List of Speed Measuring Devices

Speed is the unit of measurement for the object’s movement per time unit. It commonly simplified as km/hour or m/s. The more distance it passes and the shorter the time it takes, the higher the speed of that particular object.

Measuring the speed of a particular object is important for us. When you are evaluating the performance of a car, one aspect of consideration is the speed. When you are driving, if you run the car over speed, you may encounter some unexpected thing. By having the speed measuring device on your dashboard, you could control your car speed.

When dealing with a machine, monitoring its performance can be done by observing the speed. Since this machine is spinning, we are not using the typical km/hour or m/s unit of measurement but in this case, we use RPM. RPM is the acronym for Revolutions per Minute. Simply, how many spinning it takes per time unit. Let’s say it’s 1000 RPM. That said, it spins 1000 times per 60 seconds.

There are a huge number of devices that we use to measure the speed as their application is wide and everywhere. This page contains a list of speed measuring devices that we could find in our daily life.

Top 7 Speed Measuring Devices

1. Speedometer (to Measure Car Speed)

Who doesn’t drive car today? None. Everyone knows this pretty stuff. And speedometer is the most bolded instrument panel that we easily notice on the dashboard. This measuring tool is installed directly in the system. It gives a real-time reading of the car speed. The same thing happens to other transportation as well such as bus, truck, bike, motorcycle, etc.

2. Tachometer (to Measure Angular Speed)

Source: Flickr

What is a tachometer? A tachometer is a device to measure the angular speed. This measuring device is commonly used to measure machine speed.

As we have talked about this later on the best tachometer article. There are two models: contact and non-contact model. The contact model uses a wheel that is intended to contact the machine. When the spinning part of the machine runs, the wheel of the tachometer is spun as well. During the contact, the speed is calculated.

Another non-contact model makes use of laser technology. The laser is emitted and when the mounted piece reflects the laser (you have to mount the reflecting piece on the propeller by the way), it counts as one rotation. As many people realize, this method is considered safer as you could measure the machine from several distances away from the spinning objects. Imagine that it’s a big propeller, you are safer using a laser tachometer.

3. Radar

Radar empowers the use of Radio waves to measure the speed of a moving object. It does not only calculate speed (velocity), but also the range and angle. This instrument is so common in aircraft and ships.

However, for civil, the radar speed gun is mostly used. In this case, instead of using a radio wave which the system installation could cost an unwanted error amount of dollars, a speed radar gun makes use of the Doppler Effect, a topic in Physics that you may have heard in high school.

This device will allow you to measure the speed of car although you don’t drive it. Another benefit is to measure the run speed of a footballer. There are lots of benefits in the field of sport.

4. Lidar

Doppler Effect may have weaknesses in terms of measuring the speed. Lidar stands for Light Detection and Ranging. This device utilizes 600–1000 nm laser light [Wikipedia], measuring the distance via the reflecting time of the laser that reverses back to the receiver. More advanced lidar device involves GPS to create a more comprehensive visual result.

Have you ever seen a Police Lidar Gun? Yes, this is one of the applications of lidar that we can find easily in our daily life. Both Radar and Lidar can be used in speed detection, however, they have differences.

5. Anemometer (to Measure Wind Speed)

anemometer to measure wind speedThe next speed measuring tool that we have on the list is an anemometer. This is the device that is generally found in a weather station. It functions to measure the wind speed along with the wind direction.

Surprisingly, there are a number of types of anemometer available today. You could find on the offline market from the conventional cup one to the ultrasonic anemometer model.

An anemometer is used in many areas such as HVAC, storm chasing, kitesurfing, drone, etc.

6. Liquid Flow Meter

As the name suggests, it functions to calculate the speed of water that flows in a particular pipe. There are a lot of flowmeter types based on how they work. You could install the flowmeter in your residence to monitor the speed of water you are using.

7. Ranger Finder

Range Finder
Close-up of a young girl using a rangefinder. She is at an outdoor archery range, but all that is visible in this image.

A range finder is like a binocular, but it’s able to read the distance between the device and the object being watched. It’s not weird that an advanced range finder comes with a speed meter feature. It allows you to observe a moving object while it’s displaying the object’s speed.


Those are a variety of speed detection devices that we could find relatively easily in our daily life. Actually, there are a lot of devices that we haven’t mentioned yet. They work by using the principles in Physics. Furthermore, they make our life easier and more accurate. Especially the anemometer in the weather station, it helps us to warn people or predict the water so that we can prepare what should be.

Leave a Comment