Best Digital Calipers

Digital calipers are the most popular type of precision measuring equipment you can buy. They are used in a multitude of different trades but are most prevalent with machinists.

If you own and operate a cnc machine/router you will need a set of good quality calipers.

Of all the types of calipers available, such as Vernier, digital and dial , digital calipers are the most convenient and easiest to read.

This article will help you to choose the best digital calipers.

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Preview
Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) Absolute...*
Mitutoyo 500-197-30CAL Absolute Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS)...*
Digital Caliper, Adoric 0-6" Calipers Measuring Tool -...*
iGaging IP54 Electronic Digital Caliper 0-6" Display...*
Mitutoyo 505-742 Dial Caliper, D6"TX, 0.1" per Rev, 0-6"...*
Description
Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) Absolute...*
Mitutoyo 500-197-30CAL Absolute Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS)...*
Digital Caliper, Adoric 0-6" Calipers Measuring Tool -...*
iGaging IP54 Electronic Digital Caliper 0-6" Display...*
Mitutoyo 505-742 Dial Caliper, D6"TX, 0.1" per Rev, 0-6"...*
Measuring Range
0"-6"
0"-8"
0"-6"
0"-6"
0"-6"
Units of Measurment
Metric and Imperial
Metric and Imperial
Metric and Imperial
Metric and Imperial
Imperial
Recommended?
Definitely
Definitely
No
Budget Buy
Yes
Preview
Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) Absolute...*
Description
Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) Absolute...*
Measuring Range
0"-6"
Units of Measurment
Metric and Imperial
Recommended?
Definitely
Check Price
Preview
Mitutoyo 500-197-30CAL Absolute Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS)...*
Description
Mitutoyo 500-197-30CAL Absolute Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS)...*
Measuring Range
0"-8"
Units of Measurment
Metric and Imperial
Recommended?
Definitely
Check Price
Preview
Digital Caliper, Adoric 0-6" Calipers Measuring Tool -...*
Description
Digital Caliper, Adoric 0-6" Calipers Measuring Tool -...*
Measuring Range
0"-6"
Units of Measurment
Metric and Imperial
Recommended?
No
Check Price
Preview
iGaging IP54 Electronic Digital Caliper 0-6" Display...*
Description
iGaging IP54 Electronic Digital Caliper 0-6" Display...*
Measuring Range
0"-6"
Units of Measurment
Metric and Imperial
Recommended?
Budget Buy
Check Price
Preview
Mitutoyo 505-742 Dial Caliper, D6"TX, 0.1" per Rev, 0-6"...*
Description
Mitutoyo 505-742 Dial Caliper, D6"TX, 0.1" per Rev, 0-6"...*
Measuring Range
0"-6"
Units of Measurment
Imperial
Recommended?
Yes
Check Price

Mitutoyo 6” calipers

Mitutoyo are considered the industry standard when it comes to digital calipers. All other brands get compared to them. 

Mitutoyo calipers

My experiences with owning several of them are very positive, they do what they are designed to do and will last a long time if you look after them.

They are made from quality materials, there are no cost cutting with the design and they feel smooth and precise when using them.

Pros

  • As Accurate as you can expect a set of calipers to be.
  • Made with high quality materials that produce a solid, tight feel when using.
  • Long lasting hardened steel jaws
  • Industry standard, Used by professionals
  • Battery will last approx 1 year of regular use
  • Reliable consistent readout 
  • The quality ensures they will last for many years
  • Complete with a protective case

Cons

  • Higher cost for initial purchase, but will likely be more cost effective over time due to its longer lasting build quality.
Sale
Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) Absolute...*
  • Measures 0 to 6" (0 to 150mm) in 0.0005" (0.01mm) increments for precision use
  • Digital readout LCD shows inch or metric units for versatility when measuring
  • Advanced onsite sensor (AOS) electromagnetic inductive sensor for resistance to dirt, oil, and water
  • Measures inside, outside, depth, and step values for versatility. With thumb roller. Except 500-500-10, 500-501-10,500-502-10
  • Includes protective case and SR44 silver oxide battery

Mitutoyo 8” calipers

Even though I have just reviewed the 6” mitutoyo calipers I thought it would be useful to review these as well. There are several sizes of Mitutoyo calipers available including, 12”, 18” and a small 4” set.

