If you’re in the market for a tank level sensor or float switch (or several for that matter), there are a number of different options to choose from. The best choice for you will depend on a number of variables, including your budget and the specific application. If you’re like many people, the decision will come down to either a simple vertical float switch or horizontal float switch.
These tank level sensors are typically made out of plastic or metal, depending on the application, and work in basically the same
way: as liquid levels rise or fall, a buoyant float rises or falls with them, opening or closing the switch’s electrical circuit. From there, they have different strengths and weaknesses for different applications.
Depending on the size and location of the tank whose levels are to be measured, it may be necessary to mount the float switches to either the top or side of the vessel. Application specifics may also be a factor in determining this. If the float needs to be attached to either the top or bottom of the vessel, as in the case of a pit or tank without side access, a vertical float switch will be necessary. If the vessel extends from floor to ceiling or has an open-top, then a side-mounted horizontal float switch will be necessary.
Liquid/Material to be Measured
Many horizontal float switches have a “pivot style” design that leaves a gap that can lead to issues if the liquid or material can build up or block normal function by accumulating in the gap. In cases involving such materials, a vertical float switch may be advisable. However, in such cases where a vertical float switch isn’t an option, side-mounted float switches without a pivot design can also be used.
Depending on your specific application, there may be other factors that will help decide what kind of float switch is right for you. In some cases, non-contact level sensors like optical or ultrasonic components might be required, or even a custom-designed unit.