Different Types of Sensors – Explanation and Applications

Sensors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here we will learn about different types of sensors, a wide choice of sensors for both commercial and industrial purposes.

Sensors are utilized in practically every industry for applications that we encounter on a daily basis, as well as more industrial and specialized applications.

Sensors can be found in wide sectors and fields such as:

  • Home and office applications,
  • Transportation vehicles (cars, trams, trains, and buses),
  • Computers and electrical devices,
  • Lab and medical facilities,
  • Various power plants,
  • Food and manufacturer production industries, and
  • Common restaurants.

What is a Sensor?

A sensor is used to take a measurement, which is then processed and an output is generated as a result of a process. After that, anything will change or move as a result of the output.

The temperature sensor in a thermostat is a simple example. The temperature is constantly monitored by the temperature sensor, and once the measurement reaches the desired temperature, the measurement is processed, and the output forces the boiler to turn off.

Types of Sensors

Below is the list of different types of sensors, there are:

  • Temperature Sensors
  • Smoke and Gas Sensors
  • Humidity Sensors
  • Position Sensors
  • Vibration Sensors
  • Pressure Sensors
  • Proximity Sensors
  • Light Sensors
  • Color Sensors
  • Alcohol Sensors
  • Photoelectric Sensors
  • Load Cell Sensors
  • Ultrasonic Sensors
  • Infrared Sensors
  • Piezo Sensors
  • Level Switches

From the list above, we can divide the types of sensors further into another categories such as:

  • Contact or non-contact
  • Rotary or linear

Types of Sensors : Temperature Sensor

Among types of sensors, temperature sensors are very popular among the other types.

Why?

Because this is a frequent sort of sensor that may be found all over the place.

Temperature sensors are used to measure and monitor temperature, whether it is the primary variable that needs to be measured or a secondary variable that needs to be monitored as a safety precaution in another application.

types of sensors temperature sensor

Temperature sensors of various types will require different types of clearances. Temperatures utilized for patient monitoring or within medical devices will require medical permission. Temperature sensors in food and beverage applications will require additional certifications.

Thermistors, probes, thermocouples, RTDs, and temperature transducers are just a handful of the various types of temperature sensors available.

Temperature sensors are another sort of sensor that we have a lot in stock.

In many applications, a temperature sensor will play a crucial role.

The responsiveness and precision of the temperature sensor are crucial in many situations where keeping a precise temperature is critical, such as when products must be stored at a specific temperature or when patient monitoring is required.

Temperature sensor applications commonly include cases where, while temperature is not at the forefront of the process, other components may be unable to function at particular temperatures, necessitating temperature monitoring within the application.

When the surroundings become too hot or cold, the temperature sensor will alert you, and you can take preventative measures to ensure that the entire gadget is not harmed.

Temperature Sensor Applications

Medical, industrial, agriculture, HVAC, automobile and aerospace are just a few of the industries that use temperature sensors. Here are a few examples of temperature sensor applications that we’ve seen.

  • Computer
  • Motor
  • Home appliances
  • Industrial equipment
  • Food industry
  • HVAC and heat exchangers
  • Cooler and heater
  • Surface plates
  • Gas monitor for vehicles
  • Power transmission and distribution
  • Alcohol breathalyser
  • Laboratory devices
  • Precision equipment and instrumentation calibration

Types of Sensors : Smoke and Gas Sensor

Smoke and Gas Sensors are one of the most useful sensors in safety-related applications. Almost every business and industry has multiple smoke detectors, which detect any smoke (from a fire) and sound an alarm.

Laboratories, large-scale kitchens, and businesses are more likely to use gas sensors. They can detect a variety of gases, including LPG, Propane, Butane, and Methane (CH4).

types of sensors smoke and gas sensor

As a safety measure, smoke sensors (which can detect both smoke and gas) are now fitted in most homes.

The “MQ” sensor series is a collection of low-cost sensors for detecting CO, CO2, CH4, Alcohol, Propane, Butane, LPG, and other gases. These sensors can be used to create your own Smoke Sensor App.

Types of Sensors : Humidity Sensor

If you look at Weather Monitoring Systems, you’ll see that they frequently include temperature and humidity data. Humidity sensors assist us in monitoring humidity, which is a crucial duty in many applications.

All humidity sensors, in most cases, measure relative humidity (a ratio of water content in air to maximum potential of air to hold water). Due to the fact that relative humidity is proportional to air temperature, practically all Humidity Sensors can also measure temperature.

types of sensors humidity sensor

Humidity sensors are divided into three types: capacitive, resistive, and thermal conductive. Humidity Sensors DHT11 and DHT22 are two of the most often used in the DIY community (the former is a resistive type while the latter is capacitive type).

Types of Sensors : Position Sensor

As previously stated, position sensors come in a range of shapes and sizes, including linear, rotational, contacting, and non-contacting, and employ a variety of technologies. Position sensors are utilized to measure and track an object’s position or displacement.

Position sensors are utilized in a variety of industries, including motorsport, agricultural, and industrial applications, as well as in everyday equipment like elevators and moving ramps. Even in the special effects area of movies, position sensors are used.

Position Sensor Types

There are types of position sensors:

  • Linear position sensor
  • Rotary position sensor

Linear position sensors transform linear movements or observations into processing signals. Linear position sensors can be found all over the place. Linear position sensors employ a variety of technologies to guarantee that measurements are taken in the most efficient manner possible for the application at hand.

types of sensors position sensor linear

Linear position sensors can be:

  • Contacting
  • Non-contacting (This one is wear-free, longer lifetime, and more expensive).

Rotary position sensors are converted into output signals using rotary motion sensors. Rotary position sensors can be contacting or non-contacting, just as linear position sensors.

types of sensors position sensor rotary

Rotary position sensors can be single-turn or multi-turn, therefore one type will be more suited based on the degree of rotation or number of turns.

Position Sensor Forms

Position sensors come with different forms to fulfill various purposes. They are:

  • LVDT – Linear Variable Differential Transformer (non-contacting linear sensor),
  • RVDT – Rotary Variable Differential Transformer (non-contacting rotary sensor),
  • Inductive (use AC current as linear measurement),
  • Eddy current
  • Hall effect (non-contacting linear or rotary sensor),
  • Potentiometer (can be linear or rotary)

Position Sensor Applications

Position sensors are among the most versatile sensors, with applications in a wide range of sectors.

Using a variety of sensing methods, position sensors can be utilized to measure linear or rotary position.

Position sensors are utilized in a variety of applications; anything that requires movement to be measured will use a position sensor.

The following are some examples of applications that use position sensors:

  • Agricultural machinery steering systems
  • Throttle control for electric carts
  • Measuring the speed of a conveyor
  • Controlling the printing process
  • Control labeling
  • Placement of ramps and bridges
  • Angles of ticket barrier opening
  • On Segways, it’s called a “segway.”
  • In baking machines, measuring the thickness of dough
  • MRI scanners
  • Positioning of CCTV cameras

Application of Position Sensors in Motorsport and Automotive

  • Angle of steering and gear selection
  • Pedal position and clutch/throttle action
  • Suspension for vehicles with our ELPM and motorcycles with our ELPM-POP

Applications for Industrial Position Sensors

  • Position feedback for the machine builder (textile machines and welding machines)
  • Testing for structural integrity
  • Plants with nuclear power
  • Testing of automobiles

Applications for Medical Position Sensors

  • Oncology equipment
  • MRI scanners

Types of Sensors : Vibration Sensors

Vibration sensors detect vibration using piezoelectric accelerometers. They’re utilized to quantify varying accelerations or speeds, as well as regular vibrations. Sensors are used by maintenance specialists to predict machinery repair, minimize overall expenses, and improve the machinery’s performance.

types of sensors vibration sensor

Process control systems, aerial navigation, and undersea applications are examples of applications where vibration sensors are used. The frequency ranges between 0.2 and 2500 Hz. These sensors can operate at temperatures ranging from -50°C to +85°C.

Types of Sensors : Pressure Sensors

What is a pressure sensor, and how does it work?

A pressure sensor is a device or instrument that can detect and measure pressure in gases and liquids. A pressure sensor is made up of a pressure-sensitive device that can detect the applied pressure and components that turn the data into an output signal. A pressure sensor will provide a signal dependent on the applied pressure being measured.

Pressure sensors are usually divided into two types: pressure transducers and pressure switches. The fundamental distinction between pressure transducers and pressure switches is that pressure transducers provide accurate feedback on real-time pressure whereas pressure switches have a fixed limit that causes them to switch.

To detect pressure, both pressure switches and pressure transducers contain mechanisms that use the formula – Pressure = force divided by area.

Pressure sensors are used in a range of industries to detect pressure in gases, liquids, and solids. Underwater pressure transducers are known as level meters because the pressure they measure is proportional to the water level.

Pressure can be measured in Bar or PSI and can be gauged, differential, absolute, or vacuum.

Pressure Sensor Types

Pressure sensors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Pressure Transducers, also known as Pressure Transmitters and Pressure Switches, are devices that measure pressure.

Pressure Switches – A pressure switch is designed to make or break a contact when the specified pressure range is reached; it does not reflect real pressure. The rapid response times of pressure switches are well recognized.

types of sensors pressure sensor switches

They are dependable and have a long lifespan. Pressure switches are typically smaller and less expensive than other pressure sensing devices.

Pressure transducers – Pressure transducers provide analogue or digital feedback on the actual system pressure. Pressure transducers are more expensive than pressure switches, but they are also more reliable and durable.

types of sensors pressure sensor transducers

Pressure transducers are water and dirt resistant and can tolerate extreme environmental conditions.

Pressure transducers are better ideal for industrial and vehicular applications, as they provide great precision and strength.

Some of the more complicated pressure transducer applications we’ve worked on include the following:

  • Braking pressure – pressure transducers are used in both road and railway cars to measure brake pressure.
  • Pressure transducers are used in motorsport vehicles to ensure that the oil and fuel pressures are at the proper levels to ensure driver safety.
  • In heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) applications, pressure transducers are used to monitor heater pumps, cooling liquids, liquid levels, and process and control.
  • Pressure transducers are utilized in the medical business to monitor gas analyzers, provide feedback on various exercise machines, and check disinfection liquid levels, among other applications.
  • Pressure transducers are also utilized to monitor other aspects of the car, such as the speed shifter, in addition to monitoring brake pressure. We have a series of pressure transducers intended specifically for Motorsport applications; they are dual pressure and temperature transducers that minimize space in this type of environment.
  • Commercial Vehicles – pressure transducer uses in commercial vehicles include air suspension, anti-lock brakes, and hydraulics within the engine.

Pressure Sensor Application

Pressure sensors are used in a variety of industries for a variety of applications, including:

  • Alarm technology
  • The amount of water in the appliances
  • Machines for making coffee
  • Breathing device for medical use
  • Robotics is a term that refers to the study of robots.
  • Automated systems
  • Refrigeration systems are used to keep food cool.
  • Off-road construction is a type of construction that takes place off the beaten path.
  • Agriculture-related applications
  • Keeping an eye on oxygen levels
  • Hydraulics in the workplace

Types of Sensors : Proximity Sensors

A proximity sensor detects the presence of an object without requiring touch. Proximity sensors can be made using a variety of approaches, including optical (infrared or laser), sound (ultrasonic), magnetic (Hall Effect), capacitive, and others.

types of sensors proximity sensor

Mobile phones, cars (parking sensors), industries (object alignment), and ground proximity in airplanes are just a few of the uses for proximity sensors.

Types of Sensors : Light Sensors

Light Sensors, commonly known as Photo Sensors, are one of the most significant sensors. The Light Dependent Resistor, or LDR, is a simple light sensor available today. The resistance of LDR is inversely proportional to the intensity of ambient light, meaning that as the intensity of light increases, so does its resistance, and vice versa.

types of sensors light sensor

We can calibrate the variations in its resistance to measure the intensity of Light by employing LDR as a circuit. Two other Light Sensors (or Photo Sensors) are frequently utilized in the construction of complicated electrical systems. They’re called Photo Diode and Photo Transistor, respectively. All of these sensors are analog.

Digital Light Sensors, such as the BH1750, TSL2561, and others, can calculate light intensity and offer a digital equivalent value.

Types of Sensors : Color Sensors

A Color Sensor is a valuable device for developing color sensing applications in image processing, color identification, and industrial object tracking, among other fields. The TCS3200 is a straightforward Color Sensor that can detect any color and generate a square wave proportional to the detected color’s wavelength.

types of sensors color sensor

Types of Sensors : Alcohol Sensors

An Alcohol Sensor detects alcohol, as the name implies. Alcohol sensors are commonly found in breathalyzer equipment that determine whether or not a person is inebriated. Breathalyzers are used by law enforcement officers to catch intoxicated drivers.

types of sensors alcohol sensor

Types of Sensors : Photoelectric Sensors

A photoelectric sensor is a device that uses a light transmitter, usually infrared, and a photoelectric receiver to identify the distance, absence, or presence of an object. They’re commonly found in industrial settings. Opposed (through-beam), retro-reflective, and proximity-sensing are the three varieties that are beneficial (diffused).

The optics and circuitry are both integrated in a self-contained photoelectric sensor. It merely requires a power supply. Modulation, demodulation, amplification, and output switching are all done by the sensor itself. Built-in control timers or counters are available on some self-contained sensors. Self-contained photoelectric sensors have shrunk in size as a result of technical advancements.

types of sensors photoelectric sensor

Only the optical components of a sensor are contained in remote photoelectric sensors used for distant sensing. The power input, amplification, and output switching circuitry is often included on a control panel. As a result, the sensor can be very compact. Also, because the sensor controls may be larger, they are more accessible.

Fiber optics can be employed when space is limited or the environment is too hostile for remote sensing. Fiber optics are mechanical sensing components that are passive. They’re compatible with both remote and self-contained sensors. They have no moving parts or electrical circuitry, and they can safely stream light into and out of dangerous areas.

Types of Sensors : Load Cell Sensors

Load Cells come in many different shapes and sizes. They are used to measure a variety of forces, the most common of which being weight. Load cells can be found in a variety of scales, including bathroom scales, counting scales, industrial scales, truck scales, hopper scales, and everything in between.

Load cells are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each type has characteristics that make it well-suited to specific uses.

Internal strain gauges are used in most load cells to monitor force based on the extent of distortion on the strain gauge.

Load cells are sensors that measure force and load. They use electricity to convert the force. Internal strain gauges are used by many load cells for this purpose. The strain gauges respond to the compression, and the change in resistance causes the output to alter.

S-Type Load Cells

The shape of S-Type load cells gives them their name. They work admirably in both stress and compression situations. They have great endurance and small designs, making them ideal for confined spaces. Many S kinds are also available with ATEX clearance, making them acceptable for use in hazardous environments.

types of sensors load cells s type

Hoppers and truck scales, tank level scales, mechanical to electrical scale conversions, and level and inventory monitoring are all applications for S-Type load cells.

Shear Beam and Bending Beam Load Cells

Bending beam load cells have a low profile and can be easily fitted into tight spaces. They’re inexpensive, and certain kinds are corrosion-resistant and well-suited to hostile locations.

types of sensors load celss shear beam

Bending beam load cells are widely employed in OEM and multi-cell applications such as tank weighing and industrial process control. They’re also popular in force measurement, static weighing, and dynamic weighing.

Tension/Compression Load Cells

Compression load cells are the most common sort of load cell, hence this category is quite broad. They’re small cells that can carry a lot of weight and are noted for being quite accurate. They’re especially well-suited to industrial applications that require a high level of dependability.

types of sensors load cells tension

Platform scales, hopper scales, vehicle testers, track scales, and electronic weighing systems all use compression load cells.

Miniature Load Cells

Tiny and sub miniature load cells are compact and have a low profile design; some are less than 1cm tall. This makes them ideal for applications where space is limited. Despite their diminutive size, they are tough and dependable.

types of sensors load cells miniature

Prototype structures, test benches, and industrial weighing applications

Types of Sensors : Ultrasonic Sensors

An ultrasonic sensor is a non-contact device that can be used to determine an object’s distance and velocity. The qualities of sound waves with a frequency greater than that of the human auditory range are used to create an Ultrasonic Sensor.

types of sensors ultrasonic sensor

An Ultrasonic Sensor can detect the distance of an item by measuring the time of flight of the sound wave (similar to SONAR). The Doppler Shift feature of a sound wave is used to determine an object’s velocity.

Types of Sensors : Infrared Sensors

Infrared sensors, often known as IR sensors, are light-based sensors used in applications such as proximity and object detection. Nearly all mobile phones use infrared sensors as proximity sensors.

types of sensors infrared sensor

Infrared (IR) sensors are classified as either transmissive or reflective. The IR Transmitter (typically an IR LED) and the IR Detector (commonly a Photodiode) are positioned facing one another in a Transmissive Type IR Sensor so that when an object passes between them, the sensor detects it.

A Reflective Sort IR Sensor is the other type of IR Sensor. The transmitter and detector are placed next to each other, facing the item in this configuration. When an object passes in front of the sensor, the IR Transmitter’s infrared light is reflected by the object and received by the IR Receiver, causing the sensor to detect the thing.

Mobile phones, robots, industrial assembly, autos, and other applications use infrared sensors.

Types of Sensors : Piezo Sensors

Piezo sensor is also known as touch sensor, where we detect a touch.

We don’t give touch sensors much thought, but they’ve become an indispensable component of our lives. All touch screen devices (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) contain touch sensors, whether you realize it or not. Trackpads in modern computers are another typical use of touch sensors.

types of sensors piezo sensor

Touch sensors detect the touch of a finger or a stylus, as the name implies. Touch sensors are frequently divided into two types: resistive and capacitive. Capacitive touch sensors account for nearly all current touch sensors since they are more accurate and have a superior signal-to-noise ratio.

Types of Sensors : Level Sensors

A level sensor is a device that measures the amount or level of fluids, liquids, or other substances flowing in an open or closed system. Continuous and spot level measurements are the two forms of level measurements.

Continuous level sensors are used to measure levels to a certain limit, and the findings are accurate. On the other hand, point level sensors merely assess if the liquid level is high or low.

The level sensors are normally wired to an output unit that sends the data to a monitoring system. Current technologies involve wireless data transfer to the monitoring system, which is effective in high-risk areas that are difficult to reach by ordinary workers.

Level Sensor Types

The most common types of level sensors are as follows:

Ultrasonic level sensor. Ultrasonic Level Sensors are a type of ultrasonic sensor that detects the Ultrasonic level sensors are also utilized to monitor the concentrations of viscous liquids and bulk solids.

They work by sending out acoustic waves at a frequency of 20 to 200 kHz. After that, the sound waves are reflected back to the transducer.

types of sensors level sensor ultrasonic

Pressure, turbulence, moisture, and temperature all affect ultrasonic sensor response. In order to get a better response, the transducer must be placed properly.

Capacitance level sensor. For sensing the levels of aqueous liquids and slurries, capacitance level sensors are used. They are controlled by a probe that monitors level fluctuations. The analog signals are created by converting these changes.

The probes are commonly constructed of PTFE-insulated conducting wire. Stainless steel probes, on the other hand, are extremely sensitive, making them ideal for detecting granular, non-conductive materials or materials with a low dielectric constant.

types of sensors level sensor capacitance

The probes are commonly constructed of PTFE-insulated conducting wire. Stainless steel probes, on the other hand, are extremely sensitive, making them ideal for detecting granular, non-conductive materials or materials with a low dielectric constant.

Because there are no moving parts in capacitance sensors, they are simple to operate and maintain. They’re frequently used in high-temperature and high-pressure applications.

Optical level sensor. Optical level sensors detect the presence of sediments in liquids containing suspended materials, as well as the interface between two immiscible liquids. They work by detecting variations in the transmission of infrared light generated by an infrared LED.

Using a high-energy infrared diode and pulse modulation methods, interference from the produced light can be minimized.

types of sensors level sensor optical

Continuous optical level sensors, on the other hand, use highly concentrated laser light to detect liquid substances in dusty settings. However, due to the high cost and maintenance requirements, its use is confined to industry.


There are numerous types of sensors we can find and use nowadays. Even though each application needs different types of sensors, it is not commonly used in home appliances. We may find some sensors are only used for advanced technology such as medical, military, and robotic technologies.

Even if we don’t need to understand that many types of sensors, it is handy to at least know their shapes and functions. Hope this list can help you now or in the future.

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