Dial indicator is the dialing display which indicates a circular scaling value of a measured object. This instrument is used to make a product more accurate by measuring distances, angle, height or surface errors, etc. Therefore, the dial indicator is used in the primary measuring of engine building, metalworking, deck clearance, crankshaft thrust and straightness, lifter travel, etc.
There are several types of dial indicators such as balanced reading dial indicator, dial test indicator, plunger dial indicator, lever dial indicator, continuous dial indicator, reversed balanced dial indicator, reversed continuous dial indicator, etc.
Based on different measuring positions, these dial indicators are classified into different structural formations. In this article, we are going to explain on plunger type dial indicator which is named as just a dial indicator.
The general structure of a dial indicator consists of the circular body, circular gear, pointer, linear gear, circular dial, and a plunger.
Now you have a quick idea of what the dial indicator is. Another thing to be aware of is to make sure you are not picking the test indicator. They are the same in their measuring methods, however, they are different in terms of structure formation and facilities of measuring positions. Keep reading until the buying guide section to read the brief differences of them.
Top 10 Best Dial Indicator Reviews
In this section, we cover the top 10 best dial indicators available on the market. Keep in mind that we rank them mainly based on consumer experience. We tend to consider the consumer because this tool is not as usual as other measuring tools. Its performance is the most important part compared to others.
1. Triton Dial indicator from All Industrial #Best Pick
Triton dial indicator is one of the best instruments in the recent market. Including the customer’s suggestions, this model is our best pick at all. Triton comes with the best price and specification in the market.
The total travel range is 1″, containing the accuracy up to 0.001″. Stem diameter and dial diameter are followed by 3/8″ and 2″ which is similar to the clockwise production. This model is manufactured with ANSI standards. The materials are stainless steel that ensures long mechanical life.
Besides, it is 6.1 ounces weight which is normally a little heavier than most of the models explained here. The package comes with 5.2 x 3.2 x 2 inches of dimensions. After all, this model is metallic, so it ensures stability, durability, and mechanical long-lasting.
Finally, the special reason for taking this model as the best pick is the amount of order. This model got remarkable orders and product reviews in the market than the other models. The customer’s review comes up with the best suggestion.
- Accurate, simple, and easy to read.
- Stable and durable.
- Comfortable price
- Accessibility is not featured as Mitutoyo or KHCRAFT.
- Comparatively Heavier.
- The face is difficult to rotate.
2. Clockwise Tools DICR-0105 Dial Indicator
Clockwise Tools DICR-0105 dial indicator is our second pick from the market. This wonderful model has a measuring range of 1 inch where the resolution is 0.001″ which means its accuracy is 0.001″ per 1 inch. Stem diameter and dial diameter is followed by 3/8″ and 2 “. Its included with the lug back option.
It has also twist and locked bezel facilities, where no need to tighten the screw. Weight comes with a very decent amount which is only 4.9 ounces and the package size is 6.2 x 4.4 x 1.7 inches. And the price is not expensive. Comparing with the price and specification this model will be a great choice for the buyers.
The dial display is very clear. It has a boundary marker for high and low readings and it has an outer ring which makes it easy to set the reference zero. It comes with a blown plastic case which makes it extra padding for the instrument. This model is so good to do a quick run-out or indicator of the movement.
After all, from the customer reviews and the order section, this model is quite good to order. We recommend this model as our second-best pick from the market.
- It is easy to read and simple to operate.
- Very cheap price compared to other models.
- Very light in weight.
- Super Accurate and can fix the location with a single knob.
- The simple option to turn the magnet on and off.
- Hard to lock the ball and socket joints of the magnetic stand.
3. Accusize Industrial Tools Magnetic Back Dial Indicator
So far in today’s market, Accusize has the highest ratings on Amazon. But why we picked this model as our third priority? The simple answer is its product performance. The product performance is not that satisfactory than the top of the 2 models above. Except for these, this product is amazing to use.
The specifications and price are nice comparing with the other models. As usual, the total travel range comes with 1″ and the accuracy is 0.001″. The permanent powerful magnet will help to find the accurate measurement. The indicators are AGD 2 style, lug back with ¼ hole, satin chrome, and rotational bezel.
Besides these, this model is 10.4 ounces and the packaging dimension is about 3.2 x 3.2 x 5.5 inches. The price point is affordable. Overall, this is a wonderful model in recent markets.
- Powerful magnetic back.
- Comfortable price range.
- Easy to access and read.
- Accurate, durable, and stable.
- The plastic back of the housing
- The bottom diameter is not the same as the outer diameter, where occurs rocking and this eliminates the GR&R errors.
4. Mitutoyo 2776SCAL Dial Indicator
Our next pick is Mitutoyo 2776SCAL DI. This dial indicator is a very definitive product in the market. The standard of this model is very high. This model defines the continuous values, the bigger scale represents the main readings where the small one takes the deflects.
This dial indicator is made by the ANSI standard of measuring methods. The total travel range of this model is 0-1″ and the resolution is about 0.0005″. It has an accuracy of ± 0.002″ which makes this product more reliable and accurate. The jeweled bearing resists the friction which ensures the longer mechanical life.
