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Flow Calibrators

Flow calibrators are essential tools for verifying the flow rates of sampling pumps and other instruments that use a suction pump mechanism. These calibrators serve as a reference standard to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the flow rate measurements. They are commonly used in occupational health and safety, environmental monitoring, and industrial hygiene applications where the precise measurement of air flow is critical. Flow calibrators help to ensure that the equipment is operating within the specified flow range, which is crucial for accurate sampling and data analysis. They provide an easy and reliable way to calibrate flow rates for sampling pumps, environmental samplers, and other instruments.


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What is a flow calibrator?

A flow calibrator is a device used to measure and calibrate the flow rate of gases or liquids through a system or instrument. It is used to verify and adjust the accuracy of instruments that require a specific flow rate, such as air sampling pumps, environmental samplers, or medical equipment. Flow calibrators are typically designed to produce a stable and precise flow rate, and can measure flow rates over a range of values. They are an essential tool for maintaining the accuracy and reliability of flow-dependent instruments.

What is the purpose of a flow calibrator?

The purpose of a flow calibrator is to verify and calibrate the volumetric flow rate of a sampling pump or other instrument that uses an internal pump to operate at a specific flow rate. This ensures that the instrument is operating at a known and accurate flow rate, which is important for accurate and reliable sampling results. The flow calibrator serves as a standard to compare the flow rate of the instrument being calibrated, providing a reference point for adjustments or repairs to the instrument if needed.

How does a flow calibrator work?

A flow calibrator works by comparing the flow rate of a device under test (such as a sampling pump) to a known flow rate generated by the calibrator. The device under test is connected to the calibrator and a flow rate is set on the calibrator. The calibrator then measures the actual flow rate of the device under test and compares it to the set flow rate. If the two flow rates match, then the device under test is considered calibrated.

What are the types of flow calibrators available?

There are several types of flow calibrators available, including:

  • Piston prover: uses a piston and cylinder to measure flow rates
  • Bubble meter: measures flow rates by counting bubbles passing through a tube
  • Critical flow nozzle: measures flow rates based on the rate at which air flows through a nozzle with a small orifice
  • Mass flow meter: measures flow rates by determining the mass of a gas passing through a tube
  • Positive displacement meter: measures flow rates by measuring the volume of gas displaced by a piston or diaphragm
  • Turbine flow meter: measures flow rates based on the rotation of a turbine placed in the flow path.

Each type of flow calibrator has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which type to use depends on the specific application and requirements.

Why is it important to calibrate flow in sampling equipment?

It is important to calibrate flow in sampling equipment to ensure that the equipment is operating accurately and consistently. The flow rate is a critical parameter in air sampling, as it determines the amount of air that is sampled and subsequently analyzed for contaminants. If the flow rate is not accurate, the sample may not be representative of the true air quality, which can lead to incorrect conclusions about the level of contamination. Regular calibration of flow ensures that sampling equipment is operating within an acceptable range and produces reliable results.

What are the benefits of using a flow calibrator?

Using a flow calibrator provides several benefits, including:

  • Ensuring accurate readings: Flow calibrators help to ensure that sampling equipment is operating at the intended flow rate, which is critical for obtaining accurate readings.
  • Improved quality control: Regular calibration helps to identify and correct potential issues with the sampling equipment, which improves quality control and minimizes measurement errors.
  • Compliance with regulations: Many regulations and standards require that sampling equipment be calibrated regularly to ensure accurate measurements, and using a flow calibrator helps to meet these requirements.
  • Cost savings: Calibrating sampling equipment using a flow calibrator can help to identify problems before they become costly issues, reducing the need for repairs or replacement.
  • Increased confidence in results: Knowing that the sampling equipment is calibrated and operating accurately can provide increased confidence in the results obtained, which is important for decision-making and risk assessment.

How often should flow calibrations be performed?

The frequency of flow calibrations depends on several factors, including the type of equipment, the level of accuracy required, and the frequency of use. In general, it is recommended to calibrate flow meters and sampling equipment at least once a year to ensure accurate readings and reliable results. However, if the equipment is used frequently or in harsh conditions, it may be necessary to calibrate more often, such as every six months or even more frequently. It is also recommended to calibrate equipment after any repairs or significant changes to the equipment or operating conditions.

Can flow calibrators be used for other types of equipment besides sampling pumps?

Yes, flow calibrators can be used for other types of equipment besides sampling pumps. Any equipment that has an internal pump that operates at a determined volumetric flow can be calibrated using a flow calibrator. Some examples of other equipment that can benefit from flow calibration include medical devices, HVAC systems, and industrial machinery.

What are some common features to look for in a flow calibrator?

