Best Dial Indicators Review & Buying Guide

Most people like you, who are in constant need of precise measurements, are fond of the best dial indicators. This small but convenient measuring tool is used to check the run out and the surface distortions of exact machine parts, such as pistons. As they can count measurements as precise as 1/1000, they can achieve impossible results for the normal human capacity, a solid dial indicator definition

Not just the accuracy, these tools are not very tough to use, unlike most other measuring tools. With a little patience, practice, and instruction, you will be a master in this art. You will measure and read the results so effortlessly that the convenience will change your whole performance. However, you need to be very careful while using them as they can be easily messed up.

In this article, we have jotted some of the best dial test indicators currently available in the market. These tools will give you pinpoint accuracy, enhanced durability, and exceptional convenience. Keep reading to know which ones you should be looking for.

Our Favorite Dial Indicators

Last update on 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 7 Best Dial Indicator Reviews- 2021

1. Accusize Industrial Tools Agd2 P900-S097 Dial Indicator with Lug Back

Accusize Industrial Tools Agd2 Style 0-0.05'' by 0.0001'' Dial Indicator with Lug Back, P900-S097

Born in the heart of Toronto, Canada, the Accusize Industrial Tool is well renowned for its tools. Their Agd2 P900-S097 is the best dial indicator with Lug Back is no exception. Made to deal with the most practical uses, this tool is synonymous with reliability and optimization. And all this, you will find at a very reasonable price. No wonders why this is our top pick for the best dial gauge.

Features:

Reliable: This indicator is made while keeping reliability in mind. After using this particular dial indicator, you will understand the essence of reliability. The accuracy of the measurement will not fail on you. Be sure that whichever measurement it gives you has the possibility to be totally correct.

Build: This dial indicator is made from steel. Steel makes us quite lightweight, only at 8.8 while making this a durable tool. If you are a person who mostly works in a rugged condition, using this will not make you feel frantic.  It is durable enough to withstand a decent amount of beatings.

Easy to Read: This comes with a large dial. Because of these features, you can easily read the dial without much of a hassle. Easy understanding of the measurement is a key factor for a dial indicator, and this product shines in that criteria. It’s while faceplate and black letter will help you understand what the scale is. Very convenient!

Specifications:

Material:Steel
Range0-0.05 Inch
Resolution0.0001″
TypeLug Back
Measurement System:Inch
Weight:8.8 oz.

Pros:

  • Easy to read
  • Good construction materials
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Very reliable
  • Comes with a Styrofoam box

Cons:

  • Poor magnet attachment system

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2. All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 Dial Indicator

All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 Dial Indicator (Magnetic Base and Point Precision Inspection...

The All Industrial Tool Supply TR72020 dial gauge indicator, or what we call “The Whole Package,” is a set of all tools needed. It’s not the dial indicator that you will get, no! Rather along with the dial indicator, you will also get a magnetic base and a point precision inspection set. All Industrial Tool Supply has included everything that you desire for more practical tasks.

Features:

Magnetic Base: For ultimate convenience, a magnetic base is included with it. This 9-inch base is a tool of a class. This has a full power capacity of 130 pounds. This base can pull an average-weight lady. Also, the base comes with an on and off feature which makes it very easy to use it. And are you wondering about the width? No much, just 2 inches. Besides, it also has a depth of 2.5 inches.

Indicator Point Set: All Industrial Tool Supply has not compromised at all with the set. You will be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of tools they will offer, 22 tools in total. This will assure you that you will be well equipped with the most important gear no matter what type of task you are conducting.

Convenience: Even though the magnetic base, as well as the precision toolset, has taken the convenience to a greater level, other specs are ready to take you to the maximum. This dial indicator features a graduation of 0.001 inches. Moreover, the stem diameter is 0.375 inch whereas the diameter of the dial face is 2 inches. Due to the size of the dial face, you can easily read the data on the indicator. And mounting style? It’s lug back!

Specifications:

Material:Steel
Range:0-1″ .001″
Magnetic Base Height:9 Inches
Magnetic Base Capacity:130 lbs.
Number of Tools:22
Type:Lug Back
Weight:5 lbs.

