Best Digital Calipers for Precision Measurements

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 11, 2017
If you need a high-accuracy size measuring device, choose a digital caliper without a qualm. Here is the digital calipers review, so you can make your choice. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Measurement range
Resolution
Measuring capability
Accuracy
Extras
Package
Warranty
 
PROS

The AOS sensor provides accurate measurements even when the scale has water, oil or dirt stains on it.

CONS

A measurement error may occur when the battery runs low.

OUR VERDICT

This digital caliper is irreplaceable for projects involving lathes or CNC machines where the use of oil and other fluids is typical. A great pick for a small production facility.

detailed parameters
Measurement range

0 to 6" (0 to 150 mm)

Resolution

0.0005" (0.01mm)

Measuring capability

Inside, Outside, Depth, Step values for versatility

Accuracy

±.001" (0.02mm)

Extras

AOS sensor, Stainless steel body

Package

Protective case, SR44 silver oxide battery

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The unit can be connected to a PC for recording the measurements digitally. The compliance with DIN 862 makes the tool connectable to an accessory equipment.

CONS

The USB cable isn't included.

OUR VERDICT

Owing to IP54 protection class, this electronic caliper can be easily used in humid and dusty rooms like workshops and repair facility.

detailed parameters
Measurement range

0 to 6" (0 to 150mm)

Resolution

0.0005" (0.01mm)

Measuring capability

Inside, Outside, Depth, Step values for versatility

Accuracy

±.001" (0.02mm)

Extras

IP54 protection rating, USB cable (optional), Stainless steel body

Package

Protective case, CR2032 Battery

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The caliper is capable of delivering measurements in metrical and imperial units, as well as their fractions, which greatly facilitates working with technical documents for some parts.

CONS

The tool body and jaws have a rough machine finish.

OUR VERDICT

The affordability and usability of this electronic caliper will be duly appreciated by beginning users who handle wood and metal.

detailed parameters
Measurement range

0 to 6" (0 to 150mm)

Resolution

0.0005" (0.01mm)

Measuring capability

Inside, Outside, Depth and step with two sets of jaws and the probe

Accuracy

±.001" (0.02mm)

Extras

Stainless steel body, Auto-off function

Package

Protective case, LR44 battery

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

No software required for connecting the caliper to a PC, the tool is detected as a wireless keyboard.

CONS

The thumbscrew travel is quite long, which may be inconvenient.

OUR VERDICT

The model is a nice choice for parts inspectors who submit their measurement reports, while its lower operation temperature limit allows using the tool in northern regions and outdoors.

detailed parameters
Measurement range

0 to 6" (0 to 150mm)

Resolution

0.0005" (0.01mm)

Measuring capability

Inside, Outside, Depth, Step values for versatility

Accuracy

±.001" (0.02mm)

Extras

IP67 protection rating, Bluetooth, Stainless steel body

Package

Protective case, CR2032 Battery

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The 8" scale expands the tool application range and allows measuring large parts.

CONS

Only two digits are displayed large.

OUR VERDICT

It's a classic digital vernier caliper that will be valued by craftsmen who need merely accurate measurements.

detailed parameters
Measurement range

0 to 8" (0 to 200mm)

Resolution

0.0005" (0.01mm)

Measuring capability

Inside, Outside, Depth, Step values for versatility

Accuracy

±0.001" (0.03mm)

Extras

Stainless steel body, Auto-off function

Package

Protective case, LR44 battery

Warranty

1 year

What is a Digital Caliper

People who perform automobile repairs or do a metalworking often find themselves in situations when accurate measurements of some parts are required but a ruler or a measuring are not accurate enough. So, a grist of measuring devices was designed with lots of them dedicated to gaging a depth, thickness or length. We'd like to provide you with some useful info on digital calipers, which are able to measure several parameters with a high accuracy. An electronic caliper proves useful in a joiner's shop as well as in a turner's toolbox. This review covers different caliper models, among which you can find the one that suits you best.

If you are selecting tools for your home shed, take a look at our electric screwdrivers and screwdriver sets reviews to pick one of the torque wrenches essential for repairing cars, motorcycles, and gardening tools.

