It’s not weird that people tend to pick the digital caliper rather the vernier or dial caliper. A digital caliper is easy and quick to use. Even further, you can transfer the readout to another device. In addition, you can avoid random error as well.
The need for the best digital caliper is getting on demand since digital caliper is the most popular caliper that people use. But what does the best digital caliper actually define? What does make us state it as the best digital caliper? How to choose it? What is the best one for the money?
On this page, we cover the buying guide, the digital calipers that we recommend, the best digital caliper based on the price, and some final verdicts if you want us to help you choose. For the first section, we provide an overview of the best digital caliper we recommend as follows on the table.
Our Top 10 Digital Caliper Reviews 2021
#1. Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Digital Caliper [Best Overall]
Wherever you go, Mitutoyo is still the best company to refer to when it comes to the high-quality precision tool. It’s a great product that provides you with an excellent resolution of 0.0005″ (0.01mm), 0.001″ (0.02mm) precision, and 6″ range of measurement.
One aspect that contributes to the excellence of this product is its ABS (absolute) scale. Do you know that a small distance, whether you are too strong or too weak pushing the jaws to clamp the object, will affect the accuracy? With this feature, the Mitutoyo has set it from the factory. You don’t need to set it anymore after turn on the caliper. Amazingly, this feature also benefits you sliding the slide at any speed without disturbing the reading.
Moreover, when facing an environment where water, dirt, and oil surround the place you are working on, some calipers could fail to display the reading if those materials stick onto the scale. This digital caliper is designed with the technology of electromagnetic induction type absolute encoder and AOS (Advanced Onsite Sensor) which will work hard for you to deactivate those material’s effects.
According to our observation, it’s an encoder based on a sort of inductive sensor, invited by Kouji Sasaki and Osamu Kawatoko, which has been patented in the U.S. It’s necessary to note that this is not IP53 or IP54 tested that has passed a standard examination against water spray or splash. So, don’t either spray or splash the water on the reading display.
If asked, the Mitutoyo 500-196-30 can arrive in your hand with a certificate of inspection. Need to remember that certificate of inspection is different from the certificate of calibration. Purchase it when necessary.
There is something to be said for taking a look at the customer reviews. We can gain further information that could be worth. Since Mitutoyo is pricey, spending money on it should be equivalent to the quality we get.
It’s absolutely amazing. For the first time you see it, you know it’s a glamour product. The smooth finish is very convincing as if you are hypnotized and say “yes” for any kind of price you have to spend for it. You will not ask anymore how much is it.
The accuracy is very excellent. Many products may explain their products have great accuracy but in reality, disappointed. It works as described and most importantly, provides a consistent reading. Many people shared their happy experiences with it.
Sadly, from the other experiences we observed, we also found that some buyers evidently received the counterfeit Mitutoyo 500-196-30 product which is very ashamed. However, you have to be calm down because it’s a solvable issue. You can verify the authenticity of your Mitutoyo product like this buyer did and then confirm it online.
- Quality finish
- ABS scale
- Usable in dirty, oily, and wet environment
- Super low battery use
- Long 3.5 years battery life
- Accurate and precise
- Low battery alarm
- Be careful of fake products
- When the battery runs out of power, the rough measurement cannot be taken
#2. Clockwise Tools DCLR-0605 Digital Caliper [Best Budget]
Clockwise Tools DCLR-0605 is an almost complete digital caliper you have to take a look at. It provides accuracy, water dust ingress protection (IP54), a large LCD screen like the Igaging 100-333-8-b, and amazingly a slot for data transfer. And what makes it impressive is can afford all of these features with a low budget.
Like the other digital caliper, this is able to take a measurement down to 0.0005″ increment with 0.0005″ repeatability and ±0.001″ precision. There are three length models you could choose, but the 6″ range is the widest use we recommend.
No worry any more when facing a harsh environment. The water and dust cannot ingress into the electronic circuit. The IP54 label ensures the enclosure is relatively resistant to water and dust ingress for a particular period of time. So, there is no interference with the reading, even no damage to the entire electronic parts, when unexpected water incidentally splashes the caliper during the work. You just need to wipe off the water to continue the measurement.
Moreover, you are able to connect this caliper to a computer. By means of the RS232 data transfer system and the DTCR-02 cable, you can read the reading directly on the computer. This benefits you to run a measurement statistic easily. However, there is only the slot, you seem to buy the cable separately.
The big font and spacious screen are helpful to read the reading vividly. For them with the eye problem, this can help better. There are two buttons available: 1) mm/in/F, 2) O/On/Off.