Pros:

  • Comes with a very handy magnetic base
  • Includes a set of 22 precision tools
  • Accuracy is pretty good
  • Decent Dial
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Comparatively much heavier

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3. Clockwise Tools DICR-0105 Dial Indicator

Clockwise Tools DICR-0105 Dial Indicator Gage Gauge 0-1 inch Measuring Tool …

Bring the combination of premium quality and high functionality with the Clockwise Tools DICR-0105 Dial Indicator. This tool comes in a whole set where you can find a base stand. However, if you don’t want the stand, you can even buy without it. This reasonably priced dial indicator is very versatile because of its lug back and flat back option.

Features:

Carbide Anvil Ball: The plunger of this dial indicator features a Carbide Anvil Ball at the contact point. Carbide is a solid material that is much more robust than steel or metal. This makes it very durable and less prone to break or fail. Besides, long-term serving is also assured.

Accuracy: As clockwise claims, the accuracy of this dial indicator is ±0.0012,” which is very decent. With this range of accuracy, you can be assured that the measurement will be near perfect. From your own DYI projects to your much more professional-grade tasks, this tool will be there to serve you paradigmatic precision. 

Hard Casing: Case is an important factor for tools like delicate. A simple inconvenient fall can imbalance the calibration of the indicator. Therefore, you may receive false data without even realizing it. Also, tools breaking down can happen. And thus, this tool comes in a convenient and hard box that will give it more safety.

Specifications:

Anvil Ball Material:Carbide
Measuring Range:0-1″
Resolution:0.001″
Accuracy:±0.0012″
Stem Diameter:0.375 Inch
Dial Diameter:2 Inches
Style:Lug Back & Flat Back
Weight:4.9 oz.

Pros:

  • Movement is very smooth
  • Featured with Carbide Anvil Ball
  • Very well made
  • Very convenient for DYI projects
  • Includes calibration cert

Cons:

  • Its gauge could be better.

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4. Triton ALL-52000 Dial Indicator

Triton 1' Dial Indicator 0.001' Graduation Travel Lug Back White Face

If you’re in the hustle for the best one on the tightest budget, you can’t go any better than the Triton All-52000. Best for beginners, this dial indicator won’t drill a hole in your pocket. Let’s not the price fool you into thinking this is a cheap product. This features decent specifications, which will come very convenient in several situations, and thus, we have this at the number 4 in our list of the best dial gauges.

Features:

Build: Triton thought to give their ALL-52000 the possible durability. This is why when you touch this, you will notice immediately that this is made of metal. In addition to the case, the rack is also made from hardened stainless steel, which will last longer, surely much longer than any other rack made from softer materials.

Specification: Although when it comes to price, this is very cheap, however, this is not the case with the specifications. This dial indicator is equipped with a decent specification which will come in very handy. For instance, it features a travel range of 1 inch, a convenient area for better understanding.

Also, it’s one revolution equal to 100 divisions which will give a measurement of 0.1 inches. Even though specifications are good, better not to have over expectations regarding the accuracy; this dial indicator will not provide professional-level accuracy.

Portability: You won’t believe how light this is. Only 6.1 ounces, yes! This is one of the lightest dial indicators that are currently available in the market. You can carry this will you the hold day, and you won’t even realize this is with you.

Specifications:

Material:Metal & Plastic
Measuring Range:0-1 Inch
Resolution:0.001 Inch
Accuracy:±0.001 Inch
Stem Diameter:0.375 Inch
Dial Diameter:2 Inches
Style:Lug Back
Jeweled:Yes
Weight:6.1 oz.

Pros:

  • Very affordable price point
  • Well-made
  • Quite Lightweight
  • Has a good measuring range
  • Durable and portable

Cons:

  • Accuracy is not that good.

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5. AGPtek 3-Joint Red Adjustable Magnetic Base Holder for Digital Dial Indicator – Accessories

AGPtek 3-Joint Red Adjustable Magnetic Base Holder for Digital Dial Indicator

Even though dial indicators are excellent performers, it’s better to use them with a magnetic base holder. If you ever consider one for your precision tool, consider looking at the AGPtek 3-Joint Red Adjustable Magnetic Base Holder. This base is easy to move, has a dial test indicator, and can easily be maintained.

Features:

Magnet: This stand comes with a powerful permanent magnet. Moreover, the magnet features an on/off very convenient switch. This switch will let you take off the stand after connecting to something very easily. Your table or the stand will remain undamaged for this convenience.

