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Selecting a Position Sensor - Things to Consider;

Selecting a Position Sensor - Things to Consider;

When selecting a position sensor it is important to take a few factors into consideration to ensure that the best sensor is selected. Different types of position sensors have different strengths and will be more suitable in different environments.

Type of Movement/ Displacement

The most important factor is the type of movement you are looking to measure; Rotary or Linear. This will determine which type of sensor is required. Linear sensors measure in a straight line along a single axis (either up and down or side to side). Rotary sensors measure objects which are turning or twisting; this can be in a clockwise or anti-clockwise motion.


The environment the sensor is working in will have an impact on the type of sensor chosen. This is because based on what the sensor is exposed to, there may be different certifications or ratings required.

Dirt and Moisture

IP ratings is one aspect to check when selecting your sensor. The IP will give an indication of how resistant the sensor is to intrusion (solid objects) and moisture. For example IP67 indicates the sensor is completely resistant to dust and can be held underwater for up to 30 mins with no effect on the working principle of the sensor. The environment the position sensor will need to operate in will determine the required IP rating.

At Positek we also have a range of sensors which are designed for underwater use. They are completely submersible - find out more about them here.

All of our sensor IP ratings are displayed on our product pages but if you are looking for something specific, please contact us.

Shock and Vibration

Another environmental factor - some applications may be in an environment where the sensor is exposed to lots of shock and vibration - this is usually in motorsport or industrial applications. It is important to take a look at the product datasheet to ensure the level of shock and vibration resistance is compatible with the application

Intrinsically Safe Environments

If your application is in an intrinsically safe environment which requires an ATEX certification then this can be a factor in which position sensor you select. ATEX certified position sensors are one of the areas we specialise in - take a look at our range.

Operating Temperature Range

Some environments may expose the position sensor to extremely high or low temperatures. Some sensors may be compromised in these extreme temperatures therefore this could be a factor to take into consideration when selecting your position sensor. Check the operating temperature ranges on the datasheets.

Life span

The life span requirement will usually determine if the application will be better suited to a contacting or non-contacting position sensor. Non-contacting position sensors have no wearing parts and therefore tend to have a longer operational life. If your application involves a life span of more than 100 million cycles then a non-contacting sensor would be better suited.


Accuracy of a sensor can be altered by the environment so ensuring that the sensor can function at an appropriate level of accuracy when taking all of the above environmental factors into consideration will have an effect on which sensor you choose for your application.


To ensure the sensor is fixed into the correct position for measuring displacement it is important to know the options when it comes to mounting. Rod ends, mounting brackets and other options are available and are useful for easy mounting.

Position Sensors from Positek

As a position sensor specialist, we believe we have a position sensor for every scenario. Please contact us for more information on any of our products or to discuss your application. For more information on our range take a look at the links below.

Linear position sensors

Rotary position sensors

Tilt Sensors

Intrinsically safe sensors

Article published on: 09/12/2019

Article last updated on: 09/12/2019