonic type and so on.




Measures wide pressure (vacuum to high pressure) and temperature range from -200°C to +400°C

Wide range and higher accuracy

Longer straight pipe section required

Measures various gas media like nitrogen, air, natural gas, etc

Simple, solid structure 

Lacks application experience in multi-phase and pulsating flow

Measures liquid media like water, petroleum, solutions, chemicals, etc

Applicable to different fluid types

Lower instrument coefficient 

Also used for measuring the steam flow

Small pressure loss

Not applicable for low Reynolds number measurements

Learn More:
Still Curious? Click here to find out more about Vortex Flow Meters

Ultrasonic Flowmeter

The effect of fluid flow on ultrasonic beams is detected by this flow meter type. It is divided based on velocity difference methods like beam offset method, cross-correlation method, time difference method, and so on. 




Transit time method is suitable for applications like diesel, tap water, etc

Can measure non-conductive liquids 

For clean liquids and gasses, only travel time method is used

Two-phase fluids like low heterogenous content find suitability in the Doppler method like dirty process fluids, factory effluents, raw sewage

Supplement to electromagnetic flowmeter (non-obstruction measurement)

To measure liquids containing certain amount of bubbles or suspended particles, only Doppler method is applicable

Applies to liquid measurement too and is considered a superb liquid level measurement solution

Possibility of non-contact measurement 

Accuracy rate in Doppler rate is low

Good in monitoring air conditioning systems, heating and ventilation

Measures without any obstruction and there’s no pressure loss too

Higher upfront cost

Learn More:
Still Curious? Click here to find out more about Ultrasonic Flow Meters

Coriolis Mass Flowmeter

This flow meter type uses two side-by-side U-shaped tubes, straight tubes on both sides and bent parts of these two tubes inclined towards each other for measuring the fluid mass flow. The fluid introduced into the tube flows forward while the tube vibrates.




Best choice for pulp and paper, petrochemical, oil and gas industries

Directly measure mass flow with high measurement velocity

Unstable and causes zero point drift 

Good for food and beverage industry

No obstructions in flow measurement 

Gas content above a certain limit affects measured values

Water and wastewater

Has the ability to perform multi-parameter measurements 

Sensitive to external vibration interference

Applicable for process control and high viscosity

Changes in fluid density have very less impact on the measured value

Cannot be used for larger pipe diameters 

Excellent for chemical and life sciences industry

Upstream and downstream pipe sections not required

Most models are heavy and bulky

Apart from the flow meter types given above, there are many others like thermal mass flow meter, volumetric flow meter, differential pressure flow meter, float flow meter, metal rotor flow meter and others. 

Learn More:
Still Curious? Click here to find out more about Mass Flow Meters

What to Consider when Choosing a Flow Meter?

One of the most important parameters to consider while choosing a flow meter is the type of flow to be used in an open or closed conduit.

Open channel flow is usually open to the atmosphere, flume or weir while closed flow happens within a pipe or tube. 

Multiple things need to be evaluated before choosing water flow meter types like collection frequency, remote monitoring, available supply pressure, acceptable pressure loss across the meter and so on.

To make the right choice, consider the following factors before you choose a flow meter type:

Ascertain the Type of Flow Meter that Would Work Best for You

Before you choose, clearly understand the whole process of working with flow meters. Discuss issues of calibration, maintenance, access, flow totalled, and how the information is transmitted to the supervisory control, etc. The starting point is to understand the flow meter types, how they work, and the work process. Some common ones include ultrasonic, diaphragm, float, venturi, vortex, electromagnetic, and thermal flow meters. The choice of your flow meter type depends on the application that you use. 

Consider Your Expected Flow Rates

Flow meter selection is based on expected flow rates like the flow rates Q1 and Q3 of the meter and pipe diameter and whether flow rate data shall be totalized or continuous. The general flow measurement system includes primary flow devices, a transmitter, a flow recorder, a flow sensor and a totalizer.

Understand Installation Requirements

The conditions under which the flowmeter is mounted is a major determining factor of its accuracy and performance. Don’t forget to check constraints like valves, pipe pends, and constrictions as different flow meter types are sensitive to the disturbances caused during the installation

Figure Out Different Parameters for Your Application

Take into consideration different parameters like fluid density, pressure drops, fluid density, temperature and others. These factors are influential in determining how well the flowmeter will work for your application. 

Take Into Consideration the Surrounding Environment

The suitability of the meter type for surrounding conditions i.e. the intended climatic, mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic conditions including ambient relative humidity, variations, electrostatic discharges, continuous magnetic field and electromagnetic disturbances. 

