Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Per capita water consumption in Germany is about 125 litres per day. The amount of water consumed in a household is recorded by a water meter. Water meters, also commonly known as water meters, are found in at least some households. Anyone who wants to have an additional water meter installed will be confronted with the variety of function types, installation conditions and sizes. It is important to choose a water meter that suits your water consumption. We have compared the different models so that you can find out which water meters are available, what you should look for when choosing your next water meter and find the right model.


  • Water meters are installed by the local utility company to record and bill water consumption. Water meters have to be calibrated and replaced regularly.
  • There is a wide variety of water meters. From simple clocks for the needs of a household to large clocks with a diameter of over one metre for ships, for example. Therefore, you should inform yourself sufficiently before buying in order to make the best possible choice.
  • The water clock as a measuring instrument is not to be confused with the instrument of time measurement from ancient Egypt.

The Best Water Meters: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for water clocks

We want to make the selection easier for you and have summarised the most important criteria so that you can choose the best possible water clock for you:

To make your choice as easy as possible, we show you what you should look for in the above criteria.


Just as there are different houses, flats and gardens, there are also different lengths of water meters. Depending on where the water meter is to be installed, the length must be chosen sensibly. The construction length is specified in mm and is particularly important if the clock is to be installed in the plaster. Here, the installation height of the clock must be considered, which is 90 cm on average.

Connection size / valve size

Similar to the pot and lid, the dimensions of the valve and those of the water connection must be compatible to ensure the best fit. You should check which valve size, given in inches, you need. For example, there are water meters with a ¾ inch valve or ½ inch valve. Any beyond this are used for large systems.

Type of use

As with the valve size and length, it is important to consider the external conditions so that the most accurate results can be delivered. Depending on the area of use, a distinction is made between cold water meters, hot water meters. Cold water meters go up to a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, while meters for hot water go up to temperatures of 90 degrees. These restrictions are important to avoid possible calcification of the mechanics.

Frost resistance

Water clocks for the garden in particular should be frost-proof. If they are not, the water meter must be removed in autumn before frost or protected with insulating material. Frost-proof water meters do not have to be dismantled, but they do have to be completely emptied during the winter months to avoid possible bursting.

MID approval

MID stands for “Measurement Instruments Directive”. Only devices that meet the MID requirements may be sold and put into operation. Water meters also fall within this scope. Declarations of conformity consisting of a CE value, the metrology marking and the number of the notified body must accompany the purchased clock. So when you buy a water clock, you should look for an MID approval.

Q3 value

Part of the MID approval is the uniform naming of the flow rate for water meters. What used to be called Qn 2.5 is now Q3=4. The continuous flow rate (in m³/h) indicates the maximum amount of water that can flow through the clock in one hour. Your water meter runs most optimally when it is in the range below the continuous flow rate but above the minimum flow rate. The minimum flow rate is the minimum amount at which the water meter provides readings.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about the water meter answered in detail

In the following section, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about water meters so that you are sufficiently informed in all areas.

Who is a water meter suitable for?

Water meters are usually used by utility companies for end consumers. But a water meter is also perfect for private households to keep an eye on the exact water consumption of the washing machine, bathtub or sink.


Water meters are perfect for the garden to measure water consumption from watering. (Image source: Alexei_other/ Pixabay)

They are also great for a beautiful garden with a pool, pump and lawn sprinkler.

What types of water meters are there?

One division of water meters is into house and flat water meters. Water meters in detached houses and apartment buildings work according to the impeller principle. Here, an impeller in the housing is rotated by the water flow and the movement is transferred to the counter. The house water meter is always part of a water metering system. Flat water meters, on the other hand, are used for billing individual residential units in order to calculate more accurate consumption. In addition to house and flat water meters, there are also meters for the garden and for private use.

What does a water meter cost?

The cost of water clocks varies according to brand, size, mode of operation and accessories, and of course the area of use. Water meters for your kitchen tap are cheaper than water meters for an apartment building. The table should give you a rough overview of the price categories.
Type Price category
Low-priced (from 20€) Only the water clock itself in simple design
Medium-priced (50-80€) Private water clock with water clock change in private household
High-priced (80-180€) Complete clock change

It should be noted that in addition to the purchase and construction costs, calibration fees must also be added. Likewise, the cost of installation can be determined by local conditions of the building as well as by modification work.

When should a water meter be changed?

In Germany, only calibrated water meters may be installed. According to the calibration law, this calibration is only valid for a certain period of time. After the period has expired, the meter must be renewed or recalibrated. The validity of the calibration of a clock for cold water is six years, that of a clock for hot water five years.

Is a water meter compulsory?

The regulation on water billing according to consumption is up to the individual federal states. The regulation can be found in the respective building codes of the federal states. In most federal states, it is mandatory for new buildings to be equipped with cold water clocks. Some federal states have also stipulated the retrofitting of water meters.


Water meters are used in many different areas. Whether for private or commercial purposes, for indoors or outdoors, for small or large amounts of water. Water meters are the possibility to measure the consumption of water and to change it if necessary. Due to the variations in accessories, such as covers, water clocks can also be used inside the home in a space-saving and beautiful way. When deciding on a purchase, the actual purpose and the external conditions play a role. However, due to the many models of water clocks, a suitable clock can be found for every consumer.

(Cover picture: delo / Pixabay)