One of the best sides of this product is it has no screw hole through where the dust or dirt can get into. It ensures the quality of the product. Another best of this product is that this instrument has the facility of the certificate of traceability to NIST.
The light ash dial display has a capability for an easy vision from our human eyes and inch recognition with the readability of contrast hand. It has a stem diameter of 3/8″ and a contact point of 4-48 UNF. The weight comes up with 8.8 ounces. Overall, this product has proven the most demanding and serviceable.
- NIST traceable certificate.
- Accurate, Stable, and durable.
- Good vision quality can be seen in any daylight position.
- No negative reviews from the market.
- Unit construction saves repairing and cleaning time. It also saves maintenance costs.
- Harden gear provides long-lasting protection.
- The measurement range is not high.
- Price is higher compared to the specifications.
- Accessibility is not as good as KHCRAFT or Mitutoyo.
5. Khcraft Professional Dial Indicator with Magnetic Base
This model from KHCRAFT professional is well built and robust compared to other models. The specification comes up with a range of 1″ and resolution of 0.001″. The accuracy level is the same as the other dial indicators. From the company spec, it is said that all finished products are inspected, and feed up comes up with 100% accuracy in every dial indicator.
This model is 4.70 pounds in weight which is a little heavy compared to other models here in this article. The package size is 11.8 x 7.7 x 2.9 inches. KHCRAFT provides a strong packaging system for this dial indicator. This dial indicator is made of steel hardened, that is why this is quite heavier and stronger. This model is a very good choice for buyers.
We picked this one as the second choice based on the customer reviews on Amazon and Alibaba. Besides the weight, to carry this model is not so convenient. It comes with a very comfortable price. One more good side for this model is the stand from this dial indicator is, it fits the dial test indicator too. This dial indicator is packed in a strong blow mold case that is protective, durable, and stable.
- Protective case, stable and durable.
- 22 additional points for the indicator.
- Very cheap price.
- No operating instrument.
- Magnet isn’t strong enough.
6. Mitutoyo 2416S Dial Indicator
This model is manufactured by a Japanese company. The specifications come with a little different from KHCRAFT. Mitutoyo 2416S has the 0-1″ of scaling range with 0.001″ of resolution. But the accuracy level is -0.002″ per 1 inch. It has a standard dial indicator of 0.375″ of diameter stem and a #4-48 UNF contact point thread mount.
The outer look is the black-white combination. The display is advanced for observation. It has factional inches units and a rotating bezel. This dial indicator provides the long clamping range. It has no screw-hole through which the dust and water can get into. The operations can be smoothly operated. It can be visible under sunlight too. Some of the models don’t have this wonderful feature.
Mitutoyo 2416S is 5.8 ounces in weight and the package size comes with a dimension of 7.7 x 4 x 2.4 inches. Compared to KHCRAFT, this model is expensive and also lighter. Overall, we picked Mitutoyo as our third choice based on the customer review, price, and materials right after the KHCRAFT model. After all, we’ll say this model can be your best friend for any operations.
- Accurate, simple, and easy to read even under sunlight.
- Very light and convenient to use.
- Smooth repeatable measurements.
- The bezel is made of plastic.
- There’s no molded plastic case or protector like KHCRAFT does.
- Comparatively expensive than Starret or KHCRAFT.
7. Taytools Dial Indicator
This adorable model manufactured by Tay tools is now at the expected position in the market. It has 1.00″ of total travel range. The accuracy is 0.001″ per 1 inch as usual as other models. The wonderful feature from this model is its accuracy which is half of a thousandth (0.0005″).
Besides, similar to Mitutoyo, the display is easy to read which has 2-1/4″ of crisp black graduation. This model is machined anodized with an aluminum body, NOT plastic. So, this is very strong and durable.
Other specifications followed by vertical lug with back configuration, inspection certificate delivered with each of the dial indicators, gear trains are made of high-quality steel components which ensures the long life of the instrument and it doesn’t come with a plastic case. The item weight is 5.6 ounces.
After all, this instrument is metallic which tells us a stable, durable, and long mechanical life of the indicator. But if we consider the accessibility, this ability will not fill the facility with the top 3 models.
- Accurate than Mitutoyo.
- The visibility is clear.
- Fully metallic offers long mechanical life.
- Super cheap.
- The fatal flaw with the zero indicators. The zero centering sticks badly.
- Accessibility is not as good as Mitutoyo.
8. Fowler 52-520-110 AGD Dial Indicator
Fowler FOW52-520-110 dial indicator is one of the standard featured models in the recent market. The 1″ of travel range and 0.001″ of resolution makes this dial indicator suitable for any vertical dial operations.
The spindle rack and contact points are made of hard stainless steel, forged brass, satin chrome, gear wheels hard brass. These ensure the instrument’s long last mechanical life, stability, and durability. The display operation is defined into two sections, black scales are for continuous readings and red is for the balanced readings.