What Features to Compare

Choosing a caliper, we recommend you to concentrate on some aspects that will help you pick an appropriate tool.

Size

For a start, you need to determine the size of parts you're going to measure. If these parts make up to 3"-5" in size, opt for a digital caliper with a 6" measurement range. Such model is handy and easy to use and store. A 8" or 12" caliper fits better for thicker and bigger items. However, keep in mind that the bigger the caliper, the less comfortable it is to use, particularly when measuring chucked pieces. Choosing a caliper, consider also its resolution and measurement accuracy. If you need to measure metal pieces, it is preferable to choose a caliper with resolution (also called a scale division or increment) of no more than 0.0005" and accuracy of up to 0.001". Though, this accuracy is usually excessive for measuring woodwork as timber may expand in high humidity conditions. Therefore, a caliper with a basic resolution and accuracy is enough for measuring wood pieces. Such calipers are more affordable and are available in many models and options.

Functions

The functions of the digital caliper are the next point worth your consideration. Most contemporary models are capable of taking metric and inch measurements and display fractions often found in engineering documentation. Thus, if you don't want to spend a lot of time converting metrics, consider buying one of such calipers. If you are looking for а device to measure numerous items frequently and need to record the measurements, it will be practical to look for caliper models that allow a wired or wireless connection to a PC. They help drawing reports on digital measurements and considerably reduce the reporting time. The auto-off function is also useful as it extends the battery life and turns a caliper off automatically when not in use.

Materials

Finally, you need to identify the environment and conditions your caliper is to be used in. The using environment defines the choice of materials for the caliper and whether it needs water, dirt or oil protection. The best option is a stainless steel model, which is resistant to corrosion and withstands adverse conditions. If you're going to measure CNC or lathe machined/produced parts, pick a model that is resistant to oil. If plan to use the caliper outdoors, the best way is to go for models with IP54 and a better class of protection. Following these simple recommendations, you'll easily pick a caliper according to your needs.

Mitutoyo 500-196-30

The First Impression

When examining this Mitutoyo digital caliper, we were aware it was a Japan-produced caliper and we wanted to find out if this model would meet the high-quality standards of the tools made in Japan. The first experience was positive as Mitutoyo 500-196-30 comes in a sturdy plastic case that reliably protects the tool when stored. Inside the box, we also found the battery, manual, warranty certificate and calibration certificate with a serial number that confirms that the tool has undergone a check-up and precise calibration. The model is made of stainless steel and can be used with fluid-covered parts but we will touch this aspect later. The jaws have laser machined surfaces and thus provide super accurate measurements due to the precision of their finish. By the way, this caliper is able to measure both external and internal diameter, as well as the depth. All the tool components are dovetailed with each other, thus we did not find any backlashes or axial floats while performing measurements.

Review of Mitutoyo 500-196-30

Come Oil or Water

Regarding the measurement specification, this 6" ranged electronic caliper is able to take measurements in millimeters and inches. The scale resolution is 0.0005" and the accuracy is up to 0.001". These ratings allow using the tool for measuring parts with the precision of one-hundredth of an inch, so the model can replace you a micrometer. However, most of all we appreciated the advanced onsite sensor as it provides correct readings even when it is stained with water, oil or dirt. This component considerably expands the tool applicability area and allows using it in rainy weather and at metal processing facilities, which employ coolants and oils. The tests showed that the sensor functions well when switching between different part sizes rapidly and delivers a correct measurement at the zero point. The only shortcoming of the caliper we found was the incorrect readings when the battery is depleted to 1.2V, so keep an eye on the battery charge and replace it in time.

Mitutoyo 500-196-30 in the use

Small Things Make Difference

We'd like to highlight a convenient arrangement of controls of this digital caliper. The ZERO/ABS and ORIGIN buttons are located close to your thumb, which allows quickly adjusting the tool up. Also, you can use the button above the LCD display that switches the mode of displaying the measurement results between inch and millimeter values. Hence, you'll be able to measure parts in different metrics and check the readings against different documents and specifications. Additionally, we'd like to point out a smooth run and high sensitivity of the thumbscrew that ensure high-accuracy measurements.

