Best Digital Caliper – Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

Trying to find the best digital caliper can be quite a task, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for. Digital calipers are most often used in carpentry, metalworking, machining and mechanical engineering. The digital caliper is a measuring instrument that utilizes inspection of accurate measurements.

You’ll find some digital calipers that use standard or metric units and others allow the readings to be inputted into the computer. In comparison to a dial caliper, the digital variety is easier to use, more accurate and faster. With that said, they are also more fragile electronically and mechanically.

To help make the selection easier, we’ve put together a guide featuring our 8 picks for the best digital caliper.


Digital Caliper Reviews

PreviewNameAwardsPurchase

Mitutoyo 500

Best Overall

MLTOOLS

Best for the Money

Neiko

Best on a Budget


Best Digital Caliper Priced above $30

If you are a professional and use a caliper on a regular basis, it is wise to invest the money in one of the more expensive models. Here’s our pick for the best digital caliper priced above $30.

1. Mitutoyo 500-196-30

Mitutoyo 500-196-30

Measures 0 to 6

The Mitutoyo is just what you need if are a professional. It’s durable and well-constructed to last you many years of use. The measuring range is up to 6-inches (150mm) with measuring increments 0.0005-inch increments so you’ll have what you need for any job. In addition, the LCD screen is large and easy to read.

You can switch the LCD screen to read in both inches or metric to offer maximum versatility for your measurements. What’s nice about this unit is that the advanced onsite electromagnetic sensor is dirt, water and oil-resistant. You can take outside, inside, depth or step values with this caliper for maximum versatility.

The unit comes with a protective case and an SR44 silver oxide battery. This unit does cost more than any other brand on our list, but it is made to last. If you take care of this digital caliper, it should be the last one you need to purchase.

This is the best digital caliper around for metalworking, machining, mechanical engineering, medicine and carpentry needs.

If you want to see an unboxing of the Mitutoyo, check out this YouTube video:

What Customers Say:

When purchasing this item from Amazon, it’s important that you verify Amazon is the seller as many people have received fakes purchasing from other sellers. Other than that, there is nothing but rave reviews about this caliper. In fact, one person noted, “The minute you pick these up you can feel the quality.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 0.035  ounces
  • Measurement Accuracy: +/-0.001
  • Range: 0-6 inches
  • Resolution: 0.00050”
  • Special Features: Waterproof
  • Warranty: 1-year
PROS:
  • LCD digital readout
  • Can read inches or metric
  • Water, dirt and oil-resistant
  • Measures inside, outside, step and depth values
  • Easy to set to zero

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • If not purchased from Amazon, you might purchase a fake


 

2. Hornady 50080 Digital Caliper

Hornady 50080

Resolution: .0005 inch/.01mm

With the Hornady, you can precisely measure diameters both outside and inside, bullet and case length, overall cartridge length, primer pocket depth and more. It’s durable and made from high-quality materials so you can expect a long life. In addition, it comes with a protective case for storage and transport.

It does feature an extra-large LCD screen so measurements are easy to read. In addition, it has a resolution of 0.0005” or 0.01mm. Accuracy is 0.001” or 0.02mm, so you can be sure you are getting a precise readout.

As an added bonus, the unit comes complete with a spare battery, which saves you a little chunk of change down the road.

For a video review of this caliper, be sure to watch this:

What Customers Say:

Hornady customers are loyal to the brand and almost always end up satisfied. One user said, “Hornady provides a quality product that works as advertised.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 10.6  ounces
  • Measurement Accuracy: +/-0.001”
  • Range: 0-6 inches
  • Resolution: 0.00050”
  • Special Features: Extra-large LCD screen
  • Warranty: 1-year
PROS:
  • LCD digital readout
  • Can perform lots of measurement
  • Protective case
  • Accurate
  • Comes with spare battery

CONS:
  • The battery cover is in an awkward location, causing the battery to come out easily
  • Loose thumb dial


 

3. EAGems Digital Caliper

EAGems Digital Caliper

It has an AUTOMATIC ON/OFF feature so your battery won’t be Dead On Arrival

This choice as the best digital caliper is made from hardened stainless steel. This provides a long life and durability no matter how often you use it. In addition, it is easy to operate with a large LCD screen. The materials also make it water-resistant for additional protection.

Many people find that the position lock feature on this unit is helpful, especially when doing duplicate measurements. The unit also offers automatic on/off to protect the integrity of the battery. In addition, it’s capable of measuring both the outside and inside dimensions.

