What is a Hygrometer?

What is a Hygrometer?

 When looking for a weather meter that measures relative humidity, you may find yourself asking “what is a hygrometer?”  The true hygrometer definition is an instrument which measures the water vapor of the atmosphere.  This is also referred to as the “relative humidity” in the environment.  All weather meters that measure relative humidity are also known as hygrometers.  All Kestrel Meters from the 3000 series an up measure relative humidity, so are therefore classified as Kestrel hygrometers.


What is a Hygrometer, Exactly?

 Kestrel 5400 with bluetooth and appA hygrometer is an instrument that can range from something that is really basic in design, such as a psychrometer or the hair hygrometer, on up to more detailed instruments, like a cooled mirror dew point hygrometer, which actually measures humidity using the condensation temperature.  There are also more modern devices which track humidity from differences in both the electrical capacity and electrical resistance.  If you are asking “what is a hygrometer?”, then you probably don’t work in an industrial, outdoor or military capacity, as these industries rely on them for their job. Hygrometers aren’t just used in industrial areas, greenhouses and other larger spaces, however, as they are also used in a variety of situations where controlling humidity is needed.  For example, hygrometers are extremely helpful to those who work with surface coatings for industrial buildings, as these coatings are often very sensitive to changes in humidity and dew point and require careful monitoring of conditions in order to set correctly. A hygrometer makes these types of jobs much easier.




Who Uses Hygrometers?

The question isn’t always what is a hygrometer, but more why would I use it? Hygrometers can be big and complex, or small and included in a handheld device that measures several key atmospheric conditions.  They are currently utilized by a number of different industries and professions, including those involved with weather forecasting, professionals who are responsible for maintaining humidity in museums and residential areas, HVAC professionals and those who participate in outdoor sports and outdoor training, such as members of the military.    

Small, handheld devices that include a hygrometer among several other instruments can provide fast, accurate readings of the relative Kestrel - What is a Hygrometer?humidity and other important atmospheric readings.  These electronically powered devices can measure humidity by using materials that have electrical resistance.  The resistance changes based on the amount of moisture that is absorbed.  True to the hygrometer definition, the two most-commonly used sensors for hygrometers are called capacitive and resistive.  The resistive sensors utilize a membrane made from polymers.  This type of sensor registers changes in conductivity when water is absorbed.  Capacitive sensors work by measuring changes in how much water there is in the air by utilizing an electrical signal between two plates.

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