HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CALIPER? DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DIGITAL AND MANUAL

Published : 12/1/2021 14:49:31

There are many tools we can use to take measurements, but calipers are the most versatile. What is a caliper? The caliper is a tool suitable for measuring the width of an object, the distance between two sides of an object or between two flat surfaces in a concavity, the depth of a hole and more

The advantages of calipers are many: these tools are not only characterized by ease of use, but also have numerous measurement modes and large measuring ranges, in fact they can be used to make absolute or relative measurements. Professional calipers are mainly used in mechanical engineering and construction.

The best known traditional instrument is the twentieth caliper, whose vernier has a length of nineteen millimeters with twenty divisions, but there are also different versions, such as the decimal, the fiftieth, the centesimal and even the penta-thousandth.

By using a caliper you can measure, with an accuracy down to 0.01mm, everything that wouldn’t otherwise be easily measurable with any other tools. Even if the manual calipers such as the vernier and dial ones are still very common, nowadays digital calipers have become more popular. This mainly happened because they are both easier to use and far more accurate.

How to choose a caliper?

There are a thousand different models of this tool, so how do you choose the best one?

  • First of all, you have to think about the application environment: there are a lot of calipers designed to be used in contact with water and fluids, while others are perfect for dry environments.
  • Then, you have to keep in mind the accuracy you need: if you are going to make a highly professional and precise job, you need a professional digital model with a resolution between 0.005 mm and 0.001 mm. 

Types of caliper

Each type of calipers has its merits and faults, so which one to choose it’s up to you. Here’s a brief guide on the most common types of this tool you can find on the market.

  • Vernier calipers

These are similar to a slide rule: they are completely stick shift, so they are perfect for those who don’t get confused easily when it comes to reading numbers and measures. They have no dial nor display, so reading must be calculated directly on the body (by lined increments): due to misinterpretation, they are hard to read. Still, they are sturdy and shock resistant, in addition to being less expensive than dial and digital models. 

Here are some examples of vernier calipers:

  • The Metrica workshop vernier caliper in hardened stainless steel and matte chrome scale, for measurements from 0-150 mm (code 10075)
  • USAG 960  twentieth vernier caliper, for internal and external measurement with beam and vernier of hardened stainless steel with protruding sliding guides (U09600010)
  • The Facom universal caliper for internal, external and depth measurements (code 805.1)
  • The Metrica precision caliper, made of hardened stainless steel and provided with 4 ways of measurement, for sizes from 0-155 mm, sold in a practical leather case (code 10055)
  • Stahlwille vernier caliper 12900N, with vernier readings 1/20 mm and 1/128", engraved scale, mm and inch subdivision (77371001)

Often it is difficult to read the measures, as they are written in small print. For this reason, the use of a magnetic lens for vernier instruments (Tesa Technology 0051610365) is very useful.

Vernier Calipers | Mister Worker™

  • Dial calipers

These kinds of calipers are relatively easy to use. They have a lined dial that shows the measurement value, which has to be added to the value of the slide in order to obtain the exact and final measurement. Their cost is a little bit higher and they are less shock resistant compared to vernier ones, but they are perfect tools for those who need a professional precision caliper without spending much.

Examples of dial calipers are the following:

  • The Metrica dial caliper in hardened stainless steel, with four measuring functions, an hidden rack, a dial that can be reset in any position and screw locking (this tool is available in the 0-150 mm version and in the 0-200 mm version with respective codes 10023 - 10024)
  • The dial vernier caliper by Tesa Technology, an easy-to-read instrument thanks to the large, high-contrast dial (00510008)
  • The Wiha DIALMAX dial vernier caliper for internal, external and depth measurements (27082)

Dial calipers | Mister Worker™

  • Digital calipers

These are the ultimate tools for those who definitely aren’t math people, but also for taking highly precise measurements. They accurately display up to 0.025mm (0.001”) and can take absolute and incremental measurements.

Unfortunately, digital calipers are more likely to be damaged from a shock; moreover, they may lose accuracy if you work in contact with oil or dust. In order to prevent this latter problem, you can buy calipers with IP67 certification, which gives them impermeability to dust and water and, as a consequence, a longer durability. Another important thing to remember while using a digital caliper is to keep batteries always with you, so you don’t risk finding yourself with a dead caliper while you work.

Some examples of digital calipers that you can find on our site are the following:

  • Facom digital vernier caliper, with reading ruler with patented inductive measuring system (code 1320)
  • Stahlwille 12900 / 1N digital vernier caliper, featuring a large, easy-to-read LCD display (77371002)
  • The Metrica digital caliper with giant numbers (11 mm) and four measurement functions (code 10017)
  • The universal digital caliper by Tesa Technology, certified IP67, and equipped with a connected Bluetooth transmitter for sending data (code 00530140)

Digital Calipers | Mister Worker™

The digitization of measurement tools has made it possible to achieve constant progress and to make work considerably easier. For example, while it once took some familiarity to accurately read the Vernier scale, digital calipers instantly show measurements in units down to 1/100.

However, in digital instruments, the display can often change due to the force adjustment applied during measurement when the measured value exceeds the accuracy limit. Especially in the case of digital measuring instruments which can measure in units up to 1/1000, depending on the target the measured value may not be fixed, which can lead to confusion as to which value to select.

  • Depth calipers

Another example of widely used caliper is the depth gauge, used to measure the depths of grooves, cavities, blind holes, steps, and much more. This type of professional caliper is composed of a millimeter rod, which goes to the bottom of a cavity, and a ground base to rest on the top of the hole. Generally the support base is solid and wide, in order to almost completely prevent the inclination of the gauge and, consequently, reduce the chances of obtaining measurement errors.

On our store you can find several examples of depth gauges and related accessories, let's see some of them:

  • The Tesa Technology depth caliper with pointed internal jaws, whose high contrast and large display ensures easy reading of the values ​​(code 00530441)
  • Facom digital display depth gauge, equipped with a reading ruler having in turn a patented inductive measuring system (code 1350)
  • Metrica depth vernier caliper, made of hardened stainless steel and equipped with a matte chrome scale and a practical screw locking system (10151)
  • Usag fiftieth sliding depth gauge, provided with a hardened stainless steel body and protruding sliding guides (U09630001)
  • The basis for depth measurements for universal calipers (00560055)

Tips for choosing the best caliper

In conclusion, we would like to give some pieces of advice that you should take into account when buying a caliper. Generally, the choice between analog and digital ones must be made according to what needs to be measured and the accuracy required. To determine the dimensions in a more intuitive and easier to understand way, a manual caliper may be preferred. In addition, it is always advisable to choose a quality tool that can stay in your tool assortment for a long time and make measuring tasks easier.

Whether you choose a manual or a digital one, remember to avoid calipers made of plastic, because they are more likely to break after just a couple of uses. You should not also buy tools that are not smooth when in use, because this could slow down your work.

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