Of all the higher-priced units, this one has an optional upgrade to the IP67 rating. This means that the caliper is fully protected from dust or liquid getting inside.

For the price, however, you would hope for no complaints, but there have been a couple. Mainly, the only concern seems to be that the screw holding the battery door shut doesn’t seem to be long enough. This can lead to problems if you can’t figure out a way to rig it.

What Customers Say:

Customers have been pleased to get a high-quality digital caliper at a lower price than the leading brand. In fact, one person said this, “You can feel the quality of these right off the bat. The slider action is smooth and they seem to be dead accurate. I used his to test these against and they were right on every time. It’s nice that you can switch between mm, in, and fractions.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Hardened Stainless steel
  • Weight: 7 ounces
  • Measurement Accuracy: down to +/-0.0005 inch (0.01 mm)
  • Range: 0-6 inches
  • Resolution: 0.00050”
  • Special Features: Extra-large LCD screen, Water-resistant
  • Warranty: 2-years
PROS:
  • Stainless steel materials
  • Large, easy to read LCD screen
  • Water-resistant
  • Includes position lock
  • Accurate

CONS:
  • Screw that holds battery door isn’t long enough
  • High-priced


 

Best Digital Caliper between $20-$30

For most homeowners or professionals that don’t use the digital caliper every day, these units priced between $20 and $30 should have all the features you need to get the job done right.

1. MLTOOLS Stainless Steel Digital Caliper

MLTOOLS Stainless Steel Digital Caliper

Super high quality measuring device - Use for inside, outside, depth and step measurements

Leading up the top of our best digital caliper tools priced between $20 and $30 we have this option from MLTOOLS. You can spend a little less than the previous section and still get a high-quality measuring instrument. In fact, this one even offers depth, step, outside and inside measurement readings.

It is easy to operate and has a one-button adjustment to switch from inches, mm or fractions. It will measure up to 6 inches (150 mm) and has a resolution of 0.0005″/0.01mm/1/128-in. The large, high-resolution LCD is simple for anyone to read, making it easier to get the job done in a timely manner.

It also has an automatic shut-off and storage case designed for easy transport. It’s durable and offers the protection you need. The only downside we’ve found to this unit is that it can be a little heavy for some users. If you aren’t holding it for extended periods of time, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

What Customers Say:

Many people found that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get the best digital caliper. In fact, one person stated, “The most accurate digital caliper I’ve used.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Measurement Accuracy: down to +/-0.0005 inch (0.01 mm)
  • Range: 0-6 inches
  • Resolution: 0.00050”
  • Special Features: Protective case
  • Warranty: 1-year
PROS:
  • Lower cost
  • Durable materials
  • One button adjustment for readings
  • High-resolution LCD screen
  • Automatic shut-off

CONS:
  • Thumbwheel quality is low
  • Heavier than some other options


 

2. iGaging IP54 Electronic Digital Caliper

iGaging IP54

Range: 0-6

This premium precision, professional grade tool offers the high-level accuracy you need when taking measurements. It has an easy to read, large LCD. It’s also one of the only calipers to offer a four-digit decimal display when in SAE mode of the 1/128-inch fractional mode.

It also offers IP54 resistance for oil, water and dust protection. This allows your unit to remain in good working condition for many years to come. The stainless steel finish is the best option when you want a durable tool.

Just like the others we’ve reviewed, this best digital caliper has 0-6 inch accuracy, 0.001-inch repeatability and 0.0005-inch resolution. The lower price is just another benefit to purchasing the iGaging, plus this company has a strong reputation as being one of the greatest.

Unlike some of the other digital calipers we’ve shown you, this one comes with a 2-year warranty which offers some additional peace of mind with your purchase. It also shows that the company stands by the product they’ve made.

On a side note, it is also quite lightweight and easy to hold for longer periods of time.

For a video review of the iGaging digital caliper, watch this:

What Customers Say:

Many people can’t say enough good about this digital caliper. In fact, one person mentioned, “The iGaging EZ Cal digital caliper easily stands out in quality… Comparing them side by side it is no contest in terms of build quality and finish. You can tell they took extra steps in the polishing and finishing process which makes them look more sleek and professional.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Measurement Accuracy: down to +/-0.0005 inch (0.01 mm)
  • Range: 0-6 inches
  • Resolution: 0.00050”
  • Special Features: Super large display 2-3/8″x7/8″
  • Warranty: 2-years
PROS:
  • Big display
  • Resistant to oil, water and dust
  • Durable, stainless steel body
  • Lower cost than the expensive models, but still accurate
  • Lightweight

CONS:
  • The battery compartment is tough to open
  • Battery life drains easily


 

Best Caliper Under $20

If you are in need of the best digital caliper for occasional use, then there is no reason to spend more than you have to. There are several great options for under $20 that come highly reviewed and respected in the tool community.

