Four Common Natural Gas Meter Types

Four Common Natural Gas Meter Types

Four Common Natural Gas Meter Types

A natural gas meter is the measurement tool for gauging usage of gas based on flow through the meter. This same device plays a pertinent role in deciphering the gas bill to any structure consuming natural gas supplied by a gas utility. The meter itself is often made of steel or aluminum. Natural gas meters that were installed in colder climates prior to the 1970s were typically located inside the home in the basement or garage. Since then, the vast majority are now placed outside.

While all natural gas meters serve the same function, they may differ on the features they provide. Several different designs of meters are in common use but are dependent upon the volumetric flow rate of gas to be measured, range of flows anticipated, and delivery pressures. Keep reading to understand four common types of natural gas meters for residential, commercial, and industrial applications:

Name of Natural Gas Meter




Diaphragm meter

Residential and commercial

The gas goes through a diaphragm (or a pair of diaphragms), which contracts and expands as gas passes through the meter, thereby turning a gear. The gear operates another series of gears attached to an index that displays/measures gas moved.

Ultrasonic meter


Uses digital technology and has no moving parts. Offers a more compact design and higher accuracy through continual self-measurement correction.

Rotary meter

Commercial and industrial

Able to undergo higher volumes and higher pressures. Two rotors are geared together in order not to let any gas through unless they are turning. The rotation of those rotors will indicate how much gas is flowing.

Turbine meter

Commercial and industrial

Measures the volume of gas flowing through the meter by determining the speed at which the gas is moving through the turbine, using a small turbine or helix.


Natural gas comprises of almost one-fourth of all primary energy used in the United States. As a staple to everyday living, it’s important to understand how this resource is stored, measured, and billed. For more information on natural gas meters, take the AYU course called ‘Natural Gas Meters’.