Water Flow Meters: Their Different Types and Applications

Getting proper flow rate readings is essential in any plant that processes water or uses water in manufacturing. Since there are numerous water flow meters, accuracy is achieved by matching the right flowmeter with the right flow system or application. Other factors that influence the results and the consequences of a flow rate reading are the quality of the flow measurement tools and how they are installed and maintained. Before deciding which flow measuring device is ideal for your flow system, you need to know the application requirements of the flow system; there are many different kinds. The media’s condition, characteristics, properties, or fluid substance also influence the kind of flow meter you are supposed to buy. This article will help you understand how flow meters work by explaining the various types available and their use. Continue reading to gain more knowledge.

Types of Water Flow Meters

Many devices are used to measure flow rate in liquids, especially water. To avoid leakage and other flow measurement issues that may result from picking the wrong kind of flow meter, ensure that the flow meter matches your application or water flow system. Below are a few examples of flow meters and their particular needs.

Mass Flow Meters 

To promote safety and quality when using water and other fluids in the plants, you need to use the right flow meter for the right flow measurement. Mass flow meters are ideal if you deal with a processing plant that uses water in chemical reactions. These flow meters measure flow rate through heat transfer. A mass flow meter is ideal if you need higher accuracy reading in your application. Thermal flow meters and Coriolis flow meters are two major flow measurement devices for measuring mass flow rate. 

Differential Pressure Flow Meters

DP or differential pressure come in various types that include:

  • Orifice plate
  • Flow nozzle
  • Variable-area (Rotameter)
  • Pilot tube
  • Elbow-tap
  • Venture tube 
  • Flow tube

DP flowmeters give out the flow rate by obtaining the square root of the differential pressure. These kinds of flow meters have primary and secondary components. The primary component creates differential pressure by changing movements inside the pipe. The component in the flow meter then calculates differential pressure readouts of signals to give the flow rate value. These types of flow meters are in high demand all over the world because they are quite common in industries and domestic markets. 

Positive Displacement Flow Meters

This category of flow meter is highly used in water flow systems because it produces the accuracy levels that are highly needed. If you need water flow meters that produce higher accuracy levels, PDs are the best. Obtaining flow rate from these kinds of flow meters involves rotary rotors, which rotate when water flows through them. Examples of these flow meters include:

  • Reciprocating piston
  • Rotary vane
  • Oval gear
  • Nutting disk 

An integral electric pulse transmitter measures the number of rotations made by the rotor. These flow meters make ideal options if you look for higher accuracy levels. However, the water flow inside the pipe needs to be constant. When the pressure is very low, it may interfere with the accuracy levels of the flow rate readings. If installed poorly, these flowmeters also give out wrong readings. 


Industries that use fluids such as water require accurate measurements to ensure that the safety and quality standards are constant throughout the entire process. With numerous kinds of water flow meters available in the market, you must pick the right flow meter to install in your flow system. 

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