Additionally, an extra 1-year warranty establishes a great service and trust for any inconvenience of the digital caliper could do. For this kind of price point and the warranty, it’s very convincing to purchase especially for them with infrequent use, even daily use.
What People Said
As we suspect, most people love the price and the features it brings. You may encounter a bad day and among the other good quality digital calipers, yours is the bad one. Every time you get trouble, you can ask them to get replaced. The service and warranty are helpful to claim the better one.
Problems that appear typically from the zero reading. We repeatedly found that when it turned off; as it’s automatically programmed off when no use for several minutes, the reading would display “0” when on no matter the position is. This means you have to keep using it. If it turns off, you have to recalibrate. This is so annoying for someone, but not a big deal for hobbyists and homeowners we think.
- Transferable measurement data
- Large LCD screen for easy to read
- Inch, mm, and friction
- Stainless steel
- 1-year warranty
- Excellent customer service
- No absolute origin
- Limited buttons
#3. IGaging 100-333-8-B Digital Caliper [Lowest Budget]
The same with Mitutoyo above, the accuracy is excellent. It offers 0.0005″ resolution, 0.0005″ repeatability, and 0.0001″ accuracy to support 6″ range of measurement. For solid body construction, hardened stainless steel becomes the body material.
Another important thing is its water-resistant construction. In case you are working around the water, and the water may splash onto the caliper, it will not give damage to this caliper. However, in case it drops into a tank of water, the case might be different. It’s only tested with IP54 standard which means has passed all test of getting water splash from any direction. To be resistant dropped in a tank of water, the caliper has to pass IP67 or IP68 test standard.
It’s very impressive to see the LCD screen. For some old aged people, they may have a problem with eyesight. The big screen is extremely helpful to display large fonts. It’s even the largest screen compared to the other calipers that we review here.
What do the customers say?
In general, the vast majority of customers feel very happy due to the price and the advantages they gain from this caliper. The accuracy, the IP54, and the large LCD screen are some of what people mostly thank to. For that kind of price, they get what a high-cost professional caliper such as Mitutoyo, this is truly the best deal ever. For people with tight budget, this digital caliper must meet needs.
Basically, this is a great product until the battery slot is one of the issues many buyers complained about. The battery compartment seems to be made of low-quality construction. We found that dozen of buyers have to close the battery cover with their hand while taking the measurement because the battery compartment is having trouble.
Another issue which people shared is the caliper lifespan. As we found from the buyer experience, we discover that the power consumption is considered high compared to the other calipers. This may be the cause of why frequent buyers grumble that theirs turn off after some use.
- Inexpensively affordable
- IP54, water splash resistant
- Large LCD display
- Nice body finish
- Smooth slide
- Rough measurement is available
- High battery power consumption that causes short life expectancy
- Be careful of the battery compartment
#4. EAGems IP54 Digital Caliper
Another option besides the Mitutoyo above is EAGems digital caliper. If we browse to the site, it seems that this is a new brand name caliper company. It only releases two calipers, the first one is IP54 standard tested and the second one is IP67 tested without any model number explained.
The reason why we highlight this bad boy is its accuracy capability that is able to support 6″ measurement with 0.0005″ resolution. It is equal to Mitutoyo and Igaging above. However, what makes us more impressed is it has ±0.0005″ precision as they claim here. This is absolutely amazing because the Mitutoyo itself has only ±0.001″ precision.
Moreover, EAGems (Edward Allen Gems) digital caliper is fairly water-resistant as we know from its IP rating, IP54. The number 4 means the item has exceeded a qualification of getting water splash for 10 minutes from any direction without undergoing any harmful effect.
Furthermore, it offers a 2-year warranty which is highly convincing, ensuring that they provide long last stuff for the potential buyers. You need to register your purchase first to accept the warranty.
As a whole, the majority of people gave positive feedback. Most of them appreciated positively to the price while providing a quality product.
However, as you can see on the customer review page, there is one popular comment that has been marked “helpful” by 56 users. The comment is by a professional metalworker that said the caliper fell apart after a couple of months of use.
It seems that this is not your choice when dealing with super heavy work such as machinery or other professional jobs. Conversely, it works really awesome for DIY, homeowners, 3D printing projects, etc.
- Fairly affordable
- Stainless steel
- Inch, mm, and fraction
- 2-year warranty
- Great customer service
- Not for professional use
- No origin absolute
#5. Neiko 01407A Digital Caliper
Neiko 01407A comes with a set of stunning caliper specifications: 6″ measurement range, 0.0005″ resolution, and 0.001″ precision. It’s the ideal spec you have to acquire for today’s caliper. Moreover, as they claim, it’s designed with stainless steel polish to create a solid body. Stainless steel is beneficial to build resistance to rust, wear, and heat transfer.