Detailed review of Mitutoyo 500-196-30

Mitutoyo 500-196-30
Mitutoyo 500-196-30
 

iGaging 100-700-06-I

Factory Accuracy

The iGaging 100-700-06-I electronic caliper is a general-purpose tool but it shows off the features more characteristic of professional grade models. The first thing we noticed is the correctness of measurements at a fast changing of measured sizes that is more typical of pricier models. This performance is maintained thanks to the special condenser, which capacity varies with the position of the jaws. Unlike optical and magnet sensors, this solution provides a high measuring accuracy across the entire scale. The accuracy of the caliper is ± .001" or 0.02 mm and the resolution is 0.0005" or 0.01 mm that's acceptable for pro calipers, not to speak of the household models. The 6" measurement range is enough for gaging the vast majority of parts and the size allows storing the tool on a shelf or in a drawer. Furthermore, the iGaging 100-700-06-I is supplied in a rigid protective case.

Review of iGaging 100-700-06-I

When Reporting is Boring

The PC connectivity and digital data output are the main strengths of this digital caliper. All you need is a USB cable or a special wireless adapter to transfer the measurement data. This feature may be beneficial for enterprises where preparing numerous measurement reports and data logging is a daily routine. Also, we found that the tool meets the DIN 862 standard, so you can connect it to accessory equipment for measuring the parameters of details with complex geometry. As for the caliper protection, it complies with the necessary standards too. The stainless steel body and IP54 protection allow using the tool in production facilities despite high levels of dirt pollution and humidity. Still, mind that the measuring bar has to be kept clear as it is crucial for the measurement accuracy.

iGaging 100-700-06-I in the use

What You Also Need

If you pick a digital caliper for your workshop, you definitely need a bench grinder to buff workpieces and tools. Also, consider buying one of the wet-dry vacuums to remove chips and dust from your workplace. After all, remember wearing such safety equipment as hearing protectors.

Detailed review of iGaging 100-700-06-I

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


iGaging 100-700-06-I
iGaging 100-700-06-I
 

Neiko 01407A

Affordable Quality

Comparing different tools, we try to pick models of different price ranges and capabilities so you could find what you need. Affordability is the main plus of this digital caliper and we will try to clarify what you get buying this model. The Neiko 01407A digital caliper comes in a hard plastic case for convenient storage and carrying. The caliper is made of stainless steel and is resistant to rust and dirt. Despite this protection, we advise using the tool in a dry and ventilated room and keep it clean. The jaw moves smoothly and we didn't notice any jams, catchings or gaps while moving the jaw quickly by hand as well as with the thumbwheel. The model is easy to control and can be used out of the box. The roughly machined jaws and the main bar are the only points we disliked about the Neiko.

Review of Neiko 01407A

Measures in Fractions

This electronic caliper is not inferior to its more advanced counterparts and allows measuring parts of up to 6" in size. The caliper has a ±.001" gauging error, which is small enough for domestic jobs. The testing discovered that the accuracy drops to 0.002" when the measurement is done at the tips of the jaws. Though, that's not nearly a disaster for measuring objects made of wood. The next thing about the tool we'd like to report is the measuring scale that includes inches, millimeters, and fractions. This is advantageous as lots of technical specifications provide data in these units. Also, the caliper offers another useful feature. This digital caliper has a zero button that will help you reset the display if the water is spilled on the tool and the measurement fails. The tool is able to work for quite a long time owing to a low power consumption and the auto-off feature that can be rarely seen in tools of this class.

Neiko 01407A in the use

Handling Metal

Calipers are often used when machining metal goods and repairing cars. If you are collecting tools for performing such operations, a plasma cutter may come in handy for cutting through metalware. Also, if you deal with car body repairs, pay attention to our review on sandblasters that will help remove rust and paint safely and with minimum effort.

