Professionals of all kinds need to be able to measure things. Whether you are a mechanic, engineer or electrical technician, the need to accurately take measurements is important. In years past, rulers, tape measures, and other manual measurement devices were the only option. Vernier and dial calibers were popular models for many years. As technology has advanced, however, digital calipers have become one of the hottest measurement tools on the market.
As with most tools, there are several things you should take into consideration before purchasing a digital caliper. First, you should take into account the quality of the materials used to build the calipers. Digital calibers come in various materials, like stainless steels, carbon fiber, plastic and composites. Most experts will agree that stainless steel is the way to go as it is naturally water, stain and dirt resistant. (If dirt, dust and water is a concern, look for a model that comes with “IP54 Protection.) Digital calibers typically come with a small display that shows you the computerized measurement being taken. The size and screen type, like LCD, are features you may want to take into account. The larger and clearer the screen, the easier it will be for you to read the measurements it displays. Caliper length is another thing you might want to consider. Digital calipers come in sizes that range between four and forty-eight inches. Depending on your use requirements, the length can be a major factor in your purchasing criteria. Battery life is another feature you may want to consider. Many models now come with an automatic shut off function that can help to preserve battery life. Cost is always a personal factor as well. Ultimately, an easy to use caliper that has smooth jaw movement, a relatively sensitive thumb wheel and a display you can clearly read is ideal.
Our Top Recommended Digital Calipers
Now that you know what you are looking for, let us take a look at the actual models we recommend.
Calipro Digital Caliper (Model No. 100)
The Calipro digital caliper is a hardened stainless steel product capable of taking measurements between zero and six inches. Able to be zeroed out at any time, measurements can be easily displayed in inches or metric units. The large LCD screen makes readings easy. Not only does this model measure both interior and exterior scope, it also comes with depth probe.
The Calipro digital caliper is easy to use. The single-button switch helps you quickly transition between inches and metric measurements without much hassel.
Measurement may be erratic. The jaw does not slide as smoothly as some users had hoped and the dial is a bit stiff. Additionally, if you need fractions, look elsewhere. The Calipro digital caliper only displays decimals.
EAGem Digital Caliper (IP54)
The EAGem digital caliper is made from stainless steel. As an IP54 protected device, the EAGem is also water resistant. The single-button switch allows users to quickly select between inches, millimeters or fractions. In fact, this six inch digital caliper comes with a large, easy to read LCD display that is capable of showing fractional measurements up to 1/64. This digital caliper also comes with an automatic shut off function that will power down your caliper after five minutes of no use to preserve the life of the included 3V CR032 batteries. The EAGem digital caliper can be set to zero, regardless of the position, to provide accurate measurements of both inside and outside dimensions, steps and depths. A case, small screwdriver and spare battery is included with your purchase.
The durable, easy to use EAGem digital caliper comes with a lot of user praise. The position lock feature is also highly rated by users as it allows for duplicate measurements. The jaw movement is smooth and allows for very accurate measurements that are very easy to read on the LCD screen.
Some users have remarked that the screw that holds the battery door shut is not quite long enough and may pop open or prove frustrating when opening and shutting. Other users felt that the EAGem digital caliper is not as sensitive as they had hoped.
GlowGeek Electronic Digital Caliper (DKC-8050)
GlowGeek’s DKC-8050 digital caliper has a lot to offer. As with several other models, the DKC-8050 is made from hardened stainless steel. The extra-large, ½ inch by 1 ½-inch LCD display gives users an easy to read screen. As with the EAGem, the DKC-8050 allows users to select between inch, metric, and fractional readings. GlowGeek markets this digital caliper as a heavyweight, rugged tool that should last through many years of use. The DKC-8050 can be used for measurements related to length, depth, and scope (external and internal). The DKC-8050 is capable of taking measurements between zero and six inches. A single LR44 battery powers it, which is included in the purchase. Users can reset measurements to zero at any time during use as well.
Most users do note that the construction really is quite reliable and tough. The large LCD display and easy slide also help users who comment on how great the DKC-8050 is. The included depth measurement blade is also a nice addition appreciated by several reviewers.
Some users have noted that the DKC-8050 screen freezes on occasion, which leads to inconsistent readings. Perhaps the biggest con, however, is the fact that this device does not have IP54 protection not an automatic shut off feature.
iGaging Electronic Digital Caliper (Model No. 100-333-8B)
This iGaging digital caliper is also constructed from hardened stainless steel. It measures between zero and six inches in inches, metric or fractions. The IP54 protection makes it resistant to water, oil, dust and more. The LCD screen is one of the largest you will find, measuring 7/8-inch by 2 3/8-inches. This digital caliper also comes with the required CR2032 battery is will take to power the device. After five minutes of inactivity, the automatic shut off function will power down your iGaging caliper to help preserve battery life. As with many other models, this iGaging caliper measures depth and both inside and outside scope and can be reset to zero at any time during use.