Essentially, this is an impressive tool. You get a high resolution, beautiful looking tool, stainless steel, and the other very basic features of a digital caliper must have. However, it’s pretty often to see several people reported that it failed to give an accurate measurement.
Overall, for them who need moderate accuracy, this one is the right option. Some buyers who purchased this item said it’s a good pick for DIY, woodworking, student, personal 3D printing objects, etc. On the other hand, if you are working on government or international projects, things that really concern with extreme inaccuracy, this is not what you head for.
- Super affordable
- Great resolution
- Nice finish
- Stainless steel
- Not for professional projects
- Frequent inaccuracy
#6. Adoric Digital Caliper
If you are looking for a digital caliper to use several times such as for education or even just one time, this is the right option to go. Especially when high accuracy is not really your consideration, this is the right one that costs you very friendly.
For this price, it provides great specifications such as 0-6″ measuring range and 0.01”/ 0.1 mm resolution as well claiming it can be precise as ±0.2mm/0.01” accuracy.
It has three functional buttons there: 1. on/off, 2. zero, 3. mm/inch. Through these buttons, you can intuitively do these things such as: turning on or off, calibrating the zero position, and converting the reading unit.
- Great for educational
- It doesn’t last long
- easy to fall apart
#7. iGaging 100-700-06-I Absolute Origin Digital Electronic Caliper
The next digital caliper is iGaging 100-700-06I. Not only does it provide you with water and dust protection; as it’s essential to the digital electronic measuring devices, but the absolute origin function makes your measurement run easily.
This caliper comes with greater functionality which is required in professional measurement. There are 4 buttons: mm/inch (grey), power on/off (blue), ABS (yellow), and origin (black).
Pressing the origin button is required if you see the reading doesn’t show 0.00mm when it arrives at you. This is to set the zero point and the caliper will remember that zero position. So, you don’t need to re-zero it again every time you are going to use it. While the ABS button functions to enter into the incremental measurement mode. Using the ABS mode may set the second zero position, but it won’t last long. Either pressing the ABS button for 5 seconds or pressing the power off button will return into the initial mode (origin set).
In terms of accuracy, iGaging 100-700-06-I has been tested to quality the DIN Standard 862. This is to test the product permissible errors below the maximum permitted value. The resolution is good, 0.0005″ / 0.01mm with accuracy ±0.001″ / 0.02mm. This one is the 6-inch ranged, you could also purchase the 4-inch range model on the same page.
Like other digital calipers that come with a USB connection, this caliper is also able to send and put the reading directly into another device (computer or laptop or tablet) during the measurement. In order to transmit the data, you have to purchase the USB cable separately. The SPC USB wireless is also available.
Overall, if you think Mitutoyo is too pricey for you, you could land your decision to this digital caliper. It’s quick to use due to the origin function. In addition, it requires a CR2032 battery to operate which is easy to find in stores.
- IP54 rating
- USB or wireless connection for data transfer
- Quick to use, no need to set the zero point every time using it.
- Some accuracy issues
#8. Mitutoyo 500-474 Solar Powered Digital Caliper
Imagine if you have a digital caliper, but no longer required to buy the battery? You could afford that stuff with Mitutoyo 500-474, a solar-powered digital caliper. Feel all the great things about Mitutoyo without worrying about its battery power anymore. This is great stuff to carry outside.
Like typical Mitutoyo caliper products, you’ll get the benefit from its quality. The resolution is 0.0005 inch / 0.01 mm which is good. And the accuracy is ±0.001 inch / ±0.01 mm which is excellent. In addition to its accuracy, you could purchase an extra certificate of traceability to NIST for professional purposes. According to customers, they found it accurate.
It also works in low light but the company recommends working in decent lighting (60 lux and more) for the caliper to run.
- Solar-powered, totally no battery power needed
- No need to set up the zero point every time working with
- No way to connect this to another device
- requiring decent lighting (60 lux and more) to work with
#9. Mitutoyo 500-752-20 Digital Caliper IP67 Best for Machinist
The impressive thing about Mitutoyo 500-752-20 is its IP67 rating, the highest dust and water protection rating of the digital caliper that we have on the list. It’s not only secured but also accurate as other Mitutoyo caliper products.
This protection allows you to use it conveniently on work while using a machine tool such as milling machine or CNC machine. Things such as coolant, oil, dust, and water may expose your caliper but it will be safe and accurate. In addition to the machinist purpose, it’s also accurate.
Another advantage is the automatic on-off. After 20 minutes without use, the system will automatically be off. This will save battery power and easily forget after finish using it.
