Low-Cost People Counter

Updated 5/4/2022

Are you searching for a low-cost people counter – a sensor that’s a few hundred dollars and easy to use?

In the early 2000’s our bread-and-butter technology was a photoelectric thru-beam sensor we called the TB12 series. It’s comprised of two units, a transmitter and receiver, that are mounted to the sides of a doorway and increments a count on a display each time the invisible beam is broken. This is the sensor most refer to in their search for a low-cost people counter.

In addition to the cost-savings, people seek out basic people counters because they are a simple technology, are easy to install, and use a simple display to show data. Overall, the experience of operating such sensors seems manageable to almost anyone.

There are scenarios where a low-cost people counter is the only option, such as a rural library with a limited budget. There are other times when a low-cost people counter seems to be the best solution, but further investigation proves a more advanced technology is a better fit.

In 2019, we made the decision to cease the sell of the TB12 series low-cost people counter. Honestly, it was a difficult call to make because of the quantity of basic people counters sold and the demand was still high. However, we knew we had to cut ties at some point in order to dedicate resources to advancing our offerings. In hindsight, we are glad we made the decision when we did!

Let’s take a deeper look at why a low-cost people counter may not be the answer to your traffic counting needs.


As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. And in people counting terms, that means you get the accuracy you pay for. Two decades ago, a “general sense” of your traffic flow and patterns was probably sufficient; after all, it was more accurate than making educated guesses. But today, businesses are basing high-stake decisions on their business data. If you’re deciding to adjust your operating hours, hire additional staff, or present your justification for a five-million-dollar expansion, then you better be confident in the accuracy of the traffic data backing those decisions.


Low-cost people counters can’t be consistently accurate because of how the technology works. By counting when the photoelectric beam is broken, you’re often over and under counting throughout a day. For example, if a group enters the doorway together, the sensor will only detect a single break and increment one (undercounting). Or if someone paces back and forth at the doorway while on their phone, the sensor’s beam will break over and over, incrementing multiple counts for the same person (over-counting).

Another consistency issue arises with the sensor’s power source. Most low-cost people counters are battery-powered and don’t include a low-battery warning. When the batteries die, no traffic data is collected.

Manual Management

The basic-nature of these sensors require manual intervention. As previously mentioned, batteries need replaced. Secondly, someone needs to collect the data from the display and input it into a spreadsheet. Modern people counters connect to your network, automating data collection by sending it to a cloud-based software. Even if a basic people counter could connect to your network, the value of the reporting tools are lost because of data inaccuracies.

The Alternative

The alternative to a low-cost people counter is a modern people counting system with an intelligent sensor that connects to your network. It can seem intimidating to make the jump to an improved system, but we are confident the benefits are worth the additional investment. It’s actually more hands-off than you think, with automated data collection, reports delivered right to your inbox, and sensor maintenance proactively monitored by SenSource’s technical support staff.

Register for our weekly live web demo to see our people counting system and Vea reporting software in action. Our friendly staff will answer all of your questions to help you decide if an upgraded system is the best fit.

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Leila El moujtahid avatar
Leila El moujtahid says


I am looking for sensors to count people wireless and with batterie, what is exactly the pricing?

Thank you

Abigail Dulot avatar
Abigail Dulot says

we need price for sensource sensor pc-vid3-2.5n- 66pcs
sensource vea software- 1set

Jessica Lipply avatar
Jessica Lipply says

Hi Abigail,

Thank you for your interest in our people counting products. A sales rep will contact you shortly with the pricing you requested.

Have a great day!

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