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Best Digital Calipers for Machinist

Machinists need to adapt a wide variety of equipment in order to be up to par in the fast-changing manufacturing industry. Herein, one of the most staple tools they need is a good digital caliper.

As a matter of fact, getting the best digital calipers for machinists is crucial to fulfilling the job requirements. It has many functions that will help with coming up with not just an accurate measurement, but a consistent one as well.

However, you don’t just need to know what a caliper is. You should also know what are the crucial components to take into consideration.

Among these components are the build quality, accuracy, read-out, and other features that contribute to an accurate measurement of the object.

Best Digital Calipers for Machinist Comparison 2020

Last update on 2020-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 10 Machinist Digital Calipers Review 2020

Machinist Digital Calipers Review

Digital calipers are instruments used to measure up to close increments of 0.0005 inches or 0.01 millimeters.

This is why it should be made of quality components and should have critical features that can help any machinist accomplish the job well.

Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper

Neiko 01407A Electronic Digital Caliper

First on this list is a high-quality stainless steel caliper that delivers accurate measurements and easy usage thanks to the sturdy build.

As it is built with high-grade stainless steel, it will glide smoothly and will provide consistent measurement every time.

It has three measuring modes for measuring in inches, millimeters, and fractions. Use the dedicated button located conveniently at the front of the device to change the read-out.

You can measure from 0 to 6 inches with a 0.0005-inch or 0.01-mm resolution, allowing you to have a good measurement all-around.

Different features will allow you to use this for many applications. The large jaws are used to measure the outside diameter of the object, the smaller ones will measure the insides, the depth gauge will measure the depth, and lastly, the step gauge will probe the step of the item you’re measuring.

There is no problem reading out the measurement as it comes equipped with a large and clear LCD screen. It is conveniently powered by a common LR44 battery and comes with a carrying case for security.

PROS

  • Three measuring modes: inch, millimeter, fractions
  • Versatile and can be used in many applications
  • Made from stainless steel
  • LCD screen

CONS

  • No IP54 rating

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VINCA DCLA-0605 Quality Electronic Digital Vernier Caliper

VINCA DCLA-0605 Quality Electronic Digital Vernier Caliper

If you’re in the market looking for an inexpensive Vernier caliper, this one will fit the bill. Despite the price, it is still made from stainless steel. This gives it a sturdy build that is strong enough to meet your daily measuring requirements.

Aside from the strong build, it has a proprietary cable that allows it to connect to a computer to transfer data.

This one has a maximum measurement of 6 inches or 150 millimeters and has a resolution of 0.0005″ or 0.01 mm and an accuracy of ±0.001″ or 0.03 mm. That can give you plenty of confidence in the precision of the measurement you’re taking.

There are four ways you can use this caliper. Using the jaws, the large one will measure the outside of the object, and the smaller one will determine the diameter of the inside. You also get a step and depth gauge, which can measure the step and depth, respectively.

The large LCD will show the measurements in inches, millimeters, or fractions, depending on your preference.

PROS

  • Great price
  • Can transfer data to the computer via a proprietary cable
  • Large LCD screen
  • Accurate measurement

CONS

  • Needs to be broken in before usage

iGaging Electronic Digital Caliper

iGaging Electronic Digital Caliper

This IP54 rated digital caliper is a tough one. The rating means it can withstand accidental splashes as well as dust. Aside from that security feature, it is also made from high-quality stainless steel and comes with a carrying case.

Being made from stainless steel, it will offer better protection and accuracy when measuring as this material is known for making precision instruments.

The measurements can be alternated between inches, millimeters, and fractions. These are displayed clearly on the large LCD screen.

For saving power, it has an auto-shutoff feature that will turn off the tool automatically after some time of idleness.

It can measure from 0 to 6″ and has an accuracy of up to 0.01″. The large jaws measure the outside diameter while the smaller ones are designed to measure the inside diameter of the object.

You can also measure the depth and step of the object by using the depth gauge and step gauge, respectively.

