What are the types of anemometer?


A wind speed sensor, also known as an anemometer, is part of an instrument that is used to measure the velocity of the wind. The word "anemometer" is from the Greek anemos, for wind. Anemometers are part of the standard equipment in a weather observation station and are used to provides information about how fast the wind is blowing at a particular location.

anemometer Wind speed sensor

Types of wind speed sensors available 

There are many different types of anemometers, but they all work by measuring the force of the wind on a moving object.

7 different types of Anemometer:

Cup Anemometer: This is the most common type of wind speed sensors. It consists of three or four cups that are mounted on a vertical shaft. As the wind blows, the cups rotate, and the rotation speed is directly proportional to the wind speed. Cup anemometers are reliable and widely used for measuring wind speed.

anemometer Wind speed sensor

Propeller Anemometer: Similar to a cup anemometer, a propeller anemometer also has three or four blades instead of cups. The blades rotate when the wind blows, and the rotation speed is used to determine the wind speed. Propeller anemometers are commonly used in weather stations and industrial applications.

Ultrasonic Anemometer: An ultrasonic anemometer uses ultrasonic sound waves to measure wind speed. It typically has multiple pairs of transmitters and receivers mounted on different arms of a sensor head. The time it takes for the ultrasonic waves to travel between the transmitters and receivers in different directions is used to calculate the wind speed and direction.

Hot Wire Anemometer: Hot wire anemometers use a thin wire heated by an electric current. The wire is exposed to the wind, and the cooling effect of the wind causes a change in the wire's resistance. By measuring this change, the wind speed can be determined. Hot wire anemometers are commonly used in research and industrial applications.

Sonic Anemometer: Sonic anemometers are based on the principle of measuring the speed of sound. They use pairs of ultrasonic transducers to emit and receive sound pulses. By measuring the time it takes for the sound to travel between the transducers in different directions, the wind speed can be determined.

Pitot Tube: A Pitot tube is a device that measures the difference between the total pressure and static pressure of the wind. By measuring this difference, the dynamic pressure can be determined, which is directly related to the wind speed. Pitot tubes are commonly used in aviation and aerospace applications.

Advantages and Limitations of Cup Wind Speed Sensors 

Since cup wind speed sensor is the most common type currently, we will take it as an example

anemometer Wind speed sensor


Simple Design: Cup wind speed sensors have a straightforward design consisting of three or more cups mounted on a horizontal axis. This simplicity makes them easy to manufacture, install, and maintain.

Accuracy: Cup anemometers are known for their relatively high accuracy in measuring wind speed. They provide reliable and consistent readings over a wide range of wind speeds.

Wide Range: Cup anemometers can effectively measure wind speeds ranging from very low to very high speeds. They can capture both gentle breezes and strong winds, making them suitable for various applications.

Durability: The cups of cup anemometers are typically made of sturdy materials such as metal or plastic, making them durable and capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions.

Cost: Cup wind speed sensors are generally low priced.


Cup anemometers primarily measure wind speed but do not provide information about wind direction. They are not designed to determine wind direction, which can be a limitation in certain applications that require directional data.

In extreme wind conditions, cup anemometers may face limitations. At very high wind speeds, the centrifugal force on the cups can lead to inaccurate readings or potential damage to the sensor.

When considering the use of cup wind speed sensors, it is important to evaluate these advantages and limitations based on the specific requirements and the environmental conditions in which the sensor will be deployed.

Things to Consider Before Buying 

Before purchasing anemometers, we should consider several factors.

The most important factor is the intended purpose of the anemometer. Different products have different functions. For example, an ultrasonic wind speed sensor might have other devices installed together.

Accuracy class is the second most important factor. Different anemometers are designed with different accuracy, which is related to the cost too. The accuracy of the anemometer should be appropriate for the intended purpose.

Another to consider is the wind speed range that the anemometer can measure. The wind speed can fluctuate fast, so it is important to have an anemometer that can accurately measure these fluctuations.

We consider the size and design too. For example, a vane anemometer is huge, a cup anemometer is generally small. Hot wire anemometers are small but must be pointed directly at the source to get accurate results.


Anemometers are used in various applications, including weather stations, airports, construction, flying kites, sailing, farms. They are also commonly used in research studies to investigate the effect of wind on various objects and structures.

anemometer Wind speed sensor


How to get the wind speed record at my laptop wirelessly? 

To obtain the wind speed record wirelessly on your laptop, you can adopt wireless modules together with a wind speed sensor for wireless wind speed monitoring. Then though you are at home or in your office, you have access to the real time data collected 24/7.

anemometer Wind speed sensor

Where do I get a WiFi wind speed sensor?

Not all the types of wind speed sensors have WiFi function. However, Macsensor can provide a Wifi module that can be used with our wind speed sensor to realize wifi function.


When does wind speed becomes dangerous?

Wind speed can become dangerous depending on various factors, including the environment and the activities being conducted. Here are estimating wind speeds and its potential hazards:

Light Breeze: Wind speeds up to 7 mph (11 km/h) are typically considered as a light breeze and pose no significant danger.

Moderate Breeze: Wind speeds ranging from 8 to 18 mph (13 to 29 km/h) may cause small tree branches to move and sway. While not usually dangerous, it's important to be cautious in certain situations, such as when operating lightweight or high-profile vehicles.

Fresh Breeze: Wind speeds between 19 and 24 mph (30 to 39 km/h) can lead to larger branches swaying and an increase in the difficulty of using umbrellas. Outdoor activities like sailing or flying kites may become more challenging.

Strong Breeze: Wind speeds from 25 to 31 mph (40 to 50 km/h) can cause whole trees to sway and create difficulties for pedestrians. It is advisable to take precautions, especially in coastal areas where strong breezes may contribute to rough seas.

High Wind: Wind speeds ranging from 32 to 38 mph (51 to 61 km/h) can make it challenging to walk against the wind, particularly for more vulnerable individuals. Outdoor activities should be approached with caution, and lightweight objects should be secured to prevent them from being blown away.

Gale Force: Wind speeds from 39 to 54 mph (63 to 87 km/h) can cause structural damage to buildings and may uproot large trees. Outdoor activities become hazardous, and driving high-profile vehicles can become challenging.

Storm: Wind speeds between 55 and 73 mph (89 to 117 km/h) can cause significant damage to structures, trees, and power lines. Outdoor activities are highly discouraged, and it is crucial to stay indoors and follow safety instructions.

Hurricane: Wind speeds over 73 mph can cause severe and extensive damage. Roofs can be peeled off. Windows broken. Trees uprooted. RVs and small mobile homes overturned. Moving automobiles can be pushed off the roadway.


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