best-digital-calipers

7 Best Digital Calipers (2021 Review)

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The best digital calipers should be able to measure with the utmost precision. You should be able to find calipers that resolve to within 0.01mm and be accurate to within a 0.02mm tolerance. Most have a measuring range of 0-150mm but some extend to 200mm. Try to look for a pair that has a “zero function” so you can refer measurements from any point across the ruler length. The best calipers should ideally have IP54 splashproof certification.

You can spend a lot of money on specially calibrated and certified calipers or save cash and get ones that are accurate enough for DIY work. Either way, I’ve heavily researched the best digital calipers available right now, so you don’t have to. Read on to see what I’ve discovered…

What is the Best Digital Caliper For You?

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Comparing the Best Digital Calipers

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Measuring Range
  • Resolution
  • Accuracy
  • IP54 Rated
  • Zero Setting at any Point
  • Weight
  • Accessories
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Digital Calipers

Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital ABS AOS Caliper Thumb R. w/o Output Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital ABS AOS Caliper Thumb R. w/o Output

Best for build quality and attention to detail

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital ABS AOS Caliper Thumb R. w/o Output Review

Specifications

  • Measuring Range: 0-150mm
  • Resolution: 0.01mm
  • Accuracy: 0.02mm
  • IP54 Rated: No
  • Zero Setting at any Point: Yes
  • Weight: 170g
  • Accessories: Case

Mitutoyo are the first name in digital calipers and are based in Japan’s industrial heartland of Kawasaki. Considered the makers of some of the best digital calipers around, the ones I tried out certainly live up to their good name!

The stainless-steel construction was as you would expect from these Mitutoyo digital calipers. Precision machining and grinding of all metal parts is incredibly accurate. Both sets of jaws come together without any gaps or movement at all. The fine adjustment wheel is well knurled and can be locked easily to keep a measurement.

Because they use an electromagnetic ABS encoder, the Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital caliper isn’t thrown off by the presence of dirt during measurement. The signal on the electronic caliper is not affected by oil, water, or other substances when in use. This really makes a difference when taking vernier caliper accuracy seriously.

The included hard case is of top quality, and the battery life of 180,000 hours is backed up with spare batteries inside. Included with all genuine Mitutoyo products are calibration certificates signed by the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Well known for making the gold standard when it comes to the best digital calipers, Mitutoyo are hard to top. The attention to detail and build quality are second to none.
  • Each set of 500-196-30 calipers come with a stamped certificate of authenticity and calibration. Mitutoyo take their quality control seriously, it’s to be trusted.
  • Compared with the Preciva FRDM730002, the Mitutoyo displays results accurate to four decimal places in metric. It’s accuracy down to this level that sets them apart for professional engineers.
  • Favoured by professionals around the world, the Mitutoyo 500-196-30 is accurate, reliable, and repeatable. These are the three cornerstones of accurate measurement.

Cons

  • There are plenty of fake Mitutoyo digital calipers out there. Make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller and inspect the product and documents carefully on arrival.
  • Unless you’re undertaking precise engineering every day, you probably don’t need to spend this much on calipers. This is an expensive measuring device for a casual DIYer.
  • In comparison with the iGaging 100-333, the Mitutoyo doesn’t come with IP54 protection. This is an essential requirement if you work in a dusty environment or want water ingress prevention.
  • The battery life is excellent, but without an auto-off feature you can still run it down if you’re careless. Compared with the DML DC54200, it’s a feature I would benefit from having!
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Preciva FRDM730002 Digital Vernier CalipersPreciva FRDM730002 Digital Vernier Calipers

Best for quality and value

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Preciva FRDM730002 Digital Vernier Calipers Review

Specifications

  • Measuring Range: 0-150mm
  • Resolution: 0.01mm
  • Accuracy: 0.02mm
  • IP54 Rated: Yes
  • Zero Setting at any Point: Yes
  • Weight: 386g
  • Accessories: Case

Preciva make a huge range of handy products from soldering stations to expandable garden hoses. They also make one of the best inexpensive digital calipers I’ve tested out. Preciva’s motto is “We offer precise value”, and I agree. The FRDM730002 digital vernier calipers are incredibly accurate and completely affordable.