Overall, the build quality is solid, and you can expect this to perform just as well as the more expensive tools in its category.

PROS

  • Sturdy build
  • IP54 rated
  • Accurate measurements
  • Auto-shutoff feature

CONS

  • Limited 6” measurement

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Mitutoyo Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) Absolute Scale Digital Caliper

Mitutoyo Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) Absolute Scale Digital Caliper

Mitutoyo is a well-known brand for precision measurement, and this digital caliper is just one of the most widely sought-after ones.

This features a large LCD display that shows the measurement in inches or millimeters. It is fully covered in stainless steel, so it will provide precision for every measurement. That stainless steel body also ensures that it won’t get damaged if you drop it on a surface.

It features an advanced onsite sensor (AOS) with electromagnetic inductivity, which means it can measure the object even with the presence of a little water, dirt, and oil.

The measuring range is up to 6″ or 150mm and can measure in 0.0005″ (0.01mm) increments for precision. This also has a zero mode, which helps reset the measurement, thus, helpful for some applications.

It measures the outside, inside, depth, and step. For added accuracy when measuring, it comes with a thumb roller.

Powered by an SR44 silver oxide battery, this will last a long time with proper use and care.

PROS

  • High quality measuring instrument
  • Bright and easy to read LCD
  • Convenient battery placement
  • Lightweight and durable

CONS

  • Doesn’t display measurements in fractions

EAGems Digital Caliper

EAGems Digital Caliper

This stainless steel caliper will provide accurate measurements and within 0.005-inch or 0.01-mm. The materials help in making the operation smooth and precise, which will give you a trouble-free experience.

Aside from the stainless steel construction, which is a better choice than carbon fiber and plastic parts, you will also get an IP54 rating – making it water and dust resistant. These features make this caliper last a long time.

You can read the measurement in the large LCD in which you have a choice of inches, millimeters, and fractions.

This can be switched any time you want with just a press of the button. In addition, you can zero the measurement at any given point for differential measuring.

It also has a built-in automatic on/off feature, which will lengthen the battery life. The CR2032 battery is conveniently located at the back and is secured by a cover with a screw.

Other features include a set screw that comes in handy when you want to lock the measurement you took and a thumb roller for increased control.

PROS

  • Stainless steel build
  • IP54 rating
  • Set screw for stability and thumb roller for increased control
  • Built-in automatic on/off power saving feature

CONS

  • A little heavier than other calipers

MOOCK Digital Caliper

MOOCK Digital Caliper

You will get your money’s worth with this caliper. From the build to the accuracy of the measurements, it’s something that you will want around you while you work on your craft at your job or workshop.

The caliper is made from brushed and hardened stainless steel and is able to be used in different environments. It has an IP54 rating, which makes it splash and dust resistant.

It is accurate up to 0.0005 inch or 0.01 millimeters, which means it will provide you with a good and consistent measurement throughout. Additionally, it has a slider clamp screw that secures the jaw in place in case you need to keep the measurement and a zero function for differential measurement.

As for the display, the LCD and large digits will provide you with a clear reading of what you are measuring, which is way more convenient than a manual caliper. It takes a simple CR2032 battery, and you will get a spare one upon purchase.

With the measuring features, you can measure the inside and outside dimensions of the object as well as the depth and step. This is especially useful for machinists who need precision measurements in their projects.

PROS

  • Accurate measurement
  • Made from stainless steel
  • Uses standard button battery
  • Goes into power-saving mode after 5 minutes

CONS

  • LCD brightness leaves room to be desired

Adoric Electronic Digital Caliper

Adoric Electronic Digital Caliper

This caliper is made from stainless steel to provide the user with the utmost precision for measuring items. Having an accurate and consistent digital caliper is essential to any job, especially for the machinist.

The measurement you can get from this is from 0 to 6 inches or 150 millimeters. That is plenty of measurements, especially if you are doing fine-tuning or fitting precise instruments.

