Temperature Sensors: Types and Uses

Contact temperature sensor used to measure water temperature

Temperature sensors are some of the more commonly used sensors across the globe. Although most people never think about them, temperature sensors are involved in many applications. In addition to the obvious uses such as food processing, temperature sensors are used in the petrochemical industry, automotive industry, HVAC applications, and more.

Uses of Temperature Sensors

Contrary to popular perception, temperature sensors are not just used to determine how hot something is. In fact, they can be used to help ensure that a given system is functioning properly by determining whether certain processes are occurring within an optimal range.

Types of Temperature Sensors

There are two primary types of temperature sensors: contact and non-contact. Each has its own uses, and each is best suited to those particular uses.

  1. Contact temperature sensors are used when the sensor is touching whatever is being measured. They can be used in solids, liquids, and gases, and commonly include sensors known as thermocouples, thermostats, RTDs, thermistors, and semiconductor sensors. These types of sensors are best suited when you need continual monitoring of a temperature.
  2. Non-contact temperature sensors, such as remote RTDscan be used to measure temperature even when the sensor is not in contact with the medium being measured. These are generally used in dangerous environments, such as extremely high temperature environments or areas where some danger such as radiation is present. Industrial temperature sensors can also be used in situations where the medium to be measured is moving, and it is not feasible to attempt to maintain contact with it.

Other Common Uses for Temperature Sensors

In addition to common uses such as in the food service industry, temperature sensors can be found in some surprising places. Here are a few areas you may not have expected to find a temperature sensor.

Residential Use

Whether they are being used to keep a freezer at the correct temperature, monitor a stovetop or oven, or some other application, you will find temperature sensors in many areas of the home. Personal heaters, phone chargers, and other rarely-considered devices use temperature sensors to function correctly.

Petrochemical Use

When it comes to drilling for oil, there would be no way to safely do so without using temperature sensors. The tips of oil drills contain a sensor that lets the operator know when things are getting dangerously hot.

Use in the Medical Field

Of course, there are temperature sensors in thermometers, but they abound throughout the medical field. For example, many machines such as MRI equipment and ultrasound machines make use of temperature sensors.

Vehicular Use

Have you ever seen the temperature gauge in your car? That's a temperature sensor! These sensors are used to help keep the vehicle operating in an efficient and safe manner.


All sorts of industries use industrial temperature sensors in the manufacturing process. Whether it's checking to be sure that a given process is taking place, or checking to see that steel is properly tempered, there are a myriad of uses for temperature sensors in the industry today.

Questions? Ask the Experts at RAM Sensors.

At RAM Sensors, we know all about temperature sensors. If you have any questions, contact us! Whether you need industrial temperature sensors, contact sensors for food preparation, or something else, we can help!