Instrument Selection Guide

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Click on any of the images below to learn more about each SonTek acoustic Doppler instrument. Need more information specific to your unique application? Scroll down a bit more for our side-by-side application comparison chart.

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10-MHz ADV®

High-precision 3D velocity
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The SonTek 10-MHz ADV (Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter) is a proven, accurate solution for high-precision, 3-axis (3D), velocity measurements in a wide variety of settings from the laboratory to the ocean. ADV performance has been shown to compare favorably with laser Doppler systems costing ten times as much. In addition, the ADV is extremely simple to set up and use. Most users are taking high quality data within minutes of receiving the system.

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16-MHz MicroADV

3D current meter
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The SonTek 16-MHz MicroADV (Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter) is the most significant breakthrough in 3-axis (3D) current meter technology since the original SonTek ADV. The original SonTek ADV has compared favorably with Laser systems costing ten times as much — the MicroADV fares even better. The higher acoustical frequency of 16 MHz makes the MicroADV the optimal instrument for laboratory work. Like all SonTek instruments, the MicroADV is extremely simple to set up and use. Most users are taking high-quality data within minutes of receiving the system.

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ADP® - Acoustic Doppler Profiler

3D water current profiler
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The SonTek ADP (Acoustic Doppler Profiler) is a high-performance, 3-axis (3D) water current profiler that is accurate, reliable, and easy to use. The ADP uses state-of-the-art transducers and electronics designed to reduce side-lobe interference problems that plague other current profilers. This allows the ADP to make the very near-boundary (surface or bottom) current measurements critical to shallow water applications. The 1.5-MHz profiler is available as a Mini-ADP featuring a compact transducer head designed for applications where small size is critical.

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ADVOcean-Hydra

Oceanographic data collection
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Argonaut-ADV®

Single-point velocity data
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SonTek®-SL Series

water velocity and level in open channels
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Argonaut®-XR

near shore deployments
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The Argonaut-XR offers exceptional value for near shore deployments in less than 40 m of water. Designed specifically for mounting on the bottom of a river, channel, or harbor, the XR features a special mode that automatically adjusts one of its measurement cells for changing water level. Its small size, rugged build, and flexible system architecture make the XR attractive for both real-time operation and autonomous deployments.

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CastAway®-CTD

handheld castable CTD
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Designed for coastal profiling, the CastAway-CTD® incorporates a 6-electrode conductivity cell, coupled with a fast response thermistor to provide highly accurate, high resolution CTD measurements to depths of 100 m. Now Integrated with HYPACK!

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FlowTracker2® Handheld-ADV®

Wading Discharge Measurement
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FlowTracker2 with optional pressure sensor for depth data Now with optional pressure sensor feature! The new FlowTracker2 (FT2) handheld Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV®) has all the technology you have grown to know and trust with the original FlowTracker, but now comes with functional, modernized features   (Bluetooth, GPS and large color screen, to name only a few) based on the evaluation and feedback from hydrologists, researchers and scientists who have made the FlowTracker their instrument of choice.

 But the real power becomes clear from the moment you start to collect data. Each step of the way FT2 guides you along the measurement process with visual prompts and SmartQC audio alerts just in case something important needs your attention.

 FT2 handheld software is intuitive, easy to navigate and includes real-time plots of point data, QC parameters, and measurement verticals, giving you everything you need at-a-glance.  Get defensible data correctly, the first time, every time, and minimize data handling back at the office.

With rugged construction for any climate and multiple display options for both day and night, FT2 goes whenever and wherever you need it to go.

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HydroSurveyor™

5-beam depth sounding
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RiverSurveyor® S5 and M9

measure open channel hydraulics
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SonTek-IQ® Series

monitor flows in open channels, canals, pipes and culverts

Guide Me - Products by Application Focus

Whether you are looking to collect flow data in rivers, streams or canals, or you need current profiles in deeper ocean environments, SonTek has an array of instrumentation that can be used in any body of water, at various depths. Here is a side-by-side comparison to help point you in the right direction!

  • Hydrology - Surface Water
  • Oceanography
  • Laboratory
Focus: Instantaneous Measurement ADP Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway FlowTracker HydroSurveyor RiverSurveyor S5 / M9 SonTek-IQ Series
Moving Vessel Discharge Yes             Yes  
Wading Discharge Measurements           Yes   Yes  

Focus: Continuous Monitoring ADP Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway FlowTracker HydroSurveyor RiverSurveyor S5 / M9 SonTek-IQ Series
Irrigation channels / Canals     Yes         Yes Yes
Open Channel Flow   Yes Yes Yes       Yes Yes
Velocity Indexing   Yes Yes Yes   Yes   Yes Yes
Pipes Culverts                 Yes
Natural Streams & Rivers   Yes Yes Yes   Yes   Yes Yes
Storm Water   Yes Yes           Yes
Marshes   Yes Yes Yes   Yes     Yes
Flood Alert   Yes Yes Yes         Yes
Water Treatment   Yes Yes           Yes
Water Supply   Yes Yes Yes         Yes
Pollution Monitoring   Yes Yes Yes         Yes

