An RF power meter is an instrument, which can measure the electrical power mostly in the range of 100 MHz to 40 GHz. This meter consists of an RF power sensor that is connected to it via a cable and can display power reading. The sensor also referred to as a mount operates by defining a sensitive volume and interrogating the values of the parameters for different materials that invade this volume. This volume can be then defined by a radio frequency antenna, which is tuned into the sensor electronics (Sensorland, RF Sensors, n.d.). Read the following to get a better understanding of the types, industries and selection process of power sensors.


There is a large range of sensors that have its own distinctive features, advantages and disadvantages. The type of the sensor is directly dependant on the type of signal that needs to be measured. A few of the types are applicable to low powers, while the others are for modulation techniques. Based on these parameters, some of the common types of sensors are as follows:

1.    Heat Based- These sensors can dissipate power from a source and then measure the resulting temperature rise. They can be further categorized into Thermistor and Thermocouple power sensors.

2.    Diode detector based- This type rectifies the voltage signal appearing across the load, which can be eventually used for determining the power level entering the load. The two main advantages of using this type are that they can measure very low power levels and can respond more quickly as compared to the first type. The diode-based sensors can be used for measuring the average power of CW signals, and the average as well as peak power of modulated signals.

Both of these types have been available on the market for a long period of time. However, the technology used to improve their performance has greatly refined over the years (Poole I, Radio-electronics, RF & MICROWAVE POWER SENSOR TYPES, n.d.).


The type of sensor you select will have an impact on the final result. Hence, you need to understand what you need to accomplish the test? Do you want to create specifications for your new product? If yes, then accuracy is important for you and one of the types of a thermal sensor is a suitable option. On the other hand, if you wish to check the quality of finished products, which includes the measurement speed and power measurement; then a diode based sensor is an ideal choice.


Power sensors are most commonly used for microwave-based systems. But, they are not limited to this industry. Whether you are working in telecommunications, Aerospace and Defense, Energy and Utilities, Automotive and similar ones, the sensor technologies can be used in all of these.

Choosing the right type of RF sensor and using it for the right application can help you get desired results.

“The above blog is written by a third party and is only for informative purposes. It does not reflect Ranatec’s position with regards to the provided information.”