Detailed review of Neiko 01407A

Neiko 01407A
Neiko 01407A
 

iGaging IP67

Operates Even in Alaska

The iGaging IP67 is a striking instance of a dust- and waterproof caliper and can be used in high humidity environment and even immersed in water to still deliver correct measurements. Thanks to a high-precision assembly, quality materials, and smart design, this model is conformant with the IP67 protection standard, hence can be used in harsh conditions. Moreover, the tool is able to work at low temperatures right down to -40°F. This is especially remarkable as most calipers utilize capacitive condensers that are very sensitive to extreme temperatures, which makes them unusable in such conditions. The measuring sensor of the iGaging IP67 copes with this problem. Therefore, you can easily use it outdoors in winter. However, we recommend wiping off water and dirt from the caliper, otherwise, you may get incorrect measurement values.

Review of iGaging IP67

Forget About Pen and Notebook

The ultimate protection is not the only thing the iGaging IP67 can boast. This electronic caliper incorporates solutions that expand its capabilities and facilitate its use. The most cutting-edge feature the product offers is the connectivity to most Bluetooth-enabled devices. Thus, you'll be able to wirelessly transfer the measurements data in a digital form and record it into files. The simplicity of use is another nice aspect of this model by iGaging since no extra software is required to use the caliper. The tool is detected by the connected device as a Bluetooth keyboard and the readings can be input in any text document. Just put the cursor, take the measurement and press the data button. In addition, it is nice to know that the iGaging turns on automatically when the slide bar is moved.

iGaging IP67 in the use

Numbers

As for the tool's performance, it is capable of taking measurements at up to 0.0005" resolution with the accuracy of about 0.001", which is sufficient for a caliper of such type. The measuring bar allows handling parts within the 6" size, which gives plenty of options for measuring both woodwork and metalware. We believe that this caliper can be used in a large-scale production with frequent measurements and data logging. Don't worry about the battery charge as the tool is energy-efficient and the battery lasts for about a year.

Detailed review of iGaging IP67

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


iGaging IP67
iGaging IP67
 

VINCA DCLA-0805

Nontypical Solution

This digital vernier caliper can be referred to standard models that measure outer and inner sizes and depth. Though, we picked this model for another reason. Our attention was attracted by a long scale bar. Unlike most standard models, this caliper is able to measure the 8" or 200 millimeters-sized parts, hence it can be used for a wider range of articles. As for the measurement quality, the model undergoes accuracy testing, load resistance, and alignment of components testing before the shipment. The successful testing is confirmed by the conformance certificate you can find in the package together with the warranty and manual. Nonetheless, we decided to check whether this tool is up to the specified parameters. The measurements of slip gauges showed the 00.1" negative error on the tool. What is interesting, the measurement is correct when the jaws touch the bar and no further pressure is applied to them.

Review of VINCA DCLA-0805

Sharing the Excitement

Since this model is considered among the entry-level calipers and is similar to other models in our review, we decided to tell you about our experience with the VINCA DCLA-0805 in detail. The thing that was the most visually arresting when opening the package, was the bright red case of this digital vernier caliper. This is a bit confusing as most calipers come in black cases. The advantage, on the other hand, is that this package is easier to find among other tools in your workshop. The tool is made of stainless steel and is machined with high precision so you will not experience any burrs and sharp edges. The surfaces are well polished and we found no skews while using it. Also, we liked its display readable at sunlight, which is a rare case for calipers. The downside though is that only the first two digits are displayed in full, while the others are half-sized and somewhat hard to read.

VINCA DCLA-0805 in the use

For Your Joinery

If you need tools for processing timber, consider buying a jointer. This tool will help you edge pieces to connect them together. Furthermore, you can use a jointer to flatten workpieces before the planing. Woodworking causes lots of dust and chips that may be harmful to your breathing organs, so wear a mask or a respirator while working.

Detailed review of VINCA DCLA-0805

VINCA DCLA-0805
VINCA DCLA-0805
 

Sources:

1. Owen Smithyman How to Use Your Digital Calipers: 7 Tips, Make:. November 13, 2015.

2. Calipers Buying Guide, eBay. March 3, 2016.

3. How to Use an Electronic Digital Caliper, wikiHow.

4. 6 Tips for Using a Digital Caliper, DoItYourself.

5. Calipers, Wikipedia. January 16, 2017.

6. J.T. Barett How Do Digital Calipers Work? eHow.

7. Digital vs. Dial Calipers, Adafruit Industries.

8. How does an electronic caliper work? Electrical Engineering Stack.

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