Besides, This model is only 6.4 ounces in weight, which is very light to carry. The packaging dimension is 6.5 x 3.1 x 2.2 inches. Except for the packaging quality and magnetic stand, this model is nice compared with the price.
- Accurate measurement.
- Metallic body and gears ensure stability and durability.
- Very light to carry.
- Cheap in the price range.
- Cheap packing. The provided package is not strong enough to protect the instrument.
- The magnetic stand is not satisfactory.
- The display is well advanced for any sign vision. It deflects light under sunlight, which makes the operator uncomfortable using the instrument.
9. HFS(R) 0-2″ Precision Travel DIAL Indicator
HFS(R) is our next pick based on the market review and the strategy. This dial indicator has a higher precision of accuracy. This dial indication contains the total travel range of 2”, and the resolution of 0.001″.
It is made of aluminum makes the vision clearer and the metallic body ensures the mechanical long-lasting life, stability, and durability. The gears and spindle rack pinions are made of stainless steel ensures the long-lasting mechanical life.
It also has super hard interchangeable carbide tips with 4-48 thread. Besides all these, this model comes up with a very low-price range. The specifications are not bad compared to the price.
- Accurate, easy to read and crisp graduation
- Metallic gears ensure long-lasting mechanical life.
- Stable and durable
- Low-quality unit.
10. Starrett 25-441J Dial Indicator
Another famous model in the recent market is this Starrett dial indicator. This is our last pick. This model comes in the market with a very expensive price. Containing 0.375″ of stem diameter, this model has a travel range of 1″ and resolution of 0.001″ similar to the other model as usual.
There are the jewel bearings and lug-on-center back. The display color is white black combined, is suitable for any vision. This dial indicator is 8.0 ounces in weight. There is 1 year of warranty for this instrument. This instrument is a metallic body but the gear is made of plastic material that can not ensure the long mechanical life. Because we know plastic erodes with the mechanical frictional force. After all, this model is quite suitable for measurement.
- Accurate, simple, and nice accessibility.
- Warranty services.
- Plastic Gears
- Expensive price
Factors to Consider during the Selection
Dial Indicator’s main task is to measure, so accuracy is an important topic here. Other than accuracy, there are other important factors we need to consider while choosing the best dial indicator.
While measuring components, accuracy is the main priority. So, the accuracy of a dial indicator is very important for the buyers. Here, in this review, most of the products have 0.001″ per 1-inch accuracy which is sufficient for any accurate measurement.
Why material is important to consider? Because a silver gear will long last than a plastic gear. Though plastic gear is light and suitable for tiny instruments, but yet metal’s co-efficient is more accurate. A plastic will erode after it is used for around time, and the pointer will give an inaccurate measurement which may make unexpected errors. Most of our products here are made off metals and plastics.
3. Customer Review
The customer review is one of the most important factors while choosing any product. Product’s performances can be found well explained by the previous buyers.
Price is always an important issue while buying things. Sometimes good quality differs with the price, sometimes brand matters. So, if you are looking for quality, not to focus on the price will be the best decision.
5. Buy Dial Indicator, NOT Dial Test Indicator
It’s important to make sure that you are not picking the wrong one. Dial indicator is different from the dial test indicator (test indicator). You have to be aware of the differences between the dial indicator and test indicator. It can take a pretty long explanation, however, we can distinguish them as the following list:
- Plunger contact type
- Larger and heavier
- Vertically excels
- Repetitive and comparative
- Measures depth of holes, flatness, runout, roundness (vertical measurement, can’t excel angular measurement), so can’t be well placed in a lathe machine other than vertical position.
- 5 revolutions
- Lower resolution 0.001″ to 0.0001″ (typical resolution)
- Specific use in some applications such as primary measuring of engine building, deck clearances, crankshaft thrust and straightness, lifter travel, etc.
- Visibility is clear
- Both clockwise and anticlockwise rotation and dials continuous reading
- Lever contact type
- Smaller and lighter
- Travers one or two dimensions, measures flatness, runout, roundness (can’t measure the depth of holes)
- More flexible orientation
- Visibility is not so good (because of its size)
- Consistency measurement
- Vertical, horizontal or angular excel
- Higher-resolution but short measurement range .0001″ to 0.00005″
- Clockwise rotation and dials continuous reading
- Allows single revolution
- More often in use
We have shortly described all the product specifications. Now you are expected to be able to distinguish the differences between the specifications in them. All these dial indicators are in the best position in the market. Actually, there are few more other dial indicators in the market such as HHIP, HFS(R), etc but we didn’t pick them due to their lower ratings and the poor customer reviews.
Here from this article, a common question may arise is why the price wasn’t the main priority? Because we focus on product performance with the best pick from the market. The Triton dial indicator is the winner of our review based on today’s market.
Besides, if you think about the accessibility then KHCRAFT will be the best in here. It has some wonderful features of accessing facilities. If we are looking for a strong stable and durable dial indicator we can go for the metallic geared models, stay away from the plastic ones.
Finally, we hope this article will help you to understand what exactly the position of the dial indicators in the market. This will help your research easier and faster. We hope for your awesome journey in choosing the best dial indicator. Best of luck with your project.