A dial caliper is a precision measuring tool that offers fast measurement while no battery power needed. Along with its dial display, it can reduce the chance of error by our eyes. Since it’s no battery power needed, you don’t need to worry about it when have used it for a long time.
When you are trying to get the best one, you need to select them carefully. You have to put attention to the internal parts in which if water enters and causes rust, it could interrupt the accuracy of the measurement. The same thing goes with dust that enters. If you are looking for a high degree of accuracy, this consideration should be taken into account. There are other considerations that we compile you could read in the next section on this page.
In this coverage, we unveil some options for you that we believe worth recommending. Surely, they have passed some selection and comparison.
Overall, these are the top 11 picks for dial calipers that we gather from the market. Here we put them together in the following table in order for you to preview it easily.
Top 11 Picks of Best Dial Caliper 2020
1. Anytime Tools AT203185 Dial Caliper [Best Overall]
This is the right choice when your budget is restricted but you require a good quality dial caliper. Moreover, it offers you a dual reading feature in a single tool. So, you can see two black and red hands inside and they turn around clockwise. In addition, by having this feature, you are possible to convert the reading easily in spite of its mechanical working system.
Anytime tools AT203185 is so far our recommended best dial caliper overall. If you would like to check its price, check the price through the button below.
2. Anytime Tools 100-020 Dial Caliper
Enforced with a hard plastic bezel and better construction, it becomes double shockproof. The design offers improved protection. Though it’s plastic, the performance can’t be doubted. Many users agree that this is their best buy for the money. If you need the best alternative of Mitutoyo, this one can be your purchase. There is also available the 8″ and 12″ range of this model if you need a longer one.
3. Starrett 1202F-6 Dial Caliper
Utilizing hardened stainless steel, the durability gains more enforced. Along with the fractional inch graduation, Starrett 1202F-6 is seemingly designed to last for woodworkers. The yellow dial around the fractional marks with black colored numbers will let you easily read them.
4. Starrett 120A-6 Dial Caliper
Not just made in the USA, Starrett 120A-6 truly provides the users with the satisfaction of accuracy. For those who use dial caliper frequently, then you need a consistent yet durable dial caliper and this one is yours. Starrett 120A-6 is officially American made. You could see this on the products.
5. Mitutoyo 505-742 Dial Caliper
Another great Mitutoyo dial caliper if you need the lower price. It’s constructed with hardened stainless steel with improved construction. Feel an enjoyable measuring experience with its smooth sliding. Mitutoyo is a well-known brand for precision tools. You can’t go wrong with it. In addition, unlike the other dial caliper, it nicely comes with a solid plastic case. So, it fits snugly.
6. Mitutoyo 505-738 Dial Caliper
For a heavy-duty job like in the machine shop, you need to employ a die-hard dial caliper too. The jaws have to be designed resistant to wear. Mitutoyo 505-738 knows the market and they come to what you want. As usual, Mitutoyo always gives the best of their products and keep maintaining their brand name.
The knife-edge part on the jaws is longer than the usual dial calipers. It’s important to reduce error from the flatness and parallelism. Moreover, the jaws are carbide-tipped whether at the outside or inside jaws. Feel a great sense of smooth while sliding the caliper. In addition, Titanium Nitride coating provides resistance against wear to the sliding surface. Further, the spare parts are available to purchase in case you get a bad day.
7. Accusize Tools P920-S216 Dial Caliper
Available in 4 different ranges (4″, 6″, 8″, and 12″) Accusize Tools P920-S216 comes with 6″ range in which the standard length many people use. You can measure outside diameter, inside diameter, and depth with this. This dial caliper will not rust and you can save it without too much worry of rusting due to its stainless steel construction. It’s worth to give a try.
8. Brown & Sharpe 599-579-4 Dial Caliper
Looking for the best one of Swiss-made dial calipers? We recommend this Brown & Sharpe 599-579-4. It’s also available the black colored dial face for this model 599-579-5. This caliper is obviously different in terms of its construction. The covered rack functions to block the workpiece chip or dirt to disturb the gear. The main scale is only graduated in inches. While the shockproof meets the mechanism technology that is used by Swiss watches. Talking about the accuracy, it meets DIN 862 standard.
Brown & Sharpe is actually a fine product. Our main concern lies in the rolling wheel. If you concern about such this simplicity, then this dial caliper may not your choice.
9. iGaging 100-164 Dial Caliper [for Woodworking]
iGaging 100-164 can be your next dial caliper to accompany your woodworking jobs. It has fractional graduation which you commonly use. One full rotation is divided into 64 division. So, a division is 1/64″. Price about $30, this can be the best dial woodworking caliper for the money.
10. Shop Fox D3208 Dial Caliper [for Woodworking]
This is another option you can refer to when looking for a fractional graduated dial caliper. The graduation is divided into 1/64″. Made of hardened steel, this is a great option for you that will last longer. You will never need a battery and worry about it. Moreover, it’s smooth and feels good in the hand. For woodworkers, this is another fine option you could buy.
11. Hornady 050075 Dial Caliper
Hornady is a respected brand of shooting products. Currently, they expand to the tools for reloading. The dial caliper is a helpful tool to measure the bullet (thickness neck, length, diameter, etc). And it can do all of the needs easily, quickly, and accurately. Hornady 050075 comes with a stainless steel body to ensure durability and ±0.001″ for accuracy.
What is Dial Caliper?
The dial caliper is a mechanical tool. It’s one of the types of caliper that works mechanically employing the rack and gear. The mechanism will turn the hand at the dial clockwise. The hand then points a particular mark as the measurement reading.