The absolute origin feature means there is such a internal memory that will remember the zero point setting being applied. The zero point setting will maintain forever even though the caliper turns off. So, you don’t need to set it each time of use.
- High protection against water and dust ingress
- Great for machinist
- Simple and quick to use
- No SPC data output
#10. Vinca DCLA-0605 Digital Caliper
Vinca DCLA-0605 offers you some great features that you have to consider as well. As it comes at an affordable price, but you could find its reading is transferrable by using the USB cable. This is a great thing for you to really consider.
If you are trying to make a statistical measurement, then a digital caliper that is able to send the reading is a very critical feature to afford. However, some of them may come with an unfriendly price. Vinca is a nice option as it doesn’t rob your bank.
However, you cannot use any regular USB cable. You need to use an RS232 cable that you could buy here.
- Data transfer feature
- special RS232 cable needed for data transfer
Digital Caliper Buyer’s Guide
1. Types (Digital, Dial, Vernier)
You have to be aware of the types of calipers. Each of them has different advantages and disadvantages. You have to realize why you need a digital caliper. Need to remember that a digital caliper needs a battery that supplies power so that the caliper can runs. If it runs out of battery power, you cannot use it.
Moreover, it’s well-known that digital is commonly the most accurate type than the others. A typical digital caliper today has the capability to provide down to 0.0005″ resolution while a vernier or dial caliper only provides 0.001″ resolution. If you concern about the resolution, then pick out the digital caliper.
Resolution means the smallest reading a precision tool can provide. Today’s digital calipers have commonly 0.0005″ resolution. If you find less than 0.0005″, leave it. There are so many options available. However, if you need a better resolution, a micrometer is preferred.
3. Sliding Speed
Is your caliper showing weird reading when you slide it too fast? It’s a sign of low quality. We need to use caliper comfortably. It will be very annoying if we have to use it slowly all the time in order to not interfere with the reading? What a waste of time. Taking the limit of sliding speed into account is very decisive when you need it for professional use.
4. Absolute Origin
This is one feature of the digital caliper that you have to concern. Unlike the micrometer, the roller thumb in the caliper doesn’t work like the mechanism of the ratchet in which when the force is over-applied, the ratchet will rotate freely.
So, if we push the roller too strong, the jaws may close tightly and a small change of distance from the zero point can occur as displayed on the reading. It is commonly in minus. Conversely, when the jaws get closed weakly, the measurement may not display 0 reading.
The solution is very clear. A caliper has to be designed with an absolute origin feature. This is a feature when the jaws are closed, it exactly shows 0 reading. And this 0 reading has to be embedded in the system in such a way by the company technology. The company has to set it from the factory.
The accuracy of that 0 reading is very considerable. If the memory system of the caliper fails to give an exactly correct position, it will change the measurement result which automatically results in inaccuracy.
Furthermore, if your digital caliper has no absolute origin, it’s likely to lose its last reading when the caliper turns off. Imagine how “not easy” it is if you have to set back the zero every time it turns off.
5. Resistant against Harmful Material (IP Rating)
It’s important to purchase a product certified with this rating. For professionals, they may frequently encounter unexpected incidents. A digital caliper works based on the electronic system inside of the enclosure. Even if a small amount of water that ingresses to the system can break the stability. By having this rating, there is protection.
Simply, these are several IP ratings that you commonly find in digital calipers along with its meaning.
- (5) The dust still breaks through, but only a very small amount of quantity so that not give any damage to the system.
- (3) It means the product has been examined and passed a water spray test conducted for 5 minutes.
- (5) A very tolerated insignificant amount of dust still enters but not give any effect.
- (4) The system successfully doesn’t experience any bad effects after getting splashed with water for 10 minutes.
- (6) Totally no dust enters the system.
- (7) For half an hour, the system is immersed up to 1 meter in water with a certain pressure.
The need for IP-certified digital calipers has to suit your working environment. A machinist that works in the CNC shop may be different from them who work outside. Recognizing the IP rating will be helpful to suit your need.
6. Traceable Accuracy
You may say that your caliper is accurate. It has 0.0001″ resolution. However, if the version of 0.0001″ of your caliper doesn’t match with the version of 0.0001″ of the length standard, your caliper cannot be considered accurate. Therefore, your caliper must be calibrated to the standard one.
Good news is, most of the digital caliper will be inspected before it’s shipped.
The bad news is, is the calibration system used by the caliper company accurate too?
An inspection should be applied to ensure accuracy while the product is going to be delivered. People who are going to buy the caliper have to be aware of this. When their caliper arrives, they should receive the product with a certificate of inspection.
