What is an Anemometer : Working & Its Applications

The first anemometer was developed in the year 1450 by Leon Battista Alberti. Several times, the design of this device was improved however there is no change in their basic principles. At present, there are different kinds of anemometers are available based on the requirements. This is a meteorological instrument used to form an important part of the home weather station. The fundamental design of this instrument did not change from the beginning. So, the applications of these devices range from home weather stations to the specialized systems utilized through national meteorological agencies. This article discusses an overview of what is an anemometer and its working with types.

What is Anemometer?

The meteorological device that is used to measure the speed of the wind and its pressure is known as an anemometer. These instruments are essential tools used for meteorologists to study the patterns of weather. These devices are used by the physicists while studying the moves of air. The Anemometer diagram is shown below.

Anemometer Device
Anemometer Device

The common type of anemometer includes cups which are connected to arms in horizontal. These arms are attached to a rod that is in a vertical position. When the breeze blows, then cups in the anemometer will turn to make the rod turn. Once the breeze blows very fast, then the rod will rotate speedily. This instrument calculates the number of revolutions to calculate the wind speed. As the speed of the breeze/wind is not reliable then wind speed can be generally averaged in a less period.

The anemometer working principle is, the air stream will cool a heated object because the cooling rate can be determined by the airflow speed. A fine wire that is electrically heated can be arranged within the airflow. Once the flow of air increases then the wire gets cool.

What is the Purpose of an Anemometer?

There are different manufacturing companies worldwide offering a variety of anemometer instruments to calculate the wind speed and airflow in industries like marine, HVAC, wind power, construction, etc. Additionally, for air velocity or wind, there are different types of anemometers used for multi-functional like humidity and temperature. Based on the type, these also possess data recording or data logging functionality to take dimensions long term in a certain period.

Types of Anemometer

Anemometers are classified into different types based on the wind velocity measurement as well as wind pressure. They are


Cup Anemometer

This kind of anemometer includes four hemispherical cups. These are arranged on the horizontal arms at one side at equivalent angles over the shaft. Here shaft is in a vertical position.

Based on the cup position only the air will flow in a horizontal direction to make the cups turn. So that it is comparative to the wind speed. By measuring the rotates of the cups over a certain period, the normal wind speed can be found. These devices are utilized by meteorologists, educational institutions, researchers, for commercial and research purposes.

Hotwire Anemometer

This kind of anemometer includes a thin wire that is heated up to a fixed temperature but somewhat more than the temperature of atmospheric. When the air flows fast, then the wire gets cool. The relation between the wire’s resistance as well as wind velocity must be obtained to estimate the velocity. But most of the resistance of the metal depends on the metal’s temperature. These are used in HVAC, etc.

Ultrasonic Anemometer

This kind of instrument includes four sensors which are placed n a square model.

Pressure Tube Anemometer

This kind of device is also known as a windsock. This device is used to provide the direction of the wind as well as the speed of the wind. These devices are mostly used in the region of airports.

Windmill Anemometer

This kind of anemometer is one kind of mechanical device and it is the same as to the normal windmill. This device is used to measure wind velocity. It includes a rotation axis that runs parallel to the wind direction. It consists of an aero vane because the wind direction is not stable to help the axis to change the direction. The aerovane includes a tail & a propeller to get the exact speed of wind & measurements of direction.

Laser Doppler Anemometer

A light ray can be used and that is further divided into two rays. The velocity can be decided by measuring the light amount. Once the light ray enters into the anemometer then it will be reflected off through the flowing air particles. These devices are used in river hydrology and high-tech jet engines.

Sonic Anemometer

The wind speed can be obtained by using sound waves that are made to flow throughout the transducer. These devices are used in scientific wind turbines and aircraft.


The advantages of an anemometer include the following.

  • Precision
  • Low power utilization
  • By using this device, speed, velocity, direction, and pressure of wind can be calculated.
  • These are available in different sizes and shapes.
  • It delivers specific measurements with less power consumption.


The disadvantages of an anemometer include the following.

  • Distortion of the instrument
  • Due to strong winds, the instrument may get damage. So protection must be taken while installing the device.


The applications of an anemometer include the following.

  • An anemometer is used to calculate the whole velocity magnitude, the component of the velocity in a specific direction otherwise the magnitude velocity on a flat plane.
  • These instruments are used in all weather stations which range from the frigid Arctic to humid equatorial areas. The speed of the wind will help to indicate a change within weather patterns like approaching storms as it is significant for engineers, climatologists & pilots.
  • These devices are used to measure the pressure and flow of wind.
  • It can also be used to measure the wind direction
  • These instruments are used by the users of the RC plane and drone to verify the conditions of weather before testing their instruments
  • These devices are used by the pilots as well as long-range shooters
  • Skydivers also use to calculate the velocity of the wind
  • It is used in aerodynamics for measuring the airspeed

Thus, this is all about an overview of the anemometer. Most of the handheld devices are waterproof and other types are used to access various wind speed dimension units. The digital type anemometers include wind meters and these are connected to a smartphone using Bluetooth. At present, these instruments have a variety of uses which are used in weather stations for measuring wind speed, so that it indicates a change within the patterns of weather for meteorologists like storms, tornadoes & hurricanes. To study the air movement, this information can be significant for pilots, climatologists, physicists, and engineers. Here is a question for you, what is the function of an anemometer?