The IP54 protection is always a highly praised feature. The extremely large LCD screen is also one of the best features of the iGaging digital caliper. Because of the durable construction, users have remarked on the ultra-smooth slide when transitioning between jaw positions.
The only real con noted by users related to the battery compartment being slightly hard to open. In fact, the iGaging digital caliper is so solidly accurate; one user complained that it may be “too accurate”!
Neiko Digital Caliper (Model No. 01407A)
The Neiko 01407A digital caliper is highly rated amongst users. The stainless steel digital caliper comes in three sizes: six, eight, and twelve inches. All three sizes have a single-button switch that lets users filter through inch, millimeter, or fraction readouts. The 01407A allows for scope measurements, both interior and exterior, as well as depth and step. It is powered by an LR44 battery, which is included with your purchase. For the six-inch model, you can opt for a large or extra-large screen. Both models provide easy-to-ready displays. As with several other models, the Neiko 01407A comes with an automatic shut off function.
The Neiko 01407A is praised for its consistent and quickly displayed measurements.
While the Neiko 01407A is a top seller, it does not come with IP54 protection. Additionally, several users have noted that measurements may be consistent, but they are not always accurate. Others have noted that the battery cover is not the best and may fall off after you open it for the first time.
SE Digital Caliper (Model No. 784EC)
The SE 784EC measures between zero and six inches. This stainless steel digital caliper measures in both inches and metric units. The large LCD display is easy to ready and can show readings related to interior and exterior measurements, as well as depths and step. A single LR44 battery powers it. (The battery and a spare are both included in your purchase.)
The large, readable display and easy switch modes are both great features. The SE 784EC also provides pretty precise and accurate measurements when clear of debris.
The SE 784EC does not comes with IP54 protection. It also does not include an automatic shut off function. As with the Calipro digital caliper, the SE 784EC does not display fractional measurements. The sensor also seems to be overly sensitive and can easily be disrupted by debris. This also interrupts the smooth transition of the jaws and can become irritating as reported by several users.
UBANTE Electronic Digital Caliper (UTS-150)
The UBANTE UTS-150 digital caliper is made from stainless steel and can measure up to six inches. As with several other products, it measures in inches, metric, and fractions and a single-switch button makes the transition between units easy. (This is one of the calipers that will give you decimal readouts up to 4 digits out.) The large LCD screen (½ -inch by 1 ½-inch) is powered by a LR44 battery and can be quickly zeroed out at any time during use. The UTS-150 measures depth and step, in addition to both internal and external scope.
Users have found this device to be highly accurate. The jaws slide very smoothly as well. The UTS-150 not only comes with an automatic shut off function, but it will also power back on when you slide the jaws.
The UTS-150 does not have IP54 protection. Some users do question the calibration of this device too. While the majority of all of the digital calipers included on this list do not come with a certificate of calibration, the UTS-150 is considered to be extremely off in some cases.
VINCA Digital Vernier Caliper (DCLA-0605)
The VINCA DCLA-0605 is a stainless steel Vernier caliper. It is also one of the only two devices that come in multiple sizes (six, eight, and twelve inches). It comes with a large, ½ inch but 1 ½ inch LCD screen that displays your measurements in inches, metric units, or fractions. Powered by a LR44 battery, the DCLA-0605 comes with an automatic shut off function that will power your device down after five to seven minutes of no use. The DCLA-0605 measures step, depth and internal/external scope. You can zero the measurements at any time during use.
The display is the best feature on this product. Most of the included functions are quick, easy and simple. The DCLA-0605 is noted to be a good tool for beginners or hobbyists.
The VINCA DCLA-0605 does not include the IP54 protection. In addition to this, some users have noted that the adjustment wheel appears to be cheaply made and may not last long enough to get years of use out of this product.
When it comes to buying a new tool, understanding your requirements for it are very important. If you are going to use your digital caliper in a wet or dusty environment, like a crawl space, attic, or outdoors, it is highly advised you only look at models that come with the IP54 protection. If you want your tool to last, the IP54 protection is how you help guarantee it does. Furthermore, knowing whether or not you want decimal-only or fractional displays is also an important personal preference.
The majority of digital calipers that can be purchased for under $100 are on the smaller size, typically measuring up to six-inches only. The LCD display screen sizes are also largely personal preferences, but in general, the larger the screen is, the easier it will be for anyone to read.
As with all products, make sure you read reviews before you purchase any digital caliper. Your particular intended usage may correlate to other’s who have left feedback on how the tool worked with their project.