1. Neiko 01407A Stainless Steel Electronic Digital Caliper

Neiko 01407A

BONUS: extra replacement LR44 battery along with one battery included and custom fit storage case included for better value

This digital caliper is a fan favorite and is heavy-duty. It features a super high accuracy to give you precise readings. The measuring range is 0” to 6” plus the accuracy is to .02mm.

When you set the origin, the iGaging digital caliper keeps track of it so you don’t need to set it again. This easy to read display gives you the position of your sensor at the start of measurement. This means you don’t have to keep resetting the zero.

The Neiko also provides unlimited measuring speed plus a handy USB data output. Granted, you have to purchase the cable separately, but it’s nice to have the option. With a hardened stainless steel surface and lapped finish, this digital caliper is both durable plus dust and water-resistant as well.

You’ll find that the slider on the unit moves easily because of the attention to detail. With normal use, you can expect that the battery will last two or more years, which is impressive. That’s due in part to the auto-off function.  

Whether you do metalworking, woodworking or furniture manufacturing, you’ll find that this tool is a great addition to your toolbox. With the ease of operation and one button switch to take it from inches to millimeters, you can get your jobs done quickly.

In addition, it comes with a large, easy to read LCD screen which makes taking the measurements efficient and simple. It also has a longer, 2-year warranty to cover you in case of defect. Finally, this unit features a machine grooved thumb roll mechanism that is comfortable to use and gives you a sure adjustment when the position is locked in place.

What Customers Say:

Many customers have been pleased with the craftsmanship of this digital caliper. In fact, one person mentioned that after three years of research, he finally decided on the Neiko. He says, “I was extremely surprised and pleased with the craftsmanship and care that went into the manufacturing process for this tool.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs.
  • Measurement Accuracy: down to +/-0.0005 inch (0.01 mm)
  • Range: 0-6 inches
  • Resolution: 0.00050”
  • Special Features: USB data output
  • Warranty: 2-years
PROS:
  • Heavy-duty
  • Optional USB data output
  • Easy to move slider
  • Longer 2-year warranty
  • Large LCD screen to read measurements

CONS:
  • Not as accurate as a medical-grade caliper
  • Buttons are cheap


 

2. GlowGeek Electronic Digital Caliper

GlowGeek Electronic Digital Caliper

Hardened stainless steel shaft with depth-measurement blade, precise internal and external measuring jaws , precision lapping finish electronic digital calipers

Inevitably, you are going to run into this tool when you are searching for the best digital caliper. It isn’t just because of the low price, but also the durability. The caliper is designed with a stainless steel shaft for long life. It also has a depth-measurement blade, precise external and internal measuring jaws and precision lapping finish on the electronic digital calipers.

Many people have come to find the extra-large (1/2″x1 1/2″) LCD to be easy to read. Specifications on this unit include a range of 0-6″ with an accuracy of 0.001″ and repeatability of 0.0005″.

The slide is precise, smooth and accurate thanks to the exceptional sliding action. To save your battery life, this unit also offers an auto shut-off function which is a nice perk considering the price. It is also one of the lightest digital calipers we’ve reviewed, so great for anyone to use!

One of the downsides to this unit is that the movement dial seems to freeze up from time to time. If you are only using it occasionally, this shouldn’t be a big concern. Just remember the price.

In addition, it doesn’t seem to come with a warranty which is a little disheartening. With that in mind, the tool is made of such a high level of quality; you most likely won’t have an issue.

What Customers Say:

So many people have had nothing but rave reviews to give this budget-friendly option as the best digital caliper. In fact, one person said, “The test cubes have come out spot on and thanks to these I know that for certain. I have been able to take small measurements and incorporate those into modifications to existing STL files to customize what I need. The calipers easily switch between modes, turns off as expected, and slides very smoothly.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Measurement Accuracy: down to +/-0.0005 inch (0.01 mm)
  • Range: 0-6 inches
  • Resolution: 0.00050”
  • Special Features: Extra-large (1/2″x1 1/2″) LCD display
  • Warranty: none
PROS:
  • Comes complete with a depth measurement blade
  • Offers precise external and internal measuring jaws
  • Large, easy to read LCD
  • Low cost for budget-friendly option
  • Stainless steel construction

CONS:
  • Movement dial freezes at times
  • No warranty is offered


 

3. SE 784EC Digital Caliper

SE 784EC Digital Caliper

Requires one LR44 battery (battery & replacement included)

You no longer need to strain to read the measurements on your digital caliper. This brand offers a large LCD that withstands the test of time. The tool is constructed of hardened stainless steel to ensure that the blades, jaws and body hold up, even after constant use.

