Trying to decide what pressure gauge is best for your application? There are so many different options out there these days and to crank the difficulty level up a notch, you must decide what material, size, connection, range, and more to even choose the right gauge for your application. The good news is, there are a handful of questions you can ask yourself that will help determine what gauge is right for your application:
What Am I Measuring?
This may seem like a not-so-important question but depending on what you are measuring, it can make a huge difference in the material, wetted parts, and quality of the gauge you choose. Gauges are made with all different types of categories in mind – Utility, Industrial, Digital, Process, Low Pressure, Sanitary – and the list goes on. The important thing to remember here is what you are measuring will impact the next steps in choosing the right gauge. If you are measuring air, water, oil, or gas, your application is likely a candidate for a simple utility gauge made with brass/bronze wetted parts. On the flip side, if you are measuring a corrosive medium, you will want to choose an all-stainless steel case and wetted material.
What Size Dial Do I Need?
Is it possible your application is in a restricted space causing the need for a small gauge? Or maybe your gauge will be used in the field, so you need a dial that is large to read from a distance? Pressure gauges come in sizes as small as 1 inch and go up to 12 inches in some instances. To piggyback off that, you will likely be offered the option of a dry or “liquid filled” case (which generally means Glycerin filled). Yes – we snuck in another decision to make! Luckily, this one is pretty straight forward and we actually have a great post explaining why pressure gauges are liquid filled. We recommend giving that a read before making your decision on case style.
What Connection Do I Need?
This is a tricky 2-part question because you will need to know the size and mounting location for the connection. The proper connection size (and thread) on your gauge is especially important because without it, the gauge will not properly assemble to your application. Pressure gauges are offered with many different mounting locations too such as lower, back, panel, and more. Depending on what your application requires, we can point you in the right direction to which manufacturers would offer the best option.
How Accurate Does This Gauge Need to Be?
In the world of pressure gauges, there are certain standards for accuracy given by the ASME (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers). For mechanical gauges, you have many different choices ranging from +-0.1% Full Scale all the way up to +-5.0% Full Scale. What that means is when you are getting a pressure reading, the true pressure can be + or – that accuracy amount. For example, if you choose a gauge that has +-1% Full Scale span and your gauge is reading 50 psi, it could really be 49 psi or 51 psi. The higher the accuracy of the gauge, the more expensive (and better) it will be.
What Pressure Range Do I Need?
A good rule of thumb for selecting the proper pressure range is for the range to double the normal operating pressure of your application. Not only is this a safe practice, but it can actually lengthen the life of your gauge. In keeping the maximum working pressure under 75% of the full-scale range, the gauge will perform at its best and avoid fatigue to the internals and wetted parts over time.
If you find yourself still having some uncertainty in choosing the best pressure gauge for your application, reach out to one of our technical specialists. We’d be happy to assist in helping you make the right selection!