You can zero the measurement at any point if you are doing the differential measuring, and you can change the value from inches to millimeters any time.

With this, you can measure the inside and outside diameter. You can also get the depth and step with the provided depth gauge and step gauge.

A bright and clear LCD screen is used as the display, and the whole unit is powered by small LR44 button batteries, which will last quite a long time if used properly and with care.

Expect the unit to be water and dust resistant with its IP54 rating. But take note that all digital measuring devices will not work properly if used in a very humid environment as moisture affects the components of these devices.

PROS

  • Accurate measurements for diameters, step, and depth
  • Bright and clear LCD screen
  • IP54 rated
  • Uses standard button cell batteries

CONS

  • No carrying case included

MeasuGator Silverine Digital Caliper

MeasuGator Silverine Digital Caliper

With the many options for digital calipers, sometimes, it is hard for some brands to stand out. But the best thing to do is to provide the basic and foundational function with some user-friendly features to do so. So that’s what this one did.

You will get a no-frills and straight to the point device for accurate measurements with a resolution of 0.001 inches or 0.02 millimeters.

It has the basic function of measuring the outside and inside diameter as well as the depth and step of the object.

The caliper boasts high-speed reading, so you don’t need to worry about lags when measuring. It also has a large LCD screen so that you can easily see your measurements.

In addition to the digital caliper, you will also get a set of feeler and extra batteries in the package. It also has a set screw that comes in handy if you want to retain your previous measurement. Then for accuracy, it has a thumb roller for increased control.

Its design is classic and will not leave a bad taste. The nice contrast of the stainless steel over the other materials will make you want to use this, again and again, every day.

PROS

  • Large LCD readout
  • Comes with bonus feeler gauge and batteries
  • Sturdy stainless steel build
  • Classic design

CONS

  • No fraction readout option

Clockwise Tools DCLR-1205 Electronic Digital Caliper

Clockwise Tools DCLR-1205 Electronic Digital Caliper

If you need a digital caliper that can measure for more than 6 inches or 150 millimeters, then this is the one you should get. It extends up to 12 inches or 300 millimeters and performs just as well.

From afar, that will provide you with a lot of room, especially if you use differential measurement a lot.
The resolution is 0.0005″/0.01mm which will give you an accurate measurement for the inside and outside dimensions as well as depth and step.

The long profile allows for a large and bright LCD screen, which is especially useful if you want to see your measurements clearly and immediately.

You can plug the tool to a PC so that you can record your measurements in real-time. But note that it is for data recording purposes only and not charging.

But you don’t need to worry about the battery life as it has a 5-7 minute power saving mode, which will shut it off if it’s idle for that set time.

PROS

  • Longer profile and measurement
  • Large LCD screen
  • IP54 rated dust and water-resistant
  • Quick data transfer feature

CONS

  • Does not retain the previous measurement if it shuts off

Clockwise Tools DCLR-0805 Electronic Digital Caliper

Clockwise Tools DCLR-0805 Electronic Digital Caliper

This is another caliper from the renowned precision instrument manufacturer; Clockwise Tools, which has been producing instruments for more than three decades.

The design of this caliper blends traditional and a modern take in measuring tools. But it’s not just about the looks, it also performs just as good.

Built from stainless steel, it is both durable and allows for a smooth glide and operation in any environment. It will perform well; thanks to the IP54 rating which makes it splash and dust resistant.

It has all the standard measuring features which will allow you to see the outside and inside dimensions as well as the depth and step of the object you’re measuring. You can measure up to 8”/200mm with an accuracy of ±0.001″/0.03mm.

Additionally, you can transfer the measurement directly to the computer by using a dedicated transfer cable and device.

PROS

  • Can measure up to 8 inches
  • Stainless steel build for durability and reliability
  • Simple and effective operation
  • IP54 rating

CONS

  • Data transfer module sold separately

Features to Look for Before Buying

A digital Vernier caliper is an instrument you use to measure the internal and external dimensions of an object. And a machinist will use these in many applications, including CNC, routing, and others.

