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What is a Portable Flow Meter?

B. Turner
B. Turner

A portable flow meter is a device used to measure the flow rate of various materials as they travel through pipes or tubing. The flowmeter relies on ultrasonic waves to measure water speed and pressure, and can also be used to calculate the flow rate of gases, sludge, and other liquids. The portable flow meter is an important tool within a variety of industries, including food processing and pharmaceuticals. It is also used by refrigeration contractors and plumbers to check the flow of refrigerant, wastewater, and other fluids.

Building inspectors, maintenance personnel, and contractors all rely on portable flow meters to perform a variety of tasks. These devices can be used during routine maintenance and inspection procedures to spot potential problems with equipment or piping. They also help workers spot defects or clogs in a pipe, or to troubleshoot a malfunctioning system. A portable flow meter may even be used to replace a full-sized flow meter temporarily if the regular unit becomes disabled.


The portable flow meter can range from roughly the size of a hand-held calculator to the size of a notebook computer. It contains a built-in battery that is typically rechargeable through a separate charging dock. The device features a digital screen to present data or graphs, and many can be connected to a standard computer to allow users to keep records of readings. Some may also utilize standard power cords to act as a battery backup.

To operate the portable flow meter, technicians use cords or wires attached to the base of the device. Each of these cords as a transducer at the end that can be hooked to most piping. The transducer may clamp or place or fasten to the pipe magnetically. The flow meter sends ultrasonic pulses into the pipe through these transducers, then measures the resistance met by these pulses. Flow meters utilize this resistance to provide easy-to-read information about flow or pressure levels within the pipe.

One of the primary advantages of portable flow meters is that they can be used to inspect piping in a non-invasive way. There is no need to damage the pipe or shut down critical systems to troubleshoot or inspect a system. These units are also very small and lightweight, allowing them to be used in almost any type of application or setting. Finally, the portable flow meter provides near instant results, allowing workers to spot trouble with the system and take corrective actions without delay.

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