Some common features to look for in a flow calibrator include:

  • Accuracy: A high level of accuracy is important to ensure that the flow calibrator provides precise measurements.
  • Range: The range of flow rates that the flow calibrator can measure is an important consideration depending on the range of flow rates required for the specific equipment being calibrated.
  • Portability: Depending on the intended use, a portable flow calibrator may be more convenient to use in the field.
  • Easy to use: The flow calibrator should be easy to use and operate, with a simple interface and clear display of flow readings.
  • Calibration certificate: The flow calibrator should come with a calibration certificate to ensure that it has been properly calibrated and meets industry standards.
  • Multi-unit capability: The flow calibrator should be capable of measuring flow rates in different units, such as cubic feet per minute (cfm) or liters per minute (LPM).
  • Data storage: The flow calibrator should be capable of storing data and/or have a data output capability for easy transfer of data to a computer or other device.
  • Compatibility: The flow calibrator should be compatible with a wide range of sampling equipment and accessories to ensure maximum versatility.

How do you choose the right flow calibrator for my workplace?

When choosing a flow calibrator, consider factors such as the required flow range, accuracy, portability, and ease of use. Inteccon offers a range of flow calibrators from top manufacturers with features such as digital displays, automatic temperature and pressure compensation, and USB connectivity. Contact us to find the right flow calibrator for your workplace.

Mesalabs Models

Mesa Labs is a group of niche brands, including Agena Bioscience, Gyros Protein Technologies, and Mesa Labs, that provide products and services aimed at improving quality of life for patients, workers, and consumers worldwide. The company operates in highly regulated markets and focuses on opportunities at the forefront of biomedical science and quality assurance in research and clinical settings. The leadership team at Mesa Labs is dedicated to applying technical expertise and technological innovation to meet the needs of the industries they serve.


The Defender Series from Mesa Labs is a line of high-quality calibrators designed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of personal sampling pumps. The series includes three models: the Defender 510, the enhanced Defender 520, and the standardizing Defender 530. Each model is backed by Mesa Labs’ proven DryCal® technology, which provides fast and accurate calibrations with a 1% of reading accuracy. The models have a range of flow standards and offer single, continuous, and burst reading options, as well as temperature and pressure sensors in the flow stream. The Defender Series has a data port with a serial (RS-232) connection and 1/4” barbed plastic compression fittings, making it easy to connect and use. The series is perfect for a wide range of industries, including biomedical science and quality assurance in research and clinical settings.


The BGI tetraCal® is a state-of-the-art volumetric continuous flow calibration and audit device. It provides direct indications of volumetric flow rate, standard flow rate, barometric pressure, and ambient temperature all in one instrument. This device is designed to be used with all types of air samplers in the range of 0.1 to 30 Lpm with the tetraCal® or 1 to 60 Lpm with the tetraCal-Ultra®. It is the only field audit/calibration device that meets the same temperature criteria as the EPA designated samplers. The device features a venturi, which is superior to an orifice and offers no sharp edges that can be damaged and a 90% recovery of the measurement pressure drop. The device is suitable for use in the field or laboratory and is ideal for calibration of cascade impactors. It is easy to use with one switch operation and all data displayed on the screen. The device comes with a 20 hour battery life and a universal power supply. The device also has a download feature with supplied software and auto-ranging capabilities.


The FlexCal by Mesa Labs is a portable and highly accurate primary flow standard that offers easy-to-navigate calibrations for a wide range of flow rates up to 50 LPM. With an accuracy of 0.5%, it eliminates the need for soap bubbles, timers or heavy provers, and provides multiple volumetric flow units and time intervals for user convenience. The LCD display shows real-time volumetric flow and other measurement parameters, including temperature and pressure, while USB connectivity allows for easy data transfer. The FlexCal is ideal for demanding applications that require high accuracy and portability, and its rechargeable battery provides up to 8 hours of operation. With the Mesa Labs FlexCal, calibration is worry-free.


The BGI deltaCal® is a continuous volumetric flow calibration and audit device that provides direct indication of volumetric flow rate, standard flow rate, barometric pressure, ambient temperature and filter temperature in one instrument. It is available in 3 flow rate ranges and is designed for calibration and audits of PM2.5 and PM10 samplers to U.S. EPA requirements, as well as other air samplers in the 1.5 to 60.0 Lpm range. The deltaCal® is NIST traceable, accurate to less than 0.75% of the flow rate reading, pulsation-free and can operate for up to 20 continuous hours on 4 AA cells. It has no moving parts and is completely silent. The device is designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures, from -30° to 55° C, making it suitable for use in both field and laboratory settings. The deltaCal® also features a download capability with supplied software for data transfer.