Focus: Research ADP Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway FlowTracker HydroSurveyor RiverSurveyor S5 / M9 SonTek-IQ Series
Shallow Water / Low Flow   Yes       Yes   Yes Yes
Tidal / Marsh Studies   Yes Yes Yes   Yes   Yes Yes
Mixing   Yes   Yes   Yes   Yes Yes
CTD         Yes        

Focus: Surveying ADP Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway FlowTracker HydroSurveyor RiverSurveyor S5 / M9 SonTek-IQ Series
Fish Screen   Yes       Yes      
Flow / Current Field Yes Yes   Yes   Yes   Yes  
Bathymetry             Yes Yes  
Reservoir Mapping Yes           Yes Yes  
Sound Speed         Yes        

Features ADP Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway FlowTracker HydroSurveyor RiverSurveyor S5 / M9 SonTek-IQ Series
2D/3D Currents 3D 3D 2D 3D   2D or 3D 3D 3D 3D
Acoustic Backscatter Standard Standard Standard Standard   Standard   Standard Standard
Current Profiling Standard   Standard Standard     Standard Standard Standard
CTD Profiling         Standard        
Discharge / Flow Optional   Standard Standard   Standard   Standard Standard
Range Integrating     Standard Standard         Standard
Single Point   Standard       Standard      
Water Level / Stage     Standard Standard         Standard

Integrated & External Systems ADP Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway FlowTracker HydroSurveyor RiverSurveyor S5 / M9 SonTek-IQ Series
Acoustic Level     Standard           Standard
Bottom-Tracking Optional           Standard Standard  
Internal Data Recorder Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard   Standard Standard
Compass / Tilt Sensor Optional Optional Varies by Model Optional     Standard Standard Standard
Optical Backscatter Sensor Optional                
Pressure Sensor Optional Optional Optional Standard Standard       Standard
SeaBird CT Sensor Optional   Varies by Model Optional          
Temperature Sensor Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Conductivity Sensor         Standard        
Focus: Open Ocean ADP ADVOcean-Hydra Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway HydroSurveyor
Moorings Yes            
Offshore Platforms Yes Yes Yes Yes      

Focus: Coastal Region ADP ADVOcean-Hydra Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway HydroSurveyor
Surf-Zone / Turbulence   Yes          
Sediment Transport   Yes Yes        
Near-Shore Currents Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes    
Bottom boundary Layer   Yes Yes        
Estuaries / Shallow Water Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes    
CTD Profiling           Yes  

Focus: Ports & Harbors ADP ADVOcean-Hydra Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway HydroSurveyor
Navigation Yes            
Bottom Tracking / Moving Vessel Yes            
Tide / Elevation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes    

Focus: Waves ADP ADVOcean-Hydra Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway HydroSurveyor
Directional Yes Yes          
Non-Directional Yes Yes   Yes Yes    


Focus: Surveying ADP ADVOcean-Hydra Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway HydroSurveyor
Bathymetry             Yes
Reservoir Mapping Yes           Yes
Sound Speed           Yes  

Features ADP ADVOcean-Hydra Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway HydroSurveyor
2D/3D Currents 3D 3D 3D 2D 3D   3D
Acoustic Backscatter Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard    
Bottom Tracking / Moving Vessel Optional           Standard
Current Profiling Standard     Optional Standard   Standard
Discharge / Flow Optional     Standard      
Range Integrating       Standard Standard    
Single Point   Standard Standard        

Integrated & External Systems ADP ADVOcean-Hydra Argonaut-ADV SonTek-SL Argonaut-XR CastAway HydroSurveyor
Compass / Tilt Sensor Standard Optional Standard Standard Standard   Standard
Internal Data Recorder Optional Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard  
Optical Backscatter Sensor Optional Optional          
Pressure Sensor Optional Optional Optional Standard Standard Standard  
Pressure Sensor - High Accuracy Optional Optional     Optional    
SeaBird CT Sensor Optional Optional Optional   Optional    
Temperature Sensor Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Conductivity Sensor           Standard  
Applications 10-MHz ADV 16-MHz ADV FlowTracker
Boundary Layer Yes Yes  
Flow Fields / Mapping Yes Yes Yes
Flumes Yes Yes Yes
Low Flow Yes Yes Yes
Model Verification Yes Yes Yes
Turbulence Yes Yes  
Wave Studies (Directional) Yes Yes  

Features 10-MHz ADV 16-MHz ADV FlowTracker
2D/3D Currents 2D or 3D 2D or 3D 2D or 3D
Acoustic Backscatter Standard Standard Standard
Maximum Sampling Frequency 25Hz 50Hz 1Hz
Single Point Standard Standard Standard

Integrated & External Systems 10-MHz ADV 16-MHz ADV FlowTracker
Compass / Tilt Sensor Optional Optional  
Internal Data Recorder Optional Optional Standard
Pressure Sensor Optional Optional  
Temperature Sensor Standard Optional Standard