Why would you use a bubble gauge water level to measure water levels

Benefits of Measuring Water Level with a Bubbler

(Updated Feb. 2024)

Whether you’re purchasing a water level measurement instrument for the first time or looking to add another to your collection, it is always beneficial to understand the different options available. We have had a few questions about the YSI Amazon Bubbler, and we decided to do a brief overview of Bubblers and the benefits they provide for complex water level monitoring sites.

First, What is a Bubbler?

Bubble Gauge Water Level | Bubbler Water Level Sensor | Bubble Water LevelSimply put, Bubbler Systems measure water level based on the amount of pressure it takes to push an air bubble out of an orifice line (plastic tubing) and into the water body. This pressure, often referred to as the “line pressure”, requires changes in the elevation of the water. As the water elevation rises and falls, so does the line pressure needed to discharge bubbles. The line pressure value, measured in psi, is then converted into the desired units of measurement to represent the water level from the point of discharge to the water’s surface.           

Why Use a Bubbler for Water Level Measurement?

The benefits of the continuous bubbler are response and accuracy. When stage (water level) increases, the Bubbler senses this change and, within 30 seconds, adjusts the tank pressure to keep the line pressure continually following the current water level.

Because only the orifice line touches the water, it is an ideal instrument for measurement in areas where large amounts of debris are typical; waters are turbulent, or long-term deployment of submersed instruments is hazardous.

YSI Amazon Bubbler

The Amazon is a self-contained smart gas purge system, meaning it provides a continuous air bubble and an integrated pressure sensor that measures the pressure required to push the bubble out of the orifice line.Amazon-Bubbler-Looking-at-Bottom.jpg

What are some of the key features unique to the Amazon Bubbler System?

1.   Stand Alone System - The Amazon can be used as a sensor connected to other recorder devices; data logger, PLC, RTU, etc. However, at substantial cost savings, it can also be used as a stand-alone device, eliminating the need for an external recording device. Data values recorded by the Amazon can be copied directly to a USB Flash Drive and imported to the PC.

2.   Browser Based Software - Amazon’s intuitive, easy-to-use software is browser-based, which eliminates the need for proprietary software being installed on the PC. Access the Amazon software from any internet device with Wi-Fi or USB connection functionality.

3.   Key Pad Display - As an optional interface, Amazon uses a Sharp® Memory LCD display. This provides the convenience of continuous display of data with the cost savings of low power usage. The display is provided as an option for Amazon. For applications without an external display, Amazon can be purchased without the display.

4.   Communication - Multiple communication options are available to ensure that the Amazon can interface with any data logger, PLC, or RTU. These options include SDI-12, MODBUS (over IP or RS-485), and 4 to 20 mA. Via the Ethernet port, the Amazon can push data over the internet directly to HydroSpehre, the Xylem cloud-based data hosting solution.

5.   Measurement Range - Three range options are available to provide the highest measurement accuracy. With an industry-leading accuracy of 0.02% of Full Scale; the 0 to 10 m range provides an accuracy of ±2 mm, the 0 to 20 m range has an accuracy of ±4.25 mm, and the 0 to 35 m range has an accuracy of ±7 mm


4 Responses to this article

We are working on a project to install a vertical turbine pump and will need a bubbler level measurement unit to monitor the underground water level. The pool depth is 230 feet.


Would be efficient in a river top of the world carrying lime-silt wash load?


The continuous bubbling shortens battery life significantly and increases maintenance time


Easy-to-read, informative article. Well constructed. Thanks for the information.


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