Published : 11/10/2021 10:04:39

In the previous article Mister Worker tried to help you understand which caliper you should use. Now it’s time to explain to you how to use different kinds of this tool and how to read them: each type has its own features, so you have to choose the one you think is the best for the measurements you need to take. The best model is the digital one, no doubt. It’s extremely accurate and easy to use, but a lot of professional workers do prefer to use vernier or dial ones

Before starting, let's briefly review what is a caliper and for what purpose we can use this tool. The caliper is a manual instrument that allows you to take and report linear measurements between 0 and 20 cm, with precision to the twentieth of a millimeter. For this reason, it is also referred to as a twentieth caliper.

The caliper is used above all in mechanics, but also in the hydraulic field and in woodworking. It is made up of several parts: a fixed part graduated in millimeters and inches; a movable slider, placed on the graduated part, and an additional graduated scale with 20 millimeter notches. In addition, the caliper includes a rod integrated into the cursor that protrudes from the opposite end when sliding and allows you to measure depths and heights.

How to use caliper measuring tool

With a caliper you can measure both inside and outside dimensions and depth: all you have to do is simply put the jaws against the object you need to measure, based on the measure you need to take. Then, you can read the measurement on the scale or on the display, depending on the kind of calipers you’re using.

Depending on the measurement you need to make, the caliper can have different features:

  • External measurements: it has two jaws designed to be tight against the outer walls of the object.
  • Internal measurements: it has two jaws designed to measure the distance between the inner walls of an object.
  • Depth: it has a rod designed to go all the way down a hole and then measure its depth.
  • Universal: it is equipped with a combination of jaws designed to make multiple measurements.

Now, let’s see in detail how to read a caliper!

Calipers features | Mr. Worker™

  • How to read a vernier caliper

First of all, let’s see how to use a vernier caliper. By pressing on the release control located in the lower part of the vernier, you can space the upper and lower jaws. After sliding the beaks (the larger ones for external measurements, the smaller ones for internal measurements) placing them on the ends of the object you want to measure, you will have to read the value you find on the main scale, at the point where it aligns with zero. Then, you have to read the vernier scale, looking for the point where it lines up perfectly with the main scale: in this way you get  the value of the decimal digits. At the end you need to sum up the main scale and the vernier scale to get the final measurement. If the measurement does not exactly correspond to a notch placed on the fixed rod, the notch preceding it is to be considered and you have to count the notches shown on the vernier from the left up to the one that coincides exactly with the reference notch. In case you need to measure the depth, you have to place the opposite end of the fixed part on the outer edge of the object and to put the rod on the bottom. It’s very important to be sure of  using the correct units on each scale. The vernier caliper  basically works like a ruler!

  • How to read a dial caliper

As for measurements made with the vernier caliper, when using a dial caliper the first thing you need to do is close the jaws. After that, loosen the dial nut and set it to zero before fixing it and taking the measurement. You may need to loosen a screw above or below the dial before you can rotate it. If so, remember to re-tighten the screw when you're done. Then, you can read the values ​​on the scale and dial: the needle should indicate a value that makes the measurement even more precise. The unit of measurement is indicated on the front face of the dial.  In order to obtain the final measurement, when using a dial caliper you will need to add up both the values ​​you read on the main scale and those on the dial scale. Please note: to get the correct measurement, you need to multiply by 0,01 all the numbers you read on the dial indicator. Furthermore, the dial caliper can also be used in wet environments and, thanks to its watch, provides more accurate and easier to read measurements than the vernier one. 

  • How to use digital calipers

As anticipated at the beginning, digital calipers are the most popular ones because they are characterized by various advantages, such as their ease of use, the numerous measurement modes they offer, their durability over time, their wide measuring range and relatively low costs. In addition, the digital caliper generally does not give reading errors.

But how do digital calipers work? The digital caliper is a high-precision measuring instrument used mainly in mechanical engineering and construction. Regarding this type of caliper, a digital electronic indicator is mounted on the slider which detects its movement, while a millimeter scale is normally engraved on the body. The displays with which these gauges are equipped normally have a resolution of 0.01 mm. Generally the reading of digital gauges is centesimal but there are also penta-millesimal gauges, characterized by a reading displayed at 5 thousandths of a millimeter.

The evolution of electronics has allowed the creation of miniaturized indicators with very low consumption, so much so that they can be battery powered.

Digital calipers are the perfect tools when you need to take extremely accurate measurements, specially on small objects. First of all, before taking any measurement, you need to zero the tool, so that you are sure to take exact measurements. Then you can start using it to measure thickness or depth dimensions like a classic caliper: you can read the measurements directly on the display and store it in the calipers memory.

There are a number of factors that you need to pay attention to when choosing your digital caliper. Here are some of them:

  • Depth Gauge: This is the most important feature to consider, as it allows you to measure the exact depth of a hole, as well as the precise thickness of any material. Make sure, therefore, that the gauge you are purchasing has a durable depth gauge;
  • Locking screws: these are also essential, since they ensure perfect locking of the measuring jaws, and consequently allow to avoid unpleasant inconveniences;
  • Jaws: attention! Measuring jaws are generally very delicate, so make sure the digital caliper you are interested in has jaws made of durable materials.

Calipers for sale on Mister Worker

In conclusion, we would like to recommend some excellent quality calipers for sale on our website, in addition to the specimens already mentioned in the previous article. For example, the high-quality 0-150 mm vernier caliper Metrica 10061, made of hardened stainless steel, has four measuring functions, a firm screw locking, and a matte graduated scale. It is one of the best vernier calipers of our catalog and is the ideal product for mechanical measurements.


If you are looking for a depth gauge, then we recommend the Metrica 10820, suitable for measuring tyre profiles. Like the product previously described, it is made of stainless steel; moreover, this product is characterized by the needle shaped so that it can enter the grooves of the tyres.

The Stahlwille 77371005 electronic vernier caliper is the perfect product for measuring tyre treads. Its display is large and easy to read, also thanks to the 9,5 mm-high of digits. In addition, it has a display accuracy of 0.01 mm / 0.0005 " and can be turned on and off very easily, thanks to the on/off push button located just below the display. By purchasing this electronic caliper you will also receive a 1 x 3 V Lithium-battery CR2032. Another electronic caliper that deserves to be taken into consideration is undoubtedly the Tesa Technology 00530140 universal digital vernier caliper: the cursor is equipped with a guide that facilitates sliding, making it smooth and fluent. In addition, its wide high contrast display facilitates reading of values ​​and the tool is optimally protected from liquids and dust.This digital caliper is powered by a 3 V lithium battery of the CR2032 model and has an incredible autonomy of 12,000 hours.

Digital caliper Tesa Technology 00530140

One of the best dial calipers we offer is undoubtedly the Wiha 27082, applicable for external, internal and depth measurements, equipped with a 35 mm diameter value display dial. This latest feature is shock resistant. Also, this model is great for making comparative measurements. Wiha dial caliper 27082

The Tesa Technology 00510004 dial caliper is also a fantastic product, as the integrated shockproof device makes it highly durable. In addition, its large, high-contrast dial makes it easier to read the measurements taken.

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