A contour gauge, although it’s not a gauging tool as the name suggests, is still a great tool to be stored together with your measuring tools. In many cases, people use this tool for woodworking, however, it’s not rare to use in metalworking [Wikipedia].
It is also called profile gauge, functions to “copy and paste” the irregular shape of an object’s contour. Floor designers commonly use this tool to allow them to make a perfect cut for the laminate or vinyl flooring. This tool will make their works neat and precise with ease.
By using this tool, you could copy the irregular non-90° corner, floor edge, curved car panel, area around heating pipes, etc. to paste it onto what you want such as paper, vinyl plank, laminate, wood board, etc.
The working principle behind this tool is simple. It consists of an assembly of tiny pins. Once you press the pins onto an object, some of the pins will slide/adjust to follow the horizontal contour of the object. But the contour to be duplicated is in the horizontal dimension only, not including vertical dimension. The smaller the pin is, the more precise it should be to copy complicated curves.
People’s need for contour profile gauge may be different. Some need the longer one with deeper pins, whereas some find the 5-inch profile gauge suffice. Some need models that feature a locking mechanism. Moreover, some users find a joinable contour gauge is considered helpful.
Whatever the specification, getting the best contour gauge that suits your needs is important. The following are our top 11 contour gauges we happily share with you. For information such as things to take into account buying contour gauge, you can read after the list.
Top 11 Best Contour Duplication Gauge Tools
1. TopToper 5 Inch Contour Gauge with Clamp Locking
From all over the contour gauges that exist, they actually have one in common, the pins are prone to loosen when it moves into another place. This case certainly can cause inaccuracy. The duplicated contour is not matching to actual contour anymore.
TopToper has the solution for you. As you could see, it comes equipped with a built-in clamp that functions to hold the pins tightly. Switch the clamp to loosen the pins, copy the contour, switch otherwise until the pins are tightly clamped, then transfer the contour to a piece of paper. It’s that easy.
However, this contour gauge is only ideal to use for small objects due to its 5-inch length. Also, it can only copy contour with a maximum depth of 3cm. Fortunately, the resolution is fairly good 1/17 inch. It means precision and accuracy are the outstanding benefits of this tool. Never let go of this cute stuff from your purchase day.
Spec: Length: 5 inch; Depth: 3 cm; Resolution: 17 pins/inch
- Small size
2. Wolfcraft 6949000 Strong Clamp Locking Contour Gauge
If you think the TopToper above doesn’t hold the pins really strongly, then we highly recommend this Wolfcraft contour gauge. What we highlight from this one is it comes with an absolute big clamp. This assuredly will make your contour modeling becomes so much easy and reliable.
This German-made tool is perfect for a short-range contour line. With its specification, you could copy any of the irregular edge lines on the floor with length no more than 5.1 inch. And also, it will do the job in the depth range of 3cm. If you want to copy the contour when working on laminate flooring, then this should be sufficient.
For you who are based in the UK which means some of the contour gauges on this list may not available, however, we make sure that this one is available. Glade to report it for you.
Spec: Length: 13 cm (5.1 inch), Depth: 3 cm,
- Absolutely strong clamp locking
- High-quality build
- Made in German
- Short-range contouring
3. EtekStorm 10 Inch Contour Gauge with Clamp Locking
There is no doubt, even though the contour gauge promises accurate contouring, the pins could possibly change its position and lead to an unreliable result. In this case, the locking mechanism that allows the pins to be held on is required.
EtekStorm is what we mean. What we like from the EfekStorm contour gauge is not only the locking feature but also the size. It has a band of pins that assembled together as long as 10 inch. This permits you to work with larger objects for sure. If you realize the Wolcraft doesn’t suit you in terms of the length, this one should be appropriate.
The only drawback that we spot is the depth that doesn’t meet for contours with greater depth. However, the resolution is average (16 pins per inch). Overall, EtekStorm is what you go for when it comes to accurate and reliable pattern modeling.
Spec: Length: 10 inch; Depth: 1.25 inch; Resolution: 0.06 inch/1.5 mm
- Accurate contouring; the pins don’t slip easily
- Relatively it provides limited depth
4. Cheerfun 10 Inch Contour Gauge
It is constructed from tough and durable ABS plastic that is lightweight, sturdy and has excellent finishing. The gauge is really a simple tool to use and requires a simple press from the teeth onto any desired object to duplicate the pattern.