Made from stainless steel, they weigh in at 386 g. The weight helps to give them an air of quality, even if it’s a bit biased towards the readout end. The sliding action is completely smooth and well machined, there’s no rough patches to interfere with taking measurements.

I like the fact that these calipers are rated to IP54 protection levels. That means it’s protected against water and dust ingress. The sensitive electronics could otherwise be damaged in a harsh engineering environment.

What makes this one of the best digital calipers out there is the enormous LCD screen. It makes reading the measurements a piece of cake, especially if your eyesight isn’t great. I like the little knurled metal grip underneath the screen section as well, it makes it easy to slide the jaws open and closed.

Pros

  • That giant screen! It’s the real selling point for this set of calipers. It’s brilliant for quickly referencing measurements and ideal for anyone without 20/20 vision.
  • It comes packed in a well-designed blow moulded case. It’ll keep everything together and protected for years.
  • The “zero” function is seriously handy for making quick measurement comparisons. And you don’t need to do any mental arithmetic! The button is well placed for the job too.
  • It comes shipped with a CR2023 battery installed. For extra working life, Preciva have also included a spare battery. It’ll keep you measuring for ages.

Cons

  • Compared with the Mitutoyo MIT500-196-30, this is a heavy set of calipers. If you’re looking for a lightweight measuring tool, then 386 g is probably a bit much.
  • Some users have complained that the finishing on the interior measurement jaws is uneven. Even if this is an affordable measuring tool, it needs to have parallel jaws.
  • The large screen is easy to read in bright light, but it could be vastly improved by being backlit. It would make it a lot more visible in low light settings.
  • It’s not the most streamlined set of vernier calipers. The large display section is just that, large.
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DML 150mm 6 Inch Digital Vernier Caliper DML 150mm 6 Inch Digital Vernier Caliper

Best for extra features

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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DML 150mm 6 Inch Digital Vernier Caliper Review

Specifications

  • Measuring Range: 0-150mm
  • Resolution: 0.01mm
  • Accuracy: 0.02mm
  • IP54 Rated: No
  • Zero Setting at any Point: Yes
  • Weight: 163g
  • Accessories: Case, spare battery

A Sheffield-based UK specialist in handheld metrology is Digital Micrometers Ltd. They produce a wide range of precision instruments for industrial, automotive, electrical and DIY applications. Their DML 6″ digital Vernier Caliper is one of the best budget measuring tools available right now.

The internal and external measurement jaws on this digital vernier caliper are well machined and close together accurately. The depth gauge is small enough to get into tight spaces as well. I’m looking for the best Vernier caliper, so the DML Digital Vernier Caliper is more than suited for the task.

One of the features I like are the big screen that makes looking at the readouts easy in most lights. It’s convenient without making the calipers too bulky. There’s a built in reference point that stores the last position when powered off as well.

Pros

  • These calipers have the all-important “zero” function. You can use this to refer measurements from any point across the 6" ruler length.
  • The built-in reference point takes the “zero” function one step further. You can take a measurement, switch the device off, and it’s still there when you turn it back on!
  • It’s easy to read the measurements on the screen. Compared with the Preciva screen it’s not huge, but it’s more than enough to read quickly or at a distance.

Cons

  • There’s a lot more plastic used in the construction compared to the Preciva FRDM730002. I don’t think they’ll last as long in a workshop environment.
  • They lack the IP54 protection you get from the iGaging 100-333 IP54 calipers. If you’re working in a dusty environment, it’s not ideal.
  • Some users have complained about a lack of repeatable accuracy. Compared with the Mitutoyo MIT500-196-30 calipers, it’s not sent out with a certificate of calibration.
BUY HERE →

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iGaging 100-333-8B 6” IP54 Electronic Digital CaliperiGaging 100-333-8B 6” IP54 Electronic Digital Caliper

Best for wide display

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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iGaging 100-333-8B 6” IP54 Electronic Digital Caliper Review

Specifications

  • Measuring Range: 0-150mm
  • Resolution: 0.01mm
  • Accuracy: 0.02mm
  • IP54 Rated: Yes
  • Zero Setting at any Point: No
  • Weight: 51g
  • Accessories: Case

Based in San Clemente, USA, iGaging are one of the most respected measuring tool firms out there. Part of the International Precision Instruments Corporation, they know a thing or two about making the best digital calipers.