The color-coded rubber buttons on the caliper add some tactile and visual feedback. In addition, this caliper is compliant with all international standards so it quickly displays both SAE or Metric measurements. All you need to do is press the conversion button to make the switch.

The measurements with this digital caliper include from .001 to 6-inch or 0.01mm to 150mm. In addition, it offers a resolution of 0.0005”/0.01mm. You can easily and precisely take measurement both outside or inside. It also has the depth and step measurement.

To adjust the speed of the glide, you’ll just increase or decrease the tension found on the clamp screw. This affects the resistance of the precise thumb roller. Then, maximize the resistance to immobilize the roller. It’s simply that easy to use.

They also offer two ways to turn on the caliper: either press the power button or slide the jaw. The digital caliper will then shut off when you press the power button again or allow it to idle for 6.5 minutes. This saves your battery life for longer use.

When you power the caliper back on, it will remember your last position’s measurement. It operates on one LR44 battery, but two come with the unit. There is no warranty information on this unit, but for the price, we have no complaints. In addition, it seems that debris finds its way into the sensor easily, so you’ll want to keep it clean.

What Customers Say:

For the price of this unit, there were surprisingly few complaints and many accolades. In fact, one person wrote, “This caliper is as described, feels durable, is easy to use, and works well for the short time I have had it. The measuring blades align and meet very cleanly, leaving no gap. The thumb roller is smooth and the display crisp and clear, with all functions fully operable. It comes in a lightly padded plastic case, which should afford some protection during storage or transport, and includes a spare battery.”

Specifications:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Measurement Accuracy: down to +/-0.0005 inch (0.01 mm)
  • Range: 0-6 inches
  • Resolution: 0.00050”
  • Special Features: Color-coded buttons
  • Warranty: none
PROS:
  • Large, easy to read LCD
  • Capable of measuring inside, outside, depth and step
  • Durable stainless steel construction
  • Low cost for budget-friendly option
  • Easy to set to zero

CONS:
  • Debris gets into the sensor easily
  • No warranty is offered


 

Best Digital Caliper Buying Guide

Before you decide on the best digital caliper for your needs, it helps to understand more about this tool.

Introduction of Calipers

Digital calipers allow for a high level of precise measuring when you desire to get the exact reading. There are three main types of calipers available: Vernier, Digital and Dial.

A vernier caliper offers length and diameters down to 0.0005 inches so it is the most precise you can purchase. With computerized calipers, readings are shown on the LCD screen to make it easier for you to understand.

With both the dial and vernier variety, you need to evaluate the measurements.

Parts of a Digital Caliper

Let’s look deeper at what parts make up the best digital caliper.

Depth Gauge – Helps to measure an object’s thickness as well as the depth of a hole.

Locking Screw – Prevents the caliper’s jaws from moving during a measurement.

Step Gauge – Measures the distance from the edge to the point of an object.

ABS Button – Temporarily sets your measurement to zero.

Inside Jaws – Measures the dimensions inside. These jaws are delicate and prone to breakage, so care must be used.

Outside Jaws – Measures the dimensions outside of the object.

On/Zero Button – Sets the current position to zero plus powers the unit on.

In/mm Button – Switches measurements from inches to mm.

Battery Compartment – a place where the batteries are held to operate the digital caliper.

How to use the Best Digital Caliper

If you’ve never used the best digital caliper, we have the steps you need to make it easy.

Start by Zeroing the Calipers

You must zero the calipers prior to taking any measurements. If you decide to skip this, your measurements won’t be accurate. Simply press the zero/on button to get started.

To Measure Outside Dimensions

Make sure you use the inside jaws on the object. You need it to be parallel to the jaws or you won’t get an accurate reading. The inside jaws are also helpful with measuring thickness. Just make sure your object is perpendicular to the jaws.

To Measure Inside Dimensions

Use your outside jaws on the object. The object must be perpendicular to the jaws.

To Measure Depth

Use your depth gauge to get the depth from one surface to another. Your calipers must be perpendicular to the surface you are measuring.

To Measure Step

Use the step gauge and measure the distance from one edge to the edge above it.

