One of the first tools that machinists mention when asked to name the most important tool in their toolbox is a caliper. Although not as accurate as micrometers, calipers are handy and practical tools that can help machinists take quick measurements of their parts. If you don’t have your own caliper or need to purchase a new one, you should do it quickly.There are three main types of calipers: Vernier, Dial and Digital. Since one type is not unanimously considered better than the others, the selection is generally based on personal preference.
In this post, we will help you identify the best digital calipers for your needs. Digital calipers, unlike their Vernier and Dial relatives, have a digital display that makes it easier to read measurements.
As we extensively stressed in other blog posts, when it comes to inspection and measurement, having a precise and reliable tool is key. That’s why we always recommend spending a little more by purchasing a tool from manufacturers that are well known for the quality of their products. We understand, however, that sometimes your budget might not allow that, so we’ve included some more affordable models that will also help you get the job done.
Here are the top five models that we recommend:
The value option. Although the quality of this caliper is not as high as the other listed in this post, it is a great option if you are planning to spend less than $100. Operates smoothly, has a clear display, and measurements are accurate and repeatable. The best bang for your buck.
The knurled lock screw holds the sliding jaw in position and helps ensure a consistent measurement. This caliper is rated to IP67 level of protection against dust and immersion in water under standard conditions for up to 30 minutes.
Great feel, repeatable and accurate. Unlike the other models, it features a round depth rod that allows machinists to get depth measurements that flat depth rods can’t reach.
A real precision instrument, as accurate as calipers can be. Measures 0 to 8” with 0.0005” accuracy and it’s IP 67-certified, to ensure protection against coolant, water, dirt, and dust.
The only flaw… the price.
The name says it all. Best in class when it comes to precision instruments. The Zero/ABS key allows the display to be zero-set at any slider position along the scale for incremental comparison measurements, allowing you to take potentially endless measurements without having to “re-zero” the caliper.