Although it doesn’t come equipped with any locking handle, you don’t need to worry. Its well-made quality will not end up making you upset. To assure you, Cheerfun offers you with 18 months warranty. As usual, an excellent tool comes with a great warranty.
Spec: Length: 10 inch; Depth: 1-1/4 inch;
- Well build
- Limited depth
5. General Tools 837 Stainless Steel Contour Gauge 6 Inch
General Tools 837 is what you have to pick out because it provides you with a highly precise duplication result. This is due to the thin pins that can only be made from stainless steel. These thin pins will be able to provide better resolution for you. As a result, any tiny complicated contour can be duplicated accurately easily; ends up with a perfect fit.
The specification is also decent. It is able to replicate surfaces up to 3-1/2 inches deep and 6 inch long. However, it comes only in the inch unit system. But, it actually doesn’t matter. We just need its precision pins. The stainless steel pins will last longer because it’s corrosion-resistant.
If you buy this best contour gauge, you may find the pins too stiff. In other words, it needs a little force to move the pins to duplicate the contour. But that’s the precision in our opinion. However, you could unscrew the screws carefully to loosen the tension.
Spec: Length: 6 inch; Depth: 3.5 inch; Resolution: 35 pins/inch
- Precise; high-resolution
- The pins may scratch the surface you are contouring
6. General Tools 833 Joinable 10 Inch Contour Gauge
Still from the same brand, General Tools 833 highly deserves to share with you. Its wonderful feature is the capability to be joinable. When you need a longer 20inch contour gauge, this 10-inch contour duplicator can be joined together.
There are three benefits using this stuff: 1) Joinable; just remove the 4 Philips screws to join them, 2) Better Resolution; slightly better with 18 pins/inch resolution 3) Comes with 4 magnetic blocks that are stuck on the back.
The magnetic blocks will be very useful when you work on ferrous objects. It will easily stick to make your job a lot easier.
In summary, this is an amazing tool for easy copy and duplicating a profile such as woodworking or tile flooring installation. There is always a flexible choice. When dealing off with small objects, use one piece. Otherwise, combine the two and feel the heavy-duty 10-inch contour gauge. In addition to the build quality, it is crafted from solid durable plastic. Plus, the standard two-unit system inch and mm are available to support everyone’s measurement.
Spec: Length: 10 inch; Depth: 1.25 inch; Resolution: 18 pins/inch
- 4 magnets
- Only provides 1.25 inch depth
7. Junsh Stainless Steel Contour Gauge for Corner
Junsh contour gauge offers the same functionality as the GE 833, but this one has one thing, the angle connector. This is an important feature when facing contour around corners.
If you find the GE 833 need to unscrew, this one only needs to attach to join the two pieces. There is a part at the edge where you possibly just need to attach without unscrewing anything that takes time. Actually, what we highlight is the angle connector which stands out from the others. It will let you do the job involving contour surrounding a certain corner of a room. There are two pieces combined together from 7.9 inches to 15.8-inch gauge for better and precise results
Moreover, It features a sleek and slender design that makes it easier to use the gauge in its accessibility. The pins are also stainless steel which means rust corrosion. But most importantly, it provides great resolution for copying the shape of an object’s contour. Another benefit is you could use only one piece when dealing with small objects.
Spec: Length: 2 x 7.9 inch; Depth: 1.97 inch;
- the pins are stiff
8. AlexBasic 10 Inch Surface Duplicator with Deeper Pins
An AlexBasic contour gauge is a tool perfectly crafted for drawing a replica of the cross-sectional shape of a surface or a corner or an edge. This tool will let you copy the contour even the deeper one because of the longer pins. Even though there is no lock system, the pins are firm enough to hold on the shape until you transfer it to another place. If you want to make a perfect fit for circular objects with a large diameter, then this will do the job.
The measurements taken for this tool stand at 10 inches and it is enforced with ABS pins that establish its durability. This very nice tool is acknowledged globally in metalworking and woodworking for providing decorative pots and moldings. It operates with a simple push on the teeth against the object to draw out the image.
Spec: Length: 10 inch; Depth: 3 inch
- Deeper pin
- Great for larger objects
- Hold the pins stay firm
- No magnet
- No locking clamp
9. Big Horn 20 Inch Contour Gauge with Magnets
You realize your flooring project is large. Using the small contour gauge is not an effective option for sure. It makes you do the copying repeatedly which takes time and hard work. Here is the solution, Big Horn 19062 large contour gauge will save your job twice more effectively.
