Tips on Selecting
a Data Logger

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Data Logger Basics

Whether you’re an experienced data logger user or just getting started, considering these important factors will help ensure that you choose the monitoring solution that’s right for you. 

Measurement Accuracy

Measurement Accuracy & Resolution

Understand measurement accuracy need

Don’t pay for accuracy you don’t need. Monitoring temperature in a research lab may require far greater accuracy than monitoring temperature in an office space.

Accuracy specifications vary widely

Look for charts that indicate accuracy over an entire measurement range, not just a single value. The accuracy a logger achieves at the high or low end of a given range may be far different from its mid-range accuracy.

Data logger resolution

Higher resolution (the number of increments of a value a data logger is capable of reporting) doesn’t necessarily mean better measurements – so a logger with 8-bit resolution, rather than 12-bit, may be just what you need.

Consult an experienced data logger supplier

If you're unsure about accuracy and resolution requirements for your specific monitoring application, an experienced data logger supplier can help determine which product best meet your needs.

Data Access Options

USB Icon

USB data loggers

Collected data is downloaded directly from the logger to a computer via a USB interface, or via an optional “data shuttle” device, eliminating the need to bring your computer into the field.

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Bluetooth-enabled data loggers

Collected data is transmitted wirelessly to a mobile device or Windows computer within 100 feet of the logger – ideal for monitoring refrigeration storage or any hard-to-reach area. Add a gateway device and data can be automatically transmitted to the cloud for remote access.

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Web-based data logging systems

For real-time remote access to data in the cloud via cellular, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet, web-based systems work with a wide range of plug-and-play and/or wireless sensors. These systems can also be configured to send automatic text/email alerts if measurements exceed set thresholds.

Software Capabilities

Windows/Mac logos

For USB data loggers

Look for a data logger that works with a Microsoft- or Apple-compatible software package that:

  • Is highly intuitive, so the learning curve is minimal
  • Lets you configure the logger and offload data with point-and-click simplicity
  • Includes optional packages to quickly batch-configure and readout multiple loggers
  • Offers powerful data plotting capabilities and easily exports data to other programs (like Microsoft Excel) for analysis
Mobile browsing

For Bluetooth-enabled loggers

An app is all you need to configure Bluetooth-enabled loggers and manage data, so look for a logger that works with a free app that lets you easily:

  • View data in graphs, check the operational status of loggers, share data files, and store data in the cloud
  • Set up audible alarm notifications, so you’re alerted to any problems
Desktop browsing

For web-based data logging systems

For web-based systems, look for a cloud-based software platform that:

  • Offers a variety of affordable (or even free) data plans
  • Sends automatic text and/or email alerts
  • Lets you easily configure sensors, logging rates, alarm notifications, and more
  • Features a customizable dashboard for instant visualization of data

Durability

Datalogger case schematic

Consider the deployment environment

Make sure the logger’s enclosure can withstand the conditions of the environment where you plan to deploy it. A hard plastic enclosure should suffice for indoor applications, but you might need a moisture-protective enclosure, or a waterproof enclosure for water monitoring applications.

Take extra steps, if necessary

For deployment in especially harsh environments, ask the supplier about the availability of protective cases or other enclosure accessories to ensure preservation of both your equipment and your data.

Battery Life

Data logger batteries

Lifetime can vary widely

Data loggers are extremely low-power devices, but since they’re used in a variety of environmental conditions and sample at different rates, battery life can vary widely. As a general rule, make sure the logger you select has a battery life of at least one year.

User-replaceability

A user-replaceable battery eliminates the hassle of shipping the logger back to the manufacturer for battery replacement. And data loggers that run on standard household batteries offer greater convenience than those requiring specialized batteries.

Cost of Ownership

It’s important to understand the true cost ownership, over the long term. When talking with a potential supplier, you should ask…

Wallet and money icon
  • Will the logger need to be calibrated by the manufacturer periodically, and what will that cost?
  • Will I need to invest in an expensive software package to analyze my results?
  • Will I be able to use readily available batteries?
  • Are cables included with the logger?
  • What types of plans are available if I need to purchase a data plan for my web-based system?