Distance Measurement Sensors

Distance Measurement Sensors - MaxBotix
distance measurement sensors

HRLV-Short-Range-EZ Sensor Line

The HRLV-ShortRange-EZ sensor line is the most cost-effective solution for close range applications where precision range-finding, low-voltage operation, and low-cost are needed.

Great for People Detection and Autonomous Navigation.

low power ultrasonic sensor

XL-MaxSonar-EZ Sensor Line

The XL-MaxSonar-EZ sensor line has high power output along with real-time auto sensitivity adjustments for changing conditions like temperature, voltage and acoustic or electrical noise.

Great for Motion Detection, Autonomous Navigation, and Collision Avoidance.

trash sonar

XL-TrashSonar-WR Sensor Line

The XL-TrashSonar-WR sensor line provides users with robust range information in air. High-powered acoustic output along with real-time auto calibration for changing conditions (supply voltage, acoustic noise, or electric noise).

Great for Tank Level Measurement, Waste Level Measurement, and Bin Level Measurement.

Distance measurement sensors are used to measure distance. These types of sensors use a variety of different methods for measuring distance, which can be measured in different units. Time-of-flight is one method that uses light waves (lidar sensors) or sound waves (ultrasonic sensors) to calculate the distance between two points. This article will explain how these sensors work and provide information about what you need to know before purchasing them for your next project.

What are distance sensors?

The distance sensor for your application can be used for quick measurement and obstacle avoidance in your application.

Distance sensors measure the distance by emitting a signal and measuring how long it takes to return to the transducer.

These sensors are used to determine how close an object is without any physical contact necessary.

While using an ultrasonic sensor for distance detection, you can detect transparent and irregularly-shaped targets reliably.

Depending on the technology you use, distance sensors can also be used to detect proximity in certain applications.

Proximity vs Distance sensors

Distance sensors can measure distance from an object. Proximity sensors, on the other hand, are used to detect objects in a particular range without specifying how far away they are. This means that proximity sensors will be triggered by closer items that distance sensors would identify as 'out of range'.

Using Ultrasonic Sensors for Distance Measurement?

Ultrasonic sensors, also known as Sonar sensors, are among the most common distance measuring sensors, as they measure distance to objects by transmitting high-frequency ultrasonic waves.

Ultrasonic sensors: How They Work

  1. A high-frequency sound wave is emitted by the ultrasonic sensor towards the target.
  2. Sound waves are picked up by the target.
  3. After the sound waves bounce off, they reflect back to the ultrasonic sensor.
  4. Using the return time of a sound wave, we can measure the distance.


Ultrasonic Sensor Applications

Now that we’ve understood how it works, we’ll take a look at what it’s used for. Here are the common ultrasonic distance sensor applications:

Advantages of Ultrasonic Sensors

  • Detects distance through sound waves, which aren't affected by object color or transparency.
  • Works well in places where the lighting is limited
  • Low power consumption compared to other solutions
  • Ultrasonic sensors can interface to different microcontrollers.

Disadvantages of Ultrasonic Sensors

  • The detection range is limited.
  • May be difficult to detect fast-moving objects due to low resolution and slower refresh rate.
  • Objects with soft surfaces are difficult to detect.

Terms You Should Know for Distance Sensing

Resolution: the smallest distance change a sensor is capable of detecting.

For example, MaxBotix sensors vary in resolution, from 1mm, 1.6mm, 1cm, to 1in.

Refresh Rate: A sensor's refresh rate, typically measured in Hertz, is important with moving objects or targets. A higher refresh rate means that more readings will be sent to the sensor per second, which is critical if your sensor is moving towards a fixed object at a fast pace.

Range: A sensor's range is the distance, from minimum to maximum, at which it is capable of providing accurate readings.


Do I need an external power supply for my distance sensor?

Yes, external power supplies are necessary to power your sensor, MaxBotix sensors have very low power requirements, so they can be powered by battery or even solar power.

Can I use a distance sensor indoors?

Yes! Ultrasonic sensors can effectively be used in indoor environments to measure distance. You should be mindful of environmental issues in your sensor selection process. Temperature and condensation may influence your sensor choice, even for indoor use.


In conclusion, distance measurement sensors can help you measure distance in various situations. There are many types of sensors that function best for different applications. Knowing which type to use and how it works will ensure you get the most out of your sensor.

For application and product inquiries you should contact us at techsupport@maxbotix.com for further assistance.

Not sure if our sensors would be the right fit for your application?

Click the button below to contact our team to discuss your project needs.

About MaxBotix Inc.

MaxBotix designs and manufactures a wide variety of ultrasonic sensors that are currently used for measuring range and proximity sensing in various applications.

Our proven work with outdoor applications and industrial applications

We strive to work with our customer's application requirements to deliver a sensor solution that can deliver an accurate measurement.

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