Sensidyne is a well-established manufacturer and distributor of gas detection and air sampling instrumentation. They offer a broad range of products to process, manufacturing and infrastructure industries worldwide, including air monitoring instrumentation, fixed gas detection, sound and vibration measurement, and heat stress analysis. With over 35 years of experience, Sensidyne has become a technology leader in fixed gas detection, providing high-quality products, expert customer service, and technical support. Their brands include Gilian, BDX, SensAlert, SensAlarm, Sensidyne Colorimetric Gas Detector Tubes, and more. Sensidyne is committed to providing reliable and cutting-edge technology to ensure the safety of people and the environment.


The Challenger® air flow calibrator by Gilian is a highly accurate device for verifying and calibrating industrial hygiene air sampling instruments and other air sampling devices. It provides an LCD indication of volumetric and standard flow rate, barometric pressure and ambient temperature, and is accurate within 0.75% of reading. The heart of the Challenger® is the venturi, which is made from aluminum and has no sharp edges or moving parts. The device can cover the flow rate range of 1 to 30 LPM and offers a 90% recovery of pressure drop, ensuring reliable calibration. The continuous output display of all functions simplifies configuration, and each unit comes with a NIST traceable certificate. The Challenger® is immediately ready to use with 4 AA batteries, and the deluxe kit includes a venturi for high and low flow calibration.

Gilibrator II

Sensidyne’s Gilibrator-2 System is a primary standard calibration system that provides accurate and automated validation for sampling pump air flows ranging from 1 cc/min to 30 LPM. The system consists of an electronic Gilibrator-2 Base that is used with any of three sizes of wet bubble cells, available as kits that can also include a complete calibration diagnostic panel. The Gilibrator-2 Base is microprocessor-controlled and easy to operate, featuring a simple touchpad with an LCD screen displaying flow rate, calculated average of multiple flow samples and sample number. It operates with AC power or rechargeable batteries, making it portable for use in the field or lab. The Gilibrator-2 System includes three interchangeable wet cells that generate perfect bubble films at the touch of a button, and an infrared sensor reads the bubble flow rate for calculation and display. Sensidyne recommends annual factory calibration of the Gilibrator System. Optional PC interface kits and printers are also available for real-time data download and manipulation.

Gilibrator 3

The Gilibrator 3 is a fast, reliable, and easy-to-use primary air flow calibrator that sets the standard for calibration integrity and data reporting. It is designed to provide performance and accuracy, delivering NIST traceability through Sensidyne’s ISO 17025 accredited laboratory. The Gilibrator 3 features patent-pending pulse-free valve technology that maintains calibration integrity and a touch screen color display with auto-adjust for visibility in all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. It also has StablFlow™, which provides a constant low back pressure to the device being calibrated, and multiple flow cells with a common base, which adds convenience and saves cost. The Gilibrator 3 has internal record storage for data continuity and reporting, and is SmartCal™ capable with GilAir Plus® pumps, allowing for hands-free adjustment. It is also compatible with Gilian CONNECT PC for data retrieval, record-keeping, and statistical analysis.

TSI Models

With a mission to provide trusted measurement, application guidance, and data analytics solutions, TSI is committed to helping its customers make informed decisions. The company’s vision of creating a better world by protecting people, products, and the environment speaks to its dedication to making a positive impact in the world. With TSI’s innovative products and focus on quality, we are confident that they are a valuable partner in our mission to protect what matters.


The Primary Calibrator 4046 is a small, portable, and battery-operated unit designed for environmental sampling, indoor air quality, industrial hygiene sampling, epidemiology health studies, and field services. It has a flow range of 2.5 to 300 liters per minute (lpm) and is accurate to 2% of reading. The calibrator provides continuous real-time volumetric flow rate readings, making pump adjustment and calibration fast and easy. The unit is compact, lightweight, and field portable, making it convenient to use for adjustment, calibration, and periodic checks. The Primary Calibrator 4046 comes with a NIST traceable calibration certificate and is available as a complete kit that includes a battery pack, tubing kit, carry case, and user guide.


The Primary Calibrator 4146 is a small and portable battery-operated unit designed for industrial hygiene and environmental sampling applications. It has a flow range of 0.01 to 20 liters per minute (lpm) and is accurate to 2% of reading. The calibrator provides continuous real-time volumetric flow rate readings, making pump adjustment and calibration fast and easy. The unit is compact, lightweight and field portable, making it convenient to use for adjustment, calibration and periodic checks. The Primary Calibrator 4146 comes with a NIST traceable calibration certificate and is available as a complete kit that includes a battery pack, tubing kit, carry case and user guide. It is ideal for indoor air quality, epidemiology health studies, and field services.

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