All the opinions I gave about the 6” calipers apply to these as well. 

The main issue is that bigger is sometimes not better. If you need the extra measuring distance these calipers provide then you should get them. 

But don’t buy a bigger set just because you can, the extra size of the calipers can work against you in smaller spaces.

If you extend a 12” set of calipers out, the depth blade at the rear will make the overall length of them to over 24” long.

If your machine is close to a wall or in an enclosure, a larger set might not let you measure your part while it is still in the machine.

Choose your size wisely…

Pros

  • As Accurate as you can expect a set of calipers to be.
  • Made with high quality materials that produce a solid, tight feel when using.
  • Long lasting hardened steel jaws
  • Industry standard, Used by professionals
  • Battery will last approx 1 year of regular use
  • Reliable consistent readout 
  • The quality ensures they will last for many years
  • Complete with a protective case

Cons

  • Higher cost for initial purchase, but will likely be more cost efficient over time due to its longer lasting build quality.
  • Make sure these are not too big for the space around your machine.
Sale
Mitutoyo 500-197-30CAL Absolute Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS)...*
  • Calibrated caliper with a measurement range of 0 to 8" (0 to 200mm), resolution of 0.0005" (0.01mm), and an accuracy of + or - 0.001", for measuring inner/outer diameters, depth, and step of items in harsh workshop conditions
  • LCD screen displays in inches and metric units
  • Thumb roller and Absolute electrostatic capacitance type linear encoder for accurate measurements and a 0.75", round, depth bar
  • Functions include absolute measurement, incremental measurement, scale contamination alert, and low-voltage alert
  • Includes a Mitutoyo Certificate of Calibration that the tool has been calibrated, and meets the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) 17025 International Standard for testing and calibration laboratories

Adoric calipers

adoric calipers

At the other end of the price spectrum is this set from Adoric, they give you a choice of a plastic and a stainless steel steel body. The plastic set is optimistically described for household or diy use but I doubt they will be good for anything. 

They might get bent in shipping.

The other choice of stainless steel would be the preferred option if you want a budget set for general ‘household’ use. 

The accuracy is listed as +/- .05mm which is +/- .002” which isn’t great to be honest, but for the price these cost it isn’t too surprising.

My biggest concern with any of the budget priced calipers would be the reliability of the digital readout and the linear encoder.

Given the price these types of calipers sell for I doubt the quality of the electronics can be relied on to last. 

Luck may play a part in getting a reliable set.

Pros

  • Extremely well priced, can almost be used as disposable.
  • Made with stainless steel.
  • Good for general d.i.y etc.

Cons

  • Not well made enough for consistent accurate readings.
  • Questionable reliability with the readout.
  • Possible to order the plastic set by mistake.
  • Unlikely to last for too long before you upgrade to the set you should have bought.
  • No protective case supplied
Sale
Digital Caliper, Adoric 0-6" Calipers Measuring Tool -...*
  • ✔PRECISE MEASUREMENT✔ Measurement range: 0 - 6''/ 0 - 150mm; Resolution: 0.01”/ 0.1mm; Accuracy: ±0.2mm/0.01”. Perfect and accurate caliper measuring tool for household/DIY measurement. Please choose stainless steel digital caliper for more accurate measuring.
  • ✔4 MEASURING MODES✔ This digital caliper can be used to Measure inside and outside diameter, depth and step with two sets of jaws and a probe. Powered by battery, comes with a pre-installed battery and a spare battery.
  • ✔INCH/MM CONVERSION✔ One button quick switch between two units: inch and millimeter, definitely save your time. Made of rugged plastic carbon fiber composites, durable and portable.
  • ✔ZERO SETTING FUNCTION✔ The smart design allows you to set zero with an easy touch of a button and start a new measurement at any point of the scale, ideal for differential measuring.
  • ✔LARGE LCD SCREEN & AUTO OFF✔ The large and easy-to-read LCD display helps you get precise results quickly and easily, auto shutdown for saving battery after 5 minutes if without operation.

