An anemometer is a device that is used to measure the speed of wind and is a common weather station instrument. To learn more, please see our complete guide to anemometers.
Anemometers can accurately monitor the wind speed and provide the data for the measurements in various ways. There are several types of anemometers and each one functions differently depending on what type it is and what type of wind measurement application it is used for. Most handheld wind speed monitors are rugged and durable to withstand the elements that they may be presented with, as well as being weatherproof, especially those that can be mounted to measure over long periods of time. They are used in a variety of applications from weather predictions to high-tech scientific research labs.
Types of Anemometer
The types of anemometer depend on the type of measurement application it is used for. Below are some common types:
- Cup anemometers - The simplest type of anemometer which is mounted on a pole and consists of a set of two, three or four spinning cups that blow in the wind. As the wind gets stronger, the cup formation spins faster, and the anemometer captures the speed of the airflow and displays it as a digital readout.
- Vane anemometer - These types are also known as propeller or windmill anemometers. Like cup anemometers, they use wind blades that turn, instead of cups. Some handheld propeller anemometers are also called impeller wind monitors because their propellers blades are protected by a caging unit to protect your hand.
- Pressure-tube anemometer - This anemometer uses the pressure generated by the wind to measure its speed.
- Hot-wire (thermal) anemometers or constant current anemometers - A hot-wire anemometer is commonly made for hand-held usage and works by heating a thin wire to a specific temperature and then measuring how much the wire is cooled by the airflow. It calculates how fast the wind is blowing by measuring how quickly the wire cools down and how cool it gets.
- Thermal Anemometers with Velocity/Temperature Profiling – These have the smallest sensor which measures both velocity and temperature. They are commonly used in wind tunnels for circuit board and heat sink analysis.
- Ultrasonic anemometers – The professional standard anemometers measure wind speed using high-frequency sound. It has two of three pairs of sound transmitters and receivers mounted at right angles to one another. Built in electronic circuits measure the time it takes for the sound to makes its way from each transmitter to the corresponding receiver. The circuits measure the difference in speeds of the beams and use that to calculate how fast the wind is blowing.
When would you use an anemometer?
Anemometers provide accurate and real-time measurements and give valuable insights into airflow patterns, evaluate environmental conditions, in order to help make informed decisions. These instruments are used in applications like:
- Weather enthusiasts and hobbyists
- HVAC installation and repair personnel wanting to measure airflow in an air conditioning units, heating or ventilation unit or home inspectors and facility managers
- Scientists wh