While using, turn it on and see the sheer power of the magnet. Even with extreme force, you won’t be dominated. Turn the magnet off and carry it around the stand effortlessly.

Dial Test Indicator: It features a 3 joint design and can easily fit a dial test indicator. With the help of this, you can calculate all the surface variations with your dial indicator. This will make it very easy for you to measure all those narrow and recessed surface areas. 

Maintenance: Mechanisms like this can be quite challenging when it comes to using and clean. However, this stand is a bit different. This is designed with a simple structure that will let you adjust and maintain without any chance of a hassle. 

Specifications:

MaterialMetal
Base Dimension1.5 x 1.1 x 1.4 inch
Height7.8 Inch
Clamping Hole Diameter8 mm
Weight:4.8 oz.

Pros:

  • Performs very well despite being small
  • Has a decent locking mechanism
  • Can be maintained very easily
  • Well-constructed
  • Value for money

Cons:

  • Magnetic surface is not machined flat

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6. Fowler – 52-520-109-0 52-520-109 AGD Dial Indicator

Fowler 52-520-109-0 Dial Indicator with 1' Travel, Black Dial

Are you the one who just loves the looks of the tools? Then, the Fowler Fowler – 52-520-109-0 52-520-109 AGD Dial Indicator is what you need. Its black faceplate just makes everything too classy. Moreover, the white scaling and the orange indicators enhance the total aesthetics of this dial indicator to the top level. Look is not the only important factor; other things are there too for the best performance.

Features:

Durability: Contact points of the plunger of a dial indicator are what breaks the most. You may push it a little too hard, to sudden movement can cause extra pressure, and hence, the tip breaks. Considering that, Fowler came up with reinforcement, hardened stainless steel. This will ensure longevity and ease of usage. Besides, it won’t get rusty as well.

Moreover, its brass housing, as well as the gear wheel, are very durable and rugged. The whole construction made is to last, whereas the satin-chromed finish is there to enhance the looks.

Extra Long Springs: This dial indicator features longer springs. These springs will help it to have a uniform pressure. Smaller springs offer less travel which can be quite challenging for you to measure in several scenarios. However, you won’t feel the same with this dial indicator, as 1 inch of travel offers.

Convenience: This tool is full of convenient features that will uplift your user experience. It comes with a center lug back for easy mounting. Additionally, it has a 2.25-inch dial diameter, larger than most other dial indicator gauges, making it easier to read and understand. And of course, you will find it very easy to use due to its knurled bezel, lock bezel lock, along pullup knob.

Specifications

Material:Steel
Measuring Range:0-1″
Resolution:0.001″
Plunger Travel:1 Inch
Dial Diameter:2.25 Inches
Style:Lug Back
Weight:11.28 oz.

Pros:

  • Hardened contact point
  • Has an extra-long plunger
  • Features a knurled bezel
  • Comes with a bigger dial diameter
  • Easy to use and read

Cons:

  • Quality could be better

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7. Mitutoyo 2046S, 0.01mm X 10mm Dial Indicator

Mitutoyo 2046S, 0.01mm X 10mm Dial Indicator, 0-100, Lug Back, Series 2, 8mm Stem

Black or White, whichever color you like, the Mitutoyo 2416S comes in two of the most contrasting colors. This is an excellent dial indicator due to some of its convenient features. However, some drawbacks couldn’t help this go any higher in our types of dial indicator review. Could we ignore this? No. Why? Because it meets all the scales of the American National Standards Institute.

Features:

Build: This is no plastic-made dial indicator. Rather, the materials used to construct this rugged tool are nothing but stainless steel. Due to its construction, this will ensure high durability and corrosion resistance. Moreover, the plunger is also made from steel, this time hardened. Be glad that you will not be left stranded with a broken plunger in an emergency.

Portability: This indicator is small, tiny. Weighing only at 7. ounces, a 3.15-inch dial indicator will give you the maximum convenience of portability. Carry in your bag or your pocket; you won’t even notice the heft of it; yes, this is that light. Having a convenient tool with you that will not weigh you down is a privilege.

Convenience: A convenient feature is well equipped with this dial indicator which is an adjustment knob. Precise measurement will be a key benefit that you will experience with this dial indicator. Furthermore, it’s dust- and water-resistant so that you can use it even in rain or sandy environments. Besides, its fractional-inch display makes it easy to understand.