Igaging Calipers

igaging calipers

If cost is an issue and you are determined to save a few bucks these Igaging calipers are definitely worth considering.

These are at the higher quality end of the chinese built digital calipers and have plenty of positive reviews.

The manufacturer, Igaging, claims they have an accuracy of +/- .001” and a readout resolution of .0005” which is comparable to the high end calipers. 

There are a lot of different options and sizes available from this company and they claim an IP code of 54. 

An IP54 rating means it is slightly dust proof and can resist a ‘splash’ of water.

They also come with a protective plastic case.

I would be tempted to buy this set for general use and abuse but I have an old set of Mitutoyo 6” calipers that I use at home. 

They are definitely an option to consider if you are budget conscious although I am reluctant to recommend them without actually owning and using a set for a reasonable amount of time.

I am considering buying a set to test out and will update this review if I do.

Pros

  • Competitively priced.
  • Made with stainless steel.
  • Perfect for general d.i.y, for mechanics etc
  • Supplied with a protective case.

Cons

  • Questionable reliability with the readout.
  • A few minor build quality issues reported in reviews
iGaging IP54 Electronic Digital Caliper 0-6" Display...*
  • Easy read SUPER LARGE display (2-3/8"x7/8")
  • IP54 - Splash water, oil and dust resistant
  • Hardened stainless steel body
  • Precision lapping finish
  • Range: 0-6" Accuracy: 0.001" Repeatability: 0.0005" Resolution: 0.0005"/0.01mm/1/128"

mitutoyo dial calipers

mitutoyo dial calipers

These Mitutoyo dial calipers are probably as good quality as you can expect to buy, If you prefer dial calipers instead of digital, these are the set I recommend.

There are still some people who like to use good old fashioned dial calipers, so I included a set in this review to give my experiences using them. 

Reliability will never be an issue with dial calipers if you buy from a high end manufacturer, they will last a long time provided they receive proper care. 

They work using a rack and pinion to drive the pointer on the readout face giving an accuracy of around +/- .0005. This is the same as digital calipers.

This type of caliper relies heavily on the quality and fit of the rack and pinion mechanism, any slop here will result in a noticeable decrease in accuracy and repeatability.

This is why I would only recommend you buy dial calipers from a reputable company.

I do own a budget set that will occasionally jump teeth when some debris gets on the rack. This emphasizes the biggest problem with dial calipers and that is the exposed rack.

Making sure the gear teeth are clean is important, as well as checking that the dial reads zero with the jaws closed before every use. 

Pros

  • Reasonably priced.
  • Made with stainless steel.
  • A good quality set will be as accurate as digital calipers
  • Supplied with a protective case.
  • No battery needed

Cons

  • Only reads in one unit of measurement
  • Not as versatile as digital calipers
  • Need to keep the rack and pinion free of debris
Sale
Mitutoyo 505-742 Dial Caliper, D6"TX, 0.1" per Rev, 0-6"...*
  • New designed dial movement for ultra smooth sliding and high shock protection
  • Improved finish on sliding surgaces for longevity.
  • Lock screw for dial bezel and for holding the sliding jaw position
  • New face for improved readability.
  • Can measure OD, ID, depth and steps.

Conclusion

In my opinion the best digital calipers are the Mitutoyo 6” calipers. They are the best all round and are the calipers that all others are compared to. 

All you need to decide is which size range would be ideal for your needs.

Being a machinist by trade, I could not possibly recommend any of the lower priced calipers and have a clear conscience.

If you needed a set for general use, buying budget along with a good quality set would certainly be an excellent combination.  

I know the difference a quality set of calipers makes to your work and even though the cost of a mitutoyo is higher, the price is certainly justified. This is definitely a ‘get what you pay for’ situation.

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