Whether it’s displayed in inch or mm, you can choose from which one you are familiar with. This could be a matter of country you are living in. Fractional graduation is also available and suitable for woodworking as they usually work with that reading. While decimal is widely spread over a number of jobs.
Commonly, a typical dial caliper currently provides 0.001″ / 0.02mm resolution. People normally rely on dial caliper to do a fast measurement with great accuracy. Besides, the other advantages are:
- No battery issues so you will never figure out the power
- The stainless steel construction is powerfull to fight for rusting
- No electronics issues so you can spot if there is trouble with reading
- Quite easy to repair than most digital calipers
- You could do inside, outside, step and depth measurement in a single tool
Things to Figure Out Buying the Best Dial Caliper
1. Range of Measurement
The most used range of a dial caliper is 6″. However, it can offer up to 12″ in most cases. We would like to mention that the more length it is, the less accurate it is. Some users may need to measure a longer one, this can be their solution as calipers are the easy-to-use tools and provide a fast measurement.
Resolution is important for a precision measuring tool. For a dial caliper, the most common is 0.001″/0.02mm. Actually, 0.001″ is 0.0254mm. We advocate you to avoid calipers under this resolution number.
It will be a long explained guide to tell you about accuracy which includes uncertainty and other related things. The bottom line is we recommend select the ±0.001″ accuracy dial caliper. Fortunately, most of the dial calipers today have this accuracy standard. You could also request if necessary.
The crystal, bezel, and rotating hand are easy to break when it drops down. Some brands put “shockproof” to their dial wall. What does it mean they are truly shockproof?
5. Lock Screw
This is the part of a caliper that functions to lock the slide at the point you want.
6. Thumb Knob
For a single-handed user, the thumb knob is highly useful to move the slide back and forth.
7. Smooth Slide
Feel a great measuring experience with dial calipers that slide smoothly. A high-quality construction must generate a great smooth sliding dial caliper.
8. Clear Readout
Some people may use the dial caliper in a less light place. The clear readout can help them with this matter. Choose from the color that can reflect the light. You could select the white-colored hand and dial marks with darker dial face to reflect the light.
9. Material Construction
To gain a high durable dial caliper, you need to choose great material for all of its parts. How to make sure the caliper doesn’t stick to a magnetic object. Stainless steel is actually the best material for durability but it’s fairly heavyweight. Plastic cheap dial caliper should be avoided except you are going to use for sewing.
10. Stainless Steel Vs. Hardened Stainless Steel
They might hear similar. Their characters are actually different.
11. Where Is It Made of?
Even though the caliper is labeled with “made in the USA” or etc, it doesn’t mean all the components are made in there. And that is common in industries. However, as long as the majority of components are made in a certain country and the quality surpasses their standard, we consider it’s worth it to have a go.
12. Carbide-tipped Jaws
This is another extra enforcement of any caliper. Carbide-tipped jaws are great to coat to the jaws for durability. As carbide is resistant to wear. The calipers with carbide can be expensive but it offers a great return. Not only does it provide durability, but also the accuracy improves. Great to use in a machine shop or other heavy-duty jobs.
Some brands also sell the dial caliper spare parts. In case your caliper breaks, the parts are available to buy. Moreover, perhaps you may have been so convenient with and don’t want to turn again to the others. You don’t need to buy a new one and can save some bucks.
An extremely high-quality dial caliper can last so long. You end up bored using it. Nicely, you can sale it to get extra money to buy the next one. After a lot of money-saving, you now can sell it. What a great economical choice.
15. IP rating
There is further protection you may need, an IP rating. The piece of small metal may come in such a way, or mist in the dial that you can see on the crystal wall. Having a dial caliper that meets a certain adequate ingress rating can prevent this even.
16. Knife Edge Jaws
It has the advantage to increase accuracy. Some inaccuracy issues come from the flatness and parallelism of the jaws. The knife-edge jaws reduce the surface area that touches the workpiece. This can result in a more reliable measurement.
Some people may forget about this. The case is important to secure the caliper. Even though it acts as additional protection, it’s better off saving your dial caliper in the right box.
Final Verdict: Pick Out for Me
We know that your needs vary. You may need longer range, on a budget, purpose, accuracy, durability, etc. Here we recommend some dial calipers from the top 11 list above.
Top 3 Best Dial Caliper for Woodworking
Dial caliper for woodworking has to provide graduation in fractional. In this case, a high precision one is not needed. However, the caliper should be smooth sliding, durable, and easy to work with a single hand. According to the list above, we can clearly tell that Starrett 1202F-6 (higher price), Shop Fox D3208, iGaging 100-164 are available to choose from.
Our Best Favorites for Machinist
The machinist generally utilizes digital caliper, however, it’s possible to turn to dial caliper. Perhaps, the LCD cannot display reading clearly in a darker area. A dial caliper with white hand and marks can be easily seen because they reflect light. Additionally, the battery is easy to run out in some condition or circumstance. In contrast, a dial caliper doesn’t need such that overwhelmed care.
The dial has to fulfill adequate quality such as carbide tipped jaws, anti-rusting material, precision, accuracy, smooth sliding, durable to use very frequently, etc. Simply, you need the higher quality dial calipers. Our suggestion is to pick the Mitutoyo or Starrett. Mitutoyo 505-738, Mitutoyo 505-742, Starrett 120A-6 are reliable to handle your jobs.
Best Budget Option
If you are on a budget, then getting the best possible one is still there. The dial calipers from Anytime Tools are great to pick out such as Accusize Tools AT203185. You could afford it under $50. Nicely, it comes with inch and mm graduation so every user is familiar to use with.