Specifications:

Material:Stainless Steel
Range0-1 Inch
TypeLug Back
Accuracy:±0.001 Inch
Inside Depth:5.12 Inches
Measurement System:Inch
Weight:7.2 oz.

Pros:

  • The gauge is easy to read
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Dust and Waterproof
  • Has a smooth movement
  • Good value for money

Cons:

  • Does not work with imperial measurements

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Buying Guide of Best Dial Gauges

best dial indicators

Dial indicators are some of the precise tools out there. Based on their accurate information, a lot of designs are done, and decisions are taken. So, buying a decent dial indicator that won’t flood you with the wrong information should be your main priority. To achieve this task, you should consider few factors that will help you while choosing the right one for you. Read below for the discussion,

Build

Dial indicators are very delicate tools and if they are too nimble, they will break easily. As these tools are mostly used in workshops, facing the rugged condition is a day in, day out. To withstand all those, the build of the tool should be robust. Therefore, look for those which are made from metal or stainless steel as they offer excellent integrity.

Accuracy

The more accurate the dial indicator is, the better results it will give – always keep this in mind. Look for those indicators which have the lowest margin of error. A low margin of error will assure you less proximity to get the false information. Most of the high-quality dial indicators come with an accuracy range of ±0.001 Inches.

Mounting System

Check whether it is lug back or flat back. Also, there are some which offer both. Lug back mounting systems are mostly recommended as they are more convenient to use and can offer more stability. Some also come with a magnetic stand which can provide additional ease.

Faceplate

No matter how the faceplate is, make sure you can understand the measurements easily. What’s the point of buying a dial indicator if you cannot understand what it says? Look for a bigger dial and clearer scaling for a better experience. 

Case to Carry

Carrying the dial indicator is crucial. Carry wrongly and you will imbalance the calibration of the tool. Some manufacturers include a hard case with their dial indicator to minimize such occurrence, such as Clockwise Tools DICR-0105. Its hard case makes it very easy to carry it around safely and securely.

FAQ

How do you read a dial indicator?

Firstly, start with preparing your indicator. After that, measure your object. Make sure that you are extra cautious while measuring. Then look at the gauge. Specifically, the mode of operation entails marking the scale on the dial gauge’s body first and then determining the position of the dial gauge’s leading surface. Take the reading. Notice the highest line that is visible. If the measurement is in cm, convert to mm. Add both, and you will get your result.

What is the difference between a dial indicator and a test indicator?

Both the dial indicator as well as test indicator are precise measuring tools. However, differences are present, and they are quite distinct. The distinction is in the contact point. Test indicator is based on a lever, whereas dial indicators are based on plungers. Also, if you compare the size and weight, you will notice test indicators are fairly light and small. Because of their nature, both of them have their own distinct applications.

What are the two basic types of dial indicators?

The basic two types of dial indicators are lever type and plunger-type. The plunger-type dial indicator depends on a rack and a pinion. It calculates the change in the linear line and focuses on the movement of the pointer.

A lever-type dial indicator relies on a lever that scrolls to check the displacement. Here the lever has a limited movement. This type of good for inspection as well as to set up a machine.

What is the least count on a dial indicator?

The least count may vary depending on the type of dial indicator. However, the most standard least count is 0.01 mm, which has a range of 0.80-2 mm. If you get more specialized ones, you can even get the least count of very marginal significance. Here, we are talking about as subtle as 0.001mm, where the range is between 0-1 mm.

What should be avoided while using a dial indicator?

Dial indicators are very delicate, and they need extra care while using. Make sure the subject is not very harsh as it may damage the indicator. Also, oiling the spindle bearing is not a good idea. Better not to lock the indicator until it is properly under gauging tension. Tightening the contact points too away from the rack spindle will cause distortion, so better avoid doing that as well.

Final Verdict

To design and construct a precision part, calculating the measurement is crucial. In those situations, the need for a precision tool is inevitable. Dial indicators are one of those lifesavers which made precision counting way easier than before. You can even count the thousands of an inch, way out of our limitations.

To enhance your experience with precise part construction, get a good quality dial indicator. The market is bloated with a lot of dial indicators. However, not all are decent. You may also best dial indicators but sticking to the old school is more reliable. We tried to include all the best ones with their distinct offerings in our list of dial gauge indicators. Getting any of them will not leave you in regret of buying one.

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