A certificate of inspection is normally issued by the company itself. However, is the calibration tool used for inspection accurate? To say it accurate, simply, the calibration tools must be at least traceable to NIST. In the United States, NIST is the agency where you can rely on to get the standard.
In short, an easy way to know that your digital caliper is accurate is by having the inspection certificate that is traceable to the NIST.
7. Established Brand Name
It’s worth to mention Mitutoyo as the best brand for the digital calipers. Mitutoyo is a Japan company which has been known dedicated their life to generate outstanding precision instruments.
When does consider the brand matter? When you have to select a product with a particular fixed point. For example, your budget persuades you to buy under $30. In this case, you are certainly not able to purchase any Mitutoyo digital calipers. When there is a hesitation, consider the brand. A brand that keeps its quality is the encouraged one.
The low budget digital calipers may be manufactured in Chinese. The country where the product is produced might affect quality, even though not at all. You can inspect the Alibaba website to see whether your products are flooding the market there. Today, trading is easy. Anyone can ask a company there to label the products with a brand name and sell it in the USA. The cheap risky digital calipers may be awesome at first but work ineffectively.
You need to remember that when choosing an electronic caliper by considering the brand, it means we concern with the performance of the stuff. It has no correlation with a brand name with a certain feature. Features and performance are two different things. If the performance of a feature fails, then it’s useless.
8. Measurement Range
When you are negotiating with yourself, you may be a bit confused because in your imagination you might have a project with larger stuff. However, the best-recommended size is the 6″ caliper is the best length for many purposes. If you don’t have any idea of the measurement range you really need, choose the 6-inch digital caliper.
A shorter digital caliper will be useful when you are mobile and need all the things compact and easy to carry. While a longer one is suitable for static use.
9. Construction Material
What is the best material to construct a caliper?
- Stainless steel?
Surely, stainless steel is the top rated material to choose for a digital caliper. Stainless steel is more durable than the others listed above. Fortunately, countless digital calipers today employ stainless steel as the body material which is good for you. Make sure that this material enforces your new caliper.
10. Carbide Tipped jaws
This is optional for some people. For them who want to measure harsh objects very often, carbide is useful to resist wear on the jaws. This material can help the jaws last longer. Stone and things similar can cause break your caliper jaws. In contrast, a plastic jaw will simply fall apart when securing a stone, grindstones, rough-machined pieces, etc.
11. Transferrable Data
The same with carbide jaws, this is an extra feature you might want to have. You may want to take several measurements and save the results in a worksheet. No need to write it down anymore. Just connect the cable. Every time you push the defined button, the reading appears in the worksheet. Whether it’s in computer, tablet, or smartphone, as long as able to support the software, it’s okay.
12. Customer Reviews
The customer reviews help us discover how it performs in reality. Whatever the company advertises the product, the real customer reviews are unignorable.
The company normally advertises their products with perfect promises as if their tools will last forever and perform well every day like a new one. In reality, people reviews are the most real trustable advertising we can refer to. Therefore, we embed some buyer reviews to keep our readers educated about how the calipers actually are.
Why Need Best Digital Caliper
If the caliper we bought fail to provide accurate measurement, it’s better off not buying it. A ton of products, not only calipers, promise they have a million of kindness. However, the truth is different. Best caliper means how to get the best caliper with the best money.
Best calipers also mean provide other benefits. It’s possible our tools drop into a vessel of water. The best caliper should be able to not immediately off when this incident happened. However, it doesn’t mean you can let the caliper sunk for an hour then save it. This incident can happen any time, spending a more expensive one but resistant may save you money, even time.
You don’t want to dry up the caliper scales every time the water sticks onto them. It takes your time. We know that your time is absolutely valuable. In that case, you have to look at the caliper that provides the capability to use in the area of water surrounded.
Buying a digital caliper is worth every penny as long as they fulfill the requirements. There are some advantages that make our life convenient using digital caliper: easy to use and quick to read. They let you work fast. However, they need a battery to use and potentially give a false reading if the circuit board gets damaged. Therefore, it must meet some standard tests against water and dust.
Picking the best digital caliper is another challenge. All digital calipers offer great features but the real use by the consumers is the reality. Therefore, taking their reviews into account is a wise step before buying.
Overall, if you ask us what best digital caliper to choose from, we would be confident to recommend Mitutoyo 500-196-30. It’s the best quality option that we suggest. Though it’s not IP rated, it comes with its AOS (Advanced onsite sensor) technology that is actually an electromagnetic inductive sensor to assist accuracy and protect from water, dirt, and oil. Therefore, this is also the best digital caliper for reloading.