The iGaging 100-333-8B electronic digital caliper is a seriously solid and well made tool. The hardened stainless steel body is precision machined to move smoothly and accurately. The jaws are sharp and come together with a solid feel you get from quality design and engineering.

The display is large enough to be easy to read but doesn’t make the caliper too heavy on one end. You can cycle through metric measurement and imperial with both decimals and fractions of an inch. And it displays the results to four decimal places, essential for the finest precision.

I like the fact that it comes with a certificate of calibration as well. It’s the attention to detail like this that elevate a good set of calipers to the best calipers available for the price.

Pros

  • A serious set of digital Vernier calipers that come with a certificate of calibration. For the price, they’re an excellent buy and completely trustworthy.
  • The solid stainless steel body feels robust compared to the plastic used in the DML digital calipers.
  • They’re IP54 rated against water and dust ingress. In comparison, even the Mitutoyo MIT500-196-30 isn’t rated that high and they’re more expensive!
  • Weighing in at just 51 g, these are incredibly lightweight digital calipers. Compared with the relatively heavy Preciva FRDM730002, they’re just a fraction of the weight.

Cons

  • This digital caliper lacks the incredibly useful “zero” function. You’ll need to have your maths head on if you do lots of comparative measurements.
  • The ends of the jaws are rather sharp. They can easily mark the workpiece if you’re not careful. The inside measurement jaws are sharp enough to hurt!
  • Several users have complained that the battery compartment doesn’t close properly. For a precision engineered device, this is a bit worrying.
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eSynic Waterproof 6” Digital Vernier Caliper eSynic Waterproof 6” Digital Vernier Caliper

Best budget digital caliper

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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eSynic Waterproof 6” Digital Vernier Caliper Review

Specifications

  • Measuring Range: 0-150mm
  • Resolution: 0.01mm
  • Accuracy: 0.02mm
  • IP54 Rated: Yes
  • Zero Setting at any Point: Yes
  • Weight: 202g
  • Accessories: Case, s/battery, feeler

Electronics brand eSynic make an interesting range of gadgets and safety devices. Included is their surprisingly high quality LATTL528 waterproof digital calipers. Made from tough stainless steel, it’s guaranteed to be protected from water and dust ingress.

I like the fact that the whole measuring tool is stainless steel. There aren’t any weak plastic bits that might fall off after the first knock or drop, so it’s an ideal workshop companion.

There are the three expected measurement modes to choose from: metric, imperial with decimals and fractions. I’m happy to report that eSynic have included the all-important “zero” function as well, so you can compare readings easily.

It’s a well-thought out digital caliper that comes in a quality blow moulded case. But what makes it the best digital caliper kit is what comes with it. You get a whole set of useful feeler gauges as well. They’ll come in handy for checking the accuracy of the calipers and for all sorts of engineering jobs.

Pros

  • I’m a big fan of the all-stainless steel construction here. It’s always going to work out tougher than plastic parts. They won’t get scratched as easily and the buttons should last for longer.
  • You get a free set of feeler gauges with the set. If you’re involved with precision work, knowing your tolerances is important, and now you can double check your measurements!
  • Once you’ve started using the “zero” function in your measuring tasks, it’s hard to go back to a caliper without it. You can check tolerances without needing to remember the numbers.
  • eSynic have included a spare battery in the blow moulded case. There’s also a little screwdriver in case you need to take the back off the caliper.