Vernier calipers measure accurately to one-hundredth of a millimeter or one-thousandth of an inch, which makes it more accurate than any standard ruler.

That is to say that it works like a ruler but has more implications and has a better standard of measuring.
Electronic or digital calipers have increased in popularity these days.

This is because they are much simpler to use and measure faster, not to mention more accurately than an average ruler.

With different features like sensors, large LCD screen, zero function, measurement conversion, it is easy to see why machinists are leaning towards these more and more for their projects.

When buying a digital caliper, take into consideration the environment you will be using it in. Find out the functions and how they can help you with your job or projects.

Depth Gauge

Depth Gauge

This measures the depth you’re making and the thickness of the material you’re working on. Basically, if you have a caliper, it is usually because of the ruler-like feature on it. Most digital calipers read out the measurement on the screen, so you don’t need to worry about the accuracy of the measurement.

Locking Set Screw

A locking screw helps stabilize the measuring jaws. You can use this if you want to retain the last measurement you took.

This is usually a knurled knob on top of the LCD screen and on the big jaw of the caliper. You can use it as a manual backup to the last measurement you took.

Step Gauge

A step is the measurement from the edge of a certain object. It is crucial to note this, especially when you’re connecting two components together.

With a step gauge on your caliper, it will be easy for you to measure out different aspects without using different tools.

Outside Jaws

You use these to measure the inside of the item or object. When buying one, be sure that there are no flaws in the jaws. This is to make sure that your measurements are as accurate as possible.

Thumb Roller

This is a simple knurled knob that gives you more control over the caliper. Usually, this is located on the lower part of the LCD screen. The basic function of this is to provide the user with a better grip when using the digital caliper.

Inside Jaws

You have to be sure that you’re getting a nice and flush build on these. You should expect the inside jaws to have clean and precise construction, which will provide the most accurate measurement possible.

See to it that they do not have any dents or glinting, as these will compromise your measurements.

Zero Function

Machinists need to do a lot of measurements, and sometimes you need to reset the measurement to zero in order to get a better one. This is called a differential measurement.

Without a zero function on your caliper, you will need to list the previous measurement and then hope that you can get the next one more precisely.

While you can do this with a set screw, a zero function is more practical and has less room for mistakes.

LCD Screen Display

Everybody loves a bright display. It is a good way of determining if the overall construction and build of the caliper are as good.

The LCD should have a high definition display, which means the numbers should have deep coloring and should be visible in any light condition.

What the LCD displays should also be taken into account. It should display the standard measurements (inches and millimeters), and it would also be a great addition if there is a fraction display option.

Power Saving Mode

A digital device will need batteries to run it. It is both practical and convenient because you don’t have any wires or cables restricting your movement.

You just need to make sure that your caliper will have a power-saving mode. As simple as it seems, it can save a lot of battery power. This is simply a feature that shuts off the device after a set time of not using it.

Rigid Construction

Your devices should also last a long time. After all, what’s the use of having accurate measurements if you can’t use them for a long time?

Well-built calipers are made from stainless steel. Aside from being the ideal material for precision instruments, stainless steel can also provide a tough exterior or overall build to devices.

This material is generally resistant to rust and can withstand most accidental blows or impacts.

IP Rating

Having an IP rating means it meets an international standard for devices that determines how well they fare against certain external factors.

Most calipers will have an IP54 rating, which means they can withstand or resist most accidental spillage and protection from dust particles.

This is crucial for precision instruments since these tend to have sensitive components that need such protection.

It is also a reflection of the manufacturer’s commitment to quality because they constructed the device to meet certain standards.

User-Friendly Features

A caliper is a simple and basic tool that does a crucial job. So, look for one with all the details and important things you need.

Always look for the basic functions first before any other fancy features because that’s what you really need.