This tool profiles at an amazing 20 inches in length and 1-1/4 inches in depth. It is made from ABS plastic that aims to be lightweight, affordable, yet last longer. In addition, it is also strengthened with steel pins. But, to be honest, we are not sure how many steel pins over there. It seems only plastic pins.
On the back, you could see the magnets. Those extra features function to stick on a ferrous surface for easy tracing steadily. Though it’s not really useful, that’s pretty awesome. It can nicely act to help the gauge keep sticking into a magnetic surface such as on a car panel, etc.
The Big Horn 19062 is one of the best contour gauges as it has the capability to transfer shape with high accuracy and precision. We highly recommend this for you to use for larger works.
Spec: Length: 20 inch; Depth: 1.25 inch;
- 20-inch length
- Magnets on the back
- Low depth
10. Bewthu 20 Inch Contour Gauge with Magnets
Bewthu is the last option. This 20-inch contour gauge duplicator is among the best contour gauges on the market as it features a 20 inch/50 cm body length. That would be very useful to use for a long object to be duplicated.
Moreover, this gauge is featured in both inches and centimeters. So, every user will be comfortable using it. It is made from ABS plastic that is durable and practical. In addition, like Big Horn above, there you can see the magnets on the backside of this tool.
Spec: Length: 20 inch; Depth: 1.25 inch;
- Large size
- Ideal for long contour duplication
- No lock
11. Flexible Steel Curve Template (37″ & 107″)
It seems that many searchers go to the web and try to find the 48-inch contour gauge. However, there is no site that reviews this kind of long metal contour gauge. Fortunately, we’ve successfully found it and put it here in the hope that you’ll like it.
This is a metal contour duplicator that is rigid and solid but allows you to bend it to follow a particular surface contour. There are available several knobs to lock tightly the pattern so it will loose and change the duplication.
Therefore, as said in the advertising, it’s agreed that this tool is ideal for carpentry, woodworking, and metal working. If you are dealing with flooring, this is absolutely the giant one that will conquer the long contour you are targeting.
There are two length models, the 37 inch and 107 inch one. So if you are looking for the 48 inch, then the 107 inch will be very sufficient to cover your job. But, this one is quite expensive. It’s okay as long as your work can be finshed faster.
Things to Take into Account Buying Contour Gauge
You have to consider the length when going to work with the object’s size. If you want to duplicate a longer contour, the longer one is required. Otherwise, the shorter one will meet the needs.
When you copy the edge corner contour around pipes, perhaps the pipe has a larger diameter that your every contour gauge doesn’t suit for that job. In this case, deeper pins are critical.
If you need highly precise contour modeling, then you have to get the one that provides better resolution. The more pins per unit measurement, the better the resolution. The thinner the pins, the greater the resolution. In this case, you can select the one that comes with metal pins.
4. Pin Material
As we discover on the market, there are two common materials: ABS plastic and stainless steel. Both of them have different advantages and disadvantages for you. The ABS pins will not rust but need thicker shape. This makes the resolution to decrease. Conversely, the stainless steel allows the pins to be thinner and results in greater resolution. Another consideration is the ABS plastic will scratch the surface under gauging, whereas the stainless steel may cause a scratch.
5. Locking Mechanism
In short, it functions to keep the pins in place while migrating the gauge.
It will feel very annoying if the pins are too loose. Herewith, the locking feature will add comfort to the users. Right after you copy the contour, switch the handle to lock. It will press the pin assembly and they don’t slip easily. Here will let you easily move the gauge to any place without worrying about the pins assembly slides.
A joinable contour gauge is a nice type of contour gauge that provides flexibility. When you deal with smaller objects, then disconnect the gauge. Conversely, reconnect the pieces to handle wider surface.
This is an additional feature. The magnet on the contour gauge is also an extra feature you may want in a certain situation where you need it to attach steadily.
Conclusion: Which is the Best One?
Since the size varies, the most versatile one should be the best one. In this case, we prefer the 10-inch contour gauge for you. It can be used for both small and large projects. Especially when you have two pieces 10-inch contour gauge that can connect to shape 20-inch unit, that would be great.
In the case of a joinable two-piece contour gauge, General Tool 833 contour gauge meets that requirement. However, GE 833 doesn’t have deeper pins. If you need the deeper one, AlexBasic is the right one for you. So far, we don’t find the one that really versatile.
That’s all. Hopefully, you get your best one. Thanks.