Cons

  • Weighing 202 g, they’re not the lightest calipers available. It’s probably thanks to all that stainless-steel.
  • Several users have complained that the on-board battery was flat on arrival. They include a spare, but it’s not supposed to be changed that soon!
  • Compared with the iGaging 100-333-8B, you don’t receive any certificate of calibration. You’ll need to check for yourself if it reads true.
  • Some users have complained that the decimal places are too small and hard to read. Compared with the enormous numbers on the Preciva, they’re tiny.
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Neiko 01408A Electronic Digital Caliper with Extra Large LCD ScreenNeiko 01408A Electronic Digital Caliper with Extra Large LCD Screen

Best value 200mm caliper

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Neiko 01408A Electronic Digital Caliper with Extra Large LCD Screen Review

Specifications

  • Measuring Range: 0-200mm
  • Resolution: 0.01mm
  • Accuracy: 0.02mm
  • IP54 Rated: No
  • Zero Setting at any Point: No
  • Weight: 405g
  • Accessories: Case, spare battery

Known for their affordable yet quality precision devices, Neiko have produced an excellent set of digital Vernier calipers. The 01408A calipers are tough, built to last and has a useful large LCD screen.

The first thing to note about these calipers is that they measure up to 200 mm or just under 8″. They’re big enough to handle large objects but aren’t so large as to be unwieldy. The rule of thumb with any measuring equipment stands that the longer it is, the less accurate it becomes. An extra 50 mm shouldn’t make too much difference though.

The display is large enough for reading briefly. Cycling between the metric and imperial measurements is easy using the little rubberised buttons. The knurled wheel beside the control unit works well for fine tuning, and there’s a “zero” function included as well.

If you’re not overly worried by a heavy digital caliper, this is a handy tool. Especially when a 6″ digital caliper just isn’t long enough for the job.

Pros

  • The provided case is well made and holds the tool without rattling. Compared with the DML DC04150 case it feels more secure.
  • You can display the imperial measurements in decimals as well as fractions. This makes it easier to understand small differences easily.
  • You get a lot of digital caliper for the money. They’re longer compared to the eSynic LATTL528, for those big measurements.

Cons

  • For some users, the white numbers on a black background will be harder to read. It’s possible they’ll scratch off more easily compared to the Preciva’s etched numbers too.
  • The weight. It’s hard to ignore the fact that this digital caliper weighs a whopping 405 g. That’s nearly double the other 200 mm long calipers, the DML DC54200.
  • You need to take into consideration the extra size of this set of calipers. It’s not going to fit into small spaces compared with the streamlined Mitutoyo MIT500-196-30.
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DML 200mm 8” IP54 Water Resistant Digital Vernier CaliperDML 200mm 8” IP54 Water Resistant Digital Vernier Caliper

Best 200mm splash resistant

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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DML 200mm 8” IP54 Water Resistant Digital Vernier Caliper Review

Specifications

  • Measuring Range: 0-200mm
  • Resolution: 0.01mm
  • Accuracy: 0.03mm
  • IP54 Rated: Yes
  • Zero Setting at any Point: Yes
  • Weight: 222g
  • Accessories: Case, spare battery

Another tool on my list from the Sheffield metrology specialists, the DML DC54200 is the big brother to the 6″ DC04150. It’s just what you need for measuring larger components with a good level of accuracy.

Like the 6″ version, this is a well-engineered stainless steel digital caliper that is rated for IP54 protection. It’s sealed against dust, water, and oil ingress, which is a good idea if you plan to use it in a workshop setting.

The screen is large and easy to read, and the “zero” feature is always welcome in a tool like this. The inner and outer measurement jaws are precisely ground without being too sharp, and the movement wheel is solid too.

I’m pleased to see a signed inspection paper included with this measuring tool. It’s a sign that DML take their job seriously and offer a high level of precision to their customers.

Pros

  • The extra length afforded to the user is ideal for a range of tasks. Sometimes a 6" caliper just isn’t enough!
  • The built in reference point adds to the “zero” function. You can set a measurement, turn the caliper off, and when you switch back on it’s remembered. A handy feature to have.
  • The auto start function makes one-handed operation easy. You don’t need to reset the calipers thanks to the reference point memory.

