How Does an Anemometer Work

What Is Anemometer and How Does an Anemometer Work?

Have you ever been to a weather station? Did you see a fan-like contraption that is continuously spinning on top? Those contraptions are called anemometers, and there uses in the weather department are quite essential. Apart from weather stations, understanding the wind is quite a necessary task for several other things.

So, by now, it should be quite evident to you how essential it is to understand the wind speed or wind direction. Knowing about an anemometer and how does an anemometer work is imperative. That is why we present to you our article, which contains all the necessary information you would need to know about the device.

Plus, everything is quite easy to understand, so we hope you won’t face any issue understanding the data.

What Is an Anemometer?

What Is Anemometer

Before we jump into understanding the functionality of an anemometer, you first need to know what an anemometer is. An anemometer is a simple contraption that is used to determine the speed and direction of the wind.

In 1450, by the Italian architecture, Lean Battista Alberti, he gave us a description of the anemometer. Later, the instrument was made and has been used in weather stations or places where knowing the direction and speed of the weather is important, ever since.

Types of Anemometer

There are numerous types of anemometers, which we will be talking shortly about, and we shall be giving you are a brief description of all of them.

1. Cup Anemometers

These are most likely, the oldest form of anemometers. And they have been around for centuries.

2. Vane Anemometers

After cup anemometers, there have been several new types of anemometers. And these are one of them. They are like the propellers of a plane and much more accurate than a cup anemometer.

Also, check the article: Do You Know How Does A Storm Glass Work?

3. Hot-Wire Anemometers

In this type of anemometers, there is a thin wire, which is heated up to a high degree (above atmospheric temperature). As the air flows through the wire, it cools it down, and we use that to measure the velocity and direction of the wind.

4. Laser Doppler Anemometer

What Is Anemometer

If you are looking for one of the most effective anemometers, then this is it. The device uses the doppler shift effect, which is an excellent and reliable method of determining the speed of the wind.

5. Ultrasonic Anemometer

As the name suggests, this type of anemometer uses sonic/ultrasonic waves to determine the velocity and orientation of the incoming wind.

Apart from the one suggested and talked about above, there are several more anemometers. But we discussed the ones, which are frequently used. The others are acoustic anemometer and ping-pong ball anemometer.

By the way, anemometers were used to measure pressure and divided into three types:

  • Plate anemometer
  • Tube Anemometer
  • Pitot Tube Static Anemometer

How Does an Anemometer Work?

Well, the anemometer uses a very basic convention to tell about the speed and direction of the wind that is incoming. Let us explain the fundamentals of how an anemometer works.

For instance, let’s use a cup anemometer. When the air hits the cups, they spin. Meaning that the speed wind is proportional to the rotation of the cups. We use this information to count the number of spins and use that measure the speed of the wind.

As we all know, several other types of anemometers have appeared in the past few years, and each one of them has a different method of determining the speed and direction. However, their functionality is pretty much the same.

Uses of an Anemometer

The device is a wonderful thing that can be used to help us in many ways. In case you are wondering what they are, we have charted down a few noteworthy of them for you.

  • Well, one of the most obvious usages of the device is that it can measure wind pressure and measure its flow and direction.
  • People who use drones, RC planes, or helicopters use it. They can use the device to have a good grasp of the weather condition before testing their devices.
  • In the shooting world, gauging the speed and direction of the wind is imperative, and the same goes for planes. The device is a big help for them.
  • Skydivers use the device before taking the leap.
  • You can also use the device for airspeed for aerodynamics.


Apart from the weather, an anemometer has several other uses. So, understanding How Does an Anemometer Work can be quite helpful!