Components of a Caliper

It doesn’t take a lot to get used to a digital caliper. After all, these are designed to provide you with the most accurate measurement with all its specs and features.

One of the things to consider so that you can use a caliper rightly is to familiarize yourself with the parts and their uses.

The most critical components of a caliper are:

Outside Jaws

In essence, this is what makes the caliper what it is. These large jaw-like protrusions are designed this way so that they can measure the outside diameter, thickness, and even length of the object.

To get the best result, make sure that the object you’re measuring is as close to the ruler as possible. This will help keep the caliper stable, and at the same time, you have a visual guide of how close the jaws are on the object you’re measuring.

Inside Jaws

These are the smaller jaws behind the outside jaws that are meant to measure the inside dimensions as well as the cavity length. They work with the same principle as the outside jaws.

Depth Gauge

As the name suggests, this measures the depth of the cavity or hole you made.

For additional functions, you will also find these features that can help with using the caliper.

  • Thumb Roller
  • Locking Set Screws
  • Zero Mode
  • Inch/Millimeter/Function – used to change the unit of measurement

Right Way to Use a Caliper

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with these, you can operate the caliper with confidence. Here’s how you can operate a digital caliper:

  • Wipe the caliper before using it.
  • Close the jaws so that they are in contact, or the LCD screen reads zero.
  • Select the desired unit of measurement.
  • Test the stability of the jaws by opening and closing it a couple of times. Make sure that it goes back to zero every time you close it.
  • Clean the object you are measuring, making sure that there is no foreign object on it that can alter the measurement.
  • Measure by clamping the jaws on it. Remember that it should not be tilted at an angle and should be square with the object.
  • Do not force the measurement. Let the natural distance reflect on the caliper. For example, if the unit measures .200”, don’t press it to reach .200”.
  • Once you’re finished with measuring and recording it, check the caliper if it goes back to zero as a review of your measurement accuracy.
  • Clean up the jaws and the caliper before storing it.

Care and Maintenance Tips

It’s not hard to clean up a caliper. But since it is a precision instrument, proper care and maintenance should be done to it to keep it working well and lasting a long time.

Here are some care tips for your digital caliper;

  • Do not throw or drop your caliper.
  • Do not put it on areas where it can be damaged or broken.
  • Do not lay it where it will get debris.
  • Do not exceed the measurement meant for the caliper.
  • Do not use it for other than its intended use.

Here are some maintenance tips for your caliper:

  • Wipe the surfaces before and after using the tool. This prevents dust and other materials from affecting the accuracy of the measurement.
  • To clean the jaws before using them, you can use a piece of paper to do this. Simply clamp the jaws shut on the paper and pull. This will remove any foreign material that may interfere with an accurate measurement.
  • When not in use, return the calipers in their proper storage.
  • Use them only in stationary objects.
  • Even if the calipers have an IP54 rating, it would still be a good idea to keep them from water and dust.
  • Check the calibration and battery power periodically.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use a digital Vernier caliper over a regular Vernier caliper?

For obvious reasons, a Vernier caliper has better accuracy and measurement than a regular caliper because of the high-precision components that aid in measuring.

Also, having a large LCD, zero function, and memory mode make it more convenient to use.

Why does my digital caliper not reset to zero when I clamp it down?

There may be some foreign object between the jaws. This is why it is always recommended to clean the caliper before using it.

How long will the battery last?

The battery may last for up to 6 months with daily and continuous use. If not, the battery may last up to a couple of years.

How do I use the step gauge?

The step is the distance between one edge and the next. To measure it, position the object on the top side of the caliper and put it against the smaller jaw. Then push the bigger jaw to see the measurement.

How do you calibrate the digital caliper?

You should press the zero button when the outside jaws are closed so that you can calibrate it to zero.

Final Words

The best digital calipers for machinists depend on your budget, what you need to measure, and what environment you plan to use the calipers in.

There is most certainly a style and budget for everyone.
With the many options available, we hope you will find one that will suit your needs the most.

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