Think Beyond the Box

A flow meter type that accurately understands the feature of flow to be measured is a must. The data matrix must be readily available for review. Things like how clean or dirty the water is also impact the style and type of meter. Conductivity, pressure, temperature, and viscosity are important parameters to be considered before you make a choice.

Determine Whether You Need Data Recording and Remote Reporting

Some applications require consistent flow recording along with total flow readings. Do you require such notifications as zero flow alarms, etc? In some cases, data is sent via SCADA systems either remotely or might require battery-powered devices. So, always have in mind what type of output you require from a specific flow meter type.

Don’t Forget Sustainability 

There’s a possibility of deposition of substances from solutions within the meter. Make sure you check the sustainability of the power supply of the meter. 

Rely on Trustworthy Brands

Opt for reliable and trustworthy brands in the market like Kristnam which focuses on empowering companies with water intelligence.

A band’s reputation speaks highly of its performance, quality and likeliness among the customers. Go for the one that helps you eliminate water risks and digitally manage your water footprint.

The one with great expertise will help you make a cost-effective decision. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s understand more about flow meter types by answering a few common questions. 

What Type of Flow Meter is Most Commonly Used?

The inferred measurement of a liquid’s rate is popular, this is why differential pressure flow meters are most commonly used.

These meters flaunt their highly accurate results by calculating the fluid flow by reading the pressure loss across the pipe restriction. 

As per the estimates, more than 50% of the liquid flow measurement applications use this type of unit. Under these meter operations, the pressure drop is proportional to the square of the flow rate and the flow rate is calculated by extracting the square root to measure the pressure differential. 

How to Ensure Accuracy of a Flow Meter?

One of the most important things to ensure accuracy is to make sure that the flow measurement meter is properly calibrated. Flow meters are great tools that must be properly set up and maintained and if they aren’t calibrated properly, they won’t make sense for you. 

Run regular periodic tests and keep the diagnostics in check to make sure that the flow meter type that you’ve chosen is functioning properly.

Moreover, if the flow meter is not installed properly, there are higher chances of poor performance. A few basic guidelines must be followed to make sure that your flow meter delivers the best of its performance. 

Recommended Read: The Ultimate Guide To Flow Meter Installation For Best Accuracy

How Important is Flow Measurement in Industrial Processes?

To accurately control, understand, and monitor industrial processes, flow measurement is crucial. Flow rate measurement not only helps in ascertaining that the right fluid is inserted at the right place and right time but also makes sure that the applications are under stringent quality control. 

Flow measurement also plays a great role in protecting the safety of the personnel with its reliable, regular, and accurate flow rate measurements. Plus, there’s an absolute cost benefit because flow measurement leads to detecting dead legs and eliminates waste of time and resources. 

How do I Measure Flow in a Pipe?

Measurement of flow in a pipe depends on the types of flow meters, choice of flow measurement, type of fluid, flow rate range, installation constraints, pipe size and other factors. It is suggested to choose an apt flow meter type as per your application to ensure a reliable flow measurement process with accuracy

If you have partially filled pipes or open channels, there are different methods for flow measurement like flumes, weirs, and ultrasonic level sensors. Whereas the mass flow meters measure flow by the heat transfer between a flowing fluid and the heated element. Similarly, the velocity flow meters use the pressure drop for flow measurement. That’s how different types of flow meters use different ways to measure flow in a pipe.

Recommended Read: Why Does A Flow Meter Require Full Flow In The Pipe?

Wrapping Up

Advanced flow meters like Dhaara Smart by Kritsnam are highly valuable because of their top-notch features like inbuilt GPRS/4G, wireless (battery operated), highest accuracy functions (ISO 4064), automatic alarms, all-weather protection and so much more. 

Dhaara Smart utilizes ultrasonic technology to report, capture and measure the water flow with the higher objective of inculcating better intelligence in companies. It’s time to keep your water worries aside when Dhaara Smart is here to assist you in water management at every step.

Dhaara Smart
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Dhaara Smart
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Dhaara is a new-age water meter that combines the power of IoT with the latest sensor technologies. The integrated telemetry and battery-powered capabilities make it easy to manage your water consumption from anywhere and anytime (even when the power is down).
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Dhaara Digital
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Dhaara Digital has been purpose-built to address the requirements of customers seeking metering solutions falling under the exemption category of CGWA (Central Ground Water Authority) compliance and other applications where telemetry is not required.
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