Cons

  • The level of accuracy, compared with the Neiko 01408A, isn’t as good. It’s only accurate to 0.03 mm, rather than 0.02 mm. It makes a difference to the finest measurements.
  • Compared with the iGaging 100-333, you can’t show imperial measurements as fractions. You’re stuck with either metric or imperial measurements with decimals.
  • Compared with the foam lined case that comes with the Neiko 01408A, this one has a bit of a rattle. It’s not terrible, but you need a snug fit with blow moulded cases.
BUY HERE →

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Things to Know Before Buying Digital Calipers

The no-so-secret way to make sure your projects work out well is by taking accurate measurements. They say, “measure twice, cut once”, but if you can’t take precise measurements in the first place, you might as well not bother! Digital calipers are tremendous bits of kit, you can use them to take all sorts of readings if you know how to use them.

Outside Measurements

Probably the most used function on a digital caliper is to take outside measurements. This is the distance from one end to the other of an object. Just like using a basic ruler, you’re measuring from end to end using the big jaws that hang underneath the display.

Inside Measurements

If you need to work out the distance between two objects, you need to take an inside measurement. Think about measuring the inside of a piper, for instance. You can’t easily replicate this task with a basic ruler, you need to use the smaller set of jaws found on the top of the tool. The jaws face outwards, allowing you to fit them between two surfaces get an accurate measurement.

Depth Gauge

The best digital calipers will include a long probe that slides out for checking depths. It’s usually stored inside the ruler section of the calliper and is thin enough to get into the tightest spots.

Step Measurements

Taking measurements with the inside or outside jaws isn’t always ideal. If you want to get a precise measurement of the inside of a container, you can use the step function. The flat end of the moving jaw can be used to take measurements. You move it into place, and then use the offset part of the blade to measure the distance between there and the flat end of the caliper.

Fine Adjustments

Sometimes you need to move the jaws or depth probe by just a fraction of a millimetre. It can be difficult with big, clumsy hands, so make use of the fine adjustment wheel. Usually sited on the opposite side of the display to the jaws. You can roll it either way for the highest level of precision.

Metric or Imperial Measurements

It doesn’t matter what side of the unit debate you’re on. You can switch between codes with the press of a button. Whether you’re a metric fanatic or Imperial stickler, it’s seriously useful to have both.

Decimal and Fractional Imperial Measurements

When you’re measuring objects using Imperial inches, things can get complicated. Measurements less than one inch can be shown in two different ways. Decimal inches use numbers behind a decimal place, and fractional inches use fractions. For example, half an inch can be displayed as either ½ or 0.500. The best digital calipers can switch between these two modes.

Zero Function

This is one of the key features found on only the best digital calipers. Making reference measurements is easy and will improve your calculations without having to do any mental maths. If you want to compare, say, the thickness of several parts you’ve machined, this is the way to do it. Measure the first one, then zero the measurement. You can then measure the rest, and instead of showing the overall measurement, you can see just the deviation.

For example, if I machine four blocks of steel I can compare them for relative size without needing to remember four different numbers. The first block is 10.000 mm. I zero the calliper and then measure the second. It now shows 0.014 mm. The third shows -0.001 mm and the fourth 0.008 mm. I now know the difference in measurements and can decide if they’re within design tolerances.

Calibration

The best, and most expensive, digital callipers come with a certificate of calibration. The Mitutoyo 500-196-30, for example, comes with a stamped and signed document that guarantees calibration from the factory. You know that it will read correctly and will repeat the measurements you make.

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Digital Caliper FAQs

Do I need to look after digital calipers?

Any sensitive measuring device needs to be treated with respect. It’s essential that you keep the device in good working order to get the desired results. Maintaining all moving parts and ensuring safe storage is part of best practise when it comes to calipers. Always keep them in the case when not in use.

Does it matter what batteries I use?

The quality and type of battery you use can make a huge difference when it comes to the best digital callipers. Slight changes in voltage can cause incorrect readings, so buy the best batteries you can afford. Weak batteries can be the cause of problems as well, so make sure to change them.

Are digital callipers better than analogue callipers?

Digital measuring devices are becoming more popular because users want instant results on a large screen. Analogue measuring devices are capable of the same levels of accuracy but take more effort to use. Opening and closing the jaws on a digital calliper compared to an analogue micrometer is a lot quicker as well.

What’s the difference between calipers and callipers?

The only difference is the spelling. In the US, they use one “L”, and in the UK we use two “L’s” They’re the same machine with similar functions.

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