Take Comparative Measurements

When you zero the calipers in place during a measurement, you can compare those dimensions to another.

If you are a visual learner, you might appreciate the instructional video on how to use a digital caliper instead. 

Considerations When Buying the Best Digital Caliper

Calipers are a highly utilized tool in everyday life. Not only will contractors, engineers and mechanics use it often, but homeowners find plenty of reasons to measure as well. The best digital caliper adds more accuracy to your measuring task.

There are many brands and price ranges related to the best digital caliper, so understanding what you are looking for is imperative. Here’s how to find what you need.

Type

There are numerous calipers available and all of them have a different purpose. Digital calipers are the most accurate plus they save lots of time. The best digital caliper has a built-in microprocessor to measure distance and then reflect the measurement on an LCD screen for you to view.

Construction

Different brands have different construction features to their digital calipers. That’s why it’s important to examine the dimensions, sturdiness and weight of the best digital caliper. Most of the best calipers on our list are made from a high-quality stainless steel.

That’s because they are durable, oil-resistant and water-resistant as well. For most applications, it’s best to invest the extra money into a digital caliper made from stainless steel.

You’ll also find digital calipers made from plastic, carbon fiber or composite materials, so be sure to read the descriptions carefully.

Battery Life

For a digital caliper to run on its own, it will need the use of a battery. It’s important that you consider the battery life when looking to purchase the best digital caliper. Most of the calipers have an auto shut off feature.

This is helpful if you want to save the life of the battery. Remember, you aren’t just paying upfront for the cost of the best digital caliper, but you will also have to pay in the future for additional batteries.

Ease of Use

Using tools should never be a hassle. They are designed to make your work easier and need to be a tool that helps you accomplish your goals. Take a close look at all the functions on the best digital caliper you are considering.

If it appears hard to operate, chances are it will be. If you feel that it might be too complicated for your liking, move on to the next model.

For the easiest varieties of digital calipers, look for a readable display, sensitive thumb wheel and a smooth jaw movement.

Price

The price needs to also be a consideration. Brands offer a wide variety of pricing when it comes to the best digital calipers. Most times, the more money you pay, the more accurate the caliper will be. To get a high-performance digital caliper, you might need to shell out a little extra money.

Display Size

If you opt for a larger display on your digital caliper, it will be easier to read. Be sure to look for the measurements in the description of the digital caliper you are thinking about purchasing.

Length

You’ll also find a wide variety of lengths when it comes to the best digital caliper. This is a personal decision based on what works best for you. Most of the time, digital calipers between the lengths of 4 to 12-inches are sufficient.

With that said, some professional contractors find that a 24-inch, 36-inch, 40-inch or 48-inch digital caliper works best for their applications.

Brands

You are going to see many brands offering what they believe to be the best digital caliper. Some of the top names in the field, and the most respected are Igaging, Mitutoyo and Neiko.

IP54 Protection

This safeguards your tools from dust and water. It might cost more to have a digital caliper with this feature, but it is well-worth the assurances you’ll have.

Care and Maintenance

No matter what tool you are using, it is important that you use it properly. It’s equally important to maintain and care for your tools in a way that will allow them to last you many years. To help you out, we’ve gathered some maintenance tips to help keep you protected.

  • Lightly oil your digital caliper’s shaft and wrap it in corrosion-resistant paper.
  • Keep it stored in an area with less humidity.
  • Never expose it to corrosive chemicals.
  • Your digital caliper is not a hammer, wrench or clamp; don’t use it as such.
  • Be careful not to drop it or the calibration might be wrong.
  • Never place heavy things on top of your digital caliper.
  • Keep the caliper away from excessive heat sources.
  • Check the charge in your battery to ensure it’s working at optimal levels.
  • Remove your battery if you plan to store the caliper for any amount of time.

If you want to learn more about cleaning a digital caliper tool, watch this instructional video:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use calipers instead of a ruler?

You want to use calipers if accuracy is important to you. Rulers are great for vague measurements, but not when it comes to knowing measurements within millimeters of each other.

Why use digital calipers instead of dial calipers?

Reading a digital caliper is much easier than using a dial. They usually don’t cost any more than the dial versions. So, unless you are in love with the old-fashioned way of doing things and you have plenty of time to spare, the best digital caliper is the way to go.


Conclusion

Now that we’ve given you a rundown of our favorite 8 digital calipers; the choice is yours! No matter what features are important to you, there is a caliper out there that fits your needs. What do you believe is the best digital caliper out there?  Let us know – we love to hear from you!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply