How Do Temperature Gauges Work?

Temperature measurement is required in a litany of applications. While sometimes a more general reading is fine, other applications require a precise reading. There are plenty of temperature measurement devices, which can lead to some confusion when choosing one.

Temperature gauges come in all shapes and sizes. If you aren’t quite sure what they are and how they work, check out the guide below to find out what temperature gauges are and how they work.

What Is A Temperature Gauge?

Temperature gauges are used to get a reading and accurate measurement of temperature gradient. When talking about a temperature gauge, it typically refers to a device that shows the aforementioned readings on a numbered dial.

Temperature gauges can be found primarily in commercial and industrial settings, though they are also quite common for food service. They can even be applied to domestic appliances and settings. There are contact and non-contact thermometers that can measure ambient temperature of a variety of things. Within those two subcategories, there are different temperature gauge types that serve different uses. Asking about a temperature gauge is a generic thing, a more specific answer would be required depending on the application.

How Does A Temperature Gauge Work?

A helpful piece of information is knowing how temperature gauges work. While it may not be necessary to know how they work on a thermodynamic level, a base understanding would be ideal. Battery-powered or electronic thermocouples, thermistors, and temperature sensors use an electrical signal of some kind. Digital sensors typically have two probes that generate altering resistance or voltage.

Onboard sensors read the changes and provide an accurate reading in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Analog gauges alter the properties and positions of small metal components while the dial can be tuned to display the changes. Infrared temperature sensors are another option that can be used to gauge fluid or air heat measurement.

Temperature Gauge Types

Now that we know what they are and how they work, it is time to know the most common types of temperature gauges that you may come across. There are three different gauge types, in particular: digital, analog, and probe.

  • Analog – These heat-measuring devices don’t require any battery or electricity in order to work. They have a numbered scale or dial; dials are more common when talking about traditional gauges. Glass thermometers have a heat-reactive substance that is used to measure temperature. That said, the aforementioned glass gauges/thermometers are becoming rarer. Because of the use of mercury in those glass thermometers, they have been deemed as not safe to use.
  • Digital – Digital thermometers and temperature gauges are perhaps the most common type that you will find. There is a gauge that shows any reading in the form of a numeric display, generally on an LCD screen. These devices measure heat levels using a probe that is attached right to the body of the thermometer. The probe type determines the use and type of digital thermometer used. Thermocouples, thermistors, and resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) are the most commonly used digital thermometers. Home temperature measurement devices are generally digital and are point and click.
  • Probe – These have an elongated attachment that is used to contact a substance or object. There are subsets of this kind like a car temperature gauge, water temperature gauge, etc. There are even some for checking the heat levels of certain mechanical parts. These can check immersion, interior, and surface temperatures. Probes are generally made from stainless steel, which ensures that they remain clean and safe with each use. Probes